Archive | August 12th, 2016

The Flagging Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

NOVANEWS
The US Election and Free Trade Politics
 
tpp

Being savaged by Donald J. Trump on one side of the electoral aisle, and modestly beaten by the Democratic presumptive candidate, Hillary Clinton, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is lying somewhere between near death and miraculous survival. Those breathing life into that unfortunate beast remain politicians who embraced the mythology of free trade while never questioning what was free.

The scurrying taking place in the White House over rushing the TPP through the relevant channels is evident as the Obama presidency enters its final stages. Stutters, delays, and reluctance has meant that much work, perhaps too much, has to be done to push the agreement onto the statute books.

This has made Washington’s negotiation partners nervous. They, after all, were willing to drag along their states into a bargain that was essentially driven by what were meant to be US corporate interests. The not so elaborate con seemed to work, a triumph to cultic neo-liberal faith over pragmatic consequence.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was one such individual to make the journey to the country that insisted most on such a deal. In the Straits Times of Singapore, Obama suggested that “the politics around trade can be very difficult, especially in an election year.”[1] He seemed bubbly in enthusiasm, citing the close ties between the countries and his prowess in getting the TPP through before the new president’s inauguration.

As such events take place, the Trump campaign has been withering about the agreement. His language is eschatological in its doom. “Trump win,” trumpets the running line, “is the only way to stop TPP catastrophe.” One of the latest press releases on the subject emphasises efforts on the part of Obama and the Singaporean Prime Minister to “launch a final public campaign for the Trans-Pacific Partnership”, a point to be poured scorn over.

A large swathe of Democrats, and the Hillary Clinton campaign, have also insisted on noisy scepticism of the deal, though her case remains heavily qualified by a previous enthusiasm for the arrangements as Obama’s secretary of state. Mistrust, as she has attracted over the years, remains, not least because it is seen as a ploy to snare supporters of the now dead Sanders campaign.

On Thursday, Clinton made another push to capitalise on an increasingly protectionist climate while insisting that a Clinton administration would be friendly to infrastructure projects on a vast scale. That aspect is as much a nod towards the Trump campaign as anything else, cognisant of the Republican nominee’s promise to undertake massive government borrowing to that end.

What the Democrat nominee was promising was the language of the a new, accelerated “economic plan”, one packed with more taxes, filling federal coffers with a minimum tax at the highest end of the scale, to debt-free tuition and social security padding.

It was, however, the prickly language on free trade that caught the ear. “My message to every worker across America is this: I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” Just to be sure the audience understood her stance she reiterated that she “opposed it now, I’ll oppose it after the election and I’ll oppose it as president.”[2]

This is all rum stuff, given that Clinton’s voting record on the subject of free trade is sketchy. While voting against the Central American Free Trade Agreement, she has expressed considerable support for the concept of bilateral free trade deals. Among them were the Australia Free Trade Agreement (2004), Singapore and Chile (2003).[3]

As First Lady, she paraded the merits of the North American Free Trade Agreement, though insisting on private opposition to it.[4] (We are genuinely none the wiser on that one.) It was then candidate Barack Obama who pointed out in February 2008 that “she was saying great things about NAFTA until she started running for president.”[5]

Any basic understanding on the TPP shows its fundamentally Clintonian shape: the manacling, if not exclusion, of government from the regulatory sphere of global corporate behaviour; the privileging of profit motives over public goods; and the false idea that corporations are engine rooms for the commonweal.

Adam Green, a founder of the Progressive Change Committee seemed to swallow her change of heart with gullible enthusiasm. Clinton, in his mind, had become an ardent progressive. “Today’s speech shows that getting some Republicans to say Donald Trump is unfit for president is not mutually exclusive with Clinton running on bold progressive ideas like debt-free college, expanding Social Security Benefits, Wall Street reform, and a public health insurance option.”

The point generally to be made here is that the chances for the TPP passing are slim at best, withering as time passes in the vortex of US electoral politics. The window between November 8 and January 20 is a small one indeed, though still open.

Heartening here is that much of the sabotage is coming from within Washington itself, an entirely apt state of affairs, given that the very concept began there. But if Clinton does win, a change of opportunistic heart may well be in the offing.

Notes:

[1] http://www.straitstimes.com/world/united-states/singapore-an-anchor-for-us-presence-in-region-obama
[2] http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/aug/11/hillary-clinton-vows-to-kill-trans-pacific-partner/
[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ian-fletcher/unlike-clinton-sanders-re_b_9015000.html
[4] http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2008/feb/25/barack-obama/clinton-has-changed-on-nafta/
[5] http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2008/feb/25/barack-obama/clinton-has-changed-on-nafta/

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Labour Appeal: Fury as High Court Judge Philip Sales’ intimate links to Tony Blair revealed

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Tony Blair Justice Philip Sales

In what is a consolation victory for the Labour Party’s establishment in the Court of Appeal, it has been revealed by WikiLeaks that there may be more to the decision than meets the eye.

After Sir Philip Sales QC overruled the previous High Court decision to allow the 130,000 disenfranchised Labour Party members to vote in the up and coming leadership election – notorious whistle-blower Wikileaks revealed that Sales had been a Blair insider for years, having been recruited as Junior Counsel to the Crown in 1997.

The literature cited by WikiLeaks confirms that immediately after Labour’s victory in the 1997 general election, Sales was recruited by Tony Blair. Interestingly, it also reveals that Sales used to be a practising barrister at law firm 11KBW, of which Tony Blair was a founder member. At the time of the appointment, there was uproar over Sales’ appointment and plunged Blair into a cronyism row.

According to The Guardian’s coverage of the sexual discrimination case brought against Sales’ appointment, a source close to the case referred to 11KBW as a ‘network of old boys and cronies’, and that there was ‘no coincidence that the appointment came from Lord Irvine’s and Tony Blair’s old chambers’.

Since his appointment in 1997, Sir Philip Sales managed to rack up a hefty bill to the taxpayer as the highest earning lawyer in the entire government. Moreover, as a key part of Blair’s legal team, he also defended the Government’s decision against holding a public inquiry into the Iraq War in the High Court in 2005.

Clearly, there is no evidence of wrongdoing, only that of a conflict of interest. Sales’ deep involvement in the Labour Party during the Blair years will raise questions about the legitimacy of his shock ruling in favour of the National Executive Committee, especially as there was an evident breach of contract.

Despite these 130,000 members being told in black and white that they were eligible to vote in upcoming leadership elections upon registration, today they have been officially cast aside by their own party in an attempt to skew a result that is already a foregone conclusion. The biggest kick in the teeth, however, is that the permission to do so was granted by a former key lawyer of Tony Blair’s Labour government.

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko Preparing to Attack Donbass and Crimea

Russie Ukraine

In the aftermath of the shoot outs in Crimea the Russian and Ukrainian Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko, have met with their higher political and military leaderships. 

Putin’s meeting took the form of a plenary meeting of Russia’s Security Council, the body which was partially and hurriedly convened on Monday. Poroshenko’s meeting was with the Ukraine’s National and Security Council, a body that has a similar name to Russia’s Security Council but which does not have the same all-encompassing powers, and whose remit is far more narrowly restricted to defence and security questions.

Poroshenko has also put the Ukrainian military in Donbass and along the border with Crimea on alert. He is also trying to contact the US and European leaderships to gain their support.  It is a certainty that over the next few hours ritual statements of support for Ukraine and criticisms and warnings to Russia will indeed come from the US and European leaderships.

Putting aside all the rhetoric, will these latest moves result in war between Russia and Ukraine in Crimea, and between Ukraine and the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in the Donbass?

Two things first need to be said.  Firstly the idea that there is peace in the Donbass is a myth.  Fighting goes on there every day on the contact line with the Ukrainian military regularly shelling militia positions and the militia shelling the Ukrainian military in return.  Firefights happen continuously  At the beginning of July Ukraine admitted losing 80 of its soldiers in fighting in the Donbass in the course of just one week, whilst towards the end of July Ukraine admitted losing 6 of its soldiers in a single clash on just one day.  Secondly the political situation in Ukraine is so unstable and the anti-Russian atmosphere there is so strong that it would be foolish to count on Ukraine showing any sort of restraint.  War is therefore unfortunately a very real possibility.

