US: Clinton calendars won’t be released until after election

August 26, 2016 Leave a comment

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seven months after a federal judge ordered the State Department to begin releasing monthly batches of the detailed daily schedules showing meetings by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, the government told The Associated Press it won’t finish the job before Election Day.

The department has so far released about half of the schedules. Its lawyers said in a phone conference with the AP’s lawyers that the department now expects to release the last of the detailed schedules around Dec. 30, weeks before the next president is inaugurated.

The AP’s lawyers late Friday formally asked the State Department to hasten that effort so that the department could provide all Clinton’s minute-by-minute schedules by Oct. 15. The agency did not immediately respond.

The schedules drew new attention this week after the AP analyzed the ones released so far. The news agency found that more than half the people outside the government who met or spoke by telephone with Clinton while she was secretary of state had given money – either personally or through companies or groups – to the Clinton Foundation. The AP’s analysis focused on people with private interests and excluded her meetings or calls with U.S. federal employees or foreign government representatives.

The AP’s reporting was based on official calendars covering Clinton’s entire term plus the more-detailed daily schedules covering roughly half her time as secretary of state. The AP first asked for Clinton’s calendars in 2010 and again in 2013. It then sued the State Department in federal court to obtain the detailed schedules, and the department so far has provided about half of them under court order.

Clinton has said the AP’s analysis was flawed because it did not account fully for all meetings and phone calls during her entire term as secretary. She also said the analysis should have included meetings with federal employees and foreign diplomats. The AP said it focused on her meetings with outsiders because those were more discretionary, as Clinton would normally meet with federal officials and foreign officials as part of her job.

Clinton said she met with people outside government regardless of whether they gave money or charitable commitments to her family’s charity.

“These are people I would be proud to meet with, as any secretary of state would have been proud to meet with, to hear about their work and their insights,” Clinton said this week on CNN.

With the foundation drawing continued attention, Clinton promised Friday to put in place additional safeguards to prevent conflicts of interest with the charity should she win the White House.

The foundation issue, along with continued focus on her use of a private email server, has dogged Clinton politically throughout the week, drawing strong criticism from opponent Donald Trump.

Trump spokesman Jason Miller released a statement Friday night saying: “It is unacceptable that the State Department is now refusing to release her official schedule before the election in full. Voters deserve to know the truth before they cast their ballots.”

Former President Bill Clinton said last week that if she is elected president, the foundation will no longer accept foreign or corporate donations.

The State Department is now estimating there are about 2,700 pages of schedules left. Under its process, it is reviewing and censoring them page-by-page to remove personal details such as private phone numbers or email addresses. In some cases it has censored names of people who met privately with Clinton or the subjects they discussed.

A State Department spokeswoman, Elizabeth Trudeau, declined to discuss the ongoing case and noted the agency is struggling with thousands of public records requests.

In court, the AP in December had asked U.S. District Judge Richard Leon to order the State Department to produce specific percentages of the remaining schedules every 30 days under a formula so that all would be released before the presidential primary elections were complete.

Instead, because the State Department said it did not know how many pages were left, Leon ordered it in January to release at least 600 pages of schedules every 30 days. Each 600-page group covers about three months of Clinton’s tenure.

Under the present rate, a government attorney working on behalf of the State Department notified the AP’s lawyers, it will take about four and one-half months – or until Dec. 30 – to release all the remaining schedules through the end of Clinton’s term, in February 2013. The government’s notice late Thursday was the first time the State Department has provided the AP with a measure of how many pages were remaining and when it expected to complete the job.

It was unclear whether the judge will reconsider his earlier decision and order faster results. In the AP’s lawsuit over other Clinton-related files, Leon has said it would be “ridiculous” to allow the State Department to delay until even weeks before the election. He also cited “mounting frustration that this is a project where the State Department may be running out the clock.”

 

Categories: 2016 US Elections, US News, USA

Trump vs. Hillary: “If Hillary gets into the Oval Office, I Predict Nuclear War before her First term is Over”

August 27, 2016 Leave a comment

hillary-clinton-for-war

Source: Paul Craig Roberts

The US presidential election this November will tell whether a majority of the US population is irredeemably stupid.  If voters elect Hillary, we will know that Americans are stupid beyond redemption.

