Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Today's links

 “We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” George Kennan





1--NATO are modern Nazis? video


2--US-Russian tensions flare in Syria


The US proxy forces and the Syrian government troops are effectively in a race to establish control over the oil and gas fields that are crucial to the economic recovery of Syria after nearly six years of devastation wrought by the CIA-orchestrated war for regime-change....

The increasing dangers of an open military confrontation in eastern Syria between the US and Russia, the world’s two major nuclear powers, is driven by Washington’s determination to seize control of the area, both to deny resources to the government in Damascus and to further the carve-up of Syria. Washington is also seeking to secure Syria’s eastern border in order to counter Iranian influence in the region and prevent the consolidation of a land route linking Iran through Iraq to Syria as well as Lebanon, where Iranian forces could link up with Hezbollah, the powerful Shia-based political movement and militia....

“A representative of the US military command in Al Udeid (the US command center in Qatar) was told in no uncertain terms that any attempts to open fire from areas where Syrian Democratic Forces are located would be quickly shut down,” Major-General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement....

Deir Ezzor province is in eastern Syria, bordering Iraq, and is the center of the country’s oil and gas industry, which provided much of the power for the country’s cities before it was seized by Islamist militias as part of the US-backed war for regime-change against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Both because of its strategic energy resources and its geographical position, the province has become the focus of a scramble for control, with the US-backed SDF, a Kurdish-dominated militia supported by American Special Forces troops and air power, rushing from the north to counter the advances made by Syrian government forces
...
US military spokesmen have issued repeated statements claiming that Washington is interested only in defeating ISIS and is not, as one put it, “in the land-grabbing business.” Facts on the ground, however, strongly indicate that this is precisely the “business” being pursued by the Pentagon.
The charge by the Russian Foreign Ministry official that Washington is engaged in a “two-faced policy” in Syria was preceded by the Russian Defense Ministry’s release of aerial photographs showing large numbers of US Humvees used by American Special Forces troops occupying what had been ISIS strongholds north of the city of Deir Ezzor.

The ministry noted that there was no sign of any battle having been waged in the area, which was free of craters from shelling and bombing, and that the American forces had not even bothered to set up a defensive perimeter in the ISIS-held area. “This shows that all the US servicemen who are currently there feel completely safe in the areas under the terrorists’ control,” the ministry said. A ministry spokesman said that Russian surveillance of the area had turned up no sign of combat between the SDF and ISIS

3--Ms. Hillary--by Bill Blum


There was a country called Libya. It had the highest standard of living in all of Africa; its people had not only free education and health care but all kinds of other benefits that other Africans could only dream about. It was also a secular state, a quality to be cherished in Africa and the Middle East. But Moammar Gaddafi of Libya was never a properly obedient client of Washington. Amongst other shortcomings, the man threatened to replace the US dollar with gold for payment of oil transactions, create a common African currency, and was a strong supporter of the Palestinians and foe of Israel.
In 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the prime moving force behind the United States and NATO turning Libya into a failed state, where it remains today.

The attack against Libya was one that the New York Times said Clinton had “championed”, convincing President Obama in “what was arguably her moment of greatest influence as Secretary of State.” ...

The US/NATO heavy bombing sent Libya crashing in utter chaos, leading to the widespread dispersal throughout North African and Middle East hotspots of the gigantic arsenal of weaponry that Gaddafi had accumulated. Libya is now a haven for terrorists, from al Qaeda to ISIS, whereas Gaddafi had been a leading foe of terrorists. He had declared Libya as a barrier to terrorists, as well as African refugees, going to Europe. The bombing has contributed greatly to the area’s mammoth refugee crisis.....

4--Did CIA Back Russia's Chechen Insurgency?



"Putin stated that the terror in Chechnya and in the Russian Caucasus in the early 1990’s was actively backed by the CIA and western Intelligence services to deliberately weaken Russia. He noted that the Russian FSB foreign intelligence had documentation of the US covert role without giving details.


What Putin, an intelligence professional of the highest order, only hinted at in his remarks, I have documented in detail from non-Russian sources. The report has enormous implications to reveal to the world the long-standing hidden agenda of influential circles in Washington to destroy Russia as a functioning sovereign state, an agenda which includes the neo-nazi coup d’etat in Ukraine and severe financial sanction warfare against Moscow. "


5-- Sanders declares his allegiance to US imperialism



In Sanders’ overview of world politics, the chief source of the “rise in authoritarianism and right wing extremism—both domestic and foreign,” is the Russian government. Denouncing “inequality, corruption, oligarchy and authoritarianism,” Sanders pointed not to Washington, but to Moscow, declaring that “kleptocrats, like Putin in Russia, use divisiveness and abuse as a tool for enriching themselves and those loyal to them.”

Sanders endorsed the Democratic Party’s narrative, which lacks any foundation outside of the say-so of American spy agencies, of Russian government interference in the US election. “We saw this anti-democratic effort take place in the 2016 election right here in the United States,” he declared, “where we now know that the Russian government was engaged in a massive effort to undermine one of our greatest strengths: The integrity of our elections, and our faith in our own democracy.”...

The sole explicit reference Sanders made to Trump’s fascistic speech last Tuesday at the United Nations was a criticism of Trump’s failure to directly attack Russia for undermining “[t]he integrity of our elections and our faith in our own democracy.” He said nothing about Trump’s genocidal threat to “totally destroy” North Korea....


“[O]ur goal is to not only strengthen American democracy,” Sanders said, “but to work in solidarity with supporters of democracy around the globe, including in Russia. In the struggle of democracy versus authoritarianism, we intend to win.” [Emphasis added]. Given that the US has for years sponsored "color revolutions" against pro-Moscow regimes in the former Soviet Union, this statement can be understood only as a veiled threat to work toward the overthrow of the Putin government....

In 2015, when asked whether counterterrorism under a Sanders administration would include Special Forces and drone strikes, Sanders replied, “Well, all of that and more.”
Sanders’ speech has been met with effusive praise from “left” Democratic Party-aligned media outlets. An article in the Nation written by John Nichols was headlined “Bernie Sanders Just Gave One of the Finest Speeches of His Career.” It called Sanders’ speech “genuinely internationalist” and a “necessary and valuable counter to Trump.”

6-- Trump takes on the NFL


Football players of all races have been justifiably angered by Trump’s demand that NFL owners fire any “son of a bitch” who exercises his right of free speech. But the vulgar language is more than just insulting. It has ominous overtones. Trump is inviting and justifying in advance the use of violence against those who protest police killings, and by extension, anyone who protests against the policies of his administration.

7-- The Fed’s quantitative easing: A class assessment


Bourgeois economists and pundits seek to pass off speculation as some kind of unhealthy activity flowing simply from greed and the lack of regulation to contain it, unrelated to the workings of the capitalist economy itself. In fact, it is the expression of deeply rooted economic processes.

The capitalist economy is not based on the production of commodities to satisfy consumption demand or promote economic growth and well-being. It is production carried out with the aim of expanding capital through the extraction of surplus value from the working class. From this standpoint, the key determinant of the health of the capitalist economy is the rate at which that expansion takes place—that is, the rate of profit

However, the very process of capitalist expansion contains a contradiction because it produces a tendency for the rate of profit to decline. This is because, despite the assertions of bourgeois economists that profit springs from things—the means of production, knowledge or land—or from the genius of individuals and their entrepreneurship, its ultimate source is the exploitation of the labour power of the working class in the process of capitalist production and the extraction of surplus value. This surplus value is then divided among the various owners of property in the form of industrial profit, interest and rent, together with commercial profit and the wealth appropriated by the finance industry.

While it appears that these sectors of the economy generate profit through their own activities, ultimately its source is the pool of surplus value extracted from the working class. And to the extent that this mass of surplus value has to expand an ever greater mass of capital, the rate of profit has a tendency to decline. Capital, of course, strives to overcome this contradiction by increasing the exploitation of the working class and developing new forms of production that cut costs.
But, as Marx drew out in explaining the operation of this tendency, one of its features is also the emergence of speculation and swindling and the launching of new ventures with promises of great returns—the dotcom bubble was one expression of this as was the sub-prime Ponzi

Under conditions where real profit rates were experiencing a downturn, the crisis of 2008 was the outcome of the growing dependence of American capitalism on financial activities—speculation and swindling.
What then has been the outcome of quantitative easingscheme—whereby each section of capital strives to overcome its effects.

8--North Korea warns that Trump’s threats are a declaration of war



In his speech to the UN, President Trump bluntly warned that the US would have “no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” if forced to defend itself. There is nothing defensive about Trump’s threat as he made clear on Sunday when he tweeted unequivocally that Ri and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “won’t be around much longer.”
Trump and his cabal of generals in the White House have already drawn up detailed plans for the total destruction of North Korea. As Trump tweeted last month, the military options against North Korea are “locked and loaded.”

In his speech yesterday, the former lieutenant general made clear that the US is not considering isolated, surgical strikes, but a massive and overwhelming attack—conventional and/or nuclear—that would destroy North Korea’s capacity to retaliate. “There’s not a ‘precision strike’ that solves the problem,” he said. “There’s not a military blockade that can solve the problem. What we hope to do is avoid war, but we cannot discount the possibility.”

9--Syrian Government Forces Expand Control Over Eastern Bank Of Euphrates  (map)


10-- US and Russian Generals Met in Unprecedented Face-To-Face Syria Deconfliction Meeting


11--Russia warns US (video)


12--Private capital carves up Kurdistan  





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