Wednesday, August 13, 2008

U.S. refuses Israel weapons to attack Iran:

According to Reuters this morning the United States has turned down Israeli requests for military hardware to help it prepare for a possible attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, a frontpage report in Israel's Haaretz newspaper said on Wednesday.

The unsourced report said the Americans had warned Israel against carrying out any such attack and had refused to supply offensive military hardware. Instead they had offered to improve the Jewish state's defenses against surface-to-surface missiles.

Interviewed on Israeli Army Radio, Defense Minister Ehud Barak did not deny the Haaretz story, but refused to discuss it. "It would not be right to talk about these things," Barak said. You would think that after the Georgian misadventure, and given the fact that there are hundreds if not thousands of Russian technicals working with the Iranians on their nuclear program, that the lesson given over the past five days would have been more astutely taken by all those for whom it was intended. Attacking Iran will be the functional equivalent of attacking Russia and very possibly China, as well. There is no more room for unilateral cowboy antics - or as my man Nanakwame put it, "it's very interesting watching the welding of the circumference of the world".

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Orlov Breaks Down the Georgia Situation

Thanks to my man RC - we now have the deep backstory behind this weekend's altercation courtesy none other than sage collapse commentator Dmitry Orlov.

You've got to go read the whole thing for yourself, however, the essential breakdown is quoted below for easy assimilation.

It may be difficult for some people to grasp why it is that the Abkhaz or the Ossetians do not much fancy suddenly becoming Georgian, so let me offer you a precise analogy. Suppose Los Angeles, California, were to collapse as the USSR once did, and East L.A. quickly moved to declare its independence. Suppose, further, that the 88% of its population that is Hispanic/Latino voted that the other 12% were free to stay on as "guests," provided they only spoke Spanish. The teaching of English were to be forbidden. After some bloody skirmishes, East L.A. split up into ethnic enclaves. Then some foreign government (say, Russian, or Chinese) stepped in and started shipping in weapons and providing training to the Latino faction, in support of their efforts to restore East L.A.'s "territorial integrity." As a non-Hispanic resident of East L.A., would you then (1) run and hide, (2) stay and fight, or (3) pick up a copy of "Spanish for Dummies" and start cramming?

The Abkhaz and the South Ossetians have made their preference very clear by applying for and being issued with a Russian passport. That's right, the majority of the present native population of these two "separatist enclaves" are bona fide citizens of the Russian Federation with all the privileges appertaining thereto. Lacking any other options, they are happy to accept protection from Russia, use Russian as their lingua franca, and fight for their right to be rid of Georgians once and for all. One of the privileges of being a Russian citizen at this stage, when Russia has recovered from its political and economic woes following the Soviet collapse, is that if some foreign entity comes and shells a settlement full of Russian citizens, you can be sure that Russia will open one amazingly huge can of whoop-ass on whoever it feels is responsible. Add to that the atrocities allegedly perpetrated by the Georgian forces, such as finishing off wounded Russian peacekeepers, and you can see why the normally shy and reticent Russian army might get behind the idea of making sure Georgia no longer poses a military threat to anyone. The Georgians have really done it to themselves this time, and we should all feel very sorry for them. They are not evil people, just incredibly misguided by their horrible national politicians. The West, and the US in particular, bear responsibility for enabling this bloodbath by providing them with arms, training, and encouraging them to fight for their "territorial integrity."
Now that you've seen the composition of that Georgian national flag, you'll understand fully why the base is whipped into an unthinking frenzy in support of Georgia (GOOD) and Russia (EVIL) in the politico-moral shorthand that passes for rational thought in fin d'siecle America....,

Implementing the Doctrine

Yesterday Amy Goodman interviewed retired air force colonel Sam Gardiner. Well worth a listen or a read. Here is a very interesting excerpt from that discussion;

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about significance of this, in terms of nuclear warfare in Russia? Do we have anything to fear along those lines?

