This Is What Has Kept More Tomahawks From Falling On Syria: ‘The Russians Appear to Be Using Leverage That May Damage The President’

One of the reasons that Syria is ‘on hold’ is that the Russians are now leveraging the President with the connections formed in his campaign prior to the election. Paul Manafort, onetime manager of President Trump’s campaign apparently has received payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. An article covering it entitled Manafort firm received Ukraine ledger payout by Jack Gillum, Chad Day, and Jeff Horwitz was released on Thursday by the Associated Press.
The bad news is that the ledger is substantiated by records booked by Manafort’s consulting firm in the U. S., already under a corruption investigation by the FBI with even more overlap. Apparently, the FBI and Congress are investigating Manafort’s activities with Russia and possible ties to Vladimir Putin regarding the President’s campaign. These activities which could have included payoffs allegedly occurred in 2016.
But a distinct pattern is observable here. Tillerson is still ‘on the attack,’ today demanding that Russia oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad…and the President in the meantime has announced we wouldn’t be sending troops into Syria. Perhaps he is hesitant, as (if they have such evidence) Russia would certainly not shirk from releasing information that could be damaging to the President. At this stage, the threat of such a release appears to be keeping things in check: we haven’t launched another Tomahawk strike yet.

This post was published at shtfplan on April 14th, 2017.

Preparing for the Reign of the First Widow

Investment Research Dynamics is pleased to present another guest post by Stewart Dougherty. I wanted to preface Stewart’s formal essay with some thoughts he shared with me in our email exchanges leading up to his latest essay:
I haven’t shared with you one of the most important tenets of Inferential Analytics … namely, that the universal human condition is addiction. Addiction comes in hundreds of forms. Two of the most powerful are to money and power. HRC is addicted to both. She simply cannot let go of her presidential ambition, or her greed.
I must admit, when I saw her interviewed the other day regarding Syria, she looked terrible. Her legs looked as if they were about explode out of her pants, which were stretched to snapping. She looked like a human sausage. I thought her doctors would have been reversing her obesity by now, but apparently not. Among her other addictions, she is addicted to food, and is a glutton [IRD: she’s also an alcoholic]. Mentally, she is a complete mess. So I could be wrong … if she cannot get her gluttony under control, she cannot get to 2020. She simply will not have the required stamina, and could croak at any time.
My assumption is that when she smells Trump’s blood in the water, she will become so galvanized that she will get the gluttony under control, even if it’s only to get through the election. They will make Obama her running mate, if that’s what’s required to get her across the finish line. Then he can effectively have a third term, while she vegetates in a food coma.

This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on April 12, 2017.

NOT JUST SYRIA: 5 HUGE NEWS STORIES TO KEEP AN EYE ON AMID THE MADNESS

The world’s eyes and ears have once again turned toward Syria following last week’s chemical weapons attack and U. S. President Donald Trump’s subsequent air strikes on the Assad government. Mainstream media, independent media, and social media platforms are fixing fierce attention on the ongoing developments.
These events undoubtedly deserve widespread, ongoing scrutiny. From the United States government’s lack of evidence that the Syrian government was behind the chemical attack to the media’s complicity in driving a pro-war narrative and president Trump’s hypocrisy in bombing Syria – after criticizing former president Barack Obama for doing the same thing – further critical analysis of the recent airstrikes is vital.
But even as skepticism toward these events should remain heightened, so should awareness of countless other major developments. Here are five to follow:
1. Trump Appoints Pharmaceutical Consultant to Head the FDA – This week, the president appointed Scott Gottlieb, a pharmaceutical industry insider who has served the boards of multiple pharmaceutical companies, to chair the Food and Drug Administration. Gottlieb currently still works as a consultant for GlaxoSmithKline. He has received $414,000 from GSK, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals. He has also received tens of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from pharmaceutical companies like Merck and Mikart, as well as other corporations – including Goldman Sachs. He has taken several trips through Washington’s revolving door, with brief stints at the FDA mixed in with multiple positions consulting pharmaceutical companies. Trump’s pick follows in the footsteps of Barack Obama, who also appointed a pharmaceutical industry insider to chair the FDA.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on APRIL 11, 2017.

All Washington blames Putin and calls for investigations of Russian villainy: John Batchelor interviews Stephen F. Cohen

The character of events from week to week, and as discussed by both Batchelor and Cohen, is manifestly worsening. While the proxy wars are stabilizing to some little extent, we see the political wars in governments as fall out of the New Cold War in a constant state of escalation. Cohen notes a New York Times piece by Charles Blow that coined a name for what is happening as an ‘Era of Suspicion’ and the author considered this a positive thing for the country – where all the interest groups are being forced by the hate and fear campaign to align with the anti-Russian narrative whether it serves their interests or not. This past week Batchelor brings up the news about the Estonian Ambassador, Eerik Marmei and the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pavlo Klimkin who spoke to a Senate subcommittee about Russia disrupting elections in Europe, and the danger of cyber warfare by Russia. Also mentioned were the Trump charges that Obama had his Trump Tower ‘bugged’. Cohen then launched into what the consequences of this new ‘Era of Suspicion’ and the professor describes how the pressure to conform has influenced all the politicos (Flynn debacle) and the masters of industry in the United States, who want to have business dealings with Russia, into remaining cautiously silent. These and other efforts are being used to isolate Trump and neuter or redirect any chance of dtente or even honest discussion of serious geopolitical events. It is working too – with Republicans also becoming divided. Some Republicans are looking at Vice President Pence for the president’s position.
Cohen also discusses the role of ‘expert consultants on Russia’ in the media and their efforts to vilify Putin and the Kremlin. All interviews using these people are factually untrue. The most egregious of these, for example, maintained that Putin was ‘deliriously happy that Washington was in complete chaos over Russian policies’. Batchelor exclaims that this is ‘complete rubbish’. It was also Batchelor’s opinion that it was serious that Trump did not mention Russia in his address to Congress. What this indicates is that dtente is getting much less likely. Cohen also mentions the resurrection of McCarthyism with a Committee of Un-American Activity being formed and concludes that disorder is the contrived tenure of modern Western diplomacy. In my opinion Trump has to decide whether folding to the will of his opposition will stop this campaign to remove him or will it show weakness that will lead to escalation. His reticence to talk about Russia may be testing the waters, or be showing weakness. Senator Graham, who talked with the president, seems to think the latter and the US will ‘push back’ against Russia. I think Trump is folding too.
The push back will see more support for NATO and perhaps more military help for Ukraine. Cohen discusses the quasi NATO presence now in Ukraine, and he also brings up a potential increase in US troop presence in Syria. He discusses the dangers of a combined military presence of US and Russian assets in Syria. Cohen then discusses the simple solution to ease the danger, and it really is simple. Disengagement. But Putin needs Washington (Trump) to cooperate. But Cohen now considers this as unlikely as he thinks Trump is folding to his opposition in Washington. In Ukraine the political and economic situation is worse and where President Poroshenko is having no control over the ukronazis – who are now embargoing coal imports from the Donbass. This hurts Kiev, but also illuminates the reality of a failing central government. A personal question: Will NATO continue to base troops there? It would mean contending with or working with nazis in a failed state environment? But would most of the West hear about it? That’s where we are, living behind a virtual information wall that George Orwell would immediately recognize.
From my point of view the Military Industrial Complex has shown no sense of danger in supporting a ‘confrontation for profit’ policy against Russia, and now the people of the West are effectively ‘walled off’ from learning about critical realities by a systemic corruption of the MSM. Washington is creating its own “Iron Curtain”. Not even discussions at the highest levels of Washington are tolerated unless they support the narrative. One wonders how long this can go on with the Military Industries dependent on tax dollars, and the financial sector and other interests looting the economy and destroying that same tax base. This becomes another reason to impose that ‘Era of Suspicion’ on the whole country; if one cannot advise or discuss an argument against war dangers (or government policies) without censure, then war becomes more inevitable in spite of the fundamentals that work against it. One could say, ‘unleash the dogs of war’ but first hugely increase the fiscal deficit.

This post was published at Audioboom

TURKEY: Reverse Regime Change, Replacing Secularism with Sultanism

Since 2002, the Republic of Turkey has been ruled by the Justice and Development Party (or AKP), founded Recep Tayyip Erdoan and other prominent figures hailing from Necmettin Erbakan’s Welfare Party (or Refah Partisi, better known under the acronym RP) that had made Islamist politics mainstream in 1990′s Turkey.
At first, Erdoan and his henchmen appeared to respect the rule of law and the political traditions established by Mustafa Kemal Atatrk (1881-1938) and his followers (colloquially known as Kemalists, adhering to the ideology of Kemalism). The economic boom of the early AKP years and the concomitant political clout have allowed AKP-led Turkey to go down a post-Kemalist path into distinctly Muslim waters where authoritarianism and Ottoman nostalgia have managed to seduce the bulk of the Turkish population.
In reality, the economic boom overseen by the AKP was nothing but a mirage, after all, largely financed by borrowed money and extreme privatization – ‘a flood of near zero-interest foreign capital.’ At present, the Turkish economy appears to be in the doldrums, with unemployment currently at 11.8%, the highest level reached since March 2010 according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (or TK in acronymized Turkish).
The well-respected Turkish economist Taner Berksoy, for example, opines that the Turkish economy will experience a major downturn this year, in spite of the government’s encouragement packages, citing internal political instability as well as geopolitical risks, including Syria’s not-so civil war next door, and a general slowing down of the global economy.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on MARCH 5, 2017.

Iran’s Ayatollah Vows Retaliation, Says Trump Exposes “Real Face” Of American Moral Corruption

Trump’s ongoing spat with Iran escalated on Tuesday, when Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed the US president’s warning to Iran to stop its missile tests, saying the new U. S. president had shown the “real face” of American corruption. “We are thankful to (Trump) for making our life easy as he showed the real face of America,” Khamenei said according to his website. He made the remarks in an address to the commanders of the Army Air Force on the verge of the Islamic Revolution’s victory anniversary which falls on February 10 this year.
“During his election campaign and after that, he confirmed what we have been saying for more than 30 years about the political, economic, moral and social corruption in the U. S. ruling system,” he added. It is unclear if Trump’s domestic opponents will be quick to agree with the Iranian.
Provocatively, the Supreme Leader once again alleged that it was the US that created ISIS:
“The new U. S. president says Iran should thank Obama! Why?! Should we thank him for [creating] ISIS, the ongoing wars in Iraq and Syria, or the blatant support for the 2009 sedition in Iran? He was the president who imposed paralyzing sanctions on the Iranian nation; of course, he did not achieve what he desired. No enemy can ever paralyze the Iranian nation.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 7, 2017.

Trump Shuns Establishment ‘Board Meeting’

On Saturday, president Trump signed three more executive orders aimed at fighting terrorism and corruption. They follow yesterday’s order for a temporarily ban on immigrants from certain countries entering the U. S. Today’s actions are as follows:
EO #1: Implementing a five year lobbying ban on administration officials. “This is something I’ve talked about a lot on the campaign trail… and now we’re putting it into effect,” said Trump. EO #2: Calling for a reorganization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council. EO #3: Calling on military leaders to present a report to the president in 30 days that outlines a strategy for defeating ISIS. “This is the plan to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, in other words ISIS. I think it’s going to be very successful.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 28, 2017.

Dear Self-Proclaimed “Progressives”: as Apologists for the Neocon-Neoliberal Empire, You Are as Evil as the Empire You’ve Enabled

Sorry, pal, you’re evil. Self-righteous indignation counts for nothing in the strict accounting of real progressivism. Dear Self-Proclaimed “Progressive”: I love you, man, but it has become necessary to intervene in your self-destruction. Your ideological blinders and apologies for the Establishment’s Neocon-Neoliberal Empire are not just destroying your credibility, they’re destroying the nation and everywhere the Empire intervenes. While you squandered your political capital defending zero-cost causes like “safe spaces on college campuses,” the Empire was busy killing, maiming and making refugees of women and children in Syria. President Obama and his Neocon crew (former Secretary Hillary Clinton included) aren’t fools; they rely on drones and proxy armies to do their dirty work. Neoliberalism is the Establishment’s core ideology, and by supporting Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, you furthered, defended and rationalized the Empire’s neoliberal expansion and exploitation. Neoliberalism’s Big Lie is transforming everything into a market makes everyone richer. The dirty little secret of Neoliberalism is that the markets it creates are rigged in favor of Elitist cronies. If you can set aside your “progressive” blinders for a moment (Bill and Barack could do no wrong for 16 long years of neoliberal exploitation), you might learn that the Presidents and party you supported ushered in the era of neoliberal pillage as public-private partnerships, Philanthro-Capitalism, and rigged markets that enriched the elitist Establishment you defend at the expense of the bottom 95% non-elites.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on MONDAY, JANUARY 09, 2017.

BREAKING: Syrian Government Gives Evidence of ‘Rebels’ Using Mustard Gas Against Civilians

Just when you thought things could not get any worse for the US State Dept’s dynamic trio of John Kerry, Samantha Power and John Kirby, and President Obama too – another damning piece of evidence surfaces which implicates Western and Gulf state-backed ‘moderate rebels’ in Syria.
Documents containing evidence of chemical weapons use by ‘rebel’ terrorists have been handed over to the Technical Secretariat of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) international mission in Damascus.
The attack in question is said to have involved the use of Mustard Gas and took place near the village of Maarat Umm Hawsh village in Aleppo province back in September.
Numerous other incidents of ‘rebel’ militants using chemical weapons have been documented in Syria, even by the OPCW, but unfortunately, the only reports the US and its allies seem to interested in are those which implicate the ‘Assad Regime.’
NOTE: Is is possible that the US already knew that the ‘rebels’ had indeed used chemical weapons, and have since been lobbying desperately for a ceasefire – as an attempt to keep Syria and Russia from securing the crime scene in preparation for an official international inspection?

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on DECEMBER 18, 2016.

Nassim Taleb: The Syrian War Condensed (For Almost Dummies)

Juxtaposition. The way to analyze the situation is to look at the factions comparatively. You do not compare Assad’s regime to the Danish or Norwegian governments, but to the alternative. The question becomes if there is anything in the left column that is worse than the right column?
Note 1. Assad father’s operatives blew up my house in Amioun when my grandfather, then MP, voted for Bashir. In Skin in the Game I discuss this as ‘acting against one’s interest’ (the opposite of conflict of interest). So as a scientist and a humanist, I have been setting my grudge aside in considering the far, far, far, greater cancer of Salafism or Islamofascism.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 15, 2016.

Could Venezuela Become The Next Syria?

Speaking of poor policymaking, hyperinflation and violence – Venezuela is sliding closer and closer to the brink of collapse, with some sobering consequences.
This was among the topics of conversation this week at the Mining & Investment Latin America Summit in Lima, Peru. While there, I had dinner with a couple of Canadian lawyers who represented a few Latin American oil producers, some of them based in Venezuela.
Things have gone from bad to worse, they informed me. Since 2013, when Nicols Maduro took power after the death of Hugo Chvez, the socialist country has struggled with skyrocketing inflation, food and medicine shortages, a shrinking economy and rising violence and corruption. (Its capital city of Caracas recently overtook San Pedro Sula, Honduras, for having the world’s highest homicide rate.)
These have only intensified since oil prices fell by half more than two years ago, as oil accounts for 95 percent of Venezuela’s export earnings.

This post was published at Zero Hedge by Frank Holmes, originally posted ValueWalk.com Oct 30, 2016.

