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Gangster Capitalism

 Financial oligarchy is instrumental in unleashing wars and the globalization of organized crime

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"The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist" 

Thomas Friedman 

Free market is possible only under strict government regulation. Without government regulation free market quickly deteriorates into the law of jungles. Such a paradox ;-)

And if financial oligarchy gets to power as they got via coup d'état in the USA in late 7th, it is only a matter of time before the society collapses. They are very destructive to the society at large. Probably more so then organized crime. But wait. They actually can be viewed as special type of organized prime as is "The best way to rob the bank is to own it".

If you think that Yeltsin privatization (see  Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia) and rise of organized crime in Russia are two distinct phenomenon, think again. Neoliberalism which declare profit as single and only moral value is in reality deeply interconnected with organized crime both in methods and personalities.  This is not very noticed in the USA, but quite so in, say, Ukraine.

It's not accidental that Forbes magazine recently placed two Mexicans, Carlos Slim and Joaquín Guzmán, high on their list of the most powerful people in the world. Carlos Slim is the world’s third-richest man and CEO of a telecommunications company and Joaquín Guzmán is the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

US Big Banks Are A Culture of Crime!

TheTradingReport

Organized crime. This phrase is now a precise synonym for big-banking in the United States. These Big Banks commit big crimes; they commit small crimes. They cheat their own clients; they swindle outsiders. They break virtually every financial law on the books. What do all these crimes have in common? The Big Banks commit all these crimes again and again and again – with utter impunity.

These fraud factories commit their serial mega-crimes, year after year, because the Big Banks know that they will never, ever be punished. On rare occasions, their crimes have been so egregious that U.S. ‘justice’ officials could no longer pretend to be oblivious to them. In such cases, there was a token prosecution, there was a settlement where the law-breaking banks didn’t even have to acknowledge their own criminality, and there was a microscopic fine – which didn’t even force the felonious financial institutions to disgorge all of their profits from these crimes.

Criminal sanctions, by definition, are supposed to deter criminal conduct. The token prosecutions against U.S. Big Banks didn’t deter Big Bank crime, they encouraged it. But even these wrist-slaps were becoming embarrassing for this crime syndicate, so they dealt with this problem. The Big Bank crime syndicate told its lackeys in the U.S. ‘justice’ department that they were not allowed to prosecute one of its tentacles, ever again.

The lackeys, as always, obeyed their Masters, and issued a new proclamation. The U.S. ‘Justice’ Department would never prosecute a U.S. Big Bank ever again – no matter what crimes it committed, no matter how large the crimes, no matter how many times the same Big Banks committed the same crimes. Complete, legal immunity; totally above the law. A literal culture of crime.

What happens when you create a culture of crime in (big) banking? Not only the banks break laws – with impunity – their bank employees do so as well. Case in point: Warren Buffett’s favorite Big Bank – Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo employees came up with a good idea for boosting their salaries: stealing money directly out of the accounts of the bank’s clients.

Consider how large this crime became, in just one of these tentacles of organized crime.

L.A City Attorney Mike Feuer announced a $185 million settlement reached with Wells Fargo, after thousands of bank employees siphoned funds from their customers to open phony checking and savings accounts raking in millions in fraudulent fees.[emphasis mine]

Thousands of bank employees stealing millions of dollars from bank customers, in tiny, little increments, again and again and again. But the story gets much worse. Why was a lowly city attorney involved with the prosecution of this organized crime?

So where is the FBI? Where is the Department of Justice? How about California Attorney General Kamala Harris? Too busy campaigning for the Senate to notice? How about L.A. District Attorney Jackie Larry?

Only City Attorney Mike Feuer took action, and he only has the authority to prosecute misdemeanors…

There are only two ways in which the non-action of the U.S. pseudo-justice system can be explained:

  1. All of the layers of “justice” above the City Attorney, are completely bought-off, and refuse to prosecute one of the corporate fronts of their (real) Masters.
  2. All of the layers of “justice” above the City Attorney considered this systemic crime by Wells Fargo’s employees to be nothing more than a misdemeanour.

Take your pick. The U.S. pseudo-justice system is used to seeing so many multi-billion dollar mega-crimes being committed by these fraud factories that the systemic crime at Wells Fargo (which was ‘only’ in the $millions) didn’t even attract their attention. Or, the entire U.S. pseudo-justice system is completely bought-off and corrupt – and they refuse to prosecute Big Bank organized crime.

A culture of crime.

It gets still worse. Thousands of Wells Fargo employees stole millions of dollars, from countless clients. They were caught. But not even one banker was sent to jail. In a real justice system, systemic crime of this nature would/could only be prosecuted in one of three ways. Either every Wells Fargo criminal would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law (given the egregious nature of the crime), or Wells Fargo management would be prosecuted – because they would have/should have known about this crime-wave. Or else both.

Bankers stealing money, directly and brazenly, right out of customer accounts, but no one goes to jail? A culture of crime.

Understand that endemic, cultural changes of this nature don’t originate at the bottom of the corporate ladder. They originate at the top. In the case of the Wall Street crime syndicate; we already know that their management personnel are criminals, because they haveadmitted to being criminals.

Many Wall Street executives says [sic] wrongdoing is necessary: survey

If the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes were to go out with his lantern in search of an honest man today, a survey of Wall Street executives on workplace conduct suggests he might have to look elsewhere.

A quarter of Wall Street executives see wrongdoing as a key to success, according to a survey by whistleblower law firm Labaton Sucharow released on Tuesday.

In a survey of 500 senior executives in the United States and the UK [New York and London], 26 percent of respondents said they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, while 24 percent said they believed financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful… [emphasis mine]

One-quarter of Big Bank management admitted that they “need” to commit crimes. A culture of crime. More needs to be said about the rampant, disgusting criminality among upper management in the Big Banks of the U.S. (and UK).

A known whistleblower was conducting a public survey, asking known criminals how many of them were engaging in criminal behavior. What percentage of respondents would lie when answering such a survey? Three-quarters sounds about right. One-quarter of Wall Street executives admitted that committing crimes was a way of life. The other three-quarters lied about their criminal acts.

Monkey see; monkey do. The lower level foot soldiers see their Bosses breaking laws, with impunity, on a daily basis. Their reaction, at Wells Fargo? “Me too.”

Most if not all of the Wall Street fraud factories conduct detailed “personality testing” on their bank personnel. Are they looking to weed-out those with criminal (if not psychopathic) inclinations? Of course not. They conduct this personality testing to find which employees have no reservations about engaging in criminal conduct – so they can be fast-tracked for promotion.

There is no other way in which the systemic criminality of senior banking personnel can be reconciled with the detailed personality-testing in which they participated, in order to reach that level of management. The Wall Street fraud factories look for the most amoral criminals which they can find. And with the exorbitant, ludicrous “compensation” they award to these criminals for their systemic crimes, they end up with (literally) the best criminals that money can buy.

A culture of crime.

As a final note; the U.S. system of pretend-justice already has a powerful weapon in its arsenal to fight organized crime: the “RICO” act. This anti-racketeering statute was created for one, precise purpose: to not merely prosecute/punish organized crime, but to literallydismantle the crime infrastructure which supports the organized crime.

Not only does the statute confer strong (almost limitless) powers in gathering evidence of organized crime, it also permits mass seizures of assets – anything/everything connected to the organized crime of the entity(ies) in question. In the case of the Big Bank crime syndicate, where all of its operations are directly/indirectly tied into criminal operations of one form or another, if RICO was turned loose on these fraud factories, by the time the dust had settled there would be nothing left.

Oh yes. If the U.S. ‘Justice’ Department ever went “RICO” on U.S. Big Banks, lots and lots and lots of bankers would go to prison, for a very, long time.

Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime

The first researcher who explored this uncanny relationship between that two and strong links between the neoliberal system of governance and organized crime was Michael Woodiwiss with his influential book Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime (Paperback):

Everyone knows what organized crime is. Each year dozens of feature films, hundreds of books, and thousands of news stories explain to an eager public that organized crime is what gangsters do. Closely knit, ethnically distinct, and ruthlessly efficient, these mafias control the drugs trade, people trafficking and other serious crimes. If only states would take the threat seriously and recognize the global nature of modern organized crime, the FBI's success against the Italian mafia could be replicated throughout the world. The wicked trade in addictive drugs could be brought to a halt.

The trouble is, as Woodiwiss demonstrates in shocking and surprising detail, what everyone knows about organized crime is pretty much completely wrong. In reality the most important figures in organized crime are employees of multinational companies, politicians and bureaucrats. Gangsters are certainly a problem, but much of their strength comes from attempts to prohibit the market for certain drugs.

Even here they are minor players when compared with the intelligence and law enforcement agencies that selectively enforce prohibition and profit from it. Woodiwiss shows how respectable businessmen and revered statesmen have seized these opportunities in an orgy of fraud and illegal violence...

A very timely book, November 16, 2008 Joseph Oppenheim (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews

What makes "Gangster Capitalism" so worthwhile is that it helps in understanding what has led us to the 2007-8 financial meltdown. As the book shows, like during the 1920's, deregulation led the way for powerful companies to allow the very wealthy to get wealthier at the expense of average people by using poor working conditions, low wages, etc, plus at the same time supporting supposedly moral movements (against gambling, alcohol, drugs, etc) which mainly served the purpose of making these trades more profitable to crooks and therefore created rampant gangsterism there. The result was such a society wracked with gangsterism at all levels, but because most people felt they were prospering, few complained.

But, then it all collapsed with the 1929 crash and resulting Depression, which led the way for FDR and the New Deal programs which increased regulation of corporations, repeal of Prohibition, etc. Though the Depression lingered until WWII, the New Deal was successful in restructuring our laws and public infrastructure to create a better footing for the prosperity which would follow.

The book effectively traces how much of this regulation was reduced piece by piece, beginning in earnest with Nixon, using Cold War fears to tilt the nation toward more corporate power and away from reform, support of right-wing dictators around the world, re-energizing a 'moral crusade' especially by beginning the War on Drugs, thereby making the illegal drug trade super profitable, etc.

The nation had shifted Right and even Democratic presidents like Carter who was instrumental in deregulating industry and Clinton who signed into law the repeal of Glass--Steagle weren't able to stop the shift. Then, the 'Gangster Capitalism" went on steroids with G. W. Bush. By 2003, corporate taxes only amounted to 7% of revenues, while payroll taxes amounted to 40%.

Of note, the book makes clear it is opportunity which leads to much crime, so the approach of massive deregulation of corporations, plus focusing on arrests and imprisonment for victimless crimes ends up with the wrong results, more entrenched crime, even allowing corporations to capitalize on a prison industry.

The book is also good at highlighting how corporations and outright gangsters were able to corrupt legal drugs (price-fixing), tobacco, asbestos, body parts, autos (Pintos), etc. Some other things in the book, of note: Hamid Karzai included drug traffickers in his Afghan administration.

And, our support of Suharto (Indonesia), Mobuto (the Congo), and Marcos (the Philippines) allowed 'looting' of these countries.

A corrupt financial infrastructure included the BCCI bank and offshore banking to evade taxes also developed. Plus, laundering money from illegal arms sales, drugs, and so many other illegal activities passed through our financial system.

The book is definitely tilted toward a liberal way of looking at things, therefore it doesn't go into the good things about capitalism, but there are disturbing patterns which are important to understand, and this book does that very well.

Wasted opportunity, September 6, 2006

By James R. Maclean (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Despite the fact that I was predisposed to agree with many of the author's views, this book was a huge disappointment. First, the basic premises:
  1. American business enterprise is singularly corrupt;
  2. Most of the crime that Americans suffer from is corporate crime;
  3. American methods of fighting crime focus on lurid fantasies of underworld conspiracy;
  4. The USA exports criminality through its foreign & trade policies.

Each of these premises could have been, and in other venues have been, well-argued. The first three suffer from a lack of generally accepted, objective measures, but experts on criminology have overcome worse obstacles. What we get instead is an unfocused, rambling listing of claims (plausible, but very poorly documented) about the criminal underworld, anecdotes about corporate crime, and extreme statements. No doubt "legitimate" business enterprise does rip off more money from customers each year than do gangsters or mafiosi; but the latter also account for a tiny fraction of the total US labor force. And comparing deaths from industrial accidents to mob hits is just over the top.

Woodiwiss says that the book "had its inception during a seminar series on transnational organized crime run by Adam Edwards and Peter Gill... Adam and Peter put together several of the best academic researchers from Europe and North America...." Yet the book is exasperatingly badly substantiated. I noticed almost no original research. Woodiwiss's footnotes, which--like cops--are never around when you need them (viz., when he is actually saying something that requires documentation), are almost exclusively from articles in the *Guardian* or from other sensational exposes. Radical literature has its place, of course, but saying, "US capitalism is just like organized crime... see, it says so in 'The New Left Review'" is just a harangue, not evidence.

The back cover declaims: "..[T]he position of large multinational corporations...actually provide the most enticing opportunities for illegal profit...Gangster Capitalism shows how respectable businessmen and revered statesmen have seized these opportunities in an orgy of fraud and illegal violence that would leave the most hardened mafiosi speechless."

In fact, it's a disappointing pile of clippings. With the exception of his claims--again, plausible but unsubstantiated--you are not going to find any surprises here.

As I mentioned, he attacks conventional wisdom regarding the mafia and J. Edgar Hoover (who comes off surprisingly well); unfortunately, Woodiwiss offers almost no support for those contentions that are likely to be controversial. For example, on p.78 he mentions President [Nixon]'s Advisory Council on Executive Organization, "Organized Crime Strike Force Report" [1969], which included a vaguely worded remark that the reliance on legal sanctions to fight drug abuse was actually causing organized crime to flourish." This is footnoted. Then he says that Nixon was so horrified by this that he ruthlessly suppressed the report. This is not footnoted. The next pargagraph (p.49) includes a quote from a law enforcement officer claiming that gambling arrests were made just to pad the arrest numbers; this is footnoted. The next paragraph declares that gambling is no more corrupt than the rest of the economy. A surprising observation, it is predictably not footnoted.

The result: lots of footnotes documenting that water is a bit on the damp side, but nothing to support the controversial stuff. Only a small part is devoted to crime; the rest is a paste-up job from two dozen radical critiques of the USA. Anything from the 1971 ditching of the gold exchange standard to the various covert activities of the CIA are brought up, with no more compelling a connection to Woodiwiss' original point than being bad things that Americans did.

< are so insipid (it calls for "fair trade" with no further specification of how that would be any different... capital punishment for corporations--evidently Mr. Woodiwiss has never heard of 'money laundering,' in which a vehicle corporation commits suicide), that it is pointless to spend any time on them. Woodiwiss needs to actually learn something about economics; ironically enough, for someone who claims business is closely tied to crime, he knows almost nothing about it. He needs to know, and say what he knows, about law enforcement and business practices abroad, so he can make a comparison. And finally, he needs to actually learn how to write.


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[May 03, 2021] Escobar- US, Europe, The Vienna JCPOA 'Shadowplay'

May 03, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Few people, apart from specialists, may have heard of the JCPOA Joint Commission. That’s the group in charge of a Sisyphean task: the attempt to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal through a series of negotiations in Vienna.

The Iranian negotiating team was back in Vienna yesterday, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi. Shadowplay starts with the fact the Iranians negotiate with the other members of the P+1 â€" Russia, China, France, UK and Germany â€" but not directly with the US.

That’s quite something: after all, it was the Trump administration that blew up the JCPOA. There is an American delegation in Vienna, but they only talk with the Europeans.

Shadowplay goes turbo when every Viennese coffee table knows about Tehran’s red lines: either it’s back to the original JCPOA as it was agreed in Vienna in 2015 and then ratified by the UN Security Council, or nothing.

Araghchi, mild-mannered and polite, has had to go on the record once again to stress that Tehran will leave if the talks veer towards “bullyingâ€, time wasting or even a step-by-step ballroom dance, which is time wasting under different terminology.

Neither flat out optimistic nor pessimistic, he remains, let’s say, cautiously upbeat, at least in public: “We are not disappointed and we will do our job. Our positions are very clear and firm. The sanctions must be lifted, verified and then Iran must return to its commitments.â€

So, at least in the thesis, the debate is still on. Araghchi: “There are two types of U.S. sanctions against Iran. First, categorized or so-called divisional sanctions, such as oil, banking and insurance, shipping, petrochemical, building and automobile sanctions, and second, sanctions against real and legal individuals.â€

“Second†is the key issue. There’s absolutely no guarantee the US Congress will lift most or at least a significant part of these sanctions.

Everyone in Washington knows it â€" and the American delegation knows it.

When the Foreign Ministry in Tehran, for instance, says that 60% or 70% has been agreed upon, that’s code for lifting of divisional sanctions. When it comes to “secondâ€, Araghchi has to be evasive: “There are complex issues in this area that we are examiningâ€.

Now compare it with the assessment of informed Iranian insiders in Washington such as nuclear policy expert Seyed Hossein Mousavian : they’re more like pessimistic realists.

That takes into consideration the non-negotiable red lines established by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei himself. Plus non-stop pressure by Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who are all JCPOA-adverse.

But then there’s extra shadowplay. Israeli intel has already notified the security cabinet that a deal most certainly will be reached in Vienna. After all, the narrative of a successful deal is already being constructed as a foreign policy victory by the Biden-Harris administration â€" or, as cynics prefer, Obama-Biden 3.0.

Meanwhile, Iranian diplomacy remains on overdrive. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is visiting Qatar and Iraq, and has already met with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim al Thani.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, virtually at the end of his term before the June presidential elections, always goes back to the same point: no more US sanctions; Iran’s verification; then Iran will return to its “nuclear obligationsâ€.

The Foreign Ministry has even released a quite detailed fact sheet once again stressing the need to remove “all sanctions imposed, re-imposed and re-labeled since January 20, 2017â€.

The window of opportunity for a deal won’t last long. Hardliners in Tehran couldn’t care less. At least 80% of Tehran members of Parliament are now hardliners. The next President most certainly will be a hardliner. Team Rouhani’s efforts have been branded a failure since the onset of Trump’s “maximum pressure†campaign. Hardliners are already in post-JCPOA mode.

That fateful Fateh

What none of the actors in the shadowplay can admit is that the revival of the JCPOA pales compared to the real issue: the power of Iranian missiles.

In the original 2015 negotiations in Vienna â€" follow them in my Persian Miniatures e-book â€" Obama-Biden 2.0 did everything in their power to include missiles in the deal.

Every grain of sand in the Negev desert knows that Israel will go no holds barred to retain its nuclear weapon primacy in the Middle East. Via a spectacular kabuki, the fact that Israel is a nuclear power happens to remain “invisible†to most of world public opinion.

While Khamenei has issued a fatwa clearly stating that producing, stockpiling and using weapons of mass destruction â€" nuclear included â€" is haram (banned by Islam), Israel’s leadership feels free to order stunts such as the sabotage via Mossad of the (civilian) Iranian nuclear complex at Natanz.

The head of Iran’s Parliament Energy Committee, Fereydoun Abbasi Davani, even accused Washington and London of being accomplices to the sabotage of Natanz, as they arguably supplied intel to Tel Aviv.

Yet now a lone missile is literally exploding a great deal of the shadowplay.

On April 22, in the dead of night before dawn, a Syrian missile exploded only 30 km away from the ultra-sensitive Israeli nuclear reactor of Dimona. The official â€" and insistent â€" Israeli spin: this was an “errantâ€.

Well, not really.

Here â€" third video from the top â€" is footage of the quite significant explosion. Also significantly, Tel Aviv remained absolutely mum when it comes to offering a missile proof of ID. Was it an old Soviet 1967 SA-5? Or, rather more likely, a 2012 Iranian Fateh-110 short range surface-to-surface, manufactured in Syria as the M-600 , and also possessed by Hezbollah?

A Fateh family tree can be seen in the attached chart. The inestimable Elijah Magnier has posed some very good questions about the Dimona near-hit. I complemented it with a quite enlightening discussion with physicists, with input by a military intel expert.

The Fateh-110 operates as a classic ballistic missile, until the moment the warhead starts maneuvering to evade ABM defenses. Precision is up to 10 meters, nominally 6 meters. So it hit exactly where it was supposed to hit. Israel officially confirmed that the missile was not intercepted â€" after a trajectory of roughly 266 km.

This opens a brand new can of worms. It implies that the performance of the much hyped and recently upgraded Iron Dome is far from stellar â€" and talk about an euphemism. The Fateh flew so low that Iron Dome could not identify it.

The inevitable conclusion is this was a message/warning combo. From Damascus. With a personal stamp from Bashar al-Assad, who had to clear such a sensitive missile launch. A message/warning delivered via Iranian missile technology fully available to the Axis of Resistance â€" proving that regional actors have serious stealth capability.

It’s crucial to remember that when Tehran dispatched a volley of deliberately older Fateh-313 versions at the US base Ayn al-Assad in Iraq, as a response to the assassination of Gen Soleimani in January 2020, the American radars went blank.

Iranian missile technology as top strategic deterrence. Now that’s the shadowplay that turns Vienna into a sideshow.

[Apr 14, 2021] Slaughter Central- The United States as a Mass-Killing Machine -

Notable quotes:
"... By Tom Engelhardt Originally published at TomDispatch ..."
"... Have Gun -- Will Travel ..."
"... Have Gun -- Will Travel ..."
Apr 14, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Slaughter Central: The United States as a Mass-Killing Machine Posted on April 14, 2021 by Yves Smith

Yves here. Tom Engelhardt tries to get his arms around US weapons sales and use. The figures are depressing, particularly in comparison to those of our nominal peers. And the intensity of our fixation with killing has only grown only over time. Just look at TV. In its early, tamer days, frontier shows like The Rifleman and Gunsmoke gave weapons top billing. Now in our post-Vietnam, post Archie Bunker of greater realism, police shows have gory gunplay as their prime offering, with big side portions of blowing things up and car chases/crashes. We even have a prime time show, The Blacklist, where the lead is assured to shoot at least one person every episode. Better to look at the fictionalized version, where we know no actors were hurt, than clips of the real thing from the Middle East, which are oddly absent from news shows.

By Tom Engelhardt Originally published at TomDispatch

By the time you read this piece, it will already be out of date. The reason's simple enough. No matter what mayhem I describe, with so much all-American weaponry in this world of ours, there's no way to keep up. Often, despite the headlines that go with mass killings here, there's almost no way even to know.

On this planet of ours, America is the emperor of weaponry, even if in ways we normally tend not to put together. There's really no question about it. The all-American powers-that-be and the arms makers that go with them dream up, produce, and sell weaponry, domestically and internationally, in an unmatched fashion. You'll undoubtedly be shocked, shocked to learn that the top five arms makers on the planet -- Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and General Dynamics -- are all located in the United States.

Put another way, we're a killer nation, a mass-murder machine, slaughter central. And as we've known since the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, there could be far worse to come. After all, in the overheated dreams of both those weapons makers and Pentagon planners, slaughter-to-be has long been imagined on a planetary scale, right down to the latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) being created by Northrop Grumman at the cost of at least $100 billion. Each of those future arms of ultimate destruction is slated to be " the length of a bowling lane " and the nuclear charge that it carries will be at least 20 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. That missile will someday be capable of traveling 6,000 miles and killing hundreds of thousands of people each. (And the Air Force is planning to order 600 of them.)

By the end of this decade, that new ICBM is slated to join an unequaled American nuclear arsenal of -- at this moment -- 3,800 warheads . And with that in mind, let's back up a moment.

Have Gun -- Will Travel

Before we head abroad or think more about weaponry fit to destroy the planet (or at least human life on it), let's just start right here at home. After all, we live in a country whose citizens are armed to their all-too-labile fingertips with more guns of every advanced sort than might once have been imaginable. The figures are stunning. Even before the pandemic hit and gun purchases soared to record levels -- about 23 million of them (a 64% increase over 2019 sales) -- American civilians were reported to possess almost 400 million firearms. That adds up to about 40% of all such weaponry in the hands of civilians globally, or more than the next 25 countries combined.

And if that doesn't stagger you, note that the versions of those weapons in public hands are becoming ever more militarized and powerful, ever more AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, not .22s. And keep in mind as well that, over the years, the death toll from those weapons in this country has grown staggeringly large. As New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote recently , "More Americans have died from guns just since 1975, including suicides, murders and accidents (more than 1.5 million), than in all the wars in United States history, dating back to the Revolutionary War (about 1.4 million)."

In my childhood, one of my favorite TV programs was called Have Gun -- Will Travel . Its central character was a highly romanticized armed mercenary in the Old West and its theme song -- still lodged in my head (where so much else is unlodging these days) -- began:

"Have gun will travel is the card of a man.
A knight without armor in a savage land.
His fast gun for hire heeds the calling wind.
A soldier of fortune is the man called Paladin."

Staggering numbers of Americans are now ever grimmer versions of Paladin. Thanks to a largely unregulated gun industry , they're armed like no other citizenry on the planet, not even -- in a distant second place -- the civilians of Yemen, a country torn by endless war. That TV show's title could now be slapped on our whole culture, whether we're talking about our modern-day Paladins traveling to a set of Atlanta spas ; a chain grocery store in Boulder, Colorado; a real-estate office in Orange, California; a convenience store near Baltimore; or a home in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Remember how the National Rifle Association has always defended the right of Americans to own weapons at least in part by citing this country's hunting tradition? Well, these days, startling numbers of Americans, armed to the teeth, have joined that hunting crew. Their game of choice isn't deer or even wolves and grizzly bears , but that ultimate prey, other human beings -- and all too often themselves. (In 2020, not only did a record nearly 20,000 Americans die from gun violence, but another 24,000 used guns to commit suicide.)

As the rate of Covid-19 vaccination began to rise to remarkable levels in this country and ever more public places reopened, the first mass public killings (defined as four or more deaths in a public place) of the pandemic period -- in Atlanta and Boulder -- hit the news big-time. The thought, however, that the American urge to use weapons in a murderous fashion had in any way lessened or been laid to rest, even briefly, thanks to Covid-19, proved a fantasy of the first order.

At a time when so many public places like schools were closed or their use limited indeed, if you took as your measuring point not mass public killings but mass shootings (defined as four or more people wounded or killed), the pandemic year of 2020 proved to be a record 12 months of armed chaos. In fact, such mass shootings actually surged by 47%. As USA Today recounted , "In 2020, the United States reported 611 mass shooting events that resulted in 513 deaths and 2,543 injuries. In 2019, there were 417 mass shootings with 465 deaths and 1,707 injured." In addition, in that same year, according to projections based on FBI data, there were 4,000 to 5,000 more gun murders than usual, mainly in inner-city communities of color.

In the first 73 days of Joe Biden's presidency, there were five mass shootings and more than 10,000 gun-violence deaths. In the Covid-19 era, this has been the model the world's "most exceptional" nation (as American politicians of both parties used to love to call this country) has set for the rest of the planet. Put another way, so far in 2020 and 2021, there have been two pandemics in America, Covid-19 and guns.

And though the weaponization of our citizenry and the carnage that's gone with it certainly gets attention -- President Biden only recently called it "an international embarrassment" -- here's the strange thing: when reporting on such a binge of killings and the weapons industry that stokes it, few here think to include the deaths and other injuries for which the American military has been responsible via its "forever wars" of this century outside our own borders. Nor do they consider the massive U.S. weapons deliveries and sales to other countries that often enough lead to the same. In other words, a full picture of all-American carnage has -- to use an apt phrase -- remained missing in action.

Cornering the Arms Market

In fact, internationally, things are hardly less mind-boggling when it comes to this country and weaponry. As with its armed citizenry, when it comes to arming other countries, Washington is without peer. It's the weapons dealer of choice across much of the world. Yes, the U.S. gun industry that makes all those rifles for this country also sells plenty of them abroad and, in the Trump years, such sales were only made easier to complete (as was the selling of U.S. unmanned aerial drones to "less stable governments"). When it comes to semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 or even grenades and flamethrowers, this country's arms makers no longer even need State Department licenses, just far easier-to-get Commerce Department ones, to complete such sales, even to particularly abusive nations. As a result , to take one example, semi-automatic pistol exports abroad rose 148% in 2020.

But what I'm particularly thinking about here are the big-ticket items that those five leading weapons makers of the military-industrial complex eternally produce. On the subject of the sale of jet fighters like the F-16 and F-35 , tanks and other armored vehicles, submarines (as well as anti-submarine weaponry), and devastating bombs and missiles , among other things, we leave our "near-peer" competitors as well as our weapons-making allies in the dust. Washington is the largest supplier to 20 of the 40 major arms importers on the planet.

Buy the Book

When it comes to delivering the weapons of war, the U.S. leads all its competitors in a historic fashion, especially in the war-torn and devastated Middle East. There, between 2015 and 2019, it gobbled up nearly half of the arms market. Unsurprisingly, Saudi Arabia was its largest customer, which, of course, only further stoked the brutal civil war in Yemen, where U.S. weapons are responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians . As Pentagon expert William Hartung wrote of those years, U.S. arms deliveries to the region added up to "nearly three times the arms Russia supplied to MENA [the Middle East and North Africa], five times what France contributed, 10 times what the United Kingdom exported, and 16 times China's contribution." (And often enough, as in Iraq and Yemen , some of those weapons end up falling into the hands of those the U.S. opposes.)

In fact, in 2020, this country's arms sales abroad rose a further 2.8% to $178 billion. The U.S. now supplies no fewer than 96 countries with weaponry and controls 37% of the global arms market (with, for example, Lockheed Martin alone taking in $47.2 billion in such sales in 2018, followed by the four other giant U.S. weapons makers and, in sixth place, the British defense firm BAE).

This remains the definition of mayhem-to-come, the international version of that spike in domestic arms sales and the killings that went with it. After all, in these years, deaths due to American arms in countries like Afghanistan and Yemen have grown strikingly. And to take just one more example, arms, ammunition, and equipment sold to or given to the brutal regime of Rodrigo Duterte for the Philippine military and constabulary have typically led to deaths (especially in its "war on drugs") that no one's counting up.

And yet, even combined with the dead here at home, all of this weapons-based slaughter hardly adds up to a full record when it comes to the U.S. as a global mass-killing machine.

Far, Far from Home

After all, this country has a historic 800 or so military bases around the world and nearly 200,000 military personnel stationed abroad ( about 60,000 in the Middle East alone). It has a drone-assassination program that extends from Afghanistan across the Greater Middle East to Africa, a series of "forever wars" and associated conflicts fought over that same expanse, and a Navy with major aircraft carrier task forces patrolling the high seas. In other words, in this century, it's been responsible for largely uncounted but remarkable numbers of dead and wounded human beings. Or put another way, it's been a mass-shooting machine abroad.

Unlike in the United States, however, there's little way to offer figures on those dead. To take one example, Brown University's invaluable Costs of War Project has estimated that, from the beginning of the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to late 2019, 801,000 people , perhaps 40% of them civilians, were killed in Washington's war on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere. Of course, not all of those by any means were killed by the U.S. military. In fact, some were even American soldiers and contractors. Still, the figures are obviously sizeable. (To take but one very focused example, from December 2001 to December 2013 at TomDispatch , I was counting up civilian wedding parties taken down by U.S. air power in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen. I came up with eight well-documented ones with a death toll of nearly 300, including brides, grooms, musicians, and revelers.)

Similarly, last December, Neta Crawford of the Costs of War Project released a report on the rising number of Afghan civilians who had died from U.S. air strikes in the Trump years. She found that in 2019, for instance, "airstrikes killed 700 civilians -- more civilians than in any other year since the beginning of the war." Overall, the documented civilian dead from American air strikes in the war years is in the many thousands, the wounded higher yet. (And, of course, those figures don't include the dead from Afghan air strikes with U.S.-supplied aircraft.) And mind you, that's just civilians mistaken for Taliban or other enemy forces.

Similarly, thousands more civilians were killed by American air strikes across the rest of the Greater Middle East and northern Africa. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which followed U.S. drone strikes for years, estimated that, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, by 2019 such attacks had killed "between 8,500 and 12,000 people, including as many as 1,700 civilians -- 400 of whom were children."

And that, of course, is just to begin to count the dead in America's conflicts of this era. Or thought of another way, in this century, the U.S. military has been a kind of global Paladin. Its motto could obviously be "have gun, will travel" and its forces and those allied to it (and often supplied with American arms) have certainly killed staggering numbers of people in conflicts that have devastated communities across a significant part of the planet, while displacing an estimated 37 million people .

Now, return to those Americans gunned down in this country and think of all of this as a single weaponized, well-woven fabric, a single American gun culture that spans the globe, as well as a three-part killing machine of the first order. Much as mass shootings and public killings can sometimes dominate the news here, a full sense of the damage done by the weaponization of our culture seldom comes into focus. When it does, the United States looks like slaughter central.

Or as that song from Have Gun -- Will Travel ended:

Paladin, Paladin,
Where do you roam?
Paladin, Paladin,
Far, far from home.

Far, far from home -- and close, close to home -- indeed.


Fireship , April 14, 2021 at 7:26 am

The US is a failed experiment. It was always based in nihilism. What we are seeing is like the rise in human sacrifices of the Mayans as their world was being eclipsed by the Spanish. Ironically, "thoughts and prayers" are offered up at these sacrifices too. Did the Mayans realize it was futile?

As more and more Americans realize that it is over and that the American dream is bunkum, expect to see more carnage.

Tom Stone , April 14, 2021 at 8:06 am

That figure of 400 Million guns in the USA is undoubtedly low, The late Kevin RC O'Brien looked at production reports for various manufacturers and came up with the figure of 300 Million sold in the USA this century alone.
Sales of rifles aren't broken out by rifle type or model, but the best guess is that there are somewhere between 10-15 Million AR 15 style rifles owned by us Citizens if you take into account home made versions such as those made from 80% recievers or laminated wood.
The last reporting period was 2019 and a total of a little less than 400 murders were committed by people using rifles of any kind, you ere 4 x as likely to be beaten to death with fists and feet than killed by someone using any kind of rifle.
Want to reduce violent crime?
Reduce poverty, inequality and lack of opportunity, when the majority of the populace has a stake in society they act like it, when they don't you get what we have.

dcblogger , April 14, 2021 at 8:26 am

American gun culture is pure idolatry
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWmdoI3fHI0&t=70s

David , April 14, 2021 at 9:05 am

TBH the article is a mess, and reading it is rather like being accosted by a stranger in a bar with a strong personal agenda (" and another thing.")
But (as a non-Murkin) I just wanted to make the point that we're into American Exceptionalism again, in this case of the negative rather than the positive kind. You get the feeling that the author's knowledge of the outside world is pretty much limited to what's on CNN, and that perhaps he doesn't actually know that the US isn't the only nuclear power in the world. And so on.

How do you put an article like this into context?
Well, for a start, you wouldn't make comparisons with Yemen unless you had been to Yemen, would you? There are lots of guns in Yemen (virtually the entire adult male population is armed) but these are in addition to the massive holdings of the military. And we're talking serious stuff here: AK47s are 7.62mm automatic weapons, and there are millions of them. It was not uncommon for males you passed in the street to be carrying these weapons, and once outside the cities (as in Afghanistan) they were everywhere. Shooting incidents were common, the more so since, after midday, a lot of the male population was blasted out of its skull on Khat, which is an amphetamine-like substance derived from chewing a local plant. There were occasional clashes when security forces from different tribes opened fire on each other. Oh, and many tribesmen in the city carry long bladed knives, and fatal stabbings in the street are very common. All that's in peacetime, of course.

Second, as in the Yemeni example above, the vast majority of all the deaths in wars since 1989 have been from the use of Soviet, Russian and Chinese weaponry, often dating back to the 1970s. The wars in the DRC from about 1996-2000, involving seven nations and known as "Africa's World War" killed anything between two and five million people, depending on how you calculate the figures, and were almost exclusively fought with Soviet and Chinese supplied weaponry. During the Cold War, the Soviets and Chinese flooded Africa with millions of AK47s, Makarov automatic pistols, landmines, and 12.7 and 14.5mm heavy machine-guns. As any African specialist will tell you, these were the real weapons of mass destruction, because, unlike the F35, they actually work. Together with Soviet-era tanks and APCs, they were also the principal weapons used in the fighting in Syria and Libya, and in Yemen before (and mostly since) the Saudi-led intervention. Oh, and those photos you've seen of the Myanmar military firing on the people? They use mostly weapons supplied by China.

This is not whataboutism. Two wrongs don't make a right. But I wish that, just occasionally, writers from the US would take the trouble to do a bit of research about the rest of the world. Perhaps it's true that there is a link between the sale of F35s to Japan and gun violence among black youths in the inner cities, but that has to be argued, not just assumed. I don't know how you measure these things, but I seriously doubt that the US is somehow a uniquely psychopathically violent country. The author needs to get out more.

PlutoniumKun , April 14, 2021 at 9:19 am

I assume the authors point is that there is an inherent violence to US culture, and it is exporting it. There may well be some truth in this, but you can well look at plenty of other places in the world where there is a cultural worship of violence (or there was at times past) and it infected other nations. Japan and Germany as obvious examples. But on the optimistic side of things, both those countries at least partially cured their addition to worshiping militarism, although to be fair, the USAF had a major say in that.

The one thing that is often missing from this sort of analysis, is they way other countries use the US's (and others) addition to militarism as a means of exerting control. An obvious example is the Middle East, where the vast military expenditures are as much a means of purchasing influence in Washington (and London and Paris and Moscow) as it is a way of building up their respective militaries.

David , April 14, 2021 at 11:33 am

I think that may well be his point, or the point he's trying to make. I think it's true, at least to some extent, but it's hardly a unique case, and there are plenty of other societies in the world where you feel (correctly) much more threatened by violence than I ever have in the US.

Keith Newman , April 14, 2021 at 10:30 am

@David
Mr. Engelhardt is a US writer who understandably focuses on current US issues. He lays out his point at the start: the U.S is "a mass-murder machine". He illustrates it by pointing out how the US supplies weapons around the world, promoting, funding, and facilitating violence, and itself slaughters people, directly and through proxies, by the millions. He also outlines the remarkable violence prevalent in the U.S. These facts are undeniable.
With respect to context, of course the U.S. is not now, nor has it been in the past, the source of ALL evil in the world. However It has been the source of a very large part of it in the past century. From a practical point of view, what would be the point of Mr. Engelhardt focusing on Russian and Chinese actions in, say, the 1980s, when his own country is engaging in "mass murder" right now? It leads nowhere except to distract from current slaughter that he may be able to help slow down.
The US as "a uniquely psychopathically violent country": the author does not actually say that. Nonetheless the US is certainly a very violent country compared to other developed countries and for that matter past imperialist countries. Collectively Britain, France, Belgium, etc., etc., massacred millions, even tens of millions, of people in their empires but to my knowledge were not especially violent at home. Germany was an exception to this. The fact it slaughtered white people at home is what made its actions unacceptable to the majority of the elites of most European countries.
The link between US violence abroad and at home: Chris Hedges has written about this. I suggest you read what he has to say.

Alex Cox , April 14, 2021 at 12:05 pm

It is absurd to pretend that Russia or China is anything like as great a danger to peace as the United States is. Forty four years ago Martin Luther King observed, ""As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems But they asked, and rightly so, 'what about Vietnam?' They asked if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government."

The US was the greatest purveyor of violence in the world then; it is an even greater purveyor of violence today.

The only criticism I would make of the article is the disparagement of Palladin. Though his business card read, 'Have Gun, Will Travel', in almost every episode the protagonist was able to resolve the situation without killing anyone. The episodes are very entertaining, as was his sidekick, Kim Chan (Kam Tong), who went by the extremely un-woke nickname of Hey Boy.

David , April 14, 2021 at 12:21 pm

It would indeed be absurd to pretend that Russia or China is as great a threat to world peace as the US, which is why I didn't say that.

rowlf , April 14, 2021 at 9:34 am

I am always amazed at the hypocrisy of US politicians complaining of violence in the US while ignoring or even approving of violence committed by the US outside the US borders.

I also support censoring violence in entertainment media.

Starry Gordon , April 14, 2021 at 11:56 am

Censoring anything, including displays of violence, would require state force, which is based on the use of guns and other weapons -- another 'war to end war', I suppose.

Starry Gordon , April 14, 2021 at 12:15 pm

According to the Violence Policy Center (about which I know nothing but will provisionally trust), motor vehicle deaths still outnumber gun deaths, although guns are closing the gap. [1] As I have been hit by private cars far more often than I have been shot at -- I ride around on a bicycle as basic transportation, so the ratio is about 10:0 -- I'd like to suggest that the proper metaphor for mortal violence in the US is the automobile, rather than the gun. However, urban liberals like to focus on their political rivals, and gun fans tend to be suburban or rural, so guns rather than vehicles are the choice of symbol. Yet again, tribalism permeates every discussion, indeed, it seems, almost every thought.

[1]https://vpc.org/regulating-the-gun-industry/gun-deaths-compared-to-motor-vehicle-deaths/

[Apr 02, 2021] Ironically, and sickeningly, the Americans, Europeans, Canadians, Australians and other partners, talk loftily about respecting "values' and 'rules-based international order'. They are the ones who are trashing any semblance of order.

Apr 02, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Apr 2 2021 19:32 utc | 84

Today's Strategic-Culture Editorial speaks for me, and I'd bold it all:

"What Washington and its allies are doing is trampling over international law and kicking it to the curb. Their conduct is that of rogue states who perceive themselves to be above the law, entitled to act in whatever way they please with no accountability.

"Ironically, and sickeningly, the Americans, Europeans, Canadians, Australians and other partners, talk loftily about respecting "values' and 'rules-based international order'. They are the ones who are trashing any semblance of order. It is these NATO powers that have launched numerous criminal wars of aggression without any mandate from the UN Security Council. They have carried out covert regime-change operations which have unleashed mayhem and terrorism. They impose unilateral sanctions on nations suffering from NATO's intrigues, such as Syria and Venezuela. They run assassination programs and torture-renditions to black sites around the world. Their troops kill Afghan civilians in cold blood after kicking down their doors in the middle of the night. The United States rips up nuclear arms control treaties with Russia, while sailing warships into Chinese territory."

So, under the tenets of International Law, both Russia and China have the right to counter-attack and have. But the initial law breaking by the Outlaws must be stopped, and it appears they must be forced to do so. And since two of the Outlaws sit on the UNSC, using that organizations Article 7 powers won't do the job as the Veto will be invoked. IMO, the only alternative is to turn to the UNGA and ask it to override the deadlocked UNSC and warrant the arrest of the Outlaws by all UN member states wherever they may be.

I hope barflies take the time to read the editorial as it ends with an excellent news item that's more than apt for our times.

[Mar 28, 2021] I know they are China is copying USA's policy in 18th and 19th century.

Mar 28, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Kouros , March 27, 2021 at 1:33 pm

What are the facts that indicate that "China wants to dominate the entire world"? There is little or no evidence of that. Just repeating this pabulum on and on doesn't make it true. It just makes hoi polloi think it is true.

Aaron , March 27, 2021 at 2:24 pm

There is no specific speech or document that clearly states that China wants to dominate the entire world. It is an inference from many things pieced together, some of which are:

1. China's behavior after it was admitted to WTO. When it happened in 1999, the expectation was that they would open up their market to global firms. Instead, what happened was rampant technology theft and currency manipulation. They manipulated their industrial policy to deny foreign firms a level playing field that Chinese companies were given in other countries.

2. The Belt and Road projects. These are basically debt traps for poorer countries in Asia, Africa and Europe in the name of infrastructure development. They give soft loans to these countries for economically unviable infra projects, and when they fail, the Chinese take ownership. Kinda like loan sharks loaning money to gamblers.

3. They have started grabbing territory from all neighbours using salami tactics, showing some old "maps" that was never agreed and claiming they own the area. (Google "Nine-dash line").

Add to this the planting of spies using Confucius institutes, secretly paying many academic researchers to steal technology (Example: Charles Lieber from Harvard), paying newspapers to carry China Daily propaganda supplements (WaPo, NYT, LA Ttimes, The Boston Globe, WSJ just for starters), the Houston embassy spying, They have done this stuff not just to USA but most major countries in the world.

Now of course we can ask, "But where did they say they want to rule the world?". Well, Hitler didn't either. In 1938, he solemnly swore to Neville Chamberlain, the British PM that he had no intention of conquering another country. We all know what happened after that. Naivete is dangerous in these situations. If a country acquires enough power, it will start having imperial ambitions. It's human nature. Germany under Bismarck in 1880s tried to stay away from conquering other countries as long as possible, but they couldn't resist the temptation. Now none of this means China will try to dominate the world at any cost. If others resist strongly enough, they will back off. But that's something we have to do, and get others to do.

Roger , March 27, 2021 at 3:12 pm

1. So China copied the way in which the US industrialized in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Following the Washington Consensus script has a history of leading to dependency – Ha-Joon Chang has written some very good papers and books on the basic hypocrisy of the West in this area. In the eighteenth century Britain protected its infant textile industry against the Indian one with very high tariffs. They also stole woollen technology from the Dutch.
2. This is Western propaganda, perhaps reflecting the IMF/World Bank efforts of yore upon China. The "debt trap" BRI myth has been pretty much debunked among academic researchers, but that doesn't fit the Western anti-China discourse.
3. Grabbing territory from all their neighbours? What territory? Compare the nine-dash line mirrors to the declared hegemony of the US over the Caribbean and Central American nations – backed up by repeated invasions and destabilizations (Haiti, Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Cuba etc.). Take a look at the US history of grabbing lands (the Philippines, Puerto Rico, half of Mexico, Hawaii), China is exceedingly tame compared to US history, as well as the US recent aggressions such as the illegal invasion of Iraq and destabilization of Syria.

The MSM that you quote are the purveyors of fake news with no actual backing apart from intelligence community briefings, the "stenographers of the intelligence community" as one commentator put it. This is the classic propaganda designed to rile up the population to support action against a new "enemy", very 1984.

Aaron , March 27, 2021 at 9:41 pm

1. Oh I know they are China is copying USA's policy in 18th and 19th century. That is what is concerning. That is a successful playbook to gain a lot of economic power very quickly. Of course the USA pointing fingers is hypocrisy. But that does not make this any less of a threat.
2. Debunked by "academic researchers"? Care to share some sources? Multiple countries like Malaysia, Kenya, Myanmar, Sierra Leone and Bangladesh have either cancelled projects or trying to renegotiate them. The reason is because the projects are nothing but jobs and demand creation programs for Chinese workers and companies. Contracts are awarded at inflated rates to Chinese contractors without competitive bidding. Then they bring in workers and equipment wholesale from mainland china. Some projects are economically viable, others are just white elephants, like the highway in montenegro or a port/airport in Sri Lanka in the middle of the jungle.
3. I am not denying what USA has done to other countries. China is just starting, so what they do looks tame. Give them a little time.

I fully agree that the MSM are purveyors of fake news. I was referring to how they all have taken Chinese money to print stuff favourable to them, and even articles entirely written by Chinese foreign ministry. Now of course, they might change tack and start beating the war drums if TPTB wants them to. That confirms my opinion that most MSM are just mouthpieces for hire with no moral principles.
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/dec/07/china-plan-for-global-media-dominance-propaganda-xi-jinping

Please note, I am not defending all the terrible things America has done. Pointing out that China is a threat need not come attached with any moral judgement on America.

Also, the proper response to China IMO should be more in economic policy than military saber-rattling. Tariffs are just a start. Why are we not building more manufacturing in USA? Sure, wages are high and prices will shoot up. But do we really need to import 15bn worth of sneakers (that's about 200 mn pairs a year)? Let us make shoes in America that may cost twice as mush, but three times more durable. Same with cellphones. Decrapifying products will go a long way in making american manufacturing viable. But that requires great sacrifice by the consumers. Shopping or goodies has been turned into a dopamine-drip. Investing class and business are just as addicted to high profit margins & ROIs. Cut the dependence on China, and watch them scramble to fix their internal issues like falling wages and unemployment. The pity is we have lost the will as a nation to make such sacrifices.

drumlin woodchuckles , March 28, 2021 at 2:53 pm

I am not sure the will does not exist. I think the will might be suppressed and thwarted.

We would need a Protectionist Party to explain everything you have touched on and run candidates on that basis and on that program to see whether the diffuse and muffled will might be uncovered and re-aggregated and recovered and weaponised for domestic political re-conquest of government and hence of political economic policy.

I envision a delicious scenario-vision in which the Protectionist Party finally wins all three branches and the Protectionist Party President makes a speech and at the end of that speech, AND IN MANDARIN to to make sure the prime perpetrator of export aggression hears the message and gets the point, the following phrase . . . . in MANDARIN, remember . . .

" America has stood up!"

Felix_47 , March 27, 2021 at 4:52 pm

Hmmnm "If a country acquires enough power it will start having imperial ambitions?" I agree completely with your statement. The rest seem pretty much what I have been reading in the Washington Post and New York Times lately. I am not sure about their objectivity. One thing is certain and that is that war talk very easily can slip into war. Having served in the military for over 30 years and deployed many times the best advice I ever got was from that political analyst Mike Tyson, "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face." War talk with China and Russia and Iran and trying to cripple economies with sanctions never has and never will work but we can always try to educate a new young generation of politicians like Joe.

km , March 27, 2021 at 4:53 pm

The last time China attacked another country was 1979.

The United States since that time?

Late Introvert , March 27, 2021 at 5:29 pm

Carry water for the MIC much?

Aaron , March 28, 2021 at 9:48 am

Nah. But I know we need a military to defend ourselves, especially if something that happens on the other end of the world would make the supermarket shelves go empty in a jiffy. I think we need to reduce external economic dependence and then cut the military to a fraction of it's current size, just enough to patrol the borders and coasts.

Darthbobber , March 27, 2021 at 8:01 pm

The bulk of the "rampant technology theft" was their insistence on building the requirement for specified technology transfers into the agreements that let companies set up shop there. They had watched neocolonialist behavior long enough not to want to be locked permanently into a subservient position. This part was of course not theft at all. For the rest of it, yeah, industrial espionage is a thing. But one notes that the firms generally stayed there.

Currency manipulation is only bad when the other guys do it. We have periodically deliberately weakened the dollar to try to address balance of trade issues, and in the aftermath of the '08 recession everybody was doing competitive devaluation, trying to accomplish by that means what they would have tried tariffs for in an earlier era.

I haven't seen a decent scholarly piece that concurs with the propaganda about belt and road loans as sinister debt traps.

Territorial disputes aside, most of those neighbors have China as a major trading partner, and none of the disputes have gone hot. The neighbors are also not entirely lacking in power. Russia and India are nuclear powers, and if Japan chose to field a more formidable military it could easily do so.

Phil in KC , March 27, 2021 at 10:29 pm

One of the hardest and most disturbing lessons we've learned from the Nixon China gambit was that capitalism doesn't necessarily lead to democracy. Nor is a democratic society a prerequisite for capitalism to flourish.

Aaron , March 28, 2021 at 9:35 am

That came much after the Nixon thaw with China, after the fall of Soviet Union. Francis Fukuyama solemnly proclaiming "End of History" and all that. The turning point was China being let into WTO in 1999. Clinton, Bush II and Obama swallowed that "capitalism leads to democracy" idea hook, line and sinker.

Aaron , March 28, 2021 at 9:33 am

Technology theft, spun any way, is still technology theft. Sure, Industrial espionage is "a thing" that everyone does. So is currency manipulation. Since we feel guilty that USA gained global power by doing all these, we should let others do it too, just to even the scales? Foreign policy mixed with moral feelings is a recipe for disaster.

drumlin woodchuckles , March 27, 2021 at 4:28 pm

Russia and China . . . soft-pedal one and hard-pressure the other? To prevent them co-operating? Too late.

That bus has left the station, that ship has sailed and sunk, that dog won't cut the mustard hunting-wise, etc.

[Mar 21, 2021] Using coercion and aggression - two very definitive qualities of American Imperialism post WWII

Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

michaelj72 , Mar 21 2021 2:46 utc | 174

fyi

dave decamp at Antiwar.com has some nice coverage of the fireworks at this 'summit'

https://news.antiwar.com/2021/03/19/us-and-china-conclude-tough-alaska-talks/

"....Yang responded sharply to the US officials and criticized Washington for both domestic and foreign policy issues. "The United States uses its military force and financial hegemony to carry out long arm jurisdiction and suppress other countries," he said. "It abuses so-called notions of national security to obstruct normal trade exchanges, and incite some countries to attack China."

"....The US took several steps ahead of the talks that made it clear the meeting would be contentious. Blinken visited Japan and South Korea with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin earlier this week. While meeting with his Japanese and Korean counterparts, Blinken slammed Beijing, accusing China of using "coercion and aggression" in the region. On Wednesday, the US slapped sanctions on 24 Chinese and Hong Kong officials...."

using coercion and aggression - two very definitive qualities of American Imperialism post WWII


[Mar 21, 2021] The US has developed no means of relating to civilizational challenges other than violence

Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

lulu , Mar 20 2021 19:06 utc | 137

18 years ago on this day,US, UK & their allies used the lie of WMD to invade Iraq , which has caused 1 million death and total destruction of the country.

Now they are pushing the "China genociding Uyghurs" lies to frame the minds of Americans and people in the West and around the global to prepare a hot war against China.

Arch Bungle , Mar 20 2021 19:19 utc | 138

Posted by: lulu | Mar 20 2021 19:06 utc | 136



Now they are pushing the "China genociding Uyghurs" lies to frame the minds of Americans and people in the West and around the global to prepare a hot war against China.

There is no "Hot War" in preparation against China, this is simply procedural posturing in the absence of any other means of relating to the Chinese civilisation.

The Zio-American empire is well aware this would mean a nuclear annihilation or at the least a re-shuffling of the global order against their interests.

The US has developed no means of relating to civilizational challenges other than violence, so it is merely cycling through the motions it knows of but with an understanding that it cannot take them to their logical conclusion.

It's all foreplay and nothing more ...

[Mar 21, 2021] I suppose from the perspective of inter-imperialist relations in the first world, a lack of decorum of the level of Trump's is more anomalous and egregious than the imposition of death and destruction of people in the global south.

Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kapusta , Mar 20 2021 2:37 utc | 89

@ 73 Posted by: xototox
@ 78 Posted by: james

Thanks for your perspective, xot! Interesting insights.

trump changed that, suddenly the ugly side of the empire became visible

I've heard this about Trump a lot, but I've always wondered why Trump was the ultimate catalyst for this epiphany. You would think that the Iraq War should have been that watershed moment, or even Libya (and perhaps they were for many, like me). I suppose from the perspective of inter-imperialist relations in the first world, a lack of decorum of the level of Trump's is more anomalous and egregious than the imposition of death and destruction of people in the global south.

Fyi , Mar 20 2021 3:13 utc | 92

Mr. xototox

I think that the presidency of Mr. Trump revealed the ugly side of the United States; suddenly the gilded papier marche of America, carefully created by the best propaganda techniques over 70 years, was shredded and USA was revealed to be a country just like so many others.

It is up to American people, Judeo-Christians as well as others, to address the deep deep social problems of the United States.

[Mar 21, 2021] Despite a roomful of hot air amerikans will always be considered War Criminals by the rest of us

Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Debsisdead , Mar 20 2021 2:25 utc | 88

Despite a roomful of hot air amerikans will always be considered War Criminals by the rest of us

I have to admit having become totally bored with the words which any gang of elites from any nation whose population is far too large to have the types at the top comprehend much less represent citizens' points of view, spout.

I get that there are fans of particular nations here, who believe some of these nation states have more humane policies than other nation states, but all of them however humane are essentially spouting toop down driven attitudes.
We know that amerika with its narrow & prescriptive "you can vote for anyone as long as it is someone from one of these two virtually identical political organisations" system pays little attention to their citizens' views. Unfortunately humans being humans, once a person gains a little power their priorities focus on retaining & increasing power, so that after time, no matter how egalitarian things may have been at the start, a shift to imbalance between the governors and the governed is inevitable.
It is impossible to imagine that President Xi Jinping would do as Mao Zedong did and hand power to the people, especially the nation's young people to trigger the 1966 Cultural Revolution.

One thing is for sure though, that is however many may have died during the cultural revolution, the casualties were confined to China's citizens and the casualties & atrocities were infinitesimal compared to the murders, rapes and savagery committed by amerika's war upon the people of Indochina.
IOW 50+ years ago China moved to resolve generational differences with an internal, domestic debate, whilst amerika tried to resolve that issue by indoctrinating its young people into a thoroughly racist anti-asian POV, then sent their youth to "kick out the jams" on the heads of the people of Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia.
The results were horrific and since courtesy of TV, they were far better documented than the horror inflicted upon the citizens of Korea less than a decade before have stuck in all non-amerikans minds ever since.

I have sounded off here at MoA quite a few times that most amerikans view the Indochina conflict negatively because it was such a waste of 'young amerikan' lives, rather than the way the rest of us see it, that amerika butchered and raped their way through Indochina without the slightest remorse.
Last week I stumbled across an old documentary released back in 1972 "Winter Soldier". The film documents the 1971 Winter Soldier hearing held by Vietnam Vets Against War.

VVAW had tried to stop the Indochina slaughter by the standard means - protests, marches, contacting politicians, all to no avail. So then they came up with the 'Winter Soldier' hearing which had veterans of the war against the people of Indochina, telling their stories of the atrocities they had committed.
The witnesses came from across the range of amerika's military; from grunts - surprisingly most were volunteers rather than draftees, to a Marine captain who served as a helicopter pilot.

These guys who returned to amerika lauded as heroes while deep down feeling nothing but Guilt & shame, make it clear that My Lai was no outlier, it was SOP.

It is also clear from what they tell us of their boot camp experience that racist anti-asian indoctrination featured big time in their training which led them to regard all Vietnamese as the enemy.

The behaviour got worse and worse, particularly rapes and the mutilation of children, once the troops realised no one was would restrict their cruel antics against those they all considered to be less than human. Senior officers either joined in or 'looked the other way'.
Most of this documentary is in the form of testimony as cameras were generally kept away from the 'fun' but even so I found just hearing the stories too much to bear.

Anyway although copies of 'Winter Soldier' do become available on You Tube from time to time, they can be hard to find and are frequently taken down, so if anyone does want to know what is commonplace for the brave amerikan military, they can download a copy of Winter Soldier from here .

The hearings likely did the job eventually, in that the thugs in control of amerika got the message that if the war continued, more and more truth about the scale & horror of awful amerikan atrocities would become public and that would be counter to satiating these elite thugs' greed inside and outside amerika. A peace agreement was signed and VVAW went back to emphasising the damage done to amerikan soldiers rather than the horrors inflicted upon a much, much larger Indochinese civilian population.

This is why BidenCorp are confidently denying their crimes while asserting all these other nations are killers, simply because amerikans have never been required to comprehend the true scale of the crimes amerika has committed upon their (mostly unjustly selected, amerikan created) enemies.

All the words spouted by elites only ever reinforce prevailing attitudes. Change in the way amerika views itself will only be effected when amerikans are forced to honestly consider all the crimes which have been committed in their name.
I'm not holding my breath, neither do I see much point in any analysis of who said what to whom as words are worthless in the face of fell deeds.

[Mar 09, 2021] Sanctions and the loss in $31Bn for Venezuela was designed to and in fact did hurt the poorest of the poor and the working 'middle' class in that country.

Mar 09, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

_K_C_ , Mar 9 2021 23:35 utc | 32

Posted by: Bobby | Mar 9 2021 18:40 utc | 10

Because the $31Bn (which is probably understated) would primarily have gone to the lower classes in which the U.S. caused humanitarian disaster is most prevalent. Rich, formerly colonial Venezuelan families don't give a shit. The and their ex-pat kids live most of the year in Miami or Vancouver or Madrid. The white upper class in Venezuela is the exact group from which Mr. Random Guy-do emanates and who he represent. They live in gated communities including in the hills around Caracas and their stores are likely fully stocked (as reported by Max Blumenthal last year). However, they are a small minority compared to the indigenous peoples who these sanctions are DESIGNED to hurt. The bank accounts of the colonials are safe while a small number, relatively speaking, of pro-Chavista/Maduro operatives are completely cut off by the Empire.

Same thing in ANY country that the USA is sanctioning. Have a look at Biden's Iran envoy's statements about everyday Iranian people.

https://thegrayzone.com/2021/03/08/biden-iran-envoy-starving-civilians-pain-sanctions/

In response to online criticism, Nephew has claimed that "the main target" of the sanctions regime he designed was "the oligarchs." But his book on "The Art of Sanctions" tells another story.

Nephew fondly recalls how he structured sanctions to sabotage Iranian economic reforms that would have improved the purchasing power of average people. The Obama administration destroyed the economic prospects of Iran's working-class majority while ensuring that "only the wealthy or those in positions of power could take advantage of Iran's continued connectedness," he wrote. As "stories began to emerge from Iran of intensified income inequality and inflation," Nephew pronounced another success.

As he made clear, the rising inequality "was a choice" that Washington "made on the basis of helping to drive up the pressure on the Iranian economy from internal sources." Nephew went on to claim credit for October 2012 protests brought on by the devaluation of Iran's currency.

So these sanctions and the loss in $31Bn for Venezuela was designed to and in fact did hurt the poorest of the poor and the working 'middle' class in that country.

michaelj72 , Mar 10 2021 0:44 utc | 38

thanks to profk at #13 for the link .

here's a snippet, about Venezuela and the US supported/directed economic terrorism, which has obviously caused much economic mayhem and dislocation, humanitarian disaster, and a large number of deaths (I have seen figures up to hundred thousand or more, from the food and medicine sanctions etc. Not to mention England stealing Venezuela's gold. I would imagine the real death toll is quite a bit larger)

https://newleftreview.org/sidecar/posts/smarter-empire

"......Subversion in Venezuela, by contrast, might not require as much 'engagement'. In Cuba the government is stable and the opposition isolated. In Venezuela, by contrast, the Maduro government faces a deep economic crisis (dramatically and intentionally exacerbated by US sanctions) and major public discontent. Betting on Maduro's vulnerability, Biden continues to recognize the self-appointed 'president' Juan Guaidó. Under Obama, Biden courted Guaidó ally Leopoldo López – a so-called political prisoner arrested for inciting violent protests that killed dozens of people – who is now calling for Biden to lead a renewed international effort to topple Maduro. US support for the far-right forces of Guaidó and López is intended to prevent a deal between Maduro and the more pragmatic elements of the opposition. Such a deal might alleviate Venezuela's economic crisis, but it could leave Maduro in power and thus derail the US's regime change agenda.

In late 2018 Biden complained that Trump's 'intensified sanctions on Venezuela have been clouded by sabre-rattling' and 'clunky sloganeering'. At that time, those intensified sanctions had already killed an estimated 40,000 civilians, with an unknown number of additional deaths after Trump imposed harsher measures in 2019. But the goal of regime change had not succeeded. Trump's crime in Venezuela was not his lethal denial of food and medicine to the population, but rather his 'faulty execution' of the policy. This critique informs Biden's current roadmap for Venezuela, which hinges on refining the sanctions to inflict maximum political damage. Secretary Blinken argues that sanctions must be honed 'so that regime enablers really feel the pain', while González favours a 'smart' use of 'multilateral sanctions' over Trump's go-it-alone programme...."

