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Empire-Speak

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By Jacob G. Hornberger – Future of Freedom Foundation – June 28, 2017

One of the most fascinating aspects of living under imperialism is the lexicon that this philosophy brings into existence. It’s called Empire-Speak. Given the complexity of this specialized language, it usually takes people years of education and training to master it.

One of the finest examples of Empire-Speak appeared last week in a Washington Post op-ed by Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, who often appears as a commentator on Fox News. Krauthammer penned an op-ed entitled “The Great Muslim Civil War – and Us” that is an absolute masterpiece of Empire-Speak.

Comparing what is happening in the Middle East to Europe 1945, Krauthammer describes the “great Muslim civil war” that has enveloped the Middle East, which he writes, is “approaching its post-Islamic phase.” ISIS is about to be defeated on the battlefield, he writes, and the parties are now maneuvering, as they did after World War II, to “determine postwar boundaries and spheres of influence.” Once ISIS loses its hold on Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, “the caliphate dies.”

So does that mean that the Pentagon and the CIA can finally declare victory in the Middle East and come home after more than 25 years of warfare in the Middle East? Does that mean that there can now be a ticker-tape parade in New York City honoring the victorious American forces?

Are you kidding? As Krauthammer points out, all that has gone before is just “the end of the beginning.” Things are just getting started. After all, as Krauthammer points out, “At stake is consolidation of the Shite Crescent.”

Who would have known? I’ll bet that 99 percent of Americans haven’t even heard of the “Shite Crescent” or that it’s being consolidated. Thank goodness we have Krauthammer and other people well-versed in Empire-Speak to tell us about it.

According to Krauthammer, the world is witnessing a gigantic battle between Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims.

Leading the Shiite side is Iran. Combined with Russia, Syria, Iraq, and Hezbollah (“which Krauthammer labels the “tip of the Iranian spear”), this is the so-called “Shiite Crescent.” According to Krauthammer, it poses a “nightmare for the entire Sunni Middle East.”

On the opposing side of this gigantic battle are the Sunnis, led by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the United States. Needless to say, this is considered the good side of the war.

As I was reading through his op-ed, I kept hoping that Krauthammer would not omit one of my favorite terms in Empire-Speak: “the hegemon.” Isn’t that a great term? Whenever I hear an imperialist refer to the danger of the rise of a “regional hegemon,” I think of Transformers or Godzilla.

Krauthammer didn’t disappoint. He states that Syria is “the central theater of a Shiite-Sunni war for regional hegemony.” Moreover, Russia — yes, that Russia! — Krauthammer labeled “the outside hegemon.” OMG! Scary, right? Maybe even scarier than rise of communism and the Soviet Union, the two official enemies of the Cold War era.

What’s really going on here?

Krauthammer is simply preparing the American people for what lies ahead — more interventionism, more imperialism, more militarism, and more death and destruction at the hands of the US Empire. And, of course, more official enemies as old official enemies are defeated or disappeared.

You see, I bet you thought that once ISIS was defeated, the troops could finally be brought home and revel in their glorious victory. Sort of like “Mission Accomplished” after the US invasion of Iraq.

Not so. Undoubtedly expressing the mindset of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the rest of the US national-security establishment, Krauthammer is telling us that unfortunately we cannot rest. We must continue to soldier on, presumably until the Shiite Crescent is defeated and the world is no longer facing the possibility of a rise of a “regional hegemon.” And don’t even think for a moment that once that is accomplished, the war will finally be over. It will simply spell the beginning of the end of the beginning.

As I stated soon after the 9/11 attacks, the “war on terrorism” is going to be just like the war on drugs, where every drug lord they kill or capture is soon replaced by dozens more.

The real problem is that the US Empire keeps running out of official enemies. If we go back to the maneuvering after World War II to which Krauthammer refers, we see US officials converting their World War II partner and ally, the Soviet Union, to a new official enemy, one that necessitated, they said, the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state.

As we all know, for the next 45 years the Cold War was a bonanza for the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, and what President Eisenhower called the “military-industrial complex.” Ever-increasing budgets and powers. The best part, for them, was that it was never supposed to end. The Cold War was supposed to go on forever because communism and the Soviet Union were supposed to go on forever.

But life can be cruel. In 1989, the Soviet Union suddenly and unexpectedly dismantled itself, declared socialism a bankrupt philosophy, and unilaterally declared an end to the Cold War, thereby depriving the US Empire of its big official Cold War enemy.

No problem. A new official enemy was soon announced: Saddam Hussein, dictator of Iraq and former partner of the US Empire (just like Stalin had been). Throughout the 1990s, Americans obsessed over Saddam Hussein and how he was coming to get us and the rest of the world with his WMDs.

To oust Saddam from power, the Pentagon and the CIA began wreaking death and destruction in Iraq, including 11 years of sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.

That led to terrorist blowback and a new official enemy: “terrorism,” which ultimately enabled US officials to invade Iraq and oust their official enemy, Saddam Hussein, from power, and install a new regime in Iraq, a Shiite Muslim regime.

Over time, the “terrorists” have morphed into “the Muslims,” which are now viewed as the new official enemy.

Which brings us back to Krauthammer’s op-ed. If the Muslims are the new official enemy, how is that the United States is on the side of the Sunnis in what Krauthammer describes as a giant Muslim civil war that is now supposedly taking place? Aren’t Sunnis Muslims too?

Hmmm. So does this mean that we are no longer supposed to focus on Muslims in general or even “radical Muslims” or “extreme Muslims” but instead on “Shiite Muslims” as the new official enemy?

Oh, another thing Krauthammer doesn’t make clear: If we are now battling the Shiite Muslims, why did the US government use its invasion and occupation of Iraq to install a Shiite regime there? And why is it that US troops have been killing and dying for some 14 years to preserve the existence of that Shiite regime? Why are they still doing so? Were Americans wrong to thank the troops for their service in Iraq by bringing into existence a regime that is now part of the “Shiite Crescent,” which, according to Krauthammer, is now facing us on the field of battle?

Boy, imperialism sure is hard to learn and comprehend. Just like Empire-Speak.

July 3, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Corporate Media Aren’t “The Press”, And Don’t Deserve Your Sympathy

By Caitlin Johnstone | CounterPropa | July 3, 2017

You don’t have to be a Trump lover to cheer like a WWE fan every time the powerful media corporations who manipulate the way Americans think and vote smash their brains against this administration like a pigeon into a clean window pane and slide lifeless to the floor. These deep state propagandists have been crying like a spoiled child whose mom can’t afford the latest video game console ever since the president tweeted a video depicting Trump laying the smackdown on CNN, and their tears taste like they were brewed by Oompa-Loompas. […]

CNN and its barely-distinguishable peers from the rest of the corporate media soup have been decrying the tweet with infinitely more vitriol and panic than they have ever applied to any US president’s war crimes, proclaiming that Trump has “declared war” upon the press and is “inciting violence” against them.

Nice. You’re really earning those million dollar paychecks, fellas. “The press! The press! He’s attacking the press! Won’t someone please think of the press?” Personally I’m a little curious about what’s happening in Syria and if we’re all about to be drawn into a world war with a nuclear superpower and its allies, but fuck me, right? We need to worry about Trump retweeting a shooped video about “the press”.

But who is “the press”, exactly? Is it really the handful of extremely powerful media entities that Trump has been criticizing? Would there really be a big empty hole where the press used to be if the president succeeded in undermining them? Is it really accurate to say, as these pundits have been claiming, that Trump is attacking the press whenever they refuse to bend the knee and worship him like a god?

No, no, and no. In reality “the press” is made up of far more than just the handful of corporate media giants that the president has been taking swings at. The Supreme Court found in 1938’s Lovell v. City of Griffin that the press is “every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.” It’s not just the few gargantuan media conglomerates who have figured out how to make billions and billions of dollars peddling establishment propaganda for the oligarchs who own them, it’s the alternative media, bloggers, Youtubers, tweeters, social commentators, book authors, and the obscure little zine publisher downtown.

It’s also WikiLeaks.

Contrary to ignorant claims made by CIA Director Mike Pompeothe First Amendment doesn’t give rights to US citizens, it sets limits on the government’s ability to limit free speech. It doesn’t matter that Julian Assange is an Australian citizen, his press freedom is just as constitutionally protected in the United States as anyone else’s. He is just as much a part of the press as CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times or any of the other corporate media outlets currently shrieking bloody murder claiming Trump’s criticism is “inciting violence” against them. Which is really weird considering how many personnel from these corporate media outlets have actively called for Assange’s actual, literal assassination. Where was the outcry then?

The absolute gall of these corporatist hobgoblins to speak of themselves as though they provide America a service it needs, as though the world wouldn’t be vastly better off if they all went out of business tomorrow, is astounding. You want to know what would happen if these giant corporations folded? It would become harder for the military-industrial complex to manufacture support for its corporatist bloodbaths, a few plutocrats would lose a lot of money, some companies would have to find other television programs to advertise on, and people would start thinking for themselves. That’s it. The press would remain perfectly intact, just minus a few cancerous tumors.

Corporate media are not “the press”. They are a part of the press, and for that reason enjoy the same constitutional protections as all the other parts of the press, but they are by far the least healthy part. As much as I dislike Trump, his administration has undeniably been great for shaking up the media war and creating enough movement to force a lot of the lies and manipulations to stand out against the background. It is only a matter of time before people just can’t stomach these obsolete dinosaurs anymore and they finally fade away once and for all.

And they know it. They can hear their end roaring ever closer. They aren’t afraid of anyone “inciting violence” against them, they’re afraid of the world waking up.

July 3, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 4 Comments

The nuclear bomb is a weapon of crime and mass destruction

Roland Oldham, head of the nuclear test veterans organization Mururoa e tatou, addresses UN conference to negotiate the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 21 June.
By Roland Oldham – International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War – July 3, 2017

Moruroa e Tatou, Tahiti – The nuclear bomb is a weapon of crime and mass destruction.

We should all be well aware of the examples of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where the consequences still today have effects across generations.

Like those in other places, nuclear tests in the Pacific by France, America and Britain were a crime towards indigenous people, and the defenceless people of the Pacific. It is a racist crime—nuclear racism. This destroyed and contaminated their environment, the natural resources that they depend on to live. The damages are irreversible.

Look at Moruroa for example—137 nuclear blasts underneath the coral atoll have severely fractured the atoll which is sinking down into the rising ocean, leaking radioactive gases and plutonium into the sea, risking disastrous damage for marine life. French authorities have assessed that there is a danger of a landslide of 670 million cubic meters of rock at Moruroa, creating a 15-20 meter tsunami.

The responsible governments used the Pacific as a dumping ground for nuclear waste—in the Marshall Islands, Moruroa, Fangataufa, Christmas Island, and elsewhere. Plutonium is in the lagoon of Moruroa and leaking from the 147 underground test explosion holes in Moruroa and Fangataufa. Not to mention the widespread radioactive fallout from atmospheric nuclear explosions.

There are thousands, millions of victims out there around the world—former test and weapons production site workers, military staff, civilians; women and children. They are invisible. They are voiceless. They have cancers: leukemia, thyroid, others…. Women in French Polynesia now have the highest rates of thyroid cancer and myeloid leukemia in the world. Their children through many generations will be affected by genetic mutations and damage.

It is a poisonous heritage that is left to humanity and future generations.

It is a crime against humanity.

I don’t see much of the word “crime” in the ban treaty: crime against our planet, crime against our environment, crime against humanity. The aim of the treaty is to stop all these crimes.

Why is there no word about these crimes.

Is there pressure from somewhere? Is there censorship?

Have we lost our morality?

But as victims we are not begging for favour, we are just standing up for our rights and our dignity.

There exists an obligation for the nuclear-armed states to compensate their victims, and to make reparation for the damage done to the environment.

There must be no more mushroom clouds producing untold numbers of new victims.

Roland Oldham, the head of the nuclear test veterans organization Mururoa e tatou, addressed the UN conference to negotiate the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 21 June. The above piece is based upon his remarks, which he delivered in French on behalf of IPPNW and ICAN Australia.

July 3, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

US Raqqa offensive killing more civilians than claimed – airstrike monitor

RT | July 3, 2017

UN warnings of the “staggering” number of civilian casualties in Raqqa, Syria that were denied by coalition commanders are no exaggeration, a monitoring group insists.

Airwars, a UK-based group that monitors airstrikes and civilian casualties in Iraq, Libya and Syria, reports it has tracked 119 alleged civilian casualty events at Raqqa, claiming up to 770 deaths, between June 6-29.

The coalition began its assault on the so-called capital of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) caliphate, Raqqa, on June 6. It has been accused of having no plan in place for civilian evacuations, and Airwars reports a number of civilians have been killed attempting to flee in boats.

The United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights warned at least 173 civilians have been killed by air and ground strikes in Raqqa since June 1, saying this is “likely a conservative estimate and the real death toll may be much higher.”

The coalition’s Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTFOIR) – denies the coalition isn’t being careful enough, with coalition commander General Stephen Townsend saying, “show me some evidence of civilian casualties.”

In June, the UN’s chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Paulo Pinheiro, warned the UN Human Rights Council that the fight in Raqqa shouldn’t be “at the expense of civilians,” saying it is “gravely concerned with the mounting number of civilians who perish during airstrikes.”

Pinheiro said the airstrikes had resulted in a “staggering loss of life.”

Townsend called the UN’s concerns “hyperbolic,” saying the coalition is being, “careful as we need to be and as we can be.”

“I would challenge anyone to find a more precise and careful campaign in the history of warfare on this planet,” he told the BBC last week.

“The UN’s Commission of Inquiry is one of a number of international agencies, NGOs and monitors which have expressed significant concern in recent weeks at high numbers of reported civilian fatalities around Raqqa from Coalition actions,” Airwars’ Chris Woods told RT.

“Rather than attacking the messengers, the US and allies should urgently examine their tactics at Raqqa, improving where necessary protections for civilians on the ground.”

“Our present estimate is that around 370-450 civilians have been killed by Coalition airstrikes and artillery at Raqqa in just three weeks,” Airwars said. The group is still working through a significant number of cases to garner a final number of civilian casualties for the month.

“All local monitors, plus UN agencies, reporting high civilian casualties at Raqqa for months. Gen Townsend comments smack of complacency,” Airwars said in tweet, pointing to the additional 132 civilian casualties in both Iraq and Syria that the coalition itself reported in June.

According to Airwars and its sources, the coalition has been targeting boats which are carrying civilians fleeing the battle. The coalition refers to such strikes as hitting “ISIS boats.”

“Four June cases where (mostly named) civilians reportedly bombed as they fled Raqqa by boat. Cars also being bombed as civilians flee,” Airwars said in a Tweet.

The coalition says it has nearly sealed off Raqqa, as the Syrian Democratic forces fight on the ground. Two bridges on the northern bank of the Euphates River have been destroyed by the coalition, “and we shoot every boat we find,” Townsend told the New York Times.

“If you want to get out of Raqqa right now, you’ve got to build a poncho raft,” he added.

Townsend’s comments don’t bode well for civilians desperate to flee the battleground. Between 50,000-100,000 civilians are believed to be trapped in the city.

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RIBSS), a group of journalists with alleged ties to Turkish authorities, says people have been trying to flee the bombardment with help from local smugglers, but that IS have already planted hundreds of landmines and banned people from leaving. It has reported 358 civilian casualties in Raqqa in June, with 177 coming from ‘warplane attacks’.

Between June 21-26 specifically, 88 civilians have died or are missing after coalition shelling or bombing. At least 18 of these were fleeing via car or boat, according to RIBSS, as cited by the Daily Beast.

Human rights groups have also criticized the coalition for its use of white phosphorus near civilians, which is against international law.

READ MORE:

Civilian death toll rises to 484 from US-led coalition strikes in Iraq & Syria

July 3, 2017 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Dodgy Prophecy and American Foreign Policy

By Steve Cooper | CounterPunch | July 3, 2017

Aside from the profound irony of a US spokesperson accusing another country of not being capable of good-faith negotiations, Nikki Haley’s recent comparison of Iran to the scorpion in the frog-and-scorpion fable is the latest example of overt racism being used to channel public support in favour of a war of aggression.

Full of righteous fervour for God and country (Ms. Haley is a Sikh who converted to Christianity, and a first generation immigrant from India), she appears to believe that Iran is evil, and that it is America’s responsibility to punish it regardless of 1) the consequences for Iranian civilian populations or 2) the hypocrisy of the US accusing Iran of supporting terrorism when US use of terrorists as proxies in the Middle East is a long-standing matter of record (there’s something about this rhetorical judo of accusing your opponent of what you are most guilty that seems to have massive appeal for a certain type of smug jackass).

But the bottom line remains for Ms. Haley that America is good, and any country that crosses her is evil. We can recognise in this tribal identification a vestigial genetic survival mechanism which, for Haley, transcends any consideration of racism, morality, or good taste. In our modern, enlightened times we can also recognise the danger inherent in this atavistic ‘survival mechanism’ which is why we label it ‘fanaticism’. But when we look closely at recent American history we realise that Haley’s fanaticism fits in perfectly with a curious Biblical interpretation conflating patriotism and religion whose principle tenet is an ultimate battle between good and evil, in the form of Gog and Magog:

While the Bible was a source of morality for Jimmy Carter, for Ronald Reagan it was a source of prophecy. Israel’s redemption was a critical element of God’s divine plan as Reagan understood it, and this was intimately tied with his belief in Armageddon. In 1971, as governor of California, he spoke at a banquet:

“Biblical scholars have been saying for generations that Gog must be Russia. What other powerful nation is to the north of Israel? None. But it didn’t seem to make sense before the Russian Revolution when Russia was Christian. Now it does, now that Russia has become communistic and atheistic, now that Russia has set itself against God. Now it fits the description of Gog perfectly… Everything is falling into place. It can’t be long now.  Ezekiel says that fire and brimstone will be rained upon the enemies of God’s people.  That must mean they’ll be destroyed by nuclear weapons.” (Jeremy Salt, The Unmaking of the Middle East: A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands)

Reagan’s reference to the Old Testament book of Ezekiel is significant since this book represents a Biblical foundation for American Christians’ unquestioning support for Israel.

In 1984, worry over President Reagan’s frequent suggestions that the end of the world may be coming soon caused a group of about 100 Christian and Jewish religious leaders to sign a statement of concern saying that Armageddon theology is a false reading of the Bible and that belief in it diminishes concern about the possibility of nuclear war. (NYT, Oct 21, 1984).

While Reagan agonised over the geopolitical manifestations of Biblical events and characters, his successor, George Bush Sr, decided to take matters in his own hands by assuming the nickname ‘Magog’ himself in his Skull and Bones boy’s club.  But it was his evangelical son, Bush Jr, who took things to the next level and actually waged war on a country based on this Armageddon theology. In 2003 when he was trying to sell the Iraq invasion to French President, Jacques Chirac; Bush told Chirac that when he looked at the Middle East, he saw “Gog and Magog at work” and the Biblical prophecies unfolding. This was his overriding argument for the invasion, and it was thankfully not enough to convince Chirac.

This is pretty hair-raising stuff if you don’t necessarily believe that the Bible provides a roadmap for the future that man is able to unerringly interpret. But worse yet, it’s only a partial picture of what the Bible has to say about Gog and Magog’s adventures. What about their appearance in the book of Revelation in the New Testament?

In many ways Ezekiel provides the foundational material for Revelation (see Sverre Bøe, Gog and Magog: Ezekiel 38-39 as Pre-text for Revelation 19,17-21 and 20,7-10). But rather than present Gog as the earthly personification of Israel’s enemies, Revelation portrays Gog and Magog as both being deceived by Satan into warring against each other:

“Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall come forth to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to the war: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up over the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down out of heaven, and devoured them”

In fact, for American Christians who follow Armageddon theology, Revelation presents several serious challenges to the idea of a final battle between good and evil where Americans are the good guys. Its author, John of Patmos, was a Jew who followed Jesus and was forced into exile by the war the Roman empire waged against the Jews. John began writing Revelation barely 20 years after the Romans had desecrated and burned the Great Temple and left the inner city of Jerusalem in ruins. So when Revelation is analysed, one should not be surprised at the pronounced anti-empire message running throughout it.

After providing advice to each of the seven early Christian churches, Revelation describes a future time where massive numbers of the faithful are being persecuted and killed because of their belief in God. The prayers of these faithful mount until God finally decides to react in one of the wildest and most bizarre flights of revenge fantasy known to literature. At one point, the one responsible for the martyrdoms – the whore Babylon, a city which represents for John the Roman empire and its culture – is consumed by fire. (see Elaine Pagels – Revelations: Visions, Prophecy & Politics in the Book of Revelation)

So if you’re a modern believer in Armageddon theology, like Ronald Reagan, trying to determine who are the good and bad guys today that Revelation was referring to, you may not like what you find. The good guys are the ones who have been the most persecuted and killed because of their faith in God. If we look around the world today, the people who most closely correspond to them are not the ones American Christians might have thought. And when we try to identify the corrupt empire responsible for all the persecution and killing, the most likely suspect might give today’s Christians reason for pause…

For those of us who regard Revelation as any other story, but with profound religious and historical resonance; this New Testament book teaches that resistance to earthly authority becomes our duty when it infringes on individuals’ beliefs. But for Americans like Reagan, Bush père et fils, and now Nikki Haley, who use appeals to to their country’s intrinsic ‘goodness’ to justify its actions around the world, interpreting Revelation in a modern context cannot be acceptable. These are the kinds of people who will use Ezekiel to explain unquestioning alliance with the state of Israel, but will tell us that it’s impossible to know what Revelation is really referring to.

Fanatics come in all shapes and sizes.  But the ones responsible for American foreign policy today might do us all a favour by giving Revelation a critical read and asking themselves where they and their country fit in.

Steve Cooper is an American expat in France.  He’s recently completed Ant Hell, an illustrated retelling of Revelation. Videos of the story are being posted online. 

July 3, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

US Ballistic Missile Defense to Enter New Domains

By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 03.07.2017

Much has been said about the US ground-based missile defense program and the sites in place or to be installed soon in Europe and Asia. But land is not the only domain where the effort is taking place. Now the priority is shifting to air- and space-based systems. The US officials and military leaders believe that space is now a war fighting domain on par with air, land and sea. This is one of the rare issues the administration and Congress see eye to eye on.

On June 30, President Trump signed an executive order to reinstate the National Space Council – an executive agency with Vice President Mike Pence at the helm that will be tasked with guiding US space policy during the administration. The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, as well as NASA’s administrator, will serve on the council as well.

During the election campaign, President Trump said he wanted a ballistic missile defense (BMD) system with «a heavy emphasis on space-based early warning and missile tracking technologies». Defence Secretary James Mattis is known as an ardent advocate of bigger investments into space exploration for defense purposes. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson released a statement announcing the service’s pivot to space. In recent months, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein has said he wants the USAF to be «the lead service for space».

Part of the new preparations for space combat is the creation of a new position called the Deputy Chief of Staff for Space Operations. According to US Air Force (USAF) Secretary Heather Wilson, the new position will be a three-star officer to provide advice and counsel to Wilson and USAF chief of staff General David Goldfein in all space matters. The USAF will stand up its new deputy chief of staff for space operations position (A11) on August 1.

In February, Lt. Gen. James Dickinson, the Army Space and Missile Defense Commander, and Brig. Gen. Ronald Buckley, U.S. Northern Command’s deputy director of operations, talked about the importance of space for missile defense in speeches at the Association of the US Army’s missile defense conference in Arlington, Va. Dickinson said space is «fundamental for every single military operation that occurs on the planet today from satellites to GPS», and said the domain is a crucial part of connecting the battlefield and the backbone of the missile defense kill chain. «As long as we continue to solely focus and rely on terrestrial-based for our [ballistic missile defense] sensors, there will be gaps and seams in our coverage», Buckley said to substantiate his conclusion that «it’s time we take a hard look at space as an option».

The land-based detection systems have an inherent drawback – they look upward hindered by the curvature of the Earth, which blocks even the most powerful radar’s full field of view. Air- and space-based systems would have much better coverage than ground-based assets.

According to Defense News, House lawmakers want the Pentagon to quickly produce a space-based missile defense strategy laying out the plans «to develop a space-based sensor layer for ballistic missile defense that provides precision tracking data of missiles beginning in the boost phase and continuing throughout subsequent flight regimes; serves other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance requirements; and achieves an operational prototype payload at the earliest practicable opportunity».

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is requesting $7.9 billion in FY18, an increase of $379 million from the FY17 request. The MDA will continue work on an unmanned aerial vehicle-borne laser for boost phase missile defense. The request also includes $17 million for a space-based Kill Assessment experiment. «The full SKA network is currently planned to be on orbit in FY17», the documents state. The biggest chunk of the new money – $1.3 billion, an increase of $862 million from 2016 – would go to the Air Force’s Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS), a constellation of satellites meant for early missile warning and detection. The plans include the launch of SBIRS GEO-4 (November) and the development of GEO-5 and 6. The Air Force wants to build eight geosynchronous satellites in total, in addition to the three already deployed in high orbit. Some of the Air Force’s larger programs include the Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) system, a series of high-bandwidth satellites meant to act as the next generation of military communication satellites.

The ground-based BMD systems, the X-37B spacecraft and Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) platforms could be repurposed into instruments of war in space.

Remotely operated drone swarms – groups of small robots could act together under human – have great future when used for missile defense purposes. This involves groups of small, tube-launched UAVs designed to swarm and overwhelm adversaries. The swarming drone technology was tested by the Pentagon in October 2016. They included 103 Perdix micro-drones measuring around six inches (16 centimeters) launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets. The air-delivered maneuvering buzzing swarm of skybots could strike launching site as well as counter ballistic missiles in flight. Space- or air-based swarms are a formidable missile defense weapon no missile or warhead can make through. Dummies and chaff will not help. The swarm technology going to space will change a lot of things, including the hopes for keeping an arms race away from this domain.

Airborne lasers are another promising direction of BMD development. The Defense Department seeks to use airborne lasers mounted on lightweight high-altitude drones to hit enemy ballistic missiles in flight, as well as ground- and sea–based launchers. «We have significantly ramped up our program in terms of investment and talking about […] what else needs to be done to mature this capability», MDA director Vice Admiral James Syring told Defense One.

The Missile Defense Agency plans to conduct «a lot of» testing with lasers mounted on Reaper drones «over the next few years» culminating with a «low-power laser demonstrator» project in 2021, Syring said. Pentagon officials hope to decide what that demonstrator might look like «in a few years». The goal of that project is to fly a powerful laser at a high altitude that can track possibly kill a missile soon after it is launched, during its boost phase.

Referring to anti-satellite and anti-missile weapons in space, Congressman Doug Lamborn of Armed Services said: «Some of the technical issues around those concepts need to be researched, but there’s a lot of exciting options».

The 50th anniversary of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty – an arms control deal reached in the heat of the Cold War – will be marked this October. The agreement bans stationing weapons of mass destruction in space but it does not prohibit the placement of conventional weapons there. No international agreement on non-nuclear arms in space exists today because the idea is objected by some countries, including the United States. The draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (PPWT), by Russia and backed by China in 2008 was rejected by Washington. The Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) – a UN resolution that reaffirms the fundamental principles of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and advocates for a ban on the weaponization of space – has not come into force due to US objections. In 2008, Russia and China proposed a draft treaty to ban space weapons, which the US blocked from going forward in the consensus-bound committee on disarmament in Geneva. The US has never come up with an initiative of its own related to control of space-based weapons. Air-based systems are also not restricted by any international agreement.

The proliferation of air- and space-based weapons is changing the battlefield of the 21st century. The cost of staging missile defense assets in these domains may be mind boggling. A conflict sparked in space would inevitably ignite full-blown war on Earth. Adding air- and space assets to the BMD effort will have ramifications the US has given little thought to, at least publicly. After land and sea, the missile defense is to enter new domains: air and space.

July 3, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Putin: We Protect Syria’s “Statehood” to Prevent it Becoming Like Libya

By Steven MacMillan – New Eastern Outlook – 03.07.2017

In an explosive interview with Megyn Kelly at the 21st St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, systematically destroyed many of the narratives promulgated by the enemies of the Syrian state who seek to turn the country into the new Libya.

Although the panel discussion covered many issues and featured other speakers, one of the most crucial sections was when Kelly questioned Putin over the Syrian conflict. The opening exchange consisted of Kelly asking the Russian leader whether he believed Assad was an “evil guy?”, allowing Putin to articulate one of the central reasons why Russia supports the Syrian government. Putin emphasized that it is not Assad that Russia is protecting per se; instead, Russia is protecting “the Syrian statehood” from collapsing into an abyss of chaos similar to the one we have seen Libya descend into since 2011:

“It’s not President Assad whom we are protecting; we are protecting the Syrian statehood. We don’t want their interior to be a situation similar to that in Libya, or that in Somalia, or in Afghanistan – in Afghanistan NATO has been present for many years, but the situation is not changing for the better. We want to preserve the Syrian statehood. On the basis of resolving this fundamental issue we would like them to move towards settling the Syrian issue through political means. Yes, probably everyone there is to blame for something, but let’s not forget that were it not for active interference from outside, this civil war probably would not have broken out.”

Ever since NATO forced regime change in Libya – through waging a bombing campaign coupled with supporting al-Qaeda connected rebel legions on the ground – it has been in total chaos. The North African country has been a failed state for years, with rebel factions fighting over control of certain regions.

As journalist Neil Clark and others have pointed out, in July 2010, the Telegraph listed Libya as number one on their six best exotic cruise destinations. By August 2011, numerous reports detailed how many factions of the Libyan opposition were slaughtering black people on mass. In 2012, a disturbing video surfaced which purported to show Libyan rebels forcing African prisoners to eat flags while being kept in giant cages. Earlier this year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that African migrants were being bought and sold in slave markets.

This is just a glimpse into the utter chaos and degradation that Libya has descended into after NATO ‘liberated’ the country back in 2011, and it provides a window into what Syria would be like if the West forces regime change in Damascus.

“The Militants used Chemical Weapons” 

Putin then moves on to counter the propaganda spread by the enemies of Syria that Assad’s forces had used chemical weapons in April of this year, before highlighting that the militants have a history of using chemical weapons in the region:

“What is President Assad been accused of recently? We know he has been accused of using chemical weapons, but there’s no evidence to support that whatsoever. Right after the incident, we suggested that an inspection should be carried out at the airbase… But they refused to conduct this kind of inspection. So, they’re talking a lot, but not doing much. We suggested that an inspection should be carried out at the site where the strike took place, [but] they’re saying it’s too dangerous. Why is it dangerous if the strike was against the good part of the opposition? No, they say it is too dangerous.”

“In Iraqi Kurdistan, the militants used chemical weapons and the world community recognised it. So, they know that the militants have got chemical weapons. But according to the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] Syria has destroyed its stocks of chemical weapons. You see, if pretexts are created without any real willingness to look into the matter, it’s not going to lead us anywhere. Let’s talk substantively. Did Assad make mistakes? Yes, probably a lot of them. But those who oppose him, are they angels? Who [are] murdering people and executing children – beheading people. Should we support those people?”

On multiple occasions, investigations have indicated that chemical weapons have been used by the Syrian opposition. In May 2013 for instance, the Commissioner of the UN’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry for Syria, Carla Del Ponte, said in an interview that there was evidence which suggested that the rebels, not the Syrian army, used chemical weapons:

“During our investigation for crimes against humanity and war crimes, we collected some witness testimony that [appeared to confirm] that some chemical weapons were used – in particular nerve gas. What appeared to our investigation was that it was used by the opponents, the rebels, and we have no indication at all that the Syrian government have used chemical weapons. Of course, now, the special commission will investigate and tell us what it is exactly. But I was a little stupefied that the first indication we got [was] about the use of nerve gas by the opposition.”

In regards to the nature of the Syrian opposition, it is not just the Russian President who believes that many of the opposition forces are far from angelic. Even the former Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron, who was always a strong proponent of forcing regime change in Syria (he was also heavily involved in the Libyan war), admitted in early 2016 that many of the ‘moderate’ rebels actually belonged to “relatively hardline Islamist groups” (i.e. terrorist groups): 

“But if you’re arguing: are all these people impeccable democrats, who would share the view of democracy that you and I have? No. Some of them do belong to Islamist groups, and some of them belong to relatively hardline Islamist groups.” 

Furthermore, a declassified US military intelligence report – by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) – from August 2012, clearly states that the opposition was the walking antithesis of moderate: 

“The Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI [Al-Qaeda in Iraq], are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” The report added that “AQI supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media,” and that “events are taking a clear sectarian direction.” 

False Flags and Provocations 

When Kelly again brought up the chemical weapons attack in April of this year, asking whether the Russian leader believed the videos of the alleged victims of the attack were “fake,” Putin responded by describing the incident as a “provocation” designed to blame the Syrian President:

“As for those people who were killed or who suffered because of the use of weapons – including chemical weapons, this is false information. As of now, we are absolutely confident that this is just a provocation; President Assad didn’t use chemical weapons. All of this was orchestrated in order to accuse him. Moreover, our intelligence services have got information that in another district of Syria, not far from Damascus, there were plans to reproduce this scenario, and we made these plans public. Those who had been planning these actions thought it better not to engage in these actions.”

When Kelly pressed him further, asking: “are we really to believe that the whole thing was staged?”, Putin responded by saying:

“The answer is very simple and you know it. Yes, sarin could have been used by someone, but not by Assad. It could have been used by someone in order to accuse Assad. So, we have to understand who is to blame; otherwise, if there is no true investigation, it is only going to play into the hands of those who orchestrated it. I would like to ask you a question: why didn’t everyone go right away to inspect the airbase, to the spot where chemical weapons allegedly had been used? Why didn’t they want to go to see the aircraft that had been allegedly used to perform the strike? The answer is very simple: because they were afraid that the truth would come to light.”

Logic alone would tell you that the Syrian government did not use chemical weapons in April. Why would Assad order the use of chemical weapons when the Syrian government had the upper hand in the conflict? Assad may be a lot of things, but he is not suicidal. Why would he give the enemies of Syria justification to bomb the country or launch a full-scale invasion? As the former US congressman and host of the Liberty Report, Ron Paul, said at the time:

“It makes no sense, even if you were totally separate from this and [you] take no sides of this and you were just an analyst, it doesn’t make sense for Assad, under these conditions, to all of the sudden use poison gasses… I think [there’s] zero chance that he would have done this deliberately.”

For the sake of the Syrian people, let’s hope that Syria does not become the new Libya.

July 3, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Iran remembers victims of passenger plane downed by US

A survivor reacting during a ceremony to commemorate the victims of USS Vincennes’ downing of an Iranian passenger plane on July 3, 1988. (File)
Press TV – July 3, 2017

Iran is commemorating the 29th anniversary of the downing of its passenger plane by a US Navy guided-missile cruiser in the Persian Gulf waters in 1988.

The civilian aircraft, an Airbus A300B2, was flying in Iranian airspace over the Strait of Hormuz from the port city of Bandar Abbas to Dubai, carrying 274 passengers and 16 crew members on July 3, 1988, when USS Vincennes fired two SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles at it.

One of the missiles hit the plane, killing all the 290 on board.

On Monday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement to commemorate the victims and once again censure the US Navy’s “horrific crime.”

“A look at the precedence of the US inhumane behavior, which is manifested in massacring innocent people across the world, including the aggrieved people of Iran, indicates that such an attitude has been institutionalized in various US governments in pursuit of their own goals,” said the statement.

A survivor holding up a picture of victims of USS Vincennes’ downing of an Iranian passenger plane on July 3, 1988. (File)

US officials claimed the warship had mistaken Iran Air Flight 655 for a warplane. This is while the warship was equipped with highly sophisticated radar systems and electronic battle gear at the time of the attack.

A year later, the captain of the USS Vincennes, William C. Rogers, was cleared of any wrongdoing in the incident, and was even awarded America’s Legion of Merit medal by then President George Bush for his “outstanding service.”

The atrocity especially stoked anti-American sentiment as it coincided with the final year of the former Iraqi regime’s eight-year war, which had been waged against Iran with Washington’s all-out political and material support.

The statement added that the Iranian people hold to account the so-called advocates of human rights for ordering and perpetrating this atrocity, and for committing crimes and inhumane acts.

The Islamic Republic wants all those behind the tragedy to be held accountable for the crime, said the statement, adding that the Iranian nation will never “forgive the perpetrators.”

July 3, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment