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Cold War II

Skepticism > Political Skeptic > Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization > Color revolutions

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Nulandgate Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? Putin stands up to US and G8 warmongers on Syria Hillary the warmonger Hillary role in Libya disaster Hillary role in Syria bloodbath
Neoliberal Propaganda MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage as prolog to war with Russia Russian Ukrainian Gas wars Russian foreign policy Ambush of Russian Su-24 over Syria Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss
Obama: a yet another Neocon To whom EuroMaidan Sharp-shooters belong? EU-brokered agreement on ending crisis The Far Right Forces in Ukraine Odessa Massacre of May 2, 2014 Suppression of Russian language and culture in Ukraine
Compradors Fifth column NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions Resurgence of ideology of neo-fascism Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair
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Secular Stagnation Economics of Peak Energy The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Foreign Agents Registration Act Russian Fifth column Humor Etc

The Russian and US perceptions of war are totally different: for a Russian the war is a fight for survival as an individual and as a nation, for a US person war and killing are just another day in the office. And that includes perception of the risks of "Cold War" turning into hot.  Jingoism of the current US elite is really crazy: ‘Kill Russians and Iranians, threaten Assad,’ says ex-CIA chief backing Clinton. And this is not some drunk schmuck in the pub.  This is a  top CIA official, who twice served as the acting director of the agency

In an interview with Charlie Rose in August 2016, Morell blamed Syrian President Assad, Russia, and Iran for the death toll in Syria.[28] He called on the moderate opposition in Syria to make Russia and Iran "pay a price" for their involvement in Syria, in part by targeting their military personnel in the country.[29] He also called on the US to begin bombing Syrian government targets in order to bring Assad to the negotiating table.[30] Regarding President Bashar al-Assad, Morell argued "I want to go after those things that Assad sees as his personal power base. I want to scare Assad."[29]

You would think that this guys is a crazy psychopath (thanks God he retired form CIA in 2013). But his views reflect the views of a large swat of Washington political establishment. And President Trump actually fulfilled Hillary bidding and attacked Assad's military installations, the action  which Morell argued for.   Which opened a new chapter in Cold War II history.

Key events of Cold War II

Generally we can think about Cold War II as consisting of several phases, signified by particular events:

  1. Phase I
    1. Prehistory (1991-1999). The USA, especially Bill Clinton administration,  wanted to weaken, isolate and subdue Russia since the dissolution of the USSR (using corrupt regime of drunk Yeltsin as a puppet and Harvard mafia as economic advisors; Russian neoliberals who came to power in Russia after the dissolution of the USSR  allowed fox to guard the chickens and faced consequences )  and encouraged efforts to dismember it (via support of Chechen radicals and islamists, in general).
    2. 1999: War against Yugoslavia as the demonstration of Russia neo-colonial status.  Primakov flight U-turn over Athlantic
    3. 2000: Putin ascendance to power as a reaction to Yeltsin regime failings and neo-colonization of Russia.  Kursk submarile disaster CBS news then broke the story that the United States had three ships in the vicinity observing the naval exercise that Kursk was taking part in. Two of the three ships were submarines, later determined to be USS Memphis and USS Toledo, type 688 Los Angeles class fast attack submarines which are often used for covert intelligence gathering.  USS Memphis, reported by Norway to be undergoing repairs at a Norwegian naval yard.
    4. 2001: Neocons get full power in Bush II administration and started to implement PNAC agenda. September 11, 2001 events. Invasion of Afghanistan with Russian support (via North Alliance) with large supplies of Russian arms.
    5. 2003: Colin Powell lies to UN in his speech about Iraq weapons of mass destruction(full text) falsely accusing Iraq regime of producing chemical weapons. Subsequent invasion of Iraq under false evidence and occupation of Iraq. The USA uses events in Afghanistan to establish military bases in former Soviet republics starting the operation of "encirclement" of Russia. For some period of time Russia allowed transport of military cargo via its territory. this stopped only after "NATO sanctions" were introduced in 2014.
    6. 2008: In august 2008 Georgia staged invasion of north Ossetia which resulted in Russian military operation against Georgia (called the war with Georgia). This was the first time Russia opposed US sanctioned actions of US allies. And did it militarily.
    7. 2011: "We say, we came, he died". The USA fooled Russian President Medvedev into supporting "no-fly zones" which were interpreted by West as the cart blanche for full scale bombing of Gaddafi regime. American and British naval forces fired over 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles,[20] the French Air Force, British Royal Air Force, and Royal Canadian Air Force[21] undertaking sorties across Libya and a naval blockade by Coalition forces. French jets launched air strikes against Libyan Army tanks and vehicles. The Libyan government response to the campaign was totally ineffectual. Regime soon fell and Gaddafi was brutally murdered.
    8. 2011-2012 attempt to stage a color revolution in Russia by Obama administration (with Hillary Clinton as the Secretary of State), using the power of NGOs and neoliberal fifth column to prevent return of Putin to power ("white revolution" of 2012)
  2. Phase II
    1. 2014: Anti-Russian hysteria during Sochi Olympics, Ukrainian coup d'état and introduction of sanctions. Malaysian flight MH17  tragegy that points to a false flag operation
    2. 2015: Russian involvement in Syria and Ambush of Russian Su-24 bomber by Turkey.
    3. 2016: US deploy offensive and dangerous to Russian strategic forces "missile shield" in Poland and Romania, continuing the policy of encirclement of Russia. On May 12, 2016 US missile shield in Romania goes live to Russian fury
    4. 2016: Anti-Russian hysteria during and after Presidential elections. Democtatic Pary turns into the second War party in Washington and the level of jingoism and anti-Russian hysteria reached unprecedented level.
    5. 2017: As a reaction to Hillary loss in 2016 election fierce  Neo-Mccratyism campaign against Russia was launched, with the level of demonization of Russia justifiable only if the USA is reading population for a war.  The Congress starts the investigation of Russian meddling into the US Presidential Elections.
    6. April 2017: Hopes about Trump more reasonable approach to foreign policy and detente with Russia vanished. Under relentless attacks of neocons, which actually resemble a color revolution" (called Purple revolution) Trump folded. Attack on Syrian airbase followed, which actually signify direct attack on Russian involvement (and policy) in Syria. It was masked as a reaction on Khan Sheikhoun gas attack (which, most probably, was a false flag operation)

Sanction as official start of Cold War II

What is called "sanctions" is essentially the "official" start of Cold War II. Not everybody  understand this. Russians tend to obscure this fact with bravado. "Sanctions is not only a challenge, but also can serve as a useful resource for our country economic development" -- said the first deputy head of the Presidential Administration Vyacheslav Volodin, in his address to the seminar meeting with officials of the government of subjects of the Russian Federation and representatives of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation which took place Dec 1-3.

"Today, the state conducts an internal policy that really reflects the interests and enjoys the support of the absolute majority of the Russian people. For example, the reunification of the Crimea and Sevastopol to Russia has supported more than 93% of Russian citizens" noted Vyacheslav Volodin. "But the highest level of support for government policy - not a reason to calm down and relax. This is the issue of preversing this huge level of credibility, great expectations of people. It is important to use this social energy for development of the country, addressing major social and economic problems. "

"The current economic situation is today is an inflected on us stress test for the government, for the economy, for the country as a whole," - said Vyacheslav Volodin.

"This is an opportunity to see who is who. World leaders of the 20th century took place at different times this path - the path of development in the face of opposition of the environment, trade wars, sanctions and restrictions. Some of the countries, such as China, have been able, in spite of the sanctions regime, to build one of the strongest economies in the world and dramatically improve the quality of life of its citizens. Such an opportunity does exist for us too. "

According to Vyacheslav Volodin, economic recovery should be a continuing priority for the country. Sanctions - this is an additional opportunity to resolve overdue to restructure the domestic market, provided support for domestic manufactures.

"Import substitution and new industrialization, which we discussed back in the pre-election articles and messages of the President of the Russian Federation in 2012 and 2013 - a key aspect of state sovereignty,"

I would recommend Volodin to listen famous Russian song, almost a hymn of Russian navy Varyag.  Russia now faces the whole NATO alliance, which is by oprder or magnitute is more powerful economically.  

Putin assessed situation in more sober way (From 28 min Putin discuss sanctions), but still I think underestimated the capabilities of the "collective West" led by the USA to wreck Russian economy. And while Biden is a regular neocon chickenhawk (essentially Hillary in pants), behind him  like an aircraft carriers stand 500 largest US companies and the whole US military industrial complex which wants war: 

The U.S. and the European Union imposed sanctions on people and companies close to President Vladimir Putin after Russia annexed the Black Sea Crimea peninsula in March. Ukraine has accused Russia of supplying weapons, military vehicles and mercenaries to separatists, which Russia denies. The two nations are also in conflict over gas, with Russia cutting off supplies this week because of unpaid bills.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Putin's government faces the threat of further economic sanctions if it doesn’t do more “to exercise its influence among the separatists to lay down their weapons and renounce violence, both of which Russia has thus far failed to do,” according to a statement released by the White House yesterday.

And it is not accidental that  the World Bank, one of the cornerstones of world neoliberal economic order,  has designed two scenarios for the growth of the Russian economy in 2014 taking into account increased risks over the Crimean crisis (MOSCOW, March 26 (RIA Novosti)

The first variant is based on short-term influences of the events in Ukraine on Russia's economy, and the second, threats of a serious shock and downturn of the gross domestic product (GDP).

"The scenario with a low level of risk presupposes that actions over the Crimean crisis will be limited and short-term and with a prognosis of a slowing economic growth to 1.1 percent in 2014 and a slight increase to 1.3 percent in 2015,"

according to a World Bank report on the Russian economy published on Wednesday.

French politician Philippe de Villiers Without Russia Europe has no future by Viacheslav

Q: What do you think about the "war of sanctions" that Russia waged against the West?

Philippe de Villiers: I will answer you as a person, seriously studied history. It was not even a single case where sanctions would lead to the desired result. Moreover, they give the opposite result.

Country against which an embargo is introduced, usually finds the hidden reserves and becomes stronger. Sanctions by themselves - it is an act of war, they hurt the pride of the people, and those mobilized, concentrated, what is happening now in Russia. In French, one of the meanings of the word "sanctions" refers to a school dictionary. Teacher allowed to punish the student to apply to it "sanctions." But as far as I know, Mr. Putin is not a disciple of Mr Barroso. Sanctions lead to retaliatory sanctions to a dangerous chain of mutual blows.

Cooperation between countries - it is an act of peace. Our joint project of theme parks in Russia and indeed this is. Support him, President Putin has committed an act of peace. I appeal to all the French entrepreneurs to follow suit in order to strengthen ties and friendship between France and Russia.

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former US Congressman, founder of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
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[Sep 18, 2019] Ukraine Votes for a Future in Europe by Robert C. O'Brien

A very weak article. Complete lack of understanding on the real situation in Ukraine. This worse the the level of freshmen in the second rate college.
Yet another unreformed Cold War warrior...
Oct 29, 2014 | nationalinterest.org

"Ukrainians are happy today. They showed the world that they remain unbowed in the face of aggression and are committed to a future in the democratic West."

https://lockerdome.com/lad/12130885885741670?pubid=ld-3562-627&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fnationalinterest.org&rid=duckduckgo.com&width=896

[Sep 18, 2019] Trump Makes Another Bad Choice for National Security Advisor

Looks like Trump just increased his chances to lose to Warren in 2020 elections.
Notable quotes:
"... O'Brien advised the Romney 2012 campaign, and he also advised the short-lived Scott Walker campaign in the 2016 cycle. He is a typical hawkish Republican. ..."
"... Obviously, "Bolton lite" isn't much of an improvement over Bolton, and it seems unlikely that there will be any significant improvement in administration foreign policy over the next fifteen months. The summary of O'Brien's book confirms as much: ..."
"... Back in 2014, he was praising Romney for his "Churchill-like warning of a resurgent Russia," and I pointed out that Romney had said a lot of ignorant, knee-jerk things about Russia that were wrong. The fact that O'Brien thought and probably still thinks that "Romney was right" about anything related to foreign policy is more evidence that Trump made a very poor choice again. ..."
"... Let's be serious, Mr Trump did not pick Mr Robert O'Brien. ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump announced the selection of his fourth National Security Advisor:

President Trump announced Wednesday that Robert O'Brien, the special envoy for hostage affairs at the State Department, will be his next national security advisor.

O'Brien previously served in the Bush administration's State Department. Hugh Hewitt, who wrote the foreword to O'Brien's book , has described him as a "long time colleague of John Bolton." Since the Bush years, O'Brien advised the Romney 2012 campaign, and he also advised the short-lived Scott Walker campaign in the 2016 cycle. He is a typical hawkish Republican. Curt Mills referred to him in his recent report on the race to replace Bolton this way:

Robert O'Brien, the Trump hostage negotiator whose stock has risen in the administration in recent months, is "Bolton lite," according to a source who has known O'Brien for years.

Obviously, "Bolton lite" isn't much of an improvement over Bolton, and it seems unlikely that there will be any significant improvement in administration foreign policy over the next fifteen months. The summary of O'Brien's book confirms as much:

The world has become steadily more dangerous under President Obama's "lead from behind" foreign policy. The Obama Administration's foreign policy has emboldened our adversaries and disheartened our allies. Indeed, Obama's nuclear deal with Iran is a 1938 moment. At the same time, the U.S. military has been cut and risks returning to the hollow force days of the 1970s. O'Brien lays out the challenges and provides the common sense "peace through strength" solutions that will allow the next president to make America great again.

There is nothing surprising in here, and a lot that is embarrassingly wrong, but it is consistent with the GOP's bankrupt foreign policy worldview. A friendly review of the book describes that worldview in boilerplate terms:

Robert writes from a series of beliefs and assumptions that I also hold: a deep belief in American Exceptionalism, that peace comes through strength, that the United States is stronger when it partners with its allies and when America is a reliable friend to its allies, that the greatness of America comes from a people that respect tradition and the rule of law, and that (yes) we are the good guys and there are some bad guys out there.

I have had occasion to criticize O'Brien's writings in the past. Back in 2014, he was praising Romney for his "Churchill-like warning of a resurgent Russia," and I pointed out that Romney had said a lot of ignorant, knee-jerk things about Russia that were wrong. The fact that O'Brien thought and probably still thinks that "Romney was right" about anything related to foreign policy is more evidence that Trump made a very poor choice again.

O'Brien's most recent high-profile assignment was to be sent to Sweden as part of the president's embarrassing fixation on the case of the rapper ASAP Rocky , who had been detained in Sweden and was facing charges for assault. It would not surprise me if this silly episode and waste of government resources was quite important in winning the president's favor. O'Brien probably wasn't the worst choice Trump could have made, but Trump's fourth choice for National Security Advisor is still a bad one.

Sydney an hour ago

Who says Mr Trump is unpredictable? Is there anybody expected anything else from Mr Trump when it comes to picking his advisers or making thoughtful decisions? Let's be serious, Mr Trump did not pick Mr Robert O'Brien. The Bolton, Pompeo, Pence triumvirate picked Trump's NSA; naturally.

[Sep 18, 2019] O'Brien lays out the challenges and provides the common sense "peace through strength" solutions that will allow the next president to make America great again.

Yet another neocon, who want to sacrifice the well being of the US population for imperial glory
Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Don Bacon , Sep 18 2019 15:19 utc | 153
The new US National Security Advisor is lawyer Robert C. O'Brien, best known as author of his 2016 book "While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis."

Amazon 2016 blurb:

Robert C. O'Brien's collection of essays on U.S. national security and foreign policy, with a forward by Hugh Hewitt, is a wake up call to the American people. The world has become steadily more dangerous under President Obama's "lead from behind" foreign policy. The Obama Administration's foreign policy has emboldened our adversaries and disheartened our allies. Indeed, Obama's nuclear deal with Iran is a 1938 moment. At the same time, the U.S. military has been cut and risks returning to the hollow force days of the 1970s. O'Brien lays out the challenges and provides the common sense "peace through strength" solutions that will allow the next president to make America great again. . . here
The origin of MAGA? Or merely an update.

Norwegian , Sep 18 2019 15:29 utc | 159

Don Bacon @153
O'Brien, best known as author of his 2016 book "While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis."

Not to be confused with the Inner Party member in 1984. Just a coincidence.

[Sep 18, 2019] "Why do Dems continue this charade?" Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) asked. Lewandowski replied: "I think they hate this president more than they love their country."

Dems still beat a dead horse, This is so stupid that there are chances that they will lose electins to Trump again.
Corey Lewandowski Opening statement - YouTube
Notable quotes:
"... "If instead of focusing on petty and personal politics, the committee focused on solving the challenges of this generation, imagine how many people we could help." ..."
"... He also took a swipe at Trump's 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton, and her handling of emails, and criticized the "Obama-Biden administration" for its inability to stop Russia election interference -- dropping the name of the former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate. ..."
"... Nadler is an incompetent idiot with a Napoleon complex. Why did this hearing ever happen and televised when it was certain it was going to be a bust. ..."
"... More of our vicious, counterproductive political duopoly. This was just one example of what is happening in general with our current political processes - a lot of stagnation. ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | www.washingtonpost.com

He set the tone in his opening statement, mocking Democrats and ridiculing what he called the "fake Russia collusion narrative."

"We as a nation would be better served if elected officials like you concentrated your efforts to combat the true crises facing our country as opposed to going down rabbit holes like this hearing," Lewandowski said. "If instead of focusing on petty and personal politics, the committee focused on solving the challenges of this generation, imagine how many people we could help."

... ... ...

He also took a swipe at Trump's 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton, and her handling of emails, and criticized the "Obama-Biden administration" for its inability to stop Russia election interference -- dropping the name of the former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate.

"Donald Trump was a private citizen and had no more responsibility than I did to protect the 2016 election," he said. "That fell to the Obama-Biden administration and they failed. "

... ... ...

At times the hearing was almost comical. When Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) asked Lewandowski, "Are you the hit man, bag man, the lookout or all of the above?" Lewandowski replied: "I think I'm the good-looking man, actually."

Lewandowski also scolded Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) for saying the tooth fairy was not real: "My children are watching, so thank you for that."

Republicans, meanwhile, used their time to praise the president and sympathize with Lewandowski because Democrats asked him to testify.

"Why do Dems continue this charade?" Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) asked. Lewandowski replied: "I think they hate this president more than they love their country."

=== 5 minutes ago Lewandowski made everyone including himself look foolish and today’s circus proved nothing except Nadler is an incompetent idiot with a Napoleon complex. Why did this hearing ever happen and televised when it was certain it was going to be a bust. 1 minute ago One of the commentators said this was exactly to be expected … He said the Dems requested this hearing because their constituents wanted it. I think plenty of us knew what was gonna happen -- as it often does in these situations, regardless of party. More of our vicious, counterproductive political duopoly. This was just one example of what is happening in general with our current political processes - a lot of stagnation.

I think we need to get away from parties, they naturally lead to antagonism, and an "us vs them" mentality, and fighting. I have some ideas (humble and basic) on doing away with parties at ourconstitution.info , Outreach, Other Comments.

We must do something; take back Washington's lead -- he couldn't stand parties. Much scarier stuff as well -- rise of the Medical-Military Industrial, " a lot of killers" (Trump to O'Reilly, video on my LInks page), in and out of hospitals. Some are concerned also that the military and CIA are running the Country -- I see a big problem with these career positions vs desires of an oncoming president. Apparently, these orgs, if they don't like a president or policy, just wait them out (or kill them), "contributing" to this current disgrace of a Constitutional Republic. What to do about that? Something needs to be done... Maybe those personnel should be changed out, they can be as much or more dangerous than a president for life...

It is Our Republic, Of, By, and For The People, as long as we can keep it. Protest with me in Miami, or wherever you are, before it is too late.

[Sep 18, 2019] Looks like Pompeo is busy sputtering platitudes and warmongering rhetorics to speed up the second coming of Christ

Notable quotes:
"... Someone should tell Mike that our credibility as a nation is further damaged with claims that are in need of supporting evidence. ..."
"... Did Fat Mike rub the head camel jockey's glowing orb? ..."
"... America is a bomb-happy empire - we kill illiterate peasants and destroy mud-walled villages. We are really good at it. ..."
"... Mike, it may be an "act of war" for Saudi Arabia but it's not an act of war for the United States. We weren't attacked, they were. Let them unfuck the situation. ..."
"... No more wars Mr. Trump, no more wars. Plus, we need to prepare to defend our Constitution on our own shores. ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Heartfully , 1 minute ago link

Someone should tell Mike that our credibility as a nation is further damaged with claims that are in need of supporting evidence.

Thordoom , 3 minutes ago link

That conversation between Pompus and MBS must be hilarious.

Mah_Authoritah , 3 minutes ago link

Did Fat Mike rub the head camel jockey's glowing orb?

Deep Snorkeler , 8 minutes ago link

V I C T O R Y !

with Trump as our Commander-in-Chief victory is certain this won't be like those other wars:

  1. Korea
  2. Vietnam
  3. Afghanistan
  4. Iraq

America is a bomb-happy empire - we kill illiterate peasants and destroy mud-walled villages. We are really good at it.

romanmoment , 1 minute ago link

Mike, it may be an "act of war" for Saudi Arabia but it's not an act of war for the United States. We weren't attacked, they were. Let them unfuck the situation.

I am pro military and I have many friends who have served or currently serve. And I have kids. I'm not sending my kids to kill Iranians for the Saudi's, for Israel or for any other fucked-up nation in the Middle East. And I don't want 18-year-old American kids getting killed or wounded for those ungrateful ***** either.

No more wars Mr. Trump, no more wars. Plus, we need to prepare to defend our Constitution on our own shores.

[Sep 18, 2019] >War With Iran Would Be a Catastrophic Miscalculation by James Howard Kunstler

Notable quotes:
"... some people did some things ..."
"... some people will do nothing ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | russia-insider.com

Sep 16, 2019 Welcome to the world where things don't add up. For instance, some people did some things to the Saudi Arabian oil refinery at Abqaiq over the weekend. Like, sent over a salvo of cruise missiles and armed drone aircraft to blow it up. They did a pretty good job of disabling the works. It is Saudi Arabia's largest oil processing facility, and for now, perhaps months, a fair amount of the world's oil supply will be cut off. President Trump said "[we] are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!" Exclamation mark his.

How many times the past few years has our government declared that "we have the finest intelligence services in the world." Very well, then, why are we waiting for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to tell us who fired all that stuff into Abqaiq? Whoever did it, it was unquestionably an act of war. And, of course, what are we going to do about it? (And what will some people do about it?)

Let's face it: the USA has had a hard-on for Iran for forty years, ever since they overthrew their shah, invaded the US embassy in Tehran, and took fifty-two American diplomats and staff hostage for 444 days. On the other hand, the Arabians and Iranians have had a mutual hard-on for centuries, long before the Saud family was in charge of things, and back when Iran was known as Persia, a land of genies, fragrant spices, and a glorious antiquity (while Arabia was a wasteland of sand populated by nomads and their camels). The beef was formerly just about which brand of Islam would prevail, Sunni or Shia. Lately (the past fifty years) it has been more about the politics of oil and hegemony over the Middle East. Since the US invaded Iraq and busted up the joint, the threat has existed that Iran would take over Iraq, with its majority Shia population, especially the oil-rich Basra region at the head of the Persian Gulf. The presence of Israel greatly complicates things, since Iran has a hard-on for that nation, too, and for Jews especially, often expressed in the most belligerent and opprobrious terms, such as "wiping Israel off the map." No ambiguity there. The catch being that Israel has the capability of turning Iran into an ashtray.

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The world has been waiting for a major war in the Middle east for decades, and it might have one by close of business today. Or perhaps some people will do nothing . The Iran-backed Houthi rebels of Yemen supposedly claimed responsibility for the attack. That's rich. As if that rag-tag outfit has a whole bunch of million-dollar missiles and the knowledge and capacity to launch them successfully, not to mention the satellite guidance mojo. A correspondent suggests that the missiles were fired from a pro-Iranian military base in Iraq, with the Houthis brought in on flying carpets to push the launch buttons.

President Trump is trumpeting America's "energy independence," meaning whatever happens over there won't affect us. Well, none of that is true. We still import millions of barrels of oil a day, though much less from Saudi Arabia than before 2008. The shale oil "miracle" is hitting the skids these days. Shale oil production has gone flat, the rig-count is down, companies are going bankrupt, and financing for the debt-dependent operations is dwindling since the producers have demonstrated that they can't make a profit at it. They're trapped in the quandary of diminishing returns, frontloading production, while failing to overcome steep decline curves in wells that only produce for a couple of years.

It's also the case that shale oil is ultra-light crude, containing little heavier distillates such as diesel and aviation fuel (basically kerosene). Alas, American refineries were all built before shale oil came along. They were designed to crack heavier oil and can't handle the lighter shale. The "majors" don't want to invest their remaining capital in new refineries, and the many smaller companies don't have the ability. So, this makes necessary a high volume of oil swapping around the world. Without diesel and aviation fuel, US trucking and commercial aviation has a big problem, meaning the US economy has a big problem.

With the new crisis in the Middle East, benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil is up from around $55-a-barrel to just over $60 at the market open (European Brent crude is just above $70). That's a pop, but not a spectacular one, considering that a whole lot more damage might ensue in the days ahead. China, Korea, and Japan stand to lose bigly if the players in the Middle East really go at it and bust up each other's assets. If that happens, the world will never be the same. You can kiss the global economy goodbye for good. Let's hope some people don't do something.

[Sep 18, 2019] Drone strikes on oil facilities were Yemen's 'reciprocal response' for Saudi bombings Rouhani

Sep 16, 2019 | www.defenddemocracy.press

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said recent drone attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure were a proportionate Yemeni response to years of daily bombings carried out by a Saudi-led coalition.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara following three-way talks between the presidents of Turkey, Russia and Iran, Rouhani suggested the drone attacks were a legitimate act of self-defense.

"On a daily basis Yemen is being bombarded and innocent civilians are dying so they have to retaliate," Rouhani explained.

Yemeni people are exercising their legitimate right of defense the attacks were a reciprocal response to aggression against Yemen for years.

Rouhani added his hope that the conflict in Yemen would be resolved through diplomacy, and said that such a process might even mirror Syria's Astana talks.

Addressing the same question, Turkish President Recep Erdogan also pointed out that it was Saudi Arabia who'd started the cycle of attacks. He said the international community should inquire into the causes of Yemen's crisis, noting the country had been "basically destroyed" during its four-year conflict, and called on other world powers to consider how to rebuild Yemen "from scratch" and "put it back on its feet."

While Russia's President Vladimir Putin said the drone attacks had not been discussed at Monday's meeting, he noted the "humanitarian catastrophe" in the country and urged a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

The war in Yemen began in earnest in March 2015, when a coalition of states, led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the US and Britain, launched a bombing campaign in an attempt to defeat the rebel Houthi movement and restore the rule of President Mansour Hadi, who'd been ousted in 2014. In addition to tens of thousands killed in the fighting, the conflict has sparked one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, leaving millions without food, water or healthcare, and dependent on international aid.

[Sep 18, 2019] Iran does have an Army, and can muster half a million fighting men.

Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Yeah, Right , Sep 18 2019 9:12 utc | 112

Pat Lang won't let me post on his site, so I'll have to point this out here instead.

He has just posted an open letter to Trump regarding a war with Iran, and he points out (correctly) that:
1) Iran can set its proxy forces in Syria and Iraq loose on US troops in those countries
2) Iran will fire every missile in its arsenal at any US troops within range
3) Iran will fire its AA missiles at any and all USAF planes
4) Iran will keep attacking the 5th fleet until they run out of boats

All true, and all well and good as far as it goes.

But Pat seems to have the same blind spot as all other US pundits, in that they apparently have forgotten all about the Iranian Army.

They do have an Army, and can muster half a million fighting men.
Which, indeed, is probably ten times as many ground troops that CENTCOM possesses.

Seems to me that the Iranians can think of several good uses for such an army.
For one thing, they can launch an invasion of Afghanistan with the intention of killing each and every GI who has the misfortune of being in-theatre.

They'll have at least a 10-to-1 advantage of men.
Not so much a fight as a slaughter.


Canthama , Sep 18 2019 10:53 utc | 114

Bernhard, excellent article, as usual, thank you. The recent situation in KSA is just a small example of the collapse on classic warfare, we have seen it closely in Vietnam, Lebanon 2006, then Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and for 2,500 years in Afghanistan, time and time again. The supposed richer countries trying to impose their will and military power when facing organized societies with, purpose and means to defend, do exactly that, they fend off the aggressors.

In the case of Yemen, which has not been conquered due to the terrain and its people (similar to Afghanistan), they, as few other cases, had friends that supplied means of defense and attack, this is why Yemen/Houthis, after 5 years of war of aggression against them, they can hit back, in a way that KSA is not able to defend, small drones, flying low and hard to be spotted with a long range, this is the perfect weapon to demoralize arrogant regimes, it creates terror and damages in highly explosive places. Yemen will not back down until KSA leaves its aggressive policy and pay reparations, or Yemen will continue to inflict damages, slowly bleeding KSA and demoralizing its corrupt leadership.

I my view a decision to remove the current royalty from KSA was already taken, I mean, The Resistance will pursue it, slowly, will create situations for an internal coup, internal revolts and so on, KSA's security is mostly done by foreigners, many from Pakistan, Sudan etc...these people are treated as slaves, very badly, a time bomb when an opportunity arises, and KSA is approaching that dangerous zone, few more well placed strikes that put KSA on its knees and expose wide open its vulnerability will be the sign for the large & oppressed Shia population to revolt, with it goes Bahrain as well.

Lets remember that Qatar is a mortal enemy for KSA, and has its own ambitions to expand territory beyond its tiny area, KSA is playing with fire by bending to the US,Uk and Israel, it is risking being retaliated in pieces.

William Gruff , Sep 18 2019 10:56 utc | 115
Grieved @80 noted that "...these countries... are in fact in a coalition..."

The response to that from imperial loyalists is not unexpected: "Nooo! Primitive sand people cannot put aside the identity politics differences that our empire cultivates in them and unite against us!"

The imperial loyalists, despite considering themselves to be "woke" and "inclusive" and unbigoted and moral, find it inconceivable that any peoples other than those of northern European and anglo descent could unite in the face of an existential threat. To be certain, these empire loyalists cannot even see themselves as being the existential threat that is uniting peoples, despite having literally slaughtered millions of innocents over the last half century or so. Their sense of moral and cultural superiority is an axiom that must remain beyond question lest their all-important identities be exposed as cheap narcissism, so they pour into the forum to promote conspiracy theories about how the stunning successes of the coalition that Grieved notes above are actually convoluted and inscrutably super-sophisticated moves on a Grand Chessboard . To maintain this fiction they must overlook the fact that their empire's best strategists reached the limits of their geostrategic talent playing the board game Risk . Consider that the imperial mass media has begun to refer to pompous Pompeo as "the next Kissinger" , and recall that even the former Kissinger was never really that bright but was just ruthless and totally lacking a conscience.

Face reality, imperial loyalists: The Houthis, whom you cannot even credit with being human, have just successfully wounded your lackeys in the Middle East. The Houthis accomplished this with skill, intelligence, and determination.

[Sep 18, 2019] Aramco Attacks An Act Of War By Iran Pompeo After Arriving In Jeddah

Notable quotes:
"... And President Trump himself said Wednesday from the White House that it looks like Iran did it but that he still hopes to avoid war . He announced via a statement on Twitter that, "I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!" -- ..."
"... Pompeo is in Jedda where he's expected to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to evaluate a possible response, where the are expected to "coordinate efforts to counter Iranian aggression in the region," according to a State Department statement . ..."
"... Wednesday's Saudi Def. Ministry press briefing showcasing missile and drone debris alleged "evidence" the Iranians were behind attack. ..."
"... The fact that Johnson's statement included the word "diplomatic" - along with Trump's emphasis on extending stronger sanctions - is a good sign however, that the White House is not prepping for war. ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

What's the end game here? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has just arrived in Jeddah for talks with Saudi leaders over a response to the weekend attacks on two of the kingdom's major oil facilities.

After a prior press conference by the Saudi Defense Ministry where it for the first time assigned public blame on Iran for the attacks which initially knocked out half of the kingdom's daily oil output, saying the air attacks "unquestionably" had Iranian state sponsorship, Pompeo has announced the Aramco attacks constitute an "act of war" by Iran .

And President Trump himself said Wednesday from the White House that it looks like Iran did it but that he still hopes to avoid war . He announced via a statement on Twitter that, "I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!" -- in what appears an alternative to launching a military response.

"I'm not looking to get into new conflict, but sometimes you have to," Trump told reporters Wednesday.

Pompeo's new "act of war" declaration indeed takes the potential for escalation right back to boiling point.

Pompeo is in Jedda where he's expected to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to evaluate a possible response, where the are expected to "coordinate efforts to counter Iranian aggression in the region," according to a State Department statement .

Meanwhile, if the 'military option' is being considered, it appears we could be in the beginning phases of an international coalition response. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he and Trump held a phone call to discuss the need for a "united diplomatic response from international partners" after the Aramco attacks.

Wednesday's Saudi Def. Ministry press briefing showcasing missile and drone debris alleged "evidence" the Iranians were behind attack.

The fact that Johnson's statement included the word "diplomatic" - along with Trump's emphasis on extending stronger sanctions - is a good sign however, that the White House is not prepping for war.

[Sep 18, 2019] My hypothesis is this: the USA/Saudi Arabia are too embarassed to admit their anti-aircraft weapons and systems are useless against puny drones and created a big, subterranean enemy in the form of Iran in order to avoid public embarassment.

Notable quotes:
"... the attack dented the image of invincibility of Aramco's infrastructure ..."
"... Saudi Military stated the Aramco facilites were attacked with 18 missiles and 7 drones. They state cruise missiles were used. However, now they state the attack was simply "backed" by Iran. The weapons were all Iranian design. ..."
"... That Iran is backing the Houthis we already knew and nobody doubts. But those drones and missiles didn't come from Iranian territory nor were they operated by Iranian personel. It's a free market world, and everybody can buy weapons from anybody. ..."
"... The GOAL of exaggerating the attack could be to simply increase oil prices or to justify war with Iran. Tensions with Iran will be elevated for weeks, if not months. That will mean higher oil prices than otherwise. ..."
"... The timing is also suspicious because it comes just before the Israeli election and just after John Bolton was dismissed. ..."
"... Russian oil experts say 3 to 6 months to repair damage from strike as components must come from Europe according to TASS. As the remains of the uavs have been recovered their effective range can be determined. I suspect they were launched from within Saudi territory. ..."
"... It is embarrassing to the Saudis because they scarcely bother to unpack the weapons the US sends them-at premium prices - and dare not allow any of their countrymen to learn how to use them. And it is embarrassing to the Americans because they understand all this and ship over arms that don't work simply to ensure that those petrodollars circulate. ..."
"... Hence the current campaign to convince us that Iran was responsible. Mind you, that propaganda is only effective so long as the American people don't really believe it because, if they did, they might demand war (you can imagine Pelosi, Schumer and Biden insisting on it) and Washington doesn't want that. Jingoism isn't about fighting it's about threatening. ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Sep 18 2019 15:22 utc | 156

@ Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 18 2019 14:50 utc | 149

Let's see (again):

1) USA: that would only help if Trump was decided to go to a hot war against Iran. By his declarations since yesterday, we already know that isn't going to happen. He didn't even jump to the "Iran did it!" bandwagon right away. He said he increased sanctions against Iran -- but Iran is already sanctioned to the maximum by the USA, so that's empty rhetoric.

2) Israel: wars in Israel only work as an election boost to the incumbent Prime Minister when Israel emerges with a clear victory. ...

3) Saudi Arabia: it has a 188 billion barrel reserve to cover up for the losses for a couple of days, so they benefited a little bit from the 20% price rise. But so did everybody else -- including enemies of the USA, such as Russia and Venezuela. Besides, the attack dented the image of invincibility of Aramco's infrastructure, and Saudi Arabia's image as a neofascist ideal State.

4) Iran: Iran can block the Hormuz Strait -- a much more benign and cheap way to stop Saudi oil from being exported. If Iran attacks its neighbors' oil infrastructure, then it kind of states it's fair game for its neighbors to attack theirs. This is bad move for Iran from a purely game theory standpoint, let alone from the geopolitical one.

5) Masters of the Universe: yes, the oil price went up 20% in one day. But let's remember that even a USD 100.00 a barrel isn't that impressive from a historical standpoint: when the Iraq invasion happened, the barrel reached USD 300.00. Yes, a selected elite benefited a lot from this, but the USA didn't become a capitalist utopia because of that. We must not overestimate the effects of oil prices on capitalism and, specially, on the USA: the West is in terminal decline for a myriad of factors, not because of one silver bullet. Higher oil prices won't save the West.

My hypothesis is this: the USA/Saudi Arabia are too embarassed to admit their anti-aircraft weapons and systems are useless against puny drones and created a big, subterranean enemy in the form of Iran in order to avoid public embarassment.

The Houthis are telling the truth, and they will do more attacks if the Saudis don't stop with theirs and settle for peace.


vk , Sep 18 2019 15:31 utc | 160

And the number's just changed:

Saudi Military: Attack on Saudi Aramco Facilities Were "Unquestionably Sponsored by Iran"

The headline calls that the Saudi Military stated the Aramco facilites were attacked with 18 missiles and 7 drones. They state cruise missiles were used. However, now they state the attack was simply "backed" by Iran. The weapons were all Iranian design.

That Iran is backing the Houthis we already knew and nobody doubts. But those drones and missiles didn't come from Iranian territory nor were they operated by Iranian personel. It's a free market world, and everybody can buy weapons from anybody.

Jackrabbit , Sep 18 2019 15:47 utc | 163
vk @156

You're chasing your own tail.

US and Saudis say that over 20 missiles and drones were used in the attack. They say that this showed that Iran did the attack or participated in the attack because the Houthi only claim to have used 10 drones.

Peter AU 1 and I have said that it's possible to account for the excess damage as an attempt to exaggerate damage caused by the Houthi attack.

The GOAL of exaggerating the attack could be to simply increase oil prices or to justify war with Iran. Tensions with Iran will be elevated for weeks, if not months. That will mean higher oil prices than otherwise.

The timing is also suspicious because it comes just before the Israeli election and just after John Bolton was dismissed.

And despite Trump's backing away from his asinine "locked and loaded" comment, war with Iran is still very possible. The Iraq War started 18 months after 9-11.

the pessimist , Sep 18 2019 16:02 utc | 168
Russian oil experts say 3 to 6 months to repair damage from strike as components must come from Europe according to TASS. As the remains of the uavs have been recovered their effective range can be determined. I suspect they were launched from within Saudi territory.
vk , Sep 18 2019 16:05 utc | 170
Another official version came up. This time, from the Saudi military itself:

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of sponsoring oil-plant attack, says it 'couldn't have originated in Yemen'

Their main argument is that the attacks came "from the north".

If that's true, then the question remains: why didn't the Saudi radars detect it? Either b is lying, or the Saudi military is lying.

It's really hilarious at this point: the attack caught the West so low-guarded and stunned them so much that they can't even come up with a unified official narrative.

karlof1 , Sep 18 2019 16:12 utc | 172
Houthi Armed Forces Spokesman is at this moment tweeting a series of statements explaining how the last attack was done that includes drone capabilities and types of munitions used!!!!!!!!!!! An example:

"Drones have fission heads carrying four precision bombs."

bevin , Sep 18 2019 16:19 utc | 175
Given that the entire relationship between the USA and the KSA is an elaborate protection racket the failure of all those high priced systems to protect the oil fields against Ansrullah drones is particularly embarrassing.

It is embarrassing to the Saudis because they scarcely bother to unpack the weapons the US sends them-at premium prices - and dare not allow any of their countrymen to learn how to use them. And it is embarrassing to the Americans because they understand all this and ship over arms that don't work simply to ensure that those petrodollars circulate.

Hence the current campaign to convince us that Iran was responsible. Mind you, that propaganda is only effective so long as the American people don't really believe it because, if they did, they might demand war (you can imagine Pelosi, Schumer and Biden insisting on it) and Washington doesn't want that.
Jingoism isn't about fighting it's about threatening.

And, now that 57 varieties of Israeli Fascism are squabbling about whether the Prime Minister goes to jail for theft, even that distraction is no longer useful.

the pessimist , Sep 18 2019 16:29 utc | 177
Statement from the Iranians "Saudi press conference shows they are clueless about how attack was executed and know nothing about the military capabilities of their adversary".

Seems about right. Statement by bevin is on target.

[Sep 18, 2019] Yeah, right..

Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Lozion , Sep 18 2019 15:19 utc | 154

#SaudiArabia Defense Ministry press briefing:

Yeah, right..

[Sep 18, 2019] Will Trump Take Neocon Bait and Attack Iran Over Saudi Strike by Ron Paul

Sep 17, 2019 | www.ronpaulinstitute.org

The recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities by Yemeni Houthi forces demonstrate once again that an aggressive foreign policy often brings unintended consequences and can result in blowback. In 2015 Saudi Arabia attacked its neighbor, Yemen, because a coup in that country ousted the Saudi-backed dictator. Four years later Yemen is in ruins, with nearly 100,000 Yemenis killed and millions more facing death by starvation. It has been rightly called the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the planet.

But rich and powerful Saudi Arabia did not defeat Yemen. In fact, the Saudis last month asked the Trump Administration to help facilitate talks with the Houthis in hopes that the war, which has cost Saudi Arabia tens of billions of dollars, could finally end without Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman losing too much face. Washington admitted earlier this month that those talks had begun.

The surprise Houthi attack on Saturday disrupted half of Saudi Arabia's oil and gas production and shocked Washington. Predictably, however, the neocons are using the attack to call for war with Iran!

Sen. Lindsay Graham, one of the few people in Washington who makes John Bolton look like a dove, Tweeted yesterday that, "It is now time for the US to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries " Graham is the perfect embodiment of the saying, "when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." No matter what the problem, for Graham the solution is war.

Likewise, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – who is supposed to represent US diplomacy – jumped to blame Iran for the attack on Saudi Arabia, Tweeting that, "Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply." Of course, he provided no evidence even as the Houthis themselves took responsibility for the bombing.

What is remarkable is that all of Washington's warmongers are ready for war over what is actually a retaliatory strike by a country that is the victim of Saudi aggression, not the aggressor itself. Yemen did not attack Saudi Arabia in 2015. It was the other way around. If you start a war and the other country fights back, you should not be entitled to complain about how unfair the whole thing is.

The establishment reaction to the Yemeni oilfield strike reminds me of a hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Committee just before the US launched the 2003 Iraq war. As I was arguing against the authorization for that war, I pointed out that Iraq had never attacked the United States. One of my colleagues stopped me in mid-sentence, saying, "let me remind the gentleman that the Iraqis have been shooting at our planes for years." True, but those planes were bombing Iraq!

The neocons want a US war on Iran at any cost. They may feel temporarily at a disadvantage with the departure of their ally in the Trump Administration, John Bolton. However, the sad truth is that there are plenty more John Boltons in the Administration. And they have allies in the Lindsay Grahams in Congress.

Yemen has demonstrated that it can fight back against Saudi aggression. The only sensible way forward is for a rapid end to this four-year travesty, and the Saudis would be wise to wake up to the mess they've created for themselves. Whatever the case, US participation in Saudi Arabia's war on Yemen must end immediately and neocon lies about Iran's role in the war must be refuted and resisted.

[Sep 18, 2019] Middle East Mystery Theater: Who Attacked Saudi Arabia's Oil Supply?

Notable quotes:
"... Committee members Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Vir.) explicitly announced their opposition to war with Iran. And prominent war powers critic Sen. Jeff Markley (D-Ore.) quipped that, "[b]ack when Presidents used to follow the Constitution, they sought consent for military action from Congress, not foreign governments that murder reporters," referring to the assassination of Saudi-American journalist Jamal Khashoggi. ..."
"... "Diplomacy by Twitter has not worked so far and it surely is not working with Iran. The president needs to stop threatening military strikes via social media," said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Mary.) in response to a question from the National Interest . "The attack on Saudi Arabia is troubling whether it was perpetrated by Houthi rebels or Iran. The U.S. should regain its leadership by working with our allies to isolate Iran for its belligerent actions in the region." ..."
"... "The U.S. should not be looking for any opportunity to start a dangerous and costly war with Iran. Congress has not authorized war against Iran and we've made it crystal clear that Saudi Arabia needs to withdraw from Yemen," he continued. ..."
"... Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) has long been a critic of Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen, proposing a successful bill to cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-led war effort. (He did not have enough votes to override the veto.) After the attacks, he wrote a long Twitter thread explaining how "the Saudis sowed the seeds of this mess" in Yemen. ..."
"... "It's simply amazing how the Saudis call all our shots these days. We don't have a mutual defense alliance with KSA, for good reason. We shouldn't pretend we do," Murphy added. "And frankly, no matter where this latest drone strike was launched from, there is no short or long term upside to the U.S. military getting more deeply involved in the growing regional contest between the Saudis and Iranians." ..."
"... "Having our country act as Saudi Arabia's bitch is not 'America First,'" said Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, invoking a popular Trump slogan. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.), who had invoked Trump's antiwar message in a public feud with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) over the weekend, took to CNN to warn against striking Iran. ..."
"... "This is a regional conflict, that there's no reason the superpower of the United States needs to be getting into bombing mainland Iran. It would be a needless escalation of this," he told journalist Jake Tapper. "Those who loved the Iraq War, the Cheneys, the Boltons, the Kristols, they all are clamoring and champing at the bit for another war in Iran. But it's not a walk in the park." ..."
"... "In order to have clean ships by the first of January next year, all the world's shipping fleet from about now until the end of the year are busy emptying their tanks of heavy sulphur fuel oil and filling their tanks with low sulphur fuel oil, which is the new standard," Latham explained, claiming that the attack could have taken up to 20 percent of the world's desulphurization capacity out of commission. ..."
"... "This little accident was designed to be maximally disruptive to the world's oil market. It could not have happened at a worse time." "But what is really interesting is in Amsterdam this morning, I saw that for fuel oil -- the sulphurous stuff -- the price went down," Latham continued, speculating that international powers might delay the new environmental regulations by months and inadvertently drive down the price of oil in the long run. ..."
"... On Sunday, Trump tapped into emergency U.S. oil reserves, in order to stabilize prices. It's not clear, however, that the United States has enough oil to cope with wider attacks on energy infrastructure. "If the Iranians did this, they have shown they have pretty immense capabilities clearly," Parsi told the National Interest . "In the case of a full-scale war, imagine what this will do for the global economy. It's not that difficult to imagine what that will do to Trump's re-election prospects. I think that is something Trump understands." ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

Retired Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis pointed out that the puncture marks do not actually show the origin of the attack. "Missiles can fly from almost anywhere. They have the ability to maneuver! And certainly drones can, too," the Defense Priorities senior fellow told the National Interest . "There hasn't been the time to do an actual analysis on the ground, so let's wait and see."

Mark Latham, managing partner at the London-based analysis firm Commodities Intelligence, told the National Interest that the puncture marks pointed to a cruise missile with no explosive warhead. Removing the payload would allow the missile to carry more fuel and launch from farther away from its target.

... ... ...