The Elite is Accelerating Earth Changing Events in a Rush to Implant Hillary in Power

As we move into the final month prior to this year’s presidential election, the tempo of dramatic world events and developments that are breaking daily is mind-boggling. Every single day we are seeing more outrageously desperate actions on the part of the globalists and their US government minions. Among the latest unfolding developments this week all fast tracking towards world war against Russia is NATO’s violation of international law deploying AWACS (Airborne Radar Warning and Control system) in Syria despite only Syria and Russia possessing the legal right to control the embattled country’s airspace. With both US and Turkish boots on the ground in northern Syria and US-led coalition airstrikes regularly invading the sovereign nation’s airspace, recently targeting Syrian soldiers andplans to kill more, along with former acting CIA director Mike Morell’s recent call to begin killing Russian soldiers, the latest warpath rant comes from Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley who is now threatening Russia (as well as China and Iran) with nuclear war. Spoken just like a true grade school bully on a playground, he boasts, ‘We will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before!’ This is the kind of moronic leadership that rises to the top of the Empire food chain? I’m afraid so.
God help us when his most likely next commander-in-chief is the warmongering bulldog herself Hillary Clinton who’s not any more civilized nor humane. She’s already made it very clear that any real or perceived cyberspace attack on America coming from anywhere in the world constitutes an act of war and a military response against the cyber-perpetrators’ country. After already vowing to bomb Iran and with her constant accusations blaming Putin for everything gone wrong in her miserable life, including exposing her DNC corruption scandal responsible for rigging her presidential election, she is also all but promising to launch World War III against nuclear powered Russia. Incisive insider Paul Craig Roberts and even Putin have both said so. The neocon insanity that she represents is committed to perpetrating both suicidal and genocidal mass murder.
With a total of 7,100 US nuclear warheads as of August 2016 and an estimate reported two years ago of 2,150 operationally deployed nukes, America could destroy itself four times over while Russia’s 7,300 nuclear weapons would likely carry the same tremendous overkill power. When we’re all dead, it hardly matters who has what? As the Benghazi ringleader who gave the stand down order that sealed the fate of four murdered Americans would say,’What difference does it make?’ The sheer madness in control of our planet right now actually believes the elite can simply hunker down in their underground luxury bunkers, take a long nuclear winter’s nap and a few years later emerge like Rip Van Winkle unscathed in their grandiose fairy tale. Talk about madness!

This post was published at Lew Rockwell on October 8, 2016.

Middle East ‘Peace’ Report: Turkey Risks Kurdish War on Two Fronts as Army Advances in Syria

Mustafa Denktas had twin sons. One of them, a Kurdish militant, was killed fighting the Turkish army in 2012. Denktas was still in mourning when news arrived three weeks later that the other son had met the same fate.
Back then Turkey’s war with separatist Kurds, however bloody and protracted, was essentially a domestic issue. Now it’s an international conflict. When President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent his army into Syria last month, he wasn’t just striking a blow against Islamic State: a second goal was to stop Kurds from creating a de facto state.
That’s the element of Erdogan’s Syrian gambit that poses the biggest political risks. It threatens to ensnare his soldiers in a civil war that’s already lasted 5 1/2 years, and drive a wedge between Turkey and its NATO allies – especially the U. S., which considers the Syrian Kurds an ally against Islamic extremists. When Moody’s Investors Service cut Turkey’s rating to junk last week, it cited ‘the persistence of geopolitical threats’ among other reasons.
Erdogan is trying to stem a tide that turned more than two decades ago, when war in Iraq left Kurds in charge of that country’s oil-rich north. Since 2011, civil war has given a similar opportunity to Syrian Kurds, who now control of much of the territory along the 900-kilometer border with Turkey. Among the world’s largest ethnic groups without a state of their own, the Kurds can now glimpse a viable one.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By Selcan Hacaoglu, Bloomberg Business ‘ September 29, 2016.

