Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Today's Links


“At no time in the past, now or in the future has or will Russia take any part in actions aimed at overthrowing (a) legitimate government.” Vladimir Putin




1--Requiem by Anna Akhmatova
2--There's Trouble in Treasuries


Despite the rally in stocks that left the S&P 500 up for the fifth day in a row, the longest such series since December, there was, at the other end of the spectrum, a whiff of panic....
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Which leaves us with a quandary: The stock market rally says folks believe that the bonanza will continue, that risks have disappeared, that the economy is hot, and that the Fed will never take away the punchbowl.
But the Treasury market shows that others are desperate to put their money into highly liquid and safe places, even if it costs them money – a behavior normally visible ahead of a looming crisis. Even then, the Treasury had never before been able to auction off three-month T-bills at a yield of zero....


So if the stock market shows that investors once again are getting drunk at the Fed’s punchbowl, why is there another group of investors who are spooked, who want to put their money into the safest and most liquid asset even if it costs them money?


3--Washington divided over Syrian debacle


The fault lines created by the debacle in Syria (and Iraq and elsewhere) run not only through both of the political parties of the financial aristocracy, but through the military-intelligence apparatus itself. While Petraeus speaks for one faction of this apparatus, the current Pentagon leadership is adamantly opposed to a major additional commitment of US forces in the Middle East, because of the need to prepare for impending confrontations with Russia and particularly China.

According to a report Saturday in the Washington Post, there is a sharp conflict between the CIA, which is heavily committed in Syria and is devoting a reported 10 percent of its total budget to training Islamist forces for combat against Assad, and the Pentagon, which has conducted only a token effort at training Syrian “rebels.”


The Post reported: “A former senior U.S. intelligence official said the U.S. failure to respond to the strikes or bolster support for CIA-trained units is likely to anger CIA paramilitary teams in the region that have for several years chafed at White House-imposed limits on the level of support given to moderate rebel groups.”



4---Russia Shuns No-Fly Zone for Syria as Clerics Urge Reprisals


5--3,000 terrorists leave Syria following Russian airstrikes – military source
Rats leave the sinking ship


6--All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Syria back together again


The reference to “moderate groups” is part of Washington’s efforts to obscure the fact that it is opposed to any attacks on the Al-Nusra Front, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda. The US and NATO powers are in an effective alliance with the organization and other Islamist militias in Syria that are being funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey....


Russian officials responded by defending their intervention in Syria and vowing to intensify their operations. New contingents of Russian “volunteer” ground forces will soon be deployed to Syria, Russian officials said on Monday.
“Our airstrikes will not only continue, but grow in intensity,” Russian military chief Andrei Kartapolov said during a press briefing on Saturday


Attacking the policies of the sitting Democratic administration from the right, US presidential candidate and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton said last week that she supports the imposition of a no-fly zone over Syria.
Several Republican presidential candidates have recently support a no-fly zone, including ex-Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Ohio Governor John Kasich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie


All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Syria back together by negotiating a solution from the outside even if there was one King instead of a divided mix of the United States, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, the other states surrounding Syria, the Arabian Gulf states, Egypt, and France and the other interested European powers,” Cordesman wrote.
Cordesman went on to insist that US policy makers “stop pretending that Syrian ‘moderates’ are strong enough to either affect the security situation or negotiate for Syria’s real fighters.” That is, the US should dispense with the pretense that it is not allied with Islamic fundamentalist organizations as part of its drive to control Syria and the entire Middle East


7--Saudi Clerics Call for Jihad Against Russia in Syria, Nimmo
Fatwa characterizes Russian effort as Orthodox Christian crusade


8--Russia ready to consider Iraqi request for airstrikes – Upper House speaker


9--Polls Show Syrians Overwhelmingly Blame U.S. for ISIS


U.S. President Obama’s chief aim in Syria is not to defeat the fundamentalist ISIS and Al Qaeda there, but to replace that country’s secular leader Bashar al-Assad, who is, on the basis of the above-cited evidence, far more popular in Syria than Obama is. Yet Obama says that militarily overthrowing Assad would be the ‘democratic’ thing to do.
Obama ‘introduced democracy’ into Libya by militarily overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi and sparking civil war there; and he ‘introduced democracy’ into Ukraine by a violent U.S.-planned coup getting rid of Viktor Yanukovych and sparking civil war there.


