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Posts Tagged ‘ISIS’

Panic Pandemic – Why are people who should know better buying the Covid19 hype? – OffGuardian

Posted by M. C. on March 20, 2020

But what if from Day Two to Day Ten inclusive 198 more people get it and none of them die?

Well, according to the normal method of assessing CFR that would be 200 cases, one death, and a CFR of 0.5%

But with this brilliant new method, it would still be a CFR of 50% – because we are only allowed to count the cases who got sick on the same day as the fatality. And only two people got sick that day, of whom 50% died.

You see the corrupt genius of it?

https://off-guardian.org/2020/03/16/panic-pandemic-why-are-people-who-should-know-better-buying-the-covid19-hype/

Catte Black

The only certainty about the ‘novel’ virus is that a great deal of nonsense is being talked about it by people who really ought to know better, and a great deal of opportunism is being displayed.

From Netanyahu grabbing the chance to postpone his corruption trial to Hollywood starlets claiming they have ‘tested positive’ (surely not a sad and cynical attempt to up their profile), this bandwagon is seething and teeming with those trying to seize their moment of fame or get rich or stay out of jail or just join in the mayhem

It’s cool to be nCoV-positive now. Maybe that’s why such inordinate numbers of famous people are staking their claim to it.

ISIS are apparently a bit worried about nCoV also and is allegedly sending out travel advisories to its jihadists.

Yup, that’s a real thing, right there. Really happening. Definitely.

Meanwhile, the propaganda is relentless, and there’s a variety for all tastes.

If you like your fear porn vanilla you can read all the articles based on total speculation that tell you millions will die if we don’t demand martial law and vaccines. (Speaking of vaccines, the as-yet-untested Covid19 vaccine is going to mandatory in Denmark, and in the US the manufacturers will have legal immunity should it cause any ill-effects).

If you are of a more sceptical turn of mind well, how about nCoV as bio-weapon? Plenty of juicy stuff on that topic also.

And scientists and science journals are not immune. There’s no shortage of people with PhDs willing to talk nonsense with a sciencey spin in order to convince the more inquiring proles that the governments are correct to invoke emergency powers and get that untested vaccine cranking out asap.

Look at this beauty. Written by a team of MDs and other ‘experts’ and appearing in The Lancet, it is about the most naked example I have seen to date of pseudoscience being used to inflate the perception of nCoV as something other than what it is.

The purpose of the article is apparently to find some sort of barely rational reason for estimating the nCoV case fatality rate to be higher than it actually is by a factor of ten.

Here’s the ‘reasoning’ it offers:

However, these mortality rate estimates are based on the number of deaths relative to the number of confirmed cases of infection, which is not representative of the actual death rate; patients who die on any given day were infected much earlier, and thus the denominator of the mortality rate should be the total number of patients infected at the same time as those who died.

They actually suggest with a straight face (though they don’t say why) that in order to get a ‘real’ figure for case fatality we need to count deaths as a percentage only of those who became infected at the same time as those who died.

So, if on Day One of a hypothetical new disease, two people get it and one dies, this would be a 50% case fatality ratio.

Sure, no problem. Common sense and statistics agree with that.

But what if from Day Two to Day Ten inclusive 198 more people get it and none of them die?

Well, according to the normal method of assessing CFR that would be 200 cases, one death, and a CFR of 0.5%

But with this brilliant new method, it would still be a CFR of 50% – because we are only allowed to count the cases who got sick on the same day as the fatality. And only two people got sick that day, of whom 50% died.

You see the corrupt genius of it? It’s a statistical nonsense that crucially gives permission to any would-be stats compilers in the WHO or elsewhere to overestimate the CFR of this bug, or indeed any other subsequent alleged ‘killer’ virus.

If you doubt this is the point, then read the article. This is just what the authors do, having the total gall to claim the ‘real’ CFR for nCoV is anywhere up to 20%, based solely on this crazy new way of figuring out the stats.

Which will look great in future headlines, and help pave the way for public acceptance of a total fascist dictatorship.

If you ever doubted that corruption is now endemic and all our institutions – political, legal, medical – are stacked with yes-men and jobsworths or fools prepared to put their names to any junk proclamation that might get them a raise or save their professional skins, just think of this article. Written by alleged world-class ‘experts’, published in the Lancet, and nothing more than a word salad of contradictory nonsense and meaningless conclusions designed to promote a political and propagandist point.

It even at one point acknowledges the probability of many many subclinical or symptom-free carriers of this supposed virus. But while the authors satisfy some dormant scrap of conscience by alluding to it they don’t draw their readers’ attention to the concomitant fact this lowers the case fatality by quite a way. In fact they allow themselves to sort of imply the opposite, because that is the level on which such people work:

Notably, the full denominator remains unknown because asymptomatic cases or patients with very mild symptoms might not be tested and will not be identified.

This is just one example of the forest of disinformative, hysterical, fog-bound garbage being poured on our heads about this so-called pandemic. That this is part of a coordinated and massive attempt to instil worldwide fear and enact worldwide population-management methods is now undeniable.

What is nCoV19? I honestly do not know.

