How the Pentagon Leaned on Hollywood to Sell the War in Afghanistan

September 28th, 2021

By Alan Macleod

Source

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In hundreds of films and TV shows, every single word and image has been closely scrutinized and signed off on by senior military figures, all in an effort to convince viewers into supporting deadly and grossly immoral campaigns around the world.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA — The (official) 20-year U.S. occupation of Afghanistan has come to a close, with the military beating a hasty and ignominious retreat. The puppet Afghan government NATO installed lasted fewer than two weeks on its own, with President Ashraf Ghani fleeing for the UAE, allegedly with around $169 million in cash.

If the occupation was so unpopular and weak, how was it able to last so long? The Afghanistan Papers  — a trove of military documents leaked to The Washington Post — showed that high-ranking government officials knew that the war was unwinnable but were openly lying to the public about how it was going, all while NGOs and military contractors made billions

But documents obtained by journalist Tom Secker under the Freedom of Information Act and shared with MintPress also show that Hollywood also played a significant role, knowingly collaborating with the Pentagon to produce pro-war propaganda about Afghanistan, ultimately helping to artificially buoy public opinion on the unwinnable campaign. This typically included giving the Pentagon direct editorial control over scripts and even removing any anti-war content or scenes that would show the military in a negative light. In exchange, the military offered its human resources, its bases as locations for filming, and its wide range of hi-tech vehicles to be used in movies. This quid pro quo effectively turned much of Hollywood, and the entertainment industry more generally, into cheerleaders for imperialism. 

The military-industrial-media complex

Reading through the documents, what becomes clear is the sheer scale of the military’s involvement in the silver screen, and in pop culture more generally. For instance, between 2015 and 2017, the U.S. Army’s Office of the Chief of Public Affairs West (OCPA-W) — based just outside of Hollywood, CA — was generally working on between 40 and 70 entertainment media projects at one time. The OCPA-W is one of three Army regional offices, the others being in Chicago and New York City. The Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, CIA and other government organizations all have similar agencies and programs aimed at manipulating their image in mass media. 

The OCPA-W’s weekly summary of its affairs for the week of December 22, 2016, for example, notes that it is involved in 63 working projects; 15 in pre-production, 26 in production and 22 in post-production. According to research by Secker  and Matthew Alford for their 2017 book “National Security Cinema,” the Department of Defense has supported at least 814 movies and 1,133 separate TV shows, the majority of those in recent years.

Afghanistan is generally far from American minds. This is by design: few at the top of American society want the public to be scrutinizing U.S. actions there. When the country is portrayed on American screens, the military works extremely hard to present the war in a way most conducive to its interests. Hollywood has been a willing collaborator in this. Below is a selection of case studies of movies about or featuring the war in Afghanistan and a discussion about how the U.S. military has had those movies sanitized before they ever met the public eye. 

12 Strong (2018)

“12 Strong” is a jingoistic action film based on a true story about a small unit of 12 U.S. Special Forces who invaded Afghanistan immediately after the September 11 attacks, thus being the first American boots on the ground of a two-decade campaign that cost the lives of an estimated 176,000 Afghans, displacing almost 6 million more. 

The film entails the elite group attempting to capture the city of Mazar-i-Sharif before NATO forces arrive. The team, so they say, is outnumbered by “50,000 Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces,” as if the two were close allies. This is despite the fact that the Taliban immediately condemned the 9/11 attacks and that Western estimates put al-Qaeda’s global forces at the time at below 100 members. “If we don’t take that city, the World Trade Center is just the beginning,” says one of the heroes of the film, whose tagline is “twelve soldiers gave us a reason to hope.”

Documents show that the military was eager to help with such a nationalistic film, and matched what they called the production company’s “breathtaking” list of asks, including access to a number of military bases in New Mexico for shooting; army uniforms for actors; “target” vehicles they could blow up; the hire of a number of aircraft, including Chinook and Seahawk helicopters; and appropriate Soviet tanks for the enemy to use. They also aided the company in finding military extras to appear in minor roles.

Despite the movie’s strongly pro-war message, the OCPA-W, Air Force, and other military organizations still insisted on going through the script with a fine-toothed comb, removing even minor details it did not like. This included demanding that writers changed their plans to present the 12 soldiers as rugged men with full beards and tattoos. An email from OCPA read: 

My other concern is that during the loadout sequences at Fort Campbell that occurred shortly after 9/11 our soldiers did not have full length beards and neck tattoos. That came later. I hope [REDACTED] guys are going to Shave for those sequences.

A few weeks later, the seemingly minor point had not been resolved. In a show of just how much control over creative direction the military had, the OCPA threatened to pull out of the movie, reminding the production company of the agreement they had signed up for: 

The production company agrees to cast actors, extras, doubles, and stunt personnel portraying military men and women who conform to individual Military Service regulations governing age, height / weight, uniform, grooming, appearance, and conduct standards. DoD reserves the right to suspend support in the event that disagreement regarding the military aspects of their portrayals cannot be resolved in negotiation between the production company and DoD within the seventy-two hour cure-period. The DoD Project Officer will provide written guidance specific to each Military Service being portrayed.

  1. U.S. Army.

(1) The depiction of Soldiers in the Continental United States prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks should be in accordance with U.S. Army Regulation 670-1, West and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia. Soldiers would meet height/weight standards, be clean shaven, with a well-groomed haircut and be wearing the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU). Load bearing equipment would be olive drab or the BDU pattern.

(2) The depiction of deployed Soldiers following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks would be in accordance with the tactical situation. Soldiers would still meet height/weight requirements (appear physically fit) with relaxed grooming standards for extended operations. The deployed Soldiers would be wearing the Desert Combat Dress Uniform (DCU) with olive drab or BDU pattern load bearing equipment.

The Department of Defense is well aware that the sort of assistance they offer (free equipment, filming locations, etc.) would be enormously expensive, if not impossible, to otherwise obtain. Therefore, they leverage their considerable influence into what amounts to control over every aspect of a movie or TV show they work on. This often even means jettisoning reality in favor of a relentlessly pro-war message.

Emails show that OCPA instructed the production company to change the minor criminal backstory of one of the 12 soldiers, despite the fact it was perfectly real. As one OCPA official wrote: 

I told him our two biggest issues were the background story of Cpt [REDACTED]

being any FNG [“Fucking New Guy,” a derogatory military term for recruits] when he was actually a Team Leader for two years and the comment about Sergeant [REDACTED] having a choice between Jail and the Army.

According to the book the bar fight incident did happen, [REDACTED] attorney

was able to plea deal it down to a misdemeanor with a probation period. He

did lose his job as a school teacher and he started to work construction. I [sic]

period of time later, he decided to join the US Army.

Production quickly agreed to the changes, a few weeks later sending a new script for the OCPA and Air Force’s approval. “Here is a revised draft of Horse Soldiers,” they replied. “We changed [REDACTED]’s backstory per your suggestion. Please let me know if this works for you. [PERSON’s NAME REDACTED], would you send this draft to the appropriate Air Force personnel and let me know whom to follow up with?” (Cross referencing the documents with the book it is based on makes it clear that the sergeant in question is Sam Diller, one of the main characters in both book and movie). 

None of the military’s demands appear to have caused much resistance from the company. Indeed, towards the end of filming, a senior member of the team even emailed the OCPA and the Office of the Secretary of Defense to offer his profound gratitude for their services: 

[The] Army and the entire team have been absolutely fantastic and helped us achieve an amazing air-to-air shoot this evening. They are the utmost professional highly trained crew. We know if it wasn’t for your great efforts to make this movie badass we would have never gotten such a team. We promise to make the Army proud, so THANK YOU!!!!!

Lone Survivor (2013)

“Lone Survivor” is the largely true story of a Navy SEAL team that was discovered and attacked by the Taliban while carrying out a special operation to assassinate the organization’s commander, Ahmad Shah. The SEALs suffered devastating losses, leaving only one man — Marcus Luttrell — to tell the story. 

The plot of the film revolves around the squad being discovered by local goat herders and their supposedly heart-wrenching decision on whether to kill the shepherds to cover their tracks, or let them go, the assumption being that the old man and two children in question would immediately alert the Taliban to their whereabouts. The group decided to let their captives go, which almost immediately turned out to be a deadly mistake. 

The story is based upon the book by Luttrell, who is now a Trump-loving media anchor on Glenn Beck’s conservative TV network “TheBlaze.” At times, Luttrell’s book reads like the manifesto of a white-nationalist mass-shooter, and is peppered throughout with his seething hatred of liberals. Luttrell is extremely regretful that he went along with the decision to let the Afghans go and did not stick to his gut feeling and insist they murder an old man and two children (all unarmed). “It was the stupidest, most southern-fried, lamebrained decision I ever made in my life,” he wrote. “I’d turned into a fucking liberal, a half-assed, no-logic nitwit, all heart, no brain.” By way of explanation, he said that it was his certainty that the liberal media would betray the troops and side with the Taliban that made him release them, telling his fellow SEALs at the time: 

Just so you all understand, their bodies will be found, the Taliban will use it to the max. They’ll get it in the papers, and the U.S. liberal media will attack us without mercy. We will almost certainly be charged with murder.

Apologizing for not carrying out what amounts to a war crime, he writes: 

That situation might look simple in Washington, where the human rights of terrorists are often given high priority. And I am certain liberal politicians would defend their position to the death. Because everyone knows liberals have never been wrong about anything. You can ask them. Anytime.

The book is a glorification of supposedly righteous violence against a subhuman opponent. As he explains: 

“In the global war on terror, we have rules, and our opponents use them against us. We try to be reasonable; they will stop at nothing. They will stoop to any form of base warfare: torture, beheading, mutilation. Attacks on innocent civilians, women and children, car bombs, suicide bombers, anything the hell they can think of. They’re right up there with the monsters of history.

The original script stayed close to Luttrell’s interpretation of events. Needless to say, however, the military demanded major rewrites. In the finished version, the Navy SEAL commander simply decides to let the goat herders go, with no arguments about whether to kill them and hide their bodies and certainly no long soliloquies about the treachery of the liberal media, as happens in the book.

The military often claims that they aid the film industry merely to ensure depictions of themselves are more accurate. Yet reading through 131 pages of declassified emails between them and production company, Film 44, it is clear that this is not the case. Indeed, Philip Strub, the Department of Defense’s chief Hollywood liaison, made this explicit, writing in a now-declassified email:

While maximizing historical authenticity is our mandate, we share responsibility for the reputations of the four SEALs and to their families’ memories of them.

What also becomes apparent after reading the documents is the level of intimacy between the movie industry and the military, and the latter’s fastidious attention to detail, poring over every single word of dialogue to ensure each frame is as pro-war as the film can get. Strub and his associates even insisted minor touches, like visible tattoos on the SEALs, be written out of the script. They also demanded the deletion of a scene in which Luttrell and another SEAL have a conversation about Power Bars, taunting each other, with Luttrell shouting “blow me, fag,” then loudly farting. This was presumably in an effort to ensure members of the Navy SEALs did not come across as uncouth as Lutrell does in his own book. 

“I just learned from Film 44 (Sarah and Braden) that they are ready to submit Pete’s latest rewrite to us. They say that they have used our notes as a kind of check-list, and addressed all of our concerns. You’ll be receiving the watermarked script via email very shortly,” Strub wrote in an email that suggests that every draft script needed to meet the military’s exacting standards. Strub is one of the most powerful men in the entertainment industry. The list of movies and TV shows for which he is (publicly) credited is staggering, surely more impressive than virtually any other director or producer in Hollywood. Yet his name is all but unknown to the public.

According to the documents, the military categorized their role in the movie into four parts: “script review and vetting,” “production department consulting,” talent training” and “on-set coaching.” In exchange for what amounts to total content control, the military provided “Lone Survivor’s” producers with the use of Kirtland Air Force Base in a rocky and sandy part of New Mexico that could easily pass for Afghanistan; the use of a multitude of expensive aircraft, including Black Hawk and Apache helicopters; and parachute jumpers and other general military personnel.

One reason for this continued involvement is obvious, and made explicit in the emails. “One of the criteria for DoD to support the movie is recruiting,” wrote an officer from U.S. Special Operations Command. 

What is particularly noteworthy about this movie is that its entire premise — that if the SEALs chose not to kill the goat herders they would be found out — is demonstrably incorrect. Interviews with locals (including the man who hid and protected Luttrell, ensuring he was the lone survivor) establish that everybody in the area knew the SEALs were there, thanks to the elite unit’s own incompetence when it came to stealth. An enormous American helicopter landing in a remote part of rural Afghanistan was enough to raise suspicions among locals. If that was not enough, the SEAL team failed to dispose of evidence of their landing. 

Unsurprisingly, Strub and his colleagues insisted this scene, which threatened to introduce a potential alternative reading of the movie — in which bungling Americans get caught, outmaneuvered, then slaughtered — was changed. This helped ensure the movie was as relentlessly pro-military as possible, despite the fact that it was telling the story of one of the deadliest U.S. military blunders of the entire war.

Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)

“Charlie Wilson’s War” tells the story of the eponymous Texas politician most famous for being the driving force behind Operation Cyclone — the CIA’s funding and training of the Afghan Mujahideen (an action that also turned the country into the world’s largest heroin producer).

The original script did not portray Wilson or his endeavors especially sympathetically, explicitly noting how he was supporting extremists like Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda. One of these ultra-radicals was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a brutal warlord widely accused of starting the trend of throwing acid in women’s faces. Throughout the original script, 9/11 is presented as a foreseeable consequence of the U.S.’s decision to empower these violent fanatics. Indeed, the original end scene took place at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, with Wilson hearing the deafening screech of an airliner hitting the building.

However, all this — al-Qaeda, Hekmatyar, and the 9/11 scene — was cut from the script after the CIA reviewed it. Instead, the finished film ends with Wilson receiving a medal for his services to freedom in Afghanistan. Also removed was a scene discussing the Sabra and Shatilla Massacres, where Israeli-backed forces slaughtered hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinian refugees.

Earlier versions of the script also portrayed the Soviets somewhat sympathetically, with one character noting that Soviet atrocities in Afghanistan included “forc[ing] them [Afghans] to learn to read and write.” This was also cut in favor of portraying Soviet soldiers as brutal and unthinking monsters slaughtering the local population. 

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016) 

The comedy-drama — which stars Tina Fey, Margot Robbie and Martin Freeman as Western journalists covering the Afghan War — was something of a flop at the box office. Still, it managed to reduce losses significantly by filming at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico (just as “Lone Survivor” did) and using real U.S. Marines as extras. In exchange, producers handed over significant editorial control of the story to the military, which insisted on changing a scene where a U.S. military truck crashed into a crowd of civilians. In the final movie, there are no images of this, and the incident is referred to only in a 20-second news segment that describes it merely as “a fatal traffic accident involving a coalition truck.” 

The crash was a real incident. In 2006, the truck plowed through Kabul during rush hour, killing at least three civilians and injuring many others. “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” is based on American journalist Kim Barker’s memoir “The Taliban Shuffle.” The incident plays a major role in her book as the point where she finally understood how pointless and unwinnable the war was, how there was no accountability for the rich and powerful and no justice for the “have nots.” She described it and the following anti-U.S. riots as “a major breaking point in Afghanistan, the time when we first saw just how angry some Afghans were, just how ripe the country was for a Taliban comeback, just how leaderless Afghanistan really was.” Yet in the movie, the crash is mentioned only in passing, making the rioting Afghans appear irrationally angry and violent, a typical stereotype of Afghan War films. 

Iron Man (2008)

The original “Iron Man” script was decidedly pacifist, with protagonist Tony Stark attempting to use his enormous manufacturing empire to battle against war profiteers and the military industrial complex. However, after the Pentagon got involved, with Philip Strub again acting as the military liaison, the tone of the movie was radically altered. Much of the fighting in the movie takes place in modern-day Afghanistan, with the U.S. military serving the role of the good guys. In this sense, the film’s stance on war was reversed.

In exchange, the production agreement notes that the military would allow the movie to be shot at Edwards Air Force Base, just north of Los Angeles; provide “approximately 150 extras at Edwards AFB to play military members from various services and Afghan nationals;” help produce around 100 uniforms; and provide the opportunity to use a range of expensive aircraft.

Tom Secker, when asked by MintPress to assess the U.S. film industry’s role in prolonging the Afghan war, responded: 

Hollywood’s coverage of NATO’s war in Afghanistan has been notable by its absence, its silence, and its use of contextless microcosms which represent the war, rather than explore or explain it. “Iron Man” and “Lone Survivor” — two Pentagon-supported blockbusters — are both set during the U.S. occupation, but the scale of that occupation and the mess it was making of the country are ignored by both narratives, in favor of tightly-focused cinematic synecdoches which conveniently avoid the suffering of everyone involved.

Secker concluded:

In that sense, of course Hollywood has played a crucial role in perpetuating the war. They either failed to remind people that the war was still going on, or painted it in heroic, decontextualized colors that make it seem like a benevolent adventure halfway round the world, rather than the crushing, destructive geopolitical ratfuck it truly is.  

A mediated war 

It is not just big-budget Hollywood movies that the Pentagon works on, however. Practically every medium is used to spread a pro-war message. Declassified documents show that the Army flew Arnold Schwarzenegger to Afghanistan for the global-warming documentary TV series “Years of Living Dangerously.” This was, laughably, an effort to present the U.S. military — the single largest polluter in the world — as a force for good with regard to climate change, showing the former bodybuilder their supposed efforts to set up renewable energy systems across the Middle East. 

Likewise, pop culture is full of strategically inserted pro-war messages. For instance, declassified documents show that the OCPA-W carefully placed uniformed service members in opportune spots in the audience of the game show “The Price is Right.” The military pays the National Football League millions of dollars to put troops on the field or fly aircraft over the stadium before big football games, turning the entire event into a recruitment drive. It also has a video-games team called “U.S. Army Esports,” helping to associate the military with fun in the minds of the children watching. They have also been accused of using the same grooming techniques pedophiles use, only to recruit children into joining the war machine. 

Meanwhile, the music video for pop star Katy Perry’s song “Part of Me” was shot at Camp Pendleton Military Base in California, and shows Perry getting over a bad breakup by joining the Marines. The training process shows her finding herself again and growing as an individual. When Fox News asked Perry’s team if they had been paid by the military for the video, they refused to answer. The video currently has 887 million views on YouTube.

“The whole videography … is straight out of [Nazi film maker] Leni Riefenstahl: the same angled, heroizing upward shots, the same fetishization of physical power, of gleaming armaments, and of the rigor and mechanism of human beings cohering into living militarized units,” wrote feminist critic Naomi Wolf, who labeled the song “war propaganda.”

TV news is also filled with former high-ranking military officials who play the role of neutral expert while sticking, laser-like, to pro-war talking points, helping to give cable news coverage of the conflict a decidedly jingoistic bent. 

What these documents ultimately underline is the deep interlocking connections between Hollywood and the national security state. Few Americans experience the war from close up. Even fewer realize that depictions of the conflict come heavily mediated through the military. In hundreds of films and TV shows, every single word and image has been closely scrutinized and signed off by senior military figures, all in the effort to convince viewers into supporting deadly and grossly immoral campaigns around the world. Long ago, the military realized the power of Hollywood. It is high time that Americans realized that, when watching movies and TV shows about war, all too often they are not seeing neutral works of art, but carefully constructed pieces of national security propaganda.

9/11 twenty years later and cheap & ubiquitous cellphones

September 11, 2021

9/11 twenty years later and cheap & ubiquitous cellphones

by Andrei for the Saker blog

Twenty years have passed since 9/11, so where do we stand today?  I will give my short answers as bullet points and then let you post your own conclusions.  Here are mine:

  1. Numerous engineers, architects, chemists, researchers and others have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that 9/11 was a controlled demolition.
  2. There is very strong, albeit indirect, preponderance of evidence that the Israelis were deeply involved and that they had accomplices inside the USA.
  3. From the two above I think that it is reasonable to assume that the Israelis were working with the US Neocons on a common project.
  4. Al-Qaeda (which is a CIA creation in the first place!) had some parts of it activated by the US/Israeli deep states (which are trying run the Takfiris everywhere), but only to play the role of a patsy (there were a few Saudis and there were real aircraft, but they did not bring down any buildings in NY).
  5. It remains unclear to me what really happened at the Pentagon, but I think that we can take the notion that the aircraft over DC and NY were remotely piloted as a pretty good working hypothesis (which still needs to be proven).
  6. Directed energy weapons, Russian naval nuclear cruise missiles, mini-nukes and the like are crude disinformation responses to the 9/11 Truth movement by the US deep state.  These were only moderately effective and only convinced a, shall we say, specific type of “truthers” which are all rejected as idiots (at best) by the mainstream 9/11 movement.
  7. The truth about 9/11 is now slowly getting “JFK status” which is “everybody either suspects/knows, but nobody really cares anymore”.  It’s old news, especially in a society with an attention span somewhere between 2 mins and 2 days.
  8. The real goal of 9/11 was to create a “patriotic pretext” to launch the GWOT and change the entire Middle-East into a compliant entity à la Jordan.
  9. The GWOT was a total failure and one of the worst military campaign in military history.
  10. The plan to create a “new” Middle-East have totally failed and, if anything, created a stronger anti-Israeli environment than before 9/11.  The fact that GWOT medals are handed out by the ton means nothing: after the Grenada faceplant Uncle Shmuel gave out more medals than participants took place in the entire operation.
  11. The AngloZionost Empire died on January 8th, 2020 and the USA, as we knew it, died on January 6th 2021 (see here for a detailed discussion of these dates and context), almost exactly one year later.
  12. By being murdered by the USA, General Soleimani won the biggest victory in his life.
  13. The US will have to leave both Iraq and Syria sooner rather than later.
  14. The Zionist entity calling itself “Israel” is now in a major political and even existential crisis and is now on the ropes and desperate.  But they hide it a lot better than the US propagandists.  But the Palestinians “feel” that, as do quite a few Israelis too.
  15. Both Biden and “Biden” are now fighting for their political lives not only due to “Kabul” but also due to the way Biden has just declared war on those who refuse vaccines.
  16. Anti-vaxxers might be many things, but nobody can deny them the following qualities: they are very strongly driven, for them the entire issue is not medical, but one of self-image, of identity and resistance to tyranny.  Okay, some will quietly cave in, but many will not.  That is why I strongly believe that Biden’s “declaration of war” against the unvaccinated “deplorables” (he did not use the word, but his contempt and hate was obvious) is a huge mistake.  At least in the USA, I believe that there are plenty of anti-vaxxers who will rather die in a firefight than being vaxxed (which they sincerely believe will either chip them, or kill them in a couple of years).  In other words, I do not believe that “Biden” has the means to force 80M+ anti-vaxxers to get the jab, in fact, if anything, his entire speech was a highly divisive slap in the face of millions of US Americans.  Violence is almost inevitable by now.  First isolated incidents, but possibly something bigger too.
  17. The US economy is not growing or recovery.  That is just playing with numbers or, “statistics” in Churchill’s sense of the word.  The truth is that the country is breaking apart and slowly going “3rd world” (okay, there are already plenty of “3rd world” areas of the USA, but these are now expanding).  The real Chinese economy is about 1.5 times larger than the real US one.  Point, set, game and match China.  By the way, the real Russian economy is comparable or bigger to the real German one, and the Russian economy has pretty much recovered from the COVID crisis (but it is not over, cases are still rising in some areas of Russia).
  18. The US military has totally lost its ability to function as a real military.  Ditto for NATO.  They were publicly humiliated pretty much everywhere they set foot.  This process is now irreversible. Point, set, game and match Russia, China and Iran.
  19. Internally, the USA losing its cohesion and that centrifugal process is being accelerated by the truly insane internal policies of “Biden” (just Woke and Covid are a declaration of war against millions of US Americans).  I am not at all confident that “Biden” can bring states like Florida or Texas to heel.  I won’t comment any further on the internal US situation, but that needed to be mentioned.

Conclusions:

  1. As with all Neocon type policies, they initially look “brilliant” only to end up in an abject clusterbleep and the Neocons hated by pretty much everybody else.
  2. The Taliban won the GWOT (even at its best, Uncle Shmuel “controlled” about 40% of the country, max!).
  3. The entire Zone B and a big part of Zone A now realize that (whether they openly admit it or not).
  4. There is a good chance that the very public disaster in Afghanistan will now force the Europeans to distance themselves from a clearly senile, demented and weak Big Brother.
  5. The core Anglosphere (UK/CA/NZ/AUS) seems to be consolidating around the “Biden USA” which might put them on a collision course with the EU.  We are not quite there yet, but that’s were we are heading.
  6. The COVID pandemic effectively “exploded” all the societies in Zone A which are now all in a low-level “brewing” pre-civil war condition.  I do not see what anybody could do to change that.
  7. The COVID pandemic will only get worse, which will only trigger more attempts by Zone A government to try force their population to “obey” and that, in turn, will only further destabilize all, repeat, ALL the regimes in power in Zone A.

The bottom line is this: 9/11 and the GWOT were initial, very short lived, tactical successes which resulted in a strategic disaster or, better, in a strategic collapse of both the AngloZionist Empire and the USA.

And, finally, this.  I cannot prove it, but my reading of modern history and regime collapses brings me to believe the following:

I have always said that US policies, internal and external, are not really the result of careful planning as they are the result of various interests/entities using their influence and power to “pull” US policies in the way they want.  And since there are A LOT of various interests/entities, especially in important cases, what we see is not a “policy outcome” but only a “sum vector”, an “outcome” which is the sum of all the different pulling and the relative strength of the folks doing that pulling.

I believe that this process has only been magnified but by an order of magnitude.  What we see today in the US ruling elites is a huge “cover your ass”, “run for your life”, “protect yourself and your future” and even “grab it while you still can” and NOT, repeat, NOT “real” policies.  Those who believe in a grand conspiracy fail to realize that what happened in Kabul is not the exception, it is the rule!  Kabul was a giant spotlight which finally showed the true face of the US military to the entire planet: not the Tom Clancy kind of patriotic delusional hallucinations or Hollywood, but the “real reality” filmed “on the ground” on cheap but ubiquitous cellphones, by both Afghani and even US/NATO servicemen’s!

The problem for the delusional patriots is this: far from being “Putin agents” or anything like that, the million of folks out there who have cellphones with cameras (no matter how old or cheap) produce such a raw volume of data which makes it impossible to suppress.  The exact same goes for the Israelis, by the way, who have paid a huge price in terms of “losing the propaganda war” since the Palestinians (and quite a few Israelis too!!) now use their cellphones more effectively than any Palestinian rocket or suicide-bomber ever would.  That is also what really screwed up the recent US elections: ubiquitous cellphones (well, and CCTV cameras).

If we imagine the US/Israeli propaganda machine as a huge powerful animal (BILLIONS are invested into this) you can think of poor, oppressed people with cheapo cellphones as fire ants.  Let’s just conclude by saying that time is not on the side of the big powerful heavy animal, but on the fire ants’ side.

Andrei

PS: yes, I mentioned the POLITICAL aspects of the COVID pandemic.  I get to set the rules, since this is my blog.  The COVID topic remains banned on the entire Saker blog (Cafe included), EVEN if I get to mention it if/when it is part of my political analyses (I won’t touch the medicals aspects of COVID anymore, I have said all I have to say on this topic already anyway).  Do do NOT, repeat, NOT try to “sneak in” some COVID comments or you will be banned.  For the alternatively gifted: the article above is NOT about vaccines or the dangers of mRNA, it is about the political evaluation of 9/11 and the GWOT.  Stay on topic or else…

“There Was No Indication of Afghanistan Collapse Within 11 Days” – Top US General

AUGUST 20, 2021

“There Was No Indication of Afghanistan Collapse Within 11 Days” - Top US General

By Staff, Agencies

The top general in the US said no one predicted the sudden Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, speaking in a Pentagon press conference Wednesday.

“There was nothing that I or anybody else saw that indicated a collapse of this army and this government in 11 days,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said.

The US military and the administration of US President Joe Biden are under political attack domestically over the Taliban’s defeat of the Afghan forces with little fight and the collapse of former president Ashraf Ghani’s US-backed government last weekend.

“The intelligence clearly indicated multiple scenarios were possible: one of those was an outright Taliban takeover following a rapid collapse of the Afghan Security Forces and the government,” Milley said. “Another was a civil war, and a third was a negotiated settlement.”

But regarding the “timeframe of a rapid collapse, that was widely estimated and ranged from weeks, months, and even years following our departure,” he said.

He said that, to his knowledge, no reports “predicted a security force of 300,000 would evaporate in 11 days, from 6 August to 16 August, with the capture of 34 provinces and the capital city of Kabul.”

“The Afghan security forces had the capacity, and by that I mean they had the training, the size, the capability, to defend their country,” he claimed. “This comes down to an issue of will and leadership.”

The speed appeared to catch the US government off guard and it launched a rapid evacuation operation for US citizens and Afghans granted special visas for their work for US forces.

Since Saturday, around 5,000 US troops have flown in to Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport to manage the evacuations of thousands.

Critics faulted the State Department, US intelligence, and the Pentagon for not anticipating the debacle and preparing earlier for the evacuation, which involves more than 10,000 US citizens.

US Defeat: Senators Horrified to See US Military Equipment in Taliban’s Hands, Want Answers from Pentagon

18 Aug 2021

US Defeat: Senators Horrified to See US Military Equipment in Taliban’s Hands, Want Answers from Pentagon

By Staff, Agencies 

A group of 25 Republican senators have written a letter to US War Secretary Austin Lloyd, demanding that the Biden Administration account for taxpayer-funded American military equipment that has now been seized by the Taliban. 

“As we watched the images coming out of Afghanistan as the Taliban retook the country, we were horrified to see US equipment – including UH-60 Black Hawks – in the hands of the Taliban,” the group of Republican senators wrote.

Reports have poured in from the war torn country on how the group has captured not just arms and ammunition stocked by the US troops but also helicopters and heavy armored vehicles. 

“It is unconscionable that high-tech military equipment paid for by US taxpayers has fallen into the hands of the Taliban and their terrorist allies. Securing US assets should have been among the top priorities for the US Department of Defense prior to announcing the withdrawal from Afghanistan,” the senators wrote.

The letter, which has been signed by Senators Bill Cassidy, Marco Rubio and 23 other Republicans, has sought a full account of military equipment provided to the Afghan armed forces last year.

The senators have also raised concerns over the possibility of the Taliban working with countries hostile to the US to use the highly advanced equipment. 

The Taliban is believed to have taken hold of more than 2,000 armored vehicles, including US Humvees, and about 40 aircraft including UH-60 Black Hawks, ScanEagle Military Drones and attack helicopters.

The letter has come days after a damning report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction [SIGAR], the leading US government audit authority, on how wasteful expenses were incurred by the US in Afghanistan. 

On 16 August, SIGAR John Sopko released a bombshell 140-page report titled “What We Need to Learn: Lessons from Twenty Years of Afghanistan Reconstruction,” concluding that the US government consistently underestimated the time needed to rebuild the country.

“If the goal was to rebuild and leave behind a country that can sustain itself and pose little threat to US national security interests, the overall picture is bleak,” the report’s conclusion reads.

Pentagon: Iraq will Decide the Fate of Our Military Presence

22 Jul 21

Al Mayadeen

US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby announced that an Iraqi delegation is visiting the Pentagon to discuss strategic issues between the two countries, including the issue of US military presence in Iraq.

Visual search query image
US military parade in Iraq (archive).

US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby announced that an Iraqi delegation is visiting the Pentagon to discuss strategic issues between the two countries, including the issue of US military presence in Iraq.

Kirby said that the Pentagon is hosting an Iraqi delegation “as part of the ongoing strategic dialogue between the two states” and that “the US military presence in Iraq is under discussion with our Iraqi partners.”

He added: Our mission will not permanently focus on “ISIS” and we are in close consultations with Iraqi officials. We hope that we can rid ourselves and the region of the threat posed by it.

The Pentagon spokesman considered that the fate of US military presence in Iraq is a matter that will be concluded with Iraq, adding that “We will continue to talk with the Iraqis about our direct military presence in Iraq to serve the interests of the United States.” 

The United States reduced its military presence in Iraq last year by half, equivalent to 2,500 soldiers. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman also announced last April that the presence of US forces had become limited to guidance and training.

Talks about the US presence in Iraq come amid an American drive to reduce military deployments in the Middle East that accelerated the withdrawal process of US forces from Afghanistan. 

Bomber Joe Biden Strikes Iraq and Syria: Retaliation Breeds More Incidents

See the source image

July 15, 2021

Philip Giraldi

Joe Biden is continuing down the path that began with George W. Bush, with military action used as a substitute for any real foreign policy.

Joe Biden is continuing down the path that began with George W. Bush, with military action used as a substitute for any real foreign policy.

In less than six months in office President Joe Biden has already developed a national security policy that appears to lean strongly towards proactive use of military force in questionable circumstances, as if war is the answer to every problem. Biden should nevertheless be applauded for his persistence in withdrawing from Afghanistan after twenty years of ill-considered nation building, but even the departure from that country appears to be characterized by a lack of coordination, rather reminiscent of helicopters taking off from the embassy roof in Saigon in 1975.

For the second time the president has ordered a US bombing raid on two targets in Syria, and for the first time, he also attacked a site inside Iraq. According to one report possibly as many as seven Iraqis died in the attacks which targeted alleged weapons storage facilities along the Syria-Iraq border belonging to Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada militias. The US claims that the two Iraqi militias have ties to Iran, which may be more than usually true because the Iraqis and Iranians have cooperated regularly in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS). The Pentagon also claims that the militias were behind recent attacks on American targets, see more below.

After the attacks carried out by US fighter-bombers, the excuse provided was the same one employed after Biden’s first air attack in February, namely that the US, as described by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, “conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region.” He added verbiage what has now become a regular feature of all US military actions, that “the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense.” For those who are intrigued by Pentagon newspeak the expression “defensive precision airstrikes” must be considered as a new entry in the crowded field of phrases that largely have no meaning.

The strikes were framed as being retaliatory, but the most interesting aspect of this latest bombing is that the initial US government justifications for the action were on somewhat tentative. Reportedly, someone had used drones with explosives attached for mostly night-time attacks directed “against places where Americans were located in Iraq,” which were further described as including diplomatic, intelligence and military facilities. The Pentagon refers to the drones as “unmanned aerial vehicles” or UAVs. No Americans were killed in the alleged attacks and there were no reports of any substantial damage, though the Pentagon is apparently collecting information and preparing a comprehensive report which the public undoubtedly will not be allowed to see.

Oddly, the initial media reporting on what had occurred and who had been blamed for it included a weasel word, “suspected.” In government-speak that frequently means there was little or no evidence that the militias that had been targeted were actually the perpetrators, but it is convenient to assume that they are responsible, making them “suspects.” After all, it is relatively easy to transport a number of drones on the bed of a pickup truck, drive with it to a location where one is unlikely to be observed and then release them at a fixed target. Even if you don’t hit anything, you will spread fear and trigger a response that might well be exploited to vilify the occupying forces. You will also provide justification for your own retaliation.

The Iraqi government, which was not informed in advance of the US bombings, not surprisingly reacted strongly, registering its opposition to such activity on the part of its so-called ally, though occupier has been suggested as a more appropriate description. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s office called the airstrikes a “blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and Iraqi national security.” After the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad Airport in January 2020, the Iraqi Parliament had called for the departure of all US forces, but the Trump Administration ignored the demand, claiming that it was in Iraq to help the Iraqis in their fight against ISIS and other terrorist groups.

The US currently has a claimed 2,500 soldiers in Iraq who, it asserts, are in country advising and training their local counterparts. Meanwhile, “Fighting terrorists and training friendly forces” is roughly the same excuse that has been used to justify remaining in neighboring Syria, where the US has deployed roughly 500 soldiers who have been taking possession of the production of the country’s oil fields, which it then provides to Israel. The US is also, by the way, trying to overthrow the legitimate Syrian government in Damascus, using some of the very terrorists it claims to be fighting to do the job, but that is of course another story.

If the United States government is beginning to sound a bit like the Israeli government that should surprise no one, as Israel is clearly heavily involved in whatever on goes vis-à-vis Syria and Iran directly and in Iraq by proxy. One almost expects new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to provide an endorsement, parroting the Pentagon line as well as his own country’s rhetoric, saying “the US has a right to defend itself.” Of course, the unasked question then becomes “to defend itself against what?” Israel was at least able to pretend that there was some kind of threat coming from Gaza since the two share a border, but the United States would be hard pressed to explain why it has soldiers in Syria and Iraq at all, particularly since the Iraqi government has called upon them to depart.

A neocon journalist supportive of a global crusade to spread “democracy” once quipped that the nice thing about having an empire is never having to say you are sorry, but that has not meant that mindless acts of violence inflicted throughout the Middle East are have been consequence free. One has to suspect in this case that the use of force to include a target within the borders of a nominal ally was also mostly intended to send a signal to Iran. A Pentagon spokesman ironically boasted afterwards that “This action should send a message to Iran that it cannot hide behind its proxy forces to attack the United States and our Iraqi partners.” The spokesman appears to be oblivious to the fact that it was Iraqi militiamen tied to the government that had been killed, not Iranians. And his assumption that it would reduce the level of violence also proved wrong as there have been a number of new drone, rocket and mortar attacks against American targets in Iraq since Biden’s “defensive precision airstrikes” were launched. One of the militias that lost fighters to the US airstrikes, said it would “avenge the blood of our righteous martyrs.”  Another Iranian supported group, the Popular Mobilization Forces went further, threatening to “enter an open war with the American occupation.” In short, all the attacks really accomplished was to anger the Iraqi people over the continued US presence and to guarantee more incidents.

Biden’s “sending a message to Iran” would undoubtedly be intended to do the same to the Iraqi government, telling them that drawing any closer to the Iranians is too close as far as the Pentagon and White House are concerned. In terms of the timing of the airstrikes, it is also important to note that the US has been working closely with the new Israeli government to establish a unified policy on Iranian “regional aggression” and its nuclear program. Biden met recently with retiring Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the White House and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has been having discussions with Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid. Iran was the focus of both meetings.

So, Joe Biden and whoever is advising him are continuing down the path that began with George W. Bush, with military action used as a substitute for any real foreign policy. The problem with the meddling in the Middle East is primarily that it permits no exit strategy. It will end ignominiously when it ends as is happening in Afghanistan, without any remorse and little to show for all the expense and the deaths. Given that reality, rather than concoct largely fabricated reasons to keep US troops in Iraq and Syria the Administration should be looking for ways to end the torment for everyone involved.

Related Video

NEO – The Nasty Secrets behind Pentagon Treason and America’s Rogue Nuclear Threat

Roosevelt found the Army not just unfit, but a threat to democracy with an officer corps largely aligned with Adolf Hitler

April 28, 2021

by  Gordon Duff, Senior Editor … with New Eastern Outlook, Moscsow, 

We will begin with a short and painless history lesson. Just before the US entered World War II, General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff for the US Army, was tasked with getting America ready for war.

To do so, he removed 30,000 incompetent officers, most of them West Point Graduates, from their positions with the Army and Reserve/National Guard Commands. Eventually, he ended up putting an obscure Lt. Colonel named Dwight Eisenhower in charge of all European operations.

From the 1972 hit song by the Scottish music group Steelers Wheels:

“Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…Stuck in the Middle Again”

Roosevelt found the Army not just unfit but a threat to democracy with an officer corps largely aligned with Adolf Hitler.

Vietnam

Vietnam was worse but the problem was sloth and cowardice. Here the Pentagon set up luxury resorts as military bases for brass and visiting “dignitaries” while those fighting the war starved and died in numbers unseen since the darkest days of World War II.

In the North/I Corps we had 3MAF Headquarters, the “Puzzle Palace,” with top rated chefs and high-end brothels while in the South we had MACV Forward, the infamous Westmoreland Compound, originally set up by MSUG’s Wesley Fischel, architects of the corrupt Diem regime.

This author enjoyed a firsthand view of Vietnam as a Marine infantryman serving in units commanded by privates and lance corporals while commanders were never seen.

A true story, from 1970. This author was being released from active duty as a corporal in the Marine Corps, stationed at that time at LZ Rockcrusher at Dai La Pass outside Da Nang. I was called into Da Nang to meet with General Nickerson, then III MAF Commander and an officer selection board.

I was offered an immediate commission if I chose to remain in the Corps and a slot, at a later date, at Annapolis. I was told the Marine Corps was getting rid of the “dead wood,” and I was asked to stay on.

My response, you mean “combat vets?” General Nickerson’s response: “That’s exactly what we mean.” My attempt at irony either zoomed past him or he did not care.

I was a combat vet, but I must have been the “right kind” of combat vet, tall, blond, white and educated and, seemingly “compliant.” They might have been wrong about that. Today’s “Dancing boy village” at Kabul with its million-dollar condominiums puts both to shame and we do not want to discuss the Green Zone in Baghdad.

Today

Our point is this, the military gravitates toward proving the Peter Principle and is, in fact, the best possible example of the worst principles of management. From Wikipedia:

“The Peter Principle is a concept in management developed by Laurence J. Peter, which observes that people in a hierarchy tend to rise to their “level of incompetence”: employees are promoted based on their success in previous jobs until they reach a level at which they are no longer competent.”

The military now takes it to a whole new level with promotion based on servile gullibility and adherence to a blend of approved conspiracy theories, where Dispensationalism and Dominionism, both stressing the Pentagon’s role in bringing about nuclear Armageddon or the newest versions under Trump, Qanon, COVID denialism and a blend of Fascism and Hucksterism.

The Viper Academies and the January 6 Coup Attempt

This week, the director of the Air Force Academy, Lt. General Richard Clarke, director of the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs decided to comply with presidential orders to investigate right wing extremism and white supremacism, which has virtually drowned the American military, by blaming “both sides.”

Several of the leaders of the January 6, 2021 coup attempt were Air Force Academy graduates with high security clearances. Secretary of Defense Austin ordered all military commands, and especially the Air Force Academy, to investigate extremism in the ranks.

It is supposed to be a highest priority that as few paranoid schizophrenics as possible enter the highest levels of America’s nuclear command structure. If you feel this statement reflects sarcasm, it is obvious that you have been asleep for the last couple of decades or more.

Asleep or Complicit?

This is the same military that has overseen the export of hundreds of tons of processed heroin from its bases in Afghanistan, that watched ISIS steal millions of tons of oil from Iraq and Syria and is now directly involved in that process itself, at presidential order.

At one point in 2015, ISIS (banned in Russia) had 12,000 oil trucks lined up 4 abreast headed into Turkey, a convoy visible from the surface of the moon with the naked eye. Yet, America’s drones, satellites and surveillance aircraft saw nothing, not until Russian Aerospace Forces decided to intervene.

These are facts that prove that every American military commander was and is fully complicit in protecting the operational activities of named terror groups.

We can make the exact same statement about the world heroin trade as well. At one point, the US Air Force asserted that the Taliban (banned in Russia) was flying heroin out of Afghanistan secretly from American bases.

As American humorist Jim W. Dean so often says, “You just can’t make this stuff up.”

Bin Laden Again

There are issues that should never be forgotten or allowed to be pushed aside. One is Osama bin Laden, longtime CIA asset chosen as “patsy” for the fake War on Terror and the other 9/11, one of the world’s greatest false flag events.

Note that Trump appointee, Clarke, was the architect of the Bin Laden raid. This “made” Clarke as an American hero and moved him into a position where he could, potentially, be very useful to extremist elements.

In 2009, this author traveled to Pakistan and met with Imran Khan, currently Pakistan’s Prime Minister, then ISI Chief General Pasha and discussed bin Laden’s death. The group also included former Head of the Army General Aslem Beg, former ISI Head and VT Editor General Hamid Gul and Chairman of Pakistan’s JCOS, Admiral Sirohey, also a member of VT’s Advisory Board.

This author also reviewed classified files on bin Laden and interviewed one of the men who buried bin Laden in Afghanistan. According to records, including reports from Fox News and other sources, bin Laden died in December 2001. From Fox News:

“Usama bin Laden has died a peaceful death due to an untreated lung complication, the Pakistan Observer reported, citing a Taliban leader who allegedly attended the funeral of the Al Qaeda leader.

‘The Coalition troops are engaged in a mad search operation, but they would never be able to fulfill their cherished goal of getting Usama alive or dead,’ the source said.

Bin Laden, according to the source, was suffering from a serious lung complication and succumbed to the disease in mid-December, in the vicinity of the Tora Bora mountains. The source claimed that bin Laden was laid to rest honorably in his last abode and his grave was made as per his Wahabi belief.”

It gets much worse. In a further interview with White House intelligence coordinator Lee Wanta, I was told that bin Laden had been in the US on 9/11 receiving medical care at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center under the name Colonel Timothy Osman.

Wanta described his meetings in the US with bin Laden/Osman, which included Oliver North and other Bush officials, and of an earlier meeting with bin Laden in Peshawar, Pakistan, which included top CIA officials.

Wanta reported that Oxford educated bin Laden spoke better English than he did.

Yet, for years, SITE Intelligence, an Israeli run organization, provided videos of strange looking versions of bin Laden, followed by years of audio tapes as the world had apparently lost the ability to record or upload video in the interim, or we would supposedly be brought to believe.

Americans are still in Afghanistan hunting for the “dozens of vast underground fortresses” Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld spoke of when he ordered the hunt for long dead bin Laden, part of an American war that cost the lives of millions of innocents.

Every minute of it was fake and the Pentagon at it up like a dog at vomit.

Minot Barksdale and an Earlier Coup Attempt

The issue at the Air Force Academy began many years ago. This author was contacted by cadets (158) there back in 2008 who complained of religious persecution and a curriculum that promoted treason and extremism.

The root of the command meltdown within the US military is generally traced to the US Army Psychological Warfare Command at the Presidio, a base in San Francisco that is today a city park. At the time a strange Satanic child abuse scandal within the military had attempted to implicate commanders there including Colonel Michael Aquino, founder of the Temple of Set, a Satanic cult powerful within the Pentagon and the service academies.

Aquino was cleared but an investigation led to broad allegations of abuse through 15 major military commands including and especially the US Air Force Academy and the US Air Force nuclear command at Minot Air Force Base. From New Eastern Outlook (2014):

“During the Bush (43) administration, something far more serious happened. America’s nuclear command structure was compromised at every level, culminating in the theft of nuclear weapons from Minot Air Force Base in 2007, an undisclosed number of thermonuclear weapons loaded onto a B 52 which later landed — or more appropriately, was forced to land at Barksdale Air Force Base some hours later.

Immediately thereafter, Secretary of Defence Robert Gates ordered the Department of Defense to remove all oversight of nuclear weapons from the United States Air Force, placing an Army general in overall command of what had previously been Air Force weapons inventories.

Soon thereafter, 84 personnel in America’s largest nuclear command were removed, 12 permanently due to accidents and suicide. Since that time, over 200 members of that command have been forced out, and America’s entire nuclear command has been put under direct oversight.

Greater Israel

The real problem is twofold and involves a breakdown of command authority and discipline, as well as treason. Not long after Bush (43) took office, his backers in the extremist Christian evangelical community approached Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

They wanted to assure that all military command personnel would follow the tenets of the obscure religious sect Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and Ashcroft belonged to.

This sect seeks to bring about a nuclear apocalypse tied to the expansion of “Greater Israel” in order to bring about what they call the “rapture” and “end times.” Their religious beliefs are a mix of “Ufology,” belief in alien influence, satanic worship and that a select group will be called to rule the world at the side of an alien master race, while those “left behind” will die in misery.

Their religion is a mix of misinterpreted biblical prophecy, science fiction and the occult. In fact, many of those at the highest levels of US government retain no actual Christian beliefs at all, not by any conventional standard.”

Given Enough Rope…

Blindly cheerleading for the military is called “patriotism” but, often as not it is treason in its purest form. There is now and there has been in the past, time and time again, no bigger threat against freedom than the military and America’s military is among the worst.

There are no simple truths, but we will distill it down as much as possible. The Pentagon is a feeding ground for extremists, bottom-feeders and “mama’s boys” in uniform. It is all haircuts and fancy uniforms, of saluting, strutting and conspiracy.

The Pentagon lives on conspiracy and treason that is held in check only by a few decent and honorable leaders.

The problem, initially, was the revolving door that placed potentially traitorous military leaders, after retirement, at Fox News as commentators or moved them into White House advisory positions.

Some gravitated to think tanks like the infamous Atlantic Council or Heritage Foundation and almost all have, predictably, embraced Fascism in his many forms.

Conclusion

The current political climate in the US is extremely dangerous. The Supreme Court, stacked with extremists, is openly tossing the constitution aside as recently cited by Justice Sotomayor.

Extremists in Arizona have seized the ballots from the recent presidential election and are doctoring them, in an attempt to justify a military takeover of the government. Their stated goal is to set up a “whites only” ruling party that will oversee elections where only the “righteous” will be allowed to vote.

A recent investigation of the military’s role in the January 6 coup attempt by General Honore’ found widespread complicity between military commands in and around Washington DC and coup plotters.

Simply put, were the US to be evaluating another nation, a nuclear power, judging whether its nuclear arsenal was at risk or its command structure capable of overruling elected officials and unleashing a nuclear war, based on the “situation on the ground” in the US today, America would be considered a “highest threat.”

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He’s a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

BIOGRAPHY

Gordon Duff, Senior Editor

Senior Editor , VTGordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He is a disabled veteran and has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades. Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world’s largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues.

Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than “several” countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.

Gordon’s Archives – 2008-2014gpduf@aol.com

Will the allies have to die for Kiev?

Thierry Meyssan Political consultant, President-founder of the Réseau Voltaire (Voltaire Network). Latest work in English – Before Our Very Eyes, Fake Wars and Big Lies: From 9/11 to Donald Trump, Progressive Press, 2019.

by Thierry Meyssan

The Ukrainian population is divided between a part of European culture and another of Russian culture.

This singularity offers Washington a playground against Moscow. For several weeks now, the drums have been beating, sounding war.

But none of the allies want to die for Kiev or sacrifice themselves to Russia.

VOLTAIRE NETWORK | PARIS (FRANCE) | 20 APRIL 2021

The US armed forces

Joe Biden has always been the “Pentagon’s man”.

1- The Anglo-Saxons have a hereditary enemy: the Russians. For them, Russians are despicable people, destined since Otto I (10th century) to be nothing but slaves, as their name indicates (‘Slavic’ means both ethnicity and slave). In the 20th century, they were against the USSR, allegedly because it was communist, and are now against Russia without knowing why.

2- Second adversary, enemies they have created for themselves by waging an “endless war” against them since September 11, 2001: the populations of the wider Middle East, whose state organisation they are systematically destroying, whether they are allies or adversaries, in order to “send them back to the stone age” and exploit the riches of their region (Rumsfeld/Cebrowski strategy).

3- Third adversary: China, whose economic development threatens to relegate them to second place. In their eyes, they have no other choice than war. This is at least what their political scientists think, and they even speak of the “Thucydides trap” in reference to the war that Sparta waged against Athens, frightened by its flight [1].

4 – The issues of Iran and North Korea are far behind the first three.

Joe Biden’s Interim National Security Strategy [2] or their Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community [3] keep repeating this from different angles.

Fighting three wars at once is extremely difficult. The Pentagon is currently looking at how to prioritise these. It will report in June. There is absolute secrecy about the commission that is doing this assessment. No one even knows who the members are. Yet without delay, the Biden administration is focusing on Russia.

Whether we are independent or subservient to the “American Empire”, we must stop trying to avoid seeing. The United States of America has no other objective than to destroy Russian culture, Arab state structures, and – eventually – the Chinese economy. This has absolutely nothing to do with the legitimate defence of their people.

There is no other way to explain why the United States spends astronomical sums on its military that bear no relation to the budgets of those it describes as its “friends” or “enemies”. According to the Institute for Strategic Studies in London, the US military budget is at least equal to the sum of the budgets of the other 15 most armed

states [4].

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Military budgets of the 15 largest states (in billions of US dollars).Source: Institute for Strategic Studies

Issues for confrontation with Russia

The US is concerned about Russia’s recovery. After experiencing a sharp drop in life expectancy between 1988 and 1994 (5 years less), it has recovered, then largely surpassed that of the Soviet era (12 years more), although its healthy life expectancy remains one of the lowest in Europe. Their economy is diversifying, particularly in agriculture, but remains dependent on energy exports. Their army has been renewed, their military-industrial complex is more efficient than the Pentagon’s, and it has acquired experience in Syria.

For Washington, the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline threatens to free Western Europe from its dependence on US oil. While the attachment of Crimea to the Russian Federation, and even that of Donbass, is at least partially a blow to Ukraine’s dependence on the American Empire (Crimea and Donbass are not of Western culture). Finally, the Russian military presence in Syria is slowing down the project of political destruction of all the peoples of this region.

“When you want to drown your dog, you say it has rabies”

It was undoubtedly President Biden who opened the hostilities by calling the Russian president a “killer”. The two powers had never exchanged insults, even in the Gulag era. His interlocutor replied politely and offered to discuss the matter publicly, which he refused.

The United States has a short-term view of the world. They do not see themselves as responsible for their legacy. According to them, the evil Russians have amassed more than 100,000 troops in the vicinity of Ukraine and are preparing to invade it, as the Soviets did in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. But then it was not Russia, but the USSR; not the Putin doctrine, but the Brezhnev doctrine; and Leonid Brezhnev himself was not Russian, but Ukrainian.

The Russians, on the contrary, have a long-term view of the world. In their view, the barbaric Americans challenged the balance of power with the attacks of 11 September 2001. Immediately afterwards, on December 13, 2001, President Bush announced the withdrawal of the United States from the ABM Treaty. The United States then brought into NATO, one by one, almost all the former members of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR in violation of their promise at the time of the dissolution of the latter. This policy was confirmed by the Bucharest Declaration in 2008 [5].

Everyone knows the peculiarity of Ukraine: Western culture in the West, Russian culture in the East. For about fifteen years, the country was politically frozen, until Washington organised a pseudo-revolution and put its puppets, in this case neo-Nazis, in power [6]. Moscow reacted quickly enough for Crimea to declare its independence and join the Russian Federation, but it hesitated for the Donbass. Since then, it has been handing out Russian passports to all the inhabitants of this Ukrainian region for which it is the only hope.

The Biden administration

President Biden was known, when he was a senator, for introducing legislation in the Senate that was devised by the Pentagon. When he became president, he surrounded himself with neo-conservative figures. We cannot repeat it enough: the neo-conservatives were Trotskyite militants who were recruited by Republican President Ronald Reagan. Since then, they have always remained in power, except during the parenthesis of Jacksonian President Donald Trump, switching from the Republican to the Democratic Party and back again.

During the colourful Maïdan ’revolution’ (2013-14), Joe Biden, then vice-president, took up the cause of the neo-Nazis who were agents of Nato’s stay-behind networks [7] He ran the operation with one of the then assistant secretaries of state, Victoria Nuland (whose husband, Robert Kagan, is a founder of the Project for a New American Century, the fundraising arm of Republican George W. Bush). President Biden decided to make her the deputy to his new Secretary of State. She relied on the then US ambassador to Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, now posted in Athens, Greece. As for President Biden’s new Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, he is both judge and jury because his mother is of Ukrainian origin. Although he was raised in Paris by his mother’s second husband, te lawyer Samuel Pisar (advisor to President Kennedy), he is also a neo-conservative.

Preparing for the confrontation with Russia

In mid-March 2021, the United States and its Nato partners organised the Defender-Europe 21 manoeuvres. These will continue until June. This is a repeat of the mega-exercise Defender-Europe 20, which was reduced and shortened due to the Covid-19 epidemic. It is a huge deployment of men and equipment to simulate a confrontation with Russia. These manoeuvres are joined by a nuclear bomber exercise in Greece, attended by the aforementioned Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt.

On March 25, President Volodymyr Zelensky published the new Ukrainian Security Strategy [8], three weeks after President Joe Biden published the US one.

Responding to Nato, Russia undertook its own manoeuvres on its western border, including its border with Ukraine. It was even sending additional troops to Crimea and as far as Transnistria.

On 1 April, the US Secretary of Defense called his Ukrainian counterpart about a possible increase in tension with Russia [9]. President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a statement saying he was monitoring Russian moves that could be provocative [10].

On 2 April, the United Kingdom organised a meeting of the British-Ukrainian Defence and Foreign Ministries, under the responsibility of British Minister Ben Wallace [11] (who was very active in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict [12]).

On April 2, President Joe Biden called his Ukrainian counterpart to assure him of his support against Russia. According to the Atlantic Council, he announced his decision to give him a hundred combat aircraft (F-15, F-16 and E-2C) currently based at Davis-Monthan air base [13].

On April 4, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Democrat Adam Smith, negotiated with Ukrainian parliamentarians to provide large subsidies to the Ukrainian army in exchange for the Ukrainian commitment to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline [14]

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Discreet return trip to Qatar by President Zelensky and the head of the Ukroboronprom arms factories on April 5, 2021.

On April 5, President Volodymyr Zelensky paid a visit to Qatar. The official purpose was to develop trade relations. Qatar is the main supplier of weapons to the jihadists and, according to our information, the question of possible financing of fighters was discussed. The director general of the military manufacturer Ukroboronprom, Yuriy Gusev, was on the trip. It was he who had supplied weapons to Daesh on order from Qatar [15].

On April 6, Lithuania, which in the past protected the western part of Ukraine in its own empire, enquired about the military situation [16]

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President Zelensky receives the Chairman of the Nato Military Committee on April 7, 2021.

On 6 and 7 April, British General Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of the Nato Military Committee, visited Ukraine to clarify the reforms necessary for the country to join Nato [17].

On 9 April, in accordance with the Montreux Convention, the Pentagon informed Turkey of its intention to transit warships through the Dardanelles and Bosporus straits.

After discussing weapons and money with Sheikh Tamin in Qatar, President Zelinski came to talk about men with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on 10 April 2021.

On April 10, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Istanbul as part of regular consultations between the two nations [18]. In view of the Qatari endorsement, Nato member Turkey immediately began recruiting international jihadists in Syria to fight in the Ukrainian Donbass. Turkish military instructors were also sent to the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, the headquarters of the International Islamist Brigade [19], created by President Erdoğan and his then Ukrainian counterpart with Tatars loyal to Washington against Russia.

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Logically, the Russian Federation was amassing troops on the Ukrainian border. So its partners in the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) questioned it about its manoeuvres. The Russian side only answered evasively. The Vienna Document (1999) obliges OSCE members to provide each other with all information on the movements of their troops and equipment. But we know that the Russians do not operate like the West. They never inform their people or their partners during an operation, only when their deployments are over.

Two days later, the G7 issued a statement expressing concern about Russian movements, but ignoring those of Nato and Turkey. It welcomed Ukraine’s restraint and called on Russia to “stop its provocations” [20].

On April 13, on the occasion of the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting with the Ukraine/NATO Commission, the United States pulled out all the stops. All the allies – none of whom wanted to die because the Ukrainians could not get a divorce – were invited to support Kiev and denounce Russia’s “escalation” [21]. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held extensive talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kouleba [22]. War was inexorably on the way.

Suddenly, President Joe Biden lightened the mood by phoning his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. He proposed a summit meeting, whereas Putin had dismissed the proposal for a public debate when he had insulted him [23]. After this initiative, war seemed avoidable.

On April 14, Antony Blinken, however, summoned his main allies (Germany, France, Italy and the UK) to mobilize them [24]

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.President Biden clarified his position on Russia on April 15, 2021.

On April 15, President Joe Biden gave his vision of the conflict, expelled ten Russian diplomats [25] He imposed sanctions on Russia, which was accused not only of rigging elections to get President Donald Trump elected, but also of offering bounties for the assassination of US soldiers in Afghanistan and of attacking federal computer systems using SolarWinds software.

Predictably, Russia expelled a similar number of US diplomats. In addition, it set a trap for a Ukrainian diplomat, who was caught in the act of espionage with classified documents in his hand.

Continuing on his path, President Volodymyr Zelensky went to meet his French and German counterparts, President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel. While deploring the Russian escalation and reaffirming their moral support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, they were evasive about what would happen next. In the end, if the United States and Russia are to meet and discuss, it is a bit early to die for Kiev.

Thierry Meyssan

Translation

Roger Lagassé

[1Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?, Graham Allison, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2017).

[2Interim National Security Guidance, White House, March 3, 2021. “President Biden’s National Security Strategy”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Roger Lagassé, Voltaire Network, 9 April 2021.

[3Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community, Director of National Intelligence, April 9, 2021.

[4The Military Balance 2021, Institute for Strategic Studies, Routledge (2021).

[5] “Bucharest Summit Declaration”, Nato, April 3, 2008.

[6] “Who are the Nazis in the Ukrainian government?”, by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 3 March 2014.

[7NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe, Daniele Ganser, Routledge (2005).

[8] Presidential Order 121/2021.

[9] “Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s Call With Ukrainian Minister of Defence Andrii Taran”, US Department of Defense, April 2, 2021.

[10] “Zelensky on Russian troops near border: Ukraine is ready for any provocations”, Ukrinform, April 2, 2021.

[11] “UK defense secretary initiates talks with Taran due to escalation in eastern Ukraine”, Ukrinform, April 2, 2021.

[12] “Nagorno-Karabakh: victory of London and Ankara, defeat of Soros and the Armenians”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Roger Lagassé, Voltaire Network, 24 November 2020.

[13] “U.S. Should Provide Lend-Lease Type of Aid Package for Ukraine to Help it Upgrade its Air Force – Atlantic Council”, Defense Express, April 7, 2021.

[14] “Arakhamiya, Congressman Smith discuss expanding military support for Ukraine”, Ukrinform, March 5, 2021.

[15] “Qatar and Ukraine come to deliver Pechora-2D to ISIS”, by Andrey Fomin, Oriental Review (Russia) , Voltaire Network, 22 November 2015.

[16] “Ukrainian, Latvian defense ministers discuss security situation on Ukraine’s borders”, Ukrinform, April 7, 2021.

[17] “NATO Military Committee Chairman visits Ukraine”, NATO, April 6, 2021.

[18] “Turkey recruiting jihadists to send them to Ukraine ”, Voltaire Network, 18 April 2021.

[19] « L’Ukraine et la Turquie créent une Brigade internationale islamique contre la Russie », par Thierry Meyssan, Télévision nationale syrienne , Réseau Voltaire, 12 août 2015.

[20] “G7 Foreign Ministers statement on Ukraine”, Voltaire Network, 12 April 2021.

[21] “NATO-Ukraine Commission addresses security situation in and around Ukraine”, NATO , Voltaire Network, 13 April 2021.

[22] “Meeting of Antony Blinken and Dmytro Kouleba”, USA (Department of State) , Voltaire Network, 13 April 2021.

[23] “Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Call with Vladimir Putin”, USA (White House) , Voltaire Network, 13 April 2021.

[24] “Main allies meeting on Ukraine”, United States (Department of State) , Voltaire Network, 14 April 2021.

[25] “Remarks on Russia”, by Joseph R. Biden Jr., Voltaire Network, 15 April 2021.

https://www.voltairenet.org/article212801.html

STRATCOM Chief: Nuclear War with Russia, China a REAL POSSIBILITY!

STRATCOM Chief: Nuclear War with Russia, China a REAL POSSIBILITY!

By Staff, Agencies

The head of US Strategic Command Charles Richard warned that a nuclear war with Russia or China is “a real possibility”.

In the February issue of the US Naval Institute’s monthly magazine, the STRATCOM chief and Vice Admiral Richard pointed to what he called “destabilizing” behaviors of America’s rivals. He also claims the Pentagon is not “stuck in the Cold War.”

STRATCOM, which oversees the US nuclear arsenal, views the probability of nuclear war as low. But with Russia and China advancing their capabilities and continuing to “exert themselves globally,” Richard said STRATCOM must understand what it’s facing.

The top American general underscored that “In the absence of change, we are on the path, once again, to prepare for the conflict we prefer instead of one we are likely to face. If that sort of talk seems reminiscent of the Cold War, that’s because it probably is.”

However, Richard claimed the US military has focused on counter-terrorism for two decades while ignoring “the nuclear dimension”. “I bristle when I hear the ‘Department of Defense’ accused of being stuck in the Cold War,” he said. “The department is well past the Cold War.”

So what has the Pentagon been up to? According to Richard, US forces have been completely immersed in fighting terrorism, to the extent that Russia and China have used that to “aggressively” challenge “international norms and global peace using instruments of power and threats of force in ways not seen since the height of the Cold War.” He cited alleged instances of “cyberattacks and threats in space” in particular.

Richard even claimed that the rival powers are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to advance their agendas. “We must actively compete to hold their aggression in check,” he said, adding that failing to do so will further embolden Russia and China and lead allies to think the US is unable or unwilling to “lead.”

Such saber-rattling has escalated in recent years, especially between Washington and Moscow. Russia tweaked its nuclear doctrine in 2018 to allow for use of such weapons in response to a nuclear attack or to a conventional attack that threatens the nation’s existence. A Pentagon official said in 2019 that the US would retain its right to carry out a nuclear first strike in response to a conventional attack, noting that allies wouldn’t otherwise believe they are protected.

Likewise, the STRATCOM chief cited Russia’s modernization of its nuclear forces, which he estimated to be about 70 percent complete, as a concern. Noting that Moscow has built “new and novel” systems, such as hypersonic glide missiles, he claimed that it has ignored “international norms” through such actions as an anti-satellite test last year.

Richard added that China also is making “technological leaps” and, like Russia, has harassed US and allied aircraft and forces operating in international airspace and waters. Saying the Chinese nuclear arsenal could double, triple or quadruple in the next decade, he suggested “the US must take action today to position itself for the future.”

In conclusion, Richard cautioned that the US military must shift its stance from assuming that nuclear war won’t happen to working to meet and deter the real possibility of such a conflict – or else “risk suffering embarrassment – or perhaps worse – at the hands of our adversaries.”

The renewed talk of a possible nuclear war comes days after Moscow and Washington agreed to prolong the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, thought to have been doomed to expire by the Donald Trump administration.

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Canada Knew About Plan to Assassinate Iranian Gen. Soleimani Before It Happened

Canada Knew About Plan to Assassinate Iranian Gen. Soleimani Before It Happened

By Staff, The Canada Files

Canada’s former top military commander says that the US gave Canada a heads-up on its plan to kill top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, according to his interview with the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail this past week.

General Jonathan Vance recently retired from his position as Canada’s Chief of Defense Staff, but left with some key information about Gen. Soleimani’s assassination.

In his interview, the Globe and Mail reports him saying that the Pentagon alerted Ottawa on its plans to kill Gen. Soleimani so that it could put in “force protection measures” in case of Iranian counterstrikes.

However, right after the assassination, Canada’s National Defense Minister, Harjit Sajjan, said that the US did not provide Canada with the details of its targeted US drone strike that killed Gen. Soleimani in Iraq.

In an interview with CTV’s Power Play host, Even Solomon, in January 2020, Sajjan said they “didn’t have the exact information for the event that took place” but just that the US indicated it would “take action.”

Yves Engler, a Montreal-based political activist who has authored books on Canadian foreign policy, says he thinks that what Canada had said initially was just a “propaganda line” because “they didn’t want to take any responsibility for complicity in what the US did.”

He says that Gen. Vance spoke about it now because he was stepping down and thus being a little bit more honest. Engler, however, isn’t surprised that Canada did in fact know about the assassination as he says that Canada’s military is “totally tied in with the US military presence there.”

“In Iraq, Iraqis view Canadian military and the US military as pretty interchangeable,” he said.

Canadian and American foreign policy have generally also been quite aligned.

According to a report by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, Canada’s foreign policy “has been shaped by deep integration with, and dependence on, the United States.” The US department of State also states in a bilateral relations fact sheet that both countries are part of a number of the same international organizations, including the UN, NATO, WTO, G7, G20, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, among others.

In fact, the US and Canada coordinate through the High-Level Policy Review Group, which was launched in 2009 so that both countries could “coordinate actions in response to pressing global issues” and to support each other in “rallying international support for shared goals.”

Engler says he doesn’t think that Canada would want to be directly associated with Gen. Soleimani’s assassination, but believes that Canada has been quite openly aligned with the US government’s campaign to weaken Iran.

He also says that Canada should have done better since they had advanced knowledge of the assassination.

“If they cared about international law, they would have publicly released information and warned Iranians and said that we don’t want to participate in crazy games of assassinating top officials of other countries,” he said.

Instead, foreign affairs minister, Francois-Phillippe Champagne, released a statement emphasizing the safety of Canadian troops in the region, calling for de-escalation and stating that Canada had been concerned about Gen. Soleimani’s Quds Force, whose “aggressive actions have had a destabilizing effect in the region and beyond.”

In a 2018 Parliamentary meeting, Gen. Vance, however, admitted that the “the PMF [Popular Mobilization Forces] and Shia militia forces did help with the destruction of Daesh [Arabic Acronym for ‘ISIS’ / ‘ISIL’].”

Iran’s Parliament speaker, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, delivered a speech on May 31, 2020 saying that Gen. Soleimani’s assassination is what poses a major threat to international peace and security now.

“When Iran does something that is questionable there is usually a pretty aggressive denunciation from the Canadian government, but in this case [of the assassination], it was either total silence or close to silence,” said Engler, commenting about Canada’s “modest” statement post-assassination.

Gen. Soleimani was the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ [IRGC] Quds Force. He and his companions, including top Iraqi official Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, were assassinated in a US drone strike, under the order of US President Donald Trump, when Gen. Soleimani was on an official visit to the Iraqi capital.

Iran shot a barrage of missiles on US military bases in Iraq on Jan. 8, 2020 as a form of revenge for assassinating their top Iranian general.

According to Airforce Technology, the Ain al-Asad air force base was the largest coalition base in western Iraq. The Pentagon announced that over 100 American soldiers suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of the missile strike at the base.

Canada suspended its military mission in Iraq and moved its troops to Kuwait as a protection measure at the time. Canada’s NATO mission in Iraq provides training for Iraqi forces “to help build more effective and sustainable Iraqi defense and security institutions.”

But Engler believes otherwise.

“Since the US occupation, there have been huge amounts of resources put into trying to build up an Iraqi military force that will advance US interests in Iraq and in the region more generally.” he said. “That’s the objective of training militaries everywhere. Canada and the US don’t train other countries’ militaries just out of the goodness of their heart, [they do it] because it’s useful to have armed men…that are aligned with you in different ways.”

Pentagon’s Sinister Role in Trump’s Coup Bid

Pentagon's Sinister Role in Trump's Coup Bid - TheAltWorld

Finian Cunningham

January 11, 2021

With the likes of Miller and other far-rightists in charge at the Pentagon, there is no guarantee on whose side the military will be, Finian Cunningham writes.

The extraordinary breach of security at the US Congressional building wasn’t just a “failure of planning” which allowed thousands of Trump supporters to trash the seat of government and to interrupt the electoral certification of Joe Biden as the next president. It was a coup attempt.

What’s more, Trump’s acting Pentagon chief Christopher C Miller is implicated in aiding and abetting the coup bid on January 6.

Trump appointed Miller, a former Green Beret and political loyalist, to head the Pentagon as acting Secretary of Defense following the November 3 election. He was among several other Trump loyalists rushed into senior positions at the Department of Defense prompting concerns back then that Trump was planning to overturn the election result which had cast Biden as winner but which Trump and his supporters have relentlessly disputed.

Several media reports have focused attention on the Pentagon to explain how the siege on the Capitol last Wednesday turned into a four-hour ordeal during which over 500 lawmakers, including Vice President Mike Pence, were forced to shelter in secure bunkers fearing for their lives. But media outlets like the New York Times are reporting the fiasco in anodyne terms as a result of “poor planning” or “failure” to coordinate security.

Calls were put out at around 2pm by the Capitol Police that they needed assistance after crowds broke through security fencing. But it was not until 6pm that members of the National Guard arrived to vacate the government buildings of protesters.

Washington DC mayor Muriel Bowser reportedly made phone calls to the Pentagon appealing for troopers to be deployed. So too did lawmakers trapped inside the Capitol, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Those calls went strangely unheeded.

Since Washington DC is not a state it does not have authority over its National Guard. That authority lies with the Pentagon. But the DC troops had been stood down in the days before January 6 or deployed away from the Capitol building on traffic duty, even though there were abundant signals across social media that far-right Trump supporters were planning to rally at the Capitol to block the scheduled certification of Biden’s election by lawmakers in a joint session of Congress.

Mayor Bowser then appealed to the governors in neighboring states of Maryland and Virginia to deploy their National Guards to assist the Capitol. The governors were also receiving frantic calls from those politicians besieged within the chambers of Congress.

However, these state authorities were still obliged to get clearance from the Pentagon in order to deploy their troopers across state lines.

Maryland governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, has said that his requests to deploy the National Guard were repeatedly denied by Pentagon officials. It is not clear who these officials were. But the finger of suspicion points to Christopher Miller and the cohort of Trump-appointed loyalists at the Department of Defense.

This indicates that the events on January 6 were much more sinister than has been reported thus far. Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died on the day Trump protesters stormed the Congressional building.

President Donald Trump has been condemned for inciting the crowds to attack the Capitol. He made an incendiary speech at a rally hours before Congress convened to certify the election, instructing the throngs to “take back their country”.

The storming of the Congress halls has also been widely condemned as an act of “insurrection” and “an assault on democracy”. But the media coverage tends to portray the event as a chaotic breach of security by rag-tag pro-Trump supporters. Belying those reports are more sinister accounts of armed far-right militia among the melee. There were cadres of Neo-fascists who were armed, equipped with zip-ties and nooses. They were even chanting for Republican Vice President Mike Pence’s head after Trump had earlier denounced him for being weak in not backing his effort to overturn the electoral process.

But what if the Capitol was deliberately left undefended? Questions have to be asked of the chiefs of Capitol Police and Washington DC metropolitan force who reportedly declined security back up purportedly offered by the Pentagon in the days before the “stop the steal” rally which Trump had been promoting for weeks. Was that Pentagon offer genuine or part of a charade?

Capitol Police chief Steven Sund told lawmakers before January 6 that everything was under control for all contingencies. They weren’t. He has since resigned. The Capitol was remarkably vulnerable from only a thin line of cops deployed on the day. Former security officials have expressed amazement at the lack of security. And there is video evidence of officers letting protesters through fences, even waving them on, and guiding them to key areas within the cavernous chambers.

But it is the apparent sinister role of the Pentagon that is most disturbing. Four hours to deploy the National Guard while armed men were marauding the seat of government suggests that this was an opportunity afforded to them to kill members of Congress and to block the electoral process of electing Democrat Joe Biden.

Only three days before January 6, an unprecedented oped piece was published in the Washington Post signed by 10 former Pentagon chiefs, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, William Cohen, Leon Panetta and James Mattis. In the oped, they warned Christopher Miller to not use the military to overturn the election result otherwise there would be dire consequences for America’s democracy. It was a phenomenal intervention and warning, which shows how degenerated US politics has become.

It looks like Miller and all the President’s Men at the Pentagon ignored the advice. They went ahead to aid and abet a coup. The coup fizzled out. But there is still explosive elements remaining until Biden is inaugurated on January 20.

When far-right groups target the inauguration ceremony fully armed as they are declaring to do, what will the Pentagon’s response be then? With the likes of Miller and other far-rightists in charge at the Pentagon, there is no guarantee on whose side the military will be.

Unipolar vs Multipolar: The Death of McKinley and the Loss of America’s Soul

Unipolar vs Multipolar: The Death of McKinley and the Loss of America’s Soul

December 23, 2020

By Matthew Ehret for the Saker Blog

On December 17, 2020 A new US Maritime strategy was unveiled putting into practice the regressive concepts first outlined in the early National Defense Strategy 2020 doctrine which target China and Russia as the primary enemies of the USA and demanding that the USA be capable to “defeat our adversaries while we accelerate development of a modernized integrated all-domain naval force of the future”.

The Pentagon’s Advantages at Sea: Prevailing with Integrated All-Domain Naval Power continued by saying “China’s and Russia’s revisionist approaches in the maritime environment threaten US interests, undermine alliances and partnerships and degrade the free and open international order… moreover, China’s and Russia’s aggressive naval growth and modernization are eroding US institutional advantages.”

The document continued to describe that “we must operate more assertively to prevail in day-to-day competition as we uphold the rules-based order and deter our competitors from pursuing armed aggression… ready, forward-deployed naval forces will adopt a more assertive posture in day to day operations”

For anyone who has been paying attention to the vast growth of the Pentagon’s Full Spectrum containment policy around China’s perimeter begun with Obama’s Asia Pivot, it may appear as though these words are not new, but just a continuation of American unipolar agenda, Pacific war games, and psychological projection onto perceived enemies, that have been underway for years. While this is certainly true, it must be noted that they are occurring at a time that NATO 2030 has enshrined an anti-China military posture into the Trans Atlantic security doctrine which had formerly channeled most of its hate purely onto Russia.

The fact is those unipolar zombies programmed to think in no other terms but global post-nation state dominance are deathly afraid of the Russia-China bond of survival which has created a uniquely viable foundation for an alternative economic/security architecture for the world. This model is based on a system of finance that defines money not in speculative but rather long-term development of the real economic foundations of life. It also features a strong emphasis on win-win cooperation as opposed to Hobbesian zero-sum logic dominant among western powers, and it also finds itself driven by OPEN system economic practices shaped by unbounded scientific and technological progress that once upon a time guided America’s better traditions.

With the obvious threat of nuclear war breaking out between a collapsing unipolar order in the west and an emergent Multipolar alliance, it is important to review what possible latent policy traditions may yet be revived within America’s history which certain forces have worked very hard to scrub out of the historical record and memory. This study will take us to the incredible fights that arose over America’s identity at the turn of the 20th century during the period of President William McKinley and the treasonous anglophile President of vice, Theodore Roosevelt.

Munroe Doctrine or Empire?

As Martin Sieff eloquently laid out in his recent article, President McKinley himself was an peacemaker, anti-imperialist of a higher order than most people realize. McKinley was also a strong supporter of two complementary policies: 1) Internally, he was a defender of Lincoln’s “American system” of protectionism, internal improvements and black suffrage and 2) Externally, he was a defender of the Munroe Doctrine that defined America’s anti-imperial foreign policy since 1823.

The Munroe Doctrine’s architect John Quincy Adams laid out this principle eloquently on July 4, 1821:

“After fifty years the United States has, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations, while asserting and maintaining her own.

That the United States does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.

That by involving itself in the internal affairs of other nations, the United States would destroy its own reason of existence; the fundamental maxims of her policy would become, then, no different than the empire America’s revolution defeated. It would be, then, no longer the ruler of itself, but the dictator of the world.”

America’s march is the march of mind, not of conquest.

Colonial establishments are engines of wrong, and that in the progress of social improvement it will be the duty of the human family to abolish them”.

It was an aging John Quincy Adams whom a young Abraham Lincoln collaborated with in ending the imperial Mexican-American war under Wall Street stooge James Polk in 1846. When Adams died in 1848, Lincoln picked up the torch he left behind as the London-directed “proto deep state” of the 19th century worked to dissolve the republic from within. The foreign policy conception laid out by Adams ensured that America’s only concern was “staying out of foreign imperial entanglements” as Washington had earlier warned and keeping foreign imperial interests out of the Americas. The idea of projecting power onto the weak or subduing other cultures was anathema to this genuinely American principle.

A major battle which has been intentionally obscured from history books took place in the wake of Lincoln’s murder and the re-ascension of the City of London-backed slave power during the decades after the Union victory of 1865. On the one hand America’s role in the emerging global family of nations was being shaped by followers of Lincoln who wished to usher in an age of win-win cooperation. Such an anti-Darwinian system which Adams called “a community of principle” asserted that each nation had the right to sovereign banking controls over private finance, productive credit emissions tied to internal improvements with a focus on continental (rail/road) development, industrial progress and full spectrum economies. Adherents of this program included Russia’s Sergei Witte and Alexander II, Germany’s Otto von Bismarck, France’s Sadi Carnot, and leading figures within Japan’s Meiji Restoration.https://www.youtube.com/embed/gYeVDjFKpOU?feature=oembed

On the other hand, “eastern establishment families” of the USA more loyal to the gods of money, hereditary institutions and the vast international empire of Britain saw America’s destiny tied to an imperial global partnership with the Mother country. These two opposing paradigms within America have defined two opposing views of “progress”, “value”, “self-interest” and “law” which have continued to shape the world over 150 years later.

William Gilpin vs Alfred Mahan: Two Paradigms Clash

A champion of the former traditionally American outlook who rose to the international scene was William Gilpin (1813-1894). Gilpin hailed from a patriotic family of nation builders whose patriarch Thomas Gilpin was a close ally of Benjamin Franklin and leading member of Franklin’s Philosophical Society. William Gilpin was famous for his advocacy of America’s trans continental railway whose construction he proselytized as early as 1845 (it was finally begun by Lincoln during the Civil War and completed in 1869 as I outlined in my previous paper How to Save a Dying Republic).

In his thousands of speeches and writings, Gilpin made it known that he understood America’s destiny to be inextricably tied to the ancient civilization of China- not to impose opium as the British and their American lackies were want to do, but to learn from and even emulate!

In 1852, Gilpin stated:

“Salvation must come to America from China, and this consists in the introduction of the “Chinese constitution” viz. the “patriarchal democracy of the Celestial Empire”. The political life of the United States is through European influences, in a state of complete demoralization, and the Chinese Constitution alone contains elements of regeneration. For this reason, a railroad to the Pacific is of such vast importance, since by its means the Chinese trade will be conducted straight across the North American continent. This trade must bring in its train Chinese civilization. All that is usually alleged against China is mere calumny spread purposefully, just like those calumnies which are circulated in Europe about the United States”.

With Lincoln’s 1861 presidential victory, Gilpin became Lincoln’s bodyguard and ensured the president survived his first assassination attempt en route to Washington from Illinois. During the Civil War, Gilpin was made Colorado’s first Governor where he successfully stopped the southern power from opening up a western front during the war of secession (applying Lincoln’s greenback system to finance his army on a state level) and winning the “Battle of Glorieta Pass”, thus saving the union.

After the war Gilpin became a leading advocate of the internationalization of the “American system of political economy” which Lincoln applied vigorously during his short-lived presidency. Citing the success of Lincoln’s system, Gilpin said: “No amount of argument will make America adopt old world theories… To rely upon herself, to develop her own resources, to manufacture everything that can possibly be manufactured within her territory- this is and has been the policy of the USA from the time of Alexander Hamilton to that of Henry Clay and thence to our own days”.

Throughout his speeches Gilpin emphasizes the role of a U.S.-Russia alliance: “It is a simple and plain proposition that Russia and the United States, each having broad, uninhabited areas and limitless undeveloped resources, would by the expenditure of 2 or 3 hundred millions apiece for a highway of the nations threw their now waste places, add a hundredfold to their wealth and power and influence”

And seeing in China’s potential the means to re-enliven the world- including the decadent and corrupt culture of Europe: “In Asia a civilization resting on a basis of remote antiquity has had, indeed, a long pause, but a certain civilization- although hitherto hermetically sealed up has continued to exist. The ancient Asiatic colossus, in a certain sense, needed only to be awakened to new life and European culture finds a basis there on which it can build future reforms.”

In opposition to the outdated British controls of “chock points” on the seas which kept the world under the clutches of the might of London, Gilpin advocated loudly for a system of internal improvements, rail development, and growth of the innate goodness of all cultures and people through scientific and technological progress. Once a global system of mutual development of rail were established, Gilpin stated “in the shipment of many kinds of raw and manufactured goods, it will largely supersede the ocean traffic of Great Britain, in whose hands is now carrying the trade of the world.”

Gilpin’s vision was most clearly laid out in his 1890 magnum opus “The Cosmopolitan Railway” which featured designs for development corridors across all continents united by a “community of principle”.

Echoing the win-win philosophy of Xi Jinping’s New Silk Road today, Gilpin stated:

“The cosmopolitan railway will make the whole world one community. It will reduce the separate nations to families of our great nation… From extended intercommunication will arise a wider intercourse of human ideas and as the result, logical and philosophical reciprocities, which will become the germs for innumerable new developments; for in the track of intercommunication, enterprise and invention invariably follow and whatever facilitates one stimulates every other agency of progress.”

Mahan Derails America’s Anti-Imperial Identity

Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914) represented an opposing paradigm which true American statesmen like Lincoln, Secretary of State James Blaine, William Seward, President Grant, William Garfield, and McKinley detested. Sadly, with McKinley’s murder (run by an anarchist ring with ties to British Intelligence) and the rise of Teddy Roosevelt in 1901, it was not Gilpin’s but rather Mahan’s worldview which became the dominant foreign policy doctrine for the next 120 years (despite a few brief respites under FDR and JFK).

Mahan is commonly credited for being a co-founder of modern geopolitics and an inspiration for Halford Mackinder. Having graduated from West Point’s naval academy in 1859, Mahan soon became renowned as a total failure in actual combat having crashed warships repeatedly into moving and stationary objects during the Civil War. Since reality was not his forte, Mahan focused his post-war career on Ivory tower theorizing gushing over maps of the world and fawning over Britain’s power as a force of world history.

His “Influence of Sea Power Upon History 1660-1783 published in the same year that Gilpin published his Cosmopolitan Railway (1890) was a total break from the spirit of win-win cooperation that defined America’s foreign policy. According to the Diplomat, this book soon “became the bible for many navies around the world” with the Kaiser of Germany (now released from the influence of the great rail-loving statesman Otto von Bismarck whom he fired in 1890) demanding all of his offers read. Later Teddy Roosevelt ordered copies for every member of Congress. In Mahan’s book, the geopolitician continuously asserts his belief that it is America’s destiny to succeed the British Empire.

Taking the British imperial definition of “commerce” which uses free trade as a cover for the military dominance of weak nations (open borders and turning off protectionism simply makes a people easier to rob), Mahan attempts to argue that America need not continue to adhere to “outdated” habits like the Munroe doctrine since the new order of world empires demands America stay relevant in a world of sea power and empire. Mahan writes: “The advance of Russia in Asia, in the division of Africa, in the colonial ambitions of France and in the British idea of Imperial Federation, now fast assuming concrete shape in practical combined action in South Africa” demands that the USA act accordingly.

Attempting to refute the “outdated habits” of rail development which consume so many foolish statesmen around the globe, Mahan states: “a railway competes in vain with a river… because more facile and copious, water traffic is for equal distances much cheaper and because cheaper, more useful”. Like those attacking today’s Belt and Road Initiative, the power of railways is that their returns are not measurable by simple monetary terms, but are rather QUALITATIVE. The long-term construction of rail systems not only unite divided people, increase manufacturing and industrial corridors but also induce closer powers of association and interchange between agriculture and urban producers. These processes uplift national productive powers building full spectrum economies and also a culture’s capacity for creative thought.

The attempt made to justify sea traffic merely because “larger amounts of goods can be shipped” is purely quantitative and monetaristic sophistry devoid of any science of real value.

While Gilpin celebrates the successful awakening of China and other great nations of the world, in the Problem of Asia (1901) Mahan says: “It is scarcely desirable that so vast a proportion of mankind as the Chinese constitute should be animated by but one spirit”. Should China “burst her barriers eastward, it would be impossible to exaggerate the momentous issues dependant upon a firm hold of the Hawaiian islands by a great civilized maritime power.”

Mahan’s adherence to social Darwinism is present throughout his works as he defines the political differences of the 3 primary branches of humanity (Teutonic, Slavic and Asiatic) as purely rooted in the intrinsic inferiority or superiority of their race saying: “There are well recognized racial divergencies which find concrete expression in differences equally marked of political institution, of social progress and of individual development. These differences are… deep seated in the racial constitution and partly the result of the environment”. Mahan goes onto restate his belief that unlike the superior Teutonics “the Oriental, whether national or individual does not change” and “the East does not progress”.

Calling China a carcass to be devoured by an American eagle, Mahan writes: “If life departs, a carcass can be utilized only by dissection or for food; the gathering to it of the eagles is a natural law, of which it is bootless to complain… the onward movement of the world has to be accepted as a fact.”

Championing an Anglo American alliance needed to subdue and “civilize” China as part of the post-Boxer Rebellion, Mahan says “of all the nations we shall meet in the East, Great Britain is the one with which we have by far the most in common in the nature of our interests there and in our standards of law and justice”.

In case there was any doubt in the minds of Mahan’s readers as to the MEANS which America should assert its dominance onto China, Mahan makes clear his belief that progress is caused by 1) force and 2) war: “That such a process should be underlain by force… on the part of outside influences, force of opposition among the latter themselves [speaking of the colonial European monarchies racing to carve up China in 1901 -ed] may be regrettable, but it is only a repetition of all history… Every step forward in the march that has opened in China to trade has been gained by pressure; the most important have been the result of actual war.”

A Last Anti-Imperial Push

The chaos induced by the anti-foreigner Boxer Rebellion of 1899 which spread quickly across China resulted a heated battle between imperial and anti-imperial forces in both Russia and the USA. Where Transport Minister Sergei Witte who spearheaded the development of the Trans Siberian rail line (1890-1905) tried to avoid military entanglement, McKinley was busy doing the same.

The boxers soon attacked the Manchurian rail connecting Russia to China by land and Witte succumbed to pressure to finally send in troops. The reformers of China who attempted to modernize with American and Russian assistance under Emperor Kuang Hsu and Li Hung Chang fell from power as total anarchy reigned. The outcome of the Boxer chaos involved the imperial powers of France, Germany and England demanding immense financial reparations, ownership of Chinese territory and mass executions of the Boxers.

While McKinley is often blamed for America’s imperial turn, the reality is just the opposite.

The Spanish-American war begun in 1898 was actually launched unilaterally by Anglophilic racist Theodore Roosevelt who used the 4 hour window he had while Undersecretary of the Navy (while the actual Secretary was out of Washington) to send orders to Captain Dewey of the Pacific fleet to engage in a fight with the Spanish over their Philippine territories. McKinley had resisted the war hawks until that point but found himself finally bending to the momentum. In China, McKinley, like Witte worked desperately to reject taking territory resulting in great fears from the British oligarchy that a U.S.-Russia alliance led by McKinley and Witte was immanent.

The assassination of McKinley on September 18, 1901 catapulted Mahan-loving Vice President Teddy Roosevelt into high office, who enmeshed America into a new epoch of Anglo-American imperialism abroad, a growth of eugenics and segregation at home and the creation of an independent police state agency called the FBI.

As Sieff writes“Roosevelt devoted his next eight years in the presidency and the rest of his life to integrating the United States and the British Empire into a seamless web of racial imperialist oppression that dominated Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia and that destroyed the cultural history and heritage of the Native North American nations.”

In Russia, the 1902 Anglo-Japan Treaty led to the disastrous Japan-Russo war of 1905 which devastated the Russian navy, ended the political career of Sergei Witte and threw Russia into chaos leading to the fall of the Romanovs (Czar Nicholas II was the last statesman occupying high office that this author is aware of to have actively promoted the Bering Strait Tunnel rail connection in 1906. It wasn’t until FDR’s Vice President Henry Wallace met with Foreign Minister Molotov in 1942 that the idea resurfaced once more).

In his Two Peoples One Friendship, Wallace described his discussions with Foreign Minister Molotov in 1942 saying:

“Of all nations, Russia has the most powerful combination of a rapidly increasing population, great natural resources and immediate expansion in technological skills. Siberia and China will furnish the greatest frontier of tomorrow… When Molotov [Russia’s Foreign Minister] was in Washington in the spring of 1942 I spoke to him about the combined highway and airway which I hope someday will link Chicago and Moscow via Canada, Alaska and Siberia. Molotov, after observing that no one nation could do this job by itself, said that he and I would live to see the day of its accomplishment. It would mean much to the peace of the future if there could be some tangible link of this sort between the pioneer spirit of our own West and the frontier spirit of the Russian East.”

While the “open door” rape of the China was attempted by the Anglo-Americans, a fortunate rear guard maneuver orchestrated by another follower of Abraham Lincoln named Sun Yat-sen resulted in a surprise overthrow of the Manchu dynasty in 1911 and the institution of the Republic of China with Sun Yat-sen as the acting President. While Sun Yat-sen sided with Gilpin and Lincoln in opposition to the Mahanists on the issue of rail and industrial development (illustrated in his extraordinary 1920 International Development of China program which called for 160 000 km of rail, water diversion projects, ports and 1.5 million km of paved roads- illustrated below), the intrigues that sank the world into World War I made any hopes of this early development of China impossible in Sun Yat-sen’s lifetime.

Expressing his own deep understanding of these top down tactics of world history (and the recognition that the same British imperial forces that orchestrated the US Civil War were planning to do the same to China), Sun Yat-sen wrote in 1912:

“We understand too well that there are certain men of power—not to include for the present, certain nations—who would view with a greater or lesser satisfaction an internal rupture in the new Republic [of China]. They would welcome, as a move toward the accomplishment of their own ends and designs, a civil war between the provinces of the North and the South; just as, 50 years ago, there was applause in secret (in certain quarters) over the terrible civil strife in the United States.

Americans of today who were alive in those dark days of the great republic will remember the feelings in the hearts of the people—the bitter and painful thoughts that arose from the knowledge that foreigners were hoping and praying for the destruction of the American Union.

Had the war been successful from the South’s standpoint, and had two separate republics been established, is it not likely that perhaps half a dozen or more weak nations would have eventually been established? I believe that such would have been the result; and I further believe that with the one great nation divided politically and commercially, outsiders would have stepped in sooner or later and made of America their own. I do not believe that I am stating this too forcibly. If so, I have not read history nor studied men and nations intelligently.

And I feel that we have such enemies abroad as the American republic had; and that at certain capitals the most welcome announcement that would be made would be that of a rebellion in China against the constituted authorities.

This is a hard statement to make; but I believe in speaking the truth so that all the world may know and recognize it.”

Today’s Belt and Road Initiative, and strategic friendship established between Russia and China has re-awoken the forgotten vision of William Gilpin for a world of cooperating sovereign nation states. Does the USA have the moral ability to avoid disintegration by accepting a Russia-U.S.-China alliance needed to revive McKinley’s American System or will we slip into a new Great Reset and World War?

Matthew Ehret is the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Patriot Review , Senior Fellow at the American University in Moscow, BRI Expert on Tactical talk, and has authored 3 volumes of ‘Untold History of Canada’ book series. In 2019 he co-founded the Montreal-based Rising Tide FoundationHe can be reached at matt.ehret@tutamail.com

Kim No-VAX does DARPA

Kim No-VAX does DARPA

December 20, 2020

A Back to the Future exercise: time-traveling to survey the sci-tech scene in the mid-1980s

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

HAL9000_I’m_Sorry_Dave, Motivational Poster. Wikimedia Commons

I have been going through my Asia Times archives selecting reports and columns for a new e-book on the Forever Wars – Afghanistan and Iraq. But then, out of the blue, I found this palimpsest, originally published by Asia Times in February 2014. It happened to be a Back to the Future exercise – traveling in time to survey the scene in the mid-1980s across Silicon Valley, MIT’s AI lab, DARPA and the NSA, weaving an intersection of themes, and a fabulous cast of characters, which prefigure the Brave New Techno World we’re now immersed in, especially concerning the role of artificial intelligence. So this might be read today as a sort of preamble, or a background companion piece, to No Escape from our Techno-Feudal World, published early this month. Incidentally, everything that takes place in this account was happening 18 years before the end of the Pentagon’s LifeLog project, run by DARPA, and the simultaneous launch of Facebook. Enjoy the time travel.

In the spring of 1986, Back to the Future, the Michael J Fox blockbuster featuring a time-traveling DeLorean car, was less than a year old. The Apple Macintosh, launched via a single, iconic ad directed by Ridley (Blade Runner) Scott, was less than two years old. Ronald Reagan, immortalized by Gore Vidal as “the acting president,” was hailing the mujahideen in Afghanistan as “freedom fighters.”

The world was mired in Cyber Cold War mode; the talk was all about electronic counter-measures, with American C3s (command, control, communications) programmed to destroy Soviet C3s, and both the US and the USSR under MAD (mutually assured destruction) nuclear policies being able to destroy the earth 100 times over. Edward Snowden was not yet a three-year-old.

It was in this context that I set out to do a special report for a now-defunct magazine about artificial intelligence (AI), roving from the Computer Museum in Boston to Apple in Cupertino and Pixar in San Rafael, and then to the campuses of Stanford, Berkeley and MIT.

AI had been “inaugurated” in 1956 by Stanford’s John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky, a future MIT professor who at the time had been a student at Harvard. The basic idea, according to Minsky, was that any intelligence trait could be described so precisely that a machine could be created to simulate it.

My trip inevitably involved meeting a fabulous cast of characters. At MIT’s AI lab, there was Minsky and also an inveterate iconoclast, Joseph Weizenbaum, who had coined the term “artificial intelligentsia” and believed computers could never “think” just like a human being.

Joseph Weizenbaum. Source: Chatbots

At Stanford, there was Edward Feigenbaum, absolutely paranoid about Japanese scientific progress; he believed that if the Japanese developed a fifth-generation computer, based on artificial intelligence, that could think, reason and speak even such a difficult language as Japanese “the US will be able to bill itself as the first great post-industrial agrarian society.”

And at Berkeley, still under the flame of hippie utopian populism, I found Robert Wilensky – Brooklyn accent, Yale gloss, California overtones; and philosopher Hubert Dreyfus, a tireless enemy of AI who got his kicks delivering lectures such as “Conventional AI as a Paradigm of Degenerated Research.”

Meet Kim No-VAX

Soon I was deep into Minsky’s “frames” – a basic concept to organize every subsequent AI program – and the Chomsky paradigm: the notion that language is at the root of knowledge, and that formal syntax is at the root of language. That was the Bible of cognitive science at MIT.

Marvin Minsky at MIT Lab. Photo: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

At the MIT cafeteria, Minsky delivered a futurist rap without in the least resembling Dr Emmett Brown in Back to the Future:

I believe that in less than five centuries we will be producing machines very similar to us, representing our thoughts and point of view. If we can build a miniaturized human brain weighing, let’s say, one gram, we can lodge it in a spaceship and make it travel at the speed of light. It would be very hard to build a spaceship to carry an astronaut and all his food for 10,000 years of travel …

With Professor Feigenbaum, in Stanford’s philosophical garden, the only space available was for the coming yellow apocalypse. But then one day I crossed Berkeley’s post-hippie Rubicon and opened the door of the fourth floor of Evans Hall, where I met none other than Kim No-VAX.

No, that was not the Hitchcock blonde and Vertigo icon; it was an altered hardware computer (No-VAX because it had moved beyond Digital Equpment Corporation’s VAX line of supercomputers), financed by the mellifluously acronymed Pentagon military agency DARPA, decorated with a photo of Kim Novak and humming with the sexy vibration of – at the time immense – 2,900 megabytes of electronic data spread over its body.

The US government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – or DARPA – was all about computer science. In the mid-1980s, DARPA was immersed in a very ambitious program linking microelectronics, computer architecture and AI way beyond a mere military program. That was comparable to the Japanese fifth generation computer program. At MIT, the overwhelming majority of scientists were huge DARPA cheerleaders, stressing how the agency was leading research. Yet Terry Winograd, a computer science professor at Stanford, warned that had DARPA been a civilian agency, “I believe we would have made much more progress”.

It was up to Professor Dreyfus to provide the voice of reason amidst so much cyber-euphoria: “Computers cannot think like human beings because there’s no way to represent all retrospective knowledge of an average human life – that is, ‘common sense’ – in a form that a computer may apprehend.” Dreyfus’s drift was that with the boom of computer science, philosophy was dead – and he was a philosopher: “Heidegger said that philosophy ended because it reached its apex in technology. Philosophy in fact reached its limit with AI. They, the scientists, inherited our questions. What is the mind? Now they have to answer for it. Philosophy is over.”

Hubert Dreyfus. Source: Berkeley Campus News

Yet Dreyfus was still teaching. Likewise at MIT, Weizenbaum was condemning AI as a racket for “lunatics and psychopaths” – but still continued to work at the AI lab.

NSA’s wet web dream

In no time, helped by these brilliant minds, I figured out that the AI “secret” would be a military affair, and that meant the National Security Agency – already in the mid-1980s vaguely known as “no such agency,” with double the CIA’s annual budget to pay for snooping on the whole planet. The mission back then was to penetrate and monitor the global electronic net – that was years before all the hype over the “information highway” – and at the same time reassure the Pentagon over the inviolability of its lines of communication. For those comrades – remember, the Cold War, even with Gorbachev in power in the USSR, was still on – AI was a gift from God (beating Pope Francis by almost three decades).

So what was the Pentagon/NSA up to, at the height of the star wars hype, and over a decade and a half before the revolution in military affairs and the full spectrum dominance doctrine?

They already wanted to control their ships and planes and heavy weapons with their voices, not their hands; voice command a la Hal, the star computer in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Still, that was a faraway dream. Minsky believed that “only in the next century” would we be able to talk to a computer. Others believed that would never happen. Anyway, IBM was already working on a system accepting dictation; and MIT on another system that identified words spoken by different people; while Intel was developing a special chip for all this.

Although, predictably, prevented from visiting the NSA, I soon learned that the Pentagon was expecting to possess “intelligent” computing systems by the 1990s; Hollywood, after all, already had unleashed the Terminator series. It was up to Professor Wilensky, in Berkeley, to sound the alarm bells:

Human beings don’t have the appropriate engineering for the society they developed. Over a million years of evolution, the instinct of getting together in small communities, belligerent and compact, turned out to be correct. But then, in the 20th century, man ceased to adapt. Technology overtook evolution. The brain of an ancestral creature, like a rat, which sees provocation in the face of every stranger, is the brain that now controls the earth’s destiny.

It was as if Wilensky was describing the NSA as it would be 28 years later. Some questions still remain unanswered; for instance, if our race does not fit anymore the society it built, who’d guarantee that its machines are properly engineered? Who’d guarantee that intelligent machines act in our interest?

What was already clear by then was that “intelligent” computers would not end a global arms race. And it would be a long time, up to the Snowden revelations in 2013, for most of the planet to have a clearer idea of how the NSA orchestrates the Orwellian-Panopticon complex. As for my back to the future trip, in the end I did not manage to uncover the “secret” of AI. But I’ll always remain very fond of Kim No-VAX.

Pompeo to Meet Taliban Negotiators in Qatar

Pompeo to Meet Taliban Negotiators in Qatar

By Staff, Agencies

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will Saturday meet negotiators from the Taliban and Afghan government amid signs of progress in their talks as the United States speeds up its withdrawal.

The State Department said late Friday that Pompeo will meet separately with the Afghan government and Taliban negotiation teams in the Gulf state of Qatar.

Pompeo will also see Qatar’s ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and the foreign minister on his stop in the capital Doha, the Taliban’s base for diplomacy, the State Department said on its public schedule.

The outgoing top US diplomat is on a seven-nation tour of Europe and the Middle East as President Donald Trump shores up late-term priorities.

Earlier this week, the Pentagon said it would soon pull some 2,000 troops out of Afghanistan, speeding up the timeline established in a February agreement between Washington and the Taliban that envisions a full US withdrawal in mid-2021.

Trump has repeatedly vowed to end “forever wars,” including in Afghanistan, America’s longest-ever conflict that began with an invasion to dislodge the Taliban following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

US President-elect Joe Biden, in a rare point of agreement, also advocates winding down the Afghanistan war although analysts believe he will not be as wedded to a quick timetable.

The Taliban for the first time are speaking to Afghanistan’s government.

The talks started September 12 in Doha but almost immediately faltered over disagreements about the agenda, the basic framework of discussions and religious interpretations.

Several sources told AFP on Friday that the two sides appear to have resolved some of the issues, however.

Among the sticking points so far, the Taliban and the Afghan government have struggled to agree on common language on two main issues.

The Taliban are insisting on adherence to the Hanafi school of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, but government negotiators say this could be used to discriminate against Hazaras, who are predominantly Shiite, and other minorities.

Another contentious topic is how the US-Taliban deal will shape a future Afghan peace deal and how it will be referred to.

The Doha peace talks opened after the Taliban and Washington signed a deal in February, with the US agreeing to withdraw all foreign forces in exchange for security guarantees and a Taliban promise to start talks.

Despite the talks, violence has surged across Afghanistan, with the Taliban stepping up daily attacks against Afghan security forces.

Trump’s plan to slash troops by January 15 – less than a week before his successor Joe Biden is to be sworn in to office – has been criticized by Kabul residents who fear it will embolden the Taliban to unleash a new wave of fighting.

Afghan civilians have long borne the brunt of the bloodshed.

Officials in Kabul also worry it will harden the Taliban position at the negotiating table, where the future of hard-won gains including women’s rights are on the line.

Trump Doubles Down on Coup D’État

Trump Doubles Down on Coup D'État - TheAltWorld

Finian Cunningham

Former editor and writer for
major news media organizations.
He has written extensively on
international affairs, with articles
published in several languages

November 12, 2020©

For the first time in the history of the United States an incumbent president is refusing to concede electoral defeat. Ominously, Donald Trump, the sitting president, has this week also packed the Pentagon’s civilian leadership and intel agencies with political loyalists who are described as his “foot-soldiers”.

The flurry of appointees are former special forces and generals. Here is a profile of the president’s men. One Pentagon insider said of them: “These are the people who go in and do whatever they think is required to achieve his [Trump’s] agenda. They are true soldiers in the war on government, the war on what Trump calls the deep state.”

The shakeup in the military-intelligence apparatus has stunned observers from its audacity. There is speculation that Trump will next sack the Pentagon’s top general Mark Milley, FBI chief Christopher Wray and CIA director Gina Haspel, to be replaced by “true believers” of his Make America Great Again project.

There is an edgy feeling that Trump, a maverick megalomaniac, is actually going for it. That is, a coup d’état.

But this can’t happen here, or so goes the plaintive refrain. Well, it looks like it is.

A stunning bold-faced denial of reality this week came from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who told incredulous reporters that there would be a “smooth transition”… to a second Trump administration.

Most of the Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill are refusing to acknowledge publicly that Democrat Joe Biden won the presidential election – despite him gaining a decisive lead of more than five million votes over Trump as well as in the all-important Electoral College votes.

Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr is brazenly politicizing the justice department by endorsing Trump’s calls for investigations and lawsuits over allegations of voting fraud and other purported irregularities. There is negligible evidence to support these allegations, many of which have been thrown out already by state judges as frivolous. But Barr is giving inordinate authority to shore up what amounts to tittle-tattle from a sore loser.

State election officials, both Republican and Democrat, have unanimously reported no significant electoral fraud or malfeasance.

Republican city commissioner in Philadelphia Al Schmidt, in the key swing state of Pennsylvania which was won by Biden, confirmed there were no voting irregularities. He was then denounced as “disloyal” by Trump. Schmidt also claims to have subsequently received death threats.

Strangely, too, Trump and Republicans in Congress aren’t complaining about fraud in the down-ballot votes for the House and the Senate races where they performed relatively well in gaining or holding on to seats. Even though those ballots were cast in the exact same process as the presidential vote. How can one item on the ballot sheet be prone to fraud, but the ones which suit Republicans aren’t? It’s self-serving duplicity that’s what it is.

What Team Trump is betting on is not winning litigation over the election results. There is not a chance of the president overturning the large majorities that Biden won in key swing states. No, the game plan seems to be to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the elections and run out the clock so that Republican legislatures in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Arizona do not certify Biden as the winner of the popular vote.

Moreover, it is being mooted that Republican legislatures in these states will appoint electors to the Electoral College who will nominate Trump as the winner, in defiance of the popular vote. The Electoral College is to convene on December 14 when the deciding vote is cast on who is to be next president. Tradition and precedent holds that the state electors respect the popular vote, but this election is unprecedented. It is not unthinkable that Trump will continue insisting that the election was stolen from him by citing (baseless) fraud claims. For many of his 72 million voters, there is a shared conviction (delusion) that the election was rigged or absurdly contend that the coronavirus was “weaponized”.

Biden won over 77 million votes in the popular ballot. If Trump goes for barricading himself in the White House claiming he is the rightful winner, then the U.S. faces a constitutional nightmare scenario. Widespread violent protests are on the cards, if not civil war. Already Trump hacks have prepared the propaganda narrative that any protests against Trump are the work of “Antifa subversives” and “Marxist terrorists”. We saw that outlandish narrative being wheeled out during the recent months of legitimate massive protests against racist police killings.

As tensions boil over in the run-up to the presidential inauguration date on January 2o, what Trump and his cadres will declare is a state of emergency and martial law to “protect the nation” from leftists and “deep state” orchestrated “color revolution” against a “democratically elected president”.

This is the significance of the shakeup at the Pentagon and intelligence apparatus this week. Trump is putting in place the kind of fascist operatives to carry out his coup d’état.

Ironically, Trump claims he was the target of coup forces from the deep state after his 2016 election victory over “swamp creature” Hillary Clinton. To be fair to Trump, that effort to unseat him was real enough, centered on baseless “Russia collusion” claims that dogged his entire presidency. However, that coup attempt failed. But now another seizure of power is underway this time hatched by Trump himself and his cronies.

Biden and his Democrat party are being sheepishly complacent about the dramatic and daring power grab taking place by Trump. Biden this week sought to sound calm and cool, saying that Trump’s refusal to concede defeat was merely “embarrassing”. Biden really is being “sleepy Joe” if he doesn’t realize that there is a coup going down in the White House.

Another sign of complacency was from the New York Times which headlined: ‘Trump Stacks the Pentagon and Intel Agencies with Loyalists. To What End?’

The NY Times answered its question by speculating Trump was planning overseas adventurism, perhaps a military attack on Iran or a rushed withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

How stupidly complacent. Trump’s adventurism is not overseas, it is right at home. It’s all about trashing the U.S. constitution and installing himself for a second term regardless of democratic mandate. In short, dictatorship.

The Hill: Trump Mulling Firing Top Officials at the Pentagon, FBI, CIA

The Hill: Trump Mulling Firing Top Officials at the Pentagon, FBI, CIA

By Staff, Agencies

US President Donald Trump is considering firing War Secretary Esper, CIA director Gina Haspel and others, including FBI Director Christopher Wray, The Hill has reported, citing sources said to be familiar with the situation.

One source told the outlet that despite recent Pentagon statements to the contrary, Esper could be forced out as soon as this week. A second source noted however that nothing has been set in stone so far.

An aide to members of the House Armed Services Committee confirmed that the panel had not been told about “any imminent personnel changes within Pentagon leadership” to date, with the Pentagon pointing media inquiries to earlier comments by Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman that Secretary Esper had “no plans to resign,” nor had he been asked to resign.

Esper and Trump suffered a falling out in recent months, including over Trump’s opposition to the stripping of Confederate leaders’ names from US military bases, and the Pentagon chief’s resistance to deploying the military to crack down on anti-racism and police justice protests overwhelming multiple major US cities this summer.

Speculation is also rife that CIA chief Haspel and FBI Director Christopher Wray may be forced out, The Hill says, citing what it says is frustration in the White House over a lack of support amid recent political developments, including the lack of a formal FBI probe into Hunter Biden’s alleged illegal business dealings in Ukraine, and the agency’s refusal to sack officials responsible for the Russiagate investigation against Trump.

Trump picked Esper for the post of Secretary of Defence in mid-2019, with Esper succeeding General Jim Mattis, who resigned over disagreements with Trump on Syria policy and other issues. Trump picked Haspel for the post of CIA director in May 2018 after its previous chief, Mike Pompeo, was tapped to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.  Wray succeeded James Comey as FBI director in August 2017.

No Letup in US War on Iran by Other Means Ahead

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, November 02, 2020

On all things Iran under both right wings of the US war party, transforming the country into a subservient vassal state is a high priority.

Regardless of whether Republicans or Dems control the White House and/or Congress, things won’t change ahead.

That’s been firm policy in Washington since Iranians ended a generation of US-installed fascist tyranny in 1979.

Since that time, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been target No. One in the oil-rich Middle East for regime change by Washington’s ruling class.

Bipartisan US policy aims to regain control over the country’s vast hydrocarbon resources — along with wanting Israel’s main regional rival neutralized.

So far, US strategy focused on war by other means since its orchestrated 1980s Iran/Iraq war.

Under Trump since 2017, maximum pressure has been and continues to be prioritized.

It’s all about wanting to inflict maximum human pain and suffering on the Iranian people that includes medical terrorism to prevent imports of medicines, medical equipment and related supplies.

It’s also all about piling on sanctions and more of the same to try isolating Iran.

The latest ones came in late October.

On October 23, the Trump regime unilaterally in breach of the UN Charter sanctioned five Iranian entities and IRGC officials on phony charges of “interfering in our elections.”

Ignored was that throughout US history, no evidence ever showed foreign meddling in the process by any foreign government — not Iran, Russia, or any others.

In stark contrast, clear evidence revealed unlawful US interference in scores of foreign elections throughout the post-WW II period.

On October 26, the Trump regime unlawfully sanctioned entities, individuals and vessels connected to Iran’s energy industry.

They included Iran’s Oil Ministry, its minister, the National Iranian Oil Company, National Iranian Tanker Company, and various other Iranian officials.

On Friday, October 30, more illegal US sanctions were imposed — in a futile attempt to “constrain (Iran’s) oil and petrochemical sales.”

Iran’s Arya Sasol Polymer Company, Binrin Ltd, Bakhtar Commercial Co., Kavian Petrochemical Co., and Strait Shipbrokers PTE. Ltd were targeted.

Officials connected to these firms were also sanctioned.

Everything the Trump regime and its predecessors threw at Iran since its 1979 revolution failed to achieve regime change — including their war of words.

Islamic Republic resilience preserved and protected the nation’s sovereign independence from diabolical USA aims.

US establishment media serve as imperial state press agents, managed news misinformation and disinformation their specialty.

US Policy Toward Iran Is All About Regime Change

One of the latest examples came from NBC News  on Thursday, saying:

“Top US officials were briefed on an active threat against Pentagon leaders (sic)” — citing customary unnamed sources, adding:

“US military, intelligence and law enforcement officials were briefed late last month on a threat against the Pentagon’s most senior leaders while they are on American soil…”

The “threat…remains active.” A Hollywood-style cloak and dagger scenario followed, saying:

Last month, when a “Defense Department leader left the Pentagon…in a government-owned black SUV driven by a member of his security detail…an unknown vehicle immediately began to follow them…”

“The driver, identified as an Iranian national, was in a vehicle with Virginia license plates and trailed closely behind the official SUV for five to seven miles…”

“The Pentagon and the FBI disagree about whether it was a serious attempt to target a senior Defense Department leader…”

According to an FBI probe, the above “was not part of any larger threat to senior military leaders or connected directly back to Iran…”

In other words, the above scenario smacks of fake news that surfaces repeatedly against nations on the US target list for regime change — notably Russia, China and Iran.

In its report, NBC cited no sources by name. Nor was any evidence presented to suggest an Iranian threat against any US officials domestically or abroad.

Throughout Islamic Republic history since 1979, Iran never attacked another country or its officials preemptively.

It justifiably acted in self-defense when attacked as the UN Charter and other international law permit.

In stark contrast, the US, NATO, Israel, and their imperial partners committed acts of aggression against targeted nations time and again.

Since creation of the Jewish state, it’s been perpetually at war on Palestinians by hot and other means — with full US-led Western support.

Iran supports peace, stability, cooperative relations with other countries and the rule of law.

The nation, its government, and military pose no threat to any other countries and their officials — except in self-defense if attacked, the legal right of all nation states.

A Final Comment

NBC News said key congressional members were not  briefed on the alleged incident.

“The White House declined to comment, including on whether President Donald Trump was briefed…”

The above anti-Iran accusation lacks credibility.

Why brief the White House and congressional leaders on what no evidence exists to prove the above scenario.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

More Pressure On Russia Will Have No Effect

20 years of Vladimir Putin in power: a timeline.

Source

October 17, 2020

Over the last years the U.S. and its EU puppies have ratcheted up their pressure on Russia. They seem to believe that they can compel Russia to follow their diktat. They can’t. But the illusion that Russia will finally snap, if only a few more sanctions ar applied or a few more houses in Russia’s neighborhood are set on fire, never goes away.

As Gilbert Doctorow describes the situation:

The fires burning at Russia’s borders in the Caucasus are an add-on to the disorder and conflict on its Western border in neighboring Belarus, where fuel is poured on daily by pyromaniacs at the head of the European Union acting surely in concert with Washington.

Yesterday we learned of the decision of the European Council to impose sanctions on President Lukashenko, a nearly unprecedented action when directed against the head of state of a sovereign nation.

It is easy enough to see that the real intent of the sanctions is to put pressure on the Kremlin, which is Lukashenko’s guarantor in power, to compound the several other measures being implemented simultaneously in the hope that Putin and his entourage will finally crack and submit to American global hegemony as Europe did long ago.

The anti-Russia full tilt ahead policy outlined above is going on against a background of the U.S. presidential electoral campaigns. The Democrats continue to try to depict Donald Trump as “Putin’s puppy,” as if the President has been kindly to his fellow autocrat while in office. Of course, under the dictates of the Democrat-controlled House and with the complicity of the anti-Russian staff in the State Department, in the Pentagon, American policy towards Russia over the entire period of Trump’s presidency has been one of never ending ratcheting up of military, informational, economic and other pressures in the hope that Vladimir Putin or his entourage would crack. Were it not for the nerves of steel of Mr. Putin and his close advisers, the irresponsible pressure policies outlined above could result in aggressive behavior and risk taking by Russia that would make the Cuban missile crisis look like child’s play.

The U.S. arms industry lobby, in form of the Atlantic Council, confirms the ‘western’ strategy Doctorow describes. It calls for ‘ramping up on Russia’ with even more sanctions:

Key to raising the costs to Russia is a more proactive transatlantic strategy for sanctions against the Russian economy and Putin’s power base, together with other steps to reduce Russian energy leverage and export revenue. A new NATO Russia policy should be pursued in tandem with the European Union (EU), which sets European sanctions policy and faces the same threats from Russian cyberattacks and disinformation. At a minimum, EU sanctions resulting from hostilities in Ukraine should be extended, like the Crimea sanctions, for one year rather than every six months. Better yet, allies and EU members should tighten sanctions further and extend them on an indefinite basis until Russia ends its aggression and takes concrete steps toward de-escalation.

It also wants Europe to pay for weapons in the Ukraine and Georgia:

A more dynamic NATO strategy for Russia should go hand in hand with a more proactive policy toward Ukraine and Georgia in the framework of an enhanced Black Sea strategy. The goal should be to boost both partners’ deterrence capacity and reduce Moscow’s ability to undermine their sovereignty even as NATO membership remains on the back burner for the time being.

As part of this expanded effort, European allies should do more to bolster Ukraine and Georgia’s ground, air, and naval capabilities, complementing the United States’ and Canada’s efforts that began in 2014.

The purpose of the whole campaign against Russia, explains the Atlantic Council author, is to subordinate it to U.S. demands:

Relations between the West and Moscow had begun to deteriorate even before Russia’s watershed invasion of Ukraine, driven principally by Moscow’s fear of the encroachment of Western values and their potential to undermine the Putin regime. With the possibility of a further sixteen years of Putin’s rule, most experts believe relations are likely to remain confrontational for years to come. They argue that the best the United States and its allies can do is manage this competition and discourage aggressive actions from Moscow. However, by pushing back against Russia more forcefully in the near and medium term, allies are more likely to eventually convince Moscow to return to compliance with the rules of the liberal international order and to mutually beneficial cooperation as envisaged under the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act.

The ‘rules of the liberal international order’ are of course whatever the U.S. claims they are. They may change at any moment and without notice to whatever new rules are the most convenient for U.S. foreign policy.

But as Doctorow said above, Putin and his advisors stay calm and ignore such trash despite all the hostility expressed against them.

One of Putin’s close advisors is of course Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. In a wide ranging interview with Russian radio stations he recently touched on many of the issues Doctorow also mentions. With regards to U.S. strategy towards Russia Lavrov diagnoses:

Sergey Lavrov: […] You mentioned in one of your previous questions that no matter what we do, the West will try to hobble and restrain us, and undermine our efforts in the economy, politics, and technology. These are all elements of one approach.

Question: Their national security strategy states that they will do so.

Sergey Lavrov: Of course it does, but it is articulated in a way that decent people can still let go unnoticed, but it is being implemented in a manner that is nothing short of outrageous.

Question: You, too, can articulate things in a way that is different from what you would really like to say, correct?

Sergey Lavrov: It’s the other way round. I can use the language I’m not usually using to get the point across. However, they clearly want to throw us off balance, and not only by direct attacks on Russia in all possible and conceivable spheres by way of unscrupulous competition, illegitimate sanctions and the like, but also by unbalancing the situation near our borders, thus preventing us from focusing on creative activities. Nevertheless, regardless of the human instincts and the temptations to respond in the same vein, I’m convinced that we must abide by international law.

Russia does not accept the fidgety ‘rules of the liberal international order’.  Russia sticks to the law which is, in my view, a much stronger position. Yes, international law often gets broken. But as Lavrov said elsewhere, one does not abandon traffic rules only because of road accidents.

Russia stays calm, no matter what outrageous nonsense the U.S. and EU come up with. It can do that because it knows that it not only has moral superiority by sticking to the law but it also has the capability to win a fight. At one point the interviewer even jokes about that:

Question: As we say, if you don’t listen to Lavrov, you will listen to [Defense Minister] Shoigu.

Sergey Lavrov: I did see a T-shirt with that on it. Yes, it’s about that.

Yes, it’s about that. Russia is militarily secure and the ‘west’ knows that. It is one reason for the anti-Russian frenzy. Russia does not need to bother with the unprecedented hostility coming from Brussels and Washington. It can ignore it while taking care of its interests.

As this is so obvious one must ask what the real reason for the anti-Russian pressure campaign is. What do those who argue for it foresee as its endpoint?

