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From Military-Industrial Complex to Media-Military-Industrial Complex: Review of literature

a

The mainstream media of the US is owned lock, stock, and barrel by the military industrial complex.
 If you want to call it anything, you can call it the ‘military [industrial] media,’  The military makes money by making war;
they buy the media to promote war... The military industrial media in the United States is depending on being able to speak
to a captive audience of uninformed viewers… The military controls the media because they own them.- John Bosnitch

Pseudoscience  > Who Rules America

News National Security State Recommended Links The Deep State The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies Classified America: Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
Neo-fascism Neoconservatism Predator state American Exceptionalism New American Militarism Ethno-lingustic Nationalism Nation under attack meme
Corporatism War is racket Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law National Socialism and Military Keysianism US and British media are servants of security apparatus War is a Racket - Incredible Essay by General Smedley Butler Economics of Peak Energy
National Security State / Surveillance State Big Uncle is Watching You Social Sites as intelligence collection tools Is Google evil ? Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition Military Bureaucracy and Military Incompetence Bureaucratic Collectivism
Color revolutions Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Nulandgate Sanctions against Russia Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? The Far Right Forces in Ukraine Russian Ukrainian Gas wars
The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum Homepage Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few History of American False Flag Operations JFK assassination as a turning event in US history Mystery of Building 7 Collapse Allan Dulles  
Understanding Mayberry Machiavellis  Ron Paul War and Peace Quotes Corporatism quotes Politically Incorrect Humor Humor Etc

Due to the size the introduction was moves to a separate page

Abstract

If the ability to anticipate future dangers for the nation is the mark of a truly great president then Dwight D. Eisenhower would be the greatest president of the XX century. But because he appointed such a devious person as Allen Dulles as the head of CIA his record is very mixed and contradictory.

In any case, he was the last Republican president to deliver broad-based prosperity. During his presidency, the gains from growth were widely shared and the incomes of the poorest fifth actually grew faster than the incomes of the top fifth. As a result, America became more equal than ever before or since. Under Ike, the marginal tax rate on the richest Americans reached 91%. Eisenhower also presided over the creation of the interstate highway system – the largest infrastructure project in American history — as well as the nation’s biggest expansion of public schools. It’s no coincidence that when Eisenhower was president, over a third of all private sector workers were unionized. Ike can’t be credited for this but at least he didn’t try to stop it or legitimize firing striking workers, as did Ronald Reagan.

At the same time Dwight D. Eisenhower was an architect of the USA "deep state" and subverting by deep state of the remnants of constitutional republic that survived WWII. As part of his own contribution to the creation of military-industrial complex, Eisenhower had overseen the creation of both the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, and a "high-risk, high-gain" research unit called the Advanced Research Projects Agency, or ARPA, that later added the word "Defense" to its name and became DARPA.

The backbone of military industrial complex is not Pentagon (although it is definitely the important part of it). It is three letter agencies such as CIA, FBI, NSA and ONI.  David Talbot's book The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government fingers CIA director Allen Dulles as the person who plotted and directed the JFK assassination, and portrays him as a psychopath who managed to rise to the high echelons of power. Unfortunately, the book has problems with  history, as explained by David M. Barrett in this review.   And the story of rise of power and influence of CIA, FBI and NSA is the key part of the story of the US military industrial complex.  With the key personal role of Eisenhower in this rise.  In other words he was the actual creator of "regime change" machine within the CIA (America's Legacy of Regime Change by Stephen Kinzer):

It was not only the Dulles brothers, however, who brought the United States into the regime-change era in the early 1950s. Eisenhower himself was a fervent advocate of covert action. Officially his defense and security policy, which he called the "New Look," rested on two foundations, a smaller army and an increased nuclear arsenal. In reality, the "New Look" had a third foundation: covert action. Eisenhower may have been the last president to believe that no one would ever discover what he sent the CIA to do. With a soldier's commitment to keeping secrets, he never admitted that he had ordered covert regime-change operations, much less explained why he favored them.

BTW it was Dwight D. Eisenhower who appointed Dulles brothers to CIA and State Department creating the most dangerous and reckless tandem the USA history ever known and putting the last nail into the coffin of constitutional republic.  It was his administration that organized coupe on Iran deposing legitimate government and installing a puppet regime, the prolog of many color revolutions accomplished the USA ever since (including Chile, and many other Latin American republics, and later the xUSSR space). See The Brothers John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War Stephen Kinzer. 


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"All democracies turn into dictatorships - but not by coup. The people give their democracy to a dictator, whether it's Julius Caesar or Napoleon or Adolf Hitler. Ultimately, the general population goes along with the idea... That's the issue that I've been exploring: How did the Republic turn into the Empire ... and how does a democracy become a dictatorship? "

Star Wars filmmaker George Lucas

[Sep 18, 2019] Ukraine Votes for a Future in Europe by Robert C. O'Brien

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

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

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

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

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

Trump announced the selection of his fourth National Security Advisor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sydney an hour ago

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

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

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

Amazon 2016 blurb:

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

Norwegian , Sep 18 2019 15:29 utc | 159

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

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

[Sep 18, 2019] 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.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

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] Looks like Pompeo is busy sputtering platitudes and warmongering rhetorics to speed up the second coming of Christ

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

Heartfully , 1 minute ago link

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

Thordoom , 3 minutes ago link

That conversation between Pompus and MBS must be hilarious.

Mah_Authoritah , 3 minutes ago link

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

Deep Snorkeler , 8 minutes ago link

V I C T O R Y !

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

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

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

romanmoment , 1 minute ago link

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sep 16, 2019 | www.defenddemocracy.press

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Canthama , Sep 18 2019 10:53 utc | 114

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

vk , Sep 18 2019 15:22 utc | 156

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

Let's see (again):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


vk , Sep 18 2019 15:31 utc | 160

And the number's just changed:

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

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

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

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

You're chasing your own tail.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Drones have fission heads carrying four precision bombs."

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

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

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

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

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

Seems about right. Statement by bevin is on target.

[Sep 18, 2019] Yeah, right..

Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Lozion , Sep 18 2019 15:19 utc | 154

#SaudiArabia Defense Ministry press briefing:

Yeah, right..

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

Sep 17, 2019 | www.ronpaulinstitute.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the reaction did not fall neatly along party lines.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wertheim adds:

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

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


chris chuba 2 days ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Sep 18, 2019] This B's posting is further proof that the US of A (and it's flunky allies) are indeed led by the stupid, corrupt, and ignorant

The dangerous disease that inflict the USA neoliberal elite can be called "supremacism delirium"
As for quality of arms produced, when profit is the main motivation, the quality of design suffer. Still despite recent setbacks the USA remain the leader in new arm technologies.
Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
GeorgeV , Sep 17 2019 20:09 utc | 8
B's posting is further proof that the US of A (and it's flunky allies) are indeed led by the stupid, corrupt, and ignorant.

While Russia and Iran are taking rational routes to protect themselves, the US and it's allies are pouring billions, if not trillions, of dollars (and thousands of lives) into a foreign policy that can only be described as the foreign policy of God, for it passes all human understanding.


karlof1 , Sep 17 2019 20:12 utc | 9

Thanks b! One way looking radar is so Pre-Second World War! The Patriot's MPQ-53 radar has a search sector of 90° and track capability of 120°--an amazingly inferior capability I wasn't aware of, nor is the vast majority of the public, which is why that twitter gif I linked to on the previous thread is humorous. In that comment, it was said that the radar's were reoriented to aim at Houthiland which is the given excuse as to why the Iranian attack wasn't detected. I don't buy that for an instant.

Houthi media's gone silent for now as it awaits a response from Saudis before launching there next attack in under 48 hours--yes, they did place an actual time, but were very general about the types of targets, although the top threat remains hydrocarbon infrastructure. RT reports :

"Saudi Arabia's energy minister said that its oil supplies had resumed and that its oil market would be 'fully back online' by the end of September following attacks which Washington blames on Iran while Riyadh is still probing.

"Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told the media that oil production in October would reach 9.89 million barrels per day and 12 million bpd by the end of November."

We shall see if the output equals the boast, particularly if Houthis continue their attacks. No questions about providing better defenses reminds me of the Death Star Commandeer's famous last words about his weapon's invincibility.

Meanwhile, Nuttyahoo's coalition's narrowly losing the election.

Christian J Chuba , Sep 17 2019 20:18 utc | 11
Fighting Dirty w/Aysymmetric Warfare

I love how the warmongers on FOX / CNN make Iran / Russia sound nefarious that they call their strategy A2D2 or asymmetric warfare (aka actual defense of their country instead of power projection). How is using short / medium range missiles or a green water navy 'asymmetric'?

If we do go to war w/Iran the only way we win is by committing war crimes by bombing population centers until they surrender, we can't beat them in a straight up fight. I'm not a military wonk but I can see the relative competence levels. We can't even get a decent photo of a boat with a bomb on it after it's been sitting in broad daylight for 10hrs.

[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] 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 specter of Marx haunts the American ruling class - World Socialist Web Site

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

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

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

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

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

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

What has prompted this effort to blackguard socialism?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barry Grey

[Sep 18, 2019] US wants to seize all money Edward Snowden makes from new book - Reuters

Notable quotes:
"... The United States is seeking all proceeds earned by Snowden for the book, the Justice Department said. The lawsuit also names the "corporate entities" behind the book's publication as nominal defendants. ..."
"... Ben Wizner, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who represents Snowden, said the lawsuit was without merit. "This book contains no government secrets that have not been previously published by respected news organizations," he said in a statement, adding that Snowden would have submitted it for review if he thought the government would review it in good faith. ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | uk.reuters.com

The United States filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked secret documents about U.S. telephone and internet surveillance in 2013, saying his new book violates non-disclosure agreements.

The Justice Department said Snowden published his memoir, "Permanent Record," without submitting it to intelligence agencies for review, adding that speeches given by Snowden also violated nondisclosure agreements. In 2013, Snowden wrote "Everything You Know about the Constitution is Wrong."

The United States is seeking all proceeds earned by Snowden for the book, the Justice Department said. The lawsuit also names the "corporate entities" behind the book's publication as nominal defendants.

Ben Wizner, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who represents Snowden, said the lawsuit was without merit. "This book contains no government secrets that have not been previously published by respected news organizations," he said in a statement, adding that Snowden would have submitted it for review if he thought the government would review it in good faith.

Representatives for the book's publisher, Macmillan Publishers, and its unit Henry Holt & Co, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Snowden has lived in Russia since he revealed details of U.S. intelligence agencies' secret surveillance programs.

Though he is viewed by some as a hero, U.S. authorities want him to stand in a criminal trial over his disclosures of classified information.

Speaking by video link at an event in Berlin to promote the book, Snowden said that while he had signed a non-disclosure agreement to maintain secrecy, he had also sworn an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

"You've told the government you're not going to talk to journalists. You've told them you're not going to write a book," Snowden said. "At the same time you have an oath to defend the Constitution. And the secret that you are asked to protect is that the government is violating that Constitution and the rights of people around the world."

Reporting by Makini Brice; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington and Paul Carrell in Berlin; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Lisa Shumaker Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

[Sep 17, 2019] Oh SNAP!! Tulsi throws down the gauntlet caucus99percent

Sep 17, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Oh SNAP!! Tulsi throws down the gauntlet


bondibox on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 8:46am

. @realDonaldTrump

Trump awaits instructions from his Saudi masters. Having our country act as Saudi Arabia's bitch is not "America First." https://t.co/kJOCpqwaQS

-- Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) September 16, 2019

The tweet she was referring to was this:

Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. 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!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019

Trump is at the Saudis beck and call. He deserves to be called out with the strongest of language.

Linda Wood on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 9:38am

Her language

gets very strong when it comes to the Sauds, which is the main reason I support her.

Le Frog on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 10:03am
Or maybe Saudi Arabia is a powerful pawn

in American imperialism and the power imbalance isn't about just oil? How about we elaborate on that. It's not enough to criticize American military meddling without also calling out the geopolitical and economic meddling. These are intertwined and while I think Tulsi is very strong and very correct on military "interventions," she can and should go further. (All Americand should, no arguments here.) I mean, as far as this tweet goes, it's a cheap shot at a total loser who is already an easy target. Is she tweeting this at the American companies with interests in Saudi oil?

Alligator Ed on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 4:03pm
Monsieur le Frog

@Le Frog be careful whom you mock.

as far as this tweet [by Tulsi] goes, it's a cheap shot at a total loser who is already an easy target. Is she tweeting this at the American companies with interests in Saudi oil?

The "total loser" is a master politician, surviving a coup attempt , battling hostile MSM 24/7 and with an enlarging voter base. Include rising favorability ratings, though still less than 50%. His popularity currently equals that of Obomber at a similar point in first term.

in American imperialism and the power imbalance isn't about just oil? How about we elaborate on that. It's not enough to criticize American military meddling without also calling out the geopolitical and economic meddling. These are intertwined and while I think Tulsi is very strong and very correct on military "interventions," she can and should go further. (All Americand should, no arguments here.) I mean, as far as this tweet goes, it's a cheap shot at a total loser who is already an easy target. Is she tweeting this at the American companies with interests in Saudi oil?

CS in AZ on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 10:41am
I don't understand her tweet

I'm not trying to be contrary, but I honestly do not get what she's saying here, other than Trump is being KSA's "bitch" because he's waiting to hear what they say before letting bombs fly at whoever the US "believes" is responsible. Personally I think that's a big improvement over him immediately ordering an attack on Iran, or wherever.

If her statement criticized the "locked and loaded" part of his statement and she directly said we should not be bombing anyone on behalf of Saudi Arabia, then I'd agree with her.

But instead she criticized his waiting to hear from the country that was actually bombed, before doing anything or taking unilateral action. Calling him SKA's bitch, means he's being weak and submissive. Goading him into quicker action ... seems like an odd way to discourage war and the macho-man thinking that drives it.

I guess I really don't understand at all why people like this rhetoric from her. I personally have a confused, but basically negative, gut reaction to her comment.

tle on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 5:39pm
She DID criticize his "locked and loaded" remark

@CS in AZ @CS in AZ I ran across her statements on youtube. And I don't see how you can interpret what she said as "goading" him.

I'm not trying to be contrary, but I honestly do not get what she's saying here, other than Trump is being KSA's "bitch" because he's waiting to hear what they say before letting bombs fly at whoever the US "believes" is responsible. Personally I think that's a big improvement over him immediately ordering an attack on Iran, or wherever.

If her statement criticized the "locked and loaded" part of his statement and she directly said we should not be bombing anyone on behalf of Saudi Arabia, then I'd agree with her.

But instead she criticized his waiting to hear from the country that was actually bombed, before doing anything or taking unilateral action. Calling him SKA's bitch, means he's being weak and submissive. Goading him into quicker action ... seems like an odd way to discourage war and the macho-man thinking that drives it.

I guess I really don't understand at all why people like this rhetoric from her. I personally have a confused, but basically negative, gut reaction to her comment.

Linda Wood on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 9:22pm
If Saudi Arabia

@CS in AZ

was a country at peace and was suddenly attacked, I could sort of understand your objection to Gabbard criticizing Trump for waiting to hear from the Saudi princes about what to do next.

But that's not the situation. Saudi Arabia has been targeting school buses, hospitals, weddings, and has starved 85,000 children to death in Yemen, and we have HELPED! Starving a child to death is torture.

The fact that the civilized world hasn't rained retribution down on the Saudi government for supporting Al Qaeda, for supporting ISIS and its atrocities, and for using the people of Yemen for target practice just to benefit our defense contractors, is an abomination. We are not just being USED by the Saudi government. We are being ABUSED, as a nation, as a people, as a culture that's supposed to have values. We are being transformed into the sucking scum of the earth. For money. For a few contractors.

I'm not trying to be contrary, but I honestly do not get what she's saying here, other than Trump is being KSA's "bitch" because he's waiting to hear what they say before letting bombs fly at whoever the US "believes" is responsible. Personally I think that's a big improvement over him immediately ordering an attack on Iran, or wherever.

If her statement criticized the "locked and loaded" part of his statement and she directly said we should not be bombing anyone on behalf of Saudi Arabia, then I'd agree with her.

But instead she criticized his waiting to hear from the country that was actually bombed, before doing anything or taking unilateral action. Calling him SKA's bitch, means he's being weak and submissive. Goading him into quicker action ... seems like an odd way to discourage war and the macho-man thinking that drives it.

I guess I really don't understand at all why people like this rhetoric from her. I personally have a confused, but basically negative, gut reaction to her comment.

earthling1 on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 10:49am
Tweetle-Dee, Tweetle Dumb

Trump is his own worst enemy. His thoughtless tweets reveal him to be some seriously damaged goods.
Not since the late days of dementia ridden Reagan has a more dangerous finger been on "The Button".

Alligator Ed on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 4:14pm
Conflation of politics and policy leads erroneous conclusions

@earthling1 @earthling1 Trump's policies are by and larger terrible, neoliberal, disguised as populism. But before considering that Trump is an idiot, rather than one prone to bad choices in policy, please consider his current POLIICAL status. See my comment above to Monsieur le Frog.

Trump is his own worst enemy. His thoughtless tweets reveal him to be some seriously damaged goods.
Not since the late days of dementia ridden Reagan has a more dangerous finger been on "The Button".

wokkamile on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 10:59am
Tulsi might

have not unreasonably read his tweet as saying what it clearly seems to be saying, that the US will wait to see who the Saudis decide carried out the bombing, and the US will wait for their instructions on how the US should proceed -- deferring to the Saudis on two counts.

Does seem rather clear, and odd, for a US president to state a foreign power should dictate our actions on their behalf.

I didn't read it at all as a complaint that the US has to wait and cool its heels for the Saudis in order to rush into military action.

Of course she went on twitter to respond to DT's tweet. Twitter, the short-form of communication, where brief tweets are always vulnerable to misunderstanding.

CS in AZ on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:19am
Cooperation is not 'deferring' to another country

@wokkamile

This used to be called diplomacy. That's what we (the peace-not-war minded) people) wanted from our government. I still do, and I'm forced to say I think I actually agree with trump on this one. His tweet was unusually diplomatic and relatively calm. I was glad he said something reasonable, for perhaps the first time ever.

WE (the US) are not the world dictatorship that should feel free to bomb anyone anywhere anytime, and screw the rest of the world. Cooperation among governments is not being anyone's bitch. That's the pro war, pro US empire kind of thinking.

America first... see, that's not really what I believe in. So I see now, that must be why I felt so disturbed by her comment. I just disagree with her basic premise.

have not unreasonably read his tweet as saying what it clearly seems to be saying, that the US will wait to see who the Saudis decide carried out the bombing, and the US will wait for their instructions on how the US should proceed -- deferring to the Saudis on two counts.

Does seem rather clear, and odd, for a US president to state a foreign power should dictate our actions on their behalf.

I didn't read it at all as a complaint that the US has to wait and cool its heels for the Saudis in order to rush into military action.

Of course she went on twitter to respond to DT's tweet. Twitter, the short-form of communication, where brief tweets are always vulnerable to misunderstanding.

wokkamile on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 5:25pm
No, diplomacy

@CS in AZ @CS in AZ is when two countries engage in discussions to possibly reach a mutual agreement. That seems like an incredibly expansive and pro-Trump reading of his bizarre tweet.

Twump's tweet, in the clear language of the brief text, was about the US president waiting to hear marching orders from Crown Prince Mohammed "Ben" Salman as to what the US should do.

Tulsi's tweet and use of the word "bitch" was actually referencing a previous tweet she had made months ago criticizing the way the US seems to be subservient to the Saudis.

#5

This used to be called diplomacy. That's what we (the peace-not-war minded) people) wanted from our government. I still do, and I'm forced to say I think I actually agree with trump on this one. His tweet was unusually diplomatic and relatively calm. I was glad he said something reasonable, for perhaps the first time ever.

WE (the US) are not the world dictatorship that should feel free to bomb anyone anywhere anytime, and screw the rest of the world. Cooperation among governments is not being anyone's bitch. That's the pro war, pro US empire kind of thinking.

America first... see, that's not really what I believe in. So I see now, that must be why I felt so disturbed by her comment. I just disagree with her basic premise.

Linda Wood on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 9:03pm
@wokkamile

@wokkamile

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-17/tulsi-gabbard-slams-trump-maki...

Gabbard Campaign Video Slams Trump For Making US "The Prostitute Of Saudi Arabia"

by Tyler Durden
Wed, 04/17/2019

Democratic presidential candidate for 2020 Rep. Tulsi Gabbard lashed out at Trump on Wednesday after the president vetoed the Yemen War Powers Resolution this week, which sought to end US support for the Sauid-led war in Yemen.

The Hawaiian congresswomen and outspoken US foreign policy critic asserted the president is turning the nation "into the prostitute of Saudi Arabia" and further stated he vetoed the bill "to please his Saudi masters" in a minute-and-a-half campaign video.

"Unlike Donald Trump I will not turn our great country into the prostitute of Saudi Arabia."

#5.1 #5.1 is when two countries engage in discussions to possibly reach a mutual agreement. That seems like an incredibly expansive and pro-Trump reading of his bizarre tweet.

Twump's tweet, in the clear language of the brief text, was about the US president waiting to hear marching orders from Crown Prince Mohammed "Ben" Salman as to what the US should do.

Tulsi's tweet and use of the word "bitch" was actually referencing a previous tweet she had made months ago criticizing the way the US seems to be subservient to the Saudis.

Alligator Ed on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 4:19pm
Thanks for the additional info

@Linda Wood which provides the context for Tulsi's latest tweet. In this manner, Tulsi continues to emphasize a theme: no matter the circumstance (i.e., excuses), Saudi is a barbarous country, executing its detractors with swords rather than nice "surgical" drone strikes like Obomba and DJT have used.

#5.1.1

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-17/tulsi-gabbard-slams-trump-maki...

Gabbard Campaign Video Slams Trump For Making US "The Prostitute Of Saudi Arabia"

by Tyler Durden
Wed, 04/17/2019

Democratic presidential candidate for 2020 Rep. Tulsi Gabbard lashed out at Trump on Wednesday after the president vetoed the Yemen War Powers Resolution this week, which sought to end US support for the Sauid-led war in Yemen.

The Hawaiian congresswomen and outspoken US foreign policy critic asserted the president is turning the nation "into the prostitute of Saudi Arabia" and further stated he vetoed the bill "to please his Saudi masters" in a minute-and-a-half campaign video.

"Unlike Donald Trump I will not turn our great country into the prostitute of Saudi Arabia."

magiamma on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:34am
We stand to gain

By this oil price hike. More fracked oil that we can sell at a doable price.

tle on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 6:52pm
What is this WE of which you speak?

@magiamma @magiamma *~*

Yes, oil companies stand to benefit, but that doesn't exactly trickle down to actual people.

By this oil price hike. More fracked oil that we can sell at a doable price.

magiamma on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 8:31pm
The U.S., we...

@tle specifically the companies that are fracking and the banks that have given those companies loans

#6 #6 *~*

Yes, oil companies stand to benefit, but that doesn't exactly trickle down to actual people.

Centaurea on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 8:36pm
The collective "we",

@tle

I would assume.

#6 #6 *~*

Yes, oil companies stand to benefit, but that doesn't exactly trickle down to actual people.

crescentmoon on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 1:51pm
Yes. Often, I start from the

Yes. Often, I start from the question, "Who does this serve?" And I see how it helps Israel and the US. How does it serve Iran? I don't see it.

The Voice In th... on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 3:51pm
I guess I'm naiive

@crescentmoon

I just see this as Yemen fighting back on imperial KSA who they are at war with.
Asymmetrical warfare. Like Vietnam.

Yes. Often, I start from the question, "Who does this serve?" And I see how it helps Israel and the US. How does it serve Iran? I don't see it.

NYCVG on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 4:57pm
@The Voice In the Wilderness Yemen found a way to

@The Voice In the Wilderness Yemen found a way to strike back. That's what I think also, the voice in the wilderness

#7

I just see this as Yemen fighting back on imperial KSA who they are at war with.
Asymmetrical warfare. Like Vietnam.

artisan on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 5:03pm
According to this

very convoluted version , Iranian drones were launched from an Iranian affiliated militia base in Iraq in retaliation for Saudi funded Israeli drone strikes originating from a US/Kurdish base in Syria that struck Iranian/Iraqi bases, weapons depots, and a convoy in August.

wendy davis on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 5:31pm
bernhard at

@artisan

Moon of Alabama weighed in on that, if it helps:

Middle East Eye, a Qatari financed outlet, reported yesterday that the attack was launched from Iraq by Iran aligned forces in revenge for Israeli attacks in Syria. The author, David Hearst, is known for slandered reporting. The report is based on a single anonymous Iraqi intelligence source. Qatar, which is struggling with Saudi Arabia and the UAE over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, would like to see a larger conflict involving its rivals east and west of the Persian Gulf. The report should therefore be disregarded.

but with all the various reports it does seem clear that who launched them (drone or planes) look hard to ascertain for certain. but trump was far more careful than pompeo and lindsey graham who want to bomb bomb bomb iran on speculation, because iran is evil.

ah, i've been trying to figure out ho to compile a post on possibilities v. blame, and it's getting further and further away from me. but both KSA and trump (or his generals) may really understand what's at stake. what's bibi saying?

very convoluted version , Iranian drones were launched from an Iranian affiliated militia base in Iraq in retaliation for Saudi funded Israeli drone strikes originating from a US/Kurdish base in Syria that struck Iranian/Iraqi bases, weapons depots, and a convoy in August.

artisan on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 5:59pm
Whoever did it,

@wendy davis

it's clear that Gulf oil installations are vulnerable from a new generation of drones that these players are assembling or otherwise acquiring themselves. Several years ago, the Iranians were able to hack a Predator drone and bring it down intact, suitable for reverse engineering. In past war games, the entire US fleet in the Persian Gulf was destroyed in a matter of minutes by swarms of Iranian missiles. The Yemen war is likely to be over and the possibility of an attack on Iran seems more unlikely now as well.

#8

Moon of Alabama weighed in on that, if it helps:

Middle East Eye, a Qatari financed outlet, reported yesterday that the attack was launched from Iraq by Iran aligned forces in revenge for Israeli attacks in Syria. The author, David Hearst, is known for slandered reporting. The report is based on a single anonymous Iraqi intelligence source. Qatar, which is struggling with Saudi Arabia and the UAE over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, would like to see a larger conflict involving its rivals east and west of the Persian Gulf. The report should therefore be disregarded.

but with all the various reports it does seem clear that who launched them (drone or planes) look hard to ascertain for certain. but trump was far more careful than pompeo and lindsey graham who want to bomb bomb bomb iran on speculation, because iran is evil.

ah, i've been trying to figure out ho to compile a post on possibilities v. blame, and it's getting further and further away from me. but both KSA and trump (or his generals) may really understand what's at stake. what's bibi saying?

wendy davis on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 6:27pm
saudi arabia has no defenses

@artisan

against such a swarm attack like this (and so accurately targeted), nor does the US, according to b and a few others. iran probably does have russian missile defense, but clearly: riyadh needs to make peace with the houthis at any cost. there must be next to nothing left standing there after what, four years?

#8.1

it's clear that Gulf oil installations are vulnerable from a new generation of drones that these players are assembling or otherwise acquiring themselves. Several years ago, the Iranians were able to hack a Predator drone and bring it down intact, suitable for reverse engineering. In past war games, the entire US fleet in the Persian Gulf was destroyed in a matter of minutes by swarms of Iranian missiles. The Yemen war is likely to be over and the possibility of an attack on Iran seems more unlikely now as well.

The Voice In th... on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 1:39pm
Using $100K missiles to stop $100 drones

@wendy davis
seems a losing strategy.

EDIT:
I have since read that these are special fancy $1K drones. Still seems like a losing proposition.

#8.1.1

against such a swarm attack like this (and so accurately targeted), nor does the US, according to b and a few others. iran probably does have russian missile defense, but clearly: riyadh needs to make peace with the houthis at any cost. there must be next to nothing left standing there after what, four years?

UntimelyRippd on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 1:15pm
Not if you're in the missile-selling business.

@The Voice In the Wilderness

#8.1.1.1
seems a losing strategy.

EDIT:
I have since read that these are special fancy $1K drones. Still seems like a losing proposition.

dystopian on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 8:23pm
Tulsi's tweet this afternoon

This is a new tweet from Tulsi this afternoon with a short vid...

https://twitter.com/TulsiGabbard/status/1173723701373591552

Go Tulsi Go!

Alligator Ed on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 4:30pm
Tulsi delivers a severe blow to Trump in her video.

@dystopian She, as many predicted, is pushing Trump further and further into a non-confrontational foreign policy. There is not one of the Klown Kontenders with enough guts to call out Trump as forcefully as this--including Bernie.

This is a new tweet from Tulsi this afternoon with a short vid...

https://twitter.com/TulsiGabbard/status/1173723701373591552

Go Tulsi Go!

MinuteMan on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 9:10am
Grave new world

The attack marks a turning point in asymmetrical warfare: no longer can a country bomb its neighbor without fearing a significant attack in return. An that attack won't be tossing a few rockets in the general direction of a targey; instead they'll be precision strikes taking out key infrastructure.

The concept of an air force has changed and the big powers won't have a monopoly going forward. Mutually assured destruction lite.

[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] Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) slammed President Donald Trump for turning the nation into "Saudi Arabia's bitch" after he assured the kingdom that the U.S. is "locked and loaded" as it waits to hear who may be behind an attack on its oil supply.

Sep 17, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

EMichael , September 17, 2019 at 05:55 AM

Voice of reason and authority on this one.

"Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) slammed President Donald Trump for turning the nation into "Saudi Arabia's bitch" after he assured the kingdom that the U.S. is "locked and loaded" as it waits to hear who may be behind an attack on its oil supply.

"Trump awaits instructions from his Saudi masters," the Democratic presidential candidate tweeted Sunday. "Having our country act as Saudi Arabia's bitch is not 'America First.'"

Gabbard previously accused Trump of making the U.S. "Saudi Arabia's bitch" last November for his failure to take action against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who, according to the U.S. intelligence community, directed the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi."

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tulsi-gabbard-donald-trump-saudi-arabia-oil-attack_n_5d7fc275e4b077dcbd622d5b

"Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has doubled down attacking President Donald Trump over his response to the weekend's drone attacks on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia.

Trump assured Saudi Arabia via Twitter that the U.S. is "locked and loaded" and awaiting its direction following the strikes, which were claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels but which Trump claimed were backed by Iran.

The Democratic presidential candidate -- a combat veteran and a major in the Army National Guard ― called Trump's response "disgraceful" in a new video shared online Monday.

"Mr. President, as you know, I have never engaged in hateful rhetoric against you or your family and I never will," said Gabbard. "But your offering our military assets to the dictator of Saudi Arabia to use as he sees fit is a betrayal of my brothers and sisters in uniform who are ready to give our lives for our country."

Gabbard said Trump's belief he can "pimp out our proud servicemen and women to the prince of Saudi Arabia is disgraceful and it once again shows that you are unfit to serve as our commander in chief."

"My fellow service members and I, we are not your prostitutes," she concluded. "You are not our pimp."

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tulsi-gabbard-donald-trump-doubles-down-saudi-arabia_n_5d809229e4b077dcbd63a808

ilsm -> EMichael... , September 17, 2019 at 09:02 AM
Make a note, I agree with you here.
Paine -> ilsm... , September 17, 2019 at 09:10 AM
She is a gem
House of Saud butt port
Donald the double down
cheeks of Araby
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to ilsm... , September 17, 2019 at 09:57 AM
Most of our disagreements here are not on either economic or political principles, but rather the awarding of style points with considerable confusion regarding the (sometimes remotely) possible, the plausible, and the actual.

[Sep 17, 2019] Stingray devices were detected near White House -- Isreali intelligence is most probably culprit

Notable quotes:
"... Only President Donald Trump, predictably, had something so say in his usual personalized fashion, which was that the report was "hard to believe," that "I don't think the Israelis were spying on us. My relationship with Israel has been great Anything is possible but I don't believe it." ..."
"... So Trump is stupid, a liar and an Israeli sycophant what's the solution? ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | www.unz.com

anon [113] Disclaimer , says: September 17, 2019 at 6:41 am GMT

Too bad Tulsi can't call out Israel the way she does KSA.

Trump offers to pimp out our military to his Saudi masters

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9Jo8QU2s_5I?feature=oembed

cranc , says: September 17, 2019 at 8:21 am GMT
Just bewildering to read the Left's continuing insistence that Israel is best understood as 'just another outpost of the American empire'. This is probably the most damaging idea in circulation right now, as its diversionary effect is only matched by its absurdity.
The Left simply cannot 'go there' though, no matter how much factual evidence is stacked up. (On top of the spying and theft we have 'The Lobby' documentary, the defence pact, party funding, etc. etc.). They have to avoid the reality, one which can only be explained through cross border tribal allegiances and religious history going back many centuries. These, of course, lay outside the Left's purview, and any consideration of them is dogmatically opposed. It is getting to be a kind of insanity.

