Friday, June 30, 2017

Potpourri on Syria

A US-centric position.

The National Interest
What’s Behind the Syrian Chemical-Weapons Warning?
Matthew RJ Brodsky | senior Middle East analyst at Wikistrat and former director of policy at the Jewish Policy Center in Washington, DC, editor of the JPC's journal, inFOCUS Quarterly, and has briefed and advised members of Congress, the Department of State, the Department of Defense, Special Operations Command and the National Security Council

Down the rabbit hole.

The Unz Review
Deception Inside Deception: The Alleged Sarin Gas Attack
Ron Unz

Ramanan — Jayati Ghosh On Imperialism

Excellent Jayati Ghosh interview with The Real News Network, from earlier this week, titled Jayati Ghosh On Imperialism In The 21st Century.
The Case for Concerted Action
Jayati Ghosh On Imperialism
V. Ramanan

Jonathan Cook — After Hersh Investigation, Media Connive in Propaganda War on Syria

Another investigative reporter looks at the Hersh revelations and aftermath.

After Hersh Investigation, Media Connive in Propaganda War on Syria
Jonathan Cook, 2011 recipient of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism

Pat Lang — "... To Repeal A War Authorization" Buzzfeed

Sign of progress.
The present AUMF is a blank check to wage war anywhere and forever. pl [Col. Pat Lang]
Sic Semper Tyrannis
"... To Repeal A War Authorization" Buzzfeed
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.), former military intelligence officer at the US Defense Intelligence Agency

Colby Goodman and Taner Bertuna — Debunking Myths that Fuel Irresponsible U.S. Defense Policy

As President Trump continues to authorize record-breaking U.S. arms deals to Saudi Arabia and many other countries around the world and propose major increases in Pentagon spending, he is positioning himself to claim wins on two of his campaign promises: build a military that is “gonna be so strong nobody’s gonna mess with us,” and increase U.S. jobs. According to a relatively new book, however, it is critical that Americans question these increases as they may not help improve U.S. security or the U.S. economy. They are also likely to increase U.S. corruption.
Debunking Myths that Fuel Irresponsible U.S. Defense Policy
Colby Goodman, director of the Security Assistance Monitor at the Center for International Policy where he leads research and analysis on U.S. foreign security assistance around the world, and Taner Bertuna, Security Assistance Monitor

Luke Graham — NATO says a 'state actor' was behind the massive ransomware attack and could trigger military response

  • NATO says a "state actor" was behind the recent cyberattack.
  • The cyberattack could be interpreted as an act of war, triggering Article 5.
  • The attack was designed to cause disruption, not to make financial gains, according to experts.
Again, inference without evidence. Belief with a narrative rationale. No trail even. These people are being paid for what exactly?

Ex-Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter — Trump’s Sarin Claims Built on ‘Lie’ and more

Scott Ritter debunks the Syrian sarin claims and exposes the propaganda structure behind it as well.

Interesting how debunking articles like this are finding a venue at US politically conservative venues rather than US politically liberal venues now that liberals are on the offensive, promoting propaganda, disinformation, and fake news.

The American Conservative
Ex-Weapons Inspector: Trump’s Sarin Claims Built on ‘Lie’
Scott Ritter
ht Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism

See also
The policy of arming military groups committed to overthrowing the government of President Bashar al-Assad began in September 2011, when President Barack Obama was pressed by his Sunni allies—Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar—to supply heavy weapons to a military opposition to Assad they were determined to establish. Turkey and the Gulf regimes wanted the United States to provide anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels, according to a former Obama Administration official involved in Middle East issues.…
How America Armed Terrorists in Syria
Gareth Porter

Seyed Hossein Mousavian — The Real Security Threats on Iran’s Periphery


The usual suspects.

The Real Security Threats on Iran’s Periphery
Seyed Hossein Mousavian

Helene Lee and Asani Sarkar — The Role of Central Bank Lending Facilities in Monetary Policy

Central bank lending facilities were vital during the financial crisis of 2007-08 when many banks and nonbank financial institutions turned to them to meet funding needs as private funding dried up. Since then, there has been renewed interest in the design of central bank lending facilities in the post-crisis period. In this post, we compare the Federal Reserve’s discount window with the lending facilities at three other major central banks: the Bank of England (BoE), the European Central Bank (ECB), and the Bank of Japan (BoJ). We observe that, relative to the other central banks, the Fed’s discount window is less integrated into the monetary policy framework. In a follow-up post, we will discuss differences in the central banks’ counterparty and collateral policies.

FRBNY — Liberty Street Economics
The Role of Central Bank Lending Facilities in Monetary Policy
Helene Lee, senior associate in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Markets Group, and Asani Sarkar, assistant vice president in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group

Paul Robinson — Threat perceptions

Nations plan militarily and allocate military spending based on threat perceptions.
The US Defense Intelligence Agency has issued a report entitled Russia. Military Power: Building a Military to Support Great Power Aspirations, which you can read here. This has the following to say about Russia’s strategic objectives:

Moscow seeks to promote a multi-polar world predicated on the principles of respect for state sovereignty and non-interference in other states’ internal affairs, the primacy of the United Nations, and a careful balance of power preventing one state or group of states from dominating the international order.... 
Next the report analyzes ‘Russia’s threat perceptions’, and notes that Russia’s actions “belie a deeply entrenched sense of insecurity regarding a United States that Moscow believes is intent on undermining Russia at home and abroad.” ...
This report will no doubt raise alarms in Washington about how Russia is modernizing its armed forces. What the report has to say about why Russia is doing so will probably be ignored.
I don't think that it will be ignored. Rather, it will be perceived as a challenge to US global hegemony, the maintaining of which is a policy objective and strategic priority.

Threat perceptions
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

BIS — Elvira Nabiullina: Review of Russia's economic and financial developments in 2016

Speech by Ms Elvira Nabiullina, Governor of the Bank of Russia, at the plenary session of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 9 June 2017
Elvira Nabiullina: Review of Russia's economic and financial developments in 2016

Bill Black: Wall Street: It’s “Icky and Un-American” to ‘Short’ Frauds

The “shorts” are not saints and it is a travesty that we celebrate the shorts in books and movies and ignore the whistleblowers and regulators who warned about the fraud epidemics and sought to prevent them – not profit from them.  Honest “shorts,” however, are not “icky and un-American.”  Honest shorts do the Nation, the public, and the world a service.  They do honest firms a service by helping to drive frauds out of business, which allows honest firms to prosper.  The shorts are neither saints nor sinners.  It is revealing and revolting that the head of the NYSE attacks them as “icky and un-American” while ignoring rather than condemning the frauds led by the CEOs of the firms listed on his exchange that become wealthy by defrauding investors.  It is telling that the CEOs of those listed firms fear the “shorts” far more than the NYSE.  Worse, the head of the NYSE is making common cause with the fraudulent CEOs of listed companies who have enlisted the NYSE to try to squash the honest ‘shorts’ that the elite frauds fear will alert the public to their frauds.

