Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Today's links

1--ISIS ‘Apologized’ To Israel For Attacking Its Soldiers – Ex-Defense Minister


2--Al-Qaeda's Zawahiri calls for 'guerrilla war' in Syria, CIA-invention al-Zawahiri  would rather fight Assad than Netanyahu. Go figure?



Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has called on the armed Syrian opposition to wage guerrilla warfare against the government of Bashar al-Assad and its allies.
In an audio tape titled "Syria will only bow to God", released on the internet on Sunday, Zawahiri urged Syrian rebels to "have patience and prepare themselves for a long war against the Crusaders and their Shia allies".
He urged them to adopt a "guerilla warfare" strategy because it would "weaken and drain the enemy".

3--Whatever it takes--Russia May Deploy Ground Forces To Syria On Assad Government Request – Media Reports

For example, the Iranian state-run media outlet Press TV:

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed on Monday that the Russian special forces were ready to be deployed in the areas where Syrian troops were engaged in serious battles against the terrorist groups.
They further noted that the technical aspects of the plan had already been drawn up, and that it would be implemented once the Damascus government puts in an official request and Russian President Vladimir Putin issues the order.

4--Lavrov slams US ‘Russia-arms-Taliban’ remarks as ‘red herring’ to divert focus from Syria


5--Israeli Land grab??


As Al Masdar News reported on Sunday, the Israeli Air Force carried out its second attack against Syrian forces this month, targeting forces stationed in the Golan:

Why the Israeli military chooses to target the only force in southern Syria that is fighting both Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIL) is often debated by all parties in this six year long conflict.
However, to the Syrian government, Israel’s actions are clear; they are providing air support to the groups fighting the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies, such as Hezbollah and Harakat Nujaba (Iraqi paramilitary).

6--Theodore Postol: Khan Sheikhoun Victim Videos Can’t Be from the Claimed "Sarin" Munitions Site 


7--Understanding H.R. McMaster – The Mind Of The War-Maker


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/understanding-hr-mcmaster-the-mind-of-the-war-maker_us_58e64f49e4b02c1f72345a90

McMaster’s book, apparently developed from his PhD thesis at UNC. Fair warning: I did not expect a peace manifesto, not from the top National Security (War) Council appointee of Donald Trump. But my, oh my. To call him a fool would be an understatement. He’s not stupid. But he is a moral monster....

In 334 pages, he noodles around in the narrow world of Pentagon-think, never considering or even mentioning the lives and experiences of people on the ground, either Vietnamese or U.S. military. Not the 58,000 Americans thrown into the maws of war, not the three million Vietnamese coolly murdered, not the nearly half million killed in Laos and Cambodia. These American generals move lives around like pawns on a chessboard, coldly slaughtering thousands to advance their careers. They will sentimentally invoke the heroic dead in order to browbeat critics, but they don’t give a flying f*#k about these people, of that there is no doubt. So it takes some getting used to reading all these pages on Vietnam without ever encountering a human death...


McMaster talks a great deal about debates on military strategy in the U.S. government and military leadership. But in this whole assessment of Vietnam he never mentions the use of napalm, the burning of villages, the destruction of rain forests and human bodies with Agent Orange, the CIA’s Phoenix program of assassinating civilians who oppose the Saigon regime, the Tiger Force slaughters of civilians, the My Lai massacre. These facts, crucial facts that explain the horrors of the war, are absent from his “strategic thinking.”...

His basic thesis is that the military leadership was shunted aside, marginalized, in the development of a war plan during the early 1960’s. The military leadership had clashed with President John F. Kennedy in 1962 during the Cuba Missile Crisis. They wanted an all out invasion of Cuba and massive air strikes to crush the revolution and Fidel Castro. Kennedy managed to keep them at bay and negotiate a withdrawal of the missiles by Khrushchev. Thereafter, Kennedy and then Lyndon Johnson sought to keep the generals’ influence at some safer distance—they were regarded as trigger-happy and devoid of strategic thinking....


from the beginning of the U.S. entanglement in Southeast Asia, the generals wanted to go all out. Just as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lyman Lemnitzer “had taken an unequivocal position on Laos and believed that he United States should be prepared to use its full power before deciding to intervene anywhere,” (p. 22) so Air Force General LeMay insisted that the U.S. should intervene massively in Vietnam to assure “victory.” (p. 65-66) He had cut his teeth during World War II when he coordinated the firebombing of Japanese cities and the mining of Japanese rivers...

So here we had the clash of two clueless factions: the measured response by Ivy League guys like McNamara and the bombs away posse with LeMay and General Westmoreland—graduated pressure vs. the sharp blow; bombers vs. stranglers McMaster essentially argues that the generals were marginalized, lied to, and disempowered. In the end, we must remember, all the horrendous ideas the generals had were implemented. Perhaps McMaster thought they would work better if tried earlier. Well, let me take that back. Two ideas of the Pentagon that were not implemented were nuclear weapons and the total destruction of the complex and necessary dike system in North Vietnam. The former would have slaughtered hundreds of thousands; the latter would have drowned as many and starved as many more. McMaster never says it but perhaps he believes that was the one way we could have “won.” Again, the mad calculations of people devoid of ethics or even the most fundamental human feelings.


In a decidedly weak bit of historical speculation, McMaster suggests that Johnson was unable to decide on military action because of a tragic flaw in his personality – he was psychologically insecure, he “desired unity and feared dissent” (87) – ominously arguing that LBJ was naïve and subjective, he was not tough enough to buck public opinion and debate. He would not blow the Vietnamese into the Stone Age and he would not pull out. Like Hamlet, he dithered....

McMaster considers the “errors” in Vietnam to be worrying about public opinion and placing any restrictions on the air campaign. Even as he recognizes that the U.S. was losing more and more popular support among Vietnamese civilians (p. 287), he argues that the military needed the freedom to escalate attacks as they saw fit. But even in 1965, when the body count of U.S. troops was only 400 (there would be 57,600 more), Lyndon Johnson had the chutzpah to invoke the honored dead to browbeat Congress into approving more funds for the war. The cynical use of dead bodies to enshrine some kind of patriotic meaning is one of the most disgusting aspects of war-making propaganda. The military leaders – those strutting officers with inflated egos and personal cowardice (they never get down in the muck of battle) – first kill their own soldiers then intimidate those who would not honor the war....



Dereliction of duty is not just a mistake. It is a crime and one severely punished in the military. He is saying that the generals and civilian leadership should have been tried for not going all the way to “win” in Vietnam. Many of us, of course, feel something different: that they should have been tried before international courts for war crimes.

the U.S. intensified bombing throughout the 1960s. They relentlessly bombed North Vietnam as well as areas in the south where resistance was strong. They also bombed nearby countries where local resistance as well as supply routes had been organized and built. By the end of the war, the U.S. had dropped seven million tons of bombs on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia - more than twice the amount of bombs dropped on Europe and Asia in World War II – and remember that Vietnam itself is only about 80% the size of California. So keep in mind: no military effort was spared, no horror was ruled out, in an attempt to break the resistance.


8--Hillary reveals real Korea policy--Keep them divided


We don’t want a unified Korean peninsula, because if there were one, an already-strong South Korea would be dominant for obvious economic reasons.

MS. CLINTON: Well, I think [Chinese] traditional policy has been close to what you’ve described. We don’t want a unified Korean peninsula, because if there were one South Korea would be dominant for the obvious economic and political reasons.