COL. SAM GARDINER: Absolutely. Let me just say that if you were to rate how serious the strategic situations have been in the past few years, this would be above Iraq, this would be above Afghanistan, and this would be above Iran.

On little notice to Americans, the Russians learned at the end of the first Gulf War that they couldn’t—they didn’t think they could deal with the United States, given the value and the quality of American precision conventional weapons. The Russians put into their doctrine a statement, and have broadcast it very loudly, that if the United States were to use precision conventional weapons against Russian troops, the Russians would be forced to respond with tactical nuclear weapons. They continue to state this. They practice this in their exercise. They’ve even had exercises that very closely paralleled what went on in Ossetia, where there was an independence movement, they intervene conventionally to put down the independence movement, the United States and NATO responds with conventional air strikes, they then respond with tactical nuclear weapons.

It appears to me as if the Russians were preparing themselves to do that in this case. First of all, I think they believe the United States was going to intervene. At a news conference on Sunday, the deputy national security adviser said we have noted that the Russians have introduced two SS-21 medium-range ballistic missile launchers into South Ossetia. Now, let me say a little footnote about those. They’re both conventional and nuclear. They have a relatively small conventional warhead, however. So, the military significance, if they were to be conventional, was almost trivial compared to what the Russians could deliver with the aircraft that they were using to strike the Georgians.

I think this was a signal. I think this was an implementation on their part of their doctrine. It clearly appears as if they expected the United States to do what they had practiced in their exercises. In fact, this morning, the Russians had an air defense exercise in the southern part of Russia that borders Georgia in which they—it was practicing shooting down incursion aircraft that were incursion into Russia. They were prepared for the United States to intervene, and I think they were prepared—or at least they were wanting to show the United States that their doctrine of the use of tactical nuclear weapons, if the US attacks, was serious, and they needed to take—the United States needs to take Russia very seriously.

It's 3:00AM and You Are On Your Own....

3:00 has come and gone in Georgia. In a country whose entire way of life has become predicated on a delusional pattern and praxis of warsocialist supremacy - have the candidates' responses to this ill-considered and badly botched imbroglio impressed upon you how totally and completely the American experiment in warsocialism has failed? Not only has righteous force projection and national defense capability been usurped, it has also been hollowed out and rendered largely impotent. The Caucasus incident - what went into it and its ignominious aftermath - underscores the need for the U.S. to immediately cease and desist all further foreign adventurism, reinstitute the draft, and ensure representative U.S. armed services composition.

Putin's Options: Flyswatter or Blunderbuss?

Mike Whitney in Global Research;

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told news agencies in an interview how the hostilities began:

Russian peacekeepers "were killed by their own [Georgian] partners in the peacekeeping forces. There is a Russian battalion, an Ossetian battalion, and a Georgian battalion... and all of a sudden the Georgians, Georgian peacekeepers, begin shooting their Russian colleagues. This is of course a war crime. I do not rule out that the Hague and Strasbourg courts and institutions in other cities will be involved in investigating these crimes, and this inhuman drama that has been played out."

According to South Ossetia's president, Eduard Kokoyti, Georgian troops had been taking part in NATO exercises in the region since the beginning of August. Kokoyti claims that there is a connection between the NATO's activities and the current violence.

Clearly, no one was expecting Russia to react as quickly or as forcefully as they did. In a matter of hours Russian tanks and armored vehicles were streaming over the border while warplanes bombed targets throughout the south. The Bush-Saakashvili strategy unraveled in a matter of hours. The Georgia president is already calling for a cease-fire. He's had enough.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has promised to spend $400 million to rebuild parts of South Ossetia. Large shipments of food and medical supplies are already on the way.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday:

"The actions of Georgia have led to deaths - among them are Russian peacekeepers. The situation reached the point that Georgian peacekeepers have been shooting at Russian peacekeepers. Now women, children and old people are dying in South Ossetia - most of them are citizens of the Russian Federation. As the President of the Russian Federation, I am obligated to protect lives and the dignity of Russian citizens wherever they are. Those responsible for the deaths of our citizens will be punished."

Indeed, but how will Medvedev bring the responsible people to justice; with tanks and fighter pilots or is there another way?
PUTIN'S OPTIONS: Flyswatter or Blunderbuss?

Sometimes wars provide clarity. That's certainly true in this case. After this weekends fighting, everyone in the Russian political establishment knows that Washington is willing to sacrifice thousands of innocent civilians and plunge the entire region into chaos to achieve its geopolitical objectives. Bush could call the whole thing off right now; Putin and Medvedev know that. But that's not the game-plan. So, the two Russian leaders have to make some tough decisions that will end up costing lives. What other choice do they have?

Putin needs to carefully weigh his options. Then, on Monday, he should announce that Russia will sell all $50 billion of its Fannie Mae mortgage-backed bonds, all of it US dollar-backed assets, and will accept only rubles and euros in the future sale of Russian oil and natural gas. Just watch as the dollar crashes and the Dow Jones goes into a death-spiral. Why use a blunderbuss when a flyswatter will do just fine.

From Stupid to Moronic to Evil

"Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative." John Stuart Mill

Paul Craig Roberts brought the hardline and summed up the emerging backstory about the Georgian Incident well in advance of its conclusion.
The Endowment for Democracy purchased Georgia as a US colony. The affront to Russia was extreme, but at the time Russia was weak. Oligarchs with outside money had grabbed control over Russian resources, and Russia was in dire straits and could not resist American imperialism.

Putin corrected the situation for Russia.

Now using American weapons, Georgia, for reasons yet to be revealed has violated its own agreement with Russia and attacked South Ossetia, killing in the process Russian peacekeepers. Vladimir Vasilyev, chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee for Security told the press:

"The things that were happening in Kosovo, the things that were happening in Iraq – we are now following the same path. The further the situation unfolds, the more the world will understand that Georgia would never be able to do all this without America."

Yes, without America there would be no war in Ossetia and no war between Russia and its former constituent part.

Without America there would be no war in Afghanistan. No war in Iraq.

Without America there would not be 1.2 million dead Iraqis and 4 million displaced Iraqis. We have no idea of the toll on Afghan civilians, although women and children appear to be the prime targets of the US/NATO forces that are "bringing peace and freedom to Afghanistan."

Recently, US Secretary of State Condi Rice said that the US government could not prevent an Israeli attack on Iran. Israel is an independent country, said the American Secretary of State. What an extraordinary lie.

Israel cannot exist without American weapons and money. Israel cannot attack Iran without overflying Iraq, which the US air force can easily prevent. It is clear as day that the Bush Regime has given the green light to Israel to attack Iran so the Bush Regime can rush to "Israel's defense."

Meanwhile the "liberal" media is urging the US to get involved in a war between Russia and Georgia. The insanity will lead to the unloosening of nuclear weapons.
PCR wrote the above well in advance of the conclusion of this fiasco. Though most of it is a scathing condemnation of Bushco and the base that he exemplifies - it also contained a prescient hardline synopsis of what has gone down in the Caucasus. Here now is the real hardline, President Medvedev has instructed Russian military judicial and forensics professionals to document these war crimes against the people of South Ossetia. Russia intends to press charges for war crimes against the perpetrators. Should be interesting to see whether the Georgian sockpuppet gets perp-walked into the Hague and prosecuted for war crimes.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Russia Bids To Rid Georgia of Its Folly

Evidently, commenter Alex was correct yesterday with the following assessment;

Its dishonest lie that georgian president said. Georgian troops make genocide, Saakashvili must be inprisoned like Karadjic.

In tomorrow's Asia Times we get the following assessment;
One word explains why the United States, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union have obliged themselves to sit on their hands, while Russia's defends its citizens, and national interests, in the Caucasus, and liberates Georgians from the folly of their unpopular president, Mikheil Saakashvili. That word is Kosovo.

For all Russians, not only those with relatives in Ossetia, the near-total destruction by Georgian guns of Tskhinvali is a war crime. The deaths of about 2,000 civilians in the Georgian attack, and the forced flight of about 35,000 survivors from the town - the last census of Tskhinvali's population reported 30,000 - has been described by Russian leaders, and is understood by Russian public opinion, as a form of genocide. Ninety percent of the town's population are Russian citizens.

To Russians, the Georgian attack of August 8 looks like the very same "ethnic cleansing", which the US and European powers have treated as a crime against humanity, when committed on the former territory of federal Yugoslavia.

But Russians view the international war that broke up Yugoslavia as a practice run for breaking up the Russian Caucasus, first by arming the Chechen secessionist Dzhokar Dudayev; then by financing anti-Russian terrorism in the Russian provinces of Chechnya and Ingushetia; and now by the Georgian military thrust against South Ossetia.

Since the US and the European Union have so recently compelled Serbia to accept the Albanian takeover of Serbia's Kosovo province, the overwhelming Russian view is that this will not be allowed to happen again. "Ossetia is not Kosovo" is a widespread refrain in Moscow today.

"If [former Yugoslav president] Slobodan Milosevic should be put on trial, the opinion here is - so too should Saakashvili," says a leading Moscow analyst.

But is it now a Russian war aim to drive Saakashvili from power? Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reportedly told US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over the weekend that Saakashvili "must go". Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister, on a mediation mission on Monday between the Georgian and Russian capitals, will hear the same view in Moscow.

The Russian argument is that, since coming to power in 2003, Saakashvili has militarized his country with US, NATO and Israeli arms, military training and money, for no purpose except to threaten Russia, and the minority nationalities of the region, who seek the protection of Moscow - the Abkhazians and the Ossetians.

Saakashvili, the Russian argument runs, has initiated military escalation over the past year because his political base has cracked and his domestic support is dwindling. The Georgian political opposition at home, and in exile abroad, agrees. They charge the president and his family, including the powerful Timur Alasaniya, Saakashvili's uncle, of growing corruptly rich off the arms trade and of seizing the country's resource, port and trading concessions for themselves and their supporters. Alasaniya, brother to Saakashvili's mother, holds the official position of Georgian representative to a United Nations Commission on Disarmament in New York (no relation to Irakly Alasaniya, Georgia's ambassador to the United Nations).
There is so little finesse in these bloody shenanigans. It's almost as it the current administration has learned absolutely NOTHING from the operational blunders by which it's international adventurism has been plagued here-to-date. Now the old wrinkly white-haired dood is running his senile mouth too;
"Russian President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin must understand the severe, long-term negative consequences that their government’s actions will have for Russia’s relationship with the U.S. and Europe," McCain said.

And, describing the Russian assaults that have gone beyond the disputed territory and into sovereign Georgia as "Moscow's path of violent aggression," the GOP nominee suggested that Putin's aim may be to overthrow the pro-U.S. government in Georgia.

"This should be unacceptable to all the democratic countries of the world, and should draw us together in universal condemnation of Russian aggression," McCain said.
Will incompetent busterism never cease???

It's Chess, Not Checkers - Dick!!!

In this morning's Guardian - Russia brushes aside ceasefire calls after Georgia withdraws and Putin in charge as flood of South Ossetian refugees grows. Russia's prime minister, Vladimir Putin, who has taken charge of the crisis, eclipsing the president, Dmitry Medvedev, visited refugees in hospitals in Vladikavkaz, and said 22,000 had crossed into Russia.

Meanwhile, from an undisclosed location back at the ranch, President (oops, VP) Dick Cheney said that "Russian aggression must not go unanswered, and that its continuation would have serious consequences for its relations with the United States."

Cheney spoke Sunday afternoon with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, Cheney press secretary Lee Ann McBride said. "The vice president expressed the United States' solidarity with the Georgian people and their democratically elected government in the face of this threat to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity," McBride said.

Asked to explain Cheney's phrase "must not go unanswered," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said, "It means it must not stand." White House officials refused to indicate what recourse the United States might have if the military onslaught continues.

When the USSR broke up, Russia withdrew, pay attention, 80 armored divisions from Europe. The US does not have 80 armored divisions ANYWHERE. I don't think v-prez Cheney has anything more substantial than heated rhetoric in his trick bag, but given the rapidly developing nature of these events - we won't have to wait very long to find out now, will we?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hot Electromagnetic Pulse Rhetoric

Of course it's purely coincidental that EMP apocalypse has been injected into the base during the past two weeks.

However, given our mission here, that's the type of coincidence worthy of sharing for your consideration.


The EMP Commission was established pursuant to title XIV of the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (as enacted into law by Public Law 106-398; 114 Stat. 1654A-345). Duties of the EMP Commission include assessing:
  1. the nature and magnitude of potential high-altitude EMP threats to the United States from all potentially hostile states or non-state actors that have or could acquire nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles enabling them to perform a high-altitude EMP attack against the United States within the next 15 years;
  2. the vulnerability of United States military and especially civilian systems to an EMP attack, giving special attention to vulnerability of the civilian infrastructure as a matter of emergency preparedness;
  3. the capability of the United States to repair and recover from damage inflicted on United States military and civilian systems by an EMP attack; and
  4. the feasibility and cost of hardening select military and civilian systems against EMP attack.
The Commission is charged with identifying any steps it believes should be taken by the United States to better protect its military and civilian systems from EMP attack.

Multiple reports and briefings associated with this effort have been produced by the EMP Commission including an Executive Report (PDF, 578KB) and a Critical National Infrastructures Report (PDF, 7MB) describing findings and recommendations.

The EMP Commission was reestablished via the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 to continue its efforts to monitor, investigate, make recommendations, and report to Congress on the evolving threat to the United States from electromagnetic pulse attack resulting from the detonation of a nuclear weapon or weapons at high altitude.

The Crash Course

Here's a resource you may wish to bookmark. Click on the graphic to view.

Escalating Tribal Violence....,

In this morning's Guardian; Russian bombers and artillery yesterday widened their attack against Georgian forces with strikes against towns and military bases across the country in a dangerous escalation of the two-day-old war. Moscow appeared determined to dismantle Georgia's military capability in punishment for its rival's brutal attempt to regain control of the breakaway enclave of South Ossetia.

Russia's Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, last night insisted that its actions were 'legitimate' and called on Georgia to end its 'aggression' against the separatist province.

As the civilian casualties escalated on both sides, Georgia's military adventure seemed to be unravelling. President Mikheil Saakashvili demanded a ceasefire from Russia and implored the West to intervene to help him. Georgia's difficulties deepened further as separatists in a second pro-Russian breakaway Georgian republic - Abkhazia - joined the conflict, attacking Georgian forces in the contested upper Kodori Gorge.

Despite Saakashvili's call for a ceasefire - and the announcement that a combined EU, UN and US delegation was flying to Georgia to broker a cessation of hostilities - Russia insisted there would be no ceasefire until all Georgian troops had withdrawn from South Ossetia, which declared its independence from Georgia after a war in 1992.

'The first thing needed is to ... make the Georgians return to their positions and re-establish the status quo we had before,' Russia's Nato ambassador, Dmitry Rogozin, said in Brussels. He said that there could be 'no consultations' until that precondition had been met.

Rogozin said Russian troops had entered South Ossetia to protect Russian peacekeepers and civilians. He added - unconvincingly given the air raids - that Russia was not conducting any military operation against Georgia outside the conflict zone in South Ossetia.

The latest moves come amid concern over the civilian death toll on both sides, which appeared to have reached 2,000 yesterday. The first horrific images began emerging from the Georgian town of Gori, bombed yesterday by Russian jets, where up to 60 civilians died when bombs landed on two apartment blocks in a town that Georgia has been using as a military staging post for its assault on South Ossetia.

Wait, wait, wait!!!! I didn't mean it, I didn't mean it!

In Time online...,
Whether or not the effect was intended, Moscow now appears to be using Saakashvili's strategic overreach to teach a brutal lesson not only to the Georgians, but also to other neighbors seeking to align themselves with the West against Russia. Saakashvili is appealing for Western support, based on international recognition of South Ossetia as sovereign Georgian territory. "A full-scale aggression has been launched against Georgia," he said, calling for Western intervention. But given NATO's previous warnings, its commitments elsewhere and the reluctance of many of its member states to antagonize Russia, it remains unlikely that Georgia will get more than verbal support from its desired Western protectors. Saakashvili appears to have both underestimated the scale of the Russian backlash, and overestimated the extent of support he could count on from the U.S. and its allies. The Georgian leader may have expected Washington to step up to his defense, particularly given his country's centrality to the geopolitics of energy — Georgia is the only alternative to Russia as the route for a pipeline carrying oil westward from Azerbaijan. But Russia is not threatening to overrun Georgia. Moscow claims to be simply using its military to restore the secessionist boundary, which in the process would deal Saakashvili a humiliating defeat.

Although its outcome is yet to be decided, there's no win-win outcome to the offensive launched by Georgia with the goal of recovering South Ossetia. Either Saakashvili wins, or Moscow does. Unless the U.S. and its allies demonstrate an unlikely appetite for confrontation with an angry and resurgent Russia in its own backyard, the smart money would be on Moscow.
Pawns never seem to realize their expendable status until it's waaaaaay too late. Then, no amount of wait, wait, wait, I didn't mean it, I didn't mean it! type begging will save their proverbial bacon.

The Pawn Shop.....,

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday said it was time for Russia to rebuild links with former Cold War ally Cuba, news agencies reported.

The Kremlin is angry at U.S. plans for a missile defence system in Eastern Europe, and last month a news report suggested Russia might use Cuba, a thorn in America's side for half a century, as a refueling stop for nuclear-capable bombers.

The Russian Defence Ministry denied the report and said it had no plans to open any military bases abroad, but a top U.S. general was drawn to say such a move would cross a "red line".

Moscow was the Caribbean island's key oil, arms and grain supplier for 30 years, until subsidies propping up the economy of Fidel Castro's revolutionary government fell to a trickle and then dried up entirely after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

"We need to reestablish positions on Cuba and in other countries," news agency Interfax quoted Putin as saying at the weekly presidium meeting of key government ministers.

Putin's remarks came after Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin reported on a recent three-day visit to Cuba, where he discussed a raft of trade and investment issues and met with Raul Castro, Fidel's brother and now the island's leader.

"We agreed on a priority direction for cooperation, this being energy, the mining industry, agriculture, transport, health care and communications," news agency RIA quoted Sechin as saying.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

More Opening Play.....?

From europebusiness blogspot;
Operation Brimstone ended only one week ago. This was the joint US/UK/French naval war games in the Atlantic Ocean preparing for a naval blockade of Iran and the likely resulting war in the Persian Gulf area. The massive war games included a US Navy supercarrier battle group, an US Navy expeditionary carrier battle group, a Royal Navy carrier battle group, a French nuclear hunter-killer submarine plus a large number of US Navy cruisers, destroyers and frigates playing the "enemy force".

The lead American ship in these war games, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN71) and its Carrier Strike Group Two (CCSG-2) are now headed towards Iran along with the USS Ronald Reagon (CVN76) and its Carrier Strike Group Seven (CCSG-7) coming from Japan.

They are joining two existing USN battle groups in the Gulf area: the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN72) with its Carrier Strike Group Nine (CCSG-9); and the USS Peleliu (LHA-5) with its expeditionary strike group.

Likely also under way towards the Persian Gulf is the USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) and its expeditionary strike group, the UK Royal Navy HMS Ark Royal (R07) carrier battle group, assorted French naval assets including the nuclear hunter-killer submarine Amethyste and French Naval Rafale fighter jets on-board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. These ships took part in the just completed Operation Brimstone.

The build up of naval forces in the Gulf will be one of the largest multi-national naval armadas since the First and Second Gulf Wars. The intent is to create a US/EU naval blockade (which is an Act of War under international law) around Iran (with supporting air and land elements) to prevent the shipment of benzene and certain other refined oil products headed to Iranian ports. Iran has limited domestic oil refining capacity and imports 40% of its benzene. Cutting off benzene and other key products would cripple the Iranian economy. The neo-cons are counting on such a blockade launching a war with Iran.
Check out the right honorable Earl's update note to this blogpost; A strategic diversion has been created for Russia. The Republic of Georgia, with US backing, is actively preparing for war on South Ossetia. The South Ossetia capital has been shelled and a large Georgian tank force has been heading towards the border. Russia has stated that it will not sit by and allow the Georgians to attack South Ossetia. The Russians are great chess players and this game may not turn out so well for the neo-cons. UPDATE 8 August 2008 ~ War has broken out between Georgia and South Ossetia. At least 10 Russian troops have been killed and 30 wounded and 2 Russian fighter jets downed. American Marines, a thousand of them, have recently been in Georgia training the Georgian military forces. Several European nations stopped Bush and others from allowing Georgia into NATO. Russia is moving a large military force with armor towards the area. This could get bad, and remember it is just a strategic diversion....but one that could have horrific effects. Link to story "Russia sends forces into Georgia rebel conflict". FURTHER UPDATE ~ Russian military forces in active combat; now total of four Russian fighter jets reported downed. ADDITIONAL UPDATE ~ Georgia calls for US help; Russian Air Force bombs Georgian air bases. DEBKA, the Israeli strategy and military site, states that Israeli military officers are advising the Georgian armed forces in combat operations and that 1,000 Israelis are in-combat on the side of Georgia at this time.

Russia and Georgia Clash Over Separatist Region

NYTimes coverage this morning; Analysts said that either Georgia or Russia could be trying to seize an opportune moment — with world leaders focused on the start of the 2008 Olympics this week — to reclaim the territory, and to settle the dispute before a new American presidential administration comes to office.

Richard C. Holbrooke, the former American ambassador to the United Nations, said that Russia’s aims were clear. “They have two goals,” he said. “To do a creeping annexation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and, secondly, to overthrow Saakashvili, who is a tremendous thorn in their side.”[...]

There are over 2,000 American citizens in Georgia, Pentagon officials said. Among them are about 130 trainers — mostly American military personnel but with about 30 Defense Department civilians —assisting the Georgian military with preparations for deployments to Iraq.

The American military was taking no actions regarding the outbreak of violence, according to Pentagon and military officials. While there has been some contact with the Georgian authorities, the Defense Department had received no requests for assistance, the officials said.

Limits to Growth II


Click on image to hear the presentation.

Friday, August 08, 2008

A Fascinating Prepared Variation

In today's DEBKAfile;
Georgian tanks and infantry, aided by Israeli military advisers, captured the capital of breakaway South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, early Friday, Aug. 8, bringing the Georgian-Russian conflict over the province to a military climax.

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin threatened a “military response.”

Former Soviet Georgia called up its military reserves after Russian warplanes bombed its new positions in the renegade province.

In Moscow’s first response to the fall of Tskhinvali, president Dimitry Medvedev ordered the Russian army to prepare for a national emergency after calling the UN Security Council into emergency session early Friday.

Reinforcements were rushed to the Russian “peacekeeping force” present in the region to support the separatists.

Georgian tanks entered the capital after heavy overnight heavy aerial strikes, in which dozens of people were killed.

Lado Gurgenidze, Georgia's prime minister, said on Friday that Georgia will continue its military operation in South Ossetia until a "durable peace" is reached. "As soon as a durable peace takes hold we need to move forward with dialogue and peaceful negotiations."
Is this the beginning?

"Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world power."- (p. xiii)

"... But in the meantime, it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America. The formulation of a comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geostrategy is therefore the purpose of this book.” (p. xiv)

"In that context, how America 'manages' Eurasia is critical. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa's subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world's central continent. About 75 per cent of the world's people live in Eurasia, and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources." (p.31)

“Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties, even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization." (p.35) Zbigniew Brzezinski - The Grand Chessboard

America's Fastest-Dying Cities

The turmoil of the mortgage market granted a temporary reprieve from hearing about the woes of America's Rust Belt. That doesn't mean things are better. Despite a decade of national prosperity, the former manufacturing backbone of the U.S. is in rougher shape than ever, still searching for some way to replace its long-stilled smokestacks.

Where's it worst? Ohio, according to our analysis, which racked up four of the 10 cities on our list: Youngstown, Canton, Dayton and Cleveland. The runner-up is Michigan, with two cities--Detroit and Flint--making the ranking.

The Economy - Forbes.com


In pictures, America's fastest dying cities.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Chase and Payton Shot!!! WTF???

Months ago I posted about these senseless and brutal paramilitary police raids in the so-called War on Drugs. Now, an erroneous Maryland pot raid results in the tragic assassination of Berwin mayor's black labradors, Chase and Payton;
The mayor of a small town outside Washington says he's asking the U.S. Justice Department to investigate a county police raid on his home during which his dogs were killed.

Cheye Calvo says it's too early to talk about seeking monetary damages.

Authorities raided Calvo's home after intercepting a package shipped to his wife that was filled with 32 pounds of marijuana last week. During the raid, law enforcement officers broke down Calvo's door and shot and killed the family's two dogs.
Sheriff's office spokesman Sgt. Mario Ellis says deputies "apparently felt threatened" when they shot the dogs.

Calvo said officers entered about 7:30 p.m., first shooting 7-year-old Payton. They then pursued 4-year-old Chase, who ran away and was shot by police from behind, he said.

Calvo said he doesn't have any idea how the package ended up at his house. He called the raid "the most traumatic experience" of his life.

Calvo, who called his town "Mayberry inside the Capital Beltway," gets a small stipend as mayor and works at the SEED Foundation, a nonprofit that runs public boarding schools for at-risk students. His wife works as a state finance officer.

"These were two beautiful black Labradors who were well-known in the community. We walked them twice a day; little kids knew their names and would come up to them and pet them," he said.

Move Along Now, Nothing to See Over Here....,

POSNER: I'm certainly not sold on the theory of the lone mad scientist. I'm not even sold right now on the fact he was involved. I'll tell you why. All we are hearing is one side of the evidence. We're getting it leaked out, as it always is by the government, bit by bit about what happened. And as you said, it's absolutely at best a circumstantial case.

The big thing they're hanging their hat on right now is the fact that they have a new DNA type of evidence for bacteria that can isolate this form of anthrax back to a flask that was in the laboratory that he handled, as did at least ten other people and possibly dozens. They have them in New Jersey, supposedly, a time when mail was sent out with anthrax spores from places in Princeton. And they have him holding a P.O. Box at a postal office inside of Frederick, Maryland, where some of the envelopes were bought they think they can trace back to this.

It's a case where any good defense attorney, a Mark Geragos, an F. Lee Bailey in his heyday a Roy Black, they would relish this type of case. They could knock it out of the ballpark. I have to say one thing, we cannot allow—I really believe this, on a case this important on the anthrax investigation, for a rush to judgment in a matter in which the prime suspect is dead of an apparent suicide.