New Economic Perspectives

Bill Black: Those to Blame for the Grenfell Fire Victims Include Tony Blair

Margaret Thatcher’s government removed a building standard requiring that the exterior be fire resistant.  That removal was obscene and indefensible, but it also begs this question of the “councils” in charge of the many tower blocks in the UK – what could possibly lead you to fail to make the building exterior highly fire resistant?  Many of the building measures that provide a building long life expectancy also produce strong fire resistance, so it is a horrific to choose to fail to make a large housing structure strongly fire resistant.  The same manufacturer that sold the Grenfell council flammable cladding sells non-flammable cladding – at a tiny price differential.  Grenfell could have installed the non-flammable cladding for 5000 pounds in additional expense.

After Thatcher removed the essential safety regulations, the councils actively made things far worse – in the face of repeated warnings that they were putting the tenants’ lives at grave peril.  The councils did not simply install exteriors with inadequate fire resistance – they installed exteriors that greatly increased the risk of the rapid expansion of a fire.  They did so by adding insulating “cladding” in order to reduce heating and cooling operating costs.  They chose to add flammable insulation rather than the non-flammable alternative.

Jeremy Corbyn’s success as the darkest of dark horse candidates to become Labor’s leader and Labor’s gains in the most recent election have stunned British elite commentators (and the far smaller number of Americans who follow UK political events closely).  To say that Corbyn is to the left of Blair and Brown is to mislead by inadequacy.  Corbyn is vastly to the left of Blair and Brown.  Corbyn is very far to the left of Bernie Sanders and Corbyn favors policies and alliances that would be instantly fatal for an American elected official’s political career.  Until the recent election results, dissent rules the Labor Party, with the great bulk of its leadership eager to knife Corbyn.  Corbyn’s sharp break with Blair and Brown’s unholy war against regulation explains why so much of his Party’s leadership is eager to remove him from leadership.  It also explains why his policies have led large numbers of younger voters to join the Labor Party and support Corbyn.  Similarly, Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren’s popularity, particularly with younger voters, has repeatedly stunned the New Democrats’ leaders.  The easily avoidable loss of so many in the Grenfell fire illustrates why Corbyn’s supporters have rallied passionately to what they see as the antithesis of New Labor leaders like Blair and Brown.

New Economic Perspectives:

Dmitry Orlov: Embarrassing Times

Having spent many years living and working in the US, I justifiably feel implicated in what it does. Once upon a time its many crimes—bombing, invading, destroying and undermining countries around the world, poisoning the environment, promoting every sort of injustice for the sake of short-term profits—made me angry. It was the anger of youth, borne of the unfounded, optimistic conviction that it is possible to effect change by voicing one’s negative opinions. I am not so young any more, and have become dead certain that no amount of political involvement on my part (or yours, for that matter) would change anything at all, and so what I have been feeling for years now is not anger but sadness. 

You have to join to read the whole article but I thought this paragraph was good.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Moon of Alabama — U.S. Retreats From Al-Tanf - Gives Up On Occupying South East Syria

Stared into the abyss for a while and then blinked.

Moon of Alabama
U.S. Retreats From Al-Tanf - Gives Up On Occupying South East Syria

See also

White House Encouraged After Elephants Abstain From Climbing Trees

Stephen F. Cohen — Media Contempt for Facts Grows Along With the Dangers of War With Russia

“Russiagate” has become a grave threat to US national security—but its discredited foundational allegations persist.
Inference and no evidence. Attack by innuendo. AKA smearing.

The Nation
Media Contempt for Facts Grows Along With the Dangers of War With Russia
Stephen F. Cohen | Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies, History, and Politics at New York University and Princeton University

Eoin Higgins — ‘Let’s Get Back to Russia’: Media’s Interest in Narrowing the Trump Story

A recent Harvard Harris poll found a majority of Americans want the government to concentrate on issues like healthcare and the economy, rather than the endless Russia investigations spawned from the media frenzy. According to The Hill (6/23/17):

Sixty-four percent of voters said the investigations into President Trump and Russia are hurting the country. Fifty-six percent of voters said it’s time for Congress and the media to move on to other issues, compared to 44 percent who said the focus should stay on Russia.
FAIR — Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
‘Let’s Get Back to Russia’: Media’s Interest in Narrowing the Trump Story
Eoin Higgins

William Craddick — Saudi Arabia’s March Towards Civil War

Backgrounder. Important.

Dissident Media
Saudi Arabia’s March Towards Civil War
William Craddick, founder and editor-in-chief

Consortium News — [Robert] Parry Awarded Gellhorn Journalism Prize

Congratulations. Well deserved.
The Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism recognizes these honorable exceptions. It is very different from other prizes. Let me quote in full why we give this award:

“The Gellhorn Prize is in honor of one of the 20th century’s greatest reporters. It is awarded to a journalist whose work has penetrated the established version of events and told an unpalatable truth – a truth validated by powerful facts that expose what Martha Gellhorn called ‘official drivel.’ She meant establishment propaganda.”
Martha was renowned as a war reporter. Her dispatches from Spain in the 1930s and D-Day in 1944 are classics. But she was more than that. As both a reporter and a committed humanitarian, she was a pioneer: one of the first in Vietnam to report what she called “a new kind of war against civilians”: a precursor to the wars of today.
She was the reason I was sent to Vietnam as a reporter. My editor had spread across his desk her articles that had run in the Guardianand the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A headline read, “Targeting the people.” For that series, she was placed on a blacklist by the U.S. military and never allowed to return to South Vietnam.
Consortium News
Parry Awarded Gellhorn Journalism Prize

See also

Consortium News
NYT Finally Retracts Russia-gate Canard
Robert Parry

Awara — The Russian Economy 2014 – 2016, the Years of Sanctions Warfare

Yes, we must admit that the sanctions imposed on Russia by the Western powers in effect represent economic warfare. They aimed at nothing less than destroying the Russian economy with a hope of engineering mass unemployment and social chaos which would eventually lead to regime change and a new government that would succumb to Western hegemony. IMF, the Queen of Western financial institutions, boldly promised that Russia would be clobbered with a 9 % cut off its GDP[3]. There is no doubt that this IMF prediction reflected a modest assessment of what the perpetrators had been hoping to achieve.
The events in the Ukraine were merely a sought after pretext for launching the economic assault. Everything had been built up for this with increasing ferocity for at least a decade. In fact, the aforementioned fake news business media’s reporting on Russia has served this same purpose by denigrating Russia’s role in the world and the achievements of its president and people. All this as a part of a massive decade long propaganda campaign (“Russia does not produce anything” and bla bla bla).
We want to stress that there are sanctions of two types, officially enacted sanctions and unofficial sanctions. The latter have not been officially announced by any Western government but are deliberately pursued under the agenda of economic containment, itself part of the grand geopolitical strategy of Russia containment. By these measures Russian investors and exporters are actively by way of unannounced (i.e. illegal) rules hindered from entering Western markets and other global markets were those powers hold sway, and conversely Western (and other) investors are being discouraged (coerced) from certain investments into Russia. The economic containment takes many other form, too, for example, it affects Russia’s participation in global financial operations and the rubles role among global currencies. We assess that the unofficial sanctions are even more cumbersome and harmful than the official ones....
An Awara Accounting Economic Analysis: What Does Not Kill You Will Make You Stronger – The Russian Economy 2014 – 2016, the Years of Sanctions Warfare
Jon Hellevig

Robert Parry: NYT Finally Retracts Russia-gate Canard

The New York Times has finally admitted that one of the favorite Russia-gate canards – that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies concurred on the assessment of Russian hacking of Democratic emails – is false.

