Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions

April 01, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions

By Ramin Mazaheri – for The Saker Blog

Looking back, why was there such a huge, swift economic collapse after 9/11? Doesn’t it seem to have been totally unjustified?

After all, there was no drastic global reordering, no Armageddon, no World War III. The biggest consequence was the legalisation of the 21st century Western security state, which dwarfs anything the KGB could have waged, but from an economic point of view there was absolutely nothing which justified the enormous economic downturn and its accompanying pessimism.

So what were we worried about? The economic threat caused by Islamic radicalism?

There is not (and has never been) any major threat to the global order/economy from Islamic radicals – there is no such widespread movement, period. Iranian Islamic Socialism is indeed a threat to Western capitalism-imperialism, but only an idiot, racist, Islamophobe and/or general nutcase would equate the two; Iranian Islamic Socialism only asks to be allowed to democratically experiment inside Iran in peace.

So what were we worried about? Quite justifiably, was it the economic fallout to be caused by how terribly neo-imperial Rome (the US) would react?

The US did not launch thermonuclear war in revenge. The response was – by the Pentagon’s satanic standards – only earth-shattering in two spots of the globe: The US occupied a totally poor country with very little tapped oil (but a lot of opium-production potential) – Afghanistan – and they occupied an oil-rich former client which had been decimated by two decades of Western-ordered war and inhuman Western sanctions – Iraq. Bad for Muslims? Of course. Bad for “Capitalism with Western characteristics”? Not hardly. (After all, capitalist-imperialist war is always profitable for the aggressors’ elite.) The subsequent phony “War on Terror” was ultimately bad for the US taxpayer, sure, but who in the US 1% cares about them?

So what were we worried about? The economic threat posed by the entrenchment of an existential fear which would cause people to refuse to get out of bed in the morning? Clearly, I am reaching… because I just can’t think of anything else.

The horrible thing that was supposed to happen simply never happened.

Yet the economy did crater, and everyone is now reading stuff like, “(this latest economic statistic) is the worst since 9/11.” But while the economic downturn was sharp it wasn’t prolonged.

High finance is always ahead of everyone else in understanding macro-economic trends and truths: the rich unlocked their gates in the Hamptons and it took only two months for the Dow Jones to regain its pre-9/11 levels. However, it took crude oil prices a year to regain pre-9/11 levels ($40/barrel) because people were slow to realise that the huge economic depression (sparked by the reduced economic activity which many said 9/11 was certain to provoke) did not materialise.

The only industry which was correctly hurt by 9/11 was insurance (but to hell with them). The downturns in the two other most affected industries – airlines and tourism – were provoked by the false, hysterical idea that the (nonexistent) Islamic radical movement were going to kamikaze more planes/bloody flag-waving Americans would be dropping bombs on beaches and hotels.

Yes, economic sentiment was justifiably a bit pessimistic back then because 9/11 exacerbated the already-in-progress 2001 recession, which had been caused by the totally unjustified Y2K hysteria.

Is anybody identifying a Western trend here yet?

(I mean, besides the West’s comedians? From “America’s Finest News Source”, The Onion: Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What’s Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions)

But the coronavirus… this time it’s different Ramin

Indeed, in the sense that the entire world has gone hysterical and not just the evangelist, paranoid Americans.

I feel totally justified to call it “corona hysteria” because nobody can convince me that corona is as very terrible as it seems. The data is simply not there. It might be, but as of the writing of this article nobody can claim for certain that it is there.

In this very good article from The Spectator – How deadly is the coronavirus? It’s still far from clear: There is room for different interpretations of the data – which was penned by a recently-retired Professor of Pathology and NHS (UK) consultant pathologist. He notes some very basic logic concepts are being ignored even though the ultimate policy question is, “How truly lethal is this virus?”

  • Health care and science are fields fundamentally characterised by doubt rather than certainty, contrary to what doctors on TV are insisting.
  • Testing regimes based in hospitals will always overestimate virulence: they are dealing only with the worst cases, not with the masses of asymptomatic cases of infection.
  • Most crucially, many are inflating the death tolls because the vast majority of respiratory deaths in the UK were not historically recorded as being caused by the flu, but recorded as bronchopneumonia, pneumonia, old age or a similar designation… but now the deaths are being being listed as due to Covid-19.
  • The obvious proof that we lack solid data, on which we must base policy decisions, is evidenced by the wide range of reported national mortality rates: 7% for Spain, 4% for France, 1% for the US. The author says the best example nation we could look at is Iceland: mortality is 0.3%, which is slightly above the normal 0.1% for flu but definitely not a repeat of the Spanish Flu of 1918.
  • Rushed science is bad science. However, the MSM is demanding “science now”.
  • The average age of death in Italy is 79, compared with an average Italian life expectancy of 83. Am I heartless to report this? No, because I am not advocating ending self-responsibility measures for the vulnerable and the possibly infected.

