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US Wages Cyberwar Abroad Under Cover of “Activism”

By Joseph Thomas – New Eastern Outlook – 20.08.2017

The threat of cyberterrorism has competed for centre stage in American politics with fears of “Russian hackers” disrupting everything from elections to electrical grids. And yet as US policymakers wield threats of cyberterrorism to promote a long and growing list of countermeasures and pretexts for expanding its conflict with Moscow, it is simultaneously promoting very real cyberterrorism globally.

Worst of all, it does so under the guise of “activism.”

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace recently published a paper titled, “Growing Cyber Activism in Thailand.”

In it, readers may have expected a detailed description of how independent local activists were using information technology to inform the public, communicate with policymakers and organise themselves more efficiently.

Instead, readers would find a list of US-funded fronts posing as “nongovernmental organisations” (NGOs) engaged in subversion, including attacks carried out against Thai government websites aimed at crippling them, the dumping of private information of ordinary citizens online and coercing policymakers into adopting their foreign-funded and directed agenda.

US-Backed Cyberterrorism

The paper cites petitions created by the US-funded Thai Netizen Network on the US-based petition site, Change.org as well as distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) aimed at crippling essential government websites, a campaign defended by US-funded Thai Netizen as being “virtual civil disobedience.”

The paper would claim (our emphasis):

The most innovative countermeasure was a series of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks: an anonymous group, Thailand F5 Cyber Army, declared a cyberwar on the Thai government by encouraging netizens to visit listed official websites and continuously press F5 on their keyboards to refresh the pages. The goal was to overwhelm web servers and cause a temporary collapse of the websites of the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Government House of Thailand, National Legislative Assembly, and Internal Security Operations Command. The group disseminated detailed instructions on the operation to its anonymous activists. It then demanded that the junta cancel its Single Gateway proposal.

Most of the attacks were successful. Activists wanted to demonstrate the government’s technological ineptitude and its lack of capacity to manage the Single Gateway. Arthit Suriyawongkul, coordinator of the Thai Netizen Network, described the campaign as virtual civil disobedience—an online version of the nonviolent resistance practiced by civil rights groups in the United States. 

In another case, an activist group called Anonymous launched a #BoycottThailand campaign on Twitter and reportedly hacked government websites, snatched confidential information from official databases, and shared it online.

The Thai Netizen Network is funded by the US State Department via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) subsidiary, Freedom House, as well as convicted financial criminal George Soros’ Open Society and a number of other foreign governments and corporate-funded foundations.

The role of a foreign-funded front coordinating efforts to undermine Thailand’s national security, including promoting cyberterrorism as “civil disobedience,” carries with it many implications. That the US is the foreign state promoting these activities in Thailand, undermines its own efforts to define and combat cyberterrorism back home.

What is Cyberterrorism?  

Cyberterrorism is described on the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) website as:

… the use of computer network tools to shut down critical national infrastructures (e.g., energy, transportation, government operations) or to coerce or intimidate a government or civilian population.

Attacking government websites millions of people across Thailand depend on for information and services while pilfering the personal information of thousands of ordinary citizens clearly fits the definition of not only cyberterrorism because of the political motivations involved, but also malicious criminality in general.

Unlike alleged Russian hacks which divulged emails detailing impropriety among American politicians, the information pilfered by US-backed hackers in Thailand included the personal information of  millions of ordinary citizens using government services as part of their daily lives.

Bangkok Post would fill in the missing information intentionally omitted from the Carnegie Endowment paper, reporting that:

Files posted by Anonymous and examined by the Bangkok Post appear to be from the court system, as the Anonymous posters claimed.

An SQL database file of 1.1 gigabytes contains thousands of names, ID card numbers, photos, email addresses, personal phone numbers and more — all in clear text.

By dumping this information online, US-backed hackers targeted ordinary citizens, jeopardising their privacy and exposing them to criminal elements the world over involved in identity theft.

US Cyberterrorism is not “Activism”

The Carnegie Endowment paper itself was drafted by Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, assistant professor of political science at Thammasat University, Thailand. She is also cited as a member of the Carnegie Endowment’s Civic Activism Network. Not only is she an active, contributing member of Thailand’s foreign-backed opposition, she is admittedly involved in a foreign think-tank funded by foreign corporate interests.

The Carnegie Endowment includes among its sponsors in its 2016 annual report; the US government, pharmaceutical giants including Gilead, petrochemical monopolies including Chevron, British Petroleum and Shell, defence contractors including Lockheed Martin and several automakers including Ford.

Like many other episodes of extraterritorial political interference up to and including military intervention, America’s meddling in Thailand is done on behalf of corporate interests seeking to expand their respective and collective hegemony both regionally in Asia vis-a-vis Beijing, and globally. This interference is done under the cover of rights advocacy, both by the think tanks and foundations funding it and those in Thailand receiving foreign cash.

The US use of cyberterrorism in Thailand and beyond should come as no surprise. It augments already ongoing efforts by US-backed opposition in Thailand to destabilise and upend Thailand’s political order which has included armed terrorism.

Most recently, a string of bombings plagued Bangkok, including one targeting a hospital. At various junctures during Thailand’s political conflict, foreign-backed opposition has brought militants into the streets. In 2010, nearly 100 would die over the course of several weeks, culminating in citywide arson leaving areas of Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, resembling a war zone.

To see US-sponsored authors attempting to promote cyberterrorism as “activism” in Thailand also comes as no surprise. When Thailand’s opposition carries out armed terrorism, US-sponsored media and policy think tanks often attempt to spin it as well. Other forms of more traditional subversion are also regularly defended by the US and its myriad fronts posing as rights advocates as “activism.”

Understanding that it is not “activism,” but by America’s own very definition, cyberterrorism, helps disarm this malicious campaign posing as “civil disobedience” and “activism,” and allows nations like Thailand to defend themselves through enhanced technological security measure as well as legislation.

August 20, 2017 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | Leave a comment

Left, You Have Been Duped

By Richard Hugus | August 20, 2017

On August 19, a week after a heavily publicized clash over a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, an estimated 8,000 people converged on Boston Common to protest a speaking event organized by a group calling itself the Boston Free Speech Movement. Who are the Boston Free Speech Movement and what do they stand for? We’ll never know because antifascists, leftists, anti-racists, and progressives of Boston prevented them from even speaking. Some might say this was a good thing — no one wants to hear from bigots (if that’s who they were) — but in fact the left in all its self-righteousness was duped into an assault on the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees the right of free speech, for everyone. The left have been the pawns of much more powerful forces who, if they aren’t organizing these news events and provocations outright, are certainly happy to see precedents set for publicly shutting down free speech by the use of force. First it will be the speech of fascists, then it will be the speech of anybody the authorities don’t like, including leftists.

Suddenly we are being confronted with organizations who claim to know what is or is not appropriate for the rest of us to hear. Now that sides have been established — one which can decide what is and isn’t acceptable speech, and another which is forbidden to speak on pain of attack, all that remains is for the powerful to make sure their narrative is the one that’s allowed. Isn’t this fascism? Aren’t people who claim to be anti-fascist actually doing what classic fascists do?

It’s not a coincidence that just prior to these speaking events being shut down, Google, Inc. asserted its right to decide what is and is not a legitimate news source. At the same time the US Congress is considering legislation that would make it illegal for US citizens to support boycott, divestment, or sanctions against Israel. Not surprisingly, the pro-Israel Anti Defamation League (ADL) has been brought on by Google to advise them on which news sources are legitimate and which are not. Google now has such a monopoly on information on the Internet that it is in a position to bury unapproved news sources forever. The ADL will therefore be able to effectively censor any negative news about what Israel is doing in Palestine and the middle east, just as AIPAC, through its ownership of the US Congress, will be able to censor free speech of American citizens when it comes to, once again, Israel.

In the ‘50s the ADL monitored “pinkos” for the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. In the ‘90s ADL monitored activists working to end apartheid in South Africa, in the 2000s the ADL began monitoring Arab American organizations and mosques. Today the ADL monitors pro-Palestine groups on college campuses. In each case the ADL has gone after “extremism and hate speech” in the US, as defined by Israel.

One wonders, why does Israel, a foreign country, have such a say on what people in the US can and can’t talk about?

There is no way to censor speech without a point of view or agenda. The agenda is usually dictated by whoever has power. Thus censorship serves those in power. When we take part in it, we serve the power.

People are apparently upset about an upsurge of Nazism. Why weren’t they in the streets when neocon Victoria Nuland and the US State Department organized a coup in Ukraine with the overt assistance of neo-Nazis? Why were Nazis okay during Obama’s presidency but not during Trump’s?

Where was the outrage when Hillary Clinton and the US State Department attacked and destroyed Libya? The liberal left considered this a “humanitarian intervention,” just as it did when the US decimated Yugoslavia.

Why is it that after six years of siege and murder committed by US proxy forces in Syria, the only national demonstration that could be mustered in Washington was on the issue of private remarks Trump once made about grabbing women — the famous “pussy hat” demonstration?

Why is it that the liars in the mainstream press could get away with false stories of chemical attacks in Syria being carried out by the Syrian government when it was obvious that the attacks were carried out as false flags by US proxy forces? Why are Syrians still being bombed and killed every day by US “coalition” forces with no protest?

Why is it that Iraq is no longer a concern, after 26 years of genocidal assault by Uncle Sam, with efforts now being made to balkanize Iraq through support for “Kurdistan”? Why are US troops still there? Why are they still in Afghanistan? Where are the masses taking to the streets to shout down the liars making these policies?

Why is it the business of the US to interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs, even to the point of military intervention? Has Venezuela harmed the US in some way? Has the left swallowed yet again the lie that the US is concerned about human rights in another country?

Why is it that Palestinians have been forgotten, as Israel, the US’s closest ally, transparently conducts genocide against them, year after year, so that today Israel can talk openly of forced transfer of the entire Arab population of Palestine. Isn’t terror also being committed when Israeli settlers routinely ram their cars into Palestinians in the street, or is it just terror when this happens in Europe?

Why is it that the US supports a state for Jewish people only that necessarily discriminates again non-Jewish Christians and Muslims? Isn’t discrimination on the basis of religion a hate crime? Isn’t the ADL in a conflict of interests when it claims to be an authority on hate crimes while representing such a state? Has the left ever repudiated its long record of blocking for Israel and Israel’s crimes?

Why is it that the virtuous left has nothing better to do than face off with a few obvious provocateurs with their over-the-top nazi slogans while the US — their country, in their name — is actively supporting Saudi Arabia in its destruction of a practically defenseless Yemen?

Where has the left been in its opposition to US government and media “hate speech” and war-baiting against Russia, China, and Iran? Is World War III not a problem? Did something lead leftists to believe that life on earth was not important right now?

Is the US threat of a nuclear attack on North Korea a side issue — something to be dealt with only after facing off with the Klan?

What about the murder of millions of Arabs and Muslims since 9-11 on the basis of a false story about who did 9-11? Surely there is a case to be made here for discrimination on the basis of religion, if not serial mass murder, based on a pretext which itself was an open crime for all the world to see. Why does the left consider discussion of this crime unimportant and passé?

That the left has mobilized to stomp on a handful of people in Charlottesville and Boston only proves its impotence. It’s like the man who has been frustrated at work all day who comes home and kicks his dog.

The worst of it all is that both the left and right have been suckered into a division which will use up all their energy and get plenty of attention from the press while the real crimes and the real criminals roll steadily along, laughing at the stupidity of everyone involved and the ease with which they were manipulated.

August 20, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

A Venezuelan Tanker Is Stranded Off The Louisiana Coast

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | August 17, 2017

A tanker loaded with 1 million barrels of Venezuelan heavy crude has been stranded for over a month off the coast of Louisiana, not because it can’t sail but as a result of Venezuela’s imploding economy, and its inability to obtain a bank letter of credit to deliver its expensive cargo. It’s the latest sign of the financial troubles plaguing state-run oil company PDVSA in the aftermath of the latest US sanctions against the Maduro regime, and evidence that banks are slashing exposure to Venezuela across the board as the Latin American nation spirals into chaos.

As Reuters reports, following the recently imposed US sanctions, a large number of banks have closed accounts linked to officials of the OPEC member and have refused to provide correspondent bank services or trade in government bonds. The stranded tanker is one direct casualty of this escalation.

The tanker Karvounis, a Suezmax carrying Venezuelan diluted crude oil, has been anchored at South West Pass off the coast of Louisiana for about a month, according to Marinetraffic data.

For the past 30 days, PBF Energy, the intended recipient of the cargo, has been trying unsuccessfully to find a bank willing to provide a letter of credit to discharge the oil, according to two trading and shipping sources.

The tanker was loaded with oil in late June at the Caribbean island of St. Eustatius where PDVSA rents storage tanks, and has been waiting for authorization to discharge since early July, according to Reuters. It is here that the delivery process was halted as crude sellers request letters of credit from customers that guarantee payment within 30 days after a cargo is delivered.

While the documents must be issued by a bank and received before the parties agree to discharge, this time this is impossible as the correspondent bank has decided to avoid interacting with PDVSA and running afoul of the latest US sanctions. It was not immediately clear which banks have denied letters of credit and if other U.S. refiners are affected.

In an ironic coincidence, these days the state energy company of Venezuela, PDVSA, is almost as much Venezuelan as it is Russian and Chinese. Chinese and Russian entities currently take about 40% of all PDVSA’s exports as repayment for over $60 billion in loans to Venezuela and the company in the last decade, as we reported last year and as Reuters recently updated. This has left U.S. refiners among the few remaining cash buyers. Meanwhile, as a result of these ongoing historical barter deals exchanging oil for refined products and loans, PDVSA’s cash flow has collapsed even as the company’s creditors resort to increasingly more aggressive measures to collect: just this April, a Russian state company took a Venezuelan oil tanker hostage in hopes of recouping $30 million in unpaid debt.

The first indication that the financial noose is tightening on the Caracas regime came earlier this month when Credit Suisse barred operations involving certain Venezuelan bonds and is now requiring that business with President Nicolas Maduro’s government and related entities undergo a reputation risk review. In a while publicized move, this past May Goldman Sachs purchased $2.8 billion of Venezuelan debt bonds at steep discount, a move criticized by the Venezuelan opposition and other banks.

While PDVSA owns the cargo, the actual tanker was chartered by Trafigura:

Since last year, the trading firm has been marketing an increasing volume of Venezuelan oil received from companies such as Russia’s Rosneft, which lift and then resell PDVSA’s barrels to monetize credits extended to Venezuela, according to traders and PDVSA’s internal documents.

Some barrels are offered on the open market, others are supplied to typical PDVSA’s customers including U.S refiners.

Meanwhile, even before this latest sanctions-induced L/C crisis, Venezuela’s oil exports to the US were already in freefall: PDVSA and its JVs exported only 638,325bpd to the US in July, more than a fifth, or 22% less, than the same month of 2016, according to Reuters Trade Flows data.

As for the recipient, PBF received just three cargoes for a total of 1.58 million barrels last month, the lowest figure since February. Other U.S. refineries such as Phillips 66 did not receive any cargo. The US refiner and PDVSA have a long-term supply agreement for Venezuelan oil signed in 2015 when PBF bought the 189,000-bpd Chalmette refinery from PDVSA and ExxonMobil Corp.

Earlier in the month, PBF’s Chalmette refinery received half a million barrels of Venezuelan crude on the tanker Ridgebury Sally B. This second delivery got stuck on tanker Karvounis.

It is likely that soon virtually all Venezuelan cargos bound for the US will share a similar “stranded” fate as one bank after another cease providing L/C backstops to the Venezuelan company, ultimately suffocating Maduro’s regime which is in dire need of dollars to keep the army on its side and prevent a revolution. As for how high the price of oil rises as Venezuela’s oil production is slowly taken offline, it remains to be seen. Three weeks ago, Barclays calculated that a “sharper and longer disruption” to Venezuela oil production could raise oil prices by at least $5-7/barrell. Such a disruption appears to now be forming.

August 19, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, War Crimes | , , | 4 Comments

The Fourth Branch

By Kary Love | CounterPunch | August 18, 2017

I am a lawyer. My pro bono clients are often those who offer nonviolent resistance to wrongs committed by our own government.

I read that, this week past, some nonviolent resisters entered a nuclear weapons storage facility in Germany.

Damn if it is not a list of many of my clients. These people are incorrigible. Next time at sentencing I will argue jail is a waste of time and public money for those sorts; you just cannot deter some people from a life of “crime.”

What a world, in which those acting peaceably for peace are criminals while those in power ordering the killing of people “for their own good” are not.

I still subscribe to law professor Francis Boyle’s view; nuclear weapons and related materiel are not property–property rights attach to legitimate things, not to criminal instrumentalia that have no use but criminal annihilation.

I’ve argued all this a few times with success and many other times not. As to the juries in cases of nonviolent resistance to injustice or in defense of higher laws, I trust them if they are allowed to hear all germane facts.

In one case in which I argued that the nonviolent defendants—who had used hand tools to dismantle a portion of a US nuclear Navy command facility—did not interfere with the defense of the USA because technical experts—whose published work the defendants had read—those defendants were innocent of sabotage charges.

We won this case in great part because of Captain James Bush’s (Ret.) testimony; the members of that jury were fully informed. Bush told the jury of 12 that as he commanded a United States nuclear submarine loaded with ‘city-busting’ weapons that he was also earning a graduate degree in International Relations and that he came to understand that he was in violation of the law every day. Hearing that from a retired commander made quite an impression. The jury rose to the occasion and acquitted, even with a hostile judge.

But it’s degenerating. The recent Espionage Act prosecutions have prevented defendants such Kiriakou et al. from even saying the word “whistleblower.” Reality Winner will be so shackled in her defense.

I have experienced this abuse of the law in nuke protest cases in US federal court–to the point I conclude such trials are Soviet Mock Potemkin Trials (back in the US, back in the US, back in the USSR).

In my judgment the jury is the 4th branch of government. The Founders knew power corrupts, and that sooner or later, the Congress, the President and the judges would abandon the Constitution for power and that only fully informed juries could stem the tide of corruption.

The Federal judges who issue orders in limine so jurors do not hear all the evidence (as to both the law and the facts) are complicit in destroying the check and balance the jury must be–as all others involved, i.e., Congress, President, judges, are beholden to the system.

In the case to which I referred above, the State Court Judge had some residual fidelity to the Constitution and we kind of boxed him in to allowing Bush to testify as he did–though I expect the Judge did not think a “military man” would have such a complicated mind, capable of rational thought and a moral code superior to his willingness to “just follow orders.”

Kinda tricky of me, I guess. But my oath is to the Constitution, not Congress, White House, or Judge–all of whom are creatures of the Constitution deserving of no respect nor obedience when they violate same (as is the ordinary course of all branches these days.)

Despite many disappointments, I still have faith in juries of ordinary people when fully informed to make “just” decisions even if necessitating deviation from the law. Thus, government fears the people so long as there is trial by jury.

This is as it should be. A government making unjust laws as ours does ought to fear its ability to convict when justice is not served by conviction. The three branches have become unmoored from being “bound down in the chains of the Constitution”–with the result it is a lawless beast.

Ultimately it will be up to the people: a nation of law, or a nation of beasts? Our “leaders” have no interest in curbing their own abuse of power. As victims of such abuse, the people are responsible, for the sake of their progeny and the future of liberty.

Kary Love is a Michigan attorney.

August 19, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | | 1 Comment

‘More wars in the pipeline: Bannon exit bodes ill for US aggression opponents’

RT | August 19, 2017

With the firing of anti-globalist Steve Bannon, neo-conservatives and hawks may take complete control of US foreign policy, says investigative journalist Rick Sterling, adding that it’s not a good sign when hawkish Senator John McCain is smiling.

US President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon – viewed as a key figure in Team Trump – has left the White House.

After the firing, Bannon, 63, resumed his role as head of conservative website Breitbart News, and announced that he was “going to war” for Trump.

“If there’s any confusion out there, let me clear it up: I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents – on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America,” he told Bloomberg News Friday.

The departure is just the latest in a series of shake-ups since Trump took office.

What will Bannon’s firing mean for the Trump administration and how it could affect policymaking? RT discussed with investigative journalist Rick Sterling.

“Bannon was an anti-globalist strongly opposed by hawkish senators like John McCain… While liberals and neo-conservatives may be cheering, it may bode ill for those who oppose US aggression and think the US should not be the world’s policeman,” he said.

The now-former White House chief strategist was in favor of a trade war with China and “ratcheting up economic contention,” but he was against conflict with North Korea, Sterling said.

Just a couple of days before his exit, Bannon said in an interview that there is no military solution to the North Korean problem. The comment was rebuffed by both Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Bannon’s stance was also in “sharp contrast with National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, who said that North Korea poses a direct military threat,” Sterling said. “The very dangerous thing right now is that neo-conservatives and the hawks take complete control of US foreign policy… we are going to see a lot more war coming down the pipeline.”

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) reacted to the decision by saying in a statement: “there is one less white supremacist in the White House.”

Commenting on the matter, Sterling opined that “they’ve manipulated the situation where Breitbart and Steve Bannon were allied with right-wing nationalist forces within the US.”

Ironically, he went on to say, “these forces are much more resistant to US wars of aggression.”

“So, we’ve got key issues coming up now. In the coming period, we’re going to have decisions on whether the US is going to escalate the troop involvement and the intervention in Afghanistan; we’ve got the situation with North Korea; the situation with Syria is coming to a head. Steve Bannon, as an anti-globalist, was arguing against the US escalating military intervention and now the situation seems to be controlled by the generals in the White House, and it’s not a good sign when hawkish Senator John McCain is smiling and very happy,” Sterling said.

August 19, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes, Militarism | | 7 Comments

Trump is not the problem

By John Andrews | Dissident Voice | August 18, 2017

Ever since he won the US presidency Donald Trump has attracted an unusually high amount of criticism from the mainstream media. This is extraordinary and quite unprecedented. The US president is normally treated by the press like a messiah, destined to lead mankind into some sort of American paradise. But Trump isn’t treated this way, and I don’t know why. He’s certainly no worse than any who preceded him in the last fifty years or more.

It isn’t easy criticising the US government – not because there isn’t much to criticise, but because it’s a fairly scary business: it wields awesome power, and loves to do so. I understand completely why the British government, for example, is its most loyal and sycophantic lieutenant: it’s too terrified to do otherwise. I get that, I understand: America frightens me too.

The US is the most terrifying organisation on the planet by far. No other country, or organisation, even comes close. No one else has spy stations and powerful military bases located in just about every country on earth (and has used them to overthrow more than fifty governments since the end of WW2, and to control the global economy with ruthless self-interest); or is responsible for more environmental destruction. Anyone who isn’t properly terrified of the US is either a foot-soldier, or a beneficiary of their regime, or just doesn’t understand the situation.

The United Nations – not the United States – is supposed to be the closest thing there is to a world government. The fact that it’s basically powerless to do what it’s supposed to do is not because it’s incompetent, it’s because the US won’t let it.

Ever since the UN was created the US has regarded it as another tool for administering its imperialism. The UN is expected just to rubber-stamp US foreign policy decisions. Member nations are routinely bribed or intimidated to support US proposals. If the General Assembly does go against the US, as sometimes happens, it’s simply ignored (as with Cuba, for example), or vetoed (as with Israel, for example). President Reagan once showed America’s arrogant contempt: “‘One hundred nations in the UN have not agreed with us on just about everything that’s come before them where we’re involved, and it didn’t upset my breakfast at all’.1 No other country has exercised its veto as often as the US.

The problem is not temporary presidents like Mr Trump who come and go, because the president has little personal political power; the real problem is with the terrifying ever-present US government.

  1. The Great Deception, Mark Curtis, p. 188.

August 19, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | | 2 Comments

Russia-gate’s Evidentiary Void

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | August 18, 2017

The New York Times’ unrelenting anti-Russia bias would be almost comical if the possible outcome were not a nuclear conflagration and maybe the end of life on planet Earth.

A classic example of the Times’ one-sided coverage was a front-page article on Thursday expressing the wistful hope that a Ukrainian hacker whose malware was linked to the release of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails in 2016 could somehow “blow the whistle on Russian hacking.”

Though full of airy suspicions and often reading like a conspiracy theory, the article by Andrew E. Kramer and Andrew Higgins contained one important admission (buried deep inside the “jump” on page A8 in my print edition), a startling revelation especially for those Americans who have accepted the Russia-did-it groupthink as an established fact.

The article quoted Jeffrey Carr, the author of a book on cyber-warfare, referring to a different reality: that the Russia-gate “certainties” blaming the DNC “hack” on Russia’s GRU military intelligence service or Russia’s FSB security agency lack a solid evidentiary foundation.

“There is not now and never has been a single piece of technical evidence produced that connects the malware used in the DNC attack to the GRU, FSB or any agency of the Russian government,” Carr said.

Yet, before that remarkable admission had a chance to sink into the brains of Times’ readers whose thinking has been fattened up on a steady diet of treating the “Russian hack” as flat fact, Times’ editors quickly added that “United States intelligence agencies, however, have been unequivocal in pointing a finger at Russia.”

The Times’ rebuke toward any doubts about Russia-gate was inserted after Carr’s remark although the Times had already declared several times on page 1 that there was really no doubt about Russia’s guilt.

“American intelligence agencies have determined Russian hackers were behind the electronic break-in of the Democratic national Committee,” the Times reported, followed by the assertion that the hacker’s “malware apparently did” get used by Moscow and then another reminder that “Washington is convinced [that the hacking operation] was orchestrated by Moscow.”

By repeating the same point on the inside page, the Times editors seemed to be saying that any deviant views on this subject must be slapped down promptly and decisively.

A Flimsy Assessment

But that gets us back to the problem with the Jan. 6 “Intelligence Community Assessment,” which — contrary to repeated Times’ claims — was not the “consensus” view of all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, but rather the work of a small group of “hand-picked” analysts from three agencies: the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency. And, they operated under the watchful eye of President Obama’s political appointees, CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who was the one who called them “hand-picked.”

Those analysts presented no real evidence to support their assessment, which they acknowledged was not a determination of fact, but rather what amounted to their best guess based on what they perceived to be Russian motives and capabilities.

The Jan. 6 assessment admitted as much, saying its “judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents.”

Much of the unclassified version of the report lambasted Russia’s international TV network RT for such offenses as hosting a 2012 presidential debate for third-party candidates excluded from the Republican-Democratic debate, covering the Occupy Wall Street protests, and reporting on dangers from “fracking.” The assessment described those editorial decisions as assaults on American democracy.

But rather than acknowledge the thinness of the Jan. 6 report, the Times – like other mainstream news outlets – treated it as gospel and pretended that it represented a “consensus” of all 17 intelligence agencies even though it clearly never did. (Belatedly, the Times slipped in a correction to that falsehood in one article although continuing to use similar language in subsequent stories so an unsuspecting Times reader would not be aware of how shaky the Russia-gate foundation is.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have denied repeatedly that the Russian government was the source of the two batches of Democratic emails released via WikiLeaks in 2016, a point that the Times also frequently fails to acknowledge. (This is not to say that Putin and Assange are telling the truth, but it is a journalistic principle to include relevant denials from parties facing accusations.)

Conspiracy Mongering

The rest of Thursday’s Times article veered from the incomprehensible to the bizarre, as the Times reported that the hacker, known only as “Profexer,” is cooperating with F.B.I. agents inside Ukraine.

Yet, the reliance on Ukraine to provide evidence against Russia defies any objective investigative standards. The Ukrainian government is fiercely anti-Russian and views itself as engaged in an “information war” with Putin and his government.

Ukraine’s SBU security service also has been implicated in possible torture, according to United Nations investigators who were denied access to Ukrainian government detention facilities housing ethnic Russian Ukrainians who resisted the violent coup in February 2014, which was spearheaded by neo-Nazis and other extreme nationalists and overthrew elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

The SBU also has been the driving force behind the supposedly “Dutch-led” investigation into the July 17, 2014 shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. That inquiry has ignored evidence that a rogue Ukrainian force may have been responsible – not even addressing a Dutch/NATO intelligence report stating that all anti-aircraft missile batteries in eastern Ukraine on that day were under the control of the Ukrainian military – and instead tried to pin the atrocity on Russia, albeit with no suspects yet charged.

In Thursday’s article, the Times unintentionally reveals how fuzzy the case against “Fancy Bear” and “Cozy Bear” – the two alleged Russian government hacking operations – is.

The Times reports: “Rather than training, arming and deploying hackers to carry out a specific mission like just another military unit, Fancy Bear and its twin Cozy Bear have operated more as centers for organization and financing; much of the hard work like coding is outsourced to private and often crime-tainted vendors.”

Further, under the dramatic subhead – “A Bear’s Lair” – the Times reported that no such lair may exist: “Tracking the bear to its lair … has so far proved impossible, not least because many experts believe that no such single place exists.”

Lacking Witnesses

The Times’ article also noted the “absence of reliable witnesses” to resolve the mystery – so to the rescue came the “reliable” regime in Kiev, or as the Times wrote: “emerging from Ukraine is a sharper picture of what the United States believes is a Russian government hacking group.”

The Times then cited various cases of exposed Ukrainian government emails, again blaming the Russians albeit without any real evidence.

The Times suggested some connection between the alleged Russian hackers and a mistaken report on Russia’s Channel 1 about a Ukrainian election, which the Times claimed “inadvertently implicated the government authorities in Moscow.”

The Times’ “proof” in this case was that some hacker dummied a phony Internet page to look like an official Ukrainian election graphic showing a victory by ultra-right candidate, Dmytro Yarosh, when in fact Yarosh polled less than 1 percent. The hacker supposedly sent this “spoof” graphic to Channel 1, which used it.

But such an embarrassing error, which would have no effect on the actual election results, suggests an effort to discredit Channel 1 rather than evidence of a cooperative relationship between the mysterious hacker and the Russian station. The Times, however, made this example a cornerstone in its case against the Russians.

Meanwhile, the Times offered its readers almost no cautionary advice that – in the case of Russia-gate – Ukraine would have every motive to send U.S. investigators in directions harmful to Russia, much as happened with the MH-17 investigation.

So, we can expect that whatever “evidence” Ukraine “uncovers” will be accepted as gospel truth by the Times and much of the U.S. government – and anyone who dares ask inconvenient questions about its reliability will be deemed a “Kremlin stooge” spreading “Russian propaganda.”

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.

August 19, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Lebanon army discovers US-made weapons cache left by Nusra terrorists

This Photo purportedly shows a discovered weapons cache left behind by Takfiri Jabhat Fateh al-Sham militants in northeastern Lebanon.

This Photo purportedly shows a discovered weapons cache left behind by Takfiri Jabhat Fateh al-Sham militants in northeastern Lebanon.
Press TV – August 19, 2017

The Lebanese army has discovered a weapons cache left behind by defeated militants from the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terror group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, in the northeast of the country.

The Lebanese National News Agency (NNA), citing an unnamed official from Lebanon’s General Directorate of General Security, reported on Friday that a patrol of the intelligence agency had found an ammunition and missile cache in Wadi Hamid Valley east of the border town of Arsal, without providing further details.

However, Reuters quoted an unnamed security source as saying on Friday that the cache contained at least a surface-to air missile (SAM) and a number of US-made TOW anti-tank missiles as well as plenty of other types of shells and rockets.

The following photos of the cache were provided by the security source.

On July 29, commanders of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement said the group had successfully concluded a week-long military offensive against al-Nusra on the outskirts of Arsal and the adjacent town of Flita in Syria, seizing land in the rugged, mountainous area and killing about 150 terrorists.

In August 2014, the al-Nusra and Daesh Takfiri terrorist groups overran Lebanon’s northeastern border town of Arsal, killing a number of Lebanese forces. They took 30 soldiers hostage, most of whom have been released.

Since then, Hezbollah and the Lebanese military have been defending Lebanon on the country’s northeastern border.

Friday’s development come as the Lebanese army has been targeting Daesh hideouts along the Syrian border over the past several days, regaining more areas from the terror group. It also comes after Syria accused the US and the UK of supplying chemical weapons to terrorists in the country.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Syria: As the War Continues, WMD Lies Linger

A special investigation team collects evidence

A special investigation team collects evidence
By Tony Cartalucci – New Eastern Outlook – 18.08.2017

Despite the now historical lies exposed in the wake of the devastating US invasion and occupation of Iraq beginning in 2003, the United States has attempted to use similar lies regarding weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) repeatedly as a pretext for similar wars including in neighboring Syria.

The Syrian government – perhaps in an effort to head off another round of accusations,  threats, and direct military aggression carried out by the US – is leveling accusations against the United States itself and terrorist organizations it has funded, armed, and backed for the past 6 years of using chemical weapons – primarily to create a pretext for wider war.

Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad stated at a press conference that the April 2017 Khan Shaykhun, Idlib chemical attack was staged by US-backed militants, including members of the so-called “White Helmets,” a US and European funded front posing as humanitarian workers but who serve as auxiliaries for listed terrorist organizations including Al Qaeda and its various Syrian affiliates.

As the Syrian military retakes territory from foreign-backed militants, munition warehouses and stockpiles, including those used for the production and deployment of chemical weapons for staged attacks, are being systematically uncovered. In them, chemical weapons – both lethal and nonlethal – provided by the United States and its allies are being discovered.

Mekdad would also point out that the use of chemical weapons by foreign-backed militants did not serve any sort of tactical purpose, but was instead being used as a form of blackmail.

While Western-dominated “international” institutions will likely not accept any evidence provided by the Syrian government – the Syrian government’s narrative emerges as a far more logical explanation for the last 6 years of conflict and accusations made regarding chemical weapon use.

Chemical Weapons are Political, Not Tactical 

Despite claims by the Western media made in an attempt to enhance US lies regarding WMDs, chemical weapons are particularly ineffective on the battlefield – with conventional weapons being many times more effective.

This was revealed in detail by a study produced by the United States itself, conducted by the US Marine Corps regarding the devastating Iran-Iraq War fought between 1980-1988 which saw the extensive use of chemical weapons.

wm2

It goes without saying that gas masks were a must during the Iran-Iraq war of the mid 80s

The document titled, “Lessons Learned: The Iran-Iraq War” under “Appendix B: Chemical Weapons,” provided a comprehensive look at the all-out chemical warfare that took place during the 8 year conflict. Several engagements are studied in detail, revealing large amounts of chemical agents deployed mainly to create areas of denial.

The effectiveness and lethality of chemical weapons is summarized in the document as follows (emphasis added):

Chemical weapons require quite particular weather and geographic conditions for optimum effectiveness. Given the relative nonpersistence of all agents employed during this war, including mustard, there was only a brief window of employment opportunity both daily and seasonally, when the agents could be used. Even though the Iraqis employed mustard agent in the rainy season and also in the marshes, its effectiveness was significantly reduced under those conditions. As the Iraqis learned to their chagrin, mustard is not a good agent to employ in the mountains, unless you own the high ground and your enemy is in the valleys.

We are uncertain as to the relative effectiveness of nerve agents since those which were employed are by nature much less persistent than mustard. In order to gain killing concentrations of these agents, predawn attacks are best, conducted in areas where the morning breezes are likely to blow away from friendly positions.

Chemical weapons have a low kill ratio. Just as in WWl, during which the ratio of deaths to injured from chemicals was 2-3 percent, that figure appears to be borne out again in this war although reliable data on casualties are very difficult to obtain. We deem it remarkable that the death rate should hold at such a low level even with the introduction of nerve agents. If those rates are correct, as they well may be, this further reinforces the position that we must not think of chemical weapons as “a poor man’s nuclear weapon.” While such weapons have great psychological potential, they are not killers or destroyers on a scale with nuclear or biological weapons.

According the US military’s own conclusions, the use of chemical weapons only enhance conventional warfare, but are not suitable for wiping out large swaths of enemy troops. Conventional weapons are deemed far more suitable for waging modern war.

The effectiveness of chemical weapons is such that the Syrian government could never justify their use, balancing their limited benefits against the knowledge the US was specifically seeking to use their use as a pretext for direct military intervention.

Thus, neither the Syrian government nor the foreign-backed militants it is fighting would benefit from their use in turning the tide of any specific battle, but should the US use chemical weapon deployments as a pretext, could intervene directly against the Syrian government, delivering victory to foreign-backed militants.

In essence, the only beneficiary of chemical weapon use by any side in Syria would be special interests in the US seeking regime change in Damascus.

Not only are outright lies regarding WMDs a known tactic repeatedly abused by the United States government worldwide, it has been caught repeatedly using this tactic in Syria. The number of ambiguous, unsubstantiated, or proven-false accusations made by the United States as it seeks a pretext for wider and more direct military intervention have multiplied over time as US-backed militants are pushed off the battlefield.

US Provocations, Lies, and Chemical Weapons 

Suspicious circumstances and familiar propaganda and diplomatic tactics were used by the US to rush the world to war – first in 2013 when an alleged chemical attack was carried out at the edge of Damascus. The attack followed multiple claims in 2012 by the US that the Syrian government was preparing such an attack, followed by threats of direct military intervention if the Syrian government did so.

This came at a time when it became apparent that quick regime change in Syria similar to that carried out by the US in Libya in 2011 was not possible and that only through direct military intervention would the US be able to topple the Syrian government.

In response, Syria relinquished its chemical weapons under a Russian-brokered deal, confirmed by UN inspectors. Despite this, chemical weapons continued turning up on the battlefield – followed by repeated attempts by the US to expand direct military intervention within Syrian borders each and every time.

No logical explanation has ever been provided by the United States – either by its politicians or its policymakers – as to why the Syrian government would repeatedly use ineffective chemical weapons in battles it was already winning with far more effective conventional weapons – and risk US military intervention.

Conversely, many of these attacks are carried out in areas held by terrorist organizations with direct access to the borders of their foreign sponsors. The more recent April 2017 alleged attack in Khan Shaykhun took place within the Idlib Governorate, directly on the border with NATO-member Turkey who has armed, supplied, and provided direct military support for Al Qaeda and its affiliates since the conflict began in 2011.

Consider the Source

The city of Idlib occupied by radical Islamists

The city of Idlib occupied by radical Islamists

Idlib has been controlled by Al Qaeda for years with even the New York Times and LA Times finally admitting as much.

The New York Times in a piece titled, “In a Syria Refuge, Extremists Exert Greater Control,” would admit:

“Idlib Province is the largest Al Qaeda safe haven since 9/11,” Brett H. McGurk, the United States envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State, said last month. “Idlib now is a huge problem.”

The LA Times in a piece titled, “Humanitarian groups fear aid is being diverted to terrorist group after militant takeover of Syrian province,” would reveal that torrents of supplies provided by the US, Europe, and their regional allies are still being poured into a city quite literally occupied by Al Qaeda, stating (emphasis added):

The recent takeover of the Syrian province of Idlib by an extremist organization has created a dilemma for the United States and other countries that send humanitarian aid to civilians and military aid to various rebel factions fighting the Syrian government.

It has become impossible to provide assistance without inadvertently supporting Al Nusra Front, a former affiliate of Al Qaeda that has been deemed a terrorist group by the U.S. government.

In reality, Al Qaeda’s domination of a region allegedly held by “rebels” provided billions in supplies, weapons, vehicles, training, and even direct military support by the West could only happen if Al Qaeda itself was receiving even more in state sponsorship – or were the recipients of this aid all along.

Both the New York Times and the LA Times in their articles, lace it with language meant to disarm readers from truly understanding the full scope of what the US has done in Syria. Claiming that the Al Nusra Front is a “former affiliate of Al Qaeda,” for instance, is supposed to create in the minds of readers the notion that they are no longer Al Qaeda, or terrorists when they are in fact very much still both.

The LA Times would even go as far as suggesting Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front would provide Western-backed organizations with “independence and neutrality.”

The LA Times also claims:

But cutting off the aid could spur a humanitarian disaster among the estimated 2 million civilians who live in Idlib and derail efforts to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Efforts to “topple Syrian President Bashar Assad,” however, can only be done with an armed opposition – and as both the New York Times and LA Times admit, the only armed militants left in Syria are Al Qaeda.

What both newspapers are actually saying is that Al Qaeda has been cornered in Idlib where the US and its allies are still flooding with support, and that support quite literally for Al Qaeda will continue in an effort to topple the Syrian government.

This means that the process of fabricating chemical weapon attacks and using it as a pretext to directly intervene – on behalf of Al Qaeda – will continue as well, either to topple the government outright, or create a safe-haven protected by the US military for Al Qaeda in Idlib.

It is in this context then, that “humanitarian organizations” in Al Qaeda-held Idlib are claiming they are being targeted by chemical weapons allegedly deployed by the Syrian government.

The Syrian government and its allies have all but won the conflict and they have done so using conventional military weapons. They are also attempting in every way to expose these lingering and repetitive lies regarding WMDs wielded by the US, by inviting UN inspection teams to further explore newly liberated Syrian territory and further confirm that the Syrian government did indeed give up its chemical weapons as it agreed to in 2013.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

The Neocons Are Pushing the USA and the Rest of the World Towards a Dangerous Crisis

The Saker | Unz Review | August 18, 2017

First, my writing on the wall

In October of last year a wrote an analysis I entitled The USA are about to face the worst crisis of their history and how Putin’s example might inspire Trump and I think that this is a good time to revisit it now. I began the analysis by looking at the calamities which would befall the United States if Hillary was elected. Since this did not happen (thank God!), we can safely ignore that part and look at my prediction of what would happen if Trump was elected. Here is what I wrote:

Trump wins. Problem: he will be completely alone. The Neocons have a total, repeat total, control of the Congress, the media, banking and finance, and the courts. From Clinton to Clinton they have deeply infiltrated the Pentagon, Foggy Bottom, and the three letter agencies. The Fed is their stronghold. How in the world will Trump deal with these rabid “crazies in the basement“? Consider the vicious hate campaign which all these “personalities” (from actors, to politicians to reporters) have unleashed against Trump – they have burned their bridges, they know that they will lose it all if Trump wins (and, if he proves to be an easy pushover his election will make no difference anyway). The Neocons have nothing to lose and they will fight to the very last one. What could Trump possibly do to get anything done if he is surrounded by Neocons and their agents of influence? Bring in an entirely different team? How is he going to vet them? His first choice was to take Pence as a VP – a disaster (he is already sabotaging Trump on Syria and the elections outcome). I *dread* the hear whom Trump will appoint as a White House Chief of Staff as I am afraid that just to appease the Neocons he will appoint some new version of the infamous Rahm Emanuel… And should Trump prove that he has both principles and courage, the Neocons can always “Dallas” him and replace him with Pence. Et voilà!

I went on to suggest that Trump’s only option would be to follow Putin’s example and do to the Neocons what Putin did to the oligarchs. Clearly that did not happen. In fact, one month after the election of Trump I wrote another analysis entitled “The Neocons and the “deep state” have neutered the Trump Presidency, it’s over folks!“.

Less than a month ago I warned that a ‘color revolution’  was taking place in the USA. My first element of proof was the so-called “investigation” which the CIA, FBI, NSA and others were conducting against President Trump’s candidate to become National Security Advisor, General Flynn. Tonight, the plot to get rid of Flynn has finally succeeded and General Flynn had to offer his resignation. Trump accepted it. Now let’s immediately get one thing out of the way: Flynn was hardly a saint or a perfect wise man who would single handedly saved the world. That he was not. However, what Flynn was is the cornerstone of Trump’s national security policy. (…) The Neocon run ‘deep state’ has now forced Flynn to resign under the idiotic pretext that he had a telephone conversation, on an open, insecure and clearly monitored, line with the Russian ambassador. And Trump accepted this resignation. Ever since Trump made it to the White House, he has taken blow after blow from the Neocon-run Ziomedia, from Congress, from all the Hollywood doubleplusgoodthinking “stars” and even from European politicians. And Trump took each blow without ever fighting back. Nowhere was his famous “you are fired!” to be seen. But I still had hope. I wanted to hope. I felt that it was my duty to hope. But now Trump has betrayed us all. Again, Flynn was not my hero. But he was, by all accounts, Trump’s hero. And Trump betrayed him. The consequences of this will be immense. For one thing, Trump is now clearly broken. It took the ‘deep state’ only weeks to castrate Trump and to make him bow to the powers that be. Those who would have stood behind Trump will now feel that he will not stand behind them and they will all move back away from him. The Neocons will feel elated by the elimination of their worst enemy and emboldened by this victory they will push on, doubling-down over and over and over again. It’s over, folks, the deep state has won.

I then concluded that the consequences of this victory would catastrophic for the United States:

In their hate-filled rage against Trump and the American people (aka “the basket of deplorables”) the Neocons have had to show their true face. By their rejection of the outcome of the elections, by their riots, their demonization of Trump, the Neocons have shown two crucial things: first, that the US democracy is a sad joke and that they, the Neocons, are an occupation regime which rules against the will of the American people. In other words, just like Israel, the USA has no legitimacy left. And since, just like Israel, the USA are unable to frighten their enemies, they are basically left with nothing, no legitimacy, no ability to coerce. So yes, the Neocons have won. But their victory is removes the last chance for the US to avoid a collapse.

I think that what we are seeing today are the first signs of the impending collapse.

The symptoms of the agony

  • Externally, the US foreign policy is basically “frozen” and in lieu of a foreign policy we now only have a long series of empty threats hurled at a list of demonized countries which are now promised “fire and brimstone” should they dare to disobey Uncle Sam. While this makes for good headlines, this does not qualify as a “policy” of any kind (I discussed this issue at length during my recent interview with SouthFront). And then there is Congress which has basically stripped Trump from his powers to conduct foreign policy. This bizarre, and illegal, form of a “vote of no-confidence” further hammers in the message that Trump is either a madman, a traitor, or both.
  • Internally, the latest riots in Charlottesville now being blamed on Trump who, after being a Putin agent is now further demonized as some kind of Nazi (see Paul Craig Roberts’ first and second warnings about this dynamic)
  • Organizationally, it is clear that Trump is surrounded by enemies as illustrated by the absolutely outrageous fact that he can’t even talk to a foreign head of state without having the transcript of his conversation leaked to the Ziomedia.

I believe that these all are preparatory steps to trigger a major crisis and use it to remove Trump, either by a process of impeachment, or by force under the pretext of some crisis. Just look at the message which the Ziomedia has been hammeing into the brains of the US population.

The psychological preparation for the forthcoming coup: scaring them all to death

Here are three very telling examples taken from Newsweek’s front page:

PutinCovers

Ask yourself, what is the message here?

Trump is a traitor, he works for Putin, Putin wants to destroy democracy in the United States and these two men together are the most dangerous men on the planet. This is a “plot against America“, no less!

Not bad, right?

“They” are clearly out there go get “us” and “we” are all in terrible danger: Kim Jong-un is about to declare nuclear war on the US, Xi and Putin are threatening the world with their armies, and “our” own President came to power courtesy of the “Russian KGB” and “Putin’s hackers”, he now works for the Russians, he is also clearly a Nazi, a White supremacist, a racist and, possibly, a “new Hitler” (as is Putin, of course!).

And then, there are those truly scary Mooslims and Aye-rabs who apparently want only two things in life: destroy “our way of life” and kill all the “infidels”. This is why we need the TSA, 16 intelligence agencies and militarized police SWAT teams everywhere: in case the terrorists come to get us where we live.

Dangerous international consequences

This would all be rather funny if it was not also extremely dangerous. For one thing, the US is really poking at a dangerous foe when it constantly tries to scare Kim Jong-un and the DPRK leadership. No, not because of the North Korean nukes (which are probably not real nuclear capable ICBMs but a not necessarily compatible combination of nuclear ‘devices’ and intermediate range ballistic missiles) but because of the huge and hard to destroy conventional North Korean military. The real threat are not missiles, but a deadly combination of conventional artillery and special forces which present very little danger to the US or the US military, but which present a huge threat for the population of Seoul and the northern section of South Korea. Nukes, in whatever form, are really only an added problem, a toxic “icing” on an already very dangerous ‘conventional cake’.

[Sidebar – a real life nightmare: Now, if you *really* want to terrify yourself and stay awake all night then consider the following. While I personally believe that Kim Jong-un is not insane and that the main objective of the North Korean leadership is to avoid a war at all costs, what if I am wrong? What if those who say that the North Korean leaders are totally insane are right? Or, which I think is much more likely, what if Kim Jong-un and the North Korean leaders came to the conclusion that they have nothing to lose, that the Americans are going to kill them all, along with their families and friends? What could they, in theory, do if truly desperate? Well, let me tell you: forget about Guam; think Tokyo! Indeed, while the DPRK could devastate Seoul with old fashioned artillery systems, DPRK missiles are probably capable of striking Tokyo or the Keihanshin region encompassing Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe including the key industries of the Hanshin Industrial Region. The Greater Tokyo area (Kanto region) and the Keihanshin region are very densely populated (37 and 20 million people respectively) and contain an immense number of industries, many of which would produce an ecological disaster of immense proportions if hit by missiles. Not only that, but a strike on the key economic and financial nodes of Japan would probably result in a 9-11 kind of international economic collapse. So if the North Koreans wanted to really, really hurt the Americans what they could do is strike Seoul, and key cities in Japan resulting in a huge political crisis for the entire planet. During the Cold War we used to study the consequences of a Soviet strike against Japan and the conclusion was always the same: Japan cannot afford a war of any kind. The Japanese landmass is too small, too densely populated, too rich in lucrative targets and a war would lay waste to the entire country. This is still true today, only more so. And just imagine the reaction in South Korea and Japan if some crazy US strike on the DPRK results in Seoul and Tokyo being hit by missiles! The South Koreans have already made their position unambiguously clear, by the way. As for the Japanese, they are officially placing their hopes in missiles (as if technology could mitigate the consequences of insanity!). So yeah, the DPRK is plenty dangerous and pushing them into their last resort is totally irresponsible indeed, nukes or no nukes]

What we are observing now is positive feedback loop in which each move by the Neocons results in a deeper and deeper destabilization of the entire system. Needless to say, this is extremely dangerous and can only result in an eventual catastrophe/collapse. In fact, the signs that the US is totally losing control are already all over the place, here are just a few headlines to illustrate this:

A French expression goes “when the cat is gone, the mice dance”, and this is exactly what is happening now: the US is both very weak and basically absent. As for the Armenians, they say “The mouse dreams dreams that would terrify the cat”. Well, the “mice” of the world are dancing and dreaming and simply ignoring the “cat”. Every move the cat makes only makes things worse for him. The world is moving on, while the cat is busy destroying himself.

Dangerous domestic consequences

First on my list would be race riots. In fact, they are already happening all over the United States, but they are rarely presented as such. And I am not talking about the “official” riots of Black Lives Matter, which are bad enough, I am talking about the many mini-riots which the official media is systematically trying to obfuscate. Those interested in this topic should read the book Don’t Make the Black Kids Angry by Colin Flaherty which shows that racist attacks on Whites by Blacks (aka “polar bear hunting”) are on the rise pretty much all over the county. Likewise, anybody who stubbornly persists in ignoring the strong correlation between race and crime ought to read Ron Unz’s seminal analysis Race and Crime in America. Now, before some self-appointed thought police volunteer accuses me as a racist, I am not saying anything at all about the causes of the racial problems in the United States. I am only saying that racial violence in the US is severe and rapidly getting much worse.

The second problem which I see threatening the US society is an extremely rapid delegitimization of the entire US political system and, especially, of the Federal government. For decades now Americans have been voting for ‘A’ and each time what they ended up with is ‘not-A’. Examples of that include the famous “read my lips, no new taxes”, of course, but also Obama promises to stop stupid wars and now Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp”. Americans have been lied to for decades and they know it. There is a widening chasm between the so-called “American values” taught in schools and the reality of power. While officially the US is supposed to stand for democracy, freedom and all the other good things advocated by the Founding Fathers, the disgusting reality is that the US is in bed with Wahabis, Nazis and Zionists. The all-prevailing hypocrisy of it all now threatens to bring down the entire US political system just as the no less prevailing hypocrisy of the Soviet system brought down the USSR (if interested, you can read more about this topic here). The simple truth is that no regime can survive for too long when it proactively supports the exact opposite of what it officially is supposed to stand for. The result? I have yet to meet an adult American who would sincerely believe that he/she lives in the “land of the free and the home of the brave”. Maybe infants still buy this stuff, but even teenagers know that this is a load of bull.

Third, for all the encouraging statistics about the Dow Jones, unemployment and growth, the reality is that the US society is rapidly transforming itself into a three-tired one: on top, a small number of obscenely rich people, under them, a certain amount of qualified professionals who service the filthy rich and who struggle to maintain a lifestyle which in the past was associated with the middle-class. And then the vast majority of Americans who basically are looking at making “minimal wage plus a little something” and who basically survive by not paying for health insurance, by typically working two jobs, by eating cheap and unhealthy “prolefeed” and by giving up on that which every American worker could enjoy in the 1950s and 1960s (have one parent at home, have paid holidays, a second vacation home, etc.). Americans are mostly hard workers and, so far, most of them are surviving, but they are mostly one paycheck away from seriously bad poverty. A lot of them only make ends meet because they get help from their parents and grand-parents (the same is true of southern Europe, by the way). A large segment of the US population now survives only because of Walmart and the Dollar Store. Once that fails, food stamps are the last option. That, or jail, of course.

Combine all this and you get a potentially extremely explosive situation. No wonder that when so many Americans heard Hillary’s comment about the “basket of deplorables” they took that as declaration of war.

And how do the Neocons plan to deal with all this?

By cracking down on free speech and dissent, of course! What else?

Their only response – repression of course!

YouTube, Google, Facebook, Twitter – they are all cracking down on “bad” speech which includes pretty much any topic a garden variety self-described ‘liberal’ frowns upon. GoDaddy and Google are even going after domain names. Oh sure, nobody gets thrown in jail for, say, defending the 2nd Amendment, but they get “demonetized” and their accounts simply closed. It’s not the cops cracking down on free speech, it’s “Corporate America”, but the effect is the same. Apparently, the Neocons do not realize that censorship is not a viable strategy in the age of the Internet. Or maybe they do, and they are deliberately trying to trigger a backlash?

Then there is the vilification campaign in the media: unless you are some kind of ‘minority’ you are assumed to be nefarious by birth and guilty of all the evils on the planet. And your leader is Trump, of course, or maybe even Putin himself, vide supra. Christian heterosexual White males better run for cover…

Whatever may be the case, by their manic insistence, on one hand, to humiliate and crush Trump and, on the other, to repress millions of Americans the Neocons are committing a double mistake. First, they are showing their true face and, second, they are subverting the very institutions they are using to control and run this country. That, of course, only further weaken the Neocons and the United States themselves and that further accelerates the positive feedback loop mentioned above which now threatens the entire international system.

Us and Them

What makes the gradual collapse of the AngloZionist Empire so uniquely dangerous is that it is by far the biggest and most powerful empire in world history. No empire has ever had the quasi monopoly on power the USA enjoyed since WWII. By any measure, military, economic, political, social, the US came out of WWII as a giant and while there were ups and downs during the subsequent decades, the collapse of the USSR only reaffirmed what appeared to be the total victory of the United States. In my admittedly subjective opinion, the last competent (no, I did not say ‘good’, I said ‘competent’) US President was George Herbert Walker Bush who, unlike his successors, at least knew how to run an Empire. After that, it is all downhill, faster and faster. And if Obama was probably the most incompetent President in US history, Trump will be the first one to be openly lynched while in office. As a result, the AngloZionist Empire is now like a huge freight train which has lost its locomotive but still has an immense momentum pushing it forward even though there is nobody in control any more. The rest of the planet, with the irrelevant exception of the East Europeans, is now scrambling in horror to get out of the path of this out of control train. So far, the tracks (minimal common sense, political realities) are more or less holding, but a crash (political, economic or military) could happen at any moment. And that is very, very scary.

The US has anywhere between 700 to 1000 military bases worldwide, the entire international financial system is deeply enmeshed with the US economy, the US Dollar is still the only real reserve currency, United States Treasury securities are held by all the key international players (including Russia and China), SWIFT is politically controlled by the US, the US is the only country in the world that can print as much money as it wants and, last but not least, the US has a huge nuclear arsenal. As a result, a US collapse would threaten everybody and that means that nobody would want to trigger one. The collapse of the Soviet Union threatened the rest of mankind only in one way: by its nuclear arsenal. In contrast, any collapse of the United States would threaten everybody in many different ways.

So the real question now is this: can the rest of the planet prevent a catastrophic collapse of the AngloZionist Empire?

This is the irony of our situation: even though the entire planet is sick and tried of the incompetent arrogance of the AngloZionists, nobody out there wants their Empire to catastrophically collapse. And yet, with the Neocons in power, such a collapse appears inevitable with potentially devastating consequences for everybody.

This is really amazing, think of it: everybody hates the Neocons, not only a majority of the American people, but truly the entire planet. And yet that numerically small group of people has somehow managed to put everybody in danger, including themselves, due to their ugly vindictiveness, infinite arrogance and ideology-induced short-sightedness. That this could ever have happened, and at a planetary scale, is a dramatic testimony to the moral and spiritual decay of our civilization: how did we ever let things get that far?!

And the next obvious question: can we still stop them?

I honestly don’t know. I hope so, but I am not sure. My biggest hope with Trump was that he would be willing to sacrifice the Empire for the sake of the US (the opposite of what the Neocons are doing: they are willing to sacrifice the US for the sake of their Empire) and that he would manage a relatively safe and hopefully non-violent transition from Empire to “normal country” for the US. Clearly, this is ain’t happening. Instead, the Neocons are threatening everybody: the Chinese, the Russians, the North Koreans and the Venezuelans of course, but also the Europeans (economically), the entire Middle-East (via the “only democracy in the Middle-East”), all the developing countries and even the American people. Heck, they are even threatening the US President himself, and in not-so-subtle ways!

So what’s next?

Truly, I don’t know. But my overwhelming sense is that Trump will be removed from office, either for “high crimes and misdemeanors” or for “medical reasons” (they will simply declare him insane and unfit to be the President). Seeing how weak and spineless Trump is, he might even be “convinced” to resign. I don’t see them simply murdering him simply because he is no Kennedy either. After that, Pence comes to power and it will all be presented like a wonderful event, a group-hug of the elites followed by an immediate and merciless crackdown on any form of political opposition or dissent which will immediately be labeled as racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, terrorist, etc. The evil hand of the “Russian KGB” (yes, I know, the KGB was dissolved in 1991) will be found everywhere, especially amongst US libertarians (who will probably be the only ones with enough brains to understand what is taking place). The (pseudo-) “Left” will rejoice. Should this course of action result in an unexpected level or resistance, either regional or social, a 9-11 false flag followed by a war will be the most likely scenario (why stray away from something which worked so well the first time around?!). Unless the US decides to re-invade Grenada or give Nauru a much deserved thrashing, any more or less real war will result in a catastrophic failure for the US at which point the use of nukes by the Neocon crazies might become a very real risk, especially if symbolic US targets such as aircraft carriers are hit (in 1991 when the US sent the 82nd AB to Iraq there was nothing standing between this light infantry force and the Iraqi armored divisions. Had the Iraqis attacked the plan was to use tactical nuclear weapons. Then this was all quickly forgotten).

There is a reason why the Neocons thrive in times of crisis: it allows them to hide behind the mayhem, especially when they are the ones who triggered the mayhem in the first place. This means that as long as the Neocons are anywhere near in power they will never, ever, allow peace to suddenly break out, lest the spotlight be suddenly shined directly upon them. Chaos, wars, crises – this is their natural habitat. Think of it as the by-product of their existence. Eventually, of course, they will be stopped and they will be defeated, like all their predecessors in history. But I shudder when I think of the price mankind will have to pay this time around.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | | 6 Comments

A De-Putin-Nazification of America Update

By CJ Hopkins | CounterPunch | August 18, 2017

So the de-Putin-Nazification of America couldn’t be going much better at the moment. In terms of emotionally manipulating people (and especially any heretofore wayward members of the American “left”) into forming a mindless, hysterical mob and running around like headless chickens branding anyone who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton a goose-stepping Nazi, this past week has been a huge success. At this point, if you haven’t yet posted an anti-Nazi loyalty oath on Twitter, Facebook, or some other platform, you’re a potential “Nazi sympathizer” … and you don’t want to be one of those, now do you? No, I didn’t think you did. So, if you haven’t done that, you’d better get on it. Here are few tips to get you started.

Your anti-Nazi loyalty oath should include a clearly-worded statement acknowledging that Donald Trump is Hitler, or at least the leader of the tens of hundreds of imbecilic, neo-Nazi losers who, according to most of the mainstream media, are on the verge of overthrowing the entire American ruling establishment. It should also include a threat to unfollow, de-friend, and otherwise socially ostracize anyone who hasn’t posted such an oath, or who, despite the Charlottesville Kristallnacht, stubbornly continues thinking critically, or maintains any form of historical awareness, or presents any kind of rational arguments challenging the prevailing Nazi hysteria.

It should also include one or more of the following:

(1) If not an outright call for the First Amendment to be repealed, then at least a demand for a ban on “hate speech,” and the removal of every hate-based statue, flag, painting, book, film, song, joke, or other expression of racism, hatred, religious bigotry, misogyny, extremism, general rudeness (and any other forms of speech or expression that you don’t like) from public view. Don’t worry about the ramifications of this ban. It will never, ever, be used against you, or anyone that you agree with, or against any authors or artists that you like. It’ll be a ban on “hate-speech,” after all, and it’s not like that term is completely subjective, or subject to the whims of those in power, or anything like that.

(2) A demand that the already overly-broad definition of “terrorism” now be expanded even further, to include the fascist who drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville, killing one and wounding many others. Never mind that this murderous idiot seems to have done this on the spur of the moment (or, if it was a planned attack, that he’s even more of an idiot than he seems, which, judging from his mug shot, is hard to believe). The important thing is to help the Resistance expand the definition of “terrorism” to the point where they can slap it onto anyone. Again, don’t worry about the ramifications. The “terrorist” label will never, ever, be used against groups that you approve of, or innocent people in faraway countries that some future president wants to murder with drones. The Resistance would never, ever, do that. They know who is and who isn’t a terrorist. And if they don’t, they can always check with Obama.

(3) A reference (either veiled or direct) to someone who may be a Nazi-sympathizer. This is crucial in terms of motivating others to post their loyalty oaths, and fostering an atmosphere of paranoia, which is always so helpful at times like this. Surely, you know of someone who has said, tweeted, published, or posted something that could be interpreted as “Nazi-friendly.” Don’t bother with the Trump supporters. The corporate-owned media will take care of them. You want to go after other leftists, specifically leftists who have been reluctant to call Trump Hitler, or a Putinist agent, or who disagree with you about Syria, or, you know, just people who get on your nerves. This is a golden opportunity to pore through their tweets and Facebook posts, find something you can use against them, and then accuse them of harboring Nazi sympathies. Given the current level of hysteria, few people are going to check your facts. This is one you can really have fun with. See how far you can push the paranoia. Make up elaborate conspiracy theories. If you’re not quite sure how to go about that, check The New York Times or The Washington Post … they’re masters of that kind of thing.

Your anti-Nazi loyalty oath should definitely not include any of the following:

(1) Any mention of the Ukrainian Nazis that Obama, Clinton, and the rest of the Resistance (before it was the Resistance, of course) helped regime-change the Ukrainian government when it wouldn’t play ball with the EU and NATO. Mentioning the Resistance’s support of these Nazis would only confuse those reading your oath, who might not understand that there are good Nazis and bad Nazis, and who have probably forgotten how the US government smuggled a number of actual Nazis (i.e., members of the NSDAP) into America after WWII … or how, since the end of that war, the United States has mass murdered countless millions of people all over the planet (but, technically, not in a genocidal fashion, so that doesn’t make us the same as Nazis).

(2) Actual membership figures on neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, because those figures are pathetically small. Doing this would make your loyalty oath (not to mention the whole Nazi hysteria thing, generally) seem, if not paranoid, then at least absurd, or like part of some manufactured effort to whip up support for a ruling class coup by waving Nazis in front of everyone’s faces. This would be extremely counterproductive. Remember, one of the primary goals of the De-Putin-Nazification program is to convince the public that Richard Spencer (and the handful of other insignificant idiots that the corporate media is showering with publicity) is about to lead an overwhelming force of tiki torch-bearing neo-Nazis into the streets of American cities to battle the hyper-militarized police, the national guard, and the US military, or some other preposterous scenario like that.

(3) Any reference whatsoever to the corporatocracy that runs the country, and that normally decides who can run for president, and which is currently making an example of Trump in order to dissuade any future billionaires from having the audacity to fuck with them. You’ll be better off avoiding this subject entirely, as it only reminds folks how screwed they are, and how, odds are, they’re probably all worked up about something the corporate-owned media wanted to get them all worked up about, neo-Nazis, Russian hackers, nuclear war with North Korea, Syrian gas attacks, lone wolf terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, or whatever. Take it from someone who’s worked in show business. No one likes being made aware of how they are being manipulated … or provided with a binary set of officially acceptable contextual parameters within which they can think and speak.

But don’t worry too much about that binary stuff. There’ll be plenty of time to get into all that after we rid the world of these Nazis, and these racists, and all these Confederate statues. And Trump, of course. That’s the main thing … getting rid of Donald Trump, and getting a Democrat back in office. Oh, yeah … and the books. We need to look at the books. God knows how many Confederate books are still out there in the public libraries, and in people’s homes, where children can read them. We’ll need to get to the books eventually.

In the meantime, focus on Priority One. Go hard on the Nazi hysteria, at least throughout the rest of the weekend, after which they’ll probably need to switch us back to the Russia hysteria, or possibly the North Korea hysteria, or … damn, see? Here I go with that contextual parameter stuff again. I’ve really got to stop doing that. The last thing I need is to get myself accused of being some kind of Nazi sympathizer, or Confederate apologist, or Russian propagandist, or extremist, or terrorist, or, you know … whatever.

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can reached at cjhopkins.com or  consentfactory.org.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

What’s the real story behind the statues in Parliament Square?

Parliament Square is one of the most famous places on earth. It’s home to revered figures such as Winston Churchill who are lauded as “British heroes.”

Whereas the removal of statues of Confederate figures in the US can be seen as an ugly act of triumphalism and dominance, which may or may not have any actual connection to preserving the institution of slavery, where are the social justice warriors in the cities of London and Washington DC?

Perhaps they are only interested in triumphalism and dominance or they would correct their own myths and false icons before demanding that the vanquished adhere to their narratives.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment