Monday, November 23, 2015

hon.bro.preznit drawing a line in the sand again, now pretending to call a tune to which valodya must dance...,

bloomberg |  U.S. President Barack Obama said Russia must make a strategic decision about Syria and the next several weeks will show whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will give up backing the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad to join in a broad campaign against Islamic State.
The U.S. won’t in any circumstances agree to a political settlement for the civil war in Syria that leaves Assad in power because he’s lost all legitimacy, Obama said. As long as Assad remains, there is no way to unite the country’s various factions for the fight against Islamic State.
“It is not conceivable that Mr. Assad can regain legitimacy in a country in which a large majority of that country despises Assad, and will not stop fighting so long as he’s in power,” Obama said Sunday at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur.
There is an increasing awareness on Putin’s part that the extremist group is a much bigger threat to Russia than losing an embattled ally in Assad or anything else in the region, Obama said. The downing of a Russian passenger jet last month drove that point home to Putin, he said.

Pressing Ahead

The U.S. and its allies will press ahead with their battle against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq with or without Russia’s cooperation, he said. Discussions will continue in Vienna searching for a political solution.
“Russia has not officially committed to a transition of Assad moving out but they did agree to a political transition process,” Obama said. “And I think we’ll find out over the next several weeks whether or not we can bring about that change in perspective with the Russians.”
French President Francois Hollande will visit Obama at the White House on Tuesday before visiting Moscow on Thursday, part of the French leader’s efforts to unify the U.S. and Russia in the fight against Islamic State. In the days since the group claimed responsibility for attacks in Paris that killed 130 people, Hollande has called for the U.S. and Russia to begin coordinating efforts in Iraq and Syria.
Like France, Russia has been a target of Islamic State terrorism. The group claimed responsibility for blowing a Russian passenger jet out of the sky over Egypt, killing 224 people.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

"isis" wants you to hate all muslims

thenation |  Fourteen years ago, immediately after the Al Qaeda terror attacks in the United States on September 11, the French daily Le Monde published a headline that perfectly expressed the sentiments of grief, shock, and solidarity that so many around the world felt at the time: Nous sommes tous Américains
 (We are all Americans). In the wake of the Islamic State’s terror attacks on Paris, many of those same feelings flooded the world media, this time for the City of Light (a wave soon followed by rueful acknowledgment that earlier ISIS atrocities, from Beirut to Baghdad and Aden to Ankara, had elicited far less sympathy in the Global North). Adding to the shock this time was the horrifying realization that these terrorists, in targeting random civilians at a sports event, concert, cafes, and restaurants, were attacking not simply a city or a country but the very idea of pleasure, diversity, conviviality—an assault on so much of what makes life worth living.

But just as in the United States in the weeks after 9/11, all too many politicians and pundits on both sides of the Atlantic cried out for war and vengeance, demanded draconian new policing and surveillance powers, and insisted on an end to accepting more refugees. French President François Hollande, vowing that “France will be pitiless against the barbarians” of ISIS, went so far as to invoke Article 42.7 of the European Union treaty, which stipulates that all EU nations are obliged to come to the aid of a fellow member who is the “victim of armed aggression.”

Republicans and other critics in the United States used the tragedy to attack the Obama administration’s Syria policy, without offering coherent alternatives. Perhaps most despicable was the backlash against those fleeing the civil war, with more than two dozen Republican governors announcing that their states would no longer accept Syrian refugees. Several GOP presidential candidates, echoing the neoconservative pundits, seemed to be in a competition to see who could be the most Islamophobic. There’s plenty to criticize regarding President Obama’s Syria policy, but in his press conference in Turkey, the president was scathing, and admirable, on this point: “When I hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims; when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted…that’s shameful. That’s not American…. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”

The Islamophobia is racist, of course, but it also plays right into the hands of ISIS, as does the war fever. The terror group has been quite clear that its strategy is to eliminate what it calls the “grayzone” where Muslims and non-Muslims live in harmony. It aims to provoke Western governments into clamping down on their own Muslim populations, the better to drive them into ISIS’s arms. In its magazine Dabiq, ISIS applauded George W. Bush’s post-9/11 language: “Bush spoke the truth when he said, ‘Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.’ I.e. either you are with the crusade or you are with Islam.” Les extrêmes se touchent.

aging white population of Europe/North America vs youth of Central/Western Asia and Afrika

pbs |  WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The scenes of the children and the education, if you can call it that, that they’re getting are really quite terrifying.

And I was wondering if you could just tell us a little bit more about the men who think that this is a good thing to teach children, to teach children so young to learn how to kill.

NAJIBULLAH QURAISHI: I have never seen this in my journalism life before.

At the beginning, I didn’t know when they mentioned me they have a school, they are children, if I want to go and film. I was thinking maybe there is a proper lesson, they maybe learn some mathematics, some grammar or some language or something or maybe proper Koran. I was thinking like this.

But, suddenly, I come across with jihad for 3 years old, or 4- or 5-year-old children. You’re telling what is jihad and how to kill. So then I was shocked.

MAN (through interpreter): What is this word? Jihad. What is jihad?

NAJIBULLAH QURAISHI: These guys mainly come from Pakistan.

They were telling me that this is the time they should teach the children, and they should learn from now and they should be prepared.

MAN (through interpreter): Fire it from a standing position, like this.

