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Neoliberal Propaganda:
Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few

Journalism Vacation from Truth is a direct threat to democracy. Without journalistic integrity, there is no democracy as the average voter cannot make an informed choice. Inverted totalitarism won some time ago.

The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People! ~ Donald Trump

Skepticism > Political Skeptic > Media-Military-Industrial Complex > Propaganda

News Neoliberal newspeak Recommended Links US and British media are servants of security apparatus Tucker Carlson rejection of neoliberalism Neoliberal war on reality Demonization of Putin
NeoMcCartyism Integrity Initiative Journalists for Hire How the CIA Buys the News by Dr. Udo Ulfkotte Luke Harding: a pathetic author of book that rehash Steele Dossier Edward Lucas as agent provocateur William Browder, economic rape of Russia and Magnitsky Act Litvinenko poisoning
Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers Manchester attack vs Charlie Hebdo Patterns of Propaganda Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment NYT degeneration into a deep state stooge Pussy Riot Provocation -- the hand of MI6?
Neoliberal war on reality Classic Hypocrisy of British Ruling Elite Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Steele dossier The importance of controlling the narrative MSM as attack dogs of color revolution Anti Trump Hysteria
Corruption of the language Doublespeak Whataboutism as a thought crime Media-Military-Industrial Complex Freedom of speech played by Western MSM as three card monte The Deep State Special Prosecutor Mueller and his fishing expedition
Discrediting the opponent as favorite tactic of neoliberals Purple revolution against Trump Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom' Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism Bullshit as MSM communication method Manipulation of the term "freedom of press"
MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Cold War II "Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Michael Wolff's "Fire and fury" revelations and slander of Trump administration Coordinated set of leaks as a color revolution tool Neo-fascism New American Militarism
Deception as an art form Diplomacy by deception Media as a weapon of mass deception Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair The attempt to secure global hegemony Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources Nation under attack meme
Lewis Powell Memo Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism What's the Matter with Kansas Groupthink Soft propaganda Boeing 737 MAX fiasco
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass The Good Soldier Svejk Nineteen Eighty-Four Brave New World Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc

"The truth is that the newspaper is not a place for information to be given, rather it is just hollow content, or more than that, a provoker of content. If it prints lies about atrocities, real atrocities are the result."

Karl Kraus, 1914

WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

1984

We are the world, we are exceptional, we cannot fail. The elite will lie, and the people will pretend to believe them. Heck about 20 percent of the American public will believe almost anything if it is wrapped with the right prejudice and appeal to passion.

jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com, Feb 04, 2015

"The media's interest in the well-being of a foreign population is directly proportional to the West's interest in toppling its government, while editorial standards are inversely proportional to its enemy status." ~John McEvoy

The UK's propaganda machine rivals and even surpasses Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany.  

~ Comment by Gravatomic , Apr 17, 2019 link

I think journalists today — elite journalists at least — absorb the biases of the ruling neoliberal oligarchy far more readily than they used to do. The media establishment is populated by yes-men. I do not understand how any skeptical person can, in good conscience, trust a western MSM description of foreign events. You need a second source to compare coverage. The mainstream media gives us no real news. Just the regurgitation of  talking points they were given. Seeing how they treat the concept of truth these days, one might think that 1984 dystopia was an understatement. 

Truth killing is a meta-issue ( nationalinterest.org (

The problem is fundamental, and relates to a broad spectrum of policy issues both foreign and domestic, because truth — factual reality — is a necessary foundation to consider and evaluate and debate policy on any subject. 

Crushing the truth means not just our having to endure any one misdirected policy; it means losing the ability even to address policy intelligently. 

To the extent that falsehood is successfully instilled in the minds of enough people, the political system loses what would otherwise be its ability to provide a check on policy that is bad policy because it is inconsistent with factual reality.

I think it is good that people question their lying politicians and these lying, corrupt partisans pretending to be MSM pundits. If that means that MSM try to slander the people as “conspiracy theorists” you should take it with a grain of salt. As Gore Vidal quipped they are actually  "conspiracy analysts" not "conspiracy theorists".  BTW the term was invented by CIA to crush alternative versions of JFK assassination.  This label is a form of censorship, plain and simple.

I would rather be a conspiracy theorist than take anything CNN or FOX says as gospel. Or, God forbid, believe what US politicians say to justify their action or inaction. Skepticism is good. These people don’t automatically deserve our trust. As Reagan said (translating Russian proverb) "Trust but verify".  

The angle under which this page views events and MSM can be called anti-neoliberal angle (please note that the term populism is the attempt to discredit any anti-neoliberal movement). Until recently such sites were a lone  voice. In 2019 this changed. See Tucker Carlson rejection of neoliberalism

If you take in television news as truthful information, that's all a critically thinking person needs to know about you. In reality 99% of political coverage is neoliberal propaganda, sometimes refined, sometimes crude.

Propaganda can be defined as a war on reality using fake news, disinformation, projection, witch-hunts (see neo_Mccarthhyism) and other methods. An attempt to create an artificial reality.

Propaganda can be defined as a war on reality using fake news, disinformation, projection, witch-hunts (see neo_Mccarthhyism)  and other methods. It is an attempt to create an artificial reality.  The key here is controlling the narrative.  For example, "fake news" hysteria is a perfect method of suppressing of dissent and questions about MSM ties to three-letter agencies ( see US and British media are servants of security apparatus )

Journalists manipulate us in the interest of the Powerful. Do you also have the feeling, that you are often manipulated by the media and  lied to? Then you're like the majority of Germans. Previously it was considered as a "conspiracy theory". Now it revealed by an Insider, who tells us what is really happening under the hood.

The Journalist Udo Ulfkotte ashamed today that he spent 17 years in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. ...he reveals why opinion leaders produce tendentious reports and serve as the extended Arm of the NATO press office. ...the author also was admitted into the networks of American elite organizations, received in return for positive coverage in the US even a certificate of honorary citizenship.

In this book you will learn about industry lobby organisations. The author calls hundreds of names and looks behind the Scenes of those organizations, which exert bias into media, such as: Atlantic bridge, Trilateral Commission, the German Marshall Fund, American Council on Germany, American Academy, Aspen Institute, and the Institute for European politics. Also revealed are the intelligence backgrounds of those lobby groups, the methods and forms of propaganda and financing used, for example, by the US Embassy. Which funds  projects for the targeted influencing of public opinion in Germany 

...You realize how you are being manipulated - and you know from whom and why. At the end it becomes clear that diversity of opinion will now only be simulated. Because our "messages" are often pure brainwashing.

Gekaufte Journalisten - Medienwelt Enthüllungen Bücher - Kopp Verlag

Simplifying, the US MSM foreign events media coverage (and large part of domestic coverage related to the opposition to neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization, see Anti Trump Hysteria during elections and immediately after them ) has very little to do with the reality and is mostly a barometer of the paranoia of the US neoliberal elite.  It is 100% propaganda, or as CBS like to call it "fake news".

How does Fake History and Fake News in the US MSM gradually superseded their reality-based version (which never was perfect, and often quite distorted)  is a very interesting question but it is too big for this page. I would only say that this process is closely connected with the process of the neoliberalization of the US society which started in full force in late 70th (see also late Sheldon Wolin  notion of  Inverted Totalitarism) . We can take election of Reagan as a starting point although the process started immediately after WWII. From this point "fake news" were enforced on the US society as the only acceptable narrative? Which, is essence, is a neoliberal war on reality.

The process started with the creation of CIA. The key question that arise in this regard is whether  representative democracy is compatible with the existence large all-powerful and largely uncontrollable and positioned "above the law" intelligence  agencies. 

The key question that arise in this regard is whether  representative democracy is compatible with the existence large all-powerful and largely uncontrollable and positioned "above the law" intelligence  agencies.

At some point any society with powerful intelligence  agencies naturally arrive to the point when "the tail wags the dog."  In other words they became political power and in institutional hierarchy are positioned above White House.  In the USA this probably happened  around 1963, with the JFK assassination.  In a way the USSR via Truman enforced its model of governance on the USA ;-). Creation of intelligence agencies by Truman was actually the act of the creation of national security state. Which could be  viewed as an official end of the US democracy with quick (less then two decades) rise to power of the Deep State (with the first major victory demonstrated to the US people in 1963).  

With it the huge apparatus of state propaganda (and by extension means of suppressing of dissent) intelligence  agencies, which gradually acquired political power including considerable (but not yet absolute, that will come much later, after 9/11) level of control of MSM  (see Church Committee - Wikipedia ).   Which is documented in the book by Dr. Udo Ulfkotte Journalists for Hire How the CIA Buys the News

After 1963, the level outrage in the society was such that there were some meek attempts to check this power, especially the power of intelligence agencies over the MSM (Church Committee - Wikipedia  was probably the most well known) but they lead to nowhere.  CIa and other inteeligence againces remain positioned above the White House.  

Color revolution against Trump (aka Russiagate) launched by CIA and FBI after election has shown who is the real master of the USA. It was accompanied by unprecedented neo-McCarthism campaign in which neoliberal MSM lost any remnants of decency and objectivity. 

The recent incident with CIA director Gina Haspel lying to President  Trump to inflict severe sanctions on Russia is just a confirmation of the level of this influence. She will never be fired for her  "transgressions"

Apr 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Apr 16, 2019 4:41:41 PM | link

"If Trump were not in on the schemes he would just fire his underlings!"

This sentiment indicates a failure to understand the power dynamics at play here. Haspel is not the "underling" . Trump is the underling. Sure, being that he is also an oligarch makes Trump's role in the show complicated, but Presidents are installed in order to serve the oligarchy, and the CIA are top level strategists/enforcers for the oligarchy.

In the real organization chart for the empire the CIA is above the President. This has been the case in the US since Kennedy.

Trump cannot fire Haspel or Pompeo. They can fire him, though, and with a sniper's bullet if they want.

Unfortunately for the oligarchy, that would cause additional complications at a time when they have lots of tricky and inexplicably unstable (for them) operations ongoing, which is why they are just steering Trump around instead of replacing him. And Trump is willfully cooperating, even if they are not filling him in on the plans.

Trump will not fire Haspel. He can't. He's just an actor playing a role in a show, and Haspel is one of the producers/writers of that show. If she doesn't put firing in the script then Trump cannot say those lines. I doubt he really wants to anyway.

Principles of War propaganda

 Principles are are well known since the WWI (Falsehood in War-Time):

1. We do not want war.
2. The opposite party alone is guilty of war.
3. The enemy is the face of the devil.
4. We defend a noble cause, not our own interest.
5. The enemy systematically commits cruelties; our mishaps are involuntary.
6. The enemy uses forbidden weapons.
7. We suffer small losses, those of the enemy are enormous.
8. Artists and intellectuals back our cause.
9. Our cause is sacred. "The ages-old 'God bless America' is playing once more."
10. All who doubt our propaganda, are traitors.

The blog empirestrikesblack cites Belgian investigative journalist Michel Collon who has outlined five principles driving war propaganda:

  1. Obscure one’s economic interests;
  2. Appear humanitarian in work and motivations;
  3. Obscure history;
  4. Demonize the enemy; and
  5. Monopolize the flow of information.

NeoMcCarthyism

NeoMcCarthyism campaign which was launched around mid 2016 by Democratic Party operatives as tactical tool to distract attention from DNC corruption and illegal removal of Bernie Sanders from the Democratic ticket after lection of Trump turned into important component of color revolution against Trump. And was fueled not only by MSM but also powerful factions of neoliberals and neocons in US intelligence agencies concerted about their future and the level of financing of "national security parasites".  They also have skeletons in the closet to hide (especially FBI and CIA) and did not prepare well to the Trump victory as this was a huge surprise for everybody including Trump himself.  See Steele dossier and Strzok-gate

Please note that the original McCarthyism campaign lasted more then a decade. And McCarthyism was not exactly or only about Communist infiltration into the US government. It has elements of a more general framework of suppressing any "dissidents" who question "official narrative" and simultaneously served as the framework of brainwashing of population creating a stereotype of enemy, in best Bolsheviks, or, if you wish Nazi Germany, style. In other words, like in famous Orwell novel 1984, under McCarthyism questioning of official narrative has  become a "though  crime" (much like it was in the USSR, especially under Stalinism period).   And repressions were real, although far less extensive and brutal, than in the USSR in 30th.  Thousands of people lost jobs and were blacklisted. Many ostracized, especially from artistic circles, committed suicides.

While Senator McCartney has a certain gist for blackmailing people and, being an alcoholic, he probably would be a suitable candidate for high position in NKVD, he was not a pioneer. He was just a talented follower. This type of modern witch hunt was first implemented on large scale by Bolsheviks in Russia after 1917.  Actually Bolsheviks originated many modern methods of brainwashing of the population.  Which later were enhanced and further developed in Nazi Germany and than imported to the USA after WWII.

That all brings us to the concept of "deep state" and its control of MSM.  The problem with the "deep state" approach to governance is that it replicates Bolshevism on a new, more polished,  level, with high officials of intelligence agencies, Wall Street and  military industrial complex as a new Politburo.  Which is not elected but still controls that nations. So much for remnants of democracy in the USA.  That does not mean that some deviations from the "Party line" are impossible: the election of Trump is one  such event. But loop at the power of the reaction of the "deep state" on this event. Not that Trump (who can be viewed as some kind of Republican "Change we can believe in" Obama" ) was intended to follow his election promises in any case.  The level of vetting of candidates is two party system probably is higher then many of us suspect.

As currently there is no alternative to neoliberalism, the current situation will continue to exist. Notwithstanding  the fact that neoliberal ideology was discredited after 2008 financial crisis, much like Bolshevism in 60th. Bolshevism as a theocratic ideology was essentially dead after WWII (although it managed to kick the can down the road for another 45 years). After 60the Soviet people despite constant brainwashing started to have wide-ranging doubts about the communist state and communist ideology. Listening to state-sponsored propaganda radio-stations from the West such as BBC and Voice of America became national pasture of Soviet citizens, especially educated one. Despite all the jamming.  Similar situation happened with the USA after 2008, when citizen suddenly start showing some level of interest RT broadcasts and views on internal situation in the USA ;-). And, of cause, all this needs to be  stopped. In the name of the "health of the state", democracy be dumned (religious term which literally means "condemned to eternal punishment")

In this particular sense, imitating the enemy by the USA elite after WWII, which was done to fight communist  threat (which was overblown) was a very dangerous course with far reaching consequences.  The new level of this process of "imitating  the enemy" now started with the USA -- the rise of alternative press (kind of Samizdat replica from Soviet past) and clumsy attempt of the deep state to suppress it claiming that they are propagator of "fake news" with the subtext that they are Russian agents  (the campaign which spectacularly backfired: which the help of President Trump tweets this term now became the standard nickname of the "official" US MSM).  That brings us directly to revising Stalin's "Show trials" and corresponding witch-hunt in the USSR.  Appointing  Muller to investigate Trump for "Russian connection" (so called "Russiagate") replays favorite theme of accusing enemies of Stalin of being British agents.  On a new level incorporating set of political technologies of overthrowing the legitimate government commonly known  as "color revolution" technologies. But in both cases it is all about eliminating political rivals.

In broader context the current practice of manipulating population is similar to "high demand cults" style practice  -- Bolshevism actually can be best viewed as a religious cult merged with the political movement, much like political Islam today ( Belief-coercion in high demand cults ):

They use all of the techniques as "low demand" faith groups use: requiring members to accept a system of beliefs, conforming to certain behavioral norms; expecting them to involve themselves in the life of the congregation, etc. However, mind-control groups add many additional methods, and take them all to a much higher level. Some are:

Members are not physically restrained from leaving the group. They are not held prisoner. They can walk away at any time. But there are strong pressures to remain. If they left, all social and emotional support would disappear; they will often be shunned. Some groups teach that God will abandon or punish them if they leave. They may be told that they will die in the imminent war of Armageddon if they leave the protection of the group.

The main methods here always was the generation and totalitarian control of "suitable" narrative (that's why Sheldon Wolin called neoliberal society "inverted totalitarism"):

"The primary aim of official propaganda is to generate an "official narrative" that can be mindlessly repeated by the ruling classes and those who support and identify with them. This official narrative does not have to make sense, or to stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny. Its factualness is not the point. The point is to draw a Maginot line, a defensive ideological boundary, between "the truth" as defined by the ruling classes and any other "truth" that contradicts their narrative. "

Gerald Celente coined the  term "presstitutes", which is obviously politically incorrect, but still is a very precise term: presstitutes sell themselves to neoliberal establishment for access and governments to prosper financially and to keep their jobs. In the USSR journalist were called "soldiers of the Party" so in the less humiliating way we can call them "soldiers of neoliberal establishment" ;-). 

Read more

Due to the size an introductory article was converted to a separate page Neoliberal Propaganda


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[Sep 18, 2019] USA Pretend Unmasked - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Globalization

Sep 18, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

"USA Pretend" Unmasked By S. Brian Willson Global Research, September 12, 2019 Region: Asia , USA Theme: History

Viet Nam – Epiphany for the USA

There was a moment in Viet Nam when I questioned whether everything I had been taught about "America" was one big fabricated lie – a huge pretend. It was April 1969, and I had just experienced witnessing the aftermath of a series of bombings of supposed military targets. They were in fact inhabited, undefended villages where virtually everyone in those villages perished from low flying bombings, that included napalming. The majority of dead – murdered – were young burned children. On several occasions I observed those bodies up close, sickened by the sight, now burdened by the criminal nature of the US war. The policy of accumulating massive numbers of body counts was an inkling of the Grand Lie. Reading the entrance sign to my squadron in-country headquarters, "Welcome to Indian Country," was a first clue.

My duty station was the "home" of the fighter-bombers and pilots who followed orders to destroy those "enemy targets", i.e., villages. I was the USAF night security commander following orders to protect those soldiers and planes from mortar and sapper attacks.

A few days later I was reading an article in Stars and Stripes , an official, independent newspaper for soldiers, reporting on a recent Supreme Court decision ( Street v . New York , 1969) that upheld the right of desecrating our "sacred" symbol – the US flag. During a period of increased burnings of the US American flag in protests of the US wars against African-Americans at home, and Asians abroad, an African-American veteran recipient of a Bronze Star, Sidney Street , publicly burned his personal flag on a New York City street corner for which he was arrested and convicted.

Depressed, I pondered how it is that one could be arrested for burning a piece of cloth – even a national symbol – that represented an official policy of criminally burning innocent human beings, including large numbers of young children, while the pilot-perpetrators were commended, and whom, in my duties I was protecting? Initially suicidal, I had difficulty wrapping my head around this dystopian nightmare. I was in psychic shock from extreme cognitive dissonance.

Our behavior against the Vietnamese, a nation of peasants with one-sixth the population of the USA, one-thirtieth its size, certainly must rank as one of the worst of a number of barbarisms in the 20 th Century. The US left 26 million bomb craters, sprayed 21 million gallons of DNA-altering chemical warfare on the landscape and people, murdered some 6 million Southeast Asians, destroyed by bombing over 13,000 of Viet Nam's 21,000 villages, 950 churches and pagodas, 350 clearly marked hospitals, 3,000 high schools and universities, 15,000 bridges, etc.

Why all this overwhelming firepower and destruction? Incredulously, to prevent the Vietnamese from enjoying their self-determination, absurdly touted as necessary to stop "communism." Does there in fact exist a kind of psychopathy in our cultural DNA? Though I hadn't fired a bullet myself, or dropped a bomb, I had been a compliant participant in a mindless murder machine. Viet Nam was not an aberration, but consistent with a long history of arrogant interventions revealing something very dark about who we are. Was I part of a savage culture of unthinking sadists, I wondered?

VNWarMontage.png

Clockwise, from top left: U.S. combat operations in Ia Đrăng , ARVN Rangers defending Saigon during the 1968 Tết Offensive , two A-4C Skyhawks after the Gulf of Tonkin incident , ARVN recapture Quảng Trị during the 1972 Easter Offensive , civilians fleeing the 1972 Battle of Quảng Trị , and burial of 300 victims of the 1968 Huế Massacre . (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Learning Real People's Versus Fake, Kool Aid US History

I have spent countless hours studying a more comprehensive people's version of world and US history. Study of US history of course is part of the Eurocentric globalization/colonization over the past 500 years. The 20 percent Eurocentric "developed-world" is a product of self-proclaimed "superiors" violently and deceitfully stealing resources and labor from the other 80 percent, all cloaked in the conceited rhetoric of spreading "civilization." This patriarchal policy is totally unsustainable from a social, political, ecological, psychological, and moral perspective.

It is instructive to learn that the "Founding Fathers" chose, not democracy, but oligarchy/plutocracy "to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority." Jefferson's "empire of liberty" was a vision to expand private property for large landowners. Our Constitution is more a document to preserve freedom of "property" and commercial transactions, than it is to preserve human liberty, of which free speech is the most fundamental. Historian Staughton Lynd summarized it thus: inherited land replaced inherited government. Recently the highest court of the land ruled the legal fiction that property (money) is a person with free speech rights, as preposterous as the earlier legal fiction that a person (slave) is property.

A fear-laden gun culture originating in violent settler-colonialism and white nationalism-supremacy serve as a basis for the founding ideology and military strategy of the United States. Slave patrols and Indian fighters were our first "special operations," establishing the essential White character of our militarized culture. As the systematic dispossession project continued, the US government signed over 400 treaties with Indigenous nations, violating every one of them, establishing deceit and outright lying as part of our cultural DNA.

The politics of violence based on classism and racism has been incessant throughout our history. Examining the US criminal injustice system housing a quarter of all the world's prisoners reveals brutal truth when comparing extreme disparities in punishments by race, and class. Justice?

I studied the history of the city of my birth – Geneva, New York, which in the 1700s was Kanadesaga, capitol of the Seneca nation. On September 8, 1779, Major General John Sullivan and his forty-five hundred soldiers eradicated these "merciless Indian Savages" in the largest Revolutionary War battle of 1779 – a terrorist, scorched-earth campaign massacring civilians while destroying all forty of the well-established Seneca towns, including Kanadesaga. By 1788, the European settlers renamed it Geneva, as if nothing had happened, a deserved reward for superiors.

All those arrowheads I enjoyed collecting as a child possessed a profound dark secret about the nature and character of my ancestors. However, I would only discover their secret after deep reflections from my Viet Nam awakening.

Official US military interventionism began with the US Marine invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1798 during the undeclared naval war with France. However, hundreds of settler paramilitary units had been killing Indians since the 1620s. But imperialism has been explicit policy since the late 1890s to assure domestic prosperity. In 1907, Woodrow Wilson while president of Princeton University (six years before being elected US president) lectured:

"Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed against him must be battered down. .Colonies must be obtained or planted, in order that no useful corner of the world may be overlooked or left unused."

President McKinley, and various Senators continued to advocate "a foreign market for our surplus products." US meddling, both "soft," and hard, has never stopped.

Traveling to a number of nations in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East have exposed me to details of hundreds of US overt interventions, and thousands of covert destabilization actions. These policies have caused the murders of millions, 20 to 30 million alone since WWII during the so-called "Cold War". Only five of these nearly 600 military interventions have been declared wars as required by the Constitution, clearly indicating our sacred document is not taken seriously. This also tells us the system has no interest in being accountable to its own Constitution, or international law. Speaking with peasants in these victim-countries invariably reveals the horrendous cruelty of US interveners and their surrogates. Does the US possess any intentions to be law-abiding? Does the US possess any feelings for others, or only selfish imperial ambitions? And does anyone care?

Violence against even White citizens has matched violence we have carried out in foreign policy. The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1917-18 were enacted to suppress anti-war dissent against US entrance into World War I. Thousands of US Americans were deported and imprisoned following World War I for "radical" anti-war expressions, including labor leaders and socialists. Some were tortured in US prisons. Ironically, free speech dissent is most critical when a government decides to go to war. The original Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 stifled free speech of US citizens, including elected officials, who objected to the undeclared war against France. Free speech? Huh?

While the US was locking up and deporting citizens for opposing World War I, the FBI was ignoring extremely violent KKK supremacist groups whose six million members – nearly 25 percent of the white male population at the time – were lynching with impunity an average of six African-Americans a month. Equal protection?

The first known use of air power against civilians was committed by US Marines in Haiti in 1919. But, the second known use of US air power against civilians occurred in Tulsa, Oklahoma, May 31-June 1, 1921, when hundreds of economically successful Black residents living in a 36-square block community were murdered, including from low flying white-piloted planes dropping incendiaries, destroying nearly 1,300 buildings. How many US Americans know about this abomination?

Walter White, a longtime leader in the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), concluded that southerners fear of Negro progress offends the intangible feeling of racial superiority, explaining the intensity of White savagery. The sense of established White superiority (or anyone possessing those feelings) often leads to an insecure character from lack of practicing accountability with others in a world of varied, challenging relationships. Those feelings easily morph into paranoia of others, and delusions of self grandeur – one of the most difficult psychological orders to treat, as the persistent pathology of racism (and classism) so attests.

America's Wars: The Day We Refused To Fight. "War is just Terrorism with a Bigger Budget"

The third known use of US bombing civilians occurred at Blair Mountain, West Virginia, August-September 1921. As many as 15,000 striking coal miners attempting to unionize were attacked by 2,000 armed sheriff's deputies, coal company paramilitaries, US troops, and US Army Martin MB-1 bombers, killing as many as 100 miners, with many more wounded. Before the battles had ended, more than a million ammunition rounds had been fired. Nearly 1,000 miners were ironically indicted for murder of the nearly 30 deaths among the miner's attackers. Over 700 union organizers have been murdered in our history. Is this known by many?

We continue to be obsessed with personal and government guns (police and military) as a guarantor of our security. Those who question easy access to guns, even assault weapons, or the ridiculously wasteful military spending, are thought of as nearly traitorous. US citizens personally own nearly 400 million firearms, or 40 percent of all private guns in the world. On average, three US citizens are killed every day by police, disproportionately African-Americans. So far in 2019, the US has experienced more than one mass shooting (4 or more shot) every day. Our gun death rate is ten times above that of other high income countries. Using violence as a default position historically ends in disaster, as it has been proven over and over that violence spirals out of control into more violence, while distracting from serious discourse. Why the incredible record of violence? Insecurity?

Under its doctrine of Full Spectrum Dominance, the US government routinely dispatches military ships to every sea space, military planes to every airspace, hundreds of satellites into outer space, while ordering Special Forces units to operate clandestinely in nearly three-fourths of the world's countries. Additionally, of the 1.4 million US soldiers in the world, nearly 200,000 are positioned in as many as 150 countries, most stationed at 800 major military bases in 80 nations. The US also possesses a large percentage of the world's weapons of mass destruction, and recently has dispensed with any genuine effort at containing the spread of nuclear weapons. The annual military budget, including hidden costs, amounts to an exorbitant $1.25 trillion a year, more money than the next seven countries combined spend on their militaries. If you want to be guaranteed health care and a modest house, join the Army. Otherwise these human rights are "unaffordable." If you want gun control, start at the top.

How to explain the extent and breadth of our violent militarism and global imperialism? Paranoia? It seems that our sense of superiority justifies hurtful dispossession from others to acquire and preserve undeserved privilege.

After exiting the military in 1970, my opinions about the US war against the Vietnamese were affirmed with the 1971 release of the Pentagon Papers revealing the more than 20 years of criminal intentions, and deceit, to thwart Vietnamese aspirations for self-determination. Earlier in 1971, January 31-February 2, Vietnam Veterans Against the War conducted the "Winter Soldier Investigation: An Inquiry into American War Crimes" when nearly 120 veterans testified about the war crimes and atrocities they committed or witnessed in Viet Nam. I was aghast when learning about Nixon's intended Huston plan to criminally interrupt antiwar activities, the FBI's sixteen-year COINTELPRO of more than 2,000 illegal actions against innocent US citizens, the CIA's Operation CHAOS keeping tabs on 300,000 citizens opposed to the Viet Nam war, and the National Security Agency's Operation SHAMROCK watch lists of those communicating with people overseas. Respect for the law? Huh? Further research revealed that as early as 1934 President Roosevelt instituted a long-standing joint FBI-military program to conduct domestic intelligence with broad investigative scope. The "American" Kool Aid indeed has sedated us.

Today our freedoms are further curtailed, for example, as the National Security Agency (NSA) spies on every US American, the Authorization of Military Force Act (AUFA) allows warrantless electronic surveillance of anyone suspected of aiding terrorism, and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) enables indefinite detention of US citizens, even arrest by the military. Where is the Constitution when we need it? Or was it ever really there for us?

One of the most revealing chapters in our history is the incredible sympathy the US possessed for authoritarian Nazi Germany. Even though the Soviet military was most critical in defeating the Nazis in World War II, deep fear of the Bolsheviks (the emergence of an alternative social-economic system to capitalism) motivated US America's wealthy class, with complicity of the US government, to support the rise of Nazi Germany from the mid-1930s into the war years themselves. The US capitalists supported the Nazi capitalists to defeat the "threat" of socialism. Elite power brokers included leaders of Wall Street and wealthy "barons" such as the Rockefellers and Andrew Mellon, and businesses such as Ford Motor, IBM (tabulating daily location of Jews in the Holocaust), General Motors, General Electric, Standard Oil, Texaco, ITT, International Harvester, Chase Manhattan Bank, the House of Morgan banking dynasty, DuPont, United Aircraft, etc., who enjoyed huge profits from the war. And following the war, the US's "Operation Gladio" systematically defeated popular anti -Nazi groups throughout Europe, while "Operation Paperclip" secretly brought Nazi scientists and other professionals to the US. Our affinity for fascism has been established.

Psychologically, it is important to note that our national identity has consistently been markedly defined by demonizing others – "merciless savages", "uppity ni**ers", "anarchists", "radicals", "communists", "Russians", "alien filth", "narco-traffickers", "terrorists", "shithole countries", "vermin", etc., echoing psychologist Carl Jung's principle of "shadow projection." Jung described a cowardly trick we play on ourselves: avoid looking in the mirror so as not to take responsibility for seeing our own demons. We "see" the evil in others, perpetuating a nation addicted to war against them, obscenely profiting as we self-righteously deny our own severe pathologies. If we had looked in the mirror we would have learned what Pogo told us, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Eco-psychologist Chellis Glendinning suggests that modern humans suffer from deep insecurity that emerged from collective traumas hundreds of generations ago. A serious disconnect from intimacy with the earth occurred when our ancient ancestors began controlling nature through agriculture and animal domestication. Evolutionary philosopher Gregory Bateson concludes that addictive behavior is consistent with the Western approach to life that pits mind against body, while behaving as if the natural world is a commodity. We seek various distractions to numb our pain from this feeling of aloofness. Technology, not Nature, has become our God.

Recognizing the Lie

Could it be that virtually everything I was taught by my parents, community, school, church, and political leaders in terms of factual history, morality, ethics, and rational thinking about "America" was the opposite of what had been represented? How could that be?

Yes, I have been conditioned by an incredibly comfortable fairy tale, a massive cultural system denying or distorting historic realities, founded on shameful genocides. I had been betrayed. We are told we are the greatest, even as we (s)elect imperial Presidents and Congresspeople in an orgy of fantastic fiction about "democracy." The US Senate is a millionaire's club, with many members of the US House also in that class. Indian author Arundhati Roy describes "democracy" and "pro-democracy" as the "Free World's whores", hollow words satisfying a whole range of tastes, available to be used and abused at will where facts don't matter.

US America loves its myth of being committed to justice for all, but in fact it is a society ruled and funded by a wealthy elite. This is not a government of, by and for the people! It is a ruthless oligarchy sanctioned by a majority of the people believing their vote counts. Money has always mattered, severely rigging the game in many ways toward an upper class (obscenely bribing candidates, corporate personhood power, gerrymandering, proprietary election software, hacking capacity to effect results, Jim Crow laws, voter suppression, etc.). The oligarchy approves "acceptable" candidates, while contrived rhetoric, propaganda, and our education system keep us faithful to our political system comprised of one party with two right wings, the winner ruling by tyranny of its majority. But the bottom line is that (s)elected representatives obey their large donors who thrive on war-making against vulnerable others.

Nonetheless, these facts do not preclude existence of individual conscientious politicians. However, the political economic system itself is fixed, it is not broken, a dilemma every honest politician must face. This delicious Kool Aid has in fact concealed a delusional madness, a Kafkaesque, Orwellian nightmare. Our political leaders have consistently and collectively acted outside the Constitution, while selectively applying laws that preserve the cabal in power. It has always been this way, though the social revolution of the 1960s threatened to overturn the oligopoly. This revolution was unfortunately unsuccessful but the fearful system's repressive reaction is now in its fifth decade. In the end, we are in fact a nation of men, not laws.

So, in effect, our mythological story made me functionally stupid, a "good kid" who became complicit in mindless, mass murder. And I am suggesting that it has created a society comprised of millions of functionally stupid people. This is different from intelligence. This is not idiocy. This is serious non -thinking of intellectually capable people who, in effect, have suspended their autonomous critical thinking, basking in an intoxicated spell of our sense of national invincibility. It has enhanced the Friedman era of neoliberal privatization, worshipping greed, while millions are without health care and homeless. This is mass psychopathy, a dangerous cultural mental illness.

German Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer , while a prisoner in one of Hitler's jails, wrote about the role of stupidity in the German people that substantially contributed to the rise of Nazism and worship of savior Hitler. He argued that it is very separate from intellectual capacity but occurs when a cult-like belief system dangerously suspends critical thinking, bringing collective relief to an emotionally anxious population. It is a form of voluntary servitude more dangerous than malice, an entrenched belief system that makes genuine dialogue and education almost impossible. (Bonhoeffer was hung in April 1945).

As US Americans we possess no visceral memory of the two unspeakable genocides our ancestors shamefully committed, forcefully dispossessing Indigenous Africans of their labor, and genuine Americans of their land, murdering millions with impunity. Even though we are superficially taught about slavery and conquering the Indigenous, their egregious suffering has been outsourced outside our feeling fields for 25 generations . Thus, was established our cultural "DNA" of achieving expansion benefitting a few (mostly White males and those who think like them) through any means while escaping any accountability whatsoever. Now nearly 600 overt, and thousands of covert interventions later, US Americans still know little or nothing about our unspeakable imperialism. Why not? Isn't it critically important that we seriously grapple with our diabolical history?

In 2019, the President, US military, CIA, and other "regime change" entities like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and their funders in Congress, continue to intervene almost everywhere, destabilizing with crippling sanctions, sadistically causing suffering, causing chaos, creating kill lists, murdering, bombing, etc. Does any of this criminal insanity even happen? Has it ever? Does it matter to most people? I believe there is a deep shame that burdens us. It is understandable to avoid looking at shame, but the cost is perpetual war for perpetual peace until we are all dead. The era of privilege is over, as we enter the terrifying era of consequences, bringing fear, insecurity and anxiety to many heretofore privileged folks. Denial becomes a lethal seduction.

Our amnesia has precluded emotional intelligence, a depth of character, so necessary for mature development, with little understanding of historical context. We are effectively emotionally retarded, blocking the universal embedded human feeling of empathy, and the collective solidarity that emerges therefrom. Thus, "America" is very insecure having been conveniently wrapped in a fake, pretend narrative, convincing us of our "exceptional" nature, ignoring both our systemic pattern of domestic violence, and global imperialism. The corporate media, and corporate-owned social media platforms, serve as stenographers for our oligarchic policies and values. They create an agenda-driven narrative that inoculates our minds with constant group think untruths of neo-liberal capitalism.

We now live in a post-truth world, where narcissistic life is experienced as virtual, not real. Do we feel the pain of the Afghani, Yemeni, the Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Libyan, Somali, the Russian, the Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, Honduran, Guatemalan, Mexican, Palestinian in Gaza, or our neighbor down the street whose cancer left her homeless due to foreclosure? How much do we care? Answering these questions can tell us a lot about our own survival, including yours and mine.

Serious discussion and debate of a broad range and depth of ideas is virtually nonexistent. Mention of "socialism" is considered traitorous to the religion of neoliberal corporatism. In reality, we promote individualism over community, competition over cooperation, and acquisitiveness over inquisitiveness. These capitalist characteristics condition human development in a way that is diametrically opposed to our inherent, genetic nature as a social species requiring for survival cooperation in all our relations.

The economy and political system is now virtually dependent upon what Eisenhower proclaimed as the military/security industrial complex, and that complex thrives on creation of endless "enemies" which produce obscene war profits for a very few. Community and family units have disintegrated, and citizenship is less engaged as life is increasingly defined in terms of commodities. Everything and everybody is for sale to the highest bidder. This leads to anomie, violence and madness. And yet, we continue to enjoy shopping as the government conducts its daily bombing. How can this be? How can we pay taxes and go about our business as usual when so many people in the world are being impoverished or eliminated by US policies facilitating the wealthy getting richer?

The Deep Divide – 1959 – 2019

Having graduated from a rural upstate New York high school in 1959 at the height of post-WWII Cold War euphoria, in the midst of the short historic blip of aspiring consumerism, the "American" Kool Aid I and my 28 fellow graduates drank at that time was delicious. I was raised in a lower middle class home by conservative, religious parents, not dissimilar to the upbringings of many of my classmates. Life seemed great, and simple. However, my Viet Nam experience rudely exposed the poisonous nature of this delicious drink and its true ingredients.

Discovering information about my former classmates finds several still living in the same area we grew up, possessing similar views to that which we believed in 1959 – religiously and politically conservative, but now supporters of MAGA, Trump and Israel. One classmate who had been a basketball cheerleader, still married to her high school sweetheart after 60 years, read my Facebook postings from Nicaragua, then declared me "a fool" admonishing me to "stay there." This same cheerleader chanted for each starter before games, such as "Brian, Brian, he's our man, if he can't do it, nobody can."

Being raised in and conditioned by US America instills a desire to preserve a fantasy of post-WWII euphoria for many, at least until President Reagan. But experiential reality painfully destroys make-believe. I argue that the USA has never been great, but suspect many of my 1959 classmates would vehemently disagree.

Trump Exposes the Pretend Society

The phenomenon of the Presidency of Donald John Trump disturbingly "offers" our culture, and the world, an overdue undisguised photo of our real culture and its politics. Some say Trump brings out the worst in people – hatred, self-centeredness, cruelty, insensitivity, crassness, racism, insulting language, poisonous divisiveness, adolescent delinquency, etc. But is it possible that his language and demeanor are validating expressions of historically suppressed feelings and values which have never been sufficiently addressed or openly acknowledged in our Eurocentric, capitalist, money-oriented, nature-defying, often mean-spirited culture? These censored feelings once unleashed, no matter how adolescent they seem, are capable of manifesting in a vicious authoritarian and neo-fascist state, as they did in Germany nearly 100 years ago. It seems we are at that point again.

The "developed" world, now led by the United States of America, has historically been built on egregious exploitation and violence hidden under fanciful rhetoric. Inevitably, the chickens will come home to roost. As Eurocentrics we have been lying to ourselves and the world with our highly touted economic system and "democracy," fooling ourselves by myths and lies we have long believed about our "superiority" built on the suffering of others. As stated above, we have (s)elected leaders who are to varying degrees corrupted by money who use politically "correct" language and a finessed demeanor to gain approval. In fact, they have consistently been imperial and oligarchic, selfishly stealing to assure an insatiably consumptive lifestyle for under 5 percent of the world's population (but only benefitting a minority of its own people), while gobbling up anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of the globe's resources (depending on the resource and era examined). We ad nauseum excuse our interventions using "national security" or "humanitarian justice." We have followed in the footsteps of our imperial teachers in the United Kingdom. Fair? Sustainable? Ever thought about the structural unfairness and gross arrogance that has enabled 500 years of colonization? Trump's Presidency reveals a lot about us that we have not wanted to recognize. Scary? Our historical chronic complicity in this horror story cannot be ignored.

Trump serves as an avatar, or caricature, of a collective, creepy, violent, disgusting, mean-spirited, immature culture, at least as experienced by large numbers of people both in the US and the world. Trump's appeal can largely be attributed to the fact that he has taken the clothes off of Pretend . His childish nature of lying, tweeting and exaggerating, ironically reveals an ugly "truth" about our modern selves that has been drowned under incredible "public relations" – education, the media, Hollywood, sports, the State Department, etc. His extreme personal narcissism matches well our extreme collective exceptionalism. Is it clearer now just how big the LIE has been, protected by our comfortable 500-year myths? Welcome to dystopia, Kafka, and Orwell.

Conclusion

The 400-year history of Western dualistic Cartesian thinking (named after French philosopher Rene Descartes' view of reductionist mind-body dualism) divorcing human beings from study of observable nature, has produced a terribly flawed epistemology. The opposite basis for knowledge is holism, a framework that enables comprehension of multiple interconnections and historical context. Dispensing with any serious concern for consequences, the insatiably consumer-driven materialistic Western Way of Life has ironically and blissfully been destroying life itself by its addiction to burning finite fossil fuels. The harsh truth is that a capitalist system is on a direct collision course with sustainable societies that require conserving healthy interconnected relationships with each other and the earth's eco-system. We have become accustomed to wishful thinking that resources are infinite, and that they belong to us. This theft can only happen, of course, by force or its threat, and deceit, while living in the toxic illusion we are better than others. Does this suggest a kind of arrogant collective stupidity?

Nature bats last, something our cortex apparently chose to fatally ignore. We now face the greatest existential crisis as Nature bats last humbling modern humans into extinction, or near so. We somehow forgot the most critical truth of all – that we all part of the One. If we can now recognize our various levels of "stupidity", we have an adrenaline opportunity to leap out of our heretofore seductive comfortable fantasy, choosing instead to access our buried human characteristic of interconnection with everything and everybody, i.e., mutual respect and accountability. This leap now must be of a revolutionary nature, rocketing us out of our historic arrogant pleasureableness. Our survival foundation: embracing the evolutionary feeling of empathy. Saving ourselves is pretty damn important, and that means saving life for all. Let's do it! We are not worth more; they are not worth less.

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Brian Willson, Viet Nam veteran and trained lawyer, has been a lifelong critic of US domestic and foreign policy. His essays and biography are found at his website: brianwillson.com. His recent book, "Don't Thank Me for My Service: My Viet Nam Awakening to the Long History of US Lies" is published by Clarity Press (2018). His psycho-historical memoir, "Blood on the Tracks: The Life and Times of S. Brian Willson" was published by PM Press (2011). A documentary, "Paying the Price for Peace: The Story of S. Brian Willson" was produced in 2016 by Bo Boudart Productions.

[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] FAA Hoist on Its Own Boeing 737 Max Petard Multiagency Panel to Issue Report Criticizing Agency Approval Process, Call for Cer

Notable quotes:
"... The aim of the panel, called the Joint Authorities Technical Review, was to expedite getting the 737 Max into the air by creating a vehicle for achieve consensus among foreign regulators who had grounded the 737 Max before the FAA had. But these very regulators had also made clear they needed to be satisfied before they'd let it fly in their airspace. ..."
"... The FAA hopes to give the 737 Max the green light in November, while the other regulators all have said they have issues that are unlikely to be resolved by then. The agency is now in the awkward position of having a body it set up to be authoritative turn on the agency's own procedures. ..."
"... the FAA had moved further and further down the path of relying on aircraft manufactures for critical elements of certification. Not all of this was the result of capture; with the evolution of technology, even the sharpest and best intended engineer in government employ would become stale on the state of the art in a few years. ..."
"... Although all stories paint a broadly similar picture, .the most damning is a detailed piece at the Seattle Times, Engineers say Boeing pushed to limit safety testing in race to certify planes, including 737 MAX ..The article gives an incriminating account of how Boeing got the FAA to delegate more and more certification authority to the airline, and then pressured and abused employees who refused to back down on safety issues . ..."
"... In 2004, the FAA changed its system for front-line supervision of airline certification from having the FAA select airline certification employees who reported directly to the FAA to having airline employees responsible for FAA certification report to airline management and have their reports filtered through them (the FAA attempted to maintain that the certification employees could provide their recommendations directly to the agency, but the Seattle Times obtained policy manuals that stated otherwise). ..."
"... On Monday, the Post and Courier reported about the South Carolina plant that produced 787s found with tools rattling inside that Boeing SC lets mechanics inspect their own work, leading to repeated mistakes, workers say. These mechanic certifications would never have been kosher if the FAA were vigilant. Similarly, Reuters described how Boeing weakened another safety check, that of pilot input. ..."
"... As part of roughly a dozen findings, these government and industry officials said, the task force is poised to call out the Federal Aviation Administration for what it describes as a lack of clarity and transparency in the way the FAA delegated authority to the plane maker to assess the safety of certain flight-control features. The upshot, according to some of these people, is that essential design changes didn't receive adequate FAA attention. ..."
"... But the report could influence changes to traditional engineering principles determining the safety of new aircraft models. Certification of software controlling increasingly interconnected and automated onboard systems "is a whole new ballgame requiring new approaches," according to a senior industry safety expert who has discussed the report with regulators on both sides of the Atlantic. ..."
"... For instance, the Journal reports that Canadian authorities expect to require additional simulator training for 737 Max pilots. Recall that Boeing's biggest 737 Max customer, Southwest Airlines, was so resistant to the cost of additional simulator training that it put a penalty clause into its contract if wound up being necessary. ..."
"... Patrick Ky, head of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, told the European Parliament earlier this month, "It's very likely that international authorities will want a second opinion" on any FAA decision to lift the grounding. ..."
"... Most prominently, EASA has proposed to eventually add to the MAX a third fully functional angle-of-attack sensor -- which effectively measures how far the plane's nose is pointed up or down -- underscoring the controversy expected to swirl around the plane for the foreseeable future. ..."
"... It's hard to see how Boeing hasn't gotten itself in the position of being at a major competitive disadvantage by virtue of having compromised the FAA so severely as to have undercut safety. ..."
"... has Boeing developed a plan to correct the trim wheel issue on the 787max? i haven't seen a single statement from them on how they plan to fix this problem. is it possible they think they can get the faa to re-certify without addressing it? ..."
"... Don't forget that the smaller trim wheels are in the NG as well. any change to fix the wheels ripples across more planes than just the Max ..."
"... The self-inflicted wound caused by systematic greed and arrogance – corruption, in other words. Boeing is reaping the wages of taking 100% of their profits to support the stock price through stock buybacks and deliberately under-investing in their business. Their brains have been taken over by a parasitic financial system that profits by wrecking healthy businesses. ..."
"... Shareholder Value is indeed the worst idea in the world. That Boeing's biggest stockholder, Vanguard, is unable to cleanup Boeing's operations makes perfect sense. I mean vanguards expertise is making money, not building anything. Those skills are completely different. ..."
"... One maxim we see illustrated here and elsewhere is this: Trust takes years to earn, but can be lost overnight. ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The FAA evidently lacked perspective on how much trouble it was in after the two international headline-grabbing crashes of the Boeing 737 Max. It established a "multiagency panel" meaning one that included representatives from foreign aviation regulators, last April. A new Wall Street Journal article reports that the findings of this panel, to be released in a few weeks, are expected to lambaste the FAA 737 Max approval process and urge a major redo of how automated aircraft systems get certified .

The aim of the panel, called the Joint Authorities Technical Review, was to expedite getting the 737 Max into the air by creating a vehicle for achieve consensus among foreign regulators who had grounded the 737 Max before the FAA had. But these very regulators had also made clear they needed to be satisfied before they'd let it fly in their airspace.

The JATR gave them a venue for reaching a consensus, but it wasn't the consensus the FAA sought. The foreign regulators, despite being given a forum in which to hash things out with the FAA, are not following the FAA's timetable. The FAA hopes to give the 737 Max the green light in November, while the other regulators all have said they have issues that are unlikely to be resolved by then. The agency is now in the awkward position of having a body it set up to be authoritative turn on the agency's own procedures.

