This post was published at TheRealNews
Patrick Henningsen and Shawn Helton
21st Century Wire
Once again, we’ve arrived at our New Years Eve wrap-up of some of the most compelling and conspiratorial stories of the year. Like in years past, 2017 presented a polarizing political landscape, further exposing the current establishment paradigm. Unlike the establishment gatekeepers, when we use the word ‘conspiracy’ here, we are talking about a real crime scene. Whether it was the ousting of thousands of western-backed terrorists in Iraq and Syria or a string of ‘known wolf’ attacks amplified by made-to-order media agitprop, or the heavily manufactured Russia-gate narrative relentlessly pushed by mainstream outlets and Deep State actors – it seemed there was no shortage of topsy-turvy stagecraft designed to mislead and confuse the masses at a time when the real world is undergoing some significant geopolitical realignments.
As was the case in 2016, there were many high-profile incidents and individual stories which didn’t make our annual compendium (but they are worth mentioning) – like the ‘red herring’ laced New Year’s Eve mass shooting at Turkey’s Reina nightclub that kicked off 2017 in classic Daily Shooterfashion, along with other dubious events like Fort Lauderdale’s FBI-known shooter and subsequent CNN media circus. On the political front, it was a banner year for astroturfing starting with ‘The Resistance’ which spent most of the first 3 months of the year demanding Trump’s impeachment before he had served 100 days in office. As part of these efforts, we saw Hollywood and the Democratic Party’s choreographed women’s march backed by political agitator and perennial globalist George Soros, as well as MoveOn.org and Soros-backed protests which followed Trump’s highly controversial immigration ban, and contentious resignations by key members of the Trump White House, followed by Antifa’s US ‘riot tour’ which culminated the Charlottesville riots in Virginia followed by a series of ‘social justice’ protests over Confederate statues, followed by more extremist left-wing ‘antifascists’ foot-soldiers like ‘black bloc’ throwing molotov cocktails for kicks. And that only scratches the surface of what transpired in 2017.
This post was published at 21st Century Wire on DECEMBER 31, 2017.
2017 presented the world with a number of crises, among which were the continued wars in the Middle Ease and the spread of terrorism, the humanitarian crises in Africa and Asia, the rising military tensions over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, and the militarization of both the South China Sea and eastern Europe. Throughout the past year regional and global powers have repeatedly been on the verge of open military conflict, any of which may yet still lead to large regional wars.
In the Middle East the war on ISIS, the Iran nuclear deal, the crisis in Lebanon, and Israeli-Arab tensions took center stage.
By the end of the year, the self-proclaimed caliphate of ISIS had fully collapsed in both Syria and Iraq. Thanks to the efforts of the alliance between Syria, Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah, along with the Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition, this group was driven out from almost all of the areas it had held in the two countries. ISIS has lost control of such strategic locations as Mosul, al-Qaim, Raqqah, al-Tabqah, Deir Ezzor, al-Mayadin, al-Bukamal, as-Sukhna, Deir Hafer, Maskanah, and al-Resafa.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/30/2017.
Asked what he did during the French Revolution, Abbe Sieyes replied, ‘I survived.’
Donald Trump can make the same boast.
No other political figure has so dominated our discourse. And none, not Joe McCarthy in his heyday in the early ’50s, nor Richard Nixon in Watergate, received such intensive and intemperate coverage and commentary as has our 45th president.
Whatever one may think of Trump, he is a leader and a fighter, not a quitter. How many politicians could have sustained the beatings Trump has taken, and remained as cocky and confident?
And looking back on what may fairly be called The Year of Trump, his achievements have surprised even some of his enemies.
With the U. S. military given a freer hand by Trump, a U. S.-led coalition helped expel ISIS from its twin capitals of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, driving it back into a desert enclave on the Iraq-Syria border. The caliphate is dead, and the caliph nowhere to be found.
The economy, with the boot of Barack Obama off its neck, has been growing at 3 percent. The stock market has soared to record highs. Unemployment is down to 4 percent. And Trump and Congress just passed the largest tax cut since Ronald Reagan.
With deregulation, which conservative Republicans preached to deaf ears in the Bush I and Bush II eras, Trump and those he has put into positions of power have exceeded expectations.
Pipelines Obama blocked have been approved. Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge has been opened to exploratory drilling. We have exited a Paris climate accord that favored China over the U. S.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.
As the new year approaches, some will look back on 2017 as the year the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS) was finally defeated on the battlefield. Unfortunately, certain western political leaders have been quick to try and claim credit for a ‘win’ which is not really theirs. This recent attempt to put on airs by the British PM is certainly reminiscent of one of the most grievous political flops in living memory.
From an ‘optics’ perspective, nothing could be more regrettable than US President George W. Bush’s anti-climatic ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincolnon May 1, 2003. As turns out, his celebration was about seven years premature. But the opportunity for grand-standing was there and it’s hard to find a politician today that wouldn’t balk at a chance for an iconic photo-op, especially in the run-up to an election year. Like so many stage-managed public relations stunts performed by Washington in those days, it must have seemed like a good idea at the time.
That didn’t stop British Prime Minister Theresa May from trying out her own rendition of the Bush classic.
Last week, May spoke to her troops at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, which was the staging ground for ‘Operation Shader’ (the operational code name given to the UK contribution in the fight against ISIS), which is said to have successfully targeted ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The UK was one of 68 nations which formed the lofty ‘Global Coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria,’ as part of the Combined Joint Task Force assembled in ‘Operation Inherent Resolve.’
Prime Minister May stated:
This post was published at 21st Century Wire on DECEMBER 27, 2017.
An interesting report on the official accounts for war-related spending in the U. S. is available here: Which is, of course, a massive under-estimate of the full cost of 2001-2017 wars to the U. S. taxpayers.
It is worth remembering that war-related expenditures are outside discretionary budgetary allocations (follow links here: And you can read more here: The problem, as I repeatedly pointed out, is that no one can tell us what exactly – aside from misery, failed states, collapsed economies, piles of dead bodies etc – did these expenditures achieve, or for that matter what did all the adventurous entanglements the U. S. got into in recent year deliver? In Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Syria, in Pakistan and Sudan, in Ukraine, in Somalia and Egypt. The sole bright spot on the U. S. ‘policy horizon’ is Kurdistan. But the problem is, the U. S. has been quietly undermining its main ally in the Syria-Iraq-Turkey sub-region in recent years. In South China Seas, Beijing is fully running the show, as multi-billion U. S. hardware bobbles up and down the waves to no effect. In North Korea, a villain with a bucket of uranium is in charge, and Iran is standing strong. In its historical backyard of Latin America, the U. S. is now confronting growing Chinese influence, while losing allies.
This post was published at True Economics on Tuesday, December 26, 2017.
For many years now, Christians in Iraq have been living in constant fear of bomb attacks, murder and abduction – at the hands of both ISIS and al Qaeda, exacting brutal attacks on Christians, Yazidis, Shias and other religious minorities in Iraq. ISIS and al Qaeda have declared all Christians in the Middle East as ‘legitimate targets’ for violent attacks and execution. In addition to this, AP reported that since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, at least half of Iraq’s Christian population had fled the country to escape attacks by militants. For a long time now, there’s been little to feel hopeful about, until now.
One factor that has sustained terrorists enclaves in the region has been the fact that Saudi Arabian and GCC-backed Sunni wahhabi terrorists of ISIS and al Qaeda have managed to procure US weapons, as well as acquiring Israeli weapons in order to carry out organized criminal and terrorists activity.
Thanks to the hard-fought victories against ISIS on the ground by Iraqi Security Forces and the People’s Mobilization Units (PMU) aka the Hash’d Al-Shaabi, this Christmas has seen one of the first periods of respite in many years, whereby churches are being repaired and are opening again.
This post was published at 21st Century Wire on DECEMBER 25, 2017.
In September 1975, The Grateful Dead released what was to become its highest chart-topping album for the next twelve years, Blues for Allah. In an interview at the time, the group’s lyricist, Robert Hunter, described the album’s title song as ‘a requiem for King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, a progressive, democratically-inclined ruler (and incidentally a fan of the Grateful Dead) whose assassination in 1975 shocked us personally.’ Hunter went on to note proudly that the lyrics of the album, inspired as it was as much by Bach as by Eastern influences, were printed in Arabic on the back of album.
This remarkable, trance-like title track referenced Biblical prophecy, Ozymanides, and A Thousand and One Nights. But most of all, it brought attention to the death of one of the Middle East’s then-universally acknowledged enlightened rulers who disdained excess displays of wealth and who opened the first schools for female students in the country. The construction of this vast, progressive-rock tone-poem is a straight line of discursive guitar themes later superimposed by poignant, haunting vocals. It includes two sections, ‘Sand Castles and Glass Camels’ and ‘Unusual Occurrences in the Desert’, in which powerful political statements were woven into the artistry. ‘What good is spilling blood?/It will not change a thing’, observes one line; another is a plea for a resolution of Muslim/Jewish conflict: ‘Let us meet as Friends/the Flower of Islam/the Fruit of Abraham’. Prophesizing the geopolitics of the region, the song grimly warns: ‘The ships of state sail on mirage/and drown in sand.’
Such compelling protest art could have been written today in view of the interminable geopolitical situation in the Mideast. Yet, it hasn’t been, and it won’t be. We are bereft of any near equivalent; the integrating instinct of music, politics and passion nowhere present, nowhere promoted. Certainly, there is no shortage of ‘unusual occurrences in the desert’ – or anywhere else for that matter – to inspire truly creative works of radical brilliance. Yet none of that kind of meaningful protest that defined the eras of the late sixties and the entirety of the seventies is to be found in our current rock/popular music groups. Why? How have we missed this? Where were the songs to protest the 2003 invasion of Iraq? Where are the poignant ballads against the spread of terror or the failures of the so-called ‘War on Terror’? The sixteen-year occupation of Afghanistan? The high rates of American soldier-suicides? Consider the power-lyrics of Vietnam-era anti-war works by such groups as Buffalo Springfield or as found in Joan Baez’s ‘Where Are You Now, My Son?’ (‘Yours was the righteous gun/where are you now, my son?’). Why are we incapable of this? Where are the artists of impact and deep intelligence to make sense of a world in which the irrational is the new and newer normal? Must we only be satisfied with Pearl Jam performing a bland cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Master of War’? Are we just to accept that these talented groups cannot come up with meaningful statements of their own?
This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on December 25, 2017.
I have written before about asymmetric conflicts and power balances in the context, among other bilateral comparatives, the U. S.-Russia military spending: And the latest budgetary appropriations from the U. S. for 2018 are suggesting that Washington has a serious problem learning any lessons – whether these are lessons from being punched around repeatedly in the Afghanistan, or being derailed in Iraq, being made irrelevant in Syria and so on.
This post was published at True Economics on Saturday, December 23, 2017.