"Mr. X is a sophisticated fellow. He's sourced some Iranian cruise missiles. He's removed the explosive payload. He's replaced the explosive payload with fuel," he said. "So this isn't your twenty dollar Amazon drone. This is a sophisticated military operation."

"The culprit behind the Abqaiq attack is most definitely the Islamic Republic, either directly or through one of its proxies," argued Varsha Koduvayur, a senior research analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

"The attack fits the pattern of Iran signaling to the Gulf states that if it can't get its oil out, it will cause their oil exports to become collateral damage," Koduvayur told the National Interest . "It's because of how strong our coercive financial tools are that Iran is resorting to attacks like this: it's lashing out."

Violating an Obama-era agreement to regulate Iran's nuclear research program, the Trump administration imposed massive sanctions on Iran's oil industry beginning in May 2018. The goal of this "maximum pressure" campaign was to force Iran to accept a "better" deal. Since then, Iranian forces have captured a British oil tanker and allegedly sabotaged tankers from other countries.

There were some signals that Trump was planning to use the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York to open a new diplomatic channel with Iran, especially after the firing of hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton. But the weekend attack sent Trump into reverse.

"Remember when Iran shot down a drone, saying knowingly that it was in their 'airspace' when, in fact, it was nowhere close. They stuck strongly to that story knowing that it was a very big lie," he said in a Monday morning Twitter post, referring to a June incident when Iranian and American forces almost went to war. "Now they say that they had nothing to do with the attack on Saudi Arabia. We'll see?"

He also hinted at a violent U.S. response.

"There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!" Trump wrote on Sunday.

"Saudi Arabia is not a formal treaty ally of ours, so there are no international agreements that obligate us to come to their defense," John Glaser, director of foreign-policy studies at the CATO Institute, stated. "This does not amount to a clear and present danger to the United States, so no self-defense justification is relevant. He would therefore need authorization from Congress."

Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had mixed reactions to the attack.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) proposed putting "on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries" in order to "break the regime's back." His press office did not respond to a follow-up question from the National Interest asking whether the president would have the authority to do so.

Amy Grappone, spokeswoman for Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), told the National Interest that the Senator "will support an appropriate and proportionate response" after "studying the latest intelligence pertaining to Iran's malign activities, including these recent attacks in Saudi Arabia."

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, condemned the attack with a backhanded insult towards Saudi Arabia. "Despite some ongoing policy differences with the kingdom, no nation should be subjected to these kinds of attacks on it soil and against its people," he wrote on Twitter, declining to name Iran as the culprit.

Committee members Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Vir.) explicitly announced their opposition to war with Iran. And prominent war powers critic Sen. Jeff Markley (D-Ore.) quipped that, "[b]ack when Presidents used to follow the Constitution, they sought consent for military action from Congress, not foreign governments that murder reporters," referring to the assassination of Saudi-American journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"Diplomacy by Twitter has not worked so far and it surely is not working with Iran. The president needs to stop threatening military strikes via social media," said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Mary.) in response to a question from the National Interest . "The attack on Saudi Arabia is troubling whether it was perpetrated by Houthi rebels or Iran. The U.S. should regain its leadership by working with our allies to isolate Iran for its belligerent actions in the region."

"The U.S. should not be looking for any opportunity to start a dangerous and costly war with Iran. Congress has not authorized war against Iran and we've made it crystal clear that Saudi Arabia needs to withdraw from Yemen," he continued.

Asked how he would vote on a declaration of war, the senator told the National Interest : "Let's hope it does not come to that. Congress has not authorized war against Iran. The majority voted to engage them diplomatically to slow their nuclear ambitions. The international community is ready to work with the U.S. again to ease economic pressure on Iran in exchange for their restraint. We are at a dangerous precipice."

In a statement emailed to the National Interest and posted to Twitter, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) was even more direct: "The US should never go to war to protect Saudi oil."

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) has long been a critic of Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen, proposing a successful bill to cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-led war effort. (He did not have enough votes to override the veto.) After the attacks, he wrote a long Twitter thread explaining how "the Saudis sowed the seeds of this mess" in Yemen.

"It's simply amazing how the Saudis call all our shots these days. We don't have a mutual defense alliance with KSA, for good reason. We shouldn't pretend we do," Murphy added. "And frankly, no matter where this latest drone strike was launched from, there is no short or long term upside to the U.S. military getting more deeply involved in the growing regional contest between the Saudis and Iranians."

But the reaction did not fall neatly along party lines.

"Iran is one of the most dangerous state sponsors of terrorism. This may well be the thing that calls for military action against Iran, if that's what the intelligence supports," said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) in a Monday interview with Fox News. Others pointed out that attacking Iran would contradict Trump's own principles.

"Having our country act as Saudi Arabia's bitch is not 'America First,'" said Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, invoking a popular Trump slogan. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.), who had invoked Trump's antiwar message in a public feud with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) over the weekend, took to CNN to warn against striking Iran.

"This is a regional conflict, that there's no reason the superpower of the United States needs to be getting into bombing mainland Iran. It would be a needless escalation of this," he told journalist Jake Tapper. "Those who loved the Iraq War, the Cheneys, the Boltons, the Kristols, they all are clamoring and champing at the bit for another war in Iran. But it's not a walk in the park."

Davis agreed with Paul's assessment. "There's too many people who have lost touch with understanding what war is all about. They think it's easy," he told the National Interest . "Just imagine this. What we go ahead and do this, and Iran makes good on their threats, and American warships get sunk in the Gulf?" "This is not America's fight," he concluded. "The American armed forces are not on loan as a Saudi defense force."

"There's another claim that the impact on oil markets is sufficient to impact the vital U.S. interest in the free flow of energy coming out of that region, but that argument quickly descends into absurdity when we remember that the Trump administration has been trying to zero-out Iranian oil exports, for a host of spurious reasons," Glaser told the National Interest . "Washington is also aggressively sanctioning Venezuela, making it harder for Caracas to bring oil to market, too. If we really cared about the supply of oil, we wouldn't be doing this."

In any case, the attack may not have affected oil markets in such a straightforward way. Latham says that the attack struck an oil desulphurization facility. At the moment, desulphurized fuel is in high demand from the shipping industry, which is rushing to comply with new international environmental regulations.

"In order to have clean ships by the first of January next year, all the world's shipping fleet from about now until the end of the year are busy emptying their tanks of heavy sulphur fuel oil and filling their tanks with low sulphur fuel oil, which is the new standard," Latham explained, claiming that the attack could have taken up to 20 percent of the world's desulphurization capacity out of commission.

"This little accident was designed to be maximally disruptive to the world's oil market. It could not have happened at a worse time." "But what is really interesting is in Amsterdam this morning, I saw that for fuel oil -- the sulphurous stuff -- the price went down," Latham continued, speculating that international powers might delay the new environmental regulations by months and inadvertently drive down the price of oil in the long run.

On Sunday, Trump tapped into emergency U.S. oil reserves, in order to stabilize prices. It's not clear, however, that the United States has enough oil to cope with wider attacks on energy infrastructure. "If the Iranians did this, they have shown they have pretty immense capabilities clearly," Parsi told the National Interest . "In the case of a full-scale war, imagine what this will do for the global economy. It's not that difficult to imagine what that will do to Trump's re-election prospects. I think that is something Trump understands."

Matthew Petti is a national security reporter at the National Interest.

[Sep 18, 2019] To End Endless Wars, We Must Give Up Hegemony by Daniel Larison

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... American war-making will persist so long as the United States continues to seek military dominance across the globe. ..."
"... A government that imagines that it has both the right and responsibility to police the entire planet will find an excuse to mire itself in one or more conflicts on a regular basis, and if there isn't one available to join it will start some ..."
"... U.S. military dominance should have at least guaranteed that we remained at peace once our major adversary had collapsed at the end of the Cold War, but the dissolution of the USSR encouraged the U.S. to become much more aggressive and much more eager to use force whenever and wherever it wanted. Wertheim provides an answer for why this is: ..."
"... Why have interventions proliferated as challengers have shrunk? The basic cause is America's infatuation with military force. Its political class imagines that force will advance any aim, limiting debate to what that aim should be. ..."
"... Using force appeals to many American leaders and policymakers because they imagine that frequent military action cows and intimidates adversaries, but in practice it creates more enemies and wastes American lives and resources on fruitless conflicts. ..."
"... The constant warfare of the last two decades in particular has corroded our political system and inured the public to the idea that it is normal that American soldiers and Marines are always fighting and dying in some foreign country in pursuit of nebulous goals, but nothing could be more abnormal and wrong than this. ..."
"... Our establishment would rather give up their skin. They don't call it hegemony, they call it the post ww2 order, leadership, resisting isolationism or some other such nonsense. ..."
"... any country that attempts to gain enough power to assert its own sovereignty is considered a threat that must be crushed and we roll out all of the tools at our disposal to do it. ..."
"... Al Qaeda's attack on us was due to us using them as a tool to stop Russia's push into Afghanistan. ..."
"... Good luck with that. We are ruled by people who are functionally indistinguishable from sociopaths, and sociopaths learn only from reward and punishment. ..."
"... I do not see a politically feasible way to end our global empire without destabilizing that same globe that has come to rely on our military power. ..."
"... Empires have a sort of inertia, and few in history voluntarily give up dominion. ..."
"... What is unsustainable is the current rate of government spending. The current rate of military spending is driving up our debt and making it impossible to reinvest in desperately needed infrastructure. ..."
"... We have been coasting on the infrastructure investments of the 50's and 60's but if we don't start cutting military spending and redirecting that money elsewhere we are going to be bankrupt. ..."
"... I agree that it is almost impossible to conceive of any scenario whereby this "ideology" of so-called world order and/ hegemony would change in the US and in its puppets. ..."
"... The deck is so totally stacked in favor of this ideology, the totally controlled MSM, the MIC, the corrupt and controlled congress, and the presidential admin structure itself, would never allow this mantra to be challenged. ..."
"... It is all about greed and power-the psychopaths pursuing and defending this 'ideology' would never ever go quietly. The money and power is too corrupting. ..."
"... I'm not sure that most of the citizens in those European countries we occupy actually support our permanent military presence in their countries. ..."
"... The new paradigm is that private militarism dominates government, turning it to its preferred priorities of moneymaking warmaking. ..."
Sep 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Stephen Wertheim explains what is required to bring an end to unnecessary and open-ended U.S. wars overseas:

American war-making will persist so long as the United States continues to seek military dominance across the globe. Dominance, assumed to ensure peace, in fact guarantees war. To get serious about stopping endless war, American leaders must do what they most resist: end America's commitment to armed supremacy and embrace a world of pluralism and peace.

Any government that presumes to be the world's hegemon will be fighting somewhere almost all of the time, because its political leaders will see everything around the world as their business and it will see every manageable threat as a challenge to their "leadership." A government that imagines that it has both the right and responsibility to police the entire planet will find an excuse to mire itself in one or more conflicts on a regular basis, and if there isn't one available to join it will start some.

U.S. military dominance should have at least guaranteed that we remained at peace once our major adversary had collapsed at the end of the Cold War, but the dissolution of the USSR encouraged the U.S. to become much more aggressive and much more eager to use force whenever and wherever it wanted. Wertheim provides an answer for why this is:

Why have interventions proliferated as challengers have shrunk? The basic cause is America's infatuation with military force. Its political class imagines that force will advance any aim, limiting debate to what that aim should be.

Using force appeals to many American leaders and policymakers because they imagine that frequent military action cows and intimidates adversaries, but in practice it creates more enemies and wastes American lives and resources on fruitless conflicts. Our government's frenetic interventionism and meddling for the last thirty years hasn't made our country the slightest bit more secure, but it has sown chaos and instability across at least two continents. Wertheim continues:

Continued gains by the Taliban, 18 years after the United States initially toppled it, suggest a different principle: The profligate deployment of force creates new and unnecessary objectives more than it realizes existing and worthy ones.

The constant warfare of the last two decades in particular has corroded our political system and inured the public to the idea that it is normal that American soldiers and Marines are always fighting and dying in some foreign country in pursuit of nebulous goals, but nothing could be more abnormal and wrong than this. Constant warfare achieves nothing except to provide an excuse for more of the same. The longer that a war drags on, one would think that it should become easier to bring it to an end, but we have seen that it becomes harder for both political and military leaders to give up on an unwinnable conflict when it has become an almost permanent part of our foreign policy. For many policymakers and pundits, what matters is that the U.S. not be perceived as losing, and so our military keeps fighting without an end in sight for the sake of this "not losing."

Wertheim adds:

Despite Mr. Trump's rhetoric about ending endless wars, the president insists that "our military dominance must be unquestioned" -- even though no one believes he has a strategy to use power or a theory to bring peace. Armed domination has become an end in itself.

Seeking to maintain this dominance is ultimately unsustainable, and as it becomes more expensive and less popular it will also become increasingly dangerous as we find ourselves confronted with even more capable adversaries. For the last thirty years, the U.S. has been fortunate to be secure and prosperous enough that it could indulge in decades of fruitless militarism, but that luck won't hold forever. It is far better if the U.S. give up on hegemony and the militarism that goes with it on our terms.


chris chuba 2 days ago

Our establishment would rather give up their skin. They don't call it hegemony, they call it the post ww2 order, leadership, resisting isolationism or some other such nonsense.

Truth be told, as your article states, any country that attempts to gain enough power to assert its own sovereignty is considered a threat that must be crushed and we roll out all of the tools at our disposal to do it.

It makes us less safe. Isolationism did not cause 9/11. In the 90's when we were being attacked by Al Qaeda we were too distracted dancing on Russia's bones to pay any attention to them. While Al Qaeda was attacking our troops and blowing up our buildings we were bombing Serbia, expanding NATO and reelecting Yeltsin and sticking it to Iran.

IanDakar chris chuba 16 hours ago
It goes beyond that. Al Qaeda's attack on us was due to us using them as a tool to stop Russia's push into Afghanistan. We later abandoned them when the job was done: a pack hound we trained, pushed to fight, then left in the forest abandoned and starved. Then we wonder why it came back growling.

Isolationism may not be the most effective solution to things, but I'll admit a LOT of pain, on ourselves and others, would've never happened if we took that policy.

Sid Finster 2 days ago
Good luck with that. We are ruled by people who are functionally indistinguishable from sociopaths, and sociopaths learn only from reward and punishment.

So far, they only have been rewarded for their crimes.

Clyde Schechter 2 days ago
While I think the economic basis of the Soviet Union was faulty, and it had lost the popular support it might have had in early days, the USSR's military aggression, particularly in Afghanistan, was a major precipitating factor in its downfall. It would have eventually crumbled, I believe, anyway, but had they taken a less aggressive stance I think they would have lasted several decades longer.
Sceptical Gorilla 2 days ago
Is it really in our hands to actually disengage though? Is this politically feasible?

How does this work? The US gets up one day and says "We're pulling all of our troops out of Saudi and SK. No more funding for Israel! No bolstering the pencil-thin government of Afghanistan. All naval bases abroad will be shut down. Longstanding alliances and interests be damned!"

I sympathize very strongly with the notion that we must use military force wisely and with restraint, and perhaps even that the post-WW2 expansion abroad was a mistake, but I do not see a politically feasible way to end our global empire without destabilizing that same globe that has come to rely on our military power.

This is the world we live in, whether we like it or not, and barring some military or economic disaster that forces a strategic realignment or retreat (like WW2 did for the old European powers) I don't know how you practically pull back. Empires have a sort of inertia, and few in history voluntarily give up dominion.

Stumble Sceptical Gorilla 2 days ago
What is unsustainable is the current rate of government spending. The current rate of military spending is driving up our debt and making it impossible to reinvest in desperately needed infrastructure.

We have been coasting on the infrastructure investments of the 50's and 60's but if we don't start cutting military spending and redirecting that money elsewhere we are going to be bankrupt.

Sid Finster Sceptical Gorilla 2 days ago
The USA are the source of a lot of the world's instability.
Sceptical Gorilla Sid Finster 2 days ago
Sure. That doesn't mean American withdrawal would create less instability in toto. Maybe it would. Who knows? We mortals can only take counterfactuals so far.
Mojrim ibn Harb Sceptical Gorilla 2 days ago
Lovely strawman you have there...
Taras77 2 days ago
Excellent article, excellent skeptical comments below.

I agree that it is almost impossible to conceive of any scenario whereby this "ideology" of so-called world order and/ hegemony would change in the US and in its puppets.

The deck is so totally stacked in favor of this ideology, the totally controlled MSM, the MIC, the corrupt and controlled congress, and the presidential admin structure itself, would never allow this mantra to be challenged.

It is all about greed and power-the psychopaths pursuing and defending this 'ideology' would never ever go quietly. The money and power is too corrupting.

Maybe, just maybe, however, as we are at $22 trillion in debt and counting (just saw a total tab for F-35 of $1.5 trillion) that the money will run out, and zero interest rate financing is not all that awesome, this unsustainable mindlessness will be curtailed or even better, changed.

polistra24 2 days ago • edited
It's not really hegemony. Old-fashioned empires took over territory in order to gain resources and labor. We haven't done that since 1920. Especially since 1990 we've been making war purely to destroy and obliterate. When our war is done there's nothing left to dominate or own.

Domestically we've been using politics and media and controlled culture to do the same thing. Create "terrorists" and "extremists" on "two" "sides", set them loose, enjoy the resulting chaos. Chaos is the declared goal, and it's been working beautifully for 70 years.

China is expanding empire in Africa and Asia the old-fashioned way, improving farms and factories in order to have exclusive purchase of their output.

Mojrim ibn Harb polistra24 2 days ago
Join the liberal order or we'll wreck your country. That's hegemony.
Mark B. 2 days ago
Could not have said it better. "On our terms" would mean that Europe is forced to take matters of military security in it's own hands, I hope. But chanches are slim, history shows empires must fall hard and break a leg or so first before anything changes. Iran, Saudi-arabia, the greater ME, China, the trade wars and the world economy are coming together for a perfect storm it seems.
James_R Mark B. 2 days ago
"On our terms" would mean that Europe is forced to take matters of military security in it's own hands, I hope.".................

I'm not sure that most of the citizens in those European countries we occupy actually support our permanent military presence in their countries.

AllenQ 2 days ago
The problem with US hegemony is Israel. Look around the world. Neither Japan nor South Korea nor Vietnam nor Philippines nor India nor Indonesia nor Australia (the same can be said for South and Central America, Mexico, Canada and Europe) require a significant US presence.

None of them are asking for a greater presence in their country (except Poland) while being perfectly happy with our alliance, joint defense, trade, intelligence and technology sharing.

It is only Israel and Saudi Arabia which are constantly pushing the US into middle eastern wars and quagmires that we have no national interest. Trump sees the plain truth that the US is in jeopardy of losing its manufacturing and its technological lead to China. If we (US) dont start to rebuild our infrastructure, our defense, our cities, our communities, our manufacturing, our educational system then our nation is going to follow California into a 3rd world totalitarian state dominated by democratic voting immigrants whose only affiliation to our country and our constitutional republic is a welfare check, free govt programs and incestuous govt contracts which funnel govt dollars into the re-election PACs of democratic / liberal elected officials.

Fran Macadam 2 days ago
The new paradigm is that private militarism dominates government, turning it to its preferred priorities of moneymaking warmaking. Defeat is now when war's income streams end. The only wars that are lost, are those that end, defeating the winning of war profits. War, as a financial success story, has become an end in itself, and an empire that looks for more to wage means some mighty big wages with more profit opportunities. Victory is to be avoided - red ink being spilled through peace detestable - and blood spilled profitably to be encouraged.
Doom Incarnate a day ago
Fighting is good for business, so the fighting will continue.

[Sep 18, 2019] Who says Mr Trump is unpredictable? He predictably selected yet another rabid neocon for the National Security advisor position in this administration

Sep 18, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Sydney an hour ago

Who says Mr Trump is unpredictable? Is there anybody expected anything else from Mr Trump when it comes to picking his advisers or making thoughtful decisions? Let's be serious, Mr Trump did not pick Mr Robert O'Brien. The Bolton, Pompeo, Pence triumvirate picked Trump's NSA; naturally.

[Sep 18, 2019] Jerry Nadler is aiming to become the Rachael Maddow of Adam Schiffs

Humor aside Corey Lewandowski Opening statement deserves to be listened. Just 5 min.
This was obviously a Dog & Pony show by Nadler and his gang who can't shoot strait
Sep 18, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Seminole Nation , 5 hours ago

"Jerry Nadler is aiming to become the Rachael Maddow of Adam Schiffs" – Dan Bongino (3-24-19)

Gilbert Perea , 9 hours ago

You have to laugh , I wonder if Mr. Cowen has a chicken wing in his jacket pocket.

RIC shady , 7 hours ago

"The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all." - Valery Legasov, Soviet chemist

ZENIGMATV , 3 hours ago

Nadler:Corey what time is it? Corey :It's 2pm. Nadler: The clock shows 1:59 . Charge Corey for lying to Congress! All a gotcha game by a group of angry haters.

ZENIGMATV , 3 hours ago

Nadler:Corey what time is it? Corey :It's 2pm. Nadler: The clock shows 1:59 . Charge Corey for lying to Congress! All a gotcha game by a group of angry haters.

Jim Carpenter , 6 hours ago

Nadler provides so much comic relief!!!! He is definitely one of my all time favorite oafs.

Forever Joy , 9 hours ago

40 million tax payer dollars wasted...boom! Pathetic, thanks Democrats!

Bobwehada Babyitzaboy , 3 hours ago

3rd time. If that were good for the left they wouldn't shut up about it. This is another witch hunt with attempt to deceive

Dr.Roberto Rodriguez Jr. , 5 hours ago

What a joke. Democratic live in a fantasy world

Ricky Alfaro , 5 hours ago

Corey is toast!

Teresa Upchurch , 8 hours ago

This is obviously a Dog & Pony show by the Nadler nerd group of Demonrats! Can't even follow the House rules. Sickening !!!

[Sep 18, 2019] The European Court of Human Rights have found that there was credible evidence that Magnitskiy was indeed engaged in tax fraud, in conspiracy with Browder, and he was rightfully charged.

Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Off Topic , Sep 18 2019 11:07 utc | 116

The conscientious judges of the European Court of Human Rights published a judgement a fortnight ago which utterly exploded the version of events promulgated by Western governments and media in the case of the late Mr Magnitskiy. Yet I can find no truthful report of the judgement in the mainstream media at all.

The myth is that Magnitskiy was an honest rights campaigner and accountant who discovered corruption by Russian officials and threatened to expose it, and was consequently imprisoned on false charges and then tortured and killed. A campaign over his death was led by his former business partner, hedge fund manager Bill Browder, who wanted massive compensation for Russian assets allegedly swindled from their venture. The campaign led to the passing of the Magnitskiy Act in the United States, providing powers for sanctioning individuals responsible for human rights abuses, and also led to matching sanctions being developed by the EU.

However the European Court of Human Rights has found, in judging a case brought against Russia by the Magnitskiy family, that the very essence of this story is untrue. They find that there was credible evidence that Magnitskiy was indeed engaged in tax fraud, in conspiracy with Browder, and he was rightfully charged. The ECHR also found there was credible evidence that Magnitskiy was indeed a flight risk so he was rightfully detained. And most crucially of all, they find that there was credible evidence of tax fraud by Magnitskiy and action by the authorities "years" before he started to make counter-accusations of corruption against officials investigating his case.

This judgement utterly explodes the accepted narrative, and does it very succinctly:

<...>

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/09/the-magnitskiy-myth-exploded/

[Sep 18, 2019] The specter of Marx haunts the American ruling class - World Socialist Web Site

Nov 06, 2018 | www.wsws.org
White House report on socialism

Last month, the Council of Economic Advisers, an agency of the Trump White House, released an extraordinary report titled "The Opportunity Costs of Socialism." The report begins with the statement: "Coincident with the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx's birth, socialism is making a comeback in American political discourse. Detailed policy proposals from self-declared socialists are gaining support in Congress and among much of the younger electorate."

The very fact that the US government officially acknowledges a growth of popular support for socialism, particularly among the nation's youth, testifies to vast changes taking place in the political consciousness of the working class and the terror this is striking within the ruling elite. America is, after all, a country where anti-communism was for the greater part of a century a state-sponsored secular religion. No ruling class has so ruthlessly sought to exclude socialist politics from political discourse as the American ruling class.

The 70-page document is itself an inane right-wing screed. It seeks to discredit socialism by identifying it with capitalist countries such as Venezuela that have expanded state ownership of parts of the economy while protecting private ownership of the banks, and, with the post-2008 collapse of oil and other commodity prices, increasingly attacked the living standards of the working class.

It identifies socialism with proposals for mild social reform such as "Medicare for all," raised and increasingly abandoned by a section of the Democratic Party. It cites Milton Friedman and Margaret Thatcher to promote the virtues of "economic freedom," i.e., the unrestrained operation of the capitalist market, and to denounce all social reforms, business regulations, tax increases or anything else that impinges on the oligarchy's self-enrichment.

The report's arguments and themes find expression in the fascistic campaign speeches of Donald Trump, who routinely and absurdly attacks the Democrats as socialists and accuses them of seeking to turn America into another "socialist" Venezuela.

What has prompted this effort to blackguard socialism?

A series of recent polls in the US and Europe have shown a sharp growth of popular disgust with capitalism and support for socialism. In May of 2017, in a survey conducted by the Union of European Broadcasters of people aged 18 to 35, more than half said they would participate in a "large-scale uprising." Nine out of 10 agreed with the statement, "Banks and money rule the world."

Last November, a poll conducted by YouGov showed that 51 percent of Americans between the ages of 21 and 29 would prefer to live in a socialist or communist country than in a capitalist country.

In August of this year, a Gallup poll found that for the first time since the organization began tracking the figure, fewer than half of Americans aged 18–29 had a positive view of capitalism, while more than half had a positive view of socialism. The percentage of young people viewing capitalism positively fell from 68 percent in 2010 to 45 percent this year, a 23-percentage point drop in just eight years.

This surge in interest in socialism is bound up with a resurgence of class struggle in the US and internationally. In the United States, the number of major strikes so far this year, 21, is triple the number in 2017. The ruling class was particularly terrified by the teachers' walkouts earlier this year because the biggest strikes were organized by rank-and-file educators in a rebellion against the unions, reflecting the weakening grip of the pro-corporate organizations that have suppressed the class struggle for decades.

The growth of the class struggle is an objective process that is driven by the global crisis of capitalism , which finds its most acute social and political expression in the center of world capitalism -- the United States. It is the class struggle that provides the key to the fight for genuine socialism.

Masses of workers and youth are being driven into struggle and politically radicalized by decades of uninterrupted war and the staggering growth of social inequality. This process has accelerated during the 10 years since the Wall Street crash of 2008. The Obama years saw the greatest transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top in history, the escalation of the wars begun under Bush and their spread to Libya, Syria and Yemen, and the intensification of mass surveillance, attacks on immigrants and other police state measures.

This paved the way for the elevation of Trump, the personification of the criminality and backwardness of the ruling oligarchy.

Under conditions where the typical CEO in the US now makes in a single day almost as much as the average worker makes in an entire year, and the net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans has doubled over the past decade, the working class is looking for a radical alternative to the status quo. As the Socialist Equality Party wrote in its program eight years ago, " The Breakdown of Capitalism and the Fight for Socialism in the United States ":

The change in objective conditions, however, will lead American workers to change their minds. The reality of capitalism will provide workers with many reasons to fight for a fundamental and revolutionary change in the economic organization of society.

The response of the ruling class is two-fold. First, the abandonment of bourgeois democratic forms of rule and the turn toward dictatorship. The run-up to the midterm elections has revealed the advanced stage of these preparations, with Trump's fascistic attacks on immigrants, deployment of troops to the border, threats to gun down unarmed men, women and children seeking asylum, and his pledge to overturn the 14th Amendment establishing birthright citizenship.

That this has evoked no serious opposition from the Democrats and the media makes clear that the entire ruling class is united around a turn to authoritarianism. Indeed, the Democrats are spearheading the drive to censor the internet in order to silence left-wing and socialist opposition.

The second response is to promote phony socialists such as Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and other pseudo-left organizations in order to confuse the working class and channel its opposition back behind the Democratic Party.

In 2018, with Sanders totally integrated into the Democratic Party leadership, this role has been largely delegated to the DSA, which functions as an arm of the Democrats. Two DSA members, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York and Rashida Tlaib in Detroit, are likely to win seats in the House of Representatives as candidates of the Democratic Party.

The closer they come to taking office, the more they seek to distance themselves from their supposed socialist affiliation. Ocasio-Cortez, for example, joined Sanders in eulogizing the recently deceased war-monger John McCain, refused to answer when asked if she opposed the US wars in the Middle East, and dropped her campaign call for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The working class and youth are increasingly looking for a socialist alternative, but their understanding of socialism and its history is limited. Here the role of the revolutionary party, the Socialist Equality Party, is critical. It alone seeks to arm the emerging mass movement of the working class with a genuine revolutionary, socialist and internationalist program.

The SEP fights to mobilize and unite the working class in the US and internationally in opposition to the entire ruling elite and all of its bribed politicians and parties. As our program explains:

But socialism will be achieved only through the establishment of workers' power. This will be a difficult struggle Socialism is not a gift to be given to the working class. It must be fought for and won by the working class itself.

The task facing workers and youth looking for the way to fight against war, inequality, poverty and repression is to join and build the Socialist Equality Party to lead the coming mass struggles of the working class.

Barry Grey

[Sep 17, 2019] Explaining CIA's 'Agent Smolenkov'

Notable quotes:
"... This damage to supposed bastions of US journalism cannot be overstated. More than two years of spinning speculation-cum-reporting about Russian collusion with Trump and/or interference in US politics has produced not a crumb of substantive fact. ..."
"... So when they got the chance to seemingly resurrect their buried "Russiagate" yarn with this latest fable about agent Oleg Smolenkov being exfiltrated from Russia to the US, they leapt at it because their equally buried reputations are also at stake. ..."
"... As far as we can tell, an anonymous intelligence source started the ball rolling. The source is likely to be former CIA chief John Brennan or former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Both are hangouts for the anti-Trump media since they lost their intel jobs at the beginning of 2017, and both are believed to have seeded the "Russiagate" narrative in 2016 from before Trump was elected. ..."
"... Thus, if Smolenkov is peddling fiction to his former handlers in the CIA, that means he has no credibility as a "top mole". ..."
"... Again, opportunism is the key. Somebody came up with a lurid story about "Russian interference" in US democracy and "collusion" with Trump. Maybe it was Smolenkov who saw an opportunity to win a big pay day from his CIA patrons by flogging them a blockbuster. ..."
"... CNN, NY Times, Washington Post, Brennan and Clapper are so much damaged goods from past failure of "Russiagate" fabrications, they find an opportunity to salvage their disgraced names by outing the hapless Smolenkov at this juncture. ..."
"... There is a sinister similarity here to the Sergei Skripal case in England. Is Smolenkov being set up for hit which can then be conveniently blamed on Russia as "revenge" by the Russophobic, anti-Trump, deep state US media? ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

The saga of daring escape by a supposed Russian CIA agent from the Kremlin's clutches and then the added twist of a security-risk American president putting the agent's life in danger does indeed sound like a pulp fiction novel, as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov put it.

How to explain this sensational story? "Opportunism" is one word that comes to mind.

The news media who pushed the story, CNN, the New York Times and Washington Post, are vehemently "anti-Trump". Any chance to damage this president and they grab it.

Also, perhaps more importantly, these media are desperate to salvage their shot-through journalistic credibility since the "Russiagate" narrative they had earnestly propagated died a death, after the two-year Mueller circus finally left town empty-handed.

This damage to supposed bastions of US journalism cannot be overstated. More than two years of spinning speculation-cum-reporting about Russian collusion with Trump and/or interference in US politics has produced not a crumb of substantive fact. That means those media responsible for the "Russiagate" nonsense have forfeited that precious quality – credibility. They no longer deserve to be categorized as news services, and are more appropriately now listed as fiction peddlers.

So when they got the chance to seemingly resurrect their buried "Russiagate" yarn with this latest fable about agent Oleg Smolenkov being exfiltrated from Russia to the US, they leapt at it because their equally buried reputations are also at stake.

As far as we can tell, an anonymous intelligence source started the ball rolling. The source is likely to be former CIA chief John Brennan or former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Both are hangouts for the anti-Trump media since they lost their intel jobs at the beginning of 2017, and both are believed to have seeded the "Russiagate" narrative in 2016 from before Trump was elected.

Notably, the current CIA assessment of the latest US media reporting on the exfiltrated spy is that the reporting is "false" and "misguided". In particular, the CNN spin that the agent (Smolenkov) had to be extricated from Russia in 2017 because Langley feared that Trump may have endangered the supposed Kremlin mole when he hosted Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in the White House in May 2017.

Also of note is the dismissive response from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who rubbished the reports. He was head of the CIA during 2017. (Admittedly, Pompeo is a self-confessed liar.)

According to CNN, NY Times and Washington Post, the former spy in the Kremlin, named as Oleg Smolenkov by subsequent Russian media reporting, was a top mole with direct access to President Vladimir Putin. It is claimed that Smolenkov confirmed allegations about a Putin-directed plot to interfere in US presidential elections. The agent is said to have also confirmed that Putin (allegedly) ordered the hacking of the Democratic party's central database to obtain scandalous material on Hillary Clinton which was then fed to the Wikileaks whistleblower site for the purpose of scuttling her bid for the presidency in November 2016, thus favoring Trump.

Smolenkov was allegedly providing this information on a purported Kremlin interference campaign in 2016.

The US media claim Smolenkov was exfiltrated from Russia by the CIA in June 2017 – out of concern for his safety, which CNN reported was being jeopardized by President Trump due to his implied compromised relations with Putin. Smolenkov and his family disappeared while on a holiday in Montenegro in June 2017.

After the story broke earlier this week about the exfiltrated Kremlin mole, subsequent media reporting tracked down Oleg Smolenkov and his wife living in a $1-million-dollar mansion in Stafford, Virginia. Curiously, public records showed the house purchase was in their names, which seems odds for a supposed top-level spy, who had apparently committed extreme betrayal against the Kremlin, to be living openly. The family apparently fled the house to unknown whereabouts on September 9 after the story about his alleged spy role broke this week.

Who is Oleg Smolenkov? The Kremlin said this week that he previously worked in the presidential administration, but he was sacked "several years ago". He did not have direct access to President Putin's office, according to the Kremlin. For his part, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says he never heard of the man before, never mind ever having met him.

It is understood that Smolenkov previously worked in the Russian embassy in Washington under ambassador Yuri Ushakov (1999-2008). Smolenkov reportedly continued working for Ushakov when the diplomat returned to Moscow after his ambassadorial tenure in the US.

Here is where we may speculate that Smolenkov was recruited by the CIA during his diplomatic assignment in the US. But we assume that the Kremlin's assessment is correct; he did not have a senior position or access to Putin's office. By contrast, the US media are claiming Smolenkov was "one of the CIA's most valuable assets" in the Kremlin and that he was providing confirmatory information that Putin was (allegedly) running an interference campaign to subvert the US presidential elections.

The discerning detail as to the truth of the imbroglio is revealed by the US media claims that Smolenkov corroborated the alleged hacking into the Democratic party database in 2016. However, that specific allegation has been disproven by several top hacker experts, notably William Binney who was formerly technical head at the US National Security Agency. There was no hacking. The damaging information on Hillary Clinton was leaked by a Democratic party insider, possibly Seth Rich, who soon after was shot dead by an unknown attacker. In short, the entire narrative about the Kremlin hacking into the Democratic party is a fiction. The premise to "Russiagate" is baseless.

Thus, if Smolenkov is peddling fiction to his former handlers in the CIA, that means he has no credibility as a "top mole".

Again, opportunism is the key. Somebody came up with a lurid story about "Russian interference" in US democracy and "collusion" with Trump. Maybe it was Smolenkov who saw an opportunity to win a big pay day from his CIA patrons by flogging them a blockbuster. Or maybe, Brennan and Clapper (known liars in the public record) dreamt up a scheme of Kremlin malignancy to benefit Trump, and if that could be tied to Trump then his election would be discredited and nullified. But what they needed was a "Kremlin source" to "corroborate" their readymade story of "Russian interference". Step forward Oleg Smolenkov – fired and out of work – to do the needful "corroboration" and in return he gets a new life for himself and family with a mansion in a leafy Virginian suburb.

CNN, NY Times, Washington Post, Brennan and Clapper are so much damaged goods from past failure of "Russiagate" fabrications, they find an opportunity to salvage their disgraced names by outing the hapless Smolenkov at this juncture.

That then raises the grave question of why he was permitted to live openly in his own name?

There is a sinister similarity here to the Sergei Skripal case in England. Is Smolenkov being set up for hit which can then be conveniently blamed on Russia as "revenge" by the Russophobic, anti-Trump, deep state US media?

[Sep 17, 2019] The Devolution of US-Russia Relations by Tony Kevin

Highly recommended!
Sep 17, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

A retired Australian diplomat who served in Moscow dissects the emergence of the new Cold War and its dire consequences.

I n 2014, we saw violent U.S.-supported regime change and civil war in Ukraine. In February, after months of increasing tension from the anti-Russian protest movement's sitdown strike in Kiev's Maidan Square, there was a murderous clash between protesters and Ukrainian police, sparked off by hidden shooters (we now know that were expert Georgian snipers) , aiming at police. The elected government collapsed and President Yanukevich fled to Russia, pursued by murder squads.

The new Poroshenko government pledged harsh anti-Russian language laws. Rebels in two Russophone regions in Eastern Ukraine took local control, and appealed for Russian military help. In March, a referendum took place in Russian-speaking Crimea on leaving Ukraine, under Russian military protection. Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to join Russia, a request promptly granted by the Russian Parliament and President. Crimea's border with Ukraine was secured against saboteurs. Crimea is prospering under its pro-Russian government, with the economy kick-started by Russian transport infrastructure investment.

In April, Poroshenko ordered full military attack on the separatist provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine. A brutal civil war ensued, with aerial and artillery bombardment bringing massive civilian death and destruction to the separatist region. There was major refugee outflow into Russia and other parts of Ukraine. The shootdown of MH17 took place in July 2014.

Poroshenko: Ordered military attack.

By August 2015, according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates, 13,000 people had been killed and 30,000 wounded. 1.4 million Ukrainians had been internally displaced, and 925,000 had fled to neighbouring countries, mostly Russia and to a lesser extent Poland.

There is now a military stalemate, under the stalled Minsk peace process. But random fatal clashes continue, with the Ukrainian Army mostly blamed by UN observers. The UN reported last month that the ongoing war has affected 5.2 million people, leaving 3.5 million of them in need of relief, including 500,000 children. Most Russians blame the West for fomenting Ukrainian enmity towards Russia. This war brings back for older Russians horrible memories of the Nazi invasion in 1941. The Russia-Ukraine border is only 550 kilometres from Moscow.

Flashpoint Syria

Russian forces joined the civil war in Syria in September 2015, at the request of the Syrian Government, faltering under the attacks of Islamist extremist rebel forces reinforced by foreign fighters and advanced weapons. With Russian air and ground support, the tide of war turned. Palmyra and Aleppo were recaptured in 2016. An alleged Syrian Government chemical attack at Khan Shaykhun in April 2017 resulted in a token U.S. missile attack on a Syrian Government airbase: an early decision by President Trump.

NATO, Strategic Balance, Sanctions

An F-15C Eagle from the 493rd Fighter Squadron takes off from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, March 6, 2014. The 48th Fighter Wing sent an additional six aircraft and more than 50 personnel to support NATO's air policing mission in Lithuania, at the request of U.S. allies in the Baltics. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Emerson Nunez/Released)

Tensions have risen in the Baltic as NATO moves ground forces and battlefield missiles up to the Baltic states' borders with Russia. Both sides' naval and air forces play dangerous brinksmanship games in the Baltic. U.S. short-range, non-nuclear-armed anti-ballistic missiles were stationed in Poland and Romania, allegedly against threat of Iranian attack. They are easily convertible to nuclear-armed missiles aimed at nearby Russia.

Nuclear arms control talks have stalled. The INF intermediate nuclear forces treaty expired in 2019, after both sides accused the other of cheating. In March 2018, Putin announced that Russia has developed new types of intercontinental nuclear missiles using technologies that render U.S. defence systems useless. The West has pretended to ignore this announcement, but we can be sure Western defence ministries have noted it. Nuclear second-strike deterrence has returned, though most people in the West have forgotten what this means. Russians know exactly what it means.

Western economic sanctions against Russia continue to tighten after the 2014 events in Ukraine. The U.S. is still trying to block the nearly completed Nordstream Baltic Sea underwater gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Sanctions are accelerating the division of the world into two trade and payments systems: the old NATO-led world, and the rest of the world led by China, with full Russian support and increasing interest from India, Japan, ROK and ASEAN.

Return to Moscow

In 2013, my children gave me an Ipad. I began to spend several hours a day reading well beyond traditional mainstream Western sources: British and American dissident sites, writers like Craig Murray in UK and in the U.S. Stephen Cohen, and some Russian sites – rt.com, Sputnik, TASS, and the official Foreign Ministry site mid.ru. in English.

In late 2015 I decided to visit Russia independently to write Return to Moscow , a literary travel memoir. I planned to compare my impressions of the Soviet Union, where I had lived and worked as an Australian diplomat in 1969-71, with Russia today. I knew there had been huge changes. I wanted to experience 'Putin's Russia' for myself, to see how it felt to be there as an anonymous visitor in the quiet winter season. I wanted to break out of the familiar one-dimensional hostile political view of Russia that Western mainstream media offer: to take my readers with me on a cultural pilgrimage through the tragedy and grandeur and inspiration of Russian history. As with my earlier book on Spain 'Walking the Camino' , this was not intended to be a political book, and yet somehow it became one.

I was still uncommitted on contemporary Russian politics before going to Russia in January 2016. Using the metaphor of a seesaw, I was still sitting somewhere around the middle.

My book was written in late 2015 – early 2016, expertly edited by UWA Publishing. It was launched in March 2017. By this time my political opinions had moved decisively to the Russian end of the seesaw, on the basis of what I had seen in Russia, and what I had read and thought during the year.

I have been back again twice, in winter 2018 and 2019. My 2018 visit included Crimea, and I happened to see a Navalny-led Sunday demonstration in Moscow. I thoroughly enjoyed all three independent visits: in my opinion, they give my judgements on Russia some depth and authenticity.

Russophobia Becomes Entrenched

Russia was a big talking point in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the initially unlikely Republican candidate Donald Trump's chances improved, anti-Putin and anti-Russian positions hardened in the outgoing Obama administration and in the Democratic Party establishment which backed candidate Hillary Clinton.

Russia and Putin became caught up in the Democratic Party's increasingly obsessive rage and hatred against the victorious Trump. Russophobia became entrenched in Washington and London U.S. and UK political and strategic elites, especially in intelligence circles: think of Pompeo, Brennan, Comey and Clapper. All sense of international protocol and diplomatic propriety towards Russia and its President was abandoned, as this appalling Economist cover from October 2016 shows.

My experience of undeclared political censorship in Australia since four months after publication of 'Return to Moscow' supports the thesis that:

We are now in the thick of a ruthless but mostly covert Anglo-American alliance information war against Russia. In this war, individuals who speak up publicly in the cause of detente with Russia will be discouraged from public discourse.

In the Thick of Information War

When I spoke to you two years ago, I had no idea how far-reaching and ruthless this information war is becoming. I knew that a false negative image of Russia was taking hold in the West, even as Russia was becoming a more admirable and self-confident civil society, moving forward towards greater democracy and higher living standards, while maintaining essential national security. I did not then know why, or how.

I had just had time to add a few final paragraphs in my book about the possible consequences for Russia-West relations of Trump's surprise election victory in November 2016. I was right to be cautious, because since Trump's inauguration we have seen the step-by-step elimination of any serious pro-detente voices in Washington, and the reassertion of control over this haphazard president by the bipartisan imperial U.S. deep state, as personified from April 2018 by Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Adviser Bolton. Bolton has now been thrown from the sleigh as decoy for the wolves: under the smooth-talking Pompeo, the imperial policies remain.

Truth, Trust and False Narratives

Let me now turn to some theory about political reality and perception, and how national communities are persuaded to accept false narratives. Let me acknowledge my debt to the fearless and brilliant Australian independent online journalist, Caitlin Johnstone.

Behavioural scientists have worked in the field of what used to be called propaganda since WW1. England has always excelled in this field. Modern wars are won or lost not just on the battlefield, but in people's minds. Propaganda, or as we now call it information warfare, is as much about influencing people's beliefs within your own national community as it is about trying to demoralise and subvert the enemy population.

The IT revolution of the past few years has exponentially magnified the effectiveness of information warfare. Already in the 1940s, George Orwell understood how easily governments are able to control and shape public perceptions of reality and to suppress dissent. His brilliant books 1984 and Animal Farm are still instruction manuals in principles of information warfare. Their plots tell of the creation by the state of false narratives, with which to control their gullible populations.

The disillusioned Orwell wrote from his experience of real politics. As a volunteer fighter in the Spanish Civil War, he saw how both Spanish sides used false news and propaganda narratives to demonise the enemy. He also saw how the Nazi and Stalinist systems in Germany and Russia used propaganda to support show trials and purges, the concentration camps and the Gulag, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, German master race and Stalinist class enemy ideologies; and hows dissident thought was suppressed in these controlled societies. Orwell tried to warn his readers: all this could happen here too, in our familiar old England. But because the good guys won the war against fascism, his warnings were ignored.

We are now in Britain, U.S. and Australia actually living in an information warfare world that has disturbing echoes of the world that Orwell wrote about. The essence of information control is the effective state management of two elements, trust and fear , to generate and uphold a particular view of truth. Truth, trust and fear : these are the three key elements, now as 100 years ago in WWI Britain.

People who work or have worked close to government – in departments, politics, the armed forces, or top universities – mostly accept whatever they understand at the time to be 'the government view' of truth. Whether for reasons of organisational loyalty, career prudence or intellectual inertia, it is usually this way around governments. It is why moral issues like the Vietnam War and the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq were so distressing for people of conscience working in or close to government and military jobs in Canberra. They were expected to engage in 'doublethink' as Orwell had described it:

Even in Winston's nightmare world, there were still choices – to retreat into the non-political world of the proles, or to think forbidden thoughts and read forbidden books. These choices involved large risks and punishments. It was easier and safer for most people to acquiesce in the fake news they were fed by state-controlled media.

'Trust, Truth and False Narratives'

Fairfax journalist Andrew Clark, in the Australian Financial Review , in an essay optimistically titled "Not fake news: Why truth and trust are still in good shape in Australia", (AFR Dec. 22, 2018), cited Professor William Davies thus:

"Most of the time, the edifice that we refer to as "truth" is really an investment of trust in our structures of politics and public life' 'When trust sinks below a certain point, many people come to view the entire spectacle of politics and public life as a sham."

Here is my main point: Effective information warfare requires the creation of enough public trust to make the public believe that state-supported lies are true.

The key tools are repetition of messages, and diversification of trusted voices. Once a critical mass is created of people believing a false narrative, the lie locks in: its dissemination becomes self-sustaining.

