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Posts Tagged ‘Pentagon’

Back to the Future at the Pentagon – TomDispatch.com

Posted by M. C. on April 10, 2021

What amazes me most in 2021 is how much of its structure and strategy resembles what held sway in 1981 when I joined the Air Force as a college student in ROTC. Instead of futuristic starship troopers flying around with jetpacks and firing lasers, the U.S. military is still essentially building the same kinds of weaponry we were then. They’re newer, of course, glitzier, if often less effective, but this country still has a Navy built around aircraft carriers, an Air Force centered on fighter jets and stealth bombers, and an Army based on tanks, helicopters, and heavy brigades. Admittedly, that Army may soon spend $20 billion on “augmented reality goggles” for the troops. (Perhaps those goggles will be programmed so that “reality” always looks like we win.)

https://tomdispatch.com/back-to-the-future-at-the-pentagon/

By William Astore

The future isn’t what it used to be. As a teenager in the 1970s, I watched a lot of TV science fiction shows, notably Space: 1999 and UFO, that imagined a near future of major moon bases and alien attacks on Earth. Movies of that era like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey envisioned colossal spaceships and space stations featuring international crews on mind-blowing missions to Jupiter and beyond. Who’d have thought that, 20 years after Kubrick’s alternate reality of 2001, we humans would effectively be marooned on a warming “sixth extinction” planet with no moon bases and, to the best of my knowledge, no alien attacks either.

Sure, there’s been progress of a sort in the heavens. Elon Musk’s Space X may keep going down in flames, but the Chinese now have their very own moon rocks. As the old-timey, unmanned Voyager probe continues to glide beyond our solar system, Mars is a subject for research by new probes hailing from the United Arab Emirates, China, and the U.S. Meanwhile, the International Space Station continues conducting research in low-earth orbit.

As with space exploration, so, too, with America’s military. What amazes me most in 2021 is how much of its structure and strategy resembles what held sway in 1981 when I joined the Air Force as a college student in ROTC. Instead of futuristic starship troopers flying around with jetpacks and firing lasers, the U.S. military is still essentially building the same kinds of weaponry we were then. They’re newer, of course, glitzier, if often less effective, but this country still has a Navy built around aircraft carriers, an Air Force centered on fighter jets and stealth bombers, and an Army based on tanks, helicopters, and heavy brigades. Admittedly, that Army may soon spend $20 billion on “augmented reality goggles” for the troops. (Perhaps those goggles will be programmed so that “reality” always looks like we win.)

As in the days of the old Cold War — and we may indeed be heading into a new cold war in 2021 — America is even witnessing a $100-billion revival of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, weapons that were vulnerable by the 1960s and obsolete by the 1980s. Consider them doubly-obsolete and no less escalatory in the 2020s. And despite having an ever larger and overly secretive military within the military, Special Operations Command, today’s forces are generally structured in a way eerily similar to those I joined two generations ago. Think of it as the Pentagon’s version of science fiction in which stasis rules instead of progress.

It’s true, of course, that, thanks to the vanity of our last president, a new Space Force has been added to the services (though without moon bases, alien interceptors, or much of anything else yet). And one sci-fi-style “advance,” drone warfare, has become increasingly automated and unbounded. Otherwise, this country’s war song of 2021 remains much the same as 2001 or even 1981. It still has a force structure designed first and foremost to deter and defeat another great power like China and Russia, the very bogeymen I first raised my right hand to defend America against 40 years ago. Indeed, the Cold War is simply being rebooted and rebranded for a new century, a century more likely to be China’s than America’s.

Nowadays, instead of speaking about the “containment” of communism and the Soviet Union, as in the Cold War, the talk is of prevailing in “near-peer” conflicts. (Note how the U.S. military may have near-peers but is ultimately peerless, since there can’t be any question that we’re number one, militarily speaking.) Who are those “near-peers” so intent on challenging America and spoiling our freedom-driven version of imperialism? China and Russia, mainly, with Iran and North Korea tossed in as minor-league risks. Again, for my 1981 junior military self, it’s déjà vu all over again. Iran as a perfidious enemy? Check. Russia and China as autocratic menaces? Check. An unpredictable North Korea? Check.

See the rest here

William Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF) and professor of history, is a TomDispatch regular and a senior fellow at the Eisenhower Media Network (EMN), an organization of critical veteran military and national security professionals. His personal blog is Bracing Views.

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Erie Times E-Edition Article-Airstrikes test US role as world police

Posted by M. C. on February 27, 2021

Lloyd Austin appears to be the new Bolton.

“Biden wanted to respond to the incident in Iraq,” said Max Abrahms, a professor of political science and public policy at Northeastern University, “but he wanted to do it in a way that didn’t seem too heavy-handed …

Being a bomb’s ground zero for having the shovel you are carrying being mistaken for a rifle is far from heavy handed in the Pentagram’s mind. Every day stuff.

The world’s policeman…someone has to do it. Why not McDonnell Douglas?

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=16a354c79

Kim Hjelmgaard

USA TODAY

Pentagon airstrikes against Iranbacked militias in Syria are not only the first military action taken by President Joe Biden. They are a test of his broad pledge to pursue a foreign policy that is more cooperative and mindful of international partners than his predecessor’s but still eschews the U.S. role as the world’s police to focus on making life better for Americans, some experts and lawmakers say.

Biden on Thursday night ordered the airstrikes on multiple facilities at a Syrian- Iraqi border control point in southeastern Syria in retaliation for rocket attacks on U.S. targets in neighboring Iraq. The Pentagon identified the targets as a “number of Iranian-backed militant groups including Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada.” It called the airstrikes “proportionate” and “defensive” and said the airstrikes were taken after consultation with coalition partners and unspecified “diplomatic measures.”

The military action comes as Washington and Tehran are locked in apparent stalemate over who should take the first step to revitalize a nuclear deal exited by the Trump administration; as Biden has vowed to recalibrate national security actions to favor the middle class; and as reporting from USA TODAY has revealed the scale of U.S. overseas military bases and counterterror operations two decades after 9/11.

“We are concerned that President Biden’s first instinct when it comes to regional security in the Middle East appears to be to reach for military options instead of diplomacy,” said Ryan Costello, director of The National Iranian American Council, an organization that seeks improved relations between Washington and Tehran.

“Biden wanted to respond to the incident in Iraq,” said Max Abrahms, a professor of political science and public policy at Northeastern University, “but he wanted to do it in a way that didn’t seem too heavy-handed … the more fundamental question that needs to be asked, and isn’t, is what are Iranian militias doing in Iraq? The answer is they are there partly because the U.S. toppled (Iraq’s former president) Saddam Hussein.”

Abrahms said that the Biden administration is trying to balance the instincts of veteran national security officials and diplomats such as Secretary of State Antony Blinken – Obama administration-era officials who have long gravitated toward military interventions and regime change – with “the zeitgeist of the American citizenry, which has moved over the course of the Trump administration.”

He described this “zeitgeist,” which is backed up by polling that shows many Americans are most concerned about economic and security threats closer to home, as “a more limited role for the United States in the world, a greater delineation of where our vital interests lie.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters he was “confident in the target we went after. We know what we hit.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based monitoring group, said the airstrikes killed at least 22 pro-Iranian fighters, wounded many more and destroyed several trucks carrying munitions.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, on facilities the U.S. struck, said he was “confident in the target we went after. We know what we hit.” ALEX BRANDON/AP

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Caitlin Johnstone: US bombs Syria and ridiculously claims self defense — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on February 26, 2021

In America especially it is important to oppose war and imperialism, because an entire empire depends on keeping the locals too poor and propagandized to force their nation’s resources to go to their own wellbeing. As long as the United States functions as the hub of a globe-spanning power structure, all the progressive agendas that are being sought by what passes for the US left these days will be denied them. Opposing warmongering must come first.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/516647-caitlin-johnstone-us-bombs-syria/

By Caitlin Johnstone, an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz

On orders of President Biden, the United States has launched an airstrike on a facility in Syria. As of this writing the exact number of killed and injured is unknown, with early reports claiming “a handful” of people were killed.

Rather than doing anything remotely resembling journalism, the Western mass media have opted instead to uncritically repeat what they’ve been told about the airstrike by US officials, which is the same as just publishing Pentagon press releases.

Here’s this from the Washington Post:

The Biden administration conducted an airstrike against alleged Iranian-linked fighters in Syria on Thursday, signaling its intent to push back against violence believed to be sponsored by Tehran.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the attack, the first action ordered by the Biden administration to push back against alleged Iranian-linked violence in Iraq and Syria, on a border control point in eastern Syria was “authorized in response to recent attacks against American and coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats.”

He said the facilities were used by Iranian-linked militias including Kaitib Hezbollah and Kaitib Sayyid al-Shuhada.

The operation follows the latest serious attack on U.S. locations in Iraq that American officials have attributed to Iranian-linked groups operating in Iraq and Syria. Earlier this month, a rocket attack in northern Iraq killed a contractor working with the U.S. military and injured a U.S. service member there.

So we are being told that the United States launched an airstrike on Syria, a nation it invaded and is illegally occupying, because of attacks on “US locations” in Iraq, another nation the US invaded and is illegally occupying. This attack is justified on the basis that the Iraqi fighters were “Iranian-linked,” a claim that is both entirely without evidence and irrelevant to the justification of deadly military force. And this is somehow being framed in mainstream news publications as a defensive operation.

This is Defense Department stenography. The US military is an invading force in both Syria and Iraq; it is impossible for its actions in either of those countries to be defensive. It is always necessarily the aggressor. It’s the people trying to eject them who are acting defensively. The deaths of US troops and contractors in those countries can only be blamed on the powerful people who sent them there.

The US is just taking it as a given that it has de facto jurisdiction over the nations of Syria, Iraq, and Iran, and that any attempt to interfere in its authority in the region is an unprovoked attack which must be defended against. This is completely backwards and illegitimate. Only through the most perversely warped American supremacist reality tunnels can it look valid to dictate the affairs of sovereign nations on the other side of the planet and respond with violence if anyone in those nations tries to eject them.

To remind Iran who’s boss — rather than conduct the diplomacy he promised — Biden opts to act as ISIS’ Air Force. (That’s who “Iranian-backed militia” have long been fighting) https://t.co/9YGXnpUeyI— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) February 26, 2021

It’s illegitimate for the US to be in the Middle East at all. It’s illegitimate for the US to claim to be acting defensively in nations it invaded. It’s illegitimate for the US to act like Iranian-backed fighters aren’t allowed to be in Syria, where they are fighting alongside the Syrian government against ISIS and other extremist militias with the permission of Damascus. It is illegitimate for the US to claim the fighters attacking US personnel in Iraq are controlled by Iran when Iraqis have every reason to want the US out of their country themselves.

Even the official narrative reveals itself as illegitimate from within its own worldview. CNN reports that the site of the airstrike “was not specifically tied to the rocket attacks” in Iraq, and a Reuters/AP report says “Biden administration officials condemned the February 15 rocket attack near the city of Irbil in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish-run region, but as recently as this week officials indicated they had not determined for certain who carried it out.”

This is all so very typical of the American supremacist worldview that is being aggressively shoved down our throats by all Western mainstream news media. The US can bomb who it likes, whenever it likes, and when it does it is only ever doing so in self-defense, because the entire planet is the property of Washington, DC. It can seize control of entire clusters of nations, and if any of those nations resist in any way, they are invading America’s sovereignty.

It’s like if you broke into your neighbor’s house to rob him, killed him when he tried to stop you, and then claimed self-defense because you consider his home your property. Only in the American exceptionalist alternate universe is this considered normal and acceptable.

Americans: $2000 checks pleaseGovernment: Sorry did you say airstrikes on Syria?Americans: No, $2000 checksGovernment: Okay, since you asked nicely here’s your airstrikes on Syria.— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) February 26, 2021

This sort of nonsense is why it’s so important to prioritize opposition to Western imperialism. World warmongering and domination is the front upon which all the most egregious evils inflicted by the powerful take place, and it plays such a crucial role in upholding the power structures we are up against. Without endless war, the oligarchic empire which is the cause of so much of our suffering cannot function, and must give way to something else. If you’re looking to throw sand in the gears of the machine, anti-imperialism is your most efficacious path toward that end, and should therefore be your priority.

In America especially it is important to oppose war and imperialism, because an entire empire depends on keeping the locals too poor and propagandized to force their nation’s resources to go to their own wellbeing. As long as the United States functions as the hub of a globe-spanning power structure, all the progressive agendas that are being sought by what passes for the US left these days will be denied them. Opposing warmongering must come first.

Standing against imperialism and American supremacism cuts directly to the heart of our difficulties in this world, which is why so much energy goes into keeping us focused on identity politics and vapid energy sucks which inconvenience the powerful in no way whatsoever. If you want to out-wrestle a crocodile, you must bind shut its mouth. If you want to take down a globe-spanning empire, you must take out its weapons. Opposing warmongering and killing public trust in the propaganda used to justify it is the best way to do this.

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Breaking: Biden Bombing Syria! – RPI 25 Feb Update

Posted by M. C. on February 25, 2021

Buckle up. These are going to be very trying times for non-interventionists

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/syriabomb?e=4e0de347c8

Dear Friends:

According to breaking news reports, including by Reuters, President Biden has ordered and the Pentagon has carried out military airstrikes on Syria, attacking a structure inside the country that the US government claims houses “Iranian-backed” militia.

US missiles struck tonight near the Syrian town of Al-Bukamal, on the Iraqi border. The strike is said to be in retaliation for recent rocket attacks against US facilities in Iraq. After another rocket attack earlier this month, the US State Department pointed the finger at Iran and threatened a US military response.

The Iraqi parliament voted in January, 2020, to expel US troops from the country after then-President Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. The US government ignored the vote of the democratically-elected Iraqi parliament, however Trump later announced his decision to pull US troops out of Iraq. 

President Biden wasted no time in reversing Trump’s disengagement strategy for the Middle East. After just over a month in office, President Biden is re-igniting the failed US intervention launched in 2014 against Syria under the Obama Administration.

Within 24 hours of Biden being inaugurated commander-in-chief, US military convoys began pouring into northern Syria. His Administration, from Secretary of State Tony Blinken on down, enthusiastically supported the US “regime change” policy for Syria under President Obama – a policy that only benefitted al-Qaeda and its affiliates in the region,

Earlier this month it was reported that the US was building a new military base in Syria, near the Iraq and Turkey borders. New military bases carry with them new missions, so there is plenty of reason to believe that Biden plans to return the US to the “Assad must go” policy of his former boss.

Biden coming out of the gate with bombs blazing should be of little surprise to those who have watched his early foreign policy appointments. For example, he tapped noted neocon and aggressive interventionist Dana Stroul to head his Middle East Desk at the Pentagon and no doubt this airstrike at least indirectly reflects her influence and that of many others like her who have taken up positions in the Biden Administration.

Stroul hails from the AIPAC-founded “think tank,” the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), where, as former CIA official Phil Giradi writes, “she has been the Shelly and Michael Kassen Fellow in the Institute’s Beth and David Geduld Program on Arab Politics.” She is an extreme Iran hawk and has advocated and worked for regime change in Syria and US retention of large areas of Syrian territory.

So within a month of assuming office, President Biden looks to be on the cusp of launching a new Middle East war. Will a Left-Right-and-beyond peace coalition emerge to challenge the hawks driving this new push to war? We must remain open to any alliance and be willing to put other issues of potential disagreement aside. There are plenty of antiwar progressives who will increasingly find themselves uncomfortable with this Administration. We must be willing to work with them in good faith.

Buckle up. These are going to be very trying times for non-interventionists!
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Thank you for your support!
Sincerely yours,

Daniel McAdams
Executive Director
Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

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Washington’s Energetic Generals and the Emphasis on Preparation for Nuclear War — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on February 22, 2021

This person accountable for employment of nuclear weapons holds that “There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state…”

It could hardly have been a coincidence that in early February the Pentagon ordered two U.S. carrier strike groups, led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Nimitz, to conduct manoeuvres in the South China Sea.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/02/16/washington-energetic-generals-and-emphasis-on-preparation-for-nuclear-war/

Brian Cloughley

The Pentagon’s energetic generals are beating their war drums and the President has as yet done nothing to rein them in, Brian Cloughley writes.

Some senior generals and admirals in and around Washington have been very busy recently, and their activities, while aggressive, have not been associated with directing current combat operations. Rather, they have been directed at attempting to influence the Administration of newly-elected President Joe Biden to restructure military forces, expand the nuclear arsenal and magnify specific warfighting capabilities. All of this is what might be expected of those whose business and dispositions are aimed at organising destruction and death, but the manner in which their aspirations are expressed are not consistent with what is expected of military personnel in a democracy.

The U.S. Department of Defence is now headed by a Biden-appointed retired general who has not voided the directive concerning “Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces” which notes that “members on active duty should not engage in partisan political activity.”

This long-standing instruction was last reiterated in 2008 but it cannot be said that generals and admirals have followed its letter or spirit, and the present echelons of senior officers appear determined to flout it by wide publication of their personal points of view concerning the military posture of their country. This, by any interpretation, is “partisan political activity.” No government should tolerate meddling by the military.

On February 2 the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, General Charles Q Brown, and the Commandant of the Marines Corps, General David H Berger, had an opinion piece published in the Washington Post in which they expressed overall support for the 2018 National Defense Strategy but complained that “it has not changed defence investment priorities at the scale or scope necessary to prepare the U.S. military for great power competition.” In other words, they consider their enormous armed forces, on which some 740 billion dollars are to be spent this year, are not ready for war in spite of that allocation of taxpayers’ money being 11 times that of Russia and three times that of China.

Not to be outdone in public pronouncements, the following day the commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe and Africa, General Christopher Cavoli gave a speech in which he said that “the U.S. military needs more long-range artillery and other advanced weaponry in Europe to be able to take on enemy forces . . .”, and it is reasonable to ask if this sort of policy indicator is approved by the new President.

Then the head of Strategic Command, the element responsible, among other things, for “strategic deterrence; nuclear operations and space operations”, Admiral Charles Richard, published his personal take on the future use of nuclear weapons. In the February edition of the Naval Institute’s magazine Admiral Richard wrote that Russia and China “have begun to aggressively challenge international norms and global peace using instruments of power and threats of force in ways not seen since the height of the Cold War.” This person accountable for employment of nuclear weapons holds that “There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state…”

It could hardly have been a coincidence that in early February the Pentagon ordered two U.S. carrier strike groups, led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Nimitz, to conduct manoeuvres in the South China Sea.

Navy Times reported that “the Roosevelt’s carrier strike group includes Carrier Air Wing 11, guided-missile cruiser Bunker Hill, Destroyer Squadron 23 [six ships], and guided-missile destroyers Russell and John Finn. The Nimitz’s carrier strike group includes Carrier Air Wing 17, guided-missile cruiser Princeton, guided-missile destroyer Sterett, and staff from Destroyer Squadron 9 and Carrier Strike Group 11.”

The mission of this enormous force (which has a total of 120 attack aircraft), according to Admiral James Kirk, commanding the Nimitz Strike Group, was to ensure “the lawful use of the sea that all nations enjoy under international law,” and he was echoed by his colleague, Admiral Douglas Verissimo of the Roosevelt Strike Group, saying “we are committed to promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.” Obviously neither of them is aware that the United States refuses to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which is considered “the ‘constitution of the oceans’ and represents the result of an unprecedented, and so far never replicated, effort at codification and progressive development of international law.” But this does not prevent Strike Group admirals holding forth about their missions of provocation in the South China Sea that appear intended to push China to react.

In this context it is disturbing that the head of U.S. Strategic Command declared “There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state…”

U.S. forces are threatening China in the South China Sea and confronting Russia all round its borders — and most recently in the Black Sea where the U.S. Navy deployed two guided missile destroyers in January. According to U.S. European Command, these ships are from the Sixth Fleet which is based in the Mediterranean “in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.” These same interests are being furthered by the Pentagon’s “China Task Force” whose establishment President Biden announced on 10 February. The mission of this war-planning body is to conduct a review of U.S. “strategy and operational concepts, technology, and force posture” in line with Biden’s declaration that “That’s how we’ll meet the China challenge and ensure the American people win the competition of the future.”

So Uncle Joe has apparently joined the generals in their never-ending pursuit of global military ascendancy. Further, it seems he has accepted the new “Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent” or GBSD, which the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists described on 8 February as “a new weapon of mass destruction, a nuclear missile the length of a bowling lane. It will be able to travel some 6,000 miles, carrying a warhead more than 20 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It will be able to kill hundreds of thousands of people in a single shot. The U.S. Air Force plans to order more than 600 of them.”

This imminent leap towards global catastrophe is consistent with the declaration of Strategic Command’s Admiral Richard that “the U.S. military must shift its principal assumption from ‘nuclear employment is not possible’ to ‘nuclear employment is a very real possibility,’ and act to meet and deter that reality.”

The country’s senior military officers are preparing citizens for a terminal nuclear holocaust — for there can be no such thing as a limited nuclear war — and Uncle Joe Biden is permitting them to convey their personal policies directly to the people. This is endorsement of “partisan political activity”, because there are many millions of Americans who, for example, disagree with the GBSD programme and, indeed, a very large number who support their elimination of all nuclear weapons.

The Pentagon’s energetic generals are beating their war drums and the President has as yet done nothing to rein them in. Will he take action to stop this relentless drive towards nuclear war?

© 2010 – 2021 | Strategic Culture Foundation | Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture online journal www.strategic-culture.org.

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Biden Pick For Pentagon Mideast Desk Bragged That US “Owns” Syrian Oil Territory | ZeroHedge

Posted by M. C. on February 2, 2021

At another think tank panel discussion in June of 2019, Stroul further advocated the war is about standing up to Russia in the Middle East:

“This isn’t just about a Syrian conflict, this is about great power competition and what we’re going to do about Russia and the foothold it’s been given in the Middle East,” she said.

Stroul’s appointment is as clear a sign as any that regime change targeting Assad is still on the table, and the US occupation of the country is not drawing down any time soon; instead it is only likely to expand in order to also “confront” Russia and Iran.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/biden-pick-pentagon-mideast-desk-bragged-us-owns-syrian-oil-territory

Tyler Durden's Photoby Tyler Durden

President Joe Biden recently tapped Dana Stroul to lead the Pentagon’s Middle East desk, according to Axios and other reports. She’ll serve as the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for the Middle East after a previous stint as a senior official on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and as a longtime fellow at the hawkish Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

She had also previously worked on Mideast policy at the Pentagon under the Obama administration. As we noted before, this and other appointments gives more alarming context to Biden’s constant message on the foreign policy front that “America is back” and is “ready to lead the world” once again.

Stroul was recently on record as touting that America “owns” one-third of Syrian territory, particularly the resource-rich northeast region. So much for the administration “distancing” itself from Trump policies… (given Trump was the first to repeatedly and bluntly state the US was there “securing” Syria’s oil).

At a US gov-funded think tank, this official who oversaw Congress’ Syria Study Group outlines the continued regime-change strategy.

She says the US military “owned” 1/3rd of Syrian territory, including its oil/wheat-rich region. And the US is trying to block reconstruction funds pic.twitter.com/NIEJ9elxhs — Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) November 5, 2019

Stroul made the comments during a televised think tank event in D.C. hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in October 2019.

“The United States still had compelling forms of leverage on the table to shape an outcome that was more conducive and protective of US interests,” she explained at the time. She had been co-chair of the Syria Study Group, previously described by journalist Ben Norton as a “bi-partisan working group appointed by Congress to draft a new US war plan for Syria.”

Here’s how the new Biden-appointed head of the Pentagon’s Middle East desk described the US occupation of Syria and Pentagon strategic objectives there:

“The first one was the one-third of Syrian territory that was owned via the US military with its local partner, the Syrian Democratic Forces. Now this was a light footprint on the US military, only about a thousand troops over the course of the Syria Study Group’s report; and then the tens of thousands of forces, both Kurdish and Arab, under the Syria Democratic Forces.

And that one-third of Syria is the resource-rich – it’s the economic powerhouse of Syria. So where the hydrocarbons are, which obviously is very much in the public debate here in Washington these days, as well as the agricultural powerhouse.”

“We argued that it wasn’t just about this one-third of Syrian territory that the US military and our military presence owned, both to fight ISIS (Daesh) and also as leverage for affecting the overall political process for the broader Syria conflict,” she added of her policy recommendations.

Look at those photos while you hear Biden’s pick to head Pentagon’s Middle East Desk, Dana Stroul, say the oil-rich territory is “owned” by the US military.

“Take the oil” is not just a Trump thing. pic.twitter.com/UqiN8VC7MU — Lina Arabi (@LinaArabii) January 29, 2021

This “leverage” which has included devastating sanctions is now driving Syria into economic collapse and with much of the population now unable to access food and fuel.

Biden’s newly appointed Mideast official was literally bragging about “owning” the “agricultural powerhouse” of Syria as ordinary Syrians starve

The Pentagon busy “spreading democracy” and plundering the oil in the process:

At another think tank panel discussion in June of 2019, Stroul further advocated the war is about standing up to Russia in the Middle East:

“This isn’t just about a Syrian conflict, this is about great power competition and what we’re going to do about Russia and the foothold it’s been given in the Middle East,” she said.

Stroul’s appointment is as clear a sign as any that regime change targeting Assad is still on the table, and the US occupation of the country is not drawing down any time soon; instead it is only likely to expand in order to also “confront” Russia and Iran.

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Caitlin Johnstone: The next two years will be the Democratic Party at its most transparent — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on January 22, 2021

In one of the more bizarre displays in the Senate hearings, Biden’s nominee to lead the State Department, Tony Blinken, defended his support for the disastrous Libya intervention during his time in the Obama administration by blaming its aftermath on Muammar Gaddafi, the leader who was mutilated to death in the streets after a US-led intervention to oust him.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/513255-caitlin-johnstone-democratic-party-biden/

By Caitlin Johnstone, an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz

Joe Biden is now the president of the USA. His day-one executive orders should have prioritized ending the single worst crisis in the world in Yemen, a war in which he campaigned on ending US involvement, but they did not.

Ending US participation in the Yemen genocide could and should have begun on day one. In These Times reported the following back in November (emphasis added):

“One thing Biden can do, starting on day one, is end U.S. involvement in the Yemen war – involvement that he helped initiate. ​By executive order, Biden could get the Pentagon to end intelligence sharing for the Saudi coalition airstrikes, end logistical support, and end spare parts transfers that keep Saudi warplanes in the air,” Hassan El-Tayyab, lead Middle East policy lobbyist for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a progressive organization, tells In These Times. ​“He could restore humanitarian assistance to northern Yemen. He could use his power as president to put pressure on other nations that are supporting the Saudi coalition – like France, the United Kingdom and Canada – and get them to follow suit. He could have the State Department put a stop on all arms sales to Saudi Arabia unless they meet certain benchmarks.”

Biden did none of these things, which, while unsurprising, is still inexcusable. This isn’t some 10-year infrastructure plan we’re talking about. This is the worst mass atrocity on our entire planet, and it should be treated with proportionate urgency. This administration consciously chose not to end US participation in that atrocity as swiftly as possible, which will remain an inexcusable decision, even if the Yemen war is eventually ended later.

Instead of grilling Biden about his decision not to prioritize his promise to end the Yemen war, which is what any real journalist would do, the press are asking him stupid-nonsense questions about whether he can “unite the country.”

CNN keeps screaming at Biden “can you unite the country” and he keeps ignoring them. Hilariously dumb question, even funnier reaction.— Secular Talk (@KyleKulinski) January 20, 2021

In the lead-up to Biden’s inauguration, we were treated to some Senate hearings on his cabinet picks, in which we learnt that this administration will continue Trump’s murderous coup-mongering in Venezuela, that it will maintain Trump’s incendiary decision to have the US embassy in Jerusalem, that reviving the Iran nuclear deal is a long way off from happening and will first require consultation with Israel, and that it will be continuing Trump’s cold-war escalations against China.

In one of the more bizarre displays in the Senate hearings, Biden’s nominee to lead the State Department, Tony Blinken, defended his support for the disastrous Libya intervention during his time in the Obama administration by blaming its aftermath on Muammar Gaddafi, the leader who was mutilated to death in the streets after a US-led intervention to oust him.

“Here’s what I think we misjudged,” Blinken said. “We didn’t fully appreciate the fact that one of the things Gaddafi had done over the years was to make sure that there was no possible rival to his power, and as a result there was no effective bureaucracy, no effective administration in Libya with which to work when he was gone.”

By “when he was gone,” Blinken means when he was dead, because the United States helped kill him after staging an intervention based on lies. He is defending his push for an intervention that led to a failed state in which people are sold as slaves by saying that, if Gaddafi had run his country better, it would not have collapsed into violence and chaos when the Obama administration murdered him.

This is like an axe murderer blaming his actions on his victim’s bad housekeeping. The brazenness with which imperialist goons can shrug off all responsibility for their actions will never cease to astonish.

At Senate confirmation hearing, Secretary of State nominee Anthony Blinken defends support for war in Libya“In fact, I think it’s been written about. I was [Biden’s] national security adviser, and he didn’t agree with that course of action.” pic.twitter.com/ZyCzTLXtOP— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) January 19, 2021

The next two years will be the Democratic Party at its most transparent. After two years, they are statistically likely to lose control of the House and/or Senate, after which time they’ll be able to pawn off all imperialist bloodshed and lack of progress on an ‘obstructionist Congress’, like they did for the last six years of the Obama administration. But until then, the Democrats are going to have to own all their reactionary depravity and mass murder on their own.

This will set a sharp contrast from the past four years, during which every mundane part of the US empire’s institutionalized abuse was portrayed as an anomaly unique to the Trump administration. Unable to blame their refusal to advance progressive policies and basic human decency on Trump and Vladimir Putin these next two years, they’ll be forced to kill any leftward movement all on their own. Which is why we are now already seeing mass-media articles with headlines such as “Under Biden, it’s time for Democrats to let go of Medicare for All.”

And this period will provide ample opportunities to highlight the fact that’s exactly what the Democratic Party exists to do: kill all leftward movement in the most powerful government on earth. As the US continues its soul-crushing neoliberal policies at home and its murderous neoconservative policies abroad with the same degree of psychopathy it displayed in previous administrations, we must draw attention to the fact that it is the Democratic Party that bears the responsibility for these matters.

The sooner Americans can discredit the Democratic Party as a legitimate vehicle for progressive change, the sooner they can start looking for other tools. The first step to escape is to stop pushing against the fake door falsely labeled ‘exit’.

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Leaked Pentagon Video: Flu Vaccine Used To Modify Human Behavior – YouTube – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on December 30, 2020

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/12/no_author/leaked-pentagon-video-flu-vaccine-use-to-modify-human-behavior-youtube/

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Here’s What the Revolution will Look Like

Posted by M. C. on December 19, 2020

Will your son or daughter soldier be fighting you or your neighbor?

Is this what they signed up for?

Will they succumb?

By Joe Jarvis

In 2018, the Pentagon held a “War Game” depicting a scenario where the military would be deployed against the American people.

The Intercept has published documents detailing the background information on the exercise.

The Pentagon imagined a disenfranchised Generation Z, strapped with college debt and no opportunities. They have lost faith in the American Dream, and believe the system is rigged against them. As so they rise up.

To be clear, the scenario is fictitious, and shouldn’t be interpreted as being based on real intelligence. However, the Pentagon tries to make the War Game scenarios realistic.

And it certainly identifies real reasons why people are pissed off at the establishment. “The system”, from the Federal Reserve to the Police State, has kept people under the thumb of the government, and their corporate cronies.

The US military clearly thinks this is along the lines of the threats they will face over the next decade. The exercise material details the scenario:

In early 2025, a cadre of these disaffected Zoomers launch a protest movement. Beginning in “parks, rallies, protests, and coffee shops” — first in Seattle; then New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; Las Vegas; and Austin — a group known as Zbellion begins a “global cyber campaign to expose injustice and corruption and to support causes it deem[s] beneficial.”

During face-to-face recruitment, would-be members of Zbellion are given instructions for going to sites on the dark web that allow them to access sophisticated malware to siphon funds from corporations, financial institutions, and nonprofits that support “the establishment.” The gains are then converted to Bitcoin and distributed to “worthy recipients” including fellow Zbellion members who claim financial need…

Gen Z’s most militant members have essentially taken to privately taxing large corporations and other institutions to combat income inequality or, as the war gamers put it, using the “cyber world to spread a call for anarchy.”

Now here we are in 2020, and sadly the military being used against the American people has become a distinct possibility.

And it starts in Seattle.

“Welcome to CHAZ: Capital Hill Autonomous Zone”

Earlier this year, a section of Seattle declared itself a Free Autonomous Zone.

Protesters, who claimed to have the support of the businesses within the area, set up roadblocks, and occupied an abandoned police precinct.

Police and National Guard units pulled out of the area. Police barricades and walls were used by protesters to create a defensive traffic flow through the area. Armed citizens guarded the entrances to the area– a friendly neighborhood drug lord even provided some security and weapons.

The police department sign was altered to read “People Department.”

Socialist City Council-member, Kshama Sawant, jockeyed for control over the movement. She was one of many speakers to address crowds in the “autonomous zone” saying, “What we are seeing now is an uprising. A rebellion of young people. Not just nationwide but globally.”

A few weeks earlier Kshama Sawant tweeted that, “corporations like Amazon need to be taken into democratic public ownership, to be run by workers for social good. We will need militant mass movements, strike actions at workplaces, to begin to fight to win this. Because it will be a political strike against billionaires.”

This is important to understand in the broader context of the opposition facing the federal, as well as state and local governments.

The Bolsheviks are attempting to co-opt the police brutality protests to accomplish their own socialist goals.

I certainly oppose police brutality, and the federal intrusion into my life. And I recognize that certain replacements would be worse– like replacing a Czar with a genocidal Dictator in Soviet Russia.

It is important to pay attention. But the group that starts the revolution is rarely the same one which declares victory.

Take a look at my video about who wins the game of Risk.

It is the people like Joseph Fouche (his story starts at 2:40 in the video above), who work behind the scenes to hold power while others fight.

Fouche participated in the French Revolution, beheaded some aristocrats, survived waves of beheadings himself, and emerged as Minister of Police in France. He stayed in power through the revolutionary government, Napoleon’s rise, the restoration of the monarchy, Napoleon’s 100 day return to power, and another restoration of the monarchy.

French Statesman Talleyrand had a similar story. His power also survived the French Revolution, before he helped Napoleon take power, then helped overthrow Napoleon, and later helped Napoleon escape imprisonment, and regain power for 100 days. Then Talleyrand also worked for the next government.

What is happening now is the very early stages of a serious economic catastrophe, and widespread social unrest.

Many different scenarios could play out. And some of those possibilities involve a revolution or civil war.

But any revolution will be very fragmented. There will not be one organized force opposing the US government.

And each little rebellion will be different. Some will take over police precincts and government buildings. Others will be entirely online, hacking, taking out cyber-infrastructure, and intercepting information.

Sure, at some point larger, cohesive movements will occur. We might even see state government take a stand against the feds.

But this is a large country, which was never really cohesive to begin with. A decentralized rebellion will spark in many places across the nation. City by city, and state by state, the goals, demands, and ideologies of these movements will be unique.

People who are out in the countryside will see a very different revolution.

It is possible that while the military focuses on urban opposition, the countryside fights a defensive war.

Imagine a well-armed, tight-knit group of people in a relatively small proximity. They can grow and hunt their own food. Hell, they might even has stills making alcohol-fuel for their tractors and trucks.

These people exist all throughout America. When the times comes for them to protect themselves, their livelihoods, their land, their loved ones, and their way of life, it will be only in self defense.

These people are not insurgents. And they aren’t the type to allow insurgents into their communities.

The US government has a big problem on its hands. The USA started with a guerrilla uprising, and the modern US Military has never decisively won a war against guerillas.

Let’s hope enough people in power recognize their precarious positions, and opt for a very simple approach (but one that does not come easy for tyrants):

They can leave people alone and let them be free.

To be honest, I don’t really care if the Bolsheviks take over Seattle. I’m much more concerned about them taking over DC, and being able to force their Socialist agenda on the entire USA.

Really, that’s already happened to a large extent, and fragmentation of government would safeguard us in a sense.

When there is no centralized power structure to control, it allows free people, and all the social and economic benefits they create, to flourish.

But individuals do need to prepare for that fragmentation.

Under many scenarios, supply chains will suffer, and food and medicine will need to be sourced locally.

Alternative currencies to the US dollar will be required in order to continue trade.

Personally, I’d be more interested in fulfilling market demands at a local level than participating in any revolution.

You gain more power by serving the demands of a local market– the more beneficial your contribution, the more you are needed, and can set the tone for local governance.

By producing certain tangible goods that work well as a medium of exchange, you essentially become a money printer.

Check out my recent video on currencies in a worst case scenario.

It should be obvious by now: 2020 is the elite’s big move.

We are entering the climax of a long planned crisis. Your family, your community, and your countrymen need honest leaders to guide them out of the elite’s traps.

Learn how to turn the elite’s own tactics against them, divert their attacks, and grow your own sphere of power.

Subscribe and immediately receive TWO FREE TACTICAL REPORTS:

1. Four Ways The Elite Control You

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An Expert Military Analysis of War with China, by Fred Reed – The Unz Review

Posted by M. C. on December 15, 2020

The said war is discussed either in emotional terms by idiots or in purely naval terms by those familiar with such things, so we hear of the First Island Chain and the Second Island Chain and whose missiles against the other’s missiles and so on. This would be appropriate if we were fighting World War Two again. Which we aren’t. Let’s take a quick-and-dirty look at how such a war might go.

https://www.unz.com/freed/an-expert-military-analysis-of-war-with-china/

Fred Reed

The Correlation of Armed Forces: U.S. goods and services trade with China totaled an estimated $634.8 billion in 2019. Exports were $163.0 billion; imports were $471.8 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with China was $308.8 billion in 2019. Trade in services with China (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $76.7 billion in 2019. Services exports were $56.5 billion; services imports were $20.1 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with China was $36.4 billion in 2019.

There is talk within the Washingtoniat of a possible war with China. Steve Bannon, who apparently was dropped on his head as a child, actually favors such a war. We hear the usual shoo-the-boobs alarm about how the Chinese are doing something terrible and we must gird our loins and American values and show them what for, bow wow, woof. The danger is that the current game of who-blinks-first in Asian waters might actually provoke a shooting war. You know the kind of thing: One warship refuses to get out of the way of another, a collision ensues, some retard lieutenant who signed up on waivers opens fire, and we’re off and running. It is not a good idea to let children play with matches.

The said war is discussed either in emotional terms by idiots or in purely naval terms by those familiar with such things, so we hear of the First Island Chain and the Second Island Chain and whose missiles against the other’s missiles and so on. This would be appropriate if we were fighting World War Two again. Which we aren’t. Let’s take a quick-and-dirty look at how such a war might go.

To begin the war, America would overestimate itself and underestimate China. This is doctrine in the Pentagon. There is probably a manual on it. Inside the DC Bubble, fern-bar Napoleons would assure us that it would be a short war, a cakewalk, a matter of days, not weeks. You know, like Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria. When it turned out that the Chinese had other ideas, among which surrendering was not, and the months dragged on, various fascinating things would happen.

Rand, a thinktank wholly owned by the Pentagon, at least mentally, has wargamed both the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, concluding that the war could be both very long and a loss for America. We no longer live in 1960.

OK, the war: On day one, all the multitudinous American factories in China shut down. Example: Apple loses its factories, products from those factories, and the Chinese market of 1.4 billion consumers. Its stores close. Tim Cook’s gratitude will know no bounds. American auto manufacturers sell googolplexes of cars in China (or at least lots), mostly made in China. Overnight they will lose factories, cars, and Chinese customers. Overall, China buys many more cars than does the US. This analysis, if anything so obvious may be called analysis, can be repeated for industry after industry after industry. Goodbye, business vote.

Within weeks, Walmart’s shelves go bare. Walk down the aisles and read the “Made in” labels. We are not talking only plastic buckets and mops but chain saws, pharmaceuticals, motorcycles, and blood-pressure cuffs. So much for the blue-collar vote. The US buys 472 billion in goods annually from China, high-tech, low-tech, consumer goods, manufacturing components. No more.

China buys over $163 billion annually in American goods: petroleum, semiconductors, airline engines, soybeans, airliners, on and on. No more. It is hard to underestimate the joy this will cause in influential boardrooms. And of course the American workers who would have produced these things for China will be laid off. As electoral politics, this will prove suboptimal.

China produces a great majority of the rare earth elements crucial to the manufacture of electronics, such as semiconductors. No quick substitute is in sight. Just about everything in America uses these, to include the computers that run the electrical systems of cars. Though I haven’t checked, it is quite possible that the computers themselves are made in China. If you want a new and deeper understanding of the word “hostile,” check the influential CEOs of businesses on their second chipless day.

In a real war, it is likely that China, having thought of the foregoing, would (intelligently) destroy Taiwan’s semiconductor fabs, notably those of TSMC, as well as other factories of electronics. This would hardly be difficult since the Taiwan Strait is only a hundred or so miles wide. Losing these industries would be exceedingly painful for the US since its high-end chips come from Taiwan. It would take America years to replace this capacity domestically. Some of the necessary equipment, extreme ultraviolet lithography machines, is not made in America and in any event cannot be stamped out like beer cans.

In America it would quickly be discovered that the country is rather more dependent on China than some might think. If I may make up an example: The automotive industry finds that its sparkplugs come from China. While America could certainly make spark plugs, it turns out that a decade back the industry found that China could make them for forty percent less. In the cooperative commercial world pre-Trump, this was no problem. Not now. So much for sales of cars. And for the jobs of the workers who make them.

I will bet you all my diamond mines in South Africa and cattle lands in Argentina, that if you went through a parts list for, say, Boeing’s airliners, you would find lots of them made in China. Sure, the US could manufacture most of them, eventually. But companies need parts now, not eventually.

The effects on other countries of a large war against China would be catastrophic if not worse. Other countries also get many things, from China or Taiwan, such as semiconductors. Google on “country x largest trading partner.” A strong pattern quickly becomes clear: China is huge in trading with practically everybody. “Everybody” includes Germany, Japan, Australia, Russia, and South America as a whole. The world economy in its entirety would collapse.

How smart would this be? The United States is already in serious trouble, what with a currency rapidly being debased, a sinking middle class, businesses dying of Covid, jobs disappearing abroad, people living paycheck to paycheck, and social unhappiness resulting in continent-wide riots. Do you suppose the public will gladly support an unfathomably stupid war causing an instant, profound, and murderous economic depression? If so, you probably already have a collection of bridges.

This can be inflicted on the entire earth by a half-dozen loons in or circling around the White House unhindered by a worthless Congress. Six loons. Yes, I know, Trump is unlikely deliberately to start a Third world War, even as a publicity stunt. No, the generals in the Pentagon are not nearly stupid enough. (They might even refuse, pointing out that starting a war requires a declaration by Congress.) The problem is that for years America has been, if not actually looking for a fight, at least daring other countries to start one. For example, murdering Iranian officials, pulling out of arms-control treaties, pushing NATO ever closer to Russia, sanctioning countries far beyond anything that can be called a trade war, and playing chicken with China in the South China Sea. Under these circumstances you can get a fight without quite looking for one.

Write Fred at jet.possum@gmail.com. Put the letters pdq anywhere in the subject line to avoid heartless autodeletion.

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