The most interesting country to watch is Sweden (and Mexico and Brazil), who alone in Europe have not locked down. They haven’t done absolutely nothing, but their corona policy is relying on self-responsibility. Compare the treatment of Sweden from the non-MSM financial website ZeroHedge with the panic-inducing, hysterical treatment by fake-leftist UK media The Guardian. Sadly, the latter gets exponentially more eyeballs than an indispensable site like ZeroHedge.

So I just won’t be browbeaten into agreeing that corona is so exceptionally deadly – that might be proven one day, but anybody who says it has already been proven is pushing bad, unproven science. Corona sceptics are falsely attacked by those rushing to judgement, but the ex-doc/prof defends our scepticism quite capably:

‘The moral debate is not lives vs money. It is lives vs lives.’

Yes, because bad economics kills. Austerity kills. Neoliberalism kills. So I’ll stick with my analysis: there is an economic overreaction going on with corona similar to what happened after Y2K and the attacks on 9/11. However, the corona overreaction is way, way, WAY more shocking:

“The immediate impact of the 9/11 attack was to reduce (in the US) real GDP growth in 2001 by 0.5%, and to increase the unemployment rate by 0.11% (reduce employment by 598,000 jobs.)” (found here)

Goldman Sachs, which is more concerned about a high finance recovery than a real economy recovery, just optimistically estimated (but pessimistically when compared with their previous estimate) a jobless rate topping out at 15% and GDP sagging by a record 34% in the second quarter, followed by only a 19% rebound in the third quarter.

Such projections are… incomprehensibly bad. But especially so because we don’t even know how deadly corona truly is. The idea that such a self-induced downturn isn’t going to cause huge amounts of death, poverty and even more sickness is not just wilfully naive but dangerously wrong.

Have you never heard the expression: We’re all just 9 meals from murder? Surely, LOL, this cynical saying is especially true for people who don’t do Ramadan (which begins April 23!).

Again, socialist-inspired countries like China, Iran and Cuba control the levers of their economies for the benefit of their masses and will pull those levers – but India? The perma-stagnant Eurozone? The dog-eat-dog US? Think Iran isn’t used to war, a command economy, and unnatural impositions imposed by ruthless stifling (sanctioning) forces? I raise my scepticism because because bad economics kills, and the West especially is full of terrible economics which attack their lower classes.

“But Ramin, you are the only open Islamic Socialist I have ever heard of and, what’s worse, you work for the Iranian government. Nobody was listening to you before – because you espouse these undoubtedly nutty ideologies – and certainly nobody is listening to you now. ”

Tell me something I don’t know!

Doesn’t make me wrong, though. Doesn’t mean I should be writing human interest reports about how to cope with corona-boredom instead of writing this article.

I am drawing attention to the fact that the West – despite all their wealth, and despite their constant proclamations of being the self-appointed defenders of human rights – does not have the socialist-inspired, lower class-protecting economic safeguards to take these drastic shutdown measures. Furthermore, while The Washington Post is now running horse-is-out-of-the-barn articles such as The coronavirus crisis is exposing how the economy is not as strong as it seemed, for years I have repeatedly been among the relatively few journalists reporting about how the Western economy is even more over-leveraged in 2020 than during the 2008 crisis, which was caused by over-leveraging, so… there’s that to deal with, too.

I don’t mean to stoke economic hysteria – all the West and their client state admirers have to do is implement socialist-style measure after socialist-style measure over the next few months, and then my worries here will have proven to be unfounded.

A radical 180 from TINA – There Is No Alternative (to neoliberalism)? It’s not an impossibility… technically.

The next few months will certainly demand it.

If we could add the West’s false Y2K hysteria to their false 9/11 hysteria and then multiply it by the 2008 economic crisis, then we can get start to imagine what the West is stampeding themselves towards economically.

Socialist-inspired countries like Iran, China and Cuba should do what they have always done – hold on tight. The West’s corona hysteria will only push them more in favor of the big-government, socialist-inspired policies they have already (thankfully) adopted, anyway. That process may take years, when it needs to take mere months.

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Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience?

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for?

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire)

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s?

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

Two Decades of Afghan War… and a Shabby U.S. Retreat

Photo: REUTERS/Nasir Wakif

Source

March 13, 2020©

Is that it? Nearly two decades of war – America’s longest-ever, almost twice as long as the Vietnam War – and now, finally, a dubious peace deal.

It’s a “deal” that could have been signed years ago by previous U.S. administrations, thereby saving hundreds of thousands of casualties and trillions of dollars in damages.

The Afghan combatants that the U.S. vowed to defeat back in 2001 – the Taliban – are stronger than ever and look set to take back control when the Americans eventually tuck tail and get out. The militants view it as a “victory over a superpower”, according to NBC.

President Trump’s administration is of course trying to sell the conclusion of the Afghan War as some kind of honorable exit from the Central Asian country. But the shaky peace pact – cobbled together in haste and with no input from the U.S.-backed regime in Kabul – looks more like an electioneering ploy by Trump.

There are some 13,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan. That’s about 10 per cent of the levels that were there under the GW Bush and Obama administrations. Trump’s peace deal with the Taliban mandates that troop levels will be drawn down to about 8,500 in the next four months. After 14 months, the aim is to have no U.S. troops remaining there.

The scheduling looks arranged to give Trump a timely electioneering boost. After all, he took office in January 2017 promising to end the “endless” Afghan War. Nearly four years on and just in time for the November election, Trump can claim he is delivering on that promise.

The flimsiness and contradictions of the bargain – the word “deal” seems misplaced – also indicate more haste than honor. Washington wants the Taliban to cease military attacks on U.S. troops over the drawdown period, but the militants appear to have leeway to continue assaults on the local U.S.-backed Afghan security forces.

Washington says its wants to see an “intra-Afghan” political dialogue on the future polity of the country. But the Americans fatally undermined the authority of its Kabul regime by excluding it from talks with the Taliban. The regime looks set to collapse without U.S. support. Why would the Taliban bother to engage with an entity it sees as a corrupt American puppet? Trump has even admitted that he sees the possibility of the Taliban taking full control of Afghanistan once the U.S. finally pulls out.

Here there is an echo of the “Fall of Saigon” when the Americans sold out the venal South Vietnamese regime in a 1973 peace deal with Communist North Vietnam which then went on to rout the crumbling U.S. Saigon puppet in 1975.

On a wider note, it is understandable that the region is apprehensive about the future of Afghanistan. Two decades of war and a botched retreat by the Americans could leave the country as a miserable failed state with no stable government for many years to come. Russia and Iran have good grounds to be concerned about the security implications from such a failed state. Fortunately, Russia has been developing working relations with Afghan parties over recent years, including the Taliban and its opponents. Thus, Moscow may be well-placed to help stabilize the country in the aftermath of Washington’s exit from the Afghan quagmire. How ironic is that? Afghanistan was supposed to be Moscow’s “Vietnam”, according to U.S. imperial planners. Turned out, however, that Afghanistan became America’s “Second Vietnam”.

An absurd contradiction in Washington’s deal-making with the Taliban is the expectation from the Trump administration that the Taliban will cooperate to prevent the emergence of Al Qaeda-linked terror groups. Hold on a moment. The official reason why the Americans invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 was a “war on terror” against the Taliban following the September 9/11 attacks in New York. Now we are told that the Taliban are some kind of legitimate partner against terrorism.

No wonder most U.S. military veterans are disillusioned with the Afghan War and the latest attempt to end it. As one former soldier told Time magazine: “I’m okay with the Afghans fighting for their own country and us supporting them from a distance. I’m not comfortable with us just walking away. It is morally wrong to give legitimacy to an enemy that continues to murder our people,” he said. “And it undermines our credibility around the world. Who can – or should – trust an America that cavalierly surrenders an ally like this?”

War fatigue in America is understandable. But the fact is this war should never have been started in the first place. The Afghan War stands as a monumental crime by the American state. Its aim and justifications by Washington were always a farrago of lies, as declassified U.S. documents show.

About 157,000 people are estimated to have been killed, with 43,000 of the dead being civilians. If there was any justice in this world, American leaders and generals should be prosecuted in a Nuremberg-type war crimes court, including Bush, Obama and the incumbent president, Donald Trump.

A reduction in violence is unquestionably welcome. We may hope the Afghan people can somehow develop a political process for a peaceful future. But eternal shame on Washington. It’s the Afghan people and the region which are having to pick up the pieces from criminal American adventurism.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

Tulsi Gabbard: Do you want to protect AQ or defeat them?

The most powerful al-Qaeda enclave in the world today is in Idlib, Syria. Yet Pompeo and corporate media call these terrorists “rebels” and want to protect them. Question to President Trump and all Democratic candidates: Do you want to protect al-Qaeda or defeat them? Voters have a right to know.

The Afghanistan ‘peace deal’ riddle

Pepe Escobar for the Saker Blog : Posted with permission 

As far as realpolitik Afghanistan is concerned, with or without a deal, the US military want to stay in what is a priceless Greater Middle East base to deploy hybrid war techniques

In this photo taken on February 21, youths and peace activists gather as they celebrate the reduction in violence, in Kandahar. A week-long partial truce took hold across Afghanistan on February 22, with some jubilant civilians dancing in the streets as the war-weary country prepared for this coming Saturday’s planned agreement on a peace deal between the Taliban and the United States. Photo: AFP / Javed Tanveer

Nearly two decades after the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan post-9/11, and after an interminable war costing over $ 2 trillion, there’s hardly anything “historic” about a possible peace deal that may be signed in Doha this coming Saturday between Washington and the Taliban.

We should start by stressing three points.

1- The Taliban wanted all US troops out. Washington refused.

2- The possible deal only reduces US troops from 13,000 to 8,600. That’s the same number already deployed before the Trump administration.

3- The reduction will only happen a year and a half from now – assuming what’s being described as a truce holds.

So there would be no misunderstanding, Taliban Deputy Leader Sirajuddin Haqqani, in an op-ed certainly read by everyone inside the Beltway, detailed their straightforward red line: total US withdrawal.

And Haqqani is adamant: there’s no peace deal if US troops stay.

Still, a deal looms. How come? Simple: enter a series of secret “annexes.”

The top US negotiator, the seemingly eternal Zalmay Khalilzad, a remnant of the Clinton and Bush eras, has spent months codifying these annexes – as confirmed by a source in Kabul currently not in government but familiar with the negotiations.

Let’s break them down to four points.

1- US counter-terror forces would be allowed to stay. Even if approved by the Taliban leadership, this would be anathema to the masses of Taliban fighters.

2- The Taliban would have to denounce terrorism and violent extremism. That’s rhetorical, not a problem.

3- There will be a scheme to monitor the so-called truce while different warring Afghan factions discuss the future, what the US State Dept. describes as “intra-Afghan negotiations.” Culturally, as we’ll see later, Afghans of different ethnic backgrounds will have a tremendously hard time monitoring their own warring.

4- The CIA would be allowed to do business in Taliban-controlled areas. That’s an even more hardcore anathema. Everyone familiar with post-9/11 Afghanistan knows that the prime reason for CIA business is the heroin rat line that finances Langley’s black ops, as I exposed in 2017.

Otherwise, everything about this “historic” deal remains quite vague.

Even Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was forced to admit the war in Afghanistan is “still” in “a state of strategic stalemate.”

As for the far from strategic financial disaster, one just needs to peruse the latest SIGAR report. SIGAR stands for Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. In fact virtually nothing in Afghanistan has been “reconstructed.”

No real deal without Iran

The “intra-Afghan” mess starts with the fact that Ashraf Ghani eventually was declared the winner of the presidential elections held in September last year. But virtually no one recognizes him.

The Taliban don’t talk to Ghani. Only to some people that are part of the government in Kabul. And they describe these talks at best as between “ordinary Afghans.”

Everyone familiar with Taliban strategy knows US/NATO troops will never be allowed to stay. What could happen is the Taliban allowing some sort of face-saving contingent to remain for a few months, and then a very small contingent stays to protect the US embassy in Kabul.

Washington will obviously reject this possibility. The alleged “truce” will be broken. Trump, pressured by the Pentagon, will send more troops. And the infernal spiral will be back on track.

Another major hole in the possible deal is that the Americans completely ignored Iran in their negotiations in Doha.

That’s patently absurd. Teheran is a key strategic partner to its neighbor Kabul. Apart from the millenary historical/cultural/social connections, there are at least 3.5 million Afghan refugees in Iran.

Post 9-11, Tehran slowly but surely started cultivating relations with the Taliban – but not at a military/weaponizing level, according to Iranian diplomats. In Beirut last September, and then in Nur-Sultan in November, I was provided a clear picture of where discussions about Afghanistan stand.

The Russian connection to the Taliban goes through Tehran. Taliban leaders have frequent contacts with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Only last year, Russia held two conferences in Moscow between Taliban political leaders and mujahideen. The Russians were engaged into bringing Uzbeks into the negotiations. At the same time, some Taliban leaders met with Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) operatives four times in Tehran, in secret.

The gist of all these discussions was “to find a conflict resolution outside of Western patterns”, according to an Iranian diplomat. They were aiming at some sort of federalism: the Taliban plus the mujahideen in charge of the administration of some vilayets.

The bottom line is that Iran has better connections in Afghanistan than Russia and China. And this all plays within the much larger scope of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The Russia-China strategic partnership wants an Afghan solution coming from inside the SCO, of which both Iran and Afghanistan are observers. Iran may become a full SCO member if it holds on to the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, until October – thus still not subjected to UN sanctions.

All these actors want US troops out – for good. So the solution always points towards a decentralized federation. According to an Afghan diplomat, the Taliban seem ready to share power with the Northern Alliance. The spanner in the works is the Hezb-e-Islami, with one Jome Khan Hamdard, a commander allied with notorious mujahid Gulbudiin Hekmatyar, based in Mazar-i-Sharif and supported by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, more interested in restarting a civil war.

Understanding Pashtunistan

Here’s a blast from the past, reliving the context of the Taliban visit to Houston, and showing how things have not changed much since the first Clinton administration. It’s always a matter of the Taliban getting their cut – at the time related to Pipelineistan business, now to their reaffirmation of what can be described as Pashtunistan.

Not every Pashtun is a Taliban, but the overwhelming majority of Taliban are Pashtuns.

The Washington establishment never did their “know your enemy” homework, trying to understand how Pashtuns from extremely diverse groups are linked by a common system of values establishing their ethnic foundation and necessary social rules. That’s the essence of their code of conduct – the fascinating, complex Pashtunwali. Although it incorporates numerous Islamic elements, Pashtunwali is in total contradiction with Islamic law on many points.