Caitlin Johnstone a few days ago put it this way:

" Power is being able to control what happens. Absolute power is being able to control what people think about what happens. If you can control what happens, you can have power until the public gets sick of your BS and tosses you out on your ass. If you can control what people think about what happens, you can have power forever. As long as you can control how people are interpreting circumstances and events, there's no limit to the evils you can get away with."

The Internet has made propaganda campaigns that used to take weeks or months a matter of hours or even minutes to accomplish. It is about getting in quickly, using large enough clusters of trusted and diverse sources, in order to cement lies in place, to make the lies seem true, to magnify them through social messaging: in other words, to create credible false narratives that will quickly get into the public's bloodstream.

Over the past two years, I have seen this work many times: on issues like framing Russia for the MH17 tragedy; with false allegations of Assad mounting poison gas attacks in Syria; with false allegations of Russian agents using lethal Novichok to try to kill the Skripals in Salisbury; and with the multiple lies of Russiagate.

It is the mind-numbing effect of constant repetition of disinformation by many eminent people and agencies, in hitherto trusted channels like the BBC or ABC or liberal Anglophone print media that gives the system its power to persuade the credulous. For if so many diverse and reputable people repeatedly report such negative news and express such negative judgements about Russia or China or Iran or Syria, surely they must be right?

We have become used to reading in our quality newspapers and hearing on the BBC and ABC and SBS gross assaults on truth, calmly presented as accepted facts. There is no real public debate on important facts in contention any more. There are no venues for dissent outside contrarian social media sites.

Sometimes, false narratives inter-connect. Often a disinformation narrative in one area is used to influence perceptions in other areas. For example, the false Skripals poisoning story was launched by British intelligence in March 2018, just in time to frame Syrian President Assad as the guilty party in a faked chemical weapons attack in Douma the following month.

The Skripals Gambit

The Skripals gambit was also a failed British attempt to blight the Russia –hosted Football World Cup in June 2018. In the event, hundreds of thousands of Western sports fans returned home with the warmest memories of Russian good sportsmanship and hospitality.

How do I know the British Skripals narrative is false? For a start, it is illogical, incoherent, and constantly changes. Allegedly, two visiting Russian FSB agents in March 2018 sprayed or smeared Novichok, a deadly toxin instantly lethal in the most microscopic quantities, on the Skripals' house front doorknob. There is no video footage of the Skripals at their front door on the day. We are told they were found slumped on a park bench, and that is maybe where they had been sprayed with nerve gas? Shortly afterwards, Britain's Head of Army Nursing who happened to be passing by found them, and supervised their hospitalisation and emergency treatment.

Allegedly, much of Salisbury was contaminated by Novichok, and one unfortunate woman mysteriously died weeks later, yet the Skripals somehow did not die, as we are told. But where are they now? We saw a healthy Yulia in a carefully scripted video interview released in May 2018, after an alleged 'one in a million' recovery. We were assured her father had recovered too, but nobody has seen him at all. The Skripals have simply disappeared from sight since 16 months ago. Are they now alive or dead? Are they in voluntary or involuntary British custody?

A month after the poisoning, the UK Government sent biological samples from the Skripals to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons , for testing. The OPCW sent the samples to a trusted OPCW laboratory in Spiez, Switzerland.

Lavrov Spiez BZ claims, April 2018

A few days later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dramatically announced in Moscow that the Spiez lab had found in the samples a temporary-effect nerve agent BZ, used by U.S. and UK but not by Russia, that would have disabled the Skripals for a few days without killing them. He also revealed the Spiez lab had found that the Skripal samples had been twice tampered with while still in UK custody: first soon after the poisoning, and again shortly before passing them to the OPCW. He said the Spiez lab had found a high concentration of Novichok, which he called A- 234, in its original form. This was extremely suspicious as A-234 has high volatility and could not have retained its purity over a two weeks period. The dosage the Spiez lab found in the samples would have surely killed the Skripals. The OPCW under British pressure rejected Lavrov's claim, and suppressed the Spiez lab report.

Let's look finally at the alleged assassins.

'Boshirov and Petrov'

These two FSB operatives who visited Salisbury under the false identities of 'Boshirov' and 'Petrov' did not look or behave like credible assassins. It is more likely that they were sent to negotiate with Sergey Skripal about his rumoured interest in returning to Russia. They needed to apply for UK visas a month in advance of travel: ample time for the British agencies to identify them as FSB operatives, and to construct a false attempted assassination narrative around their visit. This false narrative repeatedly trips over its own lies and contradictions. British social media are full of alternative theories and rebuttals. Russians find the whole British Government Skripal narrative laughable. They have invented comedy skits and video games based on it. Yet it had major impact on Russia-West relations.

The Douma False Narrative

I turn now to the claimed Assad chemical weapons attack in Douma in April 2018.This falsely alleged attack triggered a major NATO air attack on Syrian targets, ordered by Trump. We came close to WWIII in these dangerous days. Thanks to the restraint of the then Secretary of Defence James Mattis and his Russian counterparts, the risk was contained.

The allegation that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used outlawed chemical weapons against his own people was based solely on the evidence of faked video images of child victims, made by the discredited White Helmets, a UK-sponsored rebel-linked 'humanitarian' propaganda organisation with much blood on its hands. Founded in 2013 by a British private security specialist of intelligence background, James Le Mesurier, the White Helmets specialised in making fake videos of alleged Assad regime war crimes against Syrian civilians. It is by now a thoroughly discredited organisation that was prepared to kill its prisoners and then film their bodies as alleged victims of government chemical attacks.

White Helmets

As the town of Douma was about to fall to advancing Syrian Government forces, the White Helmets filled a room with stacked corpses of murdered prisoners, and photographed them as alleged victims of aerial gas attack. They also made a video alleging child victims of this attack being hosed down by White Helmets. A video of a child named Hassan Diab went viral all over the Western world.

Hassan Diab later testified publicly in The Hague that he had been dragged terrified from his family by force, smeared with some sort of grease, and hosed down with water as part of a fake video. He went from hero to zero overnight, as Western governments and media rejected his testimony as Russian and Syrian propaganda.

In a late development, there is proof that the OPCW suppressed its own engineers' report from Douma that the alleged poison gas cylinders could not have possibly been dropped from the air through the roof of the house where one was found, resting on a bed under a convenient hole in the roof.

I could go on discussing the detail of such false narratives all day. No matter how often they are exposed by critics, our politicians and mainstream media go on referencing them as if they are true. Once people have come to believe false narratives, it is hard to refute them.

So it is with the false narrative that Russian internet interference enabled Trump to win the 2016 U.S. presidential elections: a thesis for which no evidence was found by [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller, yet continues to be cited by many U.S. liberal Democratic media as if it were true. So, even, with MH17.

Managing Mass Opinion

This mounting climate of Western Russophobia is not accidental: it is strategically directed, and it is nourished with regular maintenance doses of fresh lies. Each round of lies provides a credible platform for the next round somewhere else. The common thread is a claimed malign Russian origin for whatever goes wrong.

So where is all this disinformation originating? Information technology firms in Washington and London that are closely networked into government elites, often through attending the same establishment schools or colleges like Eton and Yale, have closely studied and tested the science of influencing crowd opinions through mainstream media and online. They know, in a way that Orwell or Goebbels could hardly have dreamt, how to put out and repeat desired media messages. They know what sizes of 'internet attraction nodes' need to be established online, in order to create diverse critical masses of credible Russophobic messaging, which then attracts enough credulous and loyal followers to become self-propagating.

Firms like the SCL Group (formerly Strategic Communication Laboratories) and the now defunct Cambridge Analytica pioneered such work in the UK. There are many similar firms in Washington, all in the business of monitoring, generating and managing mass opinion. It is big business, and it works closely with the national security state.

Starting in November 2018, an enterprising group of unknown hackers in the UK , who go by the name 'Anonymous', opened a remarkable window into this secret world. Over a few weeks, they hacked and dumped online a huge volume of original documents issued by and detailing the activities of the Institute for Statecraft (IfS) and the Integrity initiative (II). Here is the first page of one of their dumps, exposing propaganda against Jeremy Corbyn.

We know from this material that the IfS and II are two secret British disinformation networks operating at arms' length from but funded by the UK security services and broader UK government establishment. They bring together high-ranking military and intelligence personnel, often nominally retired, journalists and academics, to produce and disseminate propaganda that serves the agendas of the UK and its allies.

Stung by these massive leaks, Chris Donnelly, a key figure in IfS and II and a former British Army intelligence officer, made a now famous seven-minute YouTube video in December 2018, artfully filmed in a London kitchen, defending their work.

He argued – quite unconvincingly in my opinion – that IfS and II are simply defending Western societies against disinformation and malign influence, primarily from Russia. He boasted how they have set up in numerous targeted European countries, claimed to be under attack from Russian disinformation, what he called 'clusters of influence' , to 'educate' public opinion and decision-makers in pro-NATO and anti-Russian directions.

Donnelly spoke frankly on how the West is already at war with Russia, a 'new kind of warfare', in which he said 'everything becomes a weapon'. He said that 'disinformation is the issue which unites all the other weapons in this conflict and gives them a third dimension'.

He said the West has to fight back, if it is to defend itself and to prevail.

We can confirm from the Anonymous leaked files the names of many people in Europe being recruited into these clusters of influence. They tend to be significant people in journalism, publishing, universities and foreign policy think-tanks: opinion-shapers. The leaked documents suggest how ideologically suitable candidates are identified: approached for initial screening interviews; and, if invited to join a cluster of influence, sworn to secrecy.

Remarkably, neither the Anonymous disclosures nor the Donnelly response have ever been reported in Australian media. Even in Britain – where evidence that the Integrity Initiative was mounting a campaign against [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn provoked brief media interest. The story quickly disappeared from mainstream media and the BBC. A British under-foreign secretary admitted in Parliamentary Estimates that the UK Foreign Office subsidises the Institute of Statecraft to the tune of nearly 3 million pounds per year. It also gives various other kinds of non-monetary assistance, e.g. providing personnel and office support in Britain's overseas embassies.

This is not about traditional spying or seeking agents of influence close to governments. It is about generating mass disinformation, in order to create mass climates of belief.

In my opinion, such British and American disinformation efforts, using undeclared clusters of influence, through Five Eyes intelligence-sharing, and possibly with the help of British and American diplomatic missions, may have been in operation in Australia for many years.

Such networks may have been used against me since around mid-2017, to limit the commercial outreach of my book and the impact of its dangerous ideas on the need for East-West detente; and efficiently to suppress my voice in Australian public discourse about Russia and the West. Do I have evidence for this? Yes.

It is not coincidence that the Melbourne Writers Festival in August 2017 somehow lost all my sign-and-sell books from my sold-out scheduled speaking event; that a major debate with [Australian writer and foreign policy analyst] Bobo Lo at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne was cancelled by his Australian sponsor, the Lowy institute, two weeks before the advertised date; that my last invitation to any writers festival was 15 months ago, in May 2018; that Return to Moscow was not shortlisted for any Australian book prize, though I entered it in all of them ; that since my book's early promotion ended around August 2017, I have not been invited to join any ABC discussion panels, or to give any talks on Russia in any universities or institutes, apart from the admirable Australian Institute of International Affairs and the ISAA.

My articles and shorter opinion commentaries on Russia and the West have not been published in mainstream media or in reputable online journals like Eureka Street, The Conversation, Inside Story or Australian Book Review . Despite being an ANU Emeritus Fellow, I have not been invited to give a public talk or join any panel in ANU (Australian National University) or any Canberra think tank. In early 2018, I was invited to give a private briefing to a group of senior students travelling on an immersion course to Russia. I was not invited back in 2019, after high-level private advice within ANU that I was regarded as too pro-Putin.

In all these ways – none overt or acknowledged – my voice as an open-minded writer and speaker on Russia-West relations seems to have been quietly but effectively suppressed in Australia. I would like to be proved wrong on this, but the evidence is there.

This may be about "velvet-glove deterrence" of my Russia-sympathetic voice and pen, in order to discourage others, especially those working in or close to government. Nobody is going to put me in jail, unless I am stupid enough to violate Australia's now strict foreign influence laws. This deterrence is about generating fear of consequences for people still in their careers, paying their mortgages, putting kids through school. Nobody wants to miss their next promotion.

There are other indications that Australian national security elite opinion has been indoctrinated prudently to fear and avoid any kind of public discussion of positive engagement with Russia (or indeed, with China).

There are only two kinds of news about Russia now permitted in our mainstream media, including the ABC and SBS: negative news and comment, or silence. Unless a story can be given an anti-Russian sting, it will not be carried at all. Important stories are simply spiked, like last week's Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivistok, chaired by President Putin and attended by Prime Ministers Abe, Mahathir and Modi, among 8500 participants from 65 countries.

The ABC idea of a balanced panel to discuss any Russian political topic was exemplified in an ABC Sunday Extra Roundtable panel chaired by Eleanor Hall on July, 22 2018, soon after the Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki. The panel – a former ONA Russia analyst, a professor of Soviet and Russian History at Melbourne University, and a Russian émigré dissident journalist introduced as the 'Washington correspondent for Echo of Moscow radio' spent most of their time sneering at Putin and Trump. There were no other views.

A powerful anti-Russian news narrative is now firmly in place in Australia, on every topic in contention: Ukraine, MH17, Crimea, Syria, the Skripals, Navalny and public protest in Russia. There is ill-informed criticism of Russia, or silence, on the crucial issues of arms control and Russia-China strategic and economic relations as they affect Australia's national security or economy. There is no analysis of the negative impact on Australia of economic sanctions against Russia. There is almost no discussion of how improved relations with China and Russia might contribute to Australia's national security and economic welfare, as American influence in the world and our region declines, and as American reliability as an ally comes more into question. Silence on inconvenient truths is an important part of the disinformation tool kit.

I see two overall conflicting narratives – the prevailing Anglo-American false narrative; and valiant efforts by small groups of dissenters, drawing on sources outside the Anglo-American official narrative, to present another narrative much closer to truth. And this is how most Russians now see it too.

The Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki in July 2018 was damaged by the Skripal and Syria fabrications. Trump left that summit friendless, frightened and humiliated. He soon surrendered to the power of the U.S. imperial state as then represented by [Mike] Pompeo and [John] Bolton, who had both been appointed as Secretary of State and National Security Adviser in April 2018 and who really got into their stride after the Helsinki Summit. Pompeo now smoothly dominates Trump's foreign policy.

Self-Inflicted Wounds

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Gage Skidmore)

Finally, let me review the American political casualties over the past two years – self-inflicted wounds – arising from this secret information war against Russia. Let me list them without prejudging guilt or innocence. Slide 20 – Self-inflicted wounds: casualties of anti-Russian information warfare.

Trump's first National Security Adviser, the highly decorated Michael Flynn lost his job after only three weeks, and soon went to jail. His successor H R McMaster lasted 13 months until replaced by John Bolton. Trump's first Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lasted just 14 months until his replacement by Trump's appointed CIA chief (in January 2017) Mike Pompeo. Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon lasted only seven months. Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is now in jail.

Defence Secretary James Mattis lasted nearly two years as Secretary of Defence, and was an invaluable source of strategic stability. He resigned in December 2018. The highly capable Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman lasted just two years: he is resigning next month. John Kelly lasted 18 months as White House Chief of Staff. Less senior figures like George Papadopoulos and Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen both served jail time. The pattern I see here is that people who may have been trying responsibly as senior U.S. officials to advance Trump's initial wish to explore possibilities for detente with Russia – policies that he had advocated as a candidate – were progressively purged, one after another . The anti-Russian U.S. bipartisan imperial state is now firmly back in control. Trump is safely contained as far as Russia is concerned .

Russians do not believe that any serious detente or arms control negotiations can get under way while cold warriors like Pompeo continue effectively to control Trump. There have been other casualties over the past two years of tightening American Russophobia. Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning come to mind. The naive Maria Butina is a pathetic victim of American judicial rigidity and deep state vindictiveness.

False anti-Russian Government narratives emanating from London and Washington may be laughed at in Moscow , but they are unquestioningly accepted in Canberra. We are the most gullible of audiences. There is no critical review. Important contrary factual information and analysis from and about Russia just does not reach Australian news reporting and commentary, nor – I fear – Australian intelligence assessment. We are prisoners of the false narratives fed to us by our senior Five Eyes partners U.S. and UK.

To conclude: Some people may find what I am saying today difficult to accept. I understand this. I now work off open-source information about Russia with which many people here are unfamiliar, because they prefer not to read the diverse online information sources that I choose to read. The seesaw has tilted for me: I have clearly moved a long way from mainstream Western perceptions on Russia-West relations.

Under Trump and Pompeo, as the Syria and Iran crises show, the present risk of global nuclear war by accident or incompetent Western decision-making is as high as it ever was in the Cold War. The West needs to learn again how to dialogue usefully and in mutually respectful ways with Russia and China. This expert knowledge is dying with our older and wiser former public servants and ex-military chiefs.

These remarks were delivered by Tony Kevin at the Independent Scholars Association of Australia in Canberra, Australia on Wednesday.

Watch Tony Kevin interviewed Friday night on CN Live!

Tony Kevin is a retired Australian diplomat who was posted to Moscow from 1969 to 1971, and was later Australia's ambassador to Poland and Cambodia. His latest book is Return to Moscow, published by UWA Publishing.


Bruce , September 17, 2019 at 08:58

Excellent article. It's very interesting to see how the state and its media lackey set the narrative.

Most of this comment relates to the Skripals but also applies to other matters (the Skripals writing was some of Craig Murray's finest work in my opinion). One of the hallmarks of a hoax is a constantly evolving storyline. I think governments have learned from past "mistakes" with their hoaxes/deception where they've given a description of events and then scientists/engineers/chemists etc have come in and criticised their version of events with details and scientific arguments. Nowadays, governments are very reluctant to commit to a version of events, and instead rely on the media (their propaganda assets) to provide a scattergun set of information to muddy the waters and thoroughly confuse the population. The government is then insulated from some of the more bizarre allegations (the headlines of which are absorbed nonetheless), and can blame it on the media (who would use an anonymous government source naturally). Together with classifying just about everything on national security grounds, they can stonewall for as long as they want.

The British are masters of propaganda. They maintained a global empire for a very long time, and the prevailing view (in the west at least) was probably one of tea-drinking cricket playing colonials/gentlemen. But you don't maintain an empire without being absolutely ruthless and brutal. They've been doing this for a very long time.

When we hear something from the BBC or ABC, we should think "State Media".
That's probably why its got a nice folksy nickname of "aunty" .build up the trust.

Leslie Louis , September 17, 2019 at 04:00

Society is suffering the extreme paradox; there is the potential for everyone to have a voice, but the last vestiges of free speech have been whittled away. Fake news is universal, assisted by the fake "left". It is impossible to get published any challenge to even the most outlandish versions of identity politics. As the experience of Tony Kevin exemplifies, all avenues for dissent against hegemonic orthodoxies are closed off.
Disinformation is now an essential weapon in waging hot and cold wars. Cold War historians are well informed on false flags, "black ops", and other organised dirty tactics. I do not know what happened to the Skripals, and while it is legitimate to bear in mind KGB assassinations, despite the enormous resources at its disposal, the English security state has been unable to construct a credible case. Surely scepticism is provoked by the leading role being played by the notorious Bellingcat outfit.

Zenobia van Dongen , September 17, 2019 at 00:29

Here is part of an eyewitness account:
"After the Orange Revolution which began in Kiev, the country was divided literally into two parts -- the supporters of integration with Russia and the supporters of an independent Ukraine. For almost 100 years belonging to the Soviet Union, the propaganda about the assistance and care from our "big brother" Russia, in Ukraine as a whole and the Donbass in particular has borne fruit. At the end of February 2014, some cities of the Southeast part were boiling with mass social and political protest against the new Ukrainian government in defense of the status of the Russian language, voicing separatist and pro-Russian slogans. The division took place in our city of Sloviansk too. Some people stood for separation from Ukraine, while Ukrainian patriots stood for the unity of our country.
On April 12, 2014 our city of Sloviansk in the Donetsk region was seized by Russian mercenaries and local volunteers. From that moment onward, armed assaults on state institutions began. The city police department, the Sloviansk City Hall, the building of the Ukraine Security Service was occupied. Armed militants seized state institutions and confiscated private property. They threatened and beat people, and those who refused to obey were taken away to an unknown destination and people started disappearing. The persecution and abduction of patriotic citizens began."

Michael McNulty , September 16, 2019 at 11:36

Watching Vietnam news coverage as a kid in the '60s I noticed the planes carpet-bombing South East Asia were American, not Russian. And as I only watched the footage and never listened to the commentary (I was waiting for the kids programs that followed) the BS they came out with to explain it all never reached me. I saw with my own eyes what the US really was and is, and always believed growing up they were the belligerent side not Russia. Once the USSR fell it was clear there were no longer any constraints on US excesses.

dean 1000 , September 15, 2019 at 18:17

Doublethink, not to mention doublespeak, is so apt to describe what is happening. If Orwell was writing today it would have to be classified as non-fiction.

Free speech is impossible unless every election district has a radio/TV station where candidates, constituents, and others can debate, discuss and speak to the issues without bending a knee to large campaign contributors or the controllers of corporate or government media. It may start with low-power pirate radio/TV broadcasts. No, the pirate speakers will not have to climb a cell tower to broadcast an opinion to the neighborhood or precinct.
If genuine free speech is going to exist it will start as something unauthorized and unlawful. If it sticks to the facts it will quickly prove its value.

Download a free pdf copy of '1984.' https://www.planetebook.com/free-ebooks/1984.pdf

Njegos , September 15, 2019 at 03:39

Excellent article. The only exhibit missing was reference to Bill Browder's lies. Browder's rubbish has been exposed by intrepid journalists and documentary makers such as Andrei Nekrasov, Sasha Krainer and Lucy Komisar but to read or listen to our media, you'd think BB was some sort of human rights hero. That's because BB's fairy tale fits nicely into the MSM's hatred of Putin and Russia. Debunk Browder and a major pillar of anti-Russia prejudice collapses. Therefore, Browder will never face any serious questions by the MSM.

John A , September 16, 2019 at 09:18

judges of the European Court of Human Rights published a judgement a fortnight ago which utterly exploded the version of events promulgated by Western governments and media in the case of the late Mr Magnitskiy. Yet I can find no truthful report of the judgement in the mainstream media at all.
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/09/the-magnitskiy-myth-exploded/

MSM propaganda by omission. Anything that doesn't fit the government narrative gets zero publicity.

Jim Ingram , September 14, 2019 at 21:12

Well said and needing to be said Tony.

Mr. Dan , September 14, 2019 at 19:41

I have stopped following australian mainstream media including the darlings of the 'left' ABC/SBS over a decade ago, completely. My disgust with their 'coverage' of the 2008 GFC was more than enough. Since 2008-9 things have deteriorated drastically into conspiracy theory propaganda by omission la-la land *it seems*, given I don't tune in at all.

The author has a well supported view. I find it a little naive in him thinking that the MSM has that much power over shaping public opinion in australia.

People who want to be informed do so. The half intelligent conformists on hamster wheel of lifetime mortgage debt have 'careers' to hold onto, so parroting the group think or living in ignorance is much easier. The massive portion of australian racists, inbred bogans and idiots that make up the large LNP, One Nation etc. voting block are completely beyond salvation or ability to process, and critically evaluate any information. The smarter ones drool on about the 'UN Agenda 21' conspiracy at best. Utterly hopeless.

I don't expect things to change as the australian economy is slowly hollowed out by the rich, and the education system (that has always been about conforming, wearing school uniform and regurgitating what the teacher/lecturer says at best) is gutted completely. Welcome to australistan.

Fran Macadam , September 14, 2019 at 19:21

Note that the prohibition against false propaganda to indoctrinate the domestic population by the American government was lifted by President Obama at the tail end of his administration. The Executive Order legalizes all the deceptive behavior Tony itemizes in his article.

Josep , September 17, 2019 at 04:10

I thought it was Reagan who did that by abolishing the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. At least in terms of television and radio (?) broadcasts.

Stephen Morrell , September 14, 2019 at 19:02

Thank you Tony for your thoughtful talk (and interview on CN Live! too).

What's encouraging is this cohort of what might be called 'millennial journalists' coming through willing to do 'shoe-leather' journalism and stand up to smears and flack for revealing uncomfortable facts and truth. They're the online 5th estate holding the 4th to account (to steal Ray McGovern's apt view), and they're congealing against the onslaught.

Some include Max Blumenthal and Rania Kahlek (both now being pilloried by MSM and others for visiting Syrian government held areas and reporting that life isn't hellish as MSM would have everyone believe heaven forbid); Vanessa Bealey who's exposed a lot of White Helmet horrors and false-flag attacks in Syria (and being attacked by all and sundry for exposing the White Helmets in particular); Abby Martin whose Empire Files are excellent and always edifying; Dan Cohen who has written the best expose of the actors behind the Hong Kong rioting and co-authored the best expose of the background of Guaido et al.; Whitney Webb of Mint Press whose series on Epstein is overwhelming and likely a ticking timebomb; Caitlin Johnstone of course; and Aaron 'Buzzsaw' Mate who made his first mark with a wonderful takedown interview of Russiaphobe MI6 shill Luke Harding. Others too of course, with most appearing or having written pieces on CN. John Pilger, Robert Fisk, Greg Palast, et al. won't drop off their twigs disappointed.

This, along with the fact that MSM -- that cowed and compromised fourth estate -- increasingly is held in such laughable contempt by most people under about 50 yr, is highly encouraging indeed. Truth is the new black.

nwwoods , September 15, 2019 at 11:49

The Blogmire is an excellent resource for detailed analysis of the Skripal hoax. The author happens to be a long-time resident of Salisbury, and is intimately familiar with the topography, public services, etc., and a very thorough investigator.

John Wright , September 14, 2019 at 18:35

I'm not surprised that Mr. Kevin is being isolated and shunned by the Australian establishment. Truth and truth tellers are always the first casualties of war. I do hope that his experience will encourage him to increase his resistance to the corrosiveness of mendacious propaganda and those who promulgate it.

Truth is the single best weapon when fighting for a peaceful future.

If Australia is to flourish in the 21st century, it really needs to understand Russia and China, how they relate to each other, and how this key alliance will interface with the rest of the world. Australia and Australians simply cannot afford to get sucked down further by facilitating the machinations of the collapsing Anglo-American Empire. They have served the empire ably and faithfully, but now need to take a cold hard look at reality and realign their long-term interests with the coming global power shift. If not, they could literally find themselves in the middle of an unwinnable and devastating war.

* * *

The first Anglo-American Russian cold war began with the Russian revolution and was only briefly suspended when the West needed the Soviet people to throw themselves in front of the Nazi blitzkrieg in order to save Western Europe. Following their catastrophically costly contribution to the victory on the Continent, the Russians were greeted with an American nuclear salute on their eastern periphery, signalling their return to the diplomatic and economic deep freeze.

While the Anglo-American Empire solidified and extended its hold on the globe, the enlarged but war-ravaged and isolated Soviet Union hunkered down and survived on scraps and sheer will until its collapse in 1989. Declaring the cold war over, and with promises to help their new Russian friends build a prosperous future, the duplicitous West then ransacked their neighbors resources and sold them into debt peonage. The Russians cried foul, the West shrugged and Putin pushed back. Unable to declaw the bear, the west closed the cage door again and the second cold war commenced.

* * *

The first cold war was essentially an offensive war disguised as a defensive war. It enabled the Anglo-American Empire to leverage its post-war advantage and establish near total dominance around the globe through naked violence and monetary hegemony.

Today, with its dominance rapidly slipping away, the Anglo-American Empire is waging a truly defensive cold war. On the home front, they fight to convince their subjects of their eternal exceptionalism with ever more absurd and vile propaganda denigrating their adversaries . Abroad, they disrupt and defraud in a desperate attempt to delay the demise of the PetroDollar ponzi.

The Russians and the Chinese, having both been brutally burned by the Western elites, will not be fooled into abandoning their natural geographic partnership. They are no longer content to sit quietly at the kids' table taking notes. While they may not demand to sit at the head of the table, it is clear that they will insist on a round table, and one that is large enough to include their growing list of friends.

If the Americans don't smash the table, it could be the first of many peaceful pot lucks.

John Read , September 15, 2019 at 02:11

Well said. Great comments. Thanks to Tony Kevin.

Mia , September 14, 2019 at 18:33

Thank you Tony for continuing to shine light on the pathetic propaganda information bubble Australians have been immersed in .. you demonstrate great courage and you are not alone ??

Peter Loeb , September 14, 2019 at 12:58

WITH THANKS TO TONY KEVIN

An excellent article.

There is a lack of comments from some of the common writers upon whose views I often rely.

Personally, I often avoid the very individual responses from websites as I have no way
of checking out previous ideas of theirs. Who funds them? With which organizations are they
affiliated? And so forth and so on.

Peter Loeb, Boston, Massachusetts

Peter Sapo , September 14, 2019 at 10:24

As a fellow Australian, everything Tony Kevin said makes perfect sense. Our mainstream media landscape is designed to distribute propaganda to folk accross the political spectrum. Have you noticed that the ABC regurgitates stories from the BBC? The BBC has a long history (at least since WW2) of supporting government propaganda initiatives. Based on this fact, it is hard to see how ABC and SBS don't do the same when called upon by their minders.

Francis Lee , September 14, 2019 at 09:48

I just wonder where the Anglo-Zionist empire thinks it is going. It should be obvious that any NATO war against Russia involving a nuclear exchange is unwinnable. It seems equally likely the even a conventional war will not necessarily bring the result expected by the assorted 'experts' – nincompoops living in their own fantasy world. The idea that the US can fight a war without the US homeland becoming very much involved basically ended when Putin announced the creation of Russia's set of advanced hypersonic missile system. But this was apparently ignored by the 'defence' establishment. It was not true, it could not possibly be true, or so we were told.

Moreover the cost of such wars involving hundreds of thousands of troops and military hardware are massively expensive and would occasion a massive resistance from the populations affected. It was the wests wars in Korea, and Indo-China that bankrupted the US and led to the US$ being removed from the gold standard. The American military is rapidly consuming the American economy, or at least what is left of it. From a realist foreign policy perspective this is simply madness. Great powers end wars, they don't start them. Great powers are creditor nations, not debtor nations. Such is the realist foreign policy view. But foreign policy realists are few and far between in the Washington Beltway and MIC/NSA Pentagon and US/UK/AUSTRALIAN MSM.

Thus the neo-hubris of the English speaking world is such that if it is followed to its logical conclusion then total annihilation would be the logical outcome. A sad example of not very bright people who face no domestic opposition, believing in their own bullshit:

"American elites proved themselves to be master manipulators of propaganda constructs But the real danger from such manipulations arises not when those manipulations are done out of knowledge of reality, which is distorted for propaganda purposes, but when those who manipulation begin to sincerely believe in their own falsifications and when they buy into their own narrative. They stop being manipulators and they become believers in a narrative. They become manipulated themselves." (Losing Military Supremacy – Andrei, Martyanov)

Or maybe just the whole thing is a bluff. Those policy elites maybe just want to loot the US Treasury for more cash to be put their way.

John Wright , September 15, 2019 at 19:15

The self-serving Israeli Zionists know that the American cow is running dry and their days of freely milking it are coming to an end. They have an historic relationship with Russia and, leveraging their nuclear arsenal, know they can make a deal with the emerging China-Russia-centric global paradigm to extort enough protection to maintain their armed enclave for the foreseeable future. Their no so hidden alliance with the equally sociopathic Saudis will become even more obvious for all to see.

Israel, like China and Russia, knows how to play a long game. Thus, Israel will consolidate its land grab with the just announced expansion into the Jordan Valley and quietly continue as much ethnic cleansing as possible while the rest of the world is preoccupied with the incipient global power shift (True victims of history, the Palestinians have no real friends). While they will bemoan the loss of their muscular American stooge, Israel enjoyed a very lucrative 70 year run and will part with a pile of useful and deadly toys. They're also fully aware that no one else will ever let them take advantage to the degree they've been able to with the U.S.A. (Unlimited Stupidity of Arrogance?)

Eventually, the social schizophrenia that is the state of Israel will catch up with them and they will implode. Let's hope that breakdown doesn't involve the use of their nuclear arsenal.

Yes, the U.S. Treasury will continue to be looted until the last teller turns the lights out or the electricity is shut off, whichever comes first.

The Western transnational financial elites will accept their losses, regroup and make deals with the new bosses where they can; but their days of running the game unopposed are over.

Today is a good day to learn Mandarin (or Russian, if you prefer to live in Europe).

Bill , September 16, 2019 at 03:36

Very well said and I agree with a lot of what you say.

Tiu , September 14, 2019 at 06:01

Won't be too long before writing articles like this will get you busted for "hate-speech" (e.g. anything that is contrary to the official version prescribed by the "democratically elected" government)
https://www.zerohedge.com/political/uk-tony-blair-think-tank-proposes-end-free-speech
Personally I always encourage people to read George Orwell, especially 1984. We're there, and have been for a long time.

geeyp , September 14, 2019 at 01:15

Tony Kevin – Nice rundown of what ails society. You have a fine writing style that gets the point across to the reader. Kudos and cheers.

Michael , September 13, 2019 at 22:34

The 'modernization' of the Smith Mundt Act in 2013 "to authorize the domestic dissemination of information and material [PROPAGANDA] about the United States intended primarily for foreign audiences" was a major nail in the Democracy coffin, consolidating the blatant ruling of the US Police State by our 17 Intelligence Agencies (our betters). The Telecommunications Act of 1996 lead to ownership of (>80%) of our media (the MSM by a handful of owners, all disseminating the same narratives from above (CIA, State Department, FBI etc) and squelching any dissenting views, particularly related to foreign policies.
Tony's article sadly just confirms the depth and breadth of our Global Stasi, with improved, innovative and (mostly) subtle surveillance, and the controlling constant interference with alternate viewpoints and discussions, the real basis for free societies. It is bad enough to be ruled by neoliberal psychopathic hyenas and jackals, soon we won't be able to even bitch about what they are doing.

Tom Kath , September 13, 2019 at 21:42

The most impressive article I have read in a very long time. I congratulate and thank Tony.
I have myself recently addressed the issue of whether it is a virtue to have an "open mind". – The ability to be converted or have your mind changed, or is it the ability to change your own mind ?
Tony Kevin clearly illustrates the difference.

Litchfield , September 13, 2019 at 16:11

Great article.
Please keep writing.
Do start a website, a la Craig Murray.
There are people who are proactively looking for alternative viewpoints and informed analysis.
How about starting a website and publishing some excerpts of your book there?

Or, sell chapters separately by download from your website?
You could also have a discussion blog/forum there.

John Zimmermann , September 13, 2019 at 16:02

Excellent essay. Thanks Mr. Kevin.

rosemerry , September 13, 2019 at 15:37

At least Tony Kevin was an Australian ambassador, not like Mike Morrell and the chosen russop?obes the USA assumes are needed as diplomats!! Now he is treated as Stephen Cohen is- a true expert called "controversial" as he dares to go by real facts and evidence, not prejudice.

If instead of enemies, the West could consider getting to understand those they are wary of, and give them a chance to explain their point of view and actually listen and reflect on it.
(Dmitri Peskov valiantly explained the Russian official response as soon as the "Skripal poisoning" story broke, but it was fully ignored by UK/US media, while all of Theresa May's fanciful imaginings were respectfully relayed to the public).

geeyp , September 14, 2019 at 23:26

As you usually are with your comments, you are spot on again, rosemerry.

Martin - Swedish citizen , September 13, 2019 at 14:46

Excellent article!
I find the mechanics of how the propaganda is spread and the illusion upheld the most important part of this article, since this knowledge is required to counter it.
When (not if) the fraud becomes more common knowledge, our societies are likely to tumble.

Pablo Diablo , September 13, 2019 at 14:45

Whoever controls the media, controls the dialogue.
Whoever controls the dialogue, controls the agenda.

peter mcloughlin , September 13, 2019 at 13:40

' The present risk of global nuclear war is as high as it ever was in the Cold War.' And possibly higher. The Cold War, though dangerous, was the peace. The world has experienced periods of peace (or relative peace) throughout history. The Thirty Years Peace between the two Peloponnesian Wars, Pax Romana, Europe in the 19th century after the Congress of Vienna, to name a few. The Congress System finally collapsed in 1914 with the start of World War One. That conflict was followed by the League of Nations. It did not stop World War Two. That was followed by the United Nations and other post-war institutions. But all the indications are they will not prevent a third world war. The powers that are leading us towards conflagration see this as a re-run of the first Cold War. They are dangerously mistaken.
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

Guy , September 13, 2019 at 13:21

With so many believing the lies ,how will this mess ever come to light . I don't reside in Australia but anywhere in the Western world the shakedown is the same .In my own house ,the discussion on world politics descends into absolute stupidity . As one can't get past the constant programming that has settled in the minds of the comfortable with the status quo of lies by our media. There are intelligent sources of news sources but none get past the absolutely complete control of MSM.So the bottom line is ,for now ,the lies and liars are winning the propaganda war.

Anton Antonovich , September 13, 2019 at 13:16

He speaks the truth. Liars and dissemblers have won over the minds and hearts of so many lazy shameful citizens who will not accept the truth Tony Kevin wants to share with the world.

junaid , September 13, 2019 at 13:08

Washington resumes military assistance to Kyiv. According to American lawmakers, Ukraine is fighting one of the main enemies. "Contain Russia": what the US pays for Ukraine

"Contain Russia": what the US pays for Ukraine

Lily , September 13, 2019 at 23:42

The Pentagon is using the Ukrainian territory for experiments on chemical weapons.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3T9ktfz_FfA

John A , September 14, 2019 at 06:55

Anyone or article who spells Kiev as Kyiv can be safely ignored as western anti-Russia propaganda. It's a true tell.

Robert Edwards , September 13, 2019 at 12:53

The Cold war is totally manufacture to keep the dollars flowing into the MIC – what a sham . and a disgrace to humanity.

Cavaleiro Marginal , September 13, 2019 at 12:52

"The key tools are repetition of messages, and diversification of trusted voices. Once a critical mass is created of people believing a false narrative, the lie locks in: its dissemination becomes self-sustaining."

This had occurred in Brazil since the very first day of Lula's presidency. Eleven years late, 2013, a color revolution began. Nobody (and I mean REALLY nobody) could realize a color revolution was happening at that time. In 2016, Dilma Rousseff was kicked from power throughout a ridiculous and illegal coup perpetrated by the parliament. In 2018 Lula was imprisoned in an Orwellian process; illegal, unconstitutional, with nothing (REALLY nothing) proved against him. Then a liar clown was elected to suppress democracy

I knew on the news that in Canada and Australia the police politely (how civilized ) went to some journalist's homes to have a chat this year. Canadians and Aussies, be aware. The fascism's dog is a policial state very well informed by the propaganda they call news.

Robert Fearn , September 13, 2019 at 12:48

As a Canadian author who wrote a book about various tragic American government actions, like Vietnam, I can relate to the difficulties Tony has had with his book. I would mail my book, Amoral America, from Canada to other countries, like the US, and it would never arrive. Book stores would not handle it, etc. etc.

Josep , September 17, 2019 at 05:21

Not to disagree, but some years ago I read about anecdotes of anti-Americanism in Canada, coming from both USians and Canadians, whether it be playful banter or legitimate criticism. I believe it is more concentrated among the people than among the governmental elites (with the exception of the Iraq War era when both the people and the government were against it). And considering what you describe in your book and the difficulty you've faced in distributing it abroad, maybe the said people are on to something.

Stephen , September 13, 2019 at 11:44

This interview by Abby Martin with Mark Ames is a little dated but is a fairly accurate history. I post it to try and counter the nonsense.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7HwvFyMg7A

All the empire wants is to do it all again.

Jeremy Kuzmarov , September 13, 2019 at 10:33

Outstanding article and analysis. Thank you Sir! Jeremy Kuzmarov

Jeff Harrison , September 13, 2019 at 10:17

Thank you, sir. A far better peroration than I could have produced but what I have concluded nonetheless.

Skip Scott , September 13, 2019 at 10:10

Fantastic article. Left unmentioned is the origin of the west's anti-Russia narrative. Russia was being pillaged by the west under Yeltsin, and Russia was to become our newest vassal. Life expectancy dropped a full decade for the average Russian under Yeltsin. The average standard of living dropped dramatically as well. Putin reversed all that, and enjoys massive popular support as a result. The Empire will never tolerate a national leader who works for the benefit of the average citizen. It must be full-on rape, pillage and plunder- OR ELSE. Keep that in mind as we watch the latest theatrical performances by our DNC controlled "Commander in Chief" wannabes.

Realist , September 17, 2019 at 05:48

?The ongoing success of the "Great Lie" (that Washington is protecting the entire world from
anarchy perpetrated by a few bad actors on the global stage) and all of its false narrative subtexts
(including but far from limited to the Maidan, Crimea, Donbass, MH-17, the Skripals, gassing
"one's own people," piracy on the high Mediterranean, etc) just underscores how successful was
the false flag operation known as 9-11, even as the truth of that travesty is slowly being
unraveled by relentless truth-seekers applying logic and the scientific method to the problem.
Most Americans today would gladly concur, if queried, that Osama bin Laden was most certainly
a perfidious tool of Russia and its diabolical leader, Mr. Putin (be sure to call him "Vlad," to
conjure up images of Dracula for effect). The Winston Smith's are rare birds in America or in
any of its reliable vassal states. Never mind that the spooks from Langley (and the late
"chessmaster") concocted and orchestrated all these tales from the crypt.

Lily , September 13, 2019 at 07:54

Great summary of the developement of a new cold war. The narrative of the Mainstream Media is dangerous as well as laughable. I am glad to hear the Russian reaction to this bullshit propaganda. As often the people are so much wiser than their government – at least in the West.

During the Football WM a famous broadcaster of the German State TV channel ARD, who is a giftet propagandist, regrettet publicly the difficulty to convince the stubborn Germans to look at Russia as an enemy because they have started to look at Russia as a friend long ago.

Contrary to the people and the big firms who are completely against the sanctions against Russia and 100 % pro Northstream the German government with Chancelor Merkel is one of the top US vassalles. Even the Green Party which started as an environmental and peace party are now against North Stream and in favour of the filthy US fracking gas thanks to NATO propaganda although Russia has never let them down. Most of "Die Grünen" party have been turned into fervent friends of our American occupants which is very sad.

Thank you Tony Kevin. It has been great to read your article. I cant wait to read your book 'Return to Moscow' and to watch your interview on CN Live.

Godfree Roberts , September 13, 2019 at 07:37

Good summary of the status quo. From my experience of writing similarly about China, precisely the same policies and forces are at work.

The good news is that they are failing.

junaid , September 13, 2019 at 07:15

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the end of the war in Syria and the country's return to a state of peace. "Syria is returning to normal life": Lavrov announced the end of the war

"Syria is returning to normal life": Lavrov announced the end of the war

Gezzah Potts , September 13, 2019 at 05:47

You hit several nails squarely on the head with your excellent article Tony. Thank you for the truth of how the media is in Australia. It is indeed chilling where all this is leading. The blatant lies just spewed out as fact by both ABC and SBS. They, in my opinion are nothing but stenographers for the Empire, of which Australia is a fully subservient vassal state, with no independence.
I try to boycott all Australian presstitutes . Oops, I mean 'media' now. Occasionally, I do slip up and watch SBS or The Drum or News on ABC.
Virtually all my news comes from independent news sites like this one.
I have been accused of being a 'Putin lover', a Russian troll, a conspiracy theorist, while people I know have claimed that "Putin is a monster whose murdered millions of people".
On and on this crap goes. And the end result? Ask Stephen Cohen. Things are very surreal now. Sadly, you've been made an Unperson Tony.

Robyn , September 13, 2019 at 04:08

Bravo, Tony, great article. I enjoyed your book and recommend it to CN readers who haven't yet read it.

The world looks entirely different when one stops reading/watching the MSM and turns to CN, Caitlin Johnstone and many others who are doing a sterling job.

Cascadian , September 13, 2019 at 03:52

I don't know which is worse, to not know what you are (reliably uninformed) and be happy, or to become what you've always wanted to be (reliably informed) and feel alone.

Realist , September 14, 2019 at 00:19

Knowing the truth has always seemed paramount to me, even if it means realising that the entire world and all in it are damned, and deliberately by our own actions. Hope is always the last part of our essence to die, or so they say: maybe we will somehow be redeemed through our own self-immolation as a species.

Deb , September 13, 2019 at 02:54

As an Australian I have no difficulty accepting what Tony Kevin has said here. He should do what Craig Murray has done start a website.

[Sep 17, 2019] Danger in the Gulf What the Attack on Saudi Arabian Oil Means for America by Alireza Ahmadi

Pompeo is just MIC lobbyst who got position of the Secretary of State due to Trump incompetence of pressure from donors like Adelson. Nothing good can come from this strange choice of warmonger and neocon hawk, not that different from Hillary Clinton.
Notable quotes:
"... It may be that U.S. military assets in the Persian Gulf region have gone from being an intimidating tool of American coercion to a strategic vulnerability. ..."
"... The first priority was to deny the Iranian leadership resources. Previous administration taken a different approach. It said olly olly oxen free, here's all the money you can possibly stand to build out your terror campaign, to build your nuclear weapons system, to take nuclear physicists, all of the things that money can deliver – terror against Israel out of Hizballah and from Syria. Our – the first proposition for our campaign was to deny wealth and resources for the Iranian leadership, and it has been enormously successful in doing so. You can see it. Hizballah is passing the tin cup. ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

It may be that U.S. military assets in the Persian Gulf region have gone from being an intimidating tool of American coercion to a strategic vulnerability.

For hawks like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, American power, as the Bolshevik adage goes, cannot fail, it can only be failed. For many of his ilk, the superiority of American power means the willingness to project it is the only thing needed to earn the capitulation of foes and the only way America loses is if it chooses to relent. Donald Trump, however, watched George W. Bush's presidency burn in the Iraq war and is unlikely to embrace the chaos of war heading into an election year. President Trump would be wise to heed the lessons of the most recent volatile security episode in the Persian Gulf region, especially as it pertains to his administration's campaign against Tehran.

... ... ...

Without the basic ability to guard against even crude air assets, any notion of the United States empowering its regional network to dictate terms to Iranian allies with military action seems impractical. The credibility of U.S. anti-missile capabilities were already in question . For Saudi Arabia and hawks inside the U.S. government, the notion that a tribal force like the Houthis could reach into their territory and engage in this kind of tactical action is militarily embarrassing and practically discrediting from a policy standpoint.

...If it is conceivable that Iranian cruise missiles -- the newest and least tested section of Iran's missile fleet -- flew across the militarized Persian Gulf and evaded both Saudi and American sensors and air-defenses to hit an oil facility, then how much safer are U.S. forces in the region?

...Add to this the survivability and precision that Pompeo is now attributing to Iranian missiles and the conclusion very well may be that U.S. military assets in the Persian Gulf region have gone from being an intimidating tool of American coercion to a strategic vulnerability.

... ... ...