NAJIBULLAH QURAISHI: For them, they should be ready for fighting, for everything at the age of 12 or 13 for something like this.

They were asking the children about the weapons, for example, how many bullets it takes, where this pistol made from, where is Kalashnikov made from, why we should use this, and who should we — against with this, and lots of different things which the children knew from this age.

Then, on the film, you can see the second generation, which is all the teenagers, like 13 or 17. And they’re ready to blow themselves up or to do a suicide attack.

I came to the conclusion about Afghanistan’s future and Afghanistan’s next generation. Still, we have over 90 percent uneducated people. We don’t have security. Day by day, all the terrorists come into Afghanistan, all the farmers.

Right now in Afghanistan, we have Haqqani Network. We have Hezb-e-Islami or Hekmatyar. We have the Taliban. And now we have this crazy group, the most — worst group ever I have seen in my life. And I cannot see any bright future about that country, and I don’t think if there is any — any power to defeat them.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

our staunch ally is ISIS that made it...,

NYTimes |  One has to live in the Muslim world to understand the immense transformative influence of religious television channels on society by accessing its weak links: households, women, rural areas. Islamist culture is widespread in many countries — Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mali, Mauritania. There are thousands of Islamist newspapers and clergies that impose a unitary vision of the world, tradition and clothing on the public space, on the wording of the government’s laws and on the rituals of a society they deem to be contaminated.

It is worth reading certain Islamist newspapers to see their reactions to the attacks in Paris. The West is cast as a land of “infidels.” The attacks were the result of the onslaught against Islam. Muslims and Arabs have become the enemies of the secular and the Jews. The Palestinian question is invoked along with the rape of Iraq and the memory of colonial trauma, and packaged into a messianic discourse meant to seduce the masses. Such talk spreads in the social spaces below, while up above, political leaders send their condolences to France and denounce a crime against humanity. This totally schizophrenic situation parallels the West’s denial regarding Saudi Arabia.

All of which leaves one skeptical of Western democracies’ thunderous declarations regarding the necessity of fighting terrorism. Their war can only be myopic, for it targets the effect rather than the cause. Since ISIS is first and foremost a culture, not a militia, how do you prevent future generations from turning to jihadism when the influence of Fatwa Valley and its clerics and its culture and its immense editorial industry remains intact? Fist tap Arnach.

full-throttle big-lie

democracynow |  In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, media coverage has seen familiar patterns: uncritically repeat government claims, defend expansive state power, and blame the Muslim community for the acts of a few. We discuss media fearmongering, anti-Muslim scapegoating, ISIL’s roots, and war profiteering with Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and co-founder of The Intercept. "Every time there’s a terrorist attack, Western leaders exploit that attack to do more wars," Greenwald says. "Which in turn means they transfer huge amounts of taxpayer money to these corporations that sell arms. And so investors are fully aware that the main people who are going to benefit from this escalation as a result of Paris are not the American people or the people of the West — and certainly not the people of Syria — it is essentially the military-industrial complex."

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh. Our guest for the hour is the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, as we turn to comments made by former CIA Director James Woolsey on Sunday. Speaking to NPR, Woolsey said Edward Snowden "has blood on his hands" following the Paris attacks.

JAMES WOOLSEY: I am no fan of the changes that were made after Snowden’s leaks of classified information. I don’t think they have improved our ability to collect and use intelligence, and I think they’ve seriously reduced our abilities. I think Snowden has blood on his hands from these killings in France.

AMY GOODMAN: Your response to the former director of central intelligence, Glenn Greenwald, James Woolsey?

GLENN GREENWALD: First of all, it’s absolutely remarkable that James Woolsey, of all people, is the person who has been plucked to be the authoritative figure on the Paris attacks by leading media outlets such as CNN and MSNBC news, when he is by far one of the most extremist and radical neoconservatives ever to be puked up by the intelligence world. He not only was one of the leading advocates of attacking Iraq, he was one of the leading proponents of all of the lies that led to that invasion, and has been calling for war and other sorts of really extremist policies, and disseminating lies to the American people for decades. And so, to hold him out as some sort of authority figure, some kind of like respected elder intelligence statesman, on these attacks is just exactly the sort of thing we’ve been talking about, which is the state of the American media. Not one person has challenged anything that he said.

I should also note that what this really is about is this really shameless effort on the part of the CIA and other government officials to exploit the emotions that have been generated by watching the carnage in Paris for all sorts of long-standing policies. If you go back to 2013, the very same James Woolsey went on Fox News, and he said—this was two years before the Paris attacks—"Not only do I think Edward Snowden is a traitor, I think he should be hung by the neck until he’s dead." That’s the mentality of the kinds of people who the media is holding out as our leading experts.

Friday, November 20, 2015

syraq's speed freaks, jihad junkies, and captagon cartels...,

foreignpolicy |  In a dank garage in a poor neighborhood in south Beirut, young men are hard at work. Industrial equipment hums in the background as they put on their surgical masks and form assembly lines, unpacking boxes of caffeine and quinine, in powder and liquid form. They have turned the garage into a makeshift illegal drug factory, where they produce the Middle East’s most popular illicit drug: an amphetamine called Captagon

For at least a decade, the multimillion-dollar Captagon trade has been a fixture of the Middle East’s black markets. It involves everyone from and  gangs, to Hezbollah, to members of the Saudi royal family. On Oct. 26, Lebanese police arrested Saudi prince Abdel Mohsen Bin Walid Bin Abdulaziz at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport for allegedly trying to smuggle 40 suitcases full of Captagon (along with some cocaine) to Riyadh aboard a private jet.