Hillary Clinton’s ‘Presidency’ has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War on Syria

21st Century Wire says…
One glaring conclusion from last night’s US Presidential debate between is that there is virtually no difference between either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton’s view on what the US should do in Syria. Both are advocating for more war – for more airstrikes in Syria, and for ‘building safe zones’ which are actually ‘No Fly Zones’ (where only US Coalition aircraft are allow to fly).
There is one vast difference however, between these two candidates. During her tenure Obama’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was both the architect of the US-led destruction of the Libyan State, and also of Washington’s secret war against Syria, officially from 2011. Clinton led the notorious ‘Friends of Syria’ lobbying tour through Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, which was used to promote the US policy of ‘regime change’ for Syria by bringing together Gulf Arab Monarchies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, UEA and others) and other US client states to create a policy of economic, military and social subterfuge which, with the help of the CIA and others, has since destroyed large parts of Syria now occupied by Terrorist fanatical groups – who are backed by the same ‘Friends of Syria’ member nations managed by Clinton. From start, these two war were managed by what is allegedly a ‘liberal’ or left-wing Democrat Party. They are anything but.
What this really means, is that the next ‘President Clinton’ is already priming Americans for a escalation of warfare in Syria come this January. Here’s why…

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on SEPTEMBER 27, 2016.

Meet Mike Morrell – -Hillary’s Favorite Demented, Creepy CIA Warmonger

From DaisyLuther.com,
It’s really quite embarrassing on a global scale when members of our own government seem to be deliberately trying to pick fights with people who aren’t interested in fighting with us. If you’ve traveled outside of the United States much, you probably know that we Americans have a rather negative reputation off of our own shores. Now, generally speaking, that isn’t our fault as individuals. You and I don’t create headlines that make waves throughout Europe and Asia.
While average Americans aren’t directly responsible for this, our federal officials are. I’ve written recently about President Obama doing things in Syria that are worsening the conflict there. I’ve also written about the fact that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin are starting to butt heads. And finally, I’ve warned time and time again that war is upon us – and everyone knows but the US.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on September 24, 2016.

“I Blanked, It Happens” – Gary Johnson Makes No Excuses For His Aleppo Slip

Following his Aleppo flub this morning, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has issued a statement:
This morning, I began my day by setting aside any doubt that I’m human. Yes, I understand the dynamics of the Syrian conflict – I talk about them every day. But hit with ‘What about Aleppo?’, I immediately was thinking about an acronym, not the Syrian conflict. I blanked. It happens, and it will happen again during the course of this campaign.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 8, 2016.

The Woes Of Interventionism – – Turkey And Saudi Arabia Are Learning The Hard Way

VIOLENTLY INTERVENING IN the affairs of other countries has brought the United States much grief over the last century. We are hardly the only ones who do it. The club of interventionist nations has a shifting membership. During the current round of Middle East conflict, two new countries have joined: Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Both have succumbed to the imperial temptation. Both are paying a high price. They are learning a lesson that Americans struggle to accept: Interventions have unexpected consequences and often end up weakening rather than strengthening the countries that carry them out.
Turkey’s long intervention in Syria has failed to bring about its intended result, the fall of President Bashar Assad. Instead it has intensified the Syrian conflict, fed a regional refugee crisis, set off terrorist backlash, and deeply strained relations between Turkey and its NATO allies. As this blunder has unfolded, Saudi Arabia has also been waging war outside its territory. Its bombing of neighboring Yemen was supposed to be a way of asserting regional hegemony, but it has aroused indignant condemnation. The bombing campaign has placed Saudi Arabia under new scrutiny, including more intense focus on its role in promoting global terror, which the Saudi royal family has managed to keep half-hidden for years.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia intervened in foreign conflicts hoping to establish themselves as regional kingmakers. Both miscalculated. They overestimated their ability to secure quick victory and failed to weigh the strategic costs of failure or stalemate. If the Turks and Saudis had studied the history of American interventions, they would have been more prudent. We know the sorrows of empire. From Iran to Cuba to Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq, the legacy of our interventions continues to haunt us. Ambitious powers, however, continue to ignore the stark lesson that American history teaches. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are the latest to repeat our mistake. It is the same mistake that has undermined many nations and empires. They overestimated their ability to shape events in foreign lands. Now they are paying for their delusional overreach.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on September 6, 2016.