Pompeo has been on a months-long media campaign promoting, among other things, what he describes as the success of the "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran. But Pompeo's primary argument for the success of the anti-Iran efforts centers on the narrative that U.S. sanctions have severely damaged Iran's alliance network in the region. Consider the way he framed the issue to a right-wing talk show host in July:

The first priority was to deny the Iranian leadership resources. Previous administration taken a different approach. It said olly olly oxen free, here's all the money you can possibly stand to build out your terror campaign, to build your nuclear weapons system, to take nuclear physicists, all of the things that money can deliver – terror against Israel out of Hizballah and from Syria. Our – the first proposition for our campaign was to deny wealth and resources for the Iranian leadership, and it has been enormously successful in doing so. You can see it. Hizballah is passing the tin cup.

...The attack on the Saudi refiner disrupted Pompeo's public victory lap in a particularly bright and striking way.

... ... ...

Simply put, Washington's hopes to stop Iran from supporting its allies by pressing the Iranian economy is unlikely to work. Iran's support for its alliance network is largely dismissed in Washington as a frivolous imperial project that Iran can simply choose to abandon. But for Iran, its non-state allies are a core national-security issue and will, therefore, be prioritized in budgetary considerations especially when tensions are high. Iran's support for non-state actors, like Hezbollah, are also not financially intensive and therefore can continue under sanctions.

Alireza Ahmadi is a researcher and analyst focused on U.S. foreign policy towards the Middle East. His work has been published by the National Interest , The Hill and Al-Monitor . Follow him on Twitter @AliAhmadi_Iran.

[Sep 17, 2019] Washington's rush to indict Iran over Saudi attacks

Notable quotes:
"... Wall Street Journal, ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | www.wsws.org

Casting itself once again as the world's judge, jury and executioner, US imperialism is recklessly hurtling toward yet another war in the Middle East, with catastrophic implications. This time, Washington has seized upon Saturday's attacks on Saudi installations as its pretext for war against Iran.

The reaction of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to these attacks, which have cut the kingdom's oil production by almost half and slashed global daily output by 6 percent, was as noteworthy for its haste as for its peculiar wording.

"Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply," Pompeo tweeted late Saturday, adding, "There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen."

This image provided on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, by the U.S. government and DigitalGlobe and annotated by the source, shows damage to the infrastructure at Saudi Aramco's Abaqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. (U.S. government/Digital Globe via AP)

The indictment of Iran for attacks that set off a series of fires which devastated two oil facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia came without a shred of supporting evidence, outside of the bald assertion that there was "no evidence" that they were launched from Yemen.

Yemen had to be discounted, according to the secretary of state's predatory logic, because the Houthi rebels, who control most of the country, had claimed responsibility for the attacks and had a clear motive -- given the kingdom's near-genocidal war against Yemen's civilian population -- for carrying them out. The US mass media has by and large echoed Pompeo's allegations as absolute truth. On Monday night, television news broadcasts quoted unnamed intelligence sources, citing unspecified evidence, claiming Iranian responsibility for the attacks. No doubt this "evidence" will prove just as compelling as that of the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam and "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq. These same media outlets have made virtually no mention of Saudi crimes in Yemen.

For the last four and a half years, Saudi Arabia has waged a near-genocidal war against Yemen, the Middle East's poorest country. The violence has claimed the lives of nearly 100,000 Yemenis outright -- the greatest share through a relentless bombing campaign against civilian targets -- while pushing some 8 million more to the brink of starvation.

Washington is a direct accomplice in this bloodbath, providing the warplanes, bombs and missiles used to carry it out, along with logistical support and, until the end of last year, mid-air refueling that allowed Saudi bombers to carry out uninterrupted carnage. Meanwhile, the US Navy has helped enforce a blockade that has starved Yemen of food and medicine.

If what the Yemeni Houthis say is true, that they sent a swarm of 10 weaponized drones to attack the Saudi facilities, then the action was clearly an act of self-defense, far less than proportionate to the slaughter inflicted by the Saudi regime against Yemen.

Meanwhile, Washington's new ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, repeated the charges against Iran on Monday before a United Nations Security Council meeting on Yemen. Providing no more proof than Pompeo did two days earlier, merely repeating the formulation that "there is no evidence that the attacks came from Yemen," she described the damage to the Saudi oil installations as "deeply troubling."

Like the government she represents, the UN ambassador -- the wife of billionaire Kentucky coal baron Joe Craft and a top Republican donor -- clearly finds the spilt oil of the Saudi monarchy far more upsetting than the spilt blood of tens of thousands of Yemeni men, women and children.

On Saturday night, President Donald Trump made a call to Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, the kingdom's de facto ruler, offering his condolences and unqualified support to a man exposed as a cold-blooded murderer. Bin Salman is responsible not only for the grisly assassination and dismemberment of the Washington-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul nearly a year ago, but also the beheadings of at least 134 people in just the first half of this year, 34 of them political activists slaughtered en masse on April 23.

Trump subsequently announced that the US was "locked and loaded" to avenge Saudi oil with military force. (This was a variation on his assertion in June that the Pentagon had been "cocked and loaded" when he came, by his own account, within 10 minutes of launching devastating attacks on Iran after it shot down an unmanned US spy drone over its territory.)

If there is, as Washington claims, "no evidence" that the attacks were launched from Yemen, one could, with equal if not greater justification, observe that there is likewise "no evidence" that they were not launched by the US itself, or by its principal regional ally, Israel.

If one proceeds from the age-old detective maxim of Cui bono? or "Who benefits?", Tehran is the least likely suspect. There is clearly more to Washington's rush to judgment than meets the eye.

The attack on the Saudi oil facilities provides a casus belli desired by a major section of the US ruling oligarchy and its military and intelligence apparatus, which is determined to prosecute a war for regime change in Iran. Such a war would be the latest installment in Washington's protracted drive to reverse by military means the decline of US imperialism's global hegemony, in particular by claiming unfettered US control over the world's energy reserves and the power to deny them to its rivals.

The thinking within these layers was expressed in an editorial published Monday by the Wall Street Journal, the mouthpiece of US finance capital. The Journal warned that Iran was "probing Mr. Trump as much as the Saudis." It continued, "They are testing his resolve to carry out his 'maximum pressure' campaign, and they sense weakness." It pointed disapprovingly to Trump's failure to launch airstrikes in June following the downing of the US drone.

The Journal approvingly cited calls by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham for bombing Iranian oil refineries in order to "break the regime's back" and suggested that Trump "apologize to John Bolton, who warned repeatedly that Iran would take advantage of perceived weakness in the White House." Bolton, a long-time advocate of bombing Iran, resigned as Trump's national security adviser last week, reportedly over differences on policy toward Tehran.

The attack on the Saudi oil facilities also provides leverage for Washington in corralling the Western European powers -- the UK, France and Germany -- behind US war aims. Signatories to the Iranian nuclear accord that the Trump administration renounced, they have made feeble gestures toward countering Washington's "maximum pressure" sanctions regime in an attempt to salvage their own imperialist interests. While thus far failing to endorse US charges of Iranian responsibility, they could, by means of the attack on Saudi Arabia, be swung behind the US drive to war.

Israel and its beleaguered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also have ample motive to stage a military action aimed at provoking war with Iran. On the eve of Tuesday's Israeli election, the threat of a major war with Iran serves the political interests of Netanyahu, whose political fortunes are inextricably tied to the escalation of military conflict in the Middle East. The Israeli state, moreover, had become increasingly concerned over an apparent cooling of the appetite of the ruling monarchies in both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for a confrontation with Iran.

Recent drone strikes against Shia militias in Iraq that had allegedly received Iranian weapons were, according to a report by the web site Middle East Eye, staged by Israeli drones operating out of bases controlled by the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the main US proxy force in Syria. A similar covert US-Israeli collaboration could easily have produced the attacks on the Saudi oil installations.

Whatever the exact circumstances of the attacks on the Saudi oil facilities, they are being exploited for the purpose of dragging the American people and all of humanity into a war that can rapidly escalate into a regionwide and even global conflagration.

US strikes against Iran carried out under the pretext of retaliation for the attacks on Saudi Arabia can trigger Iranian counterstrikes, sending US warships to the bottom of the Persian Gulf and wreaking havoc on American military bases throughout the region.

The prospect of thousands of US soldiers and sailors dying as a result of Washington's conspiracies and aggression carries with it the threat of the US government assuming emergency powers and implementing police-state measures in the US itself in the name of "national security."

This would, by no means, be an unintended consequence. The buildup to war is driven in large measure by the escalation of social tensions and class struggle within the United States itself, which has found fresh expression in the strike by 46,000 autoworkers against General Motors. There is a powerful incentive for the US ruling class to direct these tensions outward in the eruption of military conflict, while creating the pretext for mass repression.

The threat of a US assault on Iran paving the way to a third world war must be answered through a politically conscious and independent intervention of the working class to put an end to imperialism and reorganize society on socialist foundations.

Bill Van Auken

[Sep 17, 2019] The latest warmonger's lie to start a war with Iran

Notable quotes:
"... @Fishtroller 02 ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

gjohnsit on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 3:10pm Remember in 2002 when the neocons in Washington told us that we had to attack Iraq because of 9/11, eventhough Iraq had nothing to do with it?

So now Iran is being blamed for the attack on Saudi oil fields, and anonymous warmongers claim that they have proof.

The United States has identified the exact locations in Iran from which a combination of more than 20 drones and cruise missiles were launched against Saudi oil facilities over the weekend, a senior U.S. official told CBS News national security correspondent David Martin on Tuesday. The official said the locations are in southern Iran, at the northern end of the Persian Gulf.

What a coincidence! That also happens to be around Iran's major oil fields.
What's more, the Saudi air defenses would have stopped it if it came from Yemen.

Saudi Arabia's air defenses have been aimed south for months, to protect against missile attacks launched by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, so they were useless against the missiles and drones coming in from the north, the official told Martin.

Let's put a pin in that for now.
Washington immediately dismissed the Houthi's claim of responsibility for the attack. Why? Because the Houthis don't have the knowledge or the means to carry it out.

But U.S. officials have cast doubt on the Houthis’ claim, arguing that the sophisticated nature of the attack suggested that it was beyond the capabilities of the rebel group.

The NY Times is even more direct.

Analysts say this is what the Houthis appear to have used to hit the Abha International Airport in southern Saudi Arabia a few months ago. But the Quds 1 lacks the range to get from northern Yemen to the oil installations in Saudi Arabia.

The range, scale and precision of the latest attack — including the successful penetration of Saudi air defenses and the avoidance of obstacles like power lines and communication towers — far exceeds anything the Houthis have ever done.

So it's all wrapped up. The Houthis aren't capable of doing it, and we have proof that Iran did it. We just can't show it to you.

It makes a good story if you have no long-term memory.
Because this happened less than a month ago.


A drone attack launched by Yemen’s Houthi group on an oilfield in eastern Saudi Arabia on Saturday caused a fire at a gas plant but had no impact on oil production, state-run oil company Saudi Aramco said.

A Houthi military spokesman said earlier that the group had targeted the Shaybah oilfield with 10 drones, in what he said was the “biggest attack in the depths” of the kingdom, the world’s top oil exporter, by the Iran-aligned group.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih described Shaybah as a “vital facility”.

That oilfield is 900 kilometres away from Yemen.
Literally everything about this Houthi attack is the same as Saturday's attack, except for fewer explosions. So what the fuck is the NY Times talking about?

To make this even more interesting, I happened upon this report by the UAE following the Houthi attack from last month.

The report also reveals critical Saudi defence weaknesses to the weaponised drones used by the Houthis.

It reports that from January to May there were 155 such attacks against Saudi targets in Yemen and throughout the Gulf, a much higher figure than previously admitted.

“The attack on the Lahj Military Base demonstrates a weakness in Saudi air defences and the lack of capacity in electronic war if we take into account that these drones are basic and are not launched on tarmac,” the report says.

“Air defences such as the Patriot are not capable of spotting these drones because the systems are designed to intercept long and medium range Scud missiles.”

Najran airport has been hit repeatedly by Houthi drones despite being protected by a Patriot battery, the report reveals.

155 drone attacks? U.S. Patriot missiles unable to detect and stop them?
Why that sounds a lot different than what we are being told.

Recall that the Houthis had brought down a U.S. drone just a few weeks ago. That was the second U.S. drone they shot down just this summer.
Recall that the Houthis have been hitting Riyadh with missiles for over a year.

All the evidence points to the Houthis being more than capable of not just being responsible for this attack, but for repeating this attack in a matter of weeks Mark F. McCarty

Fishtroller 02 on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 4:06pm

Because the US has now pissed off all of Europe

and probably most of the UN, they are going to have a harder time getting anyone on board the Pompeo Holy War train. We are going to have to show our allies totally verifiable evidence that Iran lobbed those drones, and it looks like we can't do that.

Probably because they didn't do it! And once that starts looking clear to the world, the last remnants of US credibility will fly away for good.

gjohnsit on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 4:23pm
It's been more than four days

@Fishtroller 02

We are going to have to show our allies totally verifiable evidence that Iran lobbed those drones, and it looks like we can't do that.

If we had proof it was Iran we would have shown it to someone by now.
Aren't we monitoring the airspace around Iran?

And what is Iran's motivation?
It's not worth the risk for Iran if they were caught.

OTOH, if Iran gives the weapons to the Houthis...that makes a Hell of a lot more sense.

and probably most of the UN, they are going to have a harder time getting anyone on board the Pompeo Holy War train. We are going to have to show our allies totally verifiable evidence that Iran lobbed those drones, and it looks like we can't do that.

Probably because they didn't do it! And once that starts looking clear to the world, the last remnants of US credibility will fly away for good.

[Sep 17, 2019] Meddling schmeddling by PaulR

Notable quotes:
"... dezinformatziia, active measures ..."
"... active measures ..."
"... "We vote for one party which is 100% anti-Russian rather than for another party which is 100% anti-Russian? Is that the point? Because here in Canada, that's basically the choice on offer [A]t the end of the day we're still going to end up electing somebody determined to prove that he or she is more anti-Russian that the next guy or girl. " ..."
"... For Heaven's sake, the worst country for meddling in other nations' internal affairs is the US, by far! With respect to the Arctic, both Canada and Russia signed the Treaty of the Sea, under which various challenges to ownership of the seabed are settled by the terms of the treaty. The US, of course didn't sign it. Why would they when they sincerely believe that their impressive military can just grab whatever pieces of the Arctic they want. ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | irrussianality.wordpress.com

September 10, 2019

15 Comments

You may have missed it in the all the excitement around the world, but Canada has a general election coming up in October. As you know, elections equal Russian meddling. They're when our Eastern friends pull out all their computer bots, fire up their trolls, and start spreading shedloads of disinformation in order to confuse and disorientate us, so that we lose our faith in democracy and then we we well I'm not sure what we're meant to do then; the ultimate aim of it all rather defeats me. We vote for one party which is 100% anti-Russian rather than for another party which is 100% anti-Russian? Is that the point? Because here in Canada, that's basically the choice on offer. Those pesky Russkies can confuse us all they like with their dezinformatziia, active measures , and maskirovka , but at the end of the day we're still going to end up electing somebody determined to prove that he or she is more anti-Russian that the next guy or girl. Meddling, schmeddling – it's not going to make a blind bit of difference to the result.

None of this stops the fearmongers, however, and so it was that yesterday the Canadian press was happily quoting a new report from the University of Calgary, saying that, 'Russia could meddle in Canada's election due to "growing interest" in Arctic'. Now, I've been saying for a while now that these worries are exaggerated, but for some reason 'Professor at University of Ottawa says it's a load of nonsense' doesn't generate any headlines, whereas 'part-time lecturer in Calgary says it's so' is national news. Well, so be it. We all know that the press has its biases. So rather than rely on the media, I thought I'd better check out what the report in question actually has to say, and it turns out that it's not quite what you'd imagine, at least not entirely.

The report is written by one Sergey Sukhankin who is said to be 'a Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation' in Washington DC, and to be currently 'teaching at the University of Alberta and MacEwan University (Edmonton)'. According to his Linkedin page, he has a 3 month contract to teach a single course at the former, and a 9 month contract as a lecturer in the latter. He's also listed as an 'Associate Expert at the International Center for Policy Studies (Kyiv).' Anyway, he starts off his report encouragingly enough by declaring that he aims 'to give a more balanced and nuanced picture of the situation, particularly with regard to Canada', and it is a 'tactical error to label as disinformation or propaganda every news item emanating from Russia. This creates the perception of a Russian disinformation machine that is much more powerful than it really is.' Personally, I would say that it's not a 'tactical error', it's just plain wrong, but at least Sukhankin isn't trying to overdo things. But this praiseworthy restraint doesn't mean that he wants us to let down our guard. No, he says, 'the peril is real', 'the West must stick to confronting the Kremlin', and (and this is the bit which got the headlines):

The Kremlin has a growing interest in dominating the Arctic, where it sees Russia as in competition with Canada. This means Canada can anticipate escalations in information warfare Perceived as one of Russia's chief adversaries in the Arctic region, Canada is a prime target in the information wars, with Russia potentially even meddling in the October 2019 federal election.

There's a leap of logic here which I must admit I failed to understand. Why does 'competition' in the Arctic 'mean' that Canada 'can anticipate escalations in information warfare', let alone 'meddling' in the election? Why does the one necessarily lead to the other? I don't see it. It would only make sense if the second part (the meddling) helped achieve some objectives in the first part (competition in the Arctic) but Sukhankin doesn't show how they would. He just connects two unconnected things. But we'll get back to the Arctic a little later. For now, let's return to the report.

This essentially has two parts. The first is a fairly standard summary of the general argument that Russia is engaged in some sort of information war designed to undermine the West from within. It makes reference to the normal vocabulary of Soviet active measures and the like, as well as to the conventional list of sources, such as Peter Pomerantseve, Michael Weiss, and Edward Lucas (not the most reliable types in my opinion). In short, it doesn't add anything new. By contrast, the second part, which specifically focuses on alleged Russian information operations against Canada, is much more interesting.

Russian disinformation about Canada, says Sukhankin, is centred on four themes:

  1. 'Canada as a safe haven of russophobia and (neo)fascism.
  2. 'Canada as part of the colonial forces in the Baltic Sea region'.
  3. 'Canada as Washington's useful satellite'.
  4. 'Canada as a testing ground for the practical implementation of immoral Western values.'

The extent to which these could all be called 'disinformation' is debatable ('Canada as Washington's useful satellite' doesn't seem entirely inaccurate to me). But the key point Sukhankin makes is that these themes reflect the Russian government's own internal, domestic political priorities – i.e. its desire to convince its own citizens that its policies are right, by means of discrediting others. In general, says Sukhankin, Russian propaganda targets 'the following audiences, prioritized from the greatest to the smallest'.

Canada, therefore, falls into the lowest priority of targets. This reflects the fact that, as Sukhankin says, 'Russians don't see Canada as a fully independent political actor'. To be frank, we're not high on Russia's information war hitlist. The Russian government doesn't care that much about us, and it cares even less about our internal politics. Consequently, says Sukhankin, while the Russian media and social media do publish anti-Canadian stories, the point of them isn't to 'meddle' in Canadian internal affairs. Rather, he says, in what to me is the most crucial statement in his report:

Russia's anti-Canadian propaganda, which still plays a marginal part compared to other theatres, is primarily tailored for domestic Russian consumption – it is not designed for a Canadian audience. [my underlining]

Here, therefore, we run into a huge problem. We're told to fear the genuine 'peril' of Russian disinformation, and Russian 'meddling' in Canada's election, but we're also told that Russia doesn't actually care very much about Canadian internal affairs and that in any case Russian disinformation isn't targeted at Canadians. It seems to me that you can't have it both ways. If it's not targeted at Canadians, then it doesn't constitute meddling, interference, or anything else of the sort. The logical conclusion of Sukhankin's analysis is that we should calm down a little and stop worrying so much.

That, however, would not fit with the current zeitgeist . Although his logic points him in one direction, Sukhankin apparently feels a desperate need to nonetheless throw in something about the dangers of Russian interference in Canadian internal affairs. So all of a sudden, completely out of the blue, and unconnected with anything else, in his final paragraph he suddenly throws in a quotation from the head of that most neutral of trustworthy academic sources, the head of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Alexandra Chiczij, saying that, 'The Kramlin's propaganda machine will increasingly target our country with anti-Canadian fabrications in an attempt to sow discord, conflict, and to undermine our democratic institutions.' Sukhankin then adds that this might happen 'during the 2019 Canadian federal election.' No evidence to support this claim – which is entirely at odds which everything which preceded it – is produced. Why would Russia suddenly become so interested in Canadian internal affairs? Sukhankin thinks he has an answer, 'from this author's point of view, Moscow's next theme could be the Arctic', he says. But since this is his last paragraph, he doesn't have time to develop this thought. As I said, it just comes out of the blue.

It's also rather odd. As I said earlier, it's not at all clear why interfering in Canada's election (exactly how, Sukhankin never makes clear) would promote Russia's interests in the Arctic. But more than that it ignores the nature of Russian-Canadian Arctic politics. In my conversations with both Canadian and Russian officials, the Arctic is always mentioned as a zone of cooperation rather than competition. In an era when Canadian and Russian diplomats barely talk to each other, the Arctic is the one subject they both think it's actually possible to discuss in a constructive manner. Conversations about how to improve Canada-Russia relations generally take the form of something like, 'Let's not aim too high. Let's just take little steps, and focus on areas where agreement is possible, especially the Arctic'. To pick on the Arctic as the subject likely to provoke Russia (for purposes unknown) to 'meddle' in Canada's oncoming election (by means and to effect unknown) seems to me to completely misread the situation.

In short, what we have here is a report which tells us that Canada doesn't matter much to Russians, and that to date Russians have shown little or no interest in targeting Canadian public opinion, let alone interfering in Canadian politics, and yet which nonetheless concludes that we face the 'peril' of Moscow 'potentially even meddling in the October 2019 federal election'. I don't know about you, but that doesn't make any sense to me.

  1. Mitleser says: September 10, 2019 at 3:00 pm "4. Canada as a testing ground for the practical implementation of immoral Western values.'"

    Reminds me of one of the comments to an another article of yours.

    " Canada has generally been the test case for new features of this "western universalism," and, as a peripheral resource-based economy tightly tied into globalized value-chains, we have often been intellectually colonized by liberal-internationalist views (for good and ill). Unlike Russia, as we are small in population and sit next to the US, we have rarely had the capacity (or the will) to resist US-led "universalism," but our analysis when we have tried has been much the same as Remizov's ."
    https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2017/11/02/interview-with-mikhail-remizov/#comment-6953

    Like Like Reply

  2. Mao Cheng Ji says: September 10, 2019 at 3:46 pm "in order to confuse and disorientate us"

    May I ask: do you, Canadians, typically say " disorientate ", in the British manner? Or was it your British identity speaking?

    Anyhow. I envy the hack who thought of "sow discord". I love it. It's so biblical: "he that soweth discord among brethren."

    Clearly, it could only be SATAN.

  1. dewittbourchier says: September 10, 2019 at 4:13 pm We should not be surprised at how febrile things are.

    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/01/the-real-story-behind-the-havana-embassy-mystery

    Quite literally US diplomats in Cuba, and with them many US policymakers and journalistic organisations descended into mass hysteria about Cicadas.

  1. Alex Kramer says: September 10, 2019 at 6:35 pm Makes sense to me as both Canadian academia and media are full of dipshit Russophobes.
  1. Karl Kolchak says: September 10, 2019 at 8:22 pm If Russia wants the weakest possible Canada, wouldn't it be in their interests to see a feckless little poodle like Trudeau remain as PM?
  1. Lyttenburgh says: September 11, 2019 at 5:21 am "We vote for one party which is 100% anti-Russian rather than for another party which is 100% anti-Russian? Is that the point? Because here in Canada, that's basically the choice on offer [A]t the end of the day we're still going to end up electing somebody determined to prove that he or she is more anti-Russian that the next guy or girl. "

    [WARNING/ATTENTION/УВАГА!]

    This is very lowbrow, but relevant

    Now, on a more serious note – about propacondom Sergey Sukhankin (formerly from Kaliningrad oblast, RF).

    He's one of those "professional victims of the Putinist Regime", that "miraculously" escaped our Northern Mordor, and now spends ink, bytes and bodily fluids in a ceaseless struggle with the Dark Overlord. "Russian interference" is both his idea fix and bread and butter. E.g., check out his logorrhea on "Russian trace" in Catalonia's referendum (published by his sponsors in Jamestown foundation AKA CIA). There are many stock accusations, about RT, "pro-Kremline profiles" in FB and Twitter, and, the horror of horrors, the fact that the Immortal Regiment now dares to happen on the sacred soil of the country, which dispatched the Blue Division to the Abode of all Evil. He admits, that to proof the fact that the "Russian meddling" was the cause of what transpired in Catalonia (uh, you remember what happened back then, right?) is difficult, but what is without doubt, is that it benefits Kremlin and the Terrible Russkiy Mir.

    Sukhankin is also an active participant in the anti-Russian propaganda efforts of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), where he regularly rubs shoulders and tries to imitate another well known "researcher" and expert on Russian maskirovka, dezinformatsiya and active measures, Russophobic fantasy and sci-fi author Mark Galeotti.

    1. archie1954 says: September 17, 2019 at 3:57 pm For Heaven's sake, the worst country for meddling in other nations' internal affairs is the US, by far! With respect to the Arctic, both Canada and Russia signed the Treaty of the Sea, under which various challenges to ownership of the seabed are settled by the terms of the treaty. The US, of course didn't sign it. Why would they when they sincerely believe that their impressive military can just grab whatever pieces of the Arctic they want.

      As a matter of fact, the US wants to separate Canada right across the middle by designating the waterway between the mainland and the Arctic Islands as an international one. It is the US which is meddling in Canada's internal affairs, not Russia!

      Like Like Reply

  1. Patrick Armstrong says: September 11, 2019 at 7:35 am The guys just trying to get a job by saying what the Boss wants to hear.
  1. Josh says: September 11, 2019 at 8:45 am It always baffles me how, usually motivated by an American Russophobe, the Arctic gets used or abused for this polemic. As you correctly point out, the Arctic council is an example of multipolar peaceful talks. In addition, we forget that when we look at the Arctic sea routes opening up, that it is primarily the NEP – the route along Russia and in Russian waters – is the one more navigable. Yet even to keep that one open for the small amount of time per year, Russia has a lot of maintenance to do with expensive ice breakers. It follows quite logically that Russia puts a lot of effort and money into this; and the regimented discipline of the army is the better and cheaper option for the safety and rescue services.

    If Canada wanted to do the same thing in the NWP, not only is this route much more treacherous, iced up and difficult, the investment would be higher than that which Russia is making, while global warming will only help this passage marginally.

    All this to say that the sea routes are the most talked about issues here; mineral, oil and other deposits along the continental shelves are dealt with rigourously and with full support from all sides through the UN. The only small conflict is the disputed island between Canada and the US.

[Sep 17, 2019] Iran Rejects US Accusation It Is Behind Saudi Attacks

Notable quotes:
"... Send Pompeo to the UN...... looks like yellow cake to me. ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , September 15, 2019 at 06:19 AM

Iran Rejects US Accusation It Is Behind
Saudi Attacks https://nyti.ms/30iNte7
NYT - Michael Wolgelenter - September 15

Iran on Sunday forcefully rejected charges by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that it was responsible for drone attacks that caused serious damage to two crucial Saudi Arabian oil installations, with the foreign minister dismissing the remarks as "max deceit."

The attacks on Saturday, which hold the potential to disrupt global oil supplies, were claimed by Houthi rebels in Yemen. Mr. Pompeo said that Iran had launched "an unprecedented attack on the world's oil supply," although he did not offer any evidence and stopped short of saying that Iran had carried out the missile strikes.

The Houthis are part of a complex regional dynamic in the Middle East, receiving support from Iran while the Saudis, Tehran's chief rival for supremacy in the region and the leader of a coalition that is fighting the Houthis in Yemen, are aligned with the United States.

Seyed Abbas Mousavi, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, castigated the Saudis for their role in the war in Yemen, where the Saudis have directed airstrikes that have caused heavy civilian casualties and exacerbated a humanitarian crisis. He also ridiculed Mr. Pompeo's comments.

The semiofficial Fars news agency reported on its English-language website that Mr. Mousavi described Mr. Pompeo's allegations as "blind and fruitless remarks" that were "meaningless" in a diplomatic context.

Saudi Arabia has yet to publicly accuse Iran of involvement in the attack. On Sunday, its Foreign Ministry urged international action to preserve the world oil supply in response to the attack, but it said nothing about assigning blame or striking back.

The developments come at a moment of rising tensions between Iran and the United States, which have mounted since President Trump pulled out of the 2015 accord in which Iran agreed with the West to restrict its nuclear program. Since the American withdrawal, Iran has gradually pulled away from its some obligations under the agreement. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , September 15, 2019 at 06:23 AM
... "US & its clients are stuck in Yemen because of illusion that weapon superiority will lead to military victory," Mr. Zarif wrote on Twitter. "Blaming Iran won't end disaster. Accepting our April '15 proposal to end war & begin talks may.

The attack on Saturday, which the Houthis said involved 10 drones, represented the rebels' most serious strike since Saudi Arabia inserted itself into the conflict in Yemen four years ago. That the rebels could cause such extensive damage to such a crucial part of the global economy astonished some observers. ...

im1dc , September 16, 2019 at 04:59 AM
It's Monday September 16th, 2019 and the weeks starts off like this:

GM's UAW Strike

Yemeni Houti Rebels Drones wipe out 50% of Saudi Arabia's oil production

Trump tweets in response is "locked and loaded" implying a new US war in the ME

One of Trump's White House flunky's declared "it is better if Trump does not study an issue" before making decisions (oh yea,"Stupid is what Stupid does")

Biden and S. Warren tied in the DEM race for 2020

Piketty's new Economics tome is out

PM Netanyahu is losing his re-election bid in Israel, to be determined by tomorrow's Election

We live in interesting times...

...the question I pose for the times is 'Are the People are better lead by businessmen, politicians, academics, or intellectuals?

ilsm -> im1dc... , September 16, 2019 at 06:29 AM
The biggest damage from

"Yemeni Houti Rebels Drones wipe out 50% of Saudi Arabia's oil production"

is the ARAMCO IPO.

"Trump tweets in response is "locked and loaded" implying a new US war in the ME"

Send Pompeo to the UN...... looks like yellow cake to me.

[Sep 17, 2019] Meet the Quds1 cruise missile. Made in Yemen - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Notable quotes:
"... Then the question arose whether drones had been used at all, or whether the attack might in fact have been a missile strike ..."
"... But regardless, the game has escalated up one more rung up the ladder. How many more will it take for the world to put its interests ahead of Israel's? ..."
"... Next escalation rung: a loading dock for supertankers: either the port of Yanbu or Ra's Tanura. Followed by desalination facilities, if Western politicians still pretend to turn a blind eye and prefer to follow the dictates of their Israeli masters. Nuff Sed. ..."
"... In asking the question, qui bono, you do have to include Netanyahu, who is up for reelection tomorrow. There's nothing like striking fear into the heart of the electorate on the eve of an election for firming up support for a proven incumbent. And if the US attacks Iran before tomorrow, so much the better for Netanyahu. ..."
"... That said, I don't think that Netanyahu's buddies in Riyadh would be amused if this were proven. However, poking a friend in the eye never seemed to stop Israel before think USS Liberty. ..."
"... Israel has the means, plus the motive (Bib's reelection), and might have taken the opportunity to attribute the attack to Iran and force Trump's hand. ..."
"... I am assuming, myself, personally, this action was taken to prevent a meeting in NYC between Trump and the President of Iran. That is my guess. ..."
"... There was never going to be a meeting between Rouhani and Trump. I expect to be dead of old age before there would be any substantive meetings between Iran and the United States. ..."
"... Supreme Ayatollah Khamenei has said there will be no meeting until the U.S.ends sanctions. ..."
"... I do not for a moment believe Bolton would have stood for it, and even though he's gone, neither will Pompeo or Pence. Both appear to be fanatically devoted to Israel. There may be meetings between low level functionaries, and Trump seems to want one very much, but Rouhani has said there is no way to trust America, so no point to talking. The situation may change if Netanyahu loses the election, although I have no reason to believe Avigdor will be any better. ..."
"... However, if Trump DOES cut a deal, he will not try and fluff it off as an "Executive Agreement"....if Trump cuts a deal he knows he will have to bring it to Congress. Thee Lobby may kill it there...or not. We'll see. ..."
"... It's not just Yemen. People forget there is an oppressed Shiite minority near the Aramco HQ (dispossessed of the oil fields, located in their ancestral area & treated like sub-sub-citizens); they get periodically beheaded" ..."
"... The Al Saud gang, under the Clown Prince Muhammad Bone Saw, can not count on those Shiite inhabitants of the oil rich region, not necessarily because of the latter's sympathy for Iran but because they were brutalized for almost a century. ..."
"... One to benefit from it that I see so far is Saudi's Aramco IPO which is critical to Saudi . According to WSJ they were considering delaying it because of low oil prices, they needed oil to reach $80 barrel to make it viable. The attack sent prices up but now market is talking about risk if there are 'on going attacks'. What could we deduce if there are no on going attacks and the IPO proceeds? ..."
"... We know Yemen has the Quds-1 and has surprised us before with their technical capability. Combine that with the video of Yahya Sari claiming full responsibility for the attack and I'm not sure there is any reason to speculate about conspiracies involving other actors. ..."
"... In addition, the specificity of the targets hit suggests good intel. I would suspect that Houthi's have linked with disaffected groups in SA (lots!) and improved their Humint. It seems highly unlikely that Iran would do something like this AND leave their fingerprints behind - at least based on recent events. ..."
"... Never underestimate the feckless laziness of the Saudis. In my experience they turn off all ATC and air defense systems that require manning or watch keeping when they find them inconvenient as on the weekend. IMO if Ansarallah did this they will do something similar soon to prove they are responsible. ..."
"... israel gets a lot of press and speculation on this board as well as everywhere else for all their conspiracies and supposed omnipotent power and control but in this writers opinion THEY have been punching way above their actual weight for years and current reality has exposed how feckless and puny they really are in the scheme of things. ..."
"... ''i suspect the whole 'jew' thing regarding israel is what animates people so much. if israel were all zoroastrians i doubt the world would credit them with all the machinations israel is viewed as responsible for.'' A Cult is a Cult regardless of it members makeup. And Israel is looking more like a Jim Jones farm every day. ..."
"... And Iran has demonstrated that they can cause months worth of damage on the KSA, the UAE, and Kuwait. I can't believe the number of Congressman who simultaneously believe that Iran was able to glide over U.S. made air defenses without detection and also believe that we can simply carpet bomb their refineries without any repercussion. How can one believe both things at the same time? That Iran is responsible for a sophisticated ghost attack and that they are incapable of retaliating in a target rich environment. ..."
"... Not only did Graham say this but the loon from Maryland repeated it. These people are insane but MSM hosts encourage it, just saw Cavuto snear at Ron Paul because he actually made sense. We are so messed up. ..."
"... Everyone keeps misunderestimating the Yemenis. The Houthis are fighting as part of a coalition that includes a large part of the Yemeni military and intelligence services. This coalition is carrying out a war under guerrilla conditions, but that war is led by professional military men. ..."
"... It is the benefit of being a perfumed prince or fop or neo-con that history has no meaning because history ended sometime in the 90's. Somehow I hear the voice of a Rove lecturing: ..."
"... "That's not the way the world really works anymore." He continued "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." ..."
"... Yes indeed. Dave deserves hearty congratulations though we might add a caveat. The said "valves" could have been blown out in advance via software or person throwing a switch (humint or cyber component to one attack vector). ..."
"... It cries out "sure, it's bad, but it is reversible." ..."
"... Houthis have every reason to utilize their advanced weapons systems against Saudi targets to bring the war to an end. As for Iran, seems they have been on a semi-successful diplomatic campaign to counter US maximum pressure with their own maximum pressure on Europeans, Russia and China to deliver on the economic benefits that are as important in JCPOA as the curtailing of Iran's nuclear program. ..."
"... Trump talking about meeting Rouhani in New York, Zarif in China getting at least $50-100 billion in pledged economic support, Russia suggesting $10 billion investment in the Iranian energy sector: Why would Iran at this moment make a direct move to turn the world fully against them? Perhaps a rogue faction of IRGC out to stop any diplomatic action, but even that would have to come with OK from Khamenei--or there would be strong action against the rogues. ..."
"... Pressure on Trump to maintain the hardline against Iran following Bolton ouster? Pompeo has been leading the diplomatic back channels and repeating Trump's goal of forcing Iran to the table. Even the Saudis are for the moment hesitant to blame Iran, actually calling for a UN investigation into the source of the attacks. ..."
"... "The Iran did it" narrative as an attempt to keep on undermining the pro-Syrian government coalition. ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Meet the Quds1 cruise missile. Made in Yemen?

"On September 14, several explosions rocked the Khurais oilfield as well as the Abqaiq refinery, one of Saudi Arabia's most vital petrochemical installations. Several hours later, the Houthis claimed that they had targeted both facilities with ten drones as part of their "Balance of Deterrence" campaign.

What made this attack different from other recorded Houthi drone attacks was not only the unprecedented amount of material damage caused but also lingering doubt about the nature and the attribution of the attack. First, a video allegedly showing flying objects entering Kuwaiti airspace led to speculation that like a previous "Houthi" drone attack this strike might actually have originated in Iraq or even Iran. While the video remains unverified, the fact that the Kuwaiti government launched a probe into the issue lends some credence to the idea that something might have happened over Kuwait that day. Speculation about the origins of the attack was further fueled by a tweet by Mike Pompeo in which he claimed that there was no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.

Then the question arose whether drones had been used at all, or whether the attack might in fact have been a missile strike. Previous Houthi drone strikes against oil facilities tended to result in quite limited damage which could be an indication that a different weapons system was used this time. Indeed, Aramco came to the conclusion that its facilities were attacked by missiles. Even more curious, several pictures began to emerge on social media purportedly showing the wreckage of a missile in the Saudi desert. While the images appear real, neither the date the photos were taken nor their location can be verified.

Social media users quickly claimed the images showed a crashed Iranian-made Soumar cruise missile. The Soumar and its updated version, the Hoveyzeh, are Iran's attempts at reverse-engineering the Soviet-designed KH-55 cruise missile, several of which the country illegally imported from Ukraine in the early 2000s . Others claimed it was the Quds 1, a recently unveiled Houthi cruise missile often claimed to be a rebranded Soumar." armscontrolwonl

---------------

TTG raised the issue of whether or not this wave of strikes was done by UAVs or cruise missiles. IMO this cruise missile could be built in Yemen with Iranian assistance. I am very interested in the question of what the actual vector of the attacks was in this case. pl

/www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/1208062/meet-the-quds-1/


Nuff Sed , 16 September 2019 at 10:43 AM

The accuracy of the strikes in the spherical pressurized gas storage containers all being in the same place relative to each target is the place to start for those who, unlike me, are capable of analyzing these things.

But regardless, the game has escalated up one more rung up the ladder. How many more will it take for the world to put its interests ahead of Israel's?

Next escalation rung: a loading dock for supertankers: either the port of Yanbu or Ra's Tanura. Followed by desalination facilities, if Western politicians still pretend to turn a blind eye and prefer to follow the dictates of their Israeli masters. Nuff Sed.

JohnH said in reply to Nuff Sed ... , 16 September 2019 at 12:19 PM
In asking the question, qui bono, you do have to include Netanyahu, who is up for reelection tomorrow. There's nothing like striking fear into the heart of the electorate on the eve of an election for firming up support for a proven incumbent. And if the US attacks Iran before tomorrow, so much the better for Netanyahu.

That said, I don't think that Netanyahu's buddies in Riyadh would be amused if this were proven. However, poking a friend in the eye never seemed to stop Israel before think USS Liberty.

JohnH said in reply to JohnH... , 16 September 2019 at 02:59 PM
"The Israeli military is armed with the latest fast jets and precision weaponry, yet it has turned to its fleet of drones to hit targets in Iraq. Deniability has played a big factor – the ability of drones to elude radar and therefore keep targets guessing about who actually bombed them is playing well for Israeli leaders who are trying to prevent an increasingly lethal shadow war with Iran from developing into an open conflict."

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/16/middle-east-drones-signal-end-to-era-of-fast-jet-air-supremacy

Israel has the means, plus the motive (Bib's reelection), and might have taken the opportunity to attribute the attack to Iran and force Trump's hand.

Procopius said in reply to JohnH... , 17 September 2019 at 08:09 AM
The Samad 3 is laden with explosives that allow it to detonate a shaped charge which explodes downwards towards its target. Footage provided to MintPress by Yemen's Operations Command Center shows the Samad landing on an asphalt runway, confirming that the drone is now capable of conducting operations and then returning to base.
from Mint Press, Jul 9, 2019.
Thirdeye said in reply to Nuff Sed ... , 16 September 2019 at 03:02 PM
Neat holes on the western sides of the tanks. Shape charges? Wonder what the required payload would be.

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/09/damage-at-saudi-oil-plant-points-to-well-targeted-swarm-attack.html#more

Johnb said in reply to Nuff Sed ... , 17 September 2019 at 12:42 AM
There is a huge sea water desalination plant not far away that provides all the treated water via pipeline for injection into the oil reservoirs to improve recovery of oil. Target that and not only have you already impacted the processing of the oil produced but would then impact the total volume of oil available for processing.

I can see no happy ending short of negotiation between interested parties. MBZ looks to have already reached that conclusion in respect of the UAE. what will be the self preservation response for the House of Saud

jonst , 16 September 2019 at 10:52 AM
Could the Committee speculate on possible 'steps of retaliation' operating, for theoretical purposes, at the moment, on the assumption that regardless of where the 'bullets' were fired from, or from what 'gun' they were fired, Iran paid for deed. What steps are open for action?

I am assuming, myself, personally, this action was taken to prevent a meeting in NYC between Trump and the President of Iran. That is my guess.

BABAK MAKKINEJAD -> jonst... , 16 September 2019 at 11:28 AM
There was never going to be a meeting between Rouhani and Trump. I expect to be dead of old age before there would be any substantive meetings between Iran and the United States.
Procopius said in reply to jonst... , 17 September 2019 at 08:15 AM
Supreme Ayatollah Khamenei has said there will be no meeting until the U.S.ends sanctions.

I do not for a moment believe Bolton would have stood for it, and even though he's gone, neither will Pompeo or Pence. Both appear to be fanatically devoted to Israel. There may be meetings between low level functionaries, and Trump seems to want one very much, but Rouhani has said there is no way to trust America, so no point to talking. The situation may change if Netanyahu loses the election, although I have no reason to believe Avigdor will be any better.

Babak Makkinejad -> Procopius... , 17 September 2019 at 08:42 AM
Even then discussion were to be in 5+1 forum.

US is in an economic, legal, political, and religious war with Iran. I should think that you would need a cease fire deal before anything else.

jonst said in reply to Procopius... , 17 September 2019 at 09:30 AM
With all due respect, I think one of us fails to grasp the true nature of Trump. If he puts his mind to it, and thinks it will benefit him, nobody, not Bolton, not Pompeo, not the whole Neocon cabal, Israeli govt, the present one or the next one, will stop him if he is President and alive. He will do what is best for Trump.

And trust has nothing to do with this. Why in the hell should I trust Iran? Hell, why should I trust the UK? I trust that people and nations have interests. That's all I trust. But that does mean I could not reach a deal with them. Now, as to whether that deals holds...that is another question. However, if Trump DOES cut a deal, he will not try and fluff it off as an "Executive Agreement"....if Trump cuts a deal he knows he will have to bring it to Congress. Thee Lobby may kill it there...or not. We'll see.

JP Billen said in reply to BABAK MAKKINEJAD... , 16 September 2019 at 04:46 PM
Babak, I value your input here. However, I hope you are wrong and that a meeting or meetings (substantive or not) will start as soon as the dealbreaker is out of office, and the sanctions are called off. But I would never wish you an early death. May you live a hundred years.
BABAK MAKKINEJAD -> JP Billen... , 17 September 2019 at 09:53 AM
Thank you very kindly. I would like to ask the following questions:

In my opinion, the answer to all of these are "no". Unfortunately, even if a man with the caliber of an FDR or a Nixon is elected to the US Presidency, he will not be able to accomplish much because of the difficulty, nay the impossibility, of untangling the rules and regulations that US has woven against Iran.

In my opinion, all of that was predicated on the strategic defeat of Iran and her surrender.

jonst said in reply to BABAK MAKKINEJAD... , 17 September 2019 at 01:42 PM
If I WERE ANSWERING. I got some demands of my own..but we can put them aside for the moment. In general, I would be inclined to respond: Yes, to the "sovereign immunity" question. Certainly. Regarding "economic warfare", you would have to give me your legal definition of such a broad phrase, but in principle, yes. Whole heartedly yes. Sanctions against Iran, and it individuals officers? Yes, absolutely. Sick of sanctions, in general. It is not in my power to answer the "unrequited love" issue, but I do solemnly state that I would agree to stop laughing--in public, anyway, at the question. Wanna meet?
Amir -> jonst... , 16 September 2019 at 02:13 PM
Nassim Nicolaas Taleb, author of "Black Swan":
"SAUDI FIELDS
It's not just Yemen. People forget there is an oppressed Shiite minority near the Aramco HQ (dispossessed of the oil fields, located in their ancestral area & treated like sub-sub-citizens); they get periodically beheaded"

The Al Saud gang, under the Clown Prince Muhammad Bone Saw, can not count on those Shiite inhabitants of the oil rich region, not necessarily because of the latter's sympathy for Iran but because they were brutalized for almost a century.

eakens , 16 September 2019 at 11:01 AM
https://gifyu.com/image/hofq
turcopolier , 16 September 2019 at 11:26 AM
jonst

So, you believe that the damage was self inflicted?

jonst said in reply to turcopolier ... , 16 September 2019 at 02:05 PM
No, sorry for lack of clarity. I believe Iran was behind it.
catherine said in reply to jonst... , 16 September 2019 at 03:20 PM
''I believe Iran was behind it.''

Why would Iran have done it? Just to show they can or to provoke a attack on Iran?

One to benefit from it that I see so far is Saudi's Aramco IPO which is critical to Saudi . According to WSJ they were considering delaying it because of low oil prices, they needed oil to reach $80 barrel to make it viable. The attack sent prices up but now market is talking about risk if there are 'on going attacks'. What could we deduce if there are no on going attacks and the IPO proceeds?

Only other beneficiary would be Israel if the attack actually does and likely has killed any Trump-Iran meeting.

Yemenis claimed credit for it, Iran and Iraq said they didn't do it. First word out of US mouth is Iran did it. The mouth I am least likely to believe is the US. I remember Iraq has WMDs propaganda....and those it came from.

jonst said in reply to catherine... , 17 September 2019 at 06:45 AM
Oh well, if Iran says they did not do it.......the US govt lies. The Iranian govt lies, the Saudis surely lie. This is not about innocents. That search is for children and mighty young ones at that.
The Twisted Genius , 16 September 2019 at 11:58 AM
The Quds-1 cruise missile is a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle). The remotely piloted aerial vehicles, which are more commonly referred to as drones are also UAVs. The difference is in the degree of autonomy in flight control. On board autonomous flight control negates the need for LOS radio or satellite communications with the cruise missile. Cruise missiles, with their autonomous control, were always characterized by their high degree of accuracy.

