Trump’s Attempt to Weaponize NSA Against His Enemies

Trump’s Attempt to Weaponize NSA Against His Enemies

WAYNE MADSEN | 21.04.2019 | WORLD / AMERICAS

Trump’s Attempt to Weaponize NSA Against His Enemies

A few weeks after Donald Trump’s inauguration he blasted the US National Security Agency (NSA), falsely claiming the signals intelligence agency leaked classified information to the media. In February 2017, Trump tweeted: “Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?)… Just like Russia.” It was Trump’s second public attack on NSA. During the 2016 presidential election campaign, Trump accused NSA of withholding intercepted copies of his opponent Hillary Clinton’s emails.” Trump ranted, “Obviously they [NSA] don’t want to get them… they’re protecting her, they’re coddling her.”

Trump displayed for the world to see his ignorance about the role and mission of the NSA. Even after the agency’s intra-Five Eyes signals intelligence alliance warts were publicly exposed by the Edward Snowden leaks, Trump was making wild accusations about NSA that have only been the fodder for Hollywood movies like “Enemy Of The State.” “Mercury Rising,” “Sneakers,” and “Good Will Hunting.”

The recently-released heavily-redacted report by Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller on foreign involvement in the 2016 presidential election contains a startling revelation: not since the Nixon administration has a US president flagrantly attempted to use the NSA to involve itself in a domestic law enforcement matter in pursuit of an Oval Office cover-up. According to Volume II of the “Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election, President Trump attempted to involve the NSA in the FBI’s then-ongoing investigation into Trump’s campaign and his possible illegal activities as president.

Trump’s actions to misuse a US intelligence agency to protect him from criminal liability is an impeachable offense. The precedence was decided by the US House of Representatives in Article II of its impeachment resolution against Richard Nixon. The House found that, in the case of Nixon, he abused his office by misusing federal agencies in violation of their regulations. The article states that Nixon “repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, impairing the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposes of these agencies.”

Mueller’s investigation uncovered Trump’s possible use of NSA to assist him in stymying the FBI’s investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign. The report states: “the President reached out to the Director of National Intelligence and the leaders of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA)” to involve them in his goal of suppressing the FBI’s investigation of him and his campaign.

The Mueller Report states, “On March 26, 2017, the day after the President called Coats [Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats], the President called NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers. The President expressed frustration with the Russia investigation, saying it made relations with the Russians difficult.” Mueller’s investigation did not commence until May 17, 2017, so the investigation was still being handled by the Justice Department and FBI.

The Mueller Report continues: “The President told Rogers “the thing with the Russians [wa]s messing up” his ability to get things done with Russia. The President also said that the news stories linking him with Russia were not true and asked Rogers if he could do anything to refute the stories. Deputy Director of the NSA Richard Ledgett, who was present for the call, said it was the most unusual thing he had experienced in 40 years of government service. After the call concluded, Ledgett prepared a memorandum that he and Rogers both signed documenting the content of the conversation and the President’s request, and they placed the memorandum in a safe.”

Considering the fact that Ledgett revealed to Mueller’s investigators that he had never experienced anything like Trump’s request in 40 years of government service, it can be assumed that if Ledgett began his service in 1977 in the US Army in a signals intelligence-related role, followed by his joining the NSA in 1988, his 40 years of NSA or NSA-connected service was during the post-Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) era.

The FISA of 1978 was specifically enacted to prohibit the abuse of NSA or any other intelligence community agency for warrantless political purposes not approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Between 1952 and 1974, using classified eavesdropping programs with codenames like SHAMROCK and MINARET, the NSA compiled files on 75,000 Americans, including civil rights and anti-war activists, members of Congress, journalists, and others. In 1970, Nixon submitted to the directors of the FBI, CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, and NSA his infamous Huston Plan. The plan called for US intelligence agencies to engage in illegal surveillance of “radicals.” Nixon’s Attorney General, John Mitchell, later referred to the Huston Plan as “White House horrors.” Enactment of the FISA was a direct result of Nixon’s threatened Huston Plan. Did Trump ask Rogers and Ledgett to return to the “status quo ante” and illegally collect compromising information on his perceived enemies in Congress, the press – which he refers to as the “enemy of the people,” and others? Answering that question should be one of the top priorities of the House oversight committees.

The NSA director who implemented FISA throughout the US Signals Intelligence system was the no-nonsense Admiral Bobby Ray Inman. In only a few cases since Inman’s tenure has any NSA director veered from a commitment to the laws and regulations implementing FISA and constraining NSA’s authorization to eavesdrop on US citizens. George W. Bush’s operation STELLAR WIND, permitting warrantless surveillance, which was strenuously opposed by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and his deputy, James Comey, is one notable exception.

Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA program codenamed PRISM may have whetted Trump’s appetite for the type of private communications NSA could harvest without abiding by current laws and regulations. Digging up compromising information on his enemies was Nixon’s most earnest desire when he developed his infamous “enemies’ list.”

Considering that Ledgett said he had never experienced anything like Trump’s request in his 40-years of Army and NSA service and felt compelled to commit the request to a memorandum and, with Rogers, sign it and place it in a safe in one of the most-secure facilities on the planet, Rogers’s insistence that Trump’s request was not “illegal, immoral, unethical, or inappropriate” does not hold logical water. Ledgett’s sudden decision to retire from government service on February 3, 2017, a few weeks after Trump’s inauguration, is also germane. So, too, is Trump’s initial reluctance to award the National Security Medal to Ledgett after his retirement from NSA. Trump was forced to award the medal to Ledgett after pressure was brought by then-National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and DNI Coats.

Shortly after his election in November 2016, Trump summoned Rogers to Trump Tower for a meeting. Apparently, Rogers never informed Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper or anyone in the Obama administration about the Trump-requested meeting. While, it is true that the Obama administration was never happy with Rogers’s overall performance at NSA, there is no indication that he was to be fired during a lame-duck Obama administration. Whatever Trump asked Rogers, the admiral never revealed it prior to the end of his directorship on May 4, 2018. There are unconfirmed reports that Trump considered replacing Clapper as DNI. However, Trump chose Coats and Rogers retired in 2018 to go to work for the Israeli intelligence firm, Team8.

The Rogers-Ledgett Memorandum of March 26, 2017 may be one of the most important “smoking gun” evidentiary documents in the Trump scandal. Of the tapes of 64 Oval Office conversations of Nixon in Watergate, it was one particular tape – that of a conversation six days after the 1972 Watergate break-in – that sped up Nixon’s resignation from office. That tape, recorded on June 23, 1972, contained a conversation between Nixon and White House chief of staff H. R. Haldeman that revealed Nixon’s desire to use US intelligence agencies to cover-up the Watergate break-in. On the tape was “prima facie” evidence that Nixon decided that his White House officials should approach Richard Helms, the director of the CIA, and Vernon A. Walters, CIA deputy director, and convince them to contact L. Patrick Gray, the acting director of the FBI, and compel him to halt the bureau’s investigation of the Watergate burglary on “national security” grounds. Watergate Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski, who replaced Archibald Cox – fired in the October 1973 “Saturday Night Massacre” purge of the Justice Department leadership by Nixon, believed that the President, by involving the CIA in the FBI’s investigation, initiated a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The exposure of the June 23, 1972 tape sank the Nixon presidency, just as the March 26, 2017 NSA memo could be striking enough in its actual content to show blatant obstruction of justice by Trump. Ledgett claims he never experienced anything like Trump’s request of NSA in his 40 years of government service. There is little chance that the memo merely concerns Trump’s request for the NSA to state publicly that Trump was innocent of any election campaign “collusion” with Russia. For Ledgett to memorialize the conversation in a memo points to Trump making a request that was violative of the law. The memo was written seven days after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made a wild accusation, based on a flimsy Fox News report, that President Obama had asked Britain’s NSA counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), to spy on the Trump campaign. GCHQ and Rogers rejected the Fox report as nonsense. Past NSA directors and deputy directors have made comments supporting a president’s initiatives, for example, NSA’s public endorsement of President Bill Clinton’s cryptographic key escrow initiatives.

Donald Trump’s knowledge of NSA, as with other agencies of government, is extremely shallow and indicative of a school boy’s appreciation for the roles and responsibilities of agencies like the NSA, CIA, and FBI. Trump, a denizen of and product of pop culture, likely only knows about NSA from the movies and television shows that illustrate the signals intelligence agency as an eavesdropper of private telephone calls and email exchanges. Trump has no appreciation for US Signals Intelligence Directive (USSID 18), which implements the FISA and stipulates that all surveillance and intercepts of the communications of “US Persons” must be pursuant to a legitimate court order – under a FISA or Title III law enforcement predicate – or a compelling “ticking bomb” national security matter.

Trump may only know about NSA from his friend Jon Voight’s portrayal of Thomas Reynolds, a law-breaking renegade Deputy Director of the NSA, in the 1998 film “Enemy of the State.” Trump may have believed that Rogers and Ledgett were in positions to collect dirt on his political enemies. It would be hard to believe that Ledgett, a 40-year career NSA professional, would commit to written form a conversation between the two top NSA chiefs and the President unless the subject of Trump’s requests were in clear violation of FISA, USSID 18, and the Constitution. In other words, the Rogers-Ledgett Memo may be smoking gun evidence of obstruction by Trump on par with the June 23, 1972 Nixon tape.

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The Deep State vs. WikiLeaks

Source

The Deep State vs. WikiLeaks

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Strategic Culture Foundation) by special agreement with the author)

The Made by FBI indictment of Julian Assange does look like a dead man walking. No evidence. No documents. No surefire testimony. Just a crossfire of conditionals.

But never underestimate the legalese contortionism of US government (USG) functionaries. As much as Assange may not be characterized as a journalist and publisher, the thrust of the affidavit is to accuse him of conspiring to commit espionage.

In fact the charge is not even that Assange hacked a USG computer and obtained classified information; it’s that he may have discussed it with Chelsea Manning and may have had the intention to go for a hack. Orwellian-style thought crime charges don’t get any better than that. Now the only thing missing is an AI software to detect them.

Assange legal adviser Geoffrey Robertson – who also happens to represent another stellar political prisoner, Brazil’s Lula – cut straight to the chase (at 19:22 minutes); “The justice he is facing is justice, or injustice, in America… I would hope the British judges would have enough belief in freedom of information to throw out the extradition request.”

That’s far from a done deal. Thus the inevitable consequence; Assange’s legal team is getting ready to prove, no holds barred, in a British court, that this USG indictment for conspiracy to commit computer hacking is just an hors d’oeuvre for subsequent espionage charges, in case Assange is extradited to US soil.

All about Vault 7

John Pilger, among few others, has already stressed how a plan to destroy WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was laid out as far back as 2008 – at the tail end of the Cheney regime – concocted by the Pentagon’s shady Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch.

It was all about criminalizing WikiLeaks and personally smearing Assange, using “shock troops…enlisted in the media — those who are meant to keep the record straight and tell us the truth.”

This plan remains more than active – considering how Assange’s arrest has been covered by the bulk of US/UK mainstream media.

By 2012, already in the Obama era, WikiLeaks detailed the astonishing “scale of the US Grand Jury Investigation” of itself. The USG always denied such a grand jury existed.

“The US Government has stood up and coordinated a joint interagency criminal investigation of Wikileaks comprised of a partnership between the Department of Defense (DOD) including: CENTCOM; SOUTHCOM; the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA); Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA); US Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) for USFI (US Forces Iraq) and 1st Armored Division (AD); US Army Computer Crimes Investigative Unit (CCIU); 2nd Army (US Army Cyber Command); Within that or in addition, three military intelligence investigations were conducted. Department of Justice (DOJ) Grand Jury and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of State (DOS) and Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). In addition, Wikileaks has been investigated by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Office of the National CounterIntelligence Executive (ONCIX), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); the House Oversight Committee; the National Security Staff Interagency Committee, and the PIAB (President’s Intelligence Advisory Board).”

But it was only in 2017, in the Trump era, that the Deep State went totally ballistic; that’s when WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 files – detailing the CIA’s vast hacking/cyber espionage repertoire.

This was the CIA as a Naked Emperor like never before – including the dodgy overseeing ops of the Center for Cyber Intelligence, an ultra-secret NSA counterpart.

WikiLeaks got Vault 7 in early 2017. At the time WikiLeaks had already published the DNC files – which the unimpeachable Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) systematically proved was a leak, not a hack.

The monolithic narrative by the Deep State faction aligned with the Clinton machine was that “the Russians” hacked the DNC servers. Assange was always adamant; that was not the work of a state actor – and he could prove it technically.

There was some movement towards a deal, brokered by one of Assange’s lawyers; WikiLeaks would not publish the most damning Vault 7 information in exchange for Assange’s safe passage to be interviewed by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

The DoJ wanted a deal – and they did make an offer to WikiLeaks. But then FBI director James Comey killed it. The question is why.

It’s a leak, not a hack

Some theoretically sound reconstructions of Comey’s move are available. But the key fact is Comey already knew – via his close connections to the top of the DNC – that this was not a hack; it was a leak.

Ambassador Craig Murray has stressed, over and over again (see here) how the DNC/Podesta files published by WikiLeaks came from two different US sources; one from within the DNC and the other from within US intel.

There was nothing for Comey to “investigate”. Or there would have, if Comey had ordered the FBI to examine the DNC servers. So why talk to Julian Assange?

The release by WikiLeaks in April 2017 of the malware mechanisms inbuilt in “Grasshopper” and the “Marble Framework” were indeed a bombshell. This is how the CIA inserts foreign language strings in source code to disguise them as originating from Russia, from Iran, or from China. The inestimable Ray McGovern, a VIPS member, stressed how Marble Framework “destroys this story about Russian hacking.”

No wonder then CIA director Mike Pompeo accused WikiLeaks of being a “non-state hostile intelligence agency”, usually manipulated by Russia.

Joshua Schulte, the alleged leaker of Vault 7, has not faced a US court yet. There’s no question he will be offered a deal by the USG if he aggress to testify against Julian Assange.

It’s a long and winding road, to be traversed in at least two years, if Julian Assange is ever to be extradited to the US. Two things for the moment are already crystal clear. The USG is obsessed to shut down WikiLeaks once and for all. And because of that, Julian Assange will never get a fair trial in the “so-called ‘Espionage Court’” of the Eastern District of Virginia, as detailed by former CIA counterterrorism officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou.

Meanwhile, the non-stop demonization of Julian Assange will proceed unabated, faithful to guidelines established over a decade ago. Assange is even accused of being a US intel op, and WikiLeaks a splinter Deep State deep cover op.

Maybe President Trump will maneuver the hegemonic Deep State into having Assange testify against the corruption of the DNC; or maybe Trump caved in completely to “hostile intelligence agency” Pompeo and his CIA gang baying for blood. It’s all ultra-high-stakes shadow play – and the show has not even begun.

Pepe Escobar: Empire of Chaos in Hybrid War Overdrive

SourcePepe Escobar: Empire of Chaos in Hybrid War Overdrive

March 28, 2019

The Trump administration’s foreign policy may be easily deconstructed as a crossover between The Sopranos and late-night comedy, writes Pepe Escobar.

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with Consortium News ) by special agreement with the author)

Is this the Age of Anxiety? The Age of Stupidity? The Age of Hybrid War? Or all of the above?

As right populism learns to use algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI) and media convergence, the Empire of Chaos, in parallel, is unleashing all-out hybrid and semiotic war.

Dick Cheney’s Global War on Terror (GWOT) is back, metastasized as a hybrid mongrel.

But GWOT would not be GWOT without a Wild West scarecrow. Enter Hamza bin Laden, son of Osama. On the same day the State Department announced a $1 million bounty on his head, the so- called “UN Security Council IS and Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee” declared Hamza the next al-Qaeda leader.

Since January 2017, Hamza has been a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the State Department – on par with his deceased Dad, back in the early 2000s. The Beltway intel community “believes” Hamza resides “in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.”

Remember these are the same people who “believed” former Taliban leader Mullah Omar resided in Quetta, Baluchistan, when in fact he was safely ensconced only a few miles away from a massive U.S. military base in Zabul, Afghanistan.

Considering that Jabhat al-Nusra, or al-Qaeda in Syria, for all practical purposes, was defined as no more than “moderate rebels” by the Beltway intel community, it’s safe to infer that new scarecrow Hamza is also a “moderate”. And yet he’s more dangerous than vanished fake Caliph Abu Baqr al-Baghdadi. Talk about a masterful example of culture jamming.

Show Me The Big Picture

A hefty case can be made that the Empire of Chaos currently has no allies; it’s essentially surrounded by an assortment of vassals, puppets and comprador 5thcolumnist elites professing varied degrees of – sometimes reluctant – obedience.

The Trump administration’s foreign policy may be easily deconstructed as a crossover between The Sopranos and late-night comedy – as in the whole episode of designating State Department/CIA regime change, lab experiment Random Dude as President of Venezuela. Legendary cultural critic Walter Benjamin would have called it “the aestheticization of politics,” (turning politics into art), as he did about the Nazis, but this time it’s the Looney Tunes version.

To add to the conceptual confusion, despite countless “an offer you can’t refuse” antics unleashed by psychopaths of the John Bolton and Mike Pompeo variety, there’s this startling nugget. Former Iranian diplomat Amir Moussavi has revealed that Trump himself demanded to visit Tehran, and was duly rebuffed. “Two European states, two Arab countries and one Southeast Asian state” were mediating a series of messages relayed by Trump and his son-in-law Jared “of Arabia” Kushner, according to Moussavi.

Is there a method to this madness? An attempt at a Grand Narrative would go something like this: ISIS/Daesh may have been sidelined – for now; they are not useful anymore, so the U.S. must fight the larger “evil”: Tehran. GWOT has been revived, and though Hamza bin Laden has been designated the new Caliph, GWOT has shifted to Iran.

When we mix this with the recent India-Pakistan scuffle, a wider message emerges. There was absolutely no interest by Prime Minister Imran Kahn, the Pakistani Army and the Pakistani intelligence, ISI, to launch an attack on India in Kashmir. Pakistan was about to run out of money and about to be bolstered by the U.S., via Saudi Arabia with $20 billion and an IMF loan.

At the same time, there were two almost simultaneous terrorist attacks launched from Pakistan – against Iran and against India in mid-February. There’s no smoking gun yet, but these attacks may have been manipulated by a foreign intelligence agency. The Cui Bono riddle is which state would profit immensely from a war between Pakistan and Iran and/or a war between Pakistan and India.

The bottom line: hiding in the shadow of plausible deniability – according to which what we understand as reality is nothing but pure perception – the Empire of Chaos will resort to the chaos of no-holds-barred hybrid war to avoid “losing” the Eurasian heartland.

Show Me How Many Hybrid Plans You Got

What applies to the heartland of course also applies to the backyard.

The case of Venezuela shows that the “all options on the table” scenario has been de facto aborted by Russia, outlined in an astonishing briefing by Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, and then subsequently detailed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Lavrov. (Wikimedia Commons)

Meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj at a crucial RIC (part of BRICS) summit in China,Lavrov said, “Russia keeps a close eye on brazen US attempts to create an artificial pretext for a military intervention in Venezuela… The actual implementation of these threats is pulling in military equipment and training [US] Special Forces.”

Lavrov explained how Washington was engaged in acquiring mortars and portable air defense systems “in an East European country, and mov(ing) them closer to Venezuela by an airline of a regime that is… rather absolutely obedient to Washington in the post-Soviet space.”

The U.S. attempt at regime change in Venezuela has been so far unsuccessful in several ways. Plan A – a classic color revolution -has miserably failed, in part because of a lack of decent local intelligence. Plan B was a soft version of humanitarian imperialism, with a resuscitation of the nefarious, Libya-tested responsibility to protect (R2P); it also failed, especially when the American tale that the Venezuelan government burnt humanitarian aid trucks at the border with Colombia was a lie, exposed by The New York Times, no less.

Plan C was a classic Hybrid War technique: a cyberattack, replete with a revival of Nitro Zeus, which shut down 80 percent of Venezuela’s electricity.

That plan had already been exposed by WikiLeaks, via a 2010 memo by a U.S.-funded, Belgrade-based color revolution scam that helped train self-proclaimed “President” Random Dude, when he was just known as Juan Guaidó. The leaked memo said that attacking the Venezuelan power grid would be a “watershed event” that “would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate.”

But even that was not enough.

That leaves Plan D – which is essentially to try to starve the Venezuelan population to death via viciously lethal additional sanctions. Sanctioned Syria and sanctioned Iran didn’t collapse. Even boasting myriad comprador elites aggregated in the Lima group, exceptionalists may have to come to grips with the fact that deploying the Monroe doctrine essentially to contain China’s influence in the young 21stcentury is no “cakewalk.”

Plan E—for extreme—would be U.S. military action, which Bolton won’t take off the table.

Show Me the Way to the Next War Game

So where do all these myriad weaponizations of chaos theory leave us? Nowhere, if they don’t follow the money. Local comprador elites must be lavishly rewarded, otherwise you’re stuck in hybrid swamp territory. That was the case in Brazil – and that’s why the most sophisticated hybrid war case history so far has been a success.

In 2013, Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks revealed how the NSA was spying on Brazilian energy giant Petrobras and the Dilma Rousseff government beginning in 2010. Afterwards, a complex, rolling judicial-business-political-financial-media coup ended up reaching its two main objectives; in 2016, with the impeachment of Rousseff, and in 2018, with Lula thrown in jail.

Now comes arguably the juiciest piece of the puzzle. Petrobras was supposed to pay $853 million to the U.S. Department of Justice for not going to trial for crimes it was being accused of in America. But then a dodgy deal was struck according to which the fine will be transferred to a Brazilian fund as long as Petrobras commits to relay confidential information about its businesses to the United States government.

Mattis: Wrote on hybrid war in 2005.

Hybrid war against BRICS member Brazil worked like a charm, but trying it against nuclear superpower Russia is a completely different ball game. U.S. analysts, in another case of culture jamming, even accuse Russia itself of deploying hybrid war – a concept actually invented in the U.S. within a counter-terrorism context; applied during the occupation of Iraq and later metastasized across the color revolution spectrum; and featuring, among others, in an article co-authored by former Pentagon head James “Mad Dog” Mattis in 2005 when he was a mere lieutenant general.

At a recent conference about Russia’s military strategy, Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov stressed that the Russian armed forces must increase both their “classic” and “asymmetrical” potential. In the U.S. this is interpreted as subversion/propaganda hybrid war techniques as applied in Ukraine and in the largely debunked Russia-gate. Instead, Russian strategists refer to these techniques as “complex approach” and “new generation war”.

Santa Monica’s RAND Corporation still sticks to good ol’ hot war scenarios. They have been holding “Red on Blue” war games simulations since 1952 – modeling how the proverbial “existential threats” could use asymmetric strategies. The latest Red on Blue was not exactly swell. RAND analyst David Ochmanek famously said that with Blue representing the current U.S. military potential and Red representing Russia-China in a conventional war, “Blue gets its ass handed to it.”

None of this will convince Empire of Chaos functionary Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who recently told a Senate Armed Services Committee that the Pentagon will continue to refuse a “no first use” nuclear strategy. Aspiring Dr. Strangeloves actually believe the U.S. can start a nuclear war and get away with it.

Talk about the Age of Hybrid Stupidity going out with a bang.

Pepe Escobar, a veteran Brazilian journalist, is the correspondent-at-large for Hong Kong-based Asia Times. His latest book is “2030.” Follow him on Facebook.

The Expanding Global Footprint of U.S. Special Operation

South Front

March 20, 2019

Written and produced by SF Team: Brian KalmanDaniel Deiss, Edwin Watson

This video is based on the text anlysis entitled “The Expanding Global Footprint of U.S. Special Operations“. It was originally released by SouthFront on February 2, 2019.

Introduction

With the possible U.S. military withdrawal from Syria in the news on a daily basis, the mainstream media has been quick to parrot the DOD’s claim that 2,000 troops, mostly special operations forces, are to be withdrawn from the country. Although the total number of U.S. special operators deployed to Syria may have approached as many as 5,000, the current headlines have not mentioned that the United States has special operations units deployed not just in Syria, but in a majority of the nations of the world. Over the past seventeen years, the forces at the disposal of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) have grown exponentially, more than doubling in size in numbers, with a budget that has also expanded four fold in that same period of time.

The Expanding Global Footprint of U.S. Special Operations

U.S. special operations forces on patrol in northern Syria. Although no concrete timeline has been publicly announced, the Trump administration has signaled its intention to pull U.S. military forces out of the country.

If U.S. SOF troops do pull out of Syria, they will still have a physical presence in over 70 nations on any given day. Although the public has an often vague and incomplete, unofficial explanation of the reasons behind these deployments, the Pentagon seems totally unwilling to explain the national defense rational or legality of these missions to anyone, including the U.S. Congress or the White House. Not only has SOCOM expanded in numbers, funding and weaponry since 2001 and the advent of the Global War on Terror (GWOT), but has acquired no small amount of political influence as well.

The U.S. special operations forces have become the darling of the military, praised by Congress, the White House, and the Media. They have willingly adopted a mythos that has been formulated and propagated by Hollywood on many levels. The U.S. public seems to worship this new class of soldier, while having little to no understanding of exactly what they do, nor any concept of how their actions might aid or hinder national security. An act has even been proposed by one state Representative to afford special income tax breaks to all SOF members.

Amidst all the praise about their prowess and successes on the battlefield, the media purposefully steers clear of reporting on their many failures. Although the U.S. has built the largest force of special operations in the world, this very fact has arguably proven to have only weakened the U.S. military as a whole. The White House, State Department and Pentagon have increasingly relied on special operations forces to bear the brunt of any and all military operations or covert actions in both acknowledged and secret areas of conflict across the globe. This over-emphasis on special operations as a military solution to all challenges has only weakened traditional, conventional forces.

While most of the public assumes that these new Spartans act to protect U.S. interests and “freedom and democracy” whenever and wherever it is deemed necessary, they have little to no understanding of how the SOF have changed since 2001, nor the increasing military and political influence that they now hold. Even fewer Americans have stopped to ponder the illegality of much of what this expanding military force is doing on a global scale, not to mention the constitutional implications of a new Praetorian class in its midst that is growing in power and influence. If history teaches us anything, it is that shadowy and unaccountable paramilitary forces do not strengthen societies that embrace democratic or constitutional governments.

The Expansion of SOF and the Rise of SOCOM

Since the inception of the “Global War on Terror” shortly following September 11, 2001, U.S. SOF have more than doubled from approximately 33,000 to almost 70,000 today. Today, Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has roughly twice the personnel at its disposal, but also four times the budget as it did in 2001. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), comprising perhaps the most elite and specialized of the SOF forces, numbered some 1,800 in 2001. Although quite secretive in nature, it is surmised by many analysts that JSOC may have grown to the size of SOCOM circa 2001, over the same 18 year period. If realistic, this estimation means that JSOC added its original number of 1,800 men each year, for eighteen years.

What reason was given by the U.S. DOD to justify such an expansion in a traditionally small and highly selective sub-set of conventional military forces? Special operations forces have existed since at least the Second World War. All major military powers, and even smaller nations that have not historically prioritized robust national defense postures, have invested in special operations forces to complement conventional military establishments. Special operations units are useful as a significant force multiplier in any conventional conflict, and are vital in responding to special circumstances such as anti-terrorism, hostage rescue, reconnaissance deep behind enemy lines, sabotage, and kill or capture missions.

The Pentagon has argued that terrorism has grown, with the number of internationally recognized terrorist organizations roughly doubling from 2001 to today, mostly due to the explosion of both al Qaeda and ISIS. Regardless of the facts that point to the CIA origins of al Qaeda, there is little argument that the organization has grown in concert with U.S. military intervention in the Middle East and Africa. The same can be said for the origin and spread of ISIS. There is also ample circumstantial evidence to support the theory that the CIA and SOCOM have both directly and indirectly supported both of these terrorist organizations in Syria. Regardless of whether SOCOM is directly or indirectly complicit in aiding the Islamic terrorist organizations it declares it is defending the nation against, there is a clear correlation between the growths of both, and surely SOCOM has benefitted on many levels from this relationship.

The annual declared budget for SOCOM is in the range of $12.3 billion today, up from just $3.1 billion in 2001. There is little doubt that a healthy slice of the annual Overseas Contingency Operations and Support (OCO) budget is consumed by SOCOM, as the organization is the most heavily engaged in operations on foreign soil. In 2018, U.S. Congress approved $67 billion USD for OCO, and a further $7 billion USD in mandatory appropriations. It is unclear how much funding SOCOM receives on an annual basis, as the Pentagon has proven to be largely beyond financial questioning or audit by any office of the civilian government. After failing its first audit in decades in 2018, the Pentagon shrugged off the event with humor, and no one seemed to notice.

SOCOM numbers roughly 70,000 soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors and has a declared budget of at least $12.3 billion USD. To put these numbers in perspective, SOCOM has more personnel than the entire national militaries of 120 of the 193 UN member states. Only 20 nations (including the U.S.) have a greater total defense budget than that of SOCOM. A simple cost benefit analysis would reveal that the U.S. is not making much headway in “winning” the GWOT militarily. The growth of SOCOM has done little to reduce the prevalence of terrorism in the world. It begs the question, is there any correlation at all, or is there another agenda afoot entirely?

Global Reach and Integration

The expansion in numbers and funding of America’s special operations forces is alarming in its own right, but their growing international footprint may be even more alarming. Not only were U.S. SOF deployed to at least 150 nations last year, but they have established professional alliances with national militaries in a majority of those nations. Nick Turse has documented and reported on the growing influence of SOCOM over the past few years, with his articles being widely published in major mainstream periodicals as well as online alternative media. He has established many reliable sources within the SOF community. In regular articles posted on Tom’s Dispatch, Nick has documented the growing influence of SOCOM, its expanding power, and it’s establishing of close ties to the special operations forces of nations across the globe.

The Expanding Global Footprint of U.S. Special Operations

U.S. Special Forces NCO instructing Malian counter-terrorism forces in patrolling and ambush small unit tactics in that West African nation.

It seems quite logical that the main area of focus for these forces immediately prior to the declaration of GWOT in 2001 would be in the Middle East; however, since as early as 2014 the United States began refocusing its deployment of special operations personnel to the African continent. More recently, since the coup in Ukraine and the civil war that erupted as a result, SOCOM has shifted much of its efforts to Europe. Although the DOD and State Department have stated that such deployments are directly connected to terrorist activities in Africa, in Europe the goal is confronting an “increasingly aggressive and assertive” Russia. In reality, deployments to Africa are largely responsive to an increased Chinese presence on the continent. Not publicly acknowledged until the official publication of the National Defense Strategy of the United States for 2018, the U.S. establishment had already come to view both Russia and China as the major threats to U.S. global hegemony.

The Expanding Global Footprint of U.S. Special Operations

U.S. special operations forces were deployed to an overwhelming majority of African nations in 2017.

In 2006, deployments to Africa accounted for a mere 1% of U.S. special operations foreign deployments. By the end of 2017 this number had jumped to almost 17%. What could account for such an increase? Spokesmen for the DOD have sighted the increased threat of Islamic militant groups such as Boko Haram and al Shabaab and their capability to disrupt and weaken local governments; however, SOCOM has not just deployed forces to Somalia, Libya, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Cameroon, the traditional territories of operation of Boko Haram and African offshoots of al Qaeda. U.S. commandos deployed to 33 African countries in 2017. 61% of the nations of Africa hosted a U.S. special operations military presence to some degree. There is little doubt that terrorist groups such as Boko Haram present a destabilizing threat to African governments whom are hanging on by a threat in their efforts to govern in the best of times, yet there is little evidence to support the idea that the U.S. military is in Africa for altruistic purposes. The U.S. military, just like the French Military, is increasing its activities in Africa to protect their respective financial interests and maintain influence over African nations, and to increasingly confront the growing influence of China in the region.

The Expanding Global Footprint of U.S. Special Operations

The Chinese and Afghan governments have been engaged in the highest level negotiations regarding infrastructure development, transit rights and even the establishment of a Chinese military facility on the Afghan side of the Wakhan Corridor since at least late 2018.

Between the years 2009 and 2012, Chinese overseas foreign direct investment (OFDI) grew at an annual rate of 20.5%. Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged $60 billion USD in investments in Africa at the 4th Annual Investing in China Forum held in Beijing last September. The United States has often claimed that Chinese financial practices in Africa are predatory in nature. This is quite ironic coming from the country that has a controlling influence over the IMF and World Bank, two financial entities that have been responsible for indebting most of the developing world for the past half century. Neither nation is in Africa to help poor Africans, but to enrich themselves. The African continent is rich in rare earth minerals and metals used in the manufacture of modern electronics, batteries, cell phones and computers. China opened its first and largest overseas military base in Djibouti in August of 2017, located in the strategic Horn of Africa. It is just a stones throw from Camp Lemonnier, the largest U.S. military base on the continent. In a similar move, China is seeking to build a military base in Afghanistan, another nation rich in rare earth minerals where the U.S. military has struggled to maintain a viable presence for over 18 years. China plans to base at least one battalion of troops at a newly constructed facility in the northeastern province of Badakhshan, ostensibly to train Afghan security forces. Located close to the Wakhan Corridor, the base will help provide security to the One Belt One Road trade corridor through the region, and help solidify growing economic and security ties with the Central Asian nation. Coupled with the base in Djibouti and a planned PLAN naval base at Gwadar, Pakistan, China is establishing a viable defense infrastructure in the region. This directly undercuts long established U.S. interests in the region.

The Expanding Global Footprint of U.S. Special Operations

The Wakhan Corridor is a strategically important mountain pass, the control of which is of utmost importance to the Chinese government in securing the One Belt One Road logistics network.

While SOCOM has maintained a sizeable presence in Afghanistan and Africa to confront a growing Chinese presence in Central Asia and Africa, it has also increased operations in the European theatre as well. In 2006 only 3% of all SOF units were deployed to nations in Europe. By 2018 that percentage had grown to almost 17%. According to a statement made to Tom’s Dispatch, a spokesman for SOCEUR, Major Michael Weisman stated,

“Outside of Russia and Belarus we train with virtually every country in Europe either bilaterally of through various multinational events. The persistent presence of U.S. SOF alongside our allies sends a clear message of U.S. commitment to our allies and the defense of our NATO alliance.”

Since the disastrous failure of Petro Poroshenko’s Anti-terrorism Operation (ATO) to subdue the breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine, SOF deployments to nations bordering the Russian Federation have increased notably. As it was detailed in a previous article, SOCOM has established very close ties with Ukrainian special operations forces.

Over the past four years SOCOM has repeatedly deployed forces to Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Georgia, and even Finland. In 2016 alone, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) conducted no less than 37 Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) exercises on the European continent, with 18 such exercises in nations bordering Russia. Is SOCOM sending a reassuring message to allies, or an ominous message to Russia, the holder of the world’s largest nuclear arsenal? Is it wise defense policy to increasingly surround Russia, and back it into an increasingly tight corner? If Russian political and military leaders have learned one lesson throughout the centuries, it is that the concentration of foreign belligerent military forces on their national borders eventually leads to conflict and invasion.

The Expanding Global Footprint of U.S. Special Operations

Not only has SOCOM positioned itself in a majority of the nations across the globe, but increasingly along the borders of the Russian Federation and China.

The United States has become deeply entrenched in the conflict in Ukraine, having increased military aid to the ruling regime incrementally from 2014 to the present. After the disastrous Ukrainian Armed Forces winter offensive of 2015, culminating in the encirclement battle of Debaltseve, U.S. military aid kicked into high gear. Regular rotations of U.S. Army trainers teach UAF troops at the Yavoriv International Peace Keeping and Security Center modern combat skills with an increased emphasis on making the force more NATO interoperable. Ukrainian Special Forces have undergone a clear and striking transformation, and are now nearly indistinguishable from their U.S. and NATO counterparts. They are now wearing U.S. military issue Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) “multicam” battle dress uniforms and gear, and are increasingly using western manufactured firearm accessories, optics, and night vision equipment. More notably, the UAF special operations units have adopted a number of small arms and sniper weapons systems that utilize NATO standard ammunition such as the 5.56x45mm intermediate rifle round and the 7.62x51mm rifle round. Sniper rifles chambered in .308 Winchester and .338 Lapua have also been adopted in limited numbers.

The Expanding Global Footprint of U.S. Special Operations

U.S. Navy SEALs conducted a number of exercises with the Bulgarian military in the Black Sea in 2018, a clear message to Russia that the U.S. was prepared to escalate asymmetrical warfare targeting the Crimean Peninsula.

Speaking at a GEOInt (Geospatial Intelligence) annual symposium in 2014, former head of SOCOM, General Joseph Votel opined that “We want to be everywhere, know everything.” Clearly, SOCOM has increasingly pushed for the first part of his stated goal in the intervening years; however, the increased focus and funding of special operations over the past 18 years has left the U.S. military’s conventional forces in a state of atrophy and decline. The U.S. political establishment and military leadership have come to see SOCOM as the go-to solution provider for just about any scenario where military force is seen as an option. This has increased the reputation and clout of SOCOM, but this has increasingly come at the expense and detriment to more traditional conventional forces that chiefly serve the national interests of deterrence and defense.

Conventional Warfare Atrophy

In a detailed analysis posted late last year, “Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict”, I outlined the causes and effects of the decline in U.S. conventional warfare capabilities. There is undoubtedly a direct correlation between the reliance upon and exponential growth of U.S. special operations forces, and the decline in conventional force readiness and capability. This is evident in all service branches and has had a negative effect on the ability of the U.S. Armed Forces to carry out future offensive and defensive combat operations against peer adversaries. The U.S. military will have very little hope of achieving decisive military victories in either Russia’s or China’s backyard. Any assertion to the contrary is delusory.

The U.S. military obsession with counterinsurgency and occupation stemming from one U.S. invasion or regime change operation after another, has left a once cutting edge, combined-arms conventional force gutted materially and low in morale. Special operations forces were leveraged in a fight against popular uprisings, Islamic terrorist organizations, and often an alliance between the two. The overwhelming majority of the growing names on the U.S. enemies list found their genesis as a result of U.S. military adventurism. These various insurgencies were a direct reaction to heavy-handed U.S. “foreign policy” delivered at the barrel of a gun. The resulting struggles in the so called GWOT depended greatly on an ever expanding pool of special operations forces. SOF were prioritized over other traditional, conventional forces not meant for occupation and not skilled in counterinsurgency.

While the troops at the disposal of SOCOM ballooned to almost 70,000, the U.S. Army has struggled to replace armored vehicles first fielded in the 1960’s, the Navy witnessed the utter deterioration and exhaustion of its carrier air wings, and the Air Force struggled to retain pilots to fly aircraft that fell deeper into a state of disrepair. Although achieving battlefield successes, the Armed Forces of the United States have yet to decisively win any of the numerous conflicts embarked upon since 2001. The intervening years have revealed the U.S. military of today to be an organization riddled with major material shortcomings and inferiorities, while plagued with a leadership lacking sound judgement and brimming with both hubris and an unfounded superiority complex. This leadership has repeatedly decided to invest in special operations forces that are unable to win wars on their own, at the expense of conventional forces designed solely for that purpose.

Growing Political Power

SOCOM has not restricted its influence to the many battlefields across the globe, or the forging of ties with foreign militaries through training and advisory programs. Just as the CIA has stationed personnel at most U.S. embassies oversees, SOCOM has followed suit. Special Operations Liaison Officers (SOLO) are stationed at a growing number of embassies, including the NATO member countries the United Kingdom, France, Poland, Italy, Turkey and Canada. SOLOS can also be found in U.S. embassies in Australia, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Peru, Israel, Jordan, and Kenya. SOCOM’s former head, General Joseph Votel, had announced the intention of putting a SOLO is at least forty U.S. embassies around the globe by 2019. This statement should be viewed with some skepticism, as SOCOM rarely speaks publicly about the extent of their operations and planning, so it is likely that SOLOs are already serving in many more U.S. embassies, especially those located in flash points or trouble spots in Africa, the Middle East, South America, and nations bordering the Russian Federation and China.

Not only should this development be worrying to host nations who may not be inclined to look at a foreign military presence on their soil as acceptable, but it also clearly exhibits closer ties between SOCOM and the Department of State. Not only has SOCOM fostered closer ties with the Department of State, but with the monolithic U.S. security apparatus as a whole. In an attempt to “be everywhere and know everything”, SOCOM has moved further away from its subordinate position in the Department of Defense, and pursued a more independent and unaccountable path, similar to that of the CIA or NSA, two organizations that it has increasingly worked closely with. SOCOM has even forged close ties with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose prevue is supposed to be limited to U.S. domestic crime investigations and the enforcement of federal laws.

There should be some apprehension at both the Pentagon and in the halls of Congress, of the growing power of this new military within the military. In a constitutional republic that clearly delineates, compartmentalizes, and limits government power, the growth of a largely unaccountable, secretive and influential new military organization should be viewed as a threat to the very foundations of political and social order. A number of former special operations members have run for political office in recent years and won. While electing retired soldiers into Congress and gubernatorial office will most likely bring a level of restraint to government military adventurism, with those individuals having seen and paid the price for war, there is also a chance that they will steer policy to aid the military industrial complex. The cautionary tale of Governor Eric Greitens is one such example that also signals another problem effecting the special operations community as a whole.

Scandals Tarnish the Mythology

A number of scandals involving U.S. special operations soldiers have hit the headlines in recent years, corresponding with the exponential growth of the force. In an attempt to expand the SOF, the Pentagon seems to have lowered physical, cognitive and moral standards in order to fill the ranks. The Hollywood-Pentagon alliance that has worked tirelessly to create and perpetuate the image of the invincibility of the Navy Seals, presenting them as modern day Spartans or Praetorians, has run into a minor set-back in recent years. The criminal conduct of the elite of the elite has recently tarnished a once proud and silent fraternity of soldiers.

On June 4, 2017 an Army Special Forces NCO was murdered by two Navy SEALs and two Marines “Raiders” in Mali. The original story put forward was that the soldiers accidentally killed their compatriot in an attempt to scare him into silence. The Green Beret, Staff Sergeant Logan Melgar, had uncovered gross criminal conduct by Chief Petty Officer Adam Matthews and Petty Officer Anthony DeDolph. The two SEALs had been embezzling money meant to pay off local informants, and had also been bringing local prostitutes back to the small unit’s “secret” safe house . Staff Sergeant Melgar was ambushed in the safe house, beaten and choked to death. It took military investigators roughly a year and a half to finally charge all four perpetrators with felony murder, involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, hazing and burglary. The investigation found that the men killed Staff Sergeant Melgar while engaged in an act of burglary; however, it is not known if they were attempting to steal back or destroy evidence that the Army Staff Sergeant had collected against them.

Perhaps no better example of the meteoric rise and fall of a former Navy SEAL exists as a greater cautionary tale than that of disgraced former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens. Greitens had ridden the reputation of the SEALs into fame and political office, only to fall victim to his own despicable criminal mind. Greitens never served in combat and was not highly regarded by most rank and file SEAL members with combat experience. Many such members speaking off the record, regarded him as an overly ambitious ladder climber that intended to ride the SEAL reputation as far as it would take him. It was largely theorized that before accusations of criminal conduct started coming to the fore, that he fully intended to launch a U.S. presidential campaign. Thankfully, investigations revealed gross corruption in his political dealings and his personal life. Geitens had been listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2013, and made the list of Fortune Magazine’s 50 greatest leaders in 2014. By May 29, 2017 he had resigned from political office in disgrace.

The Expanding Global Footprint of U.S. Special Operations

A still shot from a gubernatorial commercial promoting Eric Greitens in 2016. He ran on the collective reputation of the SEAL teams, much to the chagrin of many rank and file members.

A vocal critic of the new trend in special operations personnel seeking the spotlight and financial gain is Navy SEAL Lieutenant Forrest Crowell, who even wrote his post graduate thesis at the Naval Postgraduate School regarding the issue. While writing a detailed story on Governor Greitens in The New Yorker, Phil Klay summarized Lt. Crowell’s opinion put forward in his thesis:

“In it, he argued that the SEALs’ celebrity status had diverted their culture “away from the traditional SEAL Ethos of quiet professionalism to a Market Ethos of commercialization and self-promotion.” Crowell warned that the new approach incentivized “narcissistic and profit-oriented behavior” and undermined healthy civil-military relations by using “the credibility of special operations to push partisan politics. “The people of this nation should be suspicious of SEALs who speak too loudly about themselves,” Crowell wrote.”

Reversing the Trend

Although it remains to be seen whether or not U.S. special operations troops will be withdrawn from Syria or not, it is highly unlikely. The timetable for withdrawal continues to stretch into the future. It is also highly unlikely that SOCOM will reduce its global footprint, slow the tempo of joint military training with foreign militaries, or request a smaller budget for 2020. Like all U.S. federal government entities, it will promote itself at the expense of all others, and will resist any demands to lessen its power and influence.

President Trump has proven himself either incapable of challenging the military industrial complex, or totally complicit in the aim of that complex to perpetuate endless military conflict. There is very little sign that anyone in either the civilian government or the military leadership of the United States has the integrity or is willing to make the political sacrifice to alter the current course that the U.S. Armed Forces are embarked upon. The U.S. military has misallocated funds and priorities for the past two decades, engaged in misguided and disastrous regime change operations that have cost the nation trillions of dollars and thousands of lives. These military adventures have gutted the armed forces materially and morally. A generation of Americans have been left scarred physically and mentally. Hundreds of thousands of combatants and civilians in countries across the Middle East and Africa have lost their lives, while millions of refugees have fled the resultant chaos.

By 2019, SOCOM has reached a pinnacle in power and influence within the military industrial complex. It has garnered and fostered an almost mythical status in U.S. society. Yet it has not won and is incapable of winning any conflict that the government of the United States has seen fit to employ it in. Perhaps that is the very point. Special operations forces deployed across the globe, in almost every country you can imagine can help initiate, maintain and perpetuate conflict as long as the United States stays in a position of relatively unrivaled power in the world. The U.S. military industrial complex does not desire large winnable wars, but “low-intensity” conflicts that last as long as possible. That is how the system retains power, maintains profits, and remains relevant.

A strengthened SOCOM, deployed across the planet, establishing relationships with the foreign militaries of most of the world’s nations, and stationed in an ever growing number of U.S. embassies is a dream come true for the Deep State. There is little chance that SOCOM will reverse its course of expansion and accumulation of power at the expense of U.S. national security anytime in the immediate future. Just as the FBI, NSA and CIA have grown in power, influence and unaccountability since their creation, SOCOM seems poised to follow the same model to the detriment of the Republic that it was created to serve.

How Big Brother Grips Americans’ Minds to Support Invasions

By Eric Zuesse
Source

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On November 29th, Gallup headlined “Democrats Lead Surge in Belief US Should Be World Leader” and reported that “Three-fourths (75%) of Americans today think the United States has ‘a special responsibility to be the leading nation in world affairs,’ up from 66% in 2010. The surge is driven by Democrats, whose belief in this idea has increased from 61% eight years ago to 81% now.” This finding comes even after the lie-based and catastrophic US invasions of Iraq in 2003, and of Libya in 2011 (and of so many others, such as Afghanistan, where the US and Sauds created the Taliban in 1979). Americans — now even increasingly — want ‘their’ (which is actually America’s billionaires’) Government to be virtually the world’s government, policing the world. They want this nation’s Government to be determining what international laws will be enforced around the world, and to be enforcing them.

Most Americans don’t want the United Nations to have power over the US (its billionaires’) Government, but instead want the US Government (its billionaires) to have power over the United Nations (which didn’t authorize any of those evil, lie-based, US invasions).

Not only would doing this bankrupt all constructive domestic functions (health, education, infrastructure, etc.) of the US federal Government, but it would also increase the global carnage, as if the US Government hasn’t already been doing enough of that, for decades now.

The leadership for this supremacist craving comes straight from America’s top, not from the masses that are being sampled by the Gallup organization, who only reflect it — they are duped by their leaders. Here is how US President Barack Obama (a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2009, for nothing at all but his ‘kindly’ but insincere verbiage when he had been a candidate) stated this widespread delusional American belief in American global moral supremacy, when addressing the graduating class at West Point Military Academy, on 28 May 2014:

The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation*. That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come…America must always lead on the world stage.

[*Every other nation is therefore ‘dispensable’; we therefore now have “Amerika, Amerika über alles, über alles in der Welt”.]

This had certainly not been the objective of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he set up the U.N. just before his death in 1945; he instead wanted the U.N. to evolve into a democratic government of the world, with elected representatives of each and every one of the world’s governments — to evolve into becoming the global international republic — regardless of whether or not the US Government approves or disapproves of another nation’s government. The idea on which the U.N. was founded was not to involve the US Government in the internal affairs of other nations, not to be the judge jury and executioner of other governments that it doesn’t like, nor to dictate what other nations should or should not do within the given nation’s boundaries. FDR intended that there instead be democratically represented, at the U.N., each and every nation, and each and every people within that global government, where each of these national governments is (hopefully but not necessarily) a democracy.

FDR was just as opposed to dictatorship internationally, as he was opposed to dictatorship nationally, and he recognized that inevitably some governments will disapprove of other governments, but he was deeply committed to the view that a need exists for laws and law-enforcement between nations, on an international level, and not only within the individual nations, and that each nation is sacrosanct on its own internal laws. He respected national sovereignty, and opposed international empire. (This was his basic disagreement with Winston Churchill, then, and with American leaders such as Obama and Trump now.) Unlike President Obama (and evidently unlike the vast majority of today’s Americans) FDR didn’t want this international government to be an American function, but instead an entirely separate international governmental function, in which there is no international dictatorship whatsoever — not American, and not by any other country. He knew that this is the only stable basis for international peace, and for avoiding a world-annihilating World War III.

Barack Obama rejected FDR’s vision, and advocated for the United States as being (and even as if it already had been for a century) virtually the government over the entire world, which “must always lead on the world stage.” Adolf Hitler had had that very same international vision for his own country, Germany, “the Thousand-Year Reich,” but he lost World War II; and, then, when FDR died, Hitler’s vision increasingly took over in America, so that ideologically, FDR actually lost WW II, when Harry S. Truman took over the White House and increasingly thereafter, until today, when the US commits more invasions of foreign countries than do all other nations in the world combined. Americans (apparently, as shown in this and other polls) like this, and want more of it. Nobody else does.

For example, nobody (except the US and Saudi and Israeli aristocracies and their supporters worldwide, which are very few people) supports the US regime’s reinstitution of sanctions against Iran, which the US regime is imposing as the global dictator. America’s economic sanctions are like spitting into the face of FDR, who had opposed such imperialistic fascism in the more overtly military form when Hitler’s regime was imposing it. It’s also spitting at the U.N.

This latest Gallup finding displays an increase, but nothing that’s at all anomalous as compared to the decades-long reality of imperialistic US culture. For decades now, Gallup’s polling has shown that the most respected of all institutions by the American people is the nation’s military — more than the church, more than the Presidency, more than the US Supreme Court, more than the press, more than the schools, more than anything. America is invasion-nation. This is true even after the 2003 invasion of Iraq on the basis of blatant lies, which destroyed Iraq — a nation that had never invaded nor even threatened to invade the United States. The American people are, resolutely, bloodthirsty for conquest, even after having been fooled into that evilinvasion, and subsequent decades-long military occupation in Iraq, and after subsequent conquests or attempted conquests, in Libya, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere — all destroying nations that had never invaded nor even threatened America. Why? How did this mass-insanity, of evil, come to be?

How is this aggressive nationalism even possible, in America’s ‘democracy’? It’s actually no democracy at all, and the public are being constantly fooled to think that it is a democracy, and this deception is essential in order for the public to tolerate this Government, and to tolerate the media that lie for it. This widespread deceit requires constant cooperation of the ‘news’-media — and these are the same ‘news’-media that hid from the public, in 2002, that the US Government was outright lying about “WMD in Iraq.”

The public simply do not learn. That’s a tragic fact. Largely, this fact results from reality being hidden by the ‘news’-media; but, even now, long after the fake ‘news’ in 2002, about the US regime’s having possessed secret and conclusive evidence of “Saddam’s WMD,” the published ‘history’ about that invasion still does not acknowledge the public’s having been lied-to at that time, by its Government, and by the ‘news’-media. So, the public live, and culturally swim, in an ongoing river of lies, both as its being ‘news’, and subsequently as its having been ‘history’. This is why the public do not learn: they are being constantly deceived. And they (as Gallup’s polls prove) tolerate being constantly deceived. The public do not rebel against it. They don’t reject either the politicians, or the ‘news’-media. They don’t demand that the American public control the American Government and that America’s billionaires lose that control — especially over the ‘news’-media.

Honesty is no longer an operative American value, if it ever was. That’s how, and why, Big Brother (the operation by the international-corporate billionaires) grips Americans’ minds to support foreign Invasions. Americans support liars, and it all comes from the top; it’s directed from the top. It is bipartisan, from both Democratic Party billionaires and Republican Party billionaires. National politicians will lose their seats if they disobey.

A good example, of this Big-Brother operation, is America’s Politifact, the online site which is at America’s crossover where ‘news’ and ‘history’ meet one-another. It’s controlled by billionaires such as the one who founded Craigslist. Millions of Americans go to Politifact in order to determine what is true and what is false that is being widely published about current events. The present writer sometimes links to their articles, where I have independently verified that there are no misrepresentations in an article. But, like the ‘news’-media that it judges, Politifact is also a propaganda-agency for the (US-Saud-Israeli) Deep State, and so it deceives on the most critically important international matters.

An example of this occurred right after the US regime had overthrown, in February 2014 in a bloody coup, the democratically elected Government of Ukraine, and replaced it by a rabidly anti-Russian racist fascist or nazi Government on Russia’s doorstep, a regime that was selected by the rabidly anti-Russian (but lying that it wasn’t) Obama regime. This Politifact article was dated 31 March 2014, right after over 90% of Crimeans had just voted in a referendum, to rejoin Russia, and to depart from Ukraine, which the Soviet dictator had transferred them to, separating them from Russia, in 1954. (None of that history of the matter was even mentioned by Politifact.)

The Politifact article was titled “Viral meme says United States has ‘invaded’ 22 countries in the past 20 years”, and it was designed to deceive readers into believing that “Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea” reflected the real instance of “invasion” that Americans should be outraged against — to deflect away from America’s recent history as being the world’s actual invasion-nation. This propaganda-article said nothing at all about either Crimea or Ukraine except in its opening line:

A Facebook meme argues that Americans are pretty two-faced when it comes to Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea.”

It then proceeded to document that the exact number of American invasions during the prior 20 years wasn’t 22, and so Politifact declared the allegation “false” (as if the exact number were really the entire issue or even the main one, and as if America’s scandalous recent history of invasions were not).

So, it’s on account of such drowning-in-propaganda, that the US public not only respect what US President Dwight Eisenhower derogatorily called the “military-industrial complex,” but respect it above even the US Presidency itself, and above all other US institutions (as Gallup’s constant polling demonstrates to be the case).

Here’s the reality: The same group of no more than a thousand super-wealthy Americans control both the United States Government and the weapons-manufacturing firms (such as Lockheed Martin), which are the only corporations whose only customers are the US Government and its chosen allied governments. So, these few people actually control the US Government’s foreign relations, and foreign policies. They create and control their own markets. This is the most politically active group of America’s super-rich, because they own America’s international corporations and because their business as owners of the military ones is military policy and also diplomatic policy, including the conjoining of both of those at the CIA and NSA, including the many coups that they (via their Government) engineer.

They also control all of the nation’s major news-media, which report international affairs in such a manner as to determine which foreign governments will be perceived by the mass of Americans to constitute the nation’s ‘enemies’ and therefore to be suitable targets for the US military and CIA to invade and conquer or otherwise “regime-change” — such as have been the lands of North Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Yemen, Venezuela, etc., at various times.

The weapons-manufacturers won’t have any markets, at all, if there are no ‘enemy’ nations that are deemed by the public to be suitable targets for their weapons. ‘Enemy’ nations, and not only ‘allies’ (or ‘allied’ nations), are necessary, in order for the military business to produce the most profits. Overwhelmingly, if not totally, the chosen ‘enemies’ are nations that have never invaded nor even threatened to invade the United States; and, so, in order to keep this Government-funded business (the war-profiteering and associated international natural-resources extractions businesses) growing and thriving, what’s essential is continuing control over the nation’s ‘news’-media.

As Walter Lippmann wrote in 1921, “the manufacture of consent” is an essential part of this entire operation. It happens via the media. Even Germany’s Nazis needed to do that. Any modern capitalist dictatorship (otherwise called “fascism”) does. The US regime, being a capitalist dictatorship, certainly does.

Physically, Hitler lost, but his ideology won, he won even as nazism (racist fascism) instead of merely as fascism, and this racism is shown because the US regime is rabidly racist anti-Russian (not merely anti-communist), and has been so for at least a century. (Maybe it’s what Obama actually had secretly in mind when he said “That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come.” And Trump is no less a liar than Obama, and he continues this aim of ultimately conquering Russia.)

They say they’re only against Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin, but Putin shows in all polls of Russians, even in non-Russian polls, to be far more favorably viewed by Russians than either Barack Obama or Donald Trump are viewed by Americans. This is why regime-change-in-Russia is increasingly becoming dominated by US economic sanctions and military, and less dominated by CIA and other coup-organizers. The actual dictatorship is in America, and it requires participation by its ‘news’-media. Demonizing ‘the enemy’ is therefore crucial. It is crucial preparation for any invasion.

The United States Government spends at least as much money on its military as do all of the other governments in the world combined. Its ‘news’-media (that is to say, the media that are owned by, and that are advertised in by, the corporations that are controlled by, the same small group of billionaires — America’s billionaires — who fund the political campaigns of both the Democratic Party’s and the Republican Party’s nominees for the US Congress and the Presidency) may be partisan for one or the other of the nation’s two political Parties, but they all are unitedly partisan for the international corporations, such as Lockheed Martin, that America’s billionaires control, and that sell only to the US Government and to the foreign governments that are allied with the US Government. They also are partisan for the US-based oil and gas and mining international corporations, which need to extract at the lowest costs possible, no matter how much the given extractee-nation’s public might suffer from the deal. “Three-fourths (75%) of Americans today think the United States has ‘a special responsibility to be the leading nation in world affairs,’” and the actual beneficiaries of this mass-insanity are the owners of those US-based international corporations, the military and extraction giants.

Anthony Cordesman, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, headlined on 15 August 2016, “US Wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen: What Are The Endstates?” and he said,“Once again, the United States does not seem to be learning from its past. The real test of victory is never tactical success or even ending a war on favorable military terms, it is what comes next.”

But he ignored the main reason why these invasions had occurred. America’s weapons-manufacturers won’t have any markets, at all, if there are no ‘enemy’ nations that are deemed by the American public to be suitable targets for their weapons. Cordesman is there calculating success and failure on the basis of the myths (such as that the US Government cares about those “Endstates”), not of the realities (that it craves targets). The realities focus upon the desires of the owners and executives of the weapons-manufacturers and the extraction-firms, for ongoing and increased profits and executive bonuses, and not on the needs of America’s soldiers nor on the national security of the American people. Least of all, do they focus upon the needs — such as the welfare, freedom, or democracy — of the Iraqi people, or of the Syrian people, or of the Libyan people, or of the Yemenite people.

It’s all just lies, PR. Those invasions served their actual main functions when they were occurring. “The Endstates” there are almost irrelevant to those real purposes, the purposes for which the invasions were, and are, actually being done.

Here’s an ideal example of this mass mind-control: On 19 November 2017, Josh Rogin at the Washington Post headlined “The US must prepare for Iran’s next move in Syria” and reported that:

A task force of senior former US diplomatic and military officials has come up with suggestions for how Trump could prevent Iran from taking over what’s left of liberated Syria and fulfill his own promise to contain Iranian influence in the region.

“Most urgently…the United States must impose real obstacles to Tehran’s pursuit of total victory by the Assad regime in Syria,” the report by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America states. “Time is of the essence.”

The underlying presumption there was that the US regime has legitimate authorization to be occupying the parts of Syria it has invaded and now occupies, and that Iran does not. But the reality is that the US regime is occupying Syria instead of assisting Syria’s Government to defeat the US-Saud-Israeli invasion to overthrow and replace Syria’s Government, by stooges who will be selected by the Saud family who own Saudi Arabia, and the reality is that Iran’s forces there are invitees who are instead assisting Syria’s Government against the Saudi-Israeli-American invasion. In other words: this WP article is basically all lies. Furthermore, the Jewish Institute for National Security of America is a front-organization for the fascist regime that rules Israel, and the WP hid that fact, too, so its cited ‘expert’ was a mere PR agency for Israel’s aristocracy. So, this is Deep-State propaganda, parading as ‘news’.

Americans actually pay their private good money to subscribe to (subsidize) such bad public ‘news’papers as that. The billionaire who happens to own that particular ‘news’paper (the WP), Jeff Bezos, had founded and leads Amazon, which receives almost all of its profits from Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud-computing division, which supplies the US ‘Defense’ Department, CIA, and NSA.

For example, “without AWS and Prime, Amazon lost $2 billion in the 1st quarter of FY18. … These losses come from Amazon’s retail business. About 60% of Amazon’s revenue comes from retail and that’s where Amazon is losing money.” Amazon is profitable because of what it sells mainly to the Government, but also to other large US international corporations, and they all want to conquer Syria. None opposes that evil goal. Although Bezos doesn’t like the Sauds, he has actually been (at least until the Khashoggi matter) one of their main US media champions for the Sauds to take over Syria. It’s all just a fool-the-public game. It works, it succeeds, and that’s what Gallup’s polls are demonstrating. The public never learns. It’s a fact, which has been proven in many different ways.

This reality extends also to other nations, allies of the US aristocracy, and not only to the US regime itself. For example, on 27 November 2018, a whistleblowing former UK Ambassador, Craig Murray, who is a personal friend of Julian Assange, headlined “Assange Never Met Manafort. Luke Harding and the Guardian Publish Still More Blatant MI6 Lies”, and he proved that Britain’s Guardian had lied with total, and totally undocumented (and probably even totally non-credible), fabrications, alleging that Julian Assange of WikiLeaks had secretly met (in 2013, 2015, and 2016) with Paul Manafort of the Trump campaign.

The UK, of course, is a vassal-nation of the US aristocracy, and the Guardian is run by Democratic Party propagandists (paid indirectly by Democratic Party and conservative Tony-Blair-wing Labour Party billionaires) and therefore fabricates in order to assist those Parties’ efforts to impeach Trump and to dislodge Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party’s leadership. However, each of America’s two political parties (like the UK’s aristocracy itself) represents America’s aristocracy, which, like Britain’s aristocracy, is united in its determination to eliminate Assange — they are as determined to do that to him, just as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud was determined to eliminate Jamal Khashoggi. ‘Democracy’? This? It is Big Brother.

Only if the population boycott lying individuals and organizations, is democracy even possible to exist in a nation. Democracy can’t possibly exist more than truth does. In political matters, deceit is always treachery; and its practitioners, whenever the evidence for it is overwhelming and irrefutable, should experience whatever the standard penalty is for treachery. Only in a land such as that, can democracy possibly exist. Elsewhere, it simply can’t. The only basis for democracy, is truth. Deceit is for dictators, not for democrats. And deceit reigns, in the US and in its allied countries. Is this really tolerable? Americans, at least, tolerate it.

When Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the far-right Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal editorialized against Obama on 10 October 2009, by saying that “What this suggests to us — and to the Norwegians — is the end of what has been called ‘American exceptionalism’.”

Little did anyone then know that after winning re-election upon the basis of such war-mongering lies from Obama, as that “America remains the one indispensable nation”, Obama in February 2014 would go so far as to perpetrate a bloody coup overthrowing the democratically elected Government of one “dispensable” nation, Ukraine. And then, on 28 May of 2014, Obama would be telling America’s future generals, that “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation” and that Obama would, in that speech, explicitly malign Ukraine’s neighbor Russia.

He did it, in this speech, which implicitly called all nations except the US “dispensable.” He had carefully planned and orchestrated Americans’ hostility toward Russia. His successor, Trump, lied saying that he wanted to reverse Obama’s policies on this, and Trump promptly, once becoming elected, increased and expanded those policies. Whatever a deceitfully war-mongering country like this might be, it’s certainly no democracy. Because democracy cannot be built upon a ceaseless string of lies.

The ‘fiancée’ and Gülen

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2018

The ‘fiancée’ and Gülen

Crown Prince “All Smiles” As Saudis Sign $50 Billion In Deals At “Davos In The Desert”” (Durden):

“It’s this river of capital that, more than anything else, should insulate MbS from any substantial blowback over the Khashoggi affair, just as it did when he imprisoned rival members of the royal family and women’s rights activists, or when he effectively kidnapped the prime minister of Lebanon, or as Saudi Arabia continues to wage a war of aggression against innocent civilians in Yemen, much to the international community’s bizarre silence.”

I’m betting on MbS weathering the storm, perhaps a little weakened.  If so, will there be repercussions?  The attack was obviously from Turkey, backed up by Big Jew (Sheldon) in America (guys like Corker don’t open their mouths without shekels).  The Israelis were terrified about this, and tried to ignore it, or even tried the ‘Khashoggi was a terrorist’ line (i.e., MbS did everybody a favor by bonesawing him).  Will we see a cooling in Saudi-Israeli relations as punishment for Sheldon’s attempted coup?

The ‘fiancée’ and Gülen!!!:  “Insights Into The Khashoggi Ordeal; Who And Why” (Kadi).  Once you start talking about Gülen you bring the CIA into the picture, and everything you think you know about this incident might be wrong!  I like the analysis where Kadi notes that what seems normal to us – going to a government office for a bureaucratic procedure – would not be normal for a Saudi guy of status like Khashoggi.  So what was he really doing?

Image result for Khashoggi fiancée

Was the ‘fiancée’ his intelligence handler?

Western Media Attacks Critics of the White Helmets. The New McCarthyism” (Sterling).

DNC Emails–A Seth Attack Not a Russian Hack by Publius Tacitus” (eight is new):

“So what do we know for certain?

First, no one in the Federal Governemnt—law enforcement or intelligence—was granted access to examine the computer servers and files on the DNC server even after the DNC claimed they had been hacked by a foreign government.

Second, the steps that Crowdstrike allegedly took to shutdown computer hacking by Russia do not match the timeline of the actual download of the documents from the DNC server.

Third, Seth Rich worked at the DNC and had access to the computer server and systems.

Fourth, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange identified Seth Rich as a “source” and posted a $20,000 reward for information concerning his murder.

Fifth, a Federal law enforcement agent told two witnesesses that Seth Rich had email exchanges with Wikileaks.

Sixth, two people with direct access to Julian Assange told three separate sources that Seth Rich was the source of the DNC material published by Wikileaks.

Seventh, the documents published by Guccifer contain meta data that establish that the documents were physically downloaded onto a device like a thumb drive.

Eighth, the NSA has confirmed that it has Top Secret and Secret documents responsive to a FOIA request for information concerning contact between Seth Rich and other people including Julian Assange.”

The EU Russia China Plan to Avert Iran Oil Sanctions” (Engdahl).  Blockchain versus dollar hegemony (thus avoiding NSA scrutiny and providing no target for secondary sanctions).  Of course, it seems pretty obvious that ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ (Bitcoin/Silk Road are/were honeypots) is CIA or NSA (and Engdahl specifically refers to a Bitcoin competitor)!

Vladimir Putin: The Most Powerful Person in the World

Vladimir Putin: The Most Powerful Person in the World

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 14.06.2017

Vladimir Putin: The Most Powerful Person in the World

Paul Craig ROBERTS

Dear Friends, current problems with the website’s functionality, which are being addressed, are affecting the newsletter and email and, based on the light response to my quarterly call for donations, possibly donations as well.

In order to keep the content section functioning, the webmaster has turned off some of the other features until the problem has been fully identified and corrected. With the email down, I am unable to learn if any of you are encountering problems making donations. Some donations are being made, but the number is not comparable to past experience. Remember, this is your site. It depends on your support. If PropOrNot and the presstitutes convince you that I am a Russian Agent, you will be dependent on PropOrNot and presstitutes for your information and analysis.

Here is today’s column:

It must be wonderful being Vladimir Putin and being the most powerful person on earth. And not even have to say so yourself. The US Democratic Party is saying it for Putin along with the entirety of the Western presstitute media and the CIA and FBI also. The Russian media doesn’t have to brag about Putin’s power. Megyn Kelly, the Western presstitutes, and Western leaders are doing it for them:Putin is so powerful that he is able to place in office his choice for the President of the United States.

I mean, Wow! What power! Americans are simply out of the game. Americans, despite a massive intelligence budget and 16 separate intelligence services plus those of its NATO vassals, are no match whatsoever for Vladimir Putin.

I mean, really! What is the CIA for? What is the NSA for? What are the rest of them for? Americans would do better to close down these incompetent, but expensive, “intelligence services” and pay the money to Putin as a bribe not to select our president. Maybe the CIA should get down on its knees and beg Putin to stop electing the President of the United States. I mean, how humuiliating. I can hardly stand it. I thought we are the “world’s sole superpower, the uni-power, the exceptional, indispensable people.” It turns out that we are a nothing people, ruled by the President of Russia.

When the Democrats, CIA, and media decided to launch their PR campaign against Trump, they didn’t realize how inconsequential it would make the United States appear by putting American democracy into Putin’s pocket. What were they thinking? They weren’t. They were fixated on making sure Trump did not endanger the massive military/security complex budget by restoring normal relations with Russia.

There is no sign that American leadership in any area is actually capable of thought. Consider Wall Street and corporate leadership. To boost share prices Wall Street forced all corporations to desert their home country and move the production of goods and services sold to Americans offshore to where labor and regulatory costs were lower. The lower costs raised profits and share prices. Wall Street threatened resistant corporations with takeovers of the companies if they refused to move abroad in order to increase their profits.

Neither Wall Street nor corporate boards and CEOs were smart enough to understand that moving jobs offshore also moved US consumer incomes and purchasing power offshore. In other words, the financial and business leadership were too stupid to comprehend that without the incomes from high value-added, high productivity US jobs, the American consumer would not have the discretionary income to continue in his role as the economy’s driver.

The Federal Reserve caught on to Wall Street’s mistake. To rectify the mistake, the Fed expanded credit, allowing a buildup in consumer debt to keep the economy going on credit purchases. However, once consumer debt is high relative to income, the ability to buy more stuff departs. In other words, credit expansion is not a permanent fix for the lack of consumer income growth.

A country whose financial and business leadership is too stupid to understand that a population increasingly employed in part-time minimum wage jobs is not a big spending population is a country whose leadership has failed.

It is strictly impossible to boost profits by offshoring jobs without also offshoring US consumer incomes. Therefore, the profits from offshoring are temporary. Once enough jobs have been moved offshore that aggregate demand is stymied, the domestic market stagnates and then declines.

As I have demonstrated so many times for so many years, as has John Williams (shadowstats.com), the jobs reports from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics are nonsense. The jobs in the alleged recovery from June 2009 are largely low income domestic service jobs and the product of the theoretical birth/death model. The alleged recovery from the 2007-08 financial crisis is the first recovery in history in which the labor force participation rate declined. Labor force participation rates decline when the economy offers scant job opportunities, not when employment opportunities are rising.

What we know about US jobs is that the jobs are increasingly part-time minimum wage jobs. According to a presstitute news report that might or might not be true, there are only 12 counties in the entirety of the United States in which a person can rent a one-bedroom home on a minimum wage income.

In response to this report, a professor at Virginia Tech suggested that the government offer increased rental assistance and boost programs such as the National Housing Trust Fund, which invests in affordable housing.

In other words, taxpayers are to pick up the costs to Americans of US corporations deserting the US labor force. Those Americans who still have middle class incomes will be taxed to cover the lost incomes that the offshoring corporations and Wall Street have snatched away from American workers who can no longer earn enough to pay for their own housing.

In other words, capitalism has reached the point in its descent that it cannot exist without public subsidies for the people dispossessed by capitalism.

On a number of occasions I have written about how many costs of production are imposed on third parties, such as the environment. A significant percentage of the profits of capitalist corporations comes from the political and legal ability of the corporations to impose their costs of production on third parties. In other words, capitalism makes money because it can impose its costs of production on the environment and on people who do not share in the profits. I have provided many examples of this, especially in the area of real estate development. The developer is able to shift a large part of his costs to others.

This cost shifting has now reached the level of inducing Armaggedon. There is an effort to impeach Trump and put the warmonger VP Pence in the presidency. As Trump campaigned on restoring normal relations with Russia, a defeat of the attempt to reduce tensions would reinforce the recent conclusion of the Russian military high command that Washington is planning a first strike nuclear attack on Russia.

This is the risk that the entire world faces due to the dependence of the power and profit of the US military/security complex on war and enemies.

In other words, there is only one remaining rationale for the existence of the United States of America — the interests of the military/security complex — and these interests require a powerful enemy whether real or orchestrated.

Former CIA official John Stockwell wrote: “It is the function of the CIA to keep the world unstable, and to propagandize and teach the American people to hate, so we will let the Establishment spend any amount of money on arms.” The hatred and distrust of Russia that the West is currently being force-fed reflects Stockwell’s revelation, as does the orchestrated hatred and distrust of Muslims that has supported Washington’s destruction in whole or part of seven countries and trillions of dollars in new US war debt.

Globalism, that is, labor arbitrage across national boundaries, and financialization, the diversion of consumers’ incomes into interest and fees to banks, have wrecked the US economy. The “opportunity society” has vanished. Children have poorer economic prospects than their parents. The offshoring of manufacturing and professional service jobs such as IT and software engineering has collapsed the growth of aggregate demand in the US. The Federal Reserve’s credit expansion was only a temporary reprieve.

Formerly prosperous areas are in ruins. States’ budgets and pension systems are failing. There is no payoff to a university education. Americans’ economic prospects have been erased by globalism. Getting ahead requires connections as it did in the aristocratic systems. The high concentration of income and wealth has negated democracy. The government is only accountable to the rich.

American political and business leadership not only destroyed the image of US sovereignty by placing American democracy in Putin’s pocket, but also destroyed the formerly vibrant American economy, once the envy of the world.

Where can Americans find leadership? Certainly not in the Democratic Party, nor in the Republican Party, nor in the media, nor in the corporate community. How then does the US compete with Russia and China, two countries with good leadership? Is war the only answer to the question?

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