Tulsi can allege that Saudi Arabia was behind the 9/11 attacks and that they pull the strings in Washington, (and many on the Left will applaud) but she cannot point out the rather more glaring 9/11 connections to Israel and the whole machinery of control that lies at the centre of American empire.
As she votes against BDS, has there ever been a more ridiculous double standard ?

Realist , says: September 17, 2019 at 9:09 am GMT

Only President Donald Trump, predictably, had something so say in his usual personalized fashion, which was that the report was "hard to believe," that "I don't think the Israelis were spying on us. My relationship with Israel has been great Anything is possible but I don't believe it."

So Trump is stupid, a liar and an Israeli sycophant what's the solution?

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
Hans , says: September 17, 2019 at 1:02 pm GMT
"I've never seen a President -- I don't care who he is -- stand up to them. It just boggles the mind. They always get what they want. The Israelis know what is going on all the time. I got to the point where I wasn't writing anything down. If the American people understood what a grip these people have on our government, they would RISE UP IN ARMS. Our citizens certainly don't have any idea what goes on." – Admiral Thomas Moorer, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, interview, 24 Aug. 1983

Admiral Moorer, "the dirty anti-semite," was one of the few people with influence to call out Israel for their deliberate attack on the USS Liberty – https://www.erasingtheliberty.com/

The American Legion continues to wet its pants apparently believing that kissing (((ass))) is more patriotic than standing up for America and members of the Navy.

USS Liberty Veterans banned forever from Am Legion Nat'l Convention – https://israelpalestinenews.org/uss-liberty-vets-banned-forever-american-legion-national-conference/

DESERT FOX , says: September 17, 2019 at 1:17 pm GMT
Whats new about Israeli spying against the zio/US, hell the government is full of zionists in every facet of the government, they run every department, including and especially the CIA , which would be better named the Mossad West, in fact the Mossad is so embedded in the CIA that the only way to end this would be to as JFK said to scatter it to the winds aka abolish the Mossad infested CIA.

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

Notable quotes:
"... USA has been doing nearly everything in the Yemen war except pilot the planes. That Yemen can sneak some drones into sensitive Saudi areas would seem to raise some questions... ..."
"... Strategically what this means is that after wantonly bombing and attacking woefully poor Yemen for years, rich Saudi Arabia is not capable of protecting almost the entire source of its wealth. ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc , September 16, 2019 at 04:59 AM

It's Monday September 16th, 2019 and the weeks starts off like this:

GM's UAW Strike

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

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

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

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

Piketty's new Economics tome is out

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

We live in interesting times...

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

im1dc -> im1dc... , September 16, 2019 at 05:01 AM
Personally, I choose to be lead by people that do the right thing long term for the People, not the most politically expedient or the one that makes the most money in the short run or the smartest, etc.
ilsm -> im1dc... , September 16, 2019 at 06:29 AM
The biggest damage from

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

is the ARAMCO IPO.

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

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

point -> ilsm... , September 16, 2019 at 06:44 AM
USA has been doing nearly everything in the Yemen war except pilot the planes. That Yemen can sneak some drones into sensitive Saudi areas would seem to raise some questions about USA capability. Have not yet seen any press questions in that direction.
anne -> point... , September 16, 2019 at 07:25 AM
USA has been doing nearly everything in the Yemen war except pilot the planes. That Yemen can sneak some drones into sensitive Saudi areas would seem to raise some questions...

[ Really important. ]

anne -> point... , September 16, 2019 at 08:55 AM
Strategically what this means is that after wantonly bombing and attacking woefully poor Yemen for years, rich Saudi Arabia is not capable of protecting almost the entire source of its wealth.

[Sep 16, 2019] President Trump Called Former President Carter To Talk About China

Sep 16, 2019 | www.wabe.org

- WABE , Apr 14, 2019

Carter suggested that instead of war, China has been investing in its own infrastructure, mentioning that China has 18,000 miles of high-speed railroad.

"How many miles of high-speed railroad do we have in this country?"

Zero, the congregation answered.

"We have wasted I think $3 trillion," Carter said of American military spending. " It's more than you can imagine. China has not wasted a single penny on war and that's why they're ahead of us. In almost every way."

[Sep 16, 2019] The attack seemed to have involved not only Houti drones (already build with help from Iran), but also Iranian backed forces in Iraq, AND pro Iranian forces in Saudi Arabia itself. And maybe even other actors.

Sep 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

dh-mtl , Sep 15 2019 15:58 utc | 3

b,

The Americans have gotten themselves in a real bind with their maximum pressure campaign on Iran. This latest attack on Saudi Arabia's oil production looks like an escalation of the previous attacks on shipping and the spy drone. It is not evident how the Americans can respond to this latest attack.

As I see it their options are:

1. To let KSA respond to the Houthi attack and continue with their campaign to shut down Iranian oil production, without any direct U.S. response to the attack. However this will achieve nothing, as next month Iran will up pressure again with another attack on Middle-East oil assets, and we'll be back to the same place.

2. To bomb Iran's oil industry, as Pompeo and Graham suggest. However this risks blowing up the whole Middle East, as well as the World's oil market and their own (Western) economies.

3. Forget about Iran and move the fight to maintain U.S. global hegemony to another front: back to Venezuela? Serbia? Hong Kong? Taiwan? However the end result of such a move would more than likely be another humuliating defeat for the U.S.

4. Do as Stephen Wertheim / New York Times suggest and sue for peace. This will end the dream of U.S. World dominance, Globalization and the current western based financial system. The U.S. will become no more than a heavily indebted regional power in a 'Multi-polar World Order' led by China and Russia.

As I see it, the U.S. is out of options to continue their war for global dominance. #4 is the only viable option. But, as one author argued in a recent paper (I don't have the reference), wars continue long after the victor is clear, because the loser can't admit defeat (at heavy additional costs to the loser). I think that this is the position that the U.S. finds itself in now.


DontBelieveEitherPr. , Sep 15 2019 16:21 utc | 4

What the attack on Saudi oil infrastructure shows us, is that now Iran has united her proxys into one united front.

While they were cautious to not leave evidence of their involvment with the Houtis before, they now are putting their support more and more into the open.

The attack seemed to have involved not only Houti drones (already build with help from Iran), but also Iranian backed forces in Iraq, AND pro Iranian forces in Saudi Arabia itself. And maybe even other actors.

This is a major new development. Not only for the war on Yemen, but also in the context of Iran providing a credile detterence against US+Saudi aggression.
They excalated with increasing levels, and one wonders, what could top this last attack off.

And i am pretty sure, we will find out sooner rather than later.

Don Bacon , Sep 15 2019 20:13 utc | 29
@ 27
WaPo: Abqaiq . .damaged on the west-northwest sides
That's it! It was Hezbollah for sure. (not)

Actually there were two targets, the Buqaiq (Abqaiq) oil processing plant and the Khurais oil field, both in the Eastern Province.

These attacks are not the first -- from longwarjournal:

Last month, the Houthis claimed another drone operation against Saudi's Shaybah oil field near the United Arab Emirates. At more than 1,000 miles away from it's Yemen territory, that strike marked one of the Houthis farthest claimed attacks.
The Houthis also claimed a drone strike on the Abu Dhabi airport last year, but that has been denied by Emirati officials.
Additionally, a drone strike on Saudi's East-West oil pipeline near Riyadh earlier this year, which the Houthis claimed responsibility, was allegedly conducted by Iranian-backed Iraqi militants. If accurate, that means the Houthi claim of responsibility acted as a type of diplomatic cover for the Iraqi militants.
Since beginning its drone program last year, the Houthis have launched at least 103 drone strikes in Yemen and Saudi Arabia according to data compiled by FDD's Long War Journal. . . here . . .and more here .
Hercules , Sep 15 2019 21:27 utc | 35
Really appreciated the write up on the Houthis attack.
Sounds like the attack left substantial damage. Another bigger issue underlying all of this, aside from Saudi inability to get what it wants now from it's IPO, is the fact that the US Patriots did not detect this attack.
The Saudis spent billions last year on this defense system. Sounds like the clown Prince better give Russians a call about their S-400.
But the US wouldn't appreciate that much, would they?

[Sep 15, 2019] Blissful lack of self-awareness on the part of the USA defence secretary.

Does he mean the treat of de-dollarization? The USA military is just an the enforcement arm of Wall Street banks.
Notable quotes:
"... "It is increasingly clear that Russia and China want to disrupt the international order by gaining a veto over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions," ..."
Sep 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

"It is increasingly clear that Russia and China want to disrupt the international order by gaining a veto over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions," Esper said, seemingly unaware of the absurd hypocrisy of his words.

[Sep 15, 2019] Donald Trump as the DNC s nominee by Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
DNC is a criminal organization and the fact that Debbie Wasserman Schultz escaped justice is deeply regreatable.
Notable quotes:
"... The problem facing the Democratic National Committee today remains the same as in 2016: How to block even a moderately left-wing social democrat by picking a candidate guaranteed to lose to Trump, so as to continue the policies that serve banks, the financial markets and military spending for Cold War 2.0. ..."
"... Trump meanwhile has done most everything the Democratic Donor Class wants: He has cut taxes on the wealthy, cut social spending for the population at large, backed Quantitative Easing to inflate the stock and bond markets, and pursued Cold War 2.0. Best of all, his abrasive style has enabled Democrats to blame the Republicans for the giveaway to the rich, as if they would have followed a different policy. ..."
"... The effect has been to make America into a one-party state. Republicans act as the most blatant lobbyists for the Donor Class. But people can vote for a representative of the One Percent and the military-industrial complex in either the Republican or Democratic column. That is why most Americans owe allegiance to no party. ..."
"... I'm just curious about how much longer this log-jam situation can persist before real political realignment takes place. Bernie Sander is ultimately a relic not a representative of new political vigor running through the party, like Trump he would be largely be on his own without much congressional support from his own party. ..."
"... As the 2016 election and Brexit have illuminated, globalisation is a religion for the upper middle classes. ..."
"... They just refuse to understand that political solidarity, key to any such policies is permanently damaged by immigration. ..."
"... If you make people chose between their ethnicity being displaced and class conflict, they'll pick the preservation of their ethnicity and it's territory every time. I ..."
"... My prediction: The elites in the US won't give way, people will simply become demoralised and the Trump/Sanders moment will pass with significant damage done to the legitimacy of American democracy and media but with progressives unable to deal with immigration (Much like the right can't deal with global warming) they will fail to get much done. The general population has become too atomised and detached, beaten-down bystanders to their own politics and society to mount a popular political movement. Immigrants, recent descendants of immigrants and the upper middle classes will continue to instinctually understand globalisation is how they loot America and will not vote for 'extreme' candidates that threaten this. The upper middle class will continue to dominate the overton window and use it to inject utter economic lies to the public. ..."
Sep 15, 2019 | www.unz.com

Originally from: Breaking Up the Democratic Party, by Michael Hudson - The Unz Review

I hope that the candidate who is clearly the voters' choice, Bernie Sanders, may end up as the party's nominee. If he is, I'm sure he'll beat Donald Trump handily, as he would have done four years ago. But I fear that the DNC's Donor Class will push Joe Biden, Kamala Harris or even Pete Buttigieg down the throats of voters. Just as when they backed Hillary the last time around, they hope that their anointed neoliberal will be viewed as the lesser evil for a program little different from that of the Republicans.

So Thursday's reality TV run-off is about "who's the least evil?" An honest reality show's questions would focus on "What are you against ?" That would attract a real audience, because people are much clearer about what they're against: the vested interests, Wall Street, the drug companies and other monopolies, the banks, landlords, corporate raiders and private-equity asset strippers. But none of this is to be permitted on the magic island of authorized candidates (not including Tulsi Gabbard, who was purged from further debates for having dared to mention the unmentionable).

Donald Trump as the DNC's nominee

The problem facing the Democratic National Committee today remains the same as in 2016: How to block even a moderately left-wing social democrat by picking a candidate guaranteed to lose to Trump, so as to continue the policies that serve banks, the financial markets and military spending for Cold War 2.0.

DNC donors favor Joe Biden, long-time senator from the credit-card and corporate-shell state of Delaware, and opportunistic California prosecutor Kamala Harris, with a hopey-changey grab bag alternative in smooth-talking small-town Rorschach blot candidate Pete Buttigieg. These easy victims are presented as "electable" in full knowledge that they will fail against Trump.

Trump meanwhile has done most everything the Democratic Donor Class wants: He has cut taxes on the wealthy, cut social spending for the population at large, backed Quantitative Easing to inflate the stock and bond markets, and pursued Cold War 2.0. Best of all, his abrasive style has enabled Democrats to blame the Republicans for the giveaway to the rich, as if they would have followed a different policy.

The Democratic Party's role is to protect Republicans from attack from the left, steadily following the Republican march rightward. Claiming that this is at least in the direction of being "centrist," the Democrats present themselves as the lesser evil (which is still evil, of course), simply as pragmatic in not letting hopes for "the perfect" (meaning moderate social democracy) block the spirit of compromise with what is attainable, "getting things done" by cooperating across the aisle and winning Republican support. That is what Joe Biden promises.

The effect has been to make America into a one-party state. Republicans act as the most blatant lobbyists for the Donor Class. But people can vote for a representative of the One Percent and the military-industrial complex in either the Republican or Democratic column. That is why most Americans owe allegiance to no party.

The Democratic National Committee worries that voters may disturb this alliance by nominating a left-wing reform candidate. The DNC easily solved this problem in 2016: When Bernie Sanders intruded into its space, it the threw the election. It scheduled the party's early defining primaries in Republican states whose voters leaned right, and packed the nominating convention with Donor Class super-delegates.

After the dust settled, having given many party members political asthma, the DNC pretended that it was all an unfortunate political error. But of course it was not a mistake at all. The DNC preferred to lose with Hillary than win with Bernie, whom springtime polls showed would be the easy winner over Trump. Potential voters who didn't buy into the program either stayed home or voted green.


follyofwar , says: September 12, 2019 at 2:20 pm GMT

No votes will be cast for months, so I don't know how Mr. Hudson can say that Sanders is "clearly the voters choice." He would be 79 on election day, well above the age when most men die, which is something that voters should seriously consider. Whoever his VP is will probably be president before the end of Old Bernie's first term, so I hope he chooses his VP wisely.

In any case I laugh at how the media always reports that Biden, who has obviously lost more than a few brain cells, has such a commanding lead over this field of second-raters. The voters, having much better things to do, haven't even started to pay attention yet.

And, how could anyone seriously believe in these polls anyway? Only older people have land lines today. If calling people is the methodology pollsters are using, then the results would be heavily skewed towards former VP Biden, whose name everyone knows. I lost all faith in polls when the media was saying, with certainty, that Hillary was a lock to win against the insurgent Trump.

Tulsi Gabbard is the only candidate beside Trump with charisma today. With her cool demeanor, she is certainly the least unlikeable. She would be Trump's most formidable opponent. But the democrats, like their counterparts, are owned by Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex. Sadly, most democrats still believe that the party is working in their best interests, while the republicans are the party of the rich.

If you watch the debates tonight, which I will not be, you will notice that Tulsi Gabbard won't be on stage. That is by design. She is a leper. At least the republicans allowed Trump to be onstage in 2016, which makes them more democratic than the democrats. Plus they didn't have Super Delegates to prevent Trump from achieving the nomination he had rightfully won. Something to think about since the DNC, not the voters, annointed Hillary last time.

If the YouTube Oligarchs still allow it, I plan on watching the post-debate analysis with characters like Richard Spencer and Eric Striker. Those guys are most entertaining, and have insights that are not permitted to be uttered in the controlled, mind-numbing farce of the mainstream media.

anon [110] Disclaimer , says: September 12, 2019 at 3:29 pm GMT
> When neoliberals shout, "But that's socialism," Americans finally are beginning to say, "Then give us socialism."

True, true! Also, when the neoliberals shout, "But that's nationalism," Americans finally are beginning to say, "Then give us nationalism."

One plus one is

Dutch Boy , says: September 12, 2019 at 3:42 pm GMT
Elizabeth Warren seems a more likely nominee than Sanders.
Biff , says: September 12, 2019 at 4:37 pm GMT
@Dutch Boy

Elizabeth Warren seems a more likely nominee than Sanders.

Elizabeth Warren is phony as phuck(PAP). Just like forked tongued Obama she's really just a tool for the neo-liberal establishment, which does make her more likely.

Svevlad , says: September 12, 2019 at 5:06 pm GMT
@anon Hehe. I propose that the anti-neoliberals join forces to beat this terrible beast...
Altai , says: September 12, 2019 at 6:19 pm GMT
Here is another question. Can the DNC or RNC really change institutionally fast enough?

I'm just curious about how much longer this log-jam situation can persist before real political realignment takes place. Bernie Sander is ultimately a relic not a representative of new political vigor running through the party, like Trump he would be largely be on his own without much congressional support from his own party.

As the 2016 election and Brexit have illuminated, globalisation is a religion for the upper middle classes. Many of them may be progressives but they refuse to understand the very non-progressive consequences of mass immigration (Or, one should say over-immigration) or globalisation more generally. The increasing defection of such individuals to the Liberal Democrats in Britain is a fascinating example. They just refuse to understand that political solidarity, key to any such policies is permanently damaged by immigration.

It is interesting to see the see-saw effect of UKip and now the Brexit party in the UK (Well, in England). With them first drawing working class voters from Labour without increasing Conservative performance, bringing about a massive conservative majority and now threatening to siphon voters from the Tories with the opposite effect.

But UKip and later the Brexit party almost exist through the indispensable leadership of Nigel Farage and a very specific motivating goal of leaving the EU. I can't see a third party rising to put pressure on the mainstream parties.

If you make people chose between their ethnicity being displaced and class conflict, they'll pick the preservation of their ethnicity and it's territory every time. I f the centre left refuses to understand this (Something that wouldn't have been hard for them to understand when they still drew candidates from the working classes) they will continue their slide into oblivion as they have done across the Western world. (Excluding 2 party systems and Denmark where they do understand this)

My prediction: The elites in the US won't give way, people will simply become demoralised and the Trump/Sanders moment will pass with significant damage done to the legitimacy of American democracy and media but with progressives unable to deal with immigration (Much like the right can't deal with global warming) they will fail to get much done. The general population has become too atomised and detached, beaten-down bystanders to their own politics and society to mount a popular political movement. Immigrants, recent descendants of immigrants and the upper middle classes will continue to instinctually understand globalisation is how they loot America and will not vote for 'extreme' candidates that threaten this. The upper middle class will continue to dominate the overton window and use it to inject utter economic lies to the public.

The novel internet mass media outlets that allowed such unpoliced political discussion to reach mass audiences will be pacified by whatever means and America will slide into an Italian style trans-generational malaise at a national level for some time.

A123 , says: September 12, 2019 at 6:48 pm GMT
@Altai

Here is another question. Can the DNC or RNC really change institutionally fast enough?

Trump is trying to change the RNC away from Globalist elites and towards Christian Populist beliefs and Main Street America. I am some what hopeful, as the U.S. is not alone in this trajectory. There is a global tail wind that should help the GOP change quickly enough.

The true test will be the 2024 GOP nomination. A bold choice will have to break through to keep the RNC from backsliding into the clutches of Globalist failure.

PEACE

davidgmillsatty , says: September 12, 2019 at 7:43 pm GMT
I think Sanders could have beat Trump in 2016. This time around it is not that clear because so many of his supporters in 2016 feel burnt.

Badly burnt. Or Bernt. He threw his support for Hillary, even if it was tepid, and then got a bad case of Russiagateitis which his base on the left really hated. His left base never bought Russiagate for a minute. We knew it was an internal leak, probably by Seth Rich, who provided all the information to Assange. He still seems to be a strong Israel supporter even if has stood up to Netanyahu.

And while it may seem odd, many of his base on the left have grown weary of the global climate change agenda.

He has not advocated nuclear power and there is a growing movement for that on the left, especially by those who think renewables will not generate the power we need.

But since Sanders does seem to attract the rural and suburban vote more than any other Democrat, Sanders has a chance to chip away at Trumps' base and win the Electoral College. Another horrible loss to rural and suburban America by the Democrats will cost them the EC again by a substantial margin, even if they manage to pull off another popular vote win.

A123 , says: September 13, 2019 at 12:20 am GMT
@bluedog

the republican party is as globalist as you can find,and I'm sure you will be the first one to inform us when the global elite including those in America throw in the towel,

Some elite Globalist NeverTrumpers, such as George Will and Bill Kristol, have thrown in the towel on the GOP. This allows their "neocon" followers to return to their roots in the war mongering Democrat Party. So it *IS* happening.

The real questions are:
-- Can it happen fast enough?
-- Can it be sustained after Donald Trump term limits out?

I'm not bold enough to say it is inevitable. All I will say is, "There are reasons to be at least mildly hopeful."

PEACE

RadicalCenter , says: September 13, 2019 at 3:45 am GMT
@follyofwar Based on gabbard's immigration statements, voting for her is also voting for our continuing displacement.
Carlton Meyer , says: Website September 13, 2019 at 4:22 am GMT
Has everyone forgot the last time the DNC openly cheated Sanders he said nothing publicly, but then endorsed Clinton? Sanders knows he is not allowed to become president, his role to prevent the formation of a third party, and to keep the Green Party small. Otherwise he would jump to the Green Party right now and may beat the DNC and Trump.

Sanders treats progressives like Charlie Brown. Once again, inviting them to run a kick the football, only to pull it away and watch them fall. He recently backed off his opposition to the open borders crazies, rarely mentions cuts to military spending to fund things, and has even joined the stupid fake russiagate bandwagon.

Note that he dismisses the third party idea as unworkable, when he already knows the DNC is unworkable. Why not give the Green party a chance? Cause he don't want to win knowing he'd be killed or impeached for some reason.

follyofwar , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:06 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer The Stalinist DNC openly cheated Tulsi Gabbard when they left her off the debate stage last night. When asked about it on 'The View' recently, Sanders said nothing in her defense, or that she deserved to be on the stage. Nice way to stab her in the back for leaving her DNC position to support you last time, Bernie. Socialist Sanders wants to be president, yet is afraid of the DNC. Nice!

Those polls were rigged against Tulsi, and everyone who is paying attention knows it. But, far from hurting her candidacy by not making the DNC's arbitrary cut, her exclusion may wind up helping her. Kim Iverson, Michael Tracey, and comedian Jimmy Dore, anti-war progressive YouTubers with large, loyal followings, have lambasted the out-of touch DNC for its actions. Tucker Carlson on the anti-war right has also done so.

One hopes that the DNC's stupidity in censoring her message may wind up being the best thing ever for Tulsi's insurgent candidacy. We shall see. OTOH, who can trust the polls to tell us the truth of where her popularity stands.

follyofwar , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:29 pm GMT
@RadicalCenter Do you forget about Trump's declaration that he wants the largest amount of immigration ever, as long as they come in legally? There are no good guys in our two sclerotic monopoly parties when it comes to immigration. Since both are terrible on that topic, at least Tulsi seems to have the anti-war principles that Trump does not.
Justvisiting , says: September 13, 2019 at 7:37 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer Great comment.

Bernie has had many opportunities in the past few years to show real courage and stand for something, anything. He has failed every time.

I am actually beginning to feel sorry for him–he knows he has a mission, but he just can't seem to figure out what it is anymore

Getting old is not fun.

[Sep 14, 2019] BTW, Tulsi's now gotten her 3rd qualifying poll. She'll surge back much stronger. And maybe even smarter, if she endorses this:

Sep 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

anon [113] Disclaimer , says: September 14, 2019 at 4:42 am GMT

@follyofwar Agreed . she was better off absent from that snore session. They all looked weak and pathetic. BTW, Tulsi's now gotten her 3rd qualifying poll. She'll surge back much stronger. And maybe even smarter, if she endorses this:

Ask Tulsi Gabbard to co-sponsor Betty McCollum's bill, H.R.2407 – Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act: https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/co-sponsor-hr2407?source=twitter-share-button&utm_source=twitter&share=7f93c0fd-5214-4398-93a8-03155a1dc1b1 via @Roots_Action

https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/co-sponsor-hr2407?source=twitter-share-button&utm_source=twitter&share=7f93c0fd-5214-4398-93a8-03155a1dc1b1

Nicolás Palacios Navarro , says: Website September 14, 2019 at 7:18 am GMT

That means protection against the Republican-Democratic threats to cut back Social Security to balance the budget in the face of tax cuts for the richest One Percent and rising Cold War military spending. This means a government strong enough to take on the vested financial and corporate interests and prosecute Wall Street's financial crime and corporate monopoly power.

Analogies with late Imperial Rome are by now so cliché that even your average dullard is familiar with them. But I find that the most fascinating -- and frightening -- parallels are with another empire of more recent vintage: the Empire of Japan.

The above quote brought to my mind the political unrest in Tokyo during the 1930s. Far from being the work of a cabal of "militarists", as postwar legend would have it, Japan's various internecine (and often bloody) political feuds and expensive military ventures were driven by a public heavily invested in these affairs; hoping against hope for an outlet to vent their increasing rage over dwindling social programs and opportunities at the cost of propping up a concurrently fattening elite class.

Analyzing events like the Ni-ni-roku jiken (2/26 Incident) can be highly instructional for Americans seeking some manner of explanation for their present failing political system. While it is true that this nearly successful insurrection was carried out by ultra-nationalists, their intention was not to deny the people a voice in the running of government with their aspiration for direct rule by the Shōwa Emperor (then as now, the Emperor served in a quasi-religious capacity with little ability to actually govern). Rather, they felt that parliamentary democracy was a sham that benefitted only the monied and privileged; and that only the Emperor, as the living incarnation of the Japanese state, could act and respond according to the sovereign will of its people. What appeared to be a desire for authoritarianism was, in fact, the radical, ideological inversion of the Marxist concept of a "dictatorship of the proletariat". The Shōwa Emperor, in other words, was the instrument of effecting the will of the nation; the "Emperor of the people" (天皇の國民 Tennō no kokumin ).

I view in a similar vein the fascination and dreams that Trump and other such figures excite in many: The radical hope that only a leader willing to smash the system, which to all intents and purposes appears to only serve the few, can paradoxically restore the ability of the many to express and act. Bogged down as we are by ballooning military debt (and blood), economic stagnation, and an ever-widening chasm between the "haves" and "have-nots", and it becomes difficult to ignore the parallels between the US today and Japan in 1936.

This was an interesting article, but I hold no illusions about the future. There will be no breakup of the two major parties, no viable alternatives. Things will only get worse.

I envy those in their 50s and up today -- they will likely miss out on the momentous history that people my generation and younger will be bearing reluctant witness to.

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: September 14, 2019 at 7:24 am GMT
Biden will be 77 years old in Novembrer

Bernie Sanders is 78 years old

Donald Trump is 73 years old

Gerontocracy ?

[Sep 13, 2019] The Sacking of John Bolton by Binoy Kampmark

The key question is why Trump hired Bolton in the first place, not why he was sucked...
This guy is a reckless imperialist, staunch neocon and a war criminal. No person who promoted or voted in the Congress for Iraq war can held government or elected position. They are compromised for the rest of their miserable lifes.
Sep 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

"Every time the president, or Pompeo, or anyone in the [Trump] administration came up with an idea, they had to face Dr No."

– Cliff Kupchan, Chairman of the Eurasia Group, The Washington Post , Sep 11, 2011.

[Sep 13, 2019] Tucker Carlson Pushes for End of the Neo-cons Reuters and Haaretz

Notable quotes:
"... Yes, people tend to forget that Bolton and all the other neocons are worshipers at the altar of a secular religion imported to the US by members of the Frankfurt School of Trotskyite German professors in the 1930s. These people had attempted get the Nazis to consider them allies in a quest for an ordered world. Alas for them they found that the Nazi scum would not accept them and in fact began preparations to hunt them down. ..."
"... Thus the migration to America and in particular to the University of Chicago where they developed their credo of world revolution under that guidance of a few philosopher kings like Leo Strauss, the Wohlstetters and other academic "geniuses" They also began an enthusiastic campaign of recruitment of enthusiastic graduate students who carefully disguised themselves as whatever was most useful politically. ..."
Sep 13, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"Carlson concluded by warning about the many other Boltons in the federal bureaucracy, saying that "war may be a disaster for America, but for John Bolton and his fellow neocons, it's always good business."

He went on to slam Trump's special representative for Iran and contender to replace Bolton, Brian Hook, as an "unapologetic neocon" who "has undisguised contempt for President Trump, and he particularly dislikes the president's nationalist foreign policy." Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif echoed Carlson hours later in a tweet, arguing that "Thirst for war – maximum pressure – should go with the warmonger-in-chief." Reuters and Haaretz

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

Yes, people tend to forget that Bolton and all the other neocons are worshipers at the altar of a secular religion imported to the US by members of the Frankfurt School of Trotskyite German professors in the 1930s. These people had attempted get the Nazis to consider them allies in a quest for an ordered world. Alas for them they found that the Nazi scum would not accept them and in fact began preparations to hunt them down.

Thus the migration to America and in particular to the University of Chicago where they developed their credo of world revolution under that guidance of a few philosopher kings like Leo Strauss, the Wohlstetters and other academic "geniuses" They also began an enthusiastic campaign of recruitment of enthusiastic graduate students who carefully disguised themselves as whatever was most useful politically.

They are not conservative at all, not one bit. Carlson was absolutely right about that.

They despise nationalism. They despise the idea of countries. In that regard they are like all groups who aspire to globalist dominion for their particular ideas.

They should all be driven from government. pl

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-trump-bolton-neo-cons-iran-fox-news-tucker-carlson-1.7833399?=&ts=_1568393219979b

[Sep 13, 2019] Chile's Neoliberal Flip-Flop - CounterPunch.org

Notable quotes:
"... Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com . ..."
Sep 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

As for the gory details of CIA involvement in the Chilean coup d'état of 1973, Costa-Gavras' film "Missing" (Universal Pictures, 1982) staring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek exposes the surreptitious U.S. involvement via CIA operatives, supportive of Pinochet's cold-bloodied massacre of students and other innocent bystanders. Not surprisingly, the film was removed from the U.S. market following a lawsuit against the director and Universal Pictures by former ambassador Nathaniel Davis for defamation of character. When Davis lost his lawsuit, the film was re-released by Universal in 2006.

The face of neoliberalism in Chile today is disheartened, reflecting deep losses for the wealthy class as the people of the country reject Milton Friedman's neoliberal policies, including clever tax evasion techniques by the business class. Could this be the start of a worldwide movement against neoliberalism?

After all, Chile is the country that neoliberal advocates crowned their "newborn" in the battle against big government, "get government off our backs," according to Milton Friedman (and, Reagan picked up on the adage.) But, au contraire, according to the film "Missing," fascism took control over Chile. Is it possible that Friedman and Kissinger secretly cherished a fascist empire, where control would be complete, disguised as "the land of individual economic freedom?" Whatever their motives, that's what they got, and they never hesitated to revere Chile's remarkable economic achievements, fascism and all, which is powerfully expressed in the film "Missing," from end to end the heavy hand of fascism is ever-present.

Today is a new day as the people of Chile abandon decades of rotting neoliberal policies. They've had enough of Milton Freidman. The people have decided that the "state" is a beneficial partner for achievement of life's dreams. The "state" is not the menacing force of evil preached by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

The people of Chile are embracing an anti-neoliberalistic nation/state for the first time in over four decades. Will the world follow in their footsteps similar to the world adopting the principles of the "Miracle of Chile" these past four decades?

As for the new way forward, it's all about student debt. Yes, student debt was the catalyst behind Chile's repudiation of neoliberalism. In 2011 students in Chile made headlines by launching nationwide strikes over high tuition costs that drove their families into debt (sound familiar?) The strike lasted for eight months.

Over time, the student marches gained recognition by other like-minded organizations like trade unions and protests of environmental degradation. According to Tasha Fairfield, an assistant professor for the London School of Economics' Department of International Development, the strikes were pivotal: "The student movement played a critical role in creating political space," according to Fairfield, it "dramatically changed the political context in Chile and helped to place the issues of Chile's extreme inequalities centrally on the national agenda," Sebastian Rosemont, Chilean Activists Change the Rules of the Game, Foreign Policy In Focus, Dec. 2, 2014.

Subsequently, the national election of 2013 swept the left wing into power with a huge wave of public support, gaining strong majorities in both houses of the National Congress as well as electing Michelle Bachelet president. The big leftward sweep came as over two thirds of the population grew to support student demands for free university tuition.