The past  have seen the global trade in illegal Captagon skyrocket, as authorities across the region have observed a major spike in police seizures of the drug. Local law enforcement, Interpol, and the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) all agree on the catalyst: the conflict in Syria. Captagon now links addicts in the Gulf to Syrian drug lords and to brigades fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who are funded by the profits, and, after years of fighting, are now hooked on the product.

Captagon began as a pharmaceutical-grade amphetamine called. Patented by German pharmaceutical giant  in the 1960s, doctors used it to treat a range of disorders, from narcolepsy to depression. But the drug fell out of favor in the 1970s, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deemed it too addictive to justify its use, with the World Health Organization following suit and recommending a worldwide ban in the 1980's. 

This is where the free market history of Captagon ends and the hazier black market story — one told by drug lords, smugglers, and law enforcement — begins.

enemy of enemies the rise of isil

aljazeera |  Al Jazeera explores the origins and evolution of the world's most feared and powerful insurgent group - ISIL.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been a devastating force against those it battles as well as those it purportedly governs.

Its sudden rise and expansion in 2014 has perplexed many. It has humiliated its enemies, including those in Damascus, Baghdad, Tehran and Washington. Armed with extensive weaponry, boasting an international fighting force and adept in the art of digital media propaganda, ISIL has become the de facto authority across an area the size of Jordan.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

video makes sense if you know the exchange between youngblood priest and dept. commissioner reardon

atimes |  The heart of the matter is the drive-by team. Or “teams”. The investigation seems to be clueless about them. The killers at La Belle Équipe arrived on a black Mercedes, according to witnesses. There is no mention of this Mercedes anywhere. The killers were ultra-pro, muscular, methodical – and white.

These are the non-expendables. The high-priced mercenaries. While the whole media circus spreads from Grenoble and Toulouse to Brussels and even Raqqa, they have simply vanished without a trace. No one knows who they are. No one knows who hired them. Hardly social network jihadi al-Baljiki.

So what does Daesh want?

A case can be made for whether it makes sense for Daesh to provoke a refugee backlash and have the gates of Fortress Europe hermetically closed. That seems to be the road map ahead. France’s borders are closed until further notice. Schengen is already dissolving. The rabid, right-wing anti-immigration political front across Europe cannot but rejoice. Yet at the same time it’s the EU establishment who’s pre-empting the anti-immigration platform. A “blame the refugees” narrative is insidiously being developed – personified by the (fake) Syrian passport found at the Stade de France.
Daesh is all about the strategy of fear and chaos. They want key Western capitals – Paris, London, New York – living in fear. And they want to lure Western boots on the ground to Syria. That would be a gift from heaven: the “crusaders” are invading us, again. One can imagine Jihad Inc. recruiting going through the roof.
The only feasible way to smash Daesh, slowly but surely, is via close collaboration between the “4+1” – the SAA and Iranian and Hezbollah fighters with Russian air cover – the Kurds (PKK, YPG, even Peshmerga) and, if they really mean it this time, responsible members of the US-led Coalition of the Dodgy Opportunists (CDO).
A “comprehensive international coalition” to fight Daesh is fine. But with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar at the table in the Vienna charade, that’s a bit rich, coupled with Paris subservient coddling of the Salafi-jihadi enablers, sponsors, financiers and weaponizers in Riyadh and Doha.
The fake “Caliphate” goons warned this is just the “beginning of a storm”. To be the riders on the storm against this very small, extremely mobile and “invisible” army, one would need another concept of federal Europe, with a radically different common defense and foreign policy. Not gonna happen, anytime soon.
What’s left is the mandatory fight against the “Caliphate” on the spot. Air strikes won’t do; only a true, wide-ranging political alliance (this is what Putin tried to impress to Obama in Antalya). How to get Sultan Erdogan and King Salman on board – there’s the rub.
So let’s see how long it takes for NATO boots on the ground. THIS is what Daesh is aiming at.

a most convenient massacre?

cluborlov |  I deplore all the deaths from terrorist attacks in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, and in all the other countries whose populations did absolutely nothing to deserve such treatment. I only feel half as bad about the French, who stood by quietly as their military helped destroy Libya (which did nothing to deserve it).

Note that after the Russian jet crashed in the Sinai there weren't all that many Facebook avatars with the Russian flag pasted over them, and hardly any candlelight vigils or piles of wreaths and flowers in various Western capitals. I even detected a whiff of smug satisfaction that the Russians got their comeuppance for stepping out of line in Syria.

Why the difference in reaction? Simple: you were told to grieve for the French, so you did. You were not told to grieve for the Russians, and so you didn't. Don't feel bad; you are just following orders. The reasoning behind these orders is transparent: the French, along with the rest of the EU, are Washington's willing puppets; therefore, they are innocent, and when they get killed, it's a tragedy. But the Russians are not Washington's willing puppet, and are not innocent, and so when they get killed by terrorists, it's punishment. And when Iraqis, or Syrians, or Nigerians get killed by terrorists, that's not a tragedy either, for a different reason: they are too poor to matter. In order to qualify as a victim of a tragedy, you have to be each of these three things: 1. a US-puppet, 2. rich and 3. dead.

Also, you probably believe that the terrorist attacks in Paris were the genuine article—nobody knew it would happen, and it couldn't have been stopped, because these terrorists are just too clever for the ubiquitous state surveillance to detect. Don't feel bad about that either; you are just believing what you are told to believe. You probably also believe that jet fuel can melt steel girders and that skyscrapers collapse into their own footprints (whether they've been hit by airplanes or not). You can certainly believe whatever you like, but here are a couple of easy-to-understand tips on telling what's real from what's fake:

1. If it's fake, the perpetrators are known immediately (and sometimes beforehand). If it's real, then the truth is uncovered as a result of a thorough investigation. So, for instance, on 9/11 the guilty party were a bunch of Saudis armed with box cutters (some of whom are, paradoxically, still alive). And in Paris we knew right away that this was done by ISIS—even before we knew who the perpetrators were. And when that Malaysian jet got shot down over Ukraine, we knew right away that it was the Russians' fault (never mind that on that day the Ukrainians deployed an air defense system, and also scrambled a couple of jets armed with air-to-air missiles— against an enemy that doesn't have an air force). Note, however, how we still don't know what happened with the Russian jet over Sinai. That case is still under investigation—as it should be. If it's real, officials stall for time and urge caution while scrambling to find out what happened. When it's fake, the officials are ready to go with the Big Lie, and then do everything they can to make it stick, suppressing what shreds of evidence can be independently gathered.

2. If it's fake, than you should also expect cute little touches: designer logos for publicity campaigns ready to launch at a moment's notice, be it “Je suis Charlie” or that cute little Eiffel Tower inscribed in a peace symbol. There weren't any props to go with the Russian jet disaster—unless you count that tasteful Charlie Hebdo cartoon of a jihadi rocket having anal sex with an airliner. There might also be a few traditional titbits designed to feed a media frenzy, such as a fake passport found lying next to one of the perpetrators—because when terrorists go on suicide missions they always take their fake passports with them. The people who are charged with designing these events lack imagination and usually just go with whatever worked before.

the gulf between what Toynbee called the "dominant minority" and the "internal proletariat" is widening...,

HuffPo |  Here's a brief, non-exhaustive list of things that a new poll says Americans don't have much faith in: the government, businesses, the economy, the power of their vote and the future of the United States.
The overall mood of the country is one of "anxiety, nostalgia and mistrust," according to the 2015 American Values Survey, which was released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute.
"Fear is not an emotion that you see often in public opinion polls, but it was clearly there in the fall of 2008 and early 2009" after the economic collapse, said Karlyn Bowman, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, during a Tuesday panel discussion of the survey. "Americans aren't confident that we've fixed what went wrong."
Many, in fact, see the country as on the decline. The poll found that 53 percent of Americans say the nation's culture and way of life have changed for the worse since the 1950s. Forty-nine percent now say America's best days are behind it, up from 38 percent who said the same in 2012. Democrats remain more bullish, while Republicans and tea party members are the most pessimistic. 
A sense of nostalgia isn't unique to the present day: Back in 1939, most Americans thought "the horse-and-buggy" days were happier than their era. (Granted, those people had just lived through the Great Depression and were heading into World War II.)
But Americans today are deeply worried about their economic prospects. Nearly three-quarters believe the country is still in a recession, unchanged since last year. An increasing majority -- now nearly 80 percent -- say the economic system unfairly favors the wealthy, with even more agreeing that corporations do not share enough of their success with their employees. A rising number also say they're troubled that not everyone in the U.S. gets an equal chance in life. 
There's also a growing antipathy toward people perceived as outsiders. In the survey, which was taken well before the Paris terror attacks, 56 percent say that the values of Islam are at odds with American values, up 9 points in the past four years. Forty-eight percent say they're bothered when encountering immigrants who speak little or no English, up 8 points since 2012.
And many Americans feel personally disenfranchised. Nearly two-thirds say their vote doesn't matter because of the influence that wealthy individuals and big corporations have. Fifty-seven percent say the federal government doesn't really look out for people like them.
The pessimism, though, isn't equally shared across demographic lines.

"net energy decline cues" = impossibility of status gain - impel low-ranking members to seek status elsewhere...,

marketwatch |   Islamic State’s coordinated assault in Paris last week has brought even more attention to the terror group’s frighteningly rapid global growth, and where around the world it has found traction — not just in terms of territory gained, but in support.

A study out of the Brookings Institution used Twitter to shine some light on this, comparing the countries where tweets from ISIS supporters originate. The study dealt with a sample size of 20,000 and found that Saudi Arabia is the top location claimed by Twitter users supporting ISIS in 2015. Syria follows, Iraq rounds off the top three and the U.S. takes fourth place.

The number of foreigners joining the conflict in Syria and Iraq has continued to rise in 2015, though this data doesn’t track these fighters to Islamic State, specifically. Nonetheless, the data paints a rough picture of where around the world ISIS is finding success in recruitment.

The number of fighters joining from Saudi Arabia is between 2,000-2,500, the largest total number, according to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence. Per capita, that represents 107 fighters per million people. On a per capita basis, Jordan tops the list, with an estimated 315 fighters per million people.

Belgium has the highest number of fighters per capita of any Western nation. Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian-born senior Islamic State operative, is suspected to be the key mastermind behind the Paris attacks. He was killed in a raid Wednesday, according to published reports.

France is the biggest source of fighters in Europe, contributing 1,200, or 18 per capita. Government figures have put the number of fighters closer to 1,600.

The U.S. is very low on this list — only about 100 fighters have come from the U.S.

An estimated 1,700 fighters have come from Russia, most of whom are thought to be from Chechnya and Dagestan, according to Russia’s Federal Security Service.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

africa: america's laboratory for a new kind of war

tomdispatch | In the shadows of what was once called the “dark continent," a scramble has come and gone. If you heard nothing about it, that was by design. But look hard enough and -- north to south, east to west -- you’ll find the fruits of that effort: a network of bases, compounds, and other sites whose sum total exceeds the number of nations on the continent. For a military that has stumbled from Iraq to Afghanistan and suffered setbacks from Libya to Syria, it’s a rare can-do triumph. In remote locales, behind fences and beyond the gaze of prying eyes, the U.S. military has built an extensive archipelago of African outposts, transforming the continent, experts say, into a laboratory for a new kind of war.

So how many U.S. military bases are there in Africa?  It’s a simple question with a simple answer.  For years, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) gave astock response: one. Camp Lemonnier in the tiny, sun-bleached nation of Djibouti was America’s only acknowledged “base” on the continent.  It wasn’t true, of course, because there were camps, compounds, installations, and facilities elsewhere, but the military leaned hard on semantics.

Take a look at the Pentagon’s official list of bases, however, and the number grows.  The 2015 report on the Department of Defense’s global property portfolio lists Camp Lemonnier and three other deep-rooted sites on or near the continent: U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3, a medical research facility in Cairo, Egypt, that was established in 1946; Ascension Auxiliary Airfield, a spacecraft tracking station and airfield located 1,000 miles off the coast of West Africa that has been used by the U.S. since 1957; and warehouses at the airport and seaport in Mombasa, Kenya, that were built in the 1980s.

That’s only the beginning, not the end of the matter.  For years, variousreporters have shed light on hush-hush outposts -- most of them built, upgraded, or expanded since 9/11 -- dotting the continent, including so-calledcooperative security locations (CSLs).  Earlier this year, AFRICOM commander General David Rodriguez disclosed that there were actually 11 such sites.  Again, devoted AFRICOM-watchers knew that this, too, was just the start of a larger story, but when I asked Africa Command for a list of bases, camps and other sites, as I periodically have done, I was treated like a sap.

“In all, AFRICOM has access to 11 CSLs across Africa. Of course, we have one major military facility on the continent: Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti,” Anthony Falvo, AFRICOM’s Public Affairs chief, told me.  Falvo was peddling numbers that both he and I know perfectly well are, at best, misleading.  “It’s one of the most troubling aspects of our military policy in Africa, and overseas generally, that the military can’t be, and seems totally resistant to being, honest and transparent about what it’s doing,” says David Vine, author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World.

Research by TomDispatch indicates that in recent years the U.S. military has, in fact, developed a remarkably extensive network of more than 60 outposts and access points in Africa.  Some are currently being utilized, some are held in reserve, and some may be shuttered.  These bases, camps, compounds, port facilities, fuel bunkers, and other sites can be found in at least 34 countries -- more than 60% of the nations on the continent -- many of them corrupt,repressive states with poor human rights records.  The U.S. also operates “Offices of Security Cooperation and Defense Attaché Offices in approximately 38 [African] nations,” according to Falvo, and has struck close to 30 agreements to use international airports in Africa as refueling centers.

the sino-american cold war in africa

democracynow |  Nick, we haven’t even gotten to the U.S.-Chinese competition over control in Africa, and so I’d like to ask you to stay after the show. We’ll do a post-show and post it online at, as you cover a little-covered story in this country.

AMY GOODMAN: Nick Turse, you have a chapter in your book, Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, that is—its header, "An East-West Showdown: China, America, and a New Cold War in Africa." Explain.

NICK TURSE: Well, if you travel anywhere on the African continent, you’ll see that the Chinese have moved in, in a very big way, over the last decade. They’ve pursued a campaign of economic engagement across the continent, and very, very public projects. Everywhere you go, they’re building an airport, they’re building roads, they’re putting up government facilities—tangible projects that Africans can see. This is the strategy they’ve pursued to gain influence in Africa. The U.S. has gone a different route. They’ve pursued an antiterror whack-a-mole strategy, where they send small teams around the continent, they send drones. They try to tamp down terror groups and seem to only spread them around. They’ve also pumped in tremendous amounts of money, but this is to bolster African militaries with rather dubious human rights records.

AMY GOODMAN: Give us examples.

NICK TURSE: Well, you know, you can see this in Kenya. They’ve put a lot of money into training Kenyan force to act as a proxy in Somalia. But this—one, they haven’t been very successful in tamping down violence. Actually, it’s spread the violence into Kenya now. And the Kenyans have been seen by many groups as being exceptionally corrupt, conducting smuggling around the region, and also—you know, they’ve also committed human rights abuses. So—and the same thing has been seen elsewhere in Africa. Chad, we’ve pumped a lot of money into using the Chadians as proxy forces. But if you look at how Chad’s troops have operated abroad—you know, we backed Chad to go into Central African Republic, and they committed a massacre there, machine-gunned a marketplace filled with civilians.

AMY GOODMAN: And why did the U.S. back them?

NICK TURSE: Well, I think that the U.S. doesn’t want to put large numbers of its own forces on the ground, because of what’s happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. They want to fight wars on the cheap. They want to limit American casualties. But the proxies to choose from in Africa are troubling.

AMY GOODMAN: You share some startling figures. Since 2007, the U.S. has operated AFRICOM, the United States Africa Command. U.S. generals have maintained AFRICOM leaves only a "small footprint" on the continent, with just an official base in Djibouti. But you say the U.S. military is now involved in more than 90 percent of Africa’s 54 nations. The U.S. presence includes, you say, "construction, military exercises, advisory assignments, security cooperation, or training missions." But AFRICOM, you write, carried out 674 missions across the African continent last year—an average of nearly two a day, a 300 percent jump from previous years. Can you explain why these operations have expanded exponentially under President Obama?

NICK TURSE: Well, you know, I think Africa has been seen as a place of ungoverned spaces, a place that’s prone to terror. It’s ironic because when a senior Pentagon official was asked after 9/11 about the presence of transnational terror groups on the continent, he wasn’t able to come up with any. The best he could come up with was that militants in Somalia had saluted Osama bin Laden. That was the extent of it. They hadn’t actually attacked anywhere outside of Somalia. They had local grievances, and they were contained. But the U.S. got into its head that Africa was a place that could be a heartland for terrorism, so it pumped in a tremendous amount of money, sent in forces, conducted all these training operations, set up small bases around the continent—all of it to shore up the continent against terror. Instead, you look anywhere on the continent today, and you see a proliferation of terror groups—ISIS, Boko Haram, al-Shabab, al-Mourabitoun, Ansaru, over and over. The Pentagon won’t name all the groups that it sees as threats, but it’s somewhere around 50 that it claims are groups on the continent that are opposed to U.S. interests. They’ve just proliferated in all—in these years.

What IS the U.S. interest in Africa?

democracynow |  AMY GOODMAN: What is the U.S. interest in Africa?

NICK TURSE: Well, it’s difficult to say for sure. I think that the U.S. has viewed Africa as a place of weak governance, you know, sort of a zone that’s prone to terrorism, and that there can be a spread of terror groups on the continent if the U.S. doesn’t intervene. So, you know, there’s generally only one tool in the U.S. toolkit, and that’s a hammer. And unfortunately, then, everywhere they see nails.

AMY GOODMAN: What were you most surprised by in "The Drone Papers" that you got a hold of, a kind of—what’s been described as perhaps a second Edward Snowden, this project of The Intercept that you wrote about, particularly when it came to Africa?

NICK TURSE: Well, I think it’s really just how far the proliferation of drone bases has spread on the continent. You know, I’ve been looking at this for years, but "The Drone Papers" drove home to me just how integral drones have become to the U.S. way of warfare on the continent. You know, I think this feeds into President Obama’s strategy, trying to get away from large-footprint interventions, you know, the disasters that we’ve seen in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s leaned heavily now on special operations forces and on drones. And so, I think that’s probably the most surprising aspect.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And in terms of the reports that we get here, you basically—there’s either news about Boko Haram or al-Shabab or the disintegration, continuing disintegration, of Libya. To what extent have these special operations focused on these areas, and to what extent have they had any success?

NICK TURSE: Well, I think that Libya is actually a—it’s a great example of the best intentions gone awry by the U.S. The U.S. joined a coalition war to oust dictator Muammar Gaddafi. And I think that it was seen as a great success. Gaddafi fell, and it seemed like U.S. policies had played out just as they were drawn up in Washington. Instead, though, we saw that Libya has descended into chaos, and it’s been a nightmare for the Libyan people ever since—a complete catastrophe.

And it then had a tendency to spread across the continent. Gaddafi had Tuaregs from Mali who worked for him. They were elite troops. As his regime was falling, the Tuaregs raided his weapons stores, and they moved into Mali, into their traditional homeland, to carve out their own nation there. When they did that, the U.S.-backed military in Mali, that we had been training for years, began to disintegrate. That’s when the U.S.-trained officer decided that he could do a better job, overthrew the democratically elected government. But he proved no better at fighting the Tuaregs than the government he overthrew. As a result, Islamist rebels came in and pushed out his forces and the Tuaregs, and were making great gains in the country, looked poised to take it over.

The U.S. decided to intervene again, another military intervention. We backed the French and an African force to go in and stop the Islamists. We were able to, with these proxies—which is the preferred method of warfare on the African continent—arrest the Islamists’ advance, but now Mali has descended into a low-level insurgency. And it’s been like this for several years now. The weapons that the Tuaregs originally had were taken by the Islamists and have now spread across the continent. You can find those weapons in the hands of Boko Haram now, even as far away as Sinai in Egypt. So, now, the U.S. has seen this as a way to stop the spread of militancy, but I think when you look, you see it just has spread it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

stir this pot and you'll wind up licking the spoon...,

ynet |  It is time that we came to the realization: we are in the midst of World War III. A war that will differ from the others but will take place all over the globe, on land, air and sea. This is a war between jihadist Islam and Western civilization; a war between radical Islam and all those who refuse to surrender to its values and political demands.

This war will, of course, have to be fought on the ground – with American, British and French divisions and tanks that will fight in Syria and Iraq, but also with security measures taken at border crossings and by special forces and intelligence agencies in Belgium, France and Germany as well as in the Philippines, China and Russia. This war will be conducted on the Mediterranean Sea as well as in the air with combat aircraft bombarding concentrations of ISIS and al-Qaeda fighters across Asia and Africa and security measures taken at airports and passenger aircraft worldwide. This is what the third world war will look like, which Israel has been a part of for a while now.

Indications from the Paris attack immediately pointed to Islamic State, and after they took responsibility for it – it is possible to discern the strategy set forth by the organization: Painful blows of terror at targets easy for them to operate in and which allow them to claim a mental victory with minimal effort and risk.

One can identify the beginning of the current offensive with the Russian plane explosion over Sinai three weeks ago. The Paris attack was directed according to the same strategy. It is likely that the attack had been planned over many months, but the background is the same as that of the plane attack: ISIS is now taking heavy blows in Syria and Iraq and is losing several of its important outposts in the heart of the Islamic caliphate it wants to establish.

Therefore ISIS is attacking its enemies’ rear and Europe, as usual, is the first to get hit. ISIS and al-Qaeda prefer striking in Europe because it is considered the cradle of Christianity and Islamic fundamentalist organizations still see it as the homeland of the Crusaders, who just as in the past, are at present waging a religious and cultural war on Islam. France and Paris were chosen as a target as France stood at the forefront of the cultural and religious struggle against radical Islam. It is also the easiest target to attack.

Why France?

France was the target of a combined assault of radical Islam not just because it has a tradition of human rights and freedom of movement, but because France and French culture symbolize everything that radical Islam is afraid of and is in an all-out war against. France enacted a ban on women to wear the hijab in public places, the Supreme Court allowed the magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and President Francois Hollande recently refused Iranian President Rouhani’s request to not have alcohol served at a dinner in his honor. All these are challenges to the jihadists that no one else in the West have yet dared emulate. So that is the primary reason that France mourns the murder of at least 129 people.

The second reason is that France has the biggest and most established Muslim population in Europe that lives in large urban concentrations, mostly poor neighborhoods. These are ideal soil for the preaching of radical Islam in neighborhood mosques. The terrorists yesterday spoke French fluently and one can assume that at least some were French citizens of North African descent and other Muslim countries in Africa and Asia. They could thus assimilate into the population to choose destinations, collect information about them and flee from them after their attack.

It was not clear if all the terrorists were suicide bombers or whether some of them escaped. That is why the French government imposed a partial curfew and ordered troops into the streets in many cities, the same measures taken by Israel when the current wave of terrorism began. The aim is that the very presence of many security personnel can deter copycat attacks or the continuation of ongoing attacks.

The third reason is the fact that France is in the heart of Western Europe and it is surrounded by states with large Muslim immigrant communities. The freedom of movement between European countries as per the Schengen Agreement allows the jihadists to utilize these communities to both find terrorist fighters who have been through the baptism of fire in the Middle East and to smuggle weapons required to perform attacks.

old blokes drop knowledge on the great game and how it and YOU get played...,

Australian cartoonist, Bruce Petty, and Jeremy Salt, journalist and Middle East scholar, begin the first of a three part discussion on Syria by looking at where our news comes from and Jeremy's experience of Australian reporting on Middle Eastern affairs. "Are we living under false assumptions?" asks Bruce Petty. The next two films are entitled: "Does Bashar al-Assad really have to go?" and "Has the Syrian President killed more people than ISIS and similar questions."

Bruce Petty interviews Jeremy Salt. Bruce Petty is a highly regarded political satirist and cartoonist as well as an award-winning film maker. Dr Jeremy Salt is a former Fairfax journalist, turned academic and is the author of "The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands".

"There always has to be a 'madman' in the Middle East," explains Jeremy Salt, when asked why we constantly hear that 'Bashar al-Assad has to go'? Of course Bashar al-Assad is not really mad. Jeremy explains how the west, in its long exploitation of the Middle East, has invented crises that it then pretends to help with, and these tend to feature a 'madman' whom the people have to be saved from. In reaction Middle Eastern governments tend to be defensive and authoritarian, in order to survive constant foreign interference. Even if Bashar went, the Syrian state would remain the same. Salt gives a fluent history of how the west has used the Middle East, and how western politicians expected to knock Syria over easily, but underestimated it. All they have done is weaken it and assorted armed and dangerous groups including ISIS have risen up through the cracks they have created. But many Syrians really like Bashar al-Assad and think he is their best chance for reform. (See the third part in this series, "Has the Syrian president killed more than ISIS and other questions," to hear about how al-Assad is actually legally elected and had brought in reforms prior to the current crisis.) Petty asks about beheading and the role of religion and Islam in today's crisis. Salt agrees that Islam has been taken over by conservatives and extremists, but precises that this is a political ideological take-over that has little to do with Islamic religious base.

In the final of the three short interviews Bruce asks whether Bashar al-Assad has 'killed more people than ISIS' (which is a recent frequently pronounced accusation). Of course Assad has killed no-one personally, but the Syrian army has to defend the country against many armed invaders. ISIS, however, kills people it simply does not like or approve of, in horrible ways. After this Bruce asks whether Syria is an 'Alawite state'. Salt explains that, No, Syria is predominantly Sunni, and that people of all religions hold positions in government etc. (Syria is a secular state.) Is al-Assad an 'unelected, brutal dictator'? No, he is legally elected [June 2014] with a proper government and has brought a number of democratically desired reforms to the country. He is also popular. People may want changes to the government but many think he is their best hope for this to happen. "What about the Chemical Weapons?" Salt gives up to date analysis and rebuttal of these allegations.

Monday, November 16, 2015

shameless false flag in paris fleeing forward into ___________?

PCR |  At 7pm on Friday 13th we do not have much information about the “terrorist attacks” in Paris other than that Paris is closed down like Boston was after the “Boston Marathon Bombing,” also a suspected false flag event.

Possibly believable evidence will be presented that the Paris attacks were real terrorist attacks. However, what do refugees have to gain from making themselves unwelcome with acts of violence committed against the host country, and where do refugees in France obtain automatic weapons and bombs? Indeed, where would the French themselves obtain them?

The millions of refugees from Washington’s wars who are overrunning Europe are bringing to the forefront of European politics the anti-EU nationalists parties, such as Pegida in Germany, Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party, and Marine Le Pen’s National Front Party in France. These anti-EU political parties are also anti-immigrant political parties.

The latest French poll shows that, as a result of the refugees from Washington’s wars, Marine Le Pen has come out on top of the candidates for the next French presidential election.

By supporting for 14 years Washington’s neoconservative wars for US hegemony over the Middle East, establishment European governments eroded their electoral support. European peoples want to be French, German, Dutch, Italian, Hungarian, Czech, British. They do not want their countries to be a diverse Tower of Babel created by millions of refugees from Washington’s wars.

To remain a nationality unto themselves is what Pegida, Farage, and Le Pen offer the voters.

Realizing its vulnerability, it is entirely possible that the French Establishment made a decision to protect its hold on power with a false flag attack that would allow the Establishment to close France’s borders and, thereby, deprive Marine Le Pen of her main political issue.

PCR |  Evidence known so far strongly indicates false flag responsibility for Friday’s Paris attacks. They’re usually identifiable the way fingerprints ID people.

They’re strategically timed, most often for what’s planned to follow. Post-9/11 horrors are well documented. America declared still ongoing war on humanity.

The 9/11 incident provided a treasure trove of giveaways showing what happened was other than the official narrative. The most obvious was how could a handful of terrorists outwit America’s 16 intelligence agencies, including sophisticated NSA eavesdropping on anyone or anything suspicious back then?

No evidence implicated Al Qaeda. Nothing to this day – yet claims persist. Without verifiable hard facts, they’re specious.

The official 9/11 story was beginning-to-end contradictions and Big Lies – still supported by media scoundrels as gospel despite volumes of evidence proving otherwise.

political corruption conspicuously obvious to the casual observer...,

desdemonasdespair |  Clinton's answer was not bizarre. In a corrupt political system, 9/11 is the gift that keeps on giving. For 14 years now, politicians have deflected attention away from America's ubiquitous failures by invoking 9/11 and the threat of terrorism. It is astonishing to think that humans in Flatland are so psychologically dense that this obvious observation is only rarely made [video below]. But there it is.
And very conveniently for corrupt politicians, ISIS decided to wreak havoc in Paris in the 24 hours just prior to the debate. The entire first 30 minutes of the debate was about those terrorist attacks. It could have been worse.
In the hours before the CBS debate, Sanders' campaign team fought with CBS not to make foreign policy and national security the entire focus of the debate. And they succeeded, getting the network to dedicate only the first half hour to those topics.
When the debate began, the first prompt was for each candidate to give a one-minute opening statement specifically on the attack in Paris. Sanders' response to this was pretty simple: he dedicated two sentences to the attack and spent the rest of it talking about American economic inequality. He made no transition and no attempt to link the two.
But I digress.
Hillary Clinton—she was a senator from New York, for chrissakes!—didn't spontaneously play the 9/11 card when she was asked about her obligations to Big Money. Most everything Clinton says is well-thought out in advance. Hillary knew she would have to field this question, and gave us her rehearsed answer. Once again, it is astonishing to think that humans in Flatland don't understand this, but there it is.
And now a truly wondrous thing happens, not on the debate stage, but in the Vox report on it.

like her master the vampire squid itself, granny goodness is incapable of shame...,

WaPo |  It was perhaps the one critique that Hillary Clinton really should have been ready to manage.

With just three people on the Democratic debate stage -- one of them a democratic socialist and the other in possession of a tiny share of Clinton's mammoth campaign resources and support -- Clinton really should have had one of those well-rehearsed responses prepared when the issue of campaign donations from Wall Street arose.

Instead, when the evils and excesses of Wall Street, banking regulation and her relationship to the world's most famous financial district became unavoidable for a seemingly well-prepared Clinton, this exchange followed.

"Well, why do they make millions of dollars of campaign contributions?" Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) asked. "They expect to get something. Everybody knows that."

Clinton responded:
CLINTON: Oh, wait a minute, senator. You know, not only do I have hundreds of thousands of donors -- most of them small. And I'm very proud that for the first time a majority of my donors are women, 60 percent.


CLINTON: So I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy, and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.
As a defense of your Wall Street contributions, it was bad. Very, very bad. The critiques started flying fast. Some came from totally predictable corners.