Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Today's Links

Today's quote:  "What by the way is so wonderful about being a democracy?  All Western democracies are mass-murderers... The word "democracy" works like political baptism in Western discourse.  Pick a crime any crime and say the West will commit it for democracy and hey presto, the crime becomes a virtue."  Nadya Shah

Finian Cunningham: "Syria, with the S-300 missile system supplied by its Russian ally, now has the technical means to defend its borders and airspace from all intruders. It also has the legal right to defend the inviolability of its territory. After all, US President Barack Obama invoked this right with regard to Turkey after the shoot-down of the Russian Su-24. Obama said Turkey had “every right to protect its skies”  Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander

NATO warplanes violating Syrian territory should be put on notice. Keep out or get shot down

1--This changes everything, Saker

the Empire’s reckless arrogance has now brought it in direct contact with the Russian Armed Forces which, apparently, are not willing to accept that kind of thuggery and who will fight back if attacked: in his annual address to expanded meeting of the Russian Federation Defense Ministry Board Putin has clearly indicated that the fact that Russia chose not to strike back at Turkey was a one time exception saying:
I want to warn those who might again try to organize any kind of provocation against our troops: we have taken additional measures to ensure the security of Russian troops and air base. It is reinforced by new air force squadrons and air defenses. All our strike aircraft are now flying with fighter cover. I order you to act with very extreme resolve. Any targets that threaten Russia’s group or our terrestrial infrastructure are to be immediately destroyed.
What Putin is doing here is warning Turkey and, really all of NATO and the Empire that next time Russia will shoot back, immediately. This also shows that the authority shoot back has now been given to the Russian forces in Syria and that no top-level decision will have to be requested to return fire

2---Turkish Forces Watch as the Syrian Army Seizes Large Parts of the Border in Northern Latakia
3--Sarin materials brought via Turkey & mixed in Syrian ISIS camps – Turkish MP to RT

4--A Wikileaks cable clearly quotes Hillary Clinton, during her time as US secretary of state, stating "donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide … more needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, [Lashkar-e-Taiba] LeT and other terrorist groups."

5---NOTES--ISIS has been carrying out fairly sophisticated ground maneuvers and attacks that suggest logistical support from some entity that has advanced overhead surveillance capability, excellence communications equipment and agents operating on the ground.....

the US has developed an entirely new military doctrine that is secret and that they are sticking with regardless of setbacks.
Aside from the drones, the information manipulation, the new weaponry...there's a new theory about how to fight wars in the future where nonstate actors play the main role of antagonist. 
The Pentagon wants to rely on proxies (jihadis, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or even Nato) rather than on US troops in order to assume the flexibility of insurgents.
In this new type of 4-G warfare, the objectives are paramount, so supporting a group like ISIS is not only acceptable but imperative  if it helps defeat the enemy which is assad and putin....

That is how I see it..."tripwires everywhere leading to an unforeseeable miscalculation followed by face-saving retaliation, escalation and unintended consequences . 
I think Putin understands the sequence, but--the thing is--Carter and Co keep pushing the envelope thinking they can goad Putin into doing something rash.
Well, if you want war, eventually you get war.
I'm just not sure Carter and Co really know what they want. Their behavior is reflexive, provocative and needlessly reckless. That's a prescription for catastrophe.

Kesselschlacht (literally, "cauldron battle") is a simulation depicting the encirclement and escape of the German First Panzer Army from the Ukraine in the Spring of 1944. The German forces were very low on fuel and ammunition and had been caught flat-footed by yet another overwhelming Soviet offensive

6---Putin's Quagmire in Syria Proves Obama Prescient (Bloomberg thinks Putin is losing)

7---(More right wing rubbish) Putin bogging down in Syria
Russia's intervention has failed to gain much on the battlefield, raising hopes that diplomacy will make more progress.

8--US created monsters: Zetas and Kaibiles death squads  2008

"I am concerned about the growing death squads that have direct ties to the US military and how they commit egregious crimes against humanity, especially to women and girls. What has happened in Africa, is unfolding in Mexico rapidly and heading our way."....

The death squads of the Zetas, trained at the US School of the Americas, are now carrying out murders for Mexican drug cartels and hired as killers in Iraq. The Kaibiles, Guatemalan death squads trained by US Special Forces, are now responsible for murders and rapes in the Congo and around the world. In Mexico, US trained death squads attack and murder Indigenous Peoples, including the Zapatistas, struggling for dignity, autonomy and survival. The United States training of death squads and torturers is one of the most censored issues in the media.

Urging news reporters to report the facts, reader Swaneagle writes, "The following is critical under-reported urgent news. Zetas are mutinous Mexican army troops who graduated from School of the Americas. Hired by the cartels, they are directly responsible for an astounding rise in brutal, grisly killings, including many of the murders of women in Juarez, which are up to 75 this year.
"Zetas have also been hired as mercenaries in Iraq. The spread of the SOA template must be halted." Swaneagle adds, "I wonder how many follow the pattern of child soldiers in Africa."

9--Did Members of the US-Led Coalition Carry Out an Air Strike to Help ISIS? Russia Implies They Did
Russian statement appears to implicate aircraft from two member states of the US led coalition in the air strike on the Syrian military base in Deir az-Zor

10--Tom Friedman: Hey, Massive Bombing Was MY Idea!

11--McCain calls for invasion

Proposals for no-fly zones above Syria, militarized “safe zones” on the ground, stepped up covert operations by US commandos, focused on targeted killings and the mobilization of ethnic death squads and proxy militias, found universal support among the assembled senators and military leaders.
In a familiar pattern, the Pentagon had already begun implementing provocative escalatory moves prior to the “oversight” hearing. US forces are engaged in ongoing operations aimed at massing new military assets along the Jordanian border, Secretary Carter revealed in the course of the hearing.....

McCain called for the US military to lead a large invasion force, backed by tens of thousands of troops drawn from allied governments and local forces, in a drive to seize control of the ISIS-held city of Raqqa and broader areas of northern Syria.
The ground campaign should be followed by a “long-term stabilization effort” based on a US “residual force,” McCain said. .....

In Syria, US commandos are preparing to orchestrate an offensive against Raqqa by US proxy forces, including Sunni and Kurdish elements, with the aim of “collapsing ISIS control over the city,” Carter said. .....

The Pentagon is standing by to extend other forms of assistance to the Iraqi army, once Baghdad “resolves its political divisions,” Carter said.
The US military is “urging Iraqi government to recruit, train, mobilize and pay, Sunni popular mobilization fighters in their communities,” he said.
If the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi toes the US line, supporting Washington’s efforts to develop Sunni militias as bulwarks against Iranian influence, it can expect new forms of US aid, including new helicopter gunship squadrons, complete with US pilots and advisors to organize their deployment. Abadi should embrace a “decentralized Iraq” in which a patchwork of “ethnic elements” would exercise effective independence within their own areas, Carter said.

Carter made clear that US forces will use Iraq’s territory in part as a staging area for anti-Iranian machinations.
“On the military side, we are continuing unchanged in the need to deter and counter Iranian malign influence,” he said.
Carter reiterated his recent announcement that the US is deploying a “specialized expeditionary targeting force” for covert operations in both Iraq and Syria. The expeditionary forces will focus on manhunting operations and will train Iraqi commandos to carry out similar operations, Carter said...

During the question and answer portion, Carter made clear that the Pentagon has issued itself a legal carte blanche to carry out whatever operations it sees fit in the name of the “war against ISIS.”

Asked whether the US military required an updated Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to carry out the plans he outlined, Carter replied, “I’ll just note with respect to the AUMF, that we have--I’m not a lawyer but I’m told, and I’m glad, otherwise it would be a problem--we have the legal authority to do what we want to do.”
In other words, Secretary Carter “has been told” by the Pentagon’s legal team that his office wields limitless authority to seize and occupy territory at will, carry out black operations anywhere on earth, employ carpet bombing against civilian infrastructure, etc.

12--Junk bond crisis brings “stress” warning

13--Junk bond panic signals new stage in crisis of world capitalism

Corporations with bad credit, however, enjoyed voracious demand for their bonds. They borrowed hand over fist, especially energy and other commodity extracting companies seeking to take advantage of $100 a barrel oil prices and ever-rising demand from China and the emerging market countries. They and the rest of the corporate world used their vast hoards of cash not to invest in production, but to further enrich the CEOs and billionaire investors by indulging in dividend increases, stock buybacks and a frenzy of mergers and acquisitions.....

This is merely the tip of the iceberg. Standard & Poor’s Rating Service recently warned that 50 percent of energy junk bonds could default, along with 72 percent of bonds in the metals, mining and steel industries. Distressed debt in the US is at its highest level since the official end of the recession in June of 2009. ...
High-yield bond assets at US mutual funds hit $305 billion in June 2014, triple their level in 2009. Outstanding debt in the US junk bond market has soared to more than $1.2 trillion from less than $700 billion in 2007—an increase of 71 percent.

Prices of high-risk securities fell to levels not seen in six years—in the aftermath of the 2008 Wall Street crash. The yields on these low-rated bonds, which move in the opposite direction of price, continued to soar, as did the cost of credit default swaps purchased to hedge against bond defaults.

Further roiling the markets was the prospect of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade when it meets this week. Even though Fed Chair Janet Yellen has repeatedly assured the markets that any increase will be small and rates will remain well below normal for an indefinite period, any increase will tend to further depress junk bond prices.
Jeffrey Gundlach, head of the Doubleline Total Return Bond Fund, expressed the fears on Wall Street, declaring, “We’re talking about raising interest rates with the credit markets in corporate credit absolutely tanking. They’re falling apart.”

14-NATO Is Going for Bust in Syria-

Which brings us back to the downing of the Su-24. Venturing one step further, Russian expert Alexei Leonkov maintains that not only did NATO follow the whole operation with an AWACS, but another AWACS from Saudi Arabia actually guided the Turkish F-16s.

The F-16s are incapable of launching air-to-air missiles without guidance from AWACS. Both Russian and Syrian data – which can be independently verified – place the American and the Saudi AWACS in the area at the time. And to top it off, the detailed US-Turkey deal on the F-16s stipulates permission is mandatory for deploying the jets against a third country.
All this suggests an extremely serious possibility; a direct NATO-GCC op against Russia, which may be further clarified by the Su-24’s recovered black box.

It’s not legal but we don’t care
NATO’s Syria intervention is of course absolutely illegal.
UN Security Council resolution 2249 does not fall under Chapter 7 of the UN charter. Yet once again creative language – French-style rhetorical artifice - blurs the non-justification of military might by conveying the impression the UNSC approves it.

15---As the Neocons Fume Putin and Merkel Forge Ahead With Nord Stream II
Tripartite talks between Putin, Merkel and EU's Juncker intended to secure Nord Stream II despite US opposition

16--A Special Relationship: The US Is Teaming up With Al Qaeda, Again

By the beginning of 2012, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and the United States were all heavily involved in supporting the armed rebellion against Assad. ....
The Qataris were not at all discriminating in who they gave arms to,” the former White House official told me. “They were just dumping stuff to lucky recipients.” Chief among the lucky ones were Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, both of which had benefited from a rebranding strategy instituted by Osama bin Laden. ...
The rebranding program was paradoxically assisted by the rise of the Islamic State, a group that had split off from the Al Qaeda organization partly in disagreement over the image-softening exercise enjoined by Zawahiri...

The Saudis preferred to work through us,” explained the former White House official. “They didn’t have an autonomous capability to find weapons. We were the intermediaries, with some control over the distribution....

A few months before the Idlib offensive, a member of one CIA-backed group had explained the true nature of its relationship to the Al Qaeda franchise. Nusra, he told the New York Times, allowed militias vetted by the United States to appear independent, so that they would continue to receive American supplies. When I asked a former White House official involved in Syria policy if this was not a de facto alliance, he put it this way: “I would not say that Al Qaeda is our ally, but a turnover of weapons is probably unavoidable. I’m fatalistic about that. It’s going to happen.”

Earlier in the Syrian war, U.S. officials had at least maintained the pretense that weapons were being funneled only to so-called moderate opposition groups. But in 2014, in a speech at Harvard, Vice President Joe Biden confirmed that we were arming extremists once again, although he was careful to pin the blame on America’s allies in the region, whom he denounced as “our largest problem in Syria.” In response to a student’s question, he volunteered that our allies were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad. Except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world......

The Syrian opposition seemed like an ideal candidate for such assistance, especially since Assad had been in the U.S. crosshairs for some time. (The country’s first and only democratically elected government was overthrown by a CIA-instigated coup in 1949 at the behest of American oil interests irked at Syria’s request for better terms on a pipeline deal.) In December 2006, William Roebuck, the political counselor at the American Embassy in Damascus, sent a classified cable to Washington, later released by WikiLeaks, proposing “actions, statements, and signals” that could help destabilize Assad’s regime. Among other recommended initiatives was a campaign, coordinated with the Egyptian and Saudi governments, to pump up existing alarm among Syrian Sunnis about Iranian influence in the country.

17--Carter US defense chief seeks more Turkish help against ISIL

18---Syria Right to Hit NATO Warplanes, Finian Cunningham

Translated from Arabic language Alrai Media (thanks to the reliable Fort Russ Russian news site), the senior Syrian officer at the operations room is quoted as saying: “Soon Syria will announce that any country using the airspace without coordinating with Damascus will be viewed as hostile and [we] will shoot the jet down without warning. Those willing to fight terrorism and coordinate with the military leadership will be granted safe corridors.”...

Russia is the only country whose military aircraft are legally deployed in Syria because Moscow has the full consent of the Syrian government. All the others do not have consent from Damascus.
So we have at least seven foreign powers deploying their warplanes to bomb Syrian territory – all in violation of international law....

Syria, with the S-300 missile system supplied by its Russian ally, now has the technical means to defend its borders and airspace from all intruders. It also has the legal right to defend the inviolability of its territory. After all, US President Barack Obama invoked this right with regard to Turkey after the shoot-down of the Russian Su-24. Obama said Turkey had “every right to protect its skies” (even though the evidence shows that the Russian fighter jet did not breach Turkish territory).
In other words: what’s good for Turkey is good for Syria, as for any other nation....

But either way, the imperative here is that Syria re-establishes its sovereignty and the principles of international law. If Syria is lost, then Western state sponsored banditry and terrorism will only escalate. Russia is already being targeted by the West’s asymmetric warfare, as is Iran and China.
Therefore, a line has to be drawn. And with Russia’s military support, Syria has the power to do just that. From now on, NATO warplanes violating Syrian territory should be put on notice. Keep out or get shot down

19--Saker:  The western narrative currently tries to show that it is Russia (and only Russia) which is keeping Assad in power. But this is completely false. The reality is that both Hezbollah and Iran are fully committed to preventing Daesh from overthrowing the Syrian government and their commitment has gone way further than words: Hezbollah has send hundreds of its best fighters to Syria and Iran has committed thousands of soldiers, mostly of the al-Quds Brigade, to the war in Syria. What this level of determination shows is that, just like Russia, Iran and Hezbollah have concluded that their vital, existential, interests are at risk and that they have no choice than to take the fight to Daesh. I believe that this assessment is absolutely correct.

So this is the key question here: do the deep state elites which run the US Empire understand that neither Russia, nor Iran or Hezbollah believe that they can back down and accept a Daesh victory in Syria? Do the western leader realize that Russia, Iran and Hezbollah cannot let the Empire overthrow Assad? Is there anybody out there who does not realize that the “Assad must go policy” implies a war against Russia, Iran and Hezbollah? The only way to avoid a war is to finally give up, even if that is initially denied publicly, on the “Assad must go” policy.

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