Ever since the 2013 election, neoliberal policies have crumbled like a decrepit equestrian statue of Pinochet, who carried the stigma of brutal criminality to, and beyond, the grave.

In stark contrast to 40 years ago, today, when students, armed with only stones clashed with police equipped with full regalia of riot gear, tear gas, and armored vehicles, the harsh police activity drew heavy international criticism. That, combined with more than two-thirds of the population in support of the student movement, led to a new politics, Nueva Mayoria (New Majority), a center-left coalition made up of Bachelet's Socialist Party, the Christian Democratic Party, and the Party for Democracy.

Whereupon, Nueva Mayoria, turning up its nose to neoliberalism, raised corporate taxes from 20 percent to 25 percent and closed tax loopholes for companies and wealthy business owners. Those changes added $8.3 billion annually to government coffers, thus, serving as a source of funds to provide free education to all Chileans by 2020, as well as improved health care, and including a roll back of the for-profit schools that emerged under Pinochet's dictatorship, which is another neoliberal fascination, witness the U.S. for-profit schools listed on the New York Stock Exchange honestly, what's with that? In order to achieve success, the new Chilean politics astutely employed a key tactical move by applying the corporate tax hikes to only the largest corporations. As a result, nearly 95% of businesses are not be affected by higher taxation. This, in fact, served to secure a broad base of support for the new politics by having those who can afford to pay Pay.

Along those same lines, the new government removed a tax dodge employed by large business owners that allowed them to mostly escape taxes on $270 billion of profits (similar to the U.S. 15% "carried interest" for private equity entities, e.g., Mitt Romney's 15% tax rate).

Thus, it's little wonder that public backlash is challenging neoliberalism, especially considering the conditions throughout the Pinochet regime, as described in the meticulously structured documentary film, "The Pinochet Case," (Icarus Films, 2002), which opens with scenes of ordinary Chileans scouring the desert for the remains of family members who were tortured and killed decades previous.

Chile, "The Babe of Neoliberalism," came to life as an experiment for the "Chicago School" of economic thought. It worked. Today neoliberal theory rules the world, laissez-faire capitalism as practiced from China to the United States, privatization, open markets, slash government, and deregulation, in short, "whatever works best for profits works best for society." But, does it?

Forty years of neoliberal thought and practice has changed the world's socio-economic landscape, but it only really, truly works for the same class of people today as it did 800 years ago for the nobility of the Middle Ages.

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com .

[Sep 13, 2019] The War in Eastern Ukraine May be Coming to an End But Do Any Americans Care? by Jeremy Kuzmaro

Ukraine is mainly the result of attempt of the USA to encircle Russia well as EU design for economic Drang nach Osten -- attempt to displace Russia in xUSSR republics.
So they pushed Ukraine into the pat that Baltic republic were already known for.
Notable quotes:
"... Ukraine's newly elected comedian president Volodymyr Zelensky called the prisoner exchange a "first step" in ending the war in Eastern Ukraine, which has killed an estimated 13,000 civilians. ..."
"... In a subsequent referendum, 89% in Donetsk and 96% in Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine voted for independence, which the new government of Petro Poroshenko government did not accept. ..."
"... She told U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt in a telephone conversation that was tapped and later leaked that Arseniy Yatsenyuk, neoliberal head of the "Fatherland" Party, should be Prime Minister as he was thought to have the "economic" and "governing experience." ..."
"... Nuland further revealed that the U.S. had invested over $5 billion in "democracy promotion" in Ukraine since 1991 through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which was carrying on the kind of work previously undertaken by the CIA during the Cold War. ..."
"... NED president Carl Gershman called Ukraine "the biggest prize" and an important interim step towards toppling [Russian President Vladimir] Putin who "may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself." ..."
"... To help achieve this end, the Obama administration pledged $1 billion in loan guarantees to the post-coup government in Ukraine, which Putin considered as the "ideological heirs of [Stephen] Bandera, Hitler's accomplice in World War II." ..."
"... Swayed by a slick lobbying campaign backed by supporters of the Afghan mujahidin in the 1980s looking for a new cause and by the Senate's Ukraine Caucus, the Obama administration further provided nearly $600 million in security assistance to the Ukrainian military. ..."
"... American military advisers embedded in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry provided rocket propelled grenades, carried out training exercises and planned military operations including with members of the fascist Azov battalion, which had Nazi-inspired Wolfsangel patches emblazoned on their sleeves. ..."
Sep 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

On Saturday September 7, Russia and Ukraine agreed to a prisoner swap which has brought hope of improved relations between the two countries and an end to the 5-year long conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

A peace accord is being planned for later this month in Normandy involving Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany.

Ukraine's newly elected comedian president Volodymyr Zelensky called the prisoner exchange a "first step" in ending the war in Eastern Ukraine, which has killed an estimated 13,000 civilians.

The Ukraine War remains largely unknown to the American public even though the United States has had a great stake in it.

The war started after a coup d'états in Ukraine in February 2014, which overthrew the democratically elected pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovuch.

In a subsequent referendum, 89% in Donetsk and 96% in Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine voted for independence, which the new government of Petro Poroshenko government did not accept.

The United States was a heavy backer of the coup and dirty war that unfolded in the East.

Victoria Nuland, the head of the State Department's European desk, traveled to Ukraine three times during the protests that triggered the coup, handing out cookies to demonstrators.

She told U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt in a telephone conversation that was tapped and later leaked that Arseniy Yatsenyuk, neoliberal head of the "Fatherland" Party, should be Prime Minister as he was thought to have the "economic" and "governing experience."

Nuland further revealed that the U.S. had invested over $5 billion in "democracy promotion" in Ukraine since 1991 through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which was carrying on the kind of work previously undertaken by the CIA during the Cold War.

Ukraine has long been considered an important bridge between Eastern and Western Europe and holds lucrative oil and gas deposits.

NED president Carl Gershman called Ukraine "the biggest prize" and an important interim step towards toppling [Russian President Vladimir] Putin who "may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself."

To help achieve this end, the Obama administration pledged $1 billion in loan guarantees to the post-coup government in Ukraine, which Putin considered as the "ideological heirs of [Stephen] Bandera, Hitler's accomplice in World War II."

Swayed by a slick lobbying campaign backed by supporters of the Afghan mujahidin in the 1980s looking for a new cause and by the Senate's Ukraine Caucus, the Obama administration further provided nearly $600 million in security assistance to the Ukrainian military.

It was supplied with counter-artillery radars, anti-tank systems, armored vehicles and drones in a policy expanded upon by Trump.

Before and after the Ukrainian military's campaign began, Secretary of State John Kerry, CIA Director John Brennan, and Vice President Joe Biden visited Kiev, followed by a flow of senior Pentagon officials.

A back-door arms pipeline was set up through the United Arab Emirates and Blackwater mercenaries were allegedly deployed.

American military advisers embedded in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry provided rocket propelled grenades, carried out training exercises and planned military operations including with members of the fascist Azov battalion, which had Nazi-inspired Wolfsangel patches emblazoned on their sleeves.

Obama's National Security adviser, Samantha Power, claimed that the [Ukrainian] governments "response [to alleged provocations by eastern rebels] [was] reasonable, it is proportional, and frankly it is what any of our countries would have done."

The Ukrainian military and allied warlord and neo-Nazi militias were not acting reasonably or proportionally, however, when they carried out artillery and air attacks on cities and struck residential buildings, shopping malls, parks, schools, hospitals and orphanages in Eastern Ukraine, and tortured and executed POWs in what amounted to clear war crimes.

NYU Professor Stephen Cohen notes that even The New York Times , which mainly deleted atrocities from its coverage, described survivors in Slovyansk living "as if in the Middle Ages."

That the American public knows nothing of these events is a sad reflection of the superficiality of our media and decline in the quality of international news coverage.

It is also a testament to the failing of the political left, which has embraced the cause of immigrant and Palestinian rights and fighting climate change, legitimately, but neglected the plight of the Eastern Ukrainian people. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Jeremy Kuzmarov

Jeremy Kuzmarov is the author of The Russians are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce (Monthly Review Press, 2018).

[Sep 13, 2019] Wallace against the USA neocolonialism

Leopard can't change its spots...
Notable quotes:
"... After he became vice president in 1940, as Roosevelt was increasingly ill, Wallace promoted a new vision for America's role in the world that suggested that rather than playing catch up with the imperial powers, the United States should work with partners to establish a new world order that eliminated militarism, colonialism and imperialism. ..."
"... In diplomacy, Wallace imagined a multi-polar world founded on the United Nations Charter with a focus on peaceful cooperation. In contrast, in 1941 Henry Luce, publisher of Time Magazine, had called for an 'American century,' suggesting that victory in war would allow the United States to "exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit." ..."
"... Foreign aid for Wallace was not a tool to foster economic dominance as it was to become, but rather "economic assistance without political conditions to further the independent economic development of the Latin American and Caribbean countries." He held high "the principle of self-determination for the peoples of Africa, Asia, the West Indies, and other colonial areas." He saw the key policy for the United States to be based on "the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations and acceptance of the right of peoples to choose their own form of government and economic system." ..."
"... The United States should be emulating China, its Belt and Road Initiative and Community of Common Destiny, as a means of revitalizing its political culture and kicking its addiction to a neo-colonial concept of economic development and growth. Rather than relying on militarization and its attendant wars to spark the economy, progressives should demand that the US work in conjunction with nations such as China and Russia in building a sustainable future rather than creating one failed state after another. ..."
Sep 13, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Stephen M , September 10, 2019 at 15:14

This is as good a time as any to point to an alternative vision of foreign policy. One based on the principle of non-interference, respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, and, above all, international law. One based on peaceful coexistence and mutual cooperation. A vision of the world at peace and undivided by arbitrary distinctions. Such a world is possible and even though there are currently players around the world who are striving in that direction we need look no further than our own history for inspiration. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you one Henry A. Wallace, for your consideration.

(The following excerpts from an article by Dr. Dennis Etler. Link to the full article provided below.) --

The highest profile figure who articulated an alternative vision for American foreign policy was the politician Henry Wallace, who served as vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1940-1944 and ran for president in 1948 as the candidate of the Progressive Party.

After he became vice president in 1940, as Roosevelt was increasingly ill, Wallace promoted a new vision for America's role in the world that suggested that rather than playing catch up with the imperial powers, the United States should work with partners to establish a new world order that eliminated militarism, colonialism and imperialism.

Wallace gave a speech in 1942 that declared a "Century of the Common Man." He described a post-war world that offered "freedom from want," a new order in which ordinary citizens, rather than the rich and powerful, would play a decisive role in politics.

That speech made direct analogy between the Second World War and the Civil War, suggesting that the Second World War was being fought to end economic slavery and to create a more equal society. Wallace demanded that the imperialist powers like Britain and France give up their colonies at the end of the war.

In diplomacy, Wallace imagined a multi-polar world founded on the United Nations Charter with a focus on peaceful cooperation. In contrast, in 1941 Henry Luce, publisher of Time Magazine, had called for an 'American century,' suggesting that victory in war would allow the United States to "exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit."

Wallace responded to Luce with a demand to create a world in which "no nation will have the God-given right to exploit other nations. Older nations will have the privilege to help younger nations get started on the path to industrialization, but there must be neither military nor economic imperialism." Wallace took the New Deal global. His foreign policy was to be based on non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Sadly, since then, despite occasional efforts to head in a new direction, the core constituency for US foreign policy has been corporations, rather than the "common man" either in the United States, or the other nations of the world, and United States foreign relations have been dominated by interference in the political affairs of other nations. As a result the military was transformed from an "arsenal for democracy" during the Second World War into a defender of privilege at home and abroad afterwards.

-- -
Foreign aid for Wallace was not a tool to foster economic dominance as it was to become, but rather "economic assistance without political conditions to further the independent economic development of the Latin American and Caribbean countries." He held high "the principle of self-determination for the peoples of Africa, Asia, the West Indies, and other colonial areas." He saw the key policy for the United States to be based on "the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations and acceptance of the right of peoples to choose their own form of government and economic system."

--

Wallace's legacy suggests that it is possible to put forth a vision of an honest internationalism in US foreign policy that is in essence American. His approach was proactive not reactive. It would go far beyond anything Democrats propose today, who can only suggest that the United States should not start an unprovoked war with Iran or North Korea, but who embrace sanctions and propagandist reports that demonize those countries.

Rather than ridiculing Trump's overtures to North Korea, they should go further to reduce tensions between the North and the South by pushing for the eventual withdrawal of troops from South Korea and Japan (a position fully in line with Wallace and many other politicians of that age).
Rather than demonizing and isolating Russia (as a means to score political points against Trump), progressives should call for a real détente, that recognizes Russia's core interests, proposes that NATO withdraw troops from Russia's borders, ends sanctions and reintegrates Russia into the greater European economy. They could even call for an end to NATO and the perpetuation of the dangerous global rift between East and West that it perpetuates.
Rather than attempt to thwart China's rise, and attack Trump for not punishing it enough, progressives should seek to create new synergies between China and the US economically, politically and socioculturally.
-- -
In contrast to the US policy of perpetual war and "destroying nations in order to save them," China's BRI proposes an open plan for development that is not grounded in the models of French and British imperialism. It has proposed global infrastructure and science projects that include participants from nations in Africa, Asia, South and Central America previously ignored by American and European elites -- much as Wallace proposed an equal engagement with Latin America. When offering developmental aid and investment China does not demand that free market principles be adopted or that the public sector be privatized and opened up for global investment banks to ravish.
--
The United States should be emulating China, its Belt and Road Initiative and Community of Common Destiny, as a means of revitalizing its political culture and kicking its addiction to a neo-colonial concept of economic development and growth. Rather than relying on militarization and its attendant wars to spark the economy, progressives should demand that the US work in conjunction with nations such as China and Russia in building a sustainable future rather than creating one failed state after another.

Link to the full article provided below.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/henry-wallaces-internationalism-path-american-foreign-policy-could-have-taken-still-can/5683683

[Sep 13, 2019] Since resigning his post, Mattis has burst through the "revolving door" of the arms industry, reclaiming his seat on the board of the fifth largest defense contractor, General Dynamics

Sep 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Thanks to Mattis and company, Trump's purported desire to withdraw from fruitless Middle Eastern wars has been stifled, the result being business as usual for the military-industrial-complex and national security state. And why not? Since resigning his post, Mattis has burst through the "revolving door" of the arms industry, reclaiming his seat on the board of the fifth largest defense contractor, General Dynamics. Albert Einstein famously (and perhaps apocryphally) said , "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." He might just as easily have been describing the career of James Mattis, who has been proven wrong again and again and again, from Iraq to Afghanistan to Syria.

... ... ...


Mpizzie , 15 seconds ago link

Maybe the emperor has no clothes.

Still an amazing commander.

Peon14 , 1 minute ago link

Why is the US in Afghanistan? So the CIA can make a ton of money in the Heroin trade.

Duc888 , 45 seconds ago link

Never forget the CIA partnership with the money laundering of the Central Banks. The CB's are just as complicit and facilitate the money laundering.

uhland62 , 2 minutes ago link

You have to be mad to let them rope you into that system for so long and so deep. Go and join up, shoot a few people so you have something to brag about in the pub, but leave early so the killing frenzies do not define you.

Tribalism is what he calls it? It's the minions pushing back America's policies and monopolies. Costly for Americans, deadly slavery for others!

PaulHolland , 3 minutes ago link

Mattis also refused to shake the hand of the Russia defense minister when they crossed paths somewhere. What a weak ******* coward.

[Sep 13, 2019] The danger of the proto-fascistic value system that demands unqualified, blind support for political leaders and their war agenda

Sep 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

The irony of the Bush administration demanding unquestioning obedience following 9/11, in the name of defending American freedom and democracy, is not lost on my students. Many openly recognize the danger of the proto-fascistic value system that demands unqualified, blind support for political leaders and their war agenda, without any consideration of the dangers involved in an infinite war conducted in country after country, with little concern for the humanitarian consequences.

One benefit of the intellectual curiosity of young Americans today is it translates into a willingness to seriously consider the motives of the 9/11 attackers. This curiosity barely existed in the days and years after September 11. Sure, Americans purchased books about the Middle East and Islam in rising numbers post-9/11. But I can't remember a single person that I spoke to in my years of studying U.S. foreign policy who bothered to actually read an interview with Osama Bin Laden. Had they done so, they would have discovered that his and his comrades' ideology, while fanatical and extreme, was also driven by serious grievances against the United States that are shared by majorities in Muslim countries. These include: anger at U.S. military support for Israel and its illegal occupation of Palestine; bitterness over U.S. military bases throughout the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia; opposition to U.S. support for authoritarian regimes in the region; and disgust with the U.S. in the wake of the 1991 Iraq war and subsequent sanctions, which caused the deaths of an estimated 500,000 Iraqi children.

War fatigue became a staple of American politics in the late 2000s and 2010s, as most Americans came to see the Iraq war as immoral and not worthy of the cost in finances, lives, and blood, and considering the lies for war regarding Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction and fictitious ties to Al Qaeda terrorism. Many young Americans seem to share this war fatigue today, even if they weren't closely following American politics during the 2000s.

Having been exposed to the words of Osama Bin Laden, my students also understand just how dangerous the onset of the "War on Terror" was, in a conflict which Bin Laden coldly and diabolically sought to draw the U.S. into destructive wars in the Middle East, in order to achieve a "balance of terror" on both sides, defined by vicious acts of destruction against civilian populations by both the U.S. military and Islamic fundamentalists.

... ... ...

Anthony DiMaggio is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Lehigh University. He holds a PhD in political communication, and is the author of the newly released: The Politics of Persuasion: Economic Policy and Media Bias in the Modern Era (Paperback, 2018), and Selling War, Selling Hope: Presidential Rhetoric, the News Media , and U.S. Foreign Policy After 9/11 (Paperback: 2016). He can be reached at: anthonydimaggio612@gmail.com

[Sep 13, 2019] Antiwar.com wins legal case against FBI

Notable quotes:
"... The Inteligence elite mistake their power over people -- and the unspeakable sums of money that are flooded into their agencies -- for success. As you might imagine, that has spelled disaster where ever in the world that they operate. God help the society where they gain the upper hand. Like in the United States, for example. Their minds are broken beyond repair because reality actively lies to them. ..."
Sep 13, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/court-fbi-must-destroy-...

Court: FBI Must Destroy Memos Calling Antiwar.com a Threat
Ruling comes after a eight-year battle over secret surveillance of the popular website after 9/11.
By KELLEY BEAUCAR VLAHOS • September 12, 2019

In a major victory for Antiwar.com, free speech and journalism, a federal appeals court has ruled that the FBI must expunge surveillance memos that agents had drafted about the website's co-founders Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo in the early years following the 9/11 attacks.

"It's been a long fight and I'm glad we had an outcome that could might affect future FBI behavior," said Garris, who runs Antiwar.com, based in the San Francisco Bay area. "I just wish Justin was still here to know that this has happened."

Raimondo, 67, passed away in June from a long bout with cancer. He and Garris had sued the FBI in 2013 demanding it turn over all the memos and records it was keeping on the two men and the website, which has been promoting anti-interventionist news and views from a libertarian-conservative perspective since 1995

They won their case, and in 2017 the FBI agreed to turn over all the memos and settle their legal fees, $299,000, but the final expungement of two key memos involving intelligence gathered on the men and Antiwar.com, had yet to be expunged from the agency's record...

It all began when an observant reader brought a heavily redacted 2004 memo to Antiwar.com's attention in 2011. It was part of a batch of documents the reader had obtained through FOIA requests. It was clear from the documents' contents that the FBI had been collecting information and records on Raimondo and Garris for some time. At one point the FBI agent writing the April 30, 2004 memo on Antiwar.com recommended further monitoring of the website in the form of opening a "preliminary investigation to determine if [redaction] are engaging in, or have engaged in, activities which constitute a threat to national security."

Why? Because the website was questioning U.S. war policy ...

Agents noted that Antiwar.com had, or linked to, published counter-terrorism watch lists (already in the public domain). The FBI noted at least two of Raimondo's columns and wondered openly, "who are (Antiwar.com's) contributors and what are the funds utilized for?" This, after acknowledging there was no evidence of any crime being plotted or committed.

Other things noted in the documents::

-- Garris had passed along a threat he received on Sept. 12, 2001 from a Antiwar.com reader obviously disgruntled with the website's coverage of 9/11. The subject line read, "YOUR SITE IS GOING DOWN," and proceeded with this missive: "Be warned assholes, ill be posting your site address to all the hack boards tonight your site is history."

Concerned, Garris forwarded the email to the FBI field office in San Francisco. Garris heard nothing, but by January 2002, it turned up again, completely twisted around, in a secret FBI memo entitled, "A THREAT BY GARRIS TO HACK FBI WEBSITE."

It turns out this "threat" went on to justify, at least in part, the FBI's ongoing interest in monitoring the website.

-- The FBI took interest in Raimondo's writing about a 2001 FBI investigation of five Israeli nationals who were witnessed smiling and celebrating and taking pictures of the burning Twin Towers from a rooftop perch across the river from Manhattan in Union City, New Jersey, on 9/11. After witnesses called the police, the individuals, who all worked for a local moving company, were taken into custody and grilled by FBI and CIA for two months after it was deemed their work visas had expired. They were eventually deported without charge.

Raimondo, in writing about the case in 2002, linked to an American-generated terror watchlist (which had been published elsewhere on the Internet) that went out to Italian financial institutions and included the name of the man who owned the New Jersey moving company in question.

-- The FBI noted Antiwar.com was cited in an article, the name of the author redacted, about U.S aid to Israel.

-- They also noted that Raimondo had appeared on MSNBC to talk about his opposition to the Iraq War.

-- It also cited an article that listed Antiwar.com as a reference was handed out in 2002 at a "peaceful protest" at a British air base in the U.K.

-- The FBI was watching a member of a domestic neo-Nazi group who had "discussed a website, Antiwar.com" while encouraging fellow members at a conference to "educate themselves" about the Middle East conflict.

-- The agency said a special agent's review of hard drives seized during an investigation of an unnamed subject, revealed that the subject had visited Antiwar.com between July 25, 2002 and June 15, 2003, "among many other websites."

The FBI acknowledged it searched the Web, as well as Lexis-Nexis, the Universal Index (FBI central records), the agency's Electronic Case File, Department of Motor Vehicles and Dunn & Bradsheet (credit reports) for information on Antiwar.com and for "one or more individuals" working for the website.

Looking back, it's hard to fathom how such tiny (Constitutionally protected) crumbs led the FBI to the conclusion that Garris and Raimondo, two dedicated activists (Raimondo was also a prolific author) with decades of time in California's political trenches, might be a "threat to national security," but there you are...

The case decided on Wednesday revolved around two remaining memos that the FBI had so far refused to expunge. One involved the call Garris made to the FBI in 2002. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Northern California found that the government did not have a compelling law enforcement reason to keep them.

"Maintenance of a record that describes only First Amendment activity and does not implicate national security is not pertinent to the FBI's authorized activities," the court concluded...

Garris said he was relieved and elated that the court was able to end this ugly chapter for the website...

>dervish
This is an example of why the innocent have nothing to fear from "all surveillance, all the time" is patently untrue.

Not to mention that casual erasures of any part of the Bill of Rights by government are frickin' scary, as are casual acceptance and rationalization of same by ordinary Americans (and/or those seeming like ordinary Americans).

In his memoir, True Compass , Ted Kennedy said that LBJ told him that LBJ considered the FBI culpable in the assassination of JFK, in that the FBI had had its eye on Oswald and considered him dangerous, but never warned the Secret Service.

Many years later, we have failures by the FBI and CIA to coordinate and act upon intel involved in 911. They did nothing about reports from citizens of the suspicious activities of the Saudi assassins while the assassins were in the US, such as taking flying lessons, but saying they didn't need to learn how to land. Moreover, the FBI and CIA had months of Arab conversations awaiting translation because of a shortage of translators cause by the FBI's and CIA's unwillingess to use Arab translators.

Then we have two warnings, not from ordinary citizens, but from the Russian government, that the Tsarnaevs were a threat. Now, that alone sure sounds to me like probable cause for surveillance. However, the FBI interviewed them and supposedly was unable to justify doing anything else.

So, we have culpability in a Presidential assassination AND two terrorist attacks. And that certainly can't be all before and after 1960. For instance, speaking of JFK, there was the Bay of Pigs fiasco. On the bright side, that taught JFK to squint at the CIA and the military, which, in turn, may have avoided nuclear disaster over the Cuban missile "crisis." (When we place missiles somewhere, it's defense on our part and a deterrent; when another nation, especially Russia, does the same, it's casus belli , unless some brilliant politicians can scale it "all the way down" to a "crisis" or a "national emergency." Our hypocrisy sickens.

BTW, according to the memoir, JFK was questioning our Vietnam involvement and Bobby Kennedy had flat out become convinced that bombing should stop immediately and peace negotiations should begin. He volunteered to negotiate the peace himself, but LBJ refused. So, that's another thing Bobby and Jack had in common. (Interestingly to me, by Ted's own account, he was the last of the three Kennedy brothers to lose support for the Vietnam War!)

jim p on Thu, 09/12/2019 - 7:20pm

Doubtless there are other agencies with files and stalking
Pluto's Republic on Thu, 09/12/2019 - 8:34pm
Thanks for reporting on this, Linda

The socially destructive solutions designed by the Intelligence Communities since the mid-20th century are paying off in one way:

There is now a copious amount of research and data, that once harnessed and put to work, will clearly demonstrate without doubt how tragic and destructive their outcomes have been. They have accomplished precisely the opposite of the goal they were reaching for. For example, apply their social engineering to reduce the number of terrorists in a region, and in less than a decade the region will be overrun with terrorists.

Use their strategic genius to stop the flow of drugs from hot-spots of the world, and in another decade, much of the world will be saturated with illegal drugs.

Humanity throughout the world are the losers, and they pay dearly for the blindness of Nazi-mentored techniques and strategies that are embraced by intelligence agencies and military intelligence. In the long term, they are bringers of chaos.

The nazis always lose. Ever since we brought them to America after World War II to teach us their techniques -- the US has lost every war it attempted. The effects of this influence has turned America into a prison complex.

The Inteligence elite mistake their power over people -- and the unspeakable sums of money that are flooded into their agencies -- for success. As you might imagine, that has spelled disaster where ever in the world that they operate. God help the society where they gain the upper hand. Like in the United States, for example. Their minds are broken beyond repair because reality actively lies to them.

If you ask them to send a rocket to the moon, they'll wait until the full moon is directly overhead, then fire the rocket. They are void of subtlety. The failure will be classified and forgotten.

We need Taoist leaders if we want to solve real world problems.

[Sep 13, 2019] Support and attend the People's Mobilization to Stop the US War Machine and Save the Planet, September 20 through 23, in New York City.

Sep 13, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Expat2uruguay , September 13, 2019 at 5:59 pm

"Support and attend the People's Mobilization to Stop the US War Machine and Save the Planet, September 20 through 23, in New York City. Christian liberationist intellectual Cornel West and Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will speak, and much of the Black Agenda Report team are participating.

Only a mass movement of the streets can begin to dismantle the twin imperial policies of endless austerity and war, end the military occupations of Africa and Black America, and save the world from a wounded and angry ecosphere."
https://www.blackagendareport.com/what-does-boltons-ouster-mean-victims-us-imperial-aggression

[Sep 12, 2019] John Bolton Meets His Fate by Daniel R. DePetris

The problem is not Bolton. It is Trump. Bolton is a well known neocon, who pushed for Iraq war (which makes his a war criminal) and founded PNAC. So his credentials as a warmonger were clear. He was/is a typical MIC prostitute, or agent of influence in more politically correct terms.
But any President who hired Bolton deliberately ositioned himself as a wrecking ball. Such an art of the deal. Hiring Bolton to a large extent justified Russiagate, because such a President is clear and present danger for the USA as a country. For the physical existence of this country and civilization on this territory. All bets for a realistic foreign policy are off. They are just wishful thinking.
Notable quotes:
"... Bolton would rather blow up Iran than talk to its leaders, engagement Trump has said numerous times he is more than happy to consider (maybe as soon as next week's U.N. General Assembly meeting). ..."
"... On Venezuela, Trump seems to have soured on pushing Nicolás Maduro from power, even as Bolton refers to Caracas as part of the "troika of tyranny." Bolton's obsession with getting North Korea denuclearized in one fell swoop -- an approach that came crashing down on Trump's head during his second summit with Kim Jong-un in February -- is far more likely to lead to an end of diplomacy than an end to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program (an uphill climb if there ever was one). ..."
"... Bolton, prickly as a porcupine in dealing with colleagues, had long been under Trump's skin. NBC News reports that the two men had a shouting match behind closed doors the night before Bolton's resignation. ..."
"... Whatever finally pushed Bolton out the door, however, is far less relevant than where Trump goes from here. He will announce a new national security adviser next week, and the Washington parlor game is already swirling with names. ..."
"... We don't know who Bolton's replacement will be, but we do know what he or she needs to do: dump most of the previous regime's ideas in the garbage and start over with strategies that actually have a chance at success. ..."
"... Trump needs an adviser who is willing to engage in a pragmatic negotiation and be prepared for uncomfortable but necessary bargaining. He needs someone who will help him end wars -- like the 18-year-long quagmire in Afghanistan -- that have gone on aimlessly and without purpose. ..."
Sep 12, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Bolton's is an extreme black-and-white view of the world: if you aren't an ally of the United States, you are an adversary who needs a boot on your neck in the form of U.S. military force or economic sanctions. The second- and third-order strategic consequences are no obstacle in Bolton's mind. Why go through the humiliating spectacle of negotiations when you can simply bomb Iran's nuclear facilities or take out the Kim regime by force ?

Diplomacy, after all, is for wimps, spineless State Department bureaucrats, and appeasers. If the boss is insisting on diplomacy, then demand the moon, stars, and everything in between before offering a nickel of sanctions relief.

This is how John Bolton made his career: as the proverbial wrecking ball of arms control agreements -- and indeed agreements of any kind. And he makes no excuses for it. Indeed, he takes prideful ownership of his views, seeing anyone who disagrees with him or who isn't on his level as a weasel. Before Bolton joined the Trump administration as national security adviser, he was the short-lived ambassador to the United Nations and the undersecretary of state for arms control, where he attempted to get an intelligence analyst removed for disagreeing with his position on Cuba's alleged biological weapons program.

All of this is why so many of us were worried and confused when President Trump asked Bolton to serve as his national security adviser last year. The two men could not have more fundamental disagreements on foreign policy. While both laugh at the U.N. and international organizations more broadly, they diverge paths on some of the weightiest issues on the docket. Bolton would rather blow up Iran than talk to its leaders, engagement Trump has said numerous times he is more than happy to consider (maybe as soon as next week's U.N. General Assembly meeting).

On Venezuela, Trump seems to have soured on pushing Nicolás Maduro from power, even as Bolton refers to Caracas as part of the "troika of tyranny." Bolton's obsession with getting North Korea denuclearized in one fell swoop -- an approach that came crashing down on Trump's head during his second summit with Kim Jong-un in February -- is far more likely to lead to an end of diplomacy than an end to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program (an uphill climb if there ever was one).

Trump grew tired of Bolton the same way he grew tired of other staffers. Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, H.R. McMaster, and John Kelly were all liked by the president at one time, only to be fired or convinced to resign. Bolton, prickly as a porcupine in dealing with colleagues, had long been under Trump's skin. NBC News reports that the two men had a shouting match behind closed doors the night before Bolton's resignation.

Whatever finally pushed Bolton out the door, however, is far less relevant than where Trump goes from here. He will announce a new national security adviser next week, and the Washington parlor game is already swirling with names.

We don't know who Bolton's replacement will be, but we do know what he or she needs to do: dump most of the previous regime's ideas in the garbage and start over with strategies that actually have a chance at success.

Trump needs an adviser who is willing to engage in a pragmatic negotiation and be prepared for uncomfortable but necessary bargaining. He needs someone who will help him end wars -- like the 18-year-long quagmire in Afghanistan -- that have gone on aimlessly and without purpose.

He needs someone who will hold those within the administration accountable when they refuse to execute policy once it is cleared by the inter-agency. And above all, he or she should prize restraint and think through all the options when the Beltway loudly urges immediate action.

All of this will be easier with Bolton off the team.

Daniel R. DePetris is a foreign policy analyst, a columnist at Reuters, and a frequent contributor to The American Conservative.

See also

[Sep 12, 2019] The Brain-Dead Maximalism of [neocon] Hard-liners by Daniel Larison

Highly recommended!
Iran sanction and the threat of war has nothing to do with its nuclear program. It is about the USA and by extension Israel dominance in the region. and defencing interesting of MIC, against the interest of general public. Which is the main task of neocons, as lobbyists for MIC (please understand that MIC includes intelligence agencies and large part of Wall Street) .
That's why Israel lobby ( and Bloomberg is a part of it ) supports strangulation Iran economy, Iran war and pushes Trump administration into it. the demand " Rather than push for an extended sunset, Trump should hold out for a complete termination of Iran's nuclear activities and an end to its other threatening behavior -- such as its ballistic-missile program and its support for terrorist groups across the Middle East -- in exchange for readmission into the world economy" is as close to Netanyahu position as we can get.
Notable quotes:
"... The Bloomberg editors urge Trump not to give up on brain-dead maximalism with Iran ..."
"... As always, hard-liners ignore the agency and interests of the other government, and they assume that it is simply a matter of willpower to force them to yield. ..."
"... They have not left the Non-Proliferation Treaty. On the contrary, they have agreed to abide by the Additional Protocol that has even stricter standards. They are not enriching uranium to levels needed to make nuclear weapons. They certainly haven't built or tested any weapons. ..."
"... Iran has jumped through numerous hoops to demonstrate that their nuclear program is and will continue to be peaceful, and their compliance has been verified more than a dozen times, but fanatics here and in Israel refuse to take yes for an answer. That is because hard-liners aren't really concerned about proliferation risk, but seek to use the nuclear issue as fodder to justify punitive measures against Iran without end ..."
Sep 12, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The Bloomberg editors urge Trump not to give up on brain-dead maximalism with Iran:

Rather than push for an extended sunset, Trump should hold out for a complete termination of Iran's nuclear activities and an end to its other threatening behavior -- such as its ballistic-missile program and its support for terrorist groups across the Middle East -- in exchange for readmission into the world economy.

This chance may never come again.

Bloomberg's latest advice to Trump on Iran is terrible as usual, but it is a useful window into how anti-Iran hard-liners see things. They see the next year as their best chance to push for their maximalist demands, and they fear the possibility that Trump might settle for something short of their absurd wish list. If Trump does what they want and "holds out" until Iran capitulates, he will be waiting a long time. He has nothing to show for his policy except increased tensions and impoverished and dying Iranians, and this would guarantee more of the same. The funny thing is that the "extended sunset" they deride is already an unrealistic goal, and they insist that the president pursue a much more ambitious set of goals that have absolutely no chance of being reached. As always, hard-liners ignore the agency and interests of the other government, and they assume that it is simply a matter of willpower to force them to yield.

The Bloomberg editorial is ridiculous in many ways, but just one more example will suffice. At one point it says, "Nor is there any doubt that Iran wants nuclear weapons." Perhaps ideologues and fanatics have no doubt about this, but it isn't true. If Iran wanted nuclear weapons, they could have pursued and acquired them by now. They gave up that pursuit and agreed to the most stringent nonproliferation agreement ever negotiated to prove that they wouldn't seek these weapons, but the Trump administration chose to punish them for their cooperation. Iran has not done any of the things that actual rogue nuclear weapons states have done. They have not left the Non-Proliferation Treaty. On the contrary, they have agreed to abide by the Additional Protocol that has even stricter standards. They are not enriching uranium to levels needed to make nuclear weapons. They certainly haven't built or tested any weapons.

Iran has jumped through numerous hoops to demonstrate that their nuclear program is and will continue to be peaceful, and their compliance has been verified more than a dozen times, but fanatics here and in Israel refuse to take yes for an answer. That is because hard-liners aren't really concerned about proliferation risk, but seek to use the nuclear issue as fodder to justify punitive measures against Iran without end.

They don't want to resolve the crisis with Iran, but rather hope to make it permanent by setting goals that can't possibly be reached and insisting that sanctions remain in place forever.

[Sep 12, 2019] Where we are now in Afghanistan- Editorial Opinion by PL

This is all false. The goal was establish military bases in former soviet republics to encircle Russia and this goal was achieved. Putin was probably not so wise giving 100% support to Bush invasion, which was a typical false flag invasion.
Taliban was the creation of the USA to fight Soviets, like political Islam in general so any complains are just pure hypocity.
Notable quotes:
"... Afghanistan borders China. For that reason alone, we are never leaving whatever the cost in blood or treasure. The country is a very forward, strategic military base that can be used to launch air attacks on Chinese assets and impede China's Belt and Road initiative. ..."
"... Despite his bluster, Trump is very weak and knows the Taliban is winning and fears they will try to drive us out before the election, ushering in his defeat. Most of his time is spent cowering in his golf resorts, ranting and raving on a tiny little cellphone. ..."
"... The Blob will not allow any of his fears to shake the resolve of the Deep State to make Afghanistan a colony for a thousand years. ..."
"... American's negotiating position in every instances with rival nations is to dictate the terms for surrender regardless of the circumstances on the ground. It's an untenable position and guarantees perpetual war and occupation which is precisely the point. ..."
"... It seems to me that if one parsed reports from the Special Inspector General Afghanistan Reconstruction along with the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime's "Afghanistan Opium Survey", any illusions as to what the reasons for the West's intervention in that country were, should dissipate rather speedily. ..."
"... we invaded Afghanistan so that we could steal the foreign aid money that we would give them and could sponsor the opium trade. ..."
"... Gramsci and his like stand vindicated. Capture the academies and the rest of us follow, often willingly. ..."
"... And just a few, of those in the public eye, standing up true and declaring "This emperor has no clothes!" ..."
Sep 12, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Where we are now in Afghanistan- Editorial Opinion by PL

(Lt. Hamilton VC at Kabul where he commanded Sir Louis Cavangnari's escort)

A year or so after the US intervention in Afghanistan began in 2001 I perceived that there was a danger that US public and government opinion might begin to favor the idea of "nation building" in Afghanistan. From long experience in and study of the area of Islamicate civilization and its history it seemed clear to me that such an effort would be doomed to failure at any price that one should be willing to pay in; expended effort over time, money and blood shed on all sides.

The basic problem with Afghanistan is that there "is no there there." Afghanistan is really a geographical expression rather than a country in the sense understood of the word in the post-Westphalian system of independent states.

Across the Islamicate world from Mauritania to BanglaDesh and beyond to Oceania there is a pronounced tendency to atomization in group perception of identity. Arabs do not identify with Berbers, etc., Tribes and clans within these groups regard all others as rivals and often enemies unless they are needed as temporary allies.

The Islamic religion which holds unity to be an ideal is often thought to be a unifier against the atomizing tendency in these cultures, but in fact there are many, many varieties of Islam, each one believing that it is uniquely favored by God. This often cancels out whatever unifying effect Islam, as religion, can have.

Afghanistan, created as a buffer between imperial Russia and British India, is an extreme case of atomization among the inhabitants of a state which has recognition in the world political system including membership in the UN. In spite of that status , a status that might deceive one into believing that there is such a thing as "the Afghan People,"the population of Afghanistan is actually made up of a number of different ethnic nations; Pushtuns, Hazzara, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turcomans, Arabs, etc. These different peoples all speak mutually unintelligible languages which often have such extreme separation in dialect that this amounts to uninteligibility as well. Some of these groups are Sunni and others Shia. This is yet another factor in the separation of the segments of the population.

The country has little substantial physical infrastructure. What there is was largely constructed in the 50s and 60s as part of Cold War competition between the USSR and the US. There is very little legal or governmental infrastructure. A commercial company investing its own or borrowed money in Afghanistan is taking a great risk of never being able to recover its investment from the local "pirates." Government is generally predatory in its attitude toward foreign investment funds. I tried to find a safe haven in Afghanistan for some of my company's funds and could find none. Senior Afghan government people would typically respond to questions about legal infrastructure with exhortations to "bring your project, all will be well." Needless to say ...

US intervention in this place was inevitable after 9/11, but what was not necessary or wise were repeated US decisions for a COIN nation building campaign. As this tendency began to be evident I argued for a much more limited goal in which the US would keep about 20K troops in country to maintain a government controlled enclave around Kabul and Bagram. This would enable pursuit of located international terrorist groups through raiding operations from that base area. The basis for this strategy was my conclusion that the US could never "pacify" all of the territory of Afghanistan and that we would "break our teeth" trying.

I pressed this belief in various fora and with various individuals within the Obama Administration even as Obama endlessly contemplated the entreaties of the COINista generals, Petraeus, Mattis, McChrystal etc. for a country wide nation building COIN campaign. The most interesting of these encounters was at an IQ2 debate at NYU in 2009 where I (and teammates) argued that "The US can never win in Afghanistan." My side lost on points but the leader of the other team recently told me that he knows now that we were completely correct. Obama gave in to the generals, and gave them the COIN war that they wanted. I suppose that for "Barry" it was immensely flattering to have them "butter him up."

It is clear now that the COIN strategy has failed miserable and totally. Afghanistan is not one bit more united or modernized than it has ever been. The US has spent a sea of money there and many brave people have perished or been wrecked in chasing the idea of Afghanistan as a Central Asian Switzerland.

Trump has allowed Zalmai Khalilzad to attempt to achieve a negotiated peace with the Taliban, the former salafi takfiri, Pushtun rulers of Afghanistan, in the apparent belief that they could be "talked down out of the tree" just as his business competitors could always be talked down to meet at a "closing" table where his supposed "closing genius' would bring a DEAL.

Unfortunately this belief in his closing talent goes unrewarded in Palestine, Syria, Turkey,Yemen, Iran, China (not yet), North Korea and Afghanistan. IMO his difficulty in finding solutions lies in his entrapment within his own New York City business model, a model in which everything is for sale if the deal is structured skillfully to advantage the stronger party while all the while claiming that the party you are screwing is your friend.

Sadly for The Donald all those "stupid" foreigners do not understand that "everything is for sale." Among them, the Taliban, an army and religio-political movement are notable for a lack of belief in the commercial possibilities of selling out to Donald Trump for a "mess of pottage" or thirty pieces of silver whichever reference you prefer. They want to win, and they want to be seen to have driven the "crusaders" from Afghanistan and in the process to have humiliated the US as the leading infidel state. To that end they lie, prevaricate and await the day when they can crush the puny forces of "modernism" after the American departure. Zalmai Khalilzad is an Afghan pushtun Sunni by birth and rearing. Did he not know that they could not be trusted in dealings with the US? I do not blame the Taliban for being what they are. I blame all the American and NATO fools for believing that they could make the Taliban either go away or become "happy campers." They were never going to do either of those things. We should have known that. Some of us did, but Americans are addicted to all the melting pot, right side of history foolishness so common in "levelled" America,

What should the US do now that the scales have fallen from Trump's eyes and the time of "good faith" negotiation with the Taliban is "dead?" The first thing to do is to fire Khalilzad.

Last night, Col. (ret.) Douglas Macgregor told Tucker Carlson that the US should simply leave, and should have never intervened. IOW we should get the hell out totally and forever. This is a tempting thought. I have wrestled with the attractiveness of the idea but there are certain problems with it.

1. We should not want to give the jihadi movements proof of our feckless defeatability. IMO if we leave suddenly the Afghan government and armed forces will soon collapse. The country will then further disintegrate into a welter of jihadi factions and regional tribal strongmen, the strongest of which will be the Taliban.

2. We have encouraged modernist Afghan men, women and girls to emerge from the shadows. Shall we leave them to their fates under the rule of the jihadis.

3. What about all the translators, base workers and other people who have cast their lots with us. The Taliban and other jihadis will simply kill them as apostates. We abandoned a lot of such people in Iraq. Will we do it again?

On balance I would say Macgregor is right that we must leave. The time for a small remaining presence is past. The forces in the field are too strong for a small force to maintain itself even with massive long range air support. Think of Sir Louis Cavangnari. No, we should leave, but we should leave on a schedule that will enable us to control the timing of our going and to protect the departure of those who wish to leave with us. pl

BTW, SWMBO says that no mutually understood languages = no country.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Louis_Napoleon_Cavagnari

Posted at 06:00 PM in Afghanistan , Policy | Permalink


Keith Harbaugh , 10 September 2019 at 12:57 PM
"We should not want to give the jihadi movements proof of our feckless defeatability."

Gee, like admit to reality? My view: Acknowledge the U.S. is not omnipotent, and has very limited ability to influence, let alone, control, other parts of the world other than those to which it has extremely close ties, most especially the Five Eyes and other parts of what was once called Western Civilization.

Aono , 10 September 2019 at 01:11 PM
Col,

I just want to mention that about once a year I dig the IQ2 debate out and watch it again in full. Call it a sanity check I suppose. It is clear that you were trying to be substantive throughout, which was somewhat hampered by the amorphous premise of "success" undergirding the debate question. The other side (Nagle in particular) was trying to "win" the debate by defining success so broadly as to exclude questions over the "how," and they used that as an excuse to dodge your indictment of COIN. But it is very clear who had the right of it, and it is at least somewhat gratifying to hear that same admission was made to you.

Dave Schuler , 10 September 2019 at 02:03 PM
I suspect that we will retain our forces in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future. To understand why you've got to consider the politics rather than the pragmatics.

No president wants to be the one who "lost Afghanistan" (as though it were ours to lose) or, worse yet, be the president who removed forces from a country from which an attack on the U. S. would emanate afterwards or be staged from or planned from.

The greatest likelihood of our removing our forces from Afghanistan would be towards the end of a president's second term, especially if that president were a Democrat and could expect to take less heat from the media. In other words Obama should have removed our forces from Afghanistan and if he wouldn't Trump won't, especially not before being re-elected.

Barbara Ann said in reply to Dave Schuler ... , 10 September 2019 at 05:54 PM
These kind of wars seem to take 3 presidents to end. Trump is this war's Nixon and was elected on a platform which included 'losing' Afghanistan. The media will howl once the Taliban take over, but it will swiftly pass as they realize Americans have no interest in a place where their countrymen are no longer dying.
blue peacock , 10 September 2019 at 02:45 PM
Col. Lang

No matter what the US government does or does not do, wouldn't Afghanistan revert to its natural state as you have described it?

It seems Trump's "negotiated" deal with the Taliban would have been a good approach to getting out but that's now no longer a possibility. Would supporting the Tajiks through Russia and India as a counter-balance to the Taliban work to keep them from completely dominating? Russia and India likely have an interest in preventing jihadis from using Taliban dominated territory to infiltrate. Is it even worth any effort on the part of the US government? It would seem Pakistan and China would continue working to influence events there.

Grazhdanochka , 10 September 2019 at 03:08 PM
My longstanding belief is that Afghanistan to be 'tamed' requires the type of Steel that only existed long ago.

The Modern World has modernized beyond the brutal realities that taming it likely requires, and as such may lose a fraction of the Lives and Treasure as past - but cannot sustain it politically or socially.

The next Question - If Afghanistan is simply a construct, why not forsake most of it and develop the regions of Afghanistan that ARE more amiable and Homogenous?

A lot of the Tadzhiks and Uzbeks (varied Turkmen) I suspect could be far more easily propped up and supported in their own Lands, which back to back with the Central Asian FSU States is a more viable 'Nation Building' Exercise.

What ultimately tamed the 'Wilds'? The Development of strong local States, Force of Arms and ultimately - Demographics. If you will not do it yourself, pick a unified Team and back them in doing it. Ironically the means to inflict harm on occupying Militaries seems to go down as those Armies means to stomach it does also.

The next obvious Question. Is it worth considering (not necessarily for the US and Western States - who will appear as desperate Losers the idea that Afghanistan if allowed to run as strong Armed Islamic State, albeit modernized - might actually one day develop into one more approachable to further modernization?

All just quick Thoughts for me.

The Twisted Genius , 10 September 2019 at 03:28 PM
I agree we should unilaterally withdraw all our forces from Afghanistan. The military can surely plan and carry out a unilateral withdrawal. Just do it. The Taliban are not al Qaeda or the Islamic State. Their desires don't extend beyond the mountains of Afghanistan. Hell, they're fighting IS. Let them do so and don't give them reason to go over to them.

The rub will be all those Afghanis who tied their futures to us. We should resettle them here or somewhere more familiar to them as part of that withdrawal. The chance of that happening under the Trump administration is nil.

CK said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 11 September 2019 at 06:57 AM
That is the exact same argument I heard in 72 and again in 75. By early 76 no one cared. There are in every country and in every involvement Quislings and main chancers who find the short term gelt available to be worth the future risk of making the wrong and visible choice. In the case of most of these Afghanis the tie was a slip knot at best.
Ray R , 10 September 2019 at 03:45 PM
A "long, long, time ago" in "a land far away", Najibullah was deposed. Pat, you'll recall that I was then serving as the chair of the Inter-agency Task Force on Afghanistan. Well, we had our regular meeting at which a couple of the folks opined that this was a wonderful development for the country and the folks would now all join hands, dance around the campfire, and sign Kumbaya. To bring the group back to reality, I asked for someone to identify the national sport of Afghanistan. One of the group said that, obviously, it was buzkhasi. So I then asked for someone else to clarify how such a game unfolds and another stalwart did so. This dialogue quickly brought everyone back to reality. For those unfamiliar with the sport, buzkhasi consists of two nominal "teams" on horseback trying to get a headless goat carcass across the opponent's goal line. All goes well at first, but ultimately the teams disintegrate until it's every man for himself in mass mayhem. Thus, IMHO will go Afghanistan.
A. Pols , 10 September 2019 at 04:23 PM
Sadly enough this old quote seems especially true in the case of the "Afghan War" or whatever it is. Our experts' obdurate insistence on pursuing "peace with honor" or some outcome we can get our heads around and feel good about has become a receding horizon...

The only way we could "win" would be by waging a war of extermination with the goal of totally depopulating the entire territory and building an impenetrable barrier around it. But of course that would be a hard sell for a country with a good guy reputation to protect. And then what would we do with the land? After all, we still haven't been able to settle most of Nevada and Wyoming!


"History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools."

Ambrose Bierce

walrus , 10 September 2019 at 05:19 PM
I said at the beginning of this mess that the one sure thing was that we would end up with chains of Iraqi and afghan restaurants begun by the refugees who had to leave their countries with us when we left. I just hope we have progressed from leaving behind card indexes of our in-country supporters for the Taliban to discover, as allegedly happened in Vietnam.
Barbara Ann , 10 September 2019 at 06:00 PM
I enjoyed the IQ2 debate you reference, particularly your coining of the word "Vermontize". Incredible to think this conversation about an 8 year old war was 10 years ago - and we are still having it. Here is the link for anyone interested:

https://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/america-cannot-and-will-not-succeed-afghanistanpakistan

Valissa , 10 September 2019 at 09:05 PM
I really enjoy these type of situational overview and analysis posts, thanks!

Although I see your point about Trump's crass business approach, let's face it... the military and various US gov't orgs have had any many years to try various approaches to "solving" (cough, cough) Afghanistan. After all the US has been in Afghanistan since 2001. We had been in Afghanistan for 15 years before Trump was elected. After all those years of failure by the Borg I have no problem whatsoever with Trump taking a shot at the situation in his own way. Trump tried a certain tactic and it didn't work. Oh well, but lessons learned. He'll regroup, get more advice and try something else. He's making more of an effort to resolve things than previous presidents, and willing to think outside of the Borg box.

evodevo said in reply to Valissa... , 11 September 2019 at 10:00 AM
No, all Trump was doing was looking for a re-election publicity stunt and a shot at that elusive Nobel like Obama got....he's done this kind of thing for the last 40 years - he isn't going to change his personality now...
BraveNewWorld , 10 September 2019 at 09:07 PM
If the US leaves and I believe it should it doesn't have to mean the end of days. China, Russia, Iran, India and Pakistan have all expressed interest in clearing the area of terrorists. They have all been blocked by the US presence. Preferably the US would work a deal with those players who are far better connected and prepared to clean up the neighbourhood than the US is from the other side of the world. Russia was willing to act as guarantor for the collapsed deal. Work a deal for one or more of them to move in as the US moves out.

My concern is that with all the big players wanting a piece of the pie that it evolves into an even worse proxy war. But China, Pakistan, Russia and Iran are all rowing in more or less the same direction these days and India has bitten off all it can chew in Kashmir so this may be the perfect time. Americans just have to get over that indispensable nation nonsense.

Ya, I know go fuck myself.

Diana C said in reply to turcopolier ... , 11 September 2019 at 10:19 AM
Thank you for thinking of the women and girls....and perhaps their little boys.

I've lived through the abandonment of Vietnam and the influx of refugees from that part of the world, the mess after the Iraq War that included bringing to our country many who had tied their fortunes to us. We can not this time decide to abandon any who have tied their hopes to us after we came in and caused so much turmoil in their country.

I always thought it was hubris on our part to think we could do what the Soviets failed to do.

If we bring these people here, my hope is that we examine how our bringing in Somalis has, in many places, not been a successful effort in regard to integrating them into our society. (Do not many of us, including Nancy Pelosi, regret the bringing in of at least one Somali woman?) We need to prepare for their entry into our country in some way that will not mean just dropping them somewhere and letting them fend for themselves.

I know the government has some sort of protocol for finding them places to live. Often, however, the people seem to be dropped in and left in some ways to depend on themselves "as strangers in a strange land." This should be our last time. Stop the "nation-building" efforts.

I feel that most Americans are welcoming and friendly people, but they often just do not understand how difficult it is for some to adapt to a very different way of life.

RenoDino , 11 September 2019 at 09:33 AM
Afghanistan borders China. For that reason alone, we are never leaving whatever the cost in blood or treasure. The country is a very forward, strategic military base that can be used to launch air attacks on Chinese assets and impede China's Belt and Road initiative.

Despite his bluster, Trump is very weak and knows the Taliban is winning and fears they will try to drive us out before the election, ushering in his defeat. Most of his time is spent cowering in his golf resorts, ranting and raving on a tiny little cellphone.

The Blob will not allow any of his fears to shake the resolve of the Deep State to make Afghanistan a colony for a thousand years.

They have been successful in implanting in the psyche of every American the incorrect notion that the Taliban launched 9/11. That notion alone means there is no support for any truce or treaty with our bete noir.

Morongobill , 11 September 2019 at 09:35 AM
These lines from Rudyard Kipling immediately came to my mind:

"When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier of the Queen!"

We are never going to change Afghanistan so getting out and taking those who supported us is appealing to me.

turcopolier , 11 September 2019 at 10:01 AM
RenoDino

It is not a base. It is a sinkhole.

confusedponderer -> turcopolier ... , 11 September 2019 at 11:49 AM
Mr. Lang,
" It is not a base. It is a sinkhole. "

Maybe that's why Mr. Prince wanted Trump to make him the viceroy of Afghanistan.

What a career that would be - a former SEAL lieutenant, then mercenary, promoted to something like a field marshal, bringing fabulous quarter numbers, strategy or something like that, peace and freedom to the place by privatizing the war and fighting it more cost effective for himself .

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-19/trump-mulling-blackwater-founder-erik-princes-plan-privatize-war-afghanistan

RenoDino said in reply to confusedponderer... , 11 September 2019 at 05:10 PM
It is not a base. It is a sinkhole--A distinction without a difference.

Confusedponderer

Your reference to Mr. Prince was spot on. He understood what the long-term plans for Afghanistan were and still are. A viceroy is the designated ruling representative of a colonial power.

American's negotiating position in every instances with rival nations is to dictate the terms for surrender regardless of the circumstances on the ground. It's an untenable position and guarantees perpetual war and occupation which is precisely the point.

HK Leo Strauss -> confusedponderer... , 11 September 2019 at 10:01 PM
This has been Trump's true failing - not applying his vast business acumen to turn DoD into a profit center.
guidoamm , 11 September 2019 at 11:12 AM
It seems to me that if one parsed reports from the Special Inspector General Afghanistan Reconstruction along with the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime's "Afghanistan Opium Survey", any illusions as to what the reasons for the West's intervention in that country were, should dissipate rather speedily.

History repeats.

turcopolier , 11 September 2019 at 11:51 AM
guidoamm

so, your belief is that we invaded Afghanistan so that we could steal the foreign aid money that we would give them and could sponsor the opium trade. Funny! A joke right?

turcopolier , 11 September 2019 at 02:22 PM
ISL

IMO Trump has no clarity of anyhthing in foreign policy. He is just trying to make a deal in accordance with his experience of deal making and is not doing well. It will be interesting to see if he and Trudeau can sell the USMCA to Pelosi. this is clearly a gooddeal. Let's see how hard he pushes for it. With regard to the ME, have reached the conclusion that his basic attitudes are formed in the culture of New York City Jewry. A Christian Brother who had two PH.D.s in STEM and was a New York City guy once told me that I had to understand that everyone in NY City is to some extent Jewish, even the cardinal archbishop.

JM Gavin , 11 September 2019 at 08:45 PM
I spent several years in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2014. I was there, with a front row seat, when the shift to nation-building began. The best days of my life were in Afghanistan, spent amongst the finest men and women from many nations...including Afghanistan. We lost the war a long time ago. By 2006, I could see we were losing. By 2008, I knew it was lost. How many Afghans have hitched their horses to our wagon? More than enough. How many others chose to live as free men and women because we were there? A significant part of the population. They face a reckoning for living that hope out loud, in public.

The Afghan people are amazing, and a lot of them believed in us, and in a future where women could be more than a piece of property. I can see why some would say we should walk away, and, it's hard to argue against that.

I'll carry what we did in Afghanistan to my grave. DOL,

JMG

Jim Ticehurst , 11 September 2019 at 11:18 PM
Colonel ...I agree with your Opinion on this matter of Withdrawal. I have read a Year by Year timeline of The Millions spent. for the Training Of Afghanistan Military and Security Forces and Like in Viet Nam..they will fail. Fail to defend themselves..

Their hearts wont be in it..and like Vietnam..It Just made The Communist North Vietnamese the Third Most Powerful Conventional Weapons stockpile in the World..with all the Equipment we Left behind...The..billions spent to keep our military presence there..

The millions Spent for VA Resources to care for our wounded. Many with traumatic head injuries...The loss of Our People there..Overt and Covert...The loss of Seal Team 6 in the Aftermath of Finally Getting Osama Bin Laden...It will Never End...

There will always be those willing to die for JiHad..Forever..Over a Trillion Dollars..Plus all The Money we sent to Pakistan. Which has been Most of Our Foreign Aid..Its been a Tragic Blunder and there has never been such a thing as "Mission Accomplished"..

This has been the second most Costly War since WWII. ..Bring Them Home.. ...

9/11/2001,,,,9/11/2019.A War of the Politicians..By The Politicians For The Politicians.and the Military..Industrial Complex....and Their Egos..and Bank accounts..Period...Thomas Jefferson Knew This was coming.

Jack , 11 September 2019 at 11:31 PM
Sir

I know nothing about Doug Macgregor but he sounds really sane in this interview with Tucker. If Trump does what he suggests it would be a welcome approach and drive the Borg insane.

Do you know him or have an opinion about him?

https://twitter.com/justinbaragona/status/1171583543832715264?s=21

turcopolier , 12 September 2019 at 07:55 AM
jack

Yes, I know Doug. A fine soldier. AIPAC would rather see me have the job than Doug

Bill Hatch , 12 September 2019 at 08:10 AM
I agreed with sending SOF in to kill AQ being harbored by the Taliban. I said at the time, "Go in, kill the people who need killing & get the hell out."

There is only one thing that can unify Afgan tribes, that's the presence of foreigners. A very long history has resulted in the reference to "the graveyard of empires." I don't believe that the Taliban is a threat to the US outside of Afghanistan. They are a threat to any American in Afghanistan. Nation building in Afghanistan is domed to failure. The only issue is what is to be the fate of the Afghani's who assisted us or bought into the idea of westernization. Our recent history is to abandon these people.

Eventually we will join the list of Afghan invaders from Cyrus, to Alexander, to the Brits. The only question is how we depart & how much more blood & treasure we spend.

JM Gavin said in reply to Bill Hatch... , 12 September 2019 at 09:02 AM
In my experience, nothing can unify Afghan tribes, or even the sub-tribes. There is a saying amongst the Pashtun: "Me against my brothers, my brothers and I against my cousins, my cousins and I against the world." The real Taliban (meaning the political entity, exiled to the east, also known as "The Quetta Shura," have never been able to get "Taliban" factions in Afghanistan to unite against anything. COL Lang is spot-on, there is no collective "Afghan" identity.

Afghanistan is still run by warlords. The vast majority of folks referred to as "Taliban" are really just warlords (and the warlords' minions) wrapping themselves in the Taliban flag, as it suits them now. If the Taliban were to come back to controlling power in Afghanistan, many of the warlords would switch to fighting the Taliban. True territorial gains in Afghanistan are generally made when warlords switch sides. Afghan warlords are the most loyal people money can buy...well, rent, anyway.

DOL,

JMG

English Outsider , 12 September 2019 at 04:06 PM
The IQ2 debate was significant for me personally when I first saw it. The arguments for staying in Afghanistan were set out coherently and for perhaps the first time I caught a glimpse of the immense intellectual effort, in the think tanks and the academies, that goes into justifying the neocon position. That neocon position working through almost by osmosis to the heavyweight newspapers and media outlets, and providing the narrative framework within which the Intelligence Initiatives of this world right down to the little propaganda sites work. Such varied figures as Charles Lister or Peter Tatchell have backup, and how.

It's an intellectual fortress, the whole, and for many of us in the general public it confirms us comfortably in the neocon rationale. It gives us the arguments, and the excuses, and as long as one declines to notice that those arguments and excuses do shift around, we pay our taxes for this or that crazy neocon venture without complaint and often gladly. Gramsci and his like stand vindicated. Capture the academies and the rest of us follow, often willingly.

And just a few, of those in the public eye, standing up true and declaring "This emperor has no clothes!"

Which happened, as I saw several years later when I got to view it, in that IQ2 debate. Around that time I came across Major Stueber's documentary which had rather more than seven minutes to lay out how hopeless it was for Western armies to fight alongside local forces, when those local forces were so hopelessly factional, corrupt, and therefore ineffectual.

And a footnote just recently. I head a Swedish aid worker relating just how impossible it was for him too to function in Afghanistan. Money put through to local groups swallowed up in false invoicing, ghost workers whose salaries went to swell the pay packet of their superiors, slush funds because that was the only way to get things done.

It was never a doable venture, Afghanistan. That was clear to a few in that debate ten years ago and it's clear to more now. I hope it's possible to get out without leaving the urban Westernised Afghans too much at the mercy of the rest.

And perhaps, also reflecting that the Rovean narratives that the academies and think tanks conjure up for us, at such expense and at such effort, all crumble eventually when reality, as it must finally, breaks through.

[Sep 12, 2019] Israel Accused Of plating StingRays swvices near White House

Sep 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Though it's easy to imagine the outpouring of fury and wall to wall media coverage -- complete with urgent Congressional hearings -- should such allegations center on any other foreign country caught spying on the White House (let's say Russia for example), the bombshell Politico report has barely made a dent in the mainstream media or big cable networks' coverage.

This is partly because the administration's own reaction has been muted, as the report notes that "the Trump administration took no action to punish or even privately scold the Israeli government" after being informed by US intelligence that Israel likely planted the devices.

Politico's sources in most instances held top intelligence and national security posts, who describe the following of the recovered spy devices :

The miniature surveillance devices, colloquially known as "StingRays," mimic regular cell towers to fool cell phones into giving them their locations and identity information . Formally called international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use .

The devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates -- though it's not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful.

From the moment the report was unveiled early Thursday, Israel's stance has been to vehemently deny, and to even suggest the accusations are tinged with "anti-Semitism".


Pure Speculation , 7 minutes ago link

The statement from the prime minister's office added, "There is a longstanding commitment, and a directive from the Israeli government not to engage in any intelligence operations in the U.S. This directive is strictly enforced without exception."

Uh huh... Sure. So how do you explain Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell then?

Vuke , 19 minutes ago link

Come on readers. Next they'll be saying Israel controls all levels of government through political donations. Possible from the $2 Billion a year they get? Anybody know how much total Israeli contributions go to the Pres, Congress etc?

africoman , 21 minutes ago link

How sweet & bitter this revelation come on the anniversary of 911 & perps are free solidifying their grips over America etc

it would be ironically surprising if the MSM took it for repointing to Americans on such a day or we

How could you deprogram Americans especially trumptards when others such as Ilhan Omar tried to hint them who did 911?

i commemorate the anniversary of 911 cos it happened on the eve of my new year and at least 3 of my people died in that fateful event

i wish isisrahell annexed their strong holds DC and leave Palestinians alone

attah-boy-Luther , 32 minutes ago link

... ... ...

http://themillenniumreport.com/2019/09/9-11-truth-exploding-worldwide-perps-desperate-to-distract-populace-and-disarm-patriots/#more-84351

Mustafa Kemal , 33 minutes ago link

I was hoping to see a comment from Einstein, but cant find him. Wonder where he is. I guess we will just have to lower our standards and look to ZD1 for the real scoop.

[Sep 12, 2019] You know who would be a good replacement for Bolton ? Tulsi Gabbard.

Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

cartman September 10, 2019 at 8:51 am

Trump Fires John Bolton After "Disagreeing Strongly With His Suggestions

One less warmongering neo-con in the swamp.

That still leaves Patriarch Pompous Dumpus of the UOC-KP-CIA in place.

Mark Chapman September 10, 2019 at 11:13 am
Good catch; you were first with that blockbuster. You know who would be a good replacement? Tulsi Gabbard. It would please those who moan the government is too partisan, it would remove the only real non-ideologue from the Democratic slate, and leave them with doddering Uncle Joe and a bunch of no-ideas bobbleheads. Few would dare question her lack of foreign-policy experience, given her actual experience of being at the sharp end of it with the military. The American people claim to be sick of war – although not sick enough of it to do any real protesting against it – and Gabbard is anti-war. She's easy on the eyes, but if Trump tried his grab-'er-by-the-pussy move, he would find himself only needing one glove this winter; her obvious toughness would appeal to feminists. I think she'd take it if asked, because although she despises Trump and his government, she would not be able to resist the opportunity to shape America's foreign policy. She would eat news outlets who tried to portray her as an apologist for terror or Putin or whatever for lunch.
Northern Star September 10, 2019 at 2:57 pm
Nope .Major Gabbard is needed as America's CIC aka POTUS.

Nothing short of that is called for.

To implement even partially achieve (implement) her agenda she needs the full weight and authority of the Oval office.

BTW Tulsi has the skills to totally fuck up bashers of women:

Mark Chapman September 10, 2019 at 10:38 pm
Well, she was not on the short list of names I saw for potential Bolton replacements. I don't see her making president, though, her support base is just not big enough. But if the Democrats put all their eggs in the Burnout Joe basket, he will in all probability lose to Trump. Trump's support has eroded, but not so far that very many people want to see Joe Biden running the country.

[Sep 12, 2019] Tulsi. Tulsi. Tulsi: Harris is making as many gaffes as that moron Biden .

Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star September 8, 2019 at 2:05 pm

Tulsi. Tulsi. Tulsi
Harris is making as many gaffes as that moron Biden .

https://www.youtube.com/embed/FxUxij7Fkj0?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Mark Chapman

[Sep 12, 2019] Saudi jets, armed with US and UK bombs and provided with targeting information by US military intelligence officers stationed in Saudi Arabia,

Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star September 3, 2019 at 3:52 pm

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/09/02/yeme-s02.html

"Saudi jets, armed with US and UK bombs and provided with targeting information by US military intelligence officers stationed in Saudi Arabia, have continued to carry out repeated attacks on civilian targets, including schools, hospitals, residential neighborhoods, mosques, funerals and markets. The US had provided coalition jets with mid-air refueling until the end of last year, ensuring maximum carnage."

https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/content/current-members

Like I was saying Too bad the two foremost war criminal terrorist nations sit on the UNSC.

Mark Chapman September 3, 2019 at 4:14 pm
Funny – their position is exactly the opposite; too bad Russia and China are on the UNSC, if it were not for them, so much more could get done.

[Sep 11, 2019] Video Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 The Bamboozle Has Captured Us

Highly recommended!
David Warner Mathisen definitely know what he is talking about due to his long military career... Free fall speed is documented and is an embarrassment to the official story, because free fall is impossible for a naturally collapsing building.
Now we need to dig into the role of Larry Silverstein in the Building 7 collapse.
Notable quotes:
"... Below is a video showing several film sequences taken from different locations and documenting multiple angles of World Trade Center Building 7 collapsing at freefall speed eighteen years ago on September 11, 2001. ..."
"... The four words "Building Seven Freefall Speed" provide all the evidence needed to conclude that the so-called "official narrative" promoted by the mainstream media for the past eighteen years is a lie, as is the fraudulent 9/11 Commission Report of 2004. ..."
"... Earlier this month, a team of engineers at the University of Alaska published their draft findings from a five-year investigation into the collapse of Building 7 ..."
"... This damning report by a team of university engineers has received no attention from the mainstream media outlets which continue to promote the bankrupt "official" narrative of the events of September 11, 2001. ..."
"... its rate of collapse can be measured and found to be indistinguishable from freefall speed, as physics teacher David Chandler explains in an interview here (and as he eventually forced NIST to admit), beginning at around 0:43:00 in the interview. ..."
"... the collapse of the 47-story steel-beam building World Trade Center 7 into its own footprint at freefall speed is all the evidence needed to reveal extensive and deliberate premeditated criminal activity by powerful forces that had the ability to prepare pre-positioned demolition charges in that building ..."
"... Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming, to the point that no one can any longer be excused for accepting the official story. Certainly during the first few days and weeks after the attacks, or even during the first few years, men and women could be excused for accepting the official story (particularly given the level to which the mainstream media controls opinion in the united states). ..."
"... Additionally, I would also recommend the interviews which are archived at the website of Visibility 9-11 , which includes valuable interviews with Kevin Ryan but also numerous important interviews with former military officers who explain that the failure of the military to scramble fighters to intercept the hijacked airplanes, and the failure of air defense weapons to stop a jet from hitting the Pentagon (if indeed a jet did hit the Pentagon), are also completely inexplicable to anyone who knows anything at all about military operations, unless the official story is completely false and something else was going on that day. ..."
"... In addition to these interviews and the Dig Within blog of Kevin Ryan, I would also strongly recommend everybody read the article by Dr. Gary G. Kohls entitled " Why Do Good People Become Silent About the Documented Facts that Disprove the Official 9/11 Narrative? " which was published on Global Research a few days ago, on September 6, 2019. ..."
"... on some level, we already know we have been bamboozled, even if our conscious mind refuses to accept what we already know. ..."
"... Previous posts have compared this tendency of the egoic mind to the blissfully ignorant character of Michael Scott in the television series The Office (US version): see here for example, and also here . ..."
"... The imposition of a vast surveillance mechanism upon the people of this country (and of other countries) based on the fraudulent pretext of "preventing terrorism" (and the lying narrative that has been perpetuated with the full complicity of the mainstream media for the past eighteen years) is in complete violation of the human rights which are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and which declare: ..."
"... David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Below is a video showing several film sequences taken from different locations and documenting multiple angles of World Trade Center Building 7 collapsing at freefall speed eighteen years ago on September 11, 2001.

The four words "Building Seven Freefall Speed" provide all the evidence needed to conclude that the so-called "official narrative" promoted by the mainstream media for the past eighteen years is a lie, as is the fraudulent 9/11 Commission Report of 2004.

  1. Building.
  2. Seven.
  3. Freefall.
  4. Speed.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mamvq7LWqRU

Earlier this month, a team of engineers at the University of Alaska published their draft findings from a five-year investigation into the collapse of Building 7, which was not hit by any airplane on September 11, 2001, and concluded that fires could not possibly have caused the collapse of that 47-story steel-frame building -- rather, the collapse seen could have only been caused by the near-simultaneous failure of every support column (43 in number).

This damning report by a team of university engineers has received no attention from the mainstream media outlets which continue to promote the bankrupt "official" narrative of the events of September 11, 2001.

Various individuals at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) tried to argue that the collapse of Building 7 was slower than freefall speed, but its rate of collapse can be measured and found to be indistinguishable from freefall speed, as physics teacher David Chandler explains in an interview here (and as he eventually forced NIST to admit), beginning at around 0:43:00 in the interview.

Although the collapse of the 47-story steel-beam building World Trade Center 7 into its own footprint at freefall speed is all the evidence needed to reveal extensive and deliberate premeditated criminal activity by powerful forces that had the ability to prepare pre-positioned demolition charges in that building prior to the flight of the aircraft into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (Buildings One and Two), as well as the power to cover up the evidence of this criminal activity and to deflect questioning by government agencies and suppress the story in the mainstream news, the collapse of Building 7 is by no means the only evidence which points to the same conclusion.

Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming, to the point that no one can any longer be excused for accepting the official story. Certainly during the first few days and weeks after the attacks, or even during the first few years, men and women could be excused for accepting the official story (particularly given the level to which the mainstream media controls opinion in the united states).

However, eighteen years later there is simply no excuse anymore -- except for the fact that the ramifications of the admission that the official story is a flagrant fraud and a lie are so distressing that many people cannot actually bring themselves to consciously admit what they in fact already know subconsciously.

For additional evidence, I strongly recommend the work of the indefatigable Kevin Robert Ryan , whose blog at Dig Within should be required reading for every man and woman in the united states -- as well as those in the rest of the world, since the ramifications of the murders of innocent men, women and children on September 11, 2001 have led to the murders of literally millions of other innocent men, women and children around the world since that day, and the consequences of the failure to absorb the truth of what actually took place, and the consequences of the failure to address the lies that are built upon the fraudulent explanation of what took place on September 11, continue to negatively impact men and women everywhere on our planet.

Additionally, I would also recommend the interviews which are archived at the website of Visibility 9-11 , which includes valuable interviews with Kevin Ryan but also numerous important interviews with former military officers who explain that the failure of the military to scramble fighters to intercept the hijacked airplanes, and the failure of air defense weapons to stop a jet from hitting the Pentagon (if indeed a jet did hit the Pentagon), are also completely inexplicable to anyone who knows anything at all about military operations, unless the official story is completely false and something else was going on that day.

I would also strongly recommend listening very carefully to the series of five interviews with Kevin Ryan on Guns and Butter with Bonnie Faulkner, which can be found in the Guns and Butter podcast archive here . These interviews, from 2013, are numbered 287, 288, 289, 290, and 291 in the archive.

Selected Articles: 9/11: Do You Still Believe that Al Qaeda Masterminded the Attacks?

I would in fact recommend listening to nearly every interview in that archive of Bonnie Faulkner's show, even though I do not of course agree with every single guest nor with every single view expressed in every single interview. Indeed, if you carefully read Kevin Ryan's blog which was linked above, you will find a blog post by Kevin Ryan dated June 24, 2018 in which he explicitly names James Fetzer along with Judy Woods as likely disinformation agents working to discredit and divert the efforts of 9/11 researchers. James Fetzer appears on Guns and Butter several times in the archived interview page linked above.

In addition to these interviews and the Dig Within blog of Kevin Ryan, I would also strongly recommend everybody read the article by Dr. Gary G. Kohls entitled " Why Do Good People Become Silent About the Documented Facts that Disprove the Official 9/11 Narrative? " which was published on Global Research a few days ago, on September 6, 2019.

That article contains a number of stunning quotations about the ongoing failure to address the now-obvious lies we are being told about the attacks of September 11. One of these quotations, by astronomer Carl Sagan (1934 – 1996), is particularly noteworthy -- even though I certainly do not agree with everything Carl Sagan ever said or wrote. Regarding our propensity to refuse to acknowledge what we already know deep down to be true, Carl Sagan said:

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken.

This quotation is from Sagan's 1995 text, The Demon-Haunted World (with which I have points of disagreement, but which is extremely valuable for that quotation alone, and which I might suggest turning around on some of the points that Sagan was arguing as well, as a cautionary warning to those who have accepted too wholeheartedly some of Sagan's teachings and opinions).

This quotation shows that on some level, we already know we have been bamboozled, even if our conscious mind refuses to accept what we already know. This internal division is actually addressed in the world's ancient myths, which consistently illustrate that our egoic mind often refuses to acknowledge the higher wisdom we have available to us through the reality of our authentic self, sometimes called our Higher Self. Previous posts have compared this tendency of the egoic mind to the blissfully ignorant character of Michael Scott in the television series The Office (US version): see here for example, and also here .

The important author Peter Kingsley has noted that in ancient myth, the role of the prophet was to bring awareness and acknowledgement of that which the egoic mind refuses to see -- which is consistent with the observation that it is through our authentic self (which already knows) that we have access to the realm of the gods. In the Iliad, for example, Dr. Kingsley notes that Apollo sends disaster upon the Achaean forces until the prophet Calchas reveals the source of the god's anger: Agamemnon's refusal to free the young woman Chryseis, whom Agamemnon has seized in the course of the fighting during the Trojan War, and who is the daughter of a priest of Apollo. Until Agamemnon atones for this insult to the god, Apollo will continue to visit destruction upon those following Agamemnon.

Until we acknowledge and correct what our Higher Self already knows to be the problem, we ourselves will be out of step with the divine realm.

If we look the other way at the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children on September 11, 2001, and deliberately refuse to see the truth that we already know deep down in our subconscious, then we will face the displeasure of the Invisible Realm. Just as we are shown in the ancient myths, the truth must be acknowledged and admitted, and then the wrong that has been done must be corrected.

In the case of the mass murder perpetrated on September 11, eighteen years ago, that admission requires us to face the fact that the "terrorists" who were blamed for that attack were not the actual terrorists that we need to be focusing on.

Please note that I am very careful not to say that "the government" is the source of the problem: I would argue that the government is the lawful expression of the will of the people and that the government, rightly understood, is exactly what these criminal perpetrators actually fear the most, if the people ever become aware of what is going on. The government, which is established by the Constitution, forbids the perpetration of murder upon innocent men, women and children in order to initiate wars of aggression against countries that never invaded or attacked us (under the false pretense that they did so). Those who do so are actually opposed to our government under the Constitution and can be dealt with within the framework of the law as established by the Constitution, which establishes a very clear penalty for treason.

When the people acknowledge and admit the complete bankruptcy of the lie we have been told about the attacks of September 11, the correction of that lie will involve demanding the immediate repeal and dismantling of the so-called "USA PATRIOT Act" which was enacted in the weeks immediately following September 11, 2001 and which clearly violates the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Additionally, the correction of that lie will involve demanding the immediate cessation of the military operations which were initiated based upon the fraudulent narrative of the attacks of that day, and which have led to invasion and overthrow of the nations that were falsely blamed as being the perpetrators of those attacks and the seizure of their natural resources.

The imposition of a vast surveillance mechanism upon the people of this country (and of other countries) based on the fraudulent pretext of "preventing terrorism" (and the lying narrative that has been perpetuated with the full complicity of the mainstream media for the past eighteen years) is in complete violation of the human rights which are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and which declare:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

That human right has been grievously trampled upon under the false description of what actually took place during the September 11 attacks. Numerous technology companies have been allowed and even encouraged (and paid, with public moneys) to create technologies which flagrantly and shamelessly violate "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" and which track their every move and even enable secret eavesdropping upon their conversation and the secret capture of video within their homes and private settings, without any probable cause whatsoever.

When we admit and acknowledge that we have been lied to about the events of September 11, which has been falsely used as a supposed justification for the violation of these human rights (with complete disregard for the supreme law of the land as established in the Constitution), then we will also demand the immediate cessation of any such intrusion upon the right of the people to "be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" -- including the cessation of any business models which involve spying on men and women.

Companies which cannot find a business model that does not violate the Bill of Rights should lose their corporate charter and the privilege of limited liability, which are extended to them by the people (through the government of the people, by the people and for the people) only upon the condition that their behavior as corporations do not violate the inherent rights of men and women as acknowledged in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

It is well beyond the time when we must acknowledge and admit that we have been lied to about the events of September 11, 2001 -- and that we continue to be lied to about the events of that awful day. September 11, 2001 is in fact only one such event in a long history which stretches back prior to 2001, to other events which should have awakened the people to the presence of a very powerful and very dangerous criminal cabal acting in direct contravention to the Constitution long before we ever got to 2001 -- but the events of September 11 are so blatant, so violent, and so full of evidence which contradicts the fraudulent narrative that they actually cannot be believed by anyone who spends even the slightest amount of time looking at that evidence.

Indeed, we already know deep down that we have been bamboozled by the lie of the so-called "official narrative" of September 11.

But until we admit to ourselves and acknowledge to others that we've ignored the truth that we already know, then the bamboozle still has us .

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University.

The original source of this article is Global Research Copyright © David W. Mathisen , Global Research, 2019 Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University.

[Sep 11, 2019] Tucker John Bolton refuses to acknowledge his mistakes - YouTube

Tucker is right: the problem is that Bolton can be replaced by another Bolton.
Sep 11, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Matt Curley , 16 hours ago

With Romney being "VERY VERY UNHAPPY" makes it all worthwhile..

Pete G , 18 hours ago

No more Wars Trump America first starts at Home Bring our Troops home 🇺🇸

Zentella6 , 18 hours ago

Bye bye, douchebag. Great news for America. I'm an 11 year vet, and I approve this message.

Marcus McCurley , 10 hours ago

I'm a vet who served in the 82nd Airborne and I say good riddance to this War Monger. This is an awful awful man!

stantheman1684 , 14 hours ago

iv> I see the GLOBALIST shills are in full force on this video, trying to artificially bring down the ratio from probably 99% Positive that such a bad man is gone. Doesn't matter, the Silent Majority & good people everywhere know that Bolton was a poor candidate for that job with a catastrophic failure record & everybody is better of with a more competent person in that position.

MAGA2020

Rebecca Martinez , 18 hours ago

Neo-con Bolton war monger turning on military industrial complex! No wars, no conflicts, no ME instability change! Good riddens!

Richard Willette , 13 hours ago

Trump only hires the best. Bolton will go to Fox and someone from Fox will be 4th National Security Advisor

Michael Ross , 14 hours ago

Thanks President Trump for getting rid of the globalist John Bolton

TED C , 17 hours ago

Foreign policy appears to be 17 year wars. Being a perpetual non winner.

caligirl , 16 hours ago

Good job Tucker, thank you for telling the truth about John Bolton and help to stop bombing Iran!

The Nair , 12 hours ago (edited)

John Bolton is owned by foreign powers like many in Washington. They get paid by their lobby to push the neocon agenda which translates into robbing the US of it's $ to fight wars that don't benefit the US.

yukonjeffimagery , 6 hours ago

War monger Bolton. How did that Libya thing work out for Europe ? Now after looking back, I am sure the African invasion into Europe was planned by Obama and his boss Soros.

Justin Noordyke , 8 hours ago

Romney is another swamp rat. All these politicians supporting Bolton have lost their sanity.

Marutgana Rudraksha , 6 hours ago

2,200 neo-cons don't like this video.

danielgarrison91 , 17 hours ago

Tucker while I agree with you on the mess in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya. But one thing you left out Tucker. Foxnews hired John Bolton as a Contributer for over a decade. How do you miss that part.

SAROJA Band , 3 hours ago (edited)

Bolton is pure evil. A "catastrophic success". Warmonger neo-con-artist. Abject failure. Delusional hubris exemplified. Brilliant reporting Tucker!!

Jamie Kloer , 8 hours ago

All the policies in the Middle East are complete and other failures. I'm so sick of neo cons. You can't get rid of them. You can not get rid of them. It doesn't matter who you vote for. Constant war. Like every regime couldn't be replaced around the world. Absolutely ridiculous.

BP , 9 hours ago

"In Washington, nobody cares what kind of job you did, only that you did the job. Nobody there learns from mistakes, because mistakes are never even acknowledged. Ever." Yes, Tucker DOES understand Washington!!!

Deborah Beaudoin Zaki , 6 hours ago div tabindex="0" class="comment-renderer-te

xt" role="article"> If Bolton becomes a Fox News contributor: I will change the channel immediately... I already do this when Jeff Epstein's, the child trafficker and rapist, good buddy Alan Dershowitz comes on as a guest... Do not know why Fox News selects guest contributors that have their morals/values in the wrong directions...

Angela J , 6 hours ago div tabindex="0" role="art

icle"> Bolton was signatory to PNAC- the project for a new american century, like other progressives and neo-cons of his generation. They do not view the chaos left by taking out Ghaddafi and Saddam as problems, rather the creation of failed states was their objective all along. Members of the GOP went along with these plans where they coincided with their own political and business objectives- the military industrial complex and the oilmen.

[Sep 11, 2019] Andrew Bacevich, Ending War, American-Style

Sep 11, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

September 11, 2019 by Yves Smith Yves here. Note that for all of Trump's considerable faults, including hiring John Bolton in the first place and taking too long to get rid of him, Bolton's opposition to finding a way for the US to extricate itself from the war in Afghanistan was reportedly the last straw.

By Andrew Bacevich, who serves as president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft . His new book The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory will be published in January. Originally published at TomDispatch

When the conflict that the Vietnamese refer to as the American War ended in April 1975, I was a U.S. Army captain attending a course at Fort Knox, Kentucky. In those days, the student body at any of our Army's myriad schools typically included officers from the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN).

Since ARVN's founding two decades earlier, the United States had assigned itself the task of professionalizing that fledgling military establishment. Based on a conviction that the standards, methods, and ethos of our armed forces were universally applicable and readily exportable, the attendance of ARVN personnel at such Army schools was believed to contribute to the professionalizing of the South Vietnamese military.

Evidence that the U.S. military's own professional standards had recently taken a hit -- memories of the My Lai massacre were then still fresh -- elicited no second thoughts on our part. Association with American officers like me was sure to rub off on our South Vietnamese counterparts in ways that would make them better soldiers. So we professed to believe, even while subjecting that claim to no more scrutiny than we did the question of why most of us had spent a year or more of our lives participating in an obviously misbegotten and misguided war in Indochina.

For serving officers at that time one question in particular remained off-limits (though it had been posed incessantly for years by antiwar protestors in the streets of America): Why Vietnam? Prizing compliance as a precondition for upward mobility, military service rarely encourages critical thinking.

On the day that Saigon, the capital of the Republic of Vietnam, fell and that country ceased to exist, I approached one of my ARVN classmates, also a captain, wanting at least to acknowledge the magnitude of the disaster that had occurred. "I'm sorry about what happened to your country," I told him.

I did not know that officer well and no longer recall his name. Let's call him Captain Nguyen. In my dim recollection, he didn't even bother to reply. He simply looked at me with an expression both distressed and mournful. Our encounter lasted no more than a handful of seconds. I then went on with my life and Captain Nguyen presumably with his. Although I have no inkling of his fate, I like to think that he is now retired in Southern California after a successful career in real estate. But who knows?

All I do know is that today I recall our exchange with a profound sense of embarrassment and even shame. My pathetic effort to console Captain Nguyen had been both presumptuous and inadequate. Far worse was my failure -- inability? refusal? -- to acknowledge the context within which that catastrophe was occurring: the United States and its armed forces had, over years, inflicted horrendous harm on the people of South Vietnam.

In reality, their defeat was our defeat. Yet while we had decided that we were done paying, they were going to pay and pay for a long time to come.

Rather than offering a fatuous expression of regret for the collapse of his country, I ought to have apologized for having played even a miniscule role in what was, by any measure, a catastrophe of epic proportions. It's a wonder Captain Nguyen didn't spit in my eye.

I genuinely empathized with Captain Nguyen. Yet the truth is that, along with most other Americans, soldiers and civilians alike, I was only too happy to be done with South Vietnam and all its troubles. Dating back to the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the United States and its armed forces had made a gargantuan effort to impart legitimacy to the Republic of Vietnam and to coerce the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to its north into giving up its determination to exercise sovereignty over the entirety of the country. In that, we had failed spectacularly and at a staggering cost.

"Our" war in Indochina -- the conflict we chose to call the Vietnam War -- officially ended in January 1973 with the signing in Paris of an "Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam." Under the terms of that fraudulent pact, American prisoners of war were freed from captivity in North Vietnam and the last U.S. combat troops in the south left for home, completing a withdrawal begun several years earlier. Primary responsibility for securing the Republic of Vietnam thereby fell to ARVN, long deemed by U.S. commanders incapable of accomplishing that mission.

Meanwhile, despite a nominal cessation of hostilities, approximately 150,000 North Vietnamese regulars still occupied a large swathe of South Vietnamese territory -- more or less the equivalent to agreeing to end World War II when there were still several German panzer tank divisions lurking in Belgium's Ardennes Forest. In effect, our message to our enemy and our ally was this: We're outta here; you guys sort this out . In a bit more than two years, that sorting-out process would extinguish the Republic of Vietnam.

Been There, Done That

The course Captain Nguyen and I were attending in the spring of 1975 paid little attention to fighting wars like the one that, for years, had occupied the attention of my army and his. Our Army, in fact, was already moving on. Having had their fill of triple-canopy jungles in Indochina, America's officer corps now turned to defending the Fulda Gap, the region in West Germany deemed most hospitable to a future Soviet invasion. As if by fiat, gearing up to fight those Soviet forces and their Warsaw Pact allies, should they (however improbably) decide to take on NATO and lunge toward the English Channel, suddenly emerged as priority number one. At Fort Knox and throughout the Army's ranks, we were suddenly focused on "high-intensity combined arms operations" -- essentially, a replay of World War II-style combat with fancier weaponry. In short, the armed forces of the United States had reverted to "real soldiering."

And so it is again today. At the end of the 17th year of what Americans commonly call the Afghanistan War -- one wonders what name Afghans will eventually assign it -- U.S. military forces are moving on. Pentagon planners are shifting their attention back to Russia and China. Great power competition has become the name of the game. However we might define Washington's evolving purposes in its Afghanistan War -- "nation building," "democratization," "pacification" -- the likelihood of mission accomplishment is nil. As in the early 1970s, so in 2019, rather than admitting failure, the Pentagon has chosen to change the subject and is once again turning its attention to "real soldiering."

Remember the infatuation with counterinsurgency (commonly known by its acronym COIN) that gripped the national security establishment around 2007 when the Iraq "surge" overseen by General David Petraeus briefly ranked alongside Gettysburg as a historic victory? Well, these days promoting COIN as the new American way of war has become, to put it mildly, a tough sell. Given that few in Washington will openly acknowledge the magnitude of the military failure in Afghanistan, the incentive for identifying new enemies in settings deemed more congenial becomes all but irresistible.

Only one thing is required to validate this reshuffling of military priorities. Washington needs to create the appearance, as in 1973, that it's exiting Afghanistan on its own terms. What's needed, in short, is an updated equivalent of that "Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam."

Until last weekend, the signing of such an agreement seemed imminent. Donald Trump and his envoy, former ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, appeared poised to repeat the trick that President Richard Nixon and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger pulled off in 1973 in Paris: pause the war and call it peace. Should fighting subsequently resume after a "decent interval," it would no longer be America's problem. Now, however, to judge by the president's twitter account -- currently the authoritative record of U.S. diplomacy -- the proposed deal has been postponed, or perhaps shelved, or even abandoned altogether. If National Security Advisor John Bolton has his way , U.S. forces might just withdraw in any case, without an agreement of any sort being signed.

Based on what we can divine from press reports, the terms of that prospective Afghan deal would mirror those of the 1973 Paris Accords in one important respect. It would, in effect, serve as a ticket home for the remaining U.S. and NATO troops still in that country (though for the present only the first 5,000 of them would immediately depart). Beyond that, the Taliban was to promise not to provide sanctuary to anti-American terrorist groups, even though the Afghan branch of ISIS is already firmly lodged there. Still, this proviso would allow the Trump administration to claim that it had averted any possible recurrence of the 9/11 terror attacks that were, of course, planned by Osama bin Laden while residing in Afghanistan in 2001 as a guest of the Taliban-controlled government. Mission accomplished , as it were.

Back in 1973, North Vietnamese forces occupying parts of South Vietnam neither disarmed nor withdrew. Should this new agreement be finalized, Taliban forces currently controlling or influencing significant swaths of Afghan territory will neither disarm nor withdraw. Indeed, their declared intention is to continue fighting.

In 1973, policymakers in Washington were counting on ARVN to hold off Communist forces. In 2019, almost no one expects Afghan security forces to hold off a threat consisting of both the Taliban and ISIS. In a final insult, just as the Saigon government was excluded from U.S. negotiations with the North Vietnamese, so, too, has the Western-installed government in Kabul been excluded from U.S. negotiations with its sworn enemy, the Taliban.

A host of uncertainties remain. As with the olive branches that President Trump has ostentatiously offered to Russia, China, and North Koea, this particular peace initiative may come to naught -- or, given the approach of the 2020 elections, he may decide that Afghanistan offers his last best hope of claiming at least one foreign policy success. One way or another, in all likelihood, the deathwatch for the U.S.-backed Afghan government has now begun. One thing only is for sure. Having had their fill of Afghanistan, when the Americans finally leave, they won't look back. In that sense, it will be Vietnam all over again.

What Price Peace?

However great my distaste for President Trump, I support his administration's efforts to extricate the United States from Afghanistan. I do so for the same reason I supported the Paris Peace Accords of 1973. Prolonging this folly any longer does not serve U.S. interests. Rule number one of statecraft ought to be: when you're doing something really stupid, stop. To my mind, this rule seems especially applicable when the lives of American soldiers are at stake.

In Vietnam, Washington wasted 58,000 of those lives for nothing. In Afghanistan, we have lost more than 2,300 troops , with another 20,000 wounded, again for next to nothing. Last month, two American Special Forces soldiers were killed in a firefight in Faryab Province. For what?

That said, I'm painfully aware of the fact that, on the long-ago day when I offered Captain Nguyen my feeble condolences, I lacked the imagination to conceive of the trials about to befall his countrymen. In the aftermath of the American War, something on the order of 800,000 Vietnamese took to open and unseaworthy boats to flee their country. According to estimates by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, between 200,000 and 400,000 boat people died at sea. Most of those who survived were destined to spend years in squalid refugee camps scattered throughout Southeast Asia. Back in Vietnam itself, some 300,000 former ARVN officers and South Vietnamese officials were imprisoned in so-called reeducation camps for up to 18 years. Reconciliation did not rank high on the postwar agenda of the unified country's new leaders.

Meanwhile, for the Vietnamese, north and south, the American War has in certain ways only continued. Mines and unexploded ordnance left from that war have inflicted more than 100,000 casualties since the last American troops departed. Even today, the toll caused by Agent Orange and other herbicides that the U.S. Air Force sprayed with abandon over vast stretches of territory continues to mount. The Red Cross calculates that more than one million Vietnamese have suffered health problems, including serious birth defects and cancers as a direct consequence of the promiscuous use of those poisons as weapons of war.

For anyone caring to calculate the moral responsibility of the United States for its actions in Vietnam, all of those would have to find a place on the final balance sheet. The 1.3 million Vietnamese admitted to the United States as immigrants since the American War formally concluded can hardly be said to make up for the immense damage suffered by the people of Vietnam as a direct or indirect result of U.S. policy.

As to what will follow if Washington does succeed in cutting a deal with the Taliban, well, don't count on President Trump (or his successor for that matter) welcoming anything like 1.3 million Afghan refugees to the United States once a "decent interval" has passed. Yet again, our position will be: we're outta here; you guys sort this out.

Near the end of his famed novel, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald described two of his privileged characters, Tom and Daisy, as "careless people" who "smashed up things and creatures" and then "retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness" to "let other people clean up the mess they had made." That description applies to the United States as a whole, especially when Americans tire of a misguided war. We are a careless people. In Vietnam, we smashed up things and human beings with abandon, only to retreat into our money, leaving others to clean up the mess in a distinctly bloody fashion.

Count on us, probably sooner rather than later, doing precisely the same thing in Afghanistan.


RBHoughton , September 11, 2019 at 1:05 am

Bacevich is right. Vietnam was a tragedy. Here we are at Ground Hog Day in Afghanistan.

I was touched by the author's recollection of Capt Nguyen. I well know that awful moment when , reflecting on some past event, I have recognised my own actions as insensitive, crass and unfeeling. How do we get so wrapped-up in ourselves that the feelings of others hardly impinge on our sensitivities? What happened to society? Is that where the West has gone wrong?

Btw, quote "to judge by the president's twitter account -- currently the authoritative record of U.S. diplomacy" unquote. I hope those owning the Twitter Nest note the future use of their archive.

VietnamVet , September 11, 2019 at 3:42 am

Andrew Bacevich is right. However, there is an amazing human disinclination to face facts but live with delusions which risk extinction for immediate gratification. The lessons from Vietnam were never learned. The Bush/Cheney fateful decision to occupy Afghanistan at the same time as invading Iraq ultimately led to the current predatory corporate military rule that will never voluntarily withdraw from overseas. The intent of the media/intelligence coup against the President is to prevent peace from breaking out. Executives and wealthy shareholders would lose their taxpayer gravy train. The troops and contractors now in Eastern Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are expendable. They will not have two years to get out. No planning, deep-sixing science, and profits over safety all assure that sooner or later there will be another black swan event. Be it Brexit, closure of Strait of Hormuz, subprime auto loans, WWIII, or climate change, assuredly something will give the final push and the American Empire will collapse.

Mattski , September 11, 2019 at 7:43 am

"Après moi, le déluge! is the watchword of every capitalist and of every capitalist nation. Hence Capital is reckless of the health or length of life of the labourer, unless under compulsion from society."

No Pasaran , September 11, 2019 at 5:05 am

Prof. Bacevich is very perceptive and he writes well; his essays are always worth reading. Nevertheless, he is a retired US Army officer after all and there is that thing about leopards and spots. There is a tell in this article, when he speaks of the day that Saigon 'fell'. I too remember well that day in April of '75. I was studying in Madison, on the GI Bill. My friends and I all rejoiced on that day, as Saigon had finally been 'liberated'.

Ian Perkins , September 11, 2019 at 11:13 am

I was at high school in the UK, and my friends and I also rejoiced on that day.

Donald , September 11, 2019 at 12:29 pm

Why rejoice? The point should be that the US had no business in Vietnam, not that one group finally succeeded in uniting the country under the rule of one dictatorial party. Not all Vietnamese welcomed the "liberation" and many died fleeing the country.

I am sure this will be misunderstood, so I'll add that I think that the US role was one massive war crime and we never should have been there at all, that Ho Chi Minh probably would have won a fair election in the 1950's etc

Being antiwar has nothing necessarily to do with favoring the side our government opposes. It simply means that there is no moral justification for the US invading Vietnam or Iraq, supporting jihadists in Syria, helping the Saudis and the Israelis bomb civilians, and so on.

The Rev Kev , September 11, 2019 at 6:39 pm

Prof. Bacevich has an personal stake in what he writes about. His son, Lt. Andrew John Bacevich, was killed in action by an IED during the occupation back in 2007. He was already a severe critic of the war at the time but I am guessing that this underlined the futility of it tall.

Ignacio , September 11, 2019 at 6:01 am

Although it is true that the willing of Trump to put an end to the Afghan occupation must be seen as a positive, his policy of ever increasing military budgets make this affirmation from Bacevich "the incentive for identifying new enemies in settings deemed more congenial becomes all but irresistible" truer that ever. These expenditures must be justified in practical terms and It worries me what the new enemies in Trump's brain are.

fajensen , September 11, 2019 at 8:17 am

One was hoping that the Space Marines would focus The Decider's attention firmly on those pesky Centaurians .

Ignacio , September 11, 2019 at 9:23 am

Ha, ha hah!
Yes, Hollywood has made a big effort to explain us, the common people, that US's military expenses will protect us from Centaurians, Klingons, meteorites and some other rogue invaders. I cannot imagine any other reason.

Steve H. , September 11, 2019 at 6:37 am

> Prizing compliance as a precondition for upward mobility, military service rarely encourages critical thinking.

John Boyd: "And you're going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go." He raised his hand and pointed. "If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments." Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction. "Or you can go that way and you can do something -- something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won't have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference. To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That's when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?" [Robert Coram]

Jesper , September 11, 2019 at 7:42 am

Which is worse? Living in a cave in Afghanistan or living in a prison in Europe/US?
If the invasion of Afghanistan was about capturing some people and then imprisoning them then that question might possibly be relevant.
If the invasion was about prestige then sometimes the best revenge and biggest insult is to treat that someone as irrelevant and insignificant. If the opportunity presents itself to do something then by all means do something, do what prestige demands but if that does not happen then what?
Sometimes the measure of someone is had by the measure of his/her enemies. Giving someone the significance of being the enemy might provide that someone with a better life. There are people with money who'd be willing to fund the enemy of their enemy. But how do those financiers know if they are funding some chancers/charlatans or the real thing? Spread some uncertainty about who are charlatans/chancers and see what happens to the funding . Maybe the guilty ones might feel it necessary to publicly provide the necessary proof of their guilt, doubtful but & if the location of them is found then threaten closure of the diplomatic missions of the nation where they are unless they are handed over. The diplomatic missions are cushy positions and closing them will only hurt the 'elite', the general population is left unharmed.

Afghanistan is unlikely to change anytime soon. As with all predictions of the future that one might be very wrong. However, the ones predicting that Afghanistan can and will change due to military occupation are in my opinion the ones who need to somehow provide support for their prediction.

The Rev Kev , September 11, 2019 at 9:11 am

A few predictions here. After the US and the rest of the Coalition leaves Afghanistan, not much happens for awhile. But then the government starts to lose ground. Slowly at first, and then quickly. Eventually Kabul falls. Long before then the US and other countries would have had evacuated their embassies so that there is no repeat of the frantic helicopter evacuations like happened in Saigon. There is a swell of refugees, particularly those who worked with the Coalition but Trump refuses all entry of them into the US saying that there are "very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers" in Afghanistan.
Five years after the last troops are out of Afghanistan the war is all but forgotten in the same way that the vets of the Korean War were forgotten. Not for nothing did they call Korea the "Forgotten War.' By then the US is immersed in another campaign – probably in Africa – and news about what is happening in Afghanistan is relegated to the back pages. The vets will remember, but the nation will ignore them in the same way that Vietnam vets were forgotten after that war ended until the striking Vietnam Veterans Memorial was built in Washington by the vets themselves. In West Point text books, the war is relegated to the back pages as the cadets will instead study peer warfare with Russia and China.

Alex Cox , September 11, 2019 at 1:50 pm

One very important question remains.
By 2001 the Taliban had reduced opium production to virtually zero. Every year since the US/NATO invasion, opium production has increased.
What will the Afghans do when the US and British are no longer around to facilitate the heroin trade? Perhaps that's why negotiations are proving so difficult.

ewmayer , September 11, 2019 at 4:56 pm

"By 2001 the Taliban had reduced opium production to virtually zero."

You need to update things past 2001 :

The Taliban banned the cultivation of opium in 2001, shortly before being ousted by the US-led NATO coalition. However, after 2005, the Taliban began to regroup, and encouraged opium production to finance its insurgency by forcing locals to grow opium and punishing those who refused. Besides, major opium traffickers annually pay vast amounts to the Taliban in exchange for safe transport routes secured by the group.

The Taliban uses the money it collects from the opium trade to pay fighters' salaries, buy fuel, food, weapons and explosives. Based on some reports, around 40% of the Taliban's funding comes from opium production, while the rest of its expenditure is borne by foreign patrons and tax collections. The group's annual income from the opium trade was estimated to be $400 million in 2011, but it is believed to have significantly increased in recent years.

The Taliban collect two types of taxes from opium businesses: a transportation tax from drug trafficking and a 10% tax from opium cultivation. In exchange, the group provides security for the drug convoys and carries out attacks on government institutions like checkpoints in order to allow drug convoys to pass. The group has also launched attacks on government forces to safeguard drug labs and factories.

The Taliban don't need US/UK to facilitate things. In fact, getting the US out of the country might eliminate one of their major Heroin-related business rivals, the CIA.

Ian Perkins , September 11, 2019 at 11:10 am

Bacevich states, "Rule number one of statecraft ought to be: when you're doing something really stupid, stop. To my mind, this rule seems especially applicable when the lives of American soldiers are at stake. In Vietnam, Washington wasted 58,000 of those lives for nothing."
Why does he find his rule especially applicable to the paltry number of US dead, given that at least fifty times as many Indochinese died?
This attitude is surely one reason for the loathing felt by much of the world toward the USA. People are justifiably sick of hearing how US lives are inherently more valuable than their own.

juliania , September 11, 2019 at 12:24 pm

I guess you missed this part of the article:

" That said, I'm painfully aware of the fact that, on the long-ago day when I offered Captain Nguyen my feeble condolences, I lacked the imagination to conceive of the trials about to befall his countrymen. In the aftermath of the American War, something on the order of 800,000 Vietnamese took to open and unseaworthy boats to flee their country. According to estimates by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, between 200,000 and 400,000 boat people died at sea. Most of those who survived were destined to spend years in squalid refugee camps scattered throughout Southeast Asia. Back in Vietnam itself, some 300,000 former ARVN officers and South Vietnamese officials were imprisoned in so-called reeducation camps for up to 18 years. Reconciliation did not rank high on the postwar agenda of the unified country's new leaders.

Meanwhile, for the Vietnamese, north and south, the American War has in certain ways only continued. Mines and unexploded ordnance left from that war have inflicted more than 100,000 casualties since the last American troops departed. Even today, the toll caused by Agent Orange and other herbicides that the U.S. Air Force sprayed with abandon over vast stretches of territory continues to mount. The Red Cross calculates that more than one million Vietnamese have suffered health problems, including serious birth defects and cancers as a direct consequence of the promiscuous use of those poisons as weapons of war.

For anyone caring to calculate the moral responsibility of the United States for its actions in Vietnam, all of those would have to find a place on the final balance sheet. The 1.3 million Vietnamese admitted to the United States as immigrants since the American War formally concluded can hardly be said to make up for the immense damage suffered by the people of Vietnam as a direct or indirect result of U.S. policy ."

Note in particular the phrase "the people of Vietnam" in the last sentence. I find your criticism to be unwarranted.

Ian Perkins , September 11, 2019 at 1:01 pm

I neither missed nor ignored Bacevich's caveat.
I was focusing on his 'rule number one', which seems to make the lives of a few US soldiers more sacred than those of the many people – civilians as well as soldiers – they kill.
I am not trying to say that Bacevich is as evil and abhorrent as say Bolton. I don't think he is, though I suspect he's on the same side when it comes down to it.
I am suggesting that the USA will fail to win the hearts and minds of the world's people while killing them and belittling their deaths.

(and you might note the phrase "can hardly be said to make up for" in the last sentence!)

John Wright , September 11, 2019 at 6:38 pm

As I remember the movie Dr. Strangelove, as the USA nuclear weapon was launched toward Russia, Russia was given an option to destroy some USA cities as a way of the USA doing fair and suitable penance.

I don't imagine the USA's military is viewed in the world as other than operating in the USA elites' interests, despite any media (Cable, internet, print,Hollywood films) verbiage about "bringing democracy" or "bringing freedom" to other nations.

I believe the Peace Corps was established as a way to make the world a better place with USA's expertise and as a way to win "hearts and minds of the world's people".

Per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_Corps , the Peace Corps budget in 2018 was 398 million.

The USA defense budget for 2019 is shown as 686 billion putting the Peace Corps budget as 0.058% of the, perhaps understated, defense budget.

I believe winning the world's hearts and minds via USA military action is very unlikely at best.

The small Peace Corps budget is evidence that concern about winning hearts and minds in foreign countries is a very small priority in Washington D.C.

Ford Prefect , September 11, 2019 at 11:44 am

If you fund, arm, and train an army for a decade and it still can't defend itself against insurgents, then you have to wonder whose side is right? If it actually had the backing of the people on the ground and dedicated troops and government, then it should be able to hold its ground well.

The US has had exactly the same outcomes in Vietnam and Afghanistan with training the respective armies.

In Iraq, it is largely coherent tribal entities of Kurds and Shiites that have been providing the backbone of relatively successful military organizations (not the same one despite being in the same country). Both groups have their own independent goals. The US forefeited its abiltiy to create a true national army in Iraq when they disbanded the former Iraqi Army shortly after invading. That resulted in a well-trained insurgency.

Ian Perkins , September 11, 2019 at 12:27 pm

"The US has had exactly the same outcomes in Vietnam and Afghanistan with training the respective armies."
Hardly. From 1979 the US funded, armed and trained the Mujaheddin, who won. I'm not aware of them funding, arming or training the Viet Cong or Viet Minh.
They didn't win when they backed the losing sides, that's true. But it isn't saying much beyond the obvious.

Susan the other` , September 11, 2019 at 3:12 pm

I like Bacevich but he really demurred from making his underlying point. He asked "Why Vietnam" and then he proceeded to fluff through that question. But the analogy to Afghanistan remains at a much deeper level. That level (imo) is this: Why Vietnam? Because, at that hysterical cold war turning point, Vietnam was the gateway to Southern China (Gore Vidal). Our main objective was to position ourselves to invade Southern China and protect the old imperialist interests of the UK and France (aka Nato). But we dithered and hesitated. Thank god. It could have been a much worse debacle. So here it is: We invaded Afghanistan and sent a zillion dollars worth of materiel to Iraq in order to take over the Middle East. And that meant invading Iran. But just like China, Iran was a dangerous plan. Too many things could go wrong, so everyone knew they would go wrong. Duh. And so we dithered and hesitated. And made up for it by blatant propaganda for 15 years. We're "outta there" because we should never have been in there. And one of the tragedies is our abandonment of the Kurds. Just like the South Vietnamese. Bacevich didn't mention the Kurds. He implied our abandonment would upset the poor Afghans. But, they won't care at all. They'll be flipping all of our departing helicopters the bird. Still there was a point to be made about our fecklessness. Interesting aside here that Bacevich, a well thought-out moral person, is the new President of the Quincy Institute. It will probably become famous for deep, murky contradictions. And pompous rationalizations without ever really making the point. Just to the taste of Soros and the Kochs.

Susan the other` , September 11, 2019 at 3:25 pm

I suspect, re Afghanistan, there is an upside that will never be made into a finer point. That is, we have worn out the appetite for a wider war for all concerned and managed to come to agreement with all parties of interest in Middle East oil. Including Russia. And Israel. And nobody will make much fuss about it, but we will still leave a very high-tech military contingent in Afghanistan because Eurasia is a vast opportunity.

barrisj , September 11, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Vietnam War strictly motivated by the "Domino Theory" and "monolithic Asian communism", per Dean Rusk, McGeorge Bundy, et al. Kennedy was said to be having "second thoughts" about expanded US presence at the time of his assassination; however, LBJ went all-in, urged on by McNamara and the generals 11 years later it all went tits-up, Nixon ended the draft, all relatively quiet on the war front, then Carter and Brzezinski funded Islamic militants in Afghanistan to harry the Russkies and ca. 20yrs later, Cheney-Bush repeat the Russian quagmire plus ça change etc" .

stan6565 , September 11, 2019 at 3:55 pm

The author is too limited in his appraisals of USA wars, and the commentariat here too polite to expand on the list of the criminal wars waged by the USA since Vietnam.

Iraq and Afghanistan were mentioned, yes, but there were also open wars of aggression against Yugoslavia, then Serbia, Grenada and Libya as well as clandestine wars against a good chunk of the globe, Israel/Palestine, Russian backyard countries, China, Venezuela, a swathe of Central American countries, and so on ad infinitum.

USA's holy grail of subjugating all oil producing countries in the world, except for those that can fight back, and purported payment to those unable to fight back, with readily printable papers of questionable value, is not a long term strategy. Not long term as in 10 or 20 more years. Then what? John Bolton or his clone on a cocktail of steroids and amphetamine, lobbing nuclear weapons indiscriminately all over the place?

The Indispensable Nation.

[Sep 11, 2019] Better late than never Bolton's firing gives Trump a chance to heed his instincts Ron Paul

This is a bit like rearranging the chairs on the deck of Titanic.
The problem is we do not know who pressed Trump to appoint Bolton., Rumors were that it was Abelson. In this case nothing changed.
The other problem with making Bolton firing a significant move is the presence in White House other neocon warmongers. So one less doe not change the picture. For example Pompeo remains and he is no less warmongering neocon, MIC stooge, and no less subservant to Israel then Bolton.
Notable quotes:
"... Firing National Security Advisor John Bolton gives US President Donald Trump a chance to move foreign policy in a more peaceful direction – as long as he's not replaced with another hawk, former congressman Ron Paul told RT ..."
"... Bolton has "been a monkey-wrench in Donald Trump's policies of trying to back away from some of these conflicts around the world," Paul observed on Tuesday ..."
"... "Every time I think Trump is making progress, Bolton butts in and ruins it," Paul added. Negotiations with Afghanistan and talks with North Korea and Iran have reportedly been scuttled by his aggressive tendencies, with Pyongyang declaring him a "defective human product." ..."
"... "A lot of people here didn't even want his appointment, because he was only able to take a position that did not require Senate approval," Paul said, suggesting that perhaps the "Deep State" pressure had forced the president to keep Bolton around long past his sell-by date. ..."
"... As for whether Bolton's departure would change the White House's policy line significantly, though, Paul was less certain. "I don't think it will change a whole lot," he said, pointing out that "we have no idea" who will replace Bolton. Trump said he would make an announcement next week. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.rt.com

Firing National Security Advisor John Bolton gives US President Donald Trump a chance to move foreign policy in a more peaceful direction – as long as he's not replaced with another hawk, former congressman Ron Paul told RT.

Bolton has "been a monkey-wrench in Donald Trump's policies of trying to back away from some of these conflicts around the world," Paul observed on Tuesday, after news of Bolton's dismissal from the White House. Also on rt.com Bolton out: Trump ditches hawkish adviser he kept for 18 months despite 'disagreements'

"Every time I think Trump is making progress, Bolton butts in and ruins it," Paul added. Negotiations with Afghanistan and talks with North Korea and Iran have reportedly been scuttled by his aggressive tendencies, with Pyongyang declaring him a "defective human product."

Foreign leaders weren't the only ones who had a problem with Trump's notoriously belligerent advisor, either.

"A lot of people here didn't even want his appointment, because he was only able to take a position that did not require Senate approval," Paul said, suggesting that perhaps the "Deep State" pressure had forced the president to keep Bolton around long past his sell-by date.

While the uber-hawk's firing came "later than it should be," Paul hoped it would clear the way for Trump to follow through on the America First, end-the-wars promises that won him so much support in 2016. "Those of us who would like less intervention, we're very happy with it."

Also on rt.com War and whiskers: Freshly-resigned John Bolton gets meme-roasting

As for whether Bolton's departure would change the White House's policy line significantly, though, Paul was less certain. "I don't think it will change a whole lot," he said, pointing out that "we have no idea" who will replace Bolton. Trump said he would make an announcement next week.

[Sep 11, 2019] The Guardian view on John Bolton: good riddance, but the problem is his boss

Notable quotes:
"... However satisfying it may be to see him leave, whoever is picked to succeed him may not be much of an improvement. No one should cheer the chaotic and dysfunctional nature of this administration. Its boss revels in divisions and factionalism among his staff, which allows him to continue governing by his whims, kneejerk reactions and vanity. ..."
"... It is more likely that he was fired because he dented his boss's ego than because his advice was so bad: Mr Trump liked Mr Bolton's bellicose style when he saw it on Fox News, not when it clashed with his own intentions. ..."
"... The national security adviser may have been the most ferocious of the voices urging Mr Trump to turn up the pressure on Iran, but he was certainly not alone . Mr Bolton's presence in the White House was frightening. But its continued occupation by the man who hired him is much more so. ..."
"... As far as Pompeo's "moderation" goes, don't expect anything moderate. But general mailiciousness and opportunism aside, as an evangelical he'll certainly get along perfectly with Pence. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

confusedponderer , 11 September 2019 at 07:11 AM

There is an nice article about his "Being fired by Don Donald / Nope, actually I quit myself" story:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/10/the-guardian-view-on-john-bolton-good-riddance-but-the-problem-is-his-boss

The Guardian view on John Bolton: good riddance, but the problem is his boss

Many will rightly celebrate the departure of the US national security adviser. But however welcome the news, it reflects the deeper problems with this administration

...

However satisfying it may be to see him leave, whoever is picked to succeed him may not be much of an improvement. No one should cheer the chaotic and dysfunctional nature of this administration. Its boss revels in divisions and factionalism among his staff, which allows him to continue governing by his whims, kneejerk reactions and vanity.

It is neither normal nor desirable for the national security adviser to be excluded from meetings about Afghanistan – even if it is a relief, when the individual concerned is (or was) Mr Bolton. It is more likely that he was fired because he dented his boss's ego than because his advice was so bad: Mr Trump liked Mr Bolton's bellicose style when he saw it on Fox News, not when it clashed with his own intentions.

The national security adviser may have been the most ferocious of the voices urging Mr Trump to turn up the pressure on Iran, but he was certainly not alone . Mr Bolton's presence in the White House was frightening. But its continued occupation by the man who hired him is much more so.

I read that the main drivers of getting him kicked or retire himself were Mnuchin and Pompeo, both afflicted by that nasty goofy smile disease. I am always happy when I see Mnuchin's hands on the table, eliminating one explanation for the smile.

There is that reported sentence about Bolton - that there is no problem for which war was not his solution. I read about similar sentence about Pompeo - that he has an IR seeker for Donald's ass.

That written, good riddance indeed. Likely, if Bolton had his way, the US would likely be at war with North Korea and Iran.

When I studied I was at the UNFCCC for a time during Bush Jr. presidency and talked about what Bolton did at the UN with my superior, a 20 year UN veteran.

A 'malicious saboteur arsonist' is a polite summary of what he did there directly and indirectly, and with given his flirt with MEK and regime change in Iran he has likely not changed at all.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/07/world/middleeast/john-bolton-regime-change-iran.html

As far as Pompeo's "moderation" goes, don't expect anything moderate. But general mailiciousness and opportunism aside, as an evangelical he'll certainly get along perfectly with Pence.

[Sep 11, 2019] Let us hope Pence is not consulted on Bolton's successor

Sep 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

catherine , 10 September 2019 at 08:48 PM

I don't usually find much value at the Atlantic but this article (written before Trump even fired Bolton) about Trump's FP timeline (and flip flops) and Bolton who was acting like he was President is very, very good.
It will allow Trump loyalist to more easily support Trump and give everyone else a tad bit of hope that Trump really won't go bonkers and start any wars.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/07/trump-tries-to-fix-his-foreign-policy-without-bolton/593284/

different clue , 11 September 2019 at 01:08 AM
Since President Trump appears to talk about things and stuff with Tucker Carlson, perhaps he should ask Tucker Carlson to spend a week thinking . . . and then offer the President some names and the reasoning for offering those names.

If the President asks the same Establishment who gave him Bolton, he will just be handed another Bolton. "Establishment" include Pence, who certainly supported Bolton's outlook on things and would certainly recommend another "Bolton" figure if asked. Let us hope Pence is not consulted on Bolton's successor.

confusedponderer said in reply to different clue... , 11 September 2019 at 09:10 AM
different clue,
re "Let us hope Pence is not consulted on Bolton's successor."

Understandable point of view but then, Trump still is Trump. He can just by himself and beyond advice easily find suboptimal solutions of his own.

Today I read that Richard Grenell was mentioned as a potential sucessor.

As far as that goes, go for it. Many people here will be happy when he "who always only sais what the Whitehouse sais" is finally gone.

And with Trump's biggest military budget in the world he can just continue the arms sale pitches that are and were such a substantial part of his job as a US ambassador in Germany.

That said, they were that after blathering a lot about that we should increase our military budget by 2%, 4%, 6% or 10%, buy US arms, now, and of course the blathering about Northstream 1 & 2 and "slavedom to russian oil & gas" and rather buy US frack gas of course.

He could then also take a side job for the fracking industry in that context. And buy frack gas and arms company stocks. Opportunities, opportunities ...

[Sep 10, 2019] Neoliberal Capitalism at a Dead End by Utsa Patnaik and Prabhat Patnaik

Highly recommended!
This is a Marxist critique of neoliberalism. Not necessary right but they his some relevant points.
Notable quotes:
"... The ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop. ..."
"... The ex ante tendency toward overproduction arises because the vector of real wages across countries does not increase noticeably over time in the world economy, while the vector of labor productivities does, typically resulting in a rise in the share of surplus in world output. ..."
"... While the rise in the vector of labor productivities across countries, a ubiquitous phenomenon under capitalism that also characterizes neoliberal capitalism, scarcely requires an explanation, why does the vector of real wages remain virtually stagnant in the world economy? The answer lies in the sui generis character of contemporary globalization that, for the first time in the history of capitalism, has led to a relocation of activity from the metropolis to third world countries in order to take advantage of the lower wages prevailing in the latter and meet global demand. ..."
"... The current globalization broke with this. The movement of capital from the metropolis to the third world, especially to East, South, and Southeast Asia to relocate plants there and take advantage of their lower wages for meeting global demand, has led to a desegmentation of the world economy, subjecting metropolitan wages to the restraining effect exercised by the third world's labor reserves. Not surprisingly, as Joseph Stiglitz has pointed out, the real-wage rate of an average male U.S. worker in 2011 was no higher -- indeed, it was marginally lower -- than it had been in 1968. 5 ..."
"... This ever-present opposition becomes decisive within a regime of globalization. As long as finance capital remains national -- that is, nation-based -- and the state is a nation-state, the latter can override this opposition under certain circumstances, such as in the post-Second World War period when capitalism was facing an existential crisis. But when finance capital is globalized, meaning, when it is free to move across country borders while the state remains a nation-state, its opposition to fiscal deficits becomes decisive. If the state does run large fiscal deficits against its wishes, then it would simply leave that country en masse , causing a financial crisis. ..."
"... The state therefore capitulates to the demands of globalized finance capital and eschews direct fiscal intervention for increasing demand. It resorts to monetary policy instead since that operates through wealth holders' decisions, and hence does not undermine their social position. But, precisely for this reason, monetary policy is an ineffective instrument, as was evident in the United States in the aftermath of the 2007–09 crisis when even the pushing of interest rates down to zero scarcely revived activity. 6 ..."
"... If Trump's protectionism, which recalls the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1931 and amounts to a beggar-my-neighbor policy, does lead to a significant export of unemployment from the United States, then it will invite retaliation and trigger a trade war that will only worsen the crisis for the world economy as a whole by dampening global investment. Indeed, since the United States has been targeting China in particular, some retaliatory measures have already appeared. But if U.S. protectionism does not invite generalized retaliation, it would only be because the export of unemployment from the United States is insubstantial, keeping unemployment everywhere, including in the United States, as precarious as it is now. However we look at it, the world would henceforth face higher levels of unemployment. ..."
"... The second implication of this dead end is that the era of export-led growth is by and large over for third world economies. The slowing down of world economic growth, together with protectionism in the United States against successful third world exporters, which could even spread to other metropolitan economies, suggests that the strategy of relying on the world market to generate domestic growth has run out of steam. Third world economies, including the ones that have been very successful at exporting, would now have to rely much more on their home market ..."
"... In other words, we shall now have an intensification of the imperialist stranglehold over third world economies, especially those pushed into unsustainable balance-of-payments deficits in the new situation. By imperialism , here we do not mean the imperialism of this or that major power, but the imperialism of international finance capital, with which even domestic big bourgeoisies are integrated, directed against their own working people ..."
"... In short, the ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop. To sustain itself, neoliberal capitalism starts looking for some other ideological prop and finds fascism. ..."
"... The first is the so-called spontaneous method of capital flight. Any political formation that seeks to take the country out of the neoliberal regime will witness capital flight even before it has been elected to office, bringing the country to a financial crisis and thereby denting its electoral prospects. And if perchance it still gets elected, the outflow will only increase, even before it assumes office. The inevitable difficulties faced by the people may well make the government back down at that stage. The sheer difficulty of transition away from a neoliberal regime could be enough to bring even a government based on the support of workers and peasants to its knees, precisely to save them short-term distress or to avoid losing their support. ..."
"... The third weapon consists in carrying out so-called democratic or parliamentary coups of the sort that Latin America has been experiencing. Coups in the old days were effected through the local armed forces and necessarily meant the imposition of military dictatorships in lieu of civilian, democratically elected governments. Now, taking advantage of the disaffection generated within countries by the hardships caused by capital flight and imposed sanctions, imperialism promotes coups through fascist or fascist-sympathizing middle-class political elements in the name of restoring democracy, which is synonymous with the pursuit of neoliberalism. ..."
"... And if all these measures fail, there is always the possibility of resorting to economic warfare (such as destroying Venezuela's electricity supply), and eventually to military warfare. Venezuela today provides a classic example of what imperialist intervention in a third world country is going to look like in the era of decline of neoliberal capitalism, when revolts are going to characterize such countries more and more. ..."
"... Despite this opposition, neoliberal capitalism cannot ward off the challenge it is facing for long. It has no vision for reinventing itself. Interestingly, in the period after the First World War, when capitalism was on the verge of sinking into a crisis, the idea of state intervention as a way of its revival had already been mooted, though its coming into vogue only occurred at the end of the Second World War. 11 Today, neoliberal capitalism does not even have an idea of how it can recover and revitalize itself. And weapons like domestic fascism in the third world and direct imperialist intervention cannot for long save it from the anger of the masses that is building up against it. ..."
Aug 25, 2019 | portside.org
Originally from: Monthly Review printer friendly
The ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop.

Harry Magdoff's The Age of Imperialism is a classic work that shows how postwar political decolonization does not negate the phenomenon of imperialism. The book has two distinct aspects. On the one hand, it follows in V. I. Lenin's footsteps in providing a comprehensive account of how capitalism at the time operated globally. On the other hand, it raises a question that is less frequently discussed in Marxist literature -- namely, the need for imperialism. Here, Magdoff not only highlighted the crucial importance, among other things, of the third world's raw materials for metropolitan capital, but also refuted the argument that the declining share of raw-material value in gross manufacturing output somehow reduced this importance, making the simple point that there can be no manufacturing at all without raw materials. 1

Magdoff's focus was on a period when imperialism was severely resisting economic decolonization in the third world, with newly independent third world countries taking control over their own resources. He highlighted the entire armory of weapons used by imperialism. But he was writing in a period that predated the onset of neoliberalism. Today, we not only have decades of neoliberalism behind us, but the neoliberal regime itself has reached a dead end. Contemporary imperialism has to be discussed within this setting.

Globalization and Economic Crisis

There are two reasons why the regime of neoliberal globalization has run into a dead end. The first is an ex ante tendency toward global overproduction; the second is that the only possible counter to this tendency within the regime is the formation of asset-price bubbles, which cannot be conjured up at will and whose collapse, if they do appear, plunges the economy back into crisis. In short, to use the words of British economic historian Samuel Berrick Saul, there are no "markets on tap" for contemporary metropolitan capitalism, such as had been provided by colonialism prior to the First World War and by state expenditure in the post-Second World War period of dirigisme . 2

The ex ante tendency toward overproduction arises because the vector of real wages across countries does not increase noticeably over time in the world economy, while the vector of labor productivities does, typically resulting in a rise in the share of surplus in world output. As Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy argued in Monopoly Capital , following the lead of Michał Kalecki and Josef Steindl, such a rise in the share of economic surplus, or a shift from wages to surplus, has the effect of reducing aggregate demand since the ratio of consumption to income is higher on average for wage earners than for those living off the surplus. 3 Therefore, assuming a given level of investment associated with any period, such a shift would tend to reduce consumption demand and hence aggregate demand, output, and capacity utilization. In turn, reduced capacity utilization would lower investment over time, further aggravating the demand-reducing effect arising from the consumption side.

While the rise in the vector of labor productivities across countries, a ubiquitous phenomenon under capitalism that also characterizes neoliberal capitalism, scarcely requires an explanation, why does the vector of real wages remain virtually stagnant in the world economy? The answer lies in the sui generis character of contemporary globalization that, for the first time in the history of capitalism, has led to a relocation of activity from the metropolis to third world countries in order to take advantage of the lower wages prevailing in the latter and meet global demand.

Historically, while labor has not been, and is still not, free to migrate from the third world to the metropolis, capital, though juridically free to move from the latter to the former, did not actually do so , except to sectors like mines and plantations, which only strengthened, rather than broke, the colonial pattern of the international division of labor. 4 This segmentation of the world economy meant that wages in the metropolis increased with labor productivity, unrestrained by the vast labor reserves of the third world, which themselves had been caused by the displacement of manufactures through the twin processes of deindustrialization (competition from metropolitan goods) and the drain of surplus (the siphoning off of a large part of the economic surplus, through taxes on peasants that are no longer spent on local artisan products but finance gratis primary commodity exports to the metropolis instead).

The current globalization broke with this. The movement of capital from the metropolis to the third world, especially to East, South, and Southeast Asia to relocate plants there and take advantage of their lower wages for meeting global demand, has led to a desegmentation of the world economy, subjecting metropolitan wages to the restraining effect exercised by the third world's labor reserves. Not surprisingly, as Joseph Stiglitz has pointed out, the real-wage rate of an average male U.S. worker in 2011 was no higher -- indeed, it was marginally lower -- than it had been in 1968. 5

At the same time, such relocation of activities, despite causing impressive growth rates of gross domestic product (GDP) in many third world countries, does not lead to the exhaustion of the third world's labor reserves. This is because of another feature of contemporary globalization: the unleashing of a process of primitive accumulation of capital against petty producers, including peasant agriculturists in the third world, who had earlier been protected, to an extent, from the encroachment of big capital (both domestic and foreign) by the postcolonial dirigiste regimes in these countries. Under neoliberalism, such protection is withdrawn, causing an income squeeze on these producers and often their outright dispossession from their land, which is then used by big capital for its various so-called development projects. The increase in employment, even in countries with impressive GDP growth rates in the third world, falls way short of the natural growth of the workforce, let alone absorbing the additional job seekers coming from the ranks of displaced petty producers. The labor reserves therefore never get used up. Indeed, on the contrary, they are augmented further, because real wages continue to remain tied to a subsistence level, even as metropolitan wages too are restrained. The vector of real wages in the world economy as a whole therefore remains restrained.

Although contemporary globalization thus gives rise to an ex ante tendency toward overproduction, state expenditure that could provide a counter to this (and had provided a counter through military spending in the United States, according to Baran and Sweezy) can no longer do so under the current regime. Finance is usually opposed to direct state intervention through larger spending as a way of increasing employment. This opposition expresses itself through an opposition not just to larger taxes on capitalists, but also to a larger fiscal deficit for financing such spending. Obviously, if larger state spending is financed by taxes on workers, then it hardly adds to aggregate demand, for workers spend the bulk of their incomes anyway, so the state taking this income and spending it instead does not add any extra demand. Hence, larger state spending can increase employment only if it is financed either through a fiscal deficit or through taxes on capitalists who keep a part of their income unspent or saved. But these are precisely the two modes of financing state expenditure that finance capital opposes.

Its opposing larger taxes on capitalists is understandable, but why is it so opposed to a larger fiscal deficit? Even within a capitalist economy, there are no sound economic theoretical reasons that should preclude a fiscal deficit under all circumstances. The root of the opposition therefore lies in deeper social considerations: if the capitalist economic system becomes dependent on the state to promote employment directly , then this fact undermines the social legitimacy of capitalism. The need for the state to boost the animal spirits of the capitalists disappears and a perspective on the system that is epistemically exterior to it is provided to the people, making it possible for them to ask: If the state can do the job of providing employment, then why do we need the capitalists at all? It is an instinctive appreciation of this potential danger that underlies the opposition of capital, especially of finance, to any direct effort by the state to generate employment.

This ever-present opposition becomes decisive within a regime of globalization. As long as finance capital remains national -- that is, nation-based -- and the state is a nation-state, the latter can override this opposition under certain circumstances, such as in the post-Second World War period when capitalism was facing an existential crisis. But when finance capital is globalized, meaning, when it is free to move across country borders while the state remains a nation-state, its opposition to fiscal deficits becomes decisive. If the state does run large fiscal deficits against its wishes, then it would simply leave that country en masse , causing a financial crisis.

The state therefore capitulates to the demands of globalized finance capital and eschews direct fiscal intervention for increasing demand. It resorts to monetary policy instead since that operates through wealth holders' decisions, and hence does not undermine their social position. But, precisely for this reason, monetary policy is an ineffective instrument, as was evident in the United States in the aftermath of the 2007–09 crisis when even the pushing of interest rates down to zero scarcely revived activity. 6

It may be thought that this compulsion on the part of the state to accede to the demand of finance to eschew fiscal intervention for enlarging employment should not hold for the United States. Its currency being considered by the world's wealth holders to be "as good as gold" should make it immune to capital flight. But there is an additional factor operating in the case of the United States: that the demand generated by a bigger U.S. fiscal deficit would substantially leak abroad in a neoliberal setting, which would increase its external debt (since, unlike Britain in its heyday, it does not have access to any unrequited colonial transfers) for the sake of generating employment elsewhere. This fact deters any fiscal effort even in the United States to boost demand within a neoliberal setting. 7

Therefore, it follows that state spending cannot provide a counter to the ex ante tendency toward global overproduction within a regime of neoliberal globalization, which makes the world economy precariously dependent on occasional asset-price bubbles, primarily in the U.S. economy, for obtaining, at best, some temporary relief from the crisis. It is this fact that underlies the dead end that neoliberal capitalism has reached. Indeed, Donald Trump's resort to protectionism in the United States to alleviate unemployment is a clear recognition of the system having reached this cul-de-sac. The fact that the mightiest capitalist economy in the world has to move away from the rules of the neoliberal game in an attempt to alleviate its crisis of unemployment/underemployment -- while compensating capitalists adversely affected by this move through tax cuts, as well as carefully ensuring that no restraints are imposed on free cross-border financial flows -- shows that these rules are no longer viable in their pristine form.

Some Implications of This Dead End

There are at least four important implications of this dead end of neoliberalism. The first is that the world economy will now be afflicted by much higher levels of unemployment than it was in the last decade of the twentieth century and the early years of the twenty-first, when the dot-com and the housing bubbles in the United States had, sequentially, a pronounced impact. It is true that the U.S. unemployment rate today appears to be at a historic low, but this is misleading: the labor-force participation rate in the United States today is lower than it was in 2008, which reflects the discouraged-worker effect . Adjusting for this lower participation, the U.S. unemployment rate is considerable -- around 8 percent. Indeed, Trump would not be imposing protection in the United States if unemployment was actually as low as 4 percent, which is the official figure. Elsewhere in the world, of course, unemployment post-2008 continues to be evidently higher than before. Indeed, the severity of the current problem of below-full-employment production in the U.S. economy is best illustrated by capacity utilization figures in manufacturing. The weakness of the U.S. recovery from the Great Recession is indicated by the fact that the current extended recovery represents the first decade in the entire post-Second World War period in which capacity utilization in manufacturing has never risen as high as 80 percent in a single quarter, with the resulting stagnation of investment. 8

If Trump's protectionism, which recalls the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1931 and amounts to a beggar-my-neighbor policy, does lead to a significant export of unemployment from the United States, then it will invite retaliation and trigger a trade war that will only worsen the crisis for the world economy as a whole by dampening global investment. Indeed, since the United States has been targeting China in particular, some retaliatory measures have already appeared. But if U.S. protectionism does not invite generalized retaliation, it would only be because the export of unemployment from the United States is insubstantial, keeping unemployment everywhere, including in the United States, as precarious as it is now. However we look at it, the world would henceforth face higher levels of unemployment.

There has been some discussion on how global value chains would be affected by Trump's protectionism. But the fact that global macroeconomics in the early twenty-first century will look altogether different compared to earlier has not been much discussed.

In light of the preceding discussion, one could say that if, instead of individual nation-states whose writ cannot possibly run against globalized finance capital, there was a global state or a set of major nation-states acting in unison to override the objections of globalized finance and provide a coordinated fiscal stimulus to the world economy, then perhaps there could be recovery. Such a coordinated fiscal stimulus was suggested by a group of German trade unionists, as well as by John Maynard Keynes during the Great Depression in the 1930s. 9 While it was turned down then, in the present context it has not even been discussed.

The second implication of this dead end is that the era of export-led growth is by and large over for third world economies. The slowing down of world economic growth, together with protectionism in the United States against successful third world exporters, which could even spread to other metropolitan economies, suggests that the strategy of relying on the world market to generate domestic growth has run out of steam. Third world economies, including the ones that have been very successful at exporting, would now have to rely much more on their home market.

Such a transition will not be easy; it will require promoting domestic peasant agriculture, defending petty production, moving toward cooperative forms of production, and ensuring greater equality in income distribution, all of which need major structural shifts. For smaller economies, it would also require their coming together with other economies to provide a minimum size to the domestic market. In short, the dead end of neoliberalism also means the need for a shift away from the so-called neoliberal development strategy that has held sway until now.

The third implication is the imminent engulfing of a whole range of third world economies in serious balance-of-payments difficulties. This is because, while their exports will be sluggish in the new situation, this very fact will also discourage financial inflows into their economies, whose easy availability had enabled them to maintain current account deficits on their balance of payments earlier. In such a situation, within the existing neoliberal paradigm, they would be forced to adopt austerity measures that would impose income deflation on their people, make the conditions of their people significantly worse, lead to a further handing over of their national assets and resources to international capital, and prevent precisely any possible transition to an alternative strategy of home market-based growth.

In other words, we shall now have an intensification of the imperialist stranglehold over third world economies, especially those pushed into unsustainable balance-of-payments deficits in the new situation. By imperialism , here we do not mean the imperialism of this or that major power, but the imperialism of international finance capital, with which even domestic big bourgeoisies are integrated, directed against their own working people.

The fourth implication is the worldwide upsurge of fascism. Neoliberal capitalism even before it reached a dead end, even in the period when it achieved reasonable growth and employment rates, had pushed the world into greater hunger and poverty. For instance, the world per-capita cereal output was 355 kilograms for 1980 (triennium average for 1979–81 divided by mid–triennium population) and fell to 343 in 2000, leveling at 344.9 in 2016 -- and a substantial amount of this last figure went into ethanol production. Clearly, in a period of growth of the world economy, per-capita cereal absorption should be expanding, especially since we are talking here not just of direct absorption but of direct and indirect absorption, the latter through processed foods and feed grains in animal products. The fact that there was an absolute decline in per-capita output, which no doubt caused a decline in per-capita absorption, suggests an absolute worsening in the nutritional level of a substantial segment of the world's population.

But this growing hunger and nutritional poverty did not immediately arouse any significant resistance, both because such resistance itself becomes more difficult under neoliberalism (since the very globalization of capital makes it an elusive target) and also because higher GDP growth rates provided a hope that distress might be overcome in the course of time. Peasants in distress, for instance, entertained the hope that their children would live better in the years to come if given a modicum of education and accepted their fate.

In short, the ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop. To sustain itself, neoliberal capitalism starts looking for some other ideological prop and finds fascism. This changes the discourse away from the material conditions of people's lives to the so-called threat to the nation, placing the blame for people's distress not on the failure of the system, but on ethnic, linguistic, and religious minority groups, the other that is portrayed as an enemy. It projects a so-called messiah whose sheer muscularity can somehow magically overcome all problems; it promotes a culture of unreason so that both the vilification of the other and the magical powers of the supposed leader can be placed beyond any intellectual questioning; it uses a combination of state repression and street-level vigilantism by fascist thugs to terrorize opponents; and it forges a close relationship with big business, or, in Kalecki's words, "a partnership of big business and fascist upstarts." 10

Fascist groups of one kind or another exist in all modern societies. They move center stage and even into power only on certain occasions when they get the backing of big business. And these occasions arise when three conditions are satisfied: when there is an economic crisis so the system cannot simply go on as before; when the usual liberal establishment is manifestly incapable of resolving the crisis; and when the left is not strong enough to provide an alternative to the people in order to move out of the conjuncture.

This last point may appear odd at first, since many see the big bourgeoisie's recourse to fascism as a counter to the growth of the left's strength in the context of a capitalist crisis. But when the left poses a serious threat, the response of the big bourgeoisie typically is to attempt to split it by offering concessions. It uses fascism to prop itself up only when the left is weakened. Walter Benjamin's remark that "behind every fascism there is a failed revolution" points in this direction.

Fascism Then and Now

Contemporary fascism, however, differs in crucial respects from its 1930s counterpart, which is why many are reluctant to call the current phenomenon a fascist upsurge. But historical parallels, if carefully drawn, can be useful. While in some aforementioned respects contemporary fascism does resemble the phenomenon of the 1930s, there are serious differences between the two that must also be noted.

First, we must note that while the current fascist upsurge has put fascist elements in power in many countries, there are no fascist states of the 1930s kind as of yet. Even if the fascist elements in power try to push the country toward a fascist state, it is not clear that they will succeed. There are many reasons for this, but an important one is that fascists in power today cannot overcome the crisis of neoliberalism, since they accept the regime of globalization of finance. This includes Trump, despite his protectionism. In the 1930s, however, this was not the case. The horrors associated with the institution of a fascist state in the 1930s had been camouflaged to an extent by the ability of the fascists in power to overcome mass unemployment and end the Depression through larger military spending, financed by government borrowing. Contemporary fascism, by contrast, lacks the ability to overcome the opposition of international finance capital to fiscal activism on the part of the government to generate larger demand, output, and employment, even via military spending.

Such activism, as discussed earlier, required larger government spending financed either through taxes on capitalists or through a fiscal deficit. Finance capital was opposed to both of these measures and it being globalized made this opposition decisive . The decisiveness of this opposition remains even if the government happens to be one composed of fascist elements. Hence, contemporary fascism, straitjacketed by "fiscal rectitude," cannot possibly alleviate even temporarily the economic crises facing people and cannot provide any cover for a transition to a fascist state akin to the ones of the 1930s, which makes such a transition that much more unlikely.

Another difference is also related to the phenomenon of the globalization of finance. The 1930s were marked by what Lenin had earlier called "interimperialist rivalry." The military expenditures incurred by fascist governments, even though they pulled countries out of the Depression and unemployment, inevitably led to wars for "repartitioning an already partitioned world." Fascism was the progenitor of war and burned itself out through war at, needless to say, great cost to humankind.

Contemporary fascism, however, operates in a world where interimperialist rivalry is far more muted. Some have seen in this muting a vindication of Karl Kautsky's vision of an "ultraimperialism" as against Lenin's emphasis on the permanence of interimperialist rivalry, but this is wrong. Both Kautsky and Lenin were talking about a world where finance capital and the financial oligarchy were essentially national -- that is, German, French, or British. And while Kautsky talked about the possibility of truces among the rival oligarchies, Lenin saw such truces only as transient phenomena punctuating the ubiquity of rivalry.

In contrast, what we have today is not nation-based finance capitals, but international finance capital into whose corpus the finance capitals drawn from particular countries are integrated. This globalized finance capital does not want the world to be partitioned into economic territories of rival powers ; on the contrary, it wants the entire globe to be open to its own unrestricted movement. The muting of rivalry between major powers, therefore, is not because they prefer truce to war, or peaceful partitioning of the world to forcible repartitioning, but because the material conditions themselves have changed so that it is no longer a matter of such choices. The world has gone beyond both Lenin and Kautsky, as well as their debates.

Not only are we not going to have wars between major powers in this era of fascist upsurge (of course, as will be discussed, we shall have other wars), but, by the same token, this fascist upsurge will not burn out through any cataclysmic war. What we are likely to see is a lingering fascism of less murderous intensity , which, when in power, does not necessarily do away with all the forms of bourgeois democracy, does not necessarily physically annihilate the opposition, and may even allow itself to get voted out of power occasionally. But since its successor government, as long as it remains within the confines of the neoliberal strategy, will also be incapable of alleviating the crisis, the fascist elements are likely to return to power as well. And whether the fascist elements are in or out of power, they will remain a potent force working toward the fascification of the society and the polity, even while promoting corporate interests within a regime of globalization of finance, and hence permanently maintaining the "partnership between big business and fascist upstarts."

Put differently, since the contemporary fascist upsurge is not likely to burn itself out as the earlier one did, it has to be overcome by transcending the very conjuncture that produced it: neoliberal capitalism at a dead end. A class mobilization of working people around an alternative set of transitional demands that do not necessarily directly target neoliberal capitalism, but which are immanently unrealizable within the regime of neoliberal capitalism, can provide an initial way out of this conjuncture and lead to its eventual transcendence.

Such a class mobilization in the third world context would not mean making no truces with liberal bourgeois elements against the fascists. On the contrary, since the liberal bourgeois elements too are getting marginalized through a discourse of jingoistic nationalism typically manufactured by the fascists, they too would like to shift the discourse toward the material conditions of people's lives, no doubt claiming that an improvement in these conditions is possible within the neoliberal economic regime itself. Such a shift in discourse is in itself a major antifascist act . Experience will teach that the agenda advanced as part of this changed discourse is unrealizable under neoliberalism, providing the scope for dialectical intervention by the left to transcend neoliberal capitalism.

Imperialist Interventions

Even though fascism will have a lingering presence in this conjuncture of "neoliberalism at a dead end," with the backing of domestic corporate-financial interests that are themselves integrated into the corpus of international finance capital, the working people in the third world will increasingly demand better material conditions of life and thereby rupture the fascist discourse of jingoistic nationalism (that ironically in a third world context is not anti-imperialist).

In fact, neoliberalism reaching a dead end and having to rely on fascist elements revives meaningful political activity, which the heyday of neoliberalism had precluded, because most political formations then had been trapped within an identical neoliberal agenda that appeared promising. (Latin America had a somewhat different history because neoliberalism arrived in that continent through military dictatorships, not through its more or less tacit acceptance by most political formations.)

Such revived political activity will necessarily throw up challenges to neoliberal capitalism in particular countries. Imperialism, by which we mean the entire economic and political arrangement sustaining the hegemony of international finance capital, will deal with these challenges in at least four different ways.

The first is the so-called spontaneous method of capital flight. Any political formation that seeks to take the country out of the neoliberal regime will witness capital flight even before it has been elected to office, bringing the country to a financial crisis and thereby denting its electoral prospects. And if perchance it still gets elected, the outflow will only increase, even before it assumes office. The inevitable difficulties faced by the people may well make the government back down at that stage. The sheer difficulty of transition away from a neoliberal regime could be enough to bring even a government based on the support of workers and peasants to its knees, precisely to save them short-term distress or to avoid losing their support.

Even if capital controls are put in place, where there are current account deficits, financing such deficits would pose a problem, necessitating some trade controls. But this is where the second instrument of imperialism comes into play: the imposition of trade sanctions by the metropolitan states, which then cajole other countries to stop buying from the sanctioned country that is trying to break away from thralldom to globalized finance capital. Even if the latter would have otherwise succeeded in stabilizing its economy despite its attempt to break away, the imposition of sanctions becomes an additional blow.

The third weapon consists in carrying out so-called democratic or parliamentary coups of the sort that Latin America has been experiencing. Coups in the old days were effected through the local armed forces and necessarily meant the imposition of military dictatorships in lieu of civilian, democratically elected governments. Now, taking advantage of the disaffection generated within countries by the hardships caused by capital flight and imposed sanctions, imperialism promotes coups through fascist or fascist-sympathizing middle-class political elements in the name of restoring democracy, which is synonymous with the pursuit of neoliberalism.

And if all these measures fail, there is always the possibility of resorting to economic warfare (such as destroying Venezuela's electricity supply), and eventually to military warfare. Venezuela today provides a classic example of what imperialist intervention in a third world country is going to look like in the era of decline of neoliberal capitalism, when revolts are going to characterize such countries more and more.

Two aspects of such intervention are striking. One is the virtual unanimity among the metropolitan states, which only underscores the muting of interimperialist rivalry in the era of hegemony of global finance capital. The other is the extent of support that such intervention commands within metropolitan countries, from the right to even the liberal segments.

Despite this opposition, neoliberal capitalism cannot ward off the challenge it is facing for long. It has no vision for reinventing itself. Interestingly, in the period after the First World War, when capitalism was on the verge of sinking into a crisis, the idea of state intervention as a way of its revival had already been mooted, though its coming into vogue only occurred at the end of the Second World War. 11 Today, neoliberal capitalism does not even have an idea of how it can recover and revitalize itself. And weapons like domestic fascism in the third world and direct imperialist intervention cannot for long save it from the anger of the masses that is building up against it.

Notes
  1. Harry Magdoff, The Age of Imperialism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1969).
  2. Samuel Berrick Saul, Studies in British Overseas Trade, 1870–1914 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1960).
  3. Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy, Monopoly Capital (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1966).
  4. One of the first authors to recognize this fact and its significance was Paul Baran in The Political Economy of Growth (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1957).
  5. Joseph E. Stiglitz, " Inequality is Holding Back the Recovery ," New York Times , January 19, 2013.
  6. For a discussion of how even the recent euphoria about U.S. growth is vanishing, see C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh, " Vanishing Green Shoots and the Possibility of Another Crisis ," The Hindu Business Line , April 8, 2019.
  7. For the role of such colonial transfers in sustaining the British balance of payments and the long Victorian and Edwardian boom, see Utsa Patnaik, "Revisiting the 'Drain,' or Transfers from India to Britain in the Context of Global Diffusion of Capitalism," in Agrarian and Other Histories: Essays for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri , ed. Shubhra Chakrabarti and Utsa Patnaik (Delhi: Tulika, 2017), 277-317.
  8. Federal Reserve Board of Saint Louis Economic Research, FRED, "Capacity Utilization: Manufacturing," February 2019 (updated March 27, 2019), http://fred.stlouisfed.org .
  9. This issue is discussed by Charles P. Kindleberger in The World in Depression, 1929–1939 , 40th anniversary ed. (Oakland: University of California Press, 2013).
  10. Michał Kalecki, " Political Aspects of Full Employment ," Political Quarterly (1943), available at mronline.org.
  11. Joseph Schumpeter had seen Keynes's The Economic Consequences of the Peace as essentially advocating such state intervention in the new situation. See his essay, "John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946)," in Ten Great Economists (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1952).

Utsa Patnaik is Professor Emerita at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her books include Peasant Class Differentiation (1987), The Long Transition (1999), and The Republic of Hunger and Other Essays (2007). Prabhat Patnaik is Professor Emeritus at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His books include Accumulation and Stability Under Capitalism (1997), The Value of Money(2009), and Re-envisioning Socialism(2011).

[Sep 10, 2019] Yemen Another Shameful US Defeat Looms by Finian Cunningham

Notable quotes:
"... A UN report published last week explicitly held the US, Britain and France liable for complicity in massive war crimes from their unstinting supply of warplanes, munitions and logistics to the Saudi and Emirati warplanes that have indiscriminately bombed civilians and public infrastructure. ..."
"... The infernal humanitarian conditions and complicity in war crimes can no longer be concealed by Washington's mendacity about allegedly combating "Iran subversion" in Yemen. The southern Arabian Peninsula country is an unmitigated PR disaster for official American pretensions of being a world leader in democratic and law-abiding virtue. ..."
"... After four years of relentless air strikes, which has become financially ruinous for the Saudi monarchy and its precocious Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who conceived the war, the Houthis still remain in control of the capital Sanaa and large swathes of the country. Barbaric bombardment and siege-starvation imposed on Yemen has not dislodged the rebels. ..."
"... The defeat is further complicated by the open conflict which has broken out over recent weeks between rival militants sponsored by the Saudis and Emiratis in the southern port city of Aden. There are reports of UAE warplanes attacking Saudi-backed militants and of Saudi force build-up. A war of words has erupted between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. There is strong possibility that the rival factions could blow up into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, supposed coalition allies. ..."
"... When the US starts to talk about "ending the war" with a spin about concern for "mutual peace", then you know the sordid game is finally up. ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

... ... ...

The war was launched by the US-backed Saudi coalition, including the United Arab Emirates, in March 2015, without any provocation from Yemen. The precipitating factor was that the Houthis, a mainly Shia rebel group aligned with Iran, had kicked out a corrupt Saudi-backed dictator at the end of 2014. When he tucked tail and fled to exile in Saudi capital Riyadh, that's when the Saudis launched their aerial bombing campaign on Yemen.

The slaughter in Yemen over the past four years has been nothing short of a calamity for the population of nearly 28 million people. The UN estimates that nearly 80 per cent of the nation is teetering on hunger and disease.

A UN report published last week explicitly held the US, Britain and France liable for complicity in massive war crimes from their unstinting supply of warplanes, munitions and logistics to the Saudi and Emirati warplanes that have indiscriminately bombed civilians and public infrastructure. The UN report also blamed the Houthis for committing atrocities. That may be so, but the preponderance of deaths and destruction in Yemen is due to American, British and French military support to the Saudi-led coalition. Up to 100,ooo civilians may have been killed from the Western-backed blitzkrieg, while the Western media keep quoting a figure of "10,000", which magically never seems to increase over the past four years.

Several factors are pressing the Trump administration to wind down the Yemen war.

The infernal humanitarian conditions and complicity in war crimes can no longer be concealed by Washington's mendacity about allegedly combating "Iran subversion" in Yemen. The southern Arabian Peninsula country is an unmitigated PR disaster for official American pretensions of being a world leader in democratic and law-abiding virtue.

When the American Congress is united in calling for a ban on US arms to Saudi Arabia because of the atrocities in Yemen, then we should know that the PR war has been lost. President Trump over-ruled Congress earlier this year to continue arming the Saudis in Yemen. But even Trump must at last be realizing his government's culpability for aiding and abetting genocide is no longer excusable, even for the most credulous consumers of American propaganda.

After four years of relentless air strikes, which has become financially ruinous for the Saudi monarchy and its precocious Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who conceived the war, the Houthis still remain in control of the capital Sanaa and large swathes of the country. Barbaric bombardment and siege-starvation imposed on Yemen has not dislodged the rebels.

Not only that but the Houthis have begun to take the war into the heart of Saudi Arabia. Over the past year, the rebels have mounted increasingly sophisticated long-range drone and ballistic missile attacks on Saudi military bases and the capital Riyadh. From where the Houthis are receiving their more lethal weaponry is not clear. Maybe from Lebanon's Hezbollah or from Iran. In any case, such supply if confirmed could be argued as legitimate support for a country facing aggression.

No doubt the Houthis striking deep into Saudi territory has given the pampered monarchs in Riyadh serious pause for thought.

When the UAE – the other main coalition partner – announced a month ago that it was scaling back its involvement in Yemen that must have rattled Washington and Riyadh that the war was indeed futile.

The defeat is further complicated by the open conflict which has broken out over recent weeks between rival militants sponsored by the Saudis and Emiratis in the southern port city of Aden. There are reports of UAE warplanes attacking Saudi-backed militants and of Saudi force build-up. A war of words has erupted between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. There is strong possibility that the rival factions could blow up into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, supposed coalition allies.

Washington has doubtless taken note of the unstoppable disaster in Yemen and how its position is indefensible and infeasible.

Like so many other obscene American wars down through the decades, Washington is facing yet another ignominious defeat in Yemen. When the US starts to talk about "ending the war" with a spin about concern for "mutual peace", then you know the sordid game is finally up.

[Sep 10, 2019] The Michael Flynn case heats up security clearances and a hearing to be set on exculpatory material by Robert Willmann

Notable quotes:
"... What was set as a routine status conference in federal court in Washington D.C. for Tuesday, 10 September, has now changed to one with a very significant shift: the judge will establish a briefing schedule and a hearing date for the request (usually called a "motion") to compel the government to produce Brady material and for an order to show cause why the prosecutors involved should not be held in contempt of court. A "brief" is a written argument filed for consideration by a court on a particular issue or issues. It is part of a post-trial appeal to a court of appeals or to the Supreme Court, but can be unilaterally filed or ordered to be filed in a trial court. ..."
"... The case and prosecution of Gen. Flynn have seemed peculiar from the start, as was his sudden resignation as National Security Advisor on 13 February 2017 after a protest against him by vice president Mike Pence. ..."
"... The "special counsel" Robert Mueller was appointed on 17 May 2017. By 30 November 2017 a criminal charge was filed against Flynn in federal court pursuant to a plea bargain agreement, and the next day he appeared in court for the formal hearing to enter a guilty plea before Judge Rudolph Contreras. ..."
"... Six days later on 7 December, Judge Contreras recused himself, and Judge Sullivan was randomly assigned to preside over the case. Why Judge Contreras suddenly bailed out is not known, although one issue might be that he was named to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on 19 May 2016 for a term until 18 May 2023, and warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) may have intercepted communications by Flynn before and after Donald Trump was elected president. ..."
"... The references in the documents and court orders to "Brady material" come from the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court opinion called Brady vs. Maryland. It required the government to produce evidence in its possession that is favorable to the defendant, although the type of evidence and who decided what evidence was "favorable" was the subject of subsequent court opinions and ethical rules of State Bar Associations governing the conduct of attorneys. The opinion in the Brady case interpreted the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution as requiring the disclosure of exculpatory information to the defense in a criminal case. ..."
"... "John Dowd: And the stuff on Flynn is absolutely false. ..."
Sep 10, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The term "ex parte" appears in different contexts in the court system, and is heaviest when one side in a legal dispute meets with the judge behind closed doors without the other side being present. On 5 September 2019, this uncommon event happened when Gen. Michael Flynn (ret.) and his new lawyers met privately with Judge Emmet Sullivan about the refusal of the federal government, through its prosecutors, to grant them security clearances to look at some existing information and exculpatory material in his criminal case, and any new material that might be disclosed.

Three documents filed in Flynn's case on 30 August led to the ex parte meeting and a change in scheduling: a joint status report which was not very joint; a Motion to Compel Production of Brady Material and for an Order to Show Cause, filed under seal; and a brief in support of the motion to compel and for a show cause order that is not sealed.

What was set as a routine status conference in federal court in Washington D.C. for Tuesday, 10 September, has now changed to one with a very significant shift: the judge will establish a briefing schedule and a hearing date for the request (usually called a "motion") to compel the government to produce Brady material and for an order to show cause why the prosecutors involved should not be held in contempt of court. A "brief" is a written argument filed for consideration by a court on a particular issue or issues. It is part of a post-trial appeal to a court of appeals or to the Supreme Court, but can be unilaterally filed or ordered to be filed in a trial court.

The court's description appearing in the clerk's docket sheet says, in part--

"09/05/2019 Hearing (Ex Parte) for proceedings before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan held on 9/5/2019 as to Michael T. Flynn. The Court held an ex parte and sealed hearing with Mr. Flynn and defense counsel to consider Mr. Flynn's request for the Court's intervention on counsels request for security clearances. See Joint Status Report, ECF No. 107 at 2-3 (stating 'the government continues to deny [Mr. Flynn's] request for security clearances. [Mr. Flynn's] attempts to resolve that issue with the government have come to a dead end, thus requiring the intervention of this Court.').... The Court advised counsel that it intends to resolve 109 Motion to Compel Production of Brady Material before addressing any Court intervention regarding security clearances for Mr. Flynns counsel."

The case and prosecution of Gen. Flynn have seemed peculiar from the start, as was his sudden resignation as National Security Advisor on 13 February 2017 after a protest against him by vice president Mike Pence.

The "special counsel" Robert Mueller was appointed on 17 May 2017. By 30 November 2017 a criminal charge was filed against Flynn in federal court pursuant to a plea bargain agreement, and the next day he appeared in court for the formal hearing to enter a guilty plea before Judge Rudolph Contreras.

Six days later on 7 December, Judge Contreras recused himself, and Judge Sullivan was randomly assigned to preside over the case. Why Judge Contreras suddenly bailed out is not known, although one issue might be that he was named to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on 19 May 2016 for a term until 18 May 2023, and warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) may have intercepted communications by Flynn before and after Donald Trump was elected president.

On 12 December 2017, Judge Sullivan issued his standard order requiring the government to produce any evidence in its possession that is favorable to the defendant and material to either the defendant's guilt or punishment [1]. On 21 February 2018, a protective order was signed governing the use and disclosure of information regarding the case by the parties, whether unclassified or classified [2].

The case proceeded along to 18 December 2018, when a weird and aborted sentencing hearing took place, as Judge Sullivan may not have been fully aware of the details of the case or had not been fully briefed by his law clerks, and said surprising things not expected by the parties. Any sentencing was then postponed, and that hearing is a story in itself.

Drama resumed in March 2019 when the report of the Mueller group was given to the U.S. Attorney General consisting of two volumes totalling 448 pages. On 17 May 2019, an assistant U.S. Attorney filed excerpts of the Mueller report in the court clerk's file.

Meanwhile, Gen. Flynn decided to change lawyers, and discharged the attorneys from the Covington & Burling law firm of Washington D.C., who withdrew on 6 June 2019. That firm has been an establishment and silk-stocking group since 1919, with Dean Acheson, later the Secretary of State, as one of the early members. It now has expanded to offices in 12 additional cities and has over 1,000 lawyers. However, as is known in life, such silk stockings do not always prevail.

If a lawyer is discharged from representing a client when a matter is pending, the client's file is to be given to him. Even in the internally protective legal community, dragging your feet in returning a client's file is a big no-no. The docket sheet revealed a sideshow after Covington & Burling withdrew from representing Flynn. His new attorneys complained that not all of the file material had been returned. Covington & Burlington's size and position in the D.C. Bar meant nothing, as Judge Sullivan responded in a order on 16 July 2019--

"07/16/2019 Minute Order as to Michael T. Flynn. In view of the parties' responses to the Court's Minute Order of July 9, 2019, the Court, sua sponte, schedules a status conference for August 27, 2019 at 11:00 AM in Courtroom 24A. Defense counsel has represented to the Court that Mr. Flynn has not received the entire file from his former counsel. ... In light of the representations made by defense counsel regarding the delay in receiving the client files, the Court hereby gives notice to the parties of the Court's intent to invite Senior Legal Ethics Counsel for the District of Columbia Bar to attend the status conference and explain on the record the applicable District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct. Mr. Flynn's former counsel shall attend the status conference...."

This threatened kick to the groin area motivated Covington & Burlington to the extent that nine days later, on 25 July, they signed a paper, subsequently filed, which said that by then all of Gen. Flynn's file had been returned, and: "The firm never, in any way whatsoever, conditioned the transfer of files to General Flynn's new counsel on payment of outstanding fees" [3].

The status conference set for 27 August was then cancelled, and the parties were to file a joint status report by 30 August and tell the court: "(1) the status of Mr. Flynn's cooperation; (2) whether the case is ready for sentencing; (3) suggested dates for the sentencing hearing, if appropriate; and (4) whether there are any issues that would require the Court's resolution prior to Mr. Flynn's sentencing".

But the joint status report ended up saying, " The parties are unable to reach a joint response on the above topics. Accordingly, our respective responses are set forth separately below" [4].

Also on 30 August the two documents were filed that kicked off the new developments: a sealed request to compel production of material and for a show cause order about whether the prosecutors should be held in contempt of court, and the brief in support of the request, which is publicly available.

Larry Johnson noticed the importance of the 30 August brief and discussed it a week ago [5].

The references in the documents and court orders to "Brady material" come from the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court opinion called Brady vs. Maryland. It required the government to produce evidence in its possession that is favorable to the defendant, although the type of evidence and who decided what evidence was "favorable" was the subject of subsequent court opinions and ethical rules of State Bar Associations governing the conduct of attorneys. The opinion in the Brady case interpreted the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution as requiring the disclosure of exculpatory information to the defense in a criminal case.

The brief is 19 pages long and is useful to read because it describes in more general terms what certainly would appear in detail in the motion filed under seal. In addition, pages 11-16 present a basic description of the Brady doctrine--

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/michaelflynn_brief_motion_compel.pdf

As a possibly helpful coincidence, Judge Sullivan presided over the disgraceful trial of Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska in 2008, in which the Department of Justice prosecutors did not disclose exculpatory evidence they had about Stevens, and the misconduct was so blatant that Judge Sullivan held three prosecutors in contempt of court on 13 February 2009, which forced them off of the case after the trial was over. New prosecutors saw that the case had real problems when the evidence favorable to Stevens was considered, and in 2009 requested that the jury verdict be set aside and cancelled, and the criminal charges dismissed "with prejudice", which means that they cannot be filed again.

Judge Sullivan on 7 April 2009 appointed an attorney to investigate the Justice Department lawyers, and it resulted in what is called the Schuelke report, which is referenced in footnote 3 on page 2 of the brief filed in Flynn's case [6]. Thus, Judge Sullivan knows that attorneys and agents of the Department of Justice can commit misconduct, and he is capable of addressing it.

However, the procedural posture of Gen. Flynn's case is a difficult one. He signed a plea bargain agreement and pled guilty to the one charge in open court, going through the whole drill that accompanies the entry of a plea of guilty, including affirmative statements about knowledge and voluntariness. However, the one good thing is that he has not yet been sentenced and a final order has not been signed by the judge.

From the papers in the court clerk's file, it appears as if the new lawyers for Gen. Flynn are approaching the problem by developing events that are like those which resulted in the dismissal of the case against Senator Ted Stevens. The request filed on 30 August and its accompanying brief ask for information favorable to Flynn to be disclosed, plus the initiation of a contempt of court proceeding against the prosecutors. If the prosecutors from the Mueller group and the Justice Department are held in contempt of court for their conduct during the investigation and for failing to make proper disclosures of evidence, they should be forced off of the case, and other possible remedies may also be available in Gen. Flynn's favor.

The clerk's docket sheet is in reverse chronological order, starting with the recent documents and going backwards in time to the beginning of the court case--

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/michaelflynn_docket_sheet_20190907.pdf

A few months back, I was dialing between radio stations while driving and heard part of an interview that caught my attention. The interview was of attorney John Dowd, who represented president Trump for a period of time during the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. The newly filed documents in the Flynn case brought back to mind the interview of John Dowd. I found it the other day as a video of the radio program, which was on 19 April 2019, after the Mueller report had been released. The following excerpt is of interest, and starts at about 9 minutes and 34 seconds into the interview. The whole interview follows the short transcript below, and both website citations are to the same interview--

"John Dowd: And the stuff on Flynn is absolutely false.

Brian Kilmeade: What do you mean?

John Dowd: We were ...

Brian Kilmeade: What do you mean the stuff's on ... [crosstalk]

John Dowd: Flynn didn't commit a crime. You know, we were, we helped Flynn's lawyers because they couldn't find their way around. They couldn't get documents. We got everything for them. And we, we were told, I was told they were going in to convince the special counsel that there was no case there.

Brian Kilmeade: Well they said [crosstalk] Hey John, they told, they, they..., in the report it says Flynn was told by the president to go get the 30,000 missing Hillary e-mails.

John Dowd: Nonsense. Absolute nonsense."

The status conference is to begin at 11:00 a.m. today, 10 September. If the position of the judge remains the same, a schedule for the filing of briefs by the parties and a hearing date about Flynn's motion will be established, which will create a new dynamic at a sensitive point in this criminal case.

[1] The standard order of Judge Emmet Sullivan that the government is to produce information and evidence to the defense.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/michaelflynn_standing_brady_order.pdf

[2] Protective order issued concerning the discovery and use of information in the Flynn case by the parties.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/michaelflynn_discovery_protect_order.pdf

[3] The paper filed by Flynn's former lawyers about returning his file they created while representing him.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/michaelflynn_transfer_case_file.pdf

[4] The joint status report filed on 30 August 2019.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/michaelflynn_status_report_20190830.pdf

[5] https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/09/are-general-flynns-prosecutors-panicking-by-larry-c-johnson.html

[6] The report by Henry Schuelke III was completed in November 2011. It is 514 pages after the table of contents, plus an addendum of comments and objections by the six subjects of his investigation. The report in the pdf computer format as filed is around 30 megabytes in size, and so uploading it for viewing is not practical at this time.

[Sep 10, 2019] Trump Fires John Bolton After Disagreeing Strongly With His Suggestions

Trump whole administration is just a bunch of rabid neocons who will be perfectly at home (and some were) in Bush II administration. So firing of Bolton while a step in the right direction is too little, too late.
Notable quotes:
"... Whatever the reason for Bolton's departure, this means one less warmongering neocon is left in the DC swamp, and is a prudent and long overdue move by Trump, one which even Trump's liberals enemies will have no choice but to applaud. ..."
"... Ending America's longest war would be a welcome rebuttal to Democrats who will, day in and day out, charge that Trump is a fraud. But to do so, he will likely need a national security advisor more in sync with the vision. Among them: Tucker Carlson favorite Douglas Macgregor, Stephen Biegun, the runner-up previously, or the hawkish, but relatively pragmatic retired General Jack Keane. ..."
"... War-mongering Ziocons - 0; Peace-loving Humanity - 1 ..."
Sep 10, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

While there was some feverish speculation as to what an impromptu presser at 1:30pm with US Secretary of State Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and National Security Adviser Bolton would deliver, that was quickly swept aside moments later when Trump unexpectedly announced that he had effectively fired Bolton as National Security Advisor, tweeting that he informed John Bolton "last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House" after " disagreeing strongly with many of his suggestions. "

... ... ...

Whatever the reason for Bolton's departure, this means one less warmongering neocon is left in the DC swamp, and is a prudent and long overdue move by Trump, one which even Trump's liberals enemies will have no choice but to applaud.

While we await more details on this strike by Trump against the military-industrial complex-enabling Deep State, here is a fitting closer from Curt Mills via the American Conservative:

Ending America's longest war would be a welcome rebuttal to Democrats who will, day in and day out, charge that Trump is a fraud. But to do so, he will likely need a national security advisor more in sync with the vision. Among them: Tucker Carlson favorite Douglas Macgregor, Stephen Biegun, the runner-up previously, or the hawkish, but relatively pragmatic retired General Jack Keane.

Bolton seems to be following the well-worn trajectory of dumped Trump deputies. Jeff Sessions, a proto-Trump and the first senator to endorse the mogul, became attorney general and ideological incubator of the new Right's agenda only to become persona non grata in the administration. The formal execution came later. Bannon followed a less dramatic, but no less explosive ebb and flow. James Mattis walked on water until he didn't.

And Bolton appeared the leading light of a neoconservative revival, of sorts, until he didn't.

White Nat , 9 minutes ago link

War-mongering Ziocons - 0; Peace-loving Humanity - 1

[Sep 10, 2019] Afghanistan - Graveyard of Dreams - Originally published 28 Jan 2018

Sep 09, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

(In light of yesterday's bombing in Kabul ...)

We have been in Afghanistan for how long? 16 years? It is our longest war. How much progress have we actually made?

1. The government that we have tried so long to nurture controls a shrinking percentage of both territory and population.

2. How much money have we poured into the pockets of crooks of all nationalities? In spite of that the country is severely lacking in physical, social, legal, and business infrastructure.

3. The country's armed forces have been expanded under NATO tutelage to such a size that the small GDP will never be able to pay for them on its own. In spite of that they are unable even to defend their own installations.

4. The country is still racked by tribal, ethnic and jihadi wars. It has always been thus with the exception of a golden age when the last Afghan king ruled in the 50s and 60s. How did he do that? He did it by careful inter-ethnic diplomacy and a minimum effort to "unify" his realm.

5. Attacks on NATO personnel by Afghan soldiers and police continue.

6. The capital, Kabul, is not secured and is regularly attacked.

7. The much vaunted COIN doctrine has failed there as it has failed in so many places in the world.

In spite of this the generals and the COIN nuts persist in trying to reverse Obama's policy of withdrawal from the "country" (a geographical expression really). President Trump, who knows nothing of things military or geo-political is about to begin the process of re-introducing US combat and training forces into this blank space on the map, a space filled with hostile tribesmen and religious fanatics. This blank space was given the dubious status of a state in the international system of states because the Russians and the British wanted to establish a buffer entity between the Tsar's empire and the Raj.

President Trump should be told that there is nothing there of real importance to the US, nothing worth more vast quantities of our money and more rivers of our blood. Let the Afghans, Chinese, Pakistanis, Iranians and Russians deal with the chaos. pl

[Sep 10, 2019] The idea tha the USA won the Cold War is questionable

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... As early as the late 1940's, some of us living in Russia saw that the regime was becoming dangerously remote from the concerns and hopes of the Russian people. The original ideological and emotional motivation of Russian Communism had worn itself out and become lost in the exertions of the great war. And there was already apparent a growing generational gap in the regime. ..."
"... By the time Stalin died, in 1953, even many Communist Party members had come to see his dictatorship as grotesque, dangerous and unnecessary, and there was a general impression that far-reaching changes were in order. ..."
"... Nikita Khrushchev took the leadership in the resulting liberalizing tendencies. He was in his crude way a firm Communist, but he was not wholly unopen to reasonable argument. His personality offered the greatest hope for internal political liberalization and relaxation of international tensions. ..."
"... The more America's political leaders were seen in Moscow as committed to an ultimate military rather than political resolution of Soviet-American tensions, the greater was the tendency in Moscow to tighten the controls by both party and police, and the greater the braking effect on all liberalizing tendencies in the regime. Thus the general effect of cold war extremism was to delay rather than hasten the great change that overtook the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980's.... ..."
"... In the competition between major powers and/or alliances there are several somewhat complementary aspects of power: economic or physical aspect to create things of "value" (added by the commerce and industry of the entity), the military power, and moral aspects of the entity in terms of political and cultural resolve and unity. ..."
Sep 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 07, 2019 at 07:23 AM

https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/09/note-to-self-_the-ten-americans-who-did-the-most-to-win-the-cold-war-hoisted-from-the-archiveshttpswwwbradford-de.html

September 5, 2019

Note to Self: The Ten Americans Who Did the Most to Win the Cold War *

Harry Dexter White... George Kennan... George Marshall... Arthur Vandenberg... Paul Hoffman... Dean Acheson... Harry S Truman... Dwight D. Eisenhower... Gerald Ford... George Shultz

* https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/02/note-the-ten-americans-who-did-the-most-to-win-the-cold-war-archive-entry-from-brad-delongs-webjournal.html

-- Brad DeLong

anne -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 07:24 AM
https://www.nytimes.com/1992/10/28/opinion/the-gop-won-the-cold-war-ridiculous.html

October 28, 1992

The G.O.P. Won the Cold War? Ridiculous.
By George F. Kennan

The claim heard in campaign rhetoric that the United States under Republican Party leadership "won the cold war" is intrinsically silly.

The suggestion that any Administration had the power to influence decisively the course of a tremendous domestic political upheaval in another great country on another side of the globe is simply childish. No great country has that sort of influence on the internal developments of any other one.

As early as the late 1940's, some of us living in Russia saw that the regime was becoming dangerously remote from the concerns and hopes of the Russian people. The original ideological and emotional motivation of Russian Communism had worn itself out and become lost in the exertions of the great war. And there was already apparent a growing generational gap in the regime.

These thoughts found a place in my so-called X article in Foreign Affairs in 1947, from which the policy of containment is widely seen to have originated. This perception was even more clearly expressed in a letter from Moscow written in 1952, when I was Ambassador there, to H. Freeman Matthews, a senior State Department official, excerpts from which also have been widely published. There were some of us to whom it was clear, even at that early date, that the regime as we had known it would not last for all time. We could not know when or how it would be changed; we knew only that change was inevitable and impending.

By the time Stalin died, in 1953, even many Communist Party members had come to see his dictatorship as grotesque, dangerous and unnecessary, and there was a general impression that far-reaching changes were in order.

Nikita Khrushchev took the leadership in the resulting liberalizing tendencies. He was in his crude way a firm Communist, but he was not wholly unopen to reasonable argument. His personality offered the greatest hope for internal political liberalization and relaxation of international tensions.

The downing of the U-2 spy plane in 1960, more than anything else, put an end to this hope. The episode humiliated Khrushchev and discredited his relatively moderate policies. It forced him to fall back, for the defense of his own political position, on a more strongly belligerent anti-American tone of public utterance.

The U-2 episode was the clearest example of that primacy of military over political policy that soon was to become an outstanding feature of American cold war policy. The extreme militarization of American discussion and policy, as promoted by hard-line circles over the ensuing 25 years, consistently strengthened comparable hard-liners in the Soviet Union.

The more America's political leaders were seen in Moscow as committed to an ultimate military rather than political resolution of Soviet-American tensions, the greater was the tendency in Moscow to tighten the controls by both party and police, and the greater the braking effect on all liberalizing tendencies in the regime. Thus the general effect of cold war extremism was to delay rather than hasten the great change that overtook the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980's....

ilsm -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 08:28 AM
Very interesting observation.

In the competition between major powers and/or alliances there are several somewhat complementary aspects of power: economic or physical aspect to create things of "value" (added by the commerce and industry of the entity), the military power, and moral aspects of the entity in terms of political and cultural resolve and unity.

Early in my time in the service, when I had time to think being at a remote station I decided the west had the marked economic advantage, particularly as the green revolution permitted some higher level of nutrition security.

Later on I recall discussions where the collapse of the Soviet Union was assured but would take in to the 21st century to occur. The big question then was "would a nuclear exchange occur in the way of a peaceful collapse".....

The presence of the A Bomb in some ways prevented war in other encouraged intrigue and small scrapes in to each other's spheres.

There was a bit of the Divine in the world getting through the Cold War.

The Berlin wall came down as hoped but 25 years earlier than I expected.

Plp -> ilsm... , September 07, 2019 at 08:58 AM
Stalin built the party military complex that ran Russia from 1932 to 1989

Cold war liberals built uncle's post was military industrial complex as a counterpart to Stalin's

alas thanx to guys from wasp firms on Wall Street like Dean Acheson that knew the planet was ours to pluck post 1946

anne -> Plp... , September 07, 2019 at 09:14 AM
These are important comments, and deserve to be saved and gradually expanded on. I appreciate this.
ilsm -> Plp... , September 07, 2019 at 09:35 AM
As an aside the Ukraine farmers whom Stalin "collectivized" were seen as impediment to industrializing.......

interesting too, how LBJ kept guns and butter and went pedal to the metal in Vietnam......

politics has always (since June 1950, anyway) "ended when the pentagon appropriations bills were up for enacting".

Which may be synonymous with the proscription about politics kept out of diplomacy?

anne -> ilsm... , September 07, 2019 at 09:15 AM
Do save and develop this interesting thinking further over time.
Plp -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 08:46 AM
KENNAN Was a lucky guy. He hit the right notes at the right time and then as he got second thoughts and better vision. Like yugoslaving peoples China in 1949
He was side tracked and then sent out to ivy pastures
Plp -> Plp... , September 07, 2019 at 08:53 AM
U 2

Nonsense. The moment to engage was 1953 -54 and yes a goo regime blocked it

But it was Truman that crossed the parallel in 1950 and tried to liberate north Korea

It was Kennedy that preferred brinksmanship to real engagement. Brush wars and regime change to accommodation. Missile racing to sensible unilateralism

Yes LBJ was an ignorant oaf on foreign policy. But it was Nixon that finally used PRC as Yugo twenty years too late of course

The cold war was invented by democrats and exploited by republicans for domestic shindiggery. Tragicomedy cinescope scaled

EMichael -> Plp... , September 07, 2019 at 09:18 AM
Yes, very clever how democrats coerced Stalin into annexing eastern Europe and placing millions of people under total control in every way of life.

Your ideology trumps facts when needed.

ilsm -> EMichael... , September 07, 2019 at 09:39 AM
democrats + Truman and Churchill......

Had FDR survived the 3 western sectors of Germany would have been demilitarized, and agrarian.

Churchill conned Truman to use Potsdam as a replay of Munich!

Keenan's angst was the "militarized" usurped "containment".

Stalin may not have been replaying 1938........

Plp -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 08:37 AM
Pompous banality worthy of a tenured entitled utterly secure mind

I don't like or respect Brad but I do enjoy him ss a punching bag

Plp -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 08:39 AM
Nixon and Kissinger won the cold war For God sake. Everyone knows that

George Schultz and KENNAN?

Where's Joe McCarthy? And Paul Nitze

ilsm -> Plp... , September 07, 2019 at 08:51 AM
Where is Luce?

Truman and Acheson.... were there when Keenan went off to teach instead of be ignored.

Marshall aside from his plan, he and his Army staffers just off beating Hitler knew Chiang was not worth propping.

The Luce empire went all cold warrior over "who lost China" which gave Joe McCarthy a drum.

ilsm -> Plp... , September 07, 2019 at 09:27 AM
:<)

You could have no Cold War without the agitprop. As with the GWOT today.

The one no loser in the demise of the commies: the MIC!

ilsm -> Plp... , September 07, 2019 at 09:41 AM
As Vinegar Joe Stillwell observed.......

eventually Stillwell went.

anne -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 09:31 AM
Obviously since there is a determined American Cold War effort being waged right now, American historians were mistaken at the end of the 1980s. There had been no winning of the Cold War, nor even a clear and shared understanding of what the Cold War was about. If the Cold War was only about balancing the Soviet Union and developing economically far beyond the Soviet Union and Soviet ideas faltering, that happened. However, there was obviously more or with no Soviet Union to counter we would not now be taking policy steps to carry on the Cold War.

[Sep 10, 2019] The msm , Hollywood, etc. all sing from the same song-sheet. "USA is great", ignore all the wars they have lost, ignore the astronomical military financial expenditure (declared and hidden)

Sep 05, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sally Snyder | Sep 5 2019 19:04 utc | 18

The American military is advanced over both Russia and China in one sense - they have access to endless taxpayers' dollars to fund their programs, many of which are complete failures.

Ike , Sep 5 2019 19:45 utc | 23
Putin can offer Trump hyper-sonic missiles knowing he cannot accept. To accept these would display the USA's technical military inferiority for all to see. The msm , Hollywood, etc. all sing from the same song-sheet. "USA is great", ignore all the wars they have lost, ignore the astronomical military financial expenditure (declared and hidden).

Just like Reagan's star-wars program public perception is everything

[Sep 10, 2019] Bolton and company has turned my 2016 protest vote for Trump into a 2020 protest vote for Elizabeth Warren.

Sep 10, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Fed Up 21 hours ago

These idiots don't hire themselves. The problem is Trump. It doesn't matter whether Bolton (or Pompeo, or Hook, or Abrams) is in or out as long as Trump himself is in the White House.

That realization has turned my 2016 protest vote for Trump into a 2020 protest vote for Elizabeth Warren. The underlying principle is be the same, voting yet again for the lesser of two evils.

[Sep 10, 2019] Is John Bolton's Time Up

Notable quotes:
"... But Bolton coupled the Fox and AEI sinecures with gnarlier associations -- for one, the Gatestone Institute, a, let's say Islam-hostile outfit, associated with the secretive, influential Mercer billionaires. ..."
"... Bolton appeared the leading light of a neoconservative revival, of sorts, until he didn't. ..."
"... It doesn't matter whether Bolton's "time is up" or not, because his departure wouldn't change anything. If he goes, Trump will replace him with some equally slimy neocon interventionist. ..."
"... It won't end until we muck out the White House next year. Dumping Trump is Job One. ..."
"... Oh. Yes. You want to get rid of Trump's partially neocon administration, so that you could replace it with your own, entirely neocon one. Wake me up when the DNC starts allowing people like Tulsi Gabbard to get nominated. But they won't. So your party will just repeat its merry salsa on the same set of rakes as in 2016. ..."
Sep 10, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

No major politician, not even Barack Obama, excoriated the Iraq war more fiercely than did Trump during the primaries. He did this in front of a scion of the house of Bush and in the deep red state of South Carolina. He nevertheless went on to win that primary, the Republican nomination and the presidency on that antiwar message.

And so, to see Bolton ascend to the commanding heights of the Trump White House shocked many from the time it was first rumored. "I shudder to think what would happen if we had a failed presidency," Scott McConnell, TAC' s founding editor, said in late 2016 at our foreign policy conference, held, opportunely, during the presidential transition. "I mean, John Bolton?"

At the time, Bolton was a candidate for secretary of state, a consideration scuttled in no small part because of the opposition of Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul. As McConnell wrote in November of that year: "Most of the upper-middle-level officials who plotted the Iraq War have retreated quietly into private life, but Bolton has kept their flame alive." Bolton had already been passed over for NSA, losing out early to the doomed Michael Flynn. Rex Tillerson beat him for secretary of state. Bolton was then passed over for the role of Tillerson's deputy. When Flynn flamed out of the White House the following February, Trump chose a general he didn't know at all, H.R. McMaster, to replace him.

Bolton had been trying to make a comeback since late 2006, after failing to hold his job as U.N. ambassador (he had only been a recess appointment). His landing spots including a Fox News contributorship and a post at the vaunted American Enterprise Institute. Even in the early days of the Trump administration, Bolton was around, and accessible. I remember seeing him multiple times in Washington's Connecticut Avenue corridor, decked out in the seersucker he notoriously favors during the summer months. Paired with the familiar mustache, the man is the Mark Twain of regime change.

But Bolton coupled the Fox and AEI sinecures with gnarlier associations -- for one, the Gatestone Institute, a, let's say Islam-hostile outfit, associated with the secretive, influential Mercer billionaires. He also struck a ferocious alliance with the Center for Security Policy, helmed by the infamous Frank Gaffney, and gave paid remarks to the National Council for the Resistance of Iran, the lynchpin organization of the People's Mujahideen of Iran, or MEK. The latter two associations have imbued the spirit of this White House, with Gaffney now one of the most underrated power players in Washington, and the MEK's "peaceful" regime change mantra all but the official line of the administration.

More than any of these gigs, Bolton benefited from two associations that greased the wheels for his joining the Trump administration.

The first was Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist. If you want to understand the administration's Iran policy under Bolton to date, look no further than a piece by the then-retired diplomat in conservative mainstay National Review in August 2017, days after Bannon's departure from the White House: "How to Get Out of the Iran Deal." Bolton wrote the piece at Bannon's urging. Even out of the administration, the former Breitbart honcho was an influential figure.

"We must explain the grave threat to the U.S. and our allies, particularly Israel," said Bolton. "The [Iran Deal's] vague and ambiguous wording; its manifest imbalance in Iran's direction; Iran's significant violations; and its continued, indeed, increasingly, unacceptable conduct at the strategic level internationally demonstrate convincingly that [the Iran deal] is not in the national-security interests of the United States."

Then Bolton, as I documented , embarked on a campaign of a media saturation to make a TV-happy president proud. By May Day the next year, he would have a job, a big one, and one that Senator Paul couldn't deny him: national security advisor. That wasn't the whole story, of course. Bolton's ace in the hole was Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who has helped drive Trump's Israel policy. If Trump finally moves against Bolton, it will likely be because Adelson failed to strenuously object.

So will Trump finally do it? Other than White House chief of staff, a position Mick Mulvaney has filled in an acting capacity for the entire calendar year, national security advisor is the easiest, most senior role to change horses.

A bombshell Washington Post story lays out the dire truth: Bolton is so distrusted on the president's central prerogatives, for instance Afghanistan, that he's not even allowed to see sensitive plans unsupervised.

Bolton has also come into conflict with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to three senior State Department officials. Pompeo is the consummate politician. Though an inveterate hawk, the putative Trump successor does not want to be the Paul Wolfowitz of the Iran war. Bolton is a bureaucratic arsonist, agnostic on the necessity of two of the institutions he served in -- Foggy Bottom and the United Nations. Pompeo, say those around him, is keen to be beloved, or at least tolerated, by career officials in his department, in contrast with Bolton and even Tillerson.

The real danger Bolton poses is to the twin gambit Trump hopes to pull off ahead of, perhaps just ahead of, next November -- a detente deal with China to calm the markets and ending the war in Afghanistan. Over the weekend, the president announced a scuttled meeting with the Taliban at Camp David, which would have been an historic, stunning summit. Bolton was reportedly instrumental in quashing the meet. Still, there is a lot of time between now and next autumn, and the cancellation is likely the latest iteration of the president's showman diplomacy.

Ending America's longest war would be a welcome rebuttal to Democrats who will, day in and day out, charge that Trump is a fraud. But to do so, he will likely need a national security advisor more in sync with the vision. Among them: Tucker Carlson favorite Douglas Macgregor, Stephen Biegun, the runner-up previously, or the hawkish, but relatively pragmatic retired General Jack Keane.

Bolton seems to be following the well-worn trajectory of dumped Trump deputies. Jeff Sessions, a proto-Trump and the first senator to endorse the mogul, became attorney general and ideological incubator of the new Right's agenda only to become persona non grata in the administration. The formal execution came later. Bannon followed a less dramatic, but no less explosive ebb and flow. James Mattis walked on water until he didn't.

And Bolton appeared the leading light of a neoconservative revival, of sorts, until he didn't.

Curt Mills is senior writer


Laurelite a day ago
"Pompeo is the consummate politician."

You confuse "politician" and "liar" here, whereas he is "consummate" at neither politics nor lying. His politicking has been as botched as his diplomacy; his lying has been prodigious but transparent.

Taras77 a day ago
Bolton has been on the way out now for how many months? I will believe this welcome news when I see his sorry ___ out the door.
I think much of America and the world will feel the same way.
Bordentown a day ago
It doesn't matter whether Bolton's "time is up" or not, because his departure wouldn't change anything. If he goes, Trump will replace him with some equally slimy neocon interventionist.

It won't end until we muck out the White House next year. Dumping Trump is Job One.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) Bordentown 19 hours ago • edited
Oh. Yes. You want to get rid of Trump's partially neocon administration, so that you could replace it with your own, entirely neocon one. Wake me up when the DNC starts allowing people like Tulsi Gabbard to get nominated. But they won't. So your party will just repeat its merry salsa on the same set of rakes as in 2016.

[Sep 10, 2019] Bolton mioght be consistent and sincere. But he remains a rabid warmonger, who serves Israeli interests.

Notable quotes:
"... Yeah, consistency may be nice, but what about the actual substance of what Bolton believes and does? ..."
"... Personally, I'm not interested in trying to starve Iran into submission or attack it on behalf of Israel. And I would be interested in actually pursuing a meaningful attempt to resolve the Korea issue. Bolton is not only on the wrong side of these issues, he is in general the principal malign force pushing foreign policy insanity in this administration (as opposed to Adelson et all pushing policy insanity from outside the administration.) ..."
"... Heinrich Himmler also was consistent and sincere. By your logic, that must mean that Himmler was a credit to the Nazi regime. ..."
"... You can't serve a president well if you're constantly at odds with him. The Commander-in-Chief has to have his or her own mind about things, advisors are there to advise. If you want to do one thing but you're being counseled to do otherwise, what purpose does such a relationship serve? ..."
"... It was clearly Adelson and his ilk who got Bolton hired in the first place when Trump had initially been unimpressed. In "Fire and Fury," Steve Bannon allegedly says that Trump didn't think Bolton looked the part of NSA. And it's even more significant that Adelson and others of a similar cast--e.g., Safra Catz, the dual-national CEO of Oracle-- engineered a whispering campaign against McMaster that paved the way for what was effectively his firing. ..."
"... Bolton's ace in the hole was Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who has helped drive Trump's Israel policy ..."
"... Besides, it's not like Bolton was a military man, he openly acknowledges that he didn't want to go and 'die on some rice paddy' in Vietnam. But, he's willing to send other people's kids to fight and die in some pointless show of geopolitical power, If he goes, good riddance. ..."
"... Israel and to a lesser extent Saudi Arabia drive Trump's Iran policy, and Pompeo is their messenger. ..."
Sep 10, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Steve Smith EliteCommInc. 19 hours ago • edited

"I have to think that NSA Bolton actually believes what he advocates."

There are and have been lots of people who believe what they advocate--Lenin, Trotsky, Mao, Robespierre, and the Neoconservatives in general among them.

Yeah, consistency may be nice, but what about the actual substance of what Bolton believes and does?

Personally, I'm not interested in trying to starve Iran into submission or attack it on behalf of Israel. And I would be interested in actually pursuing a meaningful attempt to resolve the Korea issue. Bolton is not only on the wrong side of these issues, he is in general the principal malign force pushing foreign policy insanity in this administration (as opposed to Adelson et all pushing policy insanity from outside the administration.)

Sorry, but Bolton's "service" sure ain't appreciated by me!

Sid Finster EliteCommInc. 19 hours ago
"He's consistent and sincere!" in that cause of evil, yes.

Heinrich Himmler also was consistent and sincere. By your logic, that must mean that Himmler was a credit to the Nazi regime.

Steve Smith Sid Finster 19 hours ago
We are obviously thinking along the same lines.
EliteCommInc. Sid Finster 8 hours ago
Hyperbole much I see. If you want to honestly assess someone, you might want to avoid that tact. To my knowledge NSA Bolton is not building concentration camps to send undesirables to an early grave.

I would be curious what you know about what his agenda is or why.

EdMan EliteCommInc. 18 hours ago
You can't serve a president well if you're constantly at odds with him. The Commander-in-Chief has to have his or her own mind about things, advisors are there to advise. If you want to do one thing but you're being counseled to do otherwise, what purpose does such a relationship serve?

Bolton was the wrong man for the job.

gdpbull 20 hours ago • edited
Nah, they (Bolton and all the neocons) are celebrating the death of another American soldier killed in a suicide attack just prior to a planned peace summit with the Taliban. The Taliban and the neocons are two sides that deserve each other, but at the cost of many innocents.

Its easy to depose any third world government with our military, but one cannot eradicate an ideology with today's humanitarian standards. So we should just leave and tell the Taliban they can even take power in Afghanistan again, but if they harbor any groups that want to attack our country, we'll be back. It only takes a month or so to depose a third world government. Then we leave again. We can do this over and over again and it'll be way cheaper than leaving troops there and many fewer casualties.

The Rocket Man gdpbull 15 hours ago
I don't think Bolton will be in there for the rest of Trump's presidency. Presidential appointments rarely ever last through the whole administration. Now I'm not when he goes cause anyone's guess is as good as mine. And will policy actually change for the better or remain the same?
Sid Finster 19 hours ago
" If only the Tsar knew how wicked his advisers are! "

We've been hearing of Bolton's imminent demise since the time Trump appointed the unindicted criminal, and to a position that isn't subject to Congressional advice and consent.

Bolton is still in office, still making policy, still stovepiping "intelligence" to Trump, still plotting away like Grima Wormtongue.

If Trump wasn't so close to Bolton, why was he in regular contact with the man before appointing him, and why does he allow Bolton to control what information Trump gets?

And if you read the latest news, it seems that the occupation of Afghanistan isn't going anywhere either. Bolton wins again, but some writers at TAC keep holding out hope for Trump.

Steve Smith 19 hours ago
"If Trump finally moves against Bolton, it will likely be because Adelson failed to strenuously object."

Well, isn't that nice? Trump's decision on whether to keep or fire his national security advisor depends on the whim of the hideous, Israel-uber-alles ideologue Adelson. That sure makes me feel good. (And by the way, Curt Mills, this is called burying the lede.)

Of course it's only logical. It was clearly Adelson and his ilk who got Bolton hired in the first pla