Before Obama, George W. Bush had brought ‘democracy’ to Iraq by overthrowing Saddam Hussein and sparking civil war there.
Is the ‘democracy’ in the United States itself still authentic, or is it instead now fake, such as America’s former President Jimmy Carter recently said — that the U.S. is no longer a democracy? If the U.S. is no longer a democracy, and yet accuses other governments of being dictatorships that the U.S. has a right to overthrow, then would that hypocrisy indicate a disrespect for the public’s intelligence? How much should a person trust Mr. Obama’s honesty?


10--How the West's Folly Brought Humiliation in Syria, mercouris Today's "must read"

“The moderate opposition in Syria is one that, if we ever going to have a political transition, we need. And the Russian policy is driving those folks underground or creating a situation in which they are decapacitated and it is only strengthening ISIL.”


Translated into plain English, Obama is complaining the Russian air campaign is destroying the people the US wants to take over Syria.


This comment tells us something else.  This is that the US expects the Russian air campaign to succeed, and the opposition to Assad to be defeated.
This very revealing article in the Daily Beast describes the hand-wringing in Washington as its bluff in Syria is being called.
Behind the bluster, there is no intention to interfere in the Russian air campaign, and rather than face off against the Russian air force, plans for US bombing raids on Syria and for no-fly zones have been called off.
Moreover there is a bipartisan support for this, with war hawks like Hillary Clinton and Senator McCain isolated.
This is consistent with scattered reports that despite its public show of defiance the US has actually heeded the Russian warning to stay out of Syrian air space whilst the Russian air campaign is underway.
That warning was made in an intentionally humiliating way, giving the US just an hour to comply, to rub in the point that the days when the US and its allies could roam freely in the skies of Syria are well and truly over. 
Future overflights and bombing raids will henceforth have to be coordinated with the Russians, at least whilst the Russian air campaign is underway.
Obama of course also complains in his comments that the Russian air campaign, by defeating the so-called “moderate” opposition to President Assad, is helping the Islamic State.
This has become  the main theme of Western media commentary over the last few days.
The argument is - to quote Obama again - that

“Russian policy is driving those folks underground or creating a situation in which they are decapacitated and it is only strengthening ISIL”.
The people Obama is referring to - the “folks” who may be “driven underground” or “decapacitated” - are the people the US is supporting in the fight against President Assad.
It is now universally admitted these people are overwhelmingly Sunni militants - in other words armed jihadis - violently opposed to what they see as an apostate secular Alawite led government in Syria.
The idea that there can be a “moderate jihadi” opposition to President Assad - any more than there was a “moderate jihadi” opposition in Libya to  Muammar Gaddafi - is one that would strike most people as bizarre.  It is in fact an acknowledged fact that many of the “moderate jihadis” fighting President Assad - who the US is supporting - are affiliated to Al-Qaeda.
To say this however is to underestimate the obsessive character of the US's Syrian policy.
US policy is to overthrow President Assad.  The fact most of those fighing President Assad are militant jihadis is neither here nor there.  If “moderate” “liberal” “secular” Syrians cannot overthrow President Assad - and the lesson of the last four years is they cannot - then militant jihadis will have to do.
The result is the absurd situation where the US is now running two covert programmes in Syria at the same time - one to create a jihadi army to fight President Assad; the other to create an army to fight the Islamic State, which also opposes President Assad, but which the US also says it opposes.
The first programme - run by the CIA - has been a relative success.
The second programme - run by the Pentagon - has despite the commitment of $500 million been a total failure.
The reason the US has to have two programmes to create two different armies is because its first army - the jihadi army set up by the CIA to fight President Assad - won't fight the Islamic State. 
As militant jihadis they have far too much in common with the Islamic State to be  prepared to fight it.
This is why the Islamic State has managed to win so much territory at their expense in so short a time. 
Since the US backed jihadis are only motivated to fight President Assad, and will not fight the Islamic State in any meaningful way, when the two come into conflict the US backed jihadis tend to defect to the Islamic State .
The distinction the US therefore makes between a “moderate” armed opposition to President Assad and the Islamic State, has no meaningful ideological - and therefore political - reality.
The only difference between the two groups is that the first - a militant jihadi group supported by the US - is focused on overthrowing President Assad, whilst the second - a militant jihadi group opposed by the US - is focused on expanding its territory.
The victory of either group following the defeat of the Syrian government would however have the same result: the establishment of a violent sectarian jihadi state in Syria. 
...
The only alternative is to do what the Russians have been calling for since the first protests in Syria began in 2011: arrange negotiations without preconditions between President Assad and his opponents.
President Assad agreed to this in 2011, and a road map for such negotiations was agreed at a conference in Geneva in 2012.  The negotiations never got underway because the Syrian opposition backed by the US refused to negotiate with President Assad, demanding he resign instead.
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This is something to which the Russians will never agree, as Putin made clear in his recent interview with Charlie Rose,  when he said