 

We [also] don’t want the North Koreans to cause more trouble than the system can absorb. So we’ve got a pretty good thing going with the previous North Korean leaders [Kim Il-sung and Kim Jung-il]. And then along comes the new young leader [Kim Jung-un], and he proceeds to insult the Chinese. He refuses to accept delegations coming from them. He engages in all kinds of both public and private rhetoric, which seems to suggest that he is preparing himself to stand against not only the South Koreans and the Japanese and the Americans, but also the Chinese.

Translation — three points:

  • The U.S. prefers that Korea stay divided. If Korea were to unite, South Korea would be in charge, and we don’t want South Korea to become any more powerful than it already is.
  • We also don’t want the trouble North Korea causes South Korea to extend beyond the region. We want it to stay within previously defined bounds.
  • Our arrangement with the two previous North Korean leaders met both of those objectives. North Korea’s new leader, ,Kim Jung-un, is threatening that arrangement.

9--US defense secretary makes crisis trip to Afghanistan


On April 14, the day after the US military dropped the massive bomb on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Russia hosted a conference to that end in Moscow that was attended by all the countries of the region, including Pakistan, India and China, but boycotted by the US. There is every reason to believe that the use of the MOAB was directed at Russia as much as it was at ISIS.

Launched nearly 16 years ago in the name of fighting terrorism and avenging the attacks of September 11, 2001, the war in Afghanistan had as its strategic aim to further US hegemony over the region of Central Asia, which boasts the second largest proven reserves of oil and gas in the world, in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Just as the war, waged at an estimated cost of $800 billion, has failed to secure the US-backed puppet regime in Kabul, it has also done nothing to further US imperialism’s broader aims. Russia continues to dominate energy exploitation in the region, while China is steadily increasing its own role, with the building of pipelines directing these vital resources to the east, rather than the west.

Under these conditions, an escalation of the US intervention in Afghanistan will be carried out as part of a broader buildup toward military confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia and China, from eastern Europe, to Syria, the South China Sea, the Korean peninsula and beyond.....

The “barbaric” character of the US military operation was spelled out barely a week and a half before Mattis’s arrival in Kabul with the dropping on Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar Province of the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), the most destructive weapon used anywhere since the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Mattis’s unannounced trip to Afghanistan comes less than a week and a half after President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster, made his own visit to Kabul. The stepped-up attention to Washington’s longest-ever war appears to be bound up with plans for another escalation of the US troop deployment there.

Currently close to 9,000 US soldiers are deployed in Afghanistan, including both those described as trainers and advisers of the Afghan National Army and Special Operations units that are involved in search and destroy missions both unilaterally and alongside Afghan puppet forces

10--Mad Dog rallies allies for fight in Syria


Over the past week, Mr. Mattis visited leaders in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel bearing the message that the Trump administration wants to realign with those nations and stressing that Washington and capitals in the region have shared interests, such as fighting terrorism.
But an animating feature of Mr. Mattis’s effort is to counter what he repeatedly has described as the malign influence of Iran.
–– ADVERTISEMENT ––

“Everywhere you look, if there’s trouble in the region, you find Iran,” Mr. Mattis said on a stop in Riyadh, adding that nations in the region are working to “checkmate Iran and the amount of disruption, the amount of instability they cause.”


11--Putin: Missile defense upsets global balance of power you tube


"The US is developing an anti-missile defense system....when it is operational.." there will be a moment in time when our entire nuclear capability will be neutralized, which means that the entire global balance of power will be overturned.. This means one of the powers will have absolute security and be able to do whatever it likes in regional conflicts. We're talking about unrivaled power in global conflicts. ..This syetm forces us to create weapons that can nullify the system asymmetrically.

12--Ramzon Kadyrov: US intel agencies trained terrorists to fight in Chechnya you tube


Over the years, US and EU intelligence agencies have done everything possible to destroy the Russian state.  The Chechen Republic was chosen as the area to carry out their plan. The previous decade saw the most horrific fighting there. And it wasn't a small bunch of rebels, but a specially trained warriors by the US and EU intelligence agencies. Our sources show these militants came from over 50 countries. Russia won that war...but they continue to look for any opportunity to defeat Putin."

13--Wesley Clark spills the beans: Washington's war plan


"I just got this down from upstairs-- from the Secretary of Defense's office--I just got this memo today that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years. starting with Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. I said, "Is it classified"?  He said, "Yes, sir"!

14--Putin: The US does not want allies. The US wants vassals."


"Mr McCain is a Vietnam war veteran. I would assume he is up to his elbows in civilian blood. It appears he cannot get by without repeating scenes that are atrocious to us, like the murder of Gadhafi. On TV screens around the world, we were shown Gadhafi's murder where he was drenched in blood. Is this what you call democracy?  They brought a camera crew as well as opposition rebels, and they murdered him without charge or trial. Mr McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. When they captured him they didn't put him in a prison, they put him in a hole in the ground. And that is where he left his mind."

15--Putin: "We are in grave danger"


"Whether you believe me or not, we offered real remedies to stop this arms race. But they rejected everything we had to offer. So here we are today, and they have placed their missile defense system to Romania. ...So they built this system and now it is being loaded with missiles...These missiles are put into capsules which are utilized from sea-based, mid-range Tomahawk rocket launchers.  ...eventually the missiles will be able to penetrate a distance of 1,000km or more ..at which point they will be a threat to Russia's nuclear capability. ..You don't seem to grasp how serious this is, how the world is being pulled in an irreversible direction.

The US says this is a defensive system, but that is absolutely not true. A missile defense system is one part of a whole system of offensive nuclear capability. One complex blocks,while the other launches a high-precision weapon, the third blocks a potential nuclear strike, and the forth sends out its own nuclear missile in response. It's all part of one system....From what I can see, we are in grave danger. ...I do not know how all this is going to end, but I know we must defend ourselves.

It was precisely the balance of power that guaranteed the safety of the humanity from major global conflict for the last 70 years. ...How they could tear it down so carelessly, I can't understand."

16--Putin, Valdai 2016...

Monday, April 24, 2017

Today's Links

Every dollar that's put into circulation, is another check written on an account that is overdrawn by $20 trillion dollars.



"The only way the United States can force others to use the dollar, is with a truncheon. That is why they've launched this hybrid war against the world, they want to shift the burden of their debts onto other nations,  chain them to the dollar and weaken the countries they can't control."

The only way to stop this aggression is by ditching the dollar. Once China and Russia are through with the dollar, it will be the end of the United States’ military might." Sergey Glazyev, Russian economist


“Russia is an inalienable and organic part of Greater Europe and European civilization. Our citizens think of themselves as Europeans…That’s why Russia proposes moving towards the creation of a common economic space from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, a community referred to by Russian experts as ‘the Union of Europe’ which will strengthen Russia’s potential in its economic pivot toward the ‘new Asia.’”

— Russian President Vladimir Putin, “Russia and the changing world”, February 2012






1--US threat of war forces North Korea into siege state mentality


As Bruce Cumings, the leading Western academic expert on the DPRK, puts it:
"North Korea is the only country in the world to have been systematically blackmailed by US nuclear weapons going back to the 1950s, when hundreds of nukes were installed in South Korea… Why on earth would Pyongyang not seek a nuclear deterrent? But this crucial background doesn’t enter mainstream American discourse. History doesn’t matter, until it does - when it rears up and smacks you in the face."...

North Korea is full of normal human beings who want to enjoy their lives, live in peace, raise their children, learn, love, socialize, dance, sing, and so on. They don't have the same ideology as modern westerners, but frankly that's not an entirely bad thing. And in many respects the DPRK is surprisingly successful. ....

