Friday, May 12, 2017

Today's Links

1--US National Security Advisor: Quick, Peaceful Solution Needed in Venezuela

The move to turn up the pressure on Venezuela comes as the United States escalates its military involvement in the region. 
Over the weekend, the head of the Brazilian the armed forces, Theofilo de Oliveira, revealed that the US will also lead multinational military drilling exercises between Brazil, Colombia and Peru later this year as part of a 2015 NATO project. 
A temporary military base will also be set up in the Brazilian town of Tabatinga on the Amazonian frontier between the three countries as part of the programme, confirmed the armed forces chief.
The military exercises have been described as “unprecedented” in the region.  

2--Bernie Sanders: Loyal Democrat, Stalwart for Empire

3-  Trump: Russia Must Rein in Assad, Iran-Backed Forces in Syria

4--A Spy Coup in America?

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has publicly denied that Russia was the source of the leaks and one of his associates, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, has suggested that the DNC leak came from a “disgruntled” Democrat upset with the DNC’s sandbagging of the Sanders campaign and that the Podesta leak came from the U.S. intelligence community.

Although Assange recently has sought to muzzle Murray’s public comments – out of apparent concern for protecting the identity of sources – Murray offered possibly his most expansive account of the sourcing during a podcast interview with Scott Horton on Dec. 13.

Murray, who became a whistleblower himself when he protested Britain’s tolerance of human rights abuses in Uzbekistan, explained that he consults with Assange and cooperates with WikiLeaks “without being a formal member of the structure

....Reading between the lines of the interview, one could interpret Murray’s comments as suggesting that the DNC leak came from a Democratic source and that the Podesta leak came from someone inside the U.S. intelligence community, which may have been monitoring John Podesta’s emails because the Podesta Group, which he founded with his brother Tony, served as a registered “foreign agent” for Saudi Arabia....

Leak by Americans
Scott Horton then asked, “Is it fair to say that you’re saying that the Podesta leak came from inside the intelligence services, NSA [the electronic spying National Security Agency] or another agency?”

5--WikiLeaks Cables Portray Saudi Arabia As A Cash Machine For Terrorists

6--Let's Check James Comey's Bush Years Record Before He Becomes FBI Director

7--Condoleezza Rice: US Invaded Iraq to Oust Saddam Hussein, Not to Bring Democracy

8--Mcmaster of war on the skids, Video, Nimmo

9--The Dems are in a death spiral

10--Syria partition?

After all, it is Washington’s awkward alliance in the region—Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Britain, France, Israel—that has supported the growth of ISIS and like-minded extremists. U.S. President Donald Trump even went so far as to accuse his predecessor Barack Obama of being “the founder of ISIS.”
Certainly, Obama watched as his Turkish NATO ally allowed ISIS freedom of movement across its borders and purchased its stolen oil in bulk. We also now know via email leaks that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was aware that U.S. anti-ISIS coalition allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar were funding ISIS.
Why would Washington tolerate allied support of the very terrorist group it claims to want to destroy? By portraying ISIS as the worst of all terror groups, al-Qaeda and its affiliates—by far the most efficient fighting force against the Syrian army and its allies—were able to fly under the radar to fight for regime change. Furthermore, a globally demonized ISIS has also provided justification for direct Western action that might otherwise have been impossible after “humanitarian interventions” lost their allure, post-Libya. Finally, this supposedly very dangerous ISIS was able to invade and occupy, for great lengths of time, territories on the Syrian-Iraqi border that would create the boundaries for a buffer state that could eventually be “liberated” and led by Western-controlled proxies.

11-- Republicans reject Democratic demands for special prosecutor

The supposed representatives of the Democratic Party “left,” senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, rushed to solidify themselves with the anti-Russia witch hunt. Sanders issued a statement declaring, “We need an independent investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.” Warren gave an interview to CNN in which she attacked Trump for his ties to the Russian “enemy” and tacked on the completely unsubstantiated charge that the Russian government was behind the pre-election hack of the campaign of Emmanuel Macron in France and was preparing similar efforts to manipulate the upcoming elections in Britain and Germany....

A “big catalyst” for the final decision, she said, was Comey’s May 3 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which he defended his decision last July to call his own press conference on the Clinton email investigation without even informing the attorney general or other Justice Department officials. Calling this circumvention of normal channels an “atrocity,” she declared, “Director Comey made a pretty startling revelation that he had essentially taken a stick of dynamite and thrown it into the Department of Justice by going around the chain of command.”
This was perhaps her only statement that had a ring of truth. It is entirely plausible that Trump was alarmed by Comey’s testimony, interpreting it as a signal that he would not bow to pressure from the White House to rein in his investigation, prompting Trump to pull the trigger and fire him

12--No proof of Russia hacking

Neither the Democratic Party nor the intelligence agencies have produced any substantive evidence to support their claims that Moscow hacked the emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign director John Podesta in order to tip the election in Trump’s favor. But this is treated as undisputed fact by the bulk of the corporate media and used to agitate for a policy that leads inexorably to war with the world’s second-largest nuclear power.
The Democrats’ response to Comey’s firing has once again made clear that their opposition to Trump has nothing in common with the mass popular opposition to his assault on health care, education, environmental regulations, the rights of immigrants and democratic rights in general. It is instead focused on US imperialist foreign policy and allied with powerful factions within the intelligence and military establishment that consider Trump insufficiently aggressive in the confrontation with Russia

13--Yes, to revolt. No, to Dems

There is an unbridgeable social gulf between the mass opposition to Trump that exists among working people and youth, which has erupted in major protests during the first four months of the Trump administration, and the anti-Trump campaign being waged by the Democratic Party and the military-intelligence apparatus.
Millions have marched against Trump’s witch hunt of immigrants, his attempts to suppress climate science, his rollback of environmental regulations, his attacks on democratic rights. They did not march to defend the FBI or demand war with Russia. But that is the ground on which the Democratic Party has chosen to take its stand, allying itself with the most powerful sections of the military-intelligence establishment

14--Globalists vs nationalists

It has nothing to do with political programs or the social struggle for power in the state. The truth of the matter is that today there are two major forces fighting in the West — the globalist bureaucracy, which represents large transnational corporations and the forces advocating national and cultural self-preservation, which possess lesser financial resources. So far, the first camp is winning in Europe," Pshenichnikov emphasized.

15--No evidence of Russian intrusion in US political system’ - fmr US presidential candidate Ron Paul

16--Comey's abysmal record

17--Patrick Lang on the SAA's eastward move

"The establishment of zones of de-escalation will allow government troops to liberate a significant number of troops." ...

In the last few days it has become clear that the de-escalation zone plan is the first stage of a major strategic shift in the conduct of the war in Syria...

According to the military source, the Russian special forces will be embedded with the Syrian Arab Army’s 5th Legion and Tiger Forces for the entire duration of the offensive.” We don’t know if this will entail embedded advisors or Spetsnaz units performing their traditional reconnaissance-sabotage roles for the larger SAA formations. Perhaps it will be both....

Efforts within the Deir Ezzor pocket to expand the area under government control are intensifying with some success. The SAA, surely with Russian air support, are preparing a force of several hundred seasoned Republican Guards to reinforce the pocket by airmobile insertion. This is a bold plan, but in my opinion a plan with a good chance of working...

The objective of this offensive goes beyond the relief of Deir Ezzor.  It is a drive to the Iraqi border. The R+6 obviously sees the coalition effort to take the east of the country from both Rojava and Jordan as a greater threat than the jihadis in Idlib...

I think the decision not to continue an offensive towards Idlib after the liberation of Aleppo and to advance east to cut off the Turks and their jihadis at al-Bab was a result of this view that foreign incursions into Syrian territory are viewed as a greater immediate threat to Assad and Putin that the Idlib jihadis.

18--Extremists win in France

19--Corporate profits up big

Moreover, the vast bulk of the new jobs created in April were once again in the cheap-labor service sector, where many workers receive poverty-level wages. The statistic that is perhaps most revealing about what is being presented as the “new normal” for a healthy economy is the miserable year-on-year average wage increase of 2.5 percent, barely above the official inflation rate.
Even in 2006 and 2007, annual wage growth for non-managerial workers of 4 percent or more was normal. That has been cut almost in half.

On Saturday, the same day the Wall Street Journal reported the April employment figures, the newspaper featured a front-page article on US corporate profits in the first three months of 2017 that pointed to the real driving forces of the new “full employment” economy. Profits at S&P 500 companies surged an estimated 13.9 percent in the first quarter, the biggest quarterly profit gain in five years.

At the heart of the profit bonanza, the Journal explained, was a relentless and ongoing drive to cut costs by holding down wages, cutting jobs and slashing spending on new plants and equipment. US big business, the newspaper wrote, was reaping “the benefits of years of belt-tightening” under conditions of a pickup in demand.

Because of the continuing focus on slashing costs, profits rose nearly twice as fast as revenue. Spending on equipment and buildings, i.e., productive investment, rose by a mere 1.5 percent in the first quarter. Half the sectors of the US economy actually cut capital spending from a year earlier


Hillary lost because 
These figures are similar to the results of a 2016 PEW survey which found that (50%) of Trump's GOP supporters say they are angry at the federal government,  (61%) say the system as unfair, and a full fully 75%  say life for people like them has gotten worse. (Campaign Exposes Fissures Over Issues, Values and How Life Has Changed in the U.S, PEW Research Center)
Let’s summarize: A higher percentage of Trump supporters think they are getting screwed-over by an unfair system. They think “free trade” only benefits the rich, they think the government is unresponsive to their needs,  they think the system is rigged, they think the economy stinks and they’re really, really mad.

cool map Syria

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Secretary of Defense James Mattis are long-time associates of Wolfowitz. In the interview Wolfowitz summarized his ties to the two high-ranking officials, stating “ I know McMaster quite well from before. And Mattis actually was my senior military assistant when I first came to the Pentagon in 2001, and I worked with him quite a bit later on in his various later capacities, including in Iraq. So I know them pretty well.”

More troubling than Wolfowitz’s strong ties to McMaster and Mattis is his ongoing private email correspondence with both officials, a move which Glasser noted was done “in hopes they will pursue a U.S. strategy of stepped-up engagement in the Middle East.”

One of the most potentially troubling aspects of Wolfowitz’s connection to Mattis is the fact that Mattis was recently granted “freedom of initiative” by Trump – essentially giving the Pentagon free reign to launch strikes and bombings without presidential or congressional approval. In one recent instance, Trump was not even informed of the use of a Massive Ordnance Air Bomb (MOAB) against Daesh (ISIS) forces until after it was detonated.
Wolfowitz, in the interview, made it clear that he knows Mattis is calling the shots, stating that Trump’s statements and positions take a backseat to the decisions Mattis ultimately makes

“What I do is I authorize my military. We have given them total authorization..." — Donald Trump, April 2017


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