More Reckless Behavior by israel (apartheid state) : Netanyahu Plays by His Own Rules

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As has become the normal practice, Christmas Day’s air raid by Israel directed against targets near Damascus was largely ignored by the US media. Given the fact that Israel has bombed Syria more than two hundred times, the attack itself, which wounded three soldiers at a warehouse, was not particularly notable. But what was significant was the fact that it was the second time that Israel has used other planes to mask the approach of its own warplanes to the target. On this occasion, the masks consisted of two civilian airliners making their approaches to the airports in Beirut and Damascus. Fortunately, the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces made the decision to delay the deployment of surface-to-air missiles and electronic jamming “to prevent a tragedy” and air traffic control was able to divert one of the passenger jets landing at Damascus to the reserve military airport in Khmeimim in southern Latakia.

Syrian anti-aircraft crews did manage to intercept and shoot down fourteen of the sixteen incoming missiles that were launched by six Israeli F-16 warplanes using US-made GPS-guided GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs). If the Syrian air defenses had been more reckless and gone after the F-16s themselves, they might have hit an airliner by mistake and hundreds of lives could have been lost.

The Russian Ministry of Defense, which was able to reconstruct the attack from radar imaging, condemned the incident, stating that “Provocative acts by the Israeli Air Force endangered two passenger jets when six of their F-16s carried out airstrikes on Syria from Lebanese airspace.” The terse Russian announcement reveals that beyond endangering hundreds of civilians, Israel had committed several war crimes in its action, which the Israeli government claimed was intended to destroy a shipment of Iranian-made Fajir-5 rockets, which was allegedly on its way to Hezbollah.

As Israel is not at war with Iran or Syria or Lebanon and it persists in attacking targets in Syria based on its own perception of threats, it meets the United Nations definition of an aggressor. And its violation of Lebanese air space to stage the attack on Syria was also an act of aggression. Both would normally be condemned in the UN Security Council but for the American veto protecting Israel.

Analysts have confirmed that the Israelis carried out the strikes in Syria by deliberately using scheduled airline departures and arrivals as cover to foil the improved and upgraded Syrian air defenses. Security sources in the region now believe that any civilian flights entering or leaving Damascus or Beirut are potentially in danger due to the Israeli tactics, which clearly accept endangering civilians to mask the movements of the warplanes.

The Israelis also used a Russian intelligence plane as a mask off the coast of Syria back in September, with fatal results for the crew after Syrian air defenses responded to the attack. Israel, of course, claimed innocence, insisting that it was the Syrians who shot down the Russian aircraft while the Israeli jets were legitimately targeting a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.”

The Russian aircraft was returning to base after a mission over the Mediterranean off the Syrian coast monitoring the activities of a French warship and at least one British RAF plane. As a large and relatively slow propeller driven aircraft on a routine intelligence gathering mission, the Ilyushin-20 had no reason to conceal its presence. It was apparently preparing to land at its airbase at Khmeimim when the incident took place.

Syrian air defenses were on high alert because Israel had attacked targets near Damascus on the previous day, including a Boeing 747 on the ground that Israel claimed to be transporting weapons.

The Israelis used four F-16 fighter bombers to stage the surprise night attack targeting sites near Latakia, close to the airbase being used by the Russians. They came in from the Mediterranean Sea using the Russian plane to mask their approach as the Ilyushin 20 would have presented a much larger radar profile for the air defenses.

The Israelis might have been expecting that the Syrians would not fire at all at the incoming planes knowing that one of them at least was being flown by their Russian allies. If that was the expectation, it proved wrong and it was indeed a Syrian S-200 ground to air missile directed by its guidance system to the larger target that brought down the plane and killed its fourteen crew members.

There was also a back story. The Israelis and Russian military had established a hotline precisely intended to avoid accidents. Israel reportedly used the line but only one minute before the incident took place, leaving no time for the Russian plane to take evasive action.

The Russian Ministry of Defense was irate. It saw the exploitation of the intelligence plane by the Israelis as a deliberate high-risk initiative. It warned “We consider these provocative actions by Israel as hostile. Fifteen Russian military service members have died because of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military. This is absolutely contrary to the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership. We reserve the right for an adequate response.”

It’s the same old story. Israel does risky things like attacking its neighbors because it knows it will pay no price due to Washington’s support. The downing of the Russian plane and the current endangering civil aviation has created a situation that could easily escalate. What Israel is really thinking when it seeks to create anarchy all around its borders is anyone’s guess, but it is, to be sure, in no one’s interest to allow the process to continue.

*This article was originally published on strategic-culture.

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Mattis Tells All Without Any Evidence

By Philip Giraldi
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The insanity runs deep in Washington but it has also briefly surfaced at Simi Valley in California at the Reagan National Defense Forum, which ran through last weekend. United States Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis was the keynote speaker on Saturday. He had a few interesting things to say, the most remarkable of which was the assertion that Russia had again sought to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections, which were completed last month.

Mattis, a Marine general who is sometimes considered to be the only adult in the room when the White House national security team meets, claimed that the bilateral relationship between Washington and Moscow had “no doubt” deteriorated still further due to the Russian activity, which he described as the Kremlin “try[ing] again to muck around around in our elections last month, and we are seeing a continued effort along those lines” with Russian President Vladimir Putin making “continued efforts to try to subvert democratic processes that must be defended. We’ll do whatever is necessary to defend them.”

Mattis did not address President Donald Trump’s cancellation of a meeting with Putin at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a move which he reportedly supported. The cancellation was reportedly based on what has been described as an act of aggression committed by the Russian military against three Ukrainian naval vessels seeking to transit the Kerch Strait, which is since the annexation of Crimea been completely controlled by Moscow. The Ukrainians were aware of the Russian protocols for transiting through the area and chose to ignore them to create an incident, possibly as part of a plan to disrupt the Trump-Putin discussions. If that is so, they were successful.

Mattis was somewhat taciturn relating to his accusation regarding Moscow’s meddling. He provided absolutely no evidence that Russia had been interfering in the latest election and there have been no suggestions from either federal or state authorities that there were any irregularities involving foreigners. There was, however, considerable concern over possible ballot and voting manipulation at state levels carried out by the major political parties themselves, suggesting that if Mattis is looking for subversion of democratic processes he might start looking a lot closer to home.

The U.S. government has issued a general warning that “Americans should be aware that foreign actors — and Russia in particular — continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions intended to sow discord.” Law enforcement and intelligence agencies have reportedly been working with private sector internet social networking companies, to include Twitter and Facebook, to shut down Russian and Iranian accounts in attempt to forestall any interference in either the campaigning or voting processes. Some Russians have even been indicted in absentia based on flimsy evidence but as they are in Russia they cannot be tried. One Russian student, Maria Butina, is still in jail in Virginia based on conflicting and flimsy evidence and it is not clear when she will be able to defend herself in court.

Beyond the general anti-Russia hysteria being encouraged by the media and congress, there are a number of problems with the Mattis assertion. First of all, beyond the fact that no actual evidence has been presented, it is irrational to assume that Russian intelligence services would waste their effort and burn their resources to attempt to accomplish absolutely nothing. Russia was not on the ballot last month and no candidates were running on any platform that would benefit Moscow in the slightest. To get caught “mucking around” would invite more sanctions and justify an increasingly hostile response from Washington, hardly a price that Putin would be willing to pay for little or nothing tangible.

Second, the intense investigations being carried out by the Robert Mueller Special Counsel’s office have to this point developed no information suggesting that Russia did anything in 2016 beyond the low-level probing and manipulating that every major intelligence agency does routinely to get a window into what an adversary is up to. To be sure, several Team Trump associates will likely be going to jail, but their crimes so far have consisted of perjury or tax fraud. Some, like former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen are seeking desperately to find a way to implicate the president in some grander scheme, but if there is anything actually there it has yet to be identified to the public.

Third, based on the evidence produced so far, the only two countries that may have cooperated with either Trump or the Deep State to influence the results of the 2016 election are Israel, which sought Trump intercession at the United Nations, and Britain, which may have engaged in a plot by the British intelligence and security services to conspire with CIA Director John Brennan to elect Hillary Clinton.