As General Charles Horner, former commander of the US Space Command says: "It's kind of hard for us to say to North Korea, 'You are terrible people, you are developing a nuclear weapon,' when the United States has thousands of them."


2--Why Washington is Terrified of Russia, China-- Time to ditch the buck


Russia and China quietly advancing their agreement to progressively replace the US dollar's reserve status with a gold-backed system....

Combine "alternative" payment systems with a developing gold-backed system – and "toxic" does not even begin to spell out the reaction of the US Federal Reserve.

And it's not just about Russia and China; it's about the BRICS.
What First Deputy Governor of Russia's Central Bank Sergey Shvetsov has outlined is just the beginning: "BRICS countries are large economies with large reserves of gold and an impressive volume of production and consumption of this precious metal. In China, the gold trade is conducted in Shanghai, in Russia it is in Moscow. Our idea is to create a link between the two cities in order to increase trade between the two markets."

Russia and China already have established systems to do global trade bypassing the US dollar. What Washington did to Iran — cutting their banks off SWIFT – is now unthinkable against Russia and China.
So we're already on our way, slowly but surely, towards a BRICS "gold marketplace." A "new financial architecture" is being built. That will imply the eventual inability of the US Fed to export inflation to other nations – especially those included in BRICS, EEU and SCO.

3--Why Does North Korea Want Nukes?


In 1951 the U.S. initiated “Operation Strangle” which officialls estimated killed at least 3 million people on both sides of the 38th parallel, but the figure is probably closer to 4 million. We do not know how many Chinese died – either solders or civilians killed in cross border bombings.
The question of whether the U.S. carried out germ warfare has been raised but has never been fully proved or disproved. The North accused the U.S. of dropping bombs laden with cholera, anthrax, plague, and encephalitis and hemorrhagic fever, all of which turned up among soldiers and civilians in the north. Some American prisoners of war confessed to such war crimes ...

Napalm was used extensively, completely and utterly destroying the northern capital of Pyongyang. By 1953 American pilots were returning to carriers and bases claiming there were no longer any significant targets in all of North Korea to bomb. ...

.”In the Spring of 1953 US warplanes hit five of the largest dams along the Yalu river completely inundating and killing Pyongyang’s harvest of rice. Air Force documents reveal calculated premeditation saying that “Attacks in May will be most effective psychologically because it was the end of the rice-transplanting season before the roots could become completely embedded.” Flash floods scooped out hundreds of square miles of vital food producing valleys and killed untold numbers of farmers....

I submit that it is the collective memory of all of what I’ve described that animates North Korea’s policies toward the US today which has nuclear weapons on constant alert and stations almost 30,000 forces at the ready. Remember, a state of war still exists and has since 1953.


4--Poll: The Democratic Party Is In Deep Trouble


After the presidential election the Democratic Party and its supporting media pushed unreasonable stories of secret Russian support for Trump's election as a main reason for Clinton's loss. The party avoided to discuss the real reasons: an unpopular candidate and its out-of-touch polices.
The diversion attempt failed. That is at least what I read from a just published ABC News/Washington Post poll:
[T]he national survey [...] finds some brighter spots for the president –- chiefly in pushing for jobs and in foreign policy [...]
...
[The poll] finds no evidence of buyer's remorse among Trump supporters. Among those who report having voted for him in November, 96 percent today say it was the right thing to do; a mere 2 percent regret it.
...
In March 2014, 48 percent of Americans said the Democratic Party was out of touch with the concerns of most people. Today 67 percent say so. And the biggest change has occurred chiefly among the party's own typical loyalists, with "out of touch" ratings up 33 points among liberals, 30 points among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents and 26 points among moderates and nonwhites alike.
...
Among Americans who say they voted in the 2016 election, 46 percent say they voted for Hillary Clinton and 43 percent for Trump, very close to the 2-point margin in the actual popular vote results. However, while Trump would retain almost all of his support if the election were held again today (96 percent), fewer of Clinton's supporters say they’d stick with her (85 percent), producing a 40-43 percent Clinton-Trump result in this hypothetical re-do among self-reported 2016 voters.
The people are not falling for the Democratic Party scam of "Russian interference". They obviously see the fault where it belongs. Unless the party shuns its Clinton/Obama legacy and reengages in voter-oriented politics it is likely to fail again and again.

5--See any reason not to panic? (plunging credit)


6--Trumped up expectations fading:

Forecasters Lower Growth Outlook as Hopes for Quick Stimulus Fade

By Josh Zumbrun
Apr 13 (WSJ) — Following the election, respondents to The Wall Street Journal’s monthly survey of forecasters significantly raised their estimates for growth, inflation and interest rates. In December, the average forecast called for 2.3% growth in the first quarter. That had fallen to 1.9% in March and dipped again to 1.4% in this month’s survey. In January, 71% of economists in the Journal’s survey were including significant fiscal policy changes in their forecasts. In April, that number was down to 44%. A majority now say “significant” changes are unlikely, although many said a small fiscal boost remains possible.
Slowing loan growth finally making the news:

Loan growth stalls despite profit, trading gains at some U.S. banks

By David Henry
Apr 14 (Reuters) — Big U.S. banks revealed more evidence of a slowdown in loan growth in their earnings reports on Thursday. JPMorgan’s core loan portfolio averaged $812 billion during the first quarter, up 9 percent on an annualized basis. But that growth rate has ticked down from 12 percent in the previous quarter and 17 percent a year ago. Wells Fargo’s annual loan growth rate of 4 percent has also been slowing over the past year. Citigroup’s loan book has been skewed by divestitures and its acquisition of a credit-card portfolio. Adjusting for those matters, Citi’s core loan book grew 5 percent in the first quarter.

7--Atlanta Fed cuts GDP forecast to 0.5%


The Atlanta and New York Federal Reserve banks downgraded their outlook for U.S. economic growth for the first quarter after disappointing data on retail sales and consumer prices in March.
First-quarter gross domestic product was on track to grow 0.5 percent, which was lower than the 0.6 percent growth rate calculated on April 7, the Atlanta Fed said.

8--The Fed's War on Trump


In addition to the low rates, the Fed expanded its balance sheet, or bond portfolio, to $4.5 trillion through three rounds of "quantitative easing." Now, the Fed not only is targeting rate hikes but also has begun discussing rolling off the securities it accumulated through the post-financial crisis years. Letting the balance sheet decline is akin to additional rate hikes, several Fed officials have said.

9-- Dina Powell, Donald Trump Aide, Named to National Security Post


Dina Powell, President Trump’s senior counselor for economic initiatives, has been named as a deputy national security adviser for strategy, Trump administration officials said Wednesday.
The selection of Ms. Powell is the most prominent appointment on the National Security Council staff since Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster was picked last month to serve as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser.
.
Ms. Powell was asked to take the job by General McMaster, who wants to put a greater emphasis at the council on developing and implementing strategy. Although she does not have extensive experience on national security issues, Ms. Powell has spent 15 years in government, has worked in the private sector and has a broad network of contacts.
Ms. Powell also works closely with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and will be his closest liaison with the council.
Ms. Powell was recently the president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation. During her years at Goldman Sachs, she worked with Gary Cohn, Mr. Trump’s senior economic policy adviser, and she is expected to continue her role working on the administration’s economic initiatives.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/15/us/politics/dina-powell-donald-trump-aide-named-to-national-security-post.html?_r=1

General McMaster has also asked Nadia Schadlow to join his staff as a deputy assistant to the president for national security strategy. Ms. Schadlow served as a senior officer at the Smith Richardson Foundation and is the author of a recent book that examined 15 cases in which the United States Army intervened abroad, and the service’s role in political and economic reconstruction.
She will be tasked with drafting the United States national security strategy, a comprehensive statement of the administration’s foreign policy and defense goals, which is issued by the White House.

10--Map--Syria, Raqqa, Deir Ezzor


11--Hundreds of Afghan soldiers die in Taliban attack


McMaster’s visit came just days after the US military dropped its largest nonnuclear bomb, the Massive Ordinance Air Blast (MOAB), in the east of the country, ostensibly to target a few hundred ISIS supporters operating in a cave network. The blast killed an estimated 94 ISIS fighters and an unknown number of civilians, with reports of houses being destroyed some three miles away from the blast site.
US politicians and media outlets applauded the strike as a demonstration of US military power and a warning to Russia, China and North Korea as to the methods to which US imperialism is prepared to resort in pursuit of its drive for global hegemony.

The decision to drop the MOAB, together with remarks by various think tanks, point to a deliberate effort by Washington to escalate tensions with Russia and other regional powers over Afghanistan.
Stratfor, which has close links with the US intelligence apparatus, described the Central Asian country in an April 20 analysis as “an increasingly important theater for the US-Russia competition.” It complained that Moscow was working to deploy additional troops in Tajikistan on the Afghan border as part of a military cooperation agreement with the Central Asian country.
US and Afghan officials have also made provocative allegations that Russia is aiding the Taliban, claims the Kremlin has dismissed as “fabrications.”
On April 14, Moscow held peace talks with the Afghan government and other regional powers. While an invitation was extended to Washington, the Trump administration refused to attend and instead dropped the MOAB a day prior to the meeting....

The insurgency against the US-led occupation has continued to grow. According to information from the US special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR), the Afghan government controls just 52 percent of the country, with more than one third of provinces contested by insurgents and around 10 percent under the control of the Taliban. These figures come ahead of the Taliban’s anticipated spring offensive, and show that despite investing hundreds of billions of dollars to establish a pro-Western puppet regime in Kabul, Washington has failed to establish a viable government.

The attack on the Afghan army base came less than a week after President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, visited Kabul for talks with the Afghan government. The main purpose of the talks was to consider whether additional US military personnel would be required to turn the tide of the conflict. Currently, some 8,500 US troops operate in Afghanistan, nominally in the capacity of advising and assisting Afghan troops.
The latest attack, which has exposed once again the fragility of the US-trained forces, will only intensify calls for further US deployments...

A stepped-up US presence is even more likely given the deepening crisis facing the Afghan army and the mounting alienation felt by ordinary Afghans towards Washington’s corrupt client regime in Kabul

12--IMF meeting signals descent into global trade war


13--Global Trumpism


14--US defense secretary targets Syria with chemical weapons allegation



In the same statement charging Syria with keeping chemical weapons, Mattis also said that the Syrian army had “dispersed their aircraft in recent days.” US intelligence officials have reported that Damascus has redeployed its warplanes to Russia’s Hmeimim airbase near Latakia on the Syrian coast in order to intermingle them with Russian planes. Another US strike against them would inevitably mean hitting Russian personnel, raising the threat of a military confrontation between the world’s two major nuclear powers.

15--Taliban Attack on North Afghanistan Army Base Kills At Least 163


death tolls are now at least 163 killed, with hundreds more wounded.This all amounts to the single largest Taliban attack on an Afghan military target of the entire 16-year US war. The Taliban has indicated that four infiltrators on the base helped the 10 attackers who arrived to find their way around, though as yet they haven’t been identified.


16--Goldman Sachs Completes Return From Wilderness to the White House


“Government Sachs” is back.

After eight years in the political wilderness, its name synonymous with the supposedly undue and self-serving influence in Washington that brought us the financial crisis and the Wall Street bailout, Goldman Sachs is again making its presence felt. In the Trump administration, to an unprecedented degree, economic policy making is largely being handed over to people with Goldman ties.

The Goldman alumni include Steven T. Mnuchin, the nominee for Treasury secretary; Gary D. Cohn, tapped as director of the National Economic Council and White House adviser on economic policy; and Stephen K. Bannon, who was named chief White House strategist. Jay Clayton, named to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, is a Wall Street lawyer who has represented Goldman.
This week President-elect Donald J. Trump hired Dina H. Powell, a Goldman partner who heads impact investing, as a White House adviser. Anthony Scaramucci, a Goldman alumnus (whom I spotlighted last week), is on the Trump transition committee and is expected to be named to a White House position as well.

And this after Mr. Trump campaigned against Wall Street, excoriated Senator Ted Cruz for his ties to Goldman, and castigated Hillary Clinton for giving paid speeches to big banks, Goldman among them....

Mr. Blankfein dismisses the notion that the firm has any undue influence in Washington. “It’s an imprimatur on our firm that we have such good people that the administration wants to hire them,” he said. “It pains me to lose some of them. But the perception that they’ll go to Washington and then favor us is false. The reverse is true. They’ll bend over backwards to avoid that. They’re not going to serve the interests of Goldman Sachs. They have their own careers and reputations to worry about.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/business/goldman-sachs-completes-return-from-wilderness-to-the-white-house.html


17-- McMaster and Russia


18--Bannon Down, Pentagon Up, Neocons In?


The Pentagon is quite comfortable with an adversarial relationship with Russia, if only because it is familiar and ensures European adherence to NATO, which the United States will dominate for the foreseeable future. This applies in particular to McMaster, who spent the last couple of years planning for conflict with Russia. For similar reasons, the military is generally comfortable with a mostly hostile relationship toward Iran. Such a stance ensures close ties with Washington’s traditional allies/autocrats in the Gulf (whose insatiable demand for U.S. weaponry helps sustain the industrial base of the U.S. military as well as the compensation for retired flag officers who serve on the boards of the arms sellers). And, as Mattis has made clear on any number of occasions, he sees Iran as the greatest long-term threat to U.S. interests in the region and welcomes an opportunity to “push back” against what he has claimed are Tehran’s hegemonic ambitions there. All of this is clearly encouraging to neocons whose antipathy toward both the Islamic Republic and Russia is deeply ingrained and of long standing.On the more negative side, however, the military as an institution naturally harbors a distrust of neoconservatives, a distrust established by the Iraq debacle in which the military still finds itself bogged down with no clear exit. “Regime change” and “nation-building”—much touted by neocons in the post-Cold War era—are dirty words among most of the brass, for whom such phrases have become synonymous with quagmire, over-extension, and, as much as they resist coming to terms with it, failure. Of course, many active-duty and retired senior military officers, of whom McMaster may well be one, consider the 2007-08 “Surge”—a plan heavily promoted by neoconservatives—to have been a great success (despite its manifest failure to achieve the strategic goal of political and sectarian reconciliation) that was undone by Obama’s “premature” withdrawal


19--Trump has lost control over the Pentagon


Trump's Military Caliphate The Ascendance of the Military

On the same day, March 1, the Daily Beast published an article written by Kimberly Dozier, Generals May Launch New ISIS Raids Without Trump’s OK.

 This article was published with  updates and comments from Central Command, with the following statements:
“The White House is considering delegating more authority to the Pentagon”
President Donald Trump has signaled that he wants his defense secretary, retired Marine Gen. Jim Mattis, to have a freer hand to launch time-sensitive missions quickly, ending what U.S. officials say could be a long approval process under President Barack Obama that critics claimed stalled some missions by hours or days.”

As you have noticed the link to 2016 material titled “CALL OF DUTY
The Secret Movement to Draft General James Mattis for President
Gen. James Mattis doesn’t necessarily want to be president—but that’s not stopping a group of billionaire donors from hatching a plan to get him there.”

It’s reminded us that Jim Mattis was endorsed by some ” anonymous group of conservative billionaires” to run in the presidential race “to confront Donald Trump.”

“Mattis, who is also nicknamed the “warrior monk” for his contemplative devotion to the military arts, would be a fallback option for anti-Trump forces.”
Now, this anti-Trump force man has taken an unelected position of the secretary of Defense. Let’s keep this very important detail in mind.

The article says that the Pentagon may start launching operations without the Presidential approval in “areas outside of the declared war zones.”

“In declared war zones, U.S. commanders have the authority to make such calls, but outside such war zones, ….  it can take permissions all the way up to the Oval Office to launch a drone strike or a special-operations team.”
“Despite the controversy, Trump has signaled that he wants to operate more like the CEO he was in the private sector in such matters, and delegate even more power to Mattis, which may mean rewriting one of President Barack Obama’s classified Presidential Policy Directives on potentially lethal operations in countries where the U.S. is not officially involved in combat.”

“Trump officials believe loosening the permissions process can help turn up the heat against ISIS—and counterterrorist-focused agencies like the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) are lining up new targets in anticipation of more numerous and more rapid approvals.”

The new model of command is “pre-delegating authority to Mattis, that authority could be pushed much further down the chain of command—all the way down to the three-star general who runs JSOC.” The result will be “the elite force will be able to move into action, informing the national-security apparatus of the operation but not having to wait for permission.

Cutting through this heavy bureaucratic American doublespeak, the White House will be informed, but would have no commanding authority over the US military.

March 14th, the US National Nuclear Security Administration field tested the modernized B61-12  gravity nuclear bomb in Nevada.
April 7, Liberty Passion, loaded with US military vehicles, moored at Aqaba Main Port, Jordan
On April 7th the Pentagon US bombed Syria’s main command center in fight against terrorists
April 10, United States Deploying Forces At Syrian-Jordanian Border

On April 13th, the Pentagon bombed Afghanistan. The US military has bombed Afghanistan with its GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB)

April 14, Washington failed to attend the latest international conference hosted by Moscow, where 11 nations discussed ways of bringing peace to Afghanistan. The US branded it a “unilateral Russian attempt to assert influence in the region.”

On Saturday April 15, FoxNews posted an article titled, Trump gives generals more freedom to make decisions in ISIS fight, Trump reiterates confidence in US troops after MOAB strike.
It’s important to realize that this Trump’s decision to give more freedom to the US generals to decide where to start a war, or as it’s been dubbed “the New Approach” had come after the fact that was “on display this week in Afghanistan, where Gen. John Nicholson, head of the U.S.-led coalition there, decided to use one of the military’s biggest nonnuclear bombs—a Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, or MOAB.”
After the MOAB was dropped, repeating without the presidential approval, the Media came out heralding this bombing of Afghanistan as “America’s top military commanders are implementing the vision articulated by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis: U.S. military commanders to make more battlefield decisions on their own.”
A senior administration official said Mr. Trump didn’t know about the weapon’s use until it had been dropped.”
“Mr. Mattis “is telling them, ‘It’s not the same as it was, you don’t have to ask us before you drop a MOAB,’” the senior defense official said. “Technically there’s no piece of paper that says you have to ask the president to drop a MOAB. But last year this time, the way [things were] meant, ‘I’m going to drop a MOAB, better let the White House know.’”
“There’s nothing formal, but it is beginning to take shape,” a senior U.S. defense official said Friday. “There is a sense among these commanders that they are able to do a bit more—and so they are.”
“While military commanders complained about White House micromanagement under former President Barack Obama, they are now being told they have more freedom to make decisions without consulting Mr. Trump. Military commanders around the world are being encouraged to stretch the limits of their existing authorities when needed, but to think seriously about the consequences of their decisions.”
“The more muscular military approach is expanding…”
“Mr. Mattis has sketched out such a global plan, but the administration has yet to agree on it. While the political debate continues, the military is being encouraged to take more aggressive steps … around the world

In conclusion:
While the situation is taking its shape, I encourage you to research and to think over the following questions.
This incoming information sounds like a proof of what I have been suspecting all along that the US military has been run by the groups of non-governmental private organizations. My suspicions were confirmed by Rosa Brooks‘ book “How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything.”

It also helped when in February of this year the Washington Post posted her opinion about an ongoing military coup. “A former Defense Department official under the Obama administration has raised the specter of a military coup to remove President Donald Trump from power.
“In an editorial penned for Foreign Policy, senior Pentagon policy official Rosa Brooks publicly suggested a military insurrection against the Trump administration may be the only option to oust one of the most divisive presidents in American history.”

If memory serves me right, in 2011 was a distinct threat issued by Steve Pieczenik on YouTube to Obama and his administration that the military and intelligence stopped considering the presidential power to be legitimate and went on  making themselves to be the real government.
This tells me that no matter who takes the presidency, the US armed forces and the intelligence community refuse to recognize the country’s civilian government.
What does this actually mean for the rest of us?

It means that any negotiations and agreements with the US president and the Secretary of State  are useless, That would explain the complete lack on interest of Putin to talk to any of them. The Kremlin didn’t even release a statement about Putin’s meeting with Tillerson, and there are rumors that it was nothing, but an exchange of strong language on both sides.
So, the US military takes hostage an entire planet by positioning themselves near China, NK and Russia in the Far East, and near Russia in Europe and threatening to start a nuclear conflict with many nuclear countries at once, if they don’t get something.

What do they actually want, and from whom? Do they blackmail Russia and China? Do they also blackmail the EU? Or, do they blackmail someone in the US? Are they looking for money? Are they looking for gold? Do they want the official dejure recognition of the military government?  Or, are they demanding the write off the US debt?

How are they going to get away with this?
Two days ago the Wall Street Journal made an announcement that the Pentagon was granted the “freedom of initiative.”
This announcement was noticed in Russia.

If the US armed forces went rogue and the wsj just announced this, would it be the legal reason for the UN members to neutralize their bases around the world?
Who are now in control of  NATO?

Are they keeping Trump hostage and not allowing him to leave the territory of the US?
What about “neuchtenka” like the PMCs, the Special Forces, (GRS)/OGA, SADs, and others?
Does this mean that the US has no civilian government, and that’s why they are going to shut the government down at the end of April?

20--Mattis: US to Increase Support for Saudis in Yemen

          Saudi officials have presented the war in Yemen, against a Shi’ite faction, as amounting to a proxy war against Iran, and Mattis played this up, accusing Iran of having created “another militia in the image of Lebanese Hezbollah” with the Shi’ite Houthis.
Which of course is not true. The Houthi movement was primarily a political movement in northern Yemen, which follows a form of Shi’a Islam distinct from Iran’s. They never had more than very tentative ties with the Iranian government, though Iran has become keen to back them since the Saudi war, primarily to spite the Saudis.

21-- Results of US MOAB Strike in Afghanistan Remain Unknown


Reporters See Burned Trees, Little Else

While US officials have made much of the “message” sent by the use of the Massive Ordinance Air Blast bomb (MOAB, or Mother of All Bombs) to North Korea and other nations that aren’t Afghanistan, what they actually accomplished in having dropped a bomb on eastern Afghanistan remains very much uncertain.

Officially, from the Afghan government’s perspective, a  significant number of ISIS fighters were killed in the bombing. First 36 were reported killed, then 96 were reported killed. Evidence was never offered, nor is it ever expected to be. The Pentagon has insisted they aren’t ever going to assess what the bomb actually did on the ground.

Reuters reporters actually visited the site, and are also coming up very short on evidence of casualties in the bombing, saying they found a “scarred” mountainside and a bunch of burnt trees. They found no obvious crater nor any bodies.

Perhaps even more damning to the suggestion that the strike accomplished anything, Afghan soldiers in the area were exploring the tunnel system beneath the site of the bombing, which was apparently intact. This raises further doubts that the MOAB was even an appropriate weapon to use against a tunnel system, let alone an effective one

22---Rumsfeld: Bin Laden's Mountain Fortress's

Hilarious propaganda from Rummy

23--Putinomics--Must see--you tube

24--Assad accuses Jordan of planning Syria invasion



The Syrian regime of President Bashar Al-Assad said that his country has information that Jordan is planning to send its troops into southern Syria in cooperation with the United States, Russian state-owned Sputnik reported on Friday.

“We have this information, not only from mass media, but from different sources,” Al-Assad told Sputnik, who interviewed him earlier this week. “You know that we have the same tribes and same families on both sides of the borders,” he told Sputnik’s reporter.

He also said that Amman “had been always part of the American plan” against Syria, claiming that Jordan is not an independent state, but instead carries out the plans imposed on it by the United States.

Mass media previously reported political sources in Amman speaking about Jordanian-American-British operations to be launched against terrorist organisations operating near the northern Jordanian borders with Syria.
The operation that Al-Assad expects comes after monitoring repeated movements of Daesh in areas about 20 kilometres from the Al-Raqban area on the Jordanian borders.
Political sources linked the visit of British Prime Minister Theresa May to Amman on 3 April to the reportedly planned operations, noting that Jordanian King Abdullah II travelled immediately to Washington after meeting with May.
According to Jordanian political sources, Abdullah’s visit to Washington came following increased security cooperation between the two countries.
Speaking to The Washington Post, King Abdullah reiterated that a planned joint operation could take place against terrorists. “It is a challenge, but we are ready to face it in cooperation with the US and Britain


Friday, April 21, 2017

Today's Links

In the terrible years of the Yezhov terror I spent seventeen months waiting in line outside the prison in Leningrad. One day somebody in the crowd identified me. Standing behind me was a woman, with lips blue from the cold, who had, of course, never heard me called by name before. Now she started out of the torpor common to us all and asked me in a whisper (everyone whispered there):
     "Can you describe this?"
     And I said: "I can."
     Then something like a smile passed fleetingly over what had once been her face."

Anna Akhmatova, Requiem

“Am I a ‘pure democrat’? (laughs) Of course I am. Absolutely. The problem is that I’m all alone, the only one of my kind in the whole world. Just look at what’s happening in    America, it’s terrible—torture, homeless people, Guantanamo, people detained without trial or investigation.     And look at  Europe—harsh treatment of demonstrators, rubber bullets and tear gas used in one capital after another, demonstrators killed on the streets….. I have no one to talk to since Gandhi died.  Vladimir Putin, Russian President


Here’s Putin at Munich again:
“I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: “the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee….
Where are these guarantees?

https://www.quora.com/Is-this-picture-of-Vladimir-Putin-riding-a-bear-fake-or-realputin rides a bear




1--Syrian families now name their children: Putin

A powerful sign of gratitude.

2--Maria Zakharova, Russia's Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, has stated on a national TV show that Obama will go down in history as one of the most evil Presidents


Extraordinary interview reveals the unparalleled evil of the US ruling class

What had been said behind closed doors was now being stated publicly.
State Department Spokesman John Kirby said at this time, "Extremist groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which could include attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities. Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and will continue to lose resources, perhaps even aircraft."

3--Jordan Planning to Deploy Troops in Syria in Coordination With US - Assad


4--Assad Not Ruling Out Russian Ground Troops' Help in Syria


5--Washington Wants Daesh to Capture Syrian City of Deir ez-Zor - Assad to Sputnik


6--Assad: West Blocks Probe as It Would Show Idlib 'Attack', US Strike 'False Flag'


7--OPCW’s block of on-site probe shows Western powers now aiming to oust Assad – Lavrov


8-- Why is US media ignoring all dissenting expert voices on the Khan Sheikhoun attack?


9--The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty


the current form of imperialism – aka “globalization”.  It is an imperialism of a new type, centered on the use of military force and “soft” power to enable transnational finance to penetrate every corner of the earth and thus to reshape all societies in the endless quest for profitable return on capital investment....

As the traditional left goal of economic equality was abandoned, it was superseded by emphatic allegiance to “human rights”, which is now taught in school as a veritable religion.  The vague notion of human rights was somehow associated with the “free movement” of everything and everybody. Indeed the official EU dogma is protection of “free movement”: free movement of goods, people, labor and (last but certainly not least) capital. These “four freedoms” in practice transform the nation from a political society into a financial market, an investment opportunity, run by a bureaucracy of supposed experts. In this way, the European Union has become the vanguard experiment in transforming the world into a single capitalist market...

Meanwhile, it has become more and more obvious that EU monetarist policy based on the common currency, the euro, creates neither growth nor jobs as promised but destroys both. Unable to control its own currency, obliged to borrow from private banks, and to pay them interest, France is more and more in debt, its industry is disappearing and its farmers are committing suicide, on the average of one every other day.  The left has ended up in an impossible position: unswervingly loyal to the EU while calling for policies that are impossible under EU rules governing competition, free movement, deregulation, budgetary restraints, and countless other regulations produced by an opaque bureaucracy and ratified by a virtually powerless European Parliament, all under the influence of an army of lobbyists....

French flags and la Marseillaise have replaced the Internationale at Mélenchon rallies. “The Europe of our dreams is dead,” he acknowledges, vowing to “end the nightmare of dictatorship by banks and finance”.

10--Russian pipelines to EU by 2018


11--US secretary of state issues war threat against Iran


12--US vice president warns North Korea “the sword is ready”


13-- US military confirms Isis chemical attack in west Mosul


14-- Russia vows to oppose US stance against Iran


15--Russia vows to oppose US stance against Iran


16--More than 50 feared dead in Taliban attack on Afghan forces base – US military


Last week,
the US dropped an 11-ton “mother of all bombs” in the eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, killing 94 IS terrorists, according to the latest estimates. A figure of 36 was earlier reported...

Dozens have been killed in an ongoing attack on an Afghan military base, a US military official said, adding that the death toll may be over 50, Reuters reports.
"We're talking probably more than 50 casualties," said Colonel John Thomas, a spokesman for the U.S. military's Central Command, as quoted by Reuters

17-- Syria Moves Most Of Its Combat Planes Next To Russian Base For Protection


18--A Plan to Merge Russia with the West


The long term geopolitical strategy of the Western elite is to destroy Russia’s nationalist tendencies in a bid to eventually incorporate a more European minded Russia into Europe and a wider Western community. Former U.S. National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter and key advisor to Barack Obama on foreign policy strategy, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has repeatedly stated his desire to bring Russia into the West. In his 2012 book ‘Strategic Vision’, CFR member Brzezinski reveals that the objective of the U.S. is to “connect” Russia with the West through institutions “like the EU and NATO”:

“In essence, the pursuit of the foregoing objective will require U.S. engagement in shaping a more vital and larger West while helping to balance the emerging rivalry in the rising and restless East. This complex undertaking will call for a sustained effort over the next several decades to connect, in transformative ways, through institutions like the EU and NATO, both Russia and Turkey with a West that already embraces both the EU and the United States.” (Brzezinski, 2012, p.131)
http://www.globalresearch.ca/plan-to-merge-russia-with-the-west-former-oil-tycoon-launches-pro-european-political-movement-in-russia/5408829?print=1

19--CFR bristles at Moscow taking a stake in oil industry


The siloviki, meanwhile, had become concerned that access to and ownership of more and more of Russia's mineral deposits were being sold to foreign multinational corporations, including some owned predominantly by Americans. By the time of Khodorkovsky's arrest in October 2003, Tyumen Oil had formed a partnership with BP, and several other companies (such as ConocoPhillips) were secretly engaged in similar negotiations. When Khodorkovsky, after announcing a pending merger between Yukos and Sibneft, began to negotiate with both ExxonMobil and Chevron-Texaco, government hard-liners grew truly alarmed. They feared that Putin would wake up one morning and discover that Russia's most strategic and valuable energy companies had been taken over by Western corporations. It was one thing for the foreign companies to be minority investors, but quite another for them to buy operational control, especially when some of their payments to the oligarchs were being diverted abroad. Roman Abramovich's purchase of London's Chelsea soccer team for $400 million may have pleased Londoners, but it angered Moscow's mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, who wanted to know why the money was not going to improve a Moscow team instead. ...

Russia will undoubtedly survive the flawed process of privatization, just as it has survived more serious crises. But the direction Putin is taking is disappointing. By merging state-controlled Gazprom with state-owned Rosneft, he has signaled once again that the state will become a strong if not dominant voice in energy policy and economic planning. Moreover, the new entity has become the most likely suitor for Yuganskneftegaz once, as seems likely, Yukos is forced to sell it. If the purchase occurs, Gazprom-Rosneft will then account for 25 percent of the country's energy production. Combined with Putin's crackdown on the media and his September order to terminate the direct election of governors and members of the Duma, his increased involvement in economic matters is worrisome. It means that, under Putin, Russia is reversing some of the most important economic and political reforms it adopted after freeing itself from the yoke of communism
.

20-- CIA used foreign terrorists in Chechnya


Kadyrov blames Western enemies of Russia for the violence Chechnya saw after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“The Western and European special services over the years did every possible and impossible thing to destroy Russia as a sovereign state. They chose the Chechen Republic as the stage for their game,” he said.
“That was not some bandit gang. There were fighters well trained by the special services. Our intelligence says fighters from 50 nations were involved. But Russia prevailed and has proven that she is a strong nation.”
https://www.rt.com/news/385299-kadyrov-interview-chechnya-syria/


21--Who started the Korean war


As to who did in reality fire that shot, Bruce Cumings, head of the history department at the University of Chicago, gave us the definitive answer in his two-volume The Origins of the Korean War, and The Korean War: A History: the Korean war started during the American occupation of the South, and it was Rhee, with help from his American sponsors, who initiated a series of attacks that well preceded the North Korean offensive of 1950. From 1945-1948, American forces aided Rhee in a killing spree that claimed tens of thousands of victims: the counterinsurgency campaign took a high toll in Kwangju, and on the island of Cheju-do – where as many as 60,000 people were murdered by Rhee’s US-backed forces.
Rhee’s army and national police were drawn from the ranks of those who had collaborated with the Japanese occupation during World War II, and this was the biggest factor that made civil war inevitable. That the US backed these quislings guaranteed widespread support for the Communist forces led by Kim IL Sung, and provoked the rebellion in the South that was the prelude to open North-South hostilities. Rhee, for his part, was eager to draw in the United States, and the North Koreans, for their part, were just as eager to invoke the principle of "proletarian internationalism" to draw in the Chinese and the Russians...

Sixty years after the non-ending of the Korean war – there is, to this day, no peace treaty – the lesson of that conflict is not, as Obama insisted in his speech, that "the drawdown after the end of World War II left us unprepared," but that involvement in other peoples’ civil wars is never to our benefit, or theirs. Sixty years have passed, and US troops are still in South Korea, defending a country well-prepared to take care of itself – sitting ducks if the North Koreans should ever launch an attack. Having stifled every effort at peaceful reunification – including a promising effort during the Bush era – Washington continues to enable the Korean standoff, and in doing so perpetuates the North Korean regime, one of the worst, if not the worst, in the world.

22--Lavrov-- No alternative to UNSC resolution 2254


When asked if any US plan on Syria had been discussed at his meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Lavrov noted that "for us, such plan already exists." "It was approved long ago, not by the United States but by the United Nations, as it the Security Council Resolution 2254," the Russian top diplomat stressed. "The resolution covers all aspects of a peaceful settlement based on the principle that only the Syrian people have the right to decide on their country’s future."

No alternative to UNSC resolution 2254

There is no alternative to the honest implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 on Syria, Lavrov explained.

23-- US, Aussie advisers caught in ISIS chemical attack against Iraqi troops in Mosul

24--Obama living a life of luxury


25--Pentagon joins psy-ops war


And, as part of this Brave New World of “strategic communications,” the U.S. military and NATO have now gone on the offensive against news organizations that present journalism which is deemed to undermine the perceptions that the U.S. government seeks to convey to the world.
That attitude led to the Pentagon’s new “Law of War” manual which suggests journalists in wartime may be considered “spies” or “unprivileged belligerents,” creating the possibility that reporters could be subject to indefinite incarceration, military tribunals and extrajudicial execution the same treatment applied to Al Qaeda terrorists who are also called “unprivileged belligerents.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Pentagon Manual Calls Some Reporters Spies.”]
The revised “Law of War” manual has come under sharp criticism from representatives of both mainstream and independent media, including The New York Times’ editors and the Committee to Protect Journalists, as well as academics such as Dr. Badsey.
“The attitude toward the media expressed in the 2015 Pentagon manual is a violation of the international laws of war to which the USA is a signatory, going back to the 1907 Hague Convention, and including the Geneva Conventions,” said Badsey, a professor of conflict studies at Wolverhampton University in the United Kingdom and a long-time contact of mine who is often critical of U.S. military information tactics...

Strategic Communication
During the Obama administration, the concept of “strategic communication” managing the perceptions of the world’s public has grown more and more expansive and the crackdown on the flow of information unprecedented. More than any of his predecessors, President Barack Obama has authorized harsh legal action against government “leakers” who have exposed inconvenient truths about U.S. foreign policy and intelligence practices.

And Obama’s State Department has mounted a fierce public campaign against the Russian network, RT, that is reminiscent of the Clinton administration’s hostility toward Serb TV and Bush-43’s anger toward Al Jazeera.

Since RT doesn’t use the State Department’s preferred language regarding the Ukraine crisis and doesn’t show the requisite respect for the U.S.-backed regime in Kiev, the network is denounced for its “propaganda,” but this finger-pointing is really just part of the playbook for “information warfare,” raising doubts about the information coming from your adversary while creating a more favorable environment for your own propaganda. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Who’s the Propagandist? US or RT?”]

This growing fascination with “strategic communication” has given rise to NATO’s new temple to information technology, called “The NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence” or STRATCOM, located in Latvia, a former Soviet republic that is now on the front lines of the tensions with Russia.

26-- Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Moscow, April 12, 2017


27--BRICS Issues Joint Statement: Illegal Military Intervention in Syria Is Unacceptable

The joint BRICS statement says military action in Syria without authorization from the UN Security Council is dangerous and unacceptable

http://russia-insider.com/en/brics-issues-joint-statement-illegal-military-intervention-syria-unacceptable/ri19611

28--Lavrov to Tillerson: Don't do it again...Or else

http://tass.com/politics/941309

Lavrov has said that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and he agreed at their recent meeting that new missile attacks on Syria would be unacceptable.

"I would like to stress that the US missile attack on the Shayrat air base was actually a provocation," the Russian top diplomat said. "The US Secretary of State and I thoroughly discussed the situation and agreed that this should not happen again," Lavrov added.

Western hysteria over alleged chemical attack should not hamper efforts to solve the crisis, he added.  "Against the background of the western hysteria, it is particularly important to resist provocations and attempts to hamper efforts aimed at solving solve the crisis that are being made by participants in the Astana and Geneva processes," he said.

Russia believes that Damascus made a right decision to invite experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to investigate into the Idlib incident.
"This draft resolution was not adopted by the UN Security Council, as we prevented it," Lavrov said. "We will insist that a decision be made on conducting an impartial investigation both at the attack site and the air base that was mentioned before. I believe it was a right and responsible step on the part of the Syrian government to invite the OPCW experts to conduct an investigation."

Notes: 

Lavrov acknowledged that the discussions Wednesday centered on the US demand for regime change in Syria. “We discussed Assad today,” he said. “I don’t remember any positive examples of how a dictator was overthrown and everything was just fine afterwards.” He went on to review the catastrophic consequences of US interventions from Yugoslavia to Iraq and Libya
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/04/13/russ-a13.html

...once a nuclear exchange between Washington and Moscow gets underway, ......Starr estimates that 30 percent of the US and Russian populations will be killed in the first hour. A few weeks later, radioactive fallout will kill another 50 percent or more. Nuclear winter, a new Ice Age caused by the environmental impact of nuclear war, will “probably cause most people on the planet to die of starvation within a couple of years.”
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/04/13/pers-a13.html

there is the possibility of a high-altitude (nuclear) detonation triggering an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that destroys electronic circuits over an area of tens of thousands of square miles. “A single detonation over the US East Coast would destroy the grid and cause every nuclear power plant affected by EMP to melt down. Imagine 60 Fukushimas happening at the same time in the US.”This is the end-of-world scenario being prepared behind the backs of the American and world population by the power- and profit-mad criminals in the Pentagon and the CIA, with the full support of both parties and the political and media establishment. People living in cities from New York to Boston to Philadelphia to Detroit, Chicago and all the way to Los Angeles and San Francisco will likely be obliterated within minutes of the beginning of such a war.
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/04/13/pers-a13.html

An April 7 article on the Defense One web site explains that a US assault on Syria would for the first time in the “decades-old counter-terrorism fight” pit the United States against a “real, modern and well-armed military,” resulting in a war “of exponentially greater scale.”

Steven Starr, a senior scientist at Physicians for Social Responsibility and associate with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, who is a noted expert on the life-destroying environmental consequences of “nuclear winter,” explains that once a nuclear exchange between Washington and Moscow gets underway, the death toll will be in the high tens of millions within the first hour, and that will be only the horrific beginning.
The two countries have between them 3,500 deployed and operational strategic nuclear weapons that they can detonate within an hour. They have another 4,600 nuclear weapons in reserve and ready for use. Given these vast numbers of mega-weapons, there is a strong chance that most large cities in both countries will be hit. Starr estimates that 30 percent of the US and Russian populations will be killed in the first hour. A few weeks later, radioactive fallout will kill another 50 percent or more.
Nuclear winter, a new Ice Age caused by the environmental impact of nuclear war, will “probably cause most people on the planet to die of starvation within a couple of years.”

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/04/13/chem-a13.html
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/04/failure-austerity-great-recession.html

http://en.kremlin.ru/search?query=syria&utm_contentview=/search%3Fquery%3Dsyria%2B&page=5

Had the good Senator simply read the January 30, 2016, report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), he would have gotten his answer.  It states:
The Taliban now controls more territory than at any time since 2001. Vicious and repeated attacks in Kabul this quarter shook confidence in the national-unity government. A year after the Coalition handed responsibility for Afghan security to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), American and British forces were compelled on several occasions to support ANDSF troops in combat against the Taliban.
The lack of security has made it almost impossible for many U.S. and even some Afghan officials to get out to manage and inspect U.S.-funded reconstruction projects.

It appears that Pres. Obama was a restraining force not only against the inherent war-making tendencies of the military leadership, but also – during his first term – a hawkish Sec. of State.  With Trump, the gloves are off and the military can do whatever it wants.  “Mad Dog” seems to be following the Obama line of cautious probes with a limited number of military personnel, but backed by extensive military aid and air support.
http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/03/31/countdown-to-disaster-trumps-looming-afghan-crisis/

There’s really no way to sugarcoat it: The rest of world believes that the United States is the country that poses the greatest threat to world peace, beating out all challengers by a wide margin.

This is the conclusion of a massive world opinion poll conducted by Win/Gallup International and released at the close of 2013. The poll, which was first conducted in 1977, asked over 66,000 thousand people across 65 countries this year a variety of questions about the world, including which country they would most like to call home, whether or not the world is becoming a generally better place and which country poses the greatest threat to world peace.

The U.S. was voted the biggest threat by far, garnering 24 percent of the vote. Pakistan was a very distant second with 8 percent, followed by China (6 percent) and Afghanistan (5 percent).
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/02/greatest-threat-world-peace-country_n_4531824.html

The map shows the results of a 2013 (pre-Trump) WIN/Gallup International survey asking people which country they felt was the greatest threat to world peace.

According to the survey results:
The US was the overwhelming choice (24% of respondents) for the country that represents the greatest threat to peace in the world today. This was followed by Pakistan (8%), China (6%), North Korea, Israel and Iran (5%). Respondents in Russia (54%), China (49%) and Bosnia (49%) were the most fearful of the US as a threat.
http://brilliantmaps.com/threat-to-peace/

"Trump has to act as a president and not as a political entertainer. So far, he has not done the former. Yet America is too important a country to be indefinitely directed by an absent president."
http://rbth.com/international/2017/04/07/zbigniew-brzezinski-russia-should-form-a-closer-union-with-us-and-china_737177

In order to cover up the lack of intelligence to supporting the president’s action, the National Security Council produced a fraudulent intelligence report on April 11 four days later [emphasis mine (GP)]. The individual responsible for this report was Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster, the National Security Advisor. The McMaster report is completely undermined by a significant body of video evidence taken after the alleged sarin attack and before the US cruise missile attack that unambiguously shows the claims in the WHR could not possibly be true. This cannot be explained as a simple error.
The National Security Council Intelligence Report clearly refers to evidence that it claims was obtained from commercial and open sources shortly after the alleged nerve agent attack (on April 5 and April 6). If such a collection of commercial evidence was done, it would have surely found the videos contained herein.
This unambiguously indicates a dedicated attempt to manufacture a false claim that intelligence actually supported the president’s decision to attack Syria, and of far more importance, to accuse Russia of being either complicit or a participant in an alleged atrocity [emphasis mine (GP)].



/