The reality of a more narrowly based Russia-gate assessment was admitted in May by President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan in sworn congressional testimony.

Clapper testified before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on May 8 that the Russia-hacking claim came from a “special intelligence community assessment” (or ICA) produced by selected analysts from the CIA, NSA and FBI, “a coordinated product from three agencies – CIA, NSA, and the FBI – not all 17 components of the intelligence community,” the former DNI said.

Clapper further acknowledged that the analysts who produced the Jan. 6 assessment on alleged Russian hacking were “hand-picked” from the CIA, FBI and NSA.

Yet, as any intelligence expert will tell you, if you “hand-pick” the analysts, you are really hand-picking the conclusion. For instance, if the analysts were known to be hard-liners on Russia or supporters of Hillary Clinton, they could be expected to deliver the one-sided report that they did.

But Hilary repeats the bold faced lie:

For instance, on May 31 at a technology conference in California, Clinton referred to the Jan. 6 report, asserting that “Seventeen agencies, all in agreement, which I know from my experience as a Senator and Secretary of State, is hard to get. They concluded with high confidence that the Russians ran an extensive information war campaign against my campaign, to influence voters in the election.”

Consortium News

NYT Finally Retracts Russia-gate Canard

Eric Zuesse: What Happens When America’s Top Investigative Journalist Reports What Media Bosses Don’t Want the Public to Know?

Eric Zuesse:

[Seymour] Hersh reported there that, «the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria’s takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya». «The CIA had been conspiring for more than a year with allies in the UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to ship guns and goods – to be used for the overthrow of Assad – from Libya, via Turkey, into Syria». «The assessment was bleak: there was no viable ‘moderate’ opposition to Assad, and the US was arming extremists. Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad». «The Joint Chiefs believed that Assad should not be replaced by fundamentalists». What resulted was almost a mutiny by the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

Strategic Cultures:

Bill Mitchell — Employment as a human right

As I indicated earlier this week, I will progressively add notes to the body of work that will become the manuscript for my next book (with long-time co-author Joan Muysken) on the – Future of Work. As I write bits and pieces, I will post them here for comments and feedback. The book will be published sometime in 2018. At present, I am working on the philosophical considerations that we will deploy to underpin the more prescriptive elements (policy proposals) that we will produce....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Employment as a human right
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Fake Story Scandal: How Russia Obsession Led CNN into a Trap

CNN is in trouble, with its reputation tanking as a result of publishing an article connecting Trump ally and Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci, who served on the executive committee of Trump's transition team, to the $10-billion Russian Direct Investment Fund. The story based on a single antonymous source happened to be a fake. Despite swift retraction of the article, apology published and the following resignation of three veteran journalists, the image of the cable news network has been greatly tarnished.

The US media are waging an information war in an effort to oust Donald Trump from the White House. That’s where Russia – the country blamed for each and everything going awry in the United States – comes in handy. None of the stories regarding Russia and President Trump has been backed up by anything like solid evidence or facts. Even if only a small part of them were true, impeachment procedures would be launched but nothing like that has happened, except that US media has limited the President's room for maneuver with endless false stories about Russia.

What if the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller does not produce any facts to make the media information offensive look like a failed conspiracy to stage a quite coup d’état in the United States? Will those who work in the leading media networks waging the smear campaign and spreading around unconfirmed information be held responsible?

Media attacks negatively affect the prospects for a Putin-Trump meeting during the Russia-US summit to take place on July 7-8 in Hamburg, Germany. The US is no less interested in the positive outcome than Russia. With the troublesome news coming from Syria, tensions running high between Russia and NATO, arms control and non-proliferation regime eroding, and terrorists moving to Africa and the Asia Pacific, as well as a host of other issues on the agenda, the US media do a disservice to their own country by obstructing all attempts to revive the Russia-US dialogue on burning issues of mutual interest. Intensification of media attacks against the president in the days left till the event in Germany is something to be expected. But too much zeal is not always a good thing. Scoop stories attract public attention just for a few days, but a good reputation is hard to win and easy to lose. The CNN fake news scandal is a good illustration of the fact. 

Strategic Cultures

CNN is in trouble but this has nothing to do with John Bonifield. James O' Keefe was mischievous because he didn't mention that John Bonifield was a senior producer of medical and science stories and had nothing to do with politics.

Alexander Mercouris: Assessing a Murder Case Against Putin

The first accusations against Putin that I know of is the Litvinenko case in the UK. From there things just got worse.  Before his death Litvinenko spoke about how he was going to blackmail people, but this was ignored in the public enquiry which wasn't really a trail, as there was no jury or barristers defending the accused, nor was there was no right of appeal. Apparently, the British Government is embarrassed about the trail.

This analysis shows why the Litvinenko Inquiry was a farce and why its report is in the end worthless.

The Judge who headed the Inquiry was obsessed with proving the Russian state murdered Litvinenko.  In order to prove what he always believed he threw legal procedure out of the window and interpreted the evidence how he wanted.

In the end even he could not prove that the Russian state murdered Litvinenko, which is why he could only say they “probably” did.

In reality the facts – if looked at objectively – show the Russian state almost certainly did not murder Litvinenko and played no part in his death.

The Inquiry and its report actually say more about the pathological hostility to Russia of some sections of the British establishment than they do about the Litvinenko case.

The first point to grasp about the Public Inquiry that has now delivered its verdict in the Litvinenko case is that it should never have happened at all.

The second point is that Inquiry’s decision that the Russian authorities were “probably” behind Litvinenko’s murder is unsustainable and makes no sense.

The Public Inquiry that has now delivered its verdict in the Litvinenko case has thrown all this out of the window.

There was no jury.

Part of the evidence was secret and the defendants and their lawyers were denied sight of it. Some of the witnesses gave their evidence to the Judge in secret and their identities were not disclosed to the defendants.

Since technically it was not a trial and the Public Inquiry is not a court there is no right of appeal.
Since the defendants – Lugovoi and Kovtun – were denied sight of part of the evidence, they refused to take part.  The judge who tried the case – Sir Robert Owen – commented at length in his judgment about their refusal to take part, but failed to state the reason for it.

The trial nonetheless proceeded in the absence of the defendants though that is almost unprecedented in Britain.  Moreover no lawyers were appointed to represent their interests in their absence as it is perfectly possible to do, and as happens from time to time in other kinds of proceedings.

The result is that the evidence of what we must call the prosecution went entirely unchallenged.
Moreover since what happened was technically speaking not a trial but a Public Inquiry, the Judge felt free to look at evidence that was not produced to the court, including especially the possible evidence of potential witnesses who did not attend the court, but which was provided to him at second hand, whilst engaging in all sorts of speculations on the evidence that he would not have been able to engage in in a proper trial.

Needless to say any notion that the guilt of the accused had to be proved beyond reasonable doubt went out of the window.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Reuters — U.S. says its warning appears to have averted Syrian chemical attack

Read Generals Mattis and McMaster got a leash on the WH.

U.S. says its warning appears to have averted Syrian chemical attack
Phil Stewart and David Dolan


Sic Semper Tyrannis

Zero Hedge — It Begins: WalMart Warns Truckers It Will No Longer Work With Them If They Move Goods For Amazon

Titans prepare to do battle to the death.