I've started looking a little closer at the Arduino/RasberryPi and model aircraft hobbyist groups. With the availability of affordable microcontrollers and sensors, along with the massive library of open source software, I am convinced a hobbyist could put together a guidance system in his garage workshop capable of doing what the Quds-1 just did in SA. I also agree with Colonel Lang that an airframe like the Quds-1 could easily be built in war-torn Yemen. A cave would make an outstanding workshop.

Amir -> The Twisted Genius ... , 16 September 2019 at 01:54 PM
I tend to have a distant memory of a chart showing that the Yemeni missile range was way lobed that the Iranian, almost embryonal arsenal, in the 80's. I think they are well capable of developing/upgrading better missile: www.janes.com/images/assets/330/72330/Yemeni_rebels_enhance_ballistic_missile_campaign.pdf

Even if Iran exported dual use components or even blue prints; it should be counted as part of the unfortunate world weapons market & wouldn't be illegal.

Amir -> The Twisted Genius ... , 16 September 2019 at 04:56 PM
"Arms Control Wonk" describing the difference/similarities between the Iranian missiles and the Yemeni cruise missiles, used to give MBS a taste of his own medicine: www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/1208062/meet-the-quds-1/
JamesT -> The Twisted Genius ... , 16 September 2019 at 07:35 PM
This drone discussion board is interesting: https://diydrones.com
Johnb said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 17 September 2019 at 01:02 AM
Your point TTG was nicely illustrated in b's video of the Russian guy building in his workshopa turbofan engine that flew . Providing there is a set of plans it can be constructed and it only has to have a one time reliability.

Evidence for what delivered the strike will be found within the complex and there will be a lot of skills on the ground looking for those answers. The projectiles that struck the spheres looked to have had penetrating qualities rather than high explosive, putting a hole in a pressure vessel is sufficient to destroy its usefulness. I would be interested to know if the projectiles that struck the train were explosive to maximise damage there. Do we need to be considering what could deliver multiple targeted projectiles or were there simply multiple independent units or some combination as there were more strikes logged over two target complexes than the ten delivery platforms mentioned in the Al Ansar press release. Was there a flight controller and if so where were they located also comes to mind.

Adrestia said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 17 September 2019 at 02:54 AM
I was looking at the engine. The Quds 1 is powered by a TJ100 built in the Czech republic. https://www.pbsaerospace.com/our-products/tj-100-turbojet-engine

There is also the TJ200 built bij Polaris from Brazil with the following description::

"Turbine TJ200: TJ200 was specially designed to be used in either small cruise missiles or small high performance UAVs. The most important advantage of TJ200 engine is small diameter and a relatively low SFC (Specific Fuel Consumption) when compared to other engines of the same thrust, what makes TJ200 perfect to be used in long range small missiles." http://www.polaristec.com.br/products.html

That's a pretty specific description. So there are a number of COTS engines out there.

CK said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 17 September 2019 at 07:43 AM
If those benighted peoples of the desert can do this just think what highly motivated Antifa types could build in the warehouses of Portland.
JP Billen , 16 September 2019 at 01:45 PM
"neither the date the photos were taken nor their location can be verified."

Bingo! Interesting that bin Salman has put a press blackout on both Khurais and Buqaiq.

elkern said in reply to JP Billen... , 17 September 2019 at 12:26 AM
I'd have more confidence in the reporting if I could match it up better with what I can see in Google Maps/Earth.

The only two satellite pictures I've seen of "burning oil plants" disticntly show a large plume of black smoke centered a little ways away from the actual refinery area, in some kind of rectangular area outside the actual "plant". Are those wellheads burning? or adjacent underground storage? or what?

And the pictured of a burning plant labeled "Haradh Gas Plant" is actually (according to Google Maps & my eyeballs) the Hawiyah Gas Plant, about 60 miles NNE of Haradh.

In Google Maps/Earth, the Abqaiq facility is on the East side of the city/town of Buquaiq, and the details match the recent pix. The plume lines up with an empty square patch of desert at the end of a pipeline running SSE out of the plant.

I've looked all around Khurais, and haven't found anything which could possibly be the "Oil/Gas Infrastructure at Khurais", as the pictures of the damaged facility there are labeled.

Google Earth is big fun.

JP Billen said in reply to elkern... , 17 September 2019 at 10:58 AM
Elkern, I was referring to the pictures of the cruise missile parts in the sand. Seems to me they are old from previous attacks.

As far as I can tell the pics of damage at Buqaiq and Khurais are valid. With the exception of the eleven spherical tanks, which I believe were NOT hit. But I've been wrong before and am no expert on imagery analysis.

Erwin , 16 September 2019 at 02:00 PM
We know Yemen has the Quds-1 and has surprised us before with their technical capability. Combine that with the video of Yahya Sari claiming full responsibility for the attack and I'm not sure there is any reason to speculate about conspiracies involving other actors.

The Houthis are not an Iranian "proxy" and I highly doubt they would accept responsibility for something they didn't do.

ISL , 16 September 2019 at 03:10 PM
Dear Colonel,

Moon of Alabama links some photos and has discussion that suggests very high precision 5-10 m. That is not easily achievable with commercial GPS absent a lot of additional correction hardware. On the other hand, drones can easily do so. Further, it would be negligent for SA not to have GPS jamming around such facilities.

In addition, the specificity of the targets hit suggests good intel. I would suspect that Houthi's have linked with disaffected groups in SA (lots!) and improved their Humint. It seems highly unlikely that Iran would do something like this AND leave their fingerprints behind - at least based on recent events.

turcopolier , 16 September 2019 at 03:33 PM
ISL et al

Never underestimate the feckless laziness of the Saudis. In my experience they turn off all ATC and air defense systems that require manning or watch keeping when they find them inconvenient as on the weekend. IMO if Ansarallah did this they will do something similar soon to prove they are responsible.

PeterHug said in reply to turcopolier ... , 17 September 2019 at 01:26 PM
Well, the Swiss Air Force is only able to respond to emergencies during normal business hours...
ted richard , 16 September 2019 at 03:48 PM
imo, the saudi's and washington are going to have to take one for the team. the team being the global oil based world economy and all the notional value FOR THE present ONLY oil derivatives and interest rate derivatives burdening the western banking system.... think the insolvent deutsche bank et al.

a war on iran will do every bit as much damage or MORE to the west as it does to iran which both russia and china can not.. will not allow to die.

israel gets a lot of press and speculation on this board as well as everywhere else for all their conspiracies and supposed omnipotent power and control but in this writers opinion THEY have been punching way above their actual weight for years and current reality has exposed how feckless and puny they really are in the scheme of things.

i suspect the whole 'jew' thing regarding israel is what animates people so much. if israel were all zoroastrians i doubt the world would credit them with all the machinations israel is viewed as responsible for.

catherine said in reply to ted richard... , 16 September 2019 at 04:39 PM
''i suspect the whole 'jew' thing regarding israel is what animates people so much. if israel were all zoroastrians i doubt the world would credit them with all the machinations israel is viewed as responsible for.'' A Cult is a Cult regardless of it members makeup. And Israel is looking more like a Jim Jones farm every day.
Peter AU 1 , 16 September 2019 at 04:51 PM
Only one tank appears to have minor sooting or scorching. As though they were emptied after an initial strike then targeted in a second strike, but no reports of a second strike.
In the sat pic showing targets in red boxes, top square, the target appears to be smaller spheres which do look darkened.
The Twisted Genius , 16 September 2019 at 05:00 PM
Several correspondents here, including Adrestia and b, seem to lack faith in an autonomous navigation and terminal guidance system for these cruise missiles. They do not need a radio or cell phone communication link. This could have been even without a GPS signal. Given that the strikes appear to come from the west, the smartest route would be to fly north to the pipelines and then east to the targets. Once the missiles are close to the target either a visual terminal guidance system could take over or the targets are marked and the missiles' terminal guidance systems just home in on the marked targets. The marks could be laser illumination, small IR strobes or offset targeting devices. These offset targeting devices are emplaced with the exact azimuth and distance to the desired target programmed into the missiles' terminal guidance system. As I said before, we did this in the early 80s. In the 90s, I used the IR strobes. These were tiny lights snapped to the top of a 9V battery. You could carry a dozen in your pocket. I personally like the idea of emplacing small IR strobes on target or a set distance and azimuth from the target. The missiles could home on a spot say due east and 100 meters from the strobe. I'm sure there are other methods I haven't thought of yet. My educated guess is that this strike was well thought out with both intelligence and operational support on and near the target site. Anyone who thinks the Houthi and their Yemeni allies are incapable of planning and executing this is magnificently ignorant.
Adrestia said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 17 September 2019 at 12:14 PM
My perspective is for the DIY drone using COTS.

GPS is not accurate enough for the last 10-30 feet. Another possiblity that doesn't need any human terminal guidance could be a creative use of sensors.

Using CARVER select suitable targets. Pick something that is hot, big or fumes gas.

Then use a combination of gas-sensing, parking-sensors, heat-sensing sensors for the last few feet.

https://store.arduino.cc/components/components-sensors
https://tutorials-raspberrypi.com/raspberry-pi-sensors-overview-50-important-components/#temperature
https://tutorials-raspberrypi.com/raspberry-pi-sensors-overview-50-important-components/

walrus , 16 September 2019 at 05:21 PM
I'm reading the manual for an FY41AP autopilot right now. About $250, made in china. As for optical guidance, the attacks happened about 0400 - night or dawn?

This autopilot has a video link as well as autonomous and ground based control modes I think. If the Yemenis had a guy with a transceiver near abqaiq, then maybe they could send these things over from yemen using gps and a guy with transceiver provided terminal guidance. If that were to happen the drones would need to be launched at set intervals.

JP Billen said in reply to walrus... , 17 September 2019 at 10:49 AM
Night. Dawn at Riyadh was approximately 5:38 AM. But those facilities would have been well lit up with hundreds of floodlights.
Antoinetta III , 16 September 2019 at 05:49 PM
Your last sentence is true enough as far as it goes, but also, if Israel were all Zoroastrians (or any other group) the world would have dealt with their paranoid and psychopathic behavior decades ago. The only reason they get away with everything is because they are Jewish.
oldman22 , 16 September 2019 at 07:37 PM
Bacevich in NYT op ed. Behind a paywall, here is a copy. Please do not post if it is too long or off topic

Iran Might Be America's Enemy, but Saudi Arabia Is No Friend

After last week's refinery attack, Trump should be careful about throwing America's weight behind an unreliable "ally."

By Andrew J. Bacevich

Mr. Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.

Sept. 16, 2019

Image The American frigate Stark, which was hit by two missiles fired from an Iraqi fighter plane during the Iran-Iraq war in 1987. The American frigate Stark, which was hit by two missiles fired from an Iraqi fighter plane during the Iran-Iraq war in 1987.

In 1987, an Iraqi warplane attacked an American Navy frigate, the Stark, on patrol in the Persian Gulf. Accepting Saddam Hussein's explanation that the attack, which killed 37 sailors, had been an accident, American officials promptly used the incident, which came at the height of the Iran-Iraq war, to ratchet up pressure on Tehran. The incident provided the impetus for what became a brief, and all but forgotten, maritime war between the United States and Iran.

Last week, someone -- precisely who remains to be determined -- attacked two oil refineries in Saudi Arabia. American authorities have been quick to blame Iran, and the possibility of a violent confrontation between the two countries is once again growing. Before making a decision on whether to pull the trigger, President Trump would do well to reflect on that 1987 episode and its legacy.

Back then, the United States had become involved in the very bloody and seemingly interminable Iran-Iraq war, which Hussein had instigated in 1980 by invading Iran. As that war turned into a brutal stalemate, President Ronald Reagan and his advisers persuaded themselves that it was in America's interests to come to Iraq's aid. Iran was the "enemy" so Iraq became America's "friend."

After the Stark episode, American and Iranian naval forces in the Gulf began jousting, an uneven contest that culminated in April 1988 with the virtual destruction of the Iranian Navy.

Yet the United States gained little from this tidy victory. The principal beneficiary was Hussein, who wasted no time in repaying Washington by invading and annexing Kuwait soon after his war with Iran ground to a halt. Thus did America's "friend" become America's "enemy."

The encounter with Iran became a precedent-setting event and a font of illusions. Since then, a series of administrations have indulged the fantasy that the direct or indirect application of military power can somehow restore stability to the Gulf.

In fact, just the reverse has occurred. Instability has become chronic, with the relationship between military policy and actual American interests in the region becoming ever more difficult to discern.

In 2019, this now well-established penchant for armed intervention finds the United States once more involved in a proxy conflict, this time a civil war that has ravaged Yemen since 2015. Saudi Arabia supports one side in this bloody and interminable conflict, and Iran the other.

Under President Barack Obama and now President Trump, the United States has thrown in its lot with Saudi Arabia, providing support comparable to what the Reagan administration gave Saddam Hussein back in the 1980s. But American-assisted Saudi forces have exhibited no more competence today than did American-assisted Iraqi forces back then. So the war in Yemen drags on.
ImageSmoke billowing from one of the oil facilities hit by drone attacks on two Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq, in Saudi Arabia's eastern province, on Saturday.
Smoke billowing from one of the oil facilities hit by drone attacks on two Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq, in Saudi Arabia's eastern province, on Saturday.CreditAgence France-Presse -- Getty Images

Concrete American interests in this conflict, which has already claimed an estimated 70,000 lives while confronting as many as 18 million with the prospect of starvation, are negligible. Once more, as in the 1980s, the demonization of Iran has contributed to a policy that is ill advised and arguably immoral.

I am not suggesting that Washington is supporting the wrong side in Yemen. I am suggesting, however, that neither side deserves support. Iran may well qualify as America's "enemy." But Saudi Arabia is not a "friend," regardless of how many billions Riyadh spends purchasing American-manufactured weaponry and how much effort Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman invests in courting President Trump and members of his family.

The conviction, apparently widespread in American policy circles, that in the Persian Gulf (and elsewhere) the United States is compelled to take sides, has been a source of recurring mischief. No doubt the escalating rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran poses a danger of further destabilizing the Gulf. But the United States is under no obligation to underwrite the folly of one side or the other.

Supporting Iraq in its foolhardy war with Iran in the 1980s proved to be strategically shortsighted in the extreme. It yielded vastly more problems than it solved. It set in train a series of costly wars that have produced negligible benefits. Supporting Saudi Arabia today in its misbegotten war in Yemen is no less shortsighted.

Power confers choice, and the United States should exercise it. We can begin to do so by recognizing that Saudi Arabia's folly need not be our problem.

Andrew J. Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and the author of the forthcoming "The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory."

Christian Chuba , 16 September 2019 at 07:47 PM
"a war on iran will do every bit as much damage or MORE to the west as it does to iran"

And Iran has demonstrated that they can cause months worth of damage on the KSA, the UAE, and Kuwait. I can't believe the number of Congressman who simultaneously believe that Iran was able to glide over U.S. made air defenses without detection and also believe that we can simply carpet bomb their refineries without any repercussion. How can one believe both things at the same time? That Iran is responsible for a sophisticated ghost attack and that they are incapable of retaliating in a target rich environment.

Not only did Graham say this but the loon from Maryland repeated it. These people are insane but MSM hosts encourage it, just saw Cavuto snear at Ron Paul because he actually made sense. We are so messed up.

Matt , 16 September 2019 at 08:35 PM
I found those gas domes on Google maps using the satellite view, I tagged the co-ordinates as: 25°55'37.3"N 49°41'00.8"E

or in digital format: 25.927015, 49.683559

here's a link that should take you straight there:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/25%C2%B055'37.3%22N+49%C2%B041'00.8%22E/@25.927015,49.6813703,702m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d25.927015!4d49.683559

use the pic released by USG of the damage to get an idea of the orientation of the incoming projectiles, I used that rectangularish pond behind as an aid,

then progressively zoom out looking to see which country they 'could' have come from?

oy vey!

Foxbat , 16 September 2019 at 08:50 PM
Everyone keeps misunderestimating the Yemenis. The Houthis are fighting as part of a coalition that includes a large part of the Yemeni military and intelligence services. This coalition is carrying out a war under guerrilla conditions, but that war is led by professional military men. Yemen had a serious air force consisting mostly of missile systems before the war. Much of it was destroyed by the bombing campaign carried out for Saudi Arabia, but the military organization survived. They have now reconstituted the Yemeni air forces under fire and in the midst of famine, blockade and invasion.

Stock up on popcorn, the show has only just begun.

Robert Waddell , 17 September 2019 at 01:41 AM
All,

Using my CAD and graphic tools and Google Earth along with the photo showing the four perforated pressure tanks, I have estimated the four vectors as:
E1 280W. E2 279W, E3 281W and E4 273W. I have numbered the tanks from the most eastwards (the furthermost away in the photo). Angles from true north (0/360 deg). This averages as 278N with a STDEV of 3 degrees. Its almost due west. Must be very difficult for autopilots (or real pilots) could perform more than one group-turning maneuver and still maintain final-run accuracy to what was achieved.

p.s. I'm not specialist in this field apart from terrestrial navigation and drafting experience.
RobW

Adrestia , 17 September 2019 at 03:19 AM
The Czech company which produces the TJ100 does have strong links with Iran. "2005 TPP Iranshahr Iran, the largest project in the company's history, a turnkey project - four power plant units." But then again. Creating a crash site in the desert with some COTS components in it is also easy to do. I would be surprised if Iran is launching missiles now. That would be pretty stupid to do.
turcopolier , 17 September 2019 at 07:49 AM
CK There is nothing "benighted" about them. that is a lesson the perfumed fops in Ryadh ae learning.
CK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 17 September 2019 at 08:27 AM
I know. I was attempting a comparison between the way most Americans perceive the desert peoples and the way most Americans fail to extrapolate from their beliefs of one groups capabilities and motivations and another group closer to home. The perfumed fops in Ryadh and the Perfumed Princes in DC are very similar under the perfume.
I remember in the mid sixties how the "benighted" Vietnamese and VC were on their last legs, unable to do anything militarily significant, that the war would be over in 67. This was that generations perfumed princes attitude towards a people who had been fighting against invaders since the 1850s. I remember 68 and the most unexpectedly successful operational and strategic level victory by the NVA and the VC that was TET.

From an infotainment/Cronkite perspective the important thing was that the Saigon embassy was broached. From and operational perspective a "defeated" enemy launched several hundred simultaneous attacks all over South Vietnam while holding down as a diversion the Dien Bien Phu look alike that was Khe San. 51 years 2 and 1/2 generations and today we make the exact same mistakes in evaluating the current situation.

It is the benefit of being a perfumed prince or fop or neo-con that history has no meaning because history ended sometime in the 90's. Somehow I hear the voice of a Rove lecturing:

"That's not the way the world really works anymore." He continued "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Procopius , 17 September 2019 at 07:59 AM
I found this interesting report on a display of Houthi missiles and drones from June. https://www.mintpressnews.com/uae-yemen-troop-withdrawal-houthi-new-drones-missiles/260253/

I have seen articles over the last month or so (sorry, no links) saying that because they are not able to send large amounts of material aid through the Saudi and U.S. Navy blockade of Yemen, the Iranians sent blueprints and a few engineers and the Ansar Allah have been building them in Yemen.

turcopolier , 17 September 2019 at 08:19 AM
Robert Waddell

So, the sheaf of attacks on those tanks was from due west to east?

Dave Good , 17 September 2019 at 08:52 AM
My guess,

What looks like missile hits at identical positions on those spherical tanks are not. They are the locations of pressure relief valvaes that blew when the towers hit, venting gas up out and away.

JP Billen said in reply to Dave Good... , 17 September 2019 at 10:39 AM
I am in full agreement with your assessment Dave. I don't see any penetrations on those 11 spherical tanks. Look at the complete devastation on the three smaller spherical pressure tanks.

Unless we get higher resolution pics that definitely show those tanks were pierced there is no way I am going to believe those tiny scorch marks are UAV or missile hits. Much too symmetrical! No amount of geometrical explaining of drone tracks will account for that symmetry.

Fourth and Long -> JP Billen... , 17 September 2019 at 12:36 PM
Yes indeed. Dave deserves hearty congratulations though we might add a caveat. The said "valves" could have been blown out in advance via software or person throwing a switch (humint or cyber component to one attack vector). Yes, tremors or shakes triggering sensor which blows valve is possible, I suppose. But the thing that had me up at night was the nagging sense that this was a prearranged message of sorts.

It cries out "sure, it's bad, but it is reversible." So I had been wondering about invitation for pow-wows given UN upcoming meeting in NY. I'm tending to lean toward an advance blowout rather than blowout in reaction to stress. Why damage such delicate, custom equipment as those beautiful tanks? As you say, it has to be something intrinsic/internal to the construction of the tanks. So - before or after remains to be discussed. Assuming the pics are legitimate. But that's why I thought especially there was a subtle message sent. If they are legit - see above. If not legit - then it is howling reversibility or caution at the very least.

Fourth and Long -> Dave Good... , 17 September 2019 at 11:42 AM
Tend to agree. With hat tip and high five.
JP Billen said in reply to turcopolier ... , 17 September 2019 at 11:36 AM
The processor trains are a linear series of stabilizer columns that help separate the sour hydrogen sulfide gas from the crude oil. They are at the heart of the process and probably the highest value target. They are to the left of the 11 pressure tanks in the pictures shown, or perhaps just NNW of those tanks.
turcopolier , 17 September 2019 at 09:49 AM
TTG

I buy the idea of HUMINT assets having collected target informatoin but the idea of mini-strobes, etc. seems to me to be too difficult to do given the separation of the missile force and the HUMINT assets. Very hard to coordinate.

Harper , 17 September 2019 at 11:04 AM
Houthis have every reason to utilize their advanced weapons systems against Saudi targets to bring the war to an end. As for Iran, seems they have been on a semi-successful diplomatic campaign to counter US maximum pressure with their own maximum pressure on Europeans, Russia and China to deliver on the economic benefits that are as important in JCPOA as the curtailing of Iran's nuclear program.

Trump talking about meeting Rouhani in New York, Zarif in China getting at least $50-100 billion in pledged economic support, Russia suggesting $10 billion investment in the Iranian energy sector: Why would Iran at this moment make a direct move to turn the world fully against them? Perhaps a rogue faction of IRGC out to stop any diplomatic action, but even that would have to come with OK from Khamenei--or there would be strong action against the rogues.

Pressure on Trump to maintain the hardline against Iran following Bolton ouster? Pompeo has been leading the diplomatic back channels and repeating Trump's goal of forcing Iran to the table. Even the Saudis are for the moment hesitant to blame Iran, actually calling for a UN investigation into the source of the attacks.

glupi , 17 September 2019 at 11:13 AM
The key question of JohnH - "Qui bono?"

1) other suppliers

2) a general redirection of attention is achieved from 2 points:

- from Syria

In the issue of National Geographic Bulgaria of 04.2019, April 2019 number 4 (162),on p.29 there is a map of the migratory route of a bird - Ethiopia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, Bulgaria. BUT the name of Syria is missing, just an empty space within its current borders.

Maybe, I sincerely hope not, it was just a part of a campaign of mass indoctrination - the "former Syria" to be divided between neighbors with a US military base here and there or to turn onto a No Man's land of lawlessness right there, flanking the EU, Russia's Muslim areas, China's silk road etc

"The Iran did it" narrative as an attempt to keep on undermining the pro-Syrian government coalition.

- from the temptation to mix with West's "rivals" internal issues

A strange coincidence that there was such a recent burst of "opposition" activity first in Russia, then in China. The velvet revolution recipe of the Arabian spring, Ukraine, etc (if it was such) didn't quite work however.

And the "empires strike back" - subtly and not so subtly. China offers for the London stock exchange (let's not forget that the Chinese take-over of the London metal exchange went without a fuss). Saudi Arabia next. Maybe the message is "Just stay out of your ex-colonies"

JamesT , 17 September 2019 at 12:06 PM
Richard Gill, managing director of the UK company Drone Defence: "But [drone defence is] military-grade technology and it's massively expensive. To install a defensive system is extremely complex and the threat is evolving at such a rate that it's very hard to keep up to date, because the adversaries change the type of technology they use in a way that almost renders the defence moot."

From related article on FT: https://www.ft.com/content/f2a73b40-d920-11e9-8f9b-77216ebe1f17

[Sep 17, 2019] Detailed satellite photos show extent of 'surgical' attack damage to Saudi Aramco oil facilities CNBC - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Notable quotes:
"... I get a big kick out of those of you who think someone faked this attack for, what; An excuse to go to war with Iran? ..."
"... Or, maybe the Izzies blew it up to start a war?Will wonders never cease? ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"Detailed satellite photos show extent of 'surgical' attack damage to Saudi Aramco oil facilities" CNBC

"Satellite photos released by the U.S. government and DigitalGlobe reveal the surgical precision with which Saudi Aramco's oil facilities were struck in attacks early Saturday.

The strikes, which unidentified U.S. officials have said involved at least 20 drones and several cruise missiles, forced Saudi Arabia to shut down half its oil production capacity, or 5.7 million barrels per day of crude -- 5% of the world's global daily oil production.

The images, first obtained by The Associated Press, show that at least 19 strikes were launched and 17 actually hit targets." CNBC

------------ --

I get a big kick out of those of you who think someone faked this attack for, what; An excuse to go to war with Iran?

An opening gambit to get the Iranians to talk to Trump at the UN? If so, that did not work. Khamenei has said unequivocally that they are not going to talk to the US.

Mikey Pompeo is now going to travel to Saudi Arabia to see if he can jawbone the Saudis into saying that it was undoubtedly the Iranians who done it. Would that be going on if the Saudis had been in the plot?

So, some of you think that the Saudis blew up their own processing plant for some nefarious reason.

Or, maybe the Izzies blew it up to start a war?Will wonders never cease? I mean you, not the attack. pl

[Sep 17, 2019] Locked-And-Loaded For War With Iran Is Bolton's Soul Living On by Patrick Buchanan

Notable quotes:
"... Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org, ..."
"... "Iran has launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply," ..."
"... "There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen." ..."
"... The War Party is giddy with excitement over the prospect of war with Iran, while the nation does not want another war. ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

09/17/2019

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

"Iran has launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply," declared Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Putting America's credibility on the line, Pompeo accused Iran of carrying out the devastating attack on Saudi oil facilities that halted half of the kingdom's oil production, 5.7 million barrels a day.

On Sunday, President Donald Trump did not identify Iran as the attacking nation, but did appear, in a tweet, to back up the secretary of state:

"There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia) as to who they believe was the cause of this attack and under what terms we would proceed!"

Yemen's Houthi rebels, who have been fighting Saudi Arabia for four years and have used drones to strike Saudi airport and oil facilities, claim they fired 10 drones from 500 kilometers away to carry out the strikes in retaliation for Saudi air and missile attacks.

Pompeo dismissed their claim, "There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen."

But while the Houthis claim credit, Iran denies all responsibility.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif says of Pompeo's charge, that the U.S. has simply replaced a policy of "maximum pressure" with a policy of "maximum deceit." Tehran is calling us liars.

And, indeed, a direct assault on Saudi Arabia by Iran, a Pearl Harbor-type surprise attack on the Saudis' crucial oil production facility, would be an act of war requiring Saudi retaliation, leading to a Persian Gulf war in which the United States could be forced to participate.

Tehran being behind Saturday's strike would contradict Iranian policy since the U.S. pulled out of the nuclear deal. That policy has been to avoid a military clash with the United States and pursue a measured response to tightening American sanctions.

U.S. and Saudi officials are investigating the sites of the attacks, the oil production facility at Abqaiq and the Khurais oil field.

According to U.S. sources, 17 missiles or drones were fired, not the 10 the Houthis claim, and cruise missiles may have been used. Some targets were hit on the west-northwest facing sides, which suggests they were fired from the north, from Iran or Iraq.

But according to The New York Times, some targets were hit on the west side, pointing away from Iraq or Iraq as the source. But as some projectiles did not explode and fragments of those that did explode are identifiable, establishing the likely source of the attacks should be only a matter of time. It is here that the rubber meets the road.

Given Pompeo's public accusation that Iran was behind the attack, a Trump meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the U.N. General Assembly's annual gathering next week may be a dead letter.

The real question now is what do the Americans do when the source of the attack is known and the call for a commensurate response is put directly to our "locked-and-loaded" president.

If the perpetrators were the Houthis, how would Trump respond?

For the Houthis, who are native to Yemen and whose country has been attacked by the Saudis for four years, would, under the rules of war, seem to be entitled to launch attacks on the country attacking them.

Indeed, Congress has repeatedly sought to have Trump terminate U.S. support of the Saudi war in Yemen.

If the attack on the Saudi oil field and oil facility at Abqaiq proves to be the work of Shiite militia from inside Iraq, would the United States attack that militia whose numbers in Iraq have been estimated as high as 150,000 fighters, as compared with our 5,000 troops in-country?

What about Iran itself?

If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday -- shutting down about 6% of world oil production -- imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy.

In recent decades, the U.S. has sold the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment. Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?

Before Trump orders any strike on Iran, would he go to Congress for authorization for his act of war?

Sen. Lindsey Graham is already urging an attack on Iran's oil refineries to "break the regime's back," while Sen. Rand Paul contends that "there's no reason the superpower of the United States needs to be getting into bombing mainland Iran."

Divided again: The War Party is giddy with excitement over the prospect of war with Iran, while the nation does not want another war.

How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see.

John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.

[Sep 17, 2019] Russia Absolutely Pwn3d The FBI During Obama Years Report

Sep 17, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Transmedia001 , 8 minutes ago link

Another media spin in preparation of the public proof that the Steale dossier and Russia Gate was a soft coup and media hoax. Articles like this allow the traitors to argue that they didn't know it was fake or that certain assets were not Russian because the Russians were several steps ahead manipulating the situation using FBI hacked coms.

Time to start setting fire to every MSM outlet and making s'mores as we watch it all burn.

Koba the Dread , 21 minutes ago link

What a terrible typographical error. Somehow the word "Russian" was inserted in this text when the word "Israeli" was supposed to be used. Hey, typographers, pay more attention.

MaxThrust , 25 minutes ago link

"The technical break-through allowed Russian spies in American cities, key insights into how FBI surveillance teams were operating. "

The Russians learned how the FBI goes about lying to cover up for it's actions. How "False Flag" operations are coordinated and how entrapment schemes are run.

NiggaPleeze , 31 minutes ago link

We didn't understand that they were at political war with us already in the second term

Spying is not political war, moron. But fact is the Evil Empire never stopped its war against Russia - under Yeltsin they just moved it inside the country with their *** oligarch traitors, getting Russia to dismantle its industry, etc.

beemasters , 47 minutes ago link

According to a report this week, Israel has been spying on the White House. While that news itself isn't shocking, the Trump administration's response – or lack thereof – has taken many in DC by surprise.

But, unlike past administrations, the Trump team has not taken any action against surveillance by one of its closest allies, and spying on US soil has had no real consequences for Israel, American officials said.

Israeli spying is not new – but the Trump administration's response is

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/israel-trump-spy-white-house-netanyahu-surveillance-a9104776.html

They are now voting for the next POTUS in Israhell, as we speak. Will it be Netanyahu again?

Neochrome , 52 minutes ago link

We didn't understand that they were at political war with us

Is that why US was (is) spying on Merkel?

youshallnotkill , 54 minutes ago link

Russia Absolutely Pwn3d The FBI During Obama Years

And this headline makes abundantly clear which side the Tylers cheer for.

(Not that there was any doubt about it).

Joiningupthedots , 1 hour ago link

So the FBI wants more money for "integrated" communications or something?

This **** is not dissimilar to the CIA/MI6 pet rock trasmitters in the Moscow parks.

Spy agencies spy on each other....its their job LOL

Heroic Couplet , 1 hour ago link

"Shortly before the Obama administration approved a deal granting Russia 20% of America's uranium," LInk? If Russia mines uranium in the Western Hemisphere, it cannot export it. See Forbes Magazine, 13Dec2018, the article debunking Hillary-Uranium One.

booboo , 1 hour ago link

All roads lead to that neocon infested festering cesspool of anti American shitlips called the State Department. With friends like that who needs "the Russians"

truthalwayswinsout , 1 hour ago link

How can you believe this?

If the Russians did crack certain communications and the US knew it, they would use that to really screw the Russians and let them think they had us by the balls.

And they certainly would no be admitting any of it in an article.

Totally_Disillusioned , 1 hour ago link

And all the while the FBI / DOJ was running cover for the Clintonn Foundation and the Clintons, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the Awan brothers and surveilling American citizens with help of contractors. NOT ONE FBI whistle blower came forward...

I have been asking "Why?" At first I thought perhaps the threats to self/family may be the reason, but I'm now convinced THEY WERE ALL IN ON THE CORRUPTION. This agency is totally and thoroughly corrupt and beyond redemption. This is why Wray continues to carry water for the corrupt FBI leadership. Time to completely dismantle and re-engineer into the US Marshalls office.

[Sep 17, 2019] Yemeni Houti Rebels Drones wipe out 50% of Saudi Arabia's oil production

Notable quotes:
"... USA has been doing nearly everything in the Yemen war except pilot the planes. That Yemen can sneak some drones into sensitive Saudi areas would seem to raise some questions... ..."
"... Strategically what this means is that after wantonly bombing and attacking woefully poor Yemen for years, rich Saudi Arabia is not capable of protecting almost the entire source of its wealth. ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc , September 16, 2019 at 04:59 AM

It's Monday September 16th, 2019 and the weeks starts off like this:

GM's UAW Strike

Yemeni Houti Rebels Drones wipe out 50% of Saudi Arabia's oil production

Trump tweets in response is "locked and loaded" implying a new US war in the ME

One of Trump's White House flunky's declared "it is better if Trump does not study an issue" before making decisions (oh yea,"Stupid is what Stupid does")

Biden and S. Warren tied in the DEM race for 2020

Piketty's new Economics tome is out

PM Netanyahu is losing his re-election bid in Israel, to be determined by tomorrow's Election

We live in interesting times...

...the question I pose for the times is 'Are the People are better lead by businessmen, politicians, academics, or intellectuals?

im1dc -> im1dc... , September 16, 2019 at 05:01 AM
Personally, I choose to be lead by people that do the right thing long term for the People, not the most politically expedient or the one that makes the most money in the short run or the smartest, etc.
ilsm -> im1dc... , September 16, 2019 at 06:29 AM
The biggest damage from

"Yemeni Houti Rebels Drones wipe out 50% of Saudi Arabia's oil production"

is the ARAMCO IPO.

"Trump tweets in response is "locked and loaded" implying a new US war in the ME"

Send Pompeo to the UN...... looks like yellow cake to me.

point -> ilsm... , September 16, 2019 at 06:44 AM
USA has been doing nearly everything in the Yemen war except pilot the planes. That Yemen can sneak some drones into sensitive Saudi areas would seem to raise some questions about USA capability. Have not yet seen any press questions in that direction.
anne -> point... , September 16, 2019 at 07:25 AM
USA has been doing nearly everything in the Yemen war except pilot the planes. That Yemen can sneak some drones into sensitive Saudi areas would seem to raise some questions...

[ Really important. ]

anne -> point... , September 16, 2019 at 08:55 AM
Strategically what this means is that after wantonly bombing and attacking woefully poor Yemen for years, rich Saudi Arabia is not capable of protecting almost the entire source of its wealth.

[Sep 16, 2019] President Trump Called Former President Carter To Talk About China

Sep 16, 2019 | www.wabe.org

- WABE , Apr 14, 2019

Carter suggested that instead of war, China has been investing in its own infrastructure, mentioning that China has 18,000 miles of high-speed railroad.

"How many miles of high-speed railroad do we have in this country?"

Zero, the congregation answered.

"We have wasted I think $3 trillion," Carter said of American military spending. " It's more than you can imagine. China has not wasted a single penny on war and that's why they're ahead of us. In almost every way."

[Sep 16, 2019] The attack seemed to have involved not only Houti drones (already build with help from Iran), but also Iranian backed forces in Iraq, AND pro Iranian forces in Saudi Arabia itself. And maybe even other actors.

Sep 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

dh-mtl , Sep 15 2019 15:58 utc | 3

b,

The Americans have gotten themselves in a real bind with their maximum pressure campaign on Iran. This latest attack on Saudi Arabia's oil production looks like an escalation of the previous attacks on shipping and the spy drone. It is not evident how the Americans can respond to this latest attack.

As I see it their options are:

1. To let KSA respond to the Houthi attack and continue with their campaign to shut down Iranian oil production, without any direct U.S. response to the attack. However this will achieve nothing, as next month Iran will up pressure again with another attack on Middle-East oil assets, and we'll be back to the same place.

2. To bomb Iran's oil industry, as Pompeo and Graham suggest. However this risks blowing up the whole Middle East, as well as the World's oil market and their own (Western) economies.

3. Forget about Iran and move the fight to maintain U.S. global hegemony to another front: back to Venezuela? Serbia? Hong Kong? Taiwan? However the end result of such a move would more than likely be another humuliating defeat for the U.S.

4. Do as Stephen Wertheim / New York Times suggest and sue for peace. This will end the dream of U.S. World dominance, Globalization and the current western based financial system. The U.S. will become no more than a heavily indebted regional power in a 'Multi-polar World Order' led by China and Russia.

As I see it, the U.S. is out of options to continue their war for global dominance. #4 is the only viable option. But, as one author argued in a recent paper (I don't have the reference), wars continue long after the victor is clear, because the loser can't admit defeat (at heavy additional costs to the loser). I think that this is the position that the U.S. finds itself in now.


DontBelieveEitherPr. , Sep 15 2019 16:21 utc | 4

What the attack on Saudi oil infrastructure shows us, is that now Iran has united her proxys into one united front.

While they were cautious to not leave evidence of their involvment with the Houtis before, they now are putting their support more and more into the open.

The attack seemed to have involved not only Houti drones (already build with help from Iran), but also Iranian backed forces in Iraq, AND pro Iranian forces in Saudi Arabia itself. And maybe even other actors.

This is a major new development. Not only for the war on Yemen, but also in the context of Iran providing a credile detterence against US+Saudi aggression.
They excalated with increasing levels, and one wonders, what could top this last attack off.

And i am pretty sure, we will find out sooner rather than later.

Don Bacon , Sep 15 2019 20:13 utc | 29
@ 27
WaPo: Abqaiq . .damaged on the west-northwest sides
That's it! It was Hezbollah for sure. (not)

Actually there were two targets, the Buqaiq (Abqaiq) oil processing plant and the Khurais oil field, both in the Eastern Province.

These attacks are not the first -- from longwarjournal:

Last month, the Houthis claimed another drone operation against Saudi's Shaybah oil field near the United Arab Emirates. At more than 1,000 miles away from it's Yemen territory, that strike marked one of the Houthis farthest claimed attacks.
The Houthis also claimed a drone strike on the Abu Dhabi airport last year, but that has been denied by Emirati officials.
Additionally, a drone strike on Saudi's East-West oil pipeline near Riyadh earlier this year, which the Houthis claimed responsibility, was allegedly conducted by Iranian-backed Iraqi militants. If accurate, that means the Houthi claim of responsibility acted as a type of diplomatic cover for the Iraqi militants.
Since beginning its drone program last year, the Houthis have launched at least 103 drone strikes in Yemen and Saudi Arabia according to data compiled by FDD's Long War Journal. . . here . . .and more here .
Hercules , Sep 15 2019 21:27 utc | 35
Really appreciated the write up on the Houthis attack.
Sounds like the attack left substantial damage. Another bigger issue underlying all of this, aside from Saudi inability to get what it wants now from it's IPO, is the fact that the US Patriots did not detect this attack.
The Saudis spent billions last year on this defense system. Sounds like the clown Prince better give Russians a call about their S-400.
But the US wouldn't appreciate that much, would they?

[Sep 15, 2019] How the UK Security Services neutralised the country s leading liberal newspaper by Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis

Highly recommended!
Essentially neoliberal MSM were hijacked. Which was easy to do. The current anti-Russian campaign is conducted under the direct guidance of MI6 and similar agencies
Notable quotes:
"... committee minutes note the secretary saying: "The Guardian was obliged to seek advice under the terms of the DA notice code." The minutes add: "This failure to seek advice was a key source of concern and considerable efforts had been made to address it." ..."
"... These "considerable efforts" included a D-Notice sent out by the committee on 7 June 2013 – the day after The Guardian published the first documents – to all major UK media editors, saying they should refrain from publishing information that would "jeopardise both national security and possibly UK personnel". It was marked "private and confidential: not for publication, broadcast or use on social media". ..."
"... "The FT [Financial Times] and The Times did not mention it [the initial Snowden revelations] and the Telegraph published only a short". It continued by noting that only The Independent "followed up the substantive allegations". It added, "The BBC has also chosen to largely ignore the story." ..."
"... The British security services had carried out more than a "symbolic act". It was both a show of strength and a clear threat. The Guardian was then the only major newspaper that could be relied upon by whistleblowers in the US and British security bodies to receive and cover their exposures, a situation which posed a challenge to security agencies. ..."
"... The increasingly aggressive overtures made to The Guardian worked. The committee chair noted that after GCHQ had overseen the smashing up of the newspaper's laptops "engagement with The Guardian had continued to strengthen". ..."
"... But the most important part of this charm and threat offensive was getting The Guardian to agree to take a seat on the D-Notice Committee itself. The committee minutes are explicit on this, noting that "the process had culminated by [sic] the appointment of Paul Johnson (deputy editor Guardian News and Media) as a DPBAC [i.e. D-Notice Committee] member". ..."
"... The Guardian's deputy editor went directly from the corporation's basement with an angle-grinder to sitting on the D-Notice Committee alongside the security service officials who had tried to stop his paper publishing. ..."
"... In November 2016, The Guardian published an unprecedented "exclusive" with Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, Britain's domestic security service. The article noted that this was the "first newspaper interview given by an incumbent MI5 chief in the service's 107-year history". It was co-written by deputy editor Paul Johnson, who had never written about the security services before and who was still sitting on the D-Notice Committee. This was not mentioned in the article. ..."
"... The MI5 chief was given copious space to make claims about the national security threat posed by an "increasingly aggressive" Russia. Johnson and his co-author noted, "Parker said he was talking to The Guardian rather than any other newspaper despite the publication of the Snowden files." ..."
"... Just two weeks before the interview with MI6's chief was published, The Guardian itself reported on the high court stating that it would "hear an application for a judicial review of the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to charge MI6's former counterterrorism director, Sir Mark Allen, over the abduction of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his pregnant wife who were transferred to Libya in a joint CIA-MI6 operation in 2004". ..."
"... The security services were probably feeding The Guardian these "exclusives" as part of the process of bringing it onside and neutralising the only independent newspaper with the resources to receive and cover a leak such as Snowden's. They were possibly acting to prevent any revelations of this kind happening again. ..."
"... The Guardian's coverage of anti-Semitism in Labour has been suspiciously extensive, compared to the known extent of the problem in the party, and its focus on Corbyn personally suggests that the issue is being used politically. While anti-Semitism does exist in the Labour Party, evidence suggests it is at relatively low levels. Since September 2015, when Corbyn became Labour leader, 0.06% of the Labour membership has been investigated for anti-Semitic comments or posts. In 2016, an independent inquiry commissioned by Labour concluded that the party "is not overrun by anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism. Further, it is the party that initiated every single United Kingdom race equality law." ..."
"... A former Guardian journalist similarly told us: "It is significant that exclusive stories recently about British collusion in torture and policy towards the interrogation of terror suspects and other detainees have been passed to other papers including The Times rather than The Guardian." ..."
"... The Guardian had gone in six short years from being the natural outlet to place stories exposing wrongdoing by the security state to a platform trusted by the security state to amplify its information operations. A once relatively independent media platform has been largely neutralised by UK security services fearful of being exposed further. Which begs the question: where does the next Snowden go? DM ..."
Jan 01, 2019 | dailymaverick.co.za

The Guardian, Britain's leading liberal newspaper with a global reputation for independent and critical journalism, has been successfully targeted by security agencies to neutralise its adversarial reporting of the 'security state', according to newly released documents and evidence from former and current Guardian journalists.

The UK security services targeted The Guardian after the newspaper started publishing the contents of secret US government documents leaked by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in June 2013.

Snowden's bombshell revelations continued for months and were the largest-ever leak of classified material covering the NSA and its UK equivalent, the Government Communications Headquarters. They revealed programmes of mass surveillance operated by both agencies.

According to minutes of meetings of the UK's Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee, the revelations caused alarm in the British security services and Ministry of Defence.

" This event was very concerning because at the outset The Guardian avoided engaging with the [committee] before publishing the first tranche of information," state minutes of a 7 November 2013 meeting at the MOD.

The DSMA Committee, more commonly known as the D-Notice Committee, is run by the MOD, where it meets every six months. A small number of journalists are also invited to sit on the committee. Its stated purpose is to "prevent inadvertent public disclosure of information that would compromise UK military and intelligence operations". It can issue "notices" to the media to encourage them not to publish certain information.

The committee is currently chaired by the MOD's director-general of security policy Dominic Wilson, who was previously director of security and intelligence in the British Cabinet Office. Its secretary is Brigadier Geoffrey Dodds OBE, who describes himself as an "accomplished, senior ex-military commander with extensive experience of operational level leadership".

The D-Notice system describes itself as voluntary , placing no obligations on the media to comply with any notice issued. This means there should have been no need for the Guardian to consult the MOD before publishing the Snowden documents.

Yet committee minutes note the secretary saying: "The Guardian was obliged to seek advice under the terms of the DA notice code." The minutes add: "This failure to seek advice was a key source of concern and considerable efforts had been made to address it."

' Considerable efforts'

These "considerable efforts" included a D-Notice sent out by the committee on 7 June 2013 – the day after The Guardian published the first documents – to all major UK media editors, saying they should refrain from publishing information that would "jeopardise both national security and possibly UK personnel". It was marked "private and confidential: not for publication, broadcast or use on social media".

Clearly the committee did not want its issuing of the notice to be publicised, and it was nearly successful. Only the right-wing blog Guido Fawkes made it public.

At the time, according to the committee minutes , the "intelligence agencies in particular had continued to ask for more advisories [i.e. D-Notices] to be sent out". Such D-Notices were clearly seen by the intelligence services not so much as a tool to advise the media but rather a way to threaten it not to publish further Snowden revelations.

One night, amidst the first Snowden stories being published, the D-Notice Committee's then-secretary Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Vallance personally called Alan Rusbridger, then editor of The Guardian. Vallance "made clear his concern that The Guardian had failed to consult him in advance before telling the world", according to a Guardian journalist who interviewed Rusbridger.

Later in the year, Prime Minister David Cameron again used the D-Notice system as a threat to the media.

" I don't want to have to use injunctions or D-Notices or the other tougher measures," he said in a statement to MPs. "I think it's much better to appeal to newspapers' sense of social responsibility. But if they don't demonstrate some social responsibility it would be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act."

The threats worked. The Press Gazette reported at the time that "The FT [Financial Times] and The Times did not mention it [the initial Snowden revelations] and the Telegraph published only a short". It continued by noting that only The Independent "followed up the substantive allegations". It added, "The BBC has also chosen to largely ignore the story."

The Guardian, however, remained uncowed.

According to the committee minutes , the fact The Guardian would not stop publishing "undoubtedly raised questions in some minds about the system's future usefulness". If the D-Notice system could not prevent The Guardian publishing GCHQ's most sensitive secrets, what was it good for?

It was time to rein in The Guardian and make sure this never happened again.

GCHQ and laptops

The security services ratcheted up their "considerable efforts" to deal with the exposures. On 20 July 2013, GCHQ officials entered The Guardian's offices at King's Cross in London, six weeks after the first Snowden-related article had been published. At the request of the government and security services, Guardian deputy editor Paul Johnson, along with two others, spent three hours destroying the laptops containing the Snowden documents.

The Guardian staffers, according to one of the newspaper's reporters, brought "angle-grinders, dremels – drills with revolving bits – and masks". The reporter added, "The spy agency provided one piece of hi-tech equipment, a 'degausser', which destroys magnetic fields and erases data."

Johnson claims that the destruction of the computers was "purely a symbolic act", adding that "the government and GCHQ knew, because we had told them, that the material had been taken to the US to be shared with the New York Times. The reporting would go on. The episode hadn't changed anything."

Yet the episode did change something. As the D-Notice Committee minutes for November 2013 outlined: "Towards the end of July [as the computers were being destroyed], The Guardian had begun to seek and accept D-Notice advice not to publish certain highly sensitive details and since then the dialogue [with the committee] had been reasonable and improving."

The British security services had carried out more than a "symbolic act". It was both a show of strength and a clear threat. The Guardian was then the only major newspaper that could be relied upon by whistleblowers in the US and British security bodies to receive and cover their exposures, a situation which posed a challenge to security agencies.

The increasingly aggressive overtures made to The Guardian worked. The committee chair noted that after GCHQ had overseen the smashing up of the newspaper's laptops "engagement with The Guardian had continued to strengthen".

Moreover, he added , there were now "regular dialogues between the secretary and deputy secretaries and Guardian journalists". Rusbridger later testified to the Home Affairs Committee that Air Vice-Marshal Vallance of the D-Notice committee and himself "collaborated" in the aftermath of the Snowden affair and that Vallance had even "been at The Guardian offices to talk to all our reporters".

But the most important part of this charm and threat offensive was getting The Guardian to agree to take a seat on the D-Notice Committee itself. The committee minutes are explicit on this, noting that "the process had culminated by [sic] the appointment of Paul Johnson (deputy editor Guardian News and Media) as a DPBAC [i.e. D-Notice Committee] member".

At some point in 2013 or early 2014, Johnson – the same deputy editor who had smashed up his newspaper's computers under the watchful gaze of British intelligence agents – was approached to take up a seat on the committee. Johnson attended his first meeting in May 2014 and was to remain on it until October 2018 .

The Guardian's deputy editor went directly from the corporation's basement with an angle-grinder to sitting on the D-Notice Committee alongside the security service officials who had tried to stop his paper publishing.

A new editor

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger withstood intense pressure not to publish some of the Snowden revelations but agreed to Johnson taking a seat on the D-Notice Committee as a tactical sop to the security services. Throughout his tenure, The Guardian continued to publish some stories critical of the security services.

But in March 2015, the situation changed when the Guardian appointed a new editor, Katharine Viner, who had less experience than Rusbridger of dealing with the security services. Viner had started out on fashion and entertainment magazine Cosmopolitan and had no history in national security reporting. According to insiders, she showed much less leadership during the Snowden affair than Janine Gibson in the US (Gibson was another candidate to be Rusbridger's successor).

Viner was then editor-in-chief of Guardian Australia, which was launched just two weeks before the first Snowden revelations were published. Australia and New Zealand comprise two-fifths of the so-called "Five Eyes" surveillance alliance exposed by Snowden.

This was an opportunity for the security services. It appears that their seduction began the following year.

In November 2016, The Guardian published an unprecedented "exclusive" with Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, Britain's domestic security service. The article noted that this was the "first newspaper interview given by an incumbent MI5 chief in the service's 107-year history". It was co-written by deputy editor Paul Johnson, who had never written about the security services before and who was still sitting on the D-Notice Committee. This was not mentioned in the article.

The MI5 chief was given copious space to make claims about the national security threat posed by an "increasingly aggressive" Russia. Johnson and his co-author noted, "Parker said he was talking to The Guardian rather than any other newspaper despite the publication of the Snowden files."

Parker told the two reporters, "We recognise that in a changing world we have to change too. We have a responsibility to talk about our work and explain it."

Four months after the MI5 interview, in March 2017, the Guardian published another unprecedented "exclusive", this time with Alex Younger, the sitting chief of MI6, Britain's external intelligence agency. This exclusive was awarded by the Secret Intelligence Service to The Guardian's investigations editor, Nick Hopkins, who had been appointed 14 months previously.

The interview was the first Younger had given to a national newspaper and was again softball. Titled "MI6 returns to 'tapping up' in an effort to recruit black and Asian officers", it focused almost entirely on the intelligence service's stated desire to recruit from ethnic minority communities.

" Simply, we have to attract the best of modern Britain," Younger told Hopkins. "Every community from every part of Britain should feel they have what it takes, no matter what their background or status."

Just two weeks before the interview with MI6's chief was published, The Guardian itself reported on the high court stating that it would "hear an application for a judicial review of the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to charge MI6's former counterterrorism director, Sir Mark Allen, over the abduction of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his pregnant wife who were transferred to Libya in a joint CIA-MI6 operation in 2004".

None of this featured in The Guardian article, which did, however, cover discussions of whether the James Bond actor Daniel Craig would qualify for the intelligence service. "He would not get into MI6," Younger told Hopkins.

More recently, in August 2019, The Guardian was awarded yet another exclusive, this time with Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Neil Basu, Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer. This was Basu's " first major interview since taking up his post" the previous year and resulted in a three-part series of articles, one of which was entitled "Met police examine Vladimir Putin's role in Salisbury attack".

The security services were probably feeding The Guardian these "exclusives" as part of the process of bringing it onside and neutralising the only independent newspaper with the resources to receive and cover a leak such as Snowden's. They were possibly acting to prevent any revelations of this kind happening again.

What, if any, private conversations have taken place between Viner and the security services during her tenure as editor are not known. But in 2018, when Paul Johnson eventually left the D-Notice Committee, its chair, the MOD's Dominic Wilson, praised Johnson who, he said, had been "instrumental in re-establishing links with The Guardian".

Decline in critical reporting

Amidst these spoon-fed intelligence exclusives, Viner also oversaw the breakup of The Guardian's celebrated investigative team, whose muck-racking journalists were told to apply for other jobs outside of investigations.

One well-placed source told the Press Gazette at the time that journalists on the investigations team "have not felt backed by senior editors over the last year", and that "some also feel the company has become more risk-averse in the same period".

In the period since Snowden, The Guardian has lost many of its top investigative reporters who had covered national security issues, notably Shiv Malik, Nick Davies, David Leigh, Richard Norton-Taylor, Ewen MacAskill and Ian Cobain. The few journalists who were replaced were succeeded by less experienced reporters with apparently less commitment to exposing the security state. The current defence and security editor, Dan Sabbagh, started at The Guardian as head of media and technology and has no history of covering national security.

" It seems they've got rid of everyone who seemed to cover the security services and military in an adversarial way," one current Guardian journalist told us.

Indeed, during the last two years of Rusbridger's editorship, The Guardian published about 110 articles per year tagged as MI6 on its website. Since Viner took over, the average per year has halved and is decreasing year by year.

" Effective scrutiny of the security and intelligence agencies -- epitomised by the Snowden scoops but also many other stories -- appears to have been abandoned," a former Guardian journalist told us. The former reporter added that, in recent years, it "sometimes seems The Guardian is worried about upsetting the spooks."

A second former Guardian journalist added: "The Guardian no longer seems to have such a challenging relationship with the intelligence services, and is perhaps seeking to mend fences since Snowden. This is concerning, because spooks are always manipulative and not always to be trusted."

While some articles critical of the security services still do appear in the paper, its "scoops" increasingly focus on issues more acceptable to them. Since the Snowden affair, The Guardian does not appear to have published any articles based on an intelligence or security services source that was not officially sanctioned to speak.

The Guardian has, by contrast, published a steady stream of exclusives on the major official enemy of the security services, Russia, exposing Putin, his friends and the work of its intelligence services and military.

In the Panama Papers leak in April 2016, which revealed how companies and individuals around the world were using an offshore law firm to avoid paying tax, The Guardian's front-page launch scoop was authored by Luke Harding, who has received many security service tips focused on the "Russia threat", and was titled "Revealed: the $2bn offshore trail that leads to Vladimir Putin".

Three sentences into the piece, however, Harding notes that "the president's name does not appear in any of the records" although he insists that "the data reveals a pattern – his friends have earned millions from deals that seemingly could not have been secured without his patronage".

There was a much bigger story in the Panama Papers which The Guardian chose to downplay by leaving it to the following day. This concerned the father of the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, who "ran an offshore fund that avoided ever having to pay tax in Britain by hiring a small army of Bahamas residents – including a part-time bishop – to sign its paperwork".

We understand there was some argument between journalists about not leading with the Cameron story as the launch splash. Putin's friends were eventually deemed more important than the Prime Minister of the country where the paper published.

Getting Julian Assange

The Guardian also appears to have been engaged in a campaign against the WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who had been a collaborator during the early WikiLeaks revelations in 2010.

One 2017 story came from investigative reporter Carole Cadwalladr, who writes for The Guardian's sister paper The Observer, titled "When Nigel Farage met Julian Assange". This concerned the visit of former UKIP leader Nigel Farage to the Ecuadorian embassy in March 2017, organised by the radio station LBC, for whom Farage worked as a presenter. Farage's producer at LBC accompanied Farage at the meeting, but this was not mentioned by Cadwalladr.

Rather, she posited that this meeting was "potentially a channel of communication" between WikiLeaks, Farage and Donald Trump, who were all said to be closely linked to Russia, adding that these actors were in a "political alignment" and that " WikiLeaks is, in many ways, the swirling vortex at the centre of everything".

Yet Cadwalladr's one official on-the-record source for this speculation was a "highly placed contact with links to US intelligence", who told her, "When the heat is turned up and all electronic communication, you have to assume, is being intensely monitored, then those are the times when intelligence communication falls back on human couriers. Where you have individuals passing information in ways and places that cannot be monitored."

It seems likely this was innuendo being fed to The Observer by an intelligence-linked individual to promote disinformation to undermine Assange.

In 2018, however, The Guardian's attempted vilification of Assange was significantly stepped up. A new string of articles began on 18 May 2018 with one alleging Assange's "long-standing relationship with RT", the Russian state broadcaster. The series, which has been closely documented elsewhere, lasted for several months, consistently alleging with little or the most minimal circumstantial evidence that Assange had ties to Russia or the Kremlin.

One story, co-authored again by Luke Harding, claimed that "Russian diplomats held secret talks in London with people close to Julian Assange to assess whether they could help him flee the UK, The Guardian has learned". The former consul in the Ecuadorian embassy in London at this time, Fidel Narvaez, vigorously denies the existence of any such "escape plot" involving Russia and is involved in a complaint process with The Guardian for insinuating he coordinated such a plot.

This apparent mini-campaign ran until November 2018, culminating in a front-page splash , based on anonymous sources, claiming that Assange had three secret meetings at the Ecuadorian embassy with Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

This "scoop" failed all tests of journalistic credibility since it would have been impossible for anyone to have entered the highly secured Ecuadorian embassy three times with no proof. WikiLeaks and others have strongly argued that the story was manufactured and it is telling that The Guardian has since failed to refer to it in its subsequent articles on the Assange case. The Guardian, however, has still not retracted or apologised for the story which remains on its website.

The "exclusive" appeared just two weeks after Paul Johnson had been congratulated for "re-establishing links" between The Guardian and the security services.

The string of Guardian articles, along with the vilification and smear stories about Assange elsewhere in the British media, helped create the conditions for a deal between Ecuador, the UK and the US to expel Assange from the embassy in April. Assange now sits in Belmarsh maximum-security prison where he faces extradition to the US, and life in prison there, on charges under the Espionage Act.

Acting for the establishment

Another major focus of The Guardian's energies under Viner's editorship has been to attack the leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.

The context is that Corbyn appears to have recently been a target of the security services. In 2015, soon after he was elected Labour leader, the Sunday Times reported a serving general warning that "there would be a direct challenge from the army and mass resignations if Corbyn became prime minister". The source told the newspaper: "The Army just wouldn't stand for it. The general staff would not allow a prime minister to jeopardise the security of this country and I think people would use whatever means possible, fair or foul, to prevent that."

On 20 May 2017, a little over two weeks before the 2017 General Election, the Daily Telegraph was fed the story that "MI5 opened a file on Jeremy Corbyn amid concerns over his links to the IRA". It formed part of a Telegraph investigation claiming to reveal "Mr Corbyn's full links to the IRA" and was sourced to an individual "close to" the MI5 investigation, who said "a file had been opened on him by the early nineties".

The Metropolitan Police Special Branch was also said to be monitoring Corbyn in the same period.

Then, on the very eve of the General Election, the Telegraph gave space to an article from Sir Richard Dearlove, the former director of MI6, under a headline: "Jeremy Corbyn is a danger to this nation. At MI6, which I once led, he wouldn't clear the security vetting."

Further, in September 2018, two anonymous senior government sources told The Times that Corbyn had been "summoned" for a "'facts of life' talk on terror" by MI5 chief Andrew Parker.

Just two weeks after news of this private meeting was leaked by the government, the Daily Mail reported another leak, this time revealing that "Jeremy Corbyn's most influential House of Commons adviser has been barred from entering Ukraine on the grounds that he is a national security threat because of his alleged links to Vladimir Putin's 'global propaganda network'."

The article concerned Andrew Murray, who had been working in Corbyn's office for a year but had still not received a security pass to enter the UK parliament. The Mail reported, based on what it called "a senior parliamentary source", that Murray's application had encountered "vetting problems".

Murray later heavily suggested that the security services had leaked the story to the Mail. "Call me sceptical if you must, but I do not see journalistic enterprise behind the Mail's sudden capacity to tease obscure information out of the [Ukrainian security service]," he wrote in the New Statesman. He added, "Someone else is doing the hard work – possibly someone being paid by the taxpayer. I doubt if their job description is preventing the election of a Corbyn government, but who knows?"

Murray told us he was approached by the New Statesman after the story about him being banned from Ukraine was leaked. "However," he added, "I wouldn't dream of suggesting anything like that to The Guardian, since I do not know any journalists still working there who I could trust."

The Guardian itself has run a remarkable number of news and comment articles criticising Corbyn since he was elected in 2015 and the paper's clearly hostile stance has been widely noted .

Given its appeal to traditional Labour supporters, the paper has probably done more to undermine Corbyn than any other. In particular, its massive coverage of alleged widespread anti-Semitism in the Labour Party has helped to disparage Corbyn more than other smears carried in the media.

The Guardian and The Observer have published hundreds of articles on "Labour anti-Semitism" and, since the beginning of this year, carried over 50 such articles with headlines clearly negative to Corbyn. Typical headlines have included " The Observer view: Labour leadership is complicit in anti-Semitism ", " Jeremy Corbyn is either blind to anti-Semitism – or he just doesn't care ", and " Labour's anti-Semitism problem is institutional. It needs investigation ".

The Guardian's coverage of anti-Semitism in Labour has been suspiciously extensive, compared to the known extent of the problem in the party, and its focus on Corbyn personally suggests that the issue is being used politically. While anti-Semitism does exist in the Labour Party, evidence suggests it is at relatively low levels. Since September 2015, when Corbyn became Labour leader, 0.06% of the Labour membership has been investigated for anti-Semitic comments or posts. In 2016, an independent inquiry commissioned by Labour concluded that the party "is not overrun by anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism. Further, it is the party that initiated every single United Kingdom race equality law."

Analysis of two YouGov surveys, conducted in 2015 and 2017, shows that anti-Semitic views held by Labour voters declined substantially in the first two years of Corbyn's tenure and that such views were significantly more common among Conservative voters.

Despite this, since January 2016, The Guardian has published 1,215 stories mentioning Labour and anti-Semitism, an average of around one per day, according to a search on Factiva, the database of newspaper articles. In the same period, The Guardian published just 194 articles mentioning the Conservative Party's much more serious problem with Islamophobia. A YouGov poll in 2019, for example, found that nearly half of the Tory Party membership would prefer not to have a Muslim prime minister.

At the same time, some stories which paint Corbyn's critics in a negative light have been suppressed by The Guardian. According to someone with knowledge of the matter, The Guardian declined to publish the results of a months-long critical investigation by one of its reporters into a prominent anti-Corbyn Labour MP, citing only vague legal issues.

In July 2016, one of this article's authors emailed a Guardian editor asking if he could pitch an investigation about the first attempt by the right-wing of the Labour Party to remove Corbyn, informing The Guardian of very good inside sources on those behind the attempt and their real plans. The approach was rejected as being of no interest before a pitch was even sent.

A reliable publication?

On 20 May 2019, The Times newspaper reported on a Freedom of Information request made by the Rendition Project, a group of academic experts working on torture and rendition issues, which showed that the MOD had been "developing a secret policy on torture that allows ministers to sign off intelligence-sharing that could lead to the abuse of detainees".

This might traditionally have been a Guardian story, not something for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Times. According to one civil society source, however, many groups working in this field no longer trust The Guardian.

A former Guardian journalist similarly told us: "It is significant that exclusive stories recently about British collusion in torture and policy towards the interrogation of terror suspects and other detainees have been passed to other papers including The Times rather than The Guardian."

The Times published its scoop under a strong headline , "Torture: Britain breaks law in Ministry of Defence secret policy". However, before the article was published, the MOD fed The Guardian the same documents The Times were about to splash with, believing it could soften the impact of the revelations by telling its side of the story.

The Guardian posted its own article just before The Times, with a headline that would have pleased the government: "MoD says revised torture guidance does not lower standards".

Its lead paragraph was a simple summary of the MOD's position: "The Ministry of Defence has insisted that newly emerged departmental guidance on the sharing of intelligence derived from torture with allies, remains in line with practices agreed in the aftermath of a series of scandals following the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq." However, an inspection of the documents showed this was clearly disinformation.

The Guardian had gone in six short years from being the natural outlet to place stories exposing wrongdoing by the security state to a platform trusted by the security state to amplify its information operations. A once relatively independent media platform has been largely neutralised by UK security services fearful of being exposed further. Which begs the question: where does the next Snowden go? DM

The Guardian did not respond to a request for comment.

Daily Maverick will formally launch Declassified – a new UK-focused investigation and analysis organisation run by the authors of this article – in November 2019.

Matt Kennard is an investigative journalist and co-founder of Declassified . He was previously director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London, and before that a reporter for the Financial Times in the US and UK. He is the author of two books, Irregular Army and The Racket .

Mark Curtis is a leading UK foreign policy analyst, journalist and the author of six books including Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World and Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam .

[Sep 15, 2019] Blissful lack of self-awareness on the part of the USA defence secretary.

Does he mean the treat of de-dollarization? The USA military is just an the enforcement arm of Wall Street banks.
Notable quotes:
"... "It is increasingly clear that Russia and China want to disrupt the international order by gaining a veto over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions," ..."
Sep 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

"It is increasingly clear that Russia and China want to disrupt the international order by gaining a veto over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions," Esper said, seemingly unaware of the absurd hypocrisy of his words.

[Sep 15, 2019] Iran A Club of Sanctioned Countries in Solidarity Against US Economic Terrorism Dissident Voice

Sep 15, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

Iran: A Club of Sanctioned Countries in Solidarity Against US Economic Terrorism

by Press TV / September 13th, 2019

PressTV Interview – transcript

Background links:
https://ifpnews.com/iranian-mps-propose-formation-of-club-of-sanctioned-countries
https://www.newsweek.com/russia-china-iran-fight-sanctions-1458096

Excerpts:

An Iranian parliamentary faction has come up with the idea of establishing a club of sanctioned countries for concerted action against the US economic terrorism.

The chairman of the Parliament's faction on countering sanctions, Poormokhtar, gave a report on the formation of the faction and its activities, as well as the ongoing efforts to establish the club of sanctioned countries. Iran's FM, Zaraf, said this would be enhancing the already existing alliance of Russia, China, Syria, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela against US economic terrorism.

PressTV: Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Cuba, and Venezuela are among the nations that have come out against the United States' use of sanctions to enforce its foreign policy around the world. In what ways can they fight these US sanctions as a group?

Peter Koenig: Brilliant idea! Solidarity makes stronger and eventually will attract other countries who are sick and tired of the US sanction regime, and since they have the backing of Russia and China, that's a very strong alliance, especially an economic alliance. The sanction regime can only be broken through economics, meaning decoupling from the western monetary system. I said this before and say it again, at the risk of repeating myself.

After all, China is the world's largest and strongest economy in Purchasing Power GDP measures which is the only comparison that really counts. I believe this solidarity alliance against US sanctions is certainly worth a trial.

And personally, I think it will be a successful trial, as more countries will join, possibly even non-sanctioned ones, out of solidarity against a common tyrant.

The countries in solidarity against sanctions, in addition to ignoring them -- and the more they ignore them, the more other countries will follow-suit -- that's logical as fear disappears and solidarity grows.

For example, Iran and Venezuela, oil exporting countries, could accompany their tankers by war ships. Yes, it's an extra cost, but think of it as temporary and as a long-term gain. Would "Grace I" have been accompanied by an Iranian war ship the Brits would not have dared confiscating it. That's for sure.

PressTV: Many of the US sanctions have led to death of civilians in those particular countries. At the same time, sanctions have also led to the improvement of these countries to the point where domestic production in various fields advanced. Don't sanctions become country-productive to US aims?'

PK: Of course, the sanctions are counter-productive. They have helped Russia to become food-self-sufficient, for example. That was not Washington's intention and less so the intention of the EU, who followed Washington's dictate like puppets.

Sanctions are like a last effort before the fall of the empire, to cause as much human damage as possible, to pull other nations down with the dying beast. It has always been like that starting with the Romans through the Ottoman's. They realize their time has come but can't see a world living in peace. So they must plant as much unrest and misery as possible before they disappear

That's precisely what's happening with the US.

Intimidation, building more and more military bases, all with fake money, as we know the dollar is worth nothing – FIAT money – that the world still accepts but less and less so, therefore military bases, deadly sanctions, and trade wars. Trump knows that a trade war against China is a lost cause. Still, he can intimidate other countries by insisting on a trade war with China or that's what he thinks.

PressTV: The more countries US sanctions, illegally, more people turn against the US: doesn't that defeat the US so-called fight against terrorism and violence?

PK: Well, US sanction and the entire scheme of US aggression has nothing to do with fighting terrorism, as you know. It's nothing but expanding US hegemony over the world, and if needed, and more often than not, the US finances terrorism to fight proxy wars against their so-called enemies, meaning anybody not conforming to their wishes and not wanting to submit to their orders and not letting them exploit – or rather steal – their natural resources.

Syria is a case in point. ISIL is funded and armed by the Pentagon, who buys Serbian produced weapon to channel them through the Mid-East allies to Syrian terrorists, the ISIL or similar kinds with different names -- just to confuse.

Venezuela too – the opposition consist basically of US trained, financed and armed opposition "leaders" – who do not want to participate in totally democratic elections – order of the US – boycott them. But as we have seen as of this day, the various coup attempts by the US against their legitimate and democratically elected President, Nicolás Maduro, have failed bitterly, and this despite the most severe sanctions regime South American has known, except for Cuba, against whom the US crime has been perpetuated for 60 years.

So, nobody should have the illusion that Washington's wars are against terrorism. Washington is THE terrorist regime that fights for world hegemony.

Press TV is the first Iranian international news network broadcasting in English on a round-the-clock basis. Read other articles by Press TV , or visit Press TV's website .

This article was posted on Friday, September 13th, 2019 at 7:33am and is filed under China , Cuba , Interview , Iran , Russia , Sanctions , Syria , United States , US Terrorism , Venezuela .

[Sep 15, 2019] Trump's new world disorder: competitive, chaotic, conflicted by

The key to understanding the c
The collapse of neoliberalism naturally lead to the collapse of the US influence over the globe. and to the treats to the dollar as the world reserve currency. That's why the US foreign policy became so aggressive and violent. Neocons want to fight for the world hegemony to the last American.
Notable quotes:
"... US foreign policy is ever more unstable and confrontational ..."
"... Bolton's brutal defenestration has raised hopes that Trump, who worries that voters may view him as a warmonger, may begin to moderate some of his more confrontational international policies. As the 2020 election looms, he is desperate for a big foreign policy peace-making success. And, in Trump world, winning matters more than ideology, principles or personnel. ..."
"... Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has not merely broken with diplomatic and geopolitical convention. He has taken a wrecking ball to venerated alliances, multilateral cooperation and the postwar international rules-based order. ..."
"... The resulting new world disorder – to adapt George HW Bush's famous 1991 phrase – will be hard to put right. Like its creator, Trump world is unstable, unpredictable and threatening. Trump has been called America's first rogue president. Whether or not he wins a second term, this Trumpian era of epic disruption, the very worst form of American exceptionalism, is already deeply entrenched. ..."
"... driven by a chronic desire for re-election, Trump's behaviour could become more, not less, confrontational during his remaining time in office, suggested Eliot Cohen, professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins university. ..."
"... "The president has proved himself to be what many critics have long accused him of being: belligerent, bullying, impatient, irresponsible, intellectually lazy, short-tempered and self-obsessed," Cohen wrote in Foreign Affairs journal . "Remarkably, however, those shortcomings have not yet translated into obvious disaster. But [that] should not distract from a building crisis of US foreign policy." ..."
"... This pending crisis stems from Trump's crudely Manichaean division of the world into two camps: adversaries/competitors and supporters/customers. A man with few close confidants, Trump has real trouble distinguishing between allies and enemies, friends and foes, and often confuses the two. In Trump world, old rules don't apply. Alliances are optional. Loyalty is weakness. And trust is fungible. ..."
"... The crunch came last weekend when a bizarre, secret summit with Taliban chiefs at Camp David was cancelled . It was classic Trump. He wanted quick 'n' easy, primetime credit for a dramatic peace deal, pushed ahead blindly, then changed his mind at the last minute. Furious over a debacle of his own making, he turned his wrath on others, notably Bolton – who, ironically, had opposed the summit all along. ..."
"... With Trump's blessing, Israel is enmeshed in escalating, multi-fronted armed confrontation with Iran and its allies in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Add to this recent violence in the Gulf, the disastrous Trump-backed, Saudi-led war in Yemen, mayhem in Syria's Idlib province, border friction with Turkey, and Islamic State resurgence in northern Iraq, and a region-wide explosion looks ever more likely. ..."
"... "the bipartisan consensus forged in the 1990s – in which the US towered over the world and, at low cost, sought to remake it in America's image – has failed and cannot be revived", ..."
Sep 14, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

With John Bolton dismissed, Taliban peace talks a fiasco and a trade war with China, US foreign policy is ever more unstable and confrontational

It was by all accounts, a furious row. Donald Trump was talking about relaxing sanctions on Iran and holding a summit with its president, Hassan Rouhani, at this month's UN general assembly in New York. John Bolton, his hawkish national security adviser, was dead against it and forcefully rejected Trump's ideas during a tense meeting in the Oval Office on Monday.

...Bolton's brutal defenestration has raised hopes that Trump, who worries that voters may view him as a warmonger, may begin to moderate some of his more confrontational international policies. As the 2020 election looms, he is desperate for a big foreign policy peace-making success. And, in Trump world, winning matters more than ideology, principles or personnel.

The US president is now saying he is also open to a repeat meeting with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, to reboot stalled nuclear disarmament talks. On another front, he has offered an olive branch to China, delaying a planned tariff increase on $250bn of Chinese goods pending renewed trade negotiations next month. Meanwhile, he says, new tariffs on European car imports could be dropped, too.

Is a genuine dove-ish shift under way? It seems improbable. Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has not merely broken with diplomatic and geopolitical convention. He has taken a wrecking ball to venerated alliances, multilateral cooperation and the postwar international rules-based order. He has cosied up to autocrats, attacked old friends and blundered into sensitive conflicts he does not fully comprehend.

The resulting new world disorder – to adapt George HW Bush's famous 1991 phrase – will be hard to put right. Like its creator, Trump world is unstable, unpredictable and threatening. Trump has been called America's first rogue president. Whether or not he wins a second term, this Trumpian era of epic disruption, the very worst form of American exceptionalism, is already deeply entrenched.

The suggestion that Trump will make nice and back off as election time nears thus elicits considerable scepticism. US analysts and commentators say the president's erratic, impulsive and egotistic personality means any shift towards conciliation may be short-lived and could quickly be reversed, Bolton or no Bolton.

Trump wanted quick 'n' easy, primetime credit for a dramatic peace deal in Afghanistan with the Taliban, pushed ahead blindly, then changed his mind at the last minute

Trump is notorious for blowing hot and cold, performing policy zigzags and suddenly changing his mind. "Regardless of who has advised Mr Trump on foreign affairs all have proved powerless before [his] zest for chaos," the New York Times noted last week .

Lacking experienced diplomatic and military advisers (he has sacked most of the good ones), surrounded by an inner circle of cynical sycophants such as secretary of state Mike Pompeo, and driven by a chronic desire for re-election, Trump's behaviour could become more, not less, confrontational during his remaining time in office, suggested Eliot Cohen, professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins university.

"The president has proved himself to be what many critics have long accused him of being: belligerent, bullying, impatient, irresponsible, intellectually lazy, short-tempered and self-obsessed," Cohen wrote in Foreign Affairs journal . "Remarkably, however, those shortcomings have not yet translated into obvious disaster. But [that] should not distract from a building crisis of US foreign policy."

This pending crisis stems from Trump's crudely Manichaean division of the world into two camps: adversaries/competitors and supporters/customers. A man with few close confidants, Trump has real trouble distinguishing between allies and enemies, friends and foes, and often confuses the two. In Trump world, old rules don't apply. Alliances are optional. Loyalty is weakness. And trust is fungible.

As a result, the US today finds itself at odds with much of the world to an unprecedented and dangerous degree. America, the postwar global saviour, has been widely recast as villain. Nor is this a passing phase. Trump seems to have permanently changed the way the US views the world and vice versa. Whatever follows, it will never be quite the same again.

Clues as to what he does next may be found in what he has done so far. His is a truly calamitous record, as exemplified by Afghanistan. Having vowed in 2016 to end America's longest war, he began with a troop surge, lost interest and sued for peace. A withdrawal deal proved elusive. Meanwhile, US-led forces inflicted record civilian casualties .

Facebook Twitter Pinterest The US and Israeli flags are projected on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City in May, marking the anniversary of the US embassy transfer from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Photograph: Ahmad Gharabli/Getty

The crunch came last weekend when a bizarre, secret summit with Taliban chiefs at Camp David was cancelled . It was classic Trump. He wanted quick 'n' easy, primetime credit for a dramatic peace deal, pushed ahead blindly, then changed his mind at the last minute. Furious over a debacle of his own making, he turned his wrath on others, notably Bolton – who, ironically, had opposed the summit all along.

All sides are now vowing to step up the violence, with the insurgents aiming to disrupt this month's presidential election in Afghanistan. In short, Trump's self-glorifying Afghan reality show, of which he was the Nobel-winning star, has made matters worse. Much the same is true of his North Korea summitry, where expectations were raised, then dashed when he got cold feet in Hanoi , provoking a backlash from Pyongyang.

The current crisis over Iran's nuclear programme is almost entirely of Trump's making, sparked by his decision last year to renege on the 2015 UN-endorsed deal with Tehran. His subsequent "maximum pressure" campaign of punitive sanctions has failed to cow Iranians while alienating European allies. And it has led Iran to resume banned nuclear activities – a seriously counterproductive, entirely predictable outcome.

Trump's unconditional, unthinking support for Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's aggressively rightwing prime minister – including tacit US backing for his proposed annexation of swathes of the occupied territories – is pushing the Palestinians back to the brink, energising Hamas and Hezbollah, and raising tensions across the region .

With Trump's blessing, Israel is enmeshed in escalating, multi-fronted armed confrontation with Iran and its allies in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Add to this recent violence in the Gulf, the disastrous Trump-backed, Saudi-led war in Yemen, mayhem in Syria's Idlib province, border friction with Turkey, and Islamic State resurgence in northern Iraq, and a region-wide explosion looks ever more likely.

The bipartisan consensus forged in the 1990s – in which the US towered over the world and, at low cost, sought to remake it in America's image – has failed and cannot be revived

Stephen Wertheim, historian

Yet Trump, oblivious to the point of recklessness, remains determined to unveil his absurdly unbalanced Israel-Palestine "deal of the century" after Tuesday's Israeli elections. He and his gormless son-in-law, Jared Kushner, may be the only people who don't realise their plan has a shorter life expectancy than a snowball on a hot day in Gaza.

... ... ...

...he is consistently out of line, out on his own – and out of control. This, broadly, is Trump world as it has come to exist since January 2017. And this, in a nutshell, is the intensifying foreign policy crisis of which Professor Cohen warned. The days when responsible, trustworthy, principled US international leadership could be taken for granted are gone. No vague change of tone on North Korea or Iran will by itself halt the Trump-led slide into expanding global conflict and division.

Historians such as Stephen Wertheim say change had to come. US politicians of left and right mostly agreed that "the bipartisan consensus forged in the 1990s – in which the US towered over the world and, at low cost, sought to remake it in America's image – has failed and cannot be revived", Wertheim wrote earlier this year . "But agreement ends there " he continued: "One camp holds that the US erred by coddling China and Russia, and urges a new competition against these great power rivals. The other camp, which says the US has been too belligerent and ambitious around the world, counsels restraint, not another crusade against grand enemies."

This debate among grownups over America's future place in the world will form part of next year's election contest. But before any fundamental change of direction can occur, the international community – and the US itself – must first survive another 16 months of Trump world and the wayward child-president's poll-fixated, ego-driven destructive tendencies.

Survival is not guaranteed. The immediate choice facing US friends and foes alike is stark and urgent: ignore, bypass and marginalise Trump – or actively, openly, resist him.

Here are some of the key flashpoints around the globe

United Nations

Trump is deeply hostile to the UN. It embodies the multilateralist, globalist policy approaches he most abhors – because they supposedly infringe America's sovereignty and inhibit its freedom of action. Under him, self-interested US behaviour has undermined the authority of the UN security council's authority. The US has rejected a series of international treaties and agreements, including the Paris climate change accord and the Iran nuclear deal. The UN-backed international criminal court is beyond the pale. Trump's attitude fits with his "America First" isolationism, which questions traditional ideas about America's essential global leadership role.

Germany

Trump rarely misses a chance to bash Germany, perhaps because it is Europe's most successful economy and represents the EU, which he detests. He is obsessed by German car imports, on which protectionist US tariffs will be levied this autumn. He accuses Berlin – and Europe– of piggy-backing on America by failing to pay its fair share of Nato defence costs. Special venom is reserved for Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, most likely because she is a woman who stands up to him . Trump recently insulted another female European leader, Denmark's Mette Frederiksen, after she refused to sell him Greenland .

Israel

Trump has made a great show of unconditional friendship towards Israel and its rightwing prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has skilfully maximised his White House influence. But by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, officially condoning Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, and withdrawing funding and other support from the Palestinians, the president has abandoned the long-standing US policy of playing honest broker in the peace process. Trump has also tried to exploit antisemitism for political advantage, accusing US Democrat Jews who oppose Netanyahu's policies of "disloyalty" to Israel.

... ... ...

[Sep 15, 2019] Demythologizing the Roots of the New Cold War by Ted Snider

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Like the Cold War, the new cold war was triggered by an American lie. It was a lie so duplicitous, so all encompassing, that it would lead many Russians to see the agreement that ended the cold war as a devastating and humiliating deception that was really intended to clear the way for the US to surround and finally defeat the Soviet Union. It was a lie that tilled the soil for all future "Russian aggression." ..."
"... That key promise made to Gorbachev was shattered, first by President Clinton and then subsequently supported by every American President: NATO engulfed Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in 1999; Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004, Albania and Croatia in 2009 and, most recently, Montenegro. ..."
"... When Clinton decided to break Bush's promise and betray Russia, George Kennen, father of the containment policy, warned that NATO expansion would be "the most fateful error of American foreign policy in the entire post-cold-war era." "Such a decision," he prophesied, "may be expected to . . . restore the atmosphere of the cold war in East-West relations . . .." ..."
"... As Matlock explains, the urgent transition allowed "privileged insiders[to] join the criminals who had been running a black market [and to] steal what they could, as fast as they could." The sudden, uncompromising transition imposed on Russia by the United States enabled, according to Cohen, "a small group of Kremlin-connected oligarchs to plunder Russia's richest assets and abet the plunging of some two-thirds of its people into poverty and misery." ..."
"... The rape of Russia was funded, overseen and ordered by the United States and handed over by President George H.W. Bush to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Much of their advice, Matlock says generously, "was not only useless, but sometimes actually damaging." ..."
"... The economic policies wrestled onto Russia by the US and the transition experts and international development experts it funded and sent over led to, what Cohen calls, "the near ruination of Russia." Russia's reward for ending the Cold War and joining the Western economic community was, in Cohen's words, "the worst economic depression in peacetime, the disintegration of the highly professionalized Soviet middle class, mass poverty, plunging life expectancy [for men, it had fallen below sixty], the fostering of an oligarchic financial elite, the plundering of Russia's wealth, and more." ..."
"... By the time Putin came to power in 2000, Cohen says, "some 75% of Russians were living in poverty." 75%! Millions and millions of Russian lives were destroyed by the American welcoming of Russia into the global economic community. ..."
"... But before Putin came to power, there was more Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin was a necessity for Clinton and the United States because Yeltsin was the pliable puppet who would continue to enforce the cruel economic transition. But to continue the interference in, and betrayal of, the Russian people economically, it would now be necessary to interfere in and betray the Russian democracy. ..."
"... Intoxicated with American support, Yeltsin dissolved the parliament that had rescinded his powers and abolished the constitution of which he was in violation. In a 636-2 vote, the Russian parliament impeached Yeltsin. But, President Clinton again sided with Yeltsin against the Russian people and the Russian law, backed him and gave him $2.5 billion in aid. Clinton was blocking the Russian people's choice of leaders. ..."
"... "Funded by the US government," Cohen reports, Americans "gave money to favored Russian politicians, instructed ministers, drafted legislation and presidential decrees, underwrote textbooks, and served at Yeltsin's reelection headquarters in 1996." ..."
"... Asserting its right as the unipolar victor of a Cold War it never won, betraying the central promise of the negotiated end of the cold war by engulfing Russia's neighbors, arming those nations against its written and signed word and stealing all Russian hope in capitalism and democracy by kidnapping and torturing Russian capitalism and democracy, the roots of the new cold war were not planted by Russian lies and aggression, as the doctrinal Western version teaches, but by the American lies and aggression that the fact checked, demythologized version of history reveals. ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | original.antiwar.com

When Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev received his peace prize in 1990, the Nobel Prize committee declared that "the two mighty power blocs, have managed to abandon their life-threatening confrontation" and confidently expressed that "It is our hope that we are now celebrating the end of the Cold War." Recently, U.N. General Secretary António Guterres funereally closed the celebrations with the realization that "The Cold War is back."

In a very short span of history, the window that had finally opened for Russia and the United States to build a new international system in which they work cooperatively to address areas of common interest had slammed back closed. How was that historic opportunity wasted? Why was the road from the Nobel committee's hope to the UN's eulogy such a short one?

The doctrinal narrative that is told in the U.S. is the narrative of a very short road whose every turn was signposted by Russian lies, betrayal, deception and aggression. The American telling of history is a tale in which every blow to the new peace was a Russian blow. The fact checked version offers a demythologized history that is unrecognizably different. The demythologized version is also a history of lies, betrayal, deception and aggression, but the liar, the aggressor, is not primarily Russia, but America. It is the history of a promise so historically broken that it laid the foundation of a new cold war.

But it was not the first promise the United States broke: it was not even the first promise they broke in the new cold war.

The Hot War

Most histories of the cold war begin at the dawn of the post World War II period. But the history of U.S-U.S.S.R. animosity starts long before that: it starts as soon as possible, and it was hot long before it turned cold.

The label "Red Scare" first appeared, not in the 1940s or 50s, but in 1919. Though it is a chapter seldom included in the history of American-Russian relations, America actively and aggressively intervened in the Russian civil war in an attempt to push the Communists back down. The United States cooperated with anti-Bolshevik forces: by mid 1918, President Woodrow Wilson had sent 13,000 American troops to Soviet soil. They would remain there for two years, killing and injuring thousands. Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev would later remind America of "the time you sent your troops to quell the revolution." Churchill would record for history the admission that the West "shot Soviet Russians on sight," that they were "invaders on Russian soil," that "[t]hey armed the enemies of the Soviet government," that "[t]hey blockaded its ports, and sunk its battleships. They earnestly desired and schemed for its downfall."

When the cause was lost, and the Bolsheviks secured power, most western countries refused to recognize the communist government. However, realism prevailed, and within a few short years, by the mid 1920s, most countries had recognized the communist government and restored diplomatic relations. All but the US It was not until several years later that Franklin D. Roosevelt finally recognized the Soviet government in 1933.

The Cold War

It would be a very short time before the diplomatic relations that followed the hot war would be followed by a cold war. It might even be possible to pin the beginning of the cold war down to a specific date. On April 22 and 23, President Truman told Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov to "Carry out his agreement" and establish a new, free, independent government in Poland as promised at Yalta. Molotov was stunned. He was stunned because it was not he that was breaking the agreement because that was not what Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin had agreed to at Yalta. The final wording of the Yalta agreement never mentioned replacing Soviet control of Poland.

The agreement that Roosevelt revealed to congress and shared with the world – the one that still dominates the textbook accounts and the media stories – is not the one he secretly shook on with Stalin. Roosevelt lied to congress and the American people. Then he lied to Stalin.

In exchange for Soviet support for the creation of the United Nations, Roosevelt secretly agreed to Soviet predominance in Poland and Eastern Europe. The cold war story that the Soviet Union marched into Eastern Europe and stole it for itself is a lie: Roosevelt handed it to them.

So did Churchill. If Roosevelt's motivation was getting the UN, Churchill's was getting Greece. Fearing that the Soviet Union would invade India and the oil fields of Iran, Churchill saw Greece as the geographical roadblock and determined to hold on to it at all cost. The cost, it turned out, was Romania. Churchill would give Stalin Romania to protect his borders; Stalin would give Churchill Greece to protect his empire's borders. The deal was sealed on October 9, 1944.

Churchill says that in their secret meeting, he asked Stalin, "how would it do for you to have ninety percent predominance in Romania, for us to have ninety percent predominance in Greece? . . ." He then went on to offer a fifty-fifty power split in in Yugoslavia and Hungary and to offer the Soviets seventy-five percent control of Bulgaria. The exact conversation may never have happened, according to the political record, but Churchill's account captures the spirit and certainly captures the secret agreement.

Contrary to the official narrative, Stalin never betrayed the west and stole Eastern Europe: Poland, Romania and the rest were given to him in secret. Then Roosevelt lied to congress and to the world.

That American lie raised the curtain on the cold war.

The New Cold War

Like the Cold War, the new cold war was triggered by an American lie. It was a lie so duplicitous, so all encompassing, that it would lead many Russians to see the agreement that ended the cold war as a devastating and humiliating deception that was really intended to clear the way for the US to surround and finally defeat the Soviet Union. It was a lie that tilled the soil for all future "Russian aggression."

At the close of the cold war, at a meeting held on February 9, 1990, George H.W. Bush's Secretary of State, James Baker, promised Gorbachev that if NATO got Germany and Russia pulled its troops out of East Germany, NATO would not expand east of Germany and engulf the former Soviet states. Gorbachev records in his memoirs that he agreed to Baker's terms "with the guarantee that NATO jurisdiction or troops would not extend east of the current line." In Super-power Illusions , Jack F. Matlock Jr., who was the American ambassador to Russia at the time and was present at the meeting, confirms Gorbachev's account, saying that it "coincides with my notes of the conversation except that mine indicate that Baker added "not one inch." Matlock adds that Gorbachev was assured that NATO would not move into Eastern Europe as the Warsaw Pact moved out, that "the understanding at Malta [was] that the United States would not 'take advantage' of a Soviet military withdrawal from Eastern Europe." At the February 9 meeting, Baker assured Gorbachev that "neither the President or I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place."

But the promise was not made just once, and it was not made just by the United States. The promise was made on two consecutive days: first by the Americans and then by West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. According to West German foreign ministry documents, on February 10, 1990, the day after James Baker's promise, West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher told his Soviet counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze "'For us . . . one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.' And because the conversation revolved mainly around East Germany, Genscher added explicitly: 'As far as the non-expansion of NATO is concerned, this also applies in general.'"

A few days earlier, on January 31, 1990, Genscher had said in a major speech that there would not be "an expansion of NATO territory to the east, in other words, closer to the borders of the Soviet Union."

Gorbachev says the promise was made not to expand NATO "as much as a thumb's width further to the east." Putin also says mourns the broken promise, asking at a conference in Munich in February 2007, "What happened to the assurances our Western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them."

Putin went on to remind his audience of the assurances by pointing out that the existence of the NATO promise is not just the perception of him and Gorbachev. It was also the view of the NATO General Secretary at the time: "But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said. I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. [Manfred] Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: 'The fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee.' Where are those guarantees?"

Recent scholarship supports the Russian version of the story. Russian expert and Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent, Richard Sakwa says that "[r]ecent studies demonstrate that the commitment not to enlarge NATO covered the whole former Soviet bloc and not just East Germany." And Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Politics at Princeton University and of Russian Studies and History at New York University, adds that the National Security Archive has now published the actual documents detailing what Gorbachev was promised. Published on December 12, 2017, the documents finally, and authoritatively, reveal that "The truth, and the promises broken, are much more expansive than previously known: all of the Western powers involved – the US, the UK, France, Germany itself – made the same promise to Gorbachev on multiple occasions and in various emphatic ways."

That key promise made to Gorbachev was shattered, first by President Clinton and then subsequently supported by every American President: NATO engulfed Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in 1999; Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004, Albania and Croatia in 2009 and, most recently, Montenegro.

It was this shattered promise, this primal betrayal, this NATO expansion to Russia's borders that created the conditions and causes of future conflicts and aggressions. When, in 2008, NATO promised Georgia and Ukraine eventual membership, Russia saw the threat of NATO encroaching right to its borders. It is in Georgia and Ukraine that Russia felt it had to draw the line with NATO encroachment into its core sphere of influence. Sakwa says that the war in Georgia was "the first war to stop NATO enlargement; Ukraine was the second." What are often cited as acts of Russian aggression that helped maintain the new cold war are properly understood as acts of Russian defense against US aggression that made a lie out of the promise that ended the Cold War.

When Clinton decided to break Bush's promise and betray Russia, George Kennen, father of the containment policy, warned that NATO expansion would be "the most fateful error of American foreign policy in the entire post-cold-war era." "Such a decision," he prophesied, "may be expected to . . . restore the atmosphere of the cold war in East-West relations . . .."

The broken promise restored the cold war. Though it is the most significant root of the new cold war, it was not the first. There was a prior broken promise, and this time the man who betrayed Russia was President H.W. Bush.