The August 2013 False Flag Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria – -When Putin Bailed Out Obama

Three years ago, when a reluctant President Barack Obama was about to launch an attack on Syria, supposedly in retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad crossing a ‘red line’ against using chemical weapons, Obama smelled a rat – or rather he sensed a mousetrap.
Advised by some of his intelligence advisers that the evidence blaming the Syrian government for the lethal sarin attack was weak, Obama disappointed many of Washington’s neocons and liberal war hawks, including those in his own administration, by deferring action. He tossed the issue to Congress, thus guaranteeing a delay.
Precisely at that key juncture, Russian President Vladimir Putin took the pressure off Obama by persuading the Syrian government to destroy its chemical weapons, which Assad did – while still denying any role in the attack at Ghouta, just outside Damascus, on Aug. 21, 2013.
Washington’s hardliners were left aching for their lost opportunity to attack Syria by citing the Ghouta attack as a casus belli. But the evidence suggested, instead, a well-orchestrated Syrian rebel false-flag operation aimed at fabricating a pretext for direct U. S. intervention in the war on Syria.
With Putin’s assistance in getting Assad to surrender the chemical weapons, Obama was able to extricate himself from the corner that he had rather clumsily painted himself into with his earlier bravado talk about a ‘red line.’

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on August 31, 2016.

NYT’s Nicholas Kristof: War Crimes Enabler

We all saw the little Syrian boy in besieged Aleppo, wiping blood from his forehead, covered in dust and clearly in shock. How could we help it? Practically every newspaper in the country printed his photo, along with a caption blaming the Syrian military and/or the Russians for his plight. The video is all over the Internet. By the way, little Omran Dagnish is still alive, and is fine physically. But there’s another little boy, a prepubescent child, who hasn’t been dignified with a name, who is also a victim of this war – and he’s dead, beheaded by US-backed Islamist rebels of the ‘al-Zenki’ movement. And the rebels didn’t try to hide this atrocity: they filmed it and put it on the Internet.
These are the people who are defending Aleppo, the rebels we are being told are fighting for ‘freedom’ against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and those dastardly Russians.
The video of Omran went ‘viral,’ while the video of the nameless beheaded boy didn’t. Why is that?
The US media isn’t very interested in publicizing the latter atrocity – because in the information war to provoke US intervention in Syria on behalf of head-chopping Islamists, some children are more equal than others.
And make no mistake: the propaganda campaign is now in full swing, being pushed by the same media outlets openly campaigning for Hillary Clinton – who is on record as calling for funding of Islamist groups in Syria and overthrowing Assad. If she is elected, we’re very likely to see a full-scale US intervention, with US forces openly and aggressively confronting not only Syrian government forces but also facing off with the Russians.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Justin Raimondo ‘ August 23, 2016.

Saudi War Crimes In Yemen – -With Help From Imperial Washington

Saudi Arabia resumed its appalling war in Yemen last week and has already killed dozens more civilians, destroyed a school full of children and leveled a hospital full of sick and injured people. The campaign of indiscriminate killing – though let’s call it what it is: a war crime – has now been going on for almost a year and a half. And the United States bears a large part of the responsibility.
This US-backed war is not just a case of the Obama administration sitting idly by while its close ally goes on a destructive spree of historic proportions. The government is actively selling the Saudis billions of dollars of weaponry. They’re re-supplying planes engaged in the bombing runs and providing ‘intelligence’ for the targets that Saudi Arabia is hitting.
Put simply, the US is quite literally funding a humanitarian catastrophe that, by some measures, is larger than the crisis in Syria. As the New York Times editorial board wrote this week: ‘Experts say the coalition would be grounded if Washington withheld its support.’ Yet all we’ve heard is crickets.
High-ranking Obama administration officials are hardly ever asked about the crisis. Cable television news has almost universally ignored it. Both the Clinton and Trump presidential campaigns have been totally silent on this issue despite their constant arguing over who would be better at ‘stopping terrorism’. Beyond the grotesque killing of civilians, it’s clear at this point that the Saudis’ bombing campaign has also boosted al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap) to a level which Reuters described as ‘stronger and richer’ than anytime in its 20-year history.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By Trevor Timm via The Guardian ‘ August 19, 2016.