“At no time in the past, now or in the future has or will Russia take any part in actions aimed at overthrowing (a) legitimate government.”
The idea the Russians will shift from this position - or can be bullied or bribed with threats or offers of Syrian bases to do so - is fantastic.  It is an idea that has been repeatedly tested over the last four years, and which has repeatedly been proved to be wrong.  It is incredible that - judging from the ceaseless Western media refrain that Russia “push” Assad into “negotiations” (ie. force him to go) - so many people in the West still don't grasp this.


11--(so now the jihadis are "US assets?)  Brzezinski: Obama should retaliate if Russia doesn't stop attacking U.S. assets


"In these rapidly unfolding circumstances the U.S. has only one real option if it is to protect its wider stakes in the region: to convey to Moscow the demand that it cease and desist from military actions that directly affect American assets," he said.
"The Russian naval and air presences in Syria are vulnerable, isolated geographically from their homeland," Brzezinski noted. "They could be 'disarmed' if they persist in provoking the US."...


"China would doubtless prefer to stay on the sidelines. It might calculate that it will then be in a better position to pick up the pieces. But the regional chaos could easily spread northeastward, eventually engulfing central and northeastern Asia. Both Russia and then China could be adversely affected. But American interests and America’s friends — not to mention regional stability — would also suffer. It is time, therefore, for strategic boldness," he concluded.
12--Sibel Edmonds uncovers den of vipers in USG


Of course the new COINTELPRO collected a tremendous amount of dirt on some key elected Republicans. On top of that list was Dennis Hastert with criminal activities ranging from financial fraud, money laundering and bribery to partnership with criminal networks in Chicago, treason, and sexual violation of minor males-both domestically and internationally. -


Other Republican figures included Dan Burton, Bob Livingston, and Roy Blunt. But wait. Some elected Democrats ended up in this same bucket as well. They had Rep. Tom Lantos with implicating data gathered from counterintelligence operations targeting Turkey and Israel. They had Rep. Stephen Solarz through counterintelligence operations on Israel, Turkey and India. They had Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and her convicted husband Robert Creamer through counterintelligence operations involving Chicago political corruption cases, financial fraud and embezzlements, Israel and Turkey, with parallel operations conducted by the CIA involving Mullah Fethullah Gulen and his criminal network in Chicago. But wait again: Do dirties operate only within the elected officials circle? Of course not. The same exact operations producing a list of elected Republican and Democrat dirties also produced a list of high-profile appointed career bureaucrats.


The FBI’s counterintelligence and counterespionage operations compiled much implicating data (implicating as in criminal) on individuals such as Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Eric Edelman, Marc Grossman, Graham Fuller, David Makovsky, and Alan Makovsky, among others. You are looking at a group of criminally-implicated individuals who have been in and out of various high-level executive positions regardless of their political affiliation or partisan label. - See more at: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/09/30/transcript-hastert-case-how-the-cointelpro-ii-bucket-turned-into-a-can-of-worms/#sthash.ZqqutFGR.dpuf


13--Russia may lose Turkey over unacceptable Syria strikes: Erdoğan


14--US says Russia striking CIA-backed militants in Syria
A new US intelligence assessment says Russia has been targeting militant groups backed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Syria, deepening US anger at Moscow.
The assessment, shared by commanders on the ground, has led American officials to conclude that Russian warplanes have intentionally struck CIA-backed militants in a string of attacks running for days, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Obama administration officials are debating how the United States can come to the aid of its proxy forces on the ground without risking a broader conflict, according to the Journal.
US officials said Russia’s moves in Syria posed a direct challenge to President Barack Obama’s Syria policy.


“On day one, you can say it was a one-time mistake,” a senior US official said of a Russian strike on a militant headquarters. “But on day three and day four, there’s no question it’s intentional. They know what they’re hitting.”
Administration officials said they believe Russia’s targeting of US-allied forces is aimed at shoring up the Syrian government and sending a message to the White House


Moscow’s commitment to the Syrian government runs counter to current US policy, which calls for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia has been beefing up its military presence in neighboring Syria, deploying warplanes, tanks and personnel to an airfield in the western port city of Latakia. It launched a coordinated air campaign to fight Daesh (ISIL) and other terrorists.
Senior Russian officials have said the current campaign is limited to airstrikes, but have not ruled out “volunteers” on the ground.
Syria has been gripped by a foreign-backed militancy since March 2011 aimed at toppling the Assad government. The violence has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people so far.


