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)].



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