On balance however I doubt it will happen. The Kremlin’s brief summary of Putin’s meeting with the Security Council speaks only of discussions for “additional security measures and critical infrastructure protection in Crimea” and of a detailed review of “scenarios of counter-terrorism security measures along the land border, offshore and in Crimea’s air space.”  That suggests that the Russians are only looking at tighter security measures within Crimea itself, and that they at least have no plans to start a wider war.  That would of course be consistent with the whole approach the Russians have been taking ever since the Ukrainian conflict began in 2014.

As for Ukraine, though there are undoubtedly individuals there who are fully capable of starting a war and who show every indication of wanting to do so, I personally doubt that in the end Ukraine will take the plunge and go to war. Behind the ritual statements of support I expect both the US and the Europeans in private to be urging Ukraine to show restraint for two reasons:  firstly, because whatever they may pretend in public I am sure they have guessed the truth that it is the Russian account of the Crimean incident which is true; and secondly and far more importantly because they know that in any war between Ukraine and Russia – or even between Ukraine and the two People’s Republics of the Donbass – Ukraine would lose.

Obama certainly does not want another defeat in Ukraine in the middle of a US Presidential election campaign on his hands, especially since this would probably play into the hands of Donald Trump, though unfortunately the same cannot be said of some of the more psychopathic individuals who support Hillary Clinton, who seem to be yearning for confrontation with Russia on just about any pretext.  More to the point I just cannot imagine that Angela Merkel, facing criticism in Germany for her open-door refugee policy and with her anti-Russian policy coming under growing criticism from the SPD, the CSU and the German business community, wants another debacle in Ukraine on her hands.

In fact I suspect that some people both in the US and Europe are privately furious with the Ukrainians for landing them in this mess, whatever they may feel obliged to say in public.  Whether or ot that is so I expect that the telephone lines between Western capitals and Kiev are currently burning with urgent calls for restraint.  Despite the strength of the war party in Kiev I doubt that the Ukrainian authorities in the end feel strong enough to disregard these calls.

There will be dismay in Europe over something else.  The Europeans have stupidly linked the lifting of sanctions against Russia to the full implementation of the Minsk II Accords notwithstanding that they know perfectly well that it is Kiev not Moscow which is not honouring them.  The whole premise of this foolish step was that it would pressure Moscow to make concessions.  In the event not only has Moscow failed to make any concessions but Putin has now called off the next Normandy Four meeting, which was supposed to review progress in implementing the Minsk II Accords.  With growing public anger in Europe over the sanctions there must now be panic on the part of some European leaders that the Russians may be prepared to walk away from the whole Minsk II process – which the Europeans have foolishly linked the sanctions to – leaving these same European leaders high and dry.

Just as I suspect that the telephone lines between Kiev and Western capitals are currently burning with calls for restraint, so therefore I suspect that the telephone lines between Moscow and Western capitals are also burning with urgent calls to the Russians asking them to modify and explain their new hard line and to recommit to the Normandy Four format.  I would not be surprised if in return the Russians are being given private assurances that the Western powers will act to prevent Kiev from doing what it has just tried to do in Crimea ever again.  Whether of course the Russians would believe those assurances is another matter.

Having said all this I want to repeat again that the situation remains extremely dangerous.  Ultimately any decision for war or peace lies with Kiev.  No one in their senses would place any firm reliance on Kiev doing the sane thing. The next few days or hours will decide the issue.

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Operation Mockingbird 2.0? Former CIA Director Planting Conspiracy Theories: Trump is an “Unwitting” Russian Agent

Cia-lobby-seal

Are we are now experiencing Operation Mockingbird 2.0? The CIA has been collaborating with the Mainstream Media (MSM) for some time is now selling one of the most ridiculous “Conspiracy Theories” in recent years (Obama’s “I killed Osama Bin Laden” Hoax tops the list).

Former CIA director, Michael J. Morell has claimed that the Republican presidential candidate, Donald J. Trump is an “Unwitting Agent” of Russia. Another lie or what we can call a “real conspiracy theory” is that Russia hacked into the DNC servers and obtained emails that exposed corruption within the Democratic Party with no evidence whatsoever which I will discuss shortly.