Islam did introduce key moral elements to Pashtun society. But there are also juridical norms, imposed by a hereditary nobility, that support the whole edifice and that came from the Turko-Mongols.

Pashtuns – a tribal society – have a deep aversion to the Western concept of the state. Central power can only expect to neutralize  them with – to put it bluntly – bribes. That’s what passes as a sort of system of government in Afghanistan. Which brings the question of how much – and with what – the US is now bribing the Taliban.

Afghan political life, in practice, works out from actors that are factions, sub-tribes, “Islamic coalitions” or regional groups.

Since 1996, and up to 9/11, the Taliban incarnated the legitimate return of Pashtuns as the dominant element in Afghanistan. That’s why they instituted an emirate and not a republic, more appropriate for a Muslim community ruled only by religious legislation. The diffidence towards cities, particularly Kabul, also expresses the sentiment of Pashtun superiority over other Afghan ethnic groups.

The Taliban do represent a process of overcoming tribal identity and the affirmation of Pashtunistan. The Beltway never understood this powerful dynamic – and that’s one of the key reasons for the American debacle.

Lapis Lazuli corridor

Afghanistan is at the center of the new American strategy for Central Asia, as in “expand and maintain support for stability in Afghanistan” coupled with an emphasis to “encourage connectivity between Central Asia and Afghanistan.”

In practice, the Trump administration wants the five Central Asian “stans” to bet on integration projects such as the CASA-1000 electricity project and the Lapis Lazuli trade corridor, which is in fact a reboot of the Ancient Silk Road, connecting Afghanistan to Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia before crossing the Black Sea to Turkey and then all the way to the EU.

But the thing is Lapis Lazuli is already bound to integrate with Turkey’s Middle Corridor, which is part of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative, as well as with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Plus, also part of Belt and Road. Beijing planned  this integration way before Washington.

The Trump administration is just stressing the obvious: a peaceful Afghanistan is essential for the integration process.

Andrew Korybko correctly argues that “Russia and China could make more progress on building the Golden Ring between themselves, Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey by that time, thus ‘embracing’ Central Asia with potentially limitless opportunities that far surpass those that the US is offering or ‘encircling’ the region from a zero-sum American strategic perspective and ‘forcing’ it out.”

The late Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski’s wishful thinking “Eurasian Balkans” scenario may be dead, but the myriad US divide-and-rule gambits imposed on the heartland have now mutated into hybrid war explicitly directed against China, Russia  and Iran – the three major nodes of Eurasia integration.

And that means that as far as realpolitik Afghanistan is concerned, with or without a deal, the US military have no intention to go anywhere. They want to stay – whatever it takes. Afghanistan is a priceless Greater Middle East base to deploy hybrid war techniques.

Pashtuns are certainly getting the message from key Shanghai Cooperation Organization players. The question is how they plan to run rings around Team Trump.

Kevin Barrett interviews the Saker

February 13, 2020

Dear friends,

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Kevin Barrett.  Here is where you can listen to our interview:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/33954379

https://www.unz.com/audio/kbarrett_the-saker-on-our-fundamental-disagreement-about-wwii-hitler-jews-and-race/

I want to use this opportunity to sincerely thank all those Nazis who angrily defended Hitler and the Nazis – they made my case better than I ever could!  Thank you guys for doing exactly what I thought you would do 🙂

Hugs and cheers,

The Saker

Feb 12 at 6:39am

The Saker on “Our Fundamental Disagreement About WWII, Hitler, Jews and Race”

Western views of Jews, Jewish identity politics, and Zionism are extremely polarized these days. The mainstream world seems enslaved to Zionist propaganda caricatures; while perhaps in reaction to the appalling lies and omissions of the MSM, increasing numbers of alt-right dissidents have gravitated toward severely anti-Jewish views. 

The Saker—one of the anglophone world’s most important voices on Russia-related strategic issues—recently incited a constellation of controversies with his new article “Our Fundamental Disagreement About WWII, Hitler, Jews and Race.” He wrote me: “Do you know that I never got as much hate mail as for that article about Russia and Jews…I REALLY pissed a lot of people off.”

What are the Saker’s fundamental disagreements with the people sending him angry comments and emails? “First of all, there is my philosophical position: that Jews share common humanity with all of us. I don’t see them as a separate group that has some kind of unique, different quality.” He goes on to assert that Westerners who don’t like Jews “are actually the mirror image of what they accuse Jews of doing. They say Jews are supremacists, and then they say, at the same time, that Jews are somehow fundamentally different. Well, that’s denying our common humanity. And I don’t care who does it. If it’s done by a rabbi or if it’s done by a nazi, the message is the same: ‘There are some people who are better and more important and more valuable than others.'”

Among the many other points raised in this interview:

*The Russian monarchy wasn’t overthrown by Jews or (80% Jewish) Bolsheviks, it was overthrown by freemasonic Russian elites.