So, there we go again. Another vague accusation against Russia to convince the American public that there is a powerful enemy out to get us. And lest there be any shortage of enemies Mattis also mentioned always dangerous Iran, saying “…we cannot deny the threat that Iran poses to all civilized nations.” And, by the way, Mattis in his speech strongly supported an increased “defense” budget to deal with all the threats, saying somewhat obscurely that “Fiscal solvency and strategic solvency can co-exist.” Sure. In the wonderful world of Washington, more money can fix anything.

Controlling the Israel Message: How to Manage the American Sheeple

By Philip Giraldi
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There has been another defenestration of a television-based political commentator for touching the only real electrified third rail remaining in reporting what passes for the news. Marc Lamont Hill, a Temple University professor of Media Studies and Urban Education, who is a regular political commentator on CNN, was fired for what he said in a speech at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which took place last Wednesday at the United Nations. Hill called for a “free Palestine from river to the sea,” which CNN considered grounds for terminating his contract.

As ever, the Israelis were quick to jump on the bandwagon with their New York Consul General Dani Dayan denouncing Hill as a “racist, a bigot, [and] an anti-Semite.” He noted that Hill is under contract both with Temple University and CNN, implying that he should be punished by being fired, and called the remarks “appalling.” To no avail, Hill responded “I support Palestinian freedom. I support Palestinian self-determination. I am deeply critical of Israeli policy and practice. I do not support anti-Semitism, killing Jewish people, or any of the other things attributed to my speech.”

Hill was fired by CNN within 24 hours. The message is clear. You can criticize Christianity, Muslims, white males, Donald Trump and the American government at will and you can even criticize blacks or sexual alphabet soups if you are clever in how you do it, but never, never go after Jews or Israel even indirectly if you want to keep your job. One recalls the fate of Rick Sanchez, a CNN anchor who was fired in September 2010 one day after he complained about how Jon Stewart and others in the Jewish mafia that runs the media treat Hispanics, saying “Yeah, very powerless people. He’s such a minority. I mean, you know, please. What—are you kidding? I’m telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart. And to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority?

Sanchez was forced to publicly grovel for his “inartful” comments and even had to write a letter of apology to the monstrous Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).  Far worse, he also had to endure two hours of counseling with “America’s rabbi” Shmuley Boteach. Sanchez subsequently drifted through low level jobs for a number of years, but he is now a news anchor with RT America.

Also in 2010, Octavia Nasr, a Lebanese-American journalist who had been CNN’s Senior Editor for Mideast Affairs for over 20 years was immediately fired after she tweeted “sad to hear of the passing” of Lebanese cleric Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlalah. Fadlalah’s only crime was that he had been demonized by Israel and the neocons as a “spiritual mentor” of Hezbollah. Nasr’s only crime is that she granted the admittedly controversial dead man some respect.

To be sure, CNN is pro-Israeli in its reporting and, more important, in terms of choosing what not to report. Its lead political anchor is Wolf Blitzer, a former American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) employee, who speaks Hebrew and has lived in Israel. Like most major American mainstream media outlets, CNN has numerous Jewish employees working to select, edit and produce the news stories that actually air, well placed to manage what does finally go out to the public.

Reports critical of Israel or Jews are not welcome anywhere in the U.S. national media, which is why Israel gets away with slaughtering unarmed Gazans using army snipers. I note a recent bizarre though interesting story that appeared in the British media and was not picked up by the U.S. mainstream at all. The story detailed how the leadership of the European Jewish Congress is seeking the insertion of “warning messages” in both Christian and Muslim holy texts. In a document entitled “An End to Antisemitism,” which was released last week, it was recommended that “Translations of the New Testament, the Qur’an and other Christian or Muslim literatures need marginal glosses, and introductions that emphasize continuity with Jewish heritage of both Christianity and Islam and warn readers about antisemitic passages in them. While some efforts have been made in this direction in the case of Christianity, these efforts need to be extended and made consistent in both religions.” One wonders when the same body will be recommending that the nastier bits of the Torah and Talmud be “glossed” to deal with the numerous slaughters of conquered peoples as well as slurs on Jesus Christ and assertions that Jews have`1 the right to treat non-Jews as no better than livestock?