[Feb 24, 2021] US-centered, racist, and mafia-styled community

Feb 24, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Feb 23 2021 18:04 utc | 233

Explosive Global Times Editorial today. My comment from Escobar's FB:

As we saw with Lavrov's latest interview, the gloves are coming off as China and Russia escalate the diplomatic war in response to the "US-centered, racist, and mafia-styled community" attacking them. The quote is from the Global Times Editor and deserves to be put in full:

"Canada, the UK and Australia, three members of the Five Eyes alliance, have recently taken action to put pressure on China. They have formed a US-centered, racist, and mafia-styled community, willfully and arrogantly provoking China and trying to consolidate their hegemony as all gangsters do. They are becoming a racist axis aimed at stifling the development rights of 1.4 billion Chinese."

Despite the proven fact that there's only one race of humans--the Human Race--the 5-Eyes nations continue to employ racism as a key tool of their so-called diplomacy. Again, the GT Editor:

"Five Eyes alliance members are all English-speaking countries. The formation of four states, except the UK, is the result of British colonization. Those countries share the Anglo-Saxon civilization. The Five Eyes countries have been brought together by the US to become the 'center of the West.' They have a strong sense of civilization superiority . The bloc, which was initially aimed at intelligence sharing, has now become an organization targeting China and Russia. The evil idea of racism has been fermenting consciously or unconsciously in their clashes with the two countries."

And this "idea" is nothing new and has existed for centuries. My research led me to a 100+ year-old work, The Day of The Saxon , and to the work that suggested it, The Empire of "The City" , both of which are freely available at The Archive. What is suggested by them and the recent work ( Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy ), reviewed by Pepe about the planning that resulted in the post-war Outlaw US Empire is that Empire is merely the continuance of the global Saxon Empire that still exists, and that what we're experiencing are the ongoing "political adjustments" that confer superiority to the Saxons since that's what they seek. In updated parlance, that would be Full Spectrum Dominance. As we know, the Chinese have already felt Saxon love and want no more of it and have finally made the connection between past and present. The Editor again:

"With a common language, a common historical background, and a coordinated attack target, such an axis is destined to erode international relations and allow hooliganism to rise to the diplomatic stage in the 21st century." [My Emphasis]

Hooliganism, an apt term given its roots in British football. Do read the entire editorial for there is much more commendable content. Those in the EU need to understand that they're doing the Saxon's bidding even through the UK is no longer a member as NATO still remains and is dominated by Saxons.

[Feb 19, 2021] These people...you know, quite literally, will kill us...not just us...I'm talking about snuffing out the possibility of the next generation...my kids...and they have to be stopped

Feb 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

gm , Feb 17 2021 20:56 utc | 25

Chris Hedges, Just talkin' 'bout revolution [against the Borg? Chris can't quite bring himself to name just who "they" are] on Jimmy Dore yesterday:

"These people...you know, quite literally, will kill us...not just us...I'm talking about snuffing out the possibility of the next generation...my kids...and they have to be stopped"

https://youtu.be/FEtIYziP27A

CJ , Feb 17 2021 21:42 utc | 30

Astonishing lack of understanding of history, basic humanity and common sense.
It seems no one among the current group of "victors" has heard the phrase "win the battle but lose the war."
With all the witch hunting and hate mongering going on, it also seems no one in authority has heard "treat others as you would have them treat you."
Also applies to WEF Great Reset Masters of the Universe.
A huge amount of karma heading their way.

[Feb 11, 2021] As Major General Smedley Darlington Butler (the most decorated Marine in U.S. history) said, "I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer; a gangster for capitalism."

Feb 11, 2021 | www.unz.com

annamaria , says: February 11, 2021 at 12:56 am GMT • 10.1 hours ago

@onebornfree nomy/">https://thesaker.is/does-the-us-still-have-an-economy/

Wall Street killed the truth squad and protected the profits from job and investment offshoring. This is what happens to elected officials when they attempt to represent the general interest rather than the special interests that finance political campaigns. The public interest is blocked off by a brick wall posted with a sign that says get compliant with the Establishment or get out of politics.

As for the "direct collision course" re the EU and Russia, the collision course has been imposed by the Master-oligarchy of U. S. on the hapless vassal EU.

[Jan 28, 2021] 'Where is the line between global business attempts to control society-' Putin asks Davos as he calls out power of Big Tech

Jan 28, 2021 | www.rt.com

'Where is the line between global business & attempts to control society?' Putin asks Davos as he calls out power of Big Tech 27 Jan, 2021 12:10 / Updated 3 hours ago Get short URL 'Where is the line between global business & attempts to control society?' Putin asks Davos as he calls out power of Big Tech © Pixabay / Gerd Altmann 354 18 Follow RT on RT Technology giants have become powerful rivals to governments, but there are doubts over the benefits for society of their monopoly positions, Russia's President Vladimir Putin told the annual World Economic Forum, on Wednesday .

"Where is the line between a successful global business, in-demand services and consolidation of big data – and attempts to harshly and unilaterally govern society, replace legitimate democratic institutions, restrict one's natural right to decide for themselves how to live, what to choose, what stance to express freely?" Putin wondered.

"We've all seen this just now in the US. And everybody understands what I'm talking about," he added.

The Russian leader was apparently referring to the crackdown by Big Tech corporations like Twitter, Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon, mostly on Donald Trump and his supporters, during the recent presidential election in the US. The companies, which, according to some critics, sided with Democratic candidate Joe Biden, blocked President Trump's social media accounts over accusations of inciting violence, with the same being done to many pages of groups and individuals who'd backed him.

ALSO ON RT.COM YouTube prolongs Trump suspension citing 'ongoing potential for violence' as Big Tech doubles down on deplatforming policies

However, one-sided bias claim voiced by some might be an overestimation – the accounts of Democrats supporters were also subject to restrictions, but on a much smaller scale.

Conservative Twitter-like platform Parler was also forced offline, and now there are calls to block the Telegram app as well.

These events have shown that Big Tech companies "in some areas have de facto become rivals to the government," Putin said.

Billions of users spend large parts of their lives on the platforms and, from the point of view of those companies, their monopolistic position is favorable for organizing economic and technological processes, the Russian president explained. "But there's a question of how such monopolism fits the interest of society," he stressed.

ALSO ON RT.COM Putin tells Davos that divided modern world facing 'real breakdown', with demographic struggles & echoes of 1930s pre-WW2 tensions

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shadow1369 8 hours ago 27 Jan, 2021 07:51 AM

This is a great opportunity for Russia to create some Big Tech operators which actually allow free speech. Russia certainly has the expertise and the means, and cannot be bullied by western regimes.
Proton1963 shadow1369 1 hour ago 27 Jan, 2021 02:54 PM
Sure.. But only after the Russians can build a drivable car or a decent smart phone or a laptop.
Election_Fraud Biden shadow1369 1 hour ago 27 Jan, 2021 02:12 PM
The West is surely giving Russia a lot of opportunities, through its own arrogance and stupidity, does not it ? It keeps going backwards in its effort to diminish Russia. And the same goes for China too.
JOHNCHUCKMAN 7 hours ago 27 Jan, 2021 08:45 AM
Putin is a remarkable statesman, and he sets a very high standard for political discourse. I can't think of any of our Western leaders who speak in these truthful and philosophic terms. What we hear in the West are slogans or whining or complaining.
Tenakakhan JOHNCHUCKMAN 3 hours ago 27 Jan, 2021 01:03 PM
The patriarch of the west has become extremely weak. It seems like our leaders lack any moral authority to speak truth and common sense for fear of being cancelled. What we see now is the virtue signaling dregs sponsored by extreme groups leading our nations down the toilet. If a real war was to break out now we would be cannon fodder.
Hilarous 7 hours ago 27 Jan, 2021 09:04 AM
I think there's a simple explanation. Big tech is afraid to lose section 230 of the communications act, which stipulates that online platforms are not legally responsible for user content. Trump and some Republicans have accused social media sites of muzzling conservative voices. They said undoing Section 230 would let people who claim they have been slighted sue the companies. So Big Tech has a strong interest to remove Trump and run down a few bad examples to convince people and politics that Section 230 must remain.
Count_Cash 8 hours ago 27 Jan, 2021 07:40 AM
In many cases they aren't rivals, but owners of government. Money controls everything in the west and big tech have it. They have taken control of, or are blackmailing governments. The Western Liberal Regime straddles both Big Tech and government!
RTaccount Count_Cash 7 hours ago 27 Jan, 2021 08:57 AM
Correct. Let us never forget that in America we are ruled by oligarchs just like the rest of the world, and that our oligarchs are largely hidden. They are our true government, and so it is meaningless to make this type of distinction.

[Jan 19, 2021] US expands sanctions against Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, targeting ships Russian firms working on vital pan-European projec

Jan 19, 2021 | www.rt.com

46 Follow RT on RT Outgoing US President Donald Trump has delivered his "parting gift" to the Moscow-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, with newly announced sanctions targeting a pipe-laying vessel and companies involved in the multinational project.

The specialist ship concerned, named, 'Fortuna,' and oil tanker 'Maksim Gorky', as well as two Russian firms, KVT-Rus and Rustanker, were blacklisted on Tuesday under CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) as part of Washington's economic war on Moscow. The same legislation had been previously used by the US to target numerous Russian officials and enterprises.

Russian energy giant Gazprom warned its investors earlier on Tuesday that Nord Stream 2 could be suspended or even canceled if more US restrictions are introduced.

ALSO ON RT.COM Gazprom warns investors that Nord Stream 2 could be canceled as Trump announces more US sanctions in 'parting gift'

However, Moscow has assured its partners that it intends to complete the project despite "harsh pressure on the part of Washington," according to Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov. Reacting to the new package of sanctions on Tuesday, Peskov called them "unlawful."

Meanwhile, the EU said it is in no rush to join the Washington-led sanction war on Nord Stream 2. EU foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, said that the bloc is not going to resist the construction of the project.

"Because we're talking about a private project, we can't hamper the operations of those companies if the German government agrees to it," Borrell said Tuesday.

Nord Stream 2 is an offshore gas pipeline, linking Russia and Germany with aim of providing cheaper energy to Central European customers. Under the agreement between Moscow and Berlin, it was to be launched in mid-2020, but the construction has been delayed due to strong opposition from Washington.

ALSO ON RT.COM One more European firm caves to US pressure on Nord Stream 2 project – media

The US, which is hoping to sell its Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to Europe, has hit the project with several rounds of sanctions over scarcely credible claims that it could undermine European energy security. Critics say the real intent is to force EU members to buy from American companies.

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Fatback33 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:20 AM

The group that owns Washington makes the foreign policy. That policy is not for the benefit of the people.
DukeLeo Fatback33 1 hour ago 19 Jan, 2021 02:06 PM
That is correct. The private banks and corporations in the US are very upset about Nord Stream - 2, as they want Europe to buy US gas at double price. Washington thus introduces additional political gangsterism in the shape of new unilateral sanctions which have no merit in international law.
noremedy 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:22 AM
Is the U.S. so stupid that they do not realize that they are isolating themselves? Russia has developed SPFS, China CIPS, together with Iran, China and Russia are further developing a payment transfer system. Once in place and functioning this system will replace the western SWIFT system for international payment transfers. It will be the death knell for the US dollar. 327 million Americans are no match for the rest of the billions of the world's population. The next decade will see the total debasement of the US monetary system and the fall from power of the decaying and crumbling in every way U.S.A.
Hanonymouse noremedy 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 01:37 PM
They don't care. They have the most advanced military in the world. Might makes right, even today.
Shelbouy 3 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 12:25 PM
Russia currently supplies over 50% of the natural gas consumed by The EU. Germany and Italy are the largest importers of Russian natural gas. What is the issue of sanctions stemming from and why are the Americans doing this? A no brainer question I suppose. It's to make more money than the other supplier, and exert political pressure and demand obedience from its lackey. Germany.
David R. Evans Shelbouy 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 01:58 PM
Russia and Iran challenge perpetual US wars for Israel's Oded Yinon Plan. Washington is Israel-controlled territory.
Jewel Gyn 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:34 AM
Sanctions work both ways. With the outgoing Trump administration desperately laying mines for Biden, we await how sleepy Joe is going to mend strayed ties with EU.
Count_Cash 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:20 AM
The US mafia state continues with the same practices. The dog is barking but the caravan is going. The counter productiveness of sanctions always shows through in the end! I am sure with active efforts of Germany and Russia against US mafia oppression that a blowback will be felt by the US over time!
Dachaguy 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:24 AM
This is an act of war against Germany. NATO should respond and act against the aggressor, America.
xyz47 Dachaguy 42 minutes ago 19 Jan, 2021 03:20 PM
NATO is run by the US...
lovethy Dachaguy 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 01:04 PM
NATO has no separate existence. It's the USA's arm of aggression, suppression and domination. Germany after WWII is an occupied country of USA. Thousand of armed personnel stationed in Germany enforcing that occupation.
Chaz Dadkhah 3 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 12:19 PM
Further proof that Trump is no friend of Russia and is in a rush to punish them while he still has power. If it was the swamp telling him to do that, like his supporters suggest, then they would have waited till their man Biden came in to power in less than 24 hours to do it. Wake up!
Mac Kio 3 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 12:34 PM
USA hates fair competition. USA ignores all WTO rules.
Russkiy09 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 01:33 PM
By whining and not completing in the face of US, Russia is losing credibility. They should not have delayed to mobilize the pipe laying vessel and other equipment for one whole year. They should have mobilized in three months and finished by now. Same happens when Jewtin does not shoot down Zio air force bombing Syria everyday. But best option should have been to tell European vassals that "if you can, take our gas. But we will charge the highest amount and sell as much as we want, exclude Russophobic Baltic countries and Poland and neo-vassal Ukraine. Pay us not in your ponzi paper money but real goods and services or precious metals or other commodities or our own currency Ruble." I so wish I could be the President of Russia. Russians deserve to be as wealthy as the Swiss or SIngapore etc., not what they are getting. Their leaders should stand up for their interest. And stop empowering the greedy merchantalist Chinese and brotherhood Erdogan.
BlackIntel 1 hour ago 19 Jan, 2021 02:27 PM
America i captured by private interest; this project threatens American private companies hence the government is forced to protect capitalism. This is illegal
Ohhho 3 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 12:15 PM
That project was a mistake from the start: Russia should distance itself from the Evil empire, EU included! Stop wasting time and resources on trying to please the haters and keeping them more competitive with cheaper Russian natural gas: focus on real partners and potential allies elsewhere!
butterfly123 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 01:58 PM
I have said it before that part of the problem is at the door of the policy-makers and politicians in Russia. Pipeline project didn't spring up in the minds of politicians in Russia one morning, presumably. There should have been foresight, detailed planning, and opportunity creation for firms in Russia to acquire the skill-set and resources to advance this project. Not doing so has come to bite Russia hard and painful. Lessons learnt I hope Mr President!
jakro 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:37 AM
Good news. The swamp is getting deeper and bigger.
hermaflorissen 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:49 AM
Trump finally severed my expectations for the past 4 years. He should indeed perish.
ariadnatheo 1 hour ago 19 Jan, 2021 03:06 PM
That is one Trump measure that will not be overturned by the Senile One. They will need to amplify the RussiaRussiaRussia barking and scratching to divert attention from their dealings with China
Neville52 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 02:01 PM
Its time the other nations of the world turned their backs on the US. Its too risky if you are an international corporation to suddenly have large portions of your income cancelled due to some crazy politician in the US
5th Eye 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 02:03 PM
From empire to the collapse of empire, US follows UK to the letters. Soon it will be irrelevant. The only thing that remains for UK is the language. Probably hotdog for the US.
VonnDuff1 1 hour ago 19 Jan, 2021 02:10 PM
The USA Congress and its corrupt foreign policy dictates work to the detriment of Europe and Russia, while providing no tangible benefits to US states or citizens. So globalist demands wrapped in the stars & stripes, should be laughed at, by all freedom loving nations.

[Nov 06, 2020] Did the Iraq War Cause the Great Recession?'

Highly recommended!
Iran war might be too much for the US economy
Apr 07, 2013 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile ,

April 7, 2013 at 12:46 am
Western hypocrisy revealed 10 years after the event in today's Independent: "Tony Blair and Iraq: The damning evidence" . And they go on and on about those wicked, evil Russians and their tyrannical leader causing death and destruction Syria by their "support" of the Assad government whilst the West arms the "freedom fighters" there.

[Nov 02, 2020] Jackrabbit

Nov 02, 2020 | jackrabbit.blog

| Nov 1 2020 16:17 utc | 5

[Oct 11, 2020] Islamist-Marxist MEK's history, including spying on Iran on behalf of Saddam Hussein when he invaded Iran, destroying its western cities. After murdering Americans - but the Lobby always gets what it wants, so MEK is now off the terrorist list and instead being funded by the U.S., and housed in a training camp in Albania.

Oct 11, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

>

mick a month ago

MOSSAD UNIT 8200 at work, the tail that shakes the dog. Trying to get the US to start another war for their further domination of the Middle East.

Carpenter E a month ago

Islamist-Marxist MEK's history, including spying on Iran on behalf of Saddam Hussein when he invaded Iran, destroying its western cities. After murdering Americans - but the Lobby always gets what it wants, so MEK is now off the terrorist list and instead being funded by the U.S., and housed in a training camp in Albania.

The MEK was founded in 1965 by three Islamic leftists with the goal of toppling the U.S.-supported regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

In the 1970s it undertook a campaign of assassinating U.S. advisers and bombing U.S. corporations in Iran. It supported the 1979 Revolution in Iran, but in 1981 it turned its guns against the Tehran government and began a campaign of assassinations and terrorist operations that resulted in the death of thousands of Iranians, including the executions of its own supporters by government officials, soldiers, police officers, and ordinary people.

It then moved its headquarters to Iraq, made a pact with the regime of Saddam Hussein, which was fighting a ferocious war with Iran. The MEK spied on Iranian troops for Iraq, attacked Iran at the end of Iran-Iraq war with Hussein's support, and helped Hussein put down the uprisings by the Iraqi Kurds in the north and Shi'ites in the south after the Persian Gulf War of 1990-91.

The MEK is despised by the vast majority of Iranians for what they consider to be treason committed against their homeland.

kouroi a month ago

So funny. I remember reading Gore Vidal's novel "Creation", which deals with the Persian Empire, Zoroastrism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Socratic philosophy and morals.

The historical details in the book are relatively well researched, albeit one does get some literary licence for building up characters and story lines, etc. Now the Persian Imperial court is presented in the novel as being choke full of Greek Dissidents clamoring to the King of Kings to attack and subdue Greece/Athens, or what not. Marathon, Salamina, Thermopylae, Plateia follow... The Iranian "dissidents" should learn from their past...

The Athenian "wooden wall" (their ships) is Iran's missile force...

reaganite88 21 days ago

IF TRUE... a big if... this would be somewhat disturbing. One would hope that news outlets in their never-ending search for "content" would vet the authors just a tad.

But still... the rationale for going to war (with Iran or anyone else) rises or falls on its own merits. The arguments raised by these authors are of far more importance than whether the authors are real or fake. Think of how often we have seen academic credentials or military service exaggerated by AMERICAN academics and authors to goose their relevance. They may fall to the wayside as proponents of one thing or another when exposed but their arguments may still be true or false. Same goes for people who do NOT exaggerate their credentials.

I would think it would be far more dangerous if Twitter and other outlets were allowing our ADVERSARIES to create fake personalities promoting PEACE when in fact we need to take action against them.

[Oct 10, 2020] Tell me again how Trump "doesn't want to start a new war": If Trump thinks that he can win re-election by panding to Zionist lonny, he might be mistaken

It time to make him accountable at the election box. Not that it matter much as Biden is yet another neocon and Zionist, but stil...
American people are tied of sliding standard of living, permanent wars and jingoism. Trump might share Hillary fate in 2020, because any illusion that he is for common fold, who voted for him in 2016 now disappeared. So he is not better then neocon Biden and Biden is new bastard. So why vote for the old bastard if we have new, who might be slightly better in the long run
This is a very expensive foreign policy, that doesn't benefit the USA. It has potential to raise the price of oil significantly.
Notable quotes:
"... Behind the move was pressure from the Zionist lobby. President Trump is in need of campaign funds and the lobby provides those. ..."
"... I can also see this green lighting Israeli or joint American-Israeli strikes on alleged Iranian nuclear weapons development sites and other military and petro-state assets. ..."
"... It's disgusting to watch the people of the US/UK/EU go along with this. Western elites are fat, lazy, vicious, and cruel. ..."
"... Paul wrote: "Perhaps a Biden administration would be just as much a Zionist captive as the Trump administration." Yes at least as much or more zionist. Nothing about Harris or Biden (or the DNC) says they won't be. ..."
"... I nominate president Eisenhower as slightly less zionist on one occasion: during the Anglo,French, Zionist Suez invasion of 1956 Eisenhower remarked after numerous UN resolutions condemning the bandit state's aggression ' Should a nation which attacks and occupies foreign territory in the face of United Nations disapproval be allowed to impose conditions on its withdrawal?' ..."
"... "The EU is trying to prop up the US Empire in response to its decline, instead of trying to free itself. " ..."
"... Donald Trump talked up his Iran policy in a profanity-laden tirade on Friday, telling conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh that Tehran knows the consequences of undermining the United States. ..."
"... "Iran knows that, and they've been put on notice: if you fuck around with us, if you do something bad to us, we are going to do things to you that have never been done before." ..."
Oct 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
" Why U.S. Elections Do Not Change Its Foreign Policies | Main | The Ceasefire In Nagorno-Karabakh Is Unlikely To Hold " October 09, 2020 Europe And The New Sanctions On Iran

The U.S. has imposed new sanctions on Iran which will make ANY trade with the country very difficult:

[T]he Trump administration has decided to impose yet further sanctions on the country , this time targeting the entirety of the Iranian financial sector. These new measures carry biting secondary sanctions effects that cut off third parties' access to the U.S. financial sector if they engage with Iran's financial sector. Since the idea was first floated publicly , many have argued that sanctioning Iran's financial sector would eviscerate what humanitarian trade has survived the heavy hand of existing U.S. sanctions.

Behind the move was pressure from the Zionist lobby. President Trump is in need of campaign funds and the lobby provides those. The move is also designed to preempt any attempts by a potentially new administration to revive the nuclear agreement with Iran:

This idea appears to have first been introduced into public discourse in an Aug. 25, 2020, Wall Street Journal article by Mark Dubowitz and Richard Goldberg urging the Trump administration to "[b]uild an Iranian [s]anctions [w]all" to prevent any future Biden administration from returning to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear accord between Iran and the world's major powers on which President Donald Trump reneged in May 2018.

The new sanctions will stop all trade between the 'western' countries and Iran.

The Foreign Minister of Iran responded with defiance:

Javad Zarif @JZarif - 17:30 UTC · Oct 8, 2020

Amid Covid19 pandemic, U.S. regime wants to blow up our remaining channels to pay for food & medicine.

Iranians WILL survive this latest of cruelties.

But conspiring to starve a population is a crime against humanity. Culprits & enablers -- who block our money -- WILL face justice.

In response Iran will continue its turn to the east. Russia, China and probably India will keep payment channels with Iran open or will make barter deals.

The Europeans, who so far have not dared to counter U.S. sanctions on Iran, are likely to be again shown as the feckless U.S. ass kissers they have always been. They will thereby lose out in a market with 85 million people that has the resources to pay for their high value products. If they stop trade of humanitarian goods with Iran they will also show that their much vaunted 'values' mean nothing.

The European Union claims that it wants to be an independent actor on the world stage. If that is to be taken seriously this would be the moment to demonstrate it.

Posted by b on October 9, 2020 at 16:37 UTC | Permalink


Thomas Minnehan , Oct 9 2020 17:11 utc | 3
Unconscionable but what is new with pompass and his ghouls; treasury dept responsible for cranking up the sanctions program was formerly headed by a dual citizen woman who resigned suddenly after being exposed as an Israeli citizen-not hard to understand that sentiment in that dept has not changed.

The other aspect here is the FDD as key supporter of these severe sanctions; very virulent anti-Iranian vipers nest of ziocons with money bags from zionist oligarch funders.

karlof1 , Oct 9 2020 17:14 utc | 4
Ho-hum. As I wrote earlier, just the daily breaking of laws meaning business as usual. As noted, Russia has really upped the diplomatic heat on EU and France/Germany in particular, and that heat will be further merited if the response is as b predicts from their past, deplorable, behavior.

Much talk/writing recently about our current crisis being similar in many ways to those that led to WW1, but with the Outlaw US Empire taking Britain's role. I expect Iran's Iraqi proxies to escalate their attacks aimed at driving out the occupiers. IMO, we ought to contemplate the message within this Strategic Culture editorial when it comes to the hegemonic relationship between the Outlaw US Empire and the EU/NATO and the aims of both. The EU decided not to continue fighting against the completion of Nord Stream, but that IMO will be its last friendly act until it severs its relations with the Outlaw US Empire. With the Wall moved to Russia's Western borders, the Cold War will resume. That will also affect Iran.

james , Oct 9 2020 18:33 utc | 13
thanks b... it is interesting what a pivotal role israel plays in all of this... and why would there be concern that biden would be any different then trump in revoking the jcpoa? to my way of thinking, it is just pouring more cement and sealing the fate of the usa either way, as an empire in real decline and resorting to more of the same financial sanctions as a possible precursor to war.. frankly i can't see a war with iran, as the usa would have to contend with russia and china at this point... russia and china must surely know the game plan is exactly the same for them here as well.. as for europe, canada, australia and the other poodles - they are all hopeless on this front as i see it... lets all bow down to the great zionist plan, lol...
Daniel , Oct 9 2020 18:48 utc | 14
Yeah but at least Trump didn't start any new wars. /s

The Eurotools in Brussels are absolutely disgusting. A weaker bunch of feckless, milquetoast satraps is difficult to imagine. The EU perfectly embodies the 21st century liberal ethic: spout virtue signaling nonsense about peace, freedom, human rights and the "rules based international order" while licking the boots of Uncle Scam and the Ziofascists and going along with their war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Russia and China need to step up their game and boldly circumvent the collective punishment sanctions that are choking the life out of Iran, Syria and Venezuela. They still let the rogue states of the west get away with far too much.

augusto , Oct 9 2020 18:52 utc | 15
The Teheran men will not surrender to the yankee herds and hordes. And less so the telavivian.
It s easy to see that in the medium run this cruelly extended crime plays in chinese, russian and shia hands.
And they must start immediately a backlash handing hundreds of special forces and weapons opver to the Houthi hands.
Paco , Oct 9 2020 18:54 utc | 17
the Cold War will resume

The Cold War never ended.

Stonebird , Oct 9 2020 19:20 utc | 20
Of course there is a war on, and it has been gathering force for some time.

Iran is but one more skirmish or battle. However, Xi and Putin are using what I call the "Papou yes". You must always say "yes" as this way you avoid direct conflict, but then you go and do exactly what you were going to do in the first place . The person who does the demanding - having had his/her demands "met" has nothing further to add and will go away. (I have seen this effective technique in action).

At the moment it appears that the aim of the subversive (military/CIA/NGO) wings of the Empire are to start as many conflicts as possible. To isolate and overextend Russia, leading to it's collapse. (As they claim to have done before.)

The "Alternative axis" is just carrying on with it's own plan to overextend and eventually let the US dissolve into its own morasss. The opposition are trying to follow their own plan without giving an opening for the US/NATO to use its numerical military advantage, by not taking the bait.

The ultimate battle is for financial control of the worlds currency, or in the case of the US, to halt the loss of it's financial power. To avoid that The next step could be the introduction of a Fed. owned controlled and issued "digi-dollar", When all outstanding "dollar assets" are re-denominated into virtual misty-money which is created exclusively by the Fed. Banks become unnecessary as the Fed becomes the only "lender" available, Congress redundant, debts no longer matter and so on. Who cares about the reserves held by China and overseas "investors" if their use or even existence can be dictated by the Fed?
They have already published a "trial balloon" about introducing a digi-dollar.

Iran? the US is throwing ALL its cards into what looks like it's final battle to preserve the dollars supremacy. Why cut ALL the Iranian financial system out of their sphere of influence? Because it (thinks) it can and by doing so cower the wavering into obeying.

AtaBrit , Oct 9 2020 19:28 utc | 21
Thanks 'b', very well timed. I was actually heading to the open thread with this article until I saw your piece. This Asia Times article focuses on three key points:

- Iran has replaced the dollar with the Yuan as its main foreign currency
"This may become the east wind for the renminbi (yuan) and provide a new oil currency option for traders in oil-producing countries, including Iran," an editorial on qq.com said. "

- Several large banks in Iran are developing a gold encrypted digital currency called PayMon and had issued more than 1,000 crypto-currency mining licenses, which could promote the development of crude oil. Domestic traders use cryptocurrency to import goods and bypass American banks.

- The Iranian-Swiss Joint Chamber of Commerce
"Switzerland had received a special exemption from US supervisory authorities to allow the SHTA operations."

It remains to be seen how effective the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Agreement actually is. Some say it is nothing but a US propaganda stunt. Hopefully, that is not the case.

Richard Steven Hack , Oct 9 2020 20:37 utc | 31
Sure. Tell me again how Trump "doesn't want to start a new war." Morons.
William Gruff , Oct 9 2020 20:50 utc | 32
What does Iran need that they cannot get from China and Russia? The USA has cheap corn, and the EU has... what, cheese? Other than that I don't see why Iran needs to trade with the empire and its more servile vassals anyway.
Tollef Ås/秋涛乐 , Oct 9 2020 20:55 utc | 33
Strange, that ther is a jewish or Israeki ´ animosity agains Iran (or agains tthe Medtans -- as thy are all named in all Greek records(H, that theer is a jewish animosity against, that ther is a jewish anikisit agains Iran (or the Medtans -- as thy are old ptt in all Greek Strenge(Hellemistic) tales, Cyrur+s the Great is reported to have liberatet the Jews of Babilon end sent them back to Jerusalem . So, "PRIMO SON VENETANO, SECUNDO SON CHRISTANO" -- STILL A COMMONLY ACCEPTED SAYING INVENEZIA WHEB I VISITED ABD AKED IT IN THE THE YEAR OF 1´2917! Iran (or the Medtans -- as thy are old ptt in all Greek Strenge(Hellemistic) tales, Cyrur+s the Great is reorted to have liberatet te´he Jews of Babilon end sent them back to Jerusalem . So, "PRIMO SON VENETANO, SECUNDO SON CHRISTANO" -- STILL A COMMONLY ACCEPTED SAYING INVENEZIA WHEB I VISITED ABD AKED IT IN THE THE YEAR OF 1´2917! ellenistic) tales, Cyrur+s the Great is reorted to have liberatet te´he Jews of Babylon end sent them back to Jerusalem . So, "PRIMO SON VENETANO, SECUNDO SON CHRISTANO" -- STILL A COMMONLY ACCEPTED SAYING INVENEZIA WHEB I VISITED ABD AKED IT IN THE THE YEAR OF 2017
Paco , Oct 9 2020 21:05 utc | 34
Quite impressed with all the theories about Europe and its behavior. The answer is very simple, Europe is occupied by a foreign power, it is a colony. And all the qualifiers are quaint.
davenitup , Oct 9 2020 21:09 utc | 35
It's the world's loss that great cultures like the Persians have been suppressed for so long. The madness needs to end.
Passer by , Oct 9 2020 21:11 utc | 36
Posted by: Red Ryder | Oct 9 2020 20:06 utc | 23

I disagree. What did the EU did on Iran, compared to Russia and China? It stopped most trade with Iran, including the purchase of iranian oil, and it stopped all investment projects. INSTEX is a joke. Meanwhile Germany recently banned Hezbollah.

Yes, they did vote for the JCPOA in the UN. I look at actions rather than words though, and EU has imposed de facto sanctions on Iran.

Moreover, German FM Maas told Israel recently that efforts are underway to keep the Iran arms embargo. (He is also a big "Russia fan" - sarc off)

In other words, we "support" the JCPOA, but in practice with arms and trade embargoes on Iran continuing.

Yeah right.

Posted by: powerandpeople | Oct 9 2020 20:15 utc | 24

No, its not so simple, unless you claim that european russophobia started with the US and did not exist before it. Guy Mettan has a good book on it. It is a thousand years old issue, involving Catholicism, France, Germany, Sweden, Britain, and others.

Yes, the US wants to divide the EU and Russia. But the EU itself is rotten from within.

Politics are more important than the economy, German Chancellor Merkel said in relation to Russia.

"Drang nach Osten" - "Drive to the East".

Germany dreams of capturing Eastern Europe and using is as some sort of colonised labor pool similar to what Latin America is for the US.

And this is why the EU, without any prodding, eagerly took the lead in the attempt of colour revolution in Belarus, where it played far bigger role than the US.

m , Oct 9 2020 21:24 utc | 37
I have to disagree with your assessment.

Signing and adhearing to the JCPOA turned Europe and Iran from opponents into partners. This is a great diplomatic achievement. However, no part of the JCPOA made the two allies or obliged the European side to wage an economic war with the USA on behalf of Iran. On the contrary, the Iranians would be the first to say they are no friends of Europa. They have been complaining about "Western meddling" in their region for years. (Note that they don`t differentiate but always speak collectively of "the West").

So that`s their chance to show the world how much of a sovereign nation they are and that they can handle their problems without the "meddling" of the "despicable" Europeans. There is no obligation - neither legal nor moral - for Europe to take the side of Iran in the US-Iran conflict.

And actually it is both sides - both Iran and the USA - who are unhappy with the current European neutrality.

_K_C_ , Oct 9 2020 21:31 utc | 38
Thanks to MoA for being one of the only honest brokers of news on Iran in the English language. As an American citizen living abroad (in EU) I have a more jaded and at the same time worried feeling about this.

Along with all the other stuff, including the current threat to close the U.S. embassy in the Iraqi "Green Zone" and the accompanying military maneuvers, which would spark war in the region, I see this hardening and expansion of sanctions as yet the next clue that the U.S. and Donald Trump's regime are looking toward re-election and a hot war with/on Iran. Rattling the cage ever more and backing Iran into the corner with brutal, all-encompassing sanctions is already an act of war, usually the first prior to bombs falling. I can also see this green lighting Israeli or joint American-Israeli strikes on alleged Iranian nuclear weapons development sites and other military and petro-state assets.

I hope I'm wrong but we've all seen this before and it never ends well. If the EU shows a spine, or more likely Russia and/or China step in directly, perhaps the long desired neocon/neolib/Zionist hot war against Iran can be avoided.

Perimetr , Oct 9 2020 21:32 utc | 39
I think it is very important for the US to kill another 500,000 children via sanctions, in order to demonstrate the importance of freedom and democracy and observing international law.
AriusArmenian , Oct 9 2020 21:48 utc | 40
While reading this post I was thinking what MoA wrote in the last two paragraphs. And also that Iran will just continue to turn to China, Russia, and others in the East.

It's disgusting to watch the people of the US/UK/EU go along with this. Western elites are fat, lazy, vicious, and cruel.

claudio , Oct 9 2020 22:17 utc | 41
@17 passer by
(and others)
"Europeans can not be helped. Ironically, it is their own rejection of their WW2 past that causes them to reject the multipolar world and sovereignty as "primitive things from the past"

plus, as you point out elsewhere, there are longer histories at play: the Crusades against the Slavs, the Moors and the Turks (and the Arabs, in fact), the invention of "western civilization" in the 19th century (Arians vs Semites, Europe vs Asia, ecc) ...

plus, there is the persisting aspiration for world domination, partly frustrated by WW1 and the upheavals of the XXth century, which transformed the UK and the whole of Europe (with Japan, Australia, etc) in a junior partner of the new US Empire

(that's the other lesson learned from WW2: no single european power could dominate the continent and the world, but they could dominate as junior partners under the new young leader of the wolf pack, the US)

plus, there are is a class war that can be better fought, by national oligarchies, within globalist rethoric and rules

plus, there are the US deep state instruments of domination over european national states

but Europeans (and Usaians) do understand the language of force, and they have - at the moment - encountered a wall in their attempts at expansion, in Iran, China, Russia, Venezuela, ecc; an alternative multipolar alliance is taking shape

so they might attempt to win a nuclear war by 20 million deaths to 2 (or 200 to 20, who cares), but they might also decide to tune down their ambitions and return to reality; maybe

wj2 , Oct 9 2020 23:28 utc | 45
@m (#35)
EU promised to uphold JCPOA. They can't because of the US and they are doing next to nothing to change that. EU isn't neutral. They are stooges. Iran is right to complain about it, the US isn't.
Boss Tweet , Oct 9 2020 23:54 utc | 48
Trump is a man of peace, he hasn't started any new wars - whatever that means, lol.

As far as I know economic blocade is tantamount to war. If he wins reelection expect renewed kinetic attacks on venezuela and Iran. He's already lined up his zionist coalition with arabic satraps to launch his Iran quagmire. Trump is a deal maker, he understands the economy and will bring back manufacturing jobs to Murikkka, lol. I'm sure Boeing execs in deep trouble would love to sell plane to the Iranians but Mr. MIGA just made that impossible. Nothing to worry about, there's always the next socialist bailout for Boeing funded by taxpayers - suckers as Trump would call them. So much for winning, can't fix deplorable and stupid...

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/08/iran-deal-fallout-boeing-may-lose-20-billion-in-aircraft-deals.html

Btw b, Trump's opposition to the Iran deal has nothing to do with money or the zionist lobby. Stable genius opposed JCPOA in 2015 even before announcing his run for the presidency. It's not about the mula but all about the mollah's, lol: The Donald in his own words at a tea party event in 2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIDNonMDSo8

kooshy , Oct 10 2020 0:00 utc | 49
Ever since the Iranian revolution of 1979 multiple US regimes in DC have been totally successful in making majority Iranian people everywhere in the world, understand that the US is their chronic strategic enemy for decades to come. At same time, these US regimes have equally been as successful in making American people believe Iran is their enemy.
The difference between this two side's belief is, that, Iranian people by experiencing US regime' conducts have come to their belief, but the American people' belief was made by their own regime' propaganda machinery. For this reason, just like the people to people relation between the US and Russian people, Before and after the fall of USSR the relation between US and Iran in next few generations will not come to or even develop to anything substantial or meaningful. One can see this same trajectory in US Chinese relations, or US Cuban. Noticeably all these countries relation with US become terminally irreparable after their revolutions, regardless of the maturity or termination of the revolution. As much as US loves color revolutions, US hates real revolutions. The animosity no longer is just strategic it has become people to people, and the reason and blame goes to Americans since they never were ready to accept the revolutions that made nations self-servient to their interests. The bottom line truth is the US / and her poodles in europe know, ever since the revolution Iran no longer will be subservient to US interests.
Hermius , Oct 10 2020 0:23 utc | 51
This is leverage to bargain away the oil pipeline to germany. That is what is behind it. You scratch my back, the US is saying to the EU, in particular, Germany....
karlof1 , Oct 10 2020 0:25 utc | 52
It's an Economy based on Plunder! , so that's why sanctions here, there and everywhere!! But the real problem is we aren't participating in the Plunder!! Sometimes you gotta use extreme sarcasm to explain the truth of a situation, and that's what Max and Stacey do in their show at the link. 13 minutes of honest reporting about the fraudulent world in which we live. As for Jerome Powell, current Fed Chair, he's complicit in the ongoing criminal activity just as much as the high ranking politicos. Bastiat laid it out 180 years ago, but we're living what he described now. And that's all part of what I wrote @40 above. The moral breakdown occurred long ago but took time to perfect.
joey_n , Oct 10 2020 0:34 utc | 54
Patrick Armstrong did a Sitrep article last month
https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2020/09/24/russian-federation-sitrep-24-september-2020/
where he cited an article on Sputnik titled "Macron: Europe 'Will Not Compromise' With Washington on Iran Sanctions"
https://sputniknews.com/world/202009221080541258-macron-europe-will-not-compromise-with-washington-on-iran-sanctions/
Make of it what you will.
Xingu , Oct 10 2020 0:46 utc | 55
I think it is crazy that EU allows US to manage SWIFT to the point they invent new entities to sidestep SWIFT and US sanctions (which are weak and ineffective, but that is the trajectory of their weak attempts at independence). Force SWIFT to equally service all legal transactions according to EU law, and let US cut itself off from all international financial transfers if it doesn't like using EU's SWIFT. US corps won't allow that to happen, it's just that EU refuses to call US bluff. Of course they are now praying for Biden presidency, but if they can't assert themselves it is all ultimately the same thing.
dh , Oct 10 2020 1:17 utc | 58
These 'foreign policy experts' think the trade war with China has been a mistake. But they think Trump is too soft on Russia and he hasn't been tough enough on NK, Iran and Venezuela.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/foreign-policy-experts-rebuke-trump-administration-for-policies-that-emboldened-rivals-alienated-allies-135205214.html

Paul , Oct 10 2020 1:34 utc | 59
It has become a standard trick for outgoing US administrations to saddle the incoming administration with set in stone policies and judicial appointments.

"Behind the move was pressure from the Zionist lobby. President Trump is in need of campaign funds and the lobby provides those. The move is also designed to preempt any attempts by a potentially new administration to revive the nuclear agreement with Iran."

Perhaps a Biden administration would be just as much a Zionist captive as the Trump administration.

The danger for the world is the Trump administration may go even further than additional sanctions. So I refer to the previous post, US policy remains the same whatever bunch are the frontmen.

Theodore Herzl even tried to drag Kaiser Wilhelm11 into the Zionist spider web: https://middleeastrealitycheck.blogspot.com/2008/07/theodor-herzl-first-photoshopper.html

When that attempt failed they worked on convincing the Sultan of Turkey to give them someone else's homeland. The Zionist Zealot Mr Kalvariski became the administrator of the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association with the aim of establishing a jewish suprematist ghetto. Following that flop the Zionists turned to the hapless British and were rewarded by Balfour with his notorious British government double cross of the Arabs. Now it's the turn of the US and assorted captive nations to uphold and support tyranny and Talmudic violence.

Crush Limbraw , Oct 10 2020 1:59 utc | 60

I am SLOWLY coming to the conclusion that DaTrumpster understands DaDeepState better than any of us armchair pundits. His patient - and yes, perhaps faulty strategy - he's still standing after ALL DaCrap that's been thrown at him.
All the 'EXPURTS' - including MoA - can only see part of DaPicture at best.

I've been as hard on DaTrumpster as anyone on DaConservative side - but I am SLOWLY coming to understand WTF just might be going on.

Point - don't be too sure of your immediate inclinations - we ALL see through DaGlass DARKLY!

Don Bacon , Oct 10 2020 2:27 utc | 61
SWIFT is only a messaging system – SWIFT does not hold any funds or securities, nor does it manage client accounts. Behind most international money and security transfers is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) system. SWIFT is a vast messaging network used by banks and other financial institutions to quickly, accurately, and securely send and receive information, such as money transfer instructions.
Sunny Runny Burger , Oct 10 2020 2:29 utc | 62
Paul wrote: "Perhaps a Biden administration would be just as much a Zionist captive as the Trump administration." Yes at least as much or more zionist. Nothing about Harris or Biden (or the DNC) says they won't be.

And hasn't it always been that way from one president to the the next? Was there ever one that was less zionist than the predecessor? (Maybe they're all so close this is an impossible question to answer, that too could be the case).

The sitting executive branch gives the favors right now and anyone incoming gives the favors after they win and thus each election becomes a double windfall for the lobby group?

A zionist double dip . Maybe most US voters could grasp it like that.

I can't back this up (much like my previous comment in this thread) but it's my impression. It would probably take a lot of work to make sure it's right; one would have to scrutinize so much over so many decades.

Paul , Oct 10 2020 3:29 utc | 63
@Sunny Runny Burger 60

I nominate president Eisenhower as slightly less zionist on one occasion: during the Anglo,French, Zionist Suez invasion of 1956 Eisenhower remarked after numerous UN resolutions condemning the bandit state's aggression ' Should a nation which attacks and occupies foreign territory in the face of United Nations disapproval be allowed to impose conditions on its withdrawal?'

This could be a useful quote for todays world.

Later, in 1964, Eisenhower approved his hand picked emissary's US $150 million so called Johnston Plan to steal the waters of the Jordan River and further marginalize the Palestine Arabs and surrounding Arab states.

ARI , Oct 10 2020 3:36 utc | 64
Sanctions aren't the story. Once all the players have left the JCPOA, either Israel or the US can claim Iranians are at the point of producing a nuclear weapon. Without the JCPOA and inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities it will be impossible to prove or deny the allegations. Thus giving either the US or Israel justification it wants to conduct military strikes against Iran. The only things stopping this from happening is if the EU stays in the JCPOA...
_K_C_ , Oct 10 2020 3:53 utc | 65
Fully agree with ARI | Oct 10 2020 3:36 utc | 62

Exactly the aim. I said so in an earlier post. This is all part of the program to create a false justification to conduct military strikes inside Iran. At this point, I'm really surprised that the U.S. even tries to construct these narratives after Obama's Syria and Libya operations didn't even really bother, save for a few probably fake "chemical weapons" attack they alleged Assad committed. Libya I don't remember hearing anything. The embassy maybe? After the Soleimani strike and the shootdown of the U.S. drone, not to mention the alleged Iranian attacks on ARAMCO's oil facilities, I'm really quite surprised something more serious (not to minimize the awful acts of war which the sanctions definitely are) hasn't already happened. It will soon, especially if Trump gets re-elected. Wonder what all of his "no new wars" supporters will say then?

Everybody reading knows what SWIFT is. That's a nice attempt to circumscribe the overall sanctions regime and paint it as "no big deal."

Crush Limpbro - Checked out your site. You've got a long way to go before you can criticize MoA. Hope that comment draws a few clicks to keep you going, but I would caution other barflies to use a proxy; could be a honey trap to collect IP addresses.

El Cid , Oct 10 2020 4:10 utc | 66
This United States imposed and Zionist inspired siege on Iran and its people will only further strengthen the political and economic bonds with Russia and China. Meanwhile, the US collapses from its internal social limitations and its abandonment of public healthcare responses to the Corvid 19 pandemic. Europe it close behind the US in this respect.
ARIES , Oct 10 2020 4:17 utc | 67
IRGC Commander-In-Chief: U.S. Is Incapable Of Waging War Against Iran, Its Weapons Are Outdated:

https://toranja-mecanica.blogspot.com/2020/10/irgc-commander-in-chief-us-is-incapable.html

Paul , Oct 10 2020 4:20 utc | 68
ARI @62

What exactly is this 'Justification'.. . 'to conduct military strikes against Iran' that you refer to hasbara boy? Failure to obey foreign imposed zionist diktats?

Would this 'justification' apply to the bandit state if it refused to abide by the NNPT for example?
No double standards pass the test here.

kiwiklown , Oct 10 2020 4:42 utc | 69
Yet another proof that "Western values" and their "rules based international order" mean exactly nothing.

In the past, the West at least kept up some pretense that it was wrong to target unarmed civilians (still, they flattened Driesden; Hiroshima; North Korea, Vietnam, Laos). Today, they do not care to be seen openly, cruelly, brutally, sadistically killing civvies. These American bastards say, "... it is not killing if the victims drop dead later, like, not right now. " Or, "... it became necessary to destroy Iran in order to save Iran."

Iran is perfectly correct to call this a crime against humanity for the West to starve a population of food and medicine. This will boomerang just as the opium-pushing in China will boomerang on the West.

Meanwhile, just as those drug-pushing English bastards earned themselves lordships and knighthoods; just as presidential bastards retire to their Martha Vineyard mansions; so the current crop of bastards in American leadership will retire to yet more mansions, leaving the next couple generations to meet Persian wrath. The American way is to "win" until they are tired of winning, no?

But in truth, in objective reality, only those who have lost their human-ness are capable of crimes against humanity.

michaelj72 , Oct 10 2020 4:50 utc | 71
The US is cruising for a bruising in the middle east fucking with Iran like this. Not that the US hasn't deserved a good knockout punch the past 19 years since invading and destroying Afghanistan and Iraq, etc, etc. Regardless of their rhetoric, how the European rogues and rascals (France, Germany and the UK) can sleep at night is beyond me.
snake , Oct 10 2020 7:00 utc | 75
Yes Psychochistorian @ 1, At the nation state level, EU support for blockade terror and sanction torture (BT&ST), against reluctant nation states and non compliant individuals within those nation states, logically suggests EU nation states are not independent sovereign countries <=EU nation states exist in name only? Maybe its just like in the USA, these private monopoly powered Oligarcks (PMPO), own everything (privately owned copyrights, patents, and property) made possible by rules nation states turn into law. The citizens of those privately owned EU nation states are victims <=in condition=exploitable. Maybe PMPOs use nation states <=as profit support weapons, to be directed against <=any and all <=competition, whereever and however <=competition appears.

The hidden suspects <=capital market linked crowds through out the world..

Media is 92% owned by six private individuals, of the seven typical nation state layers of authority and power: 5 are private and two are public. Additionally, few in the international organizations have allegiance to historic cultures of the nation state governed masses. It is as if, the named nation states are <=threatened by knee breaking thugs, but maybe its not threat, its actual PMPO ownership.

If one accepts PMPO <=to be in control of all of USA and all of allied nation state, one can explain <=current BT&ST events. But private Oligarch scenarios <=raise obvious questions, why have not the PMPO challenged East eliminated <=Israel, MSM propaganda repeatedly blames or points to Israel <=to excuse the USA leaders for their BT&ST policies. Seems the PMPO are <=using the nation states, they own <=to eliminate non complying competition.

What is holding the East back? Russia and China each have sufficient oil, gas and technology to keep things functional, so why has not the competition in the East taken Israel out, if Israel is directing the USA to apply BT&ST against its competitors? Why is the white House so sure, its BT&ST policies will not end up destroying Israel? Maybe because Israel has no real interest <=in the BT&ST policy <=Israel is deceptions:fall guy? The world needs to pin the tail on the party driving USA application of BT&ST because no visible net gain to Governed Americans seems possible from BT&ST policies?

I think Passer @ 17 has hit the nail on its head. "The EU is trying to prop up the US Empire in response to its decline, instead of trying to free itself. "

Norwegian , Oct 10 2020 7:11 utc | 76
@ARI | Oct 10 2020 3:36 utc | 62
Sanctions aren't the story. Once all the players have left the JCPOA, either Israel or the US can claim Iranians are at the point of producing a nuclear weapon.

So you put that forward as a justification for attacking Iran militarily, but that means according to your logic you also have justification for attacking Israel or the US militarily. The rules are the same for all, right?

robin , Oct 10 2020 8:12 utc | 77
Economic warfare is certainly effective. However, time is running out for these weapons as America's lock on the world economy grows weaker. With a rapidly approaching expiry date, the word out may be to use em or lose em.

In a zero-sum great game, it makes sense to deploy such weapons now insofar as an opponent's loss is always a gain for oneself.

jscott , Oct 10 2020 9:26 utc | 79
Donald Trump talked up his Iran policy in a profanity-laden tirade on Friday, telling conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh that Tehran knows the consequences of undermining the United States.

"Iran knows that, and they've been put on notice: if you fuck around with us, if you do something bad to us, we are going to do things to you that have never been done before."

Uncle Samuel is setting up a provocation for war.

uncle tungsten , Oct 10 2020 9:45 utc | 81
psychohistorian #1
What a shit show we are seeing. What is the next phase of this civilization war that is not a war because there are not enough dead bodies for some I guess?...but it sure looks like war to me.

Well for the first time in history Iran's symbolic "Red Flag" is still flying above the popular Jamkaran Mosque Holy dome. Perhaps the USA and its running dogs body count has risen in Iraq and Afghanistan? How would we know. These things are disguised from the fearless press in those countries ;)

Perhaps the dead and mangled are many but we do know that the US chief killer in Afghanistan was reduced to ashes immediately following General Shahid Qassem Suleimanis murder by the USA whilst on a diplomatic mission in Iraq.

In respect of b's observation above, the illegal occupier of Palestine is more likely tipping millions into the Harris Presidency as well as the possible Trump Presidency. I doubt either Harris or the biden bait and switch stooge would restore the JCPOA. Besides they would not be invited to sit at the table any time soon IMO. They would likely refuse to any conditions of reversing the sanctions and then carry on about all that 'unreasonable demands by a terrorist state' stuff etc etc.

No, Iran will be getting on with its future in a multilateral world where the United Nations has been reduced to pile of chicken dung by the USA while most other nations go along with global lunacy.


Circe , Oct 10 2020 12:56 utc | 87
You know what's telling about the bootlickers who hem and haw about U.S. policy with the T Administration, but never mention Trump as the real source of it even when profuse Zionist shit spills from his mouth on Limbaugh's show proving he's a Ziofascist pig?

What's telling is that these usual suspects jumped all over ARI @64 for zeroing in on Trump's precise intentions with Iran but they gave a pass to the real HASBARIST in the room, Crush Limbraw @60, exposing himself, putting his HARD-ON FOR TRUMP on full display.

@60 we ALL see through DaGlass DARKLY!
Speak for yourself- you Zionist MORON!

Ahhhhhh, you can always count on the DUPLICITY of MOA'S weathervane james and friends. Me, I ain't here to win a popularity contest like weathervane; I'm here to kick ass when I witness duplicity in action. My friend here is the truth that I'll defend to the grave.

********

Noooo, dum-dums Putin will not come to Iran's rescue when he's warm in bed with his Zionist Oligarchs and Russian squatters whom he pays homage to from time to time when he visits Ziolandia thanking them for choosing the stolen West Bank over Russia.

Iran knows that, and they've been put on notice. That's Trump blowhard driving the drumbeat.

Just rescue me from my self-destructive self for 4 more years, oh kings of Zion and Wall Street, and I'll give you WAR!!! all in CAPS with three exclamation points. The GREATEST war you've ever seen.

Linda Amick , Oct 10 2020 13:07 utc | 88
When I read the Great Reset article on the World Economic Forum website it seems to me that the western Globalists, in concert align the US and EU. That accounts for the basic vassal arrangements that predominate but allow for some nonalignments on certain issues.
Paco , Oct 10 2020 13:24 utc | 89
Posted by: vk | Oct 10 2020 0:58 utc | 56

That is precisely what the Belarusian authorities announced when Tikhanovskaya left Minsk, that she was helped in her way out, but we know how the MSM acts, they stick to their own script, just like a Hollywood movie.

The Belarusians must be watching with great attention what is happening in Kirguizia, riots and complete chaos, and thinking how lucky they were to avoid the color rev that was in the menu for them, which the same methods, discredit the oncoming election, claim fraud after it, use similar symbols like the clenched fist and the heart, new flag, start transliterating family and geographical names to a mythical and spoken by a very small minority language and then nobody knows if to spell Tikhanovskaya, Tsikhanouskaya or like the politically incorrect but street wise Luka called her, Guaidikha. And that is Kirguizia, how about a shooting war in Armenia and Azerbaijan, all those conflicts were unimaginable when the USSR existed, but the empire even on his way down is insatiable.

Circe , Oct 10 2020 13:25 utc | 90
@88 Linda Amick

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=RDPIAXG_QcQNU&feature=share&playnext=1

Paco , Oct 10 2020 13:35 utc | 91
Posted by: Circe | Oct 10 2020 12:56 utc | 87

There is over a million jews of Russian origin living in Israel, 20% of the population, with deep roots in Russia, language, culture and relatives. Do not let partisanship for the Dems blind you, a true successful leader is someone that defends his country's interests while at the same time tries to have good relations with everybody else, obviously that balance is not easy to achieve in a world full of conflicting interests, but so far Putin seems to be balancing his act while not loosing sight of the main thing, Russia.

Circe , Oct 10 2020 13:52 utc | 92
Paco, strange name for a Russiabot, oh well...

Nice way of putting: Putin belongs to the Zionist Club.

FYI, I'm not blind. I'm one of those special beings who was born with two extra eyes...in the back of my head.

Jackrabbit , Oct 10 2020 13:56 utc | 93
Circe @Oct10 12:56 #87
Putin will not come to Iran's rescue when he's warm in bed with his Zionist Oligarchs

If Putin is so close to Zionists, then why does Russia block the Zionist regime-change in Syria? Why has Russia denied Israel and USA entreaties to allow them to bomb Iran?

Russia Warns U.S. and Israel That Iran Is Its 'Ally' and Was Right About Drone Shoot Down

!!

Paco , Oct 10 2020 14:03 utc | 94
Posted by: Circe | Oct 10 2020 13:52 utc | 92

Not as strange as a mythological demigoddess that turned sailors into swain and that now enjoys to plunge into the mud with her creatures. A bot, what an easy label, it has lost any meaning.

Paco , Oct 10 2020 14:12 utc | 95
special beings who was born with two extra eyes...in the back of my head.

Alaska yellow fin sole, not bad, from Bristol Bay, but the Melva -a tunafish species with more oil in its meat- I cooked for lunch, just caught, has a lot more fish oil with its rich contents of vitamin D, add sunny Mediterranean weather and that is my pill for today, trying to keep the bug at bay.

expat , Oct 10 2020 14:39 utc | 96
Circe, why don't you do what your namesake would have done and whip yourself up some meds to calm down? You're starting to lapse into excessive use of upper case, italics, exclamation points, bolding, profanity, and of course, insults.

This may help. It looks like the orange man is in fact going down, so you will soon have Joe and Kamal empowered to dismantle the evil Putin-Netanyahu-Trump axis, and put the US back on the path to truth and justice.

Circe , Oct 10 2020 14:41 utc | 97
@93 Jackrabbit

It's called... lip service.

@94,95 Fransisco

A bot by any other name will smell as fishy. 🤭
Just messing with you!

ptb , Oct 10 2020 14:44 utc | 98
The unilateral and illegal-under-JCPOA sanctions mean it's time for EU to either confront the extraterritorial US policy it has clearly rejected in principle, or (more likely) acknowlege that it remains in practice just a collection of 'client states'. A sad moment for me, but useful for clarity.
Paco , Oct 10 2020 14:48 utc | 99
Posted by: Circe | Oct 10 2020 14:41 utc | 97

Hard to understand but you guys are incapable of spelling the name of a once great US city, San Francisco. I heard it has changed a lot, got to see long time ago, before the digital craze.

juliania , Oct 10 2020 15:51 utc | 100
This is a brief but subtle post by b, with quiet but telling headline. Perhaps, just guessing, a new take on the post he was having difficulty with earlier? The question of the EU is an interesting one - not to be considered as virulent as the former Soviet Union, but somehow as tugged at by the components thereof...

Sanctions on Iran? We do know what Iran is capable of; surely we have not forgotten? Indeed, by pressing these sanctions at this late date, the Trump administration surely has not forgotten either the effect sanctions had on Russia. They were postive to that country's independent survival, though the immediate effect was demonstrably harsh. So now, sanctions on Iran? One doesn't have to be a world leader to suppose similar cause, similar effect.

Ah, Paco has a wonderful meal of a beneficial fish called the Melva! Bravo, Paco; all is not lost! But you have hooked the sea-serpent as well -- take care! That one - carefully remove the hook and set it free ;)

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[Oct 10, 2020] psychohistorian

Oct 10, 2020 | www.lettinggobreath.com

1

next page " Nice posting b

Yes, it is time for EU countries to show their true colors which will be ass kissers for empire, most likely.

Folks are saying Nord Stream II is being finished but will it ever go into use?

And of course this is not war because Trump hasn't started any wars, right?

What a shit show we are seeing. What is the next phase of this civilization war that is not a war because there are not enough dead bodies for some I guess?...but it sure looks like war to me.

bevin , Oct 9 2020 17:07 utc | 2
The next phase would appear to be Kyrgyzstan: from Belarus east to Sinkiang and Hong Kong the subversion and the attempts at regime change are constant.

While Eurasia seeks to unite for peace and prosperity, the United States and its sleazy satrapy is constantly trying to divide and weaken, to undermine and to intimidate. In doing so it relies heavily on abusing the tattered lineaments of democracy- electioneering and propagandising, the relics of a western culture which has become nothing more than a hollow shell containing an increasingly totalitarian plutocracy.

Joseph Dillard , Oct 9 2020 17:32 utc | 5
All this simply moves Iran into closer confederation with Russia and China and strengthens its resolve to send US middle eastern troops packing. Soon there will be a strong Russia-China-Iran axis that is immune to all Western sanctions. Those countries who are part of the BRI will get privileged economic treatment. The advantages will become increasingly apparent and the economic disadvantages of staying allied with the US will become increasingly apparent as well, particularly in light of the approaching collapse of the dollar. As long as we manage to avoid a hot war the civilizational die is cast; the US has chosen its destiny, in the dustbin of history, at least as a neoliberal oligarchy. When and how it will reinvent itself is an open question, but it is not unreasonable to think it will take decades. While Europe will eventually align with Eurasia, it will take another generation of politicians before that happens.
Loftwork , Oct 9 2020 17:36 utc | 6
If Iran isn't self-sufficient now, it will be by the time the US is finished with it. That isn't a comfortable place to be but with key sector support from the Eastern bloc it's at least as manageable as Cuba. The question is whether and how fast the Eastern bloc can consolidate its resources by e.g. petrodollar replacement and better shared infrastructure. The Eastern bloc isn't ideal, but when the West is apparently encouraging something like a holocaust of suffering humanity, it's the only other game in town.
Nathan Mulcahy , Oct 9 2020 17:39 utc | 7
No, this is not the moment. This is the last chance. Oh, these vassals with zero integrity and character!
Hoyeru , Oct 9 2020 17:40 utc | 8
High time for both Russia and China and Iran/Cuba/Venezuela to really get together and start speaking with one voice and show the despicable USA/West/NATO that they will stand together and defend each other. Otherwise it's all over.

Specific steps to implement:
1. create and begin using an alternative to the SWIFT and invite anyone who is being sanctioned by USA/West to join them
2. openly and officially declare that their currencies are backed by gold
3. openly and officially begin to speak against USA's actions around the world at the UN and invite anyone who is being sanctioned by USA/West to join them
4. get together and openly declare to the world they stand as one and to invite
anyone else who is being harassed by USA/West/NATO to join them
5. immediately begin clean up of all the terrorists/CIA Operatives in in Central Asia otherwise they will be in deep trouble

what are Putin and Xi doing?? Come on guys, wake up!

MichaelW , Oct 9 2020 17:46 utc | 9
EU and US. Just playing classical
And Trump don't make Amerika "Too big to fail" alone. But double down
https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-a510221c9228a7d1b9f383b3428db349
When you owe 5000€, you're afraid of your crédit or but when You owe 5000 T$, Who is afraid ?

Financial House of Card let them no choice but to S***MyD***, and wait

David G , Oct 9 2020 18:14 utc | 10
In March, Germany announced that the first transaction had been completed using Europe's INSTEX system to skirt sanctions -- more than a year after the scheme had supposedly been put in place.

I haven't seen anything further about it. Has it enabled any significant level of trade?

One Too Many , Oct 9 2020 18:20 utc | 11
Now I understand why Javad Zarif is in China for a two-day meeting:

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-10/08/c_139426303.htm

I guess it wasn't for the National Holiday?

Don Bacon , Oct 9 2020 18:28 utc | 12
Why would anyone need anything not Made in China? Plus China is the EU's second highest trade partner (after US) so Iran could have access to some of that if for some reason they needed an EU product. . . .Meanwhile Iran will be even more self-sufficient, as Russia has become with EU sanctions. . . .The US has been trying self-imposed "sanctions" (China uncoupling) to become more self-sufficient but it's not working.
Caliman , Oct 9 2020 18:53 utc | 16
EU continues its self-imposed slide into irrelevance. I suppose a servant's life is an easier life: you don't have to think for yourself and just need to please master. But it can hardly be a satisfactory experience, can it? Especially when the collar is held by such as Trump and Pompass.

The winds of change are coming and they will be interesting. China's economy is already greater than the US and that will expand many fold over the next few decades. The $ economy will not survive this, especially not as the US has shown it will use its power corruptly. The EU batter consider this; do they want to be part of the past or the future?

Passer by , Oct 9 2020 19:09 utc | 19
There is something much more significant happening with Europe, that is more than the Iran issue.

The EU is trying to prop up the US Empire in response to its decline, instead of trying to free itself.

The EU has chosen the side of the US against the multipolar world. It will be trying to prop up the Empire.

It is becoming increasingly hostile to any country that isn't a puppet to the US, like itself, and is lashing out at those countries. Like a zombie, it wants to infect others with its infection, and turn every other country into US puppets too. It thinks that this is normal and it wants to spread that "normality" to the rest of the world too.

Many analysts are already mentioning that the EU is becoming increasingly hostile to Russia.

Recently, serious statements came from Russian officials:

"Russia will not follow EU and US rules".

"There will be no more business as usual between Russia and France and Germany".

"France and Germany are now leading the anti-russian block within Europe".

"Russia will no longer be dependent on the EU".

"Europeans have delusions of grandeur".

These are all statements by Lavrov and Zacharova.

Recently, we have seen Germany and France banning Huawei, Europe together with US blocking the OPCW investigation at the UN, and Germany leading the charge at the UN stage against China. EU also took the lead in the colour revolution in Belarus.

There are two recent statesments by the french foreign minister and by the EU commision chief:

"Europe needs to unite against Russia and Turkey".

Surveys also show rising levels of anti-chinese hatred in Europe, and not only in the US.

What has happened is far more serious than the europeans being "feckless U.S. ass kissers". It is worse than that.

The EU chose the side of the US against the multipolar world. It does not want to free itself from the US. Actually it thinks that it is normal to be a puppet, that others should be US puppets too, and that a joint EU-US Empire should be supported, so that some kind of world wide liberal utopia can be build by it.

Europeans are psychologically damaged by WW2 and this is affecting their geopolitical behavior, turning them into forever puppets of the US.

They can not free themselves because when they were free once, they "did very bad things". Therefore they should always follow their "better" and "Big Daddy" US, who "freed them from themselves" and "put them in the right way".

Europeans can not be helped. Ironically, it is their own rejection of their WW2 past that causes them to reject the multipolar world and sovereignty as "primitive things from the past", and thus support a transnational globalist western empire that is here "to bring Utopia on Earth". For them Russia, China, Iran, India, Turkey etc. are just a bunch of primitives that are tryng to turn back the clock.

And thus it will increasingly start to lash out at any country that isn't a US puppet as those countries prevent the coming of Utopia.

[Sep 30, 2020] Don't forget Paul "Send US Jobs To Israel" Singer, who likely has a little something to do with Trump's neocon adventures in Venezuela

Sep 30, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com


play_arrow 3

Mister Delicious , 51 minutes ago

Don't forget Paul "Send US Jobs To Israel" Singer, who likely has a little something to do with Trump's neocon adventures in Venezuela

https://www.mintpressnews.com/neocon-billionaire-paul-singer-driving-outsourcing-us-tech-jobs-israel/259147/

And then there's Syraq...

https://mintpressnews.cn/israel-lobby-helped-stolen-oil-iraq-syria/263327/

[Sep 26, 2020] What is predatory capitalism

Highly recommended!
Sep 26, 2020 | www.amazon.com

Extracted from: From Conflict to Crisis- The Danger of U.S. Actions by Jeanne M. Haskin

CHAPTER TWO: INSTILLING THE ILLUSION OF CHOICE

Selfishness may be exalted as the root and branch of capitalism, but it doesn't make you look good to the party on the receiving end or those whose sympathy he earns. For that, you need a government prepared to do four things, which each have separate dictums based on study, theorization, and experience. Coercion: Force is illegitimate only if you can't sell it. Persuasion: How do I market thee? Let me count the ways. Bargaining: If you won't scratch my back, then how about a piece of the pie? Indoctrination: Because I said so. (And paid for the semantics.)

Predatory capitalism is the control and expropriation of land, labor, and natural resources by a foreign government via coercion, persuasion, bargaining, and indoctrination.

At the coercive stage, we can expect military and/or police intervention to repress the subject populace. The persuasive stage will be marked by clientelism, in which a small percentage of the populace will be rewarded for loyalty, often serving as the capitalists' administrators, tax collectors, and enforcers. At the bargaining stage, efforts will be made to include the populace, or a certain percentage of it, in the country's ruling system, and this is usually marked by steps toward democratic (or, more often, autocratic) governance.

At the fourth stage, the populace is educated by capitalists, such that they continue to maintain a relationship of dependency.

The Predatory Debt Link

In many cases, post-colonial states were forced to assume the debts of their colonizers. And where they did not, they were encouraged to become in debt to the West via loans that were issued through international institutions to ensure they did not fall prey to communism or pursue other economic policies that were inimical to the West. Debt is the tie that binds nation states to the geostrategic and economic interests of the West.

As such, the Cold War era was a time of easy credit, luring postcolonial states to undertake the construction of useless monoliths and monuments, and to even expropriate such loans through corruption and despotism, thereby making these independent rulers as predatory as colonizers. While some countries were wiser than others and did use the funds for infrastructural improvements, these were also things that benefited the West and particularly Western contractors. In his controversial work Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins reveals that he was a consultant for an American firm (MAIN), whose job was to ensure that states became indebted beyond their means so they would remain loyal to their creditors, buying them votes within United Nations organizations, among other things.

Predatory capitalists demand export-orientations as the means to generate foreign currency with which to pay back debt. In the process, the state must privatize and drastically slash or eliminate any domestic subsidies which are aimed at helping native industry compete in the marketplace. Domestic consumption and imports must be radically contained, as shown by the exchange rate policies recommended by the IMF. The costs of obtaining domestic capital will be pushed beyond the reach of most native producers, while wages must be depressed to an absolute bare minimum. In short, the country's land, labor, and natural resources must be sold at bargain basement prices in order to make these goods competitive, in what one author has called "a spiraling race to the bottom," as countries producing predominantly the same goods engage in cutthroat competition whose benefactor is the West.

Under these circumstances, foreign investment is encouraged, but this, too, represents a loaded situation for countries that open their markets to financial liberalization.

[Sep 22, 2020] Americans had talent in diplomacy but they've lost it, Russian FM Lavrov says, as US triggers 'null and void' Iran sanctions -- RT Russia Former Soviet Union

Sep 22, 2020 | www.rt.com

US diplomacy is turning into the not-so-subtle art of making demands and ultimatums, Sergey Lavrov has lamented, as the Americans go it alone in restoring anti-Iran sanctions under a 2015 deal that no longer legally applies.

Washington's reasoning behind bringing back the UN sanctions against Iran looks "funny," as the majority of UN Security Council members – 13 out of 15 – do not support activating the 'snapback' mechanism, the Russian Foreign Minister said, in an exclusive interview with the Al Arabiya news channel.

The council "clearly stated that there is no legal position or moral reasons for anything close to the snapback and all the statements to the contrary are null and void," he reminded his audience. The 'snapback' issue leaves Washington at loggerheads with even its closest allies.

ALSO ON RT.COM US faces 'more' isolation after 'null & void' move to unilaterally reimpose UN sanctions, Tehran warns

Earlier on Sunday, the three European signatories to the Iran deal – Germany, France and the UK – stated the return of the sanctions will have no legal effect whatsoever.

However, the Trump administration continues to insist Washington now has the authority to target any country breaching the "re-imposed" sanctions. For Lavrov, this is telling, in terms of understanding the quality of US diplomacy.

The Americans lost any talent in diplomacy, unfortunately; they used to have excellent experts, [but] now what they're doing in foreign policy is to put a demand on the table, whether they're discussing Iran or anything else.

If their counterpart disagrees and refuses to toe the line, "they put an ultimatum, they give a deadline and then they impose sanctions, then they make the sanctions extra-territorial." Regrettably, the European Union also "is engaging in the same tricks more and more," Lavrov noted.

On Saturday, Washington moved to bring back sweeping UN sanctions against Tehran, insisting it was acting within its own right to do so as an original party to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 pact Iran sealed with major world powers. The US left the deal in 2018 following a decision by President Donald Trump.

ALSO ON RT.COM 'We've been through this in the Skripal case': West's Navalny poisoning claims driven by 'sanctions itch', Sergey Lavrov says

"I can only remind them that they should respect the hierarchy of the American administration, because their boss, President Trump, has personally signed an official decree withdrawing the United States from the JCPOA," Lavrov added sarcastically.

Sanctions aside, Washington is also busy trying to prevent the lifting of the UN arms embargo on Iran, set to expire on October 18. This endeavor doesn't make much sense either, the Russian minister commented. "There is no such thing as an arms embargo against Iran," he clarified. The UN Security Council reiterated the embargo will end on that date, and "there would be no limitations whatsoever after the expiration of this timeframe."

[Sep 22, 2020] Why Do Americans Give Away So Much Control to Corporations by RALPH NADER

Neoliberalism is about redistribution of wealth up -- that's why. And the state under neoliberalism ensured this with the tax policy, wreaked anti-monopoly laws, deregulation, offshoring and other means
At the same time due to the Iron law of oligarchy organized minority (oligarchs) will always control unorganized majority ("despicables") so chances to reverse the neoliberal transformation of the society which was the result of Neoliberal Counterrevolutions of 1980th, currently are slim. Only some earthquake like evens, for example, another oil crisis or the loss by the dollar of the status of reserve currency might change that.
Sep 21, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

The American people own most of the wealth – private and public – and most of the information in the country. The top one percent do not.

The American people have most of the power in the country. The top one percent do not.

These assertions may surprise you, because the top one percent and the giant corporations work overtime to control what you own . This means they do not have to seize what you own so long as their control provides them with both riches and power over you.

Let's spell this out with specifics. Our Constitution starts with the words, "We the People "; it doesn't start with 'we the corporations' or 'we the Congress' or 'we the super-rich.' The sovereign authority under the Constitution is us ; we the people are the bosses. But we give our power away to the Big Boys who run the big companies that control most of our elected politicians. The politicians in turn proceed to corrupt our elections with campaign money, gerrymandering, deceitful ads, voter obstructions, and a totally dominant two-party duopoly. This corporate state destroys competitive democracy which would give our votes meaning, choices, and effectiveness.

Shouldn't we be discussing why, when we own the vast federal public land, one-third of America – and the vast public airwaves, do we give control of these resources to corporations every day of the year to profit from at our expense? We give the television and radio stations, that block our voices, free control and use of the airwaves, 24/7. We receive very little in royalties from the energy, mining, timber, and grazing companies extracting huge wealth from our federal lands.

We send our tax dollars to Washington, D.C., and the federal government gives trillions of these dollars to companies in the form of subsidies and bailouts.

Trillions of dollars are devoted to government research and development (R&D), which has built or expanded private companies. These include such industries as aerospace, pharmaceuticals, military weapons, computers, internet, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and containerization.

Our taxpayer-funded R&D is essentially given away free to these for-profit businesses. We the People receive no royalties nor profit-sharing returns on these public investments. Worse, we pay gouging prices for drugs and other products developed with our tax dollars.

We have trillions of dollars in savings and retirement money placed in giant mutual and pension funds. The managers of these institutions make big profits by investing your money in the stock and bond markets. If you controlled these trillions of dollars in stocks and bonds that you own, that is if there was real shareholder and bondholder power, you would control the ownership of all the big companies and turn the tables on the Big Bosses. Polls show a big majority of people think Big Business has too much power and control over us. Nonetheless, we regularly give these plutocrats control over what we own.

We own our personal information. Yet, we give it totally free to the likes of Facebook, Google, Instagram, and YouTube, etc. so they can make trillions of dollars selling data on what we buy, what we like, what we think, and what we're addicted to in the marketplace. The advertisers then pester us 24/7 and even betray our trust. Imagine Alexa eavesdropping in our homes and businesses. High-tech companies should not be privy to our personal information.

Unfortunately, giving companies our personal information, from which they profit immensely and gouge and penalize us profusely, started long ago. The moment we took out credit cards, for example, we began to lose control of our money and our privacy. With the internet, companies are generating new payment-system controls, with their dictatorial fine-print agreements and never-ending additional surcharges, driven by their greedy overreaches.

People spend lots of time just trying to get through to these companies for refunds, adjustments, corrections, and simple answers to their questions.

Why have we handed over the enormous assets we own to this expanding corporate state? Why have we surrendered to statism or corporate socialism? The corporate "Borg" is sucking the ready availability of the good life, decent, secure livelihoods assured by our collective self-reliance, and the freedom to shape our future out of our political economy.

Why are we allowing the United States – this rich land of ours – to have so many impoverished, powerless people, dominated by the few? With ever greater concentration or powers under corrupt Trumpism and its corporate supremacists, control of our lives is getting worse.

It starts with us being indoctrinated into being powerless (civic skills and practice are not taught in schools). This leads to the people not taking control of Congress (only 535 of them). We are allowing elections and debates to ignore raising these basic democratic issues of who owns what and who should control our commonwealth.

David Bollier and his colleagues are working to have adults and students learn about the commons – owned by all of us – and the few examples of people sharing in our commonwealth. Through the Alaska Permanent Fund, every Alaskan gets about $2000 a year from the royalties' oil companies pay for taking the people's oil from that state.

If you're interested in reading further about the "commons" we own but do not control go to bollier.org and breakingthroughpower.org . It's in our hands!

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!

[Sep 21, 2020] Pompous Pompeo continues his antics: Pompeo mocked for saying 'no other state' can block MULTILATERAL sanctions US wants to impose on Iran despite UNSC pushback

Sanctions will cost money not only to Iran, but to the USA too.
Sep 21, 2020 | www.rt.com

"If at any time the United States believes Iran has failed to meet its commitments, no other state can block our ability to snap back those multilateral sanctions," Pompeo declared in a statement posted on his official Twitter account on Sunday evening.

The top US diplomat was referring to the avalanche of sanctions Washington has been hellbent on slapping on Tehran after the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) overwhelmingly rejected the US resolution to extend a 13-year arms embargo against the Islamic Republic past October earlier this week.

The humiliating defeat , which saw only one member of the 15-nation body (the Dominican Republic) siding with the US, while China and Russia opposed the resolution, and all other nations, including France and the UK, abstained, did not discourage Washington, which doubled down on its threat to hit Iran with biting sanctions.

... ... ...

"Of course other states can block America's ability to impose multilateral sanctions. The US can impose sanctions by itself, but can't force others to do it," Nicholas Grossman, teaching assistant professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Illinois, tweeted.

"That's what 'multilateral' means. Is our SecState really this dumb?" Grossman asked.

Daniel Larison, senior editor at the American Conservative, suggested that Pompeo might be having a hard time grasping the meaning of the word 'multilateral'.

Some argued that Pompeo could not be unaware of the contradictory nature of his statement. Dan Murphy, former Middle East and South Asia correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, called it "one of the most diplomatically illiterate sentences of all time."

"I guess the end game here is [to] alienate the rest of the world even further to feed his persecution complex?" Murphy wrote.

John Twomey, 16 August, 2020

Explanation. What Pompeo understands and what many others can't grasp is that the US decides if their sanctions are "multilateral" because the USA speaks for all other countries whether they like it or not.

My Opinion, 17 August, 2020

Reminiscing of his shady past as a new CIA recruit he said. "We lied, we cheated and we stole". Apparently, Mikey didn't do all too well in his literature classes, either and that's why the most suitable candidate from zionists perspective.

[Sep 19, 2020] How Silicon Valley Broke the Economy by Adrian Chen

The review of the book
Oct 14, 2019 | www.thenation.com

THE CODE: SILICON VALLEY AND THE REMAKING OF AMERICA By Margaret O'Mara

Buy this book

The Apple Bill passed the House overwhelmingly but then died in the Senate after a bureaucratic snafu for which Jobs forever blamed Republican Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, then chair of the Finance Committee. Yet all was not lost: A similar bill passed in California, and Apple flooded its home state with almost 10,000 computers. Apple's success in California gave it a leg up in the lucrative education market as states around the country began to computerize their classrooms. But education was not radically transformed, unless you count a spike in The Oregon Trail –related deaths from dysentery. If anything, those who have studied the rapid introduction of computers into classrooms in the 1980s and '90s tend to conclude that it exacerbated inequities. Elite students and schools zoomed smoothly into cyberspace, while poorer schools fell further behind, bogged down by a lack of training and resources.

A young, charismatic geek hawks his wares using bold promises of social progress but actually makes things worse and gets extremely rich in the process -- today it is easy to see the story of the Apple Bill as a stand-in for the history of the digital revolution as a whole. The growing concern about the role that technology plays in our lives and society is fueled in no small part by a growing realization that we have been duped. We were told that computerizing everything would lead to greater prosperity, personal empowerment, collective understanding, even the ability to transcend the limits of the physical realm and create a big, beautiful global brain made out of electrons. Instead, our extreme dependence on technology seems to have mainly enriched and empowered a handful of tech companies at the expense of everyone else. The panic over Facebook's impact on democracy sparked by Donald Trump's election in a haze of fake news and Russian bots felt like the national version of the personal anxiety that seizes many of us when we find ourselves snapping away from our phone for what seems like the 1,000th time in an hour and contemplating how our lives are being stolen by a screen. We are stuck in a really bad system.

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This realization has led to a justifiable anger and derision aimed at the architects of this system. Silicon Valley executives and engineers are taken to task every week in the op-ed pages of our largest newspapers. We are told that their irresponsibility and greed have undermined our freedom and degraded our democratic institutions. While it is gratifying to see tech billionaires get a (very small) portion of their comeuppance, we often forget that until very recently, Silicon Valley was hailed by almost everyone as creating the path toward a brilliant future. Perhaps we should pause and contemplate how this situation came to be, lest we make the same mistakes again. The story of how Silicon Valley ended up at the center of the American dream in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, as well as the ambiguous reality behind its own techno-​utopian dreams, is the subject of Margaret O'Mara's sweeping new history, The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America . In it, she puts Silicon Valley into the context of a larger story about postwar America's economic and social transformations, highlighting its connections with the mainstream rather than the cultural quirks and business practices that set it apart. The Code urges us to consider Silicon Valley's shortcomings as America's shortcomings, even if it fails to interrogate them as deeply as our current crisis -- and the role that technology played in bringing it about -- seems to warrant.

S ilicon Valley entered the public consciousness in the 1970s as something of a charmed place. The first recorded mention of Silicon Valley was in a 1971 article by a writer for a technology newspaper reporting on the region's semiconductor industry, which was booming despite the economic doldrums that had descended on most of the country. As the Rust Belt foundered and Detroit crumbled, Silicon Valley soared to heights barely conveyed by the metrics that O'Mara rattles off in the opening pages of The Code : "Three billion smartphones. Two billion social media users. Two trillion-dollar companies" and "the richest people in the history of humanity." Many people have attempted to divine the secret of Silicon Valley's success. The consensus became that the Valley had pioneered a form of quicksilver entrepreneurialism perfectly suited to the Information Age. It was fast, flexible, meritocratic, and open to new ways of doing things. It allowed brilliant young people to turn crazy ideas into world-changing companies practically overnight. Silicon Valley came to represent the innovative power of capitalism freed from the clutches of uptight men in midcentury business suits, bestowed upon the masses by a new, appealing folk hero: the cherub-faced start-up founder hacking away in his dorm room.

The Code both bolsters and revises this story. On the one hand, O'Mara, a historian at the University of Washington, is clearly enamored with tales of entrepreneurial derring-do. From the "traitorous eight" who broke dramatically from the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in 1957 to start Fairchild Semiconductor and create the modern silicon transistor to the well-documented story of Facebook's founding, the major milestones of Silicon Valley history are told in heroic terms that can seem gratingly out of touch, given what we know about how it all turned out. In her portrayal of Silicon Valley's tech titans, O'Mara emphasizes virtuous qualities like determination, ingenuity, and humanistic concern, while hints of darker motives are studiously ignored. We learn that a "visionary and relentless" Jeff Bezos continued to drive a beat-up Honda Accord even as he became a billionaire, but his reported remark to an Amazon sales team that they ought to treat small publishers the way a lion treats a sickly gazelle is apparently not deemed worthy of the historical record. But at the same time, O'Mara helps us understand why Silicon Valley's economic dominance can't be chalked up solely to the grit and smarts of entrepreneurs battling it out in the free market. At every stage of its development, she shows how the booming tech industry was aided and abetted by a wide swath of American society both inside and outside the Valley. Marketing gurus shaped the tech companies' images, educators evangelized for technology in schools, best-selling futurists preached personalized tech as a means toward personal liberation. What emerges in The Code is less the story of a tribe of misfits working against the grain than the simultaneous alignment of the country's political, cultural, and technical elites around the view that Silicon Valley held the key to the future.

Above all, O'Mara highlights the profound role that the US government played in Silicon Valley's rise. At the end of World War II, the region was still the sleepy, sun-drenched Santa Clara Valley, home to farms and orchards, an upstart Stanford University, and a scattering of small electronics and aerospace firms. Then came the space and arms races, given new urgency in 1957 with the launch of Sputnik, which suggested a serious Soviet advantage. Millions of dollars in government funding flooded technology companies and universities around the country. An outsize portion went to Northern California's burgeoning tech industry, thanks in large part to Stanford's far-sighted provost Frederick Terman, who reshaped the university into a hub for engineering and the applied sciences.

Stanford and the surrounding area became a hive of government R&D during these years, as IBM and Lockheed Martin opened local outposts and the first native start-ups hit the ground. While these early companies relied on what O'Mara calls the Valley's "ecosystem" of fresh-faced engineers seeking freedom and sunshine in California, venture capitalists sniffing out a profitable new industry, and lawyers, construction companies, and real estate agents jumping to serve their somewhat quirky ways, she makes it clear that the lifeblood pumping through it all was government money. Fairchild Semiconductor's biggest clients for its new silicon chips were NASA, which put them in the Apollo rockets, and the Defense Department, which stuck them in Minuteman nuclear missiles. The brains of all of today's devices have their origin in the United States' drive to defeat the Soviet Union in the Cold War.

But the role of public funding in the creation of Silicon Valley is not the big government success story a good liberal might be tempted to consider it. As O'Mara points out, during the Cold War American leaders deliberately pushed public funds to private industry rather than government programs because they thought the market was the best way to spur technological progress while avoiding the specter of centralized planning, which had come to smack of communist tyranny. In the years that followed, this belief in the market as the means to achieve the goals of liberal democracy spread to nearly every aspect of life and society, from public education and health care to social justice, solidifying into the creed we now call neoliberalism. As the role of the state was eclipsed by the market, Silicon Valley -- full of brilliant entrepreneurs devising technologies that promised to revolutionize everything they touched -- was well positioned to step into the void.

The earliest start-up founders hardly seemed eager to assume the mantle of social visionary that their successors, today's flashy celebrity technologists, happily take up. They were buttoned-down engineers who reflected the cool practicality of their major government and corporate clients. As the 1960s wore on, they were increasingly out of touch. Amid the tumult of the civil rights movement and the protests against the Vietnam War, the major concern in Silicon Valley's manicured technology parks was a Johnson-era drop in military spending. The relatively few techies who were political at the time were conservative.

Things started to change in the 1970s. The '60s made a belated arrival in the Valley as a younger generation of geeks steeped in countercultural values began to apply them to the development of computer technology. The weight of Silicon Valley's culture shifted from the conservative suits to long-haired techno-utopians with dreams of radically reorganizing society through technology.

This shift was perhaps best embodied by Lee Felsenstein, a former self-described "child radical" who cut his teeth running communications operations for anti-war and civil rights protests before going on to develop the Tom Swift Terminal, one of the earliest personal computers.

Felsenstein believed that giving everyday people access to computers could liberate them from the crushing hierarchy of modern industrial society by breaking the monopoly on information held by corporations and government bureaucracies. "To change the rules, change the tools," he liked to say.

Whereas Silicon Valley had traditionally developed tools for the Man, these techies wanted to make tools to undermine him. They created a loose-knit network of hobbyist groups, drop-in computer centers, and DIY publications to share knowledge and work toward the ideal of personal liberation through technology. Their dreams seemed increasingly achievable as computers shrank from massive, room-filling mainframes to the smaller-room-filling minicomputers to, finally, in 1975, the first commercially viable personal computer, the Altair.

Yet as O'Mara shows, the techno-utopians did not ultimately constitute such a radical break from the past. While their calls to democratize computing may have echoed Marxist cries to seize the means of production, most were capitalists at heart. To advance the personal computer "revolution," they founded start-ups, trade magazines, and business forums, relying on funding from venture capital funds often with roots in the old money elite. Jobs became the most celebrated entrepreneur of the era by embodying the discordant figures of both the cowboy capitalist and the touchy-feely hippie, an image crafted in large part by the marketing guru Regis McKenna. Silicon Valley soon became an industry that looked a lot like those that had come before. It was nearly as white and male as they were. Its engineers worked soul-crushing hours and blew off steam with boozy pool parties. And its most successful company, Microsoft, clawed its way to the top through ruthless monopolistic tactics.

Perhaps the strongest case against the supposed subversiveness of the personal computer pioneers is how quickly they were embraced by those in power. As profits rose and spectacular IPOs seized headlines throughout the 1980s, Silicon Valley was championed by the rising stars of supply-side economics, who hitched their drive for tax cuts and deregulation to tech's venture-capital-fueled rocket ship. The groundwork was laid in 1978, when the Valley's venture capitalists formed an alliance with the Republicans to kill then-President Jimmy Carter's proposed increase in the capital gains tax. They beta-​tested Reaganomics by advancing the dubious argument that millionaires' making slightly less money on their investments might stifle technological innovation by limiting the supply of capital available to start-ups. And they carried the day.

As president, Ronald Reagan doubled down with tax cuts and wild technophilia. In a truly trippy speech to students at Moscow State University in 1988, he hailed the transcendent possibilities of the new economy epitomized by Silicon Valley, predicting a future in which "human innovation increasingly makes physical resources obsolete." Meanwhile, the market-friendly New Democrats embraced the tech industry so enthusiastically that they became known, to their chagrin, as Atari Democrats. The media turned Silicon Valley entrepreneurs into international celebrities with flattering profiles and cover stories -- living proof that the mix of technological innovation, risk taking, corporate social responsibility, and lack of regulation that defined Silicon Valley in the popular imagination was the template for unending growth and prosperity, even in an era of deindustrialization and globalization.

T he near-universal celebration of Silicon Valley as an avatar of free-market capitalism in the 1980s helped ensure that the market would guide the Internet's development in the 1990s, as it became the cutting-edge technology that promised to change everything. The Internet began as an academic resource, first as ARPANET, funded and overseen by the Department of Defense, and later as the National Science Foundation's NSFNET. And while Al Gore didn't invent the Internet, he did spearhead the push to privatize it: As the Clinton administration's "technology czar," he helped develop its landmark National Information Infrastructure (NII) plan, which emphasized the role of private industry and the importance of telecommunications deregulation in constructing America's "information superhighway." Not surprisingly, Gore would later do a little-known turn as a venture capitalist with the prestigious Valley firm Kleiner Perkins, becoming very wealthy in the process. In response to his NII plan, the advocacy group Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility warned of a possible corporate takeover of the Internet. "An imaginative view of the risks of an NII designed without sufficient attention to public-interest needs can be found in the modern genre of dystopian fiction known as 'cyberpunk,'" they wrote. "Cyberpunk novelists depict a world in which a handful of multinational corporations have seized control, not only of the physical world, but of the virtual world of cyberspace." Who can deny that today's commercial Internet has largely fulfilled this cyberpunk nightmare? Someone should ask Gore what he thinks.

Despite offering evidence to the contrary, O'Mara narrates her tale of Silicon Valley's rise as, ultimately, a success story. At the end of the book, we see it as the envy of other states around the country and other countries around the world, an "exuberantly capitalist, slightly anarchic tech ecosystem that had evolved over several generations." Throughout the book, she highlights the many issues that have sparked increasing public consternation with Big Tech of late, from its lack of diversity to its stupendous concentration of wealth, but these are framed in the end as unfortunate side effects of the headlong rush to create a new and brilliant future. She hardly mentions the revelations by the National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden of the US government's chilling capacity to siphon users' most intimate information from Silicon Valley's platforms and the voraciousness with which it has done so. Nor does she grapple with Uber, which built its multibillion-dollar leviathan on the backs of meagerly paid drivers. The fact that in order to carry out almost anything online we must subject ourselves to a hypercommodified hellscape of targeted advertising and algorithmic sorting does not appear to be a huge cause for concern. But these and many other aspects of our digital landscape have made me wonder if a technical complex born out of Cold War militarism and mainstreamed in a free-market frenzy might not be fundamentally always at odds with human flourishing. O'Mara suggests at the end of her book that Silicon Valley's flaws might be redeemed by a new, more enlightened, and more diverse generation of techies. But haven't we heard this story before?

If there is a larger lesson to learn from The Code , it is that technology cannot be separated from the social and political contexts in which it is created. The major currents in society shape and guide the creation of a system that appears to spring from the minds of its inventors alone. Militarism and unbridled capitalism remain among the most powerful forces in the United States, and to my mind, there is no reason to believe that a new generation of techies might resist them any more effectively than the previous ones. The question of fixing Silicon Valley is inseparable from the question of fixing the system of postwar American capitalism, of which it is perhaps the purest expression. Some believe that the problems we see are bugs that might be fixed with a patch. Others think the code is so bad at its core that a radical rewrite is the only answer. Although The Code was written for people in the first group, it offers an important lesson for those of us in the second: Silicon Valley is as much a symptom as it is a cause of our current crisis. Resisting its bad influence on society will ultimately prove meaningless if we cannot also formulate a vision of a better world -- one with a more humane relationship to technology -- to counteract it. And, alas, there is no app for that.

Adrian Chen Adrian Chen is a freelance writer. He is working on a book about Internet culture.

[Sep 19, 2020] Technocracy support of BLM and riots

Technocracy is a part of the neoliberal elite and they are interested in continuation of globalization. As such they are fierce opponents of Trump "national neoliberalism" project. Nothing personal, strictly business.
Sep 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Doc McGee , 34 minutes ago

A list of some companies too stupid to care about truth or justice.

22 COMPANIES THAT SUPPORT #BLACKLIVESMATTER

[Sep 14, 2020] Is Biden an old-school right-wing Democrat war criminal.

Sep 14, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

booboo , 6 hours ago

"The Past is Prologue

It is September 2020. Americans are focused on an election between an Orange Fascist criminal and an old-school right-wing Democrat war criminal. Where Donald Trump projects chaos and disorder, Biden projects stability, order, and a return to normalcy. If Trump is the virus, then surely Biden is the cure"

so this *** clown spends 5000 words on the criminal operation in Libya under Obama/Biden/Clinton which leave the country in utter chaos and this is his money shot? Orange man bad fascist, old school democrat War Criminal normal.

what a load of tripe

Ace006 , 5 hours ago

A+. He provides much needed clarity and perspective on the Libyan tragedy and then crashes into the usual delusional, leftist landfill of fascism, murder of black youth, BLM (all hail), and Biden as, so help me, some kind of a cure for anything.

... ... ...

[Sep 14, 2020] The Plot Against Libya- An Obama-Biden-Clinton Criminal Conspiracy -

Sep 14, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

The Plot Against Libya: An Obama-Biden-Clinton Criminal Conspiracy


by Tyler Durden Fri, 09/11/2020 - 23:40 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Eric Draitser via Counterpunch.org,

The scorching desert sun streams through narrow slats in the tiny window. A mouse scurries across the cracked concrete floor, the scuttling of its tiny feet drowned out by the sound of distant voices speaking in Arabic. Their chatter is in a western Libyan dialect distinctive from the eastern dialect favored in Benghazi. Somewhere off in the distance, beyond the shimmering desert horizon, is Tripoli, the jewel of Africa now reduced to perpetual war.

But here, in this cell in a dank old warehouse in Bani Walid, there are no smugglers, no rapists, no thieves or murderers. There are simply Africans captured by traffickers as they made their way from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Eritrea, or other disparate parts of the continent seeking a life free of war and poverty, the rotten fruit of Anglo-American and European colonialism. The cattle brands on their faces tell a story more tragic than anything produced by Hollywood.

These are slaves: human beings bought and sold for their labor. Some are bound for construction sites while others for the fields. All face the certainty of forced servitude, a waking nightmare that has become their daily reality.

This is Libya, the real Libya. The Libya that has been constructed from the ashes of the US-NATO war that deposed Muammar Gaddafi and the government of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. The Libya now fractured into warring factions, each backed by a variety of international actors whose interest in the country is anything but humanitarian.

But this Libya was built not by Donald Trump and his gang of degenerate fascist ghouls. No, it was the great humanitarian Barack Obama, along with Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Susan Rice, Samantha Power and their harmonious peace circle of liberal interventionists who wrought this devastation. With bright-eyed speeches about freedom and self-determination, the First Black President, along with his NATO comrades in France and Britain, unleashed the dogs of war on an African nation seen by much of the world as a paragon of economic and social development.

But this is no mere journalistic exercise to document just one of the innumerable crimes carried out in the name of the American people. No, this is us, the antiwar left in the United States, peering through the cracks in the imperial artifice – crumbling as it is from internal rot and political decay – to shine a light through the gloom named Trump and directly into the heart of darkness.

There are truths that must be made plain lest they be buried like so many bodies in the desert sand.

The War on Libya: A Criminal Conspiracy

me title=

To understand the depth of criminality involved in the US-NATO war on Libya, we must unravel a complex story involving actors from both the US and Europe who quite literally conspired to bring about this war, while simultaneously exposing the unconstitutional, imperial presidency as embodied by Mr. Hope and Change himself.

In doing so, a picture emerges that is strikingly at odds with the dominant narrative about good intentions and bad dictators. For although Gaddafi was presented as the villain par excellence in this story told by the Empire's scribes in corporate media, it is in fact Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, former French President Nicholas Sarkozy, French philosopher-cum-neocolonial adventurist Bernard Henri-Levy, and former UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who are the real malevolent forces. It was they, not Gaddafi, who waged a blatantly illegal war on false pretenses and for their own aggrandizement. It was they, not Gaddafi, who conspired to plunge Libya into chaos and civil war from which it is yet to emerge. It was they who beat the war drums while proclaiming peace on earth and good will to men.

The US-NATO war on Libya represents perhaps one of the most egregious examples of US military aggression and lawlessness in recent memory. Of course, the US didn't act alone as a wide cast of characters played a role as the French and British were keen to involve themselves in the reassertion of control over a once lucrative African asset torn from European control by the evil Gaddafi. And this, only a few years after former UK Prime Minister and Iraq war criminal Tony Blair met with Gaddafi to usher in a new era of openness and partnership.

The story begins with Bernard Henri-Lévy, the French philosopher, journalist, and amateur foreign service officer who fancied himself an international spy. Having failed to arrive in Egypt in time to buttress his ego by capitalizing on the uprising against former dictator Hosni Mubarak, he quickly shifted his attention to Libya, where an uprising in the anti-Gaddafi hotbed of Benghazi was underway. As Le Figaro chronicled , Henri-Levy managed to talk his way into a meeting with then head of the National Transition Council (TNC) Mustapha Abdeljalil, a former Gaddafi official who became head of the anti-Gaddafi TNC. But Henri-Levy wasn't there just for an interview to be published in his French paper, he was there to help overthrow Gaddafi and, in so doing, make himself into an international star.

Henri-Levy quickly pressed his contacts and got on the phone with French President Nicholas Sarkozy to ask him, rather bluntly, if he'd agree to meet with Abdeljalil and the leadership of the TNC. Just a few days later, Henri-Levy and his colleagues arrived at the Élysée Palace with TNC leadership at their side. To the utter shock of the Libyans present, Sarkozy tells them that he plans to recognize the TNC as the legitimate government of Libya. Henri-Levy and Sarkozy have now, at least in theory, deposed the Gaddafi government.

But the little problem of Gaddafi's military victories and the very real possibility that he might emerge victorious from the conflict complicated matters as the French public had become aware of the scheme and was rightly lambasting Sarkozy. Henri-Levy, ever the opportunist, stoked the patriotic fervor by announcing that without French intervention, the tricolor flag flying over five-star hotels in Benghazi would be stained with blood. The PR campaign worked as Sarkozy quickly came around to the idea of military intervention.

However, Henri-Levy had a still more critical role to play: bringing the US military juggernaut into the plot. Henri-Levy organized the first of what would be several high-level talks between US officials from the Obama Administration and the Libyans of the TNC. Most importantly, Henri-Levy set up the meeting between Abdeljalil and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. While Clinton was skeptical at the time of the meeting, it would be a matter of months before she and Joe Biden, along with the likes of Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and others would be planning the political, diplomatic, and military route to regime change in Libya.

The Americans Enter the Fray

There would have been no war in Libya were it not for the US political, diplomatic, and military machine. In this sense, despite the relatively meager US military involvement, the war in Libya was an American war. That is to say, it was a war that could not have happened were it not for the active collaboration of the Obama Administration with its French and British counterparts.

As Jo Becker of the NY Times explained in 2016, Hillary Clinton met with Mahmoud Jibril, a prominent Libyan politician who would go on to become the new Prime Minister of post-Gaddafi Libya, and his associates, in order to assess the faction now garnering US support . Clinton's job, according to Becker, was "to take measure of the rebels we supported" – a fancy way of saying that Clinton attended the meeting to determine whether this group of politicians speaking on behalf of a diverse group of anti-Gaddafi voices (ranging from pro-democracy activists to outright terrorists affiliated with global terror networks) should be supported with US money and covert arms.

The answer, ultimately, was a resounding yes.

But of course, as with all America's warmongering misadventures, there was no consensus on military intervention. As Becker reported, some in the Obama Administration were skeptical of the easy victory and post-conflict political calculus. One prominent voice of dissent, at least according to Becker, was former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Himself no dove, Gates was concerned that Clinton and Biden's hawkish attitude toward Libya would ultimately lead to an Iraq-style political nightmare that would undoubtedly end with the US having created and then abandoned a failed state – exactly what happened.

It is important to note that Clinton and Biden were two of the principal voices for aggression and war. Both were supportive of the No-Fly Zone from early on, and both advocated for military intervention. Indeed, the two have been simpatico in nearly every war crime committed by the US in the last 30 years, including perhaps most egregiously in support of Bush's crime against humanity that we call the second Iraq War.

As former Clinton lackey (Deputy Director of Secretary of State Clinton's Policy Planning staff) Derek Chollet explained, "[Libya] seemed like an easy case." Chollet, a principal participant in the American conspiracy to make war on Libya who later went on to serve directly under Obama and at the National Security Council, inadvertently illustrates in stark relief the imperial arrogance of the Obama-Clinton-Biden liberal interventionist camp. In calling Libya an "easy case" he of course means that Libya was a perfect candidate for a regime change operation whose primary benefit would be to boost politically those who supported it.

Chollet, like many strategic planners at the time, saw Libya as a slam dunk opportunity to turn the demonstrations and uprisings of 2010-2011, which quickly became known as the Arab Spring, into political capital from the Democratic camp of the US ruling class. This rapidly became Clinton's position. And soon, the consensus of the entire Obama Administration.

Obama's War Off the Books

One of the more pernicious myths of the US war on Libya was the notion – propagated dutifully by the defense lobbyists-cum-journalists at major corporate media outlets – that the war was a cheap little war that cost the US almost nothing. There were no American lives lost in the war itself (Benghazi is another mythology to be unraveled later), and very little cost in terms of "treasure", to use that despicable imperialist phrase.

But while the total cost of the war paled in comparison to the monumental-scale crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the means by which it was funded has cost the US far more than dollars; the war on Libya was a criminal and unconstitutional endeavor that has further laid the groundwork for the imperial presidency and unconstrained executive power. As the Washington Post reported at the time:

Noting that Obama had said the mission could be paid for with money already appropriated to the Pentagon, [former House Speaker] Boehner pressed the president on whether supplemental funding would be requested from Congress.

Unforeseen military operations that require expenditures such as those being made for the Libyan effort normally require supplemental appropriations since they are outside the core Pentagon budget. That is why funds for Afghanistan and Iraq are separate from the regular Defense Department budget. The added costs for some of the operations in Libya are minimal But the expenditures for weapons, fuel and lost equipment are something else.

Because the Obama Administration did not seek congressional appropriations to fund the war, there is very little in the way of paper trail to do a proper accounting of the costs of the war. As the cost of each bomb, fighter jet, and logistical support vehicle disappeared into the abyss of Pentagon accounting oblivion, so too did any semblance of constitutional legality. In essence, Obama helped establish a lawless presidency that not only has little respect for constitutionally mandated checks and balances, but completely ignores the rule of law. Indeed, some of the crimes that Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr are guilty of have their direct corollary in the Obama Administration's prosecution of the Libya war.

So where did the money come from and where did it go? It's anybody's guess really, unless you're one of those rubes who likes taking the Pentagon's word for it. As a Pentagon spokesperson told CNN in 2011, "The price tag for U.S. Defense Department operations in Libya as of September 30 [was] $1.1 billion. This included daily military operations, munitions, the drawdown of supplies and humanitarian assistance." However, to illustrate the downright Orwellian impossibility of discerning the truth, Vice President Joe Biden doubled that number when speaking on CNN, suggesting that "NATO alliance worked like it was designed to do, burden-sharing. In total, it cost us $2 billion, no American lives lost."

As is painfully evident, there is no clear way to know how much was spent other than to take the word of those who prosecuted the war. With no congressional oversight, and no clear documentary record, the war on Libya disappears down the memory hole, and with it the idea that there is a separation of powers, Congressional authority to make war, or a functioning Constitution.

America's Dirty War in Libya

While the enduring memory of Libya for most Americans is the political theater that resulted from the attack on the US facility in Benghazi that killed several Americans, including US Ambassador Stevens, it is not nearly the most consequential. Rather, America's use of terrorist groups (and the insurgents who emerged from them) as military proxies may perhaps be the real legacy from a strategic perspective. For while the corporate media presented the narrative of spontaneous protests and uprisings to overthrow Gaddafi, it was in fact a loose network of terror groups that did the dirty work.

While much of this recent history has been buried by bad reporting, establishment mythmaking, and conspiracist muddying of the truth, it was surprisingly well reported at the time. For example, as the New York Times wrote of one of the primary US-backed forces on the ground during the war in 2011:

"The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group was formed in 1995 with the goal of ousting Colonel Qaddafi. Driven into the mountains or exile by Libyan security forces, the group's members were among the first to join the fight against Qaddafi security forces Officially the fighting group does not exist any longer, but the former members are fighting largely under the leadership of Abu Abdullah Sadik [aka Abdelhakim Belhadj]."

Even at the time, there was considerable unease among Washington's strategic planners that the Obama Adminstration's embrace of a terror group with known links to al-Qaeda could prove to be a major blunder. "American, European and Arab intelligence services acknowledge that they are worried about the influence that the former group's members might exert over Libya after Colonel Qaddafi is gone, and they are trying to assess their influence and any lingering links to Al Qaeda," the Times noted.

Of course, those in the know at the various US intelligence agencies already had a pretty good sense of who they were backing, or at least the elements likely to be involved in any US operation. Specifically, the US knew that the areas from which it was drawing anti-Gaddafi opposition forces was a hotbed of criminal and terrorist activity.

In a 2007 study entitled "Al-Qa'ida's Foreign Fighters in Iraq: A First Look at the Sinjar Records" which examined the origins of various criminal and terrorist groups active in Iraq, the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy at West Point concluded that:

"Almost 19 percent of the fighters in the Sinjar Records came from Libya alone. Furthermore, Libya contributed far more fighters per capita than any other nationality in the Sinjar Records, including Saudi Arabia The apparent surge in Libyan recruits traveling to Iraq may be linked with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group's (LIFG) increasingly cooperative relationship with al-Qa'ida which culminated in the LIFG officially joining al-Qa'ida on November 3, 2007 The most common cities that the fighters called home were Darnah [Derna], Libya and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with 52 and 51 fighters respectively. Darnah [Derna] with a population just over 80,000 compared to Riyadh's 4.3 million, has far and away the largest per capita number of fighters in the Sinjar records."

It was known at the time that the majority of the anti-Gaddafi forces hailed from the region including Derna, Benghazi, and Tobruk – the "Eastern Libya" so often referred to as anti-Gaddafi – and that the likelihood that al-Qaeda and other terror groups were among the ranks of the US recruits was very high. Nevertheless, they persisted.

Take the case of the February 17 Martyrs Brigade, charged by the US with guarding the CIA facility in Benghazi at which Ambassador Stevens was murdered. As the Los Angeles Times reported in 2012:

"Over the last year, while assigned by their militia to help protect the U.S. mission in Benghazi, the pair had been drilled by American security personnel in using their weapons, securing entrances, climbing walls and waging hand-to-hand combat The militiamen flatly deny supporting the assailants but acknowledge that their large, government-allied force, known as the Feb. 17 Martyrs Brigade, could include anti-American elements The Feb. 17 brigade is regarded as one of the more capable militias in eastern Libya."

But it wasn't just LIFG and al-Qaeda affiliated criminal groups entering the fray thanks to Washington rolling out the blood-stained red carpet.

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A longtime asset of the US, General Khalifa Hifter and his so-called Libyan National Army have been on the ground in Libya since 2011, and have emerged as one of the primary forces vying for power in post-war Libya. Hifter has a long and sordid history working for the CIA in its attempts to overthrow Gaddafi in the 1980s before being resettled conveniently near Langley, Virginia. As the New York Times reported in 1991:

The secret paramilitary operation, set in motion in the final months of the Reagan Administration, provided military aid and training to about 600 Libyan soldiers who were among those captured during border fighting between Libya and Chad in 1988 They were trained by American intelligence officials in sabotage and other guerrilla skills, officials said, at a base near Ndjamena, the Chadian capital. The plan to use the exiles fit neatly into the Reagan Administration's eagerness to topple Colonel Qaddafi.

Hifter, leader of these failed efforts, became known as the CIA's "Libya point man," having taken part in numerous regime change efforts, including the aborted attempt to overthrow Gaddafi in 1996. So, his arrival in 2011 at the height of the uprising signaled an escalation of the conflict from an armed uprising to an international operation. Whether Hifter was directly working with US intelligence or simply complimenting US efforts by continuing his decades-long personal war against Gaddafi is somewhat irrelevant. What matters is that Hifter and the Libyan National Army, like LIFG and other groups, became part of the broader destabilization effort which successfully toppled Gaddafi and created the chaotic hellscape that is modern Libya.

Such is the legacy of the US dirty war on Libya.

The Past is Prologue

It is September 2020. Americans are focused on an election between an Orange Fascist criminal and an old-school right-wing Democrat war criminal. Where Donald Trump projects chaos and disorder, Biden projects stability, order, and a return to normalcy. If Trump is the virus, then surely Biden is the cure.

It is September 2020. Libya prepares to enter its eighth year of civil war. Slave markets like the one in Bani Walid are as common as youth literacy centers were in Gaddafi's Libya. Armed gangs and militias wield power even in areas nominally under government control. A warlord regroups in the East as he looks to Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates for support.

It is September 2020 and the US-NATO war on Libya has faded to a distant memory as other issues like Black Lives Matter and police murder of Black youth have captured the public imagination and discourse.

But these issues are, in fact, united by the bond of white supremacy and anti-Blackness. The Libya once known as the "Jewel of Africa," a country that provided refuge for many sub-Saharan African migrant workers while maintaining independence from the US and the former colonial powers of Europe, is no more. In its place is a failed state that now reflects the kind of vicious anti-Black racism forcefully suppressed by the Gaddafi government.

Libya as the global exemplar of the exploitation and disposability of the black body.

Squint a little and you can see President Joe Biden getting the old band back together. Hillary Clinton welcomed into the Oval Office as an influential voice, someone to give words to the demented thoughts of the living corpse serving as Commander-in-Chief. Derek Chollet and Ben Rhodes laughing together as they buy another round at their favorite DC hangout, toasting to the re-establishment of order in Washington. Barack Obama as the éminence grise behind the political resurgence of the liberal-conservative dominant structure.

But in Libya, there is no going back, no fixing the past to escape the present.

Perhaps the same might be true of the United States.

AVmaster , 13 hours ago

Number of wars the boy king and his minions started: 6, that we know of: Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.

(Not withstanding the proxy wars during the "muslim spring" like in egypt)

Number of wars Trump has started: 0

This is NOT including the ongoing wars that trump inherited but has dialed back somewhat, like reduced troop presence in iraq/afghan.

fucking truth , 12 hours ago

Trump hasn't started any but he still feeds the beast, hopefully his next four will see a correction to this behaviour,one can only hope.

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GreatUncle , 3 hours ago

Has no choice.

The economic reality is the MIC is a big part of the US domestic economy.

Shut that down and you would go into a full blown depression.

If you build bullets, missile, bombs, F35's etc. they have to be used or you have to start scrapping them.

The issue though is not the MIC as such but the lack of any moral integrity and disregard for human life by those mentioned in the article. Once the country was put into this position by them it is much more difficult to extract.

Now I think those in the article should be prosecuted for not going to Congress to declare a war and fund it correctly as this is supposed to be the check and balance of a rogue president.

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Bollixed , 2 hours ago

Regarding the MIC, many of those companies consist of manufacturing entities comprised of engineers, factory infrastructure and logistics infrastructure funded by government spending that could realistically be 'retooled' to produce things that could benefit society instead of piss money away on the tools of destruction. America is in need of a massive infrastructure overhaul from our electric grid to our transportation modes to name just two. Nothing is preventing those MIC giants from refocusing their efforts toward a better America versus the current focus they are paid to undertake. It's a matter of priorities and right now I find their priorities misplaced and vulgar.

The money is available at their current funding rates, the manpower and brain power is there, what is lacking is the will to turn the ship around and start putting humans before profits. There is no need to go into a full blown depression as with the shut down of that capacity if those entities are given a mandate to redirect their output for the good of society and create things of lasting value. In other words, take the retooling mindset that turned refrigerator factories into weapons factories like they did in WW2 and take the weapons factories and turn them into entities for the betterment of society. And then wean them off of the government teat.

DeepStateThrombosis , 3 hours ago

Unused funds from the Pentagon can be redirected to the Wall and other Defense protections not known to the public at this time.

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DaiRR , 1 hour ago

DemoRats and NeoCons will try every way possible to keep the wars going.

The USA is incredibly blessed to have Donald J. Trump in the White House.

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muggeridge , 11 hours ago

To think Americans demonstrated in the millions to stop the Vietnam war exposed as a fraud by Daniel Ellsberg in the PENTAGON PAPERS. Obama did admit that the removal of Ghadaffy was his biggest foreign policy mistake. Clinton also in trouble over Tunisia while Secretary of State with US ambassador killed in 2012. She took responsibility but was found not to have acted improperly by US Congress. However her part in this tragedy remains an open question. Today the only Middle Eastern country still standing IRAN supported by China. Syria supported by Russia. Cold Wars never go away?


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GreatUncle , 3 hours ago

Cold war is an inevitable consequence of a MIC that must continually produce and expend munitions to keep its part of the economy going.
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scaleindependent , 10 hours ago

Final Jeopardy, genius!

What is Syria and Iran?


HIS acts against those countries ARE acts of war.

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muggeridge , 10 hours ago

Regime Change as our modus operandi to serve the cause of military superiority as if pre-set by computer.

How everything became war and the military became everything by Rosa Brooks Tales of the Pentagon.

Something funny happened on the way to the forum; Broadway musical. Hail Caesar?

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CheapBastard , 7 hours ago

Hey, military contractors have to put food on the table also, even if it means murdering millions of innocent people in Yugoslavia (like Clinton did) or in the middle east (like Bush and Obama did).

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GreatUncle , 3 hours ago

Yep some people don't get it.

With all the military contractors now moved into peaceful protests maybe we actually need more war to keep them gainfully employed.

Get the picture?


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SoilMyselfRotten , 3 hours ago

HIS acts against those countries ARE acts of war

Don't forget also blockading Venezuela


No1uNo , 9 hours ago

No Libya story is complete without mentioning David Shayler- the MI6 agent turned whistleblower who was tasked with blowing up Gaddafi in his car - but refused to do so when he was accompanied by his wife and children. (under the Tony Blair govt). -yep.
Shayler later went into a bizarre series of personas -which is understood by many as self preservation tactic - (testimony of mentally unstable is not recognised in court - so no threat).

Then there's the covert ratlines of gathering the ex-Libyan army weapons & shipping them to ISIS Syria via Turkey and White Helmets (see James Corbett) organised by HRC via Benghazi -so no rescue for US Ambassador & team (RIP) HRC prefer'd keep op covert. Carrier 50 miles off coast -HRC killed US Diplomats & support team. -Biden knew.

Also check out the courageous Dilyana Gaytandzhieva who runs armswatch .com and some SM in her name. for laypersons overview of extent of games-within-games & wheels-within-wheels in arms trade/ chem weapons "research". She's currently researching the Beirut bombings - which will be another revelation when it hits.

sauldaddy , 11 hours ago

That awkward moment when you find out the first Black President brought slavery BACK to Africa .....Q- That awkward moment when you find out the first Black President brought slavery BACK to Africa

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. . . _ _ _ . . . , 13 hours ago

Qaddafi kept African migrants out of the Mediterranean and away from Europe's shores.
Sarkozy couldn't allow that knowing what was in store for Europe.
He predicted what would happen to Europe were he to be deposed. He was right. Macron's (and Merkel's) policies are proof.
That and the gold dinar was his undoing.
.
P.S. Don't tell the leftists, but Libya was the only case of a successful socialist state. On second thought, it might be funny to see them publicly defending Qaddafi.

Ms No , 13 hours ago

That may work for a while when you pull black gold out of the ground, for a while. Oil declines and free **** armies breed faster. Then you are Saudi Arabia and we are about to see how that ends up.

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not dead yet , 12 hours ago

Libyan youth unemployment was over 30% because these spoiled kids with their families getting oil checks in the mail every month refused to do menial jobs. Qaddafi kept the black Africans out of the boats by letting them do the work the kids and other Libyans thought was beneath them. A lot of the money the Africans made they sent home which was spent in the local economies which increased jobs there. Libya also invested heavily in Africa which created lots of jobs. These actions kept the number of Africans headed to Europe a trickle. Once Qaddafi was gone so were all the jobs in Libya and the money that flowed into Africa dried up and jobs were lost. A lot of businesses the Libyans created in Africa were confiscated by the local governments and no doubt given to cronies who ran them into the ground.

No1uNo , 9 hours ago

Gaddafi thought wrongly that job description would save him. Also suggested trading oil for €uro's over dollar$, which blew the lid on powder keg. In the end they say it was the oil, though my thinking was DC think tanks didn't want a monied "Mexico" on south coast of Euroland - could make Europe too financially powerful & too difficult to control.

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. . . _ _ _ . . . , 6 hours ago

I had heard about selling oil for Euros in relation to Saddam, but not to Qaddafi. Qaddafi was about the gold Dinar.
??

No1uNo , 6 hours ago

Yep, it's what can happen if I'm not careful when I post and try to watch a documentary at the same time.
Thanks for your vigilance.

In case anyone's interested: ex-mossad agent - 57mins
https://archive.org/details/victor-ostrovsky-1995

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Steverino , 13 hours ago

Find the Libyan gold that dissapeard.... and one likely finds the source of the overthrow....

quanttech , 13 hours ago

try the french treasury...

Bill300 , 12 hours ago

Look no further than Hillary's brother. General Gage, a former Special Forces Colonel, had been hired by Hillary, et al, to assemble a merc army to secure Qaddafi's gold amidst the fog of war and transport it to Haiti to be laundered thru Hugh Rodham's little gold mine. Does anyone really think Obama sold enough books to buy a $12M seaside mansion in Massachusetts and the Washington DC home?

These people are so evil.

Justapleb , 12 hours ago

That's certainly titillating. Do you have a source that puts these things together?

I tried some Google searches, but I already know those searches are censored so it is not an easy thing to find

dark pools of soros , 4 hours ago

you gotta get your hands dirty if you want to know whats in the soil

DaCrustyDad , 13 hours ago

Imagine if some country invaded us and slaughtered about 23.5 million (apples for apples based on the 500k civilians killed out of 7,000,000)? Obama and the Clinton's should be playing basketball at Pelican Bay the rest of their lives at best.

quanttech , 12 hours ago

It's mind boggling.

Trump dropped 7400 bombs on Afghanistan in 2019. That would be like 60,000 bombs dropping on the US one year.

Arch_Stanton , 9 hours ago

Libya was a modern, secular Arab state. A model for the rest of Islam. Who the f@@k decided it was appropriate to reduce Libya to a 19th century sh1thole?

Shifter_X , 9 hours ago

Hillary ******* Clinton

Constitution101 , 6 hours ago

on instruction from the cabalist banksters who never permit a rival currency system.

Qaddafi's gold-backed dinar throughout Nth Africa would have exposed and displace their petrodollar scam in which they infinitely print their cronies untold trillion$.

end the fed, and all central banks.

Best Satan in Town , 6 hours ago

That's the story in a nutsh-ell

desertboy , 10 hours ago

The petrodollar centrality gets monotonously overplayed. For anyone who cares to look, the geopolitics of the West/NATO are the geopolitics of all its central bank owners as an interlinked group, who are keeping all their options open.

Destroying Libya went beyond the petrodollar to the fight for influence in Africa's future, where France's history in Africa has made it the designated hitter. Note the new CFR-type buzz on a "resurgent France" due to this role.

No1uNo , 8 hours ago

I maintained elsewhere on this thread, was advice of DC think tanks he was taken out. Because a well funded, well educated, low cost, labor factory resource state on south coast of eurozone makes europe too competitive to DC tank's interests. (and open Africa's growing economy to cheap - outside eurozone - euro profiting business interests).

Gaddafi was never a threat to Europe, but europe buying his oil and building his economy......different story.

No1uNo , 9 hours ago

B-I-N-G-O !
get your case of beer for that one!

not dead yet , 11 hours ago

Qaddafi would have not met with death if he only wanted to sell oil in the Gold Dinar. Instead he wanted the Gold Dinar as the currency for all of Africa. The system was being set up along with 4 central banks to manage African economic and monetary affairs when Libya was attacked. Libya also invested heavily in Africa creating lots of jobs and enhancing communications. Unlike the IMF and World Bank with their draconian edicts attached to their loans, like no loans for fossil fueled power plants and other eco garbage, almost guaranteeing default the Libyan Development Fund attached no such garbage to their loans making success possible. Europe was charging Africa $500 million a year for use of their satellites. Qaddafi ponied up $300 million of the $400 million needed to put up Africa's first satellite screwing Europe out of $500 million a year. Qaddafi was also the driving force for Africa for Africans and which kept US African command and it's troops out of Africa. Now the US has troops all over Africa. Qaddafi really was bad. Bad for Western exploitation of Africa.

At the time of Qaddafi's demise the Libyan Development Fund had $32 billion in banks around the world. Western governments and media tried to claim it was money stolen by Qaddafi. Last I knew the Libyan's, the rightful owners of that money, haven't seen a penny.

Constitution101 , 6 hours ago

great info.

got a good concise source?

dark pools of soros , 4 hours ago

you have to dig deep to get little nuggets of truth about Libya since so many sides want to tarnish and twist to push their agenda and greed on its riches

SmokeyBlonde , 12 hours ago

America, as a country, deserves whatever happens just for electing and re-electing Obama.

Far too many grifters, Bolsheviks, pedocrats, and sub-moron IQ feral ghetto rats oh-so-pleased with themselves for being so enlightened and bringing chaos to the whole F'n world.

ReflectoMatic , 11 hours ago

The Democrats are working with the globalist at the United Nations & World Economic Forum. The program being run is the destruction of the United States and elimination of humans, per instructions from "The Cult of Rasur", which is located in the jungle at Mount Rasur in Costa Rica but now renamed as the United Nations University For Peace. The university teaches occult and meditation and only graduates 20 students per year, those students then take positions of influence within the UN. The cult was founded by Maurice Strong & Dr Muller, Strong also created the Agenda 21 & World Economic Forum, plus in 1982, the more exclusive secret group of 300 called just "World Forum" which met in Vail Colorado near his hippie commune at the Baca Grande in the San Luis Valley.

The GAIA Theory which was converted into GAIA Religion at the Maurice Strong Hippie Commune in Colorado. David Perkins was there, apparently one of the first hippies to arrive at the commune around 1978. In this podcast we get a rare look into the mindset of the globalist and the creation of Agenda 21.

http://radiomisterioso.com/audio/David_Perkins_6_21_18.mp3

It's not clear if David Perkins & his partner, Chris O'Brian, are aware of Maurice Strong & Klaus Schwab conducting the special and secret World Forum of 300 at Vail in 1982. At that 1982 event the concepts David Perkins describes, combined with concepts gotten by paranormal activities at Mount Rasur in Costa Rica, were passed down to the 300 and thus began the creation that has brought the world to a standstill.

Chris O'Brian has an interesting podcast also, describing the Maurice Strong hippie commune, in this he describes meeting Lawrence Rockefeller at the commune.

https://slvoices.com/2019/12/21/the-mysterious-san-luis-valley-part-1/

I saw it posted here that Amschel Rothschild Said Rothschilds Have Met with Satan met the Devil in Colorado , now we know where in Colorado.

And finally, who the heck is this guy, the one in the middle? MJ-12 captured this photo of him in Hollywood in 1972, he was then usually seen in company of Curtis LeMay, grandson of the General who founded JPL NASA MJ-12, then in 1982 he was at that World Forum in Vail and in charge of covertly poisoning them all with LSD. He was born in Berkley or Alameda in 1951 while his mother was at theater watching "Day The Earth Stood Still". Seems there is a message which needs to be understood.

https://vault.myvzw.com/webcs/7V1ewnG0Xl

David Champaign, night manager at the Christie Lodge in Avon Colorado, can give further description and verification that the ultra-secret World Forum did occur.

