President Trump has been notoriously inconsistent in his foreign policy. He campaigned on and won the presidency with promises to repair relations with Russia, pull out of no-win wars like Afghanistan, and end the failed US policy of nation-building overseas. Once in office he pursued policies exactly the opposite of what he campaigned on. Unfortunately Iran is one of the few areas where the president has been very consistent. And consistently wrong. In the president’s speech last week he expressed his view that Iran was not ‘living up to the spirit’ of the 2015 nuclear agreement and that he would turn to Congress to apply new sanctions to Iran and to, he hopes, take the US out of the deal entirely. Nearly every assertion in the president’s speech was embarrassingly incorrect. Iran is not allied with al-Qaeda, as the president stated. The money President Obama sent to Iran was their own money. Much of it was a down-payment made to the US for fighter planes that were never delivered when Iran changed from being friend to foe in 1979. The president also falsely claims that Iran targets the United States with terrorism. He claims that Iran has ‘fueled sectarian violence in Iraq,’ when it was Iranian militias who prevented Baghdad from being overtaken by ISIS in 2014. There are too many other false statements in the president’s speech to mention.
My deepest thanks to the US government, Senator McCain and Senator Lieberman for pushing Visa, MasterCard, Payal, AmEx, Mooneybookers, et al, into erecting an illegal banking blockade against @WikiLeaks starting in 2010. It caused us to invest in Bitcoin — with > 50000% return. pic.twitter.com/9i8D69yxLC — Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) October 14, 2017
Once again the unintended consequences of government intervention are exposed… In 2010 – following the release of sensitive government documents related to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – John McCain and Joe Lieberman led a bipartisan attempt to cut off WikiLeaks funding by forcing ‘traditional’ payment systems to block them. 7 years later and the price of Bitcoin has… risen…50,000%! And Julian Assange chose yesterday to thank the US government and its corporatocracy for his forced investment…
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 15, 2017.
The following is an interview with ANDRE VLTCHEK by ALESSANDRO BIANCCHI, Chief Editor of the Italian political magazine Anti-Diplomatico: ALESSANDRO BIANCHI: Self-determination of peoples and respect for the borders and sovereignty of a country. This is of the most complicated issue for international law. How can it be articulated for the case of Catalonia? ANDRE VLTCHEK: Personally, I’m not very enthusiastic about smaller nations forming their own states, particularly those in the West, where they would, after gaining ‘independence’, remain in the alliances that are oppressing and plundering the entire world: like NATO or the European Union. Clearly, the breaking of the great country of Yugoslavia into small pieces was a hostile, evil design by the West, and particularly of Germany and Austria. The dissolution of Czechoslovakia after the so-called ‘Velvet Revolution’ was a total idiocy. But Catalonia (or Basque Country), if it became independent, would become one of the richest parts of Europe. I don’t think it would have any great positive or negative impact on the rest of the world. As an internationalist, I don’t really care if they are separate from Spain or not, or whether they are even richer than they already are, as I care much more about what is happening in places such as Afghanistan, Venezuela or North Korea. READ MORE
Once again the unintended consequences of government intervention are exposed… In 2010 – following the release of sensitive government documents related to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – John McCain and Joe Lieberman led a bipartisan attempt to cut off WikiLeaks funding by forcing ‘traditional’ payment systems to block them. *** 7 years later and the price of Bitcoin has… risen…50,000%!
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 15, 2017.
A new batch of 274 CIA documents connected with Bush era torture have just been made public as a result of a lawsuit brought by families of victims. Contained in the documents are newly unearthed details on the CIA’s “black site” program which reached its peak under Bush’s ‘war on terror’ as well as shocking details revealing how the agency integrated its contract psychologists into its ‘enhanced interrogation’ program in order to give torture a veneer of legality. While much of this story of CIA torture has already slowly come to light over the past few years, especially with the 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report, the just released documents capture internal high level agency discussions revealing a cover-up in action. Many of the memos focus on the CIA’s infamous ‘Cobalt’ site in Afghanistan (also code named The Salt Pit), routinely described in headlines as the “sadistic dungeon” and “dark prison” for its full sensory deprivation darkness which detainees experienced round the clock, sometimes for years, as well as the two psychologists credited with designing the program of brutal interrogation techniques: John “Bruce” Jessen and James Mitchell. Two surviving prisoners and the family of a detainee who died at the Colbalt site reached an out-of-court settlement with the CIA psychologists in August after a lawsuit was brought for their role in the torture. As was hoped, the CIA and Pentagon were forced to declassify the documents related to the case in pretrial discovery.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 10, 2017.
After German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted late last year that she had ‘lost control’ of Germany’s refugee crisis after adopting an ‘open door’ policy that fueled an unprecedented spike in crime, her weakened ruling coalition announced Monday that it would seek to impose new restrictions on the number of refugees admitted to the country. Germany famously admitted nearly one million refugees from Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and other war zones in 2015, a five-fold increase over the previous year. Migrants repaid Germany for its openness by committing 142,500 crimes during the first six months of 2016, including several high-profile sexual assaults. And now it seems Merkel has hit a wall and folded… Merkel announced the policy change on Monday during a joint news conference with Horst Seehofer, leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union – the more conservative partner to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union – following discussions in which the two parties sought compromises on a number of issues following poor results in the federal elections two weeks ago, according to CNN.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 9, 2017.
There’s something deeply wrong at Creech Air Force Base, the notorious home of America’s drone program, where pilots remotely order US Reaper and Predator drones to unleash destructive missile strikes on unsuspecting villagers in Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other war zones. Less than a week after the Department of Homeland Security advised all federal agencies using anti-virus software created by Kaspersky Labs to remove the programs from their systems immediately, Ars Technica reports that two weeks ago the Defense Information Systems Agency detected mysterious spyware embedded in the drone ‘cockpits’ – the control stations that pilots use to control the deadly machines.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 9, 2017.
21st Century Wire says… Today, 7 October 2017, marks the 16th anniversary of United States and British military action in Afghanistan – aka ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ – and all signs point to a policy of not admitting failure. The war operation in Afghanistan has indeed been enduring. It has taken countless lives, and for what benefit to the Afghan people? What is the end goal? From Bush to Obama to Trump, and NATO, there are few signs of any end to this perpetual war – now known in the mainstream as ‘America’s Longest War’ – a war that 21WIRE contributor Andre Vltchek called ‘one of the most destructive and brutal occupations in NATO’s history.’
[America’s War for the Greater Middle East by Andrew J. Bacevich (New York: Random House, 2016; 480 pages] America’s military involvement in the Middle East began in classic imperial fashion, according to military historian and retired Army colonel Andrew J. Bacevich. They had something we needed, and we made sure we had access to it. ‘Oil has always defined the raison d’tre of the War for the Greater Middle East,’ he writes in the first paragraph of his magisterial work, America’s War for the Greater Middle East. ‘Over time, other considerations intruded and complicated the war’s conduct, but oil as a prerequisite of freedom was from day one an abiding consideration.’ By 1969, oil imports already made up 20 percent of the daily oil consumption in the United States. Four years later, Arab oil exporters suspended oil shipments to the United States to punish America for supporting Israel in the October War. The American economy screeched to a halt, seemingly held hostage by foreigners – a big no-no for a country accustomed to getting what it wants. Predictably the U. S. response was regional domination to keep the oil flowing to America, especially to the Pentagon and its vast, permanent war machine. The Middle East was now a U. S. military priority, and the pursuit of direct American domination of the region came from none other than the supposed peacenik, Jimmy Carter. Before him, Richard Nixon was content to have the Middle East managed by proxies after the bloodletting America experienced in Vietnam. His arch-proxy was the despised shah of Iran, whom the United States had installed into power and then armed to the teeth. When his regime collapsed in 1979, felled by Islamic revolutionaries who would eventually capture the American embassy and initiate the Iranian hostage crisis, so too did the Nixon Doctrine. That same year, the Soviet Union rolled into Afghanistan. The world was a mess, and Carter was under extreme pressure to do something about it, lest he lose his bid for a second term. (He suffered a crushing defeat anyway.)
A Vulnerable System Parliamentary democracy is vulnerable to the extremely dangerous possibility that someone with very little voter support can rise to the top layer of government. All one apparently has to do is to be enough of a populist to get elected by ghetto dwellers. *** Thereafter, political correctness and a belief in multiculturalism in the larger society are helpful. One doesn’t have to be very good in political strategizing, or have strong organizational abilities, or even be intelligent. By jumping through a few hoops, anyone can end up as prime minister in a parliamentary democracy, a major risk currently staring Canada in the face. Harjit Singh Sajjan is currently Canada’s minister of defense. He was elected in Vancouver South, which is one of the districts with the largest immigrant populations: about 75% of its inhabitants are either first or second generation immigrants. Sajjan received 21,773 votes in the 2015 election. He is new to politics, and it recently turned out he lied about his contribution as a military officer in Afghanistan.
This post was published at Acting-Man on October 5, 2017.
Previously unreported Pentagon data shows how much the average U. S. taxpayer has paid for combat operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Syria. According to the two page report summary, the cumulative estimated cost of the 16 year war in the Middle East has cost each taxpayer $7,500. According to Defense One, Americans paid the most for the wars in 2010, an average of $767 per taxpayer. Since the peak, the annual amount has declined to $289 this fiscal year and $281 projected for 2018. By October of 2018, the Pentagon’s share of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria will have collectively cost taxpayers more than $1.5 trillion, according to the Department of Defense.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 1, 2017.
Clearly, the core strategy of maintaining the status quo is to borrow and spend trillions of additional dollars every year. The Obama presidency was a grand experiment to test this thesis: the status quo of the U. S. is a self-correcting mechanism. Left to its own devices, it will automatically correct any socio-economic-political imbalances, given enough time. The Grand Strategy of the post-Global Financial Crisis era was simple: maintain the status quo as is. The Obama administration’s major policy initiative, ObamaCare, a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act, was nothing but the formalization of the existing status quo in healthcare, i.e. the taxpayers subsidize private-sector profiteering. That is the Affordable Care Act in a nutshell. Costs have not declined, the health of Americans can hardly be said to have improved significantly, but garsh, did healthcare sector profits soar. Most importantly, the status quo was maintained: nothing actually changed in the insurance, pharmaceutical or hospital sectors. The same can be said for every other sector of the economy: nothing really changed, just more of the same. Higher education: nothing changed, just more student loan debt was issued. The defense industry: more of the same. Global War on Terror, a.k.a. The National Security State–more billions sluiced into the shadows. President Obama was a master of telling everyone what they wanted to hear while changing nothing in the basic structure of the Empire. The Imperial Imperative of destabilizing nations that didn’t meet with Imperial approval continued unchanged. The murder-by-drone campaign expanded, the support of a hopelessly corrupt regime in Afghanistan continued unchanged, and so on.
The Syrian Outcome Has Departed the Script The CIA and presstitutes will re-write the history Stephen Lendman sums up the success of Russian and Syrian militaries against Washington-supported ISIS. Washington claims to be fighting ISIS, but doesn’t. Remember, U. S. General Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, revealed on television that it was the ‘willful decision’ of the Obama regime to use ISIS to overthrow the Assad government. General Flynn said the decision was made over his objection. News agencies and writers should stop referring to ISIS and any of the other groups as ‘terrorists.’ The term ‘terrorists’ connotes an independence that the ‘terrorists’ do not have. These so-called ‘terrorists’ are organized, financed, and armed by Washington and Washington’s vassals. Washington uses ‘terrorists’ as a foreign policy tool. This has been going on for decades. Yes, sometimes the ‘terrorists’ escape Washington’s control. Washington supported Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan to help organize the Mujahideen to fight against the Soviet occupying force. Everyone knows this, or, perhaps I should say, fomerly knew it prior to the presstitutes helping Washington bury all the facts and replace them with fake news.
According to Eurostat, at the end of 2016 there were almost 1.2 million migrants waiting for a decision on their asylum applications. Already, about 880,000 people were granted asylum with only 66,000 being returned to their home country. Then there were 110,000 people whose whereabouts are just unknown. This means that by the end of 2016, some 52% of 2.5 million refugees were still waiting for their asylum to be granted. The bulk or 53% of all asylum seekers come from only 3 countries – Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, according to what they claimed. About 50% of all asylum applications were filed in Germany. Armstrong Economics
Less than two hours after the United States defense secretary James Mattis landed in Kabul, about forty rockets and rocket-propelled grenades were fired at the airport. Mattis was not injured. This is Mattis’ first trip to Afghanistan since President Donald Trump announced a new strategy for Afghanistan, recommitting to the country and declaring during a prime-time address back in August that U. S. troops must ‘fight to win.’ According to Fox News, the new strategy for the 16-year-old war includes sending roughly 3,500 more U. S. troops to Afghanistan to join the 11,000 on the ground. Sixteen years after the 9/11 attacks, Kabul is still being attacked by the Taliban. On Tuesday in Washington, General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it’s time to demand that Pakistan stop giving sanctuary to the Taliban.
This post was published at shtfplan on September 27th, 2017.
21st Century Wire says… In the light of the recent, hotly contested Kurdish referendum in Iraq, we have decided to republish a series of articles that have been written previously, concerning the history and evolution of the bid for independence by the Kurdish factions seeking to carve Kurdistan from territory belonging to Iran, Turkey, Iraq and Syria. The first of these articles was written by eminent specialist in Middle East affairs, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, for Global Research back in 2006: Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a ‘New Middle East’ ‘Hegemony is as old as Mankind…’ -Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U. S. National Security Advisor The term ‘New Middle East’ was introduced to the world in June 2006 in Tel Aviv by U. S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the ‘Greater Middle East.’ This shift in foreign policy phraseology coincided with the inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Oil Terminal in the Eastern Mediterranean. The term and conceptualization of the ‘New Middle East,’ was subsequently heralded by the U. S. Secretary of State and the Israeli Prime Minister at the height of the Anglo-American sponsored Israeli siege of Lebanon. Prime Minister Olmert and Secretary Rice had informed the international media that a project for a ‘New Middle East’ was being launched from Lebanon. This announcement was a confirmation of an Anglo-American-Israeli ‘military roadmap’ in the Middle East. This project, which has been in the planning stages for several years, consists in creating an arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and the borders of NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan.
NATO Secretary General @jensstoltenberg together with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis is at RSHQ today visiting AFG leadership & troops pic.twitter.com/Saf5r7dIa2 — Resolute Support (@ResoluteSupport) September 27, 2017
Defense Secretary James Mattis was the target of a failed rocket attack near a key Afghanistan airport Wednesday, the Taliban said, though the attack occurred after he had left the airport. Hours after Mattis landed, as many as 40 rockets were fired at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport from an unknown location and landed in an open area, according to Najib Danish, spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry. US military officials added that a barrage of up to 40 rounds of munitions hit the airport, including 29 rocket-propelled grenades. According to CNN, Mattis and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had already left the airport at the time of the incident, Danish said. No one was injured.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 27, 2017.
Just look around the world and throughout recent history, and you will find a number of compelling cases where western-backed NGOs have been frequently acted as enablers for the military interventions, sanctions and economic blockades that followed. Look at Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iran and Sudan – all were given the ‘human rights’ treatment prior to aggressive western actions. In most cases, claims of human rights violations and exaggerated atrocity reports preceded western action.
As we reported previously, Sunday afternoon’s round of NFL games included players from nearly every team joining the “take a knee” protest during the National Anthem, while many others locked arms in solidarity with players who decided to take a knee, or – in the case of the Pittsburg Steelers – remained in the locker room, and thus weren’t visible to the public. Notably, Steeler and ex-Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva seemed to have defied the team decision to opt out of the anthem by waiting in the locker room (with the exception of head coach Mike Tomlin, who stood on the field). Villaneuva, who served three tours in Afghanistan, stood visibly outside the tunnel with his hand over his heart during the The Star-Spangled Banner. In Philadelphia, Eagles and Giants players and coaches locked arms as a massive American flag was raised over the field and military jets performed a flyover. A few players raised fists or knelt, according to the New York Times. Several players on the Bills and the Broncos also took a knee, as well as players from both teams in the Patriots vs. Texans game. At least eight Detroit Lions knelt during the anthem which ended with singer Rico LaVelle kneeling with his fist in the air upon closing the national anthem. Across the league, well over 100 players took part in the anthem protest, and the controversy is now impacting other sports as well, including the NBA and MLB.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 24, 2017.
Professor David Ray Griffin is a tenacious person. He has written a number of carefully researched books that demonstrate the extraordinary shortcomings in the official account of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and the subsequent anthrax attack. He has provided the mountains of evidence completely ignored by the US government’s account and the presstitute media. In his recently published latest book, Bush and Cheney: How They Ruined America and the World , Professor Griffin demonstrates how 9/11 was used by the Zionist Neoconservatives, the Cheney/Bush regime, and the military/security complex with the complicity of Congress and the US media to create Islamophobia among the American public in order to launch wars of aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and provinces of Pakistan with Iran in the crosshairs. These wars are based on lies and fabricated ‘evidence,’ on determination to control pipelines and oil flows, on maximizing profits for the military/security corporations in which Cheney has a personal interest, and on extending neoconservative hegemony over the world. One consequence has been the destruction of US constitutional protections that protect liberty and violations of US and international law such as the laws against torture.