Some in the media might argue that the same set of rules about not offending one’s religious beliefs would apply to all religions, not just to Judaism, but it is difficult to find evidence of any even handedness, particularly when Islam is being discussed by commentators who are completely ignorant of the tenets of the religion.  Nor are there any apparent limits in making ridiculous statements on CNN if one is disparaging Arabs, most particularly if they are Palestinians. CNN paid commentator former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has claimed absurdly that Palestinians do not even exist, which many Israelis believe, without any admonishment. Consider the outrage if he were to say that Jewish Israelis do not exist, which may actually be much closer to the truth according to some geneticists.

And what about when a Jew is attacking Christians? Far from there being any consequences, there is a demonstrable double standard as Christian beliefs appear to be fair game in some circles. Dana Jacobson currently co-anchor for the weekend edition of CBS national morning news experienced an apparently alcohol driven meltdown at a sports roast that she was helping emcee in January 2008 when she was working for ESPN.

Belting down vodka and cursing “like a sailor,” Jacobson went after Catholics in particular and said “Fuck Notre Dame,” “Fuck touchdown Jesus” and “Fuck Jesus” a number of times before she was hauled off the stage. Her after-the-fact apology consisted of written concession that she had demonstrated a “poor lack of judgment.” And her punishment by ESPN also demonstrated a “lack of judgment” when the company spokesman Josh Krulewitz reported that “Her actions and comments were inappropriate and we’ve dealt with it.” Dealing with it apparently consisted of a one-week suspension.

Any company operating in the United States should be able to dismiss an employee for any reason or for no reason, but anything even mildly critical of Jewish collective behavior or Israel is severely punished immediately. Professor Marc Lamont Hill said nothing wrong. On the contrary, he said something badly needed and which should have been accepted by CNN if it were really a global communications network dedicated to the truth and, one might add, to justice. Instead it was more of the same old, same old. If you criticize Israel don’t let the door hit you in the ass as you leave the building.

Push-back Against Israel Is Beginning

By Philip M. Giraldi
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The Anglophone Israel Lobby benefits from its ability to mold the media narrative while at the same time using financial incentives to corrupt the political class. For those who do not succumb to the corruption, there is always the option of direct pressure, which in the United States and Britain consists of targeted interference in the political system to remove critics either through promotion of scandal or by supporting well-funded alternative candidates in the following election. In the United States, this has led to the removal of a number of congressmen who had dared to criticize the Jewish state, terrifying the remainder into silence. All of this goes on with little or no debate in the media or in congress itself.

There are signs, however, that the general tolerance of Israeli misbehavior might be ending. The election of at least three Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who might be willing to discuss Israel in something less than worshipful ways is a miniscule shift in the alignment of the Democratic party, where Jewish money dominates, but it reflects the views of the party’s grass roots where a recent poll demonstrates that surveyed Democrats favor Israel over Palestine by a margin of only 2%, twenty-seven per cent versus twenty-five per cent with the remainder of responders favoring neither side.

Much more significant is last week’s announcement by Senator Rand Paul that he intends to place a “hold” on the current package of $38 billion in military aid to Israel, which means he can filibuster the issue in the Senate to delay its passage. Paul, who, like his father, is a skeptic regarding foreign aid in general, did not cite any specific issues connected to the aid package, but critics have long noted that Israel is in fact ineligible for any foreign aid from the United States because it has an undeclared nuclear arsenal consisting of at least 200 weapons. For that reason, providing aid to Israel is illegal under the Symington Amendment of 1961 as well as due to the fact that Tel Aviv has rejected signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT.

Paul’s action is extremely courageous as he is the first Senator since William Fulbright to dare to say anything negative about the Jewish state. Fulbright was, of course, punished by the Israel Lobby, which committed major resources to defeating him when he next came up for reelection. Another U.S. Senator Charles Percy was so bold as to maintain that Palestinian Arabs might actually have “rights” also found himself confronted by an extremely well-funded opponent who defeated him for reelection, so Paul’s action is far from risk free. In fact, the Israel Lobby is already reacting hysterically to the “hold,” as is the Israeli government, and one can be sure that all their massive resources will be used to punish the senator.