The Seattle Times, which has broken many important on the Boeing debacle, reported on how the FAA had moved further and further down the path of relying on aircraft manufactures for critical elements of certification. Not all of this was the result of capture; with the evolution of technology, even the sharpest and best intended engineer in government employ would become stale on the state of the art in a few years.

However, one of the critical decisions the FAA took was to change the reporting lines of the manufacturer employees who were assigned to FAA certification. From a May post :

Although all stories paint a broadly similar picture, .the most damning is a detailed piece at the Seattle Times, Engineers say Boeing pushed to limit safety testing in race to certify planes, including 737 MAX ..The article gives an incriminating account of how Boeing got the FAA to delegate more and more certification authority to the airline, and then pressured and abused employees who refused to back down on safety issues .

As the Seattle Times described, the problems extended beyond the 737 Max MCAS software shortcomings; indeed, none of the incidents in the story relate to it.

In 2004, the FAA changed its system for front-line supervision of airline certification from having the FAA select airline certification employees who reported directly to the FAA to having airline employees responsible for FAA certification report to airline management and have their reports filtered through them (the FAA attempted to maintain that the certification employees could provide their recommendations directly to the agency, but the Seattle Times obtained policy manuals that stated otherwise).

Mind you, the Seattle Times was not alone in depicting the FAA as captured by Boeing. On Monday, the Post and Courier reported about the South Carolina plant that produced 787s found with tools rattling inside that Boeing SC lets mechanics inspect their own work, leading to repeated mistakes, workers say. These mechanic certifications would never have been kosher if the FAA were vigilant. Similarly, Reuters described how Boeing weakened another safety check, that of pilot input.

One of the objectives for creating this panel was to restore confidence in Boeing and the FAA, but that was always going to be a tall order, particularly after more bad news about various 737 Max systems and Boeing being less than forthcoming with its customers and regulators emerged. From the Wall Street Journal :

As part of roughly a dozen findings, these government and industry officials said, the task force is poised to call out the Federal Aviation Administration for what it describes as a lack of clarity and transparency in the way the FAA delegated authority to the plane maker to assess the safety of certain flight-control features. The upshot, according to some of these people, is that essential design changes didn't receive adequate FAA attention.

The report, these officials said, also is expected to fault the agency for what it describes as inadequate data sharing with foreign authorities during its original certification of the MAX two years ago, along with relying on mistaken industrywide assumptions about how average pilots would react to certain flight-control emergencies .

The FAA has stressed that the advisory group doesn't have veto power over modifications to MCAS.

But the report could influence changes to traditional engineering principles determining the safety of new aircraft models. Certification of software controlling increasingly interconnected and automated onboard systems "is a whole new ballgame requiring new approaches," according to a senior industry safety expert who has discussed the report with regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.

If the FAA thinks it can keep this genie the bottle, it is naive. The foreign regulators represented on the task force, including from China and the EU, have ready access to the international business press. And there will also be an embarrassing fact on the ground, that the FAA, which was last to ground the 737 Max, will be the first to let it fly again, and potentially by not requiring safety protections that other regulators will insist on. For instance, the Journal reports that Canadian authorities expect to require additional simulator training for 737 Max pilots. Recall that Boeing's biggest 737 Max customer, Southwest Airlines, was so resistant to the cost of additional simulator training that it put a penalty clause into its contract if wound up being necessary.

It's a given that the FAA will be unable to regain its former stature and that all of its certifications of major aircraft will now be second guessed subject to further review by major foreign regulators. That in turn will impose costs on Boeing, of changing its certification process from needing to placate only the FAA to having to appease potentially multiple parties. For instance, the EU regulator is poised to raise the bar on the 737 Max:

Patrick Ky, head of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, told the European Parliament earlier this month, "It's very likely that international authorities will want a second opinion" on any FAA decision to lift the grounding.

Even after EASA gives the green light, agency officials are expected to push for significant additional safety enhancements to the fleet. Most prominently, EASA has proposed to eventually add to the MAX a third fully functional angle-of-attack sensor -- which effectively measures how far the plane's nose is pointed up or down -- underscoring the controversy expected to swirl around the plane for the foreseeable future.

A monopoly is a precious thing to have. Too bad Boeing failed to appreciate that in its zeal for profits. If the manufacturer winds up facing different demands in different regulatory markets, it will have created more complexity for itself. Can it afford not to manufacture to the highest common denominator, say by making an FAA-only approved bird for Southwest and trying to talk American into buying FAA-only approved versions for domestic use only? It's hard to see how Boeing hasn't gotten itself in the position of being at a major competitive disadvantage by virtue of having compromised the FAA so severely as to have undercut safety.


kimyo , September 17, 2019 at 4:42 am

Boeing Foresees Return Of The 737 MAX In November – But Not Everywhere

Even if Boeing finds solutions that international regulators can finally accept, their implementation will take additional months. The AoA sensor and trim wheel issues will likely require hardware changes to the 600 or so existing MAX airplanes. The demand for simulator training will further delay the ungrounding of the plane. There are only some two dozen 737 MAX simulators in this world and thousands of pilots who will need to pass through them.

has Boeing developed a plan to correct the trim wheel issue on the 787max? i haven't seen a single statement from them on how they plan to fix this problem. is it possible they think they can get the faa to re-certify without addressing it?

marku52 , September 17, 2019 at 1:35 pm

Don't forget that the smaller trim wheels are in the NG as well. any change to fix the wheels ripples across more planes than just the Max

divadab , September 17, 2019 at 8:36 am

The self-inflicted wound caused by systematic greed and arrogance – corruption, in other words. Boeing is reaping the wages of taking 100% of their profits to support the stock price through stock buybacks and deliberately under-investing in their business. Their brains have been taken over by a parasitic financial system that profits by wrecking healthy businesses.

It's not only Boeing – the rot is general and it is terrible to see the destruction of American productive capacity by a parasitic finance sector.

Dirk77 , September 17, 2019 at 9:12 am

+1

Shareholder Value is indeed the worst idea in the world. That Boeing's biggest stockholder, Vanguard, is unable to cleanup Boeing's operations makes perfect sense. I mean vanguards expertise is making money, not building anything. Those skills are completely different.

Noel Nospamington , September 17, 2019 at 10:41 am

Shareholder value does what it intended to do, which is to maximise stock value in the short term, even if it significantly cuts value in the long term.

By that measure allowing Boeing to take over the FAA and self-certify the 737-MAX was a big success, because of short term maximization of stock value that resulted. It is now someone else's problem regarding any long term harm.

Dirk77 , September 17, 2019 at 8:59 am

Having worked at Boeing and the FAA, this report is very welcome. One thing: federal hiring practices in a way lock out good people from working there. Very often the fed managing some project has only a tenuous grasp is what is going on.

But has the job bc they were hired in young and cheap, which is what agencies do with reduced budgets. That and job postings very often stating that they are open only to current feds says it all.

So deferring to the airline to "self-certify" would be a welcome relief to feds in many cases. At this point, I doubt the number of their "sharpest and best intended" engineers is very high.

If you want better oversight, then increase the number and quality of feds by making it easier to hire, and decrease the number of contractors.

Arthur Dent , September 17, 2019 at 10:54 am

I deal with federal and state regulators (not airplane) all the time. Very well meaning people, but in many cases are utterly unqualified to do the technical work. So it works well when they stick to the policy issues and stay out of the technical details.

However, we have Professional Engineers and other licensed professionals signing off on the engineering documents per state law. You can look at the design documents and the construction certification and there is a name and stamp of the responsible individual.

The licensing laws clearly state that the purpose of licensing is to hold public health and safety paramount. This is completely missing in the American industrial sector due to the industrial exemptions in the professional engineering licensing laws. Ultimately, there is nobody technically responsible for a plane or a car who has to certify that they are making the public safe and healthy.

Instead, the FAA and others do that. Federal agencies and the insurance institute test cars and give safety ratings. Lawyers sue companies for defects which also helps enforce safety.

Harry , September 17, 2019 at 1:44 pm

But how can individuals take responsibility? Their pockets arn't deep enough,.

XXYY , September 17, 2019 at 2:57 pm

One maxim we see illustrated here and elsewhere is this: Trust takes years to earn, but can be lost overnight.

Boeing management and the FAA, having lost the trust of most people in the world through their actions lately, seem to nevertheless think it will be a simple matter to return to the former status quo. It seems as likely, or perhaps more likely, that they will never be able to return to the former status quo. They have been revealed as poseurs and imposters, cheerfully risking (and sometimes losing) their customers' lives so they can buy back more stock.

This image will be (rightfully) hard for them to shake.

notabanker , September 17, 2019 at 9:24 pm

So people are going to quit their jobs rather than fly on Boeing planes? Joe and Marge Six-Pack are going to choose flights not based on what they can afford but based on what make of plane they are flying on? As if the airlines will even tell them in advance?

There are close to zero consequences to Boeing and FAA management. Click on the link to the Purdue Sacklers debacle. The biggest inconvenience will be paying the lawyers.

Tomonthebeach , September 17, 2019 at 11:29 am

FAA & Boeing: It's deja vu all over again.

From 1992 to 1999 I worked for the FAA running one of their labs in OKC. My role, among other things, was to provide data to the Administrator on employee attitudes, business practice changes, and policy impact on morale and safety. Back then, likely as now, it was a common complaint heard from FAA execs about the conflict of interest of having to be both an aviation safety regulatory agency and having to promote aviation. Congress seemed fine with that – apparently still is. There is FAA pork in nearly every Congressional district (think airports for example). Boeing is the latest example of how mission conflict is not serving the aviation industry or public safety. With its headquarters within walking distance of Capitol Hill, aviation lobbyists do not even get much exercise shuttling.

The 1996 Valuejet crash into the Florida swamps shows how far back the mission conflict problem has persisted. Valuejet was a startup airline that was touted as more profitable than all the others. It achieved that notoriety by flying through every FAA maintenance loophole they could find to cut maintenance costs. When FAA started clamping down, Senate Majority Leader Daschle scolded FAA for not being on the cutting edge of industry innovation. The message was clear – leave Valuejet alone. That was a hard message to ignore given that Daschle's wife Linda was serving as Deputy FAA Administrator (the #2 position) – a clear conflict of interest with the role of her spouse – a fact not lost on Administrator Hinson (the #1 position). Rather than use the disaster as an opportunity to revisit FAA mission conflict, Clinton tossed Administrator Hinson into the volcano of public outcry and put Daschle in charge. Nothing happened then, and it looks like Boeing might follow Valuejet into the aviation graveyard.

Kevin , September 17, 2019 at 12:34 pm

Boeing subsidies:

Mike , September 17, 2019 at 3:22 pm

Nothin' like regulatory capture. Along with financialized manufacturing, the cheap & profitable will outdo the costly careful every time. Few businesses are run today with the moral outlook of some early industrialists (not enough of them, but still present) who, through zany Protestant guilt, cared for their reputations enough to not make murderous product, knowing how the results would play both here and in Heaven. Today we have PR and government propaganda to smear the doubters, free the toxic, and let loose toxins.

From food to clothing, drugs to hospitals, self-propelled skateboards to aircraft, pesticides to pollution, even services as day care & education, it is time to call the minions of manufactured madness to account. Dare we say "Free government from Murder Inc."?

VietnamVet , September 17, 2019 at 3:57 pm

This is an excellent summary of the untenable situation that Boeing and the Federal Government have gotten themselves into. In their rush to get richer the Elite ignored the fact that monopolies and regulatory capture are always dangerously corrupt. This is not an isolated case. FDA allows importation of uninspected stock pharmaceutical chemicals from China. Insulin is unaffordable for the lower classes. Diseases are spreading through homeless encampments. EPA approved new uses of environmentally toxic nicotinoid insecticide, sulfoxaflor. DOD sold hundreds of billions of dollars of armaments to Saudi Arabia that were useless to protect the oil supply.

The Powers-that-be thought that they would be a hegemon forever. But, Joe Biden's green light for the Ukraine Army's attack against breakaway Donbass region on Russia's border restarted the Cold War allying Russia with China and Iran. This is a multi-polar world again. Brexit and Donald Trump's Presidency are the Empire's death throes.

RBHoughton , September 17, 2019 at 8:40 pm

NC readers know what the problem is as two comments above indicate clearly. Isn't the FAA ashamed to keep conniving with the money and permitting dangerous planes to fly?

Boeing just got a WTO ruling against Airbus. It seems that one rogue produces others. Time to clean the stable and remove the money addiction from safety regulation

The Rev Kev , September 17, 2019 at 11:26 pm

I think that I can see an interesting situation developing next year. So people will be boarding a plane, say with Southwest Airlines, when they will hear the following announcement over the speakers-

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. On behalf of myself and the entire crew, welcome aboard Southwest Airlines flight WN 861, non-stop service from Houston to New York. Our flight time will be of 4 hours and 30 minutes. We will be flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet at a ground speed of approximately 590 miles per hour.

We are pleased to announce that you have now boarded the first Boeing 737 MAX that has been cleared to once again fly by the FAA as being completely safe. For those passengers flying on to any other country, we regret to announce that you will have to change planes at New York as no other country in the world has cleared this plane as being safe to fly in their airspace and insurance companies there are unwilling to issue insurance cover for them in any case.

So please sit back and enjoy your trip with us. Cabin Crew, please bolt the cabin doors and prepare for gate departure."

Arizona Slim , September 18, 2019 at 6:32 am

And then there's this -- Southwest is rethinking its 737 strategy:

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

[Sep 18, 2019] Gee, didn't we have this advantage once? Thanks, neoliberals!

Sep 18, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Trade

"The Trade War Spurs China's Technology Innovators Into Overdrive" [ Industry Week ]. "In Shenzhen's glitzy financial district, a five-year-old outfit creates a 360-degree sports camera that goes on to win awards and draw comparisons to GoPro Inc. Elsewhere in the Pearl River Delta, a niche design house is competing with the world's best headphone makers. And in the capital Beijing, a little-known startup becomes one of the biggest purveyors of smartwatches on the planet. Insta360, SIVGA and Huami join drone maker DJI Technology Co. among a wave of startups that are dismantling the decades-old image of China as a clone factory -- and adding to Washington's concerns about its fast-ascending international rival.

Within the world's No. 2 economy, Trump's campaign to contain China's rise is in fact spurring its burgeoning tech sector to accelerate design and invention. The threat they pose is one of unmatchable geography: by bringing design expertise and innovation to the place where devices are manufactured, these companies are able to develop products faster and more cheaply ." •

Gee, didn't we have this advantage once? Thanks, neoliberals!

[Sep 18, 2019] Jews vs. Israelis by Gilad Atzmon

Zionism is the particular ideology of far right nationalism. The author is wrong. It is not dead and Likud Party is Zionist to the core.
Sep 18, 2019 | www.unz.com

To illustrate this Pfeffer cites the 2012 Israeli High Court of Justice decision to deny a petition by writer Yoram Kaniuk and others to allow themselves to be registered solely as 'Israelis' as opposed to 'Jews.'

Every so often we hear from one Torah rabbi or another that "Zionism is not Judaism." ,,,


renfro , says: September 16, 2019 at 7:52 pm GMT

While early Zionism was a desperate attempt to divorce the Jews from the ghetto and their tribal obsession and make them "people like all other people,"

Zionist wanting to make Jews 'like all other people' by giving them a Jew ruled only state to get away from non Jews is as contradictory as 'Israel is Jewish and Democratic.'

You're never going to find logical thinking in Jews.

Colin Wright , says: Website September 16, 2019 at 8:09 pm GMT
I'm afraid you've lost me with this one. Let's start with this:

' While early Zionism was a desperate attempt to divorce the Jews from the ghetto and their tribal obsession and make them "people like all other people," the present adherence to Jewishness and kinship induces a return to Judeo-centric chauvinism '

I'm afraid I don't see the distinction. As I mentioned a while back, I see Zionism as the Jewish response to the racial nationalism that dominated thinking in Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century. There were Frenchmen, and they had France. There were Germans, and they had Germany. There were Greeks, and they had Greece. There were Jews, and they should have a Jewish state.

In all of these, the nation, its land, and the ethnic entity that was its people were perceived as indivisible -- and in point of fact, many previously amiably accepted ethnic minorities found themselves persecuted in consequence. The Poles under Prussian rule are an example: perfectly welcome in Frederick the Great's Prussia, but repeatedly targeted in Wilhelmine Germany.

It had become nonsense to speak of a 'German' who wasn't German by birth, a Turk who wasn't Turkish, etc, etc. So how would Zionism -- the Jewish equivalent of all this -- be distinct from 'Judeo-centric chauvinism'? And indeed, in the new dispensation, Jews were forced to choose between assimilation and Zionism; they could be 'Hungarians (or whatever) of the Mosaic faith' or they could be Zionists -- the traditional Jewish identity had become obsolete.

What form could 'Judeo-centric chauvinism' have taken but Zionism? Aren't the two one and the same?

Lochearn , says: September 16, 2019 at 11:22 pm GMT
Thanks Gilad for your courageous work. I think we should always remember the ordinary Jews, the grocers, the tailors, and all the others who have lived ordinary lives and suffered due to the activities of their elites. We should remember the radical Jews and the artists like Cohen, Dylan and Lou Reid to mention just a few. I could make a case that the English elites have caused just as much trouble as elite Jews. In fact, it was the meeting of English and Jewish elites that created the British empire.
Skeptikal , says: September 17, 2019 at 1:15 am GMT
@Iron Lion Zion "The dichotomy of Israeli vs Jew is rhetoric from the Israeli radical-left."

well, perhaps the survey cited was invalid -- the one concerning how Jews/Israelis self-identified.

ASAIK the original Zionist idea, or the most powerful version of it in the 20th century, was Jabotinsky's Revisionist Zionism, which was a secular movement.

If no one in Israel any longer gives even lip service to this concept, then that is indeed a big change. And, we have read at this site and elsewhere of the takeover of the Israeli state by the orthodox. Pushback on this explains the stance of Avigdor Liberman and his party members. Many of which are Russian jews who do not want to support their orthodox countrymen and -women, who are becoming demographically overrepresented but will not serve in the armed forces, etc.These issues were written about at this site recently. I think under the title "the End of Israel."

Certainly that contributoin suggests that what it means to be a Jew/Israeli is changing and that it is the Israeli "left" that is trying to maintain some kind of image of a secular Jew who is an Israeli citizen, but is going against the contemporary flow in this effort.

Tsigantes , says: September 17, 2019 at 6:59 am GMT
@Colin Wright The Greeks, French, Germans (etc.) that you cite were people who lived within national borders, spoke Greek, French, German etc., were educated in these countries and voted and fought for them (including jews) – but had many different backgrounds and a variety of religions, though of course predominately Christian. In Europe a country define themselves by their culture, not by 'race'. i.e. their history, language, philosophy, arts etc.

'Race' is a jewish divide-and-rule political tool to make up for the fact that:

Judaism is simply a belief (or, rather lifestyle) system – literally a set of life style proscriptions they call 'laws' and not technically a religion since it contains no universal, philosophic or transcendental content.

The problem for jews is what is now called judaism, which was born after Christ and born out of opposition to Christi anity. It is in fact not a religion but a political movement, anti-faith and anti-religion and anti-love of humankind.

Driven by oppositionalism, they were great proselytisers. People of many different backgrounds converted to judaism, from Ethiopians to Turkic tribes. Thus there is no "jewish nation". There is no jewish culture either as is evidenced by jews' meagre contribution to the arts, philosophy. There wasn't even a jewish language until hebrew was revived / re-invented all too recently and for political reasons.
Yiddish is a true language of jews if there is one – but it is merely a dialect, not a standalone.

The Germans destroyed themselves by falling into the jewish anti-Christian, 'racialist' trap. To aid the Germans in WW2 you had to agree to be an unter-menschen and recognise Germans as your uber-menschen ..how self-defeating is that?
And why should anyone be surprised that the exact same mentality rules in Israel today, since it is the delusional heart of judaism? A fake "Racial" Supremacy is the raison d'être of "judaism".

All of this adds up to a tragic, self-defeating and ultimately stupid (un-intelligent) position.

Sean , says: September 17, 2019 at 6:09 pm GMT
Peoples tend to want their own nation state presumably because it it the most satisfying, protective and benevolent context for individuals to mediate their lives in the world. Unfortunately German Jews lived in a state while being of a different nation to the majority, and had their rights suddenly taken away. In the Jewish state of Israel Jews are having their need for imprescriptible rights met. Palestinians want their own state and those rights that go with it.

[Sep 18, 2019] An Excellent Study Of The Manufactured Labour "Antisemitism Crisis" by Kenneth Surin

Notable quotes:
"... The results showed that on average people believed that a third of Labour Party members had been reported for antisemitism. A key part of the authors' investigation was to examine how it could be that so many people came to believe this when the actual figure was far less than 1%. ..."
"... What is clear is that for Ukania's Joe and Jill Normal, who don't often go beyond the newspaper headlines to look at news source ..."
"... The crucial factor here is that no matter what steps Labour's left leadership takes to deal with the party's antisemitism problems (and these steps have been taken, unevenly and somewhat slowly), those bent on ousting Corbyn as leader for reasons internal to the party's politics will not cease their efforts no matter what Labour does to address antisemitism within its membership. ..."
"... The perfect example here is Tom Watson, Labour's deputy leader, who is on the payroll of the UK's Zionist lobby. Watson did his utmost to stoke the fires of the antisemitism crisis. Sensing now he has played his full hand on this issue, he is currently using Brexit as his foil for attacking Corbyn. ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

I've just finished reading the uncorrected proof copy an excellent study of the manufactured Labour "antisemitism crisis". [Greg Philo, Mike Berry, Antony Lerman, Justin Schlossberg and David Miller, Bad News for Labour: Antisemitism, the Party & Public Belief (London: Pluto Press, 2019)]

The launching point for the book's analysis is a national poll, accompanied by the use of focus groups, on how people make judgments and form opinions.

The results showed that on average people believed that a third of Labour Party members had been reported for antisemitism. A key part of the authors' investigation was to examine how it could be that so many people came to believe this when the actual figure was far less than 1%.

The book focuses on how this chasm between (mis)perception came to exist. The authors used questionnaires as part of their survey, and the anonymous written answers show just how ignorant and poorly informed many Brits are -- a significant percentage believe what they read in the trashy rightwing tabloids or what they see on TV!

Some focus group members even believed Corbyn would bring in Sharia Law if elected.

Bad News for Labour begins with an overview of the focus group discussions. Several participants in the focus groups who came believing that a third of Labour Party members had been reported for antisemitism revised this number downwards, sensibly, as the group discussions went on and participants took to educating each other.

At the same time focus group members believed the controversy has done serious damage to the party.

What is clear is that for Ukania's Joe and Jill Normal, who don't often go beyond the newspaper headlines to look at news sources, etc., it is the case that

MASSIVE MEDIA COVEREAGE OF X = X MUST BE A BIG PROBLEM.

Bad News for Labour then looks at the plethora of competing positions and interests within Labour which created a confusing context for dealing with the antisemitism controversy. The authors identify 3 main areas:

1) the argument that there was a significant and widespread problem regarding antisemitism within the Labour Party;

2) that the issue was being used to undermine Labour's left leadership, and specifically Jeremy Corbyn, as part of the internal politics of the Party;

3) that the controversy was linked to the defence of Israel and attempts to change Labour policy with regard to that state.

The crucial factor here is that no matter what steps Labour's left leadership takes to deal with the party's antisemitism problems (and these steps have been taken, unevenly and somewhat slowly), those bent on ousting Corbyn as leader for reasons internal to the party's politics will not cease their efforts no matter what Labour does to address antisemitism within its membership.

The perfect example here is Tom Watson, Labour's deputy leader, who is on the payroll of the UK's Zionist lobby. Watson did his utmost to stoke the fires of the antisemitism crisis. Sensing now he has played his full hand on this issue, he is currently using Brexit as his foil for attacking Corbyn.

Labour has edged its way towards a fragile truce within itself on Brexit, by making the ridding of Johnson and the Tories its priority, so that having a general election is the first objective, and only after that can such matters as a second EU referendum with options of a viable deal and remain be contemplated.

Watson is now trying to upset this arrangement by saying a second Brexit referendum has to come before a general election (echoing a position taken by Blair a few days before) -- a ridiculous proposition, because having a referendum first will simply reopen divisions within Labour that existed during and after the first Brexit referendum. Far better to win an election, which will leave Labour more in control of events (and probably more united by virtue of electoral success), and then tackle the thorny matter of a second EU referendum.

Watson was promptly slapped down by Corbyn.

Bad News for Labour sensibly suggests that the best way for Corbyn and the party's left to overcome these attempts by Labour's mainly Blairite rightwing to undermine the Left is for the Blairites to be deselected by their local Labour parties as candidates in the next election.

Several Blairites, knowing they face deselection, have already jumped ship and joined the centrist Lib Dems while a couple went on to be Independents. Other Blairites, knowing which way the wind is blowing, have announced they won't be standing in the next election.

The outrage of the Labour Zionists making life difficult for Corbyn is highly selective. It is certainly true that some of these Labour MPs received antisemitic abuse (though mainly from people who were not party members).

At the same time, the Labour politician Diane Abbott, a Corbyn ally who is shadow home secretary/interior minister, was targetted by racists, though this has received much less media attention. Amnesty International's research showed that Abbott received 45% of all abusive tweets sent to female MPs in the 6 weeks before the 2017 election.

The crux of Labour's antisemitism controversy is the bruhaha over its grudging acceptance of the flawed International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of "antisemitism". The media's coverage of this controversy was framed by 2 assumptions: that under Corbyn antisemitism in Labour had become "institutionalized", and that Corbyn and his associates had failed to counter this.

The IHRA definition is deeply flawed, so much so that it is deemed not fit to be given any legal standing.

Media coverage of Labour's disputes with this definition cloak this fact by referring to it as "the widely accepted IHRA definition", "the widely accepted definition put forward by the IHRA", "the IHRA's widely accepted definition", "the global definition of antisemitism", "the globally recognized definition", "the near universally accepted definition", and so on, in effect suggesting that Labour was completely out of line in its reluctance to accept the 38-word definition, despite the fact that a powerful body of legal opinion saw it as a hopelessly vague statement accompanied by a rag-bag of "examples".

The IHRA examples in effect make it automatic that any characterization of Israel as "racist" is perforce "antisemitic", in this way placing Israel's apartheid policy towards Palestinians beyond criticism.

Under immense pressure Labour alas caved-in and accepted the definition and all its examples.

Perhaps the fact that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission's announcement in May that it was investigating Labour's handling of antisemitism complaints following submissions from the Jewish Labour Movement and the Campaign Against Antisemitism had something to do with Labour's capitulation on this score.

Bad News for Labour therefore trades on a double entendre -- news that is bad for Labour, but also "faux news" that itself is bad precisely because of its all-too-common distortions, biases, and underlying malicious intent. It's no surprise that two Murdoch papers, The Times and Sun , have been at the forefront of this campaign against Labour.

Perhaps more surprising are the outfits that kept company with Murdoch newspapers in this campaign against Corbyn, namely, the supposedly objective BBC and the "progressive" Guardian , both of which matched the Murdoch rags step for step in a rush for the gutter.

Bad News for Labour presents a flood of evidence detailing how this campaign was confected and what its effects on the party have been.

Since I'm a British citizen I'll be in the UK next week attending the Labour Party annual conference as a member-delegate. Testing the waters on this issue will be interesting to say the least.

Meanwhile the media say nary a word about the rampant Islamophobia in the Conservative Party (starting with its leader, BoJo, and his insouciantly feeble jokes about burka-wearing women looking like "letter boxes" and "bank robbers", and so on), and the fact that surveys show antisemitism to be more prevalent in the Tories than it is in Labour.

As Americans say: go figure.

Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Kenneth Surin

Kenneth Surin teaches at Duke University, North Carolina. He lives in Blacksburg, Virginia

[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] Looks like the US> empire's best strategists reached the limits of their geostrategic talent playing the board game Risk

Notable quotes:
"... Henry Kissenger, Zibigniew Brezinski, James Baker, etc. what a crock! oh yeah, almost forgot about that other duped asshat... ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

john , Sep 18 2019 12:46 utc | 125

William Gruff says:

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

hahaha, yeah, a million laughs...all of that brilliant geopolitical strategizing from starched suits bending our ears for the last how many decades turns out to be so much deluded horseshit. Henry Kissenger, Zibigniew Brezinski, James Baker, etc. what a crock! oh yeah, almost forgot about that other duped asshat...Oded Yinon.

[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] Notes of Biden performance during the last debate

Sep 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

+ Apparently, Obama and Biden only caged kids who deserved to be caged.

+ Biden continues to lie about his position on the Iraq war and he lies so badly that no one, not even Bernie, bothers to call him on it.

+ Whatever brain-eating disease Biden has seems to be contagious, gnawing inexorably through the gray matter of the other candidates

+ CNN: "Biden had his best debate." Ok, I know I didn't drop acid tonight. Did Wolf Blitzer spike the company water cooler?

+ Really, Baltz ? Biden was incoherent on NATFA, lied about the Iraq war, couldn't describe his health care plan, derided black families, stumbled over his immigration record & went completely loco at the end. Other than that

[Sep 18, 2019] F-35 Fighter as the ritual construction similar to Egyptian pyramids, the Cathedral for MIC.

Sep 18, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

The Egyptians had pyramids. The Romans had roads, aqueducts, and coliseums. The medieval Europeans had castles and cathedrals. These days, America's pyramids, aqueducts, and cathedrals are those warplanes, among other deadly weapons programs , including a $1.7 trillion one to "modernize" the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

... ... ...

As ephemeral as the F-35 stealth fighter may prove in historical terms, it's already a classic symbol of America's ever more fruitless forever wars . Like them , the F-35 program has proven staggeringly expensive, incredibly wasteful, and impossible to stop, no matter the woeful results . It has come to symbolize the too-big-to-fail, too-sacrosanct-to-reject part of America's militarized culture of technological violence.

... ... ...

Harper's Andrew Cockburn recently used it to illustrate what he termed "the Pentagon Syndrome ," the practice of expending enormous sums on weapons of marginal utility.

[Sep 18, 2019] The groundwork is being laid for expensive new races in intermediate-range missile systems in Europe and Asia, which will likely decrease stability in both regions.

Sep 18, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

Nick Klaus 5 hours ago ,

Now we need to bury the agreement on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and on the ban on nuclear testing!
And the world will be truly safe!

[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 17, 2019] While the Trump Administration seems to be cozying up to America's Jewish voters, here is an article that outlines what American Jews really think of Donald Trump and his leadership:

Sep 17, 2019 | www.unz.com

Sally Snyder , says: September 16, 2019 at 12:13 pm GMT

While the Trump Administration seems to be cozying up to America's Jewish voters, here is an article that outlines what American Jews really think of Donald Trump and his leadership:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/06/americas-jews-on-trump-administration.html

Washington would seem to be on the wrong track when it comes to the U.S. Jewish community.

[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] I could make a case that the English elites have caused just as much trouble as elite Jews

Sep 17, 2019 | www.unz.com

Lochearn , says: September 16, 2019 at 11:22 pm GMT

Thanks Gilad for your courageous work. I think we should always remember the ordinary Jews, the grocers, the tailors, and all the others who have lived ordinary lives and suffered due to the activities of their elites. We should remember the radical Jews and the artists like Cohen, Dylan and Lou Reid to mention just a few. I could make a case that the English elites have caused just as much trouble as elite Jews. In fact, it was the meeting of English and Jewish elites that created the British empire.

[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] Israel Spies and Spies and Spies by Philip Giraldi

Sep 17, 2019 | www.unz.com

the placement of technical surveillance devices by Israel was clearly intended to target cellphone communications to and from the Trump White House. As the president frequently chats with top aides and friends on non-secure phones, the operation sought to pick up conversations involving Trump with the expectation that the security-averse president would say things off the record that might be considered top secret.

The Politico report , which is sourced to top intelligence and security officials, details how "miniature surveillance devices" referred to as "Stingrays" imitate regular cell phone towers to fool phones being used nearby into providing information on their locations and identities. According to the article, the devices are referred to by technicians as "international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use."

Over one year ago, government security agencies discovered the electronic footprints that indicated the presence of the surveillance devices around Washington including near the White House. Forensic analysis involved dismantling the devices to let them "tell you a little about their history, where the parts and pieces come from, how old are they, who had access to them, and that will help get you to what the origins are." One source observed afterwards that "It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible."

The Israeli Embassy denied any involvement in the espionage and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adroitly and predictably lied regarding the report, saying "We have a directive, I have a directive: No intelligence work in the United States, no spies. And it's vigorously implemented, without any exception. It is a complete fabrication, a complete fabrication."

The Israelis are characteristically extremely aggressive in their intelligence gathering operations, particularly in targeting the United States, even though Trump has done the Netanyahu government many favors. These have included moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, withdrawing from the nuclear deal and sanctioning Iran, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and looking the other way as Israel expands its settlements and regularly bombs Syria and Lebanon.

Israel's high-risk spying is legendary, but the notion that it is particularly good at it is, like everything having to do with the Jewish state, much overrated. Mossad has been caught in flagrante numerous times. In 2010, an undercover Mossad hit team was caught on 30 minutes of surveillance video as it wandered through a luxury Dubai hotel where it had gone to kill a leading Hamas official. And the notion that Mossad and CIA work hand-in-hand is also a fiction. Working level Agency officers dislike their reckless Mossad counterparts. Newsweek magazine's "Spy Talk" once cited a poll of CIA officers that ranked Israel "dead last" among friendly countries in actual intelligence cooperation with Washington.

The fact is that Israel conducts espionage and influence operations against the United States more aggressively than any other "friendly" country, including tapping White House phones used by Bill Clinton to speak with Monica Lewinski. Israeli "experts" regularly provide alarmist and inaccurate private briefings for American Senators on Capitol Hill. Israel also constantly manufactures pretexts to draw the U.S. into new conflicts in the Middle East, starting with the Lavon Affair in Alexandria Egypt in 1954 and including the false flag attack on the U.S.S. Liberty in 1967. In short, Israel has no reluctance to use its enormous political and media clout in the U.S. to pressure successive administrations to conform to its own foreign and security policy views.

The persistent spying, no matter what Netanyahu claims, is a very good reason why Israel should not receive billions of dollars in military assistance annually. Starting in 1957, Israel's friends stole enriched uranium from a Pennsylvania refinery to create a nuclear arsenal. More recently we have learned how Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer/billionaire born in Israel, arranged the illegal purchase of 800 krytron triggers to use in the production of nuclear weapons. The operation also involved current Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

The existence of a large scale Israeli spying effort at the time of 9/11 has been widely reported, incorporating Israeli companies in New Jersey and Florida as well as hundreds of "art students" nationwide. Five "dancing" Israelis from one of the companies were observed celebrating against the backdrop of the twin towers going down.

While it is often observed that everyone spies on everyone else, espionage is a high-risk business, particularly when spying on friends. Israel, relying on Washington for billions of dollars and also for political cover in international fora like the United Nations, does not spy discreetly, largely because it knows that few in Washington will seek to hold it accountable. There were, for example, no consequences for the Israelis when Israeli Mossad intelligence officers using U.S. passports and pretending to be Americans recruited terrorists to carry out attacks inside Iran. Israelis using U.S. passports in that fashion put every American traveler at risk.

Israel, where government and business work hand in hand, has obtained significant advantage by systematically stealing American technology with both military and civilian applications. The U.S. developed technology is then reverse engineered and used by the Israelis to support their own exports. Sometimes, when the technology is military in nature and winds up in the hands of an adversary, the consequences can be serious. Israel has sold advanced weapons systems to China that incorporate technology developed by American companies.

The reality of Israeli large-scale spying in the United States is indisputable. One might cite Jonathan Pollard, who stole more highly classified information than any spy in history. And then there were Ben-Ami Kadish, Stuart Nozette and Larry Franklin, other spies for Israel who have been caught and tried, but they are only the tip of the iceberg. Israel always features prominently in the annual FBI report called "Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage." The 2005 report states "Israel has an active program to gather proprietary information within the United States. These collection activities are primarily directed at obtaining information on military systems and advanced computing applications that can be used in Israel's sizable armaments industry." It adds that Israel recruits spies, uses electronic methods, and carries out computer intrusion to gain the information.

A 1996 Defense Investigative Service report noted that Israel has great success stealing technology by exploiting the numerous co-production projects that it has with the Pentagon. It says "Placing Israeli nationals in key industries is a technique utilized with great success." A General Accounting Office (GAO) examination of espionage directed against American defense and security industries described how Israeli citizens residing in the U.S. had stolen sensitive technology to manufacture artillery gun tubes, obtained classified plans for reconnaissance systems, and passed sensitive aerospace designs to unauthorized users.

The GAO has concluded that Israel "conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any U.S. ally." In June 2006, a Pentagon administrative judge ruled against a difficult to even imagine appeal by an Israeli denied a security clearance, saying that "The Israeli government is actively engaged in military and industrial espionage in the United States." FBI counter intelligence officer John Cole has also reported how many cases of Israeli espionage are dropped under orders from the Justice Department., making the Jewish state's spying consequence free. He provides a "conservative estimate" of 125 viable investigations into Israeli espionage involving both American citizens and Israelis that were stopped due to political pressure.

So, did Israel really spy on Donald Trump? Sure it did. And Netanyahu is, metaphorically speaking, thumbing his nose at the American president and asking with a grin, "What are you going to do about it?"


tac , says: September 17, 2019 at 2:14 am GMT

For those who have not heard of Israeli startup Carbyne911 (partly owned by Ehud Barak, run by former Israeli officers of the unit 8200, and to which Jeffrey Epstein donated to) here is an interview TruNews with Whitney Webb:

Carbyne911: Israeli Tech Scheme to Weaponize 911 Emergency Call System
(Interview starts at 11:16 mark)

https://www.youtube.com/embed/N9P9TjlQRMI?start=676&feature=oembed

More reading

[MORE]

The rarest occurrence was when Epstein would fly without any of his usual entourage and just one other passenger. There was only one name that jumped out from the flight manifest as a good example of when Epstein alternated from his routine. His second meeting with Nicole Junkermann.

The link between Nicole Junkermann, the Israeli state intelligence services and the Israeli Defence Force is not a tenuous one. The ominously named "Reporty Homeland Security" was the first incarnation of what is now called "Carbyne911" and is referred to as simply "Carbyne." Described as a "global leader in public safety technology," Carbyne is a call handling platform app that allows you to, amongst other things, stream any ongoing emergency directly to the responding emergency services. It claims, in the information section of a promotional video on YouTube entitled "Nicole Junkermann presents Carbyne,

They promise to combine the use of personal data, location data, live video, data from surrounding wearable tech, and even information from parked smart cars, to deliver more information to the emergency services who should be responding. They can pinpoint your location, even indoors, to within three feet, and they claim that they can even collect data from dropped calls. However, they fail to mention how they'll get the permission to use such masses of available data. Who are these angels behind this revolutionary technology which aims to get between a victim and the emergency services?

One of the directors of Carbyne is Nicole Junkermann. The chairman of the board of directors is Ehud Barak, the 10th Prime Minister of Israel, the 14th Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, former Minister of Defense and former Head of Military Intelligence for Israel.

Another of Carbyne's directors and board members is Brigadier Pinchas Buchris, the former Deputy Commander of an elite IDF operations unit and former Commander of the IDF 8200 Cyber Intelligence Unit. Amir Elichai is the Founder and CEO of Carbyne, he is also a former Israeli Army officer who served in various positions in the special elite forces and the intelligence corps. Alex Dizengof is Carbyne's Co-Founder & CTO. He's described as a Software Architect and Algorithms Developer. Dizengof had previously developed machine learning algorithms for robots and mobile platforms, as well as cyber security software for the Israeli Prime Minister's Office.

https://www.sott.net/article/418790-The-Epstein-associate-nobodys-talking-about-The-IDF-Linked-bond-girl-infiltrating-the-UK-NHS

chris , says: September 17, 2019 at 4:32 am GMT

The GAO has concluded that Israel "conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any U.S. ally."

Even a statement like this from the GAO is misleading in that it implies that the next friendly country spying on the US (the UK, presumably) to be out-edged by Israel, when in fact the difference is probably one of order (if not of kind) in magnitude.

Franz , says: September 17, 2019 at 5:25 am GMT

FBI counter intelligence officer John Cole has also reported how many cases of Israeli espionage are dropped under orders from the Justice Department ., making the Jewish state's spying consequence free.

Wow.

So when Paul Craig Roberts says "US Justice Department (sic)" we now have Giraldi's total confirmation. If fact, Roberts is being too much of a gentleman about it.

Maybe call it (((Justice Department))) from now on and get it over with.

Miro23 , says: September 17, 2019 at 6:10 am GMT

The Israelis are characteristically extremely aggressive in their intelligence gathering operations, particularly in targeting the United States, even though Trump has done the Netanyahu government many favors. These have included moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, withdrawing from the nuclear deal and sanctioning Iran, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and looking the other way as Israel expands its settlements and regularly bombs Syria and Lebanon.

I'm sure that the Israelis don't regard these as favours...

[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] Stingray devices near White House with no consequences to Isreal might be a sign of "domesticated intelligence" Can you imagine if Russian devices had been found?

Sep 17, 2019 | www.unz.com

Justvisiting , says: September 17, 2019 at 12:33 pm GMT

@Anonymous At some point when an foreign intelligence service has a critical mass of politicians blackmailed it becomes "domestic intelligence" or "domesticated intelligence". :-)
JoaoAlfaiate , says: September 17, 2019 at 11:09 am GMT
It's amazing how little coverage this story got. Can you imagine if Russian devices had been found? It would be on CNN, etc. hour after hour and they'd be interviewing Nancy Pelosi non stop.
sally , says: September 17, 2019 at 12:19 pm GMT
@Cloak And Dagger I think you are correct there maybe many Americans in the USA.. It may take the few Americans who have been allowed to see the big picture at the USA

[Sep 17, 2019] KSA ties with Isreal might hurt KSA USA relations in the long run

Notable quotes:
"... I guess America does not need Saudi oil any more, cause it looks like Israel is about to be made king of the Oil Kingdoms in the middle east.? ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | www.unz.com

sally , says: September 17, 2019 at 12:19 pm GMT

I think you are correct there maybe many Americans in the USA.. It may take the few Americans who have been allowed to see the big picture at the USA...

I guess America does not need Saudi oil any more, cause it looks like Israel is about to be made king of the Oil Kingdoms in the middle east.?

[Sep 17, 2019] The Costs of Trump's Economic War on Iran Keep Growing by Daniel Larison

Sep 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump speaks at Washington rally against the Iran deal back in September 2015. Credit: Olivier Douliery/Sipa USA/Newscom Paul Pillar comments on the attack on the Saudi oil facility at Abqaiq, and he connects it to the administration's dangerous, failing "maximum pressure" campaign:

Iranian leaders have been explicit in warning that if Iran could not export its oil, then other Persian Gulf producers would not be able to either. Was anyone in the Trump administration listening?

To borrow another formulation from Pompeo's tweet, there is no evidence that in the absence of the administration's economic warfare against Iran, Iran would do anything like attack the Abqaiq facility or have any incentive to conduct such an attack. If Iran did do the attack, then it was a direct and unsurprising result of the administration's policy of unrelenting hostility and of inflicting economic pain with no apparent end.

The Trump administration's economic war on Iran has not achieved anything except to destabilize the region further and impoverish the Iranian people. It is the cause of the current crisis with Iran, and were it not for this economic war we can reasonably assume that there would have been no attacks on tankers, pipelines, and possibly oil facilities in the last few months. As Pillar notes, the administration has shown Iran unrelenting hostility, and they have continued to apply one set of sanctions after another, and then the administration pretends that its own actions have not created the present mess. A smart administration would start lifting sanctions, but then a smart administration would never have imposed them in the first place.

Under no circumstances should the U.S. increase its involvement in Yemen and do more to devastate that country, as this former admiral has suggested that we do in an interview with Foreign Policy . The U.S. should have ended our involvement in the war on Yemen long ago. It is an ongoing disgrace that the administration continues to support and arm the governments that have been destroying and starving Yemen. Our involvement in the war is already unauthorized and illegal, and directly launching attacks alongside the Saudi coalition would make things even worse.

Deescalating tensions with Iran is the only sane way forward, so of course the only thing being seriously considered right now in Washington is a possible attack on Iran. It can't be stressed enough that the U.S. has no justification, legal or otherwise, to launch an attack on Iran. Not only is the U.S. not obliged to come to the defense of Saudi Arabia, but our government is bound by the U.N. Charter that prohibits using force against another state except in self-defense. No one can seriously claim that a U.S. strike on Iran right now would be anything other than an illegal attack in clear violation of international law.

Sid Finster 5 hours ago

The only sane thing MBS can do is to declare defeat and withdraw from Yemen, tout suite .

The problem is that there is no way for him to do so without humiliation. Shame and honor are paramount in Saudi society, and MBS has just gotten a very nasty and very public punch in the nose. Anything less than brutal escalation, and his honor and prestige will be seriously damaged.

The Saudi tyrants are stuck in Yemen so deep, that they have little choice but to keep doubling down.

[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] The reincarnation of the idea of Soviet Nomenklatura on a new level in a different social system

Highly recommended!
Sep 17, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 15, 2019 at 11:33 AM

https://twitter.com/BrankoMilan/status/1173204669356740608

Branko Milanovic‏ @BrankoMilan

Homoploutia, a concept I introduce in "Capitalism, Alone". In today's liberal capitalism, it is common that the same people are rich *both* in terms of capital they own and earnings they receive. This was almost unheard of in classical capitalism where capitalists seldom doubled as wage workers.

4:59 AM - 15 Sep 2019

anne -> anne... , September 15, 2019 at 11:47 AM
https://twitter.com/BrankoMilan/status/1173204677611196416

Branko Milanovic‏ @BrankoMilan

So here, using @lisdata, you have a nice illustration of advanced capitalist countries where people in the top decile by capital and labor income increasing coincide (right end) and Brazil and Mexico where they do not.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EEgPbuWXsAEays-.jpg:large

4:59 AM - 15 Sep 2019

anne -> anne... , September 15, 2019 at 11:49 AM
https://twitter.com/BrankoMilan/status/1173204681184751617

Branko Milanovic‏ @BrankoMilan

Note the ambivalence * of homoploutia: in some sense it is desirable (and risk-reducing) that capitalists also work, or that high earners possess capital too. But in another way, it makes inequality-reducing policies more difficult.

* Contradiction

4:59 AM - 15 Sep 2019

likbez -> anne... , September 16, 2019 at 09:03 PM
Yes, under neoliberalism like under Bolshevism, your social position is not determined solely by the capital you own. It is also determined by the position you hold in the industry or government (and your earnings/wages are derivative of that).

So we see the reincarnation of the idea of Soviet Nomenklatura on a new level in a different social system. The term can still serve its purpose, and IMHO is better than "Homoploutia."

It is also interesting that older middle-class folk, who due to their private savings, 401K, Roth and ISA accounts, SS pension (say $6K-7K a month for a couple), and sometimes government or industry pension are formally millionaires (with some multimillionaires) are not generally viewed as belonging to the upper 10%. They are looked at as an aberration by the most sociologists.

That's because they are now retired and no longer hold any meaningful for the upper 10% level position in the industry or government. In other words, they do not belong to Nomenklatura. Or more correctly no longer belong to Nomenklatura (for those who retired from high level positions)

And, correspondingly, often are treated as junk in the neoliberal society.

[Sep 17, 2019] Stop the Trade War in the Name of Prosperity

Notable quotes:
"... Furthermore, because of the horrific legacy of the one-child policy, China faces a rapidly aging population that will strain resources and reduce the number of working-age people . By 2050, it is estimated that the average Chinese will be 56 years of age. In contrast, the average American will be 44. No amount of spending or legal reform will prevent Beijing's coming demographic crisis. ..."
Sep 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Part of the Trump administration's latest round of 15 percent tariffs on Chinese imports went into effect Sunday, with the rest to follow on December 15. These increases will impact the prices of many consumer goods that Americans rely on, including clothing, appliances, televisions, smartwatches, textbooks, diapers, coffee, and even whiskey. And given their timing, they'll likely have an effect on holiday shopping. This makes all the more welcome President Trump's recent statement during the G7 summit that China is looking to end the trade war and that he too is open to making a deal.

Trump is right to negotiate with Chinese President Xi Jinping, as finding an off-ramp from the trade war should be Washington's priority. America's interest is in out-competing Beijing, not hurting our own economy in an attempt to damage theirs. The United States has a better hand here, but we must play it to our advantage.

America's great strength is in our freedom, our market economy, and our democratic system. The United States has attained a level of prosperity unseen in human history, and that economic engine is what fuels our military power. Without a strong economy, we cannot have a strong military. Thus an endless trade war endangers American security in the long term: as both sides pile on retaliatory tariffs, the risk of recession increases. American consumers will feel each new trade barrier as it hits their pocketbooks.

Washington must not pursue policies that hurt those it governs. And the suffering inflicted by a trade war wouldn't just be limited to the pricing of consumer goods. It would also make us weaker for no good reason. And it would lower tax revenues, requiring America to go further into debt to maintain our present level of security.

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Moreover, long-term trade attacks on China are unnecessary, because China already has more problems than America. Beijing suffers from high national debt, a lack of clear economic reform, and a rapidly aging population. It has few, if any, good or timely solutions to these pressing issues.

According to the Institute of International Finance, China's total national, corporate, and household debt is now over 300 percent of its GDP. What makes this especially bad for Beijing is that the debt was taken on very quickly after the 2008 global recession, without the power of a global reserve currency to make borrowing easier, as the United States has. Moreover, this debt is largely corporate and China's state-capitalist system makes it harder for Chinese companies survive market pressures. Beijing has used cheap credit to fuel its exports and its economic rise through fully and partially state-controlled national companies.

The Chinese economic system has undergone some reforms in recent years but still remains too top-down and too focused on exports over consumption as compared to more developed economies. In other words, China needs to transition to a full market economy like Taiwan and South Korea did on their paths to prosperity, but it hasn't done so yet.

Furthermore, because of the horrific legacy of the one-child policy, China faces a rapidly aging population that will strain resources and reduce the number of working-age people . By 2050, it is estimated that the average Chinese will be 56 years of age. In contrast, the average American will be 44. No amount of spending or legal reform will prevent Beijing's coming demographic crisis.

China Has Already Lost the Trade War Tariffs Are Economic Patriotism, Putting Americans First

This comparative weakness is why it makes sense to find a trade war off-ramp sooner rather than later. China needs one badly and will eventually want a deal -- if it doesn't already. As for the United States, recession may be inevitable, but it would be better if it were not self-inflicted.

Already the trade war has cost American billions in higher prices for imported products. American farmers have been hit hard by China's retaliatory tariffs and, according to a report by IHS Markit, U.S. manufacturing has shrunk for the first since 2009. Economists polled by Reuters believe the trade war has increased the risk of a recession, with a median of those surveyed giving a 45 percent chance of a downturn over the next two years. Additionally, major banks have expressed concerns , as the stock market takes hits with every new tariff increase and angry statement between Washington and Beijing.


AllenQ 9 hours ago

I couldnt disagree more. I want more tariffs against China and Europe. I want closed borders and zero migration. China has infiltrated our government, our defense agencies, our nuclear agencies, our major research centers, our college campuses, our media and bribed our politicians. China is an imminent threat to Hong Kong, Taiwan and its militarization of the islands in the South China Sea are a threat to all of South Asia. China has been stealing US, Canadian and European technology for decades to leapfrog the US into technological dominance globally. China's plan is to force the US our of the Asia Pacific. China has infiltrated Canada and Australia to a similar degree (if not more) than the US. If you pander to these free trade globalists then you will be paving the way for a military conflict between Chinese and American Hegemony in Asia and elsewhere around the world. I dont know about you but I will take a tariff and trade war over a military war any day. Ramp up those tariffs and shift those supply chains out of China toward more benevolent allies and the world be be all the safer for it.
Mr. B 9 hours ago
China has been waging a one sided trade war against us for over 30 years, it's about time we resisted. Becoming more economically intertwined with our dangerous and genocidal rival doesn't sound like the right answer to me, especially when China will continue protectionist policies and currency manipulation regardless of what we do. America has allowed its industrial base to hemorrhage since the 70s, and bending over for our enemy to keep cheap trash flowing and American factories closed is not the right answer.
tz1 8 hours ago
Is this a white box article the Chamber of Commerce is using to astroturf?

China is a Monstrous regime that is killing and enslaving its citizens. It will simply kill everyone over 65, then 60 if it becomes convenient like they did with their one child policy. Problem solved.

You wish to keep trading with criminals, polluters, and pirates so you can get cheap junk at WalMart?

You have a job. I wish you would lose yours and that dozens of blue collar had working but laid off Americans can find one. It isn't how much something costs in dollars (or how much of your soul it costs), it is how much it costs in your virtuous labor. I'd rather pay double for stuff but get triple wages rather than pay half but be all but permanently unemployed.

ThaomasH 8 hours ago
Well said. Calling off the trade would be good for US consumers and the economy in general. But while we are on the subject,calling off the war on immigration would also be good for US consumers and the economy in general.
Adriana Pena 8 hours ago
Shoulda have voted for Hillary....
Kent 8 hours ago
Wow. This article is off-base on any number of levels.

"These increases will impact the prices of many consumer goods that Americans rely on,"

No, no they won't. Tariffs are paid for by the importer, not the consumer. If the importer could randomly increase prices, they would do so without tariffs. The market sets prices.

"America's interest is in out-competing Beijing, not hurting our own economy in an attempt to damage theirs."

If America could out-compete Beijing, American manufacturing would not have moved to China. It turns out, the American people simply don't want to live according to 3rd world standards. We want decent homes and stuff. We don't want to live in a cesspool of pollution. I'm sure the Chinese people have the same preferences, they just don't get a choice.

"Moreover, long-term trade attacks on China are unnecessary, because China already has more problems than America."

I agree with the author here, but not for the same reasons. Attacking China doesn't resolve anything. American companies will just move to a different 3rd world country with whom we can't complete. Why should I care if my clothes come from China or Vietnam?

AllenQ 5 hours ago
I am 100% supportive of the trade war and building the wall and tariffs. I say zero immigration and make all Chinese Tariffs permanent. Negotiate a trade deal with the tariffs intact. Id rather have a trade war with China and permanent tariffs than a war with China.

China has been stealing technology and has infiltrated media, government, defense, education, government officials (usually through bribes) from the US, Canada, Australia and Europe. China is proving itself to be a threat to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, India and South Asia.

Much of this "so called Russia Collusion" is actually a deflection of democratic politicians China is bribing to take down Trump in order to continue their military and technological theft, their existing preferential trade and their existing network. China is a serious danger to the US and the rest of the world. It is preferential to sacrifice a small amount of prosperity today for long term peace with China.

Mark B. 5 hours ago
Bring a thousand trade wars to blossom to save the climate, planet, middle classes. dignity and to fight rising extreme inequality.
kalendjay 3 hours ago
Propaganda. The aging of Chinese population? Not to worry, China has no real Social Security system, and so relies on massive surpluses of savings. The 300% consumer debt ratio? That would cripple any country with no help from trade. Should we let Wells Fargo and Goldman refinance them?

Farmers hit hard? As I recall we have had the worst corn harvest in decades, and shame on us for not growing more wheat, oats, and sugar cane. Our beef and poultry prices will be affected, not to mention our fast food industry, which has been whipsawed by political correctness. But China will effectively ration its pork, as it faces an even worse African Swine Flu crisis, and an additional one on grains from the Black Army Worm.

US decline in manufacturing? Look first at our glut of automobiles, and the self vetting of plant capacity by GM. Don't forget the crisis in car leases, which have made older cars worth less than their outstanding loans. And note, that the fall in lithium prices indicates that China's car electrification initiative is falling flat.

One thing left out of the equation is oil. And why should China live high on Iranian oil (mostly wastefully burned in power plants, mind you, and not cars) while we suffer attacks on Saudi oil from Iranian proxies (all on ChiRussia's dime)? Puts our trade negotiations in clear perspective, doesn't it?

Michael 3 hours ago
Stopping the war will not bring back China as our major trading partner. China is not going to be in this vulnerable position with America again. She is going to develop other markets

[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] This Wasn't How Trump's War on Iran Was Supposed to Go by David C. Hendrickson

Sep 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The U.S. thought it was cleverly choking the regime, but now it's clear that 'maximum pressure' goes both ways.

• The Saturday attack on Saudi oil facilities, which took 5.7 million barrels of oil per day offline, is the escalation that wasn't supposed to happen. Now that it has happened, we enter perilous new terrain.

America has blamed Iran and hinted at some sort of retaliation . Iran has denied responsibility, while the Houthis gladly take it. There are conflicting reports of where the missiles or drones were launched from, which we will learn more about in the coming days.

In the meantime, Trump is in a tight spot of his own making, with neither escalation nor retrenchment looking to be attractive options.

It is still uncertain when Saudi Aramco can get everything back on line. The attack showed sophistication. Critical nodes were hit. If the facilities are quickly repaired, that lessens the gravity of this event. The Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s showed the resiliency of oil installations, as Iraqi bombers pounded Kharg Island, where Iran exported much of its oil, yet the Iranians managed to keep the exports flowing. This suggests that a war of attrition today would be possible without major disruptions, though the impact of new technologies of attack and resistance makes any guess hazardous.

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If past crises are any indication, a sustained loss of 5.7 million barrels per day, over five percent of world oil consumption, would likely quadruple oil prices. Strategic petroleum reserves can cover this to a certain extent: the U.S. system can pump 4.4 million barrels per day. But it would exhaust its reserves in 150 days at that pace. We do not know whether more strikes will be forthcoming or whether such efforts can be successfully suppressed with airpower or invigorated defenses. All we can say is that the great game has advanced to a new stage.

From the beginning, escalation has seemed the likely consequence of the Trump administration's decision to asphyxiate the Iranian regime by cutting off its ability to export oil. This was a declaration of economic war. That is the polite term, as it is an action every international lawyer on the planet, back in the day when these things mattered, would have called an act of war without any precious qualifiers.

It turns out that there may be some street cred to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's assertion that if Iran isn't allowed to export oil, others will face obstacles too. Tit for tat. Got a quid? Here's a quo. The funny thing is that any significant threat to Saudi capacity creates a pressing need to get Iran's spare capacity onto the world market. As to which side now has more leverage, in a position to squeeze harder, that's a tough question. Putting it nicely, the Iranians can, if their will is stout, impose huge costs on the United States and the world economy. They would only consider that if pressed extremely hard, yet the United States has been pressing them extremely hard for over a year now.

Remember that the purpose of America's economic war on Iran was to force Iran to submit to 12 demands issued by Pharaoh Mike Pompeo in his edict delivered on May 21, 2018. It was really disappointing that Pompeo didn't raise the obvious thirteenth demand and insist that the embargo would not be lifted until an American regent was appointed in Tehran, taking the Islamic Revolution under neoliberal guidance until circumstances changed, after which Iranian democracy would be restored to its former lack of glory. That was implied, to be sure, but we didn't get much straight talk from Mr. Pompeo on that point.

This ultimatum was reminiscent of the demands that the Austro-Hungarians made on the Serbs on a certain date in 1914. Make them as extreme as you can, said the inspired diplomatists looking for war. World reaction was then unfavorable. Winston Churchill, in charge of Britain's navy, called it "the most insolent document of its kind ever devised." The resemblance to Pompeo's ultimatums hardly shows the imminence of a 1914-like crisis today, but there is a certain arrogance to both the U.S. warmongers and Austro-Hungarians. The Austrians got the war they were looking for; the neocons may yet get theirs.

Trump's renunciation of the Iran nuclear deal is mostly about Israel and its perceived security requirements. Not only must Iran not have a single nuclear weapon, it must not have the theoretical capability to produce a weapon, were the Iranians to break from their pledges under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the JCPOA. This imposes a requirement on the Islamic Republic that no other medium-sized power has had to endure. That the Iranians are bearers of an ancient civilization makes the humiliation all the more painful. Those 12 demands were not designed to produce a settlement; they were designed to produce a crisis, as they now have done. Regime change lies back of them -- that or simply the immiseration of another Muslim country.

American policy toward Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has recently been mostly about arms sales. People say all the time that the oil companies are the heavyweights in this drama. In fact, they are secondary. What has driven events in the recent past is the military-industrial complex salivating over the sales of high-priced and high-tech U.S. armaments to sheikdoms with money to burn. The MIC plunderers, like the Hollywood moguls, understand that you simply must have the foreign market to make the big profits. Politicians see such sales as a way of making our own arms purchases remotely affordable and thereby politically palatable. For these reasons, foreign arms sales to reprehensible characters is Washington's go-to move, a win-win for the plutocrats and the praetorians.

The United States acted under no prompting of national interest in so aiding and abetting the Saudi war in Yemen, but its hankering after all those lucrative contracts was just too much temptation. When the flesh is weak, as it seems to be in Washington, burning flesh is not a problem. Trump saw it as a great business deal and had no compunctions about the human fallout in Yemen. The Democrats -- a certain Democrat, especially -- did what was once said of Austrian Queen Maria Theresa after the Partition of Poland in 1772: "She wept, but she took."

The president may have outsmarted himself this time. He got rid of National Security Adviser John Bolton because he didn't like Bolton's across-the-board hawkish recommendations, but he signed on to the very big change in U.S. policy towards Iran that Bolton had recommended. Trump thought he was in control of the escalation. But when you declare your intention to asphyxiate another country, you've committed an act of war. Retaliation from the other side usually follows in some form or fashion. You can then advance to your ruin or retreat in ignominy.

Trump has threatened retaliation, but he surely does not want a big war with Iran. His supporters definitely do not want a war with Iran. Americans in general are opposed to a war with Iran. Mysteriously, however, the U.S. declaration of war on Iran in fact -- though not, of course, in name, heaven forbid -- escaped notice by the commentariat this past year. The swamp's seismograph doesn't record a reading when we violate the rules, but when the other guy does, it's 7.8 on the Richter Scale.

The whole drama, in a nutshell, is just the old-fashioned hubris of the imperial power, issuing its edicts, and genuinely surprised when it encounters resistance, even though such resistance confirms for the wunderkinds their view of the enemy's malevolence.

Is Trump trapped? That is the question of the hour. He faces strong pressure to do something in retaliation, but that something may aggravate the oil shock and imperil his re-election. As he dwells on that possibility, he will probably look for ways to back down. He will try to get out of the trap set by the U.S. economic war on Iran without abandoning the economic war on Iran. But that probably won't work; that was Iran's message over the weekend. Were he to abandon the economic war, however, he would get a ton of flak from both sides of the aisle in Congress. The commentators would scream "appeasement!" In Washington lobby-land, we'd be back to 1938 in a flash.

Does the president have the gumption to resist that tired line? I hope so.

David Hendrickson teaches history at Colorado College and is the author of Republic in Peril: American Empire and the Liberal Tradition.

[Sep 16, 2019] Manhattan DA Subpoenas 8 Years Of Trump Tax Returns

Looks like very polarized decision: to friends everything, to enemies the law. And treatment by NY of Epstein and Harvey Weinstein supports this hypothesis.
Sep 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Manhattan DA Subpoenas 8 Years Of Trump Tax Returns

by Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 16:45 0 SHARES

It never ends.

New York state prosecutors in Manhattan have subpoenaed President Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, demanding eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns according to the New York Times , citing "several people with knowledge on the matter" - the gold standard in modern sources.

The subpoena was issued by the Manhattan DA's office last month following the launch of a criminal investigation into hush-money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen - who pleaded guilty last year to eight charges; seven of which were unrelated to the Trump campaign, and one for breaking federal campaign finance laws. He is currently serving a three-year prison sentence.

At issue - Democratic Manhattan D.A. Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (whose daddy was Jimmy Carter's Secretary of State - and who took money from Harvey Weinstein while declining to prosecute him for sexual assault - and who sought a reduced sex-offender status for Jeffrey Epstein) wants to see if Trump's reimbursement of Cohen violated any laws in New York , and whether Trump's accounting firm falsely accounted for the reimbursements as a legal expense.

In New York, filing a false business record can be a crime.

But it becomes a felony only if prosecutors can prove that the false filing was made to commit or conceal another crime, such as tax violations or bank fraud. The tax returns and other documents sought from Mazars could shed light on whether any state laws were broken . Such subpoenas also routinely request related documents in connection with the returns. - New York Times

Congressional Democrats have been hunting down Trump's tax returns for years after the billionaire refused to do so, citing an ongoing IRS audit as well as the position that Trump Organization competitors would then have access to industry secrets.

Congressional Democrats have taken an aggressive approach, subpoenaing six years of Mr. Trump's tax returns from the Treasury Department, as well as personal and corporate financial records from Deutsche Bank, Capital One and Mazars USA.

The president has fought back to keep his finances under wraps, challenging the subpoenas in federal court. He has also sued to block a New York state law, passed this year, that authorized state officials to provide his state tax returns in response to certain congressional inquiries. By tying up the requests in court, Mr. Trump's team has made it diminishingly likely that Democrats in Washington will get the chance to review them before the election next year . - New York Times

And while Trump and the Treasury Department have proven thus far successful in thwarting Democratic lawmakers' inquiries, it may not be as easy to fend off a subpoena in Manhattan .

According to Mazars, they will "will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations," adding that the company was legally prohibited from commenting on its work.

If the Manhattan DA is able to obtain Trump's tax returns, the Times notes that "the documents would be covered by secrecy rules governing grand juries, meaning they would not become public unless they were used as evidence in a criminal case."

The Times does not note, however, that the records would likely be leaked within 30 minutes to the Washington Post or similar.

State prosecutors also subpoenaed the Trump Organization in early August for records of the payments to Daniels and Cohen's reimbursement - a request which has been complied with according to the report.

"It's just harassment of the president, his family and his business, using subpoenas as weapons," said Trump Org attorney, Marc L. Mukasey in a statement last month.

As part of its investigation, prosecutors from Mr. Vance's office visited Mr. Cohen in prison in Otisville, N.Y., to seek assistance with their investigation, according to people briefed on the meeting, which was first reported by CNN.

Mr. Cohen also helped arrange for American Media Inc., the publisher of The National Enquirer, to pay Karen McDougal, a Playboy model who also said she had an affair with the president. Prosecutors in the district attorney's office subpoenaed American Media in early August, as well as at least one bank. - New York Times

Will the Democrats' gambit pay off? Or will the ongoing "witch hunts" into President Trump backfire and turn him into a martyr?


Tachyon5321 , 43 minutes ago link

There is no evidence that any crimes of any type has been committed.

There is no legal grounds for a subpoena to be issued without evidence that a crime has been committed.

Cearly, the Manhattan DA is violating the civil right of a citizen for asking for 8 years of tax records with no indication of a crime. Trump should sue the DA and the jutice department should look into the DA violation of due process and legal rights of a citizen.

rgraf , 53 minutes ago link

Has he subpoenaed Epstein's docs? Is he going to claim tax fraud is worse than child molestation? Why don't Trump supporters file a class action lawsuit and RICO against this clown?

William Dorritt , 3 hours ago link

Perfect

"Democratic Manhattan D.A. Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

wants to see if Trump's reimbursement of Cohen violated any laws in New York , and whether Trump's accounting firm falsely accounted for the reimbursements as a legal expense. "

Love to see the Bio on the Judge that approved the Subpeona

DBAustin , 3 hours ago link

How many people reading this think that the IRS never reviewed Trump's tax returns?

How many people reading this think that Obama's IRS did NOT make a special effort to go over Trump's taxes in great detail, even as Obama's FBI and DOJ spied on Trump and his campaign?

How many people reading this think that Obama's IRS would NOT have charged Trump with tax evasion even if they could have?

How many people reading this think that making Trump's tax return public is NOT an effort to twist, distort, and misinterpret complex tax returns in an attempt to make Trump look bad as bad as possible for taking legitimate, legal, but large tax deductions?

How many people reading this think that it is perfectly fine for democrat leaders, such as Pelosi, Schumer, and multimillionaire Maxine Waters NOT to have to release their tax returns while Trump has to release his?

beemasters , 4 hours ago link

Why did Weinstein and Epstein get such special treatment?

Both did get the same treatment- in escaping from justice. Oh, you mean not producing tax returns? No one is demanding them, for one plus they are not public servants. All government officials should submit their tax returns to ensure they are not compromised by those who have access to them.

[Sep 16, 2019] When Students Melt Down Over a 'B'

Sep 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

When Students Melt Down Over a 'B' Rampant grade anxiety is a reflection of deeper American social dysfunction, with our children the biggest victims. By David Masciotra September 17, 2019

By Marjan Apostolovic /Shutterstock The library on campus of a small Catholic university in Illinois was largely empty. Since the administrators had replaced most of the bookshelves with plush furniture, conference tables, and chairs, it better resembled an airport terminal just before a redeye. A handful of students were staring intensely into computer screens, while another pair talked loudly -- no more than 10 feet from the silent, visibly demoralized librarian -- about the rap song that one of them had just played moments earlier. Not one student was near a book. There wasn't a single newspaper or journal in sight. The university had canceled its subscriptions and removed the periodical section a few semesters earlier.

I was making my way toward the front door when one of the students from my Intro to Literature course stopped me, tears rolling down her cheeks, her body nearly convulsing as she attempted to suppress her sobs. Because any human contact is potentially criminal, I ignored my impulse to offer a consoling hand to the shoulder, and asked what was wrong. Expecting her to tell me about a personal tragedy -- perhaps the terminal diagnosis of a loved one -- I almost began to weep myself when she said, "You gave me a 'B' on the paper."

Her crying made the harangue that followed difficult to fully comprehend, but it seemed that she must maintain a certain GPA to remain in athletics. When I countered that a "B" is a good grade and that she would have plenty of time to aspire towards an "A" on other assignments, she began pleading with me for opportunities to "bring up the grade." I declined, and asked if some other, more personal factor was contributing to her stress over a passing grade on one paper in a course entirely unrelated to her major. She insisted that there was not. Helpless and baffled, I wished her well, offered her reassurance, and proceeded out of the library and into the parking lot.

Fielding an existential meltdown, complete with a crying jag, is not part of my professional training. Yet rarely does a semester go by without some kind of grade-related complaint, appeal for mercy, and panic attack. When a student appears as if he has just undergone a life-altering trauma because he's realized he is hanging over the edge of a "C," I think of my father, who at around the same age was in Vietnam. We all have our crosses to bear, whether surviving guerrilla warfare or dealing with a professor who will not give extra credit.

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"Grade anxiety," to use the more popular term, is not unique to my students or school of employment. Studies from Penn State and reports from Psychology Today , Boston University , and many other sources have confirmed that debilitating anxiety is now the leading mental health problem for college students. A quick Google search of "grade anxiety" reveals endless pages of advice to students apoplectic about their exam scores, the professors on the receiving end of their complaints and concerns, and the parents who cannot cope with anything other than perfection.

In all fairness, contemporary college students, contrary to Baby Boomer sanctimony, do have a tougher task than their predecessors. More of them work, often full-time, while completing their degree requirements, and must shoulder heavy financial burdens to acquire their education -- which they understand they will carry, in the form of student debt not dischargeable in bankruptcy, for the majority of their working lives.

Yet even acknowledging the peculiar injustice that exists in American higher education, there is no avoiding the conclusion that 20-year-old adults obsessing and crying over their grades is not a sign of societal health. It's a tornado siren blasting 100 yards away from a trailer park.

As tempting as it is to ridicule the students for their inability to put their lives in mature perspective, it's more instructive to recognize that they are products of American families, institutions, and culture. The overwhelming prevalence of severe grade anxiety indicts a society that is failing to strengthen children into thoughtful and resilient adults. As Gore Vidal once quipped, "I've never met a boring six-year-old in America, and I've never met an interesting 16-year-old."

Even before reaching the age of six, children are under the constant influence of their families. Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff document in their important book The Coddling of the American Mind how "helicopter parenting" has weakened us all. Paranoid about safety, aggressively committed to their children's achievement, parents aspire to protect their sons and daughters from all potential hardship, pushing them into closely monitored extracurricular activities. They treat school work as an accountant treats an actuarial table. The wealthier the parents, the more likely they are to enter their children into the vigilant competition of meritocracy. Some families even send their kids to elite preschools, believing that failure to do so will keep them off the Ivy League university trajectory.

The self-esteem movement has ensured that children will not only aspire to the materialistic measurement of the "best," but believe that they are innately worthy of it. Hearing for their entire lives that they are flawless specimens of Da Vinci-esque brilliance and creativity leaves them unprepared for even the mildest form of criticism. One of the most common rebuttals to a low grade from a student is an indignant "I think I did a great job," spoken as if the teacher should receive a pupil's opinion about his own work as a Catholic priest receives a papal encyclical.

Since the move toward standardized testing as the ultimate metric for student and school success, educational institutions in both rich and poor neighborhoods have relegated the learning experience to high stakes exam preparation, indoctrinating children to believe that they can reduce the value of their intellectual pursuits to a number on a results sheet. The testing model of education complements the American adult's inevitable entrance into a consumer culture with a hierarchy of social status and purchasing power. The earning power of the Kardashians or Waltons allows them to accrue more political influence and cultural value than the typical family in a city without a "Real Housewives" franchise.

Too many conservatives insist on demoting education to nothing more than job training, encouraging the prevalent anti-intellectualism in the United States with suspicion, or outright derision, towards the "impractical" liberal arts. Liberals don't help matters by too often transforming the humanities into conduits of leftist social theory, and before that making elementary and secondary schools too bureaucratic. Formulaic lesson plans and mechanical approaches to pedagogy prevent teachers from developing fruitful bonds with their students, or adjusting their class agendas according to student need and interest.

The Atlantic has run informative but also demoralizing reports on how elementary schools in Finland allow children plenty of free time for play, while also encouraging them to indulge their curiosities in the classroom. In the United States, organic and unrestrained learning is a privilege for children whose parents pay the high prices of a Montessori school. An American kindergartener has an average of 30 minutes of homework per night.

One of my favorite assignments as a child, at the Lutheran elementary school I attended from first through eighth grade, was the book report. Our teacher would walk us to the library and tell us to pick any book, read it, and write a page on it. Depriving children of choice robs them of any joy they might associate with learning. I now teach students in perpetual panic over their grades, and more times than not, the only questions I receive after attempting to facilitate a discussion on a masterpiece of literature is "Will this be on the test?" or "How long does the paper have to be?"

Standards of evaluation are necessary. But I often try to inculcate in my students the knowledge that, in any walk of life and in comparison with the development of passions and the need to sharpen one's ability to look at a complex world, grades are not that important.

This is a tough sell -- pun intended -- in a country that has so thoroughly degraded its public vision of life to an endless quest for wealth and power. There is now a handy measurement of everything. Are you successful? Check your bank account. Are you important? Check your social media followers. Are you attractive? Check the likes on your latest profile picture.

Grades, with the weight of an institution behind them, act as a final judgment in the minds of too many students. They equate A's not only with immediate academic success, but also the chance of having a successful life. Anything less than the optimum might lead to unhappiness.

All lives have moments of failure, pain, and agony. Real adversity is not a "B" on a paper, but your best friend in a coffin, your child's frightening medical condition, your injury that leads to a permanent disability. Education at its best can bequeath what Albert Murray called "equipment for living."

Students who panic and cry over less than perfect grades demonstrate that America has not given them equipment that is helpful and durable. America, in that respect, is worthy of an "F."

David Masciotra is the author of four books, including Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky) and Barack Obama: Invisible Man (Eyewear Publishing).

[Sep 16, 2019] President Macron's Amazing Admission by The Saker

Sep 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

Interestingly, one of the people the Ukrainians gave up in this exchange was Vladimir Tsemakh, a native of the Donbass who was kidnapped by the Ukie SBU in Novorussia (our noble "Europeans" did not object to such methods!) and declared the "star witness" against Russia in the MH-17 (pseudo-)investigation. Even more pathetic is that the Dutch apparently fully endorsed this load of crapola . Finally, and just for a good laugh, check out how the infamous' Bellingcat presented Tsemakh . And then, suddenly, everybody seem to "forget" that "star witness" and now the Ukies have sent him to Russia. Amazing how fast stuff gets lost in the collective western memory hole

Thus we see these apparently contradictory developments taking place: on on hand, the Ukraine finally agreed to a prisoner swap with Russia (a painful one for Russia as Russia mostly traded real criminals, including a least two bona fide Ukie terrorist, against what are mostly civilian hostages, but Putin decided – correctly I think – that freeing Russian nationalists from Ukie jails was more important in this case) while on the other hand, the Ukronazi armed forces increased their shelling, even with 152mm howitzers which fire 50kg high explosive fragmentation shells, against the Donbass. Whatever may be the case, this prisoner swap, no matter how one-sided and unfair, is a positive development which might mark the beginning of a pragmatic and less ideological attitude in Kiev.

Some very cautious beginnings of a little hint of optimism might be in order following that exchange, but the big stuff seems to be scheduled for the meeting of the Normandy Group (NG), probably in France. So far, the Russians have made it very clear that they will not meet just for the hell of meeting, and that the only circumstance in which the Russians will agree to a NG meeting would be if it has good chances of yielding meaningful results which, translated from Russian diplomatic language simply means "if/when Kiev stops stonewalling and sabotaging everything". Specifically, the Russians are demanding that Zelenskii commit in writing to the so-called " Steinmeier formula " and that the Ukrainian forces withdraw from the line of contact. Will that happen? Maybe. We shall soon find out.

Here is my informal translation of these words:

The international order is being shaken in an unprecedented manner, above all with, if I may say so, by the great upheaval that is undoubtedly taking place for the first time in our history , in almost every field and with a profoundly historic magnitude . The first thing we observe is a major transformation, a geopolitical and strategic re-composition. We are undoubtedly experiencing the end of Western hegemony over the world . We were accustomed to an international order which, since the 18th century, rested on a Western hegemony, mostly French in the 18th century, by the inspiration of the Enlightenment; then mostly British in the 19th century thanks to the Industrial Revolution and, finally, mostly American in the 20th century thanks to the 2 great conflicts and the economic and political domination of this power. Things change. And they are now deeply shaken by the mistakes of Westerners in certain crises, by the choices that have been made by Americans for several years which did not start with this administration, but which lead to revisiting certain implications in conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere, and to rethinking a deep, diplomatic and military strategy, and sometimes elements of solidarity that we thought were intangible for eternity, even if we had constituted together in geopolitical moments that have changed. And then there is the emergence of new powers whose impact we have probably underestimated for a long time. China is at the forefront, but also the Russian strategy, which has, it must be said, been pursued more successfully in recent years . I will come back to that. India that is emerging, these new economies that are also becoming powers not only economic but political and that think themselves, as some have written, as real "civilizational states" which now come not only to shake up our international order but who also come to weigh in on the economic order and to rethink the political order and the political imagination that goes with it, with much dynamism and much more inspiration than we have. Look at India, Russia and China. They have a much stronger political inspiration than Europeans today. They think about our planet with a true logic, a true philosophy, an imagination that we've lost a little bit.

... ... ...

6) " Look at India, Russia and China. They have a much stronger political inspiration than Europeans today. They think about our planet with a true logic, a true philosophy, an imagination that we've lost a little bit."

This is the "core BRICS" challenge to the Empire: China and Russia have already established what the Chinese call a "Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination for the New Era". If they can now extend this kind of informal but extremely profound partnership (I think of it as "symbiotic") to India next, then the BRICS will have a formidable future (especially after the Brazilian people give the boot to Bolsonaro and his US patrons). Should that fail and should India chos