Sunday, April 16, 2017

Today's links

1--McMaster on North Korea: "All options are on the table"  (Video)


2--What Would Korean War II Look Like? Margolis


if heavily attacked, a fight-to-the-end North Korea may fire off a number of nuclear-armed medium-range missiles at Tokyo, Osaka, Okinawa and South Korea. These missiles are hidden in caves in the mountains on wheeled transporters and hard to identify and knock out.


This is a huge risk. Such a nuclear exchange would expose about a third of the world’s economy to nuclear contamination, not to mention spreading nuclear winter around the globe.


3--Recalculating the North Korea Equation


....North Korea will never surrender its nuclear weapons capability....,

we should remember the immense, expensive effort (Muammar Gaddafi) made to satisfy US demands...Gaddafi revealed and decommissioned his nuclear and chemical WMD programs under international inspection, acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention, re-opened Libya’s oil industry to foreign investment, and ponied up over US$1 billion in compensation for the Lockerbie bombing...  In return, Libya got normalized relations, a U.S. shield from terrorism lawsuits, (and) visits from Condoleezza Rice and Tony Blair....  The “Libya model” was actually touted as a precedent for bringing North Korea in from the cold.


Those expectations took a knock, understandably, when the US took advantage of the defenselessness of Qaddafi’s regime to overthrow it and murder him.


4--Humanitarian hypocrites: 20mn face starvation but Western focus is on Putin and Assad


5--Karzai Vows to Oust US Forces From Country After Recent Bomb Strike


6---Washington tests new nukes


7--Turkey launches probe into role of former US officials in coup attempt (CIAs John Brennan?


8--An Assessment of the White House Intelligence Report About the Nerve Agent Attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria Postol (Important)


9--Russia, Iran, Syria discuss redeployment of US weapons to Jordan’s border


A number of media outlets reported Jordan, Britain, the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia have some plans for opening a new front against the Syrian army in the south of the country

10--H.R. McMaster’s Ties To Soros-Supported Think Tank Raise Questions


11--McMaster wants more troops for Syria

12--US military returns to Somalia


13--Putin speech Valdai


14--Lavrov vs Tillerson--Lessons in History


15--Greatest threat to world peace? Guess who?


16--Russias wrong direction cfr


17--Countdown to Disaster: Trump’s Looming Afghan Crisis


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/


Notes, notes and more notes (Sorry, no time to post all this as links)

Trump stated Thursday after the dropping of the MOAB: “I don’t know if this sends a message to North Korea. It doesn’t make any difference if it does or not.” North Korea, he declared, “is a problem—the problem will be taken care of.”




https://southfront.org/military-situation-in-syria-on-april-14-2017-map-update/


https://www.rt.com/business/382934-russia-nord-stream2-eu/
nord stream succeeds

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/04/failure-austerity-great-recession.html

Why Americans Aren’t Spending Like They Used To

Americans remain cautious on spending, and the scars left by the recession may make that persist

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-americans-arent-spending-like-they-used-to-1490982471?tesla=y

https://www.wsj.com/articles/these-trump-trades-just-arent-working-anymore-1490885367?tesla=y


http://ochousingnews.com/new-loss-mitigation-practices-will-prevent-future-house-price-busts/

The asking price of homes for sale in Seattle has increased 15.5% since February last year, while the number of homes for sale has decreased 19.7%. See
https://www.redfin.com/city/16163/WA/Seattle

Home Price Index Hits 31-Month High
http://www.dsnews.com/daily-dose/03-28-2017/home-price-index-hits-31-month-high

Why Americans Aren’t Spending Like They Used To

Americans remain cautious on spending, and the scars left by the recession may make that persist

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-americans-arent-spending-like-they-used-to-1490982471?tesla=y

https://www.wsj.com/articles/these-trump-trades-just-arent-working-anymore-1490885367?tesla=y


http://ochousingnews.com/new-loss-mitigation-practices-will-prevent-future-house-price-busts/

The asking price of homes for sale in Seattle has increased 15.5% since February last year, while the number of homes for sale has decreased 19.7%. See
https://www.redfin.com/city/16163/WA/Seattle

Home Price Index Hits 31-Month High
http://www.dsnews.com/daily-dose/03-28-2017/home-price-index-hits-31-month-high
Notes on Comey vs Padilla


http://www.cbsnews.com/news/feds-exaggerated-padilla-case/

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/israel-says-idlib-chemical-attack-approved-highest-level-syrian-government/

https://www.aclu.org/blog/lets-check-james-comeys-bush-years-record-he-becomes-fbi-director
comey's filthy record

http://www.counterpunch.org/2004/06/03/pre-trial-ruminations-in-the-padilla-case/

ACLU Statement on Padilla Decision
https://www.lawfareblog.com/aclu-statement-padilla-decision


https://www.thenation.com/article/more-questions-james-comey/

ose Padilla was more than a criminal defendant with a broad menu of rights that we offer in our great criminal justice system. On May the 8th of 2002, a soldier of our enemy, a trained, funded and equipped terrorist, stepped off that plane at Chicago's O'Hare: a highly trained al Qaeda soldier who had accepted an assignment to kill hundreds of innocent men, women and children by destroying apartment buildings; an al Qaeda soldier who still hoped and planned to do even more by detonating a radiological device, a dirty bomb, in this country; an al Qaeda soldier who was trusted enough to spend hour after hour with the leaders of al Qaeda, Mohammed Atef, Abu Zubaida, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed; an al Qaeda soldier who had vital information about our enemy and its plans; and lastly an al Qaeda soldier who, as an American citizen, was free to move in, within and out of this country.
Two years ago, the president of the United States faced a very difficult choice. After a careful process, he decided to declare Jose Padilla for what he was, an enemy combatant, a member of a terrorist army bent on waging war against innocent civilians. And the president's decision was to hold him to protect the American people and to find out what he knows.
We now know much of what Jose Padilla knows. And what we have learned confirms that the president of the United States made the right call and that that call saved lives.
Thank you. I'll take your questions now.
QUESTION: Why don't you bring criminal charges against him now?
COMEY: Well, what we're going to do is use all legal tools available to protect the American people from Jose Padilla. I'm not ruling out that criminal charges might not be an option some day. We, obviously, can't use any of the statements he's made in military custody, which will make that option challenging.
http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/06/01/comey.padilla.transcript/

According to a 2013 WIN/Gallup International survey, the "United States is the country that poses the greatest threat to world peace, beating out all challengers by a wide margin." The survey has not been updated since 2013, we think, for political reasons. That said, we suspect the data would support similar results today given that the US is currently conducting military operations in at least seven countries spreading death and destruction across a broad swath of the planet from North Africa into Central Asia. Absent Washington's persistent and almost indiscriminate bloodletting, it is still possible to imagine a more peaceful world where regional security issues are hammered out between professional diplomats at the United Nations or at conferences where representatives of the rival elements attempt to settle their differences through negotiation.  Unfortunately, that's not possible in a world that is ruled by one central authority that brushes aside international law whenever it conflicts with its geopolitical ambitions. That, of course, is a prescription for endless conflict, needless killing, and perpetual instability which, in fact, is the world we live in today thanks in large part to the nonstop war-mongering of the United States.

There is no quick-fix or silver bullet remedy for the present situation. Any real solution will have to involve the building of economic and military coalitions that are prepared to fend off US interventions. The emergence of a Russia-Iran-Syria-Hezbollah coalition is the most  of these budding alliances as it poses an immediate challenge to unchecked US rampaging across the Middle East. The group now controls all the heavily populated Arias of Syria which has forced Washington to change its strategy from covert support of extremist militias operating in the country to overt military involvement including more US Special Forces on the ground in East Syria and Tomahawk cruise missile strikes on a Syrian airfield. Both of these actions indicate a dramatic escalation in US participation that will inevitably lead to a direct confrontation between Washington and loyalist forces defending the government.  Moscow and Washington are bound to cross swords in this impending clash, it can't be avoided.  The United States and its governing elites are not going to allow a more equitable distribution of global power without a fight. That's what makes Syria so important. It's the battlefield where competing visions of the future are about to collide and where the prevailing force will set the agenda. In order to achieve peace, the US must be brought into alignment with the other nations of the world, it must comply with international law, and it must abandon force, coercion and bullying as the primary means of achieving its strategic objectives. Washington needs to play by the rules, it's that simple


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