Zero Hedge
It Begins: WalMart Warns Truckers It Will No Longer Work With Them If They Move Goods For Amazon
Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge — Putin Accuses "Foreign Spy Agencies" Of Supporting Terrorism To Destabilize Russia

In the first public accusation that "foreign spy agencies" are seeking to destabilize Russia made in recent years, during a meeting with Russia's foreign intelligence agency President Vladimir Putin said that "some foreign special services" are directly supporting extremist and terrorist groups to destabilize the situation near Russia’s borders, President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Russia’s foreign intelligence agency.
“In general, the growing activity of foreign special services against us and our allies is obvious,” Putin said quoted by Bloomberg during the televised speech in Moscow on Wednesday, without specifying which nations he was referring to. “There are operations to influence the domestic political and social processes in our country.”
Tangentially, the AP reported that according to an unclassified report by the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, released on Wednesday, Kremlin leaders are convinced America is intent on regime change in Russia, "a fear that is feeding rising tension and military competition between the former Cold War foes."

"The Kremlin is convinced the United States is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine," the report says, referencing the claims by President Vladimir Putin's government that the U.S. engineered the popular uprising that ousted Ukraine's Russia-friendly president, Viktor Yanukovich, in 2014. Russia responded by annexing Ukraine's Crimea region and supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine....
Zero Hedge
Putin Accuses "Foreign Spy Agencies" Of Supporting Terrorism To Destabilize Russia
Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge — Bernie Sanders Says FBI Probe Is "Pathetic" Attempt At Political Retribution

Echoing remarks made to a local reporter in May – before the existence of a federal investigation was known to the public – Senators launched into a diatribe about how the investigation is nothing more than a political attack perpetrated by Republicans.
“My wife is about the most honest person I know. When she came to that college it was failing financially and academically when she left it, it was in the best shape it’d ever been. Five years later, coincidentally no doubt, when I am a candidate for president of United States Donald Trump’s campaign manager – vice chairman of the Republican party of Vermont – launched this investigation. 
Zero Hedge
Bernie Sanders Says FBI Probe Is "Pathetic" Attempt At Political Retribution
Tyler Durden

Pat Lang — Unsupported assertions from the WH, or anywhere ...

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Unsupported assertions from the WH, or anywhere ...
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.), former military intelligence officer at the US Defense Intelligence Agency

US Threatens Syria Again: Treading on the Path of War

Strategic Cultures is now okay with my Malwarebytes.

The US is losing the war in Syria but seems intent on not giving up. The US are the 'good guys' who will see to Assad if launches a chemical attack. More war propaganda.

Here and there, there are signs that the United States is planning a large-scale military operation in Syria. The plans include combat operations against the Syrian army and its allies, such as the foreign pro-Iranian Shia militias and Hezbollah.

The White House said on June 26 it had reasons to believe the Syrian government is preparing another chemical weapons (CW) attack. The statement warned that the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad and his military would «pay a heavy price» if such an attack takes place. No specifics on the intelligence showing a chemical attack by the Syrian regime was imminent were provided. Nothing was said about what a US response such an attack would entail.

US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Twitter: «Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia and Iran who support him killing his own people». Neither the White House, nor Nikky Hailey explained in detail what prompted the warning.

Strategic Cultures

But the 'good guys' blanket bombed and napalmed Laos for a decade.

John Bacher, a historian and a Metro Toronto archivist once wrote about “The Secret War”: “More bombs were dropped on Laos between 1965 and 1973 than the U.S. dropped on Japan and Germany during WWII. More than 350,000 people were killed. The war in Laos was a secret only from the American people and Congress. It anticipated the sordid ties between drug trafficking and repressive regimes that have been seen later in the Noriega affair.” 
In this biggest covert operation in the U.S. history, the main goal was to “prevent pro-Vietnamese forces from gaining control” over the area. The entire operation seemed more like a game that some overgrown, sadistic boys were allowed to play: Bombing an entire nation into the Stone Age for more than a decade. But essentially this “game” was nothing else than one of the most brutal genocides in the history of the 20th century.

Chris Dillow — Why libertarians should read Marx

Very good post. Of interest to all.

Marx was a libertarian of the left, that is, he was concerned with not only the individual but also the person.

As individuals, each human being is unique. Libertarians of the right emphasize this aspect.

As persons, all human beings are equal. Libertarians of the left emphasize this aspect.

Personhood is the basis of key tenets of liberalism — equality before the law and democracy as necessary for political freedom as the self-determination by a people. It is also the basis of equal rights and equal opportunity for self-development. It is fair to say that liberalism as an integrated social, political and economic theory hangs on the understanding of personhood relative to individuality and freedom.

Individual freedom needs to be tempered with personal freedom. All animals are free individually in the state of nature. Only humans are capable of personal freedom in society, and personal freedom is a necessary condition for living a good life in a good society fully.

Marx and Engels got that.

Stumbling and Mumbling
Why libertarians should read Marx
Chris Dillow | Investors Chronicle

Bill Mitchell — When the top-end-of-town realise their strategy is failing

There was an interesting article in the Financial Times on Monday (June 26, 2017) – Why US big business is listening to Bernie Sanders – which, despite the somewhat misleading and over-the-top headline, tells us a little of the way the full neo-liberal attack on workers is in regression. Not, I might add because of any philosophical or moral consideration. But, rather, the top-end-of-town is starting to work out that their headlong race-to-the-bottom approach over the last three years is not actually in their best interests. The top-end-of-town is not that bright. More brutish than bright and it takes some time for them to work out what we have known all along. Globalisation mixed with neo-liberalism is poison. Globalisation mixed with social democracy is progress.
The difference between zero-sum (competition) and win-win (cooperation). Adaptability and coordination increase returns in the biological world to paraphrase Roger Erickson. Instead of fighting over the size of shares of a pie, make a bigger the pie so all get more.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
When the top-end-of-town realise their strategy is failing
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Young Americans against Fake News - with Brittany Pettibone & Inessa S

In light of CNN revealing that all their Russia stories are fake, which can be found here: ; I recently sat down with US based current affairs YouTuber, Brittany Pettibone, for a chat about Russia. Brittany has been offered numerous roles on proper network channels, but has refused to sell her soul to the devil. Here’s how our chat went down. (We had a terrible internet connection between Idaho, USA and Serbia, and my audio was fading out, so I included subtitles in the more tricky bits. )

Inessa S translates into English subtitles of what Putin says and puts the clips out on YouTube. We've all seen some of the clips. This is a very interesting interview.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Moon of Alabama — White House Says It Will Fake "Chemical Weapon Attack" In Syria — and more

Laying out coalition strategy to escalate in Syria in response to the recent success of the Syrian military supported by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. Look for a false flag to justify it and a lot of reporting of fake news in the Western media.

Incidentally, Seymour Hersh's latest, published in Die Welt, hasn't been published in any US or UK mainstream media. It contradicts the false flag-fake news narrative and cites evidence.

Moon of Alabama
White House Says It Will Fake "Chemical Weapon Attack" In Syria

See also

Publius Tacitus deconstructs the fake news at the source of media propaganda on Syria.

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Bellingcat Buffoonery on Khan Sheikyoun
Publius Tacitus
A few hours after the publication by Welt of Hersh’s story White House spokesman Sean Spicer rushed out a warning that the US has detected Syrian preparations for a further chemical attack like the one which supposedly happened in April in Khan Sheikhoun. The warning threatens President Assad and the Syrian government that they will “pay a heavy price” if such an attack takes place.
The State Department knows nothing of this supposed intelligence. Nor do the US military. The warning is said to have come from the White House straight out of the blue with no attempt made to coordinate it across the US government. Note that there have been no supporting comments for the White House’s warning from any senior US officials apart from the US’s ghastly UN ambassador Nikki Haley. General Mattis, Secretary of State Tillerson, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster have said nothing in public about it.
Meanwhile there has been no official word in response to Seymour Hersh’s Welt story from the US government, and the story is being ignored by the media in the US and Britain.
Does anyone see a connection?
The Duran
White House ‘warning’ of ‘imminent threat of chemical attack in Syria’ is phoney. Here’s why
Alexander Mercouris

Basically censorship.

Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Jonathan Cook

Julian Assange Explains Why The Democrats Are Doomed

I was surprised to learn that Russia has a lower GDP than South Korea. This Jimmy Dore show goes a lot into the 'Russian hacking' fiasco.

Macron Is Doing Merkel’s Dirty Work With Russia Over Syria

Europe is rethinking its role in Syria, and Macron is able to say things that Merkel can’t directly without causing more tensions within NATO

French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement yesterday changes the game in Syria.
Until yesterday France had been the most vocal supporter of U.S. regime change policy in Syria. Now it is its most pragmatic critic.

This signifies a multitude of changes geopolitically.

First, it dovetails with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement that the EU should no longer consider the U.S. a reliable partner in foreign affairs. The EU will, indeed, pursue a more independent foreign policy.

But, more importantly, it opens the door wide for a growing rapprochement with Russia that began with Merkel right after her meeting with Donald Trump back in March. We’re seeing the dam break now in Europe to defy U.S. policy in the Middle East and with Russia.

As the narratives erected by the U.S. oligarchy crumble, EU leadership sees the opportunity to jump ship and save their reputation while leaving the U.S. holding the bag.

If reports are true that Iran is ready to provide damning proof that the U.S. is backing ISIS in Syria (which is all but confirmed anyway) then backing away from regime change there is simply good politics.

Russia Insider: macron-doing-merkels-dirty-work-russia-over-syria

Ellen Brown: Sovereign Debt Jubilee, Japanese-Style

Japan has found a way to write off nearly half its national debt without creating inflation. We could do that too.

Let’s face it. There is no way the US government is ever going to pay back a $20 trillion federal debt. The taxpayers will just continue to pay interest on it, year after year.
A lot of interest.

If the Federal Reserve raises the fed funds rate to 3.5% and sells its federal securities into the market, as it is proposing to do, by 2026 the projected tab will be $830 billion annually. That’s nearly $1 trillion owed by the taxpayers every year, just for interest.

Personal income taxes are at record highs, ringing in at $550 billion in the first four months of fiscal year 2017, or $1.6 trillion annually. But even at those high levels, handing over $830 billion to bondholders will wipe out over half the annual personal income tax take. Yet what is the alternative?
Japan seems to have found one. While the US government is busy driving up its “sovereign” debt and the interest owed on it, Japan has been canceling its debt at the rate of $720 billion (¥80tn) per year.

How? By selling the debt to its own central bank, which returns the interest to the government. While most central banks have ended their quantitative easing programs and are planning to sell their federal securities, the Bank of Japan continues to aggressively buy its government’s debt. An interest-free debt owed to oneself that is rolled over from year to year is effectively void – a debt “jubilee.” As noted by fund manager Eric Lonergan in a February 2017 article:

Bill Mitchell — France has received its orders from the masters

Angela Merkel and Bundesbank's Jens Weidmann rain on Charles DeGaulle wannabe Emmanuel Macron's parade. There will be no fiscal union with the North picking up the tab for the South.

This is a long post setting forth the issues standing in the way and why they are unlikely to be overcome. The chief obstacles are cultural and political rather than economic. A federation among sovereign nation states is not possible without restrictive concessions that the German elite reject.
The point is clear.
Macron can say what he likes. But unless he can get it past the masters (Germany) anything he says will be hot air.
And it is clear from history that Germany will never tolerate the creation of a true federal fiscal capacity.
Which tells me the Eurozone is never going to work in the way the leaders claimed it would at the outset – it will always be prone to stagnation and crisis.
Macron destined to be another Hollande? Bill thinks so.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
France has received its orders from the masters
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Republicans Still Pushing False Flags In Syria And Cold War With Russia

Sixty two percent of the US electorate believe that there is no hard evidence that the Russians hacked the election. The majority of Americans think this Russiagate nonsense is taking too much time of congress.

A new Seymour Hersh article is out showing that the US knew there was no Assad chemical attack in April, but President Trump decided to bomb anyway. Republicans cannot let go of "regime change" for Syria and new Cold War with Russia -- even as the Democrats are starting to back away. Will the mainstream media stick with the narrative as well? Or is it all about to come crashing down?

Brad DeLong — David Brooks: The G.O.P. Rejects Conservatism

David Brooks is wrong, I think, in his claim that the current crop of Republican politicians have no vision of American society. I think they do have a vision....
David Brooks: The G.O.P. Rejects Conservatism
Brad DeLong | Professor of Economics, UCAL Berkeley

Lars P. Syll — Marketization undermining the welfare system

1. Privatization is supposed to reduce cost by increasing efficiency. However, "efficiency" can be increased by trading off effectiveness and reducing quality.

2. The argument about privatization and deregulation generally assumes that there is no distinction between public and private goods, and it often also ignores externalities.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Marketization undermining the welfare system
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Economic Growth And Private Sector Debt Levels: Lessons (Not Yet?) Learned — Investment Cycle Engine, Inc

  • High private sector debt/GDP ratios will continue to hamper US economic growth.
  • Mainstream macroeconomic models by design ignore the financial cycle and do not provide any insights about the financial cycle.
  • Macroeconomic models should have macroeconomic foundations and incorporate financial stability considerations.
Good post based on a Post Keynesian analysis. But doesn't mention either Hyman Minsky, whose financial instability hypothesis explains the financial cycle, or MMT, which would bolster his argument. However, I understand the scope of posts at blogs is limited, so he had to make choices, and overall the post is well done the way he sets it up.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Russia Insider — BREAKING: White House Threatens to Murder More Syrians Over Imaginary 'Chemical Weapons Attacks'

Is this Trump's insane way of reacting to Seymour Hersh's story?
Russia Insider
BREAKING: White House Threatens to Murder More Syrians Over Imaginary 'Chemical Weapons Attacks' 
RI staff


Raw Story
Defense officials ‘caught off guard’ by White House statement on Syria chemical weapons prep: report
Elizabeth Preza

Crooks and Liars
Sean Spicer Issues Statement On Syria No One Should Believe
Karoli Kuns

David Fields — Capitalism is national & transnational, but what about the money?

Marxians picking up on MMT.

Radical Political Economy
Capitalism is national & transnational, but what about the money?
David Fields

Cyra Master — White House warns of Syrian preparation for chemical attack

Setting up a false flag after US cut off in race for Syria-Iraq border to justify further incursion? Hey, you didn't expect the US to give up and throw in the towel, did you?
Such an attack “would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children,” Spicer added, noting the activity is “similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.”
The April 4th "attack" was debunked by Seymour Hersh in Die Welt. Hersh previously debunked the previous "sarin attack" in 2013 in his London Review of Books article, "Whose sarin?"

The Hill
White House warns of Syrian preparation for chemical attack
Cyra Master

See also

For more details.

Zero Hedge
Seymour Hersh: US Lied About Syrian Chemical Attack Then Bombed Them Anyway
Tyler Durden

Notice that no of this is published or even mentioned in the "lamestream media" (Sarah Palin did come up with a few good ones.).

The US media propaganda drive continues in high gear.

beowulf — June 14, 1946 or how to pay for universal healthcare

As I’ve mentioned before, the guy who had universal healthcare figured out was the gruff former Congressman Pete Stark. His Americare bill from 2009 should be updated and made the Democratic alternative to the Senate bill….
Monetary Realism
June 14, 1946 or how to pay for universal healthcare

Ramanan — The Los Angeles Review Of Books On Liberalism

Rensin says:
The most significant development in the past 30 years of liberal self-conception was the replacement of politics understood as an ideological conflict with politics understood as a struggle against idiots unwilling to recognize liberalism’s monopoly on empirical reason. The trouble with liberalism’s enemies was no longer that they were evil, although they might be that too. The problem, reinforced by Daily Kos essays in your Facebook feed and retweeted Daily Show clips, was that liberalism’s enemies were factually wrong about the world.…

The Case for Concerted Action
The Los Angeles Review Of Books On Liberalism
V. Ramanan

Pepe Escobar — House of Saudi Cards: The Inside Story


Sputnik International
House of Saudi Cards: The Inside Story
Pepe Escobar

David F. Ruccio — This is the end—or is it?

Where I think Mishra goes wrong is in arguing that “A new economic consensus is quickly replacing the neoliberal one to which Blair and Clinton, as well as Thatcher and Reagan, subscribed.” Yes, in both the United Kingdom and the United States—in the campaign rhetoric of Theresa May and Trump, and in the actual policy proposals of Corbyn and Sanders—neoliberalism has been challenged. But precisely because the existing framing of the questions has not changed, a new economic consensus—an alternative common sense—cannot be born.
To put it differently, the neoliberal frame has been discarded but the ongoing debate remains framed by the terms that gave rise to neoliberalism in the first place. What I mean by that is, while recent criticisms of neoliberalism have emphasized the myriad problems created by individualism and free markets, the current discussion forgets about or overlooks the even-deeper problems based on and associated with capitalism itself. So, once again, we’re caught in the pendulum swing between a more private, market-oriented form of capitalism and a more public, government-regulated form of capitalism. The former has failed—that era does seem to be crumbling—and so now we begin to turn (as we did during the last system-wide economic crisis) to the latter.**
However, the issue that keeps getting swept under the political rug is, how do we deal with the surplus? If the surplus is left largely in private hands, and the vast majority who produce it have no say in how it’s appropriated and distributed, it should come as no surprise that we continue to see a whole host of “morbid phenomena”—from toxic urban water and a burning tower block to a new wave of corporate concentration and still-escalating inequality.
As long as it is assumed that capital (ownership of means of production) must be favored over labor (people) and land (environment) because capital formation in the sine qua non of growth, then the frame remains it place.

A frame that integrates people, environment and productive capacity needs to be developed to replace the flawed frame, which can never work satisfactorily for all the factors. hence, will always lead to social and environmental problems if balance is not restored.
Questioning some dimensions of neoliberalism does not, in and of itself, constitute a new economic consensus. I’m willing to admit it is a start. But, as long as remain within the present framing of the issues, as long as we cannot show how unreasonable the existing reason is, we cannot say the existing era has actually come to an end and a new era is upon us.
For that we need a new common sense, one that identifies capitalism itself as the problem and imagines and enacts a different relationship to the surplus.
For this it is necessary to acknowledge that the problem is based on the expropriation of workers and the environment, which is not sustainable in the long run and leads to periodic breakdowns. Short term fixes just put off dealing with the causes.

Occasional Links & Commentary
This is the end—or is it?
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame

Bill Mitchell — When Austrians ate dogs

Bill covers a lot of ground on work in progress and future publications. Important in keeping current on MMT work in progress.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
When Austrians ate dogs
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

CrowdStrike’s Out on Russian Hacking

RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky breaks down just how the DNC’s favorite Cyber Security Firm just struck out on Russian Hacking and how will that effect the rising McCarthyism on Capitol Hill.

Yes, you have read all about it here, but this is the video version which has some interesting facts in.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Paul Robinson — Not so intelligent

Anonymous sources. Real, or …...
The distinct lack of concern about the disclosure of a source allegedly so stunningly valuable that their information is restricted to just four people, is extraordinary. There can be only two explanations:
  • People in Washington don’t give a damn about protecting the CIA’s sources, no matter how valuable they are, and are quite happy to throw them under the bus if it gives them some political advantage. That includes both the people who leak such stories to the press, the press itself, and also the wider political establishment, which doesn’t seem to be too upset by such stuff. That in turn would suggest that these people are utterly untrustworthy, so we should take what they say with the largest pinch of salt; or
  • People aren’t concerned by the ‘leak’ for the simple reason that the source ‘deep in the Russian government’ doesn’t actually exist. The story is straightforward BS, pure and simple.
Personally, I tend toward option b.
Count me in.

Not so intelligent
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

A Baseless Justification for War in Syria — Dennis J. Bernstein interviews Francis Boyle

U.S. government officials, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., claim the current U.S. authority to mount military operations in Iraq and Syria is legally based on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force [AUMF] declaration to go after Al Qaeda and related terror groups after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. But how does that cover the recent U.S. attacks on Syrian government forces that have been battling both Al Qaeda and its spinoff, Islamic State?
Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, asserts that the recent U.S. shoot-down of a Syrian government jet inside Syria on June 18 was not only illegal under international law but amounts to an impeachable act by President Trump.
In an interview with Flashpoints’ Dennis J. Bernstein, Professor Boyle said, “What the U.S. government is getting away with here is incredible.” Boyle also talked to Bernstein about the questionable Russia-gate investigation and the darker history behind Special Prosecutor Robert Swan Mueller III, the former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Dennis Bernstein: Will Syria’s hot war and the recent U.S. bombings there lead us into a hot war with Russia? Well, the generals are saying this shoot-down in Syria is legal. You want to jump into this?
Francis Boyle: You know Dunford doesn’t have a law degree that I’m aware of. But, of course, still the Pentagon is going to try to justify whatever war crimes it can. They always do.
Clearly the U.S. invasion, which we have done, and now repeated military attacks against Syria constitutes a Nuremberg crime against peace, and in violation of the Nuremberg charter, judgment and principles, and, of course, a violation of the United Nations’ charter. [It is] an act of aggression as defined by, oh even the new element of the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court that is not yet in force. But it has a definition based upon the 1974 definition of aggression which the World Court found to be customary international law in the very famous Nicaraguan case when it applied it against Nicaragua....
Quite an interview. Professor Boyle unloads.

Dennis J. Bernstein interviews Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law

Ray McGovern — Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack Questioned

Legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh is challenging the Trump administration’s version of events surrounding the April 4 “chemical weapons attack” on the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun – though Hersh had to find a publisher in Germany to get his information out.
In the Sunday edition of Die Welt, Hersh reports that his national security sources offered a distinctly different account, revealing President Trump rashly deciding to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles against a Syrian airbase on April 6 despite the absence of intelligence supporting his conclusion that the Syrian military was guilty.
Hersh draws on the kind of inside sources from whom he has earned longstanding trust to dispute that there ever was a “chemical weapons attack” and to assert that Trump was told that no evidence existed against the Syrian government but ordered “his generals” to “retaliate” anyway.
Marine General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former Marine General, now Defense Secretary James “Mad-Dog” Mattis ordered the attacks apparently knowing that the reason given was what one of Hersh’s sources called a “fairy tale.”
They then left it to Trump’s national security adviser Army General H. R. McMaster to further the deceit with the help of a compliant mainstream media, which broke from its current tradition of distrusting whatever Trump says in favor of its older tradition of favoring “regime change” in Syria and trusting pretty much whatever the “rebels” claim.
Another tale of perfidy.
As of this writing, there is no sign in “mainstream media” of any reporting on Hersh’s groundbreaking piece. It is a commentary on the conformist nature of today’s Western media that an alternative analysis challenging the conventional wisdom – even when produced by a prominent journalist like Sy Hersh – faces such trouble finding a place to publish.
The mainstream hatred of Assad and Putin has reached such extraordinary levels that pretty much anything can be said or written about them with few if any politicians or journalists daring to express doubts regardless of how shaky the evidence is.
Even the London Review of Books, which published Hersh’s earlier debunking of the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin-gas incident, wouldn’t go off onto the limb this time despite having paid for his investigation....
Consortium News
Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack Questioned
Ray McGovern | veteran CIA analyst, Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch; prepared the President’s Daily Brief, and conducted the early morning briefings of President Reagan’s top national security advisers

Sandwichman — Marshall's Magic Confidence-Wand

Alfred Marshall quote.

Marshall's Magic Confidence-Wand

Warren Mosler — Credit Check

US domestic private credit continues to be weak.

The Center of the Universe
Credit Check
Warren Mosler

Lars Syll — Keynes & MMT

Keynes quote.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Keynes & MMT
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

See also

Mainstream monetary theory — neat, plausible, and utterly wrong

Bill McBride — Goldman on the Next Recession

CR note: Some day there will be another recession, but I don't see signs of a recession in the next year or more.
Calculated Risk
Goldman on the Next Recession
Bill McBride

Seymour Hersh — Trump‘s Red Line

How Trump overreacted at the time of the putative (faked) sarin attack in Syria.
President Donald Trump ignored important intelligence reports when he decided to attack Syria after he saw pictures of dying children. Seymour M. Hersh investigated the case of the alleged Sarin gas attack.
Trump is a loose cannon on deck in a storm. Scary when the captain is the loose cannon.

Trump‘s Red Line
Seymour M. Hersh
ht Jesse at Jesse's Café Américan

Moon of Alabama — Locked Into Al-Tanf U.S. Military Concedes It Lost The Race To Occupy South-East Syria

NEWSFLASH: The Pentagon and, even more important, the U.S. commanders in the Middle East, have finally recognized the basic facts of life.
There is no way the Syrian government and its allies will let the U.S. have south-east Syria or let it occupy the country including the Syrian army garrison in Deir Ezzor which is currently surrounded by Islamic State forces. The Syrian army and its allies will liberate Deir Ezzor and the whole Euphrates valley. The U.S. military has now conceded that.
There will be some huffing and puffing from the neoconservative corners but I doubt very much that this that this decision will be overturned or that this is a ruse. There is simply no strategic value for the U.S. in occupying south-east Syria and no will to defend it against determined resistance of capable opposing forces.
My congratulations to Syria and its allies. This battle is, for now, won.
Game (almost) over. But no doubt John McCain and various neocons won't be taking Sunday off after this news abut their plans being foiled.

Lesson: You can't bluff an invasion when Russia is in the game. 

But apparently it's all the military had in its toolbox, since for more direct action that might have led to direct conflict with Russia, the generals would have had to get permission from the politicians and president, and that would either have been a dead-end or else taken so much time as to scuttle the operation.

Moon of Alabama
Locked Into Al-Tanf U.S. Military Concedes It Lost The Race To Occupy South-East Syria

The CIA, Khomeini, & Secrets of the Islamic Revolution Exposed with Margot White

I thought it was a conspiracy theory that the CIA put Ayatollah Khomeini in charge but I did a search and came across this 2015 video about a book written by Margot White called Waking Up in Tehran. I also came across that in 2016 the CIA has released documents about how they put Khomeini in power.

The Shah was deeply unpopular and people wanted a change and were demonstrating in the streets so the CIA brought in the right wing, anti communist, anti socialist, Khomeini to take control. Khomeini wasn't very well known in Iran at the time as he hadn't lived in the country for 16 years because the Shah had banished him. The media gave him loads of coverage which only pop stars like the Beatles would normally get and he promised them democracy and equal rights for women. After the Shah left Iran Khomeini then became leader taking control but things did not turn out as the Iranians expected. When Khomeini took power he brought in a brutal, fascist, theocratic regime which turned on the people. Khomeini and his mullahs receives hundreds of millions from the CIA. The ultra right wing Khomeini wanted Reagan to win because Carter had cut off the millions that the US had been paying him

Soon after Khomeini took power and before he turned on the people Iranian students seized the American Embassy because they believed that they would find loads of documents there about how the CIA had organised the 1953 coup and what the CIA were up to now which they hoped this would help Khomeini, but the students hadn't realised that Khomeini was also a CIA asset who had promised to keep the oil flowing cheaply to the US. They only intended to stay there a for a few days but Khomeini saw how popular they were and so he encouraged then to stay longer boosting his own popularity. Morgan-Chase hoped the students would stay there a month because the Shah had put his billions into their bank accounts and under American law they were allowed to allowed to seize the money because if an American asset has been taken. Iran never got the money back.

One of the deals the Shah made with the US was that he would buy their weapons if they helped him stay in power, but this led up to massive build up of arms. Khomeini found a use for these weapons in the Iran-Iraq war which helped to keep demand for them as they were losing value.

This is another story of G.O.D, as Margot White says, guns, oil, and drugs. Margot White says there is nothing in this story about the morality that the West proclaims, it just about the money that wars, guns, and control of the oil can bring in just as it is in the ME today. The right wing Islamic mullahs have no problem with capitalism and imperialism as they hated the communists, but loved corruption and money. The British had used the Muslim Brotherhood for the same reason.

So we can see how the ME has been torn up to seize the oil, start wars to sell lots of weapons, and gain control the opium poppy fields which has made western bankers trillions. This is the morality of the West, and Putin is said to be the 'bad guy' because he is stopping them, but he is dealing with Satan.

As we have learnt here recently, the war with Russia is not intended to become hot, it is intended to be a tepid mini war moving beyond the cold war to strengthen NATO and to frighten Europe to buy €billions of new weapons. And the US has started a bogus cold war with China to get American taxpayers to pay for $billions of new weapons. Will it ever stop?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Zero Hedge — CIA Director Mike Pompeo: Trump's "An Avid Consumer" Of Intel, Will "Punish Leakers"

Apparently President Trump is learning the ropes. Which doesn't bode well for peace. America First is likely to remain a campaign promise that DJT will report that he "doing great" on, as in war to end wars.

Much more in the post than the title implies. Of course, Israel is not mentioned but Iran happens to the the arch-enemy of both Israel and Saudi Arabia, which is mentioned. Syria is to be portioned or turned into a Sunni puppet state of Saudi Arabia, and Hezbollah is the only Arab organization to have beaten Israel (in 2006). Go figure.

 They really have it for Iran, and Wikileaks too. Israel and Saudi ArabiaIsrael and Saudi ArabiaIsrael and Saudi Arabia! USA! USA! USA!

The problem is that Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and leakers such as Wikileaks are not threatening US national security in any substantial way. Their sin is getting in the way of the US elite. 

Why is that a problem. Because then TPTB react in a way that is not completely rational and that means losing touch with reality. When one losses touch, with reality it seldom ends well. And the real problem is that this will affect all living American and Americans for generations to come.

Zero Hedge
CIA Director Mike Pompeo: Trump's "An Avid Consumer" Of Intel, Will "Punish Leakers"
Tyler Durden

Taylor Link — Jill Stein denies being a puppet of Russia, blames Democrats for scapegoating election loss

WTF?  How long will take for the Democratic Party to erase the blot of McCarthyism in smearing Donald Trump and Jill Stein, and conspiring to deny Bernie Sanders a fair shot at the nomination?

Unless candidates for office in upcoming elections denounce it. And start critiquing themselves in earnest for their mistakes rather than trying to foist the blame on others by smearing them.

Democratic losses in special elections recently are sending a signal that is apparently not be received, or being interpreted badly.

And it is not only the Democratic Establishment that is caught up in this folly. A lot of so-called Progressive Democrats aka Bernie Democrats are too.


Jill Stein denies being a puppet of Russia, blames Democrats for scapegoating election loss
Taylor Link

Publius Tacitus — Our Grand American Delusion

City on a Hill? Leader of the Free World? Defender of Freedom? How about a mass of delusional crazies?
See? It's not just us saying this.

Publius Tacitus gets the economics wrong about borrowing by the currency issuer in its own currency and public debt, but his background is either military or intel, or both, so it is not in his realm of expertise.

Sic Semper Tyrannis 
Our Grand American Delusion
Publius Tacitus

RT — Long-range missile that can fit in shipping container test-fired at sea by Israeli contractor

The merchant marine is now a legitimate military target. Brilliant "innovation."
An Israeli defense contractor has successfully test-fired a missile with a 400-kilometer range that can fit into a standard shipping container. Launched from a ship, it joins the trend of weaponizing civilian freighters.

The missile that was fired on Tuesday, dubbed LORA or Long-Range Artillery weapon system, is produced by state-owned defense giant Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). According to company specifications, the solid-propellant ground-to-ground 1,600-kilogram projectile has a range of 400 kilometers and can be fired at a target in just 10 minutes.
First revealed in 2006, the missiles were originally designed to be secretly deployed. To protect them from detection, the missiles are stored in dedicated sealed canisters that can fit inside a standard shipping container and have a shelf life of seven years without maintenance....
Long-range missile that can fit in shipping container test-fired at sea by Israeli contractor


Potpourri. I have not attempted to verify these posts, but they are interesting owing to the events and people they cover and they would be significant even if only partially true.

Investigative reporters act very much like the analytical sections of intelligence agencies.

Analysts working for intel comb published information, correlated it, and assess it. From this they draw inferences and assign a probability index in term of "confidence."

Investigative reporters are often less disciplined and either draw conclusions based on inference that exceeds the evidence and present them as fact, or else have sources that they cannot even allude to in order to protect not only the sources but also continued access to them.

Readers have to act as their own analysts and use critical thinking in assessing information, distinguishing fact from inference and closely scrutinizing inference.

Ted Turner, CNN, Putin, and the Amazing Oligarchs Drama Unfolding
Phil Butler


White Helmets member caught on camera disposing of Syrian soldiers’ mutilated bodies (GRAPHIC VIDEO)

Sputnik International
Intel Agent Reveals How NATO Planned to Tear Russia Apart
25 Sputnik International

Moon of Alabama — Israel's Fire Support For Its Al-Qaeda Mercenaries Started Three Years Ago

Al-Qaeda attacked a Syrian Arab Army position in Madinat al-Baath (map) next to the Israel occupied Golan heights. Al-Qaeda requested Israeli fire-support by launching some mortars towards empty space in the Israel occupied area. The Israeli Defense Force accepted the request and destroyed two Syrian Arab Army tanks. Two Syrian soldiers were killed. The SAA held steady and the al-Qaeda attack on its position failed.
This was very easy to predict. Israel has supported al-Qaeda in the area since at least 2014. The al-Qaeda fire-request-by-mortar scheme has been in place for at least three years. In October 2014 the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which back then still covered the area, reported to the UN Security Council:

On 23 June [2014], Israel targeted nine Syrian army positions with tank fire and air strikes after mortar fire from the Syrian side the previous day killed an Israeli civilian. Israel’s assessment is that most of these incidents are due to errant fire resulting from fighting in Syria. Israel said that armed opposition groups were probably responsiblebut that its forces fired on Syrian military positions to stress that Syria was responsible for security on its side of the ceasefire line.
The UN observers mentioned the "black flags" the "rebels" were using. The "rebels" in that area are al-Qaeda forces. This "fire support request by mortar" scheme has been repeated again and again. The Israeli argument is an insult to logic: "The Syrian army is responsible for keeping al-Qaeda out of the area so we respond to "errant" al-Qaeda fire by destroying the Syrian army."
But "western" and Israeli media did and do not report or analyzed the obvious scheme. This even as this theater act gets repeated over and over again. They lie and simply report the "errant fire" nonsense even when it is clear that this is coordinated military support for al-Qaeda. For years they have hidden Israeli support for al-Qaeda and its deep involvement in the Syrian war. Witness Haaretz which only today(!) headlines: Analysis - Israel’s Slow Creep Into the Syrian Civil War. That "slow creep", which Haaretz describes and analyzes as a new phenomenon, started at least three years ago and was neither slow nor a creep. It is full fledged support for terrorism and has been such since its beginning....
Moon of Alabama
Israel's Fire Support For Its Al-Qaeda Mercenaries Started Three Years Ago

See also

Isreali Air Force Strikes Syrian Army Artillery Pieces And Battle Tanks In Quneitra Province

Jake Tapper Calls Out DNC’s B.S. On Russia Hacking

The whole Russiangate business is based on a pack of lies. The Clinton's won't let anyone near their server which they say was hacked, not even the FBI. They won't even let the Department of Homeland Security look at the server who wanted to help them to make more secure. If we had a true independent media this DNC hacking business would go anywhere because no evidence has been presented. A proper independent media would ask why hasn't the FBI or the Homeland Security been allowed to look at the server?