Monday, May 29, 2017

Today's Links

1--Zbigniew Brzezinski, architect of the catastrophe in Afghanistan, dead at 89

Asked specifically whether he regretted the CIA’s collaboration with and arming of Islamist extremists, including Al Qaeda, in fomenting the war in Afghanistan, Brzezinski responded contemptuously: “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”...

In an article published in the September-October1997 issue of Foreign Affairs, Brzezinski argued:

“Eurasia is the world’s axial supercontinent. A power that dominated Eurasia would exercise decisive influence over two of the world’s three most economically productive regions, Western Europe and East Asia. A glance at the map also suggests that a country dominant in Eurasia would almost automatically control the Middle East and Africa. With Eurasia now serving as the decisive geopolitical chessboard, it no longer suffices to fashion one policy for Europe and another for Asia. What happens with the distribution of power on the Eurasian landmass will be of decisive importance to America’s global primacy and historical legacy... In a volatile Eurasia, the immediate task is to ensure that no state or combination of states gains the ability to expel the United States or even diminish its decisive role.”

Expanding on this thesis in his book The Grand Chessboard, Brzezinski voiced his concern about the major obstacle to Washington pursuing such an aggressive drive for hegemony: the hostility of the vast majority of the American people to war.

He wrote: “... America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America’s power, especially its capacity for military intimidation. Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifices (casualties even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization.” [The Grand Chessboard, Basic Books, pp. 35-36].

2--The rift between Germany and America: A “watershed” moment

Addressing a Munich beer tent rally on Sunday, Merkel said: “The times when we could fully rely on others are to some extent over—I experienced that in the last few days. We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands.”...

In a Twitter message, US Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass said they were a “watershed.” The scenario was “what the US has sought to avoid” since World War II.

3--What did the UK government know?

British intelligence received warnings that Manchester bomber was plotting attacks

Abedi was effectively given a free hand by MI5 to launch a terrorist attack. The Daily Mail’ s revelations add to mounting evidence of the role of British intelligence services and successive governments in cultivating Islamist terror networks and protecting these “assets” as part of their regime-change operations in Libya and Syria.....

These explosive revelations raise a number of questions that must be answered:
  • Why did MI5 drop its investigation into Salman Abedi, and who authorised this?
  • Why was he able to travel freely throughout the European Union and Middle East, including to known terror hubs?
  • Did MI5 inform Theresa May’s government of the threats to strike a political target in Britain?
  • How was he able to receive thousands of pounds in student loans to finance his activities, including travel and the renting of multiple residencies in the lead-up to last Monday’s attack, despite not attending university?

Explosive allegations have emerged that the UK’s MI5 intelligence agency had prior warning of Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi planning a terrorist atrocity.

On May 22, Abedi detonated a shrapnel-laden improvised explosive device outside a performance in Manchester by American singer Ariana Grande, killing 22 people, many of whom were children, and wounding 116.

According to the Mail on Sunday, “the FBI told MI5 that Abedi was part of a North African Islamic State cell plotting to strike a political target in the UK.”
The FBI passed these warnings to MI5 in January, after placing Abedi on their terrorist watch list in 2016. An unnamed “security source” told the Daily Mail that the FBI informed MI5 that Abedi “belonged to a North African terror gang based in Manchester, which was looking for a political target in this country.”

He continued: “Following this US tip-off, Abedi and other members of the gang were scrutinised by MI5. It was thought at the time that Abedi was planning to assassinate a political figure. But nothing came of this investigation and, tragically, he slipped down the pecking order of targets...

4--U.S. Wants Control Over Anbar And Beyond - Iraq and Syria Will Prevent It

The U.S. is casting its net over the desert between Iraq and Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to install military bases and power-structures that will guarantee major influence in the area for the foreseeable future. A part of that plan is to develop Sunni proxy forces that will keep the government forces of Damascus and Baghdad out of the area. Another part is to privatize important infrastructure to keep it under direct U.S. control.
To privatize the Iraqi Highway 1 between Baghdad and the Jordanian capital Amman, is a major point in these plans. According to the NYT:
As part of an American effort to promote economic development in Iraq and secure influence in the country after the fight against the Islamic State subsides, the American government has helped broker a deal between Iraq and Olive Group, a private security company, to establish and secure the country’s first toll highway....

Highway 1 and its branch to Damascus is the most important economic lifeline between Syria and Jordan in the west and Iraq and beyond in the east. Whoever controls it, controls major parts of commerce between those countries. Iraq is a country with rich resources. While it is under economic strains after decades of U.S. sanctions and war against it by the U.S. and Takfiri proxy forces it has no long-term need to rent out such major real estate....

A U.S. controlled west-Iraq and south-eastern Syria would be a highway for Saudi Arabian miscreants from their country up towards Baghdad and Damascus. It would be an incarnation of the "Salafist principality" the U.S. and other early ISIS supporters have wished for since at least 2012.. indicates that the US and Britain are removing their forces from the southern Syrian-Iraqi border crossing of Al Tanf. What is even more interesting is the alleged deployment of a Russian mountain brigade to secure the Jordanian-Syrian border which will effectively shut down any more attempts to carve out a a US dominated area in this part of the Syrian desert. Thinking in terms of pipelines, this effectively cuts the Saudi's out of the pipeline game and also reduces their influence in Turkey. It also preserves Russian oil dominance in Europe. A month or so ago I suggested that the US would not extend the Kurdish zone south of Raqqa, primarily because the long game in oil favors N Iraq over the Saudi’s. It also seems that this will keep Erdogan far more dependent on the US. Saudi oil would have given his economy a much needed boost and made him far more independent and unreliable for US interests

5--The Debate – Syria advances on eastern fronts (must watch)

6--Seth Rich  crosstalk

7--World in flames - the deadly legacy of Cold War warrior Brzezinski

8--Operation “Grand Dawn” Post 2 - TTG

 The gauntlet has been thrown down. Who will blink first? 

“Russian paratroopers and special forces arrived in the Al-Sweida Governorate of southern Syria this week, following the U.S. attack on a pro-government convoy near the Iraqi border-crossing, a military source told Al-Masdar News last night. The Russian military personnel will take the role of advising the Syrian government troops in southern Syria, while also helping to deter any potential response from the U.S. and Jordanian forces that have carved a niche in the Al-Sweida and Homs governorates.

According to some media activists in southern Syria, the Russian forces are planning to build a base along the Al-Sweida Governorate’s border with Jordan; however, this could not be confirmed by Al-Masdar News. Rumors have also surfaced regarding the deployment of the 31st Brigade of the Russian special forces; they are allegedly meant to engage the enemy forces and help the government troops seize the Iraqi border-crossing.”  (AMN) ...

On Saturday, the SAA deployed the 800th Battalion of the Republican Guards in the eastern Zuluf reserve area on the Syrian-Jordanian border.  The battalion 800 is among the best equipped Syrian forces, and all of its tanks have active protection systems Sarab-1 or 2 and thermal sights, which may indicate that the SAA may be preparing for a possible confrontation with US forces in al-Tanf.”  (South Front)
 Well so much for our story that these "rebels" were only there to take on the IS jihadis. They are there to take on the SAA with the ultimate goal of toppling the Assad government. All with the full backing of the US-led Coalition and the Trump administration... at least for now.

9--Illegal Spying Under Obama by Publius Tacitus

It is fascinating to observe the media contortions as they go to extreme lengths to ignore profound and important news. I am referring specifically to the revelations that the National Security Agency, under the stewardship of Barack Obama, was illegally spying on Americans. Here's the story:

A newly released court opinion from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) shows that for years the NSA improperly and perhaps illegally surveilled Americans. The court order triggered the surprise announcement two weeks ago that the agency would be severely scaling back its domestic surveillance and destroying previously collected data on Americans.
Thursday, the Department of Justice released the 99-page court opinion from last month that ordered the National Security Agency to delete much of its surveillance on American people, which was collected improperly and in potential violation of the Fourth Amendment. The DOJ released the opinion as part of a 2015 plan to be more transparent.
The NSA collected data about Americans if they even mentioned a foreign target...

Instead of focusing on this revelation--i.e., that the Obama Administration was illegally intercepting the communications of many Americans--most of the media is still busy ridiculing Trump for his claim that Obama had him "wire tapped" and obsessing over an anonymous report that Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had talked with Russia's Ambassador last December and allegedly conspired to set up a private means of communication.
Hardly anyone has focused on the irony of Kushner being concerned about Obama and his cronies intercepting Trump campaign communications while we are getting news that is exactly what transpired under Obama. There is no genuine protection for private communications.
I am shocked by the intensity of the propaganda campaign against the Trumpers and against the Russians. Having worked on covert action programs during my time in the intelligence community, I do have an appreciation and understanding about how such campaigns are mounted and carried out. What is being done inside the United States by our foreign intelligence organizations signals we have crossed a dangerous threshold. Our traditional beliefs about privacy and the requirement for a warrant before authorities can poke around in your personal affairs are no longer valid. 
Normally we would expect the so-called liberal media to attack such abuses and lead the charge against the law breakers. But these are not normal times. The media, for the most part, are partisan hacks who are so opposed to Trump that they will gladly embrace authoritarian, fascist tactics as long as they are directed against the Trump Presidency

10--Secret court rebukes NSA for 5-year illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens

Brzezinski’s support for these radical elements led directly to the formation of al-Qaeda, which literally translates to “the base,” as it was the base in which to launch the repulsion of the anticipated Soviet invasion. It also led to the creation of the Taliban, a deadly entity currently deadlocked in an endless battle with NATO forces.
Further, despite Brzezinski’s statements, which attempt to depict a lasting defeat of the Russian empire, the truth is that for Brzezinski, the cold war never ended. Though he was a critic of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Brzezinski’s stranglehold over American foreign policy continued right up until his death

BA: No, the United States always seeks to control all the states of the world without exception. It does not accept allies, regardless of whether they are developed states as those in the Western bloc, or other states of the world. Every state should be an American satellite. That is why what is happening to Syria, to Korea, to Iran, to Russia, and maybe to Venezuela now, aims at re-imposing American hegemony on the world, because they believe that this hegemony is under threat now, which consequently threatens the interests of American economic and political elites.

Richard N. Haass

Merkel saying Europe cannot rely on others & needs to take matters into its own hands is a watershed-& what US has sought to avoid since WW2

What does ISIS teach in its schools? The books of Sheikh Muhammad b. Abd-al-Wahhab, the Wahhabi books. What is Al-Qaeda's ideology? Wahhabism. Who created it? Saudi Arabia....

Do you see how in this summit all Saudi Arabia's care and concern was to say what? A sentence pronounced by King Salman: that Iran is the source of terrorism, the heart of international terrorism since the victory of the Khomeini Revolution, according to his words. Since the victory of the Revolution of the glorious Imam Khomeini. These grotesque remarks were pronounced by the King Salman. Iran is the heart of global terrorism? Is it Iran that created Al-Qaeda? Is it Iran that created ISIS? Is it Iran that created the Taliban? Is it Iran that created these Wahhabi movements and armies? Is it Iran that financed them and armed them?...

ISIS started in Saudi Arabia, ISIS not only has Saudi ideology, but its money is Saudi, its leaders are Saudi, and the hopes that were placed in ISIS were Saudi. That’s it.
Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on May 25, 2017, on the occasion of the seventeenth anniversary of the Liberation of Southern Lebanon

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