Posted by b on October 17, 2020 at 16:31 UTC | Permalink

قراءة في المشهد السياسيّ الأميركيّ عشيّة الانتخابات… السيناريوات المرتقبة (2)

زياد حافظ

في الجزء السابق شرحنا عوامل الاضطراب السياسي التي تشهده الولايات المتحدة عشية الانتخابات المقبلة في تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر 2020. وحالة الاضطراب تتفاقم حيث التشنّج الذي يسود الفريقين المتنافسين ينذر بعواقب وخيمة قد تدمّر بنية النظام وحتى أسس الكيان الأميركي. قد يعتبر البعض أن هذا الكلام مبالَغ به، ولكن هذا ما نقرأه في العديد من المواقع الإلكترونية ومن آراء يبديها مسؤولون سابقون وباحثون مرموقون. والخطورة تكمن في السيناريوهات المرتقبة لليوم التالي بعد الانتخابات.

أعرب الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب في أكثر من مناسبة كما أعرب مسؤولون في الحزب الديمقراطي عن عدم تقبّله (تقبّلهم!) لنتائج الانتخابات إذا أدت إلى هزيمته أو هزيمتهم! قد يكون هذا الكلام نوعاً من التهويل لشدّ عصب المناصرين، لكن هناك سيناريوات حقيقية فد تفرض نفسها ليلة الانتخاب وتتراوح في الحد الأدنى بين عدم اعلان من هو الفائز بسبب التأخير في فرز أصوات الناخبين الذين اختاروا الاقتراع عبر البريد وبين حد أقصى يرفض النتائج ويطعن بها في المحاكم الاتحادية ما يكرّس الفراغ في رأس الهرم. هذا من باب الواقع الذي يحظى بشبه إجماع عند مختلف المراقبين والمحلّلين عند الطرفين المتنافسين. فما هي السيناريوات الممكنة في هذه الحال؟

السيناريو الأول هو وجود فراغ في رأس الهرم السياسي. لم يلحظ الدستور الأميركي لآلية لفض نوع كهذا من النزاع لأن الآباء المؤسسين لم يعتقدوا في يوم من الأيام أن الجمهورية الفتية قد تصل إلى هذا المأزق. الدستور الأميركي حدّد آلية لانتقال الحكم في حال حدوث فراغ مفاجئ في رأس السلطة. فنائب الرئيس يتولّى زمام الأمور حتى نهاية الولايات وتقام عندئذ انتخابات. في حال حدوث فراغ في الرئاسة ونيابة الرئاسة يلحظ الدستور أن رئيس مجلس الممثلين يتولّى زمام الأمور. في حال شغور أو غياب ذلك يتولى رئيس مجلس الشيوخ الموقت (رئيس الأكثرية) لأن دستورياً نائب رئيس الجمهورية هو رئيس مجلس الشيوخ الذي يفصل في التصويت في حال تعادل الأصوات في أي ملف أو قضية مطروحة. وفي حال غياب وأو شغور ذلك المنصب يتولى وزير الخارجية المسؤولية وفي حال غياب وزير الخارجية وهناك سلّم من التراتبية بين الوزراء في تولّي المسؤولية في حال الشغور. لكن جميع تلك الإجراءات تفترض أن الكونغرس بغرفتيه أي مجلس الشيوخ ومجلس الممثلين قائم. لكن في الحالة التي ستحصل فإن إمكانية تولّي رئيس مجلس الممثلين، في هذه الحال نانسي بيلوسي، قد لا تحصل لأن الطعن أو الطعون في نتائج الانتخابات قد لا تنحصر في الرئاسة بل أيضاً في مجلس الممثلين ومجلس الشيوخ. حال التشنج التي وصلت إليه الولايات المتحدة تجعل من هذا الاحتمال إمكانية حقيقية. أي بمعنى آخر هناك احتمال حقيقي ومرتقب بأن يحصل الفراغ بسبب عدم حسم أو قبول نتائج الانتخابات.

في السيناريو الثاني، ينحصر التنازع فقط حول منصب الرئاسة ويتولّى عندئذ رئيس مجلس الممثلين الرئاسة الموقتة حتى تحسم المحكمة الدستورية العليا نتائج الانتخاب. المحكمة العليا هي مكوّنة اليوم من خمسة محافظين وأربعة ليبراليين في ميولهم الفكرية. ليسوا منتسبين إلى أي حزب لكن من الواضح أن الميل المحافظ يسيطر عموماً على قرارات وأحكام المحكمة. لكن حكمت المحكمة مؤخراً في قضية مثيرة للجدل حول المتحوّلين جنسياً لصالح الموقف الليبرالي ما أدهش الجميع. الصوت المرجّح كان صوت رئيس المحكمة الذي يُعرف عنه أنه محافظ. وهناك تساؤلات حول ذلك “التصويت” الذي يؤكّد على “استقلالية” القرار بينما البعض يعتبر أن ذلك التصويت هو لمنع الاتهام بالانحياز السياسي في فصل قضية الطعن في الانتخابات الرئاسية. إذاً، في مطلق الأحوال يعود إلى المحكمة الدستورية مسؤولية الفصل. لكن ليس هناك من ضمانة أن المتنافسين سيقبلون بالحكم ونعود عند ذلك الحين إلى السيناريو الأول.

السيناريو الثالث، وهو الأكثر خطورة، هو عدم تقبّل أي من الفريقين النتائج مهما كانت المرجعيات. ماذا في تلك الحال؟ هذا يعني أزمة دستورية، فأزمة نظام، وفي آخر المطاف أزمة كيان. في هذا السياق نشير إلى تحذير بول كريغ روبرتس، مساعد وزير الخزانة السابق في عهد رونالد ريغان، وهو اقتصادي معروف له مؤلفات عدّة وصاحب مدوّنة واسعة الانتشار. تحذير روبرتس واضح: الولايات المتحدة لديها شهران قبل أن تنهار بسبب الفراغ الذي سيحصل بسبب عدم قبول نتائج الانتخابات. كاتب آخر مات اهرهت يذهب أبعد من ذلك ويشير إلى سيناريوات حرب في عدد من مراكز الأبحاث حول احتمالات انقلاب عسكري ضد الرئيس الأميركي في حال رفض خروجه من البيت الأبيض.

مركز “مشروع التماسك الانتقاليّ” مركز أبحاث مستحدث (2019) وتموّله وفقاً للباحثة ويتني واب مجموعة مكوّنة من كلنتون، جورج سوروس، وعدد من رؤساء الشركات الكبرى كفايس بوك وميكروسوفت وغوغل ولينكدين واي باي على سبيل المثال. واجهة ذلك المركز روزا بروكس محاضرة في جامعة جورج تاون والعقيد لورانس ويلكرسون المدير السابق لكولن بأول عندما كان وزيراً للخارجية. أما المساهمون في البحوث لذلك المركز فيه ثلّة من كبار المحافظين الجدد كوليام كريستول ودافيد فروم. أنشئ المركز لمواجهة التحدّيات التي فرضتها الثورة التكنولوجية في التواصل وتأثيرها على المجتمعات. لكن بالفعل أنشئ لغرض واحد وهو لخلق مناخات ثورية ملوّنة ولتهيئة الأجواء لانقلاب عسكري ضد ترامب. وقد تمّت “تجربة” ذلك المشروع عبر نشاط أحد العاملين بها في حملة لإقصاء برني سندرز من الفوز في التسمية الترشيح عن الحزب الديمقراطي. المسؤول عن تلك الحملة الناجحة وفقاً لويتني واب هو ريد هوفمان. كما أن المموّلين الآخرين كاريك شميدت رئيس شركة غوغل وبيار اوميدفار رئيس شركة أي باي من المقرّبين جدّا لبيل وهيلاري كلنتون وكانوا أيضاً وراء الإطاحة ببرني سندرز لمصلحة جوزيف بايدن. والآن يستعدّون للإطاحة بدونالد ترامب.

ما يعزّز فرص ذلك المشروع هو العلاقة الوطيدة بين القيادات العسكرية العليا في البنتاغون ومجمع المؤسسات التابعة للمجمع العسكري الصناعي الأمني والمالي والمعلوماتي. تفيد دراسة أجريت مؤخراً ونشرته محطّة “روسيا اليوم” أن في فترة 2008-2018 تمّ توظيف 380 ضابطاً رفيع المستوى في شركات مقاولة في الدفاع، من بينهم 68 لواء و32 أميرالاً ونائب أميرال. ويضيف الباحث مات اهرهت أن عدداً من القيادات العاملة في الجيش الأميركي معروف بتشدّدهم تجاه الحروب ويعارضون بشكل واضح الرئيس الأميركي لقراراته بالانسحاب من أفغانستان والعراق وسورية. هذا ما دفع الرئيس الأميركي للتصريح الأخير له بحق المؤسسة العسكرية أن القيادة العسكرية تكرهه بينما القاعدة أي الجنود يحبّونه. ويعتبر أن مصلحة القيادات العسكرية هي فوق مصلحة البلاد ويصرّون على التورّط في حروب لا منفعة منها للولايات المتحدة سوى إثراء الشركات المقاولة التي تجني أرباحاً طائلة.

بالتوازي مع تهيئة الأجواء لإجراء انقلاب عسكري في حال استمر الرئيس الأميركي في البيت الأبيض هناك أيضاً خطر آخر يهدّد التماسك الداخلي الأميركي. لقد حذر مدير المكتب الاتحادي للتحقيقات (اف بي أي) في جلسة استماع في الكونغرس من تنامي الميليشيات المسلّحة من البيض والسود وأن الاحتكاكات قد تحصل في أي لحظة. في السياق نفسه عرضت محطة أي تي في البريطانية تقريراً مصوّراً للميليشيات السود التي تنتشر في العديد من المدن الأميركية.

ويعتبر العديد من المراقبين الأميركيين أن تصاعد أعمال الشغب والعنف أعمال مبرمجة هدفها تهيئة مناخ لفرض الأحكام العرفية وتبرير تدخل القوّات المسلّحة لفرض أمر واقع سياسي جديد. هذا ما يحذّر منها أيضاً بول كريغ روبرتس وآخرون خاصة أن التقارير تتكاثر حول محاضرات يلقيها ضبّاط كبار حول ضرورة إمساك الوضع.

سردنا هذه المعلومات وليست كلّها في ذلك الموضوع وفحوى تقارير حول المناخ السائد في الولايات المتحدة للتأكيد أن الخريف سيكون ساخناً للغاية وقديمتد إلى الربيع. ليس بمقدور أحد أن يتكهّن عما ستسفر عليه الأمور وإن كان بعض المحلّلين لا يخفون تشاؤمهم حول تماسك الولايات المتحدة. ليس في الأفق من يستطيع أن يعيد توحيد الولايات المتحدة في ظل أزمة اقتصادية بنيوية وحالة اجتماعية متفسّخة يسودها التعصّب والعنصرية. كما أن الطبقة السياسية في معظمها مرتبطة بالاوليغارشية المالية والمجمع العسكري الصناعي والأمني والمالي وبالتالي التغيير من الداخل قد يصبح مستعصياً. وانهيار الدولة يعني انهيار المجتمع. فالدولة أقوى من المجتمع في الولايات المتحدة وبالتالي المصير سيكون مجهولاً. الولايات المتحدة تدخل اليوم في حقبة لا استقرار بنيوياً قد ينسف مكانتها في العالم إن لم ينسف وجودها في الداخل.

*كاتب وباحث اقتصادي سياسي والأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي.

قراءة في المشهدالسياسي الأميركي عشية الانتخابات (1)

هل يفعلها ترامب قبل 3 تشرين الثاني؟

د. عصام نعمان

تباهى دونالد ترامب في مؤتمرٍ صحافي بأنّ لدى الولايات المتحدة «أسلحة رائعة لا يعرف بها أحد (…) أسلحتنا النووية الآن في أفضل حالاتها. لدينا بعض الأنظمة المذهلة».

سبق للرئيس الأميركي أن كشف للصحافي المعروف بوب وودورد، مؤلف كتاب «غضب» الصادر مؤخراً، عن معلومات دفاعية بالغة السرية في واحدة من 17 مقابلة مسجلة أجراها معه. وودورد أوضح أنه تأكّد بشكل منفصل من مصادر لم يسمّها انّ الولايات المتحدة لديها سلاح سري جديد، لكنه لم يذكر ما إذا كان نووياً ام لا.

تصريحات ترامب أثارت جدلاً واسعاً في أوساط المحللين العسكريين في أنحاء العالم حول ما إذا كان السلاح السري الجديد نووياً، لكن خبراء أسلحة أميركيين يقولون إنهم غير متأكدين ما إذا كان الأمر الذي تحدث عنه ترامب صحيحاً أم أنه كان مجرد محاولة جوفاء للتباهي، وهو أمر معروف عن الرئيس الأميركي.

أياً ما كانت حقيقة «هذا السلاح السري الرائع» فإنّ سؤالاً ملحاحاً يجري تداوله في الأوساط السياسية الأميركية، خصوصاً لدى مسؤولي الحزب الديمقراطي الذي ينافس ترامب على الرئاسة بمرشحه جو بايدن. السؤال هو: هل يُقدِم ترامب على استعمال هذا السلاح ضد إيران قبل يوم الاقتراع في 3 تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر المقبل؟

ثمة سببان للتخوّف من أن يفعلها ترامب:

الاول، استماتته للفوز بولاية رئاسية ثانية وتصميمه على البقاء في البيت الأبيض مهما كان الثمن لدرجة أنه شدّد على أنصاره بضرورة التصويت له شخصياً وعدم اللجوء إلى التصويت بالبريد. لماذا؟ لأنه يعتقد بأنّ نتيجة فرز الأصوات الشخصية ستكون لصالحه ما يشجعه على اللجوء – كما يخشى معارضوه الديمقراطيون – الى إعلان فوزه مستبقاً إعلان نتيجة فرز الأصوات البريدية (التي يظنّ هو وغيره كثيرون أنها ستكون لصالح منافسه بايدن) مدّعياً أنها مزوّرة! هذا الاحتمال وارد جداً لدرجة انّ بعضاً من مسؤولي الحزب الديمقراطي تساءلوا عمّا يجب فعله لإخراجه من البيت الأبيض فيما دعا بعضهم الآخر الى تكليف الجيش مهمة إخراجه!

الثاني، لأنّ ترامب طراز من الرجال لا يتورّع عن اللجوء الى القتل للتخلّص من أعدائه ومنافسيه. ليس أدلّ على ذلك من «تعهّده» في الذكرى التاسعة عشرة لهجمات 11 سبتمبر/ أيلول 2001 « باستهداف كلّ من يهدّد حياة الأميركيين مثل قاسم سليماني «قائد «فيلق القدس» في الحرس الثوري الإيراني الذي اغتيل بغارة أميركية قرب مطار بغداد مطلع هذا العام.

اذا كان احتمال استعمال «السلاح السري الرائع» وارداً لدى ترامب، فهل انّ الهدف سيكون إيران؟ وإذا ما جرى استهداف إيران فعلاً، فهل من شأن ذلك توفير رافعة قوية لترامب في جولة الإنتخابات الرئاسية المقبلة؟

لعلّ أمرين أساسيين يجعلان هذا الاحتمال مستبعداً. ذلك انّ كبار مسؤولي «البنتاغون» (وزارة الدفاع) يعرفون بالتأكيد انّ إيران لن تكون لقمة سائغة، خصوصاً بعد التقدّم الهائل الذي أحرزته على الصعيدين العسكري والتكنولوجي في السنوات الخمس الأخيرة. كما يعرف هؤلاء المسؤولون ايضاً انّ للولايات المتحدة عدّة قواعد عسكرية في منطقة غرب آسيا والخليج، وبعضها قريب جداً من إيران، ما يجعلها رهينة لها ويمكّنها من ضربها والقضاء على آلاف الجنود الأميركيين. ذلك كله يجعل خيار ضرب إيران مكلفاً وغير مجزٍ.

ثم انه من المشكوك به جداً ان يتقبّل الرأي العام الأميركي فعلة ترامب الهوجاء هذه المتناقضة مع ما يحرص شاغل البيت الأبيض على الإيحاء به من انه لم يقع على أيّ جدوى من الحروب التي شنّتها الولايات المتحدة في المنطقة وتكلّفت عليها تريليونات الدولارات، وانه لهذا السبب يقوم بخفض عديد الجيش الأميركي في أفغانستان والعراق وسورية وغيرها من دول المنطقة.

هذان السببان وغيرهما قد لا يحولان دون أن يركب ترامب رأسه ويفعل فعلته. الأمر نفسه ينطبق على بنيامين نتنياهو المتخوّف، هو الآخر، من ان يفقد منصبه وسلطته تحت وطأة التظاهرات اليومية التي تحاصر منزله في القدس المحتلة وتتمدّد إلى مدن أخرى، كما بنتيجة محاكمته المنتظرة بتهم الفساد والرشوة والتزوير. لذا قد يرى هذا الرجل المذعور مصلحة له في تحريض ترامب على توجيه ضربة عسكرية خاطفة ومدمّرة لإيران يكون من شأنها – في ظنّه ــ تحصين منصبه في وجه المتظاهرين وأمام القضاة في محاكمته المنتظرة.

نتنياهو سيلتقي ترامب بعد يومين ليحتفلا سويةً مع ملك البحرين بتوقيع اتفاق لتطبيع العلاقات بين الكيانين. هل تراه ينجح رجل «إسرائيل» المذعور في إقناع رئيس أميركا الموتور بارتكاب الفعلة النكراء؟

نائب ووزير سابق

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