*19th century Russian radical movements were not dominated by Jews the way Bolshevism was.

*Historically, Poland and Polish-occupied Ukraine witnessed a much more intense and fraught relationship between Jews and non-Jews than Russia did.

*Many of the nations that fought in World War II committed horrific atrocities; but however we evaluate them, one thing the Nuremburg Tribunals got right was to establish forever the fact that aggression is the worst war crime, the ultimate war crime, the one that includes and entails all of the others.

*Putin’s attendance at the World Holocaust Forum in Occupied Jerusalem was about mourning victims of World War II, not endorsing Zionist ideology.

*But yes, Russia does unfortunately tilt toward Israel more than Palestine, because Russia has a significant and powerful Jewish population but no Palestinian/Arab population.

*Russia perceives NATO, not Israel, as its biggest threat: “Russia has been preparing for a full-scale conventional and/or nuclear war with the West for at least five years now. They hope to avoid it. They will do their utmost to not give (NATO) a pretext (to attack). But they know that this is the ultimate danger. And they’ve bought enough time. Now Russia is basically non-attackable by the United States…so the next level is, what about a local conflict? Iran is the clear example now, with the murder of Gen. Soleimani. The Russians do see that Israel has a hand in that. But I don’t think they think that Israel always is the single explanation for everything the Empire does.”

*”I’m absolutely convinced that everyone in Russia knows that 9/11 was an inside job. But they also realized that saying that openly was absolutely suicidal for them, because they could never prevail, no matter what kind of proof they present, and it would just be dismissed.”

Pakistan’s Big Victory Against Terrorism

February 11, 2020

Source

by Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan for The Saker Blog

The term “terroriste” in French, meaning “terrorist”, is first used in 1794 by the French philosopher François-Noël Babeuf, who denounces Maximilien Robespierre’s Jacobin regime as a dictatorship. Terrorism has many definitions but the well-recognized by the UN is “intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act”.

Although the terms “terrorist” and “terrorism” originated during the French Revolution of the late 18th century but gained mainstream popularity in the 1970s in news reports and books covering the conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Basque Country, and Palestine. The increased use of suicide attacks from the 1980s onwards was typified by the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. in 2001.

Pakistan became the victim of Terrorism since the 1980s, the Afghan War. Traditionally, Pakistan was a very peaceful state and the people of Pakistan were known for its peace, hospitality, and tolerance. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, Pakistan was heaven for foreign tourists, especially from the Western World. Pakistan is blessed with natural beauty, high mountains, Glaciers, Rivers, Beaches, Pilatus, Jungles, Deserts, Archaeological & historical places, and religious places. Pakistani society was famous for the acceptance of Foreigners with all different backgrounds, religions, cultures, and ethnicities. In history, Pakistan has absorbed various cultures, especially the National Language of Pakistan “Urdu” is a mixture of Arabic, Persian and Turkish. The typical Pakistani cultures have roots from Central Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and Greek-Alexander the Great. During the one century-long British rule, has Westernized Pakistani Society and is a member of Commonwealth Country, English language and culture was dominating visibly. By nature, Pakistanis are peace-loving nature and a rather submissive society.

However, due to the former USSR invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the US gathered Muslim youth from all over the world in Pakistan. Provided them training, weapons, and Dollars to fight against the Russians in Afghanistan. This all was possible by radicalizing them. The US used religion to charge these youth for “Jihad”. The Muslim scholars were paid to promote “Jihad” and textbooks taught in educational schools were modified to promote “Jihad”. The US has funded such scholars’ generously who preach “Jihad”.

Cash and religion were used to exploit Muslim youths for “Jihad” (Holy War). And Taliban, involved in Jihad were treated as heroes. White House was open for them and President Reagan hosted banquets in honor of the Taliban. Some of President Regan’s remakes about the Taliban are denied recently, but it was acknowledged that the Taliban enjoyed the highest degree of respect and honor in the US during the Afghan War during the 1980s.

However, with the help of the Taliban, the US won the war in Afghanistan and the former USSR was to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan in 1988-89, under an agreement. But unfortunately, the US also lost its interest in Afghanistan and left Pakistan alone to face the consequences of unstable Afghanistan.

Deliberately, Pakistani society was radicalized. Intolerance, extremism, religious divide, ethnicity, and factionists were promoted. The US-funded the individuals with an extremist ideology to promote a division in the society. Insurgency and separatist movements were supported and society was led toward chaos.

Furthermore, during the former USSR invasion of Afghanistan since 1979, Pakistan became the hub of international intelligence agencies. In the beginning, their operations were focused on Afghanistan only. But later on, it was spread and their scope also covers Pakistan is self too. It was not only the US, but many friendly countries also strengthen their Intelligence operation from Afghanistan. Later on, it was noticed that some of the unfriendly countries were also involved in similar operations. After the former USSR withdrawal, some of the international intelligence agencies were using Pakistan as a training ground and executing live operations, sometimes only for the experience.

The easiest way was to identify disgruntles or destitute Pakistanis, brainwash them, fund them and exploit them, was a routine matter. Still, we are facing such incidents, that Pakistanis were used by foreign agents in sabotage, subversion, insurgencies, separatism, and terrorism. This practice is still in exercise, but with a lot reduction in size.

Although the terrorism phenomenon was started since the USSR invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the intensity gained momentum from 200 to 2014, with a peak in 2009. Only in 2009, the worst of any year, 2,586 terrorist, insurgent, and sectarian-related incidents were reported that killed 3,021 people and injured 7,334, according to the “Pakistan Security Report 2009” published by PIPS. These casualties figure 48 percent higher as compared to 2008. On the other hand, the rate of suicide attacks surged by one third to 87 bombings that killed 1,300 people and injured 3,600.

Turning point

Since, the 16 December 2014 attack on an army-run school in Peshawar, which killed 150, mainly children, claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (Taliban Movement of Pakistan-TTP), was ostensibly a game-changer. A week later the government unveiled a new counter-terrorism strategy, the twenty-point National Action Plan (NAP), with Prime Minister and Army Chief, vowing to target all terror groups without distinction.

A massive military action was taken along with the judicial reforms with the involvement of civil society. The death penalty was restored, military courts were established, through media and civic society educational reforms were implemented. Military action was supported by the educational reforms and rehabilitation of effect was implemented. As a re4sult some of the terrorists were killed, some were run into Afghanistan and remaining were changed by education. People were educated toward tolerance, and acceptance of diversity in this society.

While fighting against terrorism, we encountered many tough challenges. The terrorists were well trained and well equipped. Sometimes, they were using many advance tactics and weapons, even better than the Pakistan Army. They were using Satellite phones and Hummer Jeeps, while the Pakistan Army was using rather old communication systems and vehicles. Terrorists were supported by foreign powers and getting logistics and supplies against Pakistan. The terrain was very tough and the region was mountainous and difficult to accessibility. Pakistan blames India and Afghanistan for supporting Terrorists officially. However, India kept on denying and Afghanistan has confirmed. In fact, there were many other foreign powers supporting these terrorists. We suspect many countries like the US, Russia, Israel, Iran, etc. But with no confirmed evidence.

Pakistan Army, Civilian Government, and General public was committed to rooting out the menace of terrorism, once for all. Devotion and firm commitment made us possible to overcome this serious issue. Pakistan is the only country with the highest success in its war against terrorism. Today the number of terrorist attacks has been reduced to around 200 from 2500 at the peak in 2009. Pakistan is still engaged in a war footing against terrorism.

The Irony is that Pakistan was radicalized by some of the friendly nations to achieve their goals. Once they achieved their goals, they left, Pakistan alone to suffer. In fact, those friends played a dirty role to isolate Pakistan and made propaganda against Pakistan as a hub of terrorism. While in fact, Pakistan was the victim of terrorism and suffered huge losses. Pakistan’s sacrifices were not acknowledged or recognized. Pakistan is not seeking any reward for its sacrifices but deserves compensation from those friends who caused this terrorism in Pakistan. Hilary Clinton has committed publically that the US has created the Taliban. It is obvious that Islamophobia is the root cause of terrorism. It is a moral obligation that those who are responsible for the creation of terrorism should assist Pakistan to overcome it. Pakistan expects from the international community to acknowledge and recognition of its sacrifices. I believe, it is the moral duty of the Western World to extend cooperation toward Pakistan to defeat terrorism.

However, Pakistan is a resilient nation and after a lot of effort has succeeded to eliminate terrorism in Pakistan. Pakistanis are genetically peace-loving people and very much accommodative. Our society is open and integrate all immigrants or foreigners in this country. Pakistan accommodated many immigrants from many different countries. These immigrants are well integrated into our society and face no discrimination. There were around 5 million Afghanis in Pakistan at the peak time of war and around 3 million are settled in Pakistan since the 1980s. Their third and fourth generations are living in Pakistan now. There also exists a huge number of Bengalis, Indians, Burmese, Iranian, Iraqis, Syrians, Palestinians, African, Chinese, etc., in Pakistan and enjoying a complete harmony.

Pakistan is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious society and diversity is our strength. We won against terrorism by promoting tolerance, education, and traditional culture. I believe Pakistan’s soft power is our best tool to win against all challenges. Today, Pakistan has emerged as a Peace-Loving nation, a mature and responsible state. Prime Minister Imran Khan is a visionary leader and a messenger for Peace. He believes in Peace and wanted to resolve all regional and global issues through peaceful dialogue. He has demonstrated to avert a War with Indian in February 2019 and still insists on his stand of Peaceful resolution of all issues between India and Pakistan, as well as all international disputes.

The rest of the world may avail Pakistan’s experience to counter-terrorism and utilize Pakistan’s expertise in fighting against terrorism globally. We wish to eliminate the menace of terrorism completely.


Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.

‘Bombshell’: Iraqi Officials Say ISIS —Not Iran— Likely Behind Rocket Attack Trump Used to Justify Soleimani Assassination

“Al-Qaeda attacked the U.S. on 9/11 and we went to war with Iraq. If this report is true, ISIS attacked the U.S. and we nearly went to war with Iran.”

 

Global Research, February 10, 2020
Common Dreams 7 February 2020

In a “bombshell” revelation that calls into question one of the Trump administration’s stated justificiations for assassinating Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani—a move that nearly sparked a region-wide military conflict—Iraqi intelligence officials told the New York Times that they believe ISIS, not an Iran-linked militia, was likely responsible for the Dec. 27 rocket attack that killed an American contractor at an air base near Kirkuk, Iraq.

The Times reported Thursday that “Iraqi military and intelligence officials have raised doubts about who fired the rockets… saying they believe it is unlikely that the militia the United States blamed for the attack” was responsible.

“All the indications are that it was Daesh,” Brigadier General Ahmed Adnan, the Iraqi chief of intelligence for the federal police at the K-1 air base, told the Times, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. “We know Daesh’s movements.”

The Trump administration has not released a single piece of evidence showing that the Iraqi militia Khataib Hezbollah, which has ties to Iran, was responsible for the attack on K-1. The group has denied carrying out the attack.

The U.S. responded to the rocket attack days later with deadly airstrikes on Khataib Hezbollah targets in Iraq and Syria, setting off a dangerous escalatory spiral that brought Iran and the U.S. to the brink of war.

On Jan. 2, the U.S. assassinated Soleimani with a drone strike in Baghdad ordered by President Donald Trump. Following the assassination, which was widely condemned as an act of war, the U.S. Department of Defense issued a statement claiming without evidence that Soleimani “orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months—including the attack on December 27th—culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel.”

But Iraqi officials told the Times that “based on circumstantial evidence and long experience in the area where the attack took place,” there is good reason to be skeptical about U.S. claims that Khataib Hezbollah was behind it.

As the Times reported:

The rockets were launched from a Sunni Muslim part of Kirkuk Province notorious for attacks by the Islamic State, a Sunni terrorist group, which would have made the area hostile territory for a Shiite militia like Khataib Hezbollah.
Khataib Hezbollah has not had a presence in Kirkuk Province since 2014.
The Islamic State, however, had carried out three attacks relatively close to the base in the 10 days before the attack on K-1. Iraqi intelligence officials sent reports to the Americans in November and December warning that ISIS intended to target K-1, an Iraqi air base in Kirkuk Province that is also used by American forces…
These facts all point to the Islamic State, Iraqi officials say.
“We as Iraqi forces cannot even come to this area unless we have a large force because it is not secure,” Brig. Gen. Adnan said of the area from which the rocket attack was launched. “How could it be that someone who doesn’t know the area could come here and find that firing position and launch an attack?”

In response to the Times report, Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council, tweeted:

“Al-Qaeda attacked the U.S. on 9/11 and we went to war with Iraq. If this report is true, ISIS attacked the U.S. and we nearly went to war with Iran.”

Sina Toossi@SinaToossi

 

 

This is huge: Iraqi military & intelligence officials say it’s highly unlikely that a rocket attack that killed an Iraqi-American contractor in early January—& led to an escalation cycle that almost started a war—was carried out by an Iran-allied militia.https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/06/world/middleeast/iraq-iran-hezbollah-evidence.html 
Iraqi soldiers at the K-1 base, which was struck by rockets on Dec. 27.

Was U.S. Wrong About Attack That Nearly Started a War With Iran?

Iraqi military and intelligence officials have raised doubts about who fired the rockets that started a dangerous spiral of events.

nytimes.com

 

 

127 people are talking about this

 

CODEPINK@codepink

 

 

The US almost started WWIII based on questionable evidence.After all of the violence in the Middle East following the attack on US bases, officials are now questioning the US’s claim that the -backed militia Khataib Hezbollah are to blame. https://buff.ly/31CpWqT 

Iraqi soldiers at the K-1 base, which was struck by rockets on Dec. 27.

Was U.S. Wrong About Attack That Nearly Started a War With Iran?

Iraqi military and intelligence officials have raised doubts about who fired the rockets that started a dangerous spiral of events.

nytimes.com

 

 

46 people are talking about this

 

U.S. officials insisted to the Times that they have “solid evidence” showing that Khataib Hezbollah carried out the attack, but they have not released any of this evidence to the public or to Iraqi officials.

“We have requested the American side to share with us any information, any evidence, but they have not sent us any information,” Lt. Gen. Muhammad al-Bayati, chief of staff for former Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, told the Times.

Ilan Goldenberg, Middle East security director at the Center for a New American Security think tank, tweeted that the U.S. Congress “must ask questions about this and get the intel.”

Responsible Statecraft managing editor Benjamin Armbruster agreed.

“Congress needs to investigate ASAP,” Armbruster tweeted.

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