15--US should attempt to disarm Russians in Syria: Brzezinski


Obama administration officials are debating how the United States can come to the aid of its proxy forces on the ground without risking a broader conflict, according to the Wall Street Journal.
US officials said Russia’s moves in Syria posed a direct challenge to the Obama administration’s foreign policy on the Middle East.
Moscow’s commitment to the Syrian government runs counter to current US policy, which calls for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia has been beefing up its military presence in neighboring Syria, deploying warplanes, tanks and personnel to an airfield in the western port city of Latakia. It launched a coordinated air campaign to fight Daesh (ISIL) and other terrorists.


16--NYT

A spokesman for the Russian operation, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said at a briefing in Moscow that a pair of Su-25 fighter bombers had attacked Islamic State armored vehicles near Tadmur, destroying 20 tanks, three rocket launchers and an ammunition depot. The strike was among the 15 daytime sorties he said Russian pilots had flown. 

17--NYT champions the Terrorist war against Russia. Go figure?

Earlier in the day militant websites report that Syria's Muslim Brotherhood declared that jihad against the "sheer Russian occupation of Syria" is a legitimate duty for everyone capable of carrying weapons.
The Brotherhood's media chief Omar Mushawah was quoted as saying that "we as Muslim Brotherhood group confirm that we are witnessing a sheer and clear Russian occupation" and that "resisting the occupier is a legitimate duty."

More than 40 Syrian insurgent groups vowed to attack Russian forces in retaliation for Moscow's air campaign in a show of unity among the usually fragmented rebels against what they called the "occupiers" of Syria.
The 41 groups, which included powerful factions such as Ahrar al-Sham, Islam Army and the Levant Front, said Russia joined the war in Syria after President Bashar Assad's forces were on the verge "of a crushing defeat
...
The Syrian militant and rebel factions, including the U.S.-backed Division 101 and Tajammu Alezza, said "the Russian military aggression on Syria is considered a blatant occupation of the country even if some claim it was done with the official request of the Assad regime. Those who lost legitimacy can't offer it."
"All Syrian armed revolutionary factions must realize we are in a war to push an aggressor, a war that makes unifying ranks and word a duty on all brothers," the factions said in the two-page statement posted online. "Any occupation force to our beloved country is a legitimate target."

18--Gallup: Trust in Mass Media Returns to All-Time Low

19--SHORT AND SHARP: Russian airstrikes on "Rastan" enclave and latest rebel reactions

Over the last few days, Russia has carried on with its air-strikes in Syria. While the explicit rationale is still the fight against ISIS, statements by Russian officials as well as targeted areas show that the spectrum of the attacks is much larger, and that any Salafi/Jihadi group operating on Syrian territory – especially along the central corridor and in the North-West of the country – can expect to be hit.
It is probably safe to assume that the Russian air force also flew a couple of "sorties" against ISIS positions in or around Raqqa, but most of its missions were aimed at targets in the centre and in the North-West of the country. The latest series of strikes focused in particular on the rebel enclave of Rastan, a small area located in Syria's central corridor, between Homs and Hama.


These strikes confirm earlier reports on SST according to which one of the Russian priorities is to destroy rebel pockets along the M5 highway and to secure this vital line of communication, with a view to launching ground operations against Islamist groups North of Hama.
New evidence of alliance between "moderates" and Jihadis
Meanwhile, further evidence has surfaced, confirming collusion of so-called "moderates" with Salafi/Jihadi groups. Indeed, the rebel factions in the Rastan enclave have now established another "joint operations room" (sort of a command and control centre), in which remnants of FSA units will join hard-core "Jabhat al-Nusra" (JaN) and "Ahrar al-Sham" representatives.


While last week's reports in the mainstream media were buzzing with statements by rebel commander Jamil al-Saleh, who explained that there were no Jihadis in his area, it now turns out that his troops have entered into a tactical alliance with the same Jihadis he claimed were not even present in the first place.
This piece of evidence should be another blow for the still popular myth of the "moderate" rebels. In particular, the new terminology used by Beltway experts and DC officials, calling the radicals "Islamic conservatives" or "Islamic nationalists", can now be seen as the plain repackaging effort it has been since its inception.







 

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