In fact, the MSM in collusion with the CIA has been relentless in their pursuit for decades to convince the public that alternative news sources publish conspiracy theories to discredit any questionable story that they themselves (the MSM) present to the public. The CIA created the “Conspiracy Theory” label in 1967 to discredit anyone (especially journalists) who questioned the U.S. government’s “Official Narrative” of a particular situation. Now, fast forward to 2016, Morell wrote a New York Times OP-ED claiming that Donald Trump is working for Russian President Vladimir Putin:

Mr. Putin is a great leader, Mr. Trump says, ignoring that he has killed and jailed journalists and political opponents, has invaded two of his neighbors and is driving his economy to ruin. Mr. Trump has also taken policy positions consistent with Russian, not American, interests — endorsing Russian espionage against the United States, supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea and giving a green light to a possible Russian invasion of the Baltic States.

In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation

The MSM has been on a propaganda spree against Donald Trump in the last few weeks and it is accelerating. According to Morell, Mr. Putin recruited Trump to work in the interests of Russia which is absolutely absurd. First in response to Morell’s article, Russia did not annex Crimea, the majority of the people of Crimea voted in a referendum to leave the Ukraine and become a part of Russia. The referendum took place on March 16th, 2014 where close to 96% of the population voted in favor to reunify “Crimea with Russia”. Let’s not forget that the majority of the population in Crimea speaks Russian and share a very similar culture with Russia. Crimea was transferred to the Ukraine due to administrative measures under the Soviet Union in 1954. Second, Russia is not going to nor were they ever planning to invade the Baltic States. However, NATO forces are stationed close to Russia’s borders and Europe is in the process of placing missile defense systems on behalf of Washington which threatens Russia’s security.

Michael Morell is continuing Operation Mockingbird, a CIA program also established in 1967 to influence the media to report stories that favor Washington’s agenda. Operation Mockingbird recruited American journalists and news organizations to report stories that represented views of the CIA on behalf of Washington and major corporations. The CIA also funded various news organizations, magazines (Time magazine) and influenced foreign media companies to report stories they deemed acceptable.  Mr. Morell is now planting ridiculous stories or conspiracy theories within the MSM. The MSM is bought and paid for by the establishment and the CIA makes sure the stories they provide make it on the evening news. The MSM works for Washington and the CIA manages its content. The MSM do what they are told to do. In this case, Morell is planting a conspiracy theory against Donald Trump and Russia. What else can you possibly call what Morell wrote in the New York Times or said on PBS’s Charlie Rose?

Morell is in line with Hillary Clinton who has deep ties with the CIA. Morell is not the only one spreading conspiracy theories. Hillary Clinton and the DNC are also on board. Recent Hillary Clinton emails released by Wikileaks from a DNC hack were also blamed on Russia. However, the Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange has signaled that the person who possibly sent him the emails ‘Seth Rich’, a Democrat staffer who was recently found dead might have been the person according to a Zero Hedge article titled ‘Wikileaks Assange Hints Murdered DNC Staffer Was Email -Leaker, Offers $20k Reward For Info’.  Assange is now offering a $20,000 reward for any information on the death of Seth Rich.

In today’s world, Russia is to blame for anything that happens around the world which brings us back to the days of the Cold War. The MSM in the US and UK led the charge with headlines that accused Russia for the DNC Hacking scandal. ‘Hillary Clinton campaign blames leaked DNC emails about Sanders on Russia’ (The Guardian), ‘Russian ties: Ex-intel official says evidence on hacked DNC servers points to nation state’ (Fox News), ‘Russian Intelligence Hacked DNC Emails’ (NBC) according to MSM headlines, Russia was guilty.

Hillary Clinton and members of the DNC are blaming Russia for the email hacks without any mention of what was actually in those emails in the first place. But that is not the issue, besides the emails only show that Hillary Clinton was working with the MSM media against US democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and that she sold weapons to the Islamic State terrorists as Secretary of State under the Obama administration. Wikileaks has approximately 1,700 emails that confirm the link between Clinton, Libya and Syria and the shipments of weapons directly to Al Qaeda and ISIS. But the content of the emails is not important, because what is more important to the MSM and the Clinton camp is that Russia hacked into their email servers. Realistically speaking, what could be more important than a government official who has been in Washington for more than 2 decades was involved with arming and funding terrorist groups? To the MSM, Russia (who has been fighting terrorists and winning on many fronts in Syria) is the enemy, the evil culprit behind the hacks.

On an RT News broadcast of Going Underground with Afshin Rattansi interviewed Julian Assