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    The War Machine Springs To Life Over Syria

    NATO has drawn 1st blood. Will Russia respond?
    by cmartenson

    Friday, April 13, 2018, 11:45 PM

Update: Three hours after the initial posting of this report, the US, the UK and France conducted a missile air strike against Syria 

The events of the past few days involving Syria, the US and Russia are highly concerning.

Currently, the US is busy readying to drop just dropped ~120 missiles on Syria to punish it for an alleged poison gas attack on its civilians. I say "alleged" because no on-the-ground investigation has been conducted.

At this point, we don't really know with confidence what was done by whom. But America's war machine is straining hard against it's chain, eager to strike. And this poison gas atrocity may just be the excuse the West needs to unleash it.

Whodunit?

We do know that Syria at one time indeed had stockpiles of chemical weapons. But they handed them over to international inspectors some years back.  Could they have kept some stocks hidden? Sure.

But we also know that the rebel jihadists in Syria have been caught making and using chemical weapons many times in the recent past.  Russia has repeatedly brought forth evidence of chemical manufacturing sites (very crude basement laboratories, really), located in areas recently recaptured from Syrian jihadists and mercenaries. So it easily could have been the jihadists that conducted the gas attack.

Are these so-called “moderate rebels” morally capable of using poison gas on civilians, children especially?  You bet they are.  These are proven head-choppers, supported by the US, who have publicly posted numerous videos of themselves beheading children.  Morals are not part of their framework or this war.

Plus, the gas war crime certainly serves their interest more than it does Assad's at this time.

Between the two suspects, it's far more likely that the increasingly desperate jihadists, who are clearly losing the fight at this point, would use any and every method at their employ to their advantage. 

The West's response right now feels like a bad detective movie. Imagine the lead investigator of a grisly murder choosing to focuses first on the neighbor down the hall, while ignoring the spouse with a past history of domestic abuse and who recently took out a very large life insurance policy on the victim.  The current "Blame Assad!" narrative seems a poorly written script where you have to overlook a lot of gaping plot holes to get through the movie.

So there hasn’t been an independent investigation to clarify with confidence who is the guilty party here. But that hasn't stopped a swift verdict from circulating throughout the western press: "Assad’s government did it, and must be punished."

Keep in mind that US-made cluster bombs are busy killing children in Yemen. And nearly 130 Yemen children die every day from starvation thanks to the combined actions of Saudi and US forces blockading that nation's access to world markets. 

Suddenly, children in Syria matter a lot to the West, while Yemen's child victims are rarely ever mentioned. Suddenly there’s an urgent moral issue being rushed through the court of public opinion.

This has all the hallmarks of the prior propaganda campaigns we’ve seen before.  Scant evidence, immediate assignment of blame, and a quick rush to military action before anybody can really properly question the train of events.

The Rising Risk Of War

Which leads us to where we are now: the US and several NATO countries may attack just attacked Syria very soon with cruise missiles launched from ships (highest likelihood) and possibly airplanes.

Any such attack, it needs repeating, would be illegal under world laws if it happens without prior UN Security Council approval. Receiving such approval will be highly unlikely, because Russia sits on that council and has veto vote power.  So any attack will, by definition be illegal, and not a sanctioned affair.

However, the US and its allies have been operating illegally in Syria for many years. They haven't shown much concern to-date for securing international approval of their actions. It's unlikely to expect that to change anytime soon.

But the US isn't the only one on the schoolyard who can throw a punch. Russia, which has been supporting the Bashir al-Assad regime in Syria, is now taking a much harder line.

After years of being increasingly painted as the West's favorite villain (the latest campaign instantly blaming Putin for the poisoning of ex-spy Skripal was particularly hamfisted), Russia has made it clear: they are done being provoked. They won't backpedal any farther. If/when the US launches missiles at Syria, Russia has promised to shoot them down and fire a counter-strike at the launchers.

This is serious folks:

Russia will shoot down all US missiles and sources of fire, Russian Ambassador says

Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin said in an interview with the Lebanese TV channel Al-Manar that Russia would shoot down all missiles in case of US military aggression against Syria, RIA Novosti reports.

Russian air defence systems will be used to destroy both the weapons and the sources of fire.

Earlier, The New York Times reported that US presidential aides recommended the head of the White House to inflict a series of fierce attacks on several targets in Syria in response to the alleged chemical attack in the city of Douma, even though the fact of the chemical attack itself was never proved.

If Russia shoots back at the “sources of fire”, that means the US ships and planes used to launch the cruise missiles

I’d personally be worried sick if someone I loved was on the USS Donald Cook right now.  This is the “source of fire” most likely to be employed. 

Oddly, it’s all alone there in the Mediterranean. Other US ships appear to be days away. Perhaps it's "odd" in the same way as when the best ships in the seventh fleet were conveniently out of harm’s way when Pearl Harbor was attacked, leaving only older less seaworthy ships to be sunk, and giving President Roosevelt the casus belli he needed to get America into WW2.

Will the USS Donald Cook be the neo-cons' sacrifice as they endeavor to get their war with Russia kicked into a higher gear?

The US, for its part, is apparently busy communicating with the Russians, communicating it will seek to avoid killing any Russians if at all possible should it strike Syria.  This will limit the range of targets, but the risks are still very, very high:

A strike against Syria will likely come in the form of missiles, as was the case last year.

The United States would not want to risk putting manned aircraft over Syrian air defenses — a shoot-down would send the conflict spiraling in unforeseeable new directions.

The USS Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, is within easy striking range of Syria, as is a French frigate with its own cruise missiles.

These two ships, possibly aided by a US submarine, are likely to play a role in a strike.

What are the risks?

The reaction from Assad backer Moscow is unpredictable and Russia has threatened retaliatory action against the United States if missiles are fired at Syria.

The Russian army on Wednesday accused the White Helmets civil defense organization of staging a chemical weapons attack in Douma, where observers say more than 40 people died in a gas attack.

NBC News reported Tuesday that Russia has learned how to use GPS jammers to limit the capabilities of US drones operating over Syria.

“The US has to be very careful not to accidentally strike Russian targets or kill Russian advisors,” Ben Connable, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, told AFP.

“That significantly limits the number of options available to the United States, because the Russians are embedded in many cases with the Syrians.”

Connable warned that if the US accidentally or purposefully kills uniformed Russian soldiers, there would potentially be a dangerous escalation between the two nuclear powers.

(Source)

The plan here is for Trump get to appear tough, garnering the praise of the war party in the US (which is solidly bi-partisan) and the war press (the entire MSM), while not killing any Russians and, frankly, not doing too much actual damage to Syria.

This is pretty much from the same playbook as last year's false-flag gas attack in Syria, when we fired 59 Tomahawk missiles. 

But this time, Russia has made it clear that any repeat of last year's missile attack will have consequences. It has moved its key naval assets out of port and into strike positions:

APRIL 12, 2018: RUSSIA STARTS EXERCISES OFF SYRIAN COAST, VOWS RESPONSE TO US STRIKES

The Russian Navy has launched live-fire exercises off the Syrian coast as the US is still preparing for a possible military action against the country’s government.

The Russian exercises will be held from April 11 to April 26, the period when, according to some experts, the US strike will be most likely if the administration of US President Donald Trump decides to attack Syria.

On April 10, Russia’s envoy to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin once again confirming that Russian forces are ready to shoot down missiles and target the launchers in case of an escalation in the war-torn country.

Ali Akbar Velayati, the top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, vowed to support the Damascus government against any attack of the US and its allies.

So now we have Russian ships in the Mediterranean on live-fire exercises, bumping around a smallish sea with US naval assets, with everybody on pins and needles as NATO-Russia relations break down and tensions rise.

What could possibly go wrong?

Again, sane people ought to be asking why we are even in this position in the first place.  Exactly what US interests are at risk in Syria? Whatever they may be, is defending them worth risking a hot confrontation with a nuclear power over? So far, I've seen zero compelling explanations on this front.

A Dangerous Advertising Campaign?

Looked at from a different angle, here's an interesting article from a Russian newspaper (translated by Google so please read past the choppy writing…) which posits that the attack will be proven a useful test of Russia’s latest anti-missile systems.

If successful, Russia may well get to sell lots of them in the future. Great news comrades! We’re getting the chance to showcase our products!

The S-400 and "Pantsiri" are preparing for a grandiose exam in Syria

"Russian air defense systems in Syria have an opportunity to show everything they are capable of," a source close to the Russian Defense Ministry noted in a comment to the newspaper VZGLYAD. Such a check is worth a lot, the interlocutor notes.

"For the military all over the world, this will be an extremely important lesson – the analysis of this blow and its reflection will long be handled by the headquarters of all the leading military powers of the world," the general believes. The subject of analysis will also be how the electronic warfare complexes (EW) will work when reflecting missile strikes.

The number of downed enemy missiles is not an end in itself, Lieutenant-General Alexander Gorkov, head of the air defense missile forces in 2000-2008, remarked in conversation with the newspaper VZGLYAD. He stressed: "The air defense forces are designed to completely conserve the object. Therefore, if only one of the 100 rockets is shot down, but the one that flew exactly to the target, and because of this the object survived, this is considered a success. "

But there are objective criteria for anti-aircraft gunners.

This indicator means the probability of a target being hit by one missile. The number of intercepted targets is divided by the total number of missiles fired. For example, less than 0.7 means low efficiency; 0.8 and above – good, 0.9 – excellent, explained earlier to the portal " Economy Today " Lieutenant General Aitech Bizhev, former deputy commander-in-chief of the Russian Air Force on the CIS Joint Air Defense System.

"If we are talking about cruise missiles going at extremely low altitudes, then the efficiency should be at least 0.85-0.90,

As an example, Bezhev cited the result of the Syrian air defense forces, which recently repulsed the attack of  Israeli aircraft. F-15 planes fired eight missiles, the Syrians intercepted five of them. Thus, the coefficient was 0.6, that is 60% of the shot down missiles. This result is not very pleasing, Bezhev complained.

However, the expert of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (ACT) Vasily Kashin believes that the destruction of 50-60% of US missiles would be a huge success for Russian weapons. In fact, he added, even the destruction of 30% can be considered a great success, if we bear in mind both Russian and Syrian air defense forces.

It should be taken into account that the Syrians used old complexes, notes Bizhev. And the newest S-400 air defense systems are located at Russian facilities – the Khmeimim base and in Tartus. According to the Lieutenant-General, the efficiency of the S-400 for unobtrusive speed targets is 0.9, that is "magnificent", 90%.

In turn, Kashin recalls: in addition to our ground-based air defense in Syria will be two Russian frigates with the complex "Shtil-1", which stand off the coast of Syria. "Each of them has a vertical launch for 24 anti-aircraft missiles," the expert reminded VZGLYAD.

Potential buyers of weapons following the outcome of this conflict will draw conclusions about which weapon systems are more effective – American cruise missiles or Russian air defense systems. For a correct assessment, it is important to consider how many missiles are fired at the covered targets. "If the enemy will use a huge number of missiles, for example, more than 200, then you do not know exactly how many missiles will be on the target. Miracles do not happen, "Kashin said. He adds that it is impossible to completely repulse such a blow.

"For example, there are 100 air targets, for each we spend two anti-missiles. With this amount you need to have a very high ammunition. Is there such a number of missiles in the ammunition of the grouping deployed in Syria? "Asks General Alexander Gorkov.

"The combat component of the S-300 division is 32 missiles (if there are eight launchers) or 48 missiles, if 12 units are available," the interlocutor points out. "If two rockets are used for each shooting, the ammunition will be enough for 16 or 24 launches, respectively." If the coefficient of 0.9 is shown in these shootings, this will be evaluated as a success, including potential buyers of Russian weapons.

Even if that was a little long and technical for you, just know I find it possibly comforting. If Russia is looking for a 'grandiose exam' of its war matériel, and the US is going to attack mainly to satisfy internal politics (and Russia knows this), then that may contain any military exchange to a relatively small skirmish (for now). 

But if not, and Russia is truly backed into a corner, tired of the West's vilification and NATO's encroachment, it will show it claws. History has long shown that the Middle East is a powder keg where conflicts can easily escalate quickly. Where escalation might lead in this case is very worrisome indeed.

Time To Prepare For War

There remains, as yet, no evidence proving Assad’s government was behind the alleged gas attack in Douma.

All that’s been presented to the world are video clips showing what appear to be stricken people. However, we have long learned that such videos prove to be fraudulent. The same White Helmets who released these clips have been caught many times before using crisis actors and staging events that look just like the videos released — shaking cameras that sweep and lurch in tights shots over closely spaced bodies, poor lighting, etc. 

Moreover, the US and NATO blamed Assad and Russia within hours of these release of these videos, well before any actual evidence could have been collected and confirmed. As of course, they've similarly done time and again over the past years. Clearly, there's an eagerness on the West's side to find a reason to take harder action against Russia.

Will this one be it?

While the prospect of a kinetic (shooting) conflict between the West and Russia is obviously of greatest concern, the war could happen in one or several of many other forms (cyber, financial, trade, etc.) which I’ve written about extensively in the past.

We need to prepare ourselves for the prospect of war, even if this situation merely turns out to be an S-400 marketing blitz.  Because at the current trajectory, even if this event turns out not to be the flashpoint that ignites a larger confrontation, the odds of one that does happening soon is just too damn high.

It’s very clear that the US has embedded neocons that want a unipolar world where the US is top dog and gets to boss around China and Russia.  That makes war “highly likely” in our future. 

China and Russia quite rightly believe that they deserve to be treated on more equal footing and have their own national pride and internal political realities with which to contend, meaning they cannot appear to be pushed around by the US.  Saving face is important.

In Part 2: What To Prepare For we assess the most likely paths the current standoff may take, the probability of each, and what the ramifications of each would be. Knowing tomorrow's likeliest outcomes will help you best prepare today.

An escalating conflict between the US and Russia, even if limited to a proxy war in Syria, will result in tremendous casualites — of life, of geopolicital relations, and of markets. Protect yourself, those you love, and your wealth from becoming part of the collateral damage.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

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91 Comments

  • Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - 3:53pm

    #1

    Adam Taggart

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 25 2009

    Posts: 2489

    The War Machine Springs To Life...

    While editing this piece, the song '99 Red Balloons' by Nena kept playing in my head. So I thought it appropriate to title the report based on one of the lyrics, which go in part:

    Ninety-nine red balloons
    Floating in the summer sky
    Panic bells, it's red alert
    There's something here from somewhere else
    The war machine springs to life
    Opens up one eager eye
    Focusing it on the sky
    Where ninety-nine red balloons go by
    Ninety-nine Decision Street
    Ninety-nine ministers meet
    To worry, worry, super scurry
    Call the troops out in a hurry
    This is what we've waited for
    This is it, boys, this is war
    The president is on the line
    As ninety-nine red balloons go by

    Sure seems like the President and the neo-cons may well be whooping “This is it, boys!”. Sad.

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  • Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - 4:34pm

    #2

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Online)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3082

    and the original, in German

    There’s something about hearing this song in German that really does it for me.


    And the lyrics:
    http://www.metrolyrics.com/99-luftballons-german-lyrics-nena.htm

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  • Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - 5:04pm

    #3

    Montana Native

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 17 2009

    Posts: 41

    Thanks for the report....

    Gore Vidal was famous for saying that we live in the United States of Amnesia. After the lies that led up to the Iraq war or the aftermath of trashing Libya for shit reasons, nobody remembers or cares. To think people could go back and look at Secretary McNamara’s comments on the the Gulf of Tonkin incident or Lincoln’s attempts to bust James K Polk for likely lying about Mexicans attacking us on US soil as justification for the Mexican-American war is far too much to ask. What the Lusitania was actually carrying or how the Maine likely came to explode….may as well be speaking Portuguese. I’m just hoping for the best as Russia and China back Assad while the West, Saudi “terrorist supporter” Arabia, along with our welfare queen Isreal push for all out war against a country ruled by a secular leader that harbors one of the last Christian communities in the Middle East. How many people in vagina hats will march for peace and the prevention of the slaughter of countless thousands of innocents? Next to none…..the TV didn’t let them know this was a thing.

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  • Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - 5:32pm

    #4

    Time2help

    Status Platinum Member (Online)

    Joined: Jun 08 2011

    Posts: 2221

    And...it's War

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  • Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - 5:48pm

    #5
    richcabot

    richcabot

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 05 2011

    Posts: 180

    'White Helmets' Staged Syria Chemical Attack

    Russia claims that the reported chemical attack in Syria last Sunday was staged by the “white helmets,” a US-funded NGO lauded by mainstream media for their humanitarian work, while long-suspected of performing less-than humanitarian deeds behind the curtain.
    Speaking with EuroNews, Russia’s ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizov, said “Russian military specialists have visited this region, walked on those streets, entered those houses, talked to local doctors and visited the only functioning hospital in Douma, including its basement where reportedly the mountains of corpses pile up. There was not a single corpse and even not a single person who came in for treatment after the attack.”
    “But we’ve seen them on the video!” responds EuroNews correspondent Andrei Beketov.
    There was no chemical attack in Douma, pure and simple,” responds Chizov. “We’ve seen another staged event. There are personnel, specifically trained – and you can guess by whom – amongst the so-called White Helmets, who were already caught in the act with staged videos.”
    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-11/there-wasnt-single-corpse-russ

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  • Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - 6:26pm

    #6

    Barnbuilder

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 07 2014

    Posts: 23

    In other words we had nothing

    (Meanwhile, the White House said that the US is confident the Syrian regime was behind the chemical weapons attack, based on: media sources, victims’ symptoms,  videos, and  “reliable information indicating coordination between Syrian military officials before the attack.”)

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  • Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - 7:53pm

    #7

    Mark Cochrane

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 24 2011

    Posts: 1189

    Any ideas what this entails?

     
    Russia’s response to tonight’s extra curricular bombing. What are the consequences and when will we learn about them?
     
    Here is the statement from Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anataloy Antonov,
     
    The worst apprehensions have come true. Our warnings have been left unheard.
    A pre-designed scenario is being implemented. Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences.
    All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris.
    Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible.
    The U.S. – the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons – has no moral right to blame other countries.

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  • Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - 8:05pm

    #8
    skipr

    skipr

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 09 2016

    Posts: 121

    false flags on steroids

    I wonder how many more times the majority of the people here in the states will swallow yet another staged gas attack.  How about some more “Poppy” Bush’s incubator babies, Collin Powell’s vial of anthrax, or Dubya’s mushroom clouds and WMDs?  They haven’t used those in awhile.  I personally know people that still believe that bin Laden’s “Cheyenne Mountain”, as described by Rummy, was real:

    Here’s a detailed analysis of a WW2 false flag operation based upon the Italian Nazi’s own documents.
    http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2018/04/false-flag-operations-how-co
    Nothing ever changes.
     

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  • Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - 8:09pm

    #9
    aggrivated

    aggrivated

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    Posts: 441

    ?'s remain

    How many missles were fired?
    How effective were the Russian defense systems?
    Have the Russians followed through with their threats of retaliation against the missle launch sites?
    Where are the best sites to get these details?
    I did note that all South Front video has been banned from Facebook. Is the timing of this a coincidence?

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  • Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - 8:19pm

    Reply to #6
    darcieg76

    darcieg76

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    Posts: 70

    So, correct me if I missed

    So, correct me if I missed something, but isn’t all we have the assertions of the US et al saying that Assad was behind this and Syria and Russia saying it was staged? From the comments, it seems like people have concluded that it was a totally made-up attack. Aren’t we lacking proof either way?

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  • Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - 8:22pm

    #10

    Mark Cochrane

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 24 2011

    Posts: 1189

    Reported so far

    US says they fired twice as many missiles as in 2017 attack. That would mean around 120.
    Syria claims to have shot down 13.
    Doesn’t sound like the Russians shot at the ships and planes – yet.
    What comes next as a Russian response? Who knows.  

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  • Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - 8:25pm

    #11

    Mark Cochrane

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 24 2011

    Posts: 1189

    Lack of proof

    Yes we are lacking proof from either the US or Russian claims but only one side was compelled to shoot before the proof could be collected. Considering that the inspectors are supposed to be there working tomorrow, I’d say it looks like the US, UK, France didn’t feel they could wait for facts. 

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  • Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - 10:29pm

    #12
    nigel

    nigel

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 15 2009

    Posts: 89

    It's difficult to prove a negative

    As far as it goes they can’t really do much more to prove a negative. It would be up to the individual to accept their proof or not. They have offered proof, plenty of it on rt.com, it would be fair to say you haven’t accepted their proof as true.
    That however doesn’t really matter, it’s the russian reaction to the situation as they understand it, or as they have stated it. If they understand this to be a test of their resolve they must hit back and hard. Then it becomes a series of escalations. Lets pray putin is smarter than trump and we avoid a nuclear exchange.
    Hey, i wonder what a geiger counter is selling for on ebay?

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  • Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - 10:57pm

    #13

    thatchmo

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 13 2008

    Posts: 317

    Sigh.....and here I was,

    Sigh…..and here I was, planning on ignoring that next “incoming missile” alert on my device…..Aloha, Steve

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  • Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - 11:23pm

    Reply to #13

    SagerXX

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 11 2009

    Posts: 392

    thatchmo wrote: Sigh.....and

    thatchmo wrote:

    Sigh…..and here I was, planning on ignoring that next “incoming missile” alert on my device…..Aloha, Steve

    I think we’re good, bro.  If we’re not within 10 miles of Pearl or Barking Sands, probably OK.  

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  • Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - 11:35pm

    Reply to #13

    thatchmo

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 13 2008

    Posts: 317

    I was just having that

    I was just having that discussion with the Sweetheart.  I think PMRF, as a testing and research facility, would make a pretty tasty spoil of war, so would probably be off the “A” list.  Thankfully, a big, wet mountain ‘tween it and us…Pearl on the other hand, historically not a great place to be, and, unfortunately, upwind.  What a shitty thing to have to discuss, eh?  Take good care, Aloha, Steve.

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 2:40am

    #14
    Luke Moffat

    Luke Moffat

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 25 2014

    Posts: 364

    Silver Lining

    So this means that the Russians didn’t hack the US election after all? That’s a win, right?

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 3:39am

    #15

    stevejermy

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 13 2011

    Posts: 13

    SYRIA - A CONSEQUENCE OF WESTERN POLICY

    I intuitively doubt that the West’s attack on Syria, crass in thinking though it is, will lead us to war. But if it does, it will be a confrontation almost entirely of the West’s own making.
    In September 2011, in written evidence to the UK’s House of Common Defence Committee, I predicted that unilateral Western action in Libya would not only prove ineffective, but worse mistakenly inspire others in the Middle East, including Syria, to rise up in the (mistaken) hope that the West would support them, whilst at the same time causing the Russians and Chinese no longer to trust our use of the UN Security Council. It gives me no pleasure whatsoever, to be proved right. 
    The West has failed to understand Syria, the inverse of Iraq, as a chapter in the struggle between Sunni and Shia that has been going on since the 7th Century.
    In Iraq, a Sunni minority regime governed a Shia majority population. Our intervention, and the imposition of democratic processes ensured that Shia rule would ensue; a Shia regime with strong emotional links with Iran, the Shia centre-of-gravity. The Sunni countries, led by Saudi Arabia, were never comfortable with this predictable outcome, notwithstanding that they grudgingly supported the West’s actions. 
    In Syria, the situation is the reverse. Assad’s Shia minority regime governed a majority Sunni population, and it is no surprise that the key backers of the Sunni uprising are the Saudis and Quataris. But the difference is that, unlike Saddam Hussein, Assad has powerful long-term backers, lRussia and Iran. Furthermore, Assad’s Alwaites know that if the Syrian Sunni majority were to win, then the Alawites would be slaughtered as a people. So they have no reason to give in or compromise, and were always likely to fight to the bitter end. All of this, which was unclear to us, was always clear to Russia, who backed the likely winner from the outset.  None of these observations are intended to judgemental, about the rightness or wrongness of the dire situation on the ground, rather all is simply reflections of what got us to where we are.  As a result, we, the West, now find ourselves in a ludicrous and dire situation largely of our own making.
    First, we have, through our actions in Libya all those years ago, encouraged an Arab Spring, which we’ve assumed is about democracy breaking out, whereas it is much more complex, and largely about economic failure and religious conflict. 
    Second, we have failed to understand the specific politico-religious dynamics of the Syrian conflict, and how they interweave more generally into the wider Middle East.
    Third, we have failed to understand Russia, a country that is naturally European in its cultural makeup, and instead – through our actions in Libya, and subsequently Ukraine and our recent responses to the UK nerve agent question – reduced the chances of diplomatic solutions and increased the chances of military mistake. 
    And to top it all, at a time when we’ve increased the risks of military mistake, we are now taking military action, unsanctioned by our populations who are rightly more cautious than our bellicose politicians, that offers no prospect whatsoever of improving the situation. 
    The brilliant American diplomat, George Kennan, said in February 1966, of the US involvement in Vietnam: 
    If we were not already involved as we are today in Vietnam, I would know of no reason why we would wish to become involved and I can think of several reasons why we would wish not to. Vietnam is not a region of major military, industrial importance. It is difficult to believe that any decisive developments of the world situation would be determined by what happens in that country. If it were not for considerations of prestige that arise precisely from our present involvement, even in a situation in which South Vietnam was controlled exclusively by the Viet Cong, whilst regrettable and no doubt morally unwarranted, would not in my opinion present dangers enough to justify our direct military involvement. 
    Replace ‘Vietnam’ with ‘Syria’, and the ‘Viet Cong’ with the ‘Assad regime’ and the statement holds good, in my opinion, for the West’s involvement in Syria. 
    My brother, a brilliant Arabist, has thought for some time that the West would have been better to back Assad, and I think he has a point. I have written elsewhere that a first principle when considering military intervention is the classic medical principle of ‘First do no harm.’ I think I would now add to this, ‘If you have done harm, mistakenly, then don’t do any more.’ And certainly don’t do anymore that increases the chances of conflict with Russia, one of the world’s 2 leading energy suppliers and the primary supplier of natural gas to Europe. 
     
     
     

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 4:31am

    Reply to #15

    cmartenson

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 4468

    Interesting thoughts...and the Hypocratic Oath

    stevejermy wrote:

    My brother, a brilliant Arabist, has thought for some time that the West would have been better to back Assad, and I think he has a point. I have written elsewhere that a first principle when considering military intervention is the classic medical principle of ‘First do no harm.’ I think I would now add to this, ‘If you have done harm, mistakenly, then don’t do any more.’ And certainly don’t do anymore that increases the chances of conflict with Russia, one of the world’s 2 leading energy suppliers and the primary supplier of natural gas to Europe. 

    Yes, let’s use the Oath!  Or something like it.  Here’s a proposal.
    The Hippocratic Oath is actually many paragraphs long, and contains several important principles.  “First do no harm” does not appear in the original texts (but does appear many centuries later.
    The closest original line is “noxamvero et maleficium propulsabo”  or “I will utterly reject harm and mischief”
    That works for me!  Let’s roll with that one as a nation.  That would be swell.  Works for me.
    I also like this line from the original text:  “Practice two things in your dealings with disease: either help or do not harm the patient”  
    You either help your patient or you do not harm them.  In other words, if you cannot improve on the situation you do nothing.  Stand back.  Said differently, and which is in the podcast with Robert Whitaker on psychoactive drug addictions (coming out soon) the idea is that if you cannot improve upon a patient’s natural rate of recovery and healing, don’t do anything.
    So if someone was going to get better in three weeks, you either administer a treatment that helped them get better in less time (or more completely) or you don’t do anything at all.
    So all of the poppycock about how “Iraq is better off without Saddam” and “Libya is better off without Ghaddafi” is a load of bollox.  Utter horsecrap.  Both places are desperately worse off today than when Dr. USA administered his treatments.
    With any luck, the USA can someday begin to join the ranks of civilized nations that are able to adhere to principles that are thousands of years young.  /sarc./
    I’m still digging around for clues as to how Russia will react…

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 6:55am

    #16

    Mark Cochrane

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

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    Posts: 1189

    Epic Fail?

    Does any country in the world believe that this was anything but a face-saving exercise by a coalition of the culpable?
    Over 100 missiles used to ‘destroy’ three empty buildings/facilities, in a ‘one time’ attack. Syria and Russia weren’t told in advance that the attack was coming but the targets were announced days ago. Now Syria claims to have shot down 71 missiles (probably an exaggeration) with 30 year old equipment while the US claims that they hit nothing (surely an underestimation). Since the US announced they would hit 8 locations and wound up with three, who will win the propaganda wars now, especially given the transparent lying the US, UK and France have engaged in leading up to this farce?
    Russia now has reason to give Syria advanced weapons, Israel will scream. China now will openly oppose the US in Syria. Who wants to buy US missiles now? everyone is queuing up for Russian antimissile systems.
    Good thing that the Deep State makes it’s own reality because they are quickly becoming the only ones living in it.

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 7:12am

    #17
    Uncletommy

    Uncletommy

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    Posts: 508

    Media Missiles?

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 7:50am

    #18
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

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    Posts: 112

    Proud?

    Anyone here proud to be an Amerikan today?
    Anyone think we are making Amerika great?

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 7:57am

    #19
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

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    Joined: May 17 2017

    Posts: 112

    Cops

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 8:04am

    Reply to #18

    LesPhelps

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 30 2009

    Posts: 456

    Boom!

    This is how new “terrorists” are created.
    If someone kept dropping bombs in my neighborhood, I’d react somewhat negatively.
     

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 8:14am

    #20

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 424

    Proud - Yes

    “Anyone here proud to be an American today?”
    “Anyone think we are making America great?”
    Your attempts to “SHAME” us – I am NOT biting.  My Father fought in WWII, I knew people who died in Vietnam and people who are serving in our armed forces today and they deserve our respect and support.  There is a HUGE difference between those who arrogantly wield power and those who bleed and die for the people they love.
    Generalizations and contempt are NOT helpful.  Shame on you for lumping good people, people who are hardworking and our service personnel who are dying for our country with those who are corrupt and indifferent.  It’s all a matter of perspective!
    May Our Men and Women who serve our country come home alive.
    AKGrannyWGrit

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 8:17am

    #21

    thatchmo

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

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    Posts: 317

    "Raytheon predicts increased

    “Raytheon predicts increased 2nd quarter profits.  Assures Pentagon replacement Tomahawk missiles can be delivered in 30 days.”  I’m not sure if the previous is true, I just made it up….Aloha, Steve

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 9:06am

    #22

    Time2help

    Status Platinum Member (Online)

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    Posts: 2221

    Ours but to do or die

    Ours But To Do Or Die (The Automatic Earth)

    Quote:

    You see Reagan didn’t want to WIN the Cold War. He wanted to END it. The Cheney-Rumsfeld-Dr. Strangelove wing could never forgive that. His body wasn’t cold before they were back, this time behind Clinton, to finish the occupation of Russia as the last step to world domination. This is why the crazies back in the PNAC days were desperate to nuke the helpless Russia even then. They were right. If you didn’t nuke them, openly attack them, they would survive and escape, which would ultimamtely thwart the Neocon/Deep State plans to take over the world. And so they have.
    But as we see today, they never give up. They’re still aching to start a world-wide nuclear exchange and openly agitating 24/7 on CNN to do so. No amount of bombing is enough, no number of bankrupted, shattered cities are too many just to get Russia out of the way, whose historic job, sadly but heroically, is to crush and utterly destroy the idiotic plans of meglomaniac warmongers from the West like Hitler and Napoleon, and dash them to pieces on the rocks of reality. Because the West never restrains its maniacs, it empowers them.

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 9:14am

    #23

    Mark Cochrane

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

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    Posts: 1189

    Of Syria and Skripals

    I wonder if somebody thought this also required some distraction…..

    according to the independent Swiss state Spiez lab, the substance used on Sergei Skripal was an agent called BZ, which was never produced in Russia, but was in service in the US, UK, and other NATO states. Link

    Curiouser and curiouser.  

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 9:15am

    #24
    joeschreiber

    joeschreiber

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    Posts: 1

    It’s about the Dollar

    This attack is against Russia, which is replacing the US Dollar as its reserve currency and for settlement of international trade. Same as Iraq, Lybia, Iran, and China. That’s why these countries are on our shitlist and subject to sanctions, invasions, attacks, trade wars, and regime change. 

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 9:50am

    Reply to #18

    SagerXX

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 11 2009

    Posts: 392

    Mohammed Mast wrote: Anyone

    Mohammed Mast wrote:

    Anyone here proud to be an Amerikan today?
    Anyone think we are making Amerika great?

    Dude, this country was essentially over with the 2010 coup d’etat of Citizens United.  Everything from there until whatever near-or-distant-term point at which it is replaced by whatever comes next is just a ragged epilogue.  
    I say this not to be edgy or gloomy, but because I find it a useful filter/frame to interpret the current situation, current events, and future events.  I can’t change the wave, but if I can see/predict it with any clarity, I can ride it and survive instead of getting tumbled by it.
    The US had a decent run.  Turns out it wasn’t immune to history/hadn’t broken the wheel of history.
    VIVA — Sager

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 10:39am

    Reply to #20

    Mark_BC

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 30 2010

    Posts: 275

    AKGrannyWGrit wrote: "Anyone

    AKGrannyWGrit wrote:

    “Anyone here proud to be an American today?”
    “Anyone think we are making America great?”
    Your attempts to “SHAME” us – I am NOT biting.  My Father fought in WWII, I knew people who died in Vietnam and people who are serving in our armed forces today and they deserve our respect and support.  There is a HUGE difference between those who arrogantly wield power and those who bleed and die for the people they love.
    Generalizations and contempt are NOT helpful.  Shame on you for lumping good people, people who are hardworking and our service personnel who are dying for our country with those who are corrupt and indifferent.  It’s all a matter of perspective!
    May Our Men and Women who serve our country come home alive.
    AKGrannyWGrit

    If I was a bumper sticker kind of guy, which I’m  not, I’d get one in response to the tacky “Support our Troops” ribbon stickers that says, “I appreciate the sacrifice, but I do not support our troops.”

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 11:09am

    Reply to #20
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 17 2017

    Posts: 112

    AKGrannyWGrit wrote: "Anyone

    AKGrannyWGrit wrote:

    “Anyone here proud to be an American today?”
    “Anyone think we are making America great?”
    Your attempts to “SHAME” us – I am NOT biting.  My Father fought in WWII, I knew people who died in Vietnam and people who are serving in our armed forces today and they deserve our respect and support.  There is a HUGE difference between those who arrogantly wield power and those who bleed and die for the people they love.
    Generalizations and contempt are NOT helpful.  Shame on you for lumping good people, people who are hardworking and our service personnel who are dying for our country with those who are corrupt and indifferent.  It’s all a matter of perspective!
    May Our Men and Women who serve our country come home alive.
    AKGrannyWGrit

    I made no attempt to shame anyone, the corporate state has done a much better job than I ever could. By the way you did bite and you used it to go off on a rant which for the most part does not address the current situation, but does perfectly express the Amerikan mythology that is the reason we find ourselves where we are today Strawman arguments have little weight behind them. I asked a simple question. I can only assume you are proud of our actions and support bombing Syria. I am not about to get into a silly flame war about Amerikan history so I will leave you with a video fo someone who knew very well what our men and women are actually serving. (hint it aint “their” country)

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 11:12am

    Reply to #24
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

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    Posts: 112

    joeschreiber wrote: This

    joeschreiber wrote:

    This attack is against Russia, which is replacing the US Dollar as its reserve currency and for settlement of international trade. Same as Iraq, Lybia, Iran, and China. That’s why these countries are on our shitlist and subject to sanctions, invasions, attacks, trade wars, and regime change. 

    I don’t believe any of those countries are part of the international banking cartel.
     

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 11:53am

    #25
    Uncletommy

    Uncletommy

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    Posts: 508

    A fraying thread? Focus, folks!

    Why I’m not worried –  perhaps it’s time to unplug:

    “Worry is wasting today’s time to clutter up tomorrow’s opportunities with yesterday’s troubles.”

     

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 12:14pm

    #26

    Mark Cochrane

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 24 2011

    Posts: 1189

    Phase 2

    And now Israel attacks to provoke the Iranians. Coincidence? No. They are hoping that the Iranians will attack Israel while we have an armada steaming into the  Med. just in time to attack those pesky Iranians and make Bolton happy.

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 1:13pm

    Reply to #23

    mememonkey

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Nov 01 2009

    Posts: 97

    OPCW

    Mark Cochrane wrote:

    I wonder if somebody thought this also required some distraction…..

    according to the independent Swiss state Spiez lab, the substance used on Sergei Skripal was an agent called BZ, which was never produced in Russia, but was in service in the US, UK, and other NATO states. Link

    Curiouser and curiouser.  

    OPCW is unfortunately subject to politicization and undue influence most famously evident during the Cheney Administration by the US led ouster of it’s first director Jose Bustani  who was attempting to bring Iraq and Libya  into the OPCW treaty regime and wanting inspectors on the ground in Iraq  and was therefore  deemed a hindrance to the already decided on war plans.  Designated point demon on that was our good friend John Bolton. 

    The OPCW report on Skripal samples certainly appears to have selectively presented the availible facts from the Swiss lab results so as to narrowly support the plausibility of UK’s bogus story.  However even that selective reporting includes the fact that the samples of the nerve agent were of high purity.  This implies all sorts of derivative inconsistencies with the official story regarding it’s provenance and application with regard to observable facts. Not the least of which is that a pure version of a Novichok ‘type’ agent would have quickly killed any victims. 
    https://thesaker.is/a-curious-incident-part-ix/
    It will be interesting to see the results of OPCW’s findings in Douma ( Now that Trump and May’s brave and decisive missile strikes have forced the Russians and Syrians to consent to allow them access)
    It is of note that the current head of OPCW is a Turkish diplomat who is a former ambassador to Israel. Regardless of his personal integrity, if there is leverage avail, we will know it and it will be used.
    Hopefully he does not have children in New York or London that John Bolton can threaten like in the case of  former OPCW director Jose Bustani
    In any case I suspect even with an unambiguous OPCW finding that there was no chemical attack in Syria, our side will simply result in obfuscation and propaganda,  You can see that Mattis engaged in some preemptive ass covering by foreshadowing an excuse that evidence of  these chemical agents degrade quickly with time.  Between that and the Syrian /Russian control of the site prior to OPCW arrival should be enough to blunt any unfortunate revelations.
     
    mememonkey

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 2:19pm

    #27

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 424

    Perception

    “I can only assume you are proud of our actions and support bombing Syria.”
    Oh for Pete’s Sake, another snarky comment. Really??? 
    I get your point –  my point is that I am old enough to remember the return of our Vietnam Vets and it WASN’T a hero’s welcome for many!  We got it then we get it now, somehow our troops deserve better!  Your post can be interpreted as contemptuous.  Our Service members deserve better.
    Annoyed Granny
     

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 2:24pm

    #28

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Online)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3082

    attack poodles

    So far at least, it looks like an attack similar to the one that happened last time.  Nobody died, some buildings got blown up, the foaming-at-the-mouth war-cheerleaders in the media got some shots of missiles being launched (war being an immediate ratings boost), and Trump gets to say “Mission Accomplished.”
    My guess: Trump has learned that its cheaper (in terms of his political capital) to appease the media-attack-poodles with a $100 million dollar symbolic act rather than to try and stand on principle.
    But he can’t really come out and tell us this, except obliquely.
    I wonder if he learned from this event: perhaps next time he’ll just quietly order the troops home rather than advertising it in advance.
     

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 3:37pm

    Reply to #28
    nigel

    nigel

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 15 2009

    Posts: 89

    World peace

    There are few things we can learn
    1) Trump is smart enough to avoid provoking a nuclear war
    2) Putin is smart enough to avoid reacting to provocations and therefore avoid a nuclear war
    3) the war hawks will be encouraged by the lack of retaliation by Russia, so i still expect an escalation / false flag in the future.
    Right now, this is great news, two smart people who sure may preen like a pair of peacocks but are both wise enough to fear a conflict between two nuclear powers. I am going to go have a beer and rest easy for a while, then go back to making the garden bigger.

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 3:57pm

    #29

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Online)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3082

    cognitive dissonance

    One semi-amusing thought:
    Those who were terrified of having Trump with his finger on the button are the same group basically saying he’s a wimp if he doesn’t more vigorously attack Syria – thus risking the very nuclear war they were terrified that Trump would start, because it was Trump who was the impulsive boob.
    Ok, I lied, its not amusing at all.  One wonders if they realize where they are right now – that they’ve totally betrayed the historical anti-war wing of the Democratic party.
    My only explanation: utter cognitive dissonance.  Anti-War + Hate Russia + Scary Trump = Trump Must Attack Russia, risking nuclear war.
    I long for the day when the American People wake up from their slumber.

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 5:03pm

    Reply to #27

    Quercus bicolor

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 19 2008

    Posts: 190

    Granny,I think that 

    Duplicate

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 5:04pm

    Reply to #27

    Quercus bicolor

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 19 2008

    Posts: 190

    All in agreement?

    Granny,
    I think that  everyone here agrees that the appropriate course of action is to honor and support those who served/fought while withholding support or even holding in contempt those who would put our young men and women in harms way for such a foolish action. (Could I  add greedy?, dangerously foolish? evil?).

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 5:10pm

    Reply to #27
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 17 2017

    Posts: 112

    AKGrannyWGrit wrote: “I can

    AKGrannyWGrit wrote:

    “I can only assume you are proud of our actions and support bombing Syria.”
    Oh for Pete’s Sake, another snarky comment. Really??? 
    I get your point –  my point is that I am old enough to remember the return of our Vietnam Vets and it WASN’T a hero’s welcome for many!  We got it then we get it now, somehow our troops deserve better!  Your post can be interpreted as contemptuous.  Our Service members deserve better.
    Annoyed Granny
     

    Have a blessed life. I am out
     

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 5:28pm

    Reply to #27
    mntnhousepermi

    mntnhousepermi

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 19 2016

    Posts: 149

    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast wrote:
    AKGrannyWGrit wrote:

    “I can only assume you are proud of our actions and support bombing Syria.”
    Oh for Pete’s Sake, another snarky comment. Really??? 
    I get your point –  my point is that I am old enough to remember the return of our Vietnam Vets and it WASN’T a hero’s welcome for many!  We got it then we get it now, somehow our troops deserve better!  Your post can be interpreted as contemptuous.  Our Service members deserve better.
    Annoyed Granny
     

    Have a blessed life. I am out
     
    If you realy thought that, you wouldnt have replied at all. Saying have a blessed life in this context, is hte same as saying “bless your heart ” which means, I know you are wrong and you are so naive I am not going to give anyother response.
     

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 5:29pm

    Reply to #24

    LogansRun

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 18 2009

    Posts: 304

    This attack is against the monetary system

    Its dying, almost dead.  They need a reason to replace it.
     
    look up, “the economist, new currency, Phoenix Funny how 2018 is the year they chose WAY back when….
     
     

    joeschreiber wrote:

    This attack is against Russia, which is replacing the US Dollar as its reserve currency and for settlement of international trade. Same as Iraq, Lybia, Iran, and China. That’s why these countries are on our shitlist and subject to sanctions, invasions, attacks, trade wars, and regime change. 

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 9:08pm

    #30

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Online)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3082

    vietnam

    AKGranny-
    FWIW, my uncle was deployed to Vietnam in 1968.  In the army, as an enlisted man, in combat.  He came back, but a lot of the people he served with didn’t survive.
    In other words, I know what you mean.  I honor my Uncle’s service – but at the same time, I think the war itself was a tragedy that could have been avoided, had we been wiser as a country.
    Perhaps only those who have friends or loved ones who served can understand this mind-set.
     

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 9:11pm

    Reply to #29
    skipr

    skipr

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    Joined: Jan 09 2016

    Posts: 121

    2016: Either way we are screwed

    Well I’m one who was terrified about Trump’s finger hovering over the button before the election and more so now.  The “cackling over Qaddafi’s murder” Hillary would have been equally scary.  I think the anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan said it perfectly before the election: 
    “No matter who “wins” on Tuesday night, the main thing to remember is that 99% of us are going to be Big Losers and the only way to for the people to win is to organize on a massive scale to oppose the policies of US empire and to join with the rest of the world in liberation struggles for freedom and equality.”

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 9:13pm

    #31

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 424

    Agreement?

    Thanks Quercus bicolor – 
    Granny,
    I think that  everyone here agrees that the appropriate course of action is to honor and support those who served/fought while withholding support or even holding in contempt those who would put our young men and women in harms way for such a foolish action. (Could I  add greedy?, dangerously foolish? evil?).
     

    For a number of years worked with a Vietnam Vet.  He explained that when he returned home he did not tell people he was returning from Service as he didn’t want someone to call him a baby killer.  Unlike today the “anti-war sentiment” sometimes carried over to our returning men and women.  Today we hear people tell our service personnel “thank you for your service”!  It was not always the case.  My co-worker explained one day at lunch when we were discussing the post-war movie Coming Home (1978) he explained that he didn’t see it for a few years and finally during a business trip he watched it, alone, in his hotel room and bawled like a baby.  It impacted him.
    I don’t know that everyone supports our men and women in service.  But I do know that sentiment can change and history may not repeat exactly but repeat in some form or fashion it does.  Obviously this is a topic few want to think about, remember or discuss.  Understandable.

    Just a perspective very few of you have.

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 9:33pm

    #32

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 424

    An even better video

    A piece of our history you may not know.

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 10:28pm

    #33
    pgp

    pgp

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    Posts: 164

    War may not be that inevitable.

    Its easy to get swept up in the black and white of various “truths”.  That’s what the poltical/deep-state and corporate establishment rely upon indirectly to maintain control of the voting public.  Even the most intellectual of poeple get swept up in public opinion on either side or the argument but at the end of the day are still completely mislead.
    What is still not answered in all the anti and pro warmongering is, what drives the whole us-and-them battle rhetoric?  Mostly likely it is simply the usual limbic impulses like those seen in a kindergarten playground.
    However since the people playing this game are not four years old, have much more military experience than we do and think with defense department slyness, its really going to be very difficult to understand the exact motivations of the idiots in charge of this fracas.  On the other hand ascribing too much cleverness to the “intelligence community” is as foolish as claiming that our central bankers are actually organized.
    Nevertheless it seems most likely that Syrians/Russians don’t keep anything important at any one advertised military location.  The military institutions may be as inept as our governments but let’s be realistic about their ability to formulate at least some basic strategy, like distributing valuable machinery over a wide area, too wide to bomb in any one act of aggression.  Consequently if nothing is gained or lost from such a staged attack why would the Russians really care, except to save face under the spotlight of their 6’o’clock news.  The inevitability of war is therefore not so assured, at least not until someone really gets hurt.
    At the end of the day people in various branches of the government thrash about looking for consensus finally agreeing on trivial issues with the cognitive power equivalent to that of a four-year old.  So when it finally comes time to execute a plan, our leaders communicate it to the world while giving minions on both sides, time to mitigate the collateral damage of another pointless military action.
    The story therefore hasn’t changed.  The US and its puppets want control of the global economy or global political direction while the Russians and Chinese threaten that dogma.  The idiots on capitol hill can’t do really anything about it so they run crying to the general public and media barons, threatening to break the other kids’ toys.  The end result is embarrassment for the human race while little strategic harm is done.
    The real take-away here is that we still don’t have a global rule of law to keep the various government powers under control.  We won’t have that until those governments are disempowered.  The amount of power a government controls needs to be curtailed.  Internally a country’s law’s do this well enough but globally the balance of power between the courts and the leaders is severely shifted in the wrong direction.

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  • Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - 10:58pm

    Reply to #33
    Geedard

    Geedard

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 13 2014

    Posts: 56

    More than 1

    pgp wrote:

    The real take-away here is that we still don’t have a global rule of law to keep the various government powers under control.  We won’t have that until those governments are disempowered. 

    I tend to agree. For decades now, “imminent global disaster” does always seem (so far anyway) to get thwarted at the last minute (be it financial, cyber, kinetic or whatever), due to some backstage action (e.g. public lies offset by backstage “heads up”…or in the case of financial – a last minute CB bail-out, QE or whatever).
    It seems to me (FWIW), that there is more than 1 “globalist force” battling for supremacy and the “ultimate prize” that they seem to seek – and that this is where the REAL power struggle is taking place…and that everything we see and comprehend at the local and national/continental levels is just a trickle down of that. 
    Perhaps the Red Meme Objectives (that Sand_Puppy so brilliantly and comprehensively informs us about) versus “who knows who or what else”…
    If there were only one globalist force at work, entirely aligned with “the what and the how”…then one global power, control and rule of law…would have been a reality for all of us long ago…in MHO.
    Until that battle for supremacy resolves itself – I’m guessing we’ll all remain completely confused and perpetually feeling at existential risk. 

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 12:27am

    Reply to #20

    fionnbharr

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 27 2012

    Posts: 63

    Blur's, Blanks & Amnesia

    AKGrannyWGrit wrote:
    Mohammed Mast wrote:

    “Anyone here proud to be an American today?”
    “Anyone think we are making America great?”

    Your attempts to “SHAME” us – I am NOT biting.  My Father fought in WWII, I knew people who died in Vietnam and people who are serving in our armed forces today and they deserve our respect and support.  There is a HUGE difference between those who arrogantly wield power and those who bleed and die for the people they love.
    Generalizations and contempt are NOT helpful.  Shame on you for lumping good people, people who are hardworking and our service personnel who are dying for our country with those who are corrupt and indifferent.  It’s all a matter of perspective!
    May Our Men and Women who serve our country come home alive.
    AKGrannyWGrit

    AKGrannyWGrit,
    your father was a weapon in WW11, and the people that you knew that died in Vietnam, along with those serving in our armed forces today, are one and the same. A weapon.
    Empire’s of all colors around the globe don’t send people to fight wars. Empires send weapons in the form of people.
    People are those that you and I love.
    An Empire does not love. An Empire sells a story to its people so that they fight for a resource in anothers land as a weapon.
    The story is sold to justify the killing of the innocent.
    The innocent are first decried as none people to justify killing them – the slaughter of innocence.
    At the top of this thread Montana Native wrote that the late Gore Vidal was famous for saying that we live in the United States of Amnesia. Gore Vidal’s actual quote was : –

    “We live in the United States of Amnesia. No one remembers anything before Monday morning. Everything is a blur, everything a blank.”

    The version of the story that you have been sold, and the story that Mohammed Mast has been sold are similar, but not the same. The division is in the outcome’. To quote Leonard Cohen : –

    “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

    I’ll let Robert Fisk explain from this point : 
     

    In the West, it’s easy to chop off Middle East events into easily consumable news cycles which have no connection to each other, bite-sized chunks of horror which distance and ignorance and lack of compassion can easily dissolve. It’s not that many years since the British Labour Party decided it was “time to move on” from the Iraq war, as if this mass butchery was just a domestic break-up, a messy divorce, a family dispute. But no one in the Middle East would understand this. The Arabs who suffer the consequences naturally see events as a continuum, one bloody event leading to another bloody result; for these tragedies do not occur in a vacuum, separated neatly by superpower invasions or threats or missile attacks or prime-time news or terror that crosses national frontiers.
    Thus if the Iraq war led to IS — which it did — so IS crossed and re-crossed the Iraqi-Syrian frontier and brought its savagery to Syria’s civil war. Thus Raqa begat Mosul which beget a series of towns with forgettable names — parts of eastern Ghouta, for example; Afrin. For these are also our heritage to the people of the Middle East. And if Iraq’s new Shia Muslim power naturally attracted the Iranians, so Saudi Arabia saw Iran’s hand in Yemen and we are now arming the Saudis to continue their bombing of Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, supposedly armed by the Iranians. Another 10,000 dead.
    Our weapons — to the Iraqi government and to the jihadis of Syria — ended up in IS’s hands and as the Syrian regime wobbled, Russia arrived with its own military power. The “war on terror” — which for us began on 9/11 — morphed into the war on Afghanistan and then, with scrupulous duplicity, into the war against Saddam and then the war on IS and now the destruction of the Kurds (our allies, remember) and a new alliance between Moscow and Nato’s largest army (the Turkish variety under the Sultan Erdogan). Forget justice. Forget dignity. Forget education. We were not interested in these desperate, justified ambitions of the people of the Middle East.
    And it goes on. In Mosul this past week, they reckoned they still had more than 10 million tons of rubble to clear. Since 2013, the Iraqis have sentenced more than 3,000 prisoners to death. Since 2014, 250 accused IS members have been hanged, a hundred of them last year alone. Detainees and prisoners in Iraq — this courtesy of both Human Rights Watch and Reuters — now number 20,000 men and women, 6,000 of them in the Nassiriya prison in southern Iraq alone. This figure is of Saddamite proportions.
    And our wars over the past 15 years have been too titanic to leave any place for the poor old Palestinians under the longest military occupation in modern history, so costly that we must pay our tab by selling even more billions of dollars of weapons to the Gulf Arabs to fuel the Sunni-Shia civil war. We destroy Baghdad. We destroy Mosul. The Russians help to destroy Aleppo and Ghouta. Then we destroy Raqa. We alternately weep for the civilians of Aleppo and Ghouta and turn our shining faces from the dead of Mosul and Raqa, and we all know the reasons why. But we are kingmakers. If we can destroy this ancient land of Mesopotamia, why, we can declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and Theresa May can tell the world that Britain still feels “pride” in the Balfour Declaration.

    Finn

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 4:38am

    #34
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 17 2017

    Posts: 112

    Geography lesson

    This article is a little dated but lays out some of if not all the reasons for the CIA instigated civil war in Syria.
    http://www.oil-price.net/en/articles/russian-gas-pipeline-hacking-electi

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 5:26am

    Reply to #20
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 17 2017

    Posts: 112

    fionnbharr

    fionnbharr wrote:
    AKGrannyWGrit wrote:
    Mohammed Mast wrote:

    “Anyone here proud to be an American today?”
    “Anyone think we are making America great?”

    Your attempts to “SHAME” us – I am NOT biting.  My Father fought in WWII, I knew people who died in Vietnam and people who are serving in our armed forces today and they deserve our respect and support.  There is a HUGE difference between those who arrogantly wield power and those who bleed and die for the people they love.
    Generalizations and contempt are NOT helpful.  Shame on you for lumping good people, people who are hardworking and our service personnel who are dying for our country with those who are corrupt and indifferent.  It’s all a matter of perspective!
    May Our Men and Women who serve our country come home alive.
    AKGrannyWGrit

    AKGrannyWGrit,
    your father was a weapon in WW11, and the people that you knew that died in Vietnam, along with those serving in our armed forces today, are one and the same. A weapon.
    Empire’s of all colors around the globe don’t send people to fight wars. Empires send weapons in the form of people.
    People are those that you and I love.
    An Empire does not love. An Empire sells a story to its people so that they fight for a resource in anothers land as a weapon.
    The story is sold to justify the killing of the innocent.
    The innocent are first decried as none people to justify killing them – the slaughter of innocence.
    At the top of this thread Montana Native wrote that the late Gore Vidal was famous for saying that we live in the United States of Amnesia. Gore Vidal’s actual quote was : –

    “We live in the United States of Amnesia. No one remembers anything before Monday morning. Everything is a blur, everything a blank.”

    The version of the story that you have been sold, and the story that Mohammed Mast has been sold are similar, but not the same. The division is in the outcome’. To quote Leonard Cohen : –

    “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

    I’ll let Robert Fisk explain from this point : 
     

    In the West, it’s easy to chop off Middle East events into easily consumable news cycles which have no connection to each other, bite-sized chunks of horror which distance and ignorance and lack of compassion can easily dissolve. It’s not that many years since the British Labour Party decided it was “time to move on” from the Iraq war, as if this mass butchery was just a domestic break-up, a messy divorce, a family dispute. But no one in the Middle East would understand this. The Arabs who suffer the consequences naturally see events as a continuum, one bloody event leading to another bloody result; for these tragedies do not occur in a vacuum, separated neatly by superpower invasions or threats or missile attacks or prime-time news or terror that crosses national frontiers.
    Thus if the Iraq war led to IS — which it did — so IS crossed and re-crossed the Iraqi-Syrian frontier and brought its savagery to Syria’s civil war. Thus Raqa begat Mosul which beget a series of towns with forgettable names — parts of eastern Ghouta, for example; Afrin. For these are also our heritage to the people of the Middle East. And if Iraq’s new Shia Muslim power naturally attracted the Iranians, so Saudi Arabia saw Iran’s hand in Yemen and we are now arming the Saudis to continue their bombing of Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, supposedly armed by the Iranians. Another 10,000 dead.
    Our weapons — to the Iraqi government and to the jihadis of Syria — ended up in IS’s hands and as the Syrian regime wobbled, Russia arrived with its own military power. The “war on terror” — which for us began on 9/11 — morphed into the war on Afghanistan and then, with scrupulous duplicity, into the war against Saddam and then the war on IS and now the destruction of the Kurds (our allies, remember) and a new alliance between Moscow and Nato’s largest army (the Turkish variety under the Sultan Erdogan). Forget justice. Forget dignity. Forget education. We were not interested in these desperate, justified ambitions of the people of the Middle East.
    And it goes on. In Mosul this past week, they reckoned they still had more than 10 million tons of rubble to clear. Since 2013, the Iraqis have sentenced more than 3,000 prisoners to death. Since 2014, 250 accused IS members have been hanged, a hundred of them last year alone. Detainees and prisoners in Iraq — this courtesy of both Human Rights Watch and Reuters — now number 20,000 men and women, 6,000 of them in the Nassiriya prison in southern Iraq alone. This figure is of Saddamite proportions.
    And our wars over the past 15 years have been too titanic to leave any place for the poor old Palestinians under the longest military occupation in modern history, so costly that we must pay our tab by selling even more billions of dollars of weapons to the Gulf Arabs to fuel the Sunni-Shia civil war. We destroy Baghdad. We destroy Mosul. The Russians help to destroy Aleppo and Ghouta. Then we destroy Raqa. We alternately weep for the civilians of Aleppo and Ghouta and turn our shining faces from the dead of Mosul and Raqa, and we all know the reasons why. But we are kingmakers. If we can destroy this ancient land of Mesopotamia, why, we can declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and Theresa May can tell the world that Britain still feels “pride” in the Balfour Declaration.

    Finn

    Finn thanks for that Fisk is awesome. It is good to know there are at least some out there who understand what is going on. The Amerikan mythology is deeply ingrained in the psyche of many people in the US.  So much so that otherwise nice people are willing to engage in murder and mayhem around the globe and justify it by the most blatant of lies. What is fascinating to me is how eager people are to accept the virtually same pack of lies over and over (the Maine, Lusitania, Gulf of Tonkin, WMD, etc etc etc.
    A little anecdote you might appreciate. A young man works for me, he is 27. He joined the Marines when he was 17. He is from Texas. His “job” was mine sweeper in Kandahar Afghanistan (the most dangerous place in  Afghanistan) He rode in a Humvee looking for IED’S. he got blown up 5 times. He is on disability. He is under the medical “care” of the VA. He has told me that the nurses in one facility tried to kill him by mis-medicating him intentionally. I asked him what he thought about our wars. He said they are a stupid waste. I then asked him why he joined the Marines. He said he believed we were doing the right thing and no one could convince him otherwise. Such is the depth and power of the Amerikan mythology which citizens are subjected to through the corporate media. 
    So to your point yes they are weapons but also pawns in a chess game which they have no understanding about. How could they?  
    Much is made in this thread about veterans of other wars. This has little to do with what is happening now and thus is a strawman argument. Most of the service men in Vietnam were drafted. Today the military is all volunteer. This fact makes it imperative that the war propaganda machine be in full swing. Amerika needs an enemy. Its economy demands it. It is interesting to note that it is impossible for most Amerikans to think critically and separate the soldiers from the conflict. My employee is now extremely skilled in doing that. That ability came at a very high personal cost. Was Vietnam justified? Iraq,? Afghanistan, ?Syria? 
    Above i posted the speech by Smedley Butler it holds the same truth today as it did then. My question is why are not anti war protesters honored? They ended the Vietnam war. Veterans against the war including former senator and secretary of state John Kerry came back and testified about what a mistake it was. Were they not petriotic? Was Smedley Butler less of a patriot for telling the truth about why the US goes to war? Anti war protesters saved untold numbers of lives by ending Vietnam they deserve a medal. Ken Burns’ excellent documentary “Vietnam” lays it out very clearly. One thing is crystal clear emotion trumps reason every time. Thus the work of Edward Bernays is studied and copied to this day.
    The people who send others off to fight use reason. The ones doing the fighting and those supporting them and the fight must be progammed with propaganda.
    Ciao Finn

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 5:48am

    #35
    treebeard

    treebeard

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 18 2010

    Posts: 551

    Self Engrossed

    Half a million people are dead in Iraq because of a war based entirely on lies. Half a million, half a million, half a million, half a million! HALF A MILLION PEOPLE, men women and children….dead!
    Mothers send their children off to school in the morning to this day wondering if they are going to come back alive, to this day!  That country, the people living there are still threatened by violence every day, the fabric of their lives destroyed.  For how many generations?  Can any of us really imagine what a life like that must be like, that is their daily life, this morning, now!  Have any of us really tried?  Do any of us care?  And we are worried whether the men and women who come back from doing that get a thank you or not?
    Do I blame those in uniform for what they did? For “serving their country”?  How can I possibly blame them, how incredibly cowardly would that be when we are all equally to blame?  We are all equally to blame, we collectively let this happen. If we were willing to endure a fraction of what the people of Iraq endured we could have stopped this, but we didn’t.  That would have been to much for us to do.
    Should we have love and compassion for those of us who went there and experienced those unspeakable horrors, who experience that first hand.  Yes, yes and yes.  And do all that we can to help them heal, yes, yes, and yes. But I’m not sure that “thank you” are the right words. How about “I’m sorry”, because of our collective failures you had to experience the horror of horrors.  And what about the people of Iraq?  Do they even enter into our minds?  Shouldn’t that be the focus?  I’m sorry would be a good start there too.

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 6:20am

    #36

    fionnbharr

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 27 2012

    Posts: 63

    Russian Gas Pipelines and Hacking the Elections

    Very interesting read Mohammed.
    For those who struggle to click on links, here’s the Steve Austin 17th January 2017 article below in full : –

    Russian Gas Pipelines and Hacking the Elections
    Russia has been in the news lately, amid allegations that it “hacked the vote”. Yes, the very ‘vote’ that granted ascendancy to Trump as the 45th president of America. What a day January 20 is going to be, so! Many believe that Russia with a volatile, if not belligerent, President aided Trump in no mean measure. Did Russia shift the scale? Is that even feasible? Well, this and Russia’s geopolitical importance in the world energy market are fascinating subjects. Unfortunately much confusion and misinformation has been spread about what is happening with Russia and where this is headed. 
    Fortunately we are here to help you see clearly

    Russian bogeyman

    Russia occupies over 1/8th of all land on Earth. It is the largest country on Earth by far, almost twice the size of the US. It also has the largest known reserves of natural gas with double that of Qatar. Russia is also the second largest crude oil exporter behind Saudi Arabia. Like Saudi Arabia, the Russian state depends on higher oil prices for its funding. Unlike typical Middle Eastern oil producers, Russia also cultivates talent in other industries not the least of which is military equipment. Yet, in contrast with Russia’s importance, only 3.6% of Russia’s trade occurs with the US.
    News outlets, aside from recently, are relatively quiet about Russia on a regular basis. Part is due to the legacy of the cold war. Not long ago, historically, everything emanating from Russia – especially ideas – was silenced in the West and it went both ways. Even before that, Russia had very little trade with the Western world due to Russia’s long standing occupation by the Mongols/Tatars under whom the Slavs lived as slaves for centuries – no pun intended. The ruling Mongols established trade routes with the Ottoman Empire and Asia and centuries later, modern-day Russia inherited these trading relationships. Russia’s “oriental despotism”, form of government was also inherited from the Mongols; ironically this style is sometimes copied in Washington circles by high ranking officials dubbed “Czars”, for their ability to cut through red tape and get things done. It comes as no surprise, after all, that Putin gets along with some high ranked officials so well. More on this later.
    Is the tag of ‘bully’ a fitting portrait for Russian leaders over the years? Well, it takes Czar-minded leaders to hold together such a vast nation neither lacking in crude oil, natural gas or land. However, Russia soon found itself on the receiving side of colonization when Hitler’s armies barged in a few centuries later. As it turned out, winter was the wrong time to attack Russia and once Germany was defeated Russia ventured out West for the first time and created a buffer zone – essentially colonizing Eastern Europe. Russia also extended its political influence into western Europe, planting and providing logistical support to then burgeoning socialist parties throughout western Europe, in an unveiled attempt to influence western electoral process. Today these parties are established and shape the (lack of) EU vision. 
    This relationship dynamic with the West, prioritizing geopolitical dominance over trade still exists today under Putin, be it with the control of energy supplies, their routes or influence over the electoral process.

    Russia’s got talent

    We mentioned earlier that a major distinction between Russia and Middle Eastern energy producers is Russia’s ability to cultivate talent. Indeed Russia does have talent in the realm of science and engineering. Look, until recently Russian chess players were the measure by which IBM’s Big Blue supercomputer was evaluated. Professional prospects for this talent within Russia – that’s another story. Lack of opportunity in the private sector combined with the high esteem of working for the government gave impetus for Russia’s G.R.U. to recruit top talent and mount what the US press dubbed “Election Hacking”.
    Ironically it is the opposite problem which prevented all three-lettered US agencies to protect the nation from “Election Hacking”. The flock of talent into the private sector inspired by Silicon Valley successes has made it difficult for US agencies to acquire and retain said talent. This left them no choice but to turn to private contractors. Unfortunately in the aftershock of the Edward Snowden debacle, increased scrutiny has shrunk the pool of qualified applicants. 
    Although “Hacking the Election” is a blanket statement which describes what happened fairly inaccurately, the results are in. More importantly it raises the question of what Russia has to gain from a friendlier White House today? The answer: Russia has come real close to cornering Europe’s gas supplies and requires reduced interference from Washington in order to proceed. The story is one of intrigue and clever planning. Let’s take a closer look.

    Non-Russian Gas Pipelines into Europe

    In recent years the US and EU have attempted to create new gas pipelines, on multiple occasions, to help diversify Europe’s natural gas away from Russia. This came to a crescendo in 2009 when Russia cut off gas for 13 days without warning following royalty disagreement with Ukraine. It wasn’t the first or last time, either. Russia had cut off Ukraine’s gas because of price disputes in 2006, repeating the teaser in 2009 and 2014. 
    Within days, several East European countries that were entirely dependent on Russian gas had to stall key industries and declare a state of emergency. Ordinary people bore the brunt because Russia’s cameo move came in mid-winter. 
    As a matter of fact, when gas was cut off in 2014, more than half of Ukraine’s and all of Slovakia’s gas came from Russia. It was a massive and dangerous dependence, to say the least. Naturally, this prompted European powers to consider diversifying away from Russia, encouraged by the US perception of a geopolitical threat in Russian pipelines. 
    Granted its proximity to Europe gives Russia a tremendous logistical advantage over any contending natural gas supplier. There are only a handful of candidates able to satisfy Europe’s natural gas needs aside from Russia: Iran, Qatar and Azerbaijan. And so the “Nabucco pipeline” project was born.

    Nabucco

    The Nabucco pipeline would have transported gas from Caspian states (Iran and Azerbaijan) through Turkey, Hungary, Romania bypassing Russia altogether. It was planned as an alternative route for the thirsty European market. Turkey signed the agreement for the project in 2009. Pegged as a great opportunity, the cost of the pipeline was relatively cheap at 6.2 billion dollars. Originally the planned length was about 3,900 km which was reduced to just 1,300 km later on. With a proposed capacity of 31 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year, Nabucco was funded by European Union and backed by the US. Touted as the ‘fourth corridor’ of gas transport to Europe, Nabucco, unfortunately failed. Moldering for some time, the project was cancelled by Azerbaijan in 2013 in favor of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, said to be shorter by 500 km. 

    Southern Gas Corridor

    Termed the Southern Gas Corridor, SGC is a set of ambitious infrastructure projects conceived to improve energy security and diversification of resources by supplying gas from the Caspian to Europe. Totaling a whopping investment of $45 billion dollars, the initiative stretches across seven countries and 3, 500 kilometres. In other words, it’s a complex amalgam of several energy projects like South Caucasus Pipeline, Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)
    Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP)
    Azerbaijan has more than three trillion cubic metres of gas reserves. Putting these resources to good use, the 1850 km pipeline will carry natural gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey and Europe. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the pipeline was signed in 2012 between the governments of Turkey and Azerbaijan and subsequently, construction of TANAP started on March 2015. Europe will get 10 billion bcm of gas a year, while the share of Turkey is expected to be 6bcm of gas. In fact, Turkey can get gas as early as 2018. With an investment of $11.7 billion dollars, the ultimate capacity of TANAP is estimated at 31 bcm. Compared to Nabucco, TANAP was not only shorter but transit countries were smaller, reducing cost and risks involved. This pipeline would enable Turkey to become a prominent player on the gas trade map.
    Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)
    The 878 km long, Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) will supply gas from the Shah Deniz 2 field in Azerbaijan to Europe. TAP will connect with TANAP at the Greek- Turkish border and pass through Greece, Albania, and Adriatic Sea before reaching Italy. Construction of TAP started in 2015 and the pipeline is expected to start operation in 2020. However, the timeline also depends on TANAP project which is being delayed. TAP will have ‘physical reverse flow’ mechanism so that gas could be diverted should there be any disruption. The project has the capacity to transport 10 bcm per year with further potential expansion of 20 bcm a year. 
    South Caucasus pipeline
    South Caucasus pipeline (SCP) is a 629 km long gas exportation pipeline transmitting gas from the Shah Deniz fields in Azerbaijan, through Georgia to Turkey. SCP follows parallel to the Baku- Tbilisi-Ceyhan crude oil pipeline (Incidentally, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline was built to counter over dependence on oil from Russia and Iran). In 2016, the daily average throughput was around 20 million cubic metres. Expanding SCP, the South Caucasus Pipeline expansion (SCPX) project was conceived in 2013, while construction began in 2015. SCPX will add another 16 bcma to the existing capacity. Also, as part of SCPX many new facilities like intermediate pigging stations, block valve stations are also being constructed. SCPX will carry natural gas from Russia as well as Central Asia and the Middle East to Southern Europe. Like TANAP, SCPX will start operations in 2019. 
    Qatar-Turkey pipeline and Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline
    Qatar-Turkey pipeline was a proposed natural gas pipeline transporting the resource in question from South Pars- North Dome Gas fields (Iran and Qatar) to Turkey from where the gas would have eventually reached Europe. The 1500 km pipeline routed through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey would have elevated Qatar as a crucial player in the global natural gas market. The reason? Qatar’s gas is delivered through tankers which makes it more expensive compared to Russian gas. The pipeline would have made gas from Qatar cheaper. At the same time, the project would have diminished the market share of Russia in European gas imports. 
    Regular readers of oil-price.net know that we have extensively covered these pipelines. As we mentionned in our article titled Oil prices and the Syrian civial war, in 2009 Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad rejected the agreement allowing the 10 billion dollar pipeline to run through Syria to protect the interest of military ally Russia. Instead, in 2012 and under Russia pressure he endorsed the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline from Iran to Lebanon passing through Syria. The shift was considerable from Sunni Qatar to Shia Iran. Incidentally, the Syrian civial war erupted with Assad’s rejection of the Qatar-Turkey Pipeline.
    Now both this and the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipelines are unlikely to see the light of day – much like all other non-Russian pipe dreams that were supposed to free Europe from Russia’s gas monopoly. European bureaucracy combined with the lack of coordination and leadership among Caspian gas producers has resulted in minimal progress in any of pipelines mentionned above – meanwhile Czar-lead Russian pipelines are steaming ahead.

    Russia’s European pipeline collection

    Several key attributes make gas pipelines a valuable strategic asset. For one thing, pipelines bring natural gas long distances very efficiently, much more so than crude oil. The high viscosity of Crude oil requires heavy pumps and causes significant friction loss, whereas natural gas flows effortlessly with simple pressure differencials. It works so well that gas pipes – a miniature version of gas pipelines – brings natural gas to most every home.
    Moreover natural gas, while a fossil fuel, burns much cleaner than coal or crude oil by-products. This is why many European electrical power plants run off natural gas. Consequently everything powered by electricity – including the computer you are using to read this article – is dependent on natural gas to some extent.
    Finally, pipelines are a “winner gets all” business. While getting approval for and building a pipeline is hard in the first place, building another competing pipeline is next to impossible. So the early bird gets the worm – this is indeed why Russia is so aggressively overbuilding its “Turkish Stream” pipeline as explained below.
    Ukrainian pipelines
    In 2016, European gas demand increased by around 6% to some 447 bcm. The demand for gas is expected to increase in 2017 because of robust consumption in Italy, France and UK. Close on the heels of OPEC’s decision to cut oil production, gas supplies from Russia to Europe are expected to remain vigorous. 
    In this scenario, look at the ground realities: Almost a third of Europe’s gas equaling 50% of total gas imports, comes from Russia, of which, 40% comes in through Ukraine. Europe just can’t afford to let such a large share of its gas transit through the Ukrainian warzone. So, pipelines bypassing Ukraine altogether come into the picture eliminating the country’s role as a major transit zone, with blessings of both the EU and Russia. 
    Nord Stream Pipeline
    This gas pipeline, with two parallel lines, carries Natural Gas from Russia directly into Germany via Baltic Sea. Though it has the ability to deliver 55 billion cubic metres per year, the gas supplied in 2015 amounted to just about 39 billion cubic metres. According to our latest data, the pipeline supplies more than 150 million cubic metres of gas per day . Being shorter, the gas pipeline is very cost effective, so it’s hard for any other foreign power (such as Qatar) to build a competing pipeline into Western Europe that would be cheaper. 
    The multi-billion dollar Nord Stream 2, with two pipelines, is scheduled for 2019. Each will carry 27.5 bcm per year. Nord Streamand Nord stream 2 will thus supply a total of 110 billion cubic metres per year of gas across the Baltic Sea to the European Union. 
    Turkish Stream
    Turkish stream, in short, is a chess master’s dream. 
    In the last month of 2014, Russia abandoned the South Stream pipeline project after disagreements with the EU. In a spectacular turn around, Russia went in for the jugular. So, instead of South Stream, work on two pipeline strings running under the Black Sea carrying 64 billion cubic feet of gas was taken up, after a meeting between Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. In fact, the pipes and other infrastructure parts ordered for the South Stream project was diverted to the Turkish Stream. The sea section alone is set to cost Russia about 7 billion Euros. The pipe laying under the Black Sea is scheduled for late 2017. The first string of the project would supply gas to Turkey, while the second string would carry gas to Europe. Also, the south Balkan pipeline which delivers Russian gas to Turkey via Ukraine will be made redundant by the first string of the project. This is a significant strategic victory for Russia. Gazprom, will have rights to the sea part of the project, while the land stretch will be owned by Turkish customers in the first leg and by a joint venture in the second leg. So, Turkey would collect royalties on gas going into Europe to the dismay of Bulgaria, losing royalties, transit revenues and strategic advantage to its former Ottoman overlord. Indeed, Moldova and Romania too lose out in terms of transit fee.
    Turkish Stream’s main objective is for Russia to bypass existing Ukrainian gas routes. At any rate, Russian target is to stop all gas transport through Ukraine by 2019. 
    And, thanks to the Turkish stream, redundant with existing pipelines, Russia can “diversify” its gas pipelines, thus cornering the European market and delivering gas directly into Europe. Revenue from export duties will benefit Russia too. It also cements economical and strategic ties between Russia and Turkey which will control gas route into Europe while getting its own gas at a 10% discount. That’s a blessing because Turkey relies on natural gas for 50% of its electricity generation. Russia and Turkey have also stepped up partnership in defense in the area of anti-missiles. Furthermore, Russia will also build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant. 
    With NATO allies like Turkey, who needs enemies? Apparently prediction #4 which we made in our previous article titled 9 oil price forecasts during Trump presidency” has already realized, a mere two weeks into the new year. 
    Turkey not only gets 60% of its gas, but also more than 30% of its crude oil from Russia. For Turkey, this is a major achievement to show the world that it has the guts to implement major projects without support from Europe. Further, it strengthens Turkey’s geopolitical aspirations in the region. In addition, Turkish stream aligns Russia and Turkey’s interest and dissuades Turkey from building a pipeline to Qatar via Iraq which would have fed into Europe and sap Russia’s market share.
    Of course, Turkish Stream’s 63 billion capacity outdoes the expected demand in the area. However, the moot point is different. It’s the story of winner gets all. Russia, thus, directly competes with Europe’s plan to diversify away from Russia. It also sabotages Iran’s aspiration for a pipeline. 

    Conclusion

    Putin sits pretty. US secretary of state is Exxon’s CEO Tillerson, a friend of Putin. Michael Finn, the proposed national security adviser is a strong advocate of Russia. The Russian President has tons of influential friends in Washington, ready to sway things in his favor. In the coming months, US support for energy diversification in Europe will erode quickly, branding the renewal of US-Russia ties as a priority over interfering in foreign energy markets.
    US progress towards energy self-sufficiency in the sight of persistently low oil prices has also reduced geopolitical concerns over control of foreign energy sources. So it comes as no surprise that the US has started a reform to drastically reduce its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
    Slowly but surely, Russia has laid the groundwork for dominance over the European energy market. For now, Russian ploy seems to be working well. And, Washington has been reined in too. The southern Gas corridor could well be the tipping point. On target, Russian monopoly on natural gas is set. The big question is, what next?

    Finn

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 6:41am

    Reply to #20

    fionnbharr

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 27 2012

    Posts: 63

    Thankyou for writing to me from the heart

    Mohammed,
    thankyou for writing to me from the heart. I, too, wish to share.
    I have never in my life experienced such hatred in a country. Never before or since witnessed such violence. Never before or since been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Never before experienced such justification in the cruelty enacted by a state, who’s vehement control wields power over media in a fashion as to create nothing of a balance – feigned humility – nothing of even the slightest modicum of true humility.
    You can sense that if I was talking to you now face to face, there would be bile rising in my voice. This is not to say that I have hatred of either peoples of the country, because therefore I would be accountable for an equal blame. No. Mine is for the sadness that each generation is born into, who are infiltrated daily with outmoded and ignorant dogma, supported by a violent government; supported by American weaponry, training and military might.
    As an example, I was walking on Seven Street in Jerusalem with an Israeli friend and we came upon three Israeli boys, no more than ten years of age, throwing rocks the size of golf balls with all of there strength, at a defenceless Palestinian woman, cradling a baby of barely six months old who was begging. The woman had burn scars as a disfigurement to her otherwise young face and old eyes. The woman cried and yelled, the baby was screaming in fear. A steady procession of tourists, palestinians and Israelis averted their eyes, closed out the sounds and appeared to casually walk by. I stopped and judged the situation. The girl I was with walked on with the crowd, letting go of my hand in the process.
    I called over one of the boys in english as the other two continued. He was happy and smiling at the thought of talking in english with me and I smiled back. When he came close enough, I gently took hold of his right arm and, as I continued to explain myself, my grip on his arm became tighter and tighter until I was holding him up to my eye level. I told him in no uncertain terms that if he were to continue throwing rocks at the woman and child that I would break his arm.
    When I released him, he ran away ashamed with his friends. The woman, who knew no english, stared at me in disbelief. I gave her money. In that moment, more than words past between us, as her tears fell and the babies screams settled down.
    Where in the world was the outrage then. Where in the world is the outrage today …

    Finn

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 7:53am

    Reply to #19
    BeingThere

    BeingThere

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    Phil Ochs

    One of the best singer/songwriters we ever had. What concise and brilliant lyrics in all his songs. That album is a goldmine of truth!

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 8:03am

    Reply to #35

    fionnbharr

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 27 2012

    Posts: 63

    Much Much More Than Five Hundred Thousand Have Died In Iraq

    treebeard wrote:

    Half a million people are dead in Iraq because of a war based entirely on lies. Half a million, half a million, half a million, half a million! HALF A MILLION PEOPLE, men women and children….dead!

    Treebeard,
    Much much more than 500,000 people have died in Iraq.
    There was never a Gulf War one or Gulf War two, but simply an ongoing war from the onset of the invasion of Kuwait.
    The earliest embargo on the country can best be defined by Madeleine Albright in a Pulitzer Prize winning interview on 60 Minutes in 1996 – a 22 second section of it below that will ingrain your soul forever : –

    To add to this, between July 1st and November 18th 1916, one-million, five-hundred thousand (1,500,000) deaths were recorded at the Battle of the Somme. To give some semblance of comprehension to that figure, it would be like crashing a Boeing 747 jumbo-jet, such as similar planes used in bringing down the twin towers in New York on September 11th 2001, every two hours, relentlessly, for the entire duration of the battle. Over five thousand deaths (5,000) on every single day. 
    We simply have to uncover the figure’s in the toll count on The Highway of Death. Estimates have ranged from between 800 and 10,000, and was the apparent controversy, that through media coverage, caused a supposed ending to the Gulf War in 1991.
    If by estimation we were to middle that number of deaths, for the 10 hour duration of bombing, an equivalent of one 747 jumbo-jet crashed at that one point, on the hour, every hour, and for ten hours, is double the hourly fatality figures with that of The Battle of the Somme.
    Death toll figure’s are curious beasts, because they are compiled as a number based on military intervention, but not on the death toll figure based upon its cause and effect. Therefore, when executing a better understanding of the Gulf War, you will then understand that there is still no end outcome from it. By sanction and embargo, what began in 1990, is still raging. Estimates now stand at over 1.2 million direct deaths, just since March of 2003. By calculating these self same figures over, the amount estimate by March of 2011 was roughly four-hundred and ten people per day, which is one full 747 jumbo-jet, every day, since 2003, up and into those recent figures.
    The figure is four times that amount, and four full 747 jumbo-jets, every single day, since 2003, when estimates are combined with indirect deaths, such as child birth, and the lack of necessary medical support via embargo. More cutting still, the figures I am using are already almost eleven years old, as these independent reported estimates were released back in September of 2007.
    Combining figure’s from Afghanistan since 2001, the number’s then become further stratospheric.
    Finn

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 8:06am

    #37
    BeingThere

    BeingThere

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    Posts: 53

    A few thoughts on the war front

    Here are some issues I’ve been working with this past week.
    1) Trump is turning into Hillary.
    We thought we were getting an anti NeoCon and anti Neolib. Mr Trump is a common criminal who money launder’s and doesn’t want you to see his tax returns or know how he does business. He just wants you to think he’s a billionaire who uses business tools to lead the country.
    He is a theatrical sham. He will get you exactly where the private interests of this country want to go and that is a new idea of a cold war.
    Michael Klare has called our attention to the idea that the Pentagon is bored of the ME and now wants to wage a new 3-front long war with Russia, China and the ME.
    1) After attacking the NeoCons re: ME wars, he has now fired his Nat’l Security advisor and brought in Fox favorite, John Bolton. Then he pardons Scooter Libby the same week.
    He kills two birds, a. He shows his nearest and dearest fixers he can pardon them and b. he shows the Neocons that he is now in their corner.
    2) Again, using Fox he has taken Larry Kudlow freemarketeer extrodianire on as his economic advisor. He told Larry to look into the TPP. Guess why? Cuz we want to corner China with allies through the TPP that’s the move. NOTE: The stock market doesn’t like trade wars and it’s the economy, stupid. There’s not much else to work with.
    The attack on Syria was a message. It really didn’t do too much, but it spent lots o’ tax payer money to the private interests so……The stock market might just like this move…alot. This also establishes the idea of Iran/Russia/Syria as the axis of evil in the ME. that is one front of the long game we are now playing.
    Now. It all depends upon what is really being said between Trump and Putin whether this is just for show or if there really is tension between them, but we do know the Pentagon wants the tension.
    Very lucrative indeed, but not for you and I.
     

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 8:12am

    Reply to #20
    Doug

    Doug

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    Joined: Oct 01 2008

    Posts: 1353

    Draftees

    Quote:

    Much is made in this thread about veterans of other wars. This has little to do with what is happening now and thus is a strawman argument. Most of the service men in Vietnam were drafted. Today the military is all volunteer. This fact makes it imperative that the war propaganda machine be in full swing. Amerika needs an enemy. Its economy demands it. It is interesting to note that it is impossible for most Amerikans to think critically and separate the soldiers from the conflict. My employee is now extremely skilled in doing that. That ability came at a very high personal cost. Was Vietnam justified? Iraq,? Afghanistan, ?Syria?

    http://history-world.org/vietnam_war_statistics.htm

    Quote:

    DRAFTEES VS. VOLUNTEERS…

    25% (648,500) of total forces in country were draftees. (66% of U.S. armed forces members were drafted during WWII.
    Draftees accounted for 30.4% (17,725) of combat deaths in Vietnam.
    Reservists killed: 5,977.
    National Guard: 6,140 served: 101 died.
    Total draftees (1965 – 73): 1,728,344.

     

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 8:46am

    Reply to #33
    aggrivated

    aggrivated

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 22 2010

    Posts: 441

    Global rule of law

    pgp, I am not a lawyer, so maybe am misinformed about what follows, but would like to comment on the phrase ‘global rule of law’. Someone please correct me if the following is wrong.
    There are many international agreements and customs in place that form the basis for what is termed ‘international law’. Respect by each country for these agreements forms the working basis for ‘international law’. Much of this concentrates on trade and shipping, maritime issues, military engagements and diplomatic reciprocity. The UN seems to act as an adhoc referee in these matters.
    The USA is a bull in the china shop when it comes to respecting many of the ageements. Only when other countries have the temerity to face off with such a bull will the balance and order be restored. Multiple centers of power and influence must function for this to work.
    To call on a ‘global rule of law’ implies a power bigger than all the nations to which they submit. I personally don’t want to see that happen. What is more appealing is a rebalancing of coalitions and regional power to bring the bull under control. The concept of the USA as the sole superpower is very dangerous for the world. It looks like the China, Russia, Iran coalition is a start to a better balance.
    I think you and I agree in the main, but the nit picking about the outworking of international law was a point I needed to get into the discussion. A One World government maybe somebody’s dream, but like Orwell, I see it as a nightmare.

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 8:56am

    Reply to #20

    fionnbharr

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 27 2012

    Posts: 63

    Vietnam: A War on Civilians

    Doug wrote:
    Quote:

    Much is made in this thread about veterans of other wars. This has little to do with what is happening now and thus is a strawman argument. Most of the service men in Vietnam were drafted. Today the military is all volunteer. This fact makes it imperative that the war propaganda machine be in full swing. Amerika needs an enemy. Its economy demands it. It is interesting to note that it is impossible for most Amerikans to think critically and separate the soldiers from the conflict. My employee is now extremely skilled in doing that. That ability came at a very high personal cost. Was Vietnam justified? Iraq,? Afghanistan, ?Syria?

    http://history-world.org/vietnam_war_statistics.htm

    Quote:

    DRAFTEES VS. VOLUNTEERS…

    25% (648,500) of total forces in country were draftees. (66% of U.S. armed forces members were drafted during WWII.
    Draftees accounted for 30.4% (17,725) of combat deaths in Vietnam.
    Reservists killed: 5,977.
    National Guard: 6,140 served: 101 died.
    Total draftees (1965 – 73): 1,728,344.

     

    Hi Doug,
    I remembered a book I read called Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam by Nick Turse.
    The author won both the 2014 American Book Award and an I.F. Stone Award for this work.
    Chas Madar wrote a review of the book in 2013. This is a part of that review : –

    But the relentless violence against civilians was more than the activity of a few sociopaths: it was policy. This was a war fought along Fordist principles—Robert McNamara had gone to the Department of Defense straight from the helm of the auto giant—and the slaughter was industrial in scale. Victory over the Viet Cong was to be achieved by quantifiable “kill ratios,” to reach that elusive tipping point where the insurgency could no longer replenish its troops. This approach hard-wired incentives to secure a high “body count” down the chain of command, with the result that U.S. soldiers often shot civilians dead to pad their tallies and thereby move up the ranks.
    It was Gen. Julian Ewell who made the killing of Vietnamese civilians into standard operating procedure. Ewell assumed the military command of the Mekong Delta region in early 1968 and immediately upped the requisite body count to 4,000 a month, then to 6,000. At the end of the year, he started Operation Speedy Express, a six-month infantry assault on the delta region, killing thousands of Vietnamese, a great many of whom were civilians. (Civilian war casualties were 80 percent of all patients at provincial hospitals.) Air power raised the killing to industrial scale, with a total of 4,338 gunship sorties, 6,500 tactical air strikes dropping at least 5,078 tons of bombs and 1,784 tons of napalm. One American regional adviser described it as “nonselective terrorism.” As another veteran recalled, “A Cobra gunship spitting out six hundred rounds a minute doesn’t discern between chickens, kids and VC.”

    Finn

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 9:11am

    Reply to #20
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 17 2017

    Posts: 112

    Outrage

    Finn, there will be no outrage. 
    The Machine learned much from Vietnam. First and foremost you cannot have a draft. Having people in the military  that do not want to be there is bad for morale. One statistic that will never come to light is the number of officers killed by their own men in Vietnam. 
    If you create an environment where the only option for upward mobility is the military then you have lots of people lining up. Promises by recruiters are great enticements to those on the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid or who are struggling to stay above it.
    The next item they learned was, the need to control the press. The evening news in the 60’s and early 70’s was filled with rather raw footage of the action taking place in Vietnam. Probably the most famous was the Vietnamese general who put a bullet in the head of a VC.
    Fast forward and you find embedded reporters who identified with the troops and were/are limited in what they saw/see and report. You then have editors who further sanitize the reports. Chris Hedges has spoken much about this. Thus the Amerikan public gets an extremely sanitized version of events if at all. The consequences of military adventures do not reach their eyes. 
    War for us has now become a computer game. We supposedly have no boots on the ground in Syria, we had no boots on the ground in Bosnia. We had shock and awe in Iraq. We send death and destruction via computer screens rhousands of miles away.
    Then of course is the scrubbing of history books and an endless procession of movies etc which glorify the Amerikan Empire. The power of myth should not be minimized as Joseph Campbell well knew.
    Finally I don’t think Amerikans travel much so are pretty insulated from different viewpoints. I have no empirical evidence like data or charts I just see the proof in the pudding. 
    I personally am beyond outrage, I have spent it all to no avail. I am now possessed of a deep sadness. If this is (in so many arenas ) the best the human race can do then it will be a glorious day when the human empire is done and the earth can then heal itself.
    Ciao

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 9:54am

    #38
    Geedard

    Geedard

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    Joined: Oct 13 2014

    Posts: 56

    I’m exhausted and frankly, humbled

    Wow!!   I’ve followed this thread from the beginning and reached several conclusions so far:
    1) wow, I had noooooo idea how complex and convoluted the politics are…
    2) wow, how much knowledge you all have – I’m in deep admiration and humbled
    3) wow, after only a few days learning, I’m utterly exhaused
    4) who on planet earth has the brain capacity to “problem solve” all this without making a bunch of “mistakes”?
    I take my hat off to all the contributors to this thread and the incredible depth of knowledge and understanding that you all have. 

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 10:18am

    Reply to #35

    Michael_Rudmin

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 25 2014

    Posts: 825

    Harooom!

    You are getting positively hasty, treebeard!

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 10:19am

    Reply to #35

    Michael_Rudmin

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 25 2014

    Posts: 825

    Harooom!

    You are getting positively hasty, treebeard!

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 11:03am

    Reply to #38

    fionnbharr

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 27 2012

    Posts: 63

    HyperNormalisation - Adam Curtis

    Geedard wrote:

    Wow!!   I’ve followed this thread from the beginning and reached several conclusions so far:
    1) wow, I had noooooo idea how complex and convoluted the politics are…
    2) wow, how much knowledge you all have – I’m in deep admiration and humbled
    3) wow, after only a few days learning, I’m utterly exhaused
    4) who on planet earth has the brain capacity to “problem solve” all this without making a bunch of “mistakes”?
    I take my hat off to all the contributors to this thread and the incredible depth of knowledge and understanding that you all have. 

    Hello Geedard,
    it’s a horror, isn’t it?
    It’s hard to keep up with present news stories and have them make sense, yet, behind all of this is history, and there’s an awful lot more of that going backward than forward.
    However, key history can help, and a documentary film maker I’ll never stop promoting here is Adam Curtis.
    He’s made, undoubtedly, stunning, award winning, thought-provoking documentaries for the better part of thirty years, and his latest manifestation forsaw the election of Donald Trump by a month, since the documentary I’m offering to you below was published by the BBC’s iPlayer on the 16th of October 2016.
    This is quite genius film making at its best, though I’m unfortunately biased.
    Lets see you and others here decide : –

    Finn

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 12:10pm

    #39

    thc0655

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 27 2010

    Posts: 1423

    Maybe it was a false false flag!

    My eyes are glazing over and rolling back in my head.

    But here’s an interesting possibility: what if the Syrian attack was a “false false flag?”
    While the US slips ever backward, Russia and China proceed with their One Belt One Road initiative. This series of projects will build out transport, shipping, and computer and communications infrastructure from Southeast Asia through Central Asia and the Middle East to Europe. They will be financed on concessionary terms mostly by China, if it can avoid its own potential debt black hole. Only Deep State lackeys are surprised that this approach wins more friends and influence than the US’s well thought out bomb first, ask questions later strategy.
    Friday, Trump again executed that strategy in Syria, replaying last year’s kabuki missile lob, but with more missiles. Targets were carefully chosen so as not to provoke Russian retaliation, which has not been forthcoming so far. Perhaps the Russians actually welcome the US exercise. Like last year, it comes shortly after indications the US might reduce its involvement in Syria. Then, it was the US essentially swearing off Syrian regime change. Now, it’s Trump saying he wants “to bring our troops back home,” and that the US would be leaving Syria “very soon.”
    Given the nonstop drain on the US—in blood, treasure, and moral standing—why would Russia want to see the US presence in Syria (or anywhere else in the Middle East) reduced? Maybe Russia was behind the chemical attack it predicted, knowing that Trump and the interventionists would take the bait and respond with one-shot theatre that did no real harm to Russian or Syrian assets. Most importantly to the Russians, it keeps the US involved in Syria. There will be no talk of withdrawal now. This though the Syria-Russia-Iran-Hezbollah alliance has secured most of the country. It’s one thing to have your enemy waste resources on a losing war. It’s a stroke of genius to have the enemy continue to do so on a war they’ve already lost.

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 12:59pm

    Reply to #38
    Geedard

    Geedard

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    Posts: 56

    Thanks Finn

    fionnbharr wrote:

    Hello Geedard,
    it’s a horror, isn’t it?
    It’s hard to keep up with present news stories and have them make sense, yet, behind all of this is history, and there’s an awful lot more of that going backward than forward.

    Hello Finn – it’s both a horror and addictively fascinating all at the same time. This (and the 3 E’s in general) feels like I’m watching a never ending and ever deeper spiralling version of The Matrix. It feels like having a sore tooth – I can’t stop touching it. Every day, I know it’s going to hurt, but I keep touching it anyway, just to see if it still hurts as much. Owwww. Ooowwwww.

    fionnbharr wrote:

    Lets see you and others here decide : –

    Finn

    Thanks a lot Finn – I shall watch this with keen interest and let you know in the coming days. Cheers, Andy.

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 1:08pm

    Reply to #39
    Geedard

    Geedard

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    Posts: 56

    Like humanity chess

    thc0655 wrote:

    My eyes are glazing over and rolling back in my head.

    But here’s an interesting possibility: what if the Syrian attack was a “false false flag?”
    ……
    It’s one thing to have your enemy waste resources on a losing war. It’s a stroke of genius to have the enemy continue to do so on a war they’ve already lost.

    Interesting indeed thc0655.
    If this is true, no wonder Russian chess players are so infamous…and no wonder at all that I am hopeless at chess!!   Groan 🙂

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 1:30pm

    Reply to #39

    fionnbharr

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 27 2012

    Posts: 63

    Abu Kammash petrochemical complex

    I don’t know THC0655,
    but since we’re speculating, maybe I too could be party to a little Pelican Brief speculation, if pushed?
    This is a link to a pdf I found whilst lerking about on the net called the Libya Oil Almanac – An Open Oil Reference Guide. It was a really interesting read – especially page 56, where I found : –

    The Abu Kammash petrochemical complex comprises three units to produce 104,000 t/y of ethylene dichloride, 60,000 t/y of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), 60,000 t/y of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), 50,000 t/y of caustic soda, and 45,000 t/y of chlorine. A large portion of Abu Kammash’s output is exported.

    Then I found an article from back on the 5th of January 2018 called Presidential Council force attacks Abu Kammash Chemical Complex in western Libya in The Libya Observer, where I found : –

    An armed group from Zintan loyal to the commander of the Western Military Zone of Presidential Council, Osama Jwaili, launched a surprise attack on Abu Kammash Chemical Complex, western Libya, on Friday in a bid to take control of the complex and Ras Ajdir border crossing with Tunisia. The armed group attacked the complex at around 4am causing some damage to Abu Kammash police station and its vehicles before being repelled by forces from Zuwara. The residential area of Abu Kammash was evacuated for safety reasons. Ras Ajdir border was also closed. The Amazigh Supreme Council deplored the attack, warning that “such actions could lead to an ethnic war.” On Thursday, Osama Jwaili revealed that his forces are going to launch “an anti-crime operation” in west Libya.

    At least we now know where the chlorine gas came from for the alleged chemical attacks in the enclave of eastern Ghouta this month. 
    After all, as pointed out in the article above, didn’t Zintan play an important role in the fall of Gaddafi-controlled Tripoli in 2011?
    Weren’t they also backed with a weapons cache supplied by NATO to “friendly” Al Qaeda – complete with air support – David Cameron’s future claim to the 70,000 Syrian moderates?
    And wasn’t the head of its military council, Osama Jweili, appointed commander of the GNA’s western region military zone back in June of 2017?
    Wouldn’t all of the above make this a Western supplied attack?
    You just couldn’t make this up …
    Finn

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 1:37pm

    Reply to #15

    stevejermy

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 13 2011

    Posts: 13

    RUSSIA'S NEXT MOVE

    Yep, Chris, that does it for me, too: “Noxamvero et maleficium propulsab” – much better than “First, do no harm.”
    On Russia, its difficult to say, but I suspect they will look at it very pragmatically. Their grand strategic objective is probably to maintain and indeed strengthen their sphere of influence in their near abroad, for which they would like Syria (and Iran) to be Russia-leaning. 
    Although Western air strikes could hold Assad back, speaking as a former-navy flyer, such strikes would need to be conducted as part of a sustained air campaign against primarily military targets – rather than against supposed chemical factories – to make a difference. Is there the appetite in the West for such an air campaign, including with the significant increase of conflict with Russia? No. 
    Even were the air campaign to be risked, the chances of it making a difference would be slim. Land campaigns are won on the land, not in the air, and unless the West were willing to deploy ground troops in significant numbers, the only consequence of an air campaign would be to increase the risk of conflict with Russia. Is there the appetite to deploy Western troops on the ground? No. 
    I guess that Russia will have reached the same conclusions, and will judge that Assad will likely to win the war. Russia will assess the Western attacks as symbolic but largely ineffectual, and simply carry on with their support to Syria. Or perhaps even rub the West’s noses in it a little, by visibly increasing their military support to Syria. But Syria’s not the main show in town.
    The main show is the energy predicament. This is where the West’s actions could very well turn into the biggest of grand strategic own goals – if these actions turn one of the world’s two leading oil & gas suppliers into the welcoming arms of China, a country that thinks strategically about energy. This shift of Russia toward China is already well underway, but this could give it a real permanence. 
    When the West and NATO finally wakes up to the energy predicament, and decides that we would like Russia now to be our new best friend, and will nice Mr Putin – “By the way, we didn’t mean any of those awful things we said about you, really!” – kindly sell us the oil and oil & gas we now desperately need, I wonder what he will say? 
    That’ll be a “Nyet” then …

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 3:55pm

    Reply to #20

    Mots

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 18 2012

    Posts: 59

    Re: "I am now possessed of a deep sadness...."I

    Dear M Mast
    Thank you for posting your thoughts and feelings……  I agree completely with your observations. 
    You conclude
    “I am now possessed of a deep sadness. If this is (in so many arenas ) the best the human race can do then it will be a glorious day when the human empire is done and the earth can then heal itself.”
     
    But there is a very optimistic trend that is worth considering.  A small percentage of people (I think about 5-7% based on Meyer Briggs test results) are inherently rational thought behaving and instinctively follow reason, thus seeing through the BS and the passions that surround them.  We self associate at blog sites such as this, and are beginning to build our own communities based on reason.  Most of us are engineers and scientist and philosophers (many of us have such degrees or otherwise are self educated)….  Last week I met a new 25 year old farmer in our community who just left a desk job and is starting a farm for the first time.  He is not the only one, others  in their 20s have come here and all seem to have a rational mind spirit and know that we are building something that will survive a slow collapse that has started.  None of us watch TV and all have an attitude or ability for building things that we need.  We all know the value of what we are doing and dont need to discuss it, much less advertise it.  But we are real and we are growing………..
    When the Roman Empire collapsed, we were in the minority and headed for the hills and built monesteries to preserve what was good about humanity, while the passionate majority followed their passions and  collapsed their civilization.  Now, many of us are building resilience in the countryside.  Generally we shun constant use of smartphones, dont watch TV, enjoy radio while doing other things, use and manipulate computers more than the average person.  The national government (and the elite) dont pay any attention to us because we are poor, stupid dirt farmers living at a subsidence level in the rural areas and are not worth bothering with, despite the fact that we generally are highly educated and comprise much of the creative class.  We are hidden in plain sight, but that is a good thing.  We respect nature, take pride in building up our soils, and live more in harmony with nature.  We will survive and thrive because we will not participate in the wars that are coming.  Our contribution to the gene pool likely will increase because of this.  We will win because of this, the future is ours.
     
    This blogsite is one place to find others who are building an optimistic future……..  I see that you joined this site less than a year ago…. I suggest that you reach out to others via this site or another (search “agorism” for example) and join or build a community in a rural or isolated location that the bankers, their big data managers,  and their politicians consider too marginal to mess with.  It is difficult to give up a high paying job in the city, I know from personal experience, but there is so much out there waiting for you, its kind of unbelievable.  
    Mots   www.yugeshima.com

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 6:04pm

    Reply to #20
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 17 2017

    Posts: 112

    Mots wrote: Dear M

    Mots wrote:

    Dear M Mast
    Thank you for posting your thoughts and feelings……  I agree completely with your observations. 
    You conclude
    “I am now possessed of a deep sadness. If this is (in so many arenas ) the best the human race can do then it will be a glorious day when the human empire is done and the earth can then heal itself.”
     
    But there is a very optimistic trend that is worth considering.  A small percentage of people (I think about 5-7% based on Meyer Briggs test results) are inherently rational thought behaving and instinctively follow reason, thus seeing through the BS and the passions that surround them.  We self associate at blog sites such as this, and are beginning to build our own communities based on reason.  Most of us are engineers and scientist and philosophers (many of us have such degrees or otherwise are self educated)….  Last week I met a new 25 year old farmer in our community who just left a desk job and is starting a farm for the first time.  He is not the only one, others  in their 20s have come here and all seem to have a rational mind spirit and know that we are building something that will survive a slow collapse that has started.  None of us watch TV and all have an attitude or ability for building things that we need.  We all know the value of what we are doing and dont need to discuss it, much less advertise it.  But we are real and we are growing………..
    When the Roman Empire collapsed, we were in the minority and headed for the hills and built monesteries to preserve what was good about humanity, while the passionate majority followed their passions and  collapsed their civilization.  Now, many of us are building resilience in the countryside.  Generally we shun constant use of smartphones, dont watch TV, enjoy radio while doing other things, use and manipulate computers more than the average person.  The national government (and the elite) dont pay any attention to us because we are poor, stupid dirt farmers living at a subsidence level in the rural areas and are not worth bothering with, despite the fact that we generally are highly educated and comprise much of the creative class.  We are hidden in plain sight, but that is a good thing.  We respect nature, take pride in building up our soils, and live more in harmony with nature.  We will survive and thrive because we will not participate in the wars that are coming.  Our contribution to the gene pool likely will increase because of this.  We will win because of this, the future is ours.
     
    This blogsite is one place to find others who are building an optimistic future……..  I see that you joined this site less than a year ago…. I suggest that you reach out to others via this site or another (search “agorism” for example) and join or build a community in a rural or isolated location that the bankers, their big data managers,  and their politicians consider too marginal to mess with.  It is difficult to give up a high paying job in the city, I know from personal experience, but there is so much out there waiting for you, its kind of unbelievable.  
    Mots   www.yugeshima.com

    Appreciate the response. Just because I joined a short time ago it would be a mistake to think I have not been aware of this site almost since the beginning. I first learned of it in 2007 when a friend sent me Chris’s paper The End of Money”. I sold the farm 30 years ago. This country is littered with the ruins of failed communities, including the Shakers.  I popped in occasionally for a couple of years and enjoyed some of the discussions. Then it got painfully repetitious. Then I never looked at this site for about 5 years. Then every couple of months I would pop back in and check to see what the discussions were like. They were almost carbon copies from years past. I found it uninspiring to say the least. Then I thought I would check in to see if there were any good discussions of cryptos.  i have been into cryptos for almost 8 years.  At that point I thought I would join and take part in the discussions. 
    Unfortunately I found them to be somewhat less than encouraging. My interest in cryptos stems from my understanding of the monetary system. It is the only way any of us could ever break free from the central bank controlled system which keeps everyone enslaved. What I found here for the most part (mrees being the exception) was either great resistance or treating them as nothing more than an investment. It was very disappointing. I check in once a week or two when interesting news pops up but my interests lie elsewhere and are counter to the majority here, witness this thread. 
    I applaud your efforts and my comments hopefully will do nothing to diminish your vision or determination. I have traveled extensively and am currently working with the Tibetan refugees in Northern India. It is through this work that I cannot support China buy buying anything made there, nor can I support the Chinese retail outlets here such as Walmart.  The human empire has now achieved total dominion over the planet to the detriment of every species. The population is growing well beyond the carrying capacity of the earth. I have fought my battles from civil rights and anti war protests to Earth First activities. I watched a generation end the war in Vietnam and then go and get jobs with the same companies who profited. 
    With what time i have left I will continue to work to alleviate the suffering of the Tibetan people who have been brutalized beyond belief by the Chinese. I will continue my spiritual journey as clearly there are no political solutions to the human condition. My sadness comes honestly having seen how beautiful this planet is and what potential humanity has and has wasted. The day of reckoning is not far off and I may not live to see it but it will come. Whether it comes slowly of suddenly I can’t predict. 
    So again I applaud your efforts keep on keepin on because what else can you do. Remember nothing truly dies it just takes another form. The earth having seen more than one extinction has healed itself and it will do so again.
    Truly all the best.

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  • Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - 11:03pm

    Reply to #33
    nigel

    nigel

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 15 2009

    Posts: 89

    pgp wrote:The real

    pgp wrote:

    The real take-away here is that we still don’t have a global rule of law to keep the various government powers under control. 

    This plus a hundrd thumbs up. This is the take away from this whole fraccas for all countries, the fact that France, the UK and the US have no regard for the rule of law and that you can stop them if you have enough weapons or are allies of someone who has lots of weapons.
    Right now, North Korea, Syria, Iran, Russia, China, Argentina and all of the other countries with some reason to be skeptical about the west have put orders in or a planning more spending on weapons. The UN has become useless, so if we don’t have nukes, better make some, can’t make them, lets be diplomatic with China or Russia.
    This is a massive diplomatic fail, it forces everyone to arm up, or cosy up to the other side.
    Talk about idiotic.
    Still, it has shown that leaders on both sides fear a nuclear exchange, and for that, just for now I am very thankful, joyful actually.

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  • Mon, Apr 16, 2018 - 4:18am

    #40
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 17 2017

    Posts: 112

    Wes Clark

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  • Mon, Apr 16, 2018 - 5:38am

    Reply to #15

    cmartenson

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 4468

    The US is still attacking Russia

    stevejermy wrote:

    I guess that Russia will have reached the same conclusions, and will judge that Assad will likely to win the war. Russia will assess the Western attacks as symbolic but largely ineffectual, and simply carry on with their support to Syria. Or perhaps even rub the West’s noses in it a little, by visibly increasing their military support to Syria. But Syria’s not the main show in town.

    I would only like to point out here that the west’s attacks against Russia are continuing even as I type this.  The kinetic strikes were a real flop, proving only that the west could be mendacious and petty as they really only proved that their signatures on convention documents are utterly worthless.
    Russia is pissed.  And rightly so as they are being continually assaulted.
    Here are a few charts I ran across this morning while searching for evidence of financial warfare being conducted against Russia.
    They speak for themselves:


     

    Russian bonds and the ruble and Russian stocks all getting clobbered.
    This is just how the ziocon/bankster alliance works.  
    “Hey so sorry about your financial markets there…maybe next time you just stand aside when we want to destroy a country?”
    Okay.  Fine.  This is how the system has worked for a long time.  The difference is that Russia has put up with this crap for a long time and seems to be near a turning/breaking point.  Maybe not, but that’s how it appears.
    If I am Russia, I am seriously considering just turning off the energy spigots and letting Europe go into the financial/economic dumpster and then sit back and wait for the spillover effects to knock the US markets.  Also double down on my diplomatic alignment with China and India.  
    The bottom line here is that US stock futures having a party this morning notwithstanding, this scuffle isn’t over, it’s just being conducted by other means.
    Again, for any security apparatus types lurking here my main concern is that my country be as strong and well positioned for the future as it can be.  Breaking rules and bombing people are, in my opinion, very bad ways to go about getting what you want over the long term.  I judge that the war party currently infecting the US is harming the country, not making it stronger.  Blood and treasure are being wasted.  Our own country is crumbling, literally spalling shards of concrete onto the roads and into the rivers below while Detroit still is sending poisoned water to kids and families 4 years after being discovered. 
    Maybe we’re not being lurked and followed here, maybe we’re too small to qualify as a movement, but the odds say we are:

    How many agents or infiltrators can we expect to see inside a movement?
    One of the most notorious “police riots” was the 1968 Democratic Party Convention. Independent journalist Yasha Levine writes: “During the 1968 protests of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, which drew about 10,000 protesters and was brutally crushed by the police, 1 out of 6 protesters was a federal undercover agent.
    That’s right, 1/6th of the total protesting population was made up of spooks drawn from various federal agencies. That’s roughly 1,600 people! The stat came from an Army document obtained by CBS News in 1978, a full decade after the protest took place. According to CBS, the infiltrators were not passive observers, monitoring and relaying information to central command, but were involved in violent confrontations with the police.” 
    Peter Camejo, who ran for Governor of California in 2003 as a Green and as Ralph Nader’s vice president in 2004, often told the story about his 1976 presidential campaign. Camejo able to get the FBI in court after finding their offices broken into and suing them over COINTELPRO activities.
    The judge asked the Special Agent in Charge how many FBI agents worked in Camejo’s presidential campaign; the answer was 66 agents. Camejo estimated he had a campaign staff of about 400 across the country. Once again that would be an infiltration rate of 1 out of 6 people. Camejo discovered that among the agents was his campaign co-chair. He also discovered eavesdropping equipment in his campaign office and documents showing the FBI had followed him since he was a student activist at 18 years old.
    (Source)

    However, I don’t fear being followed or tracked because I know that I am on the same side as anybody who actually cares about their country and wants to create a secure and viable future for their children.
    The war party is working against both of those interests, although they seem to think the opposite.  
    But I know right from wrong, and I know bullshit when I see it, and on those measures the US is desperately off track at a critical juncture of history.
     

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  • Mon, Apr 16, 2018 - 6:27am

    Reply to #15
    whoknew79

    whoknew79

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 17 2011

    Posts: 3

    Clarifications

    Again, for any security apparatus types lurking here my main concern is that my country be as strong and well positioned for the future as it can be. 

    Why did you feel the need to finish your post with a clarification to those working for purposes not aligned with the goals of Peak Prosperity? What prompted you at this moment?

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  • Mon, Apr 16, 2018 - 7:53am

    #41

    fionnbharr

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 27 2012

    Posts: 63

    West is hypocritical about chemical warfare in Middle East

    A very fine piece written by Robert Fisk published on the 14th April 2018 for Dawn.com

    West is hypocritical about chemical warfare in Middle East

    OH, the hypocrisy of it. The ignoble aims. The distraction. The outrageous lies and excuses.
    I’m not talking about America’s tweet-from-the-hip president and his desire to escape from the cops’ raid on his lawyer’s office — there’s a Russian connection, all right. And I’m not talking about his latest sleaze. Life with Melania might not be great at the moment. More distracting to sit with the generals and ex-generals and talk tough about Russia and Syria.
    I’m not talking about Theresa May, who wants to step out of the Brexit ditch with any distractions of her own: Salisbury attacks, Douma — even Trump. So Trump telephoned Macron, when the poor lady thought she’d won his hand. What is this nonsense?
    Macron has now hitched his own wagon to the Saudis against Iranian “expansionism” — and no doubt arms sales to Riyadh have something to do with it. But how sad that the desire of young French presidents to act like Napoleon (I can think of a few others) means that they devote themselves to joining in a war, rather than pleading against it.
    Now we have our spokespersons and ministers raging about the need to prevent the “normalisation” of chemical warfare, to prevent it becoming a part of ordinary warfare, a return to the terrible days of the First World War.
    This does not mean any excuses for the Syrian government — though I suspect, having seen Russia’s Syrian involvement with my own eyes, that Putin might have been getting impatient about ending the war and wanted to eradicate those in the last tunnels of Douma rather than wait through more weeks of fighting.
    Remember the cruelty of Grozny (the Chechen capital).
    But we all know the problems of proof when it comes to chemicals and gas. Like depleted uranium — which we used to use in our munitions — it doesn’t, like a shell fragment or a bomb casing, leave a tell-tale hunk of metal with an address on it.
    When all this started with the first gas attack in Damascus, the Russians identified it as gas munitions manufactured in the Soviet Union — but sent to Libya, not to Syria.
    But it’s a different war that I’m remembering today. It’s the Iran-Iraq war between 1980 and 1988, when Saddam Hussein invaded Iran. When the Iranians re-crossed their own border and stormed into Iraq years later, Saddam used gas on thousands of Iranian soldiers — and civilians, for there were nurses and doctors at the war front.
    Funny how we forget this now. We don’t talk about it. We have forgotten all about it. Talk about the “normalisation” of chemical warfare — this was it!
    But in our desire to concentrate minds on Syria, we’re not mentioning the Iran gassings — Iran being another one of our present-day enemies, of course — and this may be because of our lack of official memory.
    More likely it’s because of what happened: the institutionalisation of chemical warfare, the use of chemicals by Saddam who was then an ally of the West and of all the Gulf states, our frontline Sunni hero.
    The thousands of Iranian soldiers who were to die were referred to on Iraqi radio after they crossed the frontier. The “Persian insects” had crossed the border, it announced. And that’s how they were treated.
    For the precursors for the Iraqi gas came largely from the United States — one from New Jersey — and US military personnel later visited the battlefront without making any comments about the chemicals which were sold to the Iraqi regime, of course, for “agricultural” purposes. That’s how to deal with insects, is it not?
    Inconvenient truth
    Yet not a soul today is mentioning this terrible war, which was fought with total acquiescence of the West. It’s almost an “exclusive” to mention the conflict at all, so religiously have we forgotten it. That was the real “normalisation”, and we allowed it to happen.
    Religious indeed, for it was the first great battle of the Sunni-Shia war of our time. But it was real.
    Of the thousands of Iranians who were asphyxiated, a few survivors were even sent to British hospitals for treatment. I travelled with others on a military train through the desert to Tehran, the railway compartments packed with unsmiling young men who coughed mucus and blood into white bandages as they read Quran.
    They had blisters on their skin and, horrifically, more blisters on top of the first blisters. I wrote a series of articles about this obscenity for The Times, which I then worked for.
    The Foreign Office later told my editors that my articles were “not helpful”.
    No such discretion today. No fear of being out to get Saddam then — because in those days, of course, the good guys were using the chemicals. Don’t we remember the Kurds of Halabja who were gassed by Saddam, with gas which the CIA told its officers to claim was used by the Iranians?
    For this war crime, Saddam should have been tried. He was indeed a “gas-killing animal”. But he was hanged for a smaller massacre with conventional weapons — because, I have always suspected, we didn’t want him exposing his gas warfare partners in an open court.
    So there we are. Theresa May holds a “war cabinet”, for heaven’s sakes, as if our losses were mounting on the Somme in 1916, or Dorniers were flying out of occupied France to blitz London in 1940.
    What is this childish prime minister doing? Older, wiser Conservatives will have spotted the juvenile quality of this nonsense, and want a debate in parliament. How could May follow an American president who the world knows is crackers, insane, chronically unstable, but whose childish messages — about missiles that are “nice and new and ‘smart’”— are even taken seriously by many of my colleagues in the US?
    We should perhaps be even more worried about what happens if he does turn away from the Iran nuclear deal.
    This is a very bad moment in Middle East history — and, as usual, it is the Palestinians who will suffer, their own tragedy utterly forgotten amid this madness. So we are going to “war”, are we?
    And how do we get out of this war once we have started it? Any plans, anyone? What if there’s a gigantic screw-up, which wars do tend to usually produce? What happens then?
    Well, I guess Russia comes to the rescue, just as it did for president Barack Obama when gas was used for the first time in the Syrian war.
    By arrangement with The Independent
    Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2018

    Finn

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  • Mon, Apr 16, 2018 - 10:41am

    Reply to #15
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 17 2017

    Posts: 112

    War Party

    ” I judge that the war party currently infecting the US is harming the country, not making it stronger. ”
    The war party running the country has been running it since the beginning, actually before.
    The US has been at war for 94% of its existence. It took 6% off to plan for more.

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  • Mon, Apr 16, 2018 - 12:16pm

    Reply to #15
    jerryr

    jerryr

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 31 2008

    Posts: 46

    Security apparatus lurkers are people, too...

    cmartenson wrote:

    Again, for any security apparatus types lurking here my main concern is that my country be as strong and well positioned for the future as it can be …
    Maybe we’re not being lurked and followed here, maybe we’re too small to qualify as a movement, but the odds say we are: …

    I appreciate this comment, and also the quantification of the problem. It’s not easy to guess who those Cointel operatives might be, but it’s not crazy to think they might be here. Oftentimes as I’m talking on the telephone, I make it a point to say “hello” to whatever NSA officers or AI bots might be listening in.
    These days, some people assume that I’m a Russian bot, just because I post links to Russian media sources. But, I post those links because the sources look credible and honest to me. I hope we live to see a day when CNN has 10% of the credibility of RT. Not to mention my current favorite for Syria news, http://fort-russ.com, a little independent website in Belgrade.

    cmartenson wrote:

    However, I don’t fear being followed or tracked because I know that I am on the same side as anybody who actually cares about their country and wants to create a secure and viable future for their children.
    The war party is working against both of those interests, although they seem to think the opposite. 

    Indeed; and perhaps some of those lurkers and infiltrators will eventually come around to see things our way. I can’t imagine any more crazy way to waste $200 million, than to send 105 cruise missiles to destroy a pharmaceutical lab that’s making cancer drugs in Damascus.
    For all we know, the next batch of cruise missiles could start WWIII, and a chain of escalations that leads to thousands of nukes destroying every major city in the northern hemisphere. Maybe some lurker or Cointel operative can explain how that works to anyone’s benefit?

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  • Mon, Apr 16, 2018 - 1:17pm

    Reply to #15

    fionnbharr

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 27 2012

    Posts: 63

    Truth And Lies In The War On Terror

    Mohammed Mast wrote:
    cmartenson wrote:

    I judge that the war party currently infecting the US is harming the country, not making it stronger.

    The war party running the country has been running it since the beginning, actually before.
    The US has been at war for 94% of its existence. It took 6% off to plan for more.

    That sounds about right Mohammed : –

    Transcript
    William Kristol – ” The problem with America is not that we go marauding around the world imposing ourselves. The problem with America in the last 10, 15 years – since the end of the cold war – really in the last 60 years – is that we’ve been too slow to get involved in conflicts.”
    John Pilger – “Outside America, people are worried about the United States conducting an unprovoked attack on a country – a sovereign country.”
    William Kristol – “Are they?”
    John Pilger – “Yes, they are.”
    William Kristol – “They worry they think we’re going to attack Britain – France – Germany?”
    John Pilger – “No.”
    William Kristol – “Any democracy?”
    John Pilger – “No.”
    William Kristol – “Any decent regime?”
    John Pilger – “No, the United States doesn’t attack strong countries.”
    William Kristol – “Are people really worried that the United States is going to attack a decent law abiding country – come in and say, we don’t like the look of you – we’re going to depose – is this something the U.S has done quite often?”
    “How many countries have the United States attacked in the last 50 years?”
    John Pilger – “Well since World War 2 there’s been 72 interventions by the United States?”
    William Kristol – “Oh, is that right? That’s ludicrous.”
    John Pilger – “Well, it’s not ludicrous, it’s true.”

    Finn

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  • Wed, Apr 18, 2018 - 2:40am

    #42

    fionnbharr

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 27 2012

    Posts: 63

    Douma – and one doctor’s doubts over the chemical attack

    As ever, I’m sick to my guts!
    Please, don’t just wander past this article with a possible thumbs up, but comment, share the article everywhere you can think of – find your inner passion for the truth with others.
    The author of the article below – Robert Fisk – isn’t just any journalist, he’s 72 this year – a veteran of his craft, and one of the few journalists to interview Osama Bin Laden. 
    As I write, he’s on the ground in Douma.
    He’s been based in the Middle East since 1976 – covering much of the horrors of this region in this time – and lives in Lebanon. 

    The search for truth in the rubble of Douma – and one doctor’s doubts over the chemical attack
    Exclusive: Robert Fisk visits the Syria clinic at the centre of a global crisis
    18th April 2018 The Independent UK
    This is the story of a town called Douma, a ravaged, stinking place of smashed apartment blocks – and of an underground clinic whose images of suffering allowed three of the Western world’s most powerful nations to bomb Syria last week. There’s even a friendly doctor in a green coat who, when I track him down in the very same clinic, cheerfully tells me that the “gas” videotape which horrified the world – despite all the doubters – is perfectly genuine.
    War stories, however, have a habit of growing darker. For the same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.
    As Dr Assim Rahaibani announces this extraordinary conclusion, it is worth observing that he is by his own admission not an eyewitness himself and, as he speaks good English, he refers twice to the jihadi gunmen of Jaish el-Islam [the Army of Islam] in Douma as “terrorists” – the regime’s word for their enemies, and a term used by many people across Syria. Am I hearing this right? Which version of events are we to believe?
    By bad luck, too, the doctors who were on duty that night on 7 April were all in Damascus giving evidence to a chemical weapons enquiry, which will be attempting to provide a definitive answer to that question in the coming weeks.
    France, meanwhile, has said it has “proof” chemical weapons were used, and US media have quoted sources saying urine and blood tests showed this too. The WHO has said its partners on the ground treated 500 patients “exhibiting signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals”.
    At the same time, inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are currently blocked from coming here to the site of the alleged gas attack themselves, ostensibly because they lacked the correct UN permits.
    Before we go any further, readers should be aware that this is not the only story in Douma. There are the many people I talked to amid the ruins of the town who said they had “never believed in” gas stories – which were usually put about, they claimed, by the armed Islamist groups. These particular jihadis survived under a blizzard of shellfire by living in other’s people’s homes and in vast, wide tunnels with underground roads carved through the living rock by prisoners with pick-axes on three levels beneath the town. I walked through three of them yesterday, vast corridors of living rock which still contained Russian – yes, Russian – rockets and burned-out cars.
    So the story of Douma is thus not just a story of gas – or no gas, as the case may be. It’s about thousands of people who did not opt for evacuation from Douma on buses that left last week, alongside the gunmen with whom they had to live like troglodytes for months in order to survive. I walked across this town quite freely yesterday without soldier, policeman or minder to haunt my footsteps, just two Syrian friends, a camera and a notebook. I sometimes had to clamber across 20-foot-high ramparts, up and down almost sheer walls of earth. Happy to see foreigners among them, happier still that the siege is finally over, they are mostly smiling; those whose faces you can see, of course, because a surprising number of Douma’s women wear full-length black hijab.
    I first drove into Douma as part of an escorted convoy of journalists. But once a boring general had announced outside a wrecked council house “I have no information” – that most helpful rubbish-dump of Arab officialdom – I just walked away. Several other reporters, mostly Syrian, did the same. Even a group of Russian journalists – all in military attire – drifted off.
    It was a short walk to Dr Rahaibani. From the door of his subterranean clinic – “Point 200”, it is called, in the weird geology of this partly-underground city – is a corridor leading downhill where he showed me his lowly hospital and the few beds where a small girl was crying as nurses treated a cut above her eye.
    “I was with my family in the basement of my home three hundred metres from here on the night but all the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night – but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a “White Helmet”, shouted “Gas!”, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning.”
    Oddly, after chatting to more than 20 people, I couldn’t find one who showed the slightest interest in Douma’s role in bringing about the Western air attacks. Two actually told me they didn’t know about the connection.
    But it was a strange world I walked into. Two men, Hussam and Nazir Abu Aishe, said they were unaware how many people had been killed in Douma, although the latter admitted he had a cousin “executed by Jaish el-Islam [the Army of Islam] for allegedly being “close to the regime”. They shrugged when I asked about the 43 people said to have died in the infamous Douma attack.
    The White Helmets – the medical first responders already legendary in the West but with some interesting corners to their own story – played a familiar role during the battles. They are partly funded by the Foreign Office and most of the local offices were staffed by Douma men. I found their wrecked offices not far from Dr Rahaibani’s clinic. A gas mask had been left outside a food container with one eye-piece pierced and a pile of dirty military camouflage uniforms lay inside one room. Planted, I asked myself? I doubt it. The place was heaped with capsules, broken medical equipment and files, bedding and mattresses.
    Of course we must hear their side of the story, but it will not happen here: a woman told us that every member of the White Helmets in Douma abandoned their main headquarters and chose to take the government-organised and Russian-protected buses to the rebel province of Idlib with the armed groups when the final truce was agreed.
    There were food stalls open and a patrol of Russian military policemen – a now optional extra for every Syrian ceasefire – and no-one had even bothered to storm into the forbidding Islamist prison near Martyr’s Square where victims were supposedly beheaded in the basements. The town’s complement of Syrian interior ministry civilian police – who eerily wear military clothes – are watched over by the Russians who may or may not be watched by the civilians. Again, my earnest questions about gas were met with what seemed genuine perplexity.
    How could it be that Douma refugees who had reached camps in Turkey were already describing a gas attack which no-one in Douma today seemed to recall? It did occur to me, once I was walking for more than a mile through these wretched prisoner-groined tunnels, that the citizens of Douma lived so isolated from each other for so long that “news” in our sense of the word simply had no meaning to them. Syria doesn’t cut it as Jeffersonian democracy – as I cynically like to tell my Arab colleagues – and it is indeed a ruthless dictatorship, but that couldn’t cow these people, happy to see foreigners among them, from reacting with a few words of truth. So what were they telling me?
    They talked about the Islamists under whom they had lived. They talked about how the armed groups had stolen civilian homes to avoid the Syrian government and Russian bombing. The Jaish el-Islam had burned their offices before they left, but the massive buildings inside the security zones they created had almost all been sandwiched to the ground by air strikes. A Syrian colonel I came across behind one of these buildings asked if I wanted to see how deep the tunnels were. I stopped after well over a mile when he cryptically observed that “this tunnel might reach as far as Britain”. Ah yes, Ms May, I remembered, whose air strikes had been so intimately connected to this place of tunnels and dust. And gas?

    Sorry about the quality of sound in this video report of Robert Fisk, but this is a telephone report on the ground from Douma. I urge you to listen to this very carefully. Hat tip to Tim Jones at You Tube : –

    Finn

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  • Wed, Apr 18, 2018 - 6:45am

    #43
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 17 2017

    Posts: 112

    Hypernormalization

    Hi Finn
    Next time you speak with Adam Curtis tell him his docs are awesome but he needs to get rid of the music. I can’t hear a damn thing. It is horrible musice from B horror movies.

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  • Wed, Apr 18, 2018 - 6:46am

    #44
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 17 2017

    Posts: 112

    Hypernormalization

    Hi Finn
    Next time you speak with Adam Curtis tell him his docs are awesome but he needs to get rid of the music. I can’t hear a damn thing. It is horrible musice from B horror movies.

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  • Wed, Apr 18, 2018 - 9:49am

    Reply to #42
    Geedard

    Geedard

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 13 2014

    Posts: 56

    Tip my hat to you Finn

    Amazing article. Robert Fisk and you Finn, sure know how to find gold, tip my hat to you. Why do I doubt that the official enquiry will uncover the same info…

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  • Wed, Apr 18, 2018 - 2:02pm

    Reply to #42

    fionnbharr

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 27 2012

    Posts: 63

    Pandora's Box?

    Geedard wrote:

    Amazing article. Robert Fisk and you Finn, sure know how to find gold, tip my hat to you. Why do I doubt that the official enquiry will uncover the same info…

    Hello Geedard,
    you’re really refreshing for me, because I’m witnessing you, witnessing the media lie on behalf of our lying elect.
    There’s just nothing better to help question everything you read or view in the future, than seeing an event like this play out in real time.
    I’ll leave you with Hunter S. Thompson‘s prophetic words : –

    Finn

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  • Wed, Apr 18, 2018 - 2:04pm

    Reply to #43

    fionnbharr

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 27 2012

    Posts: 63

    An Introduction by Kissenger of Surkov to Hafez al-Assad

    Mohammed Mast wrote:

    Hi Finn
    Next time you speak with Adam Curtis tell him his docs are awesome but he needs to get rid of the music. I can’t hear a damn thing. It is horrible musice from B horror movies.

    Hi Mohammed,
    I’ll be sure and tell him devil …
    Which parts of the documentary did you find most intriguing?
    For me – with support from Wikipedia – there were two subtle areas that I was drawn to. The video’s beneath each are but a taste of my points. The full documentary itself balances these pieces together, forming a higher understanding of the two : –
    The first was Vladislav Surkov using ideas from art to turn Russian politics into a bewildering piece of theater, with Donald Trump using similar techniques in his presidential campaign using language from Occupy Wall Street, and the extreme racist right-wing – Trumps “defeated journalism”, rendering its fact-checking abilities irrelevant.

    Secondly – following the United States’ involvement in the 1982 Lebanon War – a vengeful Hafez al-Assad making an alliance with Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran. It was a plan to force the US out of the Middle East by encouraging civilians to carry out suicide bombings on American targets in the region, thereby avoiding reprisals, such as February 1984, when the U.S. withdrew all its troops from Lebanon because, in the words of then US Secretary of State George P. Shultz, “we became paralysed by the complexity that we faced”.

    Finn

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  • Thu, Apr 19, 2018 - 5:50am

    Reply to #43
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 17 2017

    Posts: 112

    Hypernormalization

    fionnbharr wrote:
    Mohammed Mast wrote:

    Hi Finn
    Next time you speak with Adam Curtis tell him his docs are awesome but he needs to get rid of the music. I can’t hear a damn thing. It is horrible musice from B horror movies.

    Hi Mohammed,
    I’ll be sure and tell him devil …
    Which parts of the documentary did you find most intriguing?
    For me – with support from Wikipedia – there were two subtle areas that I was drawn to. The video’s beneath each are but a taste of my points. The full documentary itself balances these pieces together, forming a higher understanding of the two : –
    The first was Vladislav Surkov using ideas from art to turn Russian politics into a bewildering piece of theater, with Donald Trump using similar techniques in his presidential campaign using language from Occupy Wall Street, and the extreme racist right-wing – Trumps “defeated journalism”, rendering its fact-checking abilities irrelevant.

    Secondly – following the United States’ involvement in the 1982 Lebanon War – a vengeful Hafez al-Assad making an alliance with Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran. It was a plan to force the US out of the Middle East by encouraging civilians to carry out suicide bombings on American targets in the region, thereby avoiding reprisals, such as February 1984, when the U.S. withdrew all its troops from Lebanon because, in the words of then US Secretary of State George P. Shultz, “we became paralysed by the complexity that we faced”.

    Finn

    Well the point is and has always been state control of reality, or rather perception. Huxley and Orwell eloquently described the scenario.
    Curtis did not go into CIA involvement which is all over the ME and has been since its inception. He also neglected to cover the role of Hillary in the current situation which is nothing more than a continuation of the destabilization process foisted on the US by its parent Israel. 
     

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  • Thu, Apr 19, 2018 - 9:14am

    #45

    SagerXX

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 11 2009

    Posts: 392

    What if we're already at NWO?

    Many of us here keep lamenting the globalists/oligarchs’ attempts to establish rule over the rest of us, undermining or “retiring” old rights and liberties and ways of doing things.
    What if….that phase change is already essentially over?  What if the current goings-on are essentially just fine-tuning/getting the last few bits in place — and what we have now is more or less what we’ll have going forward?
    Think about it:  above the local level, when was the last time your “vote” counted and resulted in palpable change?  (at the federal level, has to be *decades* at least!)
    Think about it:  TPTB have nearly-ubiquitous surveillance of our doings and preferences and what we say/write, a list of everyone with whom we associate, when we go where and what we buy, etc.
    Think about it:  is it possible the never-ending stream of atrocities and outrages and tragedies and “this just burns my biscuit!” is (to a great extent) planned?  ie. the tit-for-tat in Syria (gas “attack”, cruise missles, etc.).
    Think about it:  Protest does what, these days?  Did BLM accomplish anything?  Did the million woman march (pink pussy hats) accomplish anything?  Did Occupy accomplish anything?  IMO, they accomplished about as much as all the Anti-Iraq-War marches back in the early 00s.
    Think about it:  the dollar is dying, being slowly bit to pieces by the petro yuan, Russia finding workarounds for the SWIFT system, etc.  Eventually, we’ll get a blockchain-based SDR, methinks.
    While all our attention is on Vegas shootings and Syria (don’t forget Ukraine, that’ll be the next hotspot!) and North Korea and floods in ______ and droughts in _______ and plastic in the oceans and reef death etc etc, they are busy taking this little step and that little step (hey, Trump’s lawyer doesn’t get atty-client privilege because *reasons* says Judge Kimba). 
    This is not to say all these events are not legit crises — okay, most:  I am sympathetic to trans people but the whole bathroom issue last year was good for a couple weeks of “outrage” — but just that they are managed such that the public’s attention is diverted and occupied (colonized, if you will) and used to advance the agenda.
    Once we have another good stock market crash, and the Fed et al jump in to buy buy buy, seems to me we’ll have had a de facto privatization of public companies.  And once the Fed owns 51% of a certain number of companies that form the backbone of the economy, they’ll own, well, everything.  (If you’re a blacksmith near a giant noble’s farm, you’re essentially a subcontractor/employee of that noble, even if you’re nominally a private actor — without their biz/permission to be in biz, you can’t survive.)
    TPTB control the “”markets”” and the “currency” and the new feeds and are slowly moving to control the flow of info on the internet (censoring Twitter/FB/etc., Net Neutrality on its way out, etc.), and a controlling percent of the population are dependent on the gov for handouts.  That keeps the rest, especially those in the bottom half of the working population, afraid to stick their head up too far, yah?  What else do TPTB need?  They don’t have total control of everything, they just have *enough* control of *enough* things to more or less influence everything to go their way (or close).
    If you can build the case that the US/Russia/China are (behind the scenes, waaaaay behind the scenes) working out a pact of some sort to divvy things up three ways (with the occasional skirmish to keep up appearances — like the gas “attack” + cruise missile reprisal of last week), then I think we’re there.  
    So — I’m just sayin — what part of this still represents a free country/economy/world?
    VIVA anyway — Sager

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