The end of the Cold War resulted from negotiations and not from any sort of military victory. Stephen Cohen says that "Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush negotiated with the last Soviet Russian leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, what they said was the end of the Cold War on the shared, expressed premise that it was ending 'with no losers, only winners.'"

The end of the Cold War and the end of the Soviet Union occurred so closely chronologically that it permitted the American mythologizers to conflate them in the public imagination and create the doctrinal history in which the US defeat of the Soviet Union ended the cold war. But the US did not defeat the Soviet Union. Gorbachev brought about what Sakwa calls a "self-willed disintegration of the Soviet bloc." The Soviet Union came to an end, not by external force or pressure, but out of Gorbachev's recognition of the Soviet Union's own self interest. Matlock flatly states that "pressure from governments outside the Soviet Union, whether from America or Europe or anywhere else, had nothing to do with [the Soviet collapse]." "Cohen demythologizes the history by reinstating the chronological order: Gorbachev negotiated the end of the cold war "well before the disintegration of the Soviet Union." The Cold War officially ended well before the end of the Soviet Union with Gorbachev's December 7, 1988 address to the UN

Matlock says that "Gorbachev is right when he says that we all won the Cold War." He says that President Reagan would write in his notes, "Let there be no talk of winners and losers." When Gorbachev compelled the countries of the Warsaw Pact to adopt reforms like his perestroika in the Soviet Union and warmed them that the Soviet army would no longer be there to keep their communist regimes in power, Matlock points out in Superpower Illusions that "Bush assured Gorbachev that the United States would not claim victory if the Eastern Europeans were allowed to replace the Communist regimes that had been imposed on them." Both the reality and the promise were that there was no winner of the Cold War: it was a negotiated peace that was in the interest of both countries.

When in 1992, during his losing re-election campaign, President Bush arrogantly boasted that "We won the Cold War!" he broke his own promise to Gorbachev and helped plant the roots of the new cold war. "In psychological and political terms," Matlock says, "President Bush planted a landmine under the future U.S.-Russian relationship" when he broke his promise and made that claim.

Bush's broken promise had two significant effects. Psychologically, it created the appearance in the Russian psyche that Gorbachev had been tricked by America: it eroded trust in America and in the new peace. Politically, it created in the American psyche the false idea that Russia was a defeated country whose sphere of interest did not need to be considered. Both these perceptions contributed to the new cold war.

Not only was the broken promise of NATO expansion not the first broken American promise, it was also not the last. In 1997, when President Clinton made the decision to expand NATO much more than an inch to the east, he at least signed the Russia-NATO Founding Act , which explicitly promised that as NATO expanded east, there would be no "permanent stationing of substantial combat forces." This obliterated American promise planted the third root of the new cold war.

Since that third promise, NATO has, in the words of Stephen Cohen, built up its "permanent land, sea and air power near Russian territory, along with missile-defense installations." US and NATO weapons and troops have butted right up against Russia's borders, while anti-missile installations have surrounded it, leading to the feeling of betrayal in Russia and the fear of aggression. Among the earliest moves of the Trump administration were the moving of NATO troops into Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria and nearby Norway.

Mikhail Gorbachev, who offered the West Russia and cooperation in place of the Soviet Union and Cold War, was rewarded with lies, broken promises and betrayal. That was the sowing of the first seeds of the new cold war. The second planting happened during the Yeltsin years that followed. During this stage, the Russian people were betrayed because their hopes for democracy and for an economic system compatible with the West were both destroyed by American intervention.

The goal, Matlock too gently explains, "had to be a shift of the bulk of the economy to private ownership." What transpired was what Naomi Klein called in The Shock Doctrine "one of the greatest crimes committed against a democracy in modern history." The States allowed no gradual transition. Matlock says the "Western experts advised a clean break with the past and a transition to private ownership without delay." But there was no legitimate private capital coming out of the communist system, so there was no private money with which to privatize. So, there was only one place for the money to come. As Matlock explains, the urgent transition allowed "privileged insiders[to] join the criminals who had been running a black market [and to] steal what they could, as fast as they could." The sudden, uncompromising transition imposed on Russia by the United States enabled, according to Cohen, "a small group of Kremlin-connected oligarchs to plunder Russia's richest assets and abet the plunging of some two-thirds of its people into poverty and misery."

The rape of Russia was funded, overseen and ordered by the United States and handed over by President George H.W. Bush to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Much of their advice, Matlock says generously, "was not only useless, but sometimes actually damaging."

Sometimes damaging? In the first year, millions lost their entire life savings. Subsidy cuts meant that many Russians didn't get paid at all. Klein says that by 1992, Russians were consuming 40% less than they were the year before, and one third of them had suddenly sunk below the poverty line. The economic policies wrestled onto Russia by the US and the transition experts and international development experts it funded and sent over led to, what Cohen calls, "the near ruination of Russia." Russia's reward for ending the Cold War and joining the Western economic community was, in Cohen's words, "the worst economic depression in peacetime, the disintegration of the highly professionalized Soviet middle class, mass poverty, plunging life expectancy [for men, it had fallen below sixty], the fostering of an oligarchic financial elite, the plundering of Russia's wealth, and more."

By the time Putin came to power in 2000, Cohen says, "some 75% of Russians were living in poverty." 75%! Millions and millions of Russian lives were destroyed by the American welcoming of Russia into the global economic community.

But before Putin came to power, there was more Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin was a necessity for Clinton and the United States because Yeltsin was the pliable puppet who would continue to enforce the cruel economic transition. But to continue the interference in, and betrayal of, the Russian people economically, it would now be necessary to interfere in and betray the Russian democracy.

In late 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin won a year of special powers from the Russian Parliament: for one year, he was to be, in effect, the dictator of Russia to facilitate the midwifery of the birth of a democratic Russia. In March of 1992, under pressure from the, by now, impoverished, devastated and discontented population, parliament repealed the dictatorial powers it had granted him. Yeltsin responded by declaring a state of emergency, re-bestowing upon himself the repealed dictatorial powers. Russia's Constitutional Court ruled that Yeltsin was acting outside the constitution. But the US sided – against the Russian people and against the Russian Constitutional Court – with Yeltsin.

Intoxicated with American support, Yeltsin dissolved the parliament that had rescinded his powers and abolished the constitution of which he was in violation. In a 636-2 vote, the Russian parliament impeached Yeltsin. But, President Clinton again sided with Yeltsin against the Russian people and the Russian law, backed him and gave him $2.5 billion in aid. Clinton was blocking the Russian people's choice of leaders.

Yeltsin took the money and sent police officers and elite paratroopers to surround the parliament building. Clinton "praised the Russian President has (sic) having done 'quite well' in managing the standoff with the Russian Parliament," as The New York Times reported at the time. Clinton added that he thought "the United States and the free world ought to hang in there" with their support of Yeltsin against his people, their constitution and their courts, and judged Yeltsin to be "on the right side of history."

On the right side of history and armed with machine guns and tanks, in October 1993, Yeltsin's troops opened fire on the crowd of protesters, killing about 100 people before setting the Russian parliament building on fire. By the time the day was over, Yeltsin's troops had killed approximately 500 people and wounded nearly 1,000. Still, Clinton stood with Yeltsin. He provided ludicrous cover for Yeltsin's massacre , claiming that "I don't see that he had any choice . If such a thing happened in the United States, you would have expected me to take tough action against it." Clinton's Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, said that the US supported Yeltsin's suspension of parliament in these "extraordinary times."

In 1996, elections were looming, and America's hegemonic dreams still needed Yeltsin in power. But it wasn't going to happen without help. Yeltsin's popularity was nonexistent, and his approval rating was at about 6%. According to Cohen, Clinton's interference in Russian politics, his "crusade" to "reform Russia," had by now become official policy . And so, America boldly interfered directly in Russian elections . Three American political consultants, receiving "direct assistance from Bill Clinton's White House," secretly ran Yeltsin's reelection campaign. As Time magazine broke the story , "For four months, a group of American political consultants clandestinely participated in guiding Yeltsin's campaign."

"Funded by the US government," Cohen reports, Americans "gave money to favored Russian politicians, instructed ministers, drafted legislation and presidential decrees, underwrote textbooks, and served at Yeltsin's reelection headquarters in 1996."

More incriminating still is that Richard Dresner, one of the three American consultants, maintained a direct line to Clinton's Chief Strategist, Dick Morris. According to reporting by Sean Guillory , in his book, Behind the Oval Office , Morris says that, with Clinton's approval, he received weekly briefings from Dresner that he would give to Clinton. Based on those briefings, Clinton would then provide recommendations to Dresner through Morris.

Then ambassador to Russia, Thomas Pickering, even pressured an opposing candidate to drop out of the election to improve Yeltsin's odds of winning.

The US not only helped run Yeltsin's campaign, they helped pay for it. The US backed a $10.2 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan for Russia, the second-biggest loan the IMF had ever given. The New York Times reported that the loan was "expected to be helpful to President Boris N. Yeltsin in the presidential election in June." The Times explained that the loan was "a vote of confidence" for Yeltsin who "has been lagging well behind in opinion polls" and added that the US Treasury Secretary "welcomed the fund's decision."

Yeltsin won the election by 13%, and Time magazine's cover declared: "Yanks to the rescue: The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win". Cohen reports that the US ambassador to Russia boasted that "without our leadership we would see a considerably different Russia today." That's a confession of election interference.

Asserting its right as the unipolar victor of a Cold War it never won, betraying the central promise of the negotiated end of the cold war by engulfing Russia's neighbors, arming those nations against its written and signed word and stealing all Russian hope in capitalism and democracy by kidnapping and torturing Russian capitalism and democracy, the roots of the new cold war were not planted by Russian lies and aggression, as the doctrinal Western version teaches, but by the American lies and aggression that the fact checked, demythologized version of history reveals.

Ted Snider writes on analyzing patterns in US foreign policy and history.

[Sep 15, 2019] USA foreign policy since 70th was controlled by neocons who as a typical Trotskyites (neoliberalism is actually Trotskyism for the rich) were/are hell-bent of world domination and practice gangster capitalism in foreign policy

The USA might eventually pay the price for the economic rape and alienation of Russia by criminal Clinton and his coterie
Notable quotes:
"... Madeline "not so bright" Allbright was the first swan. As well as Clinton attempts to bankrupt and subdue Russia and criminal (in a sense of no permission from the UN) attack on Yugoslavia. Both backfired: Russia became permanently hostile. The fact he and his coterie were not yet tried by something like Nuremberg tribunal is only due to the USA dominance at this stage of history. ..."
"... The truth is that after the dissolution of the USSR the USA foreign policy became completely unhinged. And inside the country the elite became cannibalistic, as there was no external threat to its dominance in the form of the USSR. ..."
"... Still as an imperial state and the center of neoliberal empire the USA relies more on financial instruments and neoliberal comprador elite inside the country. ..."
Sep 15, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

likbez -> anne... , September 14, 2019 at 08:30 PM

"The US served as a benevolent hegemon, administering the occasional rap on the knuckles to those acting in bad faith"

USA foreign policy since 70th was controlled by neocons who as a typical Trotskyites (neoliberalism is actually Trotskyism for the rich) were/are hell-bent of world domination and practice gangster capitalism in foreign policy.

Bolton attitude to UN is very symptomatic for the neocons as a whole.

Madeline "not so bright" Allbright was the first swan. As well as Clinton attempts to bankrupt and subdue Russia and criminal (in a sense of no permission from the UN) attack on Yugoslavia. Both backfired: Russia became permanently hostile. The fact he and his coterie were not yet tried by something like Nuremberg tribunal is only due to the USA dominance at this stage of history.

The truth is that after the dissolution of the USSR the USA foreign policy became completely unhinged. And inside the country the elite became cannibalistic, as there was no external threat to its dominance in the form of the USSR.

The USA stated to behave like a typical Imperial state (New Rome, or, more correctly, London) accepting no rules/laws that are not written by themselves (and when it is convenient to obey them) with the only difference from the classic imperial states that the hegemony it not based on the military presence/occupation ( like was the case with British empire)

Although this is not completely true as there are 761 US Military Bases across the planet and only 46 Countries with no US military presence. Of them, seven countries with 13 New Military Bases were added since 09/11/2001.In 2001 the US had a quarter million troops posted abroad.

Still as an imperial state and the center of neoliberal empire the USA relies more on financial instruments and neoliberal comprador elite inside the country.

I recently learned from https://akarlin.com/2010/04/on-liberasts-and-liberasty/ that the derogatory term for the neoliberal part of the Russian elite is "liberasts" and this term gradually slipping into English language ( http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/liberast ;-)

With the collapse of neoliberal ideology in 2008 the USA centered neoliberal empire experiences first cracks. Brexit and election of Trump widened the cracks in a sense of further legitimizing the ruling neoliberal elite (big middle finger for Hillary was addressed to the elite as whole)

If oil price exceed $100 per barrel there will yet another crack or even repetition of the 2008 Great Recession on a new level (although we may argue that the Great Recession never ended and just entered in Summers terms "permanent stagnation: phase)

Although currently with a bully at the helm the USA empire still going strong in forcing vassals and competitors to reconsider their desire to challenge the USA that situation will not last. Trump currently is trying to neutralize the treat from China by rejecting classic neoliberal globalization mechanism as well as signed treaties like WTO. He might be successful in the short run but in the "long run" that undermines the USA centered neoliberal empire and speed up its demise. .

In the long run the future does not look too bright as crimes committed by the USA during triumphal period of neoliberalism hangs like albatross around the USA neck.

EU now definitely wants to play its own game as Macron recently stated and which Merkel tacitly supports. If EU allies with Russia it will became No.1 force in the world with the USA No. 2. With severe consequences for the USA.

If Russia allied with China the USA Np.1 position will hinge of keeping EU vassals in check and NATO in place. Without them it will became No.2 with fatal consequences for the dollar as world reserve currency and sudden change of the USA financial position due to the level of external debt and requires devaluation of the dollar.

Looks like 75 year after WWII the world started to self-organize a countervailing force trying to tame the USA with some interest expressed by such players as EU, Russia, China, India, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and even Saudi Arabia. As well as ( in the past; and possibly in the future as neoliberal counterrevolutions in both countries probably will end badly) by Brazil and Argentina.

Only Canada, Australia and probably UK can be counted as the reliable parts of the USA empire. That's not much.

[Sep 15, 2019] Israeli Attacks On Syria Halted After Russia Threatened To Shoot Down Jets

Sep 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

According to reports in both Israeli and Arabic regional media, Israel this past week was preparing to expand major airstrikes against "Iran-backed" targets in Syria, but Moscow imposed its red line. The Independent has published a story describing that Russia's military in Syria threatened to shoot down any invading Israeli warplanes using fighter jets or their S-400 system .

The Jerusalem Post , citing sources in the UK Independent (Arabia) , writes just after the latest meeting in Sochi between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin:

According to the report, Moscow has prevented three Israeli airstrikes on three Syrian outposts recently, and even threatened that any jets attempting such a thing would be shot down, either by Russian jets or by the S400 Anti-aircraft missiles . The source cited in the report claims a similar situation has happened twice, and that during August, Moscow stopped an airstrike on a Syrian outpost in Qasioun, where a S300 missile battery is placed.

Netanyahu's hasty trip to meet with Putin on Thursday - even in the final days before Tuesday's key election - was reportedly with a goal to press the Russian president on essentially ignoring Israel's attacks in Syria.

Image via The Jerusalem Post

Citing further sources in the British-Arabic Independent Arabia , The Jerusalem Post continues :

According to the Russian source, Putin let Netanyahu know that his country will not allow any damage to be done to the Syrian regime's army, or any of the weapons being given to it...

Israel sources cited by the Arabic newspaper described Netanyahu's attempts to persuade Putin as "a failure" . This in spite of Netanyahu telling reporters after the meeting that his relations with Moscow were stronger than ever.

Moscow is said to be particularly resistant given the Israeli military's recent spate of attacks on targets in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria.

me title=

Sources in the report claimed further that Putin in a somewhat unprecedented moment raised the issue of Lebanon :

The Russian source said: "Putin has expressed his dissatisfaction from Israel's latest actions in Lebanon" and even emphasized to Netanyahu that he "Rejects the aggression towards Lebanon's sovereignty" something which has never been heard from him. Putin further stated that someone is cheating him in regards to Syria and Lebanon and that he will not let it go without a response. According to him, Netanyahu was warned not to strike such targets in the future.

It could also be simply that Putin understands that Netanyahu, now desperate to extend his political career to a record fifth term as prime minister as next week's elections loom, could be ready to risk a major and very unnecessary Middle East conflagration in order to continue to appeal to Israeli right wing and nationalist voters.


shortingurass , 24 minutes ago link

Say what you want about Putin, this guy has balls. I wish we had a leader like him. it's been way too long we're being governed by weak zio puppets pussies.

naro , 22 minutes ago link

Putin is a good man and loves the Judean people.

naro , 19 minutes ago link

SUPPORT FROM PUTIN IN SOCHI

Netanyahu traveled to the Black Sea resort to meet the Russian leader – just five days before the election – in a move widely seen as an effort to woo elder Russian-speaking immigrants.

Noob678 , 40 minutes ago link

US, Israel talk about mutual defense treaty – Trump - Trump is anti-establishment ZOG-Rothschild lol

The US and Israel are discussing a mutual defense treaty that would further cement the already "tremendous" alliance between the two countries, President Donald Trump has revealed.

"I had a call today with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of moving forward with a Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and Israel, that would further anchor the tremendous alliance between our two countries," Trump tweeted.

Wahooo , 37 minutes ago link

OrangeZioPedo at his finest. MIGA!

Brazen Heist II , 36 minutes ago link

The US has become a bad Jewish comedy sketch and kvetch.

petroglyph , 5 minutes ago link

And just two days ago, Israel was caught again places spy devices in Wash. But today the POTUS is going to sign on for sacrificing what's left of our sovereignty to Israel so they can go around MENA pounding their chest and threatening everyone. https://www.israellobbyus.org/transcripts/1.1Grant_Smith.htm

ADB , 45 minutes ago link

Einstein101: "Well, so far the Joos are those who are throwing the punches ..."

Only because you can run to America the moment anyone fights back. Until now.

How does it feel to have the whole Oded Yinon/ Greater Israel project crumbling before your eyes?

I am Groot , 49 minutes ago link

I hope Putin gives Iran one of those Tsar Bomba's to drop on Israel. Or one of those Satan 2's that can wipe out an area the size of Texas.

Et Tu Brute , 46 minutes ago link

Not sure option 2 would be such good idea, with Damascus being only a few kms from the Israeli border and all...

Airstrip1 , 1 hour ago link

Interesting body language/facials -- Nutty still with the smirk, but VVP and background say a grave/serious word has gone out ... similar as the Izzies bend to listen very carefully to the erect and confident-looking Russkies ...

********'s over, Bibi, where it goes from here depends on your nasty little country ... maybe others in your region looking for 70-odd years payback for your murders terrorism land-confiscation cruelty against those weaker than your miserable selves.

Einstein101 , 53 minutes ago link

********'s over, Bibi, where it goes from here depends on your nasty little country

Not so fast, Israel will try not to step on Putin's tows but it can't afford the Iranians to build that ring of missiles around Israel. It's not that Israel does not have leverage too, it can make things complicated for Putin, like one small bomb on Assad's resident in Damascus.

Airstrip1 , 22 minutes ago link

... one small bomb on Assad's resident in Damascus.

You can certainly shoot out the ******** yourself, Einstein.

Surely you must be aware that your namesake condemned the founding of Israel in 1948, which has turned out to be the all-round disaster he predicted. Not alone, many Jewish voices round the world continue to condemn it. How inconvenient for you and your bombs on Assad's house ... lol ...

Airstrip1 , 7 minutes ago link

"I am in favor of Palestine being developed as a Jewish Homeland but not as a separate State. It seems to me a matter for simple common sense that we cannot ask to be given the political rule over Palestine where two thirds of the population are not Jewish. What we can and should ask is a secured bi-national status in Palestine with free immigration. If we ask more we are damaging our own cause and it is difficult for me to grasp that our Zionists are taking such an intransigent position which can only impair our cause," Einstein said in a letter in 1946, according to the Shapell Manuscript Foundation.


Read Newsmax: Israel: 5 Albert Einstein Quotes About Zionism | Newsmax.com

ThomasEdmonds , 1 hour ago link

In as delicate and diplomatic phrasing as I can attempt, Netanyahu needs to go.

[Sep 14, 2019] How The BBC's Quentin Sommerville Created Fairytales Of Underground Hospitals In Syria

Notable quotes:
"... Every terrorist hideout is a hospital so please don't let those mean Russians and Syrian army men hurt them. ..."
"... Someone mentioned the White Helmets. Here's a picture of a White Helmet leader hanging out with "Hong Kong protest figurehead Joshua Wong" and a Ukrainian mayor at a shindig in Berlin. No doubt it was organized and paid for by Uncle Sam and his trillion-dollar-per-year deficit. ..."
"... I wonder if Hong Kong protesters know that Wong is partying in safety and comfort while they are risking their lives by attacking police and getting beat up. ..."
Sep 14, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

How The BBC's Quentin Sommerville Created Fairytales Of Underground Hospitals In Syria

In August 2013 the BBC produced a fake video headlined "Saving Syria's Children" about an alleged chemical weapon attack in Syria which it claimed was caused by the Syrian government. Robert Stuart has since pressed the BBC to admit the obvious fabrication of these scenes .

Today the BBC posted on its website another Syria clip under the title Idlib's secret hospitals hiding from air strikes :

Air strikes have been targeting hospitals in the rebel-held province of Idlib, Syria, despite the fact that it is a war crime. Medics have been forced underground in order to survive.

The UN accuses the Syrian government and allied Russian warplanes of conducting a deadly campaign that appears to target medical facilities.

BBC's Middle East correspondent, Quentin Sommerville, visits one hospital in a secret location.

Sommerville starts with standing next to a destroyed building claiming that it has been a hospital that was bombed. He says: "This is the only building that was targeted here."

It isn't the "only building that was targeted" there. It is the only building that was there. The building is standing within an orchard. There are no other buildings or infrastructure around it. Why would anyone have built a hospital far from a town? There are no signs that building ever was a hospital and is doubtful that it was one.

The next shot has been shown in other TV clips (on Channel 4?). It shows the entrances to some caves but no car, no persons and nothing else is around it.

Suddenly six explosions happen at the very same time. Immediately after the explosions, but not before them, the sound of a passing jet is heard. I have never heard or seen of a jet that manages to release six bombs that land in such a tight pattern and explode all at the very same time. Compare the impact pattern and explosion timing with this recent U.S. carpet bombing (vid) of an island in Iraq. And why please was the camera in place that made such a tight shot of it? This was clearly a stunt made with some buried explosives that were centrally ignited at the same time. The jet noise was later added to the shot. In the next scene two people walk down a concrete stairway within a regular building.

The scene cuts to one filmed at the entrance of roughly dug cave while the reporter insinuates that both are the same.

The reporter claims that the cave is a hospital. He walks further down the stairs into the cave ... and ends up in a well built building with straight painted walls and a nice balustrade. This might be a hospital but there is no sign that it is one. What is certain is that it is not underground or in a cave.

The whole claim of the BBC clip is that the hospitals are underground because they get bombed. But the part that is supposed to prove that is clearly cut from a real building scene to a walk down into a cave scene and back to a real building scene. The sequence is clearly a propaganda fake.

The clip continues with Sommerville talking to some 'doctor' who answers in Arabic.

Then follow scenes from the Atmah Charity Hospital which is a real hospital. It lies north of Idleb city and right next to the Turkish border near the Olive Tree refugee camp near the town of Atmah . It is sponsored by Orient Charity , established by the Syrian anti-Assad businessman Ghassan Aboud who lives in the UAE, and is operated by the Muslim Brotherhood aligned Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS). Ghassan Aboud also owns Orient News which is a Jihadist outlet . There follow the typical pictures of injured children which are used to create more hate against the Syrian government and the millions of children it protects from the U.S. sponsored Jihadists attacks.

On his Twitter account Quentin Sommerville posted another version of his Idleb tale. It is longer and the cut differs significantly from the clip on the BBC website.

Some scenes are similar. The 'bombed hospital' is there. The fake 'bombing' of the caves is also in it. The interview scene with the Arabic speaking doctor in the 'underground hospital' is missing in this version but the same person reappears.

Sommerville speaks with the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria about the coordination system for hospitals. The hospitals are supposed to tell the UN there geographic coordinates which the UN then hands to Russia with the request not to bomb those places. The UN's Pomos Moumtzis defends the system. Sommerville claims that 40 such hospitals have been bombed in recent months. Syria's Idleb governorate never had that many hospitals.

What is happening here is that the Jihadis, with whom Sommerville traveled and who he rightly says are seen as terrorist even by the 'west', report the coordinates of their headquarters and weapon depots as hospitals. The UN has no way to check their claims. When the Russian or Syrian airforce then bomb those places the Jihadis claim that their hospitals were hit.

There are more false sequences in the longer clip Sommerville tweeted.

At 4:27 the cameraman rides on the back of a motorcycle through a covered alley or basement into a 'hospital entrance'. More than a dozen motorcycles are parked there and there is professional ventilation.

It is the very same 'underground hospital' and the same Arabic speaking 'doctor' as in the first clip. Notice that the 'doctor' rode his motorcycle through town while wearing his supposedly clean clinic clothes.

Sommerville narrates: "This hospital is very deep out of reach of the bombs. We were told to move fast too."

The above scene cuts to two men running down a basement stairway seemingly from the hospital. It is the same stairway as in the first clip but filmed from a slightly different perspective and in a different take.

Summerville continues: "Even under this solid rock we await the next attack." The scene cuts to two men running down an underground tunnel with rough walls.

It is the same tunnel as in the first clip.

The sequence as a whole makes no sense. If the hospital is 'out of reach of the bombs' why run further down from it?

In the first clip the storyline around the same 'underground hospital' is the opposite of the storyline in the second version. In the first clip the reporter walks first down the stairway and then down the rough tunnel to allegedly reach the 'underground hospital'. In the second longer clip the reporters leave from the 'underground hospital' down the stairway and further down into the rough cut tunnel to be more safe from bombs.

Which is the real sequence Mr. Sommerville? Is the hospital at the lower end of the rough wall tunnel or is it at the upper end? Could you please make up your mind?

At 5:00 min Sommerville says that he travels further south towards the frontline escorted by the Jihadist controlled 'Salvation government'. The scene cuts to a drone shot of a refugee camp insinuating that it is in the same southern area. But the camp is like all refugee camps in Idleb in the north directly at the Turkish border. The border wall which Turkey erected can be clearly seen behind it. The place is far from the frontline.

The two Sommerville videos show how the BBC works. First a politically wanted narrative is created. Scenes are then taken and cut into sequences that fit that narrative. The same or similar scenes can be used to create a different version of the same narrative or even a completely different one. Neither of those narratives needs to be anywhere near the realities on the ground.

Unfortunately many people fall for such cheap propaganda junk.

Posted by b on September 13, 2019 at 19:36 UTC | Permalink


anna , Sep 13 2019 20:08 utc | 1

Underground Idlib Bit long.. https://youtu.be/i_5Cid-Po9k?t=32
Jen , Sep 13 2019 20:32 utc | 4
It seems that in its zeal to keep staffing costs down amid public calls to revoke the compulsory annual BBC licence fee payment required of all UK subjects who own TV sets, and to maintain its relevance, the BBC has told its crime and thriller drama script-writers to write the news plot narratives and gets gullible twats like Somerville to act them out with extras drawn from the Syrian White Helmets Academy of Dramatic Arts. Pyrotechnic effects underwritten by Saudi Arabia and ultimately by British taxpayers who should be asking for their money back: they should not be paying the BBC twice to produce such shoddy garbage.
b , Sep 13 2019 20:48 utc | 5
On yesterday's longer BBC piece not available to an international audience:

Ollie Richardson @O_Rich_

Thread on the @BBC
's latest (12.09.19) edition of propaganda designed to mask the UK's role in arming and financing Al Qaeda in Syria. A BBC broadcast was imposed on me, but I recorded this segment anticipating that a pack of lies was coming. Here is part 1/3 of the skit: ...
alaff , Sep 13 2019 20:49 utc | 6
Sommerville claims that 40 such hospitals have been bombed in recent months. Syria's Idleb governorate never had that many hospitals.

But... But... You forgot a map of hospitals in Idleb. :D

ben , Sep 13 2019 21:19 utc | 7
The disinformation is endless with regards to the Syrian war. Especially from the anti-Assad camp. We all know who are the most prolific bombers of hospitals and civilian infrastructure, and those are the empire and their minions.

http://www.brianwillson.com/the-us-american-way-of-war-intentional-killing-of-civilians-and-civilian-infrastructure/

goldhoarder , Sep 13 2019 21:27 utc | 8
Every terrorist hideout is a hospital so please don't let those mean Russians and Syrian army men hurt them.
Jackrabbit , Sep 13 2019 21:29 utc | 9
Why continue propaganda ops after US claimed to kill the Idlib Jihadi leadership in an airstrike? LOL. High probability that the airstrike was also propaganda so that they can claim that it's the people of Idlib that are resisting SAA+Russians now, not Jihadis.
Cochore , Sep 13 2019 21:53 utc | 10
The cameraman for this fabrication was Darren Conway. He is the same person responsible for the BBC Panorama faux-documentary "Saving Syria's Children" that was broadcast on 30th September, 2013 and which has been exposed as a fake by the tireless work of Robert Stuart. https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/
so , Sep 13 2019 22:10 utc | 11
How do these people live with themselves? Get up every morning and spew lies. Take the kids to school and feed the dog. Not knowing the ramification of their actions and the lives that their actions cost. I guess that's the life you lead when everything is attached to the value of money. So much illness in this world.
Choderlos de Laclos , Sep 13 2019 22:24 utc | 12
BBC is in hot contest for der Spiegel's Claas Relotius prize: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46624297

Keep it up boys!

Robert Stuart , Sep 13 2019 22:38 utc | 13
As noted above, this is basically the 2013 BBC Panorama Saving Syria's Children (SSC) team, with Sommerville substituting for Ian Pannell, who left the BBC in 2017 and now works with ABC, plus SSC cameraman Darren Conway (OBE) and SSC "fixer/translator" Mughira Al Sharif, who is credited with "camera" in the first Sommerville clip (in addition to Conway?), and about whom more here: https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/#Sharif

The SSC crew used then-ISIS partners Ahrar al-Sham for security in 2013 and filmed a vehicle bearing the ISIS flag at comfortably close quarters:
http://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/2017/07/09/bbc-panorama-team-embedded-with-islamic-state-partner-group/
https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/bbc-panorama-on-location-with-isis/

Ian , Sep 13 2019 22:40 utc | 14
so @11:
Their actions may not always be driven by money but by an ideology. Getting wealthy in the process would be a bonus.
karlof1 , Sep 14 2019 0:22 utc | 29
Outstanding work, b! This is exactly what's being advocated by Caitlin Johnstone, advocated by many of us barflies, and consistently practiced by you--Destroying the Empire's BigLie Media Narratives. ICYMI, here's her essay on that topic . The following is from a thread about a topic related to American Exceptionalism that as noted is seldom discussed American Privilege :

"American privilege is having your insane culture normalized around the world via Hollywood and other media so that nobody stops and wonders why we're letting this bat shit crazy nation rule our planet, and so no one makes you feel bad about your American privilege."

And before American Privilege there was the British version: The White Man's Burden. We get a taste of what the modern version of British Privilege would be from BBC propaganda. Both intended to globally project their Cultural Imperialism in both an offensive and defensive capacity with the Outlaw US Empire's efforts being the most successful. As shown by the BRICS efforts I posted and linked to, there's an increasing effort to promote a countervailing system of humanist values, which is a component in combating the Hybrid Third World War in which we're all involved .

james , Sep 14 2019 1:17 utc | 30
thanks b... great breakdown on the bbc bullshite... why is the usa-uk-israel-ksa clan paying so many millions for this cheap shit?? you would think with all their connections they could fabricate better bullshit... you link @5 is embarrassing for them.. i guess they figure only dim twats swallow the pablum bbc offers.. thanks for your work...
Anon , Sep 14 2019 1:51 utc | 31
Here's how it works:

You beg the "rebels" to grant you access and then you are escorted around shown that which they want you to see, and then they give you video clips to use and you do the story on their terms. Kind of like the days of Like North Korea where reporters are escorted by a minder and kept on a short leash. It will n North Korea, reporters push the envelope and report only on the oppressiveness of the regime, and never tell their audience things like there is fairly good education, healthcare, and their manufacturing base is sophisticated enough to make their own smart phones. In Syria, reporters never vary from the script the hosts present them. It's not only because they won't be invited back, it's because they will be murdered. Remember the early stages of the war? Remember how many journalists were being killed? What were those journalists reporting? Why the truth of course.

Trailer Trash , Sep 14 2019 2:18 utc | 32
Someone mentioned the White Helmets. Here's a picture of a White Helmet leader hanging out with "Hong Kong protest figurehead Joshua Wong" and a Ukrainian mayor at a shindig in Berlin. No doubt it was organized and paid for by Uncle Sam and his trillion-dollar-per-year deficit.

I wonder if Hong Kong protesters know that Wong is partying in safety and comfort while they are risking their lives by attacking police and getting beat up.

JW , Sep 14 2019 2:23 utc | 33
Don't these propaganda clowns know they the more desperate they are at creating false narratives, the more they are losing credibility? Everyone outside the western circle of sheeple are more wary than ever about the CIA's fingers on just about everything.
psychohistorian , Sep 14 2019 2:31 utc | 34
Thanks for continuing to write truth to power b

The mighty propaganda machine of the West continues to crank out fake news for the Plato's Cave displays of the brainwashed and addicted. Ongoing control and projection of the narrative is necessary to keep the weak holding on for dear life to the Merry-Go-Round of the Western "culture".

Blessings to those that keep trying to throw spanners in the works to make the insanity stop.

Montreal , Sep 14 2019 5:33 utc | 37
In the old days, in London, when I wanted to check current affairs from different angles, I turned to the Guardian, Channel 4 News, and the BBC. People may remember, for example, the fearful row about the BBC's reporting of the Falklands War - because it was trying to be even-handed it was accused by Thatcher's government of helping the Argentinians.

Anyone interested in these things knows that each of those news outlets has - over the last couple of years - been nobbled by the enemy. I don't even know what to call the enemy - NATO? The Neo-Cons? What is shocking is the ruthless, no-expense-spared, fury with which the enemy spreads its lies. They take this propaganda war very seriously indeed.

It is a slight consolation that the BBC is spending its capital - its reputation in the world for fairness and objectivity - at a tremendous rate., if it is fairness and objectivity in current affairs you are looking for, nowadays you don't go.to the BBC.

pppp , Sep 14 2019 6:29 utc | 40
anna@1
Underground Idlib

My first thought was who dug those tunnels and where are these people now. I mean, where are buried. I seriously doubt fighters would dug all that themselves nor they would set witnesses free. Yet reports about forced labor are scarce, which is not that surprising as a couple missing persons would go unnoticed in refugees rush.

As the reference research WW2 German Riese project tunnels, forced labor and killing of laborers when Red Amy approached.

Igor Bundy , Sep 14 2019 6:36 utc | 41
As the video posted by Anna shows, the terrorists had offices and hospitals in caves. Why is a good question since Anna clearly shows that the Russians watch and only bomb places where terrorists store ammo and rockets. Also why the terrorists defenses crumble so fast. Obviously there is no carpet bombing because Russia dont have the planes for it. And for the bombing to be so effective, those must have been stores for equipment. Bombing 40 hospitals wont make the terrorists crumble. But 40 stores of supplies would.

The bigger question is, some of those caves have tiled walls and obviously took great effort. Its like the pyramids of Egypt but without the slave labor of the jews to build it.. Who pays for it??? A few I can understand but there are hundreds of such caves. Obviously a single bomb to the entrance would kill everyone inside no matter how big it is by sucking out all the air and the concussion. The Japanese learnt of this the hard way.. It also leaves the equipment intact for later use by the SAA.

BM , Sep 14 2019 6:44 utc | 42
Has anybody seen a coherent explanation of the real situation on the ground at the Rukban regugee camp near Al Tanf? Especially one that gives a balanced view of the constraints the refugees are under, how UN aid is getting in, and what access the Russians are getting to the area?

This article states that some 17,000 refugees left in August with assistance from the Russian and Syrian governments, but some 25,000 remain:

"Back in August, Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy said that over 17,000 civilians had already left the camp with the assistance of Moscow and Damascus.

The Syrian government and the Russian reconciliation centre have been assisting those wishing to leave the camp."

Given that the conditions are so bad, and the refugees are allegedly held against their will by jihadis, why would 25,000 still remain, if 17,000 were able to leave? Are they unable to make up their minds? Are they denied access to a part of the camp the Russians reached to help people get out? Are they actually jihadi families? There is something seriously missing from all the reports I have read.

Maximus , Sep 14 2019 10:35 utc | 50
Interesting from the Jerusalem Post ... interesting pic too...
john , Sep 14 2019 10:55 utc | 51
Compare the impact pattern and explosion timing with this recent carpet bombing (vid) of an island in Iraq

yeah, could these be penultimate eruptions, effete blasts from the man ostensibly on top? the Iraqi officers at 0:35 look kinda horrified to me, or at least a little worried.

....

only a psychotic culture does everything in its power to disrupt the physical and mental well-being of all sentient beings, while simultaneously striving to protect everyone from everything all the time.

Hmpf , Sep 14 2019 12:41 utc | 54
The cave attack, while having some issues, seems to be legit on a preliminary examination. A frame by frame examination shows there's 3 distinct missiles impacting the site. The first hits almost dead center (the missile itself is visible in a frame, its shadow in the following frame), the second one hits to the left at the edge of the compound (clearly visible in 2 frames) and the third one hits closer to the camera (visible in 1 frame), the one creating the expanding dome when exploding.
All warheads go off 4-5 frames after impact which suggests ignition delay of 0.15-0,2 seconds which would be reasonable for such a device.

Video properties of downloaded BBC clip (from Youtube)
1280x720, 25 fps

There's a couple of issues with the clip (some curious artifacts) that might suggests it's been tampered with but, I believe, that would need a qualified person in forensic analysis of such material to determine if this indeed is true.

NotBob , Sep 14 2019 13:14 utc | 56
Another humorous aspect to the BBC is even though they collect the fee from every British TV set, the 'sponsored content' and downright clickbait on each page is up to around 20%, plus the footer 'Why You Can Trust the BBC' .
arby , Sep 14 2019 13:19 utc | 58
A User

"What sort of an a-hole would you have to be to steal trillions from people then delight in keeping them impoverished, oppressed, without access to education, housing or healthcare? "

I have been thinking about that lately and not just the Saud's. Poor, hungry, uneducated, oppressed people are much easier to manipulate and easily bought to do the dirty work of terror, killing and war. Keeping people in that impoverished state is intentional for the elite that do not want to actually do the dirty work.

" I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half." Jay Gould

Canthama , Sep 14 2019 13:57 utc | 60
UK's link to al Qaeda is clear for decades, same link Israel, KSA< Qatar, Turkey and US all have, but the UK is definitively ahead here, very deep ties. By now the whole world knows BBC is UK' regime mouthpiece and made several fake news pretending Syrian & Russian Gov to be committing war crimes, where if fact the UK is actually deep sunk in war crimes or crimes against humanity in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Ukraine and most recently in HK. The only way this crimes will stop is to hurt the UK where it hurts the most, their financial industry, hit it hard and the lion will turn into sheep, maybe the recent attacks in Saudi Barbaria's oil facility will do just that, but a game change financial collapse must happen in the City so funds to support global terrorism is stopped.

Thank you b for this compelling piece.

Sam , Sep 14 2019 14:01 utc | 61
I saw this piece on BBC World Report, the free satellite channel, and even without doing any research, it struck me as incredibly weird. Notice even in your screenshot that there's a shot of the "underground" hospital with a window and some people walking around outside in broad daylight(!). Plus the reporter goes on and on about how the tunnels are all "hand-dug" but then they turn the corner and he's inside a very modern-looking facility.

One note - when I saw this on TV, they had captions underneath (black line at the bottom) naming the hospitals as the (perfectly stable, ground-level) footage of them "being blown up" rolled. Didn't see the captions on your screenshots, tho.

Reminds me of all those pure fantasies they used to talk about in 2001 about Osama's multi-level underground super fortress in Afghanistan.

Mishko , Sep 14 2019 14:20 utc | 63
The proof is in the pudding, the propaganda is in the editing. My own cognitive dissonance was such that I used to view Panorama as a flagship
of responsible/respectable journalism. While knowing that the BBC is part of the Westminster pedophile ring and its coverup.
OMG witch-hunt! Must not witch-hunt! Bunch of anti-semitism-tossers, the lot of 'em.
Mishko , Sep 14 2019 14:24 utc | 64
It was a wise man who said:"The truth is in the movies, the lies are in the news."
All too often I find myself agreeing with him.
Hoarsewhisperer , Sep 14 2019 15:11 utc | 65
ABC.net.au broadcast this half-baked BBC tosh on 3 of its 4 TV Channels - ABC 2, ABC News24 and ABC Comedy22.

Forgive the levity but my reaction to having endured it for the third time was: "Whoa! Sour grapes? Much?"

The sleazy Poms haven't looked this frustrated, helpless and stupid since they were the recipients of a very skillful Massacre Lesson in Afghanistan in 1842. One wonders how much arm-twisting was required to persuade the producers of "Pointless" & "Would I Lie To You?" that making stuff up about Assad and Russia might help viewers to forget that Russia and Assad have been shredding the Judeo-Christian Colonial Conspiracy since Russia waded in 48 months ago?

CJ , Sep 14 2019 21:20 utc | 68
Hi,
I thought there was something really odd about this BBC piece. The opening shot shows a `bombed hospital'. So where is all the medical waste, broken equipment, beds, old dressings, gloves, IV sets etc. Even in a simple first aid post the medical waste sure piles up. In an emergency you need a team just to move this stuff and keep things clean and functional. There is nothing to suggest its a hospital or even a clinic. In future they should grab a bag of medical waste a throw it around! I sure am getting pissed off with this propaganda -- everything from WMD, yellow cake, aluminum tubes through to Russia gate-- its cost trillions and wasted so much time.
Arioch , Sep 15 2019 0:41 utc | 69
In a world first, renowned consultant David Nott gave remote instructions via Skype and WhatsApp which allowed doctors to carry out surgery in an underground hospital.

But, after footage was broadcast by the BBC, Mr Nott believes his computer was targeted, allowing hackers to gain the coordinates of the M10 hospital.

Weeks later a "bunker buster" bomb destroyed the M10

Posted by: Arod | Sep 13 2019 23:52 utc

Because, you know, everyone knows, when Russian Hackers want to break into someone's computer they just point their BBC TV remote on screen and preess the red button. And here we go, from TV to the computer filmed. Better than with Harry Potter.

And then, it is all because of Skype. Microsoft keeps broadcasting GPS coordinated (even of deeply underground facilities) of everyone talking by Skype. And Whatsapp too.

UK MSM: Mad Skillz meme meeting Cool Story Bro meme
UK population: target audience that ia worth nothing more reasonable

Sad...

[Sep 13, 2019] Something to thank Russians for

Sep 13, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Robert McGregor , September 13, 2019 at 3:43 pm

I'm no fan of Trump, but I would like to see a comparison of the total "US instigated foreign fatalities" for his last 2 & 1/2 years compared with Obama's last 2 & 1/2 years, and what we guess the number would have been under Hillary. I'm sorry, but I think Trump's number would be the lowest. In coming up with an explanation, I like to use the "Reality Show Entertainment Value" theory which many have described. In this case, people like to watch Trump bullshitting and freaking out the establishment, but they really don't like watching dead bodies burn up or be carried away in body bags. That reality is not attractive entertainment, despite the fantasy of it being bankable entertainment when Tarantino flame throws a teenager at the end of "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."

Obama and Hillary are not "reality TV fans." They are more immersed in their megalomaniac view of themselves as world actors, and will willfully kill a few hundred thousand if they think it advances their misguided objectives.

Jonathan Holland Becnel , September 13, 2019 at 4:07 pm

Whoa there, buddy.

Spoiler alert.

-Tarantino fan :)

P.S. 'It 2' is def one of the best movies of the year. Still need to see Parasite and the Joker.

Punxsutawney , September 13, 2019 at 7:21 pm

Well, the "Liberal" excuse for this is that Putin is controlling him. Well if so, that's one thing to thank the Russians for.

[Sep 13, 2019] Trump the Russian Puppet. A Story That Just Will Not Die -- Strategic Culture

RussiaGate serves several very useful political purposes. First and foremost it supports exorbitant financing of MIC at the expense of everybody else, and as such it will not be abandoned, facts be dammed. In this sense Philip Giraldi is right. BTW intelligence agencies are apart of MIc and they (and first of all Brennan's faction of CIA and FBI (counterintelligence)) are the main force in RussiaGate. US government also was instrumental for the same reasons: for them maintaning EU hostility to Russia and preventing alliance of Russia and Germany is the ancient geopolitical goal, the goal which contributed to flaring two world wars.
But in view of Trump appointment of a war criminal and rabid warmonger Bolton as well as his track record of incompetence and impulsivity one can feel some sympathy to those who try to impeach Trump ;-)
Sep 13, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org
Philip Giraldi September 12, 2019 © Photo: Wikimedia Certainly, there are many things that President Donald Trump can rightly be criticized for, but it is interesting to note how the media and chattering classes continue to be in the grip of the highly emotional but ultimately irrational "Trump derangement syndrome (TDS)." TDS means that even the most ridiculous claims about Trump behavior can be regurgitated by someone like Jake Tapper or Rachel Maddow without anyone in the media even daring to observe that they are both professional dissemblers of truth who lie regularly to enhance their professional resumes.

There are two persistent bogus narratives about Donald Trump that are, in fact, related. The first is that his campaign and transition teams collaborated with the Russian government to defeat Hillary Clinton. Even Robert Mueller, he of the famous fact-finding commission, had to admit that that was not demonstrable. The only government that succeeded in collaborating with the incoming Trumpsters was that of Israel, but Mueller forgot to mention that or even look into it.

Nevertheless, Russia as a major contributing element in the Trump victory continues to be cited in the mainstream media, seemingly whenever Trump is mentioned, as if it were demonstrated fact. The fact is that whatever Russia did was miniscule and did not in any way alter the outcome of the election. Similarly, allegations that the Kremlin will again be at it in 2020 are essentially baseless fearmongering and are a reflection of the TDS desire to see the president constantly diminished in any way possible.

The other narrative that will not die is the suggestion that Donald Trump is either a Russian spy or is in some other, possibly psychological fashion, controlled by Russian President Vladimir Putin. That spy story was first floated by several former senior CIA officers who were closely tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign, apparently because they believed they would benefit materially if she were elected.

Former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell was the most aggressive promoter of Trump as Russian spy narrative. In August 2016, he wrote a New York Times op-ed entitled "I Ran the CIA. Now I'm endorsing Hillary Clinton." Morell's story began with the flat assertion that "Mrs. Clinton is highly qualified to be commander in chief. I trust she will deliver on the most important duty of a president – keeping our nation safe Donald J. Trump is not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security."

In his op-ed, Morell ran through the litany of then GOP candidate Trump's observed personality and character failings while also citing his lack of experience, but he delivered what he thought to be his most crushing blow when he introduced Vladimir Putin into the discussion. Putin, it seems, a wily ex-career intelligence officer, is "trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them. That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."

How can one be both unwitting and a recruited agent? Some might roll their eyes at that bit of hyperbole, but Morell, who was a top analyst at the Agency but never acquired or ran an actual spy in his entire career, goes on to explain how Moscow is some kind of eternal enemy. For Morell that meant that Trump's often stated willingness to work with Putin and the nuclear armed state he headed was somehow the act of a Manchurian Candidate, seen by Morell as a Russian interest, not an American one. So much for the presumed insider knowledge that came from the man who "ran the CIA."

The most recent "former intelligence agents'" blast against Trump appeared in the Business Insider last month in an article entitled "US spies say Trump's G7 performance suggests he's either a 'Russian asset' or a 'useful idiot' for Putin." The article cites a number of former government officials, including several from the CIA and FBI, who claimed that Trump's participation at the recent G7 summit in Biarritz France was marked by pandering to Putin and the Kremlin's interests, including a push to re-include Russia in the G-7, from which it was expelled after the annexation of Crimea.

One current anonymous FBI source cited in the article described the Trump performance as a "new low," while a former senior Justice Department official, labeled Trump's behavior as "directly out of the Putin playbook. We have a Russian asset sitting in the Oval Office." An ex-CIA officer speculated that the president's "intent and odd personal fascination with President Putin is worth serious scrutiny," concluding that the evidence is "overwhelming" that Trump is a Russian asset, while other CIA and NSA veterans suggested that Trump might be flattering Putin in exchange for future business concessions in Moscow.

Another recently retired FBI special agent opined that Trump was little more than "useful idiot" for the Russians, though he added that it would not surprise him if there were also Russian spies in Trump's inner circle.

The comments in the article are almost incoherent. They come from carefully selected current and former government employees who suffer from an excess of TDS, or possibly pathological paranoia, and hate the president for various reasons. What they are suggesting is little more than speculation and not one of them was able to cite any actual evidence to support their contentions. And, on the contrary, there is considerable evidence that points the other way. The US-Russia relationship is at its lowest point ever according to some observers and that has all been due to policies promoted by the Trump Administration to include the continuing threats over Crimea, sanctions against numerous Russian officials, abrogation of existing arms treaties, and the expansion of aggressive NATO activity right up to the borders with Russia.

Just this past week, the United States warned Russia against continuing its aerial support for the Syrian Army advance to eliminate the last major terrorist pocket in Idlib province. Once against, Washington is operating on the side of terrorists in Syria and against Russia, a conflict that the United States entered into illegally in the first place. Either Donald Trump acting as "the Russian agent" actually thinks threatening a Moscow that is pursuing its legitimate interests is a good idea or the labeling of the president as a "Putin puppet" or "useful idiot" is seriously misguided.

[Sep 13, 2019] The War in Eastern Ukraine May be Coming to an End But Do Any Americans Care? by Jeremy Kuzmaro

Ukraine is mainly the result of attempt of the USA to encircle Russia well as EU design for economic Drang nach Osten -- attempt to displace Russia in xUSSR republics.
So they pushed Ukraine into the pat that Baltic republic were already known for.
Notable quotes:
"... Ukraine's newly elected comedian president Volodymyr Zelensky called the prisoner exchange a "first step" in ending the war in Eastern Ukraine, which has killed an estimated 13,000 civilians. ..."
"... In a subsequent referendum, 89% in Donetsk and 96% in Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine voted for independence, which the new government of Petro Poroshenko government did not accept. ..."
"... She told U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt in a telephone conversation that was tapped and later leaked that Arseniy Yatsenyuk, neoliberal head of the "Fatherland" Party, should be Prime Minister as he was thought to have the "economic" and "governing experience." ..."
"... Nuland further revealed that the U.S. had invested over $5 billion in "democracy promotion" in Ukraine since 1991 through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which was carrying on the kind of work previously undertaken by the CIA during the Cold War. ..."
"... NED president Carl Gershman called Ukraine "the biggest prize" and an important interim step towards toppling [Russian President Vladimir] Putin who "may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself." ..."
"... To help achieve this end, the Obama administration pledged $1 billion in loan guarantees to the post-coup government in Ukraine, which Putin considered as the "ideological heirs of [Stephen] Bandera, Hitler's accomplice in World War II." ..."
"... Swayed by a slick lobbying campaign backed by supporters of the Afghan mujahidin in the 1980s looking for a new cause and by the Senate's Ukraine Caucus, the Obama administration further provided nearly $600 million in security assistance to the Ukrainian military. ..."
"... American military advisers embedded in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry provided rocket propelled grenades, carried out training exercises and planned military operations including with members of the fascist Azov battalion, which had Nazi-inspired Wolfsangel patches emblazoned on their sleeves. ..."
Sep 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

On Saturday September 7, Russia and Ukraine agreed to a prisoner swap which has brought hope of improved relations between the two countries and an end to the 5-year long conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

A peace accord is being planned for later this month in Normandy involving Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany.

Ukraine's newly elected comedian president Volodymyr Zelensky called the prisoner exchange a "first step" in ending the war in Eastern Ukraine, which has killed an estimated 13,000 civilians.

The Ukraine War remains largely unknown to the American public even though the United States has had a great stake in it.

The war started after a coup d'états in Ukraine in February 2014, which overthrew the democratically elected pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovuch.

In a subsequent referendum, 89% in Donetsk and 96% in Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine voted for independence, which the new government of Petro Poroshenko government did not accept.

The United States was a heavy backer of the coup and dirty war that unfolded in the East.

Victoria Nuland, the head of the State Department's European desk, traveled to Ukraine three times during the protests that triggered the coup, handing out cookies to demonstrators.

She told U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt in a telephone conversation that was tapped and later leaked that Arseniy Yatsenyuk, neoliberal head of the "Fatherland" Party, should be Prime Minister as he was thought to have the "economic" and "governing experience."

Nuland further revealed that the U.S. had invested over $5 billion in "democracy promotion" in Ukraine since 1991 through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which was carrying on the kind of work previously undertaken by the CIA during the Cold War.

Ukraine has long been considered an important bridge between Eastern and Western Europe and holds lucrative oil and gas deposits.

NED president Carl Gershman called Ukraine "the biggest prize" and an important interim step towards toppling [Russian President Vladimir] Putin who "may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself."

To help achieve this end, the Obama administration pledged $1 billion in loan guarantees to the post-coup government in Ukraine, which Putin considered as the "ideological heirs of [Stephen] Bandera, Hitler's accomplice in World War II."

Swayed by a slick lobbying campaign backed by supporters of the Afghan mujahidin in the 1980s looking for a new cause and by the Senate's Ukraine Caucus, the Obama administration further provided nearly $600 million in security assistance to the Ukrainian military.

It was supplied with counter-artillery radars, anti-tank systems, armored vehicles and drones in a policy expanded upon by Trump.

Before and after the Ukrainian military's campaign began, Secretary of State John Kerry, CIA Director John Brennan, and Vice President Joe Biden visited Kiev, followed by a flow of senior Pentagon officials.

A back-door arms pipeline was set up through the United Arab Emirates and Blackwater mercenaries were allegedly deployed.

American military advisers embedded in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry provided rocket propelled grenades, carried out training exercises and planned military operations including with members of the fascist Azov battalion, which had Nazi-inspired Wolfsangel patches emblazoned on their sleeves.

Obama's National Security adviser, Samantha Power, claimed that the [Ukrainian] governments "response [to alleged provocations by eastern rebels] [was] reasonable, it is proportional, and frankly it is what any of our countries would have done."

The Ukrainian military and allied warlord and neo-Nazi militias were not acting reasonably or proportionally, however, when they carried out artillery and air attacks on cities and struck residential buildings, shopping malls, parks, schools, hospitals and orphanages in Eastern Ukraine, and tortured and executed POWs in what amounted to clear war crimes.

NYU Professor Stephen Cohen notes that even The New York Times , which mainly deleted atrocities from its coverage, described survivors in Slovyansk living "as if in the Middle Ages."

That the American public knows nothing of these events is a sad reflection of the superficiality of our media and decline in the quality of international news coverage.

It is also a testament to the failing of the political left, which has embraced the cause of immigrant and Palestinian rights and fighting climate change, legitimately, but neglected the plight of the Eastern Ukrainian people. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Jeremy Kuzmarov

Jeremy Kuzmarov is the author of The Russians are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce (Monthly Review Press, 2018).

[Sep 13, 2019] Since resigning his post, Mattis has burst through the "revolving door" of the arms industry, reclaiming his seat on the board of the fifth largest defense contractor, General Dynamics

Sep 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Thanks to Mattis and company, Trump's purported desire to withdraw from fruitless Middle Eastern wars has been stifled, the result being business as usual for the military-industrial-complex and national security state. And why not? Since resigning his post, Mattis has burst through the "revolving door" of the arms industry, reclaiming his seat on the board of the fifth largest defense contractor, General Dynamics. Albert Einstein famously (and perhaps apocryphally) said , "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." He might just as easily have been describing the career of James Mattis, who has been proven wrong again and again and again, from Iraq to Afghanistan to Syria.

... ... ...


Mpizzie , 15 seconds ago link

Maybe the emperor has no clothes.

Still an amazing commander.

Peon14 , 1 minute ago link

Why is the US in Afghanistan? So the CIA can make a ton of money in the Heroin trade.

Duc888 , 45 seconds ago link

Never forget the CIA partnership with the money laundering of the Central Banks. The CB's are just as complicit and facilitate the money laundering.

uhland62 , 2 minutes ago link

You have to be mad to let them rope you into that system for so long and so deep. Go and join up, shoot a few people so you have something to brag about in the pub, but leave early so the killing frenzies do not define you.

Tribalism is what he calls it? It's the minions pushing back America's policies and monopolies. Costly for Americans, deadly slavery for others!

PaulHolland , 3 minutes ago link

Mattis also refused to shake the hand of the Russia defense minister when they crossed paths somewhere. What a weak ******* coward.

[Sep 13, 2019] Support and attend the People's Mobilization to Stop the US War Machine and Save the Planet, September 20 through 23, in New York City.

Sep 13, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Expat2uruguay , September 13, 2019 at 5:59 pm

"Support and attend the People's Mobilization to Stop the US War Machine and Save the Planet, September 20 through 23, in New York City. Christian liberationist intellectual Cornel West and Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will speak, and much of the Black Agenda Report team are participating.

Only a mass movement of the streets can begin to dismantle the twin imperial policies of endless austerity and war, end the military occupations of Africa and Black America, and save the world from a wounded and angry ecosphere."
https://www.blackagendareport.com/what-does-boltons-ouster-mean-victims-us-imperial-aggression

[Sep 12, 2019] John Bolton Meets His Fate by Daniel R. DePetris

The problem is not Bolton. It is Trump. Bolton is a well known neocon, who pushed for Iraq war (which makes his a war criminal) and founded PNAC. So his credentials as a warmonger were clear. He was/is a typical MIC prostitute, or agent of influence in more politically correct terms.
But any President who hired Bolton deliberately ositioned himself as a wrecking ball. Such an art of the deal. Hiring Bolton to a large extent justified Russiagate, because such a President is clear and present danger for the USA as a country. For the physical existence of this country and civilization on this territory. All bets for a realistic foreign policy are off. They are just wishful thinking.
Notable quotes:
"... Bolton would rather blow up Iran than talk to its leaders, engagement Trump has said numerous times he is more than happy to consider (maybe as soon as next week's U.N. General Assembly meeting). ..."
"... On Venezuela, Trump seems to have soured on pushing Nicolás Maduro from power, even as Bolton refers to Caracas as part of the "troika of tyranny." Bolton's obsession with getting North Korea denuclearized in one fell swoop -- an approach that came crashing down on Trump's head during his second summit with Kim Jong-un in February -- is far more likely to lead to an end of diplomacy than an end to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program (an uphill climb if there ever was one). ..."
"... Bolton, prickly as a porcupine in dealing with colleagues, had long been under Trump's skin. NBC News reports that the two men had a shouting match behind closed doors the night before Bolton's resignation. ..."
"... Whatever finally pushed Bolton out the door, however, is far less relevant than where Trump goes from here. He will announce a new national security adviser next week, and the Washington parlor game is already swirling with names. ..."
"... We don't know who Bolton's replacement will be, but we do know what he or she needs to do: dump most of the previous regime's ideas in the garbage and start over with strategies that actually have a chance at success. ..."
"... Trump needs an adviser who is willing to engage in a pragmatic negotiation and be prepared for uncomfortable but necessary bargaining. He needs someone who will help him end wars -- like the 18-year-long quagmire in Afghanistan -- that have gone on aimlessly and without purpose. ..."
Sep 12, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Bolton's is an extreme black-and-white view of the world: if you aren't an ally of the United States, you are an adversary who needs a boot on your neck in the form of U.S. military force or economic sanctions. The second- and third-order strategic consequences are no obstacle in Bolton's mind. Why go through the humiliating spectacle of negotiations when you can simply bomb Iran's nuclear facilities or take out the Kim regime by force ?

Diplomacy, after all, is for wimps, spineless State Department bureaucrats, and appeasers. If the boss is insisting on diplomacy, then demand the moon, stars, and everything in between before offering a nickel of sanctions relief.

This is how John Bolton made his career: as the proverbial wrecking ball of arms control agreements -- and indeed agreements of any kind. And he makes no excuses for it. Indeed, he takes prideful ownership of his views, seeing anyone who disagrees with him or who isn't on his level as a weasel. Before Bolton joined the Trump administration as national security adviser, he was the short-lived ambassador to the United Nations and the undersecretary of state for arms control, where he attempted to get an intelligence analyst removed for disagreeing with his position on Cuba's alleged biological weapons program.

All of this is why so many of us were worried and confused when President Trump asked Bolton to serve as his national security adviser last year. The two men could not have more fundamental disagreements on foreign policy. While both laugh at the U.N. and international organizations more broadly, they diverge paths on some of the weightiest issues on the docket. Bolton would rather blow up Iran than talk to its leaders, engagement Trump has said numerous times he is more than happy to consider (maybe as soon as next week's U.N. General Assembly meeting).

On Venezuela, Trump seems to have soured on pushing Nicolás Maduro from power, even as Bolton refers to Caracas as part of the "troika of tyranny." Bolton's obsession with getting North Korea denuclearized in one fell swoop -- an approach that came crashing down on Trump's head during his second summit with Kim Jong-un in February -- is far more likely to lead to an end of diplomacy than an end to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program (an uphill climb if there ever was one).

Trump grew tired of Bolton the same way he grew tired of other staffers. Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, H.R. McMaster, and John Kelly were all liked by the president at one time, only to be fired or convinced to resign. Bolton, prickly as a porcupine in dealing with colleagues, had long been under Trump's skin. NBC News reports that the two men had a shouting match behind closed doors the night before Bolton's resignation.

Whatever finally pushed Bolton out the door, however, is far less relevant than where Trump goes from here. He will announce a new national security adviser next week, and the Washington parlor game is already swirling with names.

We don't know who Bolton's replacement will be, but we do know what he or she needs to do: dump most of the previous regime's ideas in the garbage and start over with strategies that actually have a chance at success.

Trump needs an adviser who is willing to engage in a pragmatic negotiation and be prepared for uncomfortable but necessary bargaining. He needs someone who will help him end wars -- like the 18-year-long quagmire in Afghanistan -- that have gone on aimlessly and without purpose.

He needs someone who will hold those within the administration accountable when they refuse to execute policy once it is cleared by the inter-agency. And above all, he or she should prize restraint and think through all the options when the Beltway loudly urges immediate action.

All of this will be easier with Bolton off the team.

Daniel R. DePetris is a foreign policy analyst, a columnist at Reuters, and a frequent contributor to The American Conservative.

See also

[Sep 12, 2019] The Brain-Dead Maximalism of [neocon] Hard-liners by Daniel Larison

Highly recommended!
Iran sanction and the threat of war has nothing to do with its nuclear program. It is about the USA and by extension Israel dominance in the region. and defencing interesting of MIC, against the interest of general public. Which is the main task of neocons, as lobbyists for MIC (please understand that MIC includes intelligence agencies and large part of Wall Street) .
That's why Israel lobby ( and Bloomberg is a part of it ) supports strangulation Iran economy, Iran war and pushes Trump administration into it. the demand " Rather than push for an extended sunset, Trump should hold out for a complete termination of Iran's nuclear activities and an end to its other threatening behavior -- such as its ballistic-missile program and its support for terrorist groups across the Middle East -- in exchange for readmission into the world economy" is as close to Netanyahu position as we can get.
Notable quotes:
"... The Bloomberg editors urge Trump not to give up on brain-dead maximalism with Iran ..."
"... As always, hard-liners ignore the agency and interests of the other government, and they assume that it is simply a matter of willpower to force them to yield. ..."
"... They have not left the Non-Proliferation Treaty. On the contrary, they have agreed to abide by the Additional Protocol that has even stricter standards. They are not enriching uranium to levels needed to make nuclear weapons. They certainly haven't built or tested any weapons. ..."
"... Iran has jumped through numerous hoops to demonstrate that their nuclear program is and will continue to be peaceful, and their compliance has been verified more than a dozen times, but fanatics here and in Israel refuse to take yes for an answer. That is because hard-liners aren't really concerned about proliferation risk, but seek to use the nuclear issue as fodder to justify punitive measures against Iran without end ..."
Sep 12, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The Bloomberg editors urge Trump not to give up on brain-dead maximalism with Iran:

Rather than push for an extended sunset, Trump should hold out for a complete termination of Iran's nuclear activities and an end to its other threatening behavior -- such as its ballistic-missile program and its support for terrorist groups across the Middle East -- in exchange for readmission into the world economy.

This chance may never come again.

Bloomberg's latest advice to Trump on Iran is terrible as usual, but it is a useful window into how anti-Iran hard-liners see things. They see the next year as their best chance to push for their maximalist demands, and they fear the possibility that Trump might settle for something short of their absurd wish list. If Trump does what they want and "holds out" until Iran capitulates, he will be waiting a long time. He has nothing to show for his policy except increased tensions and impoverished and dying Iranians, and this would guarantee more of the same. The funny thing is that the "extended sunset" they deride is already an unrealistic goal, and they insist that the president pursue a much more ambitious set of goals that have absolutely no chance of being reached. As always, hard-liners ignore the agency and interests of the other government, and they assume that it is simply a matter of willpower to force them to yield.

The Bloomberg editorial is ridiculous in many ways, but just one more example will suffice. At one point it says, "Nor is there any doubt that Iran wants nuclear weapons." Perhaps ideologues and fanatics have no doubt about this, but it isn't true. If Iran wanted nuclear weapons, they could have pursued and acquired them by now. They gave up that pursuit and agreed to the most stringent nonproliferation agreement ever negotiated to prove that they wouldn't seek these weapons, but the Trump administration chose to punish them for their cooperation. Iran has not done any of the things that actual rogue nuclear weapons states have done. They have not left the Non-Proliferation Treaty. On the contrary, they have agreed to abide by the Additional Protocol that has even stricter standards. They are not enriching uranium to levels needed to make nuclear weapons. They certainly haven't built or tested any weapons.

Iran has jumped through numerous hoops to demonstrate that their nuclear program is and will continue to be peaceful, and their compliance has been verified more than a dozen times, but fanatics here and in Israel refuse to take yes for an answer. That is because hard-liners aren't really concerned about proliferation risk, but seek to use the nuclear issue as fodder to justify punitive measures against Iran without end.

They don't want to resolve the crisis with Iran, but rather hope to make it permanent by setting goals that can't possibly be reached and insisting that sanctions remain in place forever.

[Sep 12, 2019] Dances With Bears: MARK GALEOTTI IS A FACT FAKER HIS BOOK ON RUSSIAN CRIME IS A HATE CRIME, A WAR CRIME

Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al September 9, 2019 at 9:14 am

I only mentioned Mark 'Gerasimov' Galeotti recently linked to a MT source one of you posted and hey, presto

Dances With Bears: MARK GALEOTTI IS A FACT FAKER – HIS BOOK ON RUSSIAN CRIME IS A HATE CRIME, A WAR CRIME
http://johnhelmer.net/mark-galeotti-is-a-fact-faker-his-book-on-russian-crime-is-a-hate-crime-a-war-crime/

Repeating lies over and over makes old-fashioned Joseph Goebbels-type propaganda. Repeating lies, then contradicting them; moving them from one government-paid think-tank to another; footnoting a new lie to an older version; quoting policemen and gangsters saying fatuities; adding slang and the words of pop songs -- this is still Goebbels-type but stretched out and product-diversified to make its author more money. This is Mark Galeotti's method .
####

The rest at the link and a deep dive on Galeotti himself.

[Sep 12, 2019] Saudi jets, armed with US and UK bombs and provided with targeting information by US military intelligence officers stationed in Saudi Arabia,

Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star September 3, 2019 at 3:52 pm

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/09/02/yeme-s02.html

"Saudi jets, armed with US and UK bombs and provided with targeting information by US military intelligence officers stationed in Saudi Arabia, have continued to carry out repeated attacks on civilian targets, including schools, hospitals, residential neighborhoods, mosques, funerals and markets. The US had provided coalition jets with mid-air refueling until the end of last year, ensuring maximum carnage."

https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/content/current-members

Like I was saying Too bad the two foremost war criminal terrorist nations sit on the UNSC.

Mark Chapman September 3, 2019 at 4:14 pm
Funny – their position is exactly the opposite; too bad Russia and China are on the UNSC, if it were not for them, so much more could get done.

[Sep 12, 2019] Russia has no net public debt left

Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile September 9, 2019 at 8:57 pm

У России не осталось чистого государственного долга
06:54 10.09.2019 (обновлено: 07:26 10.09.2019)

Russia has no net public debt left
06:54 09/10/2019 (updated: 07:26 09/10/2019)

MOSCOW, Sep 10 – RIA News. The net public debt of Russia has become negative for the first time since the introduction of the first sanctions for the annexation of the Crimea and the fall in oil prices in 2014, RBC writes, with reference to Ministry of Finance and Central Bank data.

As of August 1, the volume of public debt of the federal government, regions and municipalities, including state guarantees for enterprise loans, amounted to 16.2 trillion rubles.

At the same time, the liquid assets of the state – federal authorities, regions and extrabudgetary state funds – totalled 17.6 trillion ruble son the same date.

Thus, in the widest sense, the public debt since mid-2019 has become less than the liquid assets of the "expanded government", the publication indicates.

As noted, this has became possible owing to record reserves that have fully covered the state debt. That is to say, if Russia needed to immediately pay off all existing debts, this could be done at the expense of only government deposits with the Central Bank and commercial banks.

As the Minister of Economic Development, Maxim Oreshkin, emphasized, "what has been done in Russian macroeconomics from 2014 to 2019 will definitely fall into the textbooks", At the same time, the flip side of such a tough approach is the lack of fiscal incentives for economic development.

Over to you Bloomberg, WSJ, FT etc., etc!

Waddya say to that, arseholes?

And think on this, you happy folk of the Exceptional Nation who prosper ever onwards:

MOSCOW, 16 August 2019/ Radio Sputnik . Russia continues to reduce investments in US bonds in June, reducing their size to 10.8 billion dollars, the United States Ministry of Finance has reported.

According to Finance Department data, 5,296 billion dollars of this amount is for long-term securities and 5,552 billion are short – term.

For comparison, in may, the total amount was $ 12 billion.

As part of the de-dollarization course for Russia, other financial instruments are gaining importance: gold and investments in European and Asian securities, chief expert of FinEk agency Mikhail Belyaev said on Sputnik radio.

According to the economist, the instability of the US economy also contributes to the withdrawal of Russian assets from it.

[Sep 11, 2019] Tucker John Bolton refuses to acknowledge his mistakes - YouTube

Tucker is right: the problem is that Bolton can be replaced by another Bolton.
Sep 11, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Matt Curley , 16 hours ago

With Romney being "VERY VERY UNHAPPY" makes it all worthwhile..

Pete G , 18 hours ago

No more Wars Trump America first starts at Home Bring our Troops home 🇺🇸

Zentella6 , 18 hours ago

Bye bye, douchebag. Great news for America. I'm an 11 year vet, and I approve this message.

Marcus McCurley , 10 hours ago

I'm a vet who served in the 82nd Airborne and I say good riddance to this War Monger. This is an awful awful man!

stantheman1684 , 14 hours ago

iv> I see the GLOBALIST shills are in full force on this video, trying to artificially bring down the ratio from probably 99% Positive that such a bad man is gone. Doesn't matter, the Silent Majority & good people everywhere know that Bolton was a poor candidate for that job with a catastrophic failure record & everybody is better of with a more competent person in that position.

MAGA2020

Rebecca Martinez , 18 hours ago

Neo-con Bolton war monger turning on military industrial complex! No wars, no conflicts, no ME instability change! Good riddens!

Richard Willette , 13 hours ago

Trump only hires the best. Bolton will go to Fox and someone from Fox will be 4th National Security Advisor

Michael Ross , 14 hours ago

Thanks President Trump for getting rid of the globalist John Bolton

TED C , 17 hours ago

Foreign policy appears to be 17 year wars. Being a perpetual non winner.

caligirl , 16 hours ago

Good job Tucker, thank you for telling the truth about John Bolton and help to stop bombing Iran!

The Nair , 12 hours ago (edited)

John Bolton is owned by foreign powers like many in Washington. They get paid by their lobby to push the neocon agenda which translates into robbing the US of it's $ to fight wars that don't benefit the US.

yukonjeffimagery , 6 hours ago

War monger Bolton. How did that Libya thing work out for Europe ? Now after looking back, I am sure the African invasion into Europe was planned by Obama and his boss Soros.

Justin Noordyke , 8 hours ago

Romney is another swamp rat. All these politicians supporting Bolton have lost their sanity.

Marutgana Rudraksha , 6 hours ago

2,200 neo-cons don't like this video.

danielgarrison91 , 17 hours ago

Tucker while I agree with you on the mess in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya. But one thing you left out Tucker. Foxnews hired John Bolton as a Contributer for over a decade. How do you miss that part.

SAROJA Band , 3 hours ago (edited)

Bolton is pure evil. A "catastrophic success". Warmonger neo-con-artist. Abject failure. Delusional hubris exemplified. Brilliant reporting Tucker!!

Jamie Kloer , 8 hours ago

All the policies in the Middle East are complete and other failures. I'm so sick of neo cons. You can't get rid of them. You can not get rid of them. It doesn't matter who you vote for. Constant war. Like every regime couldn't be replaced around the world. Absolutely ridiculous.

BP , 9 hours ago

"In Washington, nobody cares what kind of job you did, only that you did the job. Nobody there learns from mistakes, because mistakes are never even acknowledged. Ever." Yes, Tucker DOES understand Washington!!!

Deborah Beaudoin Zaki , 6 hours ago div tabindex="0" class="comment-renderer-te

xt" role="article"> If Bolton becomes a Fox News contributor: I will change the channel immediately... I already do this when Jeff Epstein's, the child trafficker and rapist, good buddy Alan Dershowitz comes on as a guest... Do not know why Fox News selects guest contributors that have their morals/values in the wrong directions...

Angela J , 6 hours ago div tabindex="0" role="art

icle"> Bolton was signatory to PNAC- the project for a new american century, like other progressives and neo-cons of his generation. They do not view the chaos left by taking out Ghaddafi and Saddam as problems, rather the creation of failed states was their objective all along. Members of the GOP went along with these plans where they coincided with their own political and business objectives- the military industrial complex and the oilmen.

[Sep 11, 2019] NYT tries to save Russiagate narrative using Smolenkov defection

Sep 11, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

Some former intelligence officials said the president's closed-door meetings with Mr. Putin and other Russian officials , along with Twitter posts about delicate intelligence matters , have sown concern among overseas sources.

"We have a president who, unlike any other president in modern history, is willing to use sensitive, classified intelligence however he sees fit," said Steven L. Hall, a former C.I.A. official who led the agency's Russia operations. "He does it in front of our adversaries. He does it by tweet. We are in uncharted waters."

But the government had indicated that the source existed long before Mr. Trump took office, first in formally accusing Russia of interference in October 2016 and then when intelligence officials declassified parts of their assessment about the interference campaign for public release in January 2017. News agencies, including NBC , began reporting around that time about Mr. Putin's involvement in the election sabotage and on the C.I.A.'s possible sources for the assessment.

The following month, The Washington Post reported that the C.I.A.'s conclusions relied on "sourcing deep inside the Russian government." And The New York Times later published articles disclosing details about the source .

The news reporting in the spring and summer of 2017 convinced United States government officials that they had to update and revive their extraction plan, according to people familiar the matter.

The extraction ensured the informant was in a safer position and rewarded for a long career in service to the United States. But it came at a great cost: It left the C.I.A. struggling to understand what was going on inside the highest ranks of the Kremlin.

The agency has long struggled to recruit sources close to Mr. Putin, a former intelligence officer himself wary of C.I.A. operations. He confides in only a small group of people and has rigorous operational security, eschewing electronic communications.

James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence who left office at the end of the Obama administration, said he had no knowledge of the decision to conduct an extraction. But, he said, there was little doubt that revelations about the extraction were "going to make recruiting assets in Russia even more difficult than it already is." Correction : Sept. 10, 2019

An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the timing of the initial reporting on the C.I.A.'s 2016 exfiltration offer to a Russian informant. An offer that appears to be the same one that The New York Times described was reported in 2018 in Bob Woodward's book "Fear."

[Sep 11, 2019] We don't really know WHY this spy was extracted. Anyone that believes that Russiagate was deliberately planned as part of the new Cold War is not surprised at yet another attempt to strengthen the nonexistent case for Russian meddling.

OK, lets' assume that neoliberal MSM are not lying. Then why Mueller did not include him in his report? He was already in the USA since June 2017. It is unclear when he was fired by russians.
Also as Smolenkov for a long time lived in the USA he knew very well what the USA wants and could lie with impunity trying to earn more money. In a way similar personality as Skripal.
Is the idea to create the second Skripals-style false poisoning hysteria to help to sustain RussiaGate?
Notable quotes:
"... The only way that he's the 'source' of the Steele fiction is if the whole thing was in the style of LeCarre's "The Tailor of Panama" where everyone is lying and inflating what they know and people at the top are paying out good money for this because it suits their little power games. But any Moscow tailor with a couple of important customers would be positioned to run that scam as well as an aide to an aide to a foreign minister. ..."
"... My personal guess, he made his money by the more typical corruption in Russia, which means he was working for an oligarch. He lost his job, possibly during one of Putin's anti-corruption cleanup campaigns. He decided to move to DC with his oligarch money because he'd served 10 years in the embassy there and he liked the area. He is buying property in his own name because he's not part of any sort of witness/spy protection program and nobody in the USG is setting him up with a fake identity. ..."
"... MoA's investigators have fairly well established that Skripal was the most likely contributor to the Steele Dossier given the overall web of established connections--that was most certainly an MI-6 operation in league with DNC/HRC officials, not CIA, although CIA was involved in Russiagate Cover-up. ..."
"... In examining Russia's foreign policy, where were the compromises generated by this alleged spy? Aside from the UNSC vote debacle on Libya ..."
"... A lot of commentators see the incongruence of this title and make jokes about it. Really,when a superpower becomes a source of jokes and ridicule, than the end might be nigh. ..."
"... We don't really know WHY this spy was extracted. Anyone that believes that Russiagate was deliberately planned as part of the new Cold War is not surprised at yet another attempt to strengthen the nonexistent case for Russian meddling. ..."
"... The first report in US Press about Putin personally involved was on Dec 14 2016 ..."
"... I don't think the exfiltration was the real source but someone to sacrifice, to protect the real source, who is working for Estonian intelligence. To me this seems like it is possibly Anton Vaino, Chief of Staff of the Kremlin since August 2016, Deputy Chief of Staff of Kremlin before that. This is not to say his info is accurate, but is in line with the foreign policy of Estonia to alienate everyone with Russia. ..."
"... Just out of curiosity, if what has been reported is true then what reason would Mueller have to exclude this from his report? The dude is proof of the Russia-did-it!! narrative. Check. The dude has already been extracted. Check. The Russians must have already noticed that he has done a runner. Check. ..."
"... What would stop Mueller from producing a one-paragraph report that starts with: "we know the following to be true because for the last decade everything that Putin did was being relayed to us by an aide to the foreign policy advisor to the Kremlin, since extracted and now living in the USA". ..."
"... Well, I just think Putin had more important things to think about than the charade that is now the US electoral process. Probably he felt (I'm guessing of course) that the whole Russiagate scenario was a desperate move to throw a curtain over the demise of American democracy that served his, Putin's, purposes very well because it kept the idiots busy while he shored up the badly leaking ship of his own state. ..."
"... And I go with Smiley@34 - no spy of even mediocre caliber would agree to being placed in such an exposed position under his own name, for crying out loud! ..."
"... It doesn't make sense that he would leave himself exposed if either in Russia or in the US he had undercover connections of this sort. Just doesn't make sense. But that he was the best the US operatives could come up with right now simply speaks to further deterioration of US ability to field persuasive stories. ..."
"... Putin hasn't had to worry about vendettas or showing corruption in American politics. Take a reliable poll. Who in the US thinks our politics ISN'T corrupt? ..."
"... We didn't need Putin, mastermind though he is, to 'create an image' of American unreliability. Was it Putin who reneged on so many treaties? Was it Putin who antagonized the Koreas? Was it Putin who set up the trade war with China? Was it Putin who threatened and sanctioned Russia, Iran, Venezuela? ..."
"... What can the Russians do to get ahead of the narrative on the likely impending demise of Smolenkov by novichok or polonium poisoning? ..."
"... The concern is about the three hundred million other Americans who are at least partially captured by the false narratives pumped out non-stop from their Plato's Cave displays. Is there anything that the Russians can do now to inoculate some Americans against the hard sell they will be facing when the corporate mass media ( Mighty Wurlitzer ) cranks up the multi-channel marketing campaign for the United States' own Skripal farce? ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Smiley , Sep 10 2019 22:54 utc | 34

A point that appears to have missed by several is that an aide to an aide to the foreign minister is not likely to have access to Putin's super-top-secret plans to use a few thousand dollars worth of utube and twit ads to change the course of multi-billion dollar American election, nor would he have access to information that might be used to blackmail a potential foreign leader.

Both would be closely held secrets and apparently way above his pay grade. Often the FM wouldn't know of either, and both operations would be compartmentalized into a close team Putin can trust.

The only way that he's the 'source' of the Steele fiction is if the whole thing was in the style of LeCarre's "The Tailor of Panama" where everyone is lying and inflating what they know and people at the top are paying out good money for this because it suits their little power games. But any Moscow tailor with a couple of important customers would be positioned to run that scam as well as an aide to an aide to a foreign minister.

My personal guess, he made his money by the more typical corruption in Russia, which means he was working for an oligarch. He lost his job, possibly during one of Putin's anti-corruption cleanup campaigns. He decided to move to DC with his oligarch money because he'd served 10 years in the embassy there and he liked the area. He is buying property in his own name because he's not part of any sort of witness/spy protection program and nobody in the USG is setting him up with a fake identity.


karlof1 , Sep 10 2019 23:11 utc | 36

Smiley @33&34--

House likely bought by CIA and annual upkeep--taxes etc.--also paid by them.

MoA's investigators have fairly well established that Skripal was the most likely contributor to the Steele Dossier given the overall web of established connections--that was most certainly an MI-6 operation in league with DNC/HRC officials, not CIA, although CIA was involved in Russiagate Cover-up.

In examining Russia's foreign policy, where were the compromises generated by this alleged spy? Aside from the UNSC vote debacle on Libya, I see nothing but a string of successes, although the Ukraine Coup wasn't debauched. IMO, Outlaw US Empire policy toward Russia has failed spectacularly, and it is within the US government where I'd expect to find well placed spies.

Smiley , Sep 10 2019 23:21 utc | 39
Here's a tough problem for a counter-intelligence agent. Find the source of info for a fictional report.

Normally, after a link, one avenue of investigation would be to check who had access to the leaked information. But, if the report is completely fictional, then there is no list of people who had access to information that didn't exist. Everyone or no one had equal access to the non-existent information.

The Tailor of Moscow had the same access to the non-existent information as did Putin's closest personal aide. Who done it?

willie , Sep 10 2019 23:30 utc | 40
Headline in le Figaro: Ingérence russe :la CIA disposait d'une source haut-placée au Kremlin (Russian collusion: CIA had high placed source at the Kremlin.)

A lot of commentators see the incongruence of this title and make jokes about it. Really,when a superpower becomes a source of jokes and ridicule, than the end might be nigh.

Jackrabbit , Sep 11 2019 0:30 utc | 41
Evidence-free accusations of Russian meddling. Now with extra sauce.

<> <> <> <> <> <>

We don't really know WHY this spy was extracted. Anyone that believes that Russiagate was deliberately planned as part of the new Cold War is not surprised at yet another attempt to strengthen the nonexistent case for Russian meddling.

GoldmanKropotkin , Sep 11 2019 0:47 utc | 43
The first report in US Press about Putin personally involved was on Dec 14 2016.
Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.

Putin's objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a "vendetta" against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to "split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn't depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore," the official said.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/u-s-officials-putin-personally-involved-u-s-election-hack-n696146

Notice the source is spies working for US Allies. Remember that the NSA did not sign off on the Russian interference/hacking because they were concerned that too much critical info rested on intelligence from a single foreign country.

Sergei Skripal was not just an turncoat for UK he also worked for Estonian intelligence. It seems to me the poisoning fits better as an Estonian job, to keep relations in Europe with Russia in very bad shape. It's easy to say that the Russians wouldn't be so incompetent, also goes for the UK, which could have come up with something more compelling if they pre planned it as false flag.

Notice how we have some sources saying concern grew after the Trump Putin meeting, where supposedly Trump gave Isreali intelligence to Putin on Syria, I think they were concerned Trump would have no problem revealing a spy for another government, much like he was free with foreign intelligence.

I don't think the exfiltration was the real source but someone to sacrifice, to protect the real source, who is working for Estonian intelligence. To me this seems like it is possibly Anton Vaino, Chief of Staff of the Kremlin since August 2016, Deputy Chief of Staff of Kremlin before that. This is not to say his info is accurate, but is in line with the foreign policy of Estonia to alienate everyone with Russia.

Yeah, Right , Sep 11 2019 0:57 utc | 44
Just out of curiosity, if what has been reported is true then what reason would Mueller have to exclude this from his report? The dude is proof of the Russia-did-it!! narrative. Check. The dude has already been extracted. Check. The Russians must have already noticed that he has done a runner. Check.

What would stop Mueller from producing a one-paragraph report that starts with: "we know the following to be true because for the last decade everything that Putin did was being relayed to us by an aide to the foreign policy advisor to the Kremlin, since extracted and now living in the USA".

I mean, bit of a slam-dunk, don't you think?

juliania , Sep 11 2019 14:57 utc | 58

Well, I just think Putin had more important things to think about than the charade that is now the US electoral process. Probably he felt (I'm guessing of course) that the whole Russiagate scenario was a desperate move to throw a curtain over the demise of American democracy that served his, Putin's, purposes very well because it kept the idiots busy while he shored up the badly leaking ship of his own state.

And I go with Smiley@34 - no spy of even mediocre caliber would agree to being placed in such an exposed position under his own name, for crying out loud!

This was a guy who had big money stashed away, wanted to be in a place where rich guys are held in high esteem, planned his exit from a no-longer-friendly-to-rich-folk environment (if you had money in Russia these days, you should use it for the good of the country).

It doesn't make sense that he would leave himself exposed if either in Russia or in the US he had undercover connections of this sort. Just doesn't make sense. But that he was the best the US operatives could come up with right now simply speaks to further deterioration of US ability to field persuasive stories.

And this gave me some amusement:

Putin's objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a "vendetta" against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to "split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn't depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore," the official said. [Quote from Goldman Kropotkin@43]

Putin hasn't had to worry about vendettas or showing corruption in American politics. Take a reliable poll. Who in the US thinks our politics ISN'T corrupt?

juliania , Sep 11 2019 15:11 utc | 59
We didn't need Putin, mastermind though he is, to 'create an image' of American unreliability. Was it Putin who reneged on so many treaties? Was it Putin who antagonized the Koreas? Was it Putin who set up the trade war with China? Was it Putin who threatened and sanctioned Russia, Iran, Venezuela?

We, our leaders, masterminded it all. Sorry, Mr. Putin - you lose that enviable title. We own it.

William Gruff , Sep 11 2019 15:50 utc | 60

What can the Russians do to get ahead of the narrative on the likely impending demise of Smolenkov by novichok or polonium poisoning?

I know some here might say "Everyone would know it is a false flag if Smolenkov gets assassinated!" and that is certainly true if by "everyone" one means the regular readers here and at a few other analysis sites that are not controlled by the empire.

The concern is about the three hundred million other Americans who are at least partially captured by the false narratives pumped out non-stop from their Plato's Cave displays. Is there anything that the Russians can do now to inoculate some Americans against the hard sell they will be facing when the corporate mass media ( Mighty Wurlitzer ) cranks up the multi-channel marketing campaign for the United States' own Skripal farce?

[Sep 11, 2019] What can the Russians do to get ahead of the narrative on the likely impending demise of Smolenkov by novichok or polonium poisoning?

Sep 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Sep 11 2019 15:50 utc | 60

What can the Russians do to get ahead of the narrative on the likely impending demise of Smolenkov by novichok or polonium poisoning?

I know some here might say "Everyone would know it is a false flag if Smolenkov gets assassinated!" and that is certainly true if by "everyone" one means the regular readers here and at a few other analysis sites that are not controlled by the empire.

The concern is about the three hundred million other Americans who are at least partially captured by the false narratives pumped out non-stop from their Plato's Cave displays. Is there anything that the Russians can do now to inoculate some Americans against the hard sell they will be facing when the corporate mass media ( Mighty Wurlitzer ) cranks up the multi-channel marketing campaign for the United States' own Skripal farce?

[Sep 11, 2019] On view of Russiagate hysteria it is pretty clear that Vladimir Putin s observations about American society and the growing sense that middle class America is being left behind is accurate

Sep 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sally Snyder , Sep 11 2019 17:43 utc | 3

Given that Washington continuously claims that Russians are responsible for the election of Donald Trump, here is an interesting look at what Vladimir Putin had to say about why Donald Trump was elected:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/09/vladimir-putin-on-americas-middle-class.html

While drawing links from economic class to voting patterns is difficult given that education impacts voting rates, it is pretty clear that Vladimir Putin's observations about American society and the growing sense that middle class America is being left behind is accurate. It is becoming increasingly clear that globalization benefits the few at the top and leaves behind the vast majority of society who feel that their place in society is under threat.

[Sep 11, 2019] On possible Oleg Smolenkov connection to Steele dossier

Sep 10, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

librul , Sep 10 2019 19:54 utc | 19

Is someone brewing up some fresh Novichok nerve agent as we speak?

Don't touch those doorknobs, Oleg!

for future reference: this post was for amusement purposes only

[Sep 11, 2019] Hong Kong protesters cozy up to US, ask to 'liberate' city amid ongoing violence (VIDEOS) -- RT World News

Images removed...
Notable quotes:
"... Footage from the city also documented flagrant acts of vandalism targeting the infrastructure and public transportation. In one video, a staircase was spray-painted with an inspiring message, "fight for freedom," accompanied by a swastika. ..."
"... The protesters – many of them masked and armed with metal rods and clubs – also erected street barricades, which were then set ablaze. Police used tear gas to disperse the unruly crowds. ..."
"... Videos – not always publicized by the mainstream media – also show aftermath of vandalism as anti-government unrest enters its 14th week. ..."
"... Beijing has repeatedly accused Washington of fueling the political turmoil, a claim that became more difficult to refute after a senior American diplomat was seen meeting with protest leaders. ..."
"... With their direct appeal to Trump, it appears that many of the protesters are not interested in negotiating directly with the government. Hong Kong had already officially withdrawn the controversial extradition bill with China that sparked the unrest. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.rt.com

Hong Kong protesters rallied in their thousands and clashed with police in fresh unrest. They even called on Washington to "liberate" them from Chinese rule, suggesting some may now view the US as their patron. Thousands of demonstrators marched to the US Consulate in Hong Kong on Sunday, in what they said was an appeal to President Donald Trump to intervene in the weeks-long political turmoil. Videos of the rally show protesters waving American flags as they sing the US national anthem and play 'The Star Spangled Banner' through the speakers on their phones.

© Courtesy Andre Vltchek

People also carried banners, urging Trump to "liberate" Hong Kong. American lawmakers are currently mulling the so-called 'Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act'. The legislation would require Washington to annually assess Hong Kong's level of autonomy from Beijing and react with economic countermeasures if self-rule is compromised.

//www.youtube.com/embed/fugZvuyR9GU

Some signs of protest used to drum up support for the cause have raised questions about the factual accuracy of the messaging. According to the Global Times, a banner attached to an overpass erroneously claimed that "China owes America $1 trillion."

#HK radical protesters fail to get the facts right on a banner which states that "China owes US$1 trillion." Here is a free lesson: As of May, the US owes China about $1.11 trillion, not the other way round. #香港 pic.twitter.com/hky6WCDJqA

-- Global Times (@globaltimesnews) September 8, 2019

Footage from the city also documented flagrant acts of vandalism targeting the infrastructure and public transportation. In one video, a staircase was spray-painted with an inspiring message, "fight for freedom," accompanied by a swastika.

© Courtesy Andre Vltchek

The protesters – many of them masked and armed with metal rods and clubs – also erected street barricades, which were then set ablaze. Police used tear gas to disperse the unruly crowds.

© Courtesy Andre Vltchek

Videos – not always publicized by the mainstream media – also show aftermath of vandalism as anti-government unrest enters its 14th week.

© Courtesy Andre Vltchek

Beijing has repeatedly accused Washington of fueling the political turmoil, a claim that became more difficult to refute after a senior American diplomat was seen meeting with protest leaders.

With their direct appeal to Trump, it appears that many of the protesters are not interested in negotiating directly with the government. Hong Kong had already officially withdrawn the controversial extradition bill with China that sparked the unrest.

Also on rt.com

[Sep 11, 2019] Color revolutionaries of the world, unite! Hong Kong protest leader pictured with White Helmets boss -- RT World News

Sep 11, 2019 | www.rt.com

Hong Kong protest figurehead Joshua Wong, who has been rocking up to 'pro-democracy' meetings with various Western officials in recent weeks, has been spotted hanging out with the chairman of the White Helmets in Berlin. Wong attended the 'Bild 100' summer party in Berlin this week, where he seems to have bumped into White Helmets boss Raed Al Saleh. That's a tad awkward, since the Syrian first-responders group operates solely in areas controlled by anti-government fighters and has been heavily suspected of links to Al Qaeda and US-sponsored jihadist militias – a fact that did not go unnoticed on Twitter.

To prove that he's not a pawn of the US intelligence ... Joshua Wong met with Al Qaeda's medic team, the White Helmets. 😀 My God, what a stupid world we live i