Another area where one might have expected more pushback from Americans is the lack of any serious resistance from Christian groups to the process whereby the conservative Likud dominated Netanyahu government is seeking to turn Israel into a purely Jewish state. That too is changing due to Israeli behavior. Even though Israel boasts that it provides a safe haven for Christians to practice their religion, reports occasionally surface suggesting something quite different. Jewish Zealots spit on Christian clergy and curse them out in the streets without any fear of repercussions. Some clergy have been harassed and even assaulted by Jewish extremists. Churches and religious foundations are frequently vandalized or defaced with obscene graffiti and the Israeli government has also confiscated or destroyed church property.

America’s Presbyterian Church has led the charge in criticizing Israeli brutality. At its June General Assembly it passed a resolution condemning Israeli apartheid. Its Office of Public Witness has been in the forefront in calling on Israel to cease and desist. An Action Alert issued this summer entitled “Tell Congress: 70 years of suffering is enough! Stop the killing, hold Israel accountable, and support human rights for all” denounced the slaughter of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza by the Israeli Army.”

Now it is the turn of the Quakers in Britain, who have banned any investment by the church in companies that exploit the “military occupation of Palestinian territories by the Israeli government.”, prompting a furious response from Jewish leaders. It is the first British Church to do so and leaders of the group have compared their action to taking steps against apartheid and the slave trade.

It is certainly a turnabout to see anyone taking on Israel and its all too often invincible lobby. What is significant is that Christian churches and even some congressmen have begun to speak out in spite of the knowledge that immense Jewish power in the United States and Britain will make them pay a price for doing so. May the realization that Israel’s interference in friendly countries damages their democracy finally reach a point where some people in Congress, the media and even in the White House will begin to listen.

U.S. Foreign Policy Has No Policy

Why can’t we just leave everyone alone?

By Philip Giraldi
Source

President Donald Trump’s recent statement on the Jamal Khashoggi killing by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince might well be considered a metaphor for his foreign policy. Several commentators have suggested that the text appears to be something that Trump wrote himself without any adult supervision, similar to the poorly expressed random arguments presented in his tweeting only longer. That might be the case, but it would not be wise to dismiss the document as merely frivolous or misguided as it does in reality express the kind of thinking that has produced a foreign policy that seems to drift randomly to no real end, a kind of leaderless creative destruction of the United States as a world power.

Lord Palmerston, Prime Minister of Britain in the mid nineteenth century, famously said that “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.”The United States currently has neither real friends nor any clearly defined interests. It is, however, infested with parasites that have convinced an at-drift America that their causes are identical to the interests of the United States. Leading the charge to reduce the U.S. to “bitch” status, as Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has artfully put it, are Israel and Saudi Arabia, but there are many other countries, alliances and advocacy groups that have learned how to subvert and direct the “leader of the free world.”

Trump’s memo on the Saudis begins with the headline “The world is a very dangerous place!” Indeed, it is and behavior by the three occupants of the White House since 2000 is largely to blame. It is difficult to find a part of the world where an actual American interest is being served by Washington’s foreign and global security policies. Indeed, a national security policy that sees competitors and adversaries as enemies in a military sense has made nuclear war, unthinkable since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, thinkable once again. The fact that no one is the media or in political circles is even talking about that terrible danger suggests that war has again become mainstreamed, tacitly benefiting from bipartisan acceptance of it as a viable foreign policy tool by the media, in the U.S. Congress and also in the White House.

The part of the world where American meddling coupled with ignorance has produced the worst result is inevitably the Middle East. Washington has been led by the nose by Israel and Saudi Arabia, currently working in sync, to have the United States destroy Iran even though the Iranians represent no threat whatsoever to Americans or any serious U.S. interests. The wildly skewed view of what is taking place in that region is reflected in Trump’s memo in the first paragraph, which reads:

“The country of Iran, as an example, is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly, and with great force, ‘Death to America!’ and ‘Death to Israel!’ Iran is considered ‘the world’s leading sponsor of terror.’”

Almost all of that is either patently untrue or grossly exaggerated, meaning that Trump’s profoundly ignorant statement is remarkable for the number of lies that it incorporates into 631 words which are wrapped around a central premise that the United States will always do whatever it wants wherever it wants just because it can. The war being waged by the Saudis against Yemen, which reportedly has killed as many as 80,000 children, is not a proxy struggle against Iran as Trump prefers to think. It is naked aggression bordering on genocide that is enabled by the United States under completely false pretenses. Iran did not start the war and plays almost no role in it apart from serving as a Saudi and Emirati excuse to justify the fighting. Other lies include that Bashar al-Assad of Syria has killed millions of his own citizens and that Saudi Arabia is fighting terrorism. Quite the contrary is true as the Saudis have been a major source of Islamic terrorism. And as for Iran being the “world’s leading sponsor of terrorism,” that honor currently belongs to the U.S., Israel and the Saudis.

The core of Trump’s thinking about Khashoggi and the Saudis comes down to Riyadh’s willingness to buy weapons to benefit America’s defense contractors and this one sentence: “The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region.” Yes, once again it is Israel pulling Trump’s strings, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leading the charge to give Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman a pass on the gruesome murder of a legal resident of the United States who, once upon a time, might have actually had the U.S. government on his side.

The reckless calibrations employed to set American policies in other parts of the world are also playing out badly. Russia has been hounded relentlessly since the 2016 election, wasting the opportunity to establish a modus vivendi that Trump appeared to be offering in his campaign. Russian and American soldiers confront each other in Syria, where the U.S. has absolutely no real interests beyond supporting feckless Israel and Saudi Arabia in an unnecessary armed conflict that has already been lost. There is now talk of war coming from both Moscow and Washington while NATO in the middle has turned aggressive in an attempt to justify its existence. The bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Russia is now worse than it was towards the end of the Cold War while the expansion of NATO up to Russia’s doorstep has threatened the Kremlin’s vital interests without advancing any interest of the United States.

Afghanistan has become the longest war in U.S. history with no end in sight and China too has seen what began as a dispute over trade turned into something more vitriolic, a military rivalry over the South China Sea that could explode. And North Korea? A love fest between two leaders that is devoid of content.

One might also add Venezuela to the list, with the U.S. initiating sanctions over the state of the country’s internal politics and even considering, according to some in the media, a military intervention.

All of the White House’s actions have one thing in common and that is that they do not benefit Americans in any way unless one works for a weapons manufacturer, and that is not even taking into consideration the dead soldiers and civilians and the massive debt that has been incurred to intervene all over the world. One might also add that most of America’s interventions are built on deliberate lies by the government and its associated media, intended to increase tension and create a casus belli where none exists.

So what is to be done as it often seems that the best thing Trump has going for him is that he is not Hillary Clinton? First of all, a comprehensive rethink of what the real interests of the United States are in the world arena is past due. America is less safe now than it was in 2001 as it continues to make enemies with its blundering everywhere it goes. There are now four times as many designated terrorists as there were in 2001, active in 70 countries. One would quite plausibly soon arrive at George Washington’s dictum in his Farewell Address, counseling his countrymen to “observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.” And Washington might have somehow foreseen the poisonous relationships with Israel and the Saudis when he warned that “…a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.”

George Washington or any of the other Founders would be appalled to see an America with 800 military bases overseas, allegedly for self-defense. The transfer of wealth from taxpayers to the military industrial complex and related entities like Wall Street has been catastrophic. The United States does not need to protect Israel and Saudi Arabia, two countries that are armed to the teeth and well able to defend themselves. Nor does it have to be in Syria and Afghanistan. And, by the way, Russia is no longer the Soviet Union and NATO should be abolished.

If the United States were to withdraw its military from the Middle East and the rest of Asia tomorrow, it would be to nearly everyone’s benefit. If the armed forces were to be subsequently reduced to a level sufficient to defend the United States it would put money back in the pockets of Americans and end the continuous fearmongering through surfacing of “threats” by career militarists justifying the bloated budgets.