The more the fear porn ramps up, the less certain I become of any aspect of the narrative surrounding it. We are definitely all being discouraged from questioning its virulence, discouraged from referring to its official fatality and case numbers, which do not correlate with the level of fear we are being told is appropriate. There is certainly a massive and multifaceted attempt to fudge and inflate those numbers to bring them in line with the ‘response’.

This brings us back to our revelation that good old Wikipedia have been downgrading the CFR of the Spanish Flu. It’s hard not to see this as part of the same process.

The actual death rates just aren’t high enough. So talk them up, play pea and thimble games with the stats, and do some Memory-Holing so that the 1918 pandemic suddenly has a very similar CFR, allowing your tame media to make all the right comparisons in their op eds and editorials, pointing out how many millions died back then despite it only having a fatality ratio of 2.5%.

They seem aware of the discrepancy, and are making efforts to prevent people researching it. The WHO are warning people not to read “too much” about the disease in order to protect their mental health. In a write up on the reccomendations, the BBC says this:

There is a lot of misinformation swirling around – stay informed by sticking to trusted sources of information such as government and NHS websites

Whether this virus is as imaginary as some are saying, or entirely real, it’s being hyped to a point beyond any connection with reality, and not just in the media. It’s a multi-pronged assault on our minds right now. Allegedly reliable and authoritative medical professionals are just as likely to talk propaganda at you as some government minister or media halfwit.

Even in the alt-media, many have stopped thinking and gone full deer-in-the-headlights, devoting their websites to recycling government talking points and urging those same governments to lock down their citizens.

How bizarre is it that outlets who were – just weeks ago – warning against trusting anything that comes out of the mouths of our ‘masters’, are now prepared to surrender entirely to official narratives and official ‘safe-keeping’ – and for a virus which, even if totally real, has killed about 7,000 people – or around 7% of the numbers who have died over the same time period – of the current flu.

Yes, that is a real statistic. Check it out.

And no, don’t tell me it’s “not a fair comparison” because the flu is ‘always’ here and nCoV is new. All you do by that is display your unthinking foolishness. Flu viruses are RNA viruses that mutate all the time – which is why you can catch ‘the flu’ over and over again; You’re catching a different strain, a ‘new’ variant. Just like nCoV it needs to travel by infection routes. And just like nCov it has to start small.

But unlike nCov it has already managed to kill around 100,000 people since Jan 1 this year. So let go of that particular piece of nonsense, ok?

Do the alt-media types backing these extreme quarantine and self-isolation notions think the anti-assembly laws, mandatory vaccines and other special powers will all just vanish once this crisis has subsided (because all pandemics eventually do go away)? Do they think the de facto martial law will be temporary?

Do they think we can just ask nice and everything will go back to the way it was? (assuming, of course, the entire system hasn’t morphed into the Hunger Games due to global financial meltdown and mass poverty, because we all basically signed off on closing down what remains of our economy.

Are they thinking at all, or just reacting?

The panic is now seeding itself and doing the propaganda work for those who set it off, and an obvious and very very alarming agenda is being rolled out right behind it.

It’s never been more important to stay alert, sceptical and objective. We’ll keep trying to do that – and you should all do the same.

Be seeing you

Fbi Report Ends Nra Nonsense About "good Guys With Guns" | Page 14 | US Message Board ...

 

 

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The Trump Administration May Have Blamed Iran for an ISIS Attack – Antiwar.com Blog

Posted by M. C. on February 8, 2020

The Islamic State, however, had carried out three attacks relatively close to the base in the 10 days before the attack on K-1. Iraqi intelligence officials sent reports to the Americans in November and December warning that ISIS intended to target K-1, an Iraqi air base in Kirkuk Province that is also used by American forces.

And the abandoned Kia pickup was found was less than 1,000 feet from the site of an ISIS execution in September of five Shiite buffalo herders.

These facts all point to the Islamic State, Iraqi officials say [bold mine-DL].

“All the indications are that it was Daesh,” said Brig. General Ahmed Adnan

The truth matters not. The goal was to attack Iran in any fashion that had propaganda value.

The real story is a drone attack was required because Baghdad is neither secure nor safe to travel after 18 years of “rebuilding”.

https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2020/02/07/the-trump-administration-may-have-blamed-iran-for-an-isis-attack/

Originally appeared at The American Conservative.

Iraqi military and intelligence officials claim that the original December 27 attack that led to U.S. strikes on an Iraqi militia and Qassem Soleimani was probably not carried out by Kata’ib Hezbollah at all, but was instead the work of ISIS:

American officials insist that they have solid evidence that Khataib Hezbollah carried out the attack, though they have not made it public.

Iraqi officials say their doubts are based on circumstantial evidence and long experience in the area where the attack took place.

The rockets were launched from a Sunni Muslim part of Kirkuk Province notorious for attacks by the Islamic State, a Sunni terrorist group, which would have made the area hostile territory for a Shiite militia like Khataib Hezbollah.

Khataib Hezbollah has not had a presence in Kirkuk Province since 2014 [bold mine-DL].

The Islamic State, however, had carried out three attacks relatively close to the base in the 10 days before the attack on K-1. Iraqi intelligence officials sent reports to the Americans in November and December warning that ISIS intended to target K-1, an Iraqi air base in Kirkuk Province that is also used by American forces.

And the abandoned Kia pickup was found was less than 1,000 feet from the site of an ISIS execution in September of five Shiite buffalo herders.

These facts all point to the Islamic State, Iraqi officials say [bold mine-DL].

“All the indications are that it was Daesh,” said Brig. General Ahmed Adnan, the Iraqi chief of intelligence for the federal police at K-1, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. “I told you about the three incidents in the days just before in the area – we know Daesh’s movements.

If the Iraqi claims are true, the Trump administration’s actions in Iraq in late December and early January are even harder to justify. If ISIS was responsible for the attack that killed an American contractor, the administration not only retaliated against the wrong group with its first round of airstrikes, but it then proceeded to commit an act of war against Iran by killing one of ISIS’ main adversaries as a result of an ISIS attack. That strongly suggests that the administration was looking for an excuse to escalate against Iran and the Iraqi militias that it supports, and it seized on the base attack as their chance to take military action. Attributing the attack to ISIS would not fit with the administration’s fixation on Iran, and it would not give them the pretext they needed for escalation. Blaming it on an Iraqi militia that received Iranian support would be only too convenient. If that is what happened, the administration has misled the public about everything leading up to the Soleimani assassination, and they did ISIS’ work for them by killing one of the group’s most effective foes. This makes the administration’s talk of “restoring deterrence” even more absurd, since they were probably not even attacking the people responsible for the death of the contractor.

It is possible that the Iraqi officials are mistaken, or they may be coming up with this story for their own reasons, but these allegations are serious enough that they need to be investigated thoroughly. Congress needs to demand to see the “solid evidence” that links the original attack to Kata’ib Hezbollah, and top administration officials need to be called to testify about what they know. Journalists need to challenge the president and the Secretaries of State and Defense on this issue until they get some credible answers. The Trump administration has lied too many times and too egregiously about Iran and other national security issues to be taken at their word.

If the administration has evidence, they need to make it available to the appropriate committees in Congress. We already have good reason to believe that their claim about an “imminent attack” was a lie that they cooked up to justify Soleimani’s illegal assassination after the fact. It is not that much of a stretch to imagine that the administration distorted and manipulated intelligence to blame the wrong group for the K-1 base attack. Given the suspicions that the president ordered these attacks in late December and early January in an attempt to distract from his domestic political problems, this warrants much more attention and scrutiny from Congress and the press.

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A False Flag Operation is Imminent

 

 

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Trump Steps Back From the Edge. Neocons Rage Accordingly — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on January 17, 2020

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/01/15/trump-steps-back-from-the-edge-neocons-rage-accordingly/

 Matthew Ehret

 

Trump’s response to the attack on two US military bases showcase a hopeful about face on a dark age agenda which many thought could lead nowhere but World War III in the immediate days following Soleimani’s murder on January 3.

Immediately after the Iranian counter-attacks occurred on Wednesday morning at the same hour of Soleimani’s assassination, Iran’s Foreign Minister stated: “Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched. We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.” Iran’s retribution was more moderate than many analysts imagined as fore notice was delivered to the Iraqi government 30 minutes before rockets were launched giving American military personnel in the bases ample time to seek shelter.

In Trump’s remarks the following day, the President stated: “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world… ISIS is a natural enemy of Iran. The destruction of ISIS is good for Iran, and we should work together on this and other shared priorities.”

Although Trump’s speech characterized Iran as a “major supporter of terrorism” and Gen. Soleimani as a “top terrorist”, his assertion that a common interest exists between the USA and Iran in the combat of ISIS is a spectacular break from the neocon agenda. This break is also one of many in a long line of internal struggles emanating from the corridors of American power in the days since Soleimani’s murder. This includes the memo written to the Iraq government by William Seely, commanding general of the Iraq Task Force saying: “We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure.” Seely’s memo created a major crisis amongst the radical war hawks like Mark Esper and Mark Milley who raced to deny the memo’s validity.

Recent revelations published in the Wall Street Journal demonstrating the incredible back channel discussion set up by Trump through the Swiss embassy in Tehran in the hours after Solemenei’s murder also play into this “movement of sanity” within the USA.

The Paradox of America Resolved

This contradictory behaviour is undoubtedly not so confusing for leading figures among Eurasia’s intelligentsia who are not ignorant to the battle occurring within America between nationalists who genuinely wish to end “the forever wars” in the Middle East vs those Pax Americanists embedded throughout the neoconservative and neo-liberal establishments who would rather burn the earth than abandon their dark age ideology. Trump’s many calls for positive relations with Russia and China over the past 3 years terrify these groups, and this potential US-Russia-China alliance has represented a real threat which today’s London-steered impeachment debacle, and years of Russia-gating has always aimed to derail.

With the impeachment bill now sitting in the republican-dominated Senate, the neocons loyal to the Military Industrial Complex which Trump has so loudly criticized have major leverage on the President and are using it. If you are thinking “why would any republican ruin their careers by supporting a democrat-driven impeachment bill against a republican leader?” then you haven’t realized that the drive for war with Iran (as well as Russia and China) is not a matter of “practical politics” for our later day fanatics of the evangelical pre-millennial garb like John Hagee or Benny Hinn who sincerely believe it is man’s duty to usher in Armageddon and fulfill their twisted view of prophecy. Nor is it an issue for their Israeli counterparts who believe essentially in the same prophecy with the small exception that the Savior’s arrival amidst the fires of war will be occurring for the first time rather than the 2nd. If you are reading this thinking “certainly no one could be so nuts”, then let this televised prayer led by Rev. John Hagee and Benny Hinn cause you to think twice:

Bill Kristol, a leading figure behind the neocon cult and co-author of the dystopian Project for a New American Century Manifesto has already poured tens of millions of dollars into billboards, commercials and lobbying teams gunning for Trump’s impeachment. Kristol tweeted on October 17, 2019 that “If Trump is not impeached and removed, the corruption will get even worse, the White House even more lawless, the violations of norms even more routine. The case for impeachment isn’t merely retrospective; it’s prophylactic. And it isn’t merely just; it’s urgent.”

The most recent commercial promoting Trump’s impeachment which Kristol’s think tank Republicans for the Rule of Law released raised the argument that since republicans supported Nixon’s impeachment in 1973, republicans should impeach Trump today.

This argument obviously overlooks the problem that while Nixon actually appeared to have committed crimes, nothing even approximating illegal activity has occurred in Trump’s case.

Things are not as black and white as many believed until recently. Iran’s recent military exercises with Russia and China have demonstrated clearly in the minds of saner Americans that no war with Iran is possible without taking Russia and China on as well. Putin’s brilliant maneuvers in the Middle East have led to the destruction of the Anglo-American plot to grow radical Islam as a geopolitical tool first against the Soviet Union in the 1980s and then against nation states more generally since the Soviet Union’s collapse. For this reason, Putin’s enemies throughout the neocon world and British intelligence have never forgiven him. Although China has not brought much military might to bear in the Middle East, the Belt and Road Initiative has provided a gateway to a durable peace which cannot be overlooked, as BRI projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon and beyond have given the Middle East a new chance for a future.

The question still remains whether or not Trump can continue to move away from the WWIII agenda and into this positive alliance.

 

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US Assassination Of Top Iranian Military Official May Ignite World War – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on January 4, 2020

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/01/03/us-assassination-of-top-iranian-military-official-may-ignite-world-war/

The US has admitted to assassinating Iran’s most beloved military leader, General Qassem Soleimani, in a drone strike which seems very likely to ignite a full-scale war. Six others are also reported killed, including Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

According to the Pentagon, Trump personally ordered the assassination. I’ll keep following this hugely important story and will probably be writing a lot about it as it unfolds. I encourage everyone who values peace and humanity to follow it as well.

“Spoke to a very knowledgeable person about what Iran’s response to Soleimani’s assassination might be,” The Quincy Institute’s Trita Parsi tweeted regarding this developing story. “This would be the equivalent of Iran assassinating Petreus or Mattis, I argued. No, he responded, this is much bigger than that.”

“Most Americans won’t understand the gravity of this,” tweeted journalist Rania Khalek. “Qasem Soleimani is head of the Iranian IRGC’s elite Quds Force, which conducts operations outside of Iran in both Iraq and Syria. He was credited with helping turn the tide in both countries against Al-Qaeda and ISIS.”

“This is very serious,” Khalek added. “The US essentially declared war on Iran by assassinating its most revered military figure in Iraq. And by also killing the head of the PMF, the US created more enemies in Iraq. There will be regional retaliation. It’s unlikely it can be prevented.”

“If true, It is not an understatement to say this could change the entire Middle East,” tweeted Rising‘s Saagar Enjeti.

“There’s going to be that war now that people have been pushing for since tanking the Iran Deal,” tweeted The Intercept‘s Murtaza Mohammad Hussain.

“If this is true, the US has effectively declared war on Iran, which has established militarily ties with Russia and China. It’s not hyperbole to say this could start WW3. Insane,” tweeted Grayzone‘s Dan Cohen, who also highlighted the important fact that “Iran, Russia and China held joint naval drills less than a week ago.”

“Iranian sources in Iran are warning that killing Gen. Qasem Sulaimani spells war,” tweeted Farnaz Fassihi of The New York Times. “‘Official reaction will begin with a strike,’ one says.”

A proportionate retaliatory strike would necessarily entail an attack on US military targets, or the military targets of US allies. If that happens, either the empire stands down or we’re looking at an all-out war of a size that is potentially almost limitless.

Months after Donald Trump took office it was reported that the CIA had escalated covert operations in Iran, and the administration has been escalating tensions with that nation further and further ever since it announced its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 on completely false pretenses. The withdrawal was followed by waves of debilitating, civilian-starving sanctions implemented with the goal of provoking civil unrest, a goal Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has openly admitted. From there we saw increased US military presence in the region, then the Iraqi-killing airstrikes earlier this week and the resulting tense angry standoff at the US embassy in Baghdad, and now here we are with Iran planning retaliation for an unforgivable assassination on its most senior and revered military official.

Many are understandably claiming that this geostrategically pivotal confrontation was precisely what Trump was installed to facilitate all along. The largest donor to any campaign in 2016 was oligarch Sheldon Adelson, who gave $25 million to the Trump campaign, and who in 2013 said that the US should drop a nuclear bomb on Iran. After Trump’s election win, Adelson gave another $5 million to his inauguration, the largest single presidential inaugural donation ever made. Newt Gingrich, another of the billionaire’s hired politicians, has said that Adelson’s “central value” is Israel.

Make no mistake, Iran is not Iraq or Libya. A full-scale war against Iran would be many times more deadly, costly and destabilizing than those interventions; the UK’s Admiral Lord West told The Daily Star Online last year that winning such a war would require no less than a million troops, or nearly the total number of active duty US military personnel in the entire world. Even if a direct war with Iran didn’t lead to a confrontation with China, Russia and the other unabsorbed allies, it would still be worse than Vietnam and Iraq combined in terms of death, destruction, expense, and regional destabilization.

And now, as I sit as the mother of two teenagers watching what might be a third world war looming on the horizon, all I can think is about how infuriating it is that we’ve spent the last three years on Russia bullshit and sectarian political infighting instead of building an actual cohesive antiwar movement and pushing real opposition to Trump’s warmongering.

Let’s get it together, humans. We need big changes, and we need them yesterday.

________________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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1/2/20 Peter Van Buren on the Americans Dying for the Government’s Lies – The Scott Horton Show

Posted by M. C. on January 3, 2020

These are your kids he is talking about.

https://scotthorton.org/interviews/1-1-20-peter-van-buren-on-the-americans-dying-for-the-governments-lies/

by

Peter Van Buren talks about the unlearned lessons from America’s last several decades of foreign policy failures. Although a presidential administration will occasionally make a blunder that results in something like ISIS or the empowerment of Iran, for the most part, says Van Buren, the endless and unwinnable wars, the bloated military spending, and a nation that worships its military are all part of the plan for the neocons, neoliberals, and the military industrial complex and its lobbyists. It is really the well-intentioned but gullible American people who keep falling for the same lies, eagerly sending their sons and daughters off to die in pointless conflicts. And so long as they do so, things will continue just as they are.

Discussed on the show:

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Brain Dead Congress Doesn’t Realize It’s Trying to Finish Off NATO – Gold Goats ‘n Guns

Posted by M. C. on December 18, 2019

It seems that the depths of our Congress’ cravenness before the desires of Israel knows no bottom. Erdogan has been explicit in his antipathy for Benjamin Netanyahu’s continued regional provocations to eke out a win in Syria.

And he knows that so much of NATO’s strategic decisions, or lack thereof, come from that corner of the world. The SDF Kurds are, for all intents, Israeli mercenaries, tasked to balkanize Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq.

https://tomluongo.me/2019/12/17/nato-brain-dead-turkey-congress/

Edit: The original title was causing confusion as to where my sympathies lie here.
It’s been changed to make them abundantly clear.

After what can only be termed a terrible NATO Not Summit two weeks ago it was clear the alliance has serious fissures forming in its facade.

It opened with French President Emmanuel Macron’s refusal to back down on how ‘brain dead’ NATO’s current mission is. And it ended with an embarrassing hot mic moment with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau which led to President Trump leaving early.

It was Macron’s statements about Turkey reinvigorating ISIS with its invasion of Northern Syria which revealed the depths of European brain death in foreign affairs.

This is a talking point straight out of neocon central to appease the U.S. MIC and Israelis while he asserts the need to decouple European foreign policy from the U.S. and reorient NATO to combat terrorism, which it isn’t designed to do.

But what truly borders on farce today is the U.S. Congress threatening to sanction Turkey over buying Russian S-400 missile defense systems while its President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is actually threatening NATO member Greece, ignoring the idea that Crete even exists and making territorial claims to the eastern Mediterranean that would make Ataturk himself blush. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Should We Learn from 40 Years of U.S. Intervention in the Middle East? | The National Interest

Posted by M. C. on November 3, 2019

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/middle-east-watch/what-should-we-learn-40-years-us-intervention-middle-east-41542

The presence of America’s vaunted military cannot necessarily shape the political orientation and structure of societies.

…These criticisms fail to take stock of the lessons that emerge from forty years of U.S. military action in the greater Middle East region. The presence of America’s vaunted military cannot necessarily shape the political orientation and structure of societies. Iraq and Afghanistan are obvious examples. Unrivaled American military power also has failed to contour the decisions of other actors in the theater. The United States failed to sufficiently influence the behavior of sectarian actors in Lebanon during its expedition there. The United States has failed to change Iranian foreign policy even after decades of relative military encirclement. Even after inflicting arguably the most humiliating and decisive military victory in modern history, American soldiers watched from just beyond the border as Saddam defied Washington and violently cracked down on Kurdish and Shia uprisings.

The notion that the United States could use its control on the north to shape the postwar Syrian state and expel Iran has always been a theoretical concept with no clear path to implementation.  In fact, many of the forces that have been deemed Iranian-backed are composed of Syrian citizens. Where would they be expelled too? Most likely, Damascus and its allies will work to secure the rest of the country while waiting America out. The simple fact that has been determinative to much of the conflict is that countries like Iran and Russia have more vital interests in Syria than a faraway superpower.

Others argued that Trump’s “strategy of retreat” from Syria, as the New York Times’ David Sanger called it, will result in chaos and terrorism as the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq did. Mimicking Bush administration talking points, Sanger claimed that “deployed forces are key to stopping terrorists before they reach American shores.” Ilan Goldenberg, a former State Department official and Clinton acolyte, took this line of reasoning to its natural conclusion. He wrote that, “[u]ltimately, the answer in the Middle East is to stay, but in a smaller more sustainable and cheaper way. We may need to have a few thousand troops in some of the various trouble spots in the region such as northeastern Syria for years to come. Their job will not be to ‘win’ but simply to muddle through.” Retired Marine General John Allen, president of the Brookings Institution, argued that “U.S. global leadership and, where necessary, its forces” are needed in ISIS-influenced territory across Asia and Africa “until the idea of the caliphate has been defeated.”

ISIS was quickly defeated because its messianic state building delusion deprived it of strategic flexibility. In having to defend fixed positions, its forces could not focus on the kind of asymmetrical strategies that have been so effective for non-state actors in the region. What’s left of it has already made clear it will not make the same mistake. But indefinite American military occupation of broad swaths of the Middle East is not a simple antidote to anti-U.S. militant action or chaos. In fact, the connective tissue between many of non-state actors is aggressive opposition towards the influence or direct or indirect military presence of the United States or its key allies. A diverse array of non-state actors including Hezbollah, the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Iraq have strengthened or even been established under the noses of American soldiers and marines. In fact, the Sunni Arabs of northern Syria are already chafing under heavy-handed America-enabled Kurdish rule—even “ethnic cleansing”—and the long-term continuation of this trend will invite trouble.

One oft-cited criticism was that it was a betrayal of the very Kurdish group in question. “The West owes them a debt for the price they’ve paid,” argues an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. The Kurdish groups in northern Syria, the YPG, decried the original decision as a “blatant betrayal.” But the sponsor-client relationship is inherently bidirectional; they form due to convergences of interests. The Kurds fought ISIS because it posed an existential threat to their communities, not as an expression of loyalty to America. ISIS had once pushed the Syrian Kurds all the way to the Turkish border at many points, and in Iraq, they came close to sacking Erbil.

The overzealous alliance reinforcement ethos that permeates Washington and demands every strategic cooperation be treated as a treaty alliance (or an emotional commitment) demanding America’s unrestricted moral fidelity to the demands and ambitions of the client, is neither necessary for alliance management nor in keeping with U.S. interests…

Moreover, why shouldn’t public opinion be a factor in American military decisionmaking? Due to a series of reasons, such as its military prowess and providential location, America faces little in the way of existential threats and, therefore, can entertain a spectrum of options on how to address interests and security challenges. A de facto occupation of one-third of Syrian territory was never the only or the obvious course of action…

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“We Want To Keep The Oil” | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on October 26, 2019

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/we-want-keep-oil

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“Well you may throw your rock and hide your hand,
workin’ in the dark against your fellow man.
But as sure as God made black and white
what’s down in the dark will be brought to the light.”

~ Johnny Cash/traditional, ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’

The Grayzone has an excellent new article out titled “US troops are staying in Syria to ‘keep the oil’ — and have already killed hundreds over it” detailing the many ways the Trump administration has openly admitted that it is keeping US troops in Syria to control the nation’s oil fields so that the Syrian government can’t use it to fund reconstruction efforts.

“We’ve secured the oil, and therefore a small number of US troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,” Trump said in a recent press conference.

“And we’re going to be protecting it. And we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.”

“We want to keep the oil,” Trump said in a cabinet meeting a few days earlier.

“Maybe we’ll have one of our big oil companies to go in and do it properly.”

“A purpose of those [US] forces, working with the SDF, is to deny access to those oil fields by ISIS and others who may benefit from revenues that could be earned,” said Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

As Grayzone’s Ben Norton accurately explains, “and others” necessarily means the Syrian government; preventing Assad from accessing Syrian oil is standing US military policy.

And that of course is the real reason US armed forces constantly remain in Syria despite all the empty babble about ending wars and bringing home the troops: it’s about control over a nation in a key geostrategic location which refuses to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire. Controlling its material wealth is an ideal way to do this.

Whenever I write about oil as a primary motive for US imperialism, I always get a bunch of right-wingers objecting that that makes no sense because the US has plenty of oil, and that it’s really about freedom and democracy or communism or Zionism or pedovore cults or Illuminati or whatever. What they miss, in their squirming attempts to avoid cognitive dissonance, is that it’s not about having and consuming oil, it’s about controlling oil. Control what governments can and cannot access crucial resources, and you can control which governments thrive and which ones don’t.

As Trump said, “We’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.” In no other international power dynamic would this be considered a rational thing for anyone to say. The idea of another nation invading Texas and seizing control of its oil fields and then Xi Jinping or whomever saying “We’re controlling their oil and we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future” is unthinkable, but a US president can just come right out and say this about a weaker nation and it won’t even be front-page news.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Donald Trump is the most honest US president of all time. By that I don’t mean that he’s an honest person; he of course lies constantly. I simply mean that while his predecessors have always made sure to dress their imperialist military campaigns up as benevolent humanitarian intercessions, Trump just stands there out in the open like “Yeah we grabbed their oil and it’s ours now, blow me.” There was once a time when claiming a war was really about oil got you branded a conspiracy theorist. Now the US president just outright says it.

And this is really the only reason establishment power structures dislike Trump. They don’t feel directly threatened by him, they just dislike the way he’s always saying the quiet part out loud. Status quo power has a vested interest in keeping a smiling mask on things and preventing people from thinking too hard about what’s really going on in the world, and Trump keeps ripping off that mask by telling everyone what he’s doing in plain English.

Revolution (the real kind, the kind that actually changes things) is ultimately a fight against psychological compartmentalization on a mass scale. Compartmentalization is a tool people use to avoid the psychological discomfort (aka cognitive dissonance) that would otherwise be experienced by trying to hold on to two conflicting positions at one time, like, for example, seeing yourself as a good person and simultaneously giving your government your tacit permission to murder strangers on the other side of the world in your name.

Establishment power works to prevent people from looking directly at the ugly aspects of the empire, like the horrific nature of what war is and how much their country spreads it, or the fact that so many have so little while a few others have so very much, or the reason their government doesn’t seem to operate the way they were taught in school. The empire has a vested interest in keeping these things in the dark, while the clear-eyed rebel is always trying to drag them kicking and screaming into the light. This is why truth-tellers and whistleblowers are always made public enemy number one by our rulers.

The true rebel fights to enlighten things, the empire fights to endarken them. This is the struggle from the largest power structures in our world, right down to our own inner lives as individual human beings. This is why I talk so much about the importance of inner work; it’s all one struggle, from the evil secrets hidden behind thick walls of government opacity all the way down to the parts of ourselves we try not to look at. Your efforts to become a more consciously integral and less compartmentalized human being are just as important as your efforts to expose the puppet strings to the audience.

As November 2020 draws nearer the screams to shut up and stop pointing at the truth are going to get louder and louder for political dissidents in America, even louder than the “shut up and fall in line” admonishments that Bernie-or-Busters received constantly in 2016. This will only be the voice of the empire yelling “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” It will only be those who are still plugged into the imperial narrative matrix transforming into a bunch of Agent Smiths and telling you to stop saying things which cause them cognitive dissonance.

But, for someone who has signed the truth-at-all-costs contract within themselves, this simply won’t be an option. Our desire to bring what’s dark into the light will overcome any pressure to keep things endarkened, whether it be in ourselves, in our relationships, in our society, in our government, or in our world. Followed through with in a deep and integral way, it changes the way we think, it changes the way we experience our own consciousness, it alters our behavior, it ruins our experience of news media and Hollywood blockbusters, it ends our marriages, it breaks up longstanding friendships and forges new ones, and it makes the deceptions of the powerful utterly intolerable. Truth come what may means truth come what may, and it’s a lifetime commitment.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

*  *  *

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The Faux Outcry Over President Trump’s Syria Decision – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on October 22, 2019

https://original.antiwar.com/Ronald_Enzweiler/2019/10/21/the-faux-outcry-over-president-trumps-syria-decision/

The recent Washington Post op-ed by Senator Mitch McConnell, “Withdrawing from Syria is a Grave Mistake,” is very disappointing. Rather than acknowledging and taking responsibility for the blunders U.S. foreign and military policy over the last 30 years, Senator McConnell and 69 other senators want the US to continue doing what has proven to be disastrous to world peace and US national security.

Having served two years in Iraq and six years in Afghanistan as a field-level civilian advisor, I witnessed daily the death, destruction and hardships these two Wars of Choice inflicted on the local populations. The aftereffects of these wars continue to this day. The current Congressional and media outrage over the plight of the Kurds in eastern Syria pales in comparison to the ongoing humanitarian tragedies that Washington’s intervention foreign policy caused in these two countries — not to mention Libya, Syria and elsewhere under Congress’ open-ended War on Terror. There was no significant Congressional or mainstream media outrage or resolutions of disapproval when tens of thousands of civilians were being killed as a result of US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don’t recall any Congressional leader writing an op-ed titled, “Invading Iraq in 2003 was a Grave Mistake?”

That said, the deceit inherent in Senator McConnell’s op-ed is more alarming than its hypocrisy. He uses counterfactual claims to justify and support the Washington establishment’s interventionist foreign policy that he champions as Senate Majority Leader.

In his op-ed, Senator McConnell repeats the neocon canard that President Obama is responsible for the creation of ISIS because of “his reckless withdrawal [of US troops] from Iraq” in 2011. This assertion is just as erroneous as the charge that ISIS will “regroup” and ” bring terror to our shores” now that US troops have left Syria. (ISIS itself has never conducted a terrorist attack in America.) This contrived construct is needed to support Senator McConnell’s and the neocon community’s worldview that US militarism abroad conducted under the guise of “no substitute for American leadership” advances peace and security in the world. With the corollary being, the withdrawal of US of troops from civil wars that this US itself created (in the case of Iraq) or aided and abated (in the case of Syria) represents America returning to “the comforting blanket of isolationism in the 1940s. With over 800 foreign military installations around the world and ongoing combat operations in 80 countries, President Trump’s decision to relocate 1,000 US soldiers from eastern Syria to western Iraq hardly represents a return to America’s pre-World War II noninterventionist foreign policy.

I was in Iraq when Grand Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf, Iraq’s most influential Shi’a cleric and the most authoritative voice in the country, pronounced publicly in July 2008 his opposition to the proposed Status of Forces Agreement and US soldiers remaining in Iraq. I was glad I had lined up a job in Afghanistan because I knew with Ayatollah Sistani’s pronouncement, “the fat lady had sung.” There was no chance of US troops staying in Iraq beyond the December 2011 date agreed to by the Iraqi Parliament and the Bush Administration. Had Ayatollah Sistani’s decree been disobeyed, it would have started a Holy War with Shi’a Iran intervening to supports Iraq’s Shi’ite majority in an epic battle to drive the infidels out of the Shi’ite part of Dar al-Islam (the Muslim homelands created in the 7th and 8th centuries).

It’s neocon folklore that President Obama could have extended the withdrawal date if only he tried harder to do so

That said, Senator McConnell is correct in saying the president’s action “have set back the United States’ campaign against the Islamic State and other terrorists.” So what? All the local and regional actors who will “fill the vacuum” (favorite neocon expression) created by the US pulling out of Syria – the legitimate Syrian Assad government in Damascus, Turkey, Iran, Russia, and both Iraqi and Syrian Kurds – are more committed and capable of fighting and defeating ISIS and (other Sunni jihadi terrorists) than the US military. (Being able to speak Arabic – as all Muslims learn to read the Koran – is instrumental for being effective and respected in this part of the world.) These local actors all have skin the game. They will fight the Sunni jihadi terrorists for their own reasons – as Iran showed in its defeat of ISIS in Iraq. Contrarily, deploying US military personnel to fight in this region’s centuries-old ethnic, religious and territorial disputes is counterproductive. As I witnessed over my eight years in war zones, US soldiers are perceived as intruders and infidels in the Islamic World. This fact makes the US military’s presence in the Middle East inherently destabilizing.

As President Trump noted, America is over 7,000 miles away from the Middle East. The US no longer relies on Middle East oil. As FBI Director Christopher Wray recently reported, more Americans are currently killed each year by homegrown white supremacists than foreign jihadi terrorism. Where is the Congressional outcry and op-eds against this more lethal form terrorism within our shores?

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Why isn’t the media covering Turkish President Erdogan’s ties to ISIS

Posted by M. C. on September 26, 2019

https://nypost.com/2019/09/21/why-isnt-the-media-covering-turkish-president-erdogans-ties-to-isis/

 

…But what should disturb Americans most about Erdogan is not his efforts to influence Congress, his abysmal record as a jailer of journalists, his genocidal war against the Kurds, or even the $100 million mosque he has constructed in Lanham, Maryland.

It’s Erdogan’s commitment to global jihad, and specifically, to ISIS terrorists. Since 2012, the Turkish intelligence service, MIT, under Erdogan’s direction, has been providing resources and material assistance to ISIS, while Turkish Customs officials turned a blind eye to ISIS recruits flowing across Turkey’s borders into Syria and Iraq.

Scores of ISIS fighters captured by pro-U.S. Kurdish forces in northern Syria showed Turkish exit stamps on their passports, and otherwise boasted of the direct assistance they had received from Turkish authorities.

“Turkish intelligence knows everything,” one captured ISIS fighter told his Kurdish captors recently.

Many former ISIS fighters have now joined the Turkish-backed forces that have occupied the Syrian Kurdish city of Afrin, where they have engaged in ethnic cleansing.

Two Turkish intelligence officers, captured by Kurdish guerilla fighters in northern Iraq in 2017, provided insider accounts of Turkish government assistance to ISIS and other jihadi groups operating in Syria and Iraq.

Turkey’s assistance to ISIS starts right at the top. In 2016, Wikileaks published an archive of 58,000 emails documenting the involvement of Erdogan’s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, in helping ISIS market oil stolen from Syria and Iraq.

Until the publication of the emails, Albayrak had denied any involvement in the illicit oil trade.

Sümeyye Erdogan, daughter of the Turkish president, reportedly set up an entire medical corps, including a hospital to treat wounded ISIS fighters in Sanlurfa, a city in Southeastern Turkey close to the Syrian border.

ISIS evacuated severely wounded fighters across the border into Sanliurfa in Turkish army trucks without undergoing Customs inspection.

The evidence of Erdogan’s direct, personal and institutional support for ISIS and related jihadi groups is so extensive, the wonder is why the American media is not paying more attention to it.

This week a new group, the Turkey-ISIS Research Project, is sponsoring bus-billboards to roam the Big Apple. The message is clear: “Erdogan, the Godfather of Jihadist Terrorists, is Not Welcome in the United States.”

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Syria: Don't Fall For IT Again Pres Trump! - JESUS, OUR ...

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