We don’t know much about Trump, and anti-Trump propaganda rules in the place of facts.

But we know many facts about Hillary.  We know about her violation of classification laws and the refusal of the Democratic administration to do anything about it. The Democrats prefer to control the White House than to enforce the law, another nail into the coffin in which the rule of law in the US lies.

We know from their words and deeds and material success that the Clintons are agents for Wall Street, the Big Banks, the military/security complex, Israel, agribusiness, and the extractive industries. Their large personal fortune, approximately $120 million, and the $1,600 million in their foundation, much of which came from abroad in exchange for political favors, attests to the unchallengable fact that the Clintons are agents for the oligarchy that rules America, indeed, that rules the American Empire from Australia and Japan, through North America and Western and Eastern Europe to the Russian border.

We know that Hillary, like Bill, is a liar.

We know that Hillary is a warmonger.

We know that Hillary made the most irresponsible statement ever uttered by a presidential candidate when she declared the President of Russia to be the “new Hitler,” thereby raising tensions between the US and Russia to a higher level than existed during the Cold War.

We know that Hillary is allied with the neoconservatives and that her belief in the neocons’ ideology of US world hegemony is likely to result in war with Russia and China.

All we know about Trump is that the oligarchs, who sent America’s jobs overseas, who flooded the country with difficult-to-assimilate immigrants, who destroyed public education, who bailed out Wall Street and the “banks too big to fail,” who sacrificed American homeowners and retirees living on a fixed income, who intend to privatize both Social Security and Medicare, who have given the public killer cops, relentless violations of privacy, the largest prison poplulation in the world, and destroyed the US Constitution in order to increase executive power over the American people, are violently opposed to Trump.  This opposition should tell us that Trump is the person we want in the Oval Office.

Some claim that it is all a charade and that Trump is playing a role in order to elect Hillary. American politics are so corrupt that anything is possible.  However the ruling elites and their puppets seem to be genuinely concerned about Trump’s challenge to their control, and they have united against Trump. They have used their money to buy up “progressive” websites paid to bring the print and TV anti-Trump propaganda onto the Internet, thus joining the Internet presstitutes with the print, TV, and NPR whores who are working overtime to demonize Trump and to elect Hillary.

The entire power structure of our country is behind Hillary. Both political parties, Democratic and Republican, and both ideologies, neoliberals and neoconservatives, are united behind Hillary.

How much more evidence do Americans need in order to know that a vote for Hillary is a vote for their own emasculation?

Apparently, Americans remain captives of their insouciance. According to news reports, a majority of voters still haven’t a clue about the consequences of voting for Hillary.  Polls report that Hillary is well in the lead.  Are these real polls or just another presstitute lie to discourage Trump supporters?  Why vote when they have already lost?

The propaganda assault against Trump, vicious as it was, did not succeed during the Republican primary.  Despite the media condemnation of Trump, he swept the other Republican candidates aside effortlessly.

The current media demonization of Trump might fail as well.  Indeed, it is so transparent that it could elect him.

All that is required is for enough Americans to awake from their insousiance to recognize that it is the enemies of their own lives, their own living standards, and their own liberty who are violently opposed to Trump.

If Americans cannot reach this realization, they have no future, and neither does the planet Earth.

The ruling oligarchy hates Trump because he disavows war with Russia, questions the purpose of NATO, opposes the offshoring of Americans’ jobs, and opposes the uncontrolled immigration that is transforming the United States into a multi-cultural entity devoid of unity. The oligarchs are replacing the United States with a Tower of Babel. Oligarchic power grows exponentially among the confusion of diversity.

In other words, Trump is for America and for Americans.

This is why the oligarchs and their whores hate Trump.

The imbecillic Americans who vote for Hillary are voting for war and their own immiseration.

Possibly, a vote for Trump is the same.  However, in the case of Trump we do not know that.  In the case of Hillary we most certainly do know it.

Of course, it could matter not how Americans vote. Those who program the electronic voting machines will determine the vote, and as the establishments of both political parties totally oppose Trump, the programmed machines can elect Hillary. We know this from our electoral history. The US has already experienced elections in which exit polls show a winning candidate different from the candidate selected by the electronic machines that have no paper trail and no way of affirming the vote.

If Hillary gets into the Oval Office, I predict nuclear war before her first term is over.  A vote for Hillary is a vote for nuclear war.

If you look at the forthcoming election realistically, you have no alternative but to conclude that the entirety of the presstitute media and American Establishment prefers the risk of nuclear war to the risk of losing control of the government to the voters.

That Americans permitted the rise of unaccountable power tells us all we need to know about the dereliction of duty of which United States citizens are guilty. The American people failed democracy, which requires accountable government.  The American government has proven that it is not accountable to the US Constitution, to US statutory law, to international law, or to voters.

If the result of Americans’ dereliction of duty is nuclear war, the American people will be responsible for the death of planet Earth. One would hope that with responsibility this great on their shoulders, the American people will reject the unequivocal war candidate and take their chances on holding Trump accountable to his words.

Hillary Clinton Is Spreading Islamist Extremism, Hillary’s Saudi Sponsors Support Terrorism

August 27, 2016 Leave a comment

clinton H

Source: Global Research
If the West in general and the United States in particular, left the Arab and Muslim world alone and in peace, we would most likely never see all those terrorist attacks, which are rocking the world from Indonesia to France. There would be no Mujahedeen and its mutation into al-Qaeda; in Afghanistan or elsewhere. There would be no traces of the ISIS (or ISIL or I.S. or Daesh or however you choose to call it), in Syria, Iraq, Libya or anywhere else.

And the super-conservative Wahhabi Islam, that outdated, freak Saudi mutant, would remain in the religious schools of the ultra-regressive Kingdom, instead of gaining ground all over Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Secular Islam

But the West embarked on a brutal, Machiavellian path: it decided to destroy socialist Islam – that (historically) moderate, compassionate and progressive religion. It smashed once secular Egypt; it overthrew the government in socialist Iran and then in near-Communist Indonesia, implanting in all these places horrifically degenerate and fully outdated religious concepts. It used extremists to destroy healthy patriotism and socialism. Like the Brits in the 19th Century (“You can control people’s brains, while we will control your natural resources”), the West embraced Wahhabi teaching, because it was able to guarantee full obedience, dictatorial (pro-Western) governance and oppressive feudalism.

Islam has been used and abused, manipulated and virtually stripped of its essence. The process has gone so far that two leading Iranian scholars, during my visit last-year to Teheran, declared to me: “In so many parts of the world, the West created an absolutely new religion. We don’t recognize it, anymore. It has nothing to do with Islam.”

“If the West in general and the United States in particular, left the Arab and Muslim world alone and in peace, we would most likely never see all those terrorist attacks, which are rocking the world from Indonesia to France…”

Correct. Like a naughty, spoiled and heartless child, the West, after destroying the Soviet Union, painstakingly constructed its new enemy – “militant Islam” – so it could continue indulging in its favorite activity, which is perpetual conflict, endless wars and plunder.

It is as simple as that.

The greatest oppressors of the Muslim people, those in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Indonesia have all been closely allied to the West. The most terrible terrorist “Muslim” organizations, from Al-Qaida to ISIS, have been created, armed and supported by the West and its cronies.

In Europe and in the United States, the “fear of terrorists” is fully exploited by the Western regime—a global class alliance plutocrats, in actuality, with headquarters in Washington, where the main military and media muscle reside. It still clings to power mainly thanks to such fear implanted in the brains of ‘ordinary people’.And what about the “War on Terror”? Yes, there really is such war, but the West is not the one who fights it. As this goes to print, the war against terrorism is being fought by Russia, Iran, China, Syria, Hezbollah and their allies!

The West is still closely collaborating with the terrorists. It miraculously ‘avoids targeting them’ when ‘fighting wars against them’; it financially supports some and trains others. It criticizes and antagonizes those who are actually fighting the extremist militant groups.

Extremists have been unleashed, like Rottweiler fighting dogs, against almost all progressive governments in the Middle East, but also against China and Russia. Extremist Muslims, extremist Christians, even extremist Buddhists!

In turn, the politicians in the United States are regularly supported, financially, by the regimes (including those of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, etc.) that are spreading, relentlessly, throughout the world, the most intolerant and grotesquely violent religious concepts.

Despite their essential servility and cowardice, even some North American mainstream media outlets are now actively discussing various schemes involving the financing of the Clinton Foundation by Saudi Arabia (alongside several leading transnational corporations and Wall Street’s largest banks).

On its “Breaking News”, as far back as in 2008, CNN reported:

The donations to the William J. Clinton Foundation include amounts of $10 million to $25 million from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and real estate mogul Stephen Bing, a personal friend of the Clintons.

The Clintons came under intense pressure during Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to release the names of donors to both the Foundation and to the Clinton presidential library in Arkansas.

Bill Clinton agreed to the release of the list after President-elect Barack Obama nominated Hillary Clinton to become Secretary of State.

The governments of Kuwait and Qatar are also on the list, as is Saudi businessman Nasser Al-Rashid, who has close ties to the Saudi royal family. Saudi Sheikh Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi, reputed to be one of the richest men in the world, is among the donors as well. Both Saudis contributed in the $1 million to $5 million range. A group called Friends of Saudi Arabia and the Dubai Foundation appear in the same category.  

As recently as on August 20th, 2016, The New York Times wrote something similar, essentially reconfirming the validity of the earlier reports, while adding many more details and adjusting the figures:

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia donated more than $10 million. Through a foundation, so did the son-in-law of a former Ukrainian president whose government was widely criticized for corruption and the murder of journalists. A Lebanese-Nigerian developer with vast business interests contributed as much as $5 million.

For years the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation thrived largely on the generosity of foreign donors and individuals who gave hundreds of millions of dollars to the global charity. But now, as Mrs. Clinton seeks the White House, the funding of the sprawling philanthropy has become an Achilles’ heel for her campaign and, if she is victorious, potentially her administration as well.

Long time Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin (who spent part of her childhood in Saudi Arabia) has been an intermediary between the former Secretary of State and pro-Saudi interests. She also negotiated financial support for Ms. Clinton from Mr. Chagouri and other individuals, organizations and businesses originating from the Middle East.

The accusations and evidence keep coming in, from different media outlets, both left wing and right wing. On August 1st, 2016, the conservative Breitbart News stated:

Khizr Khan, the Muslim Gold Star father that the mainstream media and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been using to criticize Donald J. Trump, has deep ties to the government of Saudi Arabia—and to international Islamist investors through his own law firm. In addition to those ties to the wealthy Islamist nation, Khan also has ties to controversial immigration programs that wealthy foreigners can use to essentially buy their way into the United States—and has deep ties to the “Clinton Cash” narrative through the Clinton Foundation.

Hillary’s Saudi Sponsors

Hillary Clinton’s dependence on Saudi sponsors has been strongly influencing her decision to maintain a foreign policy in the service of Riyadh and support for various terrorist groups controlled by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, in and beyond the Middle East region.

In reality, she is simply representing ‘continuity’ of an already existing, deadly trend. The regime has been ‘evolving’ for decades, but especially since the Ronald Reagan years. Republicans or Democrats: it truly matters very little. Both parties spread terror all over the world. True, George W. Bush invaded Iraq, but people like Bill Clinton are close friends and supporters of Paul Kagame, the Rwandese ‘butcher of Congo’, with the blood of some 10 million people on his hands. Democrat and ‘moderate’, Bill Clinton, was also responsible for the criminal bombing and destruction of socialist Yugoslavia. And so it goes…

But under Barack Obama’s rule, the last hope for an independent Middle East and the Arab world has virtually evaporated. Libya has been destroyed; the Syrian civil war was launched from Washington, London and Paris. Saudis bathed rebellious Yemen in blood using UK and US produced weapons. Virtually all ‘Arab Spring revolutions’ were infiltrated and diverted. And in Bahrain, the Shi’a majority was literally raped by Saudi Arabia and its own ruthless rulers, with British advisors standing-by.

The US and Europe have kept selling arms to the Gulf, building new military bases while supporting the most appalling and bloodthirsty regimes.

The ‘Obama/ (Hilary) Clinton Era’ has greatly ‘improved’ the symbioses of Western imperialism, big business, and pro-Western fascist regimes worldwide, but particularly in the Middle East and Africa.

This toxic embrace has proved fatal to millions of people in these two parts of the world. Hopes for self-governance have been ruined. Corpses keep piling up in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and elsewhere.

The West does not care, as long as it stays in charge of the ‘show’, and for as long as hundreds of billions of dollars are made by weapons’ producers. Even if millions are dying, there is still an uninterrupted flow of raw materials to the West and Japan. Therefore, it is ‘business as usual’. ‘Un-people’ and their lives are worth nothing.

At one point, Russia, Iran, China and others have said “enough is enough; let’s fight against the true terrorists! Let’s fight ISIS and other bigots! Let’s give a hand to the independence-minded, socially-oriented patriots”.

Predictably,. this led to total outrage in Washington, London, and Paris (and Tokyo). Disobedience and rebellion against the global (Western) order could not be tolerated! It had to be crushed, even at the cost of new and deadly world war.

NATO, Washington, Europe, Japan, and South Korea –all started a direct confrontation policy against Russia, China, Iran, North Korea (DPRK) and other members of the ‘Coalition of Daring’. Brazil, an important member of BRICS, was recently destroyed by the extreme-right coup supported by the West.

Even the Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, in his rare moments of sanity, is clearly aware of the danger. He does not wish to confront Russia. He is obviously not willing to sacrifice tens of millions of human lives for some grotesque dreams of total world domination by a market fundamentalism backed by the white (or Western) supremacist dogmas.

But Trump’s moments of sanity are defined as ‘madness’ by the mainstream propaganda. Not surprisingly! As was correctly stated by the great Indian thinker, Arundhati Roy, some several years ago: “now war is called peace and black is called white”. Orwellian indeed, with a vengeance.

The Clinton Campaign

The Clinton campaign has gone into overdrive. It attempts to distract attention from its own funding scandals, by accusing Donald Trump’s aides of receiving financing from abroad. Trump is now described as ‘Russia’s agent’.

This game – it is all self-serving: nothing to do with the interests of the world, or even the interests of the common ‘American people’.

For as long as the general political trend of the West does not radically change, or for as long as the West is not stopped by outside forces, perpetual wars will continue. Monstrous genocides in Africa, the destruction of entire states and regions in the Middle East, all this could easily spread to other parts of the Planet.

It is clear now that if provoked and confronted, countries like China, Russia and Iran would not hesitate to fight back. They also may fight for others – for their tortured allies.

The Western implants and their buddies, Mujahedeen/Al-Qaida, have already destroyed Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. ISIS, another mutant unleashed by the West and its allies, have been devastating Iraq, Syria, Libya and now what is left of Afghanistan.

These ‘movements’ have really nothing to do with Islam. They were manufactured in Washington, Riyadh, London, and Doha (and most likely even in Tel Aviv), for several concrete purposes, all of them thoroughly foul.

They are making sure to ruin the socialist nature of Islam, insisting exclusively on the implementation of outdated, medieval fundamentalist interpretations.

Huma Abedin’s mother, Dr. Saleha Mahmood Abedin, is one of the founding members of the Muslim Sisterhood, and chairperson of the “International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child” (IICWC). She is also a well known writer and editor based in Saudi Arabia. Her organization (IICWC) had repeatedly argued that laws banning female circumcision should be revoked, as well as laws prohibiting child marriage and marital rape. During her visit to KSA, Hillary Clinton spoke at the Islamic college of Dar El-Hekma (where Dr. Saleha Abedin was a vice-dean) shoulder-to-shoulder with her favorite aide – Huma.

Was this just an insignificant episode? Like those millions of dollars in Saudi Arabian funding for Clinton’s foundation? Like the US ‘foreign policy’ in the Gulf and in the Middle East, like spreading Muslim extremist groups to all corners of the world, from Africa, the Middle East, to Southeast Asia and even China? Like unleashing conservative Islam against socialist Muslim countries?

Too many ‘episodes’! Too much blood… It is time to say what is by now obvious: “The US establishment is not fighting ‘Muslim terrorism’ or even ‘extremism’; it is manufacturing it, and injecting it everywhere.”

The only real enemy that Washington, London and Paris have, for decades, even for centuries, is the anti-colonialist struggle, and the burning desire of people, worldwide, to terminate the West’s global dictatorship.

Philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist, Andre Vltchek has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or Twitter account. 

The History of Money: Not What You Think

August 27, 2016 Leave a comment

Source:

Most of us have an idea of how money came to be. It goes something like this: People wanted to exchange goods for other goods, but it was difficult to coordinate. So they started exchanging goods for money, and money for goods. This tells us that money is a medium of exchange. It’s a nice and simple story. The problem is that it may not be true. We may be understanding money entirely wrong. 

The above story assumes that first there was a market, and then people introduced money to make the market work better. But some people find this hard to believe. Those who subscribe to the Chartalist school of thought give a different history. Before money was used in markets, they say, it was used in primitive criminal justice systems. Money started as—and still is—is a record of debt. It is a way to keep track of what one person owes another. There’s anthropological evidence to back up this view. Work by Innes, and Wray suggest that the origins of money are more like this:

In a pre-market, feudal society, there was usually a system to maintain justice in the community. If someone committed a crime, the authority, let’s call him the king, would decide that the criminal owed a fine to the victim. The fine could be a cow, a sheep, three chickens, depending on the crime. Until that cow was brought forward, the criminal was indebted to the victim. The king would record the criminal’s outstanding debt.

This system changed over time. Rather than paying fines to the victim, criminals were ordered to pay fines to the king. This way, resources were being moved to the king, who could coordinate their use for the benefit of the community as  a whole. This was useful for the King, and for the development of the society. But the amount of resources coming from a criminal here and there was not impressive. The system had to be expanded to draw more resources to the kingdom.

To expand the system, the king created debt-records of his own. You can think of them as pieces of papers that say King-Owes-You. Next, he went to his citizens and demanded they give him the resources he wanted. If a citizen gave their cow to the king, the king would give the citizen some of his King-Owes-You papers. Now, a cow seems more useful than a piece of paper, so it seems silly that a citizen would agree to this. But the king had thought of a solution. To make sure everyone would want his King-Owes-You papers, he created a use for them.

He proclaimed that every so often, all citizens had to come forward to the kingdom. Each citizen would be in big trouble, unless they could provide little pieces of paper that showed the king still owed them. In that case, the king would let the citizen go, and not owe them any longer. The citizen would be free to go off and acquire more King-Owes-You papers, to make sure he would be safe the next time, too. This way, all the citizens needed King-Owes-You papers to stay out of trouble. That made King-Owes-You papers widely accepted, and consequently, also a useful medium of exchange. This lead to the rise of markets.

smallThis same pattern can be observed in more recent history. Matthew Forstater and Farley Grubb find that when European colonizers arrived in the New World, they wanted to get the local population to work. But when they offered them to work for a wage, the locals —who never saw a coin before— didn’t see the point. So then the Europeans decided that every hut had to pay them a certain amount of coins every so often in order to stay out of trouble. Now, having to make sure they could pay their tax to the authorities, working for a wage seemed like a good idea.

Not much has changed since then. Money can still be understood as a debt-record, or an IOU. In the US, we have dollars. Dollars are created by our version of a king: the government. We can understand them to be pieces of paper that say USGovernment-Owes-You. Just like the King in our story uses King-Owes-You papers to pay for resources, the US government uses dollars to pay for things that citizens provide. Rather than a cow, US citizens may supply a road, and receive dollars from the government as compensation. This means that now that they built a road, the government owes them. This is good for those citizens, because when it’s tax day, that’s what they need. They give the government their dollars (which show the government still owed them) and in exchange, the government doesn’t put them in jail.

‘This Ship is Sinking’ Says Former Pentagon Official under Bush

August 27, 2016 Leave a comment

Source:

Abby Martin interviews retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former national security advisor to the Reagan administration, who spent years as an assistant to Secretary of State Colin Powell during both Bush administrations. Today, he is honest about the unfixable corruption inside the establishment and the corporate interests driving foreign policy.

Hear a rare insider’s view of what interests are behind U.S. wars, the manipulation of intelligence, the intertwining of the military and corporate world, and why the U.S. Empire is doomed.

Turkey and Iran’s Problems with Russia as an Ally

August 27, 2016 Leave a comment

Source: Geopolitical

Turkey sent troops into Syria yesterday. This caused Russia to declare its unhappiness with Turkey. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Turkey yesterday. The atmosphere may not have been loving, but it was cordial, with none of the venom that had been visible since the coup attempt. The Russians have agreed that to halt operations from Iran’s Hamedan air base, but might return at some point. There is some sort of political battle raging in Iran over giving the Russians permission to use Hamedan in the first place. All of these apparently distinct threads tie together into a single, geopolitical story.

Let’s begin with Iran. Iran has kept its independence for centuries, fending off two threats. One was Turkey, in its Ottoman guise. The other was Russia, both the empire and the Soviet phase. As an example, during World War II, Iran remained formally independent, but was occupied in the north by the Soviets and in the south by the British. After the war, the Soviets showed themselves reluctant to leave. It was American pressure on both the Soviets and the British that restored Iranian independence. It wasn’t American goodness. The Americans opposed Soviet expansion and were undermining the British Empire. Iranian and American interests coincided.

The United States increased its power and influence in Iran, until the Islamic Revolution tore the relationship apart. The United States became Iran’s main adversary, but not its only one. Iran remained extremely cautious about Soviet designs, particularly in the early phase of the Islamic Republic. It remembered its long history with Russia. As for Turkey, it was weak in this period and didn’t present a threat. Iran was hostile to the United States and cautious about Russia.

The recent deal on nuclear weapons was forced through in Iran by factions who argued that a policy of complete hostility toward the United States was undermining the Iranian economy and political interests. Another faction (or several) opposed the deal as a betrayal of Iranian interests and as a capitulation to the United States. This faction, rooted in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, fought and lost the fight. But it did not give up.

Trouble between Moscow and Tehran?

August 27, 2016 Leave a comment

Source: The Saker

While the granting of the use of the Iranian airbase in Hamedan to the Russian Aerospace forces was greeted with a lot of coverage, the recent departure from Hamedan of the Russian Tu-22M3 has attracted much less attention. The official Russian line on this was very neutral, as shown by this article in Sputnik.

What really took place, however, deserves some further scrutiny.

First, it should be said that the Russians had been using that airbase for a quite a while already, but that the deal between Russia and Iran had been kept secret.  According to Russian sources, it appears that the Iranians were completely surprised when this information was made public and that some factions inside the ruling elites of Iran were outraged at what they saw as a public admission of a compromise of Iranian sovereignty.   First, it was the Iranian Defense Minister, Hossein Dehghan, who expressed his outrage at what he saw was a Russian leak made without Iranian agreement.  According to Dehghan, the Russians wanted to show that they were an influential superpower and that is why they made that information public.  Soon after that, both the Iranian Foreign Ministry and the Russian ambassador to Tehran confirmed that the Russians had left Hamedan and that they would only come back when the two countries would agree to their return.

However, there might be more to this than meet the eye.

According to the same Russian sources, what might be taking place is an internal struggle between different Iranian factions, specifically the Iranian armed forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).  The Russians believe that the website which initially released this information, Warfare Worldwide, is linked to the Iranian Armed Forces who, according to the Russians, leaked this info (and pictures) through Warfare Worldwide in order to embarrass the Iranian government.  Once this information was made public, the Russians had to confirm it, and that resulted in some very heated exchanges in the Iranian Parliament.  Russian experts have stated that the decision to offer the use of Hamedan to the Russian Aerospace forces could not have been made without the person approval of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, and the Russian Aerospace forces had been using the Hamedan airbase since last year, but the (fully understandable) hyper-sensitivity of the Iranian public to the issue of sovereignty made the publication of this information highly embarrassing for the Iranians, especially the conservatives.  A second problem is that the Russians were mostly working with the IRGC, since they are the ones fighting inside Syria, while the Iranian Armed forces were unhappy with this arrangement.

Whatever may be the case, in the short term this is definitely bad news, not only because this complicates the execution of Russian air strikes against Daesh, but also because it shows that all is not perfect and sunny in the informal alliance between Russia and Iran.  In the mid to long term, I fully expect both sides to mend fences and workout a series of mutually acceptable collaboration protocols between the two countries.  In that sense, this is good news.

In truth, neither Russia nor Iran have any options but to work together.  The Iranians in particular absolutely need a strong partnership with Russia to keep the US-Takfiri-Zionist-Wahabi (what a combo!) alliance at bay and to continue to be the backbone of the resistance against the AngloZionist Empire in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere.  If this leak was truly an effort of the armed forces to sabotage an IRGC run operation, than the Supreme Leader will have to “clean house” and make sure that all the factions of the Iranian government work together rather then against each other.  Considering the kind of vicious infighting taking place for years (and still continuing) in Russia between the Atlantic Integrationists and the Eurasian Sovereignists, I think that Vladimir Putin will have a very great deal of understanding for the difficulty to run a covert operation in a country in which different factions compete against  each other.

Assessing the Russian military as an instrument of power

August 27, 2016 Leave a comment

Source: The Saker

It has been a quarter of a century now since the fall of the Soviet Union and yet the memory of the Soviet Armed Forces is still vivid in the minds of many of those who lived through the Cold War or even remember WWII. The NATO-sponsored elites of eastern Europe still continue to scare their citizens by warning of a danger of “Russian tanks” rolling down their streets as if the Soviet tanks were about to advance on Germany again. For a while, the accepted image of a Russian solider in the West was a semi-literate drinking and raping Ivan who would attack in immense hordes with little tactical skills and an officer corps selected for political loyalty and lack of imagination. Then the propaganda narrative changed and now the new Russian bogeyman is a “little green man” who will suddenly show up to annex some part of the Baltics to Russia. Putatively pro-Russian “experts” add to the confusion by publicly hallucinating of a Russian deployment in Syria and the Mediterranean which could wrestle the entire region away from Uncle Sam and fight the entire NATO/CENCOM air forces and navies with confidence. This is all nonsense, of course, and what I propose to do here is to provide a few very basic pointers about what the modern Russian military can and cannot do in 2016. This will not be a highly technical discussion but rather a list of a few simple, basic, reminders.

Image result for topol at night red square

Russia is not the Soviet Union

The first and most important thing to keep in mind is that the Russian military is truly focused on the defense of the Russian territory. Let me immediately say that contrary to much of the Cold War propaganda, the Soviet military was also defensive in essence, even if it did include a number of offensive elements:

1) The military control of all of Eastern Europe as a “buffer zone” to keep the US/NATO away from the Soviet Union’s borders.

2) An official ideology, Communism, which was messianic and global in its stated goals (more or less, depending on who was in power)

3) A practice of global opposition to the US Empire anywhere on the planet with technical, political, financial, scientific and, of course, military means

Russia has exactly zero interest in any of these. Not only did the nature of modern warfare dramatically reduce the benefits of being forward deployed, the messianic aspects of Communism have even been abandoned by the Communist Party of Russia which is now focused on the internal socio-economic problems of Russia and which has no interest whatsoever in liberating the Polish or Austrian proletariat from Capitalist exploitation. As for a global military presence, Russia has neither the means nor the desire to waste her very limited resources on faraway territories which do not contribute to her defense.

But the single most important factor here is this: the overwhelming majority of Russian are tired and fed up with being an empire. From Peter I to Gorbachev, the Russian people have paid a horrific price in sweat, tears, blood and Rubles to maintain an empire which did absolutely nothing for the Russian people except impoverish them and make them hated in much of the world. More than anything else, the Russians want their country to be a “normal” country. Yes, safe, powerful, wealthy and respected, but still a normal country and not a global superpower. Many Russians still remember that the Soviet Politburo justified the occupation and subsequent war in Afghanistan as the completion of an “internationalist duty” and if somebody today tried that kind of language the reply would be “to hell with that”. Finally, there is the sad reality that almost all the countries which were liberated by Russia, not only from Nazi Germany, but also from the Turkish yoke show exactly zero gratitude for the role Russia played in their liberation. To see how our so-called “Orthodox brothers” in Bulgaria, Romania or Georgia are eager to deploy NATO weapons against Russia is nothing short of sickening. The next time around, let these guys liberate themselves, everybody will be happier that way.

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