Will that produce the peaceable kingdom? Probably not, but there are signs that some in powerful positions are beginning to see the light. Senator Rand Paul’s courageous decision to place a “hold” on aid to Israel is long overdue as Israel is a liability to the United States and is also legally ineligible for aid due to its undeclared nuclear arsenal and its unwillingness to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The hysterical reactions of American Jews and Israel suggest that any redirection of U.S. Middle East policy will produce a hostile reaction from the Establishment, but even small steps in the right direction could initiate a gradual process of turning the United States into a more normal country in its relationships with the rest of the world rather than a universal predator and bully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Israel Wins US 2018 Election

Astute News

Judging from the mainstream media, Israel was not a major issue in the midterm election but it sure did come up a lot when candidates for office were wooing Jewish or Evangelical voters. To cite only one example, Florida Congressman Ron DeSantis criticized his opponent Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum during their gubernatorial race for receiving support from the Dream Defenders, a group favoring Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, and giving a speech welcoming members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations to his city. DeSantis claimed in a video clip that “I can find anti-Semites around him, but it’s almost like ‘we don’t want to discuss that.’”

DeSantis, who sponsored the 2013 Palestinian Accountability Act which called for the withholding of U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority until it recognizes Israel as a Jewish state, charged that Gillum would not be a “friend” of Israel. In 2017, he co-founded

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America Goes to War

By Philip Giraldi
Source

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Some believe that the Cold War ended in 1991, when the Soviet Union fell apart. In retrospect, many observers also believe that a golden opportunity was missed to heal the wounds inflicted by over 45 years to hostility between the Washington and Moscow. Rather than encouraging development of a Russia that would adhere to Western European norms for elections, transparency and individual liberties, some in Europe and America instead sought to steal the country’s natural resources and other assets, a process that went on for some years under President Boris Yeltsin. The looting went hand-in-hand with particularly inept political moves on the part of President Bill Clinton, who ignored end of Cold War agreements to not use the break-up of the Soviet Union as an excuse to bring its former member states in Eastern Europe into NATO or any other military alliance hostile to Russia. The process of NATO expansion continues to this day, together with military maneuvers and the placement of new missile systems right along the Russian border, increasing Moscow’s justifiable paranoia about its security.

The military moves have been accompanied by a political deep freeze, particularly ironic as President Donald Trump during his campaign for office pledged to improve relations with Russia. They are now at their lowest ebb since the hottest days of the Cold War, including as they do the totally bogus sanctioning of Russian government officials under the maliciously conceived Magnitsky Act and the ongoing saga of Russiagate, which blames Moscow for interference in America’s 2016 election, so far without any real evidence being provided.

For those who think all of this is theater, think again. Some critics are beginning to recognize that the United States has become a country addicted to war and one need look no farther than the federal budget, where everything is being cut except military spending, which is set to increase even though there is no country or group of countries in the world that genuinely threaten the U.S.

Two recent stories in particular demonstrate just how far Washington has gone towards accepting that war has more-or-less become a natural condition for the United States of America. The first is an article “After years of fighting insurgencies, the Army pivots to training for a major war” that has largely been ignored, regarding how the U.S. military is changing its doctrine and training to enable it to fight a major war against a powerful national opponent. Previously, the armed forces were emphasizing countering non-government hostile agents like al-Qaeda and ISIS, the so-called counter-insurgency doctrine or COIN. According to Pentagon spokesmen, the shift is in recognition of the fact that over the horizon major conflicts are no longer as unthinkable as they once were.

According to the article, U.S. commanders are now beginning to emphasize the type of training that prevailed during the Cold War, tanks against tanks, artillery bombardments, and use of close air support. The change in doctrine derives from the 2018 National Defense Strategy assessment, which identified four national players that might go to war with the United States. They are major powers Russia and China, supplemented by nuclear North Korea and conventionally armed Iran.

The transition was discussed by former and current senior officers at the recent annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army, with particular concern being expressed that the “lessons learned” from the past seventeen years of insurgency warfare not be lost as the military returns to a more conventional model. There was also concern that the army is insufficiently resourced to continue to fight insurgencies while also taking on a major conventional component. Some officers believed that the army can handle both jobs simultaneously, but others were not so sure, observing that one really needs two distinct armies, one trained for conventional warfare and the other trained for insurgency operations, which are far more likely to occur and which are more difficult to manage.

Gen. Stephen Townsend, head of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, explained that “The future of war will be a hybrid threat. There’ll be everything from tanks and missiles and fighter-bombers down to criminal gangs, terrorists, suicide bombers and guerrilla cells. … We’re going to have to do all of that, the full spectrum of conflict.”

General David Petraeus, the “very model of a modern major general” i.e. one who never actually experiences combat, put his finger on why the change to conventional warfare is taking place now. It’s all about money, or as he put it, “it’s about getting resources. And big wars get you big resources.”

Retired Lt. General Guy Swan explained the challenge for the Army in military-speak, citing the career of his son, a West Point produced first lieutenant “…who hasn’t deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq, and what he’s been doing has been tank gunnery. He is focused on Russians and other high-end competitors.”

Between Petraeus’ comment on “big” resources and Swan’s on enemies to be killed as “high-end competitors” one might well begin to understand what today’s bloated defense establishment is all about. More money and business school jargon to euphemize wars and killing, with little regard for the possible consequences, including those competitors’ possession of nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them on target. Russia has already warned that if it were attacked by a superior force (NATO) it would used tactical nuclear weapons as a first resort to defend itself. So much for learning tank gunnery.

The second article, also little commented on, made plain that the “competitive” army that is now evolving won’t be just some pretty toy sitting on a shelf unused. The former US commander in Europe from 2014-7 retired Lt. General Ben Hodges spoke at the Warsaw Security Forum on October 24th, where he told NATO allies that they would have to increase defense spending because the United States will not be able to protect them against a “resurgent Russia” while it is fighting China. He predicted that the U.S. will probably be at war with China within 15 years to protect its interests in the Pacific region.

Hodges cited increasing tension between Washington and Beijing in the South China Sea, China’s alleged “constant stealing [of] technology,” and Beijing’s perfectly legal purchasing of infrastructure in Africa, Latin America and Europe through the funding of and investment in projects. There was no mention of China actually threatening the United States and those were presumably Hodges’ reasons for going to war against a powerful nuclear armed nation.

Hodges is currently a strategic expert with the Center for European Policy Analysis, a Washington-based think tank that is heavily funded by globalists, NATO governments, and democracy promoters. Supporters include the U.S. government funded National Endowment for Democracy, the U.S. Mission to NATO, the NATO Public Diplomacy Division, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of State, the Lockheed Martin Corporation, the Raytheon Company, the European Defense Agency, the Chevron Corporation, Bell Helicopter, Textron Systems and BAE Systems. Oh yes, and also the neocon heavy United States Institute of Peace. The Center’s “experts” and staff are top heavy with Eastern Europeans who are focused on the threat from Russia, as is the institute. Donations to the Center are fully tax deductible by the IRS.

The awfulness of the two articles should be evident. The Army is only “under-resourced” if one considers its appropriate role to be continuously fighting countries in Asia and Europe that pose no threat to the United States. And the reality is that there is no reason for China and Russia to be viewed as threats at all. They are only turning into enemies due to the actions of the United States in their own neighborhoods, to include the NATO expansion and other provocations in the Middle East. Regarding China, the U.S. clearly believes that it is entitled to a sphere of influence that includes the entire Pacific Ocean while China cannot assert that it has any interests on own doorstep in the South China Sea.

And then there is the Strangelovean General Hodges and his pro-war establishment think tank. I wonder how much he gets paid for being a dependable mouthpiece for continuous aggression? He “predicts” war with China within 15 years. And what are the issues for what would justify risking a nuclear war? China stealing technology and protecting its local interests in Asia. And investing in the third world to acquire access to resources, which is precisely what the United States and Europeans have been doing to their benefit for many, many years. Smedley Butler once opined that “war is a racket.” If he were around today he would probably say that it is in reality a low-risk high-cost business designed to keep “heroes” like Petraeus, Swan, Townsend and Hodges fully employed.

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