If you listened to that podcast, there was mention of the "group of psychics" at the Baca hippie commune. The guy in the photo, the link just above, the photo was taken in the presence of Allen J Funk MJ-12, Funk's only friend took the photo, Bob Custer. Bob shared hotel rooms with the Stones & Monkeys while on concert tour as official photographer. The guy in the photo and Bob were taken one night, in Allen's white Cadillac convertible, to a house in the hills east of JPL Pasadena. There he met Bob's ex, Val, and Val's work associates, the work Val and associates did was some secret psychic project in Central America and perhaps in Colorado, usually Val just came over to Bob's house to visit when Val was not off at those remote locations. Secret about it they were.

Shifter_X , 8 hours ago

These are self-loathing humans. Imagine wanting to destroy the human race.

SMH

bobroonie , 13 hours ago

Obama bombed Libya in defense of Islamic terrorists he sold weapons to. 600 requests for more security from Ambassador Stevens unanswered.. But when defense contractor Osprey Global's Sidney Blumenthal called Clinton gave him special treatment. Lots of money to be made for a defense contractor and the Secretary of State that starts the war.

not dead yet , 12 hours ago

At the time Stevens died, he was not murdered he died of smoke inhalation as the invaders set the place on fire and the safe room wasn't air tight, Benghazi was the most dangerous place on earth for diplomats. Attempted murders and kidnappings of diplomats were so rife that most governments closed their missions and evacuated their people. Stevens was well aware of this and he went to Benghazi, the US Embassy is in Tripoli, anyway with his last meeting running guns with the Turks. By doing so he signed his death warrant. According to many at the time Stevens was begging for more security shortly before he left for Benghazi he was offered a military security detachment that was already in Tripoli and Stevens refused. Seems Stevens and Hillary didn't want the military to know what they were up to.

quanttech , 12 hours ago

the ambassador got what was coming to him. he was a terrorist, plain and simple.

the rest of the Americans were rescued ... by Qadaffi loyalists. the Americans are shy to admit this.

David2923 , 5 hours ago

Facts you probably do not know about Libya under Muammar Gaddafi:

• There are no electricity bills in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.

• There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at 0% interest by law.

• If a Libyan is unable to find employment after graduation, the state pays the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until employment is found.

• Should Libyans want to take up a farming career, they receive farm land, a house, equipment, seed and livestock to kick start their farms – all for free.

• Gaddafi carried out the world's largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man-Made River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.

• A home considered a human right in Libya. (In Qaddafi's Green Book it states: "The house is a basic need of both the individual and the family, therefore it should not be owned by others.")

• All newlyweds in Libya receive 60,000 Dinar (US$ 50,000 ) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start a family.

• A portion of Libyan oil sales is credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.

• A mother who gives birth to a child receives US $5,000.

• When a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidizes 50% of the price.

• The price of petrol in Libya is $0.14 per liter.

• For $ 0.15, a Libyan local can purchase 40 loaves of bread.

• Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Libya can boast one of the finest health care systems in the Arab and African World. All people have access to doctors, hospitals, clinics and medicines, completely free of charge.

• If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need in Libya, the government funds them to go abroad for it – not only free but they get US $2,300/month accommodation and car allowance.

• 25% of Libyans have a university degree. Before Gaddafi only 25% of Libyans were literate. Today the figure is 87%.

• Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion – though much of this is now frozen globally.

Here is photo of the man who helped kill the Col shaking hands with the Col. https://news.antiwar.com/2011/03/03/un-postpones-praising-gadhafis-human-rights-record/

Vivekwhu , 5 hours ago

You have explained why Libya was perfectly ripe for looting by the US Evil Empire and its slave states.

dark pools of soros , 5 hours ago

Yes I've been shining a light on this for years. The true history of Libya should red pill EVERYONE that can still think for themselves.

We are destroying George Washington statues while worshiping a black african american president who destroyed the one rare prosperous socialist African nation.. which now has slave trading!!!! all because it didn't share it's water to french/italian bottlers. And of course the Gold Dinar becoming the African currency.

Lokiban , 11 hours ago

Gadhaffi's two mistakes leading to this war.
Threaten to sell his sweet oil in gold dinars

Threaten French president Sarkozy to pull out all of his money out of France and reveal to the public the donations he made to the French presidential campaign of Sarkozy, which we know is illegal because foreigners can't donate money.

That sealed his fate. America needed to stop this gold for oil scheme just like it did in Iraq and French president Sarkozy's presidency was ont he line.

NuYawkFrankie , 12 hours ago

Slick Willy --> War Criminal

Chimp --> War Criminal

Obongo --> War Criminal

Hillarity --> War Criminal

Groper Joe --> War Criminal

Etc... etc... etc...

Are you at least BEGINNING to see a pattern here???

If not, you soon will do as 'the chickens come home to roost' and ZOG focusses it's attention on YOUR a$$!

Apeon , 11 hours ago

Apparently you are not old enough to remember Johnson

NuYawkFrankie , 8 hours ago

I'm holding "Johnson" as we speak... and the most I can accuse him of is being a naughty - sometimes a VERY naughty- boy. Looks like he's due for another spanking!

NAV , 2 hours ago

But in Libya, there is no going back, no fixing the past to escape the present.

Perhaps the same might be true of the United States.

Obama left this country and Libya in rags, what else is there to say.

Yet Obama lives, while Gaddafi is dead, a man who had the good of his people in mind and already was using primary water from which eventually all of Africa could be watered and developed into a paradise for his people, a people who live on a continent rich with more natural resources than any other.

But this could not be allowed by the Devil's Globalists who want to own all the world's resources in order to make beggars of all mankind. Obama was their man. He not only betrayed Africa but all men for a $40,000,000 pot of silver proffered by the world enemy of liberty - the DEEPSTATE.

NAV , 2 hours ago

But in Libya, there is no going back, no fixing the past to escape the present.

Perhaps the same might be true of the United States.

Obama left this country and Libya in rags, what else is there to say.

Yet Obama lives, while Gaddafi is dead, a man who had the good of his people in mind and already was using primary water from which eventually all of Africa could be watered and developed into a paradise for his people, a people who live on a continent rich with more natural resources than any other.

But this could not be allowed by the Devil's Globalists who want to own all the world's resources in order to make beggars of all mankind. Obama was their man. He not only betrayed Africa but all men for a $40,000,000 pot of silver proffered by the world enemy of liberty - the DEEPSTATE.

you know it makes sense , 5 hours ago

Who writes this crap and who believes a word of it ?.

No mention that Gaddafi planned to set up a new gold backed African money to sell his oil rather than the euro or the dollar. 143+ tons of gold and 140 tons of silver went missing.

www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/01/06/new-hillary-emails-reveal-true-motive-for-libya-intervention/

truepublica.org.uk/global/hillary-emails-reveal-nato-killed-gaddafi-stop-libyan-creation-gold-backed-currency/

It was because of this lie and NATO's involvement in the destruction of Libya that both Russia and China vowed never again to allow this to happen to another country

taglady , 7 hours ago

Trump: "lock her up" became "she's been through enough." What has she been through exactly? "Make America great again" became we need to bail out Boeing and the rest because of an "invisible enemy." It's invisible alright, because it doesn't exist. The only invisible enemy are the parasites shoveling our money into their own very deep pockets in every conceivable way. Like Biden and his entire family and the Clintons and the Obamas and many others have been doing for many years. Like Bush and Cheney made out so well after 911. That's how Gates and the pharmaceutical industry became so bloated while real Americans have struggled to make ends meet.

taglady , 7 hours ago

Interesting coalition between finance, government and media. Like when Bush announced the necessary, unconstitutional war and changes to our society after 911. We didn't get to vote on these changes. No referendum ever happened. Just an announcement in the media and media spin on public opinion, then preplanned actions by corrupt officials. This alliance was never more obvious than during the cv response. We are censored and silenced while liars and thieves are given the bully pulpit to beat us over the head with their idiocracy to enrich very few parasites, again. Then the public is blamed for the rogue actions of government/ business/media. America is bad. We just keep voting for these dummies. Except our voting system is run by the same corrupt dummies who keep getting re-elected. Hmmm. Just like they did to Kadafi and many others. Suddenly Libya is poor. What happened to all of Kadafi's gold? Probably the same thing that happened to the Pentagon trillions and SS "surplus" and public pensions across America. Taxation without representation leaves us broke, without a voice and broken. What are we going to do about it?

Iconoclast27 , 1 hour ago

The problem is you believe imperialism and colonialism has ended in the African continent when that clearly isn't the case, this Libyan regime change op being the latest example of interference you are claiming no longer exists.

John C Durham , 1 hour ago

Actually the end of colonialism that FDR ("Winston, Colonialism is the Cause of this War. This war is going to end all Colonialism".) wished for is hardly over. We got Democratic Party's Truman, not the great Henry Wallace, remember?

Libya only proves this true.

LEEPERMAX , 5 hours ago

America's "BOTCHED CIA OPERATION OF THE CENTURY" as they funneled GADDAFI WEAPONS from the PORT OF BENGHAZI into SYRIA as OBAMA & CO. completed their agenda to DESTABILIZE THE MIDDLE EAST and eventually ALL OF EUROPE.

NO MORE . . . NO LESS

QABubba , 5 hours ago

This is the very reason I sat out the 2016 election. They say citizens don't vote foreign policy but I did. The "We came, we saw, he died" statement illustrated that our leaders didn't have a clue as to the geopolitical damage we had done. The US supported a "no fly zone" in the UN Security Council. Russia supported it. Gaddafi declared his own, stating that none of his air force would fly. The US and their allies quickly "redefined" it to mean they could destroy his air force on the ground, and once destroyed, any of his antiaircraft guns, and once destroyed, any of his tanks and artillery (which don't fly), and his troop convoys.

Gaddafi's, Russia's, perhaps North Korea's big mistake was believing the US would stand by their agreement in the UN Security Council. This and the Eastward creep of Nato may very well be the deciding factor's in Putin's view that he has no responsible actors in the West to deal with. North Korea was watching. Any dream of getting a denuclearized North Korea just receded by about 50 years.

And of course, our presstitute media had a starring role as always. The average American thinks this was a just war, and knows nothing of the slave markets, and nothing about the flood of African immigrants, who are majority muslim, and have no plans whatsoever to assimilate, into Europe. The leaders of France and supposedly Great Britain have stabbed their citizens in the back, as they will now have to watch European culture destroyed.

Vivekwhu , 6 hours ago

Many thanks are due to Draitser for this excellent report on the vile activities of the US Evil Empire in Libya. The power motives have been laid bare, but the massive greed of the US/EU imperial elites have not been detailed. The greed for Libyan oil by France and Italy is well known but the US also looted Libyan gold, just as they looted Ukrainian gold after the 2014 Maidan coup.

By removing Gaddaffi (and who can forget Clinton's evil words "We came, we saw, he died") and looting the gold they scuppered the plans to create a gold-backed dinar for all of Africa, that would have challenged the use of USD, French-controlled "Franc" and other fiat currencies.

That would have been shocking for the US/EU imperial elite that regards Africa as their private fiefdom to loot at will.

Combined with a lust for power, the US/EU imperial elites have an insatiable greed. After all, what use is an empire if the elites can't gorge themselves at will?

lastugro , 10 hours ago

... and Medvedev led Russia abstained (did not veto the vote) at the UNSC session where the intervention was approved. Russia bears a tacit responsibility.

Michael Norton , 11 hours ago

Obama supplied ISIS with leftover weapons from the Libya operation to take out Bashar Assad in Syria. That didn't work out for him too well, did it? Got an ambassador and some CIA spooks killed in Benghazi.

dogfish , 9 hours ago

And Trump steals the oil, the oil that is desperately needed by the suffering Syrians. Trump is a real humanitarian.

Maghreb2 , 5 hours ago

Obama believed every word he was fed about the R2P Right to Protect fantasy concocted at the U.N. At the same time if you knew how dangerous the man was with his Green Revolution and Desert sorcery you would have had him killed.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/12/barack-obama-says-libya-was-worst-mistake-of-his-presidency

The first step of his plan was the Libyan African Gold Dinar which would have been a commodity backed gold cuerrency. This would have broken Rothschild and most of the colonial banking systems. On its own it was a just move but not even the Chinese could have an African Bloc form that fast with that much growth. Imploding the CFA system would have destroyed France as we know it and made it poorer than Poland.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mandrake/3520920/Now-Nat-Rothschild-hobnobs-with-Gaddafi-jnr.html

https://panamapapers.sueddeutsche.de/articles/573aeac75632a39742ed39a0/

Second factor was his ruthless plans to deal with his Islamic Nationalist and Monarchist "Brothers". Gaddafis Green revolution could have spread across the desert wastes and easily overthrown the Al Sauds and trapped Arab natioanlists in their citites. Not a powerful fighter but understood desert warfare. It was the cost of Soviet equipment and the French adapted technicals that made him weaker. The Wars of the Sahara desert like those of Polisario Front and Libyan Chad War were decided by mobility.

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

Finally there were reports amongst the occultists that the man was obsessed with the Occult and the Djinn. Giving a warlord his own banking system and access to African black Magic was enough even for the Jesuits to view the man as a threat to global peace. Rumours the djinns warned him of advance of air strikes and gave strength to his soldiers in the deserts made him a force to be reckoned with in his borders. The association with Abu Nidal is rumoured to have revealed things about the nature of these desert beings. If he had the innate gift for it his tribe probably would have joined us at some point. Reports he had fallen out with the real Green a man a sage and advisor to the Islamic leaders point to a major rupture with the Islamic creed.

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

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

https://eng-archive.aawsat.com/theaawsat/news-middle-east/colonel-gaddafi-using-african-magic-to-prolong-his-reign-libyan-rebel-officer

Only God can really judge whether his plan to emancipate Africa was his own power grab to free the continent or another mad man trying to join the global elite by enslaving them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hwiCkU73NA

Maghreb2 , 5 hours ago

The Moroccans learnt a lot from that mess. Islamic world lacks something like the Jesuits to keep these things under wraps.

https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-goldman-sachs-libya/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USJCcZGbb7w

SmokeyBlonde , 4 hours ago

It would appear, at this point in time, that regardless of motive of his plan, the US-backed alternative has turned out far worse. The only positive result is more money in the pockets of the MIC and the opportunity to play war games in the desert.

Maghreb2 , 2 hours ago

Like I said he was a dangerous man. It takes one to rock the boat like he did. End of the day the system could have been put in place for the African Gold Standard to start to expand into areas that were tired of the Central African Franc system but it would have destroyed Rothschild and led to hundreds of million of Black Muslims having resources to throw at Israel.

https://www.investigaction.net/fr/macron-libye-la-rothschild-connection/

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjyRchz8PFY

Making Chad, Senegal and Mali into something like Yugoslavia with Chinese and Russian Weaponry was beyond the imaginings of Africom. Would have lowered the birth rates with the development and solved the migration and economic crisis. Having these countries like Sweden would have also created living space for white liberals who were highly educated. Instead all the money vanished with the Kleptokrats. Its only insane Facists who want dead Africans on their doorsteps in Berlin and on the television that agree with this madness.

Euafrica, Eurabia could be avoided by making sure the Africans slow their birth rates through development and saving wealth rather than following it to Europe when the big men run with gold and dollars.

At the same time he was known as a devil to the Arabs and the dissidents. Sort of like Rockefeller with the company towns and corporate face. You ask the bastards to resign and why all these people has vanished and gives you statistics on how many electrical appliances have been handed out and says he was never in charge and you don't know how the system works.

https://www.countercurrents.org/janson170812.htm

Hard to say but he played the game. Robbed Bunker Hunt which was enough for us. Bunker C%nt as we called him when he tried to bring down the Morgue in Texas. Stuff like that is why the Illuminati are feared. Its hard for anyone to gauge what is going on and what the domino effects are. He was trained by the Americans and British and supplied with Socialist apparatus. Gianni Agnelli the suavest yid since Joseph kept NATO off his back. He had ties to the U.S deep State as well but that goes back to Wheelus.

https://www.nytimes.com/1986/09/24/business/libya-s-fiat-stake-sold-for-3-billion.html

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

https://www.nytimes.com/1973/08/09/archives/bp-and-bunker-hunt-sue-coastal-states-on-libya-oil-alternative.html

Like we said about the Occult everyone has a backer but that man had demons watching over him. According to some. Thin line between a Djinn and Shaytan when politics and murder get involved.

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/gaddafis-son-had-fingers-cut-off/news-story/ca6d3416e46441842ac8aca3edb11cb7

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcgNqHnjLK8

freedommusic , 5 hours ago

Failed nation states make a perfect platform for a profitable global criminal enterprise.

voting machine , 6 hours ago

Allen Dulles couldn't have scripted this operation any better.

This is right out of the CIA hand book. Regime change 101

Jackprong , 7 hours ago

As is painfully evident, there is no clear way to know how much was spent other than to take the word of those who prosecuted the war. With no congressional oversight, and no clear documentary record, the war on Libya disappears down the memory hole, and with it the idea that there is a separation of powers, Congressional authority to make war, or a functioning Constitution.

Got an answer for this: CUTBACKS!

bshirley1968 , 3 hours ago

" The story begins with Bernard Henri-Lévy, the French philosopher, journalist, and amateur foreign service officer who fancied himself an international spy. "

"Lévy was born in 1948 in Béni Saf , French Algeria , to an affluent Algerian Jewish family. "

you_do , 6 hours ago

The war against Libya is a crime .

The arguments for it are mostly fake .

The real reason is the threat against the `dollar`.

JeanTrejean , 6 hours ago

It's the Frenchmen Sarkozy and B.H. Levy who are responsible for this agression.

The USA and NATO (outside Europe) were just "dumb followers".

Vivekwhu , 6 hours ago

Nothing dumb about Obomber: why did he loot and murder in Libya (or Yemen, Ukraine, Syria etc)? Because he CAN!!!

Joiningupthedots , 21 minutes ago

Everything The West touches turns to rat ****.

Mercifully Russia recognised its mistake with Libya and stepped in to save Syria from the same fate.

Every country, its military bandits politicians involved in the unprovoked attack and subsequent destruction of Libya can be considered........WAR CRIMINALS.

Hopefully one day they will be stupid enough to attack Russia or China and be completely destroyed for their stupidity.

OTBorder@CA , 1 hour ago

First of all, Gadhafi gave an unconditional surrender that was brokered by international diplomatic channels over a month before our invasion. Obama & his minions ignored it. We knew many pilots that flew "missions" over Libya during this war & were involved in a massive bombing campaign. Don't forget the Wikileaks where France signed onto the war on the condition they got a % of Libya's gold. My wish is that someday history will tell the truth about the bastard Obama. Read the Lost Arab Spring by, Walid Phares to see all of the other Countries Obama tried to overthrow & have radical Islamic Terrorists replace the peaceful governments.

csc61 , 1 hour ago

The author gives these idiots far too much credit. People must come to the understanding that presidents and politicians (on all sides) simply do as they're told. It is the hidden hand, the international financiers, who are ruining the world. Politicians are mere pawns ... minions willing to sell their souls for a few short years of presumed power, only to scurry off afterward to play the role of elder statesmen. Politicians are nothing more than privileged degenerates who proved early in their political lives they could be easily corrupted and compromised. It is not them who do the damage directly - these things would happen no matter who's in charge. No, they're simply the ones pushed out front to sign documents and take blame for the world's ruination ... a small price they are willing to pay to feed their narcissistic appetites.

Mentaliusanything , 7 hours ago

I would caption that image as "Who is going first to the platform and rope... Biden thinks he has won a Prize and is excited , The Kenyan says you first Bro (loser) and the white Privileged woman is laughing as she says , You have nothing on Me... Bitches, I bury mine deep and dead, I do not swing

Scipio Africanuz , 8 hours ago

Fair enough..

Now that we've completed stage 1 of the harvest, perhaps we ought boost the Republic of Liberty, and hopefully, temper the anxious wrath of folks..

Libya was a catastrophic mistake, borne of hubris, vanity, intellectual rigidity, vainglory, and confusion. Hubris on the part of some, Sarkozy comes to mind, vanity on the part of some, Hillary Clinton comes to mind, confusion on the part of some, Obama comes to mind, and Ideological rigidity on the part of some, Biden comes to mind, and vainglorious pride on the part of some, the security establishment and their directors come to mind..

Having cleared that, it's no use crying over spilt milk, what's necessary, if the humility to acknowledge errors is available, is contributing rationally, and pernitently, to fixing the errors, and not by the same thinking that led to the errors, but fresh thinking that ought now understand that..

What's sown, is what's reaped, but MERCY it is, mitigates the harvests of depravity, via the provision of energy to restitute, and make amends..

The caveat however, is that mercy is NEVER deployed without REPENTANCE and RECALIBRATION,
which are the foundational pillars that make MERCY provide the energy to effect RESTITUTION..

Having clarified that, it's pertinent to inform, that Providence is NOT interested, in any way, shape, or form, in the damnation of anyone and why?

Well, which loving father is interested in the damnation of his children, no matter how depraved?

Still, patience ought not be mistaken for coddling and why?

With one, patience, the intent is to provide time for change..

With the other, coddling, the gambit is the turning of blind eyes to depravity..

But seeing as God, the Almighty Father is CONSISTENTLY Just, we can conclude then, that patience is the prerequisite for either Mercy or Damnation and how so?

Because if patience is deployed, and the depraved utilize it to change, then their salvation is self directed..

And if not, utilized that is, then their damnation as well, is self obtained..

And thus is the Justice and Honor of Divine Providence satisfied..

It's that simple..

And on that note VP Biden, we'll no longer refer to you as that, but as Joseph..

That ought awaken in you the grave responsibility on your shoulders, like that of the Biblical Joseph, whose father made for him, a "Coat of MANY colors.."

And if you be perceptive Joseph, you're now about to wear E Pluribus Unum (Coat of many colors..), created as a singular garment (ONE NATION..), for a reason (the glorification of Provident Divinity..
)

And the glorification?

That E Pluribus Unum (coat of many colors created as a singular garment..), ought demonstrate to all who see it worn, the goodness, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, and LOVE of the Provider of the Coat..

And considering Joseph, that in service of the Republic, you've not withheld the fruit of your loins, it's appropriate then, that you ought now demonstrate that love for the Republic, by putting it first, just as you'd put the fruits of your loins first, except above Divine Providence, known to you, as God Almighty..

So then Joseph, as we begin the next stage of the harvest, remember your oath that "you keep your promises..", you'll be judged by that oath..

And Joseph, "a promise is a debt..", it MUST be paid..

And to boost you energetically, here's Parton the Sweet Voiced Nightingale..

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=h7I_9MMcWvk

Good luck and God speed...

[Aug 27, 2020] Only a neolibral moron like Obama could bring slavery back to Libya.

Aug 27, 2020 | www.unz.com

niteranger , says:

[Aug 19, 2020] UAE is committed to contain #Turkey amp; turn its presence in Libya into a quagmire that bleeds it. by Jalel Harchaou

Aug 19, 2020 | twitter.com

More than anybody, #UAE is committed to making sure #Ankara having won the #Tripoli battle in Jun never helps it win the #Libya war. Idea is to contain #Turkey & turn its presence into a quagmire that bleeds it. By promising to help #Greece , the #French navy joins that endeavor



Jalel Harchaoui @JMJalel_H Aug 12

France to bolster Mediterranean military presence. With Macron determined to assert French leadership in the the Mediterranean, he will have to team up w RU to take on Turkey. This means France will work w RU in Lebanon too. At cross purposes w the US. https:// reut.rs/31O3fjY Show this thread
Nabil Ferhat @FerhatNabil Aug 13
Replying to
@JMJalel_H Aug 13
@JMJalel_H and
@joshua_landis Aug 13
@joshua_landis Will FR have the necessary resources and supports in the long run to succeed?

[Aug 12, 2020] The dirt on candidate Donald Trump was initiated by Republican billionaires Paul Singer e.a. to get Bush III elected president ... failed so the clan supported Rubio ... at last resort the dossier was "sold" to Democrats and HRC.

Aug 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Oui , Aug 10 2020 18:30 utc | 14

Steve Schrage a Republican political asset ..

It wasn't Steele's MI-6 dodgy dossier ... the dirt on candidate Donald Trump was initiated by Republican billionaires Paul Singer e.a. to get Bush III elected president ... failed so the clan supported Rubio ... at last resort the dossier was "sold" to Democrats and HRC.

The investigation contract was taken by Fusion GOS [ https://progresspond.com/2017/04/28/timeline-of-passing-orbis-memos-to-uk-and-us-governments/] and they hired Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd. linked to MI-6 Chris Steele and Amb. Andrew Wood because of their espionage work and spy contacts in Moscow of Boris Yeltsin.

Losers ... all of them and America and citizens across the globe suffer from incompetent and corrupt leaders.

Trump Campaign: George Bush Sr. and Spy Stefan Halper
https://www.eurotrib.com/story/2018/5/25/75913/7829

[Aug 08, 2020] Plunder, me hearties! Plunder! Yo Ho Ho and a barrel of oil! - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Aug 08, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Plunder, me hearties! Plunder! Yo Ho Ho and a barrel of oil!

"President Trump wants it known that -- despite his recent decision to pull back the U.S. militarily back from previously Kurdish-held territory in Syria -- he plans on " keeping the oil " in Syria and using American troops to do it.

If he follows through, he'll set a dangerous precedent -- and might commit a war crime.

Keeping Syria's oil could well constitute pillage -- theft during war -- which is banned in Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the 1907 Hague Laws and Customs of War on Land, which states, "The pillage of a town or place, even when taken by assault, is prohibited." The prohibition has a solid grounding in the laws of war and international criminal justice , and the U.S. federal code , including as a sanction for the illegal exploitation of natural resources such as oil from war zones.' washpo

"Trump's more grave rationale is his conception of oil as remuneration for U.S. military investment in the Middle East. In a speech Oct. 29, he said: "We want to keep the oil. $45 million a month? Keep the oil." It mirrors a sentiment he expressed to ABC News in 2011 about Iraqi oil, saying , "You win the war and you take it. You're not stealing anything. We're taking back $1.5 trillion to reimburse ourselves. " That argument goes well beyond the notion of securing the oil -- it suggests trying to profit from it -- and therefore risks triggering responsibility for pillage. Contrary to Trump's characterization, pillage is a form of stealing.

None of this is a new line of thinking for Trump: As a private citizen in 2011, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, commenting on U.S. military involvement in Libya, he said : "I'm only interested in Libya if we take the oil. If we don't take the oil, I'm not interested." Regarding Iraq, he said : "I always heard that when we went into Iraq, we went in for the oil. I said, 'Ah, that sounds smart.' " Indeed, he sounded disappointed during his televised announcement last week of the killing of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, when he returned to the subject of oil and lamented : "I always used to say 'If they're going into Iraq, keep the oil.' They never did. They never did."" washpo "Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said during the committee hearing that SDF General Commander Mazloum Abdi informed him that a deal had been signed with an American company to "modernize the oil fields in northeastern Syria", and asked Pompeo whether the administration was supportive of it.

"We are," Pompeo responded during the hearing streamed live by PBS. "The deal took a little longer ... than we had hoped, and now we're in implementation."" Reuters -------------- Barry McCaffery has commented on Twitter that if we do this we are becoming pirates. As he says, the oil belongs to Syria. I agree. pl

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/11/05/trump-keeps-talking-about-keeping-middle-east-oil-that-would-be-illegal/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-oil-usa/syria-says-us-oil-firm-signed-deal-with-kurdish-led-rebels-idUSKBN24Y0FD


PirateLaddie , 06 August 2020 at 01:37 PM

I don't know - "OrangeBeard the Pirate" just don't seem to cut it.

nbsp; Fred , 06 August 2020 at 01:37 PM

We're watching civil war unfold in the US and these pompous asses are busy trying to sponge up Syrian oil, the trivial amount of stuff that is land-locked hundreds of miles from any territory we control or is friendly to the US? God help us who is advising the tweeter in chief? Can't Trump read an oil price chart any better than Fauci can read a Covid infection rate? Did his son-in-law tell him what a great idea that would be? Are the warrior generals who wouldn't defend this nation's capital against antifa, with the tacit consent at sedition by Esper, in agreement with this line of strategic wisdom too? Maybe Senator Graham, who just yesterday finally cornered Sally Yates into admitting under oath that the FISA warrant on Carter Page was a fraud, is covering his bases in case the left's "resistance" to the November election results in antifa marching into D.C. to bring Biden's secret choice as V.P. into power? We have less reason to be in Syria than we do to still be defending Germany and the rest of Europe from the USSR.

Mark Logan , 06 August 2020 at 04:18 PM

Pirate Laddie,

"Bonespurs"

nbsp; turcopolier , 06 August 2020 at 05:53 PM

Mark Logan

You too had them?

Mark K Logan , 06 August 2020 at 06:10 PM

turcoplier,

No, I've never felt a need to have them. What should Trump's pirate name be?

nbsp; turcopolier , 06 August 2020 at 06:42 PM

Mark Logan

Manhattan Don.

nbsp; The Twisted Genius , 06 August 2020 at 07:34 PM

Well, with avarice as the guiding principle of the Trump administration's foreign policy, at least there's no hypocrisy. Just pure, unadulterated greed. The honesty is almost admirable. But I don't know how our Iranian policy fits into the avarice doctrine.

As far as Trump's pirate name goes, I do like the sound of "Bonespurs." I can see the flag flying from the mainmast... a skeleton foot of or on a field of sable.

Yeah, Right , 06 August 2020 at 07:36 PM

As an army of occupation the US military could requisition the oil, but according to the Hague Regulations it can do so only for its own needs. It can not do so for the fun and profits of the foreign state that sent that army in.

If you really, really, really squint hard then perhaps there is wriggle room under Article 55 i.e. Trump can claim that he is the usufructuary of the territory, and therefore can benefit from the pumping.

But arguing that would be a hopeless brief.

So, yeah, Trump as a medieval warlord. Perhaps he'll also reintroduce the practice of prima nocta.


nbsp; turcopolier , 06 August 2020 at 07:39 PM

TTG

I would accept the idea of Trump's inability to distinguish between government and business, but people like Jeffries and the Pomp are neocon ideologues through and through. Nothing more.

[Aug 02, 2020] The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria signed a deal to market oil to US-based Delta Crescent Energy LLC "with the knowledge and encouragement of the White House."

Aug 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU1 , Aug 2 2020 14:35 utc | 2

I put these comments on the open thread about the same time b started this one

https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/1289724554982629377
The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria signed a deal to market oil to US-based Delta Crescent Energy LLC "with the knowledge and encouragement of the White House."

Trump a few months back "We've kept the oil". Well, he hasn't had a problem hanging onto it and getting an American company involved.

Delta Crescent Energy. Formed beginning of 2019 and nothing else on it. I guess Trump and a few mates divvying up the spoils.
https://www.bizapedia.com/de/delta-crescent-energy-llc.html

Laguerre , Aug 2 2020 15:00 utc | 6

The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria signed a deal to market oil to US-based Delta Crescent Energy LLC "with the knowledge and encouragement of the White House."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 2 2020 14:35 utc | 2

Very likely the Kurds were under pressure from Trump, and the act wasn't voluntary. It's not even the Kurds' oil to sign a deal on (except one well). We'll see whether the operation actually succeeds. At the moment, everybody is waiting to see whether Trump is re-elected in November. Signing a piece of paper now is of no significance.

[Aug 02, 2020] Libya invasion was pure neocolonialism

Aug 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

H.Schmatz , Aug 1 2020 13:41 utc | 100

The "no-fly zone" issue is covered in a second video suggested when this one almost ends...It is also told that Obama opposed at first the destruction of Lybia, along with the important participation of some NATO superpowers on basis of geopolitical interests and, of course, looting of always...It was a coalition of the willing with assorted goals...althoughm ainly benefitted the US in its cursade on the ME...

All these wars have happened to destroy kinda powerful nations ( competing economic/military powers...), like Lybia in Africa and Yugoslavia in Europe on behalf of others´hegemony...

[Aug 02, 2020] The seal story about Benghazi has appeared in a short video. Hillary and Stevens caught in a massive gun running scheme.

Aug 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bob Dvorak , Aug 1 2020 2:11 utc | 53

The seal story about Benghazi has appeared in a short video. Hillary and Stevens caught in a massive gun running scheme.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fc4wrSIOUxc


Jackrabbit , Aug 1 2020 2:58 utc | 59

Bob Dvorak @Aug1 2:11 #53

Great video that everyone should see (especially clueless Americans) but it should've included Obama's illegally turning a "no fly" Zone into a bombing campaign.

The UN had only authorized a "no fly" zone and Obama never sought authorization from Congress for war.

!!

juliania , Aug 1 2020 4:03 utc | 64

Okay, I'll bite, Jackrabbit - sorry if I haven't followed your line of thinking on CIA and Hillary ...wanting to elect Trump??? That really doesn't make sense to me. That would mean everything about the really outrageous campaign against Trump's presidency has been orchestrated so we chumps wouldn't guess they really were secretly rejoicing?

Sorry, I just don't buy it. But of course, I could be wrong. Who knows what dark deeds are being secretly devised behind all these curtains of lies? (A good reason to suppose there is a God who sees and who will someday reveal to us mortals what has really been going on. I can't wait to find out.)

[Aug 02, 2020] A couple of relevant section from the NPR which I think Putin was replying to.

Aug 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU1 , Aug 1 2020 16:34 utc | 119

A couple of relevant section from the NPR which I think Putin was replying to.

https://media.defense.gov/2018/Feb/02/2001872886/-1/-1/1/2018-NUCLEAR-POSTURE-REVIEW-FINAL-REPORT.PDF
From page 21...
"The United States would only consider the employment of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances
to defend the vital interests of the United States, its allies, and partners. Extreme circumstances
could include significant non-nuclear strategic attacks. Significant non-nuclear strategic attacks
include, but are not limited to, attacks on the U.S., allied, or partner civilian population or
infrastructure, and attacks on U.S. or allied nuclear forces, their command and control, or warning
and attack assessment capabilities.
The United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons
states that are party to the NPT and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations.
Given the potential of significant non-nuclear strategic attacks, the United States reserves the right
to make any adjustment in the assurance that may be warranted by the evolution and proliferation
of non-nuclear strategic attack technologies and U.S. capabilities to counter that threat."

And page 34...
"Our deterrence strategy is designed to ensure that the Iranian leadership understands that
any non-nuclear strategic attack against the United States, allies, and partners would be
defeated, and that the cost would outweigh any benefits. There is no plausible scenario in
which Iran may anticipate benefit from launching a strategic attack. Consequently, U.S
deterrence strategy includes the capabilities necessary to defeat Iranian non-nuclear,
strategic capabilities, including the U.S. defensive and offensive systems capable of
precluding or degrading Tehran's missile threats. The United States will continue to
strengthen these capabilities as necessary to stay ahead of Iranian threats as they grow.
Doing so will enhance U.S. security and that of our regional allies and partners."

The page 34 section states plainly that US is willing to use nuclear weapons against Iran's non nuclear capabilities.


Peter AU1 , Aug 1 2020 16:47 utc | 121

I should have highlighted this in my previous post.

The United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons
states that are party to the NPT and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations.

Jackrabbit , Aug 1 2020 17:03 utc | 123

After the drone shoot-down last week, Israel and USA sought to convince Russia to allow a strike against Iran. The Russians rebuffed this request as well as the depiction of Iran as a terrorist state

Newsweek: Russia Warns U.S. and Israel That Iran Is Its 'Ally' and Was Right About Drone Shoot Down

"In the context of the statements made by our partners with regard to a major regional power, namely Iran, I would like to say the following: Iran has always been and remains our ally and partner , with which we are consistently developing relations both on bilateral basis and within multilateral formats,"

!!

[Aug 02, 2020] Iran launching very clever non-silo dug down ballistic missiles. Anyone can copy the idea in earth or sand, it looks relatively simple and perhaps genius.

Aug 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sunny Runny Burger , Aug 1 2020 0:42 utc | 41

News I noticed:

...Iran launching very clever non-silo dug down ballistic missiles. Anyone can copy the idea in earth or sand, it looks relatively simple and perhaps genius. It should only require minimal additions similar to when missiles are "containerized"/vertical on ships.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dytSOhfg1UM for the video.

· "W93/MK7 Navy Warhead -- Developing Modern Capabilities to Address Current and Future Threats" - Pentagon, Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), unclassified 5-page white paper, May 2020 is still not "leaked". Seems a dud: reading between the lines not written no one was convinced and instead complained about anyone saying there's any problems (how "exceptional").


Grieved , Aug 1 2020 0:54 utc | 43

@41 Sunny Runny Burger

That's a great little video clip. Missiles erupting out of the ground. Trying to guess where the next one's coming from. I'll call it genius.

Peter AU1 , Aug 1 2020 1:54 utc | 49

Millenium Challenge 2002

"Red, commanded by retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, adopted an asymmetric strategy, in particular, using old methods to evade Blue's sophisticated electronic surveillance network. Van Riper used motorcycle messengers to transmit orders to front-line troops and World-War-II-style light signals to launch airplanes without radio communications.

Red received an ultimatum from Blue, essentially a surrender document, demanding a response within 24 hours. Thus warned of Blue's approach, Red used a fleet of small boats to determine the position of Blue's fleet by the second day of the exercise. In a preemptive strike, Red launched a massive salvo of cruise missiles that overwhelmed the Blue forces' electronic sensors and destroyed sixteen warships. The losses were as follows: one aircraft carrier, ten cruisers and five of six amphibious ships. An equivalent success in a real conflict would have resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 service personnel. Soon after the cruise missile offensive, another significant portion of Blue's navy was "sunk" by an armada of small Red boats, which carried out both conventional and suicide attacks that capitalized on Blue's inability to detect them as well as expected."

Iranians are not part of the rules based order it seems - not that the bad guys in the war game was played by Iranians.

Grieved , Aug 1 2020 4:29 utc | 69

@50 Peter AU1 & #55 Bemildred

In the 2002 war game, the US was defeated in 2 days - lost a massive part of its fleet or some such. So they stopped the game and changed the rules. I think that's when Van Riper quit the game in disgust, and of course ultimately went public. But even with the rules changed, the US still lost.

The point about these exercises is that they are real endeavors to create a playbook that will result in victory. Millennium cost about $200 million to stage, and even for the Pentagon that was war-fighting money spent to try to get somewhere. The next point even more crucial is that in EVERY exercise the Pentagon has undertaken since this game, the US is ALWAYS beaten by Iran.

This is the point I frequently try to hammer home here - the Pentagon has no map whatsoever that leads to victory in warfare against Iran. Any warfare will always result in defeat for the US - and we know how unpalatable a public defeat would be for the whole MIC stream of income. The fundamentals are stacked against the US. It's very similar to Israel's position right now against Hezbollah. For both the US and Israel, neither one can move forward along the path it wants to go because its foe simply cannot be beaten by any stratagem it can devise.

Sharmine Narwani talked about this extensively in her interview with Ross Ashcroft last year on Renegade, Inc. It's an excellent interview. She's expert on the geopolitics of the ME and laid out many of the fundamentals that create and support Iran's unwavering position in this theater and in the great game:

What's the real plan with Iran?

I keep this episode bookmarked largely to share it here from time to time. You will both enjoy the interview. The takeaway is that the US can bluster all it wants, but it dare not cross a red line with Iran - such as it already has, for example, with Soleimani's murder, and for which it has not yet suffered its full punishment, which is complete banishment from the ME (and which I am convinced Iran will ultimately achieve).

~~

When your generals tell you constantly, daily, that you can't go into battle in a certain theater, you are free to bluster all you want. In fact, it's all you have left, and you pour all your feeble energy into it. Thus, the US.

Sakineh Bagoom , Aug 1 2020 6:44 utc | 75

Peter AU1 50 & 55 Bemildred & Grieved 70
RE: Millenium Challenge 2002
And yet, I keep pointing out that, that was 18 long years ago, when Iran did NOT have the following:

Terminal guidance for it's ballistics
Armed drone technology
Satellite to map out the battlefield
Proximity to Israel (two countries sat between Iran and Israel)
Electronic surveillance and response, like spoofing a drone to land in Iran.
S300 and home built variations
Cyber
Experience watching coalition forces fighting in ME
Etc, etc,

Peter AU1 , Aug 1 2020 9:03 utc | 84

Re Iran

US could not attack Iran conventionally but with Trump's earlier fixation on nuclear weapons I think he was going to give that a try. Putin must have thought so to as he very publicly laid Russia's nuclear umbrella over Iran and maintained the status quo.

It was after this meeting the Russian envoy made the point plain and public in the presser that Iran was an ally of Russia.
https://www.newsweek.com/russia-iran-us-israel-drone-ally-1445802

Richard Steven Hack , Aug 1 2020 9:55 utc | 86

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 1 2020 9:03 utc | 88 US could not attack Iran conventionally

The US is perfectly capable of *attacking* Iran conventionally. The only thing to question is whether the US can *defeat* Iran in the sense that Iran "surrenders" officially to the US. *That* is in my view impossible short of the US actually killing thirty million Iranians by nuking Iran.

Which in turn I believe even Trump would not do. He really would get Pentagon pushback on that, as well as from every US ally and the UNSC, because no one wants to get the geopolitical hear from being the first country to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear country (this isn't WWII any more, before anyone brings up Hiroshima.)

As for Putin declaring Iran an ally, that does *not* mean that Putin would risk a nuclear confrontation with the US over Iran. Not going to happen - even if the US nuked Tehran. Putin's charge is to take care of Russian interests - and having Iran as an "ally and partner" does qualify as an "interest". But it is *not* an *overriding* interest. Putin would not be authorized by the Russian people to risk their country being nuked over a bunch of Persians and if he did, they'd kick his butt out at the next election - and rightly so.

Current Russian military doctrine (discussed here specifies the following:


The section on use begins by repeating the formulation in the last two Russian military doctrines (translation from the Russian Embassy in the U.K.): "The Russian Federation shall reserve the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and/or its allies, as well as in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is in jeopardy." Like the doctrines, Foundations underlines that the president of the Russian Federation makes any decision to use nuclear weapons. However, unlike the doctrines, it then, in paragraph 19, outlines four conditions that could allow for (not require) nuclear use:

credible information that Russia is under ballistic missile attack (the missiles don't have to be nuclear -- this isn't specified -- but in many cases, it's hard to tell before they land);
the use of nuclear or other WMD by an adversary against Russian territory or that of its allies;
adversary actions against Russian critical government or military infrastructure that could undermine Russia's capacity for nuclear retaliation (so, for example, a cyber attack on Russia's command and control -- or perhaps one that targets Russian leadership could also qualify); and, finally,
conventional aggression against Russia that threatens the very existence of the state.

The primary requirement is the use of nukes or "WMDs" against Russia, or conventional weapons where their use is an "existential threat", i.e., Russia is about to be defeated on a conventional battlefield.

the phrase "and/or its allies" almost certainly does *not* include Iran. There are two "alliances" to which Russia is a party, according to Wikipedia:
1) Collective Security Treaty Organization: Military alliance with 6 former Soviet republics: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.
2) Union State: an alliance between Russia and Belarus (also already covered by 1).

Russia and Iran do not have any formal military or mutual-defense alliance agreements. Russia and Iran are "allied" only with regard to Syria and Islamic terrorism in general. Russia is willing to sell Iran arms, obviously. Equally obviously, that does not indicate a willingness to risk nuclear war.

Putin made the following statement in June of 2019:

After talks Friday with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, Putin said that "relations between Russia and Iran are multifaceted, multilateral" and that "this concerns the economy, this concerns the issues of stability in the region, our joint efforts to combat terrorism, including in Syria."

Nothing in that statement indicates a willingness to use Russia's nuclear arsenal to threaten the US to prevent a US attack on Iran.

It is of course *possible* that some in the Pentagon, the Deep State, and/or Congress, may interpret that to be the case. But I think the primary restraint on any President would be the heat for a first use of nukes on a non-nuclear country - even if the alleged "reason" was that Iran was developing nukes.
Even severe damage to US Navy assets in the region would not be sufficient to justify the use of nukes against Iran, in particular because the only viable target for nukes would Tehran or some other major Iranian city.

It is just possible that a tactical nuke would be used against a heavily buried facility involved in nuclear weapons development (or more precisely, alleged to be so - because Iran won't be developing nukes regardless of any US attack.) But even that would likely produce more heat than the US would want - and if it was done, it would be done as covertly as possible and then denied by the US. And even in that case, Russia would not threaten a nuclear response over that.

Of course, if the US leadership were to become even more unhinged than Trump, or say, the Russian leadership after Putin were to become more hawkish, then all bets are off. But under current conditions, it's not going to happen.

Peter AU1 , Aug 1 2020 10:52 utc | 90

Putin's speech March 1 2018

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/56957
"In this connection, I would like to note the following. We are greatly concerned by certain provisions of the revised nuclear posture review, which expand the opportunities for reducing and reduce the threshold for the use of nuclear arms. Behind closed doors, one may say anything to calm down anyone, but we read what is written. And what is written is that this strategy can be put into action in response to conventional arms attacks and even to a cyber-threat.

I should note that our military doctrine says Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons solely in response to a nuclear attack, or an attack with other weapons of mass destruction against the country or its allies, or an act of aggression against us with the use of conventional weapons that threaten the very existence of the state. This all is very clear and specific.

As such, I see it is my duty to announce the following. Any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies, weapons of short, medium or any range at all, will be considered as a nuclear attack on this country. Retaliation will be immediate, with all the attendant consequences."

Patrushev from my link above.
"In the context of the statements made by our partners with regard to a major regional power, namely Iran, I would like to say the following: Iran has always been and remains our ally and partner, with which we are consistently developing relations both on bilateral basis and within multilateral formats"


Patrushev went to the meeting as a presidential envoy. After Putin's 2018 speech, I wondered who Russia considered an ally as I had not seen Russia name any. I tend to think Patrushev had reason to publicly name Iran as an ally at that presser. My guess is Israel and US were trying to get Russia to stand aside while they attacked Iran.

Richard Steven Hack , Aug 1 2020 13:20 utc | 96

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 1 2020 10:52 utc | 95 I tend to think Patrushev had reason to publicly name Iran as an ally at that presser. My guess is Israel and US were trying to get Russia to stand aside while they attacked Iran.

Nonetheless, the two statements do not constitute an official declaration that Iran is an ally in the sense of being under the Russian nuclear umbrella, as the countries in the list I quoted from Wikipedia are. The Collective Security Treaty Organization "charter reaffirmed the desire of all participating states to abstain from the use or threat of force. Signatories would not be able to join other military alliances or other groups of states,[3] while aggression against one signatory would be perceived as an aggression against all."

That's a military alliance which specifically declares those countries as "allies" in the military sense and specifically states that an attack on any of them is an attack on all of them.

Putin nor anyone else in Russia has specifically stated that Iran is an ally in those same terms. Putin's reference to Iran as an ally applied to economic matters and the security of Syria.

There is an article at Stratfor which I cannot access, but the tagline says: "Nikolai Bordyuzha, secretary-general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), said Feb. 25 [2020] that Moscow's nuclear umbrella has been extended to other CSTO member countries..." In other words, the nuclear umbrella didn't even cover the former Soviet Union countries until this year, apparently. From another article I found, Russia extended the umbrella to Belarus in 2000. Another article I found says this:


Finally, Russia has created its own military alliance through the Collective Security Treaty (1992) or "Tashkent treaty". In 2002, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was created, with a view to parallel NATO. As of June 2009, the organization included Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, which are implicitly covered by a Russian nuclear guarantee. Even though Russian officials refer sometimes to all Commonwealth of
Independent States (CIS) countries being protected by Moscow's nuclear forces, it is reasonable to assume that only CSTO countries are effectively under the Russian nuclear umbrella.

So I simply don't see any reference anywhere to Russia explicitly extending its nuclear umbrella outside of the former Soviet Bloc countries. Again, all of the references made by Russians - Putin or otherwise - to Iran as an "ally" do not reference a military dimension. Of course, it's always *possible* that Putin or some future Russian leader *would* extend that umbrella to Iran, depending on future circumstances. But it seems highly unlikely.

I repeat: There is no chance that Russia will go to nuclear war over Iran. Or even conventional war against US military assets engaged in an attack on Iran because that would risk escalation to a nuclear level. The most Russia will do is supply arms and intelligence to Iran.

[Aug 01, 2020] Pompeo Vows US To Take -Necessary Action- If UN Arms Embargo On Iran Ends -

Aug 01, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

For months the US has been in a full court diplomatic press on fellow UN Security Council members in an attempt to ensure that a UN arms embargo against Iran does not expire.

The embargo on selling conventional weapons to Iran is set to end October 18, and is ironically enough part of the 2015 nuclear deal brokered under Obama, which the Trump administration in May 2018 pulled out of.

But now Pompeo vows the US will "take necessary action" -- no doubt meaning more sanctions at the very least, and likely military action at worst. He told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week that "in the near future... we hope will be met with approval from other members of the P5."

And he followed with :

"In the event it's not, we're going to take the action necessary to ensure that this arms embargo does not expire," he said.

"We have the capacity to execute snapback and we're going to use it in a way that protects and defends America," Pompeo told the committee further.

Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continued to call on the world to accept extending the UN arms embargo against Iran. The embargo is scheduled to expire on October 18.

But it's clear at this point that the UN is not intent on extending the embargo . Russia for one has promised as much. Both Russia and China also have recent weapons deals in the works with the Islamic Republic.

LibertarianMenace , 55 minutes ago

"protects and defends America"

Nothing is farther from the truth, fat man. We know (((who))) it is we're "protecting".

bumboo , 37 minutes ago

Is this fat guy being blackmailed to saying stupid things all the time

monty42 , 35 minutes ago

He works for the Council on Foreign Relations who have been bankrupting the States with perpetual war since they fomented WW2.

LibertarianMenace , 30 minutes ago

Yes, him and the rest of the USG. When you can assassinate a U.S. President in broad daylight and get away with it, you can get away with more extravagant illusions, like 09/11, or if people are finally catching on, throw in just a smidgen of reality like CV-19. Sky is the limit.

This is Trump's redeeming value: he's showing all, including the densest among us (((who))) it is that runs the country. Whether he does it intentionally or not, as in kowtowing to (((them))), is ultimately irrelevant. (((They))) have to be a bit uncomfortable from the unaccustomed exposure. The censoring just proves it.

Tag 'em And Bag 'em , 36 minutes ago

This pneumatic bull frog is a deep state sock puppet with a Zionist hand way up his ***.

When his lips move, Satanyahoo's voice comes out

This has zero to do with the interests of real Americans.

**building 7 didn't kill itself**

Tag 'em And Bag 'em , 23 minutes ago

TRUMP: "Larry Silverstein is a great guy, he's a good guy, he's a friend of mine."

https://youtu.be/o62aUVobO04

**building 7 didn't kill itself**

Fluff The Cat , 43 minutes ago

The reason that the US government are trying to get Iran is because Epstein/Mossad has blackmailed them all into doing their bidding.

Why don't you cover that in the news, huh?

El Chapo Read , 31 minutes ago

"Necessary Action" = Call Israel and ask what they want him to do.

jaser , 43 minutes ago

Protect America? Protect corrupt Netanyahu more like it. Your nation is about to implode and you just cut off the $600 welfare payment to your citizens hey but let's ban TikTok and protect America from Iran.

malMono , 39 minutes ago

This why Biden might win...idiots like pompeo are a turnoff.

Grouchy-Bear , 34 minutes ago

Sometimes it looks like Pompeo is actually in charge. Okay, most of the time he is in charge. Why go through the election process at all? Pompeo is running the country and was never elected...

malMono , 39 minutes ago

This why Biden might win...idiots like pompeo are a turnoff.

Grouchy-Bear , 34 minutes ago

Sometimes it looks like Pompeo is actually in charge. Okay, most of the time he is in charge. Why go through the election process at all? Pompeo is running the country and was never elected...

rwe2late , 43 minutes ago

Embargo Iran to make them as desperate as possible.

Then accuse them of being "aggressive" while one attacks and bombs Iran's near neighbors (Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen).

Sounds like a plan of aggressive war if done by any but an "exceptional" nation.

(It's not like the US denies it)

https://www.globalresearch.ca/we-re-going-to-take-out-7-countries-in-5-years-iraq-syria-lebanon-libya-somalia-sudan-iran/5166

Ron_Paul_Was_Right , 17 minutes ago

If Russia and China want to trade with Iran, how in the world is it the US Government's right to tell them not to? If we want to put sanctions on Iran, go for it. But at this point, the dollar is collapsing as world reserve currency. Iran should well be able to buy anything they need, from China/Russia and the rest of the world which doesn't respect US sanctions, or so I would think.

My point - there's really getting nothing that the US even can do about Iran. So maybe...we should just stop and give it a rest.

Einstein101 , 13 minutes ago

Iran should well be able to buy anything they need, from China/Russia

Fact is Russia and China sell almost nothing to Iran, fearing US sanctions.

Cassandra.Hermes , 2 minutes ago

Don't forget Turkey, Azerbaijan and Europe! Turkish stream is not only bypassing Ukrain but it is connected to Azeri pipeline that is 10km from Iranians border.

monty42 , 15 minutes ago

"Obviously the Iranian army has a bunch of non thinkers..."

Hypocrisy much? The US regime employs paid mercenaries who swore to uphold and defend the Constitution, yet lie and unthinkingly "just follow orders" and believe that absolves them of their oathbreaking and actions.

"Dude, I am FREE. I have firearms that are deadly." Heh, only a very limited arsenal permitted by the Central Committee in D.C., to maintain firepower supremacy in the empire's favor. Your firearms may be deadly, but the empire mercenary can take you out without you ever seeing their face.

Clearly having firearms and ammo alone do not prevent tyranny, the States under the D.C. regime prove that.

vipervenom , 17 minutes ago

pompass the fat boy coward sending our troops to die while he hides behind his own extra large rear end.

[Jul 28, 2020] Turkey On The Warpath

Putin decision to save Erdogan from the coup in retrospect looks like a blunder...
Jul 28, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Uzay Bulut via The Gatestone Institute,

Turkey is currently involved in quite a few international military conflicts -- both against its own neighbors such as Greece, Armenia, Iraq, Syria and Cyprus, and against other nations such as Libya and Yemen. These actions by Turkey suggest that Turkey's foreign policy is increasingly destabilizing not only several nations, but the region as well.

In addition, the Erdogan regime has been militarily targeting Syria and Iraq, sending its Syrian mercenaries to Libya to seize Libyan oil and continuing, as usual, to bully Greece. Turkey's regime is also now provoking ongoing violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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Erdogan leads first Muslim prayer after Hagia Sophia mosque reconversion

Istanbul's Hagia Sophia reconversion to a mosque, 'provocation to civilised world', Greece says

Turkish top court revokes Hagia Sophia's museum status, 'tourists should still be allowed in'

Erdogan: Interference over Hagia Sophia 'direct attack on our sovereignty'

Libya's GNA says Egypt's warning on Sirte offensive a 'declaration of war'

Erdogan says 'agreements' reached with Trump on Libya

What Turkish Election Results Mean for the Lira

Erdogan Sparks Democracy Concerns in Push for Istanbul Vote Rerun

Since July 12, Azerbaijan has launched a series of cross-border attacks against Armenia's northern Tavush region in skirmishes that have resulted in the deaths of at least four Armenian soldiers and 12 Azerbaijani ones. After Azerbaijan threatened to launch missile attacks on Armenia's Metsamor nuclear plant on July 16, Turkey offered military assistance to Azerbaijan.

"Our armed unmanned aerial vehicles, ammunition and missiles with our experience, technology and capabilities are at Azerbaijan's service," said İsmail Demir, the head of Presidency of Defense Industries, an affiliate of the Turkish Presidency.

One of Turkey's main targets also seems to be Greece. The Turkish military is targeting Greek territorial waters yet again. The Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported :

"There have been concerns over a possible Turkish intervention in the East Med in a bid to prevent an agreement on the delineation of an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) between Greece and Egypt which is currently being discussed between officials of the two countries."

Turkey's choice of names for its gas exploration ships are also a giveaway. The name of the main ship that Turkey is using for seismic "surveys" of the Greek continental shelf is Oruç Reis , (1474-1518), an admiral of the Ottoman Empire who often raided the coasts of Italy and the islands of the Mediterranean that were still controlled by Christian powers. Other exploration and drilling vessels Turkey uses or is planning to use in Greece's territorial waters are named after Ottoman sultans who targeted Cyprus and Greece in bloody military invasions. These include the drilling ship Fatih "the conqueror" or Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, who invaded Constantinople in 1453; the drilling ship Yavuz , "the resolute", or Sultan Selim I, who headed the Ottoman Empire during the invasion of Cyprus in 1571; and Kanuni , "the lawgiver" or Sultan Suleiman, who invaded parts of eastern Europe as well as the Greek island of Rhodes.

Turkey's move in the Eastern Mediterranean came in early July, shortly after the country had turned Hagia Sophia, once the world's greatest Greek Cathedral, into a mosque. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan then linked Hagia Sophia's conversion to a pledge to "liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque" in Jerusalem.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

On July 21, the tensions arose again following Turkey's announcement that it plans to conduct seismic research in parts of the Greek continental shelf in an area of sea between Cyprus and Crete in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.

"Turkey's plan is seen in Athens as a dangerous escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, prompting Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to warn that European Union sanctions could follow if Ankara continues to challenge Greek sovereignty," Kathimerini reported on July 21.

Here is a short list of other countries where Turkey is also militarily involved:

In Libya , Turkey has been increasingly involved in the country's civil war. Associated Press reported on July 18:

"Turkey sent between 3,500 and 3,800 paid Syrian fighters to Libya over the first three months of the year, the U.S. Defense Department's inspector general concluded in a new report, its first to detail Turkish deployments that helped change the course of Libya's war.

"The report comes as the conflict in oil-rich Libya has escalated into a regional proxy war fueled by foreign powers pouring weapons and mercenaries into the country."

Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when an armed revolt during the "Arab Spring" led to the ouster and murder of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Political power in the country, the current population of which is around 6.5 million, has been split between two rival governments. The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), has been led by Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj. Its rival, the Libyan National Army (LNA), has been led by Libyan military officer, Khalifa Haftar.

Backed by Turkey, the GNA said on July 18 that it would recapture Sirte, a gateway to Libya's main oil terminals, as well as an LNA airbase at Jufra.

Egypt, which backs the LNA, announced , however, that if the GNA and Turkish forces tried to seize Sirte, it would send troops into Libya. On July 20, the Egyptian parliament gave approval to a possible deployment of troops beyond its borders "to defend Egyptian national security against criminal armed militias and foreign terrorist elements."

Yemen is another country on which Turkey has apparently set its sights. In a recent video , Turkey-backed Syrian mercenaries fighting on behalf of the GNA in Libya, and aided by local Islamist groups, are seen saying, "We are just getting started. The target is going to be Gaza." They also state that they want to take on Egyptian President Sisi and to go to Yemen.

"Turkey's growing presence in Yemen," The Arab Weekly reported on May 9, "especially in the restive southern region, is fuelling concern across the region over security in the Gulf of Aden and the Bab al-Mandeb.

"These concerns are further heightened by reports indicating that Turkey's agenda in Yemen is being financed and supported by Qatar via some Yemeni political and tribal figures affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood."

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In Syria , Turkey-backed jihadists continue occupying the northern parts of the country. On July 21, Erdogan announced that Turkey's military presence in Syria would continue. "Nowadays they are holding an election, a so-called election," Erdogan said of a parliamentary election on July 19 in Syria's government-controlled regions, after nearly a decade of civil war. "Until the Syrian people are free, peaceful and safe, we will remain in this country."

Additionally, Turkey's incursion into the Syrian city of Afrin, created a particularly grim situation for the local Yazidi population:

"As a result of the Turkish incursion to Afrin," the Yazda organization reported on May 29, "thousands of Yazidis have fled from 22 villages they inhabited prior to the conflict into other parts of Syria, or have migrated to Lebanon, Europe, or the Kurdistan Region of Iraq... "

"Due to their religious identity, Yazidis in Afrin are suffering from targeted harassment and persecution by Turkish-backed militant groups. Crimes committed against Yazidis include forced conversion to Islam, rape of women and girls, humiliation and torture, arbitrary incarceration, and forced displacement. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its 2020 annual report confirmed that Yazidis and Christians face persecution and marginalization in Afrin.

"Additionally, nearly 80 percent of Yazidi religious sites in Syria have been looted, desecrated, or destroyed, and Yazidi cemeteries have been defiled and bulldozed."

In Iraq , Turkey has been carrying out military operations for years. The last one was started in mid-June. Turkey's Defense Ministry announced on June 17 that the country had "launched a military operation against the PKK" (Kurdistan Workers' Party) in northern Iraq after carrying out a series of airstrikes. Turkey has named its assaults "Operation Claw-Eagle" and "Operation Claw-Tiger".

The Yazidi, Assyrian Christian and Kurdish civilians have been terrorized by the bombings. At least five civilians have been killed in the air raids, according to media reports . Human Rights Watch has also issued a report , noting that a Turkish airstrike in Iraq "disregards civilian loss."

Given Turkey's military aggression in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Armenia, among others, and its continued occupation of northern Cyprus, further aggression, especially against Greece, would not be unrealistic. Turkey's desire to invade Greece is not exactly a secret. Since at least 2018, both the Turkish government and opposition parties have openly been calling for capturing the Greek islands in the Aegean, which they falsely claim belong to Turkey.

If such an attack took place, would the West abandon Greece?


Gaius Konstantine , 10 hours ago

If such an attack took place, it will get real messy, real fast. The Turkish military is only partially adept at fighting irregular forces that lack heavy weaponry while Turkey has absolute control of the sky. Even then, the recent performance of Turkish forces has been lacklustre for "the 2nd largest Army in NATO".

Turkey should understand that a fight with Greece will mean that the advantages she enjoyed in her recent adventures will not be there. Nor should Turkey look to the past and expect an easy victory, the Greek Army will not be marching deep into Anatolia this time, (which was the wrong type of war for Greece).

So what happens if they actually take it to war?

The larger Greek islands are well defended, they won't be taken, but defending the smaller ones is hard and Turkey will probably grab some of those. The Greeks, who have absolute control and dominance in the Aegean will do several things. Turkish naval and air bases along the Aegean coastline will be attacked as will the bosphorus bridges, (those bridges WILL go down). The Greek army, which is positioned well, will blitz into eastern Thrace and stop outside Istanbul where they will dig in and shell the city, thereby causing the civilians to flee and clogging up the tunnels to restrict military re-enforcement.

That's Greece acting alone, a position will be achieved where any captured islands will be traded for eastern Thrace. Should the French intervene, (even if it's just air and naval forces), it gets a lot more interesting.

The mighty Turkish fleet was just met by the entire Greek navy in the latest stand-off, it was enough to cause Turkey to reconsider her options. There will be no Ottoman empire 2.0

OliverAnd , 9 hours ago

The Greeks need their navy for surgically precise attacks against Turkey's navy. Every island, especially the large ones are unsinkable aircraft carriers. No one has mentioned in any article that Turkey's navy is functioning with less than minimum required personnel. No one has mentioned that their air force is flying with Pakistani pilots. The only way Turks will land on Greek uninhabited islands is only if they are ship wrecked and that for a very very short period of time. Turkey's population is composed of 25% Kurds... that will also be very interesting to see once they awaken from their hibernation and realize their great and holy goal of Kurdistan. Egypt will not waste the opportunity to join in to devastate whatever Turkish navy remains. Serbian patriots will not allow the opportunity to go to waste and will attack Kosovo and indirectly Albania composed primarily of Turkish descendants... realize the coverage lately of how the US did wrong for supporting these degenerate Muslim Albanians.

I have no doubt Greeks will make it to Aghia Sophia but will not pass Bosporus. The result will be a Treaty that is a hybrid of the Treaty of Lausanne and the Treaty of Sevron. If the Albanians decide to support the Turks by attacking Greeks in the North and in Northern Epeirus they should expect annexation of Northern Epeirus to Greece. Erdogan bases his bullying on Trump's incompetences and false friendship. This is why America is non existent in any of these regions. If Trump wins the election it will be a long war and very destabilized for the region. If Trump loses the war will be much much quicker. The outcome will remain the same. The Russians will not allow Turkey to dictate in the area. Israel will not allow Turkey to dictate in the area. Egypt will not allow Turkey to dictate in the area. Not even European Union. UK is the questionable.

bobcatz , 2 hours ago

And the US in the Middle East is not????????

ALL MidEast terrorism, shenanigans, and warmongering are for APARTHEID Israhell.

Joy Division , 7 hours ago

The West has Turkey's back otherwise the Turkish currency the Turkish Lira would have collapsed by now under attacks from the City of London Freemasonic Talmudic bankers.

Remember what happened to the Russian Rouble when Russia annexed Crimea?

The Fed and the ECB in cahoots with the usual Talmudic interests, are supporting the Turkish Lira and propping up the Erdogan regime.

There is NO OTHER explanation.

The Turks have NO foreign currency reserves, no net positive euro nor dollar reserves. Their tourism industry and main hard currency generator has COLLAPSED (hotels are 95 percent empty). The Turkish central bank has resorted to STEALING Turkish citizens' dollar-denominated bank accounts via raising Turkish Banks' foreign currency reserve requirements which the Turkish central bank SPENDS upon receipt to buy TLs and prop up the Turkish Lira.

This is utter MADNESS and FRAUD and LARCENY.

London-based currency traders would be all over the Turkish Lira and/or Turkish bonds and stocks by now UNLESS they had been instructed by the Fed and the ECB or the Talmudic bankers that own and control both, to lay off the Turkish Lira.

Despite the noise on TV or the press,

BY DEFINITION,

Erdogan and the Turks are only doing the bidding of the TRIBE hence Erdogan has the blessing and the protection of the people ZH censors the name.

BUT

You know how those parasites treat their host and what the inevitable outcome is, right?

Indeed,

Erdogan and the Turks are being set up to be thrown under the proverbial bus at the appropriate time.

The Neo-Ottoman Sultan has inadvertently set up his (ill begotten) country for eventual destruction and partition. The Kurds will get a piece of it. Who knows, maybe even the Armenians will be able to recover some bits of their ancient homeland.

Greeks in Constantinople? Nothing is impossible thanks to the hubris and chutzpah of Erdogan who is purported to have "Amish" blood himself.

Know thyself , 5 hours ago

Good for the UK that they have left the EU.

Apart from the Greeks, who would be fighting for their lives and homeland, the only EU forces capable of acting are the French. German does not have an operative army or navy; Italy, Spain and Portugal have neglected their armed forces for many years, and the Baltic and Eastern Nations are unlikely to want to get involved. The Netherlands have very good forces but not many of them.

MPJones , 7 hours ago

We can live in hope. Erdogan certainly seems to need external enemies to hold the country together. Let us also hope that Erdogan's adventurism finally wakes up Europe to the reality of the ongoing Muslim invasion so that the necessary Muslim repatriation can get going without the bloodshed which Islam's current strategy in Europe will otherwise inevitably lead to.

Know thyself , 5 hours ago

The Turkish army is a conscript army. They will need to be whipped up with religious fervour to perform. Otherwise they will look after their own skins.

But remember that the Turks put up a good defence in the Dardanelles in the First World War.

HorseBuggy , 9 hours ago

What do you expect? He killed Russian fighter pilots and he survived, this empowers terrorists like him. Those pilots were the only ones at that time fighting ISIS. May they RIP.

Max.Power , 9 hours ago

Turkey is in a "proud" group of failed empires surrounded by nations they severely abused less than 100 years ago.

Other two are Germany and Japan. Any military aggression from their side will be met with rage by a coalition of nations.

US position will be irrelevant at this point, because local historical grievances will overweight anything else.

monty42 , 10 hours ago

"Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when an armed revolt during the "Arab Spring" led to the ouster and murder of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Political power in the country..."

Kinda gave yourself away there. The coordinated assault on Libya by the US, Britain, France, and their Al-CiA-da allies on the ground resulted in the torture, sodomizing, and murder of Gaddafi, as well as his son and grandchildren killed in bombings by the US.

Also, let's not forget that Turkey is still in NATO, and their actions in Syria were alongside the US regime and terrorist proxies labeled "moderate rebels". The same terrorists originally used in Libya, then shipped to destroy Syria, now flown back to Libya. The attempt to paint all of those things as Turkey's actions alone is not honest.

When Turkey isn't in NATO anymore, let me know.

TheZeitgeist , 10 hours ago

Don't forget that Hiftar guy Turks are fighting in Libya was a CIA toadie living in Virginia for a decade before they gave him his "chance" to among other things become a client of the Russians apparently. Flustercluck of the 1st order everywhere one looks.

monty42 , 10 hours ago

Then they put on this whole production where it's the CIA guy or the terrorist puppet regime they installed, so that the rulers win regardless of the outcome. The victims are those caught up in their sick game.

GalustGulbenkyan , 9 hours ago

Turkish population has been recently getting ****** due to the economic contractions and devaluation of the Lira. Once Turkey starts fighting against a real army the Turks will realize that they are going to be ****** by larger dildos. In 1990's they sent thousands of volunteers to Nagorno Karabagh to fight against irregular Armenian forces and we know how that ended for them. Greeks and Egyptians are not the Kurds. Erdogan is a lot of hot air and empty threats. You can't win wars with Modern drones which even Armenians have learned how to jam and shoot down with old 1970's soviet tech.

Guentzburgh , 5 hours ago

Greece should be aligned with Russia, EU and USA are a bad choice that Greece will regret.

Greece needs to pivot towards Russia which will open huge opportunities for both countries

KoalaWalla , 6 hours ago

Greeks are bitter and prideful - they would not only defend themselves if attacked but would counter attack to reclaim land they've lost. But, I don't know that Erdogan is clever enough to realize this.

60s Man , 9 hours ago

Turkey is America's Mini Me.

currency , 3 hours ago

Erdogan is in Trouble at home declining economy and his radical conservative/Thug type policies. Turks are moving away from him except the hard core radicals and conservatives. He and his family are Corrupt - they rule with threats and use of THUGS. Sense his constant wars may be over stretched Time for a Turkish Spring.

Time for US, Nato and etc. to say goodbye to this THUG

OrazioGentile , 7 hours ago

Turkey seems to be on a warpath to imploding from within. Erdogan looks like a desperate despot with a failing economy, failing political clout, and failing modernization of his Country. Like any despot, he has to rally the troops or he will literally be a dead man walking.

HorseBuggy , 9 hours ago

The world fears loud obnoxious tyrants and Erdogan is the loudest tyrant since Hitler. Remember how countries pandered to Hitler early on? Same thing is happening with Erdogan.

This terrorist will do a lot more damage than he has already before the world wakes up.

By the time Hitler was done, 70 million people were dead, what will Erdogan cause?

OliverAnd , 9 hours ago

Turkey is not Germany. Not by far. Erdogan may be a bigger lunatic than Hitler, but Turkey is not Germany of the 30's. Without military equipment/parts from Germany, Italy, Spain, France, USA, and UK he cannot even build a nail. Economies are very integrated; he will be disposed of very very quickly. He has been warned. He is running out of lives.

NewNeo , 9 hours ago

You should research a lot more. Turkey is a lot more power thank Nazi Germany of the 1930's. Turkey currently have brand new US made equipment. It even houses the nuclear arsenal of NATO.

You should probably look at information from stratfor and George Friedman to give you a better understanding.

The failed coupe a few years ago was because the lunatic had gone off the reservation and was seen as a threat to the region. Obviously the bankers thought it in their benefit to keep him going and tipped him off.

OliverAnd , 8 hours ago

Clearly the lockdown has hindered your already illiteracy. Turkey has modern US equipment. Germany did not need US equipment. They made their own equipment; in fact both the US and USSR used Grrman old tech to develop future tech.

The coup was designed by Erdogan to bring himself to full power. When this is all done he will be responsible for millions of Turkish lives; after all he is not a Turk but a Muslim Pontian.

[Jul 27, 2020] France-Turkey naval clash- Proxy war in Libya enters a new stage -- RT Op-ed

Notable quotes:
"... By Dr. Karin Kneissl , who works as an energy analyst and book author. She served as the Austrian minister of foreign affairs between 2017-2019. She is currently writing her book 'Die Mobilitätswende' (Mobility in transition), to be published this summer. ..."
"... "humanitarian corridor" ..."
"... "good opposition" ..."
"... "humanitarian war," ..."
"... "worst mistake." ..."
"... "geopolitical commission." ..."
"... "community of the good ones" ..."
"... "Friends of Libya," ..."
"... "good opposition" ..."
"... "exclusive economic zone" ..."
"... "other actors" ..."
"... "mare nostrum" ..."
"... Think your friends would be interested? Share this story! ..."
Jul 27, 2020 | www.rt.com

By Dr. Karin Kneissl , who works as an energy analyst and book author. She served as the Austrian minister of foreign affairs between 2017-2019. She is currently writing her book 'Die Mobilitätswende' (Mobility in transition), to be published this summer. A confrontation between the two NATO states France and Turkey continues to trouble the Mediterranean region; Egyptian forces are mobilizing. And many other military players are continuing operations there.

In March 2011, during a hectic weekend, the French delegation to the UN Security Council managed to convince all other member States of the Council to support Resolution 1973. It was all about a "humanitarian corridor" for Benghazi, which was considered the "good opposition" by the government of Nicolas Sarkozy. One of his whisperers was the controversial philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, who supported a French intervention. Levy, fond of the "humanitarian war," found a congenial partner in Sarkozy.

France was at root of crisis

Muammar Gaddafi had been received generously with all his tents in the park of the Elysée, but suddenly he was coined the bad guy. The same had happened to Saddam Hussein in Iraq. It was not the Arab dictator who had changed; it was his usefulness to his allies. The Libyans had been distributing huge amounts of money in Europe, in particular in Rome and Paris at various levels. In certain cases they knew too much. Plus, the Libyans had been protecting the southern border of the Mediterranean for the European Union.

READ MORE Turkish media claims Egyptian military used fake photo to report on joint naval drills with France

So, the French started the war in 2011, took the British on board, which made the entire adventure look a bit like a replay of the Suez intervention of 1956, the official end of European colonial interventions. A humanitarian intervention changed into regime change on day two, which was March 20, 2011. Various UN Security Council members felt trapped by the French.

The US was asked to help, with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and many other advisers in favor of joining that war. President Obama, however, was reluctant but, in the end, he gave in. In one of his last interviews while still in the White House, Obama stated that the aftermath of the war in Libya was his "worst mistake."

Libya ever since has mostly remained a dossier in the hands of administrative officials in Washington, but not on the top presidential agenda anymore. This practice has been slightly shifting in the past weeks. US President Donald Trump and France's Emmanuel Macron had a phone conversation on how to deescalate the situation there. Trump also spoke on that very topic with Turkish President Recep T. Erdogan. Paris supports General Haftar in his war against the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord, which is also supported by the European Union, in theory

The triggering momentum for the current rise in tensions was a naval clash between French- and Turkish-supported vessels. Both nations are NATO members, and an internal alliance investigation is underway. But France decided to pull out of the NATO naval operation that enforces the Libya arms embargo, set up during the high-level Berlin conference on Libya in mid-January 2020. Without the French vessels it will be even more toothless than its critics already deem it. This very initiative on Libya was the first test for the new European commission headed by Ursula von der Leyen and claiming to be a "geopolitical commission." The EU strives to speak the language of power but keeps failing in Libya, where two members, namely Italy and France, are pursuing very different goals. Rome is anxious about migration while Paris cares more about the terrorist threat. But both have an interest in commodities.

ALSO ON RT.COM France, Germany & Italy threaten 'sanctions' against countries that interfere in Libya It's about oil and gas

When Gaddafi was reintegrated in the "community of the good ones" in early 2004 after a curious British legal twisting on the Lockerbie attack of December 1988, a bonanza for oil and gas concessions started. The Italian energy company ENI and BP were among the first to have a big foot in the door. I studied some of those contracts and asked myself why companies were ready to accept such terms. The answer was maybe in the then rise in the oil price of oil and the proximity of Libya to the European market.

Interestingly, in September 2011, the very day of the opening ceremony of the Paris conference dubbed "Friends of Libya," a secret oil deal for the French company Total was published by the French daily Libération. The "good opposition" had promised the French an interesting range of oil concessions. Oil production continuously fell with the rise of the war, attracting sponsors, militias and smugglers from all horizons. The situation in Libya has since been called 'somalization,' but it would become even worse, since many more regional powers got involved in Libya than ever was the case in hunger-ridden Somalia.

READ MORE Turkey will be the death of NATO – its recent clash with fellow member France off the coast of Libya is an early symptom

In exchange for its military assistance, Turkey recently gained access to exploration fields off Libya's shores. Ankara had identified an "exclusive economic zone" with the government in Tripoli, which disregards the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Actually, Israel made the same bilateral demarcation with Cyprus about ten years ago, when Noble Energy started its delineation of blocs in the Levant Basin. So Turkey is infringing on Greek and Cypriot territorial waters, while President Macron keeps reminding his EU colleagues of the "other actors" in the Mediterranean Sea. Alas, it is nobody's "mare nostrum" as it was 2,000 years ago in the Roman era. In principle, all states which have ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea should simply comply with their legal obligations.

The crucial question remains: who has which leverage to de-escalate? Is it the US President, who seemingly has acted more wisely on certain issues in recent times? Or will Russian and Turkish diplomacy be able to negotiate and implement a truce? The tightrope-walk diplomacy between these last two countries is a most interesting example of classical diplomacy: interest-based and focused; able to conduct hard-core relations even in times of direct military confrontation and assassinations (remember the Russian Ambassador Karlov, shot by his Turkish bodyguard in Ankara in December 2016?).

Meanwhile, yet another actor could move in to complicate everything even more. On July 20, the Egyptian parliament voted unanimously for the deployment of the national army outside its borders, thereby taking the risk of direct confrontation with Turkey in Libya. Egyptian troops would be mobilized in support of the eastern forces of General Khalifa Haftar. Furthermore, Cairo would thereby compete even more obviously with Algeria, spending a fortune on military control of its border with Libya. Algeria in the past could rely on US support in the region, but with the gradual decline in US engagement in that part of the world, the country faces a fairly existential crisis.

There are currently two powers, among those involved in Libya, that can still contain the next stage of a decade of proxy wars started by a French philosopher and various EU oil interests: Russia and the USA.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.


Quizblorg 48 minutes ago Does anything here make sense? No, because France this, Italy that is not how the world is run. The parties involved here go far beyond countries. Also no mention of Saudi-Arabia/Israel. Who engineered the "Arab Spring"?

[Jul 24, 2020] July 24, 2020 at 7:31 am

Jul 24, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Carlson exposes a sociopathic capitalist – Paul Singer

https://www.youtube.com/embed/IdwH066g5lQ?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Like Reply

MARK CHAPMAN July 24, 2020 at 9:14 am

With some tweaks for technique, the same method bragged about by Bill Browder as "The Hermitage Effect", and if truth be known, a similar method to those of venture capitalists everywhere. Nobody has time to wait anymore for a company's stock to take off, and guess right so that you are ahead of the curve – investors want to be rich nownownow, and venture capitalists have learned you can make your own luck. Browder billed himself as an 'activist investor', because his claim was that he was actually doing the company a favour, trying to help it succeed with western governance procedures and transparency and all that. He would identify a company which he assessed was undervalued, and then begin a whisper campaign against it – the bosses were on the take, lots of merchandise going out the back door, cooking the books to conceal the losses, bla, bla, bla. The company's stock would fall, and Hermitage would buy in when it felt the government's attention had been attracted and it would try to save the company. Government investigation, some management changes and maybe a government contract or some orders. Confidence returns, stock goes up, Browder rakes in the cash and virtuously claims to have saved the company's bacon, when it was his destabilizing efforts that made it shaky in the first place.

Singer is more like Richard Gere's billionaire capitalist in "Pretty Woman" – buying up companies, busting them up, stripping off the salable assets and selling the husk; a real-life example would be Mitt Romney.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/greed-and-debt-the-true-story-of-mitt-romney-and-bain-capital-183291/

Fewer care now about finding a cure for a wasting disease, or discovering a boundless source of cheap and clean energy – the American Dream now is Getting Rich. Maybe it always was – although I fancy I remember a bit more altruism, perhaps I am only deluding myself with pleasant those-were-the-days fantasies. At any rate, corporations and for-profit entities now seem much bolder about causing widespread ruin right out in the open, and likewise seem to be rewarded for it by moving up the ranks of Most Profitable Companies, which seems more and more the only measure of success.

If America did not have its giant military, there would be no reason to fear it, be wary of offending it or even to pay very much attention to it. It is starting to slide over the edge, but you still have to be cautious about its tail snaking up out of the pit and taking you down with it.

[Jul 24, 2020] Blowback from the destruction of Libya, the attempted destruction of Syria, and the ugly face of European neo-imperialism:

Jul 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Jul 23 2020 18:32 utc | 21

Blowback from the destruction of Libya, the attempted destruction of Syria, and the ugly face of European neo-imperialism:

Pernicious life and death policies in the Mediterranean

There is circumstantial evidence the European Union is systematically sinking boats loaded with refugees coming from the Libyan route. The MS editorial is correct in calling the Mediterranean "the graveyard of many people from the Middle East and Africa."

It looks like a continental-wide operation of genocide and silence: the Italian and Greek Coast Guards do the dirty job with secret blessing from their governments, and their governments count with the tacit blessing (and silence) from the other EU governments and their respective MSMs. The Russian and Chinese MSMs do nothing because they can't prove it (as they don't have access to the local) and are more honest than the Western MSM (they don't report what they can't know).

I wouldn't be surprised if we were talking, after all of this is done, of about some 100,000 dead drowned in the Mediterranean. After that dead boy in a Turkish beach fiasco, they took care of perfecting the scheme, so that the Italian and Greek coast guards can operate deeper into the sea, where the drowned corpses cannot be beached. If true, this would be the most well covered genocide in modern history, and the first one will full and direct complying from the "free press".

[Jul 23, 2020] Iran's top security official: Harsher revenge awaits perpetrators of Gen. Soleimani's assassination

Jul 23, 2020 | www.presstv.com

News / Politics Iran's top security official: Harsher revenge awaits perpetrators of Gen. Soleimani's assassination Wednesday, 22 July 2020 4:29 PM [ Last Update: Wednesday, 22 July 2020 4:29 PM ]

Members of the Iraqi honor guard walk past a huge portrait of Iran's late top general Qassem Soleimani (L) and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, both killed in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport last month, during a memorial service held in Baghdad's high-security Green Zone on February 11, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Iran's top security official says harsher revenge awaits the perpetrators of the attack that killed senior Iranian anti-terrorism commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and his companions.

In a post on his Twitter page on Wednesday, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said that US President Donald Trump had admitted that the American, upon his direct order, committed the crime of assassinating General Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) counter-terrorism force, who were two prominent figures of the anti-terrorism campaign.

"The two Iranian and Iraqi nations are avengers of blood of these martyrs and will not rest until they punish the perpetrators," read part of the tweet.

"Harsher revenge is one the way," it concluded.

The two commanders and a number of their companions were assassinated in a US airstrike near Baghdad airport on January 3, as General Soleimani was on an official visit to the Iraqi capital.

Both commanders were extremely popular because of the key role they played in eliminating the US-sponsored Daesh terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

UN experts calls US drone attack on Gen. Soleimani 'unlawful' killing A senior UN human rights investigator says the United States' assassination of top Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad was an "unlawful" killing in violation of the international law.

In retaliation for the attack, the IRGC fired volleys of ballistic missiles a US base in Iraq on January 8. According to the US Defense Department, more than 100 American forces suffered "traumatic brain injuries" during the counterstrike. The IRGC, however, says Washington uses the term to mask the number of the Americans, who perished during the retaliation.

Iran has also issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for help in detaining Trump, who ordered the assassination, and several other US military and political leaders behind the strike.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday Iran will never forget Washington's assassination of General Soleimani and will definitely deliver a "counterblow" to the United States.

Leader: Iran to deal US 'counterblow' for Gen. Soleimani's assassination Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei meets with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Tehran.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran will never forget this issue and will definitely deal the counterblow to the Americans," Ayatollah Khamenei said in a meeting with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Tehran.

"They killed your guest at your own home and unequivocally admitted the atrocity. This is no small matter," Ayatollah Khamenei told the Iraqi premier.

A UN special rapporteur says has condemned the US assassination and said Washington has put the world at unprecedented peril with its murder of Iran's top anti-terror commander.

UN expert raps US for arbitrary drone attack that killed Gen. Soleimani A UN special rapporteur slams the US for refusing to take responsibility for the assassination of General Soleimani in violation of international law.

Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, has also warned that it is high time the international community broke its silence on Washington's drone-powered unlawful killings.


Press TV's website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

[Jul 23, 2020] This is a biggie: Egypt's parliament approves troop deployment to Libya

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I suspect In'Sultin Erd O'Grand is a mole of the garden kind. He goes about digging one hole for himself after another. ..."
Jul 23, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

ET AL July 21, 2020 at 6:01 am

This is a biggie:

Al's Jizz Error: Egypt's parliament approves troop deployment to Libya
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/egypt-legislators-vote-deploying-troops-libya-200720141515828.html

Move comes as Libya gov't and Turkey demand an end of foreign intervention in support of commander Khalifa Haftar.
####

I suspect In'Sultin Erd O'Grand is a mole of the garden kind. He goes about digging one hole for himself after another. If he keeps this up, all the holes will merge in to one and he will disappear! It would give the West a chance to have someone running Turkey with a more reliably western perspective though I think it is clear that whatever comes next, Turkey will not allow itself to be treated as a western annex and pawn.

[Jul 20, 2020] Beer Countess Who Flew Epstein's 'Lolita Express' 32 Times Quits Child Protection Charity

Lex Wexler name surfaces in way too many places connected to Epstein VIP brothel, Why he is not arrested like Maxwell?
Notable quotes:
"... Hazell, now known as Lady Iveagh, worked for Epstein 'Madam' Ghislaine Maxwell according to accuser Maria Farmer , who says she also interacted with Iveagh at the Ohio estate of Victoria's Secret boss Leslie Wexner. Farmer said that Hazell "liked having nice drinks, piles of cash and nice outfits." She was listed in Jeffrey Epstein's famous Black Book as "Clare Hazell-Iveagh." ..."
"... Much like Epstein pal Prince Andrew, Hazell has not been charged with any of the crimes she's been accused of, however we somehow doubt she'll be speaking with US prosecutors anytime soon. ..."
Jul 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Clare Hazell - an interior designer who became the Countess of Iveagh after her 2001 marriage to the 4th Earl of Guinnes (of the brewing dynasty) - took 32 flights on Epstein's infamous airplane between 1998 and 2000, which included "trips to his homes in New York, Florida, the Caribbean and New Mexico," according to the Daily Mail . Epstein accompanied Hazell on all but one of the trips aboard the plane, per flight logs.

Ms Hazell was studying at Ohio State University in the 1990s and reportedly had a modelling agency and an apartment in Columbus, Ohio.

The friend described her as being at Epstein's 'beck and call', saying how mutual plans would be cancelled immediately if she was needed by Epstein and Maxwell. - Daily Mail

Hazell, now known as Lady Iveagh, worked for Epstein 'Madam' Ghislaine Maxwell according to accuser Maria Farmer , who says she also interacted with Iveagh at the Ohio estate of Victoria's Secret boss Leslie Wexner. Farmer said that Hazell "liked having nice drinks, piles of cash and nice outfits." She was listed in Jeffrey Epstein's famous Black Book as "Clare Hazell-Iveagh."

Another Epstein accuser, Virginia Giuffre, accused Hazel of sexually abusing her:

Virginia Giuffre @VRSVirginia • 9h v
You want names? There's 2 on this Gwendolyn Beck & Claire Hazel. They both had sexually abused me as a minor and even though there not JE's age type. These 2 are just some of the "older" women in JE's orbit that served a purpose wonder what that could be? #notmovingon #Help W

ArtisticWhistleBlower, WIDE ... 9h

#ClareHazel #Guinness #EmmyTayler
#GwendolynBeck #EpsteinCoverup
#ArrestMaxwell @VRSVirginia
@bobby_capucci @ohreallytruly

The dirty co-conspirators are ubiquitous and not one has been held accountable!

... ... ...

Hazell, formerly the President of the NSPCC's West Suffolk branch hosted events for the charity at Elveden Hall - a lavish estate in Suffolk, England owned by the Guinness family since 1894 in which several scenes from Eyes Wide Shut were filmed. The estate now operates as a farm, growing root vegetables and cereals on the 22,000 acre property.

Much like Epstein pal Prince Andrew, Hazell has not been charged with any of the crimes she's been accused of, however we somehow doubt she'll be speaking with US prosecutors anytime soon.

[Jul 16, 2020] The spate of gas explosions are unlikely to be accidents

Jul 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU1 , Jul 15 2020 20:41 utc | 30

The spate of gas explosions are unlikely to be accidents. One maybe but not a spate of them. Unlikely to be cyber as both a physical leak and ignition source are required.

Sat image of the site of the first explosion and grass fire https://static.timesofisrael.com/www/uploads/2020/06/AP20179369014525-1024x640.jpg

The gas tank can be seen on google https://www.google.com.au/maps/@35.688164,51.6513532,92m/data=!3m1!1e3
Out away from buildings and easy to access. Something to create a leak and a delayed ignition source is all that's required.

Richard Steven Hack , Jul 16 2020 1:05 utc | 50

@Peter AU1 | Jul 15 2020 20:41 utc | 30

I agree that most of these explosions are probably not "cyberattacks". Despite all the scare stories about hacking destroying infrastructure, it's not that easy, especially in the US where every industry and every company within that industry has their own "standards", which means there are no real standards a hacker can rely on. It's much easier to steal data than it is to influence hardware, although that certainly can be done in many cases.

On the other hand, there are plenty of internal Iranian dissidents and foreign visitors who can be employed by both the CIA and Israel to further a spate of physical attacks.

Obviously these sorts of attacks are going to do next to nothing to actually damage Iranian infrastructure, as Iran is a big country. These sorts of sabotage are merely a psychological warfare ploy. This is amplified by Western media coverage of the incidents which is intended to portray Iran as weak and unable to defend itself.

I've often speculated about what a few hundred saboteurs could do if inserted into the US, armed with nothing but small arms and a decent amount of explosives. Depending on how well they are kept covert and how smart they are in choosing targets, you could bring the US to its knees in perhaps six months of operations. Car bombs, for instance - the US is *made* for car bombs, given our reliance on vehicles and the congestion in the inner cities. Detonate a car bomb in each of the 50 Major Metropolitan Areas simultaneously and do so consistently every week for a month and most of the inner cities would be shut down and under martial law.

That's the kind of actual physical campaign that could produce significant results in a country. These pin-prick attacks in Iran are just a combination of psychological warfare plus perhaps some effects as causing their protective services to be overstretched somewhat.

Mostly what they are is an attempt to provoke Iran into doing something *overtly* against Israel or the US. The neocons want Iran to be the instigator of the war, not the US or Israel. They want Iran to provide a casus belli for the war, so that Trump and Netanyahu can present themselves as blameless for the resulting disaster, much like Bush presented Iraq as responsible for 9/11.

In essence, the US and Israel are acting as Internet trolls, pin-pricking Iran in an attempt to get Iran to engage and thus manipulate Iran for their own purposes.

Hopefully Iran will not take the bait, or if it does so, that it makes sure its retaliations are as covert and deniable as the CIA's while being at least equally as damaging or more so. If I were Iran, I would specifically target the CIA and its assets in the region. It would not be hard to identify the CIA officers stationed in most countries and conduct harassment operations against them, even perhaps engineering "accidental deaths". It would be an analog of the US-Russian Cold War days. Competent spies aren't that plentiful and killing them off tends to put a real crimp in operations while mostly being deniable since all such events would be "classified".

[Jul 07, 2020] As for the timing of the likely pending Iran war,another consideration is the impact on financial markets.

Jul 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Schmoe , Jul 6 2020 3:27 utc | 85

As for the timing of the likely pending Iran war,another consideration is the impact on financial markets.

The market went into a mini panic last September when the Yemeni missiles hit the Saudi refineries because the Saudis withdrew ~$60n - $80b from repo markets. Some blame JP Morgan for that, but someone I know who works at the repo trading desk of the US branch of a large foreign bank was adamant it was the Saudi pullback and JP Morgan had nothing to do with it. I thought that the US withdrew Patriot batteries from the Gulf infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, that is an odd move given Iran could destroy those facilities.

[Jul 06, 2020] Why is turkey even in Libya?

Jul 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mina , Jul 5 2020 16:55 utc | 14

Libya:

Last week Turkey brought two MIM-23 Hawk air defense systems to the al-Watiyah Airbase. Last night they were bombed by either French, UAE, Egyptian or Russian mercenary airplanes. Officially the LNA (Hafter) has taken responsibility for the bombing. Whoever did this had a message to Turkey: Stop trying to break our red lines.

James, "why is turkey even in libya?"
Because they had to get out and quick, upon order of NATO/EU, back in 2011 (+ get a tip for evacuating the other foreigners). They ve lost a lot in this:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-protests-turkey/turkish-businesses-looted-in-libya-turks-evacuated-idUSTRE71K2HJ20110221

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-02-23/turkey-mounts-biggest-evacuation-in-its-history-to-rescue-5-000-from-libya
(I remember reading much more than 25,000 workers, mainly well-paid engineers whose money back home was most welcome)
And there is that
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turks_in_Libya

Egypt lost just as much or even more, they have ca 2-3 million workers there, mainly not higher scale jobs though

Hoarsewhisperer , Jul 5 2020 17:14 utc | 16

Thanks for the link to the Egypt/Libya article, b. It's a rare insight into the often-hidden complexities behind armed conflict. Thanks too for Caitlin J's opinion of AmeriKKKa's two Right-wing Crank parties. She makes it easier to laugh about their un-funny antics.

Slightly off topic, but I think Caitlin could be onto something worthwhile with her Utopia Prepper meme (whether she invented it or not). The way things are going, Hell could freeze over before sanity emerges in Western Political circles. Prompted by her optimism, I intend to devote an hour every Sunday afternoon to Utopia Prepping and contemplate the many potential delights which a mildly more Utopian world would facilitate. There's way too much negative thinking at present and it's NOT accidental. We'll never get to Utopia if we don't plan what we'll do when we arrive...

[Jul 06, 2020] Last week Turkey brought two MIM-23 Hawk air defense systems to the al-Watiyah Airbase. Last night they were bombed by either French, UAE, Egyptian or Russian mercenary airplanes

Jul 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Libya:

Last week Turkey brought two MIM-23 Hawk air defense systems to the al-Watiyah Airbase. Last night they were bombed by either French, UAE, Egyptian or Russian mercenary airplanes. Officially the LNA (Hafter) has taken responsibility for the bombing. Whoever did this had a message to Turkey: Stop trying to break our red lines.

[Jul 06, 2020] Provocation will eventuially make Iran deal dead, which is what the USA badly wants

Jul 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Deimetri , Jul 5 2020 19:53 utc | 32

Hi b,

What is your take on the rash of "accidents" that Iran has been suffering from, these past couple of weeks?


Et Tu , Jul 5 2020 23:07 utc | 56

@ Posted by: Deimetri | Jul 5 2020 19:53 utc | 32

Wanted to ask the same question, i am sure B will have something as soon as some facts are there to be dissected, seems for now that all we have to go by is the assumption it is either US or Israel dirty work, one that is hard to disagree with.

Iran will have to respond, 4 attacks in less than 2 weeks is really taking the piss and makes them look weak. Quite a reversal from the Iran that was seizing tankers, acting on its threats and dictating the tempo of escalation. Israel and US are only deterred by credible threats and the longer Iran waits, the more emboldened they will feel.

Perhaps Iran is more focused on investigations and searching through its own ranks for collaborators or traitors first, meaning it is still not sure who to hit back at. Is it the US or Israel, who is directly responsible for these attacks? What would be an appropriate response? Anything too overt could be counterproductive as there is no proof tying the explosions to anyone, much less anything concrete that Western media would publish that could justify Iran's actions.

Hezbollah has plenty of problems of its own as explained in B's Lebanon article... so not likely we'll see rocket showers on Israel any time soon on Iran's behalf. Seems those new tankers on the way to Venezuela could be targeted soon too... perhaps they are waiting for that as their pretext for escalation or retaliation?

Richard Steven Hack , Jul 6 2020 0:14 utc | 63

Posted by: Et Tu | Jul 5 2020 23:07 utc | 56

Iran will have to respond

I expect Iran to measure its response tit-for-tat. If these explosions are the result of computer intrusion, Iran will respond in cyberspace. If they are not - and I find it hard to believe they are, disrupting a centrifuge is one thing (and too clever by half), causing an explosion is another - then Iran or a proxy will have to respond in kind. As the article cited below states:


He said Israel was "bracing" for an Iranian response, likely via a cyberattack. In an April cyberattack attributed by western intelligence officials to Iran, an attempt was made to increase chlorine levels in water flowing to residential Israeli areas.

Probably BS by Israel and the US, but this sort of thing goes on all the time. Note that there was no explosions involved.

The problem is that covert operations require some planning, especially if hacking is involved. So Iran's response might be days, weeks or months delayed. Of course, it can respond more directly by using Iraqi Shia militias against US forces in Iraq, or allies like Hezbollah elsewhere. But that is a trap the US neocons have laid - anything Iran does can be used to justify further attacks. Even if Iran proves that these explosions were not accidents, they will not be believed. So anything Iran does which is not equally covert will be used to justify further aggression.

There really is no winning this game by Iran. Only if the US and Israel stops covert attacks - and that isn't going to happen.

Meanwhile, allegedly the EU has claimed Iran has now triggered the JCPOA dispute mechanism.

EU says Iran has triggered nuclear deal dispute mechanism

I don't know if this is true, but if so, it represents the final collapse of the JCPOA. The dispute mechanism has a specific time mechanism to which all parties must adhere. So within a short period of time, Iran will either be granted its sanctions relief as promised or the deal will end. The deal's snapback mechanism won't be applied, because Russia and China will veto that no matter the US does. The US has no standing, but will try anyway just for the propaganda value.

Once the JCPOA is finally declared dead, the US and Israel will escalate their aggression against Iran, because no one in the ignorant electorate in those countries will be told that the deal was ruined by Trump and the EU's spinelessness.

Without the JCPOA, the US can revert to the sort of warmongering it engaged in before the Iraq war - constantly escalating accusations that can never be proven false and an unending stream of propaganda justifying a war.

The *only* thing preventing an Iran war is Hezbollah's ability to derail the Israeli economy. The US and Israel have no choice but to find a solution to that problem. Whether they will succeed in that, and at what cost to Lebanon, is the question.

Historically, I don't think there has ever been this level of enmity between countries without a war resulting (other than between nuclear armed nations due to MAD.) It may take some years more to get the Iran war started, but it is inevitable.

And that recognition, contrary to Bagoom's claims, is *not* advocacy. An Iran war is going to be very bad for *everyone* except Israel, the neocons and the military-industrial complex.

[Jul 06, 2020] Third 'Mystery' Blast In Less Than A Week Rocks Iran Power Plant -

Notable quotes:
"... To review, starting over a week ago a massive explosion was observed lighting up the midnight sky outside Tehran, caught on film by local residents, which Iran's military dismissed as a gas leak explosion incident. But it was later revealed to have occurred at a ballistic missile development facility. ..."
"... And this past week, another reported "accident" occurred at Natanz nuclear complex. But that particular 'mystery' blast caused Iranian officials to lash out in anger Thursday, saying "hostile countries" like the US and Israel are near the point of crossing "red lines". Crucially, Iran also said there were no radioactive leaks as a result of the incident. ..."
Jul 06, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Third 'Mystery' Blast In Less Than A Week Rocks Iran Power Plant by Tyler Durden Sun, 07/05/2020 - 11:30 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

On Saturday an explosion ripped through a power plant in the Iranian city of Ahvaz, marking the third 'mystery' blast to hit the country in only under a week, and the fourth recently .

State media showed emergency crews on the scene of the daytime incident while a fire raged at the power plant. This followed days ago a huge blast which destroyed Sina hospital in northern Tehran, which killed 19 people and injured 14.

To review, starting over a week ago a massive explosion was observed lighting up the midnight sky outside Tehran, caught on film by local residents, which Iran's military dismissed as a gas leak explosion incident. But it was later revealed to have occurred at a ballistic missile development facility.

And this past week, another reported "accident" occurred at Natanz nuclear complex. But that particular 'mystery' blast caused Iranian officials to lash out in anger Thursday, saying "hostile countries" like the US and Israel are near the point of crossing "red lines". Crucially, Iran also said there were no radioactive leaks as a result of the incident.

Both US and Israeli media, including The New York Times and Times of Israel, have begun speculating that it could be part of a Mossad or CIA op to set back Iran's nuclear development .

The Jerusalem Post on Sunday asked in a headline and op-ed : Have four explosions pushed Iran farther away from a nuke?

Of the myriad fascinating questions surrounding the four recent, mysterious explosions in Iran, there is still one key issue that rises above the rest: Has any of this significantly distanced Iran further from a nuclear weapon?

The jury is still out, as there is so much that is unconfirmed. But to date, the early answer would need to be: probably not .

Since the IAEA's March report that the Islamic Republic crossed the threshold for having enough low-level enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb, the estimated time for Tehran to enrich enough of that uranium up to a weaponized level dropped from 12 months to as little as four months.

Most interestingly, an unnamed intelligence source said to be based in the Middle East told The New York Times this past week said of the mysterious incident at Natanz: "The blast was caused by an explosive device planted inside the facility."

The official added that the bombing "destroyed much of the aboveground parts of the facility where new centrifuges are balanced before they are put into operation."

Reports out of Iran's state media also suggest a possible cyber-attack, to which Tehran military officials say "they'll respond" if the attack did indeed originate from Iran's enemies like the US or Israel.

[Jul 03, 2020] The Iran Obsession Has Isolated the US

So former tank repairman decided again managed to make a make a mark in world diplomacy :-).
Notable quotes:
"... Mike Pompeo delivered an embarrassing, clownish performance at the U.N. on Tuesday, and his attempt to gain support for an open-ended conventional arms embargo on Iran was rejected the rest of the old P5+1: ..."
"... The Trump administration has abused our major European allies for years in its push to destroy the nuclear deal, and their governments have no patience with any more unilateral U.S. stunts. This is the result of two years of a destructive policy aimed solely at punishing Iran and its people. The administration's open contempt for international law and the interests of its allies has cost the U.S. their cooperation. ..."
"... Underscoring the absurdity of the Trump administration's arms embargo appeal were Pompeo's alarmist warnings that an end to the arms embargo would allow Iran to purchase advanced fighters that it would use to threaten Europe and India: ..."
"... This is a laughably unrealistic scenario. Even if Iran purchased advanced fighters, the last thing it would do is send them off on a suicide mission to bomb Italy or India. This shows how deeply irrational the Iran hawks' fearmongering is. Iran has already demonstrated an ability to launch precise attacks with drones and missiles in its immediate neighborhood, and it developed these capabilities while under the current embargo. ..."
"... The Secretary of State called on the U.N. to reject "extortion diplomacy." The best way to reject extortion diplomacy would be for them to reject the administration's desperate attempt to use America's position at the U.N. to attack international law. ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Mike Pompeo delivered an embarrassing, clownish performance at the U.N. on Tuesday, and his attempt to gain support for an open-ended conventional arms embargo on Iran was rejected the rest of the old P5+1:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Tuesday for an arms embargo on Iran to be extended indefinitely, but his appeal fell flat at the United Nations Security Council, where Russia and China rejected it outright and close allies of the United States were ambivalent.

The Trump administration is more isolated than ever in its Iran obsession. The ridiculous effort to invoke the so-called "snapback" provision of the JCPOA more than two years after reneging on the agreement met with failure, just as most observers predicted months ago when it was first floated as a possibility. As I said at the time, "The administration's latest destructive ploy won't find any support on the Security Council. There is nothing "intricate" about this idea. It is a crude, heavy-handed attempt to employ the JCPOA's own provisions to destroy it." It was never going to work because all of the other parties to the agreement want nothing to do with the administration's punitive approach, and U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA meant that it forfeited any rights it had when it was still part of the deal.

Opposition from Russia and China was a given, but the striking thing about the scene at the U.N. this week was that major U.S. allies joined them in rebuking the administration's obvious bad faith maneuver:

The pointedly critical tone of the debate saw Germany accusing Washington of violating international law by withdrawing from the nuclear pact, while Berlin aligned itself with China's claim that the United States has no right to reimpose U.N. sanctions on Iran.

The Trump administration has abused our major European allies for years in its push to destroy the nuclear deal, and their governments have no patience with any more unilateral U.S. stunts. This is the result of two years of a destructive policy aimed solely at punishing Iran and its people. The administration's open contempt for international law and the interests of its allies has cost the U.S. their cooperation.

Underscoring the absurdity of the Trump administration's arms embargo appeal were Pompeo's alarmist warnings that an end to the arms embargo would allow Iran to purchase advanced fighters that it would use to threaten Europe and India:

If you fail to act, Iran will be free to purchase Russian-made fighter jets that can strike up to a 3,000 kilometer radius, putting cities like Riyadh, New Delhi, Rome, and Warsaw in Iranian crosshairs.

This is a laughably unrealistic scenario. Even if Iran purchased advanced fighters, the last thing it would do is send them off on a suicide mission to bomb Italy or India. This shows how deeply irrational the Iran hawks' fearmongering is. Iran has already demonstrated an ability to launch precise attacks with drones and missiles in its immediate neighborhood, and it developed these capabilities while under the current embargo.

It has no need for expensive fighters, and it is not at all certain that their government would even be interested in acquiring them. Pompeo's presentation was a weak attempt to exaggerate the potential threat from a state that has very limited power projection, and he found no support because his serial fabrications about Iran have rendered everything he says to be worthless.

The same administration that wants to keep an arms embargo on Iran forever has no problem flooding the region with U.S.-made weapons and providing them to some of the worst governments in the world. It is these client states that are doing the most to destabilize other countries in the region right now. If the U.N. should be putting arms embargoes on any country, it should consider imposing them on Saudi Arabia and the UAE to limit their ability to wreak havoc on Yemen and Libya.

The Secretary of State called on the U.N. to reject "extortion diplomacy." The best way to reject extortion diplomacy would be for them to reject the administration's desperate attempt to use America's position at the U.N. to attack international law.

[Jun 21, 2020] Paul R. Pillar who pointed out that U.S. sanctions are frequently peddled as a peaceful alternative to war fit the definition of 'crimes against peace'.

Highly recommended!
Jun 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Christian J. Chuba , Jun 21 2020 14:18 utc | 78

Re: the Nuremberg trials , I became fascinated by the writings of Paul R. Pillar who pointed out that U.S. sanctions are frequently peddled as a peaceful alternative to war fit the definition of 'crimes against peace' . This is when one country sets up an environment for war against another country. I'll grant you that this is vague but if this is applicable at all how is this not an accurate description of what we are doing against Iran and Venezuela?

In both cases, we are imposing a full trade embargo (not sanctions) on basic civilian necessities and infrastructures and threatening the use of military force. As for Iran, the sustained and unfair demonization of Iranians is preparing the U.S. public to accept a ruthless bombing campaign against them as long overdue. We are already attacking the civilian population of their allies in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon.

How Ironic that the country that boasts that it won WW2 is now guilty of the very crimes that it condemned publicly in court.

[Jun 10, 2020] A very interesting overview of what is happening in Libya

Jun 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

dh-mtl , Jun 10 2020 18:13 utc | 6

A very interesting overview of what is happening in Libya.

https://madamasr.com/en/2020/06/08/feature/politics/what-comes-after-the-collapse-of-haftars-western-campaign/

b might want to comment on the situation.

chet380 , Jun 10 2020 18:30 utc | 12

In Libya, as in Idlib, Turkish drones have caused very significant damage to tanks and artillery positions ... what is the defence?
Daniel , Jun 10 2020 19:22 utc | 20
@6 dh-mtl

Thanks for that link, a very interesting and detailed article. It seems Haftar is an erratic and unreliable character and the LNA's major foreign allies/sponsors, including Russia, make no secret of the fact that they basically consider him a temporary "necessary evil" until a more solid and reliable leader can be found.

[Jun 04, 2020] The basic tool of neoliberalism subjugation of people is always the same -- debt

Notable quotes:
"... Possibly, the model for the new economy is the prison economy where one can get away with paying subsistance wages, if that. In any case, I think many oligarchs like the idea of workers pleading for work to avoid poverty, hunger and the jackboot on their necks while they rake in the wealth. ..."
Jun 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 3 2020 20:14 utc | 37

31 Cont'd--

And those reading outside the Outlaw US Empire excepting most of Asia and Russia, what Hudson describes is being done to you, too, although the mechanisms of financial control differ somewhat. Hudson has written a lot about the EU situation, but the basic tool of manipulation's the same--debt. Here's the Hedges/Hudson Interview from December 2018 which is 28.5 minutes. If this were a collegiate course, I'd assign this and all the other videos I've posted over the past week as homework so everyone can be clear about what's being done, how and why.

Blue Dotterel , Jun 3 2020 20:53 utc | 41

I think the oligarchs and Trump are well aware of what they could do to save or improve the mainstream economy. It seems, however, that they want to break the US economy, possibly to bring in their own somewhat feudalistic or worse alternative.

Trump, himself, might even imagine that breaking the workers and turning the economy into something paying third world cheap labor wages for workers will bring back manufacturing. Who knows? MAGA for him may be meant solely for the oligarchs. It certainly seems that way.

Possibly, the model for the new economy is the prison economy where one can get away with paying subsistance wages, if that. In any case, I think many oligarchs like the idea of workers pleading for work to avoid poverty, hunger and the jackboot on their necks while they rake in the wealth.

[May 25, 2020] Gangster politics at the age of Trump: Lack of principle itself becomes a principle.

May 25, 2020 | logosjournal.com

Originally from: Gangster Politics Logos Journal by by Stephen Eric Bronner

Gangster politicians like to think that they are slick. They talk slang and curse a lot, grab a girl's ass (or worse), insist that they never read a book, thumb their noses at intellectual elites, boast about their high IQs, and proclaim their "street smarts." They also view themselves both as victims of their critics' malice and "great men" alone capable of curing the nation's ills.

They make their base feel the same: they are despised and yet the real Americans! Their belief in the boss is unwavering. Only he can make America great again.

Those who oppose his policies are traitors and the threats they pose are serious -- and, if they are not serious, then they must be made serious. History teaches what might become necessary in order to teach them a lesson. The Reichstag Fire of 1933 and the (staged) assassination of Sergei Kirov in 1934 were the dramatic events that led Hitler and Stalin to justify attacks on enemies, renegades, and supposed traitors to the state. Gangster politicians under internal pressure pray for a crisis, or what Trump once forecast as a "major event," in order to rally the troops and clean house.

Gangster politics requires no ideology. Lack of principle itself becomes a principle.

The great man must do what must be done: if that means lying, reneging on deals, shifting gears, rejecting transparency, and whatever else, then so be it. That he can employ the double standard is a given.

Big talk takes the place of diplomacy and, if the bluster doesn't work then America alone -- or, better, the boss alone -- can rely on "fire and fury" whenever and wherever he likes.

Traditionalists employed jingoistic rhetoric and wrapped themselves in the flag. The gangster politician talks like a schoolyard bully and salutes himself.

Gangster politicians of times past had subordinates swear an oath of loyalty not to the state but to them. Yesterday's "America! Love it or leave it!" has today turned into: "Trump! Love him -- or shut up!"

[May 25, 2020] Gangster Politics by Stephen Eric Bronner

Notable quotes:
"... Contemporary films and television shows constantly depict the CIA, corrupt politicians and greedy corporate interests as interwoven. But these usually appear as either the work of rogue individuals (who must be brought into line) or an always vague and unalterable "system" that demands utter cynicism as the only appropriate response. ..."
May 25, 2020 | logosjournal.com

In The Communist Manifesto , Marx and Engels referred to the state as "the executive committee of the ruling class." Reflecting the collective capitalist interest in maintaining its accumulation process, capable of forging compromises among competing sectors of its own and other classes, this committee was also meant to enforce legal norms, contracts, and other rules of the game.

If necessary, indeed, it would even subordinate individual capitalist interests to the collective interests of the class. The executive committee might foster imperialist ambitions and declare war. But it might also call for redistributive legislation to foster demand even though no individual capitalist would want to pay higher taxes to cover the cost. Recalcitrant elements of the ruling class and protestors from below require punishment. Fascist states easily get carried away in that regard. Banana republics usually exhibit bureaucratic gangster tendencies. In a capitalist democracy, however, things are supposedly different: its executive committee should jail Al Capone and marginalize corruption. The lines between legal and illegal business transactions are blurring and the term "political mafia" is taking on a whole new meaning. [1]

Gangster politics has little in common with the interests of petty criminals, white collar crooks, 'Crips and 'Bloods, and the like. Vast sums are at stake: so, for example, roughly 82.8% of benefits from the 2017 tax bill are being funneled into the portfolios of the top 1%, [2] and the corporate tax rate is being dropped from 35% to 21%. The boss knows where his bread is buttered. That the godfather should get his cut goes without saying: Trump's family will make upwards of "tens of millions of dollars" from his tax legislation. [3] And with the "ca-ching!" (that sweet sound of the cash register) comes the "bling" (the payoffs, the hush-money, and the gifts) along with the "glitz" of the porno stars, the third-rate actresses, the models, and the rest.

Gangster politics hovers between the authoritarian and the democratic. The boss and his posse receive their perks for a reason. Gangster politics immunizes capitalist society from class contradictions that have become too acute or demands from below that have grown too onerous. Its representatives are not exactly fascists. They don't rely on paramilitary forces, concentration camps, official censorship, or explicit ideals of a racially pure society. Sleaze is the ethos of gangster politics. Its style and tone insinuate themselves into existing institutions such as the town meeting, the mass rally, media, electoral debates, and the use of legislative tricks, and legal minutiae. Gangster politicians know how to "game" the system. Their populist rhetoric is window dressing. The old "bicycle mentality" of the petty bourgeoisie holds sway, namely, push up and kick down.

Gangsters have long been identified with capitalists, cops, and state officials. Balzac noted that every great fortune hides a great crime. Upton Sinclair and Frank Norris made the connection as did Ibsen. But, perhaps most notoriously, Bert Brecht saw the gangster ethos uniting capitalists, imperialists, and militarists in a host of plays beginning with The Three Penny Opera . Contemporary films and television shows constantly depict the CIA, corrupt politicians and greedy corporate interests as interwoven. But these usually appear as either the work of rogue individuals (who must be brought into line) or an always vague and unalterable "system" that demands utter cynicism as the only appropriate response.

Gangster politics is not a structured institutional formation, as often argued, [4] but rather a semi-legal adaptation to legal forms of governance. It arises when the gangster's clients sense danger. Memories still linger concerning the economic crisis of 2008. [5] Banks are still over-extending unfavorable loans, stocks have been erratic, insider trading is the rule of the day and the "average guy" is panicking as capital becomes centralized in ever fewer hands. Production requires an ever smaller yet more educated working class; consumption is inordinately skewed to the wealthy; and the class question increasingly turns on how best to disempower working people, those living below the poverty line, women, citizens of color, and immigrants

Enforcing gerrymandering, curtailing voting rights, privatizing the prison system, access peddling, and accruing unlimited donations for electoral campaigns are effective tactics that border on the illegal. Right-wing control over an increasingly centralized media helps deflect criticisms and divide the disenfranchised and exploited. The audience has been primed. The boss' mass base detests his critics. Environmentalists, immigrants, people of color, uppity women, decadent gays and the transgendered infuriate the "good citizens" of America clinging to outworn traditions in small towns as well as evangelicals and retrograde (white) sectors of the industrial working class. They despair over loss of jobs, government "waste" and "welfare chiselers," moral decline, and (above all) the loss of their cultural privileges. They look back to a time when "men were men," "America was great!" and "happy days" followed one another non-stop.

Elites nod approvingly, though they have different priorities: de-regulation, lower taxes, fewer welfare policies, and cuts in the "costs of doing business." Oligarchic tendencies are built into capitalism and, as they expand, their exploitative impact on workers and the urban poor become more intense. That is where gangster politics enters the mainstream. Corporate elites require protection from progressive forces. [6] Their leaders must often choose between authoritarianism with profits as against democracy with costs. Thy always assume that they can control their enforcer. Once in office, however, the parvenu begins exercising power in his own interest. Donald Trump turned on mainstream Republicans, who pandered to the Tea Party early in the Obama presidency, just as Hitler turned on his former patron, Fritz von Papen, and his "cabinet of the barons" in 1933. It was the same with General Pinochet who was installed by the traditional conservative Eduard Frei following the fall of Salvador Allende's democratic regime in Chile in 1973. Other examples are available.

Gangster politics has its own logic. Traditionalists like to believe that the conflict is between "them and us." For the political gangster, however, the struggle is between "them and me." The only fixed rule is -- don't cross the boss! And, if only for this reason, he chooses to be feared rather than loved. He taunts his subordinates, publicly humiliates them, throws them under the bus, and perhaps even fires them a few days before their retirement. Cabinet officials and agency directors require no expertise or security clearance, [7] all that counts is loyalty to the boss. But, then, loyalty is a one-way street. Internal security advisers, press secretaries, cabinet secretaries, chiefs of staff, assistants, agency directors, White House attorneys, and deputies of all stripes come and go. Trump's administration has already had a turnover rate of 34%, more than triple that of the Obama presidency. [8] Confusion and chaos proliferate. There is a sense in which the goal of gangster politics is what Franz Neumann termed "the stateless state." It serves a concrete purpose: everyone knows who is in charge of everything.

Gangster politicians like to think that they are slick. They talk slang and curse a lot, grab a girl's ass (or worse), insist that they never read a book, thumb their noses at intellectual elites, boast about their high IQs, and proclaim their "street smarts." They also view themselves both as victims of their critics' malice and "great men" alone capable of curing the nation's ills. They make their base feel the same: they are despised and yet the real Americans! Their belief in the boss is unwavering. Only he can make America great again. Those who oppose his policies are traitors and the threats they pose are serious -- and, if they are not serious, then they must be made serious. History teaches what might become necessary in order to teach them a lesson. The Reichstag Fire of 1933 and the (staged) assassination of Sergei Kirov in 1934 were the dramatic events that led Hitler and Stalin to justify attacks on enemies, renegades, and supposed traitors to the state. Gangster politicians under internal pressure pray for a crisis, or what Trump once forecast as a "major event," in order to rally the troops and clean house.

Gangster politics requires no ideology. Lack of principle itself becomes a principle.

The great man must do what must be done: if that means lying, reneging on deals, shifting gears, rejecting transparency, and whatever else, then so be it. That he can employ the double standard is a given. Big talk takes the place of diplomacy and, if the bluster doesn't work then America alone – or, better, the boss alone – can rely on "fire and fury" whenever and wherever he likes. Traditionalists employed jingoistic rhetoric and wrapped themselves in the flag. The gangster politician talks like a schoolyard bully and salutes himself. Gangster politicians of times past had subordinates swear an oath of loyalty not to the state but to them. Yesterday's "America! Love it or leave it!" has today turned into: "Trump! Love him –or shut up!"

... ,,, ,,

References

[1] Herbert Marcuse, 1974 Paris Lectures at Vincennes University eds. Peter-Erwin Jansen and Charles Reitz (Published by the Marcuse Archives).

[2] Dylan Matthews, "The Republican tax bill got worse: now the top 1% gets 83% of the gains,"VOX, December 18, 2017, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/18/16791174/republican-tax-bill-congress-conference-tax-policy-center

[3] Louis Jacobson, "How much does the Trump family have to gain from GOP tax bills?"PolitiFact, November 27, 2017,http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/nov/27/lloyd-doggett/how-much-does-trump-family-have-gain-gop-tax-bills/

[4] The term "gangster state" has been used often, and there are a number of different interpretations of the phenomenon ie. Katherine Hirschfeld, Gangster States: Organized Crime, Kleptocracy and Political Collapse (New York: Palgrave, 2015); Charles Tilly, "State Formation as Organized Crime" in eds. Peter Evans et. al (Bringing the State Back In (New York: Cambridge University press, 1985); Michael Hirsh, "Gangster States" in http://www.newsweek.com/gangster-state-166356Paul Craig Roberts, "Gangster State America: Where is America's Democracy?" https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/05/06/gangster-state-america-paul-craig-roberts-2/;

[5] Gretchen Morgenstern and Joshua Rosner, Reckles$ Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon (New York: Henry Holt, 2011).

[6] Note the discussion in Stephen Eric Bronner, The Bitter Taste of Hope: Ideals, Ideologies and Interests in the Age of Obama (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2017), 1ff.

[7] Max Greenwood, "At least 30 White House officials, Trump appointees lack full clearances: report," The Hill, February 9, 2018http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/373220-at-least-30-white-house-officials-trump-appointees-lack-full#.Wn7-uVrZvb8.facebook

[8] Jeremy Berke, "REX TILLERSON IS OUT -- here are all the casualties of the Trump administration so far," Business Insider, March 13, 2018 http://www.businessinsider.com/who-has-trump-fired-so-far-james-comey-sean-spicer-michael-flynn-2017-7/#rob-porter-1 ; New York Times (February 13, 2018).

[9] Nicholas Confessore and Karen Yourish, "$2 Billion Worth of Free Media for Donald Trump," New York Times , March 15, 2016https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/16/upshot/measuring-donald-trumps-mammoth-advantage-in-free-media.html


Stephen Eric Bronner is Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of Global Relations for the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University. His most recent work is
The Bitter Taste of Hope: Ideals, Ideologies and Interests in the Age of Obama.

[May 23, 2020] Neoliberalism promised freedom instead it delivers stifling control by George Monbiot

Highly recommended!
From comments: " neoliberalism to be a techno-economic order of control, requiring a state apparatus to enforce wholly artificial directives. Also, the work of recent critics of data markets such as Shoshana Zuboff has shown capitalism to be evolving into a totalitarian system of control through cybernetic data aggregation."
"... By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced. ..."
"... Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence. ..."
"... Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control. ..."
"... Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself. ..."
Notable quotes:
"... By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced. ..."
"... Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence. ..."
"... Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control. ..."
"... Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself. ..."
"... The other point to be made is that the return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism. ..."
"... Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism. In other words, neoliberalism's authoritarian orientations, previously effaced beneath discourses of egalitarian free-enterprise, become overt. ..."
"... The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue. Individual entrepreneurs collectivise into a 'people' serving a market which has become synonymous with nationhood. ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

Thousands of people march through London to protest against underfunding and privatisation of the NHS. Photograph: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Images M y life was saved last year by the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, through a skilful procedure to remove a cancer from my body . Now I will need another operation, to remove my jaw from the floor. I've just learned what was happening at the hospital while I was being treated. On the surface, it ran smoothly. Underneath, unknown to me, was fury and tumult. Many of the staff had objected to a decision by the National Health Service to privatise the hospital's cancer scanning . They complained that the scanners the private company was offering were less sensitive than the hospital's own machines. Privatisation, they said, would put patients at risk. In response, as the Guardian revealed last week , NHS England threatened to sue the hospital for libel if its staff continued to criticise the decision.

The dominant system of political thought in this country, which produced both the creeping privatisation of public health services and this astonishing attempt to stifle free speech, promised to save us from dehumanising bureaucracy. By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced.

Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence.

Much of the theory behind these transformations arises from the work of Ludwig von Mises. In his book Bureaucracy , published in 1944, he argued that there could be no accommodation between capitalism and socialism. The creation of the National Health Service in the UK, the New Deal in the US and other experiments in social democracy would lead inexorably to the bureaucratic totalitarianism of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

He recognised that some state bureaucracy was inevitable; there were certain functions that could not be discharged without it. But unless the role of the state is minimised – confined to defence, security, taxation, customs and not much else – workers would be reduced to cogs "in a vast bureaucratic machine", deprived of initiative and free will.

By contrast, those who labour within an "unhampered capitalist system" are "free men", whose liberty is guaranteed by "an economic democracy in which every penny gives a right to vote". He forgot to add that some people, in his capitalist utopia, have more votes than others. And those votes become a source of power.

His ideas, alongside the writings of Friedrich Hayek , Milton Friedman and other neoliberal thinkers, have been applied in this country by Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron, Theresa May and, to an alarming extent, Tony Blair. All of those have attempted to privatise or marketise public services in the name of freedom and efficiency, but they keep hitting the same snag: democracy. People want essential services to remain public, and they are right to do so.

If you hand public services to private companies, either you create a private monopoly, which can use its dominance to extract wealth and shape the system to serve its own needs – or you introduce competition, creating an incoherent, fragmented service characterised by the institutional failure you can see every day on our railways. We're not idiots, even if we are treated as such. We know what the profit motive does to public services.

So successive governments decided that if they could not privatise our core services outright, they would subject them to "market discipline". Von Mises repeatedly warned against this approach. "No reform could transform a public office into a sort of private enterprise," he cautioned. The value of public administration "cannot be expressed in terms of money". "Government efficiency and industrial efficiency are entirely different things."

"Intellectual work cannot be measured and valued by mechanical devices." "You cannot 'measure' a doctor according to the time he employs in examining one case." They ignored his warnings.

Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control.

Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself.

Its perversities afflict all public services. Schools teach to the test , depriving children of a rounded and useful education. Hospitals manipulate waiting times, shuffling patients from one list to another. Police forces ignore some crimes, reclassify others, and persuade suspects to admit to extra offences to improve their statistics . Universities urge their researchers to write quick and superficial papers , instead of deep monographs, to maximise their scores under the research excellence framework.

As a result, public services become highly inefficient for an obvious reason: the destruction of staff morale. Skilled people, including surgeons whose training costs hundreds of thousands of pounds, resign or retire early because of the stress and misery the system causes. The leakage of talent is a far greater waste than any inefficiencies this quantomania claims to address.

New extremes in the surveillance and control of workers are not, of course, confined to the public sector. Amazon has patented a wristband that can track workers' movements and detect the slightest deviation from protocol. Technologies are used to monitor peoples' keystrokes, language, moods and tone of voice. Some companies have begun to experiment with the micro-chipping of their staff . As the philosopher Byung-Chul Han points out , neoliberal work practices, epitomised by the gig economy, that reclassifies workers as independent contractors, internalise exploitation. "Everyone is a self-exploiting worker in their own enterprise."

The freedom we were promised turns out to be freedom for capital , gained at the expense of human liberty. The system neoliberalism has created is a bureaucracy that tends towards absolutism, produced in the public services by managers mimicking corporate executives, imposing inappropriate and self-defeating efficiency measures, and in the private sector by subjection to faceless technologies that can brook no argument or complaint.

Attempts to resist are met by ever more extreme methods, such as the threatened lawsuit at the Churchill Hospital. Such instruments of control crush autonomy and creativity. It is true that the Soviet bureaucracy von Mises rightly denounced reduced its workers to subjugated drones. But the system his disciples have created is heading the same way.

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist


Pinkie123 , 12 Apr 2019 03:23

The other point to be made is that the return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism. If 'free markets' of enterprising individuals have been tested to destruction, then capitalism is unable to articulate an ideology with which to legitimise itself.

Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism. In other words, neoliberalism's authoritarian orientations, previously effaced beneath discourses of egalitarian free-enterprise, become overt.

The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue. Individual entrepreneurs collectivise into a 'people' serving a market which has become synonymous with nationhood.

A corporate state emerges, free of the regulatory fetters of democracy. The final restriction on the market - democracy itself - is removed. There then is no separate market and state, just a totalitarian market state.

glisson , 12 Apr 2019 00:10
This is the best piece of writing on neoliberalism I have ever seen. Look, 'what is in general good and probably most importantly what is in the future good'. Why are we collectively not viewing everything that way? Surely those thoughts should drive us all?
economicalternative -> Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 21:33
Pinkie123: So good to read your understandings of neoliberalism. The political project is the imposition of the all seeing all knowing 'market' on all aspects of human life. This version of the market is an 'information processor'. Speaking of the different idea of the laissez-faire version of market/non market areas and the function of the night watchman state are you aware there are different neoliberalisms? The EU for example runs on the version called 'ordoliberalism'. I understand that this still sees some areas of society as separate from 'the market'?
economicalternative -> ADamnSmith2016 , 11 Apr 2019 21:01
ADamnSmith: Philip Mirowski has discussed this 'under the radar' aspect of neoliberalism. How to impose 'the market' on human affairs - best not to be to explicit about what you are doing. Only recently has some knowledge about the actual neoliberal project been appearing. Most people think of neoliberalism as 'making the rich richer' - just a ramped up version of capitalism. That's how the left has thought of it and they have been ineffective in stopping its implementation.
economicalternative , 11 Apr 2019 20:42
Finally. A writer who can talk about neoliberalism as NOT being a retro version of classical laissez faire liberalism. It is about imposing "The Market" as the sole arbiter of Truth on us all.
Only the 'Market' knows what is true in life - no need for 'democracy' or 'education'. Neoliberals believe - unlike classical liberals with their view of people as rational individuals acting in their own self-interest - people are inherently 'unreliable', stupid. Only entrepreneurs - those close to the market - can know 'the truth' about anything. To succeed we all need to take our cues in life from what the market tells us. Neoliberalism is not about a 'small state'. The state is repurposed to impose the 'all knowing' market on everyone and everything. That is neoliberalism's political project. It is ultimately not about 'economics'.
Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 13:27
The left have been entirely wrong to believe that neoliberalism is a mobilisation of anarchic, 'free' markets. It never was so. Only a few more acute thinkers on the left (Jacques Ranciere, Foucault, Deleuze and, more recently, Mark Fisher, Wendy Brown, Will Davies and David Graeber) have understood neoliberalism to be a techno-economic order of control, requiring a state apparatus to enforce wholly artificial directives. Also, the work of recent critics of data markets such as Shoshana Zuboff has shown capitalism to be evolving into a totalitarian system of control through cybernetic data aggregation.


Only in theory is neoliberalism a form of laissez-faire. Neoliberalism is not a case of the state saying, as it were: 'OK everyone, we'll impose some very broad legal parameters, so we'll make sure the police will turn up if someone breaks into your house; but otherwise we'll hang back and let you do what you want'. Hayek is perfectly clear that a strong state is required to force people to act according to market logic. If left to their own devices, they might collectivise, think up dangerous utopian ideologies, and the next thing you know there would be socialism. This the paradox of neoliberalism as an intellectual critique of government: a socialist state can only be prohibited with an equally strong state. That is, neoliberals are not opposed to a state as such, but to a specifically centrally-planned state based on principles of social justice - a state which, to Hayek's mind, could only end in t totalitarianism. Because concepts of social justice are expressed in language, neoliberals are suspicious of linguistic concepts, regarding them as politically dangerous. Their preference has always been for numbers. Hence, market bureaucracy aims for the quantification of all values - translating the entirety of social reality into metrics, data, objectively measurable price signals. Numbers are safe. The laws of numbers never change. Numbers do not lead to revolutions. Hence, all the audit, performance review and tick-boxing that has been enforced into public institutions serves to render them forever subservient to numerical (market) logic. However, because social institutions are not measurable, attempts to make them so become increasingly mystical and absurd. Administrators manage data that has no relation to reality. Quantitatively unmeasurable things - like happiness or success - are measured, with absurd results.

It should be understood (and I speak above all as a critic of neoliberalism) that neoliberal ideology is not merely a system of class power, but an entire metaphysic, a way of understanding the world that has an emotional hold over people. For any ideology to universalize itself, it must be based on some very powerful ideas. Hayek and Von Mises were Jewish fugitives of Nazism, living through the worst horrors of twentieth-century totalitarianism. There are passages of Hayek's that describe a world operating according to the rules of a benign abstract system that make it sound rather lovely. To understand neoliberalism, we must see that it has an appeal.

However, there is no perfect order of price signals. People do not simply act according to economic self-interest. Therefore, neoliberalism is a utopian political project like any other, requiring the brute power of the state to enforce ideological tenets. With tragic irony, the neoliberal order eventually becomes not dissimilar to the totalitarian regimes that Hayek railed against.

manolito22 -> MrJoe , 11 Apr 2019 08:14
Nationalised rail in the UK was under-funded and 'set up to fail' in its latter phase to make privatisation seem like an attractive prospect. I have travelled by train under both nationalisation and privatisation and the latter has been an unmitigated disaster in my experience. Under privatisation, public services are run for the benefit of shareholders and CEO's, rather than customers and citizens and under the opaque shroud of undemocratic 'commercial confidentiality'.
Galluses , 11 Apr 2019 07:26
What has been very noticeable about the development of bureaucracy in the public and private spheres over the last 40 years (since Thatcher govt of 79) has been the way systems are designed now to place responsibility and culpability on the workers delivering the services - Teachers, Nurses, social workers, etc. While those making the policies, passing the laws, overseeing the regulations- viz. the people 'at the top', now no longer take the rap when something goes wrong- they may be the Captain of their particular ship, but the responsibility now rests with the man sweeping the decks. Instead they are covered by tying up in knots those teachers etc. having to fill in endless check lists and reports, which have as much use as clicking 'yes' one has understood those long legal terms provided by software companies.... yet are legally binding. So how the hell do we get out of this mess? By us as individuals uniting through unions or whatever and saying NO. No to your dumb educational directives, No to your cruel welfare policies, No to your stupid NHS mismanagement.... there would be a lot of No's but eventually we could say collectively 'Yes I did the right thing'.
fairshares -> rjb04tony , 11 Apr 2019 07:17
'The left wing dialogue about neoliberalism used to be that it was the Wild West and that anything goes. Now apparently it's a machine of mass control.'

It is the Wild West and anything goes for the corporate entities, and a machine of control of the masses. Hence the wish of neoliberals to remove legislation that protects workers and consumers.

[Apr 30, 2020] https://www.zerohedge.com/health/five-eyes-western-intelligence-investigating-wuhan-researcher-highlighted-zero-hedge-january

Apr 30, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

xxx 2 days ago (Edited)

Whitney Webb interview to be broadcast in 15 minutes.

If you want to understand the police state roll out of today, you have to understand the CIA's Phoenix program. Watch our discussion here:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TVAI9VXSxII

xxx 2 days ago

She's a really sharp researcher/investigative journalist. Not many of those left and she is fearless.

Ms No, 2 days ago

Whitney Webb just reminded everybody of this. So many coincidences with these people.

https://www.seattlepi.com/seattlenews/amp/Gates-estate-staff-member-sentenced-for-child-6344956.php?__twitter_impression=true

"(FYI, the guy in the second link was funded by Epstein and advises a gene-editing start-up funded by Gates)"

https://futurism.com/geneticist-says-his-dna-dating-app-isnt-really-eugenics/amp?__twitter_impression=true

https://futurism.com/dating-app-match-users-dna

"Bill Gates claiming that he didn't meet with Epstein until 2013 is complete crap. A 2001 newspaper article on Epstein said that Epstein made millions from his business links with Gates in the 1990s."

https://www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2019/9/10/20858936/bill-gates-jeffrey-epstein-meetings-interview?__twitter_impression=true

[Apr 24, 2020] Jewish money, it reported, "has long been known to be ruthless and merciless."

Apr 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Robjil , says: Show Comment April 23, 2020 at 11:24 am GMT

@Anti-White English speaking Euros are the flunkies of the Zionists. They have no real power. Zionists obviously have more power since 1945.

The big 6 sun replaced the real sun of Galileo in 1945.

Any one who disputes the centrality of the big 6 is job less or jailed in most of the world.

China knows this and other Asian nations know this as well.

Samsung had a big run in with Zionist criminals recently who were trying to take it over.

https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/samsung-pulls-allegedly-anti-semitic-cartoons-from-its-website-409143

Pro-Samsung media outlets in South Korea came under fire from Jewish groups after utilizing anti-Semitism to belittle Singer.

"Elliott is led by a Jew, Paul E. Singer, and ISS [an advisory firm that analyzed the merger] is an affiliate of Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI), whose key shareholders are Jewish. According to a source in the finance industry, Jews have a robust network demonstrating influence in a number of domains," the South Korean financial publication MoneyToday said last week.

Meanwhile, Mediapen, another local publication, asserted that "Jews are known to wield enormous power on Wall Street and in global financial circles" and that it is a "well-known fact that the US government is swayed by Jewish capital."

Jewish money, it reported, "has long been known to be ruthless and merciless."

[Apr 24, 2020] They can top off the national reserves on the cheap and profit when their war sends prices up again

Apr 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zengine3 , Apr 23 2020 18:03 utc | 30

If ever there was a time, it's now. Oil has bottomed out. They can top off the national reserves on the cheap and profit when their war sends prices up again. Maybe it's why The Orange Goober has ordered the Navy to "shoot down" any Iranian boats that harass/approach/rudely gesture at US ships.

Musburger , Apr 23 2020 18:08 utc | 31

@30

Scott Ritter thinks this is quite possible.
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/486598-trump-iran-war-oil/

Tuyzentfloot , Apr 23 2020 18:23 utc | 36
Ritter's article worries me. There is now a sales argument for war: "don't worry about oil prices going sky high, Iran can't use that weapon against us now!".
LOL , Apr 23 2020 18:38 utc | 38
You over excitable little Iran war-monkeys really should take time out of your busy war-monkey daily-schedules to learn something about the topography of Iran and it's defensive and offensive military capabilities.

It would certainly save everyone else from having to listen to you being wrong yet again.

karlof1 , Apr 23 2020 18:53 utc | 39
dh @34--

You're on the right track. There's a huge supply glut as all forms of storage are mostly filled as proven by the negative WTI pricing. Global demand is still being destroyed. War in the Persian Gulf region will further destroy demand; and since very little oil's being shipped from there, the supply glut won't be used up anytime soon--certainly not quickly enough to see a sharp rebound in oil price. The crucial point is domestic US refineries have cut back their runs as their margins are even thinner than before, plus demand destruction is still occurring, thus the domestic storage glut. The wife and I jested last night if we only had a rail spur we could order up a couple of tank cars full of unleaded at the current very distressed price and be set for a longtime.

As The Saker notes in his latest , Trump must make the voting public look everywhere except at him and Congress, the bellowing at Iran being part of that entire theatre. Yes, a mistake could have very negative consequences for the USN and all US assets in the region as well as Occupied Palestine--the overall underlying dynamic hasn't changed since Trump broke the Iran Nuclear Treaty. Too add further insult to Trump and Pompeo, Iran's doing a much better job at containing COVID-19 than the Outlaw US Empire :

"The US pandemic death toll is this week heading above 50,000 compared with Iran's figure of 5,300. Considering the respective population numbers of 330 and 80 million that suggests Iran is doing a much better job at containing the virus. On a per-capita basis, according to publicly available data, Iran's mortality rate is less than half that of the US.

"This is while the US has sanctioned Iran to the hilt. American sanctions – arguably illegal under international law – have hit Iran's ability to import medical supplies to cope with COVID-19 and other fatal diseases, yet Iran through its own resources is evidently managing the crisis much better than the US."

As with the Tar Baby, the more wrestling the Outlaw US Empire does the weaker it gets.

Zengine3 , Apr 23 2020 18:55 utc | 40
@LOLtroll

They can't invade. That's your own moronic straw-man. And yes, it would further cut supply and prices would go up. The current bottom is due to overproduction but so long as civilization cranks along the oil gets used eventually.

[Apr 10, 2020] The New Normal: Cascading and Multilayered Crises by Vincent Emanuele

Apr 09, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

"The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear."

– Antonio Gramsci

The Pandemic & Public Health Crisis

On January 20th, 2020, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 infection took place in the United States. Since then, over 240,000 Americans have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, with over 6,000 dying as a result of the pandemic. The New York Times suggests that the actual numbers are likely 6-10 times higher than is being currently reported.

According to studies from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and those who smoke, are at high-risk of severe illness or death if they contract the virus. Unfortunately, that's a lot of Americans.

Several days ago, Dr. Anthony Fauci estimated that anywhere between 100,000-240,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 by the end of August, and that's if "we do everything perfectly," as the good doctor put it. Since no one actually believes that the United States will conduct the response in a "perfect" manner, we can assume those numbers are low.

For the sake of discussion, let's assume they're correct. For some perspective, 116,708 Americans died in World War I (1914-1918). Roughly 416,800 Americans died in World War II (1941-1945). Over 40,000 Americans died in the Korean War (1950-1953). And 70,000 Americans died in the Vietnam War (1965-1975).

Perhaps we throw around large numbers too often, or maybe there's simply no way to humanize 240,000 lives -- regardless, we cannot allow the U.S. government to normalize gross numbers of fatalities, especially as a result of a completely preventable pandemic. Remember, this isn't a 'Natural Disaster' -- this is a 'Man Made Disaster,' and it should be treated as such. Yes, Trump is responsible, but he's not the only one. In fact, individuals aren't the problem. The entire Neoliberal Capitalist project is to blame.

Americans aren't unhealthy because they've made bad choices as individuals. Americans are disproportionately unhealthy (when compared to both industrialized and industrializing nations) and susceptible to the worst effects of COVID-19 because Neoliberal Capitalist policies have created a social, political, economic, and ecological context in which this pandemic can thrive and impose maximum destruction.

Deindustrialization, privatization, and deregulation, has driven down the cost of labor, creating millions of working-poor Americans who live on credit and swim in mounds of debt, while attempting to navigate a social landscape of food deserts, fast food chains, sugar-rich foods, and low-wage service sector work. This context creates a population of addicted, depressed, and desperate workers whose sole pleasure at the end of a long shift is a can of Coke and bag of potato chips.

People don't purposely make themselves obese and unhealthy. When people are put in desperate situations, they make impulsive decisions. That's how people behave in a context of scarcity and oppression. Unfortunately, this is exactly the social context in which COVID-19 could cause extreme and permanent damage.

The Political Crisis

The political context in the U.S. is equally disturbing. Since the 1970s, politicians have drifted further and further into the realm of absurdity and utter corruption. Gone are the days of enlightened debates. Enter the age of Trump, Tweets, and trolling.

As empires decline, so does the quality of their leaders. The U.S. might wish to run away from reality, but Uncle Sam can't run away from history. History has finally caught up with the U.S. Indeed, Donald Trump is the result of forty-plus years of hyper-individuality, 'greed is good' culture, superficial materialism, and a politics based not on substance or principles, but looks, marketability, and adherence to Neoliberal fundamentalist ideologies.

One of the few principled politicians in Washington D.C., Bernie Sanders, was raked over the coals by the corporate press for simply attempting to give Americans a basic social safety-net. That, for the Neoliberals, was too much. CNN and MSNBC unleashed the pundit hounds. The New York Times and Washington Post ran round-the-clock editorials about the "dangers" of Sanders' policies, his supposed "unelectability," and "radical" following, degrading the tens of millions of poor and working class people who largely see Bernie's campaign as their last electoral hope.

Now, Joe Biden is the frontrunner. As a result, virtually everyone I know and work with has checked out of the electoral scene. Most of my friends have already come to the conclusion that Trump will win again in 2020. Hell, his numbers continue to rise even in the midst of the deadliest pandemic in over a 100 years, a pandemic he could've prevented. Frustrating, but not surprising.

Most Americans have checked out of politics. It's not that they don't care. They just don't believe that participating will make a difference. Who could blame them, really? I'm 35 years old. The U.S. government hasn't implemented one major program that's benefitted me since the day I was born. Obamacare? Get real. Every major political institution in this country has rapidly deteriorated over the course of my life.

When I was 16, Bush II, with the help of his brother, stole the White House from Al Gore. No one really did anything about it, even Al Gore. That was 20 years ago. Since then, we've experienced 9/11, the Afghanistan War, the Iraq War, two terms of GWB, the 2008 Recession, Obama's bullshit 'Hope & Change,' which really meant 'More Of The Same,' the Tea Party, nationwide union busting efforts, the explosion of charter schools, Citizens United, corporate consolidation, financial deregulation, increasingly militarized policing, exploding prison populations, privatization of public goods and services, and elections that no one trusts because paper ballots are gone and billionaires own the electoral process. And yes, in 2016, the election of Donald Trump, the perfect ending to a 40 year nightmare.

Let's remember why Trump won in the first place. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton because Democrats stayed home. Bottom line. Democrats stayed home because they were betrayed by Obama, disgusted by Clinton, and upset about the entire 2016 primary process. As many others have pointed out, Trump is a symptom, not the disease. Here, we should be very clear: yes, Trump poses unique challenges and threats, but he is not the primary source of our collective problems. Our collective problems are structural, not individual, in nature.

Right now, the entire electoral-parliamentary process of representative democracy should be in question. Quite obviously, this particular mode of democratic participation has reached its limits. People are flat-out sick and tired of voting for politicians who answer to corporations. People are tired of the Democrat vs. Republican electoral carnival. Who could blame them? I'm tired of it. You're tired of it. We're all tired of it.

This is the toxic legacy of Reaganism, a bankrupt ideology that has destroyed the American political system, civic society, and popular culture. As a result, both major political parties have drifted so far to the right that people can barely tell the difference between the two. The Democratic Party is a walking corpse. And the Republican Party is full-blown batshit crazy. The Green Party doesn't really stand a chance, but I give them credit for trying to develop an alternative, however flawed it may be. After all, the Greens, not the Dems, came up with the 'Green New Deal.'

Large NGOs are moribund and, in many ways, counterproductive, even on their best days. Right now, the left contains no structural articulation of its politics beyond various regional organizations and radical local unions. In reality, most of 'the left' as we know it primarily exists in online forums and alternative media projects. The political situation is dire, no doubt.

The only way out of this mess is through deep organizing at the workplace and within communities. Tactically, this will take the form of massive strikes, street protests, targeted direct actions, and militant non-violent resistance. But people also need a vision and a strategy, and structures and institutions to carry out that vision and strategy. Right now, both are in short order. However, like all moments of immense historical crises, this context provides an opportunity to introduce radical alternatives, and hopefully, change course. If leftwing groups can't use this moment to radicalize and politicize people, shame on us.

The Crisis of Capitalism

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite what you might've heard on corporate news outlets, Global Capitalism was on the ropes. Liberal economists such as Paul Krugman and Dean Baker, but also leftwing economists such as Jack Rasmus, Doug Henwood, and Richard Wolff, among others, have been sounding the alarm bells for some time now. The pandemic ended up being the match that lit a combustible array of socio-economic ingredients, including wide-spread underemployment, entire legions of workers who've dropped out of the labor pool, millions living in poverty, millions more on the verge of poverty, stagnating wages, hundreds of thousands of Americans sleeping on the streets, tens of millions lacking health coverage, and the majority of Americans drowning in ever-growing debt.

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the hollowness and brutality of Global Capitalism. The most vulnerable will endure the brunt of this pandemic. They already have. Those who were barely surviving before this crisis will be lucky to survive the crisis. And so it goes.

The multitude of injustices and structural inequalities that existed before the pandemic will be exacerbated during a global health crisis and economic depression. The brutal legacies of colonization, imperialism, and neo-imperialism put the most vulnerable at risk and expose a system that's incapable of providing even the most basic necessities to those most in need. In fact, quite the opposite, as Wall Street receives trillions of dollars for wrecking the global economy, ordinary Americans will have to wait weeks for their measly $1,200 stimulus checks.

Unlike 2008, the free marketeers are nowhere to be found. During the Great Financial Recession, the market fundamentalists wanted the whole system to collapse. The financial press blamed the recession on overpaid auto workers and poor families, especially poor black families, who the corporate pundits insisted "bought homes they couldn't afford." That was the dominant narrative in 2008. The calls for austerity were swift and loud. This time around, not so much.

Today, millions of Americans identify as socialists, and Bernie Sanders' policies, flawed and inadequate as they may be, are supported by the majority of Democrats, many Independents, and even some Republicans. It's true that Bernie's policies aren't 'socialist' in the traditional sense, but they're socialistic in nature, and provide a welcome alternative to Neoliberal barbarism. Thanks to Occupy Wall Street and radical unions, today's context is much different. Americans are much further to the left than they were twelve years ago.

Ralph Nader has long described the U.S. economic system as "socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the rest of us." This is true. As Christian Parenti points out in a recent article in Jacobin , the financialization of the U.S. economy is already largely socialized, using public funds to prop-up private institutions, but with little to no social benefit for poor and working class people. Today, the COVID-19 pandemic shows us that the state is more important than ever before. Indeed, the Federal Government is the only entity powerful enough to reign-in capital. Ironically, as Parenti notes, only socialist policies can revive 21st Century Capitalism.

The state is also the only entity capable of dealing with a pandemic: providing healthcare supplies, financial resources, dealing with supply chain and logistical challenges, directing private sector production, etc. Here, we are witnessing in real-time the fundamental limits of private power and market fundamentalism within the context of a global healthcare crisis. Now is not the time to coddle capitalism -- now is the time to castrate capitalism. Unless the left has a strategy to bypass the state and provide the many services the state provides by alternative means, our approach to the ensuing economic depression must include an analysis of state power, how it relates to capital, and how leftwing organizations and movements relate to both.

Historian Alfred McCoy, in his recent book, In the Shadows of the American Century , notes that China will overtake the U.S. as the largest economy in the world by 2030, perhaps sooner (Trump & COVID-19 have helped). Then again, China faces its own internal dilemmas, including an increasingly affluent workforce that's very much interested in liberal democratic norms, and a growing number of repressed workers who are fighting back against China's unique brand of 'Authoritarian Capitalism.' Some of the same contradictions and questions can be applied to India, the world's 5th largest economy, authoritarian-religious nationalism, and hundreds of millions of precarious workers provide a potentially explosive political context.

Without question, capitalism will survive COVID-19. The unfolding COVID-19 pandemic and economic crises will alter the future of capitalism. The real question is: how can workers and ordinary people nudge things in a preferred direction, a path that leads to more collectivism and cooperation? How can we exploit the contradictions within the system? How can we ruthlessly expose the inherent limitations and internal contradictions of capital accumulation?

Most importantly, we must not exit this crisis with a more authoritarian version of capitalism. Giving the banks and multinational corporations more power is a death knell for the human species and much of the planet. Time is running out. The economic shocks will continue in frequency and severity. Now is the time for alternatives.

The Crisis of Militarism & Empire

Since 9/11, the U.S. has bombed seven nations: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen. U.S. troops remain in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya, with special forces operations taking place in Pakistan and Somalia. The ongoing war in Afghanistan is the longest war in U.S. history. And the U.S. continues to economically, logistically, politically, and militarily support the systematic repression and genocide of the Palestinian people vis a vi the brutal Israeli regime.

According to military historian, Nick Turse, U.S. forces conduct, on average, three combat or intelligence missions per day on the continent of Africa. Of course, Uncle Sam's growing footprint in Africa has gone virtually unreported in the corporate press. In October, 2017, when 9 U.S. troops were killed in the 'Tongo Tongo Ambush' in Niger, most Americans had no idea that U.S. troops were even stationed in Niger, let alone conducting combat missions. While it's true that U.S. Empire is in decline, it's also true that empires throughout history lash out during their final days, leaving a path of destruction in their wake.

As a result, the human cost of the post-9/11 'War on Terror' has been immense. Iraq: 300,000-1,000,000 dead. Syria: 400,000-600,000 dead. Afghanistan: 120,000 dead. Libya: 30,000 dead. Pakistan: 50,000 dead. Somalia: (unknown). Yemen: 100,000 dead. On the U.S. side, over 7,000 troops have lost their lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Pakistan, with more than double that number of private contractors dying in U.S.-led conflicts.

The Great Oil Wars of the early 21st Century have also caused the greatest refugee crisis since World War II, with more than 100,000 Syrian refugees fleeing their war-torn country, and over 3 million Iraqis internally displaced. Tens of thousands have fled Libya. The same is true in Pakistan. Millions abroad live in abject poverty and suffer preventable diseases as a result of Uncle Sam's military adventures.

Veterans of course, also suffer from Uncle Sam's hubris, with over 10,000 having committed suicide since 9/11. On a personal note, I've lost more of the marines from my platoon than died during our unit's three combat deployments to Iraq.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said: "The bombs in Vietnam explode at home -- they destroy the dream and possibility for a decent America." The same is true today, as the United States spends what the next 15 nations spend combined on its military empire ($750 billion a year), a monstrosity and sign of deep societal decay. According to Brown University, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost U.S. taxpayers $5.9 trillion. With that money, the U.S. government could've paid off every Americans' credit card, student loan, and auto loan debt, and still had money left over.

As the U.S. spends trillions of dollars on weapons of war, hospitals run out of surgical masks and ventilators. A ventilator costs anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 -- a tomahawk missile costs $1.4 million.

Like every empire, the U.S. has drained its domestic resources to maintain its imperial hegemony, but that influence is waning with time. As the republic crumbles under the weight of its own internal contradictions, U.S. allies are distancing themselves, while Uncle Sam's foes are becoming increasingly empowered with each blunder and catastrophe that's unfolded since 9/11. As Chomsky points out, the U.S. has been in decline since World War II, the peak of Uncle Sam's imperial prowess.

Already, Trump is using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to ramp-up tensions with both Venezuela and Iran, two countries the U.S. has been politically, militarily, and economically terrorizing for decades. During the pandemic, U.S.-imposed sanctions in Iran have caused a disproportionate number of deaths due to lack of proper health equipment and medicine.

Fortunately, several European countries have broken the sanctions and delivered medical goods to the Iranian government. Also, as we speak, Trump has directed the U.S. Navy to move several U.S. Navy ships in close proximity to Venezuelan waters under the pretext of "curbing drug smuggling" -- no doubt a top priority during the worst pandemic since 1918.

History shows us that every empire eventually confronts the same choice: maintain military forces and watch the republic crumble from within, or de-escalate conflicts, demilitarize, and maintain some semblance of a functioning state. The Roman Empire chose the former. The British Empire chose the latter. The coming decade will determine which path Uncle Sam chooses. If the last 20 years are a window into the future, God help us all.

If we hope to survive the next pandemic, the U.S. government must redirect the resources it's currently spending on weapons of war, and instead invest in public healthcare infrastructure (hospitals, equipment, resources, nurses, personnel, EMTs), public education (medical schools, tuition free), housing (free and available to all), and research and development.

If we hope to survive the coming decades, the U.S. government must redirect its vast resources to mitigating climate change and ecological devastation.

The Climate & Ecological Crisis

The world has ten years to make radical changes to the global economy and its relation to fossil fuel production and consumption or the planet will be uninhabitable by the end of the century. Climate Change isn't the issue , it's the overarching context in which we now exist. Everything we do or don't do over the next ten years will determine whether or not future generations will inhabit a living planet, or a barren wasteland.

There is simply no way to downplay the urgency of our collective challenge. As author David Wallace-Wells' notes in his latest book, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming , "we could potentially avoid 150 million excess premature deaths by the end of century from air pollution (the equivalent of 25 Holocausts or twice the number of deaths from World War II) if we could limit average global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius." Right now, we're on track to hit 1.5 degrees Celsius by as early as 2030.

In the future, numbers will matter. The 100,000-240,000 Americans projected to die from COVID-19 will soon turn into numbers like 1,000,000-5,000,000. What we accept today, we'll be expected to accept tomorrow.

In some ways, we've already accepted mass death, but our relationship to the living world is so warped that these numbers don't seem to shake us. Species extinction rates are 100-1,000 times faster than they were, on average, during the evolutionary time-scale of planet Earth. More than 100 go extinct every single day.

Oceans have been destroyed by toxic materials, dumping, shipping, and large-scale industrial fishing. Coral reefs are dying. Warming temperatures mean less phytoplankton, which means less oxygen, which means more carbon dioxide. Some studies suggest that most of the large fish in the world's oceans will be gone by 2050. Deforestation continues at breakneck speeds, ravaging ecosystems and leaving nothing behind. Ice caps melt. Prairies destroyed for suburban developments. Mountains leveled for minerals. Lakes drained for bottled water. Rivers polluted for industry. Life murdered for profit.

The level of ecological disruption and destruction industrial society has unleashed on the living world is unparalleled. And time is running out.

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report, Global Warming of 1.5 degree Celsius , outlines our reality: if we wish to hold the line to 1.5 degrees, we have to cut emissions by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030. Then, we have to reach net-zero around 2050. That's to avoid the 250 million deaths Wallace-Wells mentioned. So far, none of that is happening. In fact, we're moving in the opposite direction as global emissions rise each year.

If we continue at current rates of emission, global temperature could rise by 7 degrees Celsius, and the number of human deaths from pollution could rise to 1-3 billion by 2100. That's not including deaths due to habitat loss, crop failure, lack of fresh water, lack of medical care, lack of housing, rising sea levels, lack of employment, addiction, suicide, unbearable temperatures, failing governments, collapsing economies, and everything that comes with those cascading crises: tribal war, banditry, barbarism, and eventually, genocide.

The Totality of Our Crisis

Without question, the stakes couldn't be higher. In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic depression is a dress rehearsal for the future. From here on out, each crisis will be more pronounced and severe than the last. The new normal is cascading and multilayered crises all playing out at the same time. How we collectively respond to this crisis will determine how we respond to the impending large-scale crises of the future, not the least of which being Climate Change. So far, we're failing miserably.

If the United States can't handle a small-scale pandemic and virus that's moderately deadly, though admittedly quite disruptive, how can we expect the government to cope with tens of millions of climate refugees fleeing their homes in the coming decades, while seeking housing, employment, and safety in cities and counties already strapped for resources?

If capitalists already are taking advantage of this pandemic, netting trillions of dollars from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury, while simultaneously jacking up the price of medical equipment and charging poor victims exorbitant amounts of money for health insurance, needed medicine, and hospital treatment, how can we expect them to behave in the context of rapid ecological collapse?

If the state is incapable of providing even menial assistance to poor and working class Americans during the worst pandemic in over 100 years, how can we expect the state to behave in the context of cascading and multilayered crises unfolding at a rapid pace over a short period of time, crises that will undoubtedly require massive state intervention in the economy?

Unfortunately, we know the answers to these questions, but only if most poor and working class people remain unorganized or unwilling to fight back.

Let's remember, all of this takes place within a context of many unnamed crises, many of which weren't mentioned in this essay. Some of those include gun culture/NRA (weapons sales are at all-time highs since the pandemic started), police militarism, the prison-industrial complex (already being used to manufacture surgical masks, while prisoners remain trapped in COVID-19 incubators), patriarchy (domestic violence calls have skyrocketed during the pandemic), homelessness (500,000 Americans can't 'stay at home'), systemic racism (already, statistics show that black people are disproportionately impacted by and suffering the worst effects of COVID-19), housing (Americans already spend a insane amounts of their income toward rent/mortgage payments -- those problems have only accelerated during the pandemic), childcare (cash-strapped families and single parents choosing between safety and work), and the list goes on, and on.

Every single aspect of our society is under extreme stress. Even the most passive populations can only take so much. Human beings can only take so much. The living world can only take so much. Eventually, things will explode.

The question is: how? Will poor and working class Americans turn that despair and cynicism into a righteous anger and rage? And if so, who will that anger and rage be directed toward? Each other? Or the powerful elites?

The current social context in the U.S. and across the globe is ripe for radical political change, but that change doesn't necessarily have to be progressive in nature. It could also be reactionary and fueled by religious extremism, xenophobia, racism, and tribalism. That's up to us. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Vincent Emanuele

Vincent Emanuele writes for teleSUR English and lives in Michigan City, Indiana. He can be reached at vincent.emanuele333@gmail.com

[Mar 26, 2020] The face of Trump in foreign policy is Pompeo and it is wicked, ungly face of a gangster

Yet another Gofgather
Notable quotes:
"... The more I watch these moves by Pompeo the more sympathetic I become to the most sinister theories about COVID-19, its origins and its launch around the world. Read Pepe Escobar's latest to get an idea of how dark and twisted this tale could be . ..."
March 24, 2020 < Older
No Respite for the Wicked, Pompeo Unleashed Written by Tom Luongo Tuesday

There are few things in this life that make me more sick to my stomach than watching Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talking. He truly is one of the evilest men I've ever had the displeasure of covering.

Into the insanity of the over-reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak, Pompeo wasted no time ramping up sanctions on firms doing any business with Iran, one of the countries worse-hit by this virus to date.

It's a seemingly endless refrain, everyday, more sanctions on Chinese, Swiss and South African firms for having the temerity in these deflating times to buy oil from someone Pompeo and his gang of heartless psychopaths disapprove of.

This goes far beyond just the oil industry. Even though I'm well aware that Russia's crashing the price of oil was itself a hybrid war attack on US capital markets. One that has had, to date, devastating effect.

While Pompeo mouths the words publicly that humanitarian aid is exempted from sanctions on Iran, the US is pursuing immense pressure on companies to not do so anyway while the State Dept. bureaucracy takes its sweet time processing waiver applications.

Pompeo and his ilk only think in terms of civilizational warfare. They have become so subsumed by their big war for the moral high ground to prove American exceptionalism that they have lost any shred of humanity they may have ever had.

Because for Pompeo in times like these to stick to his talking points and for his office to continue excising Iran from the global economy when we're supposed to be coming together to fight a global pandemic is the height of soullessness.

And it speaks to the much bigger problem that infects all of our political thinking. There comes a moment when politics and gaining political advantage have to take a back seat to doing the right thing.

I've actually seen moments of that impulse from the Democratic leadership in the US Will wonders never cease?!

Thinking only in Manichean terms of good vs. evil and dehumanizing your opponents is actually costlier than reversing course right now. Because honey is always better at attracting flies than vinegar.

But, unfortunately, that is not the character of the Trump administration.

It can only think in terms of direct leverage and opportunity to hold onto what they think they've achieved. So, until President Trump is no longer consumed with coordinating efforts to control COVID-19 Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper are in charge of foreign policy. They will continue the playbook that has been well established.

Maximum pressure on Iran, hurt China any way they can, hold onto what they have in Syria, stay in Iraq.

To that end Iraqi President Barham Salei nominated Pompeo's best choice to replace Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi to throw Iraq's future into complete turmoil. According to Elijah Magnier, Adnan al-Zarfi is a US asset through and through .

And this looks like Pompeo's Hail Mary to retain US legal presence in Iraq after the Iraqi parliament adopted a measure to demand withdrawal of US troops from the country. Airstrikes against US bases in Iraq continue on a near daily basis and there have been reports of US base closures and redeployments at the same time.

This move looks like desperation by Pompeo et.al. to finally separate the Hashd al-Shaabi from Iraq's official military. So that airstrikes against them can be carried out under the definition of 'fighting Iranian terrorism.'

As Magnier points out in the article above if al-Zarfi puts a government together the war in Iraq will expand just as the US is losing further control in Syria after Turkish President Erdogan's disastrous attempt to remake the front in Idlib. That ended with his effective surrender to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The more I watch these moves by Pompeo the more sympathetic I become to the most sinister theories about COVID-19, its origins and its launch around the world. Read Pepe Escobar's latest to get an idea of how dark and twisted this tale could be .

It is sad that, to me, I see no reason to doubt Pompeo and his ilk in the US government wouldn't do something like that to spark political and social upheaval in those places most targeted by US hybrid war tactics.

But, at the same time, I can see the other side of it, a vicious strike back by China against its tormentors. And China's government does itself, in my mind, no favors threatening to withhold drug precursors and having officials run their mouths giving Americans the excuse they need to validate Trump and Pompeo's divisive rhetoric.

Remaining on the fence about this issue isn't my normal style. But everyone is dirty here and the reality may well be this is a natural event terrible people on both sides are exploiting.

And I can only go by what people do rather than what they say to assess the situation. Trump tries to buy exclusive right to a potential COVID-19 vaccine from a German firm and his administration slow-walks aid to Iran.

China sends aid to Iran and Italy by the container full. Is that to salve their conscience over its initial suppression of information about the virus? Good question. But no one covers themselves in glory by using the confusion and distraction to attempt further regime change and step up war-footing during a public health crisis, manufactured or otherwise.

While Pompeo unctuously talks the talk of compassion and charity, he cannot bring himself to actually walk the walk. Because he is a despicable, bile-filled man of uncommon depravity. His prosecuting a hybrid war during a public health crisis speaks to no other conclusion about him.

It's clear to me that nothing has changed at the top of Trump's administration. I expect COVID-19 will not be a disaster for Trump and the US. It can handle this. But the lack of humanity shown by its diplomatic corps ensures that in the long run the US will be left to fend for itself when the next crisis hits.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation .


Related

[Mar 20, 2020] This policy is unconscionable and flagrantly against international law. It is imperative that the U.S. lift these immoral and illegal sanctions to enable Iran and Venezuela to confront the epidemic as effectively and rapidly as possible

Mar 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , Mar 19 2020 23:25 utc | 225

A group of economists and policy experts on Wednesday called on President Donald Trump to immediately lift the United States' crippling sanctions against Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and other countries, warning that the economic warfare -- in addition to being cruel in itself -- is "feeding the coronavirus epidemic" by hampering nations' capacity to respond.

"This policy is unconscionable and flagrantly against international law. It is imperative that the U.S. lift these immoral and illegal sanctions to enable Iran and Venezuela to confront the epidemic as effectively and rapidly as possible," Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs said in a statement just hours after the Trump administration intensified sanctions against Iran, which has been devastated by COVID-19.

https://truthout.org/articles/economists-demand-trump-immediately-lift-iran-cuba-venezuela-sanctions/

Mao , Mar 19 2020 23:37 utc | 229

Promising to "smash" Venezuela's government during a "maximum pressure March," Trump has imposed crushing sanctions that force Venezuela to spend three times as much as non-sanctioned countries on coronavirus testing kits.

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/03/17/us-sanctions-venezuelas-health-sector-coronavirus/

[Mar 11, 2020] Sugar and Spice and Everything Vice the Empire's Sin City of London

Mar 11, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

... ... ...

The 2008 crisis put in the spotlight the psychopathic level of greed, vice, apathy and short-sightedness from those who wanted to play into the City of London and Wall Street casino houses. Get rich quick and don't care who you screw in the process, after all, at the end of the day you're either a winner or a loser.

Since the general public tends to consist of decent people, there is a widespread difficulty in comprehending how entire economies of countries have been hijacked by these piranhas. That we have hit such a level of crime that even people's hard earned pensions, education, health-care, housing etc. are all being gambled away LEGALLY.

Looking upon investment bankers today, one is reminded of those sad addicts in the casino who are ruined and lose everything, except the difference is, they are given the option to sell their neighbour's family into slavery to pay off their debt.

It is no secret that much of the "finance" that goes through the City of London and Wall Street is dirty and yet despite this recognition, there appears to be an inability to address it and that at this point we are told that if we tried to address it by breaking up and regulating the "Too Big to Fail" banks, then the whole economy would come tumbling down.

That is, the world is so evidently run by criminal activity that at this point we have become dependent on its dirty money to keep afloat the world economy.

Faced with the onrushing collapse of the financial system, the greatest Ivy League trained minds of the world have run into a dead end: the bailouts into the banking system that began this past September have prevented a chain reaction meltdown for a few months, but as the liquidity runs out so too will the ideas on where the money justifying bank bailouts will come from.

With these dead ends, we have seen the lightbulb go off in the minds of a large strata of economists who have been making the case in recent years that valuable revenue can yet be generated from one more untapped stream: the decriminalisation and legalisation of vice.

Hell, the major banks have already been doing this covertly as a matter of practice for generations so why not just come out of the closet and make it official? This is where the money is at. This is where the job market is at. So let us not "bite the hand that feeds us"!

But is this truly the case? Is there really no qualitative difference how the money is generated and how it is spent as long as there is an adequate money flow?

Well it is never a good sign when beside the richest you can also find the poorest just a stone's throw away. And right beside the largest financial center in the world, the City of London, there lies the poorest borough in all of London: Tower Hamlets with a 39% poverty rate and an average family income amounting to less than £ 13, 000/year .

A City within a City

" Hell is a city much like London "

– Percy Bysshe Shelley

Although Wall Street has contributed greatly to this sad situation, this banking hub of America is best understood as the spawn of the City of London.

The City of London is over 800 years old, it is arguably older than England herself, a nd for over 400 years it has been the financial center of the world.

During the medieval period the City of London, otherwise known as the Square Mile or simply the City, was divided into 25 ancient wards headed each by an alderman. This continues today . In addition, there existed the ominously titled City of London Corporation, or simply the Corporation, which is the municipal governing body of the City. This also still continues today .

Though the Corporation's origins cannot be specifically dated, since there was never a "surviving" charter found establishing its "legal" basis, it has kept its functions to this day based on the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta is a charter of rights agreed to by King John in 1215, which states that " the City of London shall have/enjoy its ancient liberties ". In other words, the legal function of the Corporation has never been questioned, reviewed, re-evaluated EVER but rather it has been left to legally function as in accordance with their "ancient liberties", which is a very grey description of function if you ask me. In other words, they are free to do as they deem fit.

And it gets worst. The Corporation is not actually under the jurisdiction of the British government. That is, the British government presently does not have the authority to undermine how the Corporation of the City chooses to govern the largest financial center in the world . The City has a separate voting system that allows for, well, corporations to vote in how their separate "government" should run. It also has its own private police force and system of private courts.

The Corporation is not just limited to functioning within the City. The City Remembrancer, which sounds more like a warped version of the ghost of Christmas past, has the role of acting as a channel of communication between the Corporation and the Sovereign (the Queen), the Royal Household and Parliament. The Remembrancer thus acts as a "reminder", some would even say "enforcer", of the will of the Corporation. This position has been held by Paul Double since 2003, it is not clear who bestows this non-elected position.

Mr. Double has the right to act as an official lobbyist in the House of Commons, and sits to the right of the Speaker's chair, with the purpose of scrutinising and influencing any legislation he deems affects the interests of the Corporation. He also appears to have the right to review any piece of legislation as it is being drafted and can even comment on it affecting its final outcome. He is the only non-elected person allowed into the House of Commons.

According to the official City of London website , the reason why the City has a separate voting system is because:

"The City is the only area in the country in which the number of workers significantly outnumbers the residents and therefore, to be truly representative of its population, offers a vote to City organisations so they can have their say on the way the City is run."

However, the workers have absolutely no say. The City's organisations they work for have a certain size vote based on the number of workers they employ, but they do not consult these workers, and many of them are not even aware that such elections take place.

If you feel like you have just walked through Alice's Looking Glass, you're not alone, but what appears to be an absurd level of madness is what has been running the largest financial center in the world since the 1600s, under the machinations of the British Empire.

Therefore the question is, if the City of London has kept its "ancient liberties" and has upheld its global financial power, is the British Empire truly gone?

Offshore Banking: Adam Smith's Invisible Hand?

Contrary to popular naïve belief, the empire on which the sun never sets (some say " because God wouldn't trust them in the dark ") never went away .

After WWII, colonisation was meant to be done away with, and many thought, so too with the British Empire. Countries were reclaiming their sovereignty, governments were being set up by the people, the system of looting and pillaging had come to an end.

It is a nice story, but could not be further from the truth.

In the 1950s, to "adapt" to the changing global financial climate, the City of London set up what are called "secrecy jurisdictions". These were to operate within the last remnants of Britain's small territories/colonies. Of Britain's 14 oversea territories, 7 are bona fide tax havens or "secrecy jurisdictions". A separate international financial market was also created to facilitate the flow of this offshore money, the Eurodollar market. Since this market has its banks outside of the UK and U.S., they are not under the jurisdiction of either country.

By 1997, nearly 90% of all international loans were made through this market.

What is often misunderstood is that the City of London's offshore finances are not contained in a system of banking secrecy but rather of trusts. The difference being that a trust ultimately plays with the concept of ownership. The idea is that you hand over your assets to a trustee and at that point, legally those assets are no longer yours anymore and you are not responsible for accounting for them. Your connection to said assets is completely hidden.

In addition, within Britain's offshore jurisdictions, there is no qualification required for who can become a trustee: anyone can set up a trust and anyone can become a trustee. There is also no registry of trusts in these territories. Thus, the only ones who know about this arrangement are the trustee and the settler.

John Christensen, an investigative economist, estimates that this capital that legally belongs to nobody could amount to as high as $50 trillion within these British territories. Not only is this not being taxed, but a significant portion of it has been stolen from sectors of the real economy.

So how does this affect "formerly" colonised countries?

There lies the rub for most developing nations. According to John Christensen, the combined external debts of Sub-Saharan African countries was $177 billion in 2008. However, the wealth that these countries' elites moved offshore, between 1970-2008, is estimated at $944 billion, 5X their foreign debt. This is not only dirty money, this is also STOLEN money from the resources and productivity of these economies. Thus, as Christensen states, "Far from being a net debtor to the world, Sub-Saharan Africa is a net creditor" to offshore finance.

Put in this context, the so-called "backwardness" of Africa is not due to its incapability to produce, but rather that it has been experiencing uninterrupted looting since these regions were first colonised.

These African countries then need to borrow money, which is happily given to them at high interest rates, and accrues a level of debt that could never be repaid. These countries are thus looted twice over, leaving no money left to invest in their future, let alone to put food on the table.

Offshore havens are what make this sort of activity "legal" and rampant.

And it doesn't stop there. Worldwide, it is estimated that developing countries lose $1 trillion every year in capital flight and tax evasion. Most of this wealth goes back into the UK and U.S. through these offshore havens, and allows their currencies to stay strong whilst developing nations' currencies are kept weak.

However, developing nations are not the only ones to have suffered from this system of looting. The very economies of the UK and U.S. have also been gutted. In the 1960s and onward, the UK and U.S., to compensate for the increase in money flow out of their countries decided that it was a good idea to open their domestic markets to the trillions of dollars passing through its offshore havens.

However, such banks are not interested in putting their money into industry and manufacturing, they put their money into real estate speculation, financial speculation and foreign currency trade. And thus the financialization of British and American economies resulted, and the real jobs coming from the real economy decreased or disappeared.

Although many economists try to claim differently, the desperation has boiled over and movements like the yellow vests are reflections of the true consequences of these economic policies.

We have reached a point now where every western first world country is struggling with a much higher unemployment rate and a lower standard of living than 40 years ago. Along with increased poverty has followed increased drug use, increased suicide and increased crime.

A Stable Economy based on Freedom or Slavery?

According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) report in 2017 , the UK has by far the highest rate of drug overdose in all of Europe at 31% followed by Germany at 15%. That is, the UK consists of 1/3 drug overdoses that occur in all of Europe.

The average family income in the UK is presently £28, 400. The poverty rate within the UK is ~20%.

The average family income of what was once the epicentre of world industrialisation, Detroit, has an average family income of $26, 249. The poverty rate of Detroit is ~34.5%.

What is the solution?

Reverse Margaret Thatcher's 1986 Big Bang deregulation of the banking system that destroyed the separation of commercial banking, investment banking, trusts and insurance for starters. A similar restoration of Glass-Steagall in the USA should follow suit, not only to break up the "Too Big to Fail" banking system but to restore the authority of nation states over private finance once more. IF these emergency measures were done before the markets collapse (and they will collapse), then the industrial-infrastructure revival throughout trans-Atlantic nations can still occur.

Let us end here by hearkening to the words of Clement Attlee, UK Prime Minister from 1945-1951:

" Over and over again we have seen that there is another power than that which has its seat at Westminster. The City of London, a convenient term for a collection of financial interests, is able to assert itself against the government of the country. Those who control money can pursue a policy at home and abroad contrary to that which is being decided by the people. "

[Mar 11, 2020] A cool article about the impossibility of separating capitalism from mafia-style banditism:

Mar 11, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Mar 10 2020 18:54 utc | 10

To complete the SC's double-header, here's a cool article about the impossibility of separating capitalism from mafia-style banditism:

Sugar and Spice and Everything Vice: the Empire's Sin City of London

Extra points for the headline.

[Mar 10, 2020] Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us by Paul Verhaeghe

Highly recommended!
Neoliberalism destroys solidarity; as the result it destroys both the society and individuals
Notable quotes:
"... Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and privatisation have taken their toll, as relentless pressure to achieve has become normative. If you're reading this sceptically, I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others. ..."
"... On top of all this, you are flexible and impulsive, always on the lookout for new stimuli and challenges. In practice, this leads to risky behaviour, but never mind, it won't be you who has to pick up the pieces. The source of inspiration for this list? The psychopathy checklist by Robert Hare , the best-known specialist on psychopathy today. ..."
"... the financial crisis illustrated at a macro-social level (for example, in the conflicts between eurozone countries) what a neoliberal meritocracy does to people. Solidarity becomes an expensive luxury and makes way for temporary alliances, the main preoccupation always being to extract more profit from the situation than your competition. Social ties with colleagues weaken, as does emotional commitment to the enterprise or organisation. ..."
"... Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace. This is a typical symptom of the impotent venting their frustration on the weak – in psychology it's known as displaced aggression. There is a buried sense of fear, ranging from performance anxiety to a broader social fear of the threatening other. ..."
"... Constant evaluations at work cause a decline in autonomy and a growing dependence on external, often shifting, norms ..."
"... More important, though, is the serious damage to people's self-respect. Self-respect largely depends on the recognition that we receive from the other, as thinkers from Hegel to Lacan have shown. Sennett comes to a similar conclusion when he sees the main question for employees these days as being "Who needs me?" For a growing group of people, the answer is: no one. ..."
"... A neoliberal meritocracy would have us believe that success depends on individual effort and talents, meaning responsibility lies entirely with the individual and authorities should give people as much freedom as possible to achieve this goal. ..."
"... the paradox of our era as: "Never have we been so free. Never have we felt so powerless." ..."
Sep 29, 2014 | www.theguardian.com

An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities

'We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited.'

We tend to perceive our identities as stable and largely separate from outside forces. But over decades of research and therapeutic practice, I have become convinced that economic change is having a profound effect not only on our values but also on our personalities. Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and privatisation have taken their toll, as relentless pressure to achieve has become normative. If you're reading this sceptically, I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others.

There are certain ideal characteristics needed to make a career today. The first is articulateness, the aim being to win over as many people as possible. Contact can be superficial, but since this applies to most human interaction nowadays, this won't really be noticed.

It's important to be able to talk up your own capacities as much as you can – you know a lot of people, you've got plenty of experience under your belt and you recently completed a major project. Later, people will find out that this was mostly hot air, but the fact that they were initially fooled is down to another personality trait: you can lie convincingly and feel little guilt. That's why you never take responsibility for your own behaviour.

On top of all this, you are flexible and impulsive, always on the lookout for new stimuli and challenges. In practice, this leads to risky behaviour, but never mind, it won't be you who has to pick up the pieces. The source of inspiration for this list? The psychopathy checklist by Robert Hare , the best-known specialist on psychopathy today.

This description is, of course, a caricature taken to extremes. Nevertheless, the financial crisis illustrated at a macro-social level (for example, in the conflicts between eurozone countries) what a neoliberal meritocracy does to people. Solidarity becomes an expensive luxury and makes way for temporary alliances, the main preoccupation always being to extract more profit from the situation than your competition. Social ties with colleagues weaken, as does emotional commitment to the enterprise or organisation.

Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace. This is a typical symptom of the impotent venting their frustration on the weak – in psychology it's known as displaced aggression. There is a buried sense of fear, ranging from performance anxiety to a broader social fear of the threatening other.

Constant evaluations at work cause a decline in autonomy and a growing dependence on external, often shifting, norms. This results in what the sociologist Richard Sennett has aptly described as the "infantilisation of the workers". Adults display childish outbursts of temper and are jealous about trivialities ("She got a new office chair and I didn't"), tell white lies, resort to deceit, delight in the downfall of others and cherish petty feelings of revenge. This is the consequence of a system that prevents people from thinking independently and that fails to treat employees as adults.

More important, though, is the serious damage to people's self-respect. Self-respect largely depends on the recognition that we receive from the other, as thinkers from Hegel to Lacan have shown. Sennett comes to a similar conclusion when he sees the main question for employees these days as being "Who needs me?" For a growing group of people, the answer is: no one.

Our society constantly proclaims that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough, all the while reinforcing privilege and putting increasing pressure on its overstretched and exhausted citizens. An increasing number of people fail, feeling humiliated, guilty and ashamed. We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited. Furthermore, those who fail are deemed to be losers or scroungers, taking advantage of our social security system.

A neoliberal meritocracy would have us believe that success depends on individual effort and talents, meaning responsibility lies entirely with the individual and authorities should give people as much freedom as possible to achieve this goal. For those who believe in the fairytale of unrestricted choice, self-government and self-management are the pre-eminent political messages, especially if they appear to promise freedom. Along with the idea of the perfectible individual, the freedom we perceive ourselves as having in the west is the greatest untruth of this day and age.

The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman neatly summarised the paradox of our era as: "Never have we been so free. Never have we felt so powerless." We are indeed freer than before, in the sense that we can criticise religion, take advantage of the new laissez-faire attitude to sex and support any political movement we like. We can do all these things because they no longer have any significance – freedom of this kind is prompted by indifference. Yet, on the other hand, our daily lives have become a constant battle against a bureaucracy that would make Kafka weak at the knees. There are regulations about everything, from the salt content of bread to urban poultry-keeping.

Our presumed freedom is tied to one central condition: we must be successful – that is, "make" something of ourselves. You don't need to look far for examples. A highly skilled individual who puts parenting before their career comes in for criticism. A person with a good job who turns down a promotion to invest more time in other things is seen as crazy – unless those other things ensure success. A young woman who wants to become a primary school teacher is told by her parents that she should start off by getting a master's degree in economics – a primary school teacher, whatever can she be thinking of?

There are constant laments about the so-called loss of norms and values in our culture. Yet our norms and values make up an integral and essential part of our identity. So they cannot be lost, only changed. And that is precisely what has happened: a changed economy reflects changed ethics and brings about changed identity. The current economic system is bringing out the worst in us.

Psychology Work & careers Economics Economic policy

See also

[Mar 10, 2020] Neoliberalism the ideology at the root of all our problems by George Monbiot

Highly recommended!
Under neoliberalism inequality is recast as virtuous. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve: Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations and redefines citizens as consumers
Notable quotes:
"... Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you'll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is? ..."
"... Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness , the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump . ..."
"... Inequality is recast as virtuous. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve. ..."
"... Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning. ..."
"... We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances. ..."
"... Never mind structural unemployment: if you don't have a job it's because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you're feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it's your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers. ..."
"... Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. ..."
"... It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice should have been promoted with the slogan 'there is no alternative' ..."
"... Where neoliberal policies cannot be imposed domestically, they are imposed internationally, through trade treaties incorporating " investor-state dispute settlement ": offshore tribunals in which corporations can press for the removal of social and environmental protections. When parliaments have voted to restrict sales of cigarettes , protect water supplies from mining companies, freeze energy bills or prevent pharmaceutical firms from ripping off the state, corporations have sued, often successfully. Democracy is reduced to theatre. ..."
"... Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket, but it rapidly became one ..."
"... Another paradox of neoliberalism is that universal competition relies upon universal quantification and comparison. The result is that workers, job-seekers and public services of every kind are subject to a pettifogging, stifling regime of assessment and monitoring, designed to identify the winners and punish the losers. The doctrine that Von Mises proposed would free us from the bureaucratic nightmare of central planning has instead created one. ..."
"... When you pay an inflated price for a train ticket, only part of the fare compensates the operators for the money they spend on fuel, wages, rolling stock and other outlays. The rest reflects the fact that they have you over a barrel . ..."
"... Those who own and run the UK's privatised or semi-privatised services make stupendous fortunes by investing little and charging much. In Russia and India, oligarchs acquired state assets through firesales. In Mexico, Carlos Slim was granted control of almost all landline and mobile phone services and soon became the world's richest man. ..."
"... Financialisation, as Andrew Sayer notes in Why We Can't Afford the Rich , has had a similar impact. "Like rent," he argues, "interest is ... unearned income that accrues without any effort". ..."
"... Chris Hedges remarks that "fascist movements build their base not from the politically active but the politically inactive, the 'losers' who feel, often correctly, they have no voice or role to play in the political establishment". When political debate no longer speaks to us, people become responsive instead to slogans, symbols and sensation . To the admirers of Trump, for example, facts and arguments appear irrelevant. ..."
"... Like communism, neoliberalism is the God that failed. But the zombie doctrine staggers on, and one of the reasons is its anonymity. Or rather, a cluster of anonymities. ..."
"... The invisible doctrine of the invisible hand is promoted by invisible backers. Slowly, very slowly, we have begun to discover the names of a few of them. We find that the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has argued forcefully in the media against the further regulation of the tobacco industry, has been secretly funded by British American Tobacco since 1963. We discover that Charles and David Koch , two of the richest men in the world, founded the institute that set up the Tea Party movement . We find that Charles Koch, in establishing one of his thinktanks, noted that "in order to avoid undesirable criticism, how the organisation is controlled and directed should not be widely advertised". ..."
"... The anonymity of neoliberalism is fiercely guarded. ..."
"... Neoliberalism's triumph also reflects the failure of the left. When laissez-faire economics led to catastrophe in 1929, Keynes devised a comprehensive economic theory to replace it. When Keynesian demand management hit the buffers in the 70s, there was an alternative ready. But when neoliberalism fell apart in 2008 there was ... nothing. This is why the zombie walks. The left and centre have produced no new general framework of economic thought for 80 years. ..."
"... What the history of both Keynesianism and neoliberalism show is that it's not enough to oppose a broken system. A coherent alternative has to be proposed. For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to develop an economic Apollo programme, a conscious attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century. ..."
Apr 16, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative? @GeorgeMonbiot

Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you'll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?

Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness , the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump . But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?

Inequality is recast as virtuous. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin's theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

Never mind structural unemployment: if you don't have a job it's because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you're feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it's your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.

See also Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us by Paul Verhaeghe, Sep 24, 2014

Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. Perhaps it's unsurprising that Britain, in which neoliberal ideology has been most rigorously applied, is the loneliness capital of Europe . We are all neoliberals now.

***

The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and the gradual development of Britain's welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism.

In The Road to Serfdom , published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control. Like Mises's book Bureaucracy , The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism – the Mont Pelerin Society – it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations.

With their help, he began to create what Daniel Stedman Jones describes in Masters of the Universe as "a kind of neoliberal international": a transatlantic network of academics, businessmen, journalists and activists. The movement's rich backers funded a series of thinktanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute , the Heritage Foundation , the Cato Institute , the Institute of Economic Affairs , the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute . They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia.

As it evolved, neoliberalism became more strident. Hayek's view that governments should regulate competition to prevent monopolies from forming gave way – among American apostles such as Milton Friedman – to the belief that monopoly power could be seen as a reward for efficiency.

Something else happened during this transition: the movement lost its name. In 1951, Friedman was happy to describe himself as a neoliberal . But soon after that, the term began to disappear. Stranger still, even as the ideology became crisper and the movement more coherent, the lost name was not replaced by any common alternative.

At first, despite its lavish funding, neoliberalism remained at the margins. The postwar consensus was almost universal: John Maynard Keynes 's economic prescriptions were widely applied, full employment and the relief of poverty were common goals in the US and much of western Europe, top rates of tax were high and governments sought social outcomes without embarrassment, developing new public services and safety nets.

But in the 1970s, when Keynesian policies began to fall apart and economic crises struck on both sides of the Atlantic, neoliberal ideas began to enter the mainstream. As Friedman remarked, "when the time came that you had to change ... there was an alternative ready there to be picked up". With the help of sympathetic journalists and political advisers, elements of neoliberalism, especially its prescriptions for monetary policy, were adopted by Jimmy Carter's administration in the US and Jim Callaghan's government in Britain.

It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice should have been promoted with the slogan 'there is no alternative'

After Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan took power, the rest of the package soon followed: massive tax cuts for the rich, the crushing of trade unions, deregulation, privatisation, outsourcing and competition in public services. Through the IMF, the World Bank, the Maastricht treaty and the World Trade Organisation, neoliberal policies were imposed – often without democratic consent – on much of the world. Most remarkable was its adoption among parties that once belonged to the left: Labour and the Democrats, for example. As Stedman Jones notes, "it is hard to think of another utopia to have been as fully realised."

***

It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice and freedom should have been promoted with the slogan "there is no alternative". But, as Hayek remarked on a visit to Pinochet's Chile – one of the first nations in which the programme was comprehensively applied – "my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism". The freedom that neoliberalism offers, which sounds so beguiling when expressed in general terms, turns out to mean freedom for the pike, not for the minnows.

Freedom from trade unions and collective bargaining means the freedom to suppress wages. Freedom from regulation means the freedom to poison rivers , endanger workers, charge iniquitous rates of interest and design exotic financial instruments. Freedom from tax means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Naomi Klein documented that neoliberals advocated the use of crises to impose unpopular policies while people were distracted. Photograph: Anya Chibis/The Guardian

As Naomi Klein documents in The Shock Doctrine , neoliberal theorists advocated the use of crises to impose unpopular policies while people were distracted: for example, in the aftermath of Pinochet's coup, the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina, which Friedman described as "an opportunity to radically reform the educational system" in New Orleans .

Where neoliberal policies cannot be imposed domestically, they are imposed internationally, through trade treaties incorporating " investor-state dispute settlement ": offshore tribunals in which corporations can press for the removal of social and environmental protections. When parliaments have voted to restrict sales of cigarettes , protect water supplies from mining companies, freeze energy bills or prevent pharmaceutical firms from ripping off the state, corporations have sued, often successfully. Democracy is reduced to theatre.

Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket, but it rapidly became one

Another paradox of neoliberalism is that universal competition relies upon universal quantification and comparison. The result is that workers, job-seekers and public services of every kind are subject to a pettifogging, stifling regime of assessment and monitoring, designed to identify the winners and punish the losers. The doctrine that Von Mises proposed would free us from the bureaucratic nightmare of central planning has instead created one.

Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket, but it rapidly became one. Economic growth has been markedly slower in the neoliberal era (since 1980 in Britain and the US) than it was in the preceding decades; but not for the very rich. Inequality in the distribution of both income and wealth, after 60 years of decline, rose rapidly in this era, due to the smashing of trade unions, tax reductions, rising rents, privatisation and deregulation.

The privatisation or marketisation of public services such as energy, water, trains, health, education, roads and prisons has enabled corporations to set up tollbooths in front of essential assets and charge rent, either to citizens or to government, for their use. Rent is another term for unearned income. When you pay an inflated price for a train ticket, only part of the fare compensates the operators for the money they spend on fuel, wages, rolling stock and other outlays. The rest reflects the fact that they have you over a barrel .

In Mexico, Carlos Slim was granted control of almost all phone services and soon became the world's richest man. Photograph: Henry Romero/Reuters

Those who own and run the UK's privatised or semi-privatised services make stupendous fortunes by investing little and charging much. In Russia and India, oligarchs acquired state assets through firesales. In Mexico, Carlos Slim was granted control of almost all landline and mobile phone services and soon became the world's richest man.

Financialisation, as Andrew Sayer notes in Why We Can't Afford the Rich , has had a similar impact. "Like rent," he argues, "interest is ... unearned income that accrues without any effort". As the poor become poorer and the rich become richer, the rich acquire increasing control over another crucial asset: money. Interest payments, overwhelmingly, are a transfer of money from the poor to the rich. As property prices and the withdrawal of state funding load people with debt (think of the switch from student grants to student loans), the banks and their executives clean up.

Sayer argues that the past four decades have been characterised by a transfer of wealth not only from the poor to the rich, but within the ranks of the wealthy: from those who make their money by producing new goods or services to those who make their money by controlling existing assets and harvesting rent, interest or capital gains. Earned income has been supplanted by unearned income.

Neoliberal policies are everywhere beset by market failures. Not only are the banks too big to fail, but so are the corporations now charged with delivering public services. As Tony Judt pointed out in Ill Fares the Land , Hayek forgot that vital national services cannot be allowed to collapse, which means that competition cannot run its course. Business takes the profits, the state keeps the risk.

The greater the failure, the more extreme the ideology becomes. Governments use neoliberal crises as both excuse and opportunity to cut taxes, privatise remaining public services, rip holes in the social safety net, deregulate corporations and re-regulate citizens. The self-hating state now sinks its teeth into every organ of the public sector.

Perhaps the most dangerous impact of neoliberalism is not the economic crises it has caused, but the political crisis. As the domain of the state is reduced, our ability to change the course of our lives through voting also contracts. Instead, neoliberal theory asserts, people can exercise choice through spending. But some have more to spend than others: in the great consumer or shareholder democracy, votes are not equally distributed. The result is a disempowerment of the poor and middle. As parties of the right and former left adopt similar neoliberal policies, disempowerment turns to disenfranchisement. Large numbers of people have been shed from politics.

Chris Hedges remarks that "fascist movements build their base not from the politically active but the politically inactive, the 'losers' who feel, often correctly, they have no voice or role to play in the political establishment". When political debate no longer speaks to us, people become responsive instead to slogans, symbols and sensation . To the admirers of Trump, for example, facts and arguments appear irrelevant.

Judt explained that when the thick mesh of interactions between people and the state has been reduced to nothing but authority and obedience, the only remaining force that binds us is state power. The totalitarianism Hayek feared is more likely to emerge when governments, having lost the moral authority that arises from the delivery of public services, are reduced to "cajoling, threatening and ultimately coercing people to obey them".

***

Like communism, neoliberalism is the God that failed. But the zombie doctrine staggers on, and one of the reasons is its anonymity. Or rather, a cluster of anonymities.

The invisible doctrine of the invisible hand is promoted by invisible backers. Slowly, very slowly, we have begun to discover the names of a few of them. We find that the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has argued forcefully in the media against the further regulation of the tobacco industry, has been secretly funded by British American Tobacco since 1963. We discover that Charles and David Koch , two of the richest men in the world, founded the institute that set up the Tea Party movement . We find that Charles Koch, in establishing one of his thinktanks, noted that "in order to avoid undesirable criticism, how the organisation is controlled and directed should not be widely advertised".

The nouveau riche were once disparaged by those who had inherited their money. Today, the relationship has been reversed

The words used by neoliberalism often conceal more than they elucidate. "The market" sounds like a natural system that might bear upon us equally, like gravity or atmospheric pressure. But it is fraught with power relations. What "the market wants" tends to mean what corporations and their bosses want. "Investment", as Sayer notes, means two quite different things. One is the funding of productive and socially useful activities, the other is the purchase of existing assets to milk them for rent, interest, dividends and capital gains. Using the same word for different activities "camouflages the sources of wealth", leading us to confuse wealth extraction with wealth creation.

A century ago, the nouveau riche were disparaged by those who had inherited their money. Entrepreneurs sought social acceptance by passing themselves off as rentiers. Today, the relationship has been reversed: the rentiers and inheritors style themselves entre preneurs. They claim to have earned their unearned income.

These anonymities and confusions mesh with the namelessness and placelessness of modern capitalism: the franchise model which ensures that workers do not know for whom they toil ; the companies registered through a network of offshore secrecy regimes so complex that even the police cannot discover the beneficial owners ; the tax arrangements that bamboozle governments; the financial products no one understands.

The anonymity of neoliberalism is fiercely guarded. Those who are influenced by Hayek, Mises and Friedman tend to reject the term, maintaining – with some justice – that it is used today only pejoratively . But they offer us no substitute. Some describe themselves as classical liberals or libertarians, but these descriptions are both misleading and curiously self-effacing, as they suggest that there is nothing novel about The Road to Serfdom , Bureaucracy or Friedman's classic work, Capitalism and Freedom .

***

For all that, there is something admirable about the neoliberal project, at least in its early stages. It was a distinctive, innovative philosophy promoted by a coherent network of thinkers and activists with a clear plan of action. It was patient and persistent. The Road to Serfdom became the path to power.

Neoliberalism, Locke and the Green party | Letters Read more

Neoliberalism's triumph also reflects the failure of the left. When laissez-faire economics led to catastrophe in 1929, Keynes devised a comprehensive economic theory to replace it. When Keynesian demand management hit the buffers in the 70s, there was an alternative ready. But when neoliberalism fell apart in 2008 there was ... nothing. This is why the zombie walks. The left and centre have produced no new general framework of economic thought for 80 years.

Every invocation of Lord Keynes is an admission of failure. To propose Keynesian solutions to the crises of the 21st century is to ignore three obvious problems. It is hard to mobilise people around old ideas; the flaws exposed in the 70s have not gone away; and, most importantly, they have nothing to say about our gravest predicament: the environmental crisis. Keynesianism works by stimulating consumer demand to promote economic growth. Consumer demand and economic growth are the motors of environmental destruction.

What the history of both Keynesianism and neoliberalism show is that it's not enough to oppose a broken system. A coherent alternative has to be proposed. For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to develop an economic Apollo programme, a conscious attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century.

George Monbiot's How Did We Get into This Mess? is published this month by Verso. To order a copy for £12.99 (RRP £16.99) ) go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99.

Topics Economics

[Mar 10, 2020] The Bankruptcy of the American Left by Chris Hedges

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Corporate capitalism is supranational . It owes no loyalty to any nation-state. It uses the projection of military power by the United States to protect and advance its economic interests but at the same time cannibalizes the U.S., dismantling its democratic institutions, allowing its infrastructure to decay and deindustrializing its factory centers to ship manufacturing abroad to regions where workers are treated as serfs. ..."
"... Resistance to this global cabal of corporate oligarchs must also be supranational. It must build alliances with workers around the globe. It must defy the liberal institutions, including the Democratic Party, which betray workers. It is this betrayal that has given rise to fascist and protofascist movements in Europe and other countries ..."
"... Capitalism, at its core, is about the commodification of human beings and the natural world for exploitation and profit. To increase profit, it constantly seeks to reduce the cost of labor and demolish the regulations and laws that protect the common good. But as capitalism ravages the social fabric, it damages, like any parasite, the host that allows it to exist. It unleashes dark, uncontrollable yearnings among an enraged population that threaten capitalism itself. ..."
"... "We live in a global economy, highly interconnected," North went on. "A globalized process of production, financial system. The ruling class has an international policy. They organize themselves on an international scale. The labor movement has remained organized on a national basis. It has been completely incapable of answering this [ruling-class policy]. Therefore, it falls behind various national protectionist programs. The trade unions support Trump." ..."
"... "How many times can you turn on a mainstream news like CNN and expect to hear the word 'capitalism' discussed? Bernie [Sanders] did one thing. He called himself a democratic socialist , which was a bit transformational simply in terms of rhetoric. He's saying there's something other than capitalism that we ought to be talking about." ..."
"... When feminism was turned into that kind of leaning in, it created an identity politics that legitimizes the very system that needs to be critiqued. The early feminists were overtly socialists. As was [Martin Luther] King. But all that got erased." ..."
"... "The left became a kind of grab bag of discrete, siloed identity movements," Derber said. "This is very connected to moral purity. You're concerned about your advancement within the existing system. You're competing against others within the existing system. Everyone else has privilege. You're just concerned about getting your fair share." ..."
"... "Identity politics is to a large degree a right-wing discourse," Derber said. "It focuses on tribalism tied in modern times to nationalism, which is always militaristic. When you break the left into these siloed identity politics, which are not contextualized, you easily get into this dogmatic fundamentalism. The identity politics of the left reproduces the worse sociopathic features of the system as a whole. It's scary." ..."
Feb 05, 2018 | www.truthdig.com

There will be no economic or political justice for the poor, people of color, women or workers within the framework of global, corporate capitalism. Corporate capitalism, which uses identity politics , multiculturalism and racial justice to masquerade as politics, will never halt the rising social inequality, unchecked militarism, evisceration of civil liberties and omnipotence of the organs of security and surveillance. Corporate capitalism cannot be reformed, despite its continually rebranding itself. The longer the self-identified left and liberal class seek to work within a system that the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls " inverted totalitarianism ," the more the noose will be tightened around our necks. If we do not rise up to bring government and financial systems under public control -- which includes nationalizing banks, the fossil fuel industry and the arms industry -- we will continue to be victims.

Corporate capitalism is supranational . It owes no loyalty to any nation-state. It uses the projection of military power by the United States to protect and advance its economic interests but at the same time cannibalizes the U.S., dismantling its democratic institutions, allowing its infrastructure to decay and deindustrializing its factory centers to ship manufacturing abroad to regions where workers are treated as serfs.

Resistance to this global cabal of corporate oligarchs must also be supranational. It must build alliances with workers around the globe. It must defy the liberal institutions, including the Democratic Party, which betray workers. It is this betrayal that has given rise to fascist and protofascist movements in Europe and other countries. Donald Trump would never have been elected but for this betrayal. We will build a global movement powerful enough to bring down corporate capitalism or witness the rise of a new, supranational totalitarianism.

The left, seduced by the culture wars and identity politics, largely ignores the primacy of capitalism and the class struggle. As long as unregulated capitalism reigns supreme, all social, economic, cultural and political change will be cosmetic. Capitalism, at its core, is about the commodification of human beings and the natural world for exploitation and profit. To increase profit, it constantly seeks to reduce the cost of labor and demolish the regulations and laws that protect the common good. But as capitalism ravages the social fabric, it damages, like any parasite, the host that allows it to exist. It unleashes dark, uncontrollable yearnings among an enraged population that threaten capitalism itself.

"This is a crisis of global dimensions," David North , the national chairman of the Socialist Equality Party in the United States, told me when we spoke in New York. "It is a crisis that dominates every element of American politics. The response that we're seeing, the astonishing changes in the state of the government, in the decay of political life, the astonishingly low level of political and intellectual discourse, is in a certain sense an expression of the bewilderment of the ruling elite to what it's going through."

"We can expect a monumental explosion of class struggle in the United States," he said. "I think this country is a social powder keg. There is an anger that exists over working conditions and social inequality. However [much] they may be confused on many questions, workers in this country have a deep belief in democratic rights. We totally reject the narrative that the working class is racist. I think this has been the narrative pushed by the pseudo-left, middle-class groups who are drunk on identity politics, which have a vested interest in constantly distracting people from the essential class differences that exist in the society. Dividing everyone up on the basis of race, gender, sexual preference fails to address the major problem."

North argues, correctly, that capitalism by its nature lurches from crisis to crisis. This makes our current predicament similar to past crises.

"All the unanswered questions of the 20th century -- the basic problem of the nation-state system, the reactionary character of private ownership with the means of production, corporate power, all of these issues which led to the first and Second world wars -- are with us again, and add to that fascism," he said.

"We live in a global economy, highly interconnected," North went on. "A globalized process of production, financial system. The ruling class has an international policy. They organize themselves on an international scale. The labor movement has remained organized on a national basis. It has been completely incapable of answering this [ruling-class policy]. Therefore, it falls behind various national protectionist programs. The trade unions support Trump."

The sociologist Charles Derber , whom I also spoke with in New York, agrees.

"We don't really have a left because we don't have conversations about capitalism," Derber said. "How many times can you turn on a mainstream news like CNN and expect to hear the word 'capitalism' discussed? Bernie [Sanders] did one thing. He called himself a democratic socialist , which was a bit transformational simply in terms of rhetoric. He's saying there's something other than capitalism that we ought to be talking about."

"As the [capitalist] system universalizes and becomes more and more intersectional, we need intersectional resistance," Derber said. "At the end of the 1960s, when I was getting my own political education, the universalizing dimensions of the left, which was growing in the '60s, fell apart. The women began to feel their issues were not being addressed. They were treated badly by white males, student leaders. Blacks, Panthers, began to feel the whites could not speak for race issues. They developed separate organizations. The upshot was the left lost its universalizing character. It no longer dealt with the intersection of all these issues within the context of a militarized, capitalist, hegemonic American empire. It treated politics as siloed group identity problems. Women had glass ceilings. Same with blacks. Same with gays."

The loss of this intersectionality was deadly. Instead of focusing on the plight of all of the oppressed, oppressed groups began to seek representation for their own members within capitalist structures.

"Let's take a modern version of this," Derber said. " Sheryl Sandberg , the COO of Facebook, she did a third-wave feminism thing. She said 'lean in.' It captures this identity politics that has become toxic on the left. What does 'lean in' mean? It means women should lean in and go as far as they can in the corporation. They should become, as she has, a major, wealthy executive of a leading corporation. When feminism was turned into that kind of leaning in, it created an identity politics that legitimizes the very system that needs to be critiqued. The early feminists were overtly socialists. As was [Martin Luther] King. But all that got erased."

"The left became a kind of grab bag of discrete, siloed identity movements," Derber said. "This is very connected to moral purity. You're concerned about your advancement within the existing system. You're competing against others within the existing system. Everyone else has privilege. You're just concerned about getting your fair share."

"People in movements are products of the system they're fighting," he continued. "We're all raised in a capitalistic, individualistic, egoistic culture, so it's not surprising. And it has to be consciously recognized and struggled against. Everybody in movements has been brought up in systems they're repulsed by. This has created a structural transformation of the left. The left offers no broad critique of the political economy of capitalism. It's largely an identity-politics party. It focuses on reforms for blacks and women and so forth. But it doesn't offer a contextual analysis within capitalism."

Derber, like North, argues that the left's myopic, siloed politics paved the way for right-wing, nativist, protofascist movements around the globe as well as the ascendancy of Trump.

"When you bring politics down to simply about helping your group get a piece of the pie, you lose that systemic analysis," he said. "You're fragmented. You don't have natural connections or solidarity with other groups. You don't see the larger systemic context. By saying I want, as a gay person, to fight in the military, in a funny way you're legitimating the American empire. If you were living in Nazi Germany, would you say I want the right of a gay person to fight in combat with the Nazi soldiers?"

"I don't want to say we should eliminate all identity politics," he said. "But any identity politics has to be done within the framework of understanding the larger political economy. That's been stripped away and erased. Even on the left, you cannot find a deep conversation about capitalism and militarized capitalism. It's just been erased. That's why Trump came in. He unified a kind of very powerful right-wing identity politics built around nationalism, militarism and the exceptionalism of the American empire."

"Identity politics is to a large degree a right-wing discourse," Derber said. "It focuses on tribalism tied in modern times to nationalism, which is always militaristic. When you break the left into these siloed identity politics, which are not contextualized, you easily get into this dogmatic fundamentalism. The identity politics of the left reproduces the worse sociopathic features of the system as a whole. It's scary."

"How much of the left," he asked, "is reproducing what we are seeing in the society that we're fighting?"

[Mar 09, 2020] The Politics of Privatization How Neoliberalism Took Over US Politics by Brett Heinz

Highly recommended!
Sep 08, 2017 | www.faireconomy.org

Many of us have come across the term "neoliberal," or "neoliberalism" before, but for all its use, few have ever taken the chance to actually explain what it is. An inadequate popular definition has allowed the term to be abused and misrepresented in a variety of ways. Despite these misrepresentations, however, "neoliberalism" is a concept that is very useful for understanding the world we live in today.

In simple terms, neoliberalism is a broad ideology that became popular in political, economic, and governmental circles in the 1970's and reached its peak in global popularity in the 1980's. Neoliberalism describes the political paradigm we are in right now, the political conditions of modern society . As the name suggests, it calls for a revitalization of the classical liberal view of economic policy. It's important to understand that "classical liberal" here refers to an older understanding of the word liberal than the one it has in modern America- it is referencing the liberalism of the Enlightenment era, represented by thinkers like Adam Smith and John Locke, not modern social liberalism as embodied by Barack Obama and much of the rest of the Democratic Party. In concrete policy terms, neoliberalism means free trade, low taxes, deregulation, privatization, and balanced budgets.

Neoliberalism represents a shift in the way we look at the world: it entails seeing every aspect of society, even those typically considered civic or community affairs, in the terms of the market economy.

"Stagflation" & Schools of Economic Thought

Neoliberalism emerged as a reaction to welfare state politics and Keynesian economics that had become popular in the West following the end of World War II.

What is Keynesian Economics? Two major schools of economic thought are Classical Economics and Keynesian Economics. Adam Smith's (1723-1790) theory of Classical Economics asserts that the market is a rapidly-adjusting, self-correcting entity. John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) believed that Classical Economics was flawed. If classical economics were true, Keyes asserted, waves of massive unemployment wouldn't exist, as the market would quickly self-adjust for the downturn. Keynes theorized that during an economic downturn, consumer demand tended to drop, causing employers to lay off employees, which would then decrease overall consumer demand, and the cycle would continue. Keynes concluded that in periods of economic downturn, government could manipulate demand by hiring, directly or through policy, unemployed workers and break the cycle.

Following a long period of significant prosperity, the 1970's brought with it a phenomenon known as "stagflation" - simultaneous stagnation (where worker wages are kept flat) and inflation (where the cost of living rises). Keynesians, who had been the dominant group in American economics at the time, believed it was impossible for stagflation to exist for any extended period of time.

As the Keynesians tried to make sense of economic realities of the day, a new wave of economists began to create other schools of thought. Milton Friedman (known as "the Chicago School" or "monetarists") made the case not only for a different approach to monetary policy in order to solve stagflation, but also for the idea that many forms of governmental involvement in the economy are in fact harmful. Others, like James Buchanan pioneered a field known as "public choice theory," which made the case to the economics profession that government bureaucrats acted in personal self-interest, not in the public interest, and thus that policy prescriptions should be much more cautious in calling for governmental solutions to economic issues.

Activist Business

At the same time as the intellectual environment began to shift toward the political right in economics, the business community also began to be more aggressive in asserting their interests in politics. This development was prompted in part by soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. writing a memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1971, arguing that "the American economic system is under attack" from progressive critics of big business and that the business community should fight back. A number of conservative and libertarian think tanks and advocacy organizations were created and expanded during this period in order to make the intellectual case for "freer" capitalism, including the Heritage Foundation (1973), the Cato Institute (1974), and the American Enterprise Institute (founded in 1938 but becoming influential during the 1970′s).

A Radical Message

Combine a turn against government in the field of economics and a growing assertion of political power by businesses, and throw in increased public skepticism of government after Vietnam and Watergate, and you have a recipe for fundamental political change. Between the economic disarray, the public distrust, and both intellectual and financial support for an alternative to post-war welfare statism, a new ideology became dominant in the political sphere. This ideology was encapsulated by the presidency of Ronald Reagan, who summed it up perfectly with his famous quote: "in this current crisis, government is not the solution to the problem; government is the problem."

Such a claim may sound like standard conservative fare today, but both Reagan and his message were quite radical at the time, even among Republicans. At the time of his election, Reagan was seen by some ( including Gerald Ford ) as simply too far right to win. The last (elected) Republican president before him, Nixon, created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), and a number of other progressive programs. He also called for healthcare reform that could arguably be called stronger than Obamacare, and an expansion of welfare , the latter of which was the inspiration for the Earned Income Tax Credit, passed shortly after he left office. Pieces of Nixon's economic agenda were noticeably left-wing, so much so that one journalist at the time noted that he left the Democrats having to resort to "me-tooism."

Nixon took such positions because he needed to respond to political pressures from the left, the same pressures that had pushed LBJ on civil rights legislation and the war on poverty. In the late 1970's, as the activism and radicalism of the 1960's began to die out, those pressures began to be outweighed by increasing pressure from businesses in the direction of neoliberalism. This started under Jimmy Carter, who oversaw the cautious deregulation of airlines in 1978 and the trucking industry in 1980. However, it was Reagan who truly delivered the neoliberal agenda in America and institutionalized it into government.

Importantly, this era also saw the start of the growth in the importance of campaign donations. Republicans had not only a strong base of think tanks to provide them with a network of intellectual support, they also had far more money from the corporate interests they were serving. Congressional Republicans beat their Democratic counterparts in campaign expenditures in every election year from 1976 to 1992.

Traditionally, Democrats had relied on unions as a critical source of both campaign donations and organizational support. With union strength declining (a trend the Reagan administration encouraged through policy), the Democrats were being totally outgunned. According to Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson's book "Winner-Take-All Politics":

" From the late 1970s to the late 1980s, corporate PACS [political action committees] increased their expenditures in congressional races nearly five fold. Labor spending only rose about half as fast... By 1980, unions accounted for less than a quarter of all PAC donations -- down from half six years earlier."

The Third Way

Even with the emergence of conservative "Reagan Democrats" during the 1980's, the game had changed for the Democratic Party. Recognizing this, a number of Democrats (including Bill Clinton) joined together in a group called the Democratic Leadership Council with the goal of dragging the party to the right and boosting campaign contributions. They succeeded. When Clinton eventually won the presidency, he cemented neoliberalism as the law of the land by making it clear that the Democrats would not challenge the new fundamental doctrine of limited government involvement in many parts of the economy, and as a result made the Democrats politically competitive again. (Both the previously mentioned "Winner-Take-All Politics" and Thomas Ferguson and Joel Roger's "Right Turn" go more into detail on this issue, and on neoliberalism more generally).

Instead of challenging the entirety of Reagan's assertion of government-as-problem, Clinton espoused a "third way" ideology: in his second inauguration, he said that "Government is not the problem, and Government is not the solution. We -- the American people -- we are the solution." Though the Clinton White House at times backed left-liberal policies like mild tax hikes on the wealthy, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the Family Medical Leave Act, it also continued the neoliberal march of rolling back progressive achievements through the deregulation of Wall Street (the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, etc.), conservative welfare reform in 1996, NAFTA, and the gutting of public housing .

A One-Party System

Clinton himself was aware of the way that American politics was moving to the right, and he was sometimes frustrated with it. Allegedly, he once entered a meeting in the Oval Office complaining : "Where are all the Democrats? I hope you're all aware we're all Eisenhower Republicans. We're Eisenhower Republicans here, and we are fighting the Reagan Republicans. We stand for lower deficits and free trade and the bond market. Isn't that great?"

Despite this, however, Clinton and most of the rest of the Democratic Party accepted their role doing nothing more than, to borrow a phrase from political philosopher Roberto Unger, "to put a softer face on the agenda of their conservative opponents." They seek to make marginal improvements for poor, working class, and middle class voters here and there, but never seek to fundamentally shake up the political-economic system in any way. As one critic put it in 1990, even before Clinton's election, the Democratic Party is "...history's second-most enthusiastic capitalist party. They do not interfere with capitalist momentum, but wait for excesses and the inevitable popular reaction." This is why many left-wing critics will refer to some Democrats as neoliberals even when they don't literally advocate for free market capitalism.

Neoliberalism within the Democratic Party looks less like a proposal to privatize or abolish Social Security as much as it does a commitment to benefit-cutting "entitlement reform." It can be seen both in language (the constant discussion of education as an "investment" in "skills" necessary for "improving the workforce," instead of a guaranteed right for all citizens) and in policy (proposing tax cuts for the middle class instead of social spending even when taxes are at some of their lowest rates in decades ; compromis[ing] in advance on major policy proposals like the 2009 stimulus; advocating piecemeal technocratic reforms to healthcare and finance instead of deeper, fundamental reform; etc.).

With their opponents on the defensive and partially compliant with their agenda, the Republicans continued to push further right under the leadership of Newt Gingrich and his "Contract with America." The Democrats started to dig their heels in and push back a little for the first time during the later part of the George W. Bush administration as his (and the wars') approval ratings sank, and they now seem to have more or less stabilized. An increasingly loud progressive coalition of activists and advocates continues to push for ideas like single-payer healthcare, often dismissed as radical despite both being an international norm and the explicit goal of many mainstream Democratic politicians before neoliberalism's rise. The Democratic party establishment, on the contrary, is largely fine holding on to ideological territory that is, in certain areas, to the right of where it was several decades ago.

With the establishment of both major political parties accepting neoliberal ideology, it became default wisdom among economic, political, and media elites. Because the most powerful class of America accepted it as fact, it was instilled into the American consciousness as "common sense" that can't be seriously challenged. Ideas in direct opposition to neoliberalism were largely marginalized, and as a result, much of our modern debate now takes place within its bounds. Today, though, this marginalization is rapidly disappearing.

Today, we are witnessing the collapse of neoliberalism's "common sense" status. Republican elites took neoliberalism being one of their root organizing principles for granted while running campaigns using dog-whistle racism, never realizing that they were attracting a base of voters who hated immigrants a lot more than they hated regulation. The Republicans have drifted so far to the right that unabashed nationalists like Trump can now take the lead of the party, even as he espouses racist xenophobia-inspired protectionism that are in conflict with the neoliberal ideals of the party's business wing.

Even during their neoliberalization, the Democrats always had a left-wing occupied by social democrats. Today they largely occupy the Congressional Progressive Caucus. They were empowered by both opposition to the Iraq War late in the Bush era and the subsequent economic crash that occurred as a result of neoliberal deregulation of the finance sector. Obama ran as a semi-progressive but governed as a standard Democrat, leaving progressive disappointment and frustration to rise to the surface again once a primary was held to determine who would be the Democratic candidate after Obama: thus, the Bernie phenomenon.

Globalism & Neoliberalism

It seems as though the extinction of neoliberalism is embedded in the formula of neoliberalism itself. Neoliberalism and accompanying globalization have resulted in inequality and poverty for significant portions of the population, leaving many people economically impoverished and politically alienated. This prompts an inevitable political reaction, angry and populist in nature. The center-left (ex. Hillary Clinton) and center-right (ex. Jeb Bush) sing the praises of neoliberal globalization, while the left (ex. Bernie Sanders) vigorously attacks the "neoliberal" part of it, and the far-right (ex. Donald Trump) vigorously attack the "globalization" part of it. Today, progressives dislike neoliberalism, but also believe that the far-right's disdain for all forms of globalization is a distraction and misidentification of the root issue, using foreigners and people of color as scapegoats. The problem is not globalization, but globalization implemented in such a way so as to benefit the wealthy and powerful.

Neoliberalism is a powerful ideology and way of looking at the world. The neoliberal views most government involvement in the economy as harmful, and seeks to leave social problems to be solved by private enterprise and markets whenever possible. This is an idea that, over the last several decades, has become widely accepted to varying degrees by people across the political spectrum, and as such has been embedded into modern government and public policy.

When discussing modern politics, a recognition of the role neoliberalism has played in fueling massive increases in inequality and corrupting our democracy is vital.

A number of other industrialized countries have undergone neoliberalization on roughly the same time frame as the US, and are now experiencing similar backlashes: the U.K., neoliberalized under Margaret Thatcher and others, now has UKIP on its right and Jeremy Corbyn and social democratic Scottish nationalists on its left. France has witnessed the rise of not only the National Front on its far-right, but also the rise of populist socialists like Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Germany has the AfD and Pegida on its right and Die Linke on its left. New Zealand has New Zealand First. Sweden has the Sweden Democrats. Spain has Podemos. Additionally, backlash against "Washington Consensus" neoliberalism in Latin America contributed to a revitalization of left-populism in many countries. Though there are some nations that have experienced some form of neoliberalism without such political effects, a definite connection between neoliberalism and the emergence of anti-neoliberal populism certainly seems to exist.

[Mar 03, 2020] "Predatory capitalism", which clearly describes what neoliberalism is.

Highly recommended!
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

chu teh , Mar 4 2020 0:50 utc | 80

Tonymike | Mar 3 2020 18:08 utc | 26

re ... Your house foreclosed upon by shady bank: naked capitalism, .0001% paid on interest savings: naked capitalism, poor wages: naked capitalism, dangerous workplace: naked capitalism, etc. ...

"naked capitalism" is not a clear description. Consider using "predatory capitalism", which clearly describes what it is.

Here's the Wiki dictionary definition:

Predatory--

1. relating to or denoting an animal or animals preying naturally on others.
synonyms: predacious, carnivorous, hunting, raptorial, ravening;
Example: "predatory birds".

2. seeking to exploit or oppress others.
synonyms: exploitative, wolfish, rapacious, greedy, acquisitive, avaricious
Example: "I could see a predatory gleam in his eyes"

Note where the word comes from:
The Latin "praedator", in English meaning "plunderer".

And "plunderer" helps the reader understand and perhaps recognize what is happening.

Every plunderer understands.

[Feb 09, 2020] Trump demand for 50% of Iraq oil revenue sound exactly like a criminal mob boss

Highly recommended!
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

Tucker , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 12:27 pm GMT

I've heard and read about a claim that Trump actually called PM Abdul Mahdi and demanded that Iraq hand over 50 percent of their proceeds from selling their oil to the USA, and then threatened Mahdi that he would unleash false flag attacks against the Iraqi government and its people if he did not submit to this act of Mafia-like criminal extortion. Mahdi told Trump to kiss his buttocks and that he wasn't going to turn over half of the profits from oil sales.

This makes Trump sound exactly like a criminal mob boss, especially in light of the fact that the USA is now the world's #1 exporter of oil – a fact that the arrogant Orange Man has even boasted about in recent months. Can anyone confirm that this claim is accurate? If so, then the more I learn about Trump the more sleazy and gangster like he becomes.

I mean, think about it. Bush and Cheney and mostly jewish neocons LIED us into Iraq based on bald faced lies, fabricated evidence, and exaggerated threats that they KNEW did not exist. We destroyed that country, captured and killed it's leader – who used to be a big buddy of the USA when we had a use for him – and Bush's crime gang killed close to 2 million innocent Iraqis and wrecked their economy and destroyed their infrastructure. And, now, after all that death, destruction and carnage – which Trump claimed in 2016 he did not approve of – but, now that Trump is sitting on the throne in the Oval office – he has the audacity and the gall to demand that Iraq owes the USA 50 percent of their oil profits? And, that he won't honor and respect their demand to pull our troops out of their sovereign nation unless they PAY US back for the gigantic waste of tax payers money that was spent building permanent bases inside their country?

Not one Iraqi politician voted for the appropriations bill that financed the construction of those military bases; that was our mistake, the mistake of our US congress whichever POTUS signed off on it.

melpol , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:41 pm GMT
...Trump learned the power of the purse on the streets of NYC, he survived by playing ball with the Jewish and Italian Mafia. Now he has become the ultimate Godfather, and the world must listen to his commands. Watch and listen as the powerful and mighty crumble under US Hegemony.
World War Jew , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMT
Right TG, traditionally, as you said up there first, and legally too, under the supreme law of the land. Economic sanctions are subject to the same UNSC supervision as forcible coercion.

UN Charter Article 41: "The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations."

https://www.un.org/en/charter-united-nations/index.html

US "sanctions" require UNSC authorization. Unilateral sanctions are nothing but illegal coercive intervention, as the non-intervention principle is customary international law, which is US federal common law.

The G-192, that is, the entire world, has affirmed this law. That's why the US is trying to defund UNCTAD as redundant with the WTO (UNCTAD is the G-192's primary forum.) In any case, now that the SCO is in a position to enforce this law at gunpoint with its overwhelmingly superior missile technology, the US is going to get stomped and tased until it complies and stops resisting.

Charlie , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 7:53 pm GMT
@Tucker This idea that the US is any sort of a net petroleum exporter is just another lie.

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=268&t=6

In 2018 total US petroleum production was under 18 million barrels per day, total consumption north of 20 mmb/d. What does it matter if the US exports a bunch of super light fracked product the US itself can't refine if it turns around and imports it all back in again and then some.

The myths we tell ourselves, like a roaring economy that nevertheless generates a $1 trillion annual deficit, will someday come back to bite us. Denying reality is not a winning game plan for the long run.

Christophe GJ , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:00 pm GMT
I long tought that US foreign policies were mainly zionist agenda – driven, but the Venezuelan affair and the statements of Trump himself about the syrian oil (ta be "kept" (stolen)) make you think twice.

Oil seems to be at least very important even if it's not the main cause of middle east problems

So maybe it's the cause of illegal and cruel sanctions against Iran : Get rid of competitor to sell shale oil everywhere ?( think also of Norstream 2 here)

Watch out US of A. in the end there is something sometimes referred to as the oil's curse . some poor black Nigerians call oil "the shit of the devil", because it's such a problem – related asset Have you heard of it ? You get your revenues from oil easily, so you don't have to make effort by yourself. And in the end you don't keep pace with China on 5G ? Education fails ? Hmm
Becommig a primary sector extraction nation sad destiny indeed, like africans growing cafe, bananas and cacao for others. Not to mention environmental problems
What has happened to the superb Nation that send the first man on the moon and invented modern computers ?
Disapointment
Money for space or money for war following the Zio. Choose Uncle Sam !
Difficult to have both

OverCommenter , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:24 pm GMT
Everyone seems to forget how we avoided war with Syria all those years ago It was when John Kerry of all people gaffed, and said "if Assad gives up all his chemical weapons." That was in response to a reporter who asked "is there anything that can stop the war?" A intrepid Russian ambassador chimed in loud enough for the press core to hear his "OK" and history was averted. Thinking restricting the power of the President will stop brown children from dying at the hands of insane US foreign policy is a cope. "Bi-partisanship" voted to keep troops in Syria, that was only a few months ago, have you already forgotten? Dubya started the drone program, and the magical African everyone fawns over, literally doubled the remote controlled death. We are way past pretending any elected official from either side is actually against more ME war, or even that one side is worse than the other.

The problem with the supporters Trump has left is they so desperately want to believe in something bigger than themselves. They have been fed propaganda for their whole lives, and as a result can only see the world in either "this is good" or "this is bad." The problem with the opposition is that they are insane. and will say or do anything regardless of the truth. Trump could be impeached for assassinating Sulimani, yet they keep proceeding with fake and retarded nonsense. Just like keeping troops in Syria, even the most insane rabid leftoids are just fine with US imperialism, so long as it's promoting Starbucks, Marvel and homosex, just like we see with support for HK. That is foreign meddling no matter how you try to justify it, and it's not even any different messaging than the hoax "bring democracyhumanrightsfreedom TM to the poor Arabs" justification that was used in Iraq. They don't even have to come up with a new play to run, it's really quite incredible.

Just passing through , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:44 pm GMT
@OverCommenter A lot of right-wingers also see military action in the Middle East as a way for America to flex its muscles and bomb some Arabs. It also serves to justify the insane defence budget that could be used to build a wall and increase funding to ICE.

US politics has become incredibly bi-partisan, criticising Trump will get you branded a 'Leftist' in many circles. This extreme bipartisanship started with the Obama birth certificate nonsense which was being peddled by Jews like Orly Taitz, Philip J. Berg, Robert L. Shulz, Larry Klayman and Breitbart news – most likely because Obama was pursuing the JCPOA and not going hard enough on Iran – and continued with the Trump Russian agent angle.

Now many Americans cannot really think critically, they stick to their side like a fan sticks to their sports team.

Weston Waroda , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 9:11 pm GMT
The first person I ever heard say sanctions are acts of war was Ron Paul. The repulsive Madeleine Albright infamously said the deaths of 500,000 Iranian children due to US sanctions was worth it. She ought to be tried as a war criminal. Ron Paul ought to be Secretary of State.

[Feb 09, 2020] Trump demand for 50% of Iraq oil revenue sound exactly like a criminal mob boss

Highly recommended!
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

Tucker , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 12:27 pm GMT

I've heard and read about a claim that Trump actually called PM Abdul Mahdi and demanded that Iraq hand over 50 percent of their proceeds from selling their oil to the USA, and then threatened Mahdi that he would unleash false flag attacks against the Iraqi government and its people if he did not submit to this act of Mafia-like criminal extortion. Mahdi told Trump to kiss his buttocks and that he wasn't going to turn over half of the profits from oil sales.

This makes Trump sound exactly like a criminal mob boss, especially in light of the fact that the USA is now the world's #1 exporter of oil – a fact that the arrogant Orange Man has even boasted about in recent months. Can anyone confirm that this claim is accurate? If so, then the more I learn about Trump the more sleazy and gangster like he becomes.

I mean, think about it. Bush and Cheney and mostly jewish neocons LIED us into Iraq based on bald faced lies, fabricated evidence, and exaggerated threats that they KNEW did not exist. We destroyed that country, captured and killed it's leader – who used to be a big buddy of the USA when we had a use for him – and Bush's crime gang killed close to 2 million innocent Iraqis and wrecked their economy and destroyed their infrastructure. And, now, after all that death, destruction and carnage – which Trump claimed in 2016 he did not approve of – but, now that Trump is sitting on the throne in the Oval office – he has the audacity and the gall to demand that Iraq owes the USA 50 percent of their oil profits? And, that he won't honor and respect their demand to pull our troops out of their sovereign nation unless they PAY US back for the gigantic waste of tax payers money that was spent building permanent bases inside their country?

Not one Iraqi politician voted for the appropriations bill that financed the construction of those military bases; that was our mistake, the mistake of our US congress whichever POTUS signed off on it.

melpol , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:41 pm GMT
...Trump learned the power of the purse on the streets of NYC, he survived by playing ball with the Jewish and Italian Mafia. Now he has become the ultimate Godfather, and the world must listen to his commands. Watch and listen as the powerful and mighty crumble under US Hegemony.
World War Jew , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMT
Right TG, traditionally, as you said up there first, and legally too, under the supreme law of the land. Economic sanctions are subject to the same UNSC supervision as forcible coercion.

UN Charter Article 41: "The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations."

https://www.un.org/en/charter-united-nations/index.html

US "sanctions" require UNSC authorization. Unilateral sanctions are nothing but illegal coercive intervention, as the non-intervention principle is customary international law, which is US federal common law.

The G-192, that is, the entire world, has affirmed this law. That's why the US is trying to defund UNCTAD as redundant with the WTO (UNCTAD is the G-192's primary forum.) In any case, now that the SCO is in a position to enforce this law at gunpoint with its overwhelmingly superior missile technology, the US is going to get stomped and tased until it complies and stops resisting.

Charlie , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 7:53 pm GMT
@Tucker This idea that the US is any sort of a net petroleum exporter is just another lie.

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=268&t=6

In 2018 total US petroleum production was under 18 million barrels per day, total consumption north of 20 mmb/d. What does it matter if the US exports a bunch of super light fracked product the US itself can't refine if it turns around and imports it all back in again and then some.

The myths we tell ourselves, like a roaring economy that nevertheless generates a $1 trillion annual deficit, will someday come back to bite us. Denying reality is not a winning game plan for the long run.

Christophe GJ , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:00 pm GMT
I long tought that US foreign policies were mainly zionist agenda – driven, but the Venezuelan affair and the statements of Trump himself about the syrian oil (ta be "kept" (stolen)) make you think twice.

Oil seems to be at least very important even if it's not the main cause of middle east problems

So maybe it's the cause of illegal and cruel sanctions against Iran : Get rid of competitor to sell shale oil everywhere ?( think also of Norstream 2 here)

Watch out US of A. in the end there is something sometimes referred to as the oil's curse . some poor black Nigerians call oil "the shit of the devil", because it's such a problem – related asset Have you heard of it ? You get your revenues from oil easily, so you don't have to make effort by yourself. And in the end you don't keep pace with China on 5G ? Education fails ? Hmm
Becommig a primary sector extraction nation sad destiny indeed, like africans growing cafe, bananas and cacao for others. Not to mention environmental problems
What has happened to the superb Nation that send the first man on the moon and invented modern computers ?
Disapointment
Money for space or money for war following the Zio. Choose Uncle Sam !
Difficult to have both

OverCommenter , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:24 pm GMT
Everyone seems to forget how we avoided war with Syria all those years ago It was when John Kerry of all people gaffed, and said "if Assad gives up all his chemical weapons." That was in response to a reporter who asked "is there anything that can stop the war?" A intrepid Russian ambassador chimed in loud enough for the press core to hear his "OK" and history was averted. Thinking restricting the power of the President will stop brown children from dying at the hands of insane US foreign policy is a cope. "Bi-partisanship" voted to keep troops in Syria, that was only a few months ago, have you already forgotten? Dubya started the drone program, and the magical African everyone fawns over, literally doubled the remote controlled death. We are way past pretending any elected official from either side is actually against more ME war, or even that one side is worse than the other.

The problem with the supporters Trump has left is they so desperately want to believe in something bigger than themselves. They have been fed propaganda for their whole lives, and as a result can only see the world in either "this is good" or "this is bad." The problem with the opposition is that they are insane. and will say or do anything regardless of the truth. Trump could be impeached for assassinating Sulimani, yet they keep proceeding with fake and retarded nonsense. Just like keeping troops in Syria, even the most insane rabid leftoids are just fine with US imperialism, so long as it's promoting Starbucks, Marvel and homosex, just like we see with support for HK. That is foreign meddling no matter how you try to justify it, and it's not even any different messaging than the hoax "bring democracyhumanrightsfreedom TM to the poor Arabs" justification that was used in Iraq. They don't even have to come up with a new play to run, it's really quite incredible.

Just passing through , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:44 pm GMT
@OverCommenter A lot of right-wingers also see military action in the Middle East as a way for America to flex its muscles and bomb some Arabs. It also serves to justify the insane defence budget that could be used to build a wall and increase funding to ICE.

US politics has become incredibly bi-partisan, criticising Trump will get you branded a 'Leftist' in many circles. This extreme bipartisanship started with the Obama birth certificate nonsense which was being peddled by Jews like Orly Taitz, Philip J. Berg, Robert L. Shulz, Larry Klayman and Breitbart news – most likely because Obama was pursuing the JCPOA and not going hard enough on Iran – and continued with the Trump Russian agent angle.

Now many Americans cannot really think critically, they stick to their side like a fan sticks to their sports team.

Weston Waroda , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 9:11 pm GMT
The first person I ever heard say sanctions are acts of war was Ron Paul. The repulsive Madeleine Albright infamously said the deaths of 500,000 Iranian children due to US sanctions was worth it. She ought to be tried as a war criminal. Ron Paul ought to be Secretary of State.

[Feb 09, 2020] The Deeper Story Behind The Assassination Of Soleimani

Highly recommended!
Looks like the end of Full Spectrum Dominance the the USA enjoyed since 1991. Alliance of Iran, Russia and China (with Turkey and Pakistan as two possible members) is serious military competitor and while the USA has its set of trump cards, the military victory against such an alliance no longer guaranteed.
Jan 09, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Days after the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, new and important information is coming to light from a speech given by the Iraqi prime minister. The story behind Soleimani's assassination seems to go much deeper than what has thus far been reported, involving Saudi Arabia and China as well the US dollar's role as the global reserve currency .

The Iraqi prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, has revealed details of his interactions with Trump in the weeks leading up to Soleimani's assassination in a speech to the Iraqi parliament. He tried to explain several times on live television how Washington had been browbeating him and other Iraqi members of parliament to toe the American line, even threatening to engage in false-flag sniper shootings of both protesters and security personnel in order to inflame the situation, recalling similar modi operandi seen in Cairo in 2009, Libya in 2011, and Maidan in 2014. The purpose of such cynicism was to throw Iraq into chaos.

Here is the reconstruction of the story:

[Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq] Halbousi attended the parliamentary session while almost none of the Sunni members did. This was because the Americans had learned that Abdul-Mehdi was planning to reveal sensitive secrets in the session and sent Halbousi to prevent this. Halbousi cut Abdul-Mehdi off at the commencement of his speech and then asked for the live airing of the session to be stopped. After this, Halbousi together with other members, sat next to Abdul-Mehdi, speaking openly with him but without it being recorded. This is what was discussed in that session that was not broadcast:

Abdul-Mehdi spoke angrily about how the Americans had ruined the country and now refused to complete infrastructure and electricity grid projects unless they were promised 50% of oil revenues, which Abdul-Mehdi refused.

The complete (translated) words of Abdul-Mahdi's speech to parliament:

This is why I visited China and signed an important agreement with them to undertake the construction instead. Upon my return, Trump called me to ask me to reject this agreement. When I refused, he threatened to unleash huge demonstrations against me that would end my premiership.

Huge demonstrations against me duly materialized and Trump called again to threaten that if I did not comply with his demands, then he would have Marine snipers on tall buildings target protesters and security personnel alike in order to pressure me.

I refused again and handed in my resignation. To this day the Americans insist on us rescinding our deal with the Chinese.

After this, when our Minister of Defense publicly stated that a third party was targeting both protestors and security personnel alike (just as Trump had threatened he would do), I received a new call from Trump threatening to kill both me and the Minister of Defense if we kept on talking about this "third party".

Nobody imagined that the threat was to be applied to General Soleimani, but it was difficult for Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to reveal the weekslong backstory behind the terrorist attack.

I was supposed to meet him [Soleimani] later in the morning when he was killed. He came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered to the Iranians from the Saudis.

We can surmise, judging by Saudi Arabia's reaction , that some kind of negotiation was going on between Tehran and Riyadh:

The Kingdom's statement regarding the events in Iraq stresses the Kingdom's view of the importance of de-escalation to save the countries of the region and their people from the risks of any escalation.

Above all, the Saudi Royal family wanted to let people know immediately that they had not been informed of the US operation:

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia was not consulted regarding the US strike. In light of the rapid developments, the Kingdom stresses the importance of exercising restraint to guard against all acts that may lead to escalation, with severe consequences.

And to emphasize his reluctance for war, Mohammad bin Salman sent a delegation to the United States. Liz Sly , the Washington Post Beirut bureau chief, tweated:

Saudi Arabia is sending a delegation to Washington to urge restraint with Iran on behalf of [Persian] Gulf states. The message will be: 'Please spare us the pain of going through another war'.

What clearly emerges is that the success of the operation against Soleimani had nothing to do with the intelligence gathering of the US or Israel. It was known to all and sundry that Soleimani was heading to Baghdad in a diplomatic capacity that acknowledged Iraq's efforts to mediate a solution to the regional crisis with Saudi Arabia.

It would seem that the Saudis, Iranians and Iraqis were well on the way towards averting a regional conflict involving Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Riyadh's reaction to the American strike evinced no public joy or celebration. Qatar, while not seeing eye to eye with Riyadh on many issues, also immediately expressed solidarity with Tehran, hosting a meeting at a senior government level with Mohammad Zarif Jarif, the Iranian foreign minister. Even Turkey and Egypt , when commenting on the asassination, employed moderating language.

This could reflect a fear of being on the receiving end of Iran's retaliation. Qatar, the country from which the drone that killed Soleimani took off, is only a stone's throw away from Iran, situated on the other side of the Strait of Hormuz. Riyadh and Tel Aviv, Tehran's regional enemies, both know that a military conflict with Iran would mean the end of the Saudi royal family.

When the words of the Iraqi prime minister are linked back to the geopolitical and energy agreements in the region, then the worrying picture starts to emerge of a desperate US lashing out at a world turning its back on a unipolar world order in favor of the emerging multipolar about which I have long written .

The US, now considering itself a net energy exporter as a result of the shale-oil revolution (on which the jury is still out), no longer needs to import oil from the Middle East. However, this does not mean that oil can now be traded in any other currency other than the US dollar.

The petrodollar is what ensures that the US dollar retains its status as the global reserve currency, granting the US a monopolistic position from which it derives enormous benefits from playing the role of regional hegemon.

This privileged position of holding the global reserve currency also ensures that the US can easily fund its war machine by virtue of the fact that much of the world is obliged to buy its treasury bonds that it is simply able to conjure out of thin air. To threaten this comfortable arrangement is to threaten Washington's global power.

Even so, the geopolitical and economic trend is inexorably towards a multipolar world order, with China increasingly playing a leading role, especially in the Middle East and South America.

Venezuela, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Qatar and Saudi Arabia together make up the overwhelming majority of oil and gas reserves in the world. The first three have an elevated relationship with Beijing and are very much in the multipolar camp, something that China and Russia are keen to further consolidate in order to ensure the future growth for the Eurasian supercontinent without war and conflict.

Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is pro-US but could gravitate towards the Sino-Russian camp both militarily and in terms of energy. The same process is going on with Iraq and Qatar thanks to Washington's numerous strategic errors in the region starting from Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011 and Syria and Yemen in recent years.

The agreement between Iraq and China is a prime example of how Beijing intends to use the Iraq-Iran-Syria troika to revive the Middle East and and link it to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

While Doha and Riyadh would be the first to suffer economically from such an agreement, Beijing's economic power is such that, with its win-win approach, there is room for everyone.

Saudi Arabia provides China with most of its oil and Qatar, together with the Russian Federation, supply China with most of its LNG needs, which lines up with Xi Jinping's 2030 vision that aims to greatly reduce polluting emissions.

The US is absent in this picture, with little ability to influence events or offer any appealing economic alternatives.

Washington would like to prevent any Eurasian integration by unleashing chaos and destruction in the region, and killing Soleimani served this purpose. The US cannot contemplate the idea of the dollar losing its status as the global reserve currency. Trump is engaging in a desperate gamble that could have disastrous consequences.

The region, in a worst-case scenario, could be engulfed in a devastating war involving multiple countries. Oil refineries could be destroyed all across the region, a quarter of the world's oil transit could be blocked, oil prices would skyrocket ($200-$300 a barrel) and dozens of countries would be plunged into a global financial crisis. The blame would be laid squarely at Trump's feet, ending his chances for re-election.

To try and keep everyone in line, Washington is left to resort to terrorism, lies and unspecified threats of visiting destruction on friends and enemies alike.

Trump has evidently been convinced by someone that the US can do without the Middle East, that it can do without allies in the region, and that nobody would ever dare to sell oil in any other currency than the US dollar.

Soleimani's death is the result of a convergence of US and Israeli interests. With no other way of halting Eurasian integration, Washington can only throw the region into chaos by targeting countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria that are central to the Eurasian project. While Israel has never had the ability or audacity to carry out such an assassination itself, the importance of the Israel Lobby to Trump's electoral success would have influenced his decision, all the more so in an election year .

Trump believed his drone attack could solve all his problems by frightening his opponents, winning the support of his voters (by equating Soleimani's assassination to Osama bin Laden's), and sending a warning to Arab countries of the dangers of deepening their ties with China.

The assassination of Soleimani is the US lashing out at its steady loss of influence in the region. The Iraqi attempt to mediate a lasting peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been scuppered by the US and Israel's determination to prevent peace in the region and instead increase chaos and instability.

Washington has not achieved its hegemonic status through a preference for diplomacy and calm dialogue, and Trump has no intention of departing from this approach.

Washington's friends and enemies alike must acknowledge this reality and implement the countermeasures necessary to contain the madness.


Boundless Energy , 1 minute ago link

Very good article, straight to the point. In fact its much worse. I know is hard to swallow for my US american brother and sisters.

But as sooner you wake up and see the reality as it is, as better chances the US has to survive with honor. Stop the wars around the globe and do not look for excuses. Isnt it already obvious what is going on with the US war machine? How many more examples some people need to wake up?

Noob678 , 8 minutes ago link

For those who love to connect the dots:

Iran Situation from Someone Who Knows Something

Not all said in video above is accurate but the recent events in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Africa are all related to prevent China from overtaking the zionist hegemonic world and to recolonize China (at least the parasite is trying to hop to China as new host).

Trade war, Huawei, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet ..... the concerted efforts from all zionist controlled media (ZeroHedge included) to slander, smearing, fake news against China should tell you what the Zionists agenda are :)

............

Trump Threatens to Kill Iraqi PM if He Doesn't Cancel China Oil Deal - MoA

The American President's threatened the Iraqi Prime Minister to liquidate him directly with the Minister of Defense. The Marines are the third party that sniped the demonstrators and the security men:

Abdul Mahdi continued:

"After my return from China, Trump called me and asked me to cancel the agreement, so I also refused, and he threatened me with massive demonstrations that would topple me. Indeed, the demonstrations started and then Trump called, threatening to escalate in the event of non-cooperation and responding to his wishes, so that the third party (Marines snipers) would target the demonstrators and security forces and kill them from the highest structures and the US embassy in an attempt to pressure me and submit to his wishes and cancel the China agreement, so I did not respond and submitted my resignation and the Americans still insist to this day on canceling the China agreement and when the defense minister said that who kills the demonstrators is a third party, Trump called me immediately and physically threatened me and defense minister in the event of talk about the third party."

.........


The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission found George W. Bush guilty of war crimes in absentia for the illegal invasion of Iraq. Bush, **** Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.

... ... ..

Thom Paine , 9 minutes ago link

When Iran has nukes, what then Trump?

I think Israel's fear is loss of regional goals if Iran becomes untouchable

TupacShakur , 13 minutes ago link

Empire is lashing out of desperation because we've crossed peak Empire.

Things are going downhill and will get more volatile as we go.

Buckle up folks because the final act will be very nasty.

Stalking Wolf , 12 minutes ago link

Unfortunately, this article makes a lot of sense. The US is losing influence and lashing out carelessly. I hope the rest of the world realizes how detached majority of the citizens within the states are from the federal government. The Federal government brings no good to our nation. None. From the mis management of our once tax revenues to the corrupt Congress who accepts bribes from the highest bidder, it's a rats best that is not only harmful to its own people, but the world at large. USD won't go down without a fight it seems... All empires end with a bang. Be ready

[Jan 31, 2020] Two "nice" Americans

Jan 31, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Norn ,

"nice" Americans: .. Here is a sample of nice Americans who want to control our breath: Pompeo , Fri 24 Jan 2020: "You Think Americans Really Give A F**k About Ukraine?"

Michael Richard Pompeo (57 y.o.) is the United States secretary of state. He is a former United States Army officer and was Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from January 2017 until April 2018

Nuland , earlier than Feb 2014: "Fuck the EU."

Victoria Jane Nuland (59 y.o) is the former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State. She held the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest diplomatic rank in the United States Foreign Service. She is the former CEO of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), and is also a Member of the Board of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

[Jan 29, 2020] Pompeo Iranian Proxy Mobilizing in America's Backyard

Notable quotes:
"... Yet the U.S. has little real insight into what happens in hostile regimes like Maduro's, and "Pompeo is probably the least reliable person in the world when it comes to information about Iran or its proxies," said Abrahms. "He has a terrible track record; he is an ideologue. He is the opposite of an impartial empiricist. I would never accept anything he says without corroborating sources." ..."
"... According to what we know, a Hezbollah agent conducted years of surveillance on potential targets , and alleged sleeper agents within U.S. cities have so far not been activated, even in the wake of Iranian Quds force General Soleimani's death and the series of crippling sanctions the Trump administration has put on Iran. ..."
Jan 28, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Why is Pompeo suddenly directing increasingly heated rhetoric towards Iran and its proxies in South America?

"Anti-Iran hawks like Pompeo like to emphasize that Iran is not a defensively-minded international actor, but rather that it is offensively-minded and poses a direct threat to the United States," said Max Abrahms, associate professor of political science at Northeastern and fellow of the Quincy Institute said in an interview with The American Conservative. "And so for obvious reasons, underscoring Hezbollah's international tentacles helps to sell their argument that Iran needs to be dealt with in a military way, and that the key to dealing with Iran is through confrontation and pressure."

Stories highlighting the role of Hezbollah in America's backyard "are almost always peddled by anti-Iran hawks," he said.

Like Clare Lopez, vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy, who aligns with the argument that Hezbollah has been populating South America since the days of the Islamic revolution.

"From at least the 1980s, many Lebanese fled to South America, and among that flow Hezbollah embedded themselves," she told The American Conservative in a recent interview. Their activity "really expanded throughout the continent" during the presidencies of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

During that time, Lopez added, "there was a really strong relationship that developed Iranians established diplomatic facilities, enormous embassies and consulates, embedded IRGC cover positions and MOIS (intelligence services) within commercial companies and mosques and Islamic centers. This took place in Brazil in particular but Venezuela also."

Iran and Hezbollah intensified their involvement throughout the region in technical services like tunneling, money laundering, and drug trafficking. Venezuela offered Iran an international banking work-around during the period of sanctions, said Lopez.

Obviously security analysts like Lopez and even Pompeo, have been following this for years. But the timing here, as the Senate impeachment inquiry heats up, looks suspicious.

Last week, just as it looks increasingly likely that former national security advisor John Bolton and Pompeo himself will be hauled before the Senate as witnesses about the foreign aid hold-up to Ukraine, Pompeo praised Colombia, Honduras, and Guatemala for designating "Iran-backed Hezbollah a terrorist organization," and slammed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for embracing the terrorist group.

Hezbollah "has found a home in Venezuela under Maduro. This is unacceptable," Pompeo said when he met with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido last week.

Asked by Bloomberg News how significant a role Hezbollah plays in the region, Pompeo responded, "too much."

From the interview:

Pompeo : " I mentioned it in Venezuela, but in the Tri-Border Area as well. This is again an area where Iranian influence – we talk about them as the world's largest state sponsor of terror. We do that intentionally. It's the world's largest; it's not just a Middle East phenomenon. So while – when folks think of Hezbollah, they typically think of Syria and Lebanon, but Hezbollah has now put down roots throughout the globe and in South America, and it's great to see now multiple countries now having designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. It means we can work together to stamp out the security threat in the region."

Question: "I'm struck by this, because even hearing you – what you're saying, right, now – I mean, to take a step back, an Iranian-backed terrorist organization has found a home in America's backyard."

Pompeo: "It's – it's something that we've been talking about for some time. When you see the scope and reach of what the Islamic Republic of Iran's regime has done, you can't forget they tried to kill someone in the United States of America. They've conducted assassination campaigns in Europe. This is a global phenomenon. When we say that Iran is the leading destabilizing force in the Middle East and throughout the world, it's because of this terror activity that they have now spread as a cancer all across the globe. "

Pompeo has also been publicly floating increasing sanctions on Venezuela. He called the behavior of Maduro's government "cartel-like" and "terror-like," intensifying the sense that there is a real security "threat" in our hemisphere.

Yet the U.S. has little real insight into what happens in hostile regimes like Maduro's, and "Pompeo is probably the least reliable person in the world when it comes to information about Iran or its proxies," said Abrahms. "He has a terrible track record; he is an ideologue. He is the opposite of an impartial empiricist. I would never accept anything he says without corroborating sources."

There's no question that Hezbollah has a presence in South America, said Abrahms, "but the nature of its presence has been politicized."

According to what we know, a Hezbollah agent conducted years of surveillance on potential targets , and alleged sleeper agents within U.S. cities have so far not been activated, even in the wake of Iranian Quds force General Soleimani's death and the series of crippling sanctions the Trump administration has put on Iran.

"What this underscores is that Iran could pull the trigger, it could bloody the U.S., including the U.S. homeland, but tends to avoid such violence. I think the question that needs to be asked isn't just, 'where in the world could Iran commit an attack?' but whether Iran is a rational actor that can be deterred," said Abrahms. "Interestingly, this administration as well as its hawkish supporters tend to emphasize their belief that Iran can in fact be deterred," since that is the logic behind "maximum pressure" against Iran, after all. "The main causal mechanism according to advocates of maximum pressure, is that it will force Iran as a rational actor to reconsider whether it wants to irritate the U.S By applying economic pressure through sanctions, [they hope to] succeed in coaxing Iran to restructure the nuclear deal and making additional concessions to the west and reigning in its activities in the Persian Gulf and the Levant. At least on a rhetorical level, the hawks say they believe Iran can be deterred," he said.

It would not be the first time that a president reacted to an intensifying impeachment inquiry by redirecting national focus to threats abroad. In December 1998, as the impeachment inquiry into then-President Bill Clinton heated up, Clinton launched airstrikes against Iraq. We should therefore apply some caution when we see decades-old threats amplified by administration officials.

Barbara Boland is TAC's foreign policy and national security reporter. Previously, she worked as an editor for the Washington Examiner and for CNS News. She is the author of Patton Uncovered, a book about General George Patton in World War II, and her work has appeared on Fox News, The Hill, UK Spectator, and elsewhere. Boland is a graduate from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania. Follow her on Twitter

[Jan 26, 2020] The Collapse of Neoliberalism by Ganesh Sitaraman

Highly recommended!
From the book The Great Democracy by Ganesh Sitaraman.
This is a very valuable article, probably the best written in 2019 on the topic, that discusses several important aspects of neoliberalism better then its predecessors...
Notable quotes:
"... For some, and especially for those in the millennial generation, the Great Recession and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started a process of reflection on what the neoliberal era had delivered. ..."
"... neoliberal policies had already wreaked havoc around the world ..."
"... "excessively rapid financial and capital market liberalization was probably the single most important cause of the crisis"; he also notes that after the crisis, the International Monetary Fund's policies "exacerbated the downturns." ..."
"... In study after study, political scientists have shown that the U.S. government is highly responsive to the policy preferences of the wealthiest people, corporations, and trade associations -- and that it is largely unresponsive to the views of ordinary people. The wealthiest people, corporations, and their interest groups participate more in politics, spend more on politics, and lobby governments more. Leading political scientists have declared that the U.S. is no longer best characterized as a democracy or a republic but as an oligarchy -- a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. ..."
"... Neoliberalism's war on "society," by pushing toward the privatization and marketization of everything, indirectly facilitates a retreat into tribalism. ..."
"... neoliberalism's radical individualism has increasingly raised two interlocking problems. First, when taken to an extreme, social fracturing into identity groups can be used to divide people and prevent the creation of a shared civic identity. ..."
"... Demagogues rely on this fracturing to inflame racial, nationalist, and religious antagonism, which only further fuels the divisions within society. Neoliberalism's war on "society," by pushing toward the privatization and marketization of everything, thus indirectly facilitates a retreat into tribalism that further undermines the preconditions for a free and democratic society. ..."
"... The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy. ..."
"... They thought globalization was inevitable and that ever-expanding trade liberalization was desirable even if the political system never corrected for trade's winners and losers. They were wrong. These aren't minor mistakes. ..."
"... In spite of these failures, most policymakers did not have a new ideology or different worldview through which to comprehend the problems of this time. So, by and large, the collective response was not to abandon neoliberalism. After the Great Crash of 2008, neoliberals chafed at attempts to push forward aggressive Keynesian spending programs to spark demand. President Barack Obama's advisers shrank the size of the post-crash stimulus package for fear it would seem too large to the neoliberal consensus of the era -- and on top of that, they compromised on its content. ..."
"... When it came to affirmative, forward-looking policy, the neoliberal framework also remained dominant. ..."
"... It is worth emphasizing that Obamacare's central feature is a private marketplace in which people can buy their own health care, with subsidies for individuals who are near the poverty line ..."
"... Fearful of losing their seats, centrists extracted these concessions from progressives. Little good it did them. The president's party almost always loses seats in midterm elections, and this time was no different. For their caution, centrists both lost their seats and gave Americans fewer and worse health care choices. ..."
"... The Republican Party platform in 2012, for example, called for weaker Wall Street, environmental, and worker safety regulations; lower taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals; and further liberalization of trade. It called for abolishing federal student loans, in addition to privatizing rail, western lands, airport security, and the post office. Republicans also continued their support for cutting health care and retirement security. After 40 years moving in this direction -- and with it failing at every turn -- you might think they would change their views. But Republicans didn't, and many still haven't. ..."
"... Although neoliberalism had little to offer, in the absence of a new ideological framework, it hung over the Obama presidency -- but now in a new form. Many on the center-left adopted what we might call the "technocratic ideology," a rebranded version of the policy minimalism of the 1990s that replaced minimalism's tactical and pragmatic foundations with scientific ones. The term itself is somewhat oxymoronic, as technocrats seem like the opposite of ideologues. ..."
"... The technocratic ideology preserves the status quo with a variety of tactics. We might call the first the "complexity canard." ..."
"... The most frequent uses of this tactic are in sectors that economists have come to dominate -- international trade, antitrust, and financial regulation, for example. The result of this mind-set is that bold, structural reforms are pushed aside and highly technical changes adopted instead. Financial regulation provides a particularly good case, given the 2008 crash and the Great Recession. When it came time to establish a new regulatory regime for the financial sector, there wasn't a massive restructuring, despite the biggest crash in 70 years. ..."
"... Instead, for the most part, the Dodd-Frank Act was classically technocratic. It kept the sector basically the same, with a few tweaks here and there. There was no attempt to restructure the financial sector completely. ..."
"... The Volcker Rule, for example, sought to ban banks from proprietary trading. But instead of doing that through a simple, clean breakup rule (like the one enacted under the old Glass-Steagall regime), the Volcker Rule was subject to a multitude of exceptions and carve-outs -- measures that federal regulators were then required to explain and implement with hundreds of pages of technical regulations ..."
"... Dodd-Frank also illustrates a second tenet of the technocratic ideology: The failures of technocracy can be solved by more technocracy. ..."
"... Dodd-Frank created the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a government body tasked with what is called macroprudential regulation. What this means is that government regulators are supposed to monitor the entire economy and turn the dials of regulation up and down a little bit to keep the economy from another crash. But ask yourself this: Why would we ever believe they could do such a thing? We know those very same regulators failed to identify, warn about, or act on the 2008 crisis. ..."
"... In the first stage, neoliberalism gained traction in response to the crises of the 1970s. It is easy to think of Thatcherism and Reaganism as emerging fully formed, springing from Zeus's head like the goddess Athena. ..."
"... Early leaders were not as ideologically bold as later mythmakers think. In the second stage, neoliberalism became normalized. It persisted beyond the founding personalities -- and, partly because of its longevity in power, grew so dominant that the other side adopted it. ..."
"... Eventually, however, the neoliberal ideology extended its tentacles into every area of policy and even social life, and in its third stage, overextended. The result in economic policy was the Great Crash of 2008, economic stagnation, and inequality at century-high levels. In foreign policy, it was the disastrous Iraq War and ongoing chaos and uncertainty in the Middle East. ..."
"... The fourth and final stage is collapse, irrelevance, and a wandering search for the future. With the world in crisis, neoliberalism no longer has even plausible solutions to today's problems. ..."
"... The solutions of the neoliberal era offer no serious ideas for how to restitch the fraying social fabric, in which people are increasingly tribal, divided, and disconnected from civic community ..."
Dec 23, 2019 | newrepublic.com
Welcome to the Decade From Hell , our look back at an arbitrary 10-year period that began with a great outpouring of hope and ended in a cavalcade of despair. The long-dominant ideology brought us forever wars, the Great Recession, and extreme inequality. Good riddance.

With the 2008 financial crash and the Great Recession, the ideology of neoliberalism lost its force. The approach to politics, global trade, and social philosophy that defined an era led not to never-ending prosperity but utter disaster. "Laissez-faire is finished," declared French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan admitted in testimony before Congress that his ideology was flawed. In an extraordinary statement, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd declared that the crash "called into question the prevailing neoliberal economic orthodoxy of the past 30 years -- the orthodoxy that has underpinned the national and global regulatory frameworks that have so spectacularly failed to prevent the economic mayhem which has been visited upon us."

... ... ...

[Jan 24, 2020] It's amazing all the money in the State Department and other intelligence agencies should be attracting the best minds. Yet a bunch of us sitting here watching this from our boring office jobs realize how genuinely stupid US foreign policy has been.

Jan 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Danny , Jan 24 2020 15:11 utc | 25

It's amazing all the money in the State Department and other intelligence agencies should be attracting the best minds. Yet a bunch of us sitting here watching this from our boring office jobs realize how genuinely stupid US foreign policy has been.

A separate Sunni state in West Iraq would be doomed. We need to leave these people alone, we've made enough foolish mistakes and this will get a lot of people killed. That's along with US troops being put in harms way for ridiculous reasons like stealing Syrian oil and now occupying Iraq against their parliaments wishes.

Back in the day you told someone you were American and they wanted to shake your hand and ask you about this place or that. Now they want to spit in our faces

[Jan 24, 2020] How Are Iran and the "Axis of the Resistance" Affected by the US Assassination of Soleimani by Elijah J. Magnier

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The US President Donald Trump assassinated the commander of the "Axis of the Resistance", the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC – Quds Brigade Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport with little consideration of the consequences of this targeted killing. It is not to be excluded that the US administration considered the assassination would reflect positively on its Middle Eastern policy. Or perhaps the US officials believed the killing of Sardar Soleimani would weaken the "Axis of the Resistance": once deprived of their leader, Iran's partners' capabilities in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen would be reduced. Is this assessment accurate? ..."
Jan 22, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca

The US President Donald Trump assassinated the commander of the "Axis of the Resistance", the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC – Quds Brigade Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport with little consideration of the consequences of this targeted killing. It is not to be excluded that the US administration considered the assassination would reflect positively on its Middle Eastern policy. Or perhaps the US officials believed the killing of Sardar Soleimani would weaken the "Axis of the Resistance": once deprived of their leader, Iran's partners' capabilities in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen would be reduced. Is this assessment accurate?

A high-ranking source within this "Axis of the Resistance" said " Sardar Soleimani was the direct and fast track link between the partners of Iran and the Leader of the Revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei. However, the command on the ground belonged to the national leaders in every single separate country. These leaders have their leadership and practices, but common strategic objectives to fight against the US hegemony, stand up to the oppressors and to resist illegitimate foreign intervention in their affairs. These objectives have been in place for many years and will remain, with or without Sardar Soleimani".

"In Lebanon, Hezbollah's Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah leads Lebanon and is the one with a direct link to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He supports Gaza, Syria, Iraq and Yemen and has a heavy involvement in these fronts. However, he leads a large number of advisors and officers in charge of running all military, social and relationship affairs domestically and regionally. Many Iranian IRGC officers are also present on many of these fronts to support the needs of the "Axis of the Resistance" members in logistics, training and finance," said the source.

In Syria, IRGC officers coordinate with Russia, the Syrian Army, the Syrian political leadership and all Iran's allies fighting for the liberation of the country and for the defeat of the jihadists who flocked to Syria from all continents via Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. These officers have worked side by side with Iraqi, Lebanese, Syrian and other nationals who are part of the "Axis of the Resistance". They have offered the Syrian government the needed support to defeat the "Islamic State" (ISIS/IS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda and other jihadists or those of similar ideologies in most of the country – with the exception of north-east Syria, which is under US occupation forces. These IRGC officers have their objectives and the means to achieve a target already agreed and in place for years. The absence of Sardar Soleimani will hardly affect these forces and their plans.

In Iraq, over 100 Iranian IRGC officers have been operating in the country at the official request of the Iraqi government, to defeat ISIS. They served jointly with the Iraqi forces and were involved in supplying the country with weapons, intelligence and training after the fall of a third of Iraq into the hands of ISIS in mid-2014. It was striking and shocking to see the Iraqi Army, armed and trained by US forces for over ten years, abandoning its positions and fleeing the northern Iraqi cities. Iranian support with its robust ideology (with one of its allies, motivating them to fight ISIS) was efficient in Syria; thus, it was necessary to transmit this to the Iraqis so they could stand, fight, and defeat ISIS.

The Lebanese Hezbollah is present in Syria and Yemen, and also in Iraq. The Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki asked Sayyed Nasrallah to provide his country with officers to stand against ISIS. Dozens of Hezbollah officers operate in Iraq and will be ready to support the Iraqis if the US forces refuse to leave the country. They will abide by and enforce the decision of the Parliament that the US must leave by end January 2021. Hezbollah's long warfare experience has resulted in painful experiences with the US forces in Lebanon and Iraq throughout several decades and has not been forgotten.

Sayyed Nasrallah, in his latest speech, revealed the presence in mid-2014 of Hezbollah officials in Kurdistan to support the Iraqi Kurds against ISIS. This was when the same Kurdish Leader Masoud Barzani announced that it was due to Iran that the Kurds received weapons to defend themselves when the US refused to help Iraq for many months after ISIS expanded its control in northern Iraq.

The Hezbollah leaders did not disclose the continuous visits of Kurdish representatives to Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials. In fact, Iraqi Sunni and Shia officials, ministers and political leaders regularly visit Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials and its leader. Hezbollah, like Iran, plays an essential role in easing the dialogue between Iraqis when these find it difficult to overcome their differences together.

The reason why Sayyed Nasrallah revealed the presence of his officers in Kurdistan when meeting Masoud Barzani is a clear message to the world that the "Axis of the Resistance" doesn't depend on one single person. Indeed, Sayyed Nasrallah is showing the unity which reigns among this front, with or without Sardar Soleimani. Barzani is part of Iraq, and Kurdistan expressed its readiness to abide by the decision of the Iraqi Parliament to seek the US forces' departure from the country because the Kurds are not detached from the central government but part of it.

Prior to his assassination, Sardar Soleimani prepared the ground to be followed (if killed on the battlefield, for example) and asked Iranian officials to nominate General Ismail Qaani as his replacement. The Leader of the revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei ordered Soleimani's wish to be fulfilled and to keep the plans and objectives already in place as they were. Sayyed Khamenei, according to the source, ordered an "increase in support for the Palestinians and, in particular, to all allies where US forces are present."

Sardar Soleimani was looking for his death by his enemies and got what he wished for. He was aware that the "Axis of the Resistance" is highly aware of its objectives. Those among the "Axis of the Resistance" who have a robust internal front are well-established and on track. The problem was mainly in Iraq. But it seems the actions of the US have managed to bring Iraqi factions together- by assassinating the two commanders. Sardar Soleimani could have never expected a rapid achievement of this kind. Anti-US Iraqis are preparing this coming Friday to express their rejection of the US forces present in their country.

Sayyed Ali Khamenei , in his Friday prayers last week, the first for eight years, set up a road map for the "Axis of the Resistance": push the US forces out of the Middle East and support Palestine.

All Palestinian groups, including Hamas, were present at Sardar Soleimani's funeral in Iran and met with General Qaani who promised, "not only to continue support but to increase it according to Sayyed Khamenei's request," said the source. Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas Leader, said from Tehran: "Soleimani is the martyr of Jerusalem".

Many Iraqi commanders were present at the meeting with General Qaani. Most of these have a long record of hostility towards US forces in Iraq during the occupation period (2003-2011). Their commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, was assassinated with Sardar Soleimani and they are seeking revenge. Those leaders have enough motivation to attack the US forces, who have violated the Iraq-US training, cultural and armament agreement. At no time was the US administration given a license to kill in Iraq by the government of Baghdad.

The Iraqi Parliament has spoken: and the assassination of Sardar Soleimani has indeed fallen within the ultimate objectives of the "Axis of the Resistance". The Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister has officially informed all members of the Coalition Forces in Iraq that "their presence, including that of NATO, is now no longer required in Iraq". They have one year to leave. But that absolutely does not exclude the Iraqi need to avenge their commanders.

Palestine constitutes the second objective, as quoted by Sayyed Khamenei. We cannot exclude a considerable boost of support for the Palestinians, much more than the actually existing one. Iran is determined to support the Sunni Palestinians in their objective to have a state of their own in Palestine. The man – Soleimani – is gone and is replaceable like any other man: but the level of commitment to goals has increased. It is hard to imagine the "Axis of the Resistance" remaining idle without engaging themselves somehow in the US Presidential campaign. So, the remainder of 2020 is expected to be hot.

*

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[Jan 12, 2020] MIC along with Wall Street controls the government and the country

Highly recommended!
Jan 12, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
  1. likbez , January 12, 2020 5:30 pm

    Everyone keeps dancing around it: Iraqi PM Abdul-Mahdi has reported that Soleimani was on the way to see him with a reply to a Saudi peace proposal. Who profits from Peace? Who does not?

    The killing of Soleimani, while a tragic even with far reaching consequences, is just an illustration of the general rule: MIC does not profit from peace. And MIC dominates any national security state, into which the USA was transformed by the technological revolution on computers and communications, as well as the events of 9/11.

    The USA government can be viewed as just a public relations center for MIC. That's why Trump/Pompeo/Esper/Pence gang position themselves as rabid neocons, which means MIC lobbyists in order to hold their respective positions. There is no way out of this situation. This is a classic Catch 22 trap.

    The fact that a couple of them are also "Rapture" obsessed religious bigots means that the principle of separation of church and state does no matter when MIC interests are involved.

    The health of MIC requires maintaining an inflated defense budget at all costs. Which, in turn, drives foreign wars and the drive to capture other nations' resources to compensate for MIC appetite. The drive which is of course closely allied with Wall Street interests (disaster capitalism.)

    In such conditions fake "imminent threat" assassinations necessarily start happening. Although the personality of Pompeo and the fact that he is a big friend of the current head of Mossad probably played some role.

    It's really funny that Trump (probably with the help of his "reference group," which includes Adelson and Kushner), managed to appoint as the top US diplomat a person who was trained as a mechanic engineer and specialized as a tank repair mechanic. And who was a long-time military contractor. So it is quite natural that he represents interests of MIC.

    IMHO under Trump/Pompeo/Esper trio some kind of additional skirmishes with Iran are a real possibility: they are necessary to maintain the current inflated level of defense spending.

    State of the US infrastructure, the actual level of unemployment (U6 is ~7% which some neolibs call full employment ;-), and the level of poverty of the bottom 33% of the USA population be damned. Essentially the bottom 33% is the third world country within the USA.

    "If you make more than $15,000 (roughly the annual salary of a minimum-wage employee working 40 hours per week), you earn more than 32.2% of Americans

    The 894 people that earn more than $20 million make more than 99.99989% of Americans, and are compensated a cumulative $37,009,979,568 per year. "

    ( https://www.huffpost.com/entry/income-inequality-crisis_n_4221012 )

[Jan 09, 2020] Opposing War With Iran: Three Reasons by Anthony DiMaggio

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... War will allow Trump to claim the mantle of "national" wartime leader, while diverting attention away from his impeachment trial. And in light of the intensification of belligerent rhetoric from this administration, war appears to be increasingly likely. ..."
"... The American people have a moral responsibility to question not only Trump's motives, but to consider the humanitarian disaster that inevitably accompanies war. ..."
"... 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 ..."
Jan 09, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

The U.S. stands at the precipice of war. President Trump's rhetorical efforts to sell himself as the "anti-war" president have been exposed as a fraud via his assault on Iran. Most Orwellian of all is Trump's claim that the assassination of Iranian General Qassam Soleimani was necessary to avert war, following the New Year's Eve attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. In reality the U.S. hit on Soleimani represents a criminal escalation of the conflict between these two countries. The general's assassination was rightly seen as an act of war , so the claim that the strike is a step toward peace is absurd on its face. We should be perfectly clear about the fundamental threat to peace posed by the Trump administration. Iran has already promised "harsh retaliation" following the assassination, and announced it is pulling out of the 2015 multi-national agreement prohibiting the nation from developing nuclear weapons. Trump's escalation has dramatically increased the threat of all-out war. Recognizing this threat, I sketch out an argument here based on my initial thoughts of this conflict, providing three reasons for why Americans need to oppose war.

#1: No Agreement about an Iranian Threat

Soleimani was the head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – the Quds Force – a clandestine military intelligence organization that specializes in paramilitary-style operations throughout the Middle East, and which is described as seeking to further Iranian political influence throughout the region. Trump celebrated the assassination as necessary to bringing Soleimani's "reign of terror" to an end. The strike, he claimed, was vital after the U.S. caught Iran "in the act" of planning "imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel."

But Trump's justification for war comes from a country with a long history of distorting and fabricating evidence of an Iranian threat. American leaders have disingenuously and propagandistically portrayed Iran as on the brink of developing nuclear weapons for decades. Presidents Bush and Obama were both rebuked, however, by domestic intelligence and international weapons inspectors , which failed to uncover evidence that Iran was developing these weapons, or that it was a threat to the U.S.

Outside of previous exaggerations, evidence is emerging that the Trump administration and the intelligence community are not of one mind regarding Iran's alleged threat. Shortly after Soleimani's assassination, the Department of Homeland Security declared there was "no specific, credible threat" from Iran within U.S. borders. And U.S. military officials disagree regarding Trump's military escalation. As the New York Times reports :

"In the chaotic days leading to the death of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran's most powerful commander, top American military officials put the option of killing him -- which they viewed as the most extreme response to recent Iranian-led violence in Iraq -- on the menu they presented to President Trump. They didn't think he would take it. In the wars waged since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Pentagon officials have often offered improbable options to presidents to make other possibilities appear more palatable."

"Top pentagon officials," the Times reports , "were stunned" by the President's order. Furthermore, the paper reported that "the intelligence" supposedly confirming Iranian plans to attack U.S. diplomats was "thin," in the words of at least one U.S. military official who was privy to the administration's deliberations. According to that source , there is no evidence of an "imminent" attack in the foreseeable future against American targets outside U.S. borders.

U.S. leaders have always obscured facts, distorted intelligence, and fabricated information to stoke public fears and build support for war. So it should come as no surprise that this president is politicizing intelligence. He certainly has reason to – in order to draw attention away from his Senate impeachment trial, and considering Trump's increasingly desperate efforts to demonstrate that he is a serious President, not a tin-pot authoritarian who ignores the rule of law, while shamelessly coercing and extorting foreign leaders in pursuit of domestic electoral advantage.

Independent of the corruption charges against Trump, it is unwise for Americans to take the President at his word, considering the blatant lies employed in the post-9/11 era to justify war in the Middle East. Not so long ago the American public was sold a bill of goods regarding Iraq's alleged WMDs and ties to terrorism. Neither of those claims was remotely true, and Americans were left footing the bill for a war that cost trillions , based on the lies of an opportunistic president who was dead-set on exploiting public fears of terrorism in a time of crisis. The Bush administration sold war based on intelligence they knew was fraudulent, manipulating the nation into on a decade-long war that led to the murder of more than 1 million Iraqis and more than 5,000 American servicemen, resulting in a failed Iraqi state, and paving the way for the rise of ISIS. All of this is to say that the risks of beginning another war in the Middle East are incredibly high, and Americans would do well to seriously consider the consequences of entering a war based (yet again) on questionable intelligence.

#2: The "War on Terrorism" as a Red Herring

U.S. leaders have long used the rhetoric of terrorism to justify war. But this strategy represents a serious distortion of reality, via the conflation of terrorism – understood as premeditated acts of violence to intimidate civilians – with acts of war. Trump fed into this misrepresentation when he described Soleimani's "reign of terror" as encompassing not only the alleged targeting of U.S. diplomats, but attacks on "U.S. military personnel." The effort to link the deaths of U.S. soldiers in wartime to terrorism echoes the State Department's 2019 statement , which designated Iran's Quds Force a "terrorist" organization, citing its responsibility "for the deaths of at least 603 American service members in Iraq" from "2003 to 2011" via its support for Iraqi militias that were engaging in attacks on U.S. forces.

As propaganda goes, the attempt to link these acts of war to "terrorism" is quite perverse. U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq were participating in a criminal, illegal occupation, which was widely condemned by the international community. The U.S. war in Iraq was a crime of aggression under the Nuremberg Charter, and it violated the United Nations Charter's prohibition on the use of force, which is only allowed via Security Council authorization (which the U.S. did not have), or in the case of military acts undertaken in self-defense against an ongoing attack (Iraq was not at war with the U.S. prior to the 2003 invasion). Contrary to Trump's and the State Department's propaganda, there are no grounds to classify the deaths of military personnel in an illegal war as terrorism. Instead, one could argue that domestic Iraqi political actors (of which Iraqi militias are included, regardless of their ties to Iran) were within their legal rights under international law to engage in acts of self-defense against American troops acting on behalf of a belligerent foreign power, which was conducting an illegal occupation.

#3: More War = Further Destabilization of the Middle East

The largest takeaway from recent events should be to recognize the tremendous danger that escalation of war poses to the U.S. and the region. The legacy of U.S. militarism in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, is one of death, destruction, and instability. Every major war involving the U.S. has produced humanitarian devastation and mass destruction, while fueling instability and terrorism. With the 1979 Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, U.S. support for Mujahedeen radicals led to the breakdown of social order, and the rise of the radical Taliban regime, which housed al Qaeda fundamentalists in the years prior to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. The 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan contributed to the further deterioration of Afghan society, and was accompanied by the return of the Taliban, ensuing in a civil war that has persisted over the last two decades.

With Iraq, the U.S. invasion produced a massive security vacuum following the collapse of the Iraqi government, which made possible the rise of al Qaeda in Iraq. The U.S. fueled numerous civil wars, in Iraq during the 2000s and Syria in the 2010s, creating mass instability, and giving rise to ISIS, which became a mini-state of its own operating across both countries. And then there was the 2011 U.S.-NATO supported rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi, which not only resulted in the dictator's overthrow, but in the rise of another ISIS affiliate within Libya's border. Even Obama, the biggest cheerleader for the war, subsequently admitted the intervention was his "worst mistake," due to the civil war that emerged after Gaddafi's overthrow, which opened the door for the rise of ISIS.

All of these conflicts have one thing in common. They brought tremendous devastation to the countries under assault, via scorched-earth military campaigns, which left death, misery, and destruction in their wake. The U.S. is adept at destroying countries, but shows little interest in, or ability to reconstruct them. These wars provided fertile ground for Islamist radicals, who took advantage of the resulting chaos and instability.

The primary lesson of the "War on Terror" should be clear to rationally minded observers: U.S. wars breed not only instability, but desperation, as the people victimized by war become increasingly tolerant of domestic extremist movements. Repressive states are widely reviled by the people they subjugate. But the only thing worse than a dictatorship is no order at all, when societies collapse into civil war, anarchy, and genocide. The story of ISIS's rise is one of citizens suffering under war and instability, and becoming increasingly tolerant of extremist political actors, so long as they are able to provide order in times of crisis. This point is consistently neglected in U.S. political and media discourse – a sign of how propagandistic "debates" over war have become, nearly 20 years into the U.S. "War on Terrorism."

Where Do We Go From Here?

Trump followed up the Soleimani assassination with a Twitter announcement that the U.S. has "targeted" 52 additional "Iranian sites," which will be attacked "if Iran strikes any Americans or American assets." There's no reason in light of recent events to chalk this announcement up to typical Trump-Twitter bluster. This President is desperate to begin a war with Iran, as Trump has courted confrontation with the Islamic republic since the early days of his presidency.

War will allow Trump to claim the mantle of "national" wartime leader, while diverting attention away from his impeachment trial. And in light of the intensification of belligerent rhetoric from this administration, war appears to be increasingly likely.

The American people have a moral responsibility to question not only Trump's motives, but to consider the humanitarian disaster that inevitably accompanies war. War with Iran will only make the Middle East more unstable, further fueling anti-American radicalism, and increasing the terror threat to the U.S. This conclusion isn't based on speculation, but on two decades of experience with a "War on Terror" that's done little but destroy nations and increase terror threats. The American people can reduce the dangers of war by protesting Trump's latest provocation, and by pressuring Congress to pass legislation condemning any future attack on Iran as a violation of national and international law.

To contact your Representative or Senator, use the following links:

Join the debate on Facebook

More articles by: Anthony DiMaggio

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

[Jan 08, 2020] I can't quite understand how gratuitous US piracy and adventurism in places on the globe beyond the knowledge and reach of most Americans could possibly be compared to Iranian actions securing their immediate regional borders and interests.

Highly recommended!
Jan 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Patroklos , Jan 6 2020 22:30 utc | 104

@Ian Dobbs and Dan

I can't quite understand how gratuitous US piracy and adventurism in places on the globe beyond the knowledge and reach of most Americans could possibly be compared to Iranian actions securing their immediate regional borders and interests. You can at least understand (even if you critique) a US preoccupation with Cuba over the years, or drug cartels in central America, or economic refugees in Mexico because they are close by and have a more less direct effect on the stability of the US. But they have no authority beyond that other than the ability to project violence and force. That's just simple imperialism. But now the US have whacked a made guy without any real reason (i.e. looking at you the wrong way is not a reason). Any mafia hood knows that, especially a New Yorker like Trump. So the climax of The Godfather comes to mind. It is staggeringly naive and frankly moronic to think that this is about good and evil. I bet Soleimani was no angel, but he wasn't whacked because he was a bad guy, but because he was extraordinarily effective military organizer. Star Wars has a lot to answer for in stunting the historical sensibilities of entire generations, but its underlying narrative is the only MSM playbook now. Even more staggering is the stupendous arrogance of the US belief in its 'rights' (based on thuggery and avarice), as though it were the only power in the world capable of establishing a moral order. The lesson in humility to come will be both long-awaited and go unheeded. Even the mob understand there has to be rules.

Alpi , Jan 6 2020 22:32 utc | 105

After reading Crooke and Federicci's articles, there is only one way to stop this madness blowing into a global conflict. Russia and China need to get involved whether they like it or not. Diplomacy and sideline analysis has run its course. This is their time to stamp their influence in the region and finish off the empire once and for all. Maybe that way, The Europeans will grow some minerals and become sovereign again.

Otherwise, China can kiss its Belt and Road goodbye and go into a recession with the loss of their investments up to this point and become slaves to the Americans again.

And Russia, the enemy du jour of Europe and US will be next and be crushed under economic sanctions and isolation.

This is the moment that stars are aligned . Russia and China should park their battle carriers off the Gulf and gives direct warning to Israel and US that any nuclear threat , tactical or otherwise, against anyone in the region is a non-starter.

I read so much about these two countries and that they will get involved. I have recited those lines myself. But after these events and how things are escalating, I cannot see how they cannot be involved. US is its most vulnerable and weakest with respect to economic, diplomatic and military conditions.

The time of condemnations, letters of objection to the UN and veto votes in UNSC is over. There is only one way to deal with a rogue nation and that is by force.

[Jan 08, 2020] Iraqi Journalist: Killing Soleimani "Ended An Era In Which Iran And The United States Coexisted In Iraq" by Tim Hains

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Now, he told "Democracy Now!", it will be hard for the Iraqi public to see the bases as anything but "a force that is driving them into a war between Iran and the United States." ..."
"... "Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. I mean, remember, Qassem Soleimani arrived in Baghdad airport, where half of it is an American base. Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. He took selfies. People took his pictures. That didn't happen in secret. Qassem Soleimani was not Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi hiding in a cave or moving stealthily through the country. He stayed in the Green Zone. So, all this happened because there was an understanding between the Americans and the Iranians. So, if the Americans wanted to keep their bases in Iraq, the Iranians would have the freedom to move. And with the killing of Soleimani, the rules of the game have totally changed," he said. ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | www.realclearpolitics.com

https://www.youtube.com/embed/TKvE-nIsj1Y?enablejsapi=1&origin=https:%2F%2Fwww.realclearpolitics.com

"The Guardian" journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad says that before the attack on Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad last week "there was an understanding between the Americans and the Iranians" that allowed officials from Iran and the U.S. to move freely within Iraq and maintained relative goodwill toward American bases.

"The killing of Qassem Soleimani ended an era in which both Iran and the United States coexisted in Iraq," he said.

Now, he told "Democracy Now!", it will be hard for the Iraqi public to see the bases as anything but "a force that is driving them into a war between Iran and the United States."

"Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. I mean, remember, Qassem Soleimani arrived in Baghdad airport, where half of it is an American base. Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. He took selfies. People took his pictures. That didn't happen in secret. Qassem Soleimani was not Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi hiding in a cave or moving stealthily through the country. He stayed in the Green Zone. So, all this happened because there was an understanding between the Americans and the Iranians. So, if the Americans wanted to keep their bases in Iraq, the Iranians would have the freedom to move. And with the killing of Soleimani, the rules of the game have totally changed," he said.

AMY GOODMAN: Ghaith, can you comment on this new information that's come to light about the timing of Soleimani's assassination Friday morning? Iraq's caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has revealed he had plans to meet with Soleimani on the day he was killed to discuss a Saudi proposal to defuse tension in the region. Mahdi said, quote, "He came to deliver me a message from Iran responding to the message we delivered from Saudi Arabia to Iran" -- Saudi Arabia, obviously, a well-known enemy of Iran. Was he set up? Talk about the significance of this.

GHAITH ABDUL-AHAD: Well, it is very significant if it's actually General Qassem Soleimani came to Iraq to deliver this message, if it was actually there was a process of negotiations in the region. We know that Abdul-Mahdi and the Iraqi government, in general, over the last year had been trying to position Iraq as this middle power, as this power where both -- you know, as a country that has a relationship with both Iran and the United States. In that awkward place Iraq found itself in, Iraq has tried to maximize on this. So they started back in summer and fall, when there was an escalation between Iran and the United States, when Iran shot down an American drone. We've seen Adel Abdul-Mahdi fly to Iran, try to mediate. We've seen Adel Abdul-Mahdi open channels of communications with the Gulf, with Saudi Arabia.

So, if it actually, the killing of General Soleimani, ended that peace initiative, it will be kind of disastrous in the region, because, as Narges was saying earlier, it is -- you know, Pompeo is speaking about Iran being this ultimate evil in the region, as this crescent of Shias, as if they just arrived in the past 10 years in the region. The fact if we see Iran's reactions, it's always a reaction to an American provocation. You've seen the occupation of Iraq in 2003. You've seen Iran declared as an "axis of evil." So, if you see it from an Iranian perspective, it's always this existential threat coming from the United States. And I don't think there is a more existential threat than in past year. So, yes, I know -- I mean, I think Adel Abdul-Mahdi and the Iraqi government were trying to find this middle ground, which I think is totally lost, because even Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the person who was trying to find this middle ground, was the person who proposed this law yesterday in the Parliament to expel all American troops from the country.

And I would like to add like another thing. The killing of Qassem Soleimani ended an era in which both Iran and the United States coexisted in Iraq. So, from 2013, '14, we, as journalists, we've seen on the frontlines how the proxies of each power have been helping each other. So we've seen Iranian advisers helping the American-trained Iraqi Army unit or counterterrorism unit in the fight against ISIS. In the same sense, we've seen American airstrikes on threats to these -- kind of to ISIS when it was threatening these militias. That coexistence, it didn't only come from both having a -- sharing an enemy, which is ISIS, or Daesh, but also these were the rules of the game. These were the rules in which Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. I mean, remember, Qassem Soleimani arrived in Baghdad airport, where half of it is an American base. Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. He took selfies. People took his pictures. That didn't happen in secret. Qassem Soleimani was not Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi hiding in a cave or moving stealthily through the country. He stayed in the Green Zone. So, all this happened because there was an understanding between the Americans and the Iranians. So, if the Americans wanted to keep their bases in Iraq, the Iranians would have the freedom to move. And with the killing of Soleimani, I think the rules of the game have totally changed.

So now I think the first victim of the assassination will be the American bases in Iraq. I don't see any way where the Americans can keep their presence as they did before the assassination of Soleimani. And even the people in the streets, even the people who opposes Iran, who opposes the presence of Iranian militias in power and politics, the corruption of these pro-Iranian parties, even those people would look at these American bases now as not as a force that came to help them in the fight against ISIS, but a force that's dragging them into a war between Iran and the United States.

[Jan 08, 2020] Do you really want to be a one term president? Pompeo can talk big now and then go back to Kansas to run for senator. Where will you be able to take refuge?

Highly recommended!
Iran has incentives to increase the chance of a Democrat administration, bearing in mind the great deal they got from the last one and the lack of anything they can expect from Trump Term Two.
Notable quotes:
"... Reflection, self criticism or self restraint are not exactly the big strengths of Trump. He prefers solo acts (Emergency! Emergency!) and dislikes advice (especially if longer than 4 pages) and the advice of the sort " You're sure? If you do that the the shit will fly in your face in an hour, Sir ". ..."
"... Trump can order attacks and I don't expect much protest from Mark Esper and it depends on the military (which likely will obey). ..."
"... These so called grownups have been replaced by (then still) happy Bolton (likely, even after being fired, still war happy) and applauders like Pompeo and his buddy Esper. ..."
"... As a thank you to Trump calling the Israel occupied Golan a part of Israel Netanyahu called an (iirc also illegal) new Golan settlement "Ramat Trump" ..."
"... I disagree. Trump maybe the only person who could sell a war with Iran. What he has cultivated is a rabid base that consists of sycophants on one extreme end and desperate nationalists on the other. His base must stick with him...who else do they have? ..."
"... The Left is indifferent to another war. Further depleting the quality stock of our military will aid there agenda of international integration. A weaker US military will force us to collaborate with the world community and not lead it is their thinking. ..."
"... Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. ..."
"... Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country. ..."
"... We have been so thoroughly indoctrinated with the idea that Iran and Russia are intrinsically and immutable evil and hostile that the thought of actual two sided diplomacy does not occur. IMO neither of these countries are what we collectively think them. So, we could actually give it a try rather than trying to beggar them and destroy their economies. If all fails than we have to be prepared to defend our forces. DOL ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Do you really want to be a one term president? Pompeo can talk big now and then go back to Kansas to run for senator. Where will you be able to take refuge? Don't let the neocons like Pompeo sell you on war.

Make the intelligence people show you the evidence in detail. Make your own judgments. pl


Vegetius , 17 September 2019 at 08:37 PM

Whatever else he knows, Trump knows that he can't sell a war to the American people.
confusedponderer -> Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 03:51 AM
Vegetius,

re " Trump knows that he can't sell a war to the American people "

Are you sure? I am not.

Reflection, self criticism or self restraint are not exactly the big strengths of Trump. He prefers solo acts (Emergency! Emergency!) and dislikes advice (especially if longer than 4 pages) and the advice of the sort " You're sure? If you do that the the shit will fly in your face in an hour, Sir ".

A good number of the so called grownups who gave such advice were (gameshow style) fired, sometimes by twitter.

Trump can order attacks and I don't expect much protest from Mark Esper and it depends on the military (which likely will obey).

These so called grownups have been replaced by (then still) happy Bolton (likely, even after being fired, still war happy) and applauders like Pompeo and his buddy Esper.

Israel could, if politically just a tad more insane, bomb Iran and thus invite the inevitable retaliation. When that happens they'll cry for US aid, weapons and money because they alone ~~~

(a) cannot defeat Iran (short of going nuclear) and ...
(b) Holocaust! We want weapons and money from Germany, too! ...
(c) they know that ...
(d) which does not lead in any way to Netanyahu showing signgs of self restraint or reason.

Netanyahu just - it is (tight) election time - announced, in his sldedge hammer style subtlety, that (he) Israel will annect the palestinian west jordan territory, making the Plaestines an object in his election campaign.

IMO that idea is simply insane and invites more "troubles". But then, I didn't hear anything like, say, Trump gvt protests against that (and why expect that from the dudes who moved the US embassy to Jerusalem).

confusedponderer -> Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 07:28 AM
Vegetius,

as for Trump and Netanyahu ... policy debate ... I had that here in mind, which pretty speaks for itself. And I thought Trumo is just running for office in the US. Alas, it is a Netanyaho campaign poster from the current election:

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/a6e60efd3bde0befbcb8b0a95a42bf4c2624e017/57_296_5123_3074/master/5123.jpg?width=1920&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=1958b9e7cf24d7a3a7b024845de08f7e

As a thank you to Trump calling the Israel occupied Golan a part of Israel Netanyahu called an (iirc also illegal) new Golan settlement "Ramat Trump"

https://cdn.mdr.de/nachrichten/mdraktuell-golan-hoehen-trump-hights-100-resimage_v-variantSmall24x9_w-704.jpg?version=0964

I generously assume that things like that only happen because of the hard and hard ly work of Kushner on his somewhat elusive but of course GIGANTIC and INCREDIBLE Middle East peace plan.

Kushner is probably getting hard and hard ly supported by Ivanka who just said that she inherited her moral compass from her father. Well ... congatulations ... I assume.

Stueeeeeeee said in reply to Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 08:31 AM
I disagree. Trump maybe the only person who could sell a war with Iran. What he has cultivated is a rabid base that consists of sycophants on one extreme end and desperate nationalists on the other. His base must stick with him...who else do they have?

The Left is indifferent to another war. Further depleting the quality stock of our military will aid there agenda of international integration. A weaker US military will force us to collaborate with the world community and not lead it is their thinking.

The rest of the nation will follow.

prawnik said in reply to Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 10:36 AM
Need I trot out Goering's statement regarding selling a war once more?

Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

turcopolier , 17 September 2019 at 09:31 PM
jonst

We have been so thoroughly indoctrinated with the idea that Iran and Russia are intrinsically and immutable evil and hostile that the thought of actual two sided diplomacy does not occur. IMO neither of these countries are what we collectively think them. So, we could actually give it a try rather than trying to beggar them and destroy their economies. If all fails than we have to be prepared to defend our forces. DOL

Matt said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 12:54 AM
I agree with your reply 100%

these phobias are so entrenched now they're a huge obstacle to overcome,

Mark Twain: "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."

William Casey: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false"

Christian Chuba , 18 September 2019 at 05:22 AM
The 'ivestigations are a formality. The Saudis (with U.S. backing) are already saying that the missiles were Iranian made and according to them, this proves that Iran fired them. The Saudis are using the more judicious phrase 'behind the attack' but Pompeo is running with the fired from Iran narrative.

How can we tell the difference between an actual Iranian manufactured missile vs one that was manufactured in Yemen based on Iranian designs? We only have a few pictures Iranian missiles unlike us, the Iranians don't toss them all over the place so we don't have any physical pieces to compare them to.

Perhaps honest investigators could make a determination but even if they do exist they will keep quiet while the bible thumping Pompeo brays and shamelessly lies as he is prone to do.

PRC90 said in reply to Christian Chuba... , 18 September 2019 at 10:36 AM
These kinds of munition will leave hundreds of bits scattered all over their targets. I'm waiting for the press conference with the best bits laid out on the tables.
I doubt that there will be any stencils saying 'Product of Iran', unless the paint smells fresh.
Nuff Sed , 18 September 2019 at 07:22 AM
1. I am still waiting to read some informed discussion concerning the *accuracy* of the projectiles hitting their targets with uncanny precision from hundreds of miles away. What does this say about the achievement of those pesky Eye-rainians? https://www.moonofalabama.org/images9/saudihit2.jpg

2. "The US Navy has many ships in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The Iranian Navy and the IRGC Navy will attack our naval vessels until the Iranian forces are utterly destroyed.: Ahem, Which forces are utterly destroyed? With respect colonel, you are not thinking straight. An army with supersonic land to sea missiles that are highly accurate will make minced meat of any fool's ship that dare attack it. The lesson of the last few months is that Iran is deadly serious about its position that if they cannot sell their oil, no one else will be able to either. And if the likes of the relatively broadminded colonel have not yet learned that lesson, then this can only mean that the escalation ladder will continue to be climbed, rung by rung. Next rung: deep sea port of Yanbu, or, less likely, Ra's Tanura. That's when the price of oil will really go through the roof and the Chinese (and possibly one or two of the Europoodles) will start crying Uncle Scam. Nuff Sed.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:07 AM
nuff Sed

It sounds like you are getting a little "help" with this. You statement about the result of a naval confrontation in the Gulf reflects the 19th Century conception that "ships can't fight forts." that has been many times exploded. You have never seen the amount of firepower that would be unleashed on Iran from the air and sea. Would the US take casualties? Yes, but you will be destroyed.

Nuff Sed -> turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 08:18 AM
We will have to agree to disagree. But unless I am quite mistaken, the majority view if not the consensus of informed up to date opinion holds that the surest sign that the US is getting ready to attack Iran is that it is withdrawing all of its naval power out of the Persian Gulf, where they would be sitting ducks.

Besides, I don't think it will ever come to that. Not to repeat myself, but taking out either deep sea ports of Ra's Tanura and/ or Yanbu (on the Red Sea side) will render Saudi oil exports null and void for the next six months. The havoc that will play with the price of oil and consequently on oil futures and derivatives will be enough for any president and army to have to worry about. But if the US would still be foolhardy enough to continue to want to wage war (i.e. continue its strangulation of Iran, which it has been doing more or less for the past 40 years), then the Yemeni siege would be broken and there would be a two-pronged attack from the south and the north, whereby al-Qatif, the Shi'a region of Saudi Arabia where all the oil and gas is located, will be liberated from their barbaric treatment at the hands of the takfiri Saudi scum, which of course is completely enabled and only made possible by the War Criminal Uncle Sam.

Go ahead, make my day: roll the dice.

scott s. said in reply to Nuff Sed ... , 18 September 2019 at 11:32 AM
AFAIK the only "US naval power" currently is the Abraham Lincoln CSG and I haven't seen any public info that it was in the Persian Gulf. Aside from the actual straits, I'm not sure of your "sitting ducks" assertion. First they wouldn't be sitting, and second you have the problem of a large volume of grey shipping that would complicate the targeting problem. Of course with a reduced time-of-flight, that also reduces target position uncertainty.
CK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 09:55 AM
Forts are stationary.
Nothing I have read implies that Iran has a lot of investment in stationary forts.
Millennium Challenge 2002, only the game cannot be restarted once the enemy does not behave as one hopes. Unlike in scripted war simulations, Opfor can win.
I remember the amount of devastation that was unleashed on another "backwards nation" Linebackers 1 - 20, battleship salvos chemical defoliants, the Phoenix program, napalm for dessert.
And not to put to fine a point on it, but that benighted nation was oriental; Iran is a Caucasian nation full of Caucasian type peoples.
Nothing about this situation is of any benefit to the USA.
We do not need Saudi oil, we do not need Israel to come to the defense of the USA here in North America, we do not need to stick our dick into the hornet's nest and then wonder why they sting and it hurts. How many times does Dumb have to win?
Nuff Sed , 18 September 2019 at 08:07 AM
3. Also, I can't imagine this event as being a very welcome one for Israeli military observers, the significance of which is not lost on them, unlike their US counterparts. If Yemen/ Iran can put the Abqaiq processing plant out of commission for a few weeks, then obviusly Hezbollah can do the same for the giant petrochemical complex at Haifa, as well as Dimona, and the control tower at Ben Gurion Airport.
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/239251

https://www.timesofisrael.com/haifa-municipal-workers-block-refinery-access-for-2nd-day/

These are the kinds of issues which are germane: the game has changed. What are the implications?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:08 AM
nuff sed

I have said repeatedly that Hizbullah can destroy Israel. Nothing about that has changed.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:17 AM
Yeah, right

It was late at night when I wrote this. Yeah, Right. the Iranians could send their massive ground force into Syria where it would be chewed up by US and Israeli air. Alternatively they could invade Saudi arabia.

Yeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 08:38 AM
Thank you for the reply but actually I was thinking that an invasion of Afghanistan would be the more sensible ploy.

To my mind if the Iranian Army sits on its backside then the USAF and IAF will ignore it to roam the length and breadth of Iran destroying whatever ground targets are on their long-planned target-list.

Or that Iranian Army can launch itself into Afghanistan, at which point all of the USA plans for a methodical aerial pummelling of Iran's infrastructure goes out the window as the USAF scrambles to save the American forces in Afghanistan from being overrun.

Isn't that correct?

So what incentive is there for that Iranian Army to sit around doing nothing?

Iran will do what the USAF isn't expecting it to do, if for no other reason that it upsets the USA's own game-plan.

johnf , 18 September 2019 at 08:41 AM
There seems to be a bit of a hiatus in proceedings - not in these columns but on the ground in the ME.

Everyone seems to be waiting for something.

Could this "something" be the decisive word fron our commander in chief Binyamin Netanyahu?

The thing is he has just pretty much lost an election. Likud might form part of the next government of Israel but most likely not with him at its head.

Does anyone have any ideas on what the future policy of Israel is likely to be under Gantz or whoever? Will it be the same, worse or better?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:51 AM
Yeah Right

The correct US move would be to ignore an Iranian invasion of Afghanistan and continue leaving the place. The Iranian Shia can then fight the Sunni jihadi tribesmen.

Yeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 09:29 AM
Oh, I completely agree that if the Iranians launch an invasion of Afghanistan then the only sensible strategy would be for the US troops to pack up and get out as fast as possible.

But that is "cut and run", which many in Washington would view as a humiliation.

Do you really see the beltway warriors agreeing to that?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:53 AM
Stueee

A flaw in your otherwise sound argument is that the US military has not been seriously engaged for several years and has been reconstituting itself with the money Trump has given them.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:57 AM
Nuff Sed

Re-positioning of forces does not indicate that a presidential decision for war has been made. The navy will not want to fight you in the narrow, shallow waters of the Gulf.

Lars , 18 September 2019 at 09:53 AM
I would think that Mr. Trump would have a hard time sell a war with Iran over an attack on Saudi Arabia. The good question about how would that war end will soon be raised and I doubt there are many good answers.

The US should have gotten out of that part of the world a long time ago, just as they should have paid more attention to the warnings in President Eisenhower's farewell address.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:12 AM
CK

The point was about shore based firepower, not forts. don't be so literal.

CK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 10:34 AM
The Perfumed Fops in the DOD restarted Millennium Challenge 2002,because Gen Van Riper had used 19th and early 20th century tactics and shore based firepower to sink the Blue Teams carrier forces. There was a script, Van Riper did some adlibbing. Does the US DOD think that Iran will follow the US script? In a unipolar world maybe the USA could enforce a script, that world was severely wounded in 1975, took a sucking chest wound during operation Cakewalk in 2003 and died in Syria in 2015. Too many poles too many powers not enough diplomacy. It will not end well.
turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:16 AM
lars

We would crush Iran at some cost to ourselves but the political cost to the anti-globalist coalition would catastrophic. BTW Trump's "base" isn't big enough to elect him so he cannot afford to alienate independents.

prawnik , 18 September 2019 at 10:32 AM
Even if Rouhani and the Iranian Parliament personally designed, assembled, targeted and launched the missiles (scarier sounding version of "drones"), then they should be congratulated, for the Saudi tyrant deserves every bad thing that he gets.
turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:49 AM
prawnik (Sid) in this particular situation goering's glittering generalization does not apply. Trump needs a lot of doubting suburbanites to win and a war will not incline them to vote for him.
Bill Wade , 18 September 2019 at 10:53 AM
Looks like President Trump is walking it back, tweet: I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!
PRC90 , 18 September 2019 at 11:34 AM
I doubt there will be armed conflict of any kind.
Everything Trump does from now (including sacking the Bolton millstone) will be directed at winning 2020, and that will not be aided by entering into some inconclusive low intensity attrition war.
Iran, on the other hand, will be doing everything it can to increase the chance of a Democrat administration, bearing in mind the great deal they got from the last one and the lack of anything they can expect from Trump Term Two.
This may be a useful tool for determining their next move, but the limit of their actions would be when some Democrats begin making the electorally damaging mistake of critising Trump for not retaliating against Iranian provocations.
Terence Gore , 18 September 2019 at 11:35 AM
Pros and cons of many options considered against Iran

https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/06_iran_strategy.pdf

[Jan 08, 2020] If we assume that Pompeo persuaded Trump to order to kill a diplomatic envoy, Trump is now a dead man walking as after Iran responce Pelosi impeachment gambit now have legs

Highly recommended!
This is truly shocking: Trump assassinates diplomatic envoy he himself arranged for. . If the U.S. lured Soleimani to Iraq with a promise of negotiations with the Iraqis as mediators and then proceeded to kill him, surely that would be an impeachable offense. Particularly in view of the failure to brief Congress. If it was Saudi tricked Soleimani by getting Iraq to "mediate" (Iraq's prime minister was expecting a message by him on the mediation when he was assassinated), Saudi will get targeted.
The US changed the rules of engagement. They had decided to assassinate Soleimani when he was in Syria, having just returned from a short journey to Lebanon, before boarding a commercial flight from Damascus airport to Baghdad. The US killing machine was waiting for him to land in Baghdad and monitored his movements when he was picked up at the foot of the plane. The US hit the two cars, carrying Soleimani and the al-Muhandes protection team, when they were still inside the airport perimeter and were slowing down at the first check-point.
US forces will no longer be safe in Iraq outside protected areas inside the military bases where they are deployed. A potential danger or hit-man could be lurking at every corner; this will limit the free movement of US soldiers. Iran would be delighted were the Iraqi groups to decide to hit the American forces and hunt them wherever they are. This would rekindle memories of the first clashes between Jaish al-Mahdi and US forces in Najaf in 2004-2005.
Jan 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Tom , Jan 5 2020 15:55 utc | 16
Impeachment with GOP support could be just around the corner. And who lost Iraq??? He would be a dead man walking in that case. I can't see the evangelical crowd saving him. President Pence. Might have to get use to that.

Here is a link to a twitter account with a good video of massive crowds on the streets of Mashhad awaiting the arrival of Qassem Suleimani. Very powerful.

https://twitter.com/sonofnariman/status/1213792565075550208


Piotr Berman , Jan 5 2020 16:02 utc | 17

There will be no draining of any swamps. Trump-Kushner just another Bibi lackey.

Posted by: Jerry | Jan 5 2020 15:48 utc | 13

1. Draining swamps was a marker of progress in the past. >>Wiki:But in the late 1960s and early 1970s, researchers found that marshes and swamps "were worth billions annually in wildlife production, groundwater recharge, and for flood, pollution, and erosion control." This motivated the passage of the 1972 federal Water Pollution Control Act.<<

2. To recognize this vital role, parties should adopt more acquatic symbols. Caymans are a bit too similar to alligators, but, say, Alligators vs Snapping Turtles?

Sasha , Jan 5 2020 16:02 utc | 18
A video which says it all...
Gen. #Soleimani, enemy of Daesh and Trump!

Trump has threatened #Iran with destroying its cultural sites but that is not his only similarity with Daesh, they both hated General Soleimani.

https://twitter.com/PressTV/status/1213804505537679362


Bemildred , Jan 5 2020 16:02 utc | 19
Posted by: Tom | Jan 5 2020 15:55 utc | 16

Yes, it might just be that this debacle provides the extra impulse to get him removed. Can't say I can even imagine what that would look like, but there would seem to be a good argument now that he must be restrained somehow. Somebody needs to tell Pompeous to stop digging the hole deeper (shutup) too.

[Jan 06, 2020] The most optimistic post on this thread.

Jan 06, 2020 | www.unz.com


AnonFromTN , says: Show Comment Next New Comment January 5, 2020 at 10:28 pm GMT

@Cloak And Dagger

Henry Kissinger Predicts 'In 10 Years, There Will Be No More Israel'

That's the most optimistic post on this thread.

[Jan 06, 2020] One humble suggestion about resolving the crisis with Iran

Jan 06, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

SW , January 5, 2020 9:12 am

If they want revenge, in the interest of avoiding future bloodshed, I suggest that we give them Mike Pence.

[Jan 06, 2020] Diplomacy Trump-style. Al Capone probably would be allow himself to fall that low

Highly recommended!
Jan 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Fec , Jan 5 2020 15:23 utc | 3

"We have learned today from #Iraq Prime Minister AdilAbdl Mahdi how @realDonaldTrump uses diplomacy:
#US asked #Iraq to mediate with #Iran. Iraq PM asks #QassemSoleimani to come and talk to him and give him the answer of his mediation, Trump &co assassinate an envoy at the airport."

https://twitter.com/ejmalrai/status/1213833855754485762

[Jan 06, 2020] I am tired of giving Trump a free pass, just because Hillary would have been worse. Trump needs to go.

Highly recommended!
Jan 06, 2020 | www.unz.com

TG , says: Show Comment January 4, 2020 at 1:07 am GMT

To some extent it is not relevant if Trump was lying during his campaign, or has been corrupted/coopted/fooled/pressured/played for a chump by the establishment. He said one thing and is doing another: that's the bottom line.

However: I note that after Barack Obama got elected, he immediately fired all of his populist advisors and hired Wall Streeters even before being sworn in. Obama was clearly lying up front.

Trump, however, initially did start moving in the direction he said he would, he kept his populist/nationalist advisors, and really did make actual moves to carry out his campaign promises. And the establishment went total nut job, he was a Russian agent, his populist advisers were targeted for legal actions, they were replaced with establishment advisors who hate him Trump was strong on stage berating a political opponent, but against establishment pressure he has turned out to be weak, caving in to "the Blob" at every turn.

Though again, a secondary point.

Cloak And Dagger , says: Show Comment January 4, 2020 at 1:47 am GMT
@Gleimhart Mantooso

Had she been elected, Hillary would already have started the neocon wet dream of a war with Iran.

While that may be true, I am tired of giving Trump a free pass, just because Hillary would have been worse. Being relatively less evil, or a different incarnation of evil, is still evil.

Frankly, impeachment was just a distraction to divert attention from the real play. The dagger at his throat is from far more malevolent foes who can wield both blackmail or death as the circumstances demand to get their way. The jewish mafia is far more dangerous than the Sicilian boys could ever hope to be. The latter learned from the former.

[Jan 06, 2020] How To Avoid Swallowing War Propaganda by Nathan J. Robinson

Highly recommended!
Jan 05, 2020 | www.currentaffairs.org
The Trump administration has assassinated Iran's top military leader, Qassim Suleimani, and with the possibility of a serious escalation in violent conflict, it's a good time to think about how propaganda works and train ourselves to avoid accidentally swallowing it.

The Iraq War, the bloodiest and costliest U.S. foreign policy calamity of the 21 st century, happened in part because the population of the United States was insufficiently cynical about its government and got caught up in a wave of nationalistic fervor. The same thing happened with World War I and the Vietnam War. Since a U.S./Iran war would be a disaster, it is vital that everyone make sure they do not accidentally end up repeating the kinds of talking points that make war more likely.

Let us bear in mind, then, some of the basic lessons about war propaganda.

Things are not true because a government official says them.

I do not mean to treat you as stupid by making such a basic point, but plenty of journalists and opposition party politicians do not understand this point's implications, so it needs to be said over and over. What happens in the leadup to war is that government officials make claims about the enemy, and then those claims appear in newspapers ("U.S. officials say Saddam poses an imminent threat") and then in the public consciousness, the "U.S. officials say" part disappears, so that the claim is taken for reality without ever really being scrutinized. This happens because newspapers are incredibly irresponsible and believe that so long as you attach "Experts say" or "President says" to a claim, you are off the hook when people end up believing it, because all you did was relay the fact that a person said a thing, you didn't say it was true. This is the approach the New York Times took to Bush administration allegations in the leadup to the Iraq War, and it meant that false claims could become headline news just because a high-ranking U.S. official said them. [UPDATE: here's an example from Vox, today, of a questionable government claim being magically transformed into a certain fact.]

In the context of Iran, let us consider some things Mike Pence tweeted about Qassim Suleimani:

"[Suleimani] assisted in the clandestine travel to Afghanistan of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States Soleimani was plotting imminent attacks on American diplomats and military personnel. The world is a safer place today because Soleimani is gone."

It is possible, given these tweets, to publish the headline: "Suleimani plotting imminent attacks on American diplomats, says Pence." That headline is technically true. But you should not publish that headline unless Pence provides some supporting evidence, because what will happen in the discourse is that people will link to your news story to prove that Suleimani was plotting imminent attacks.

To see how unsubstantiated claims get spread, let's think about the Afghanistan hijackers bit. David Harsanyi of the National Review defends Pence's claim about Suleimani helping the hijackers. Harsanyi cites the 9/11 Commission report, saying that the 9/11 commission report concluded Iran aided the hijackers. The report does indeed say that Iran allowed free travel to some of the men who went on to carry out the 9/11 attacks. (The sentence cut off at the bottom of Harsanyi's screenshot, however, rather crucially says : "We have no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack.") Harsanyi admits that the report says absolutely nothing about Suleimani. But he argues that Pence was "mostly right," pointing out that Pence did not say Iran knew these men would be the hijackers, merely that it allowed them passage.

Let's think about what is going on here. Pence is trying to convince us that Suleimani deserved to die, that it was necessary for the U.S. to kill him, which will also mean that if Iran retaliates violently, that violence will be because Iran is an aggressive power rather than because the U.S. just committed an unprovoked atrocity against one of its leaders, dropping a bomb on a popular Iranian leader. So Pence wants to link Suleimani in your mind with 9/11, in order to get you blood boiling the same way you might have felt in 2001 as you watched the Twin Towers fall.

There is no evidence that either Iran or Suleimani tried to help these men do 9/11. Harsanyi says that Pence does not technically allege this. But he doesn't have to! What impression are people going to get from helped the hijackers? Pence hopes you'll conflate Suleimani and Iran as one entity, then assume that if Iran ever aided these men in any way, it basically did 9/11 even if it didn't have any clue that was what they were going to do.

This brings us to #2:

Do not be bullied into accepting simple-minded sloganeering

Let's say that, long before Ted Kaczynski began sending bombs through the mail, you once rented him an apartment. This was pure coincidence. Back then he was just a Berkeley professor, you did not know he would turn out to be the Unabomber. It is, however, possible, for me to say, and claim I am not technically lying, that you "housed and materially aided the Unabomber." (A friend of mine once sold his house to the guy who turned out to be the Green River Killer, so this kind of situation does happen.)

Of course, it is incredibly dishonest of me to characterize what you did that way. You rented an apartment to a stranger, yet I'm implying that you intentionally helped the Unabomber knowing he was the Unabomber. In sane times, people would see me as the duplicitous one. But the leadup to war is often not a sane time, and these distinctions can get lost. In the Pence claim about Afghanistan, for it to have any relevance to Suleimani, it would be critical to know (assuming the 9/11 commission report is accurate) whether Iran actually could have known what the men it allowed to pass would ultimately do, and whether Suleimani was involved. But that would involve thinking, and War Fever thrives on emotion rather than thought.

There are all kinds of ways in which you can bully people into accepting idiocy. Consider, for example, the statement "Nathan Robinson thinks it's good to help terrorists who murder civilians." There is a way in which this is actually sort of true: I think lawyers who aid those accused of terrible crimes do important work. If we are simple-minded and manipulative, we can call that "thinking it's good to help terrorists," and during periods of War Fever, that's exactly what it will be called. There is a kind of cheap sophistry that becomes ubiquitous:

I remember all this bullshit from my high school years. Opposing the invasion of Iraq meant loving Saddam Hussein and hating America. Thinking 9/11 was the predictable consequence of U.S. actions meant believing 9/11 was justified. Of course, rational discussion can expose these as completely unfair mischaracterizations, but every time war fever whips up, rational discussion becomes almost impossible. In World War I, if you opposed the draft you were undermining your country in a time of war. During Vietnam, if you believed the North Vietnamese had the more just case, you were a Communist traitor who endorsed every atrocity committed in the name of Ho Chi Minh, and if you thought John McCain shouldn't have been bombing civilians in the first place then clearly you believed he should have been tortured and you hated America.

"If you oppose assassinating Suleimani you must love terrorists" will be repeated on Fox News (and probably even on MSNBC). Nationalism advocate Yoram Hazony says there is something wrong with those who do not "feel shame when our country is shamed" -- presumably those who do not feel wounded pride when America is emasculated by our enemies are weak and pitiful. We should refuse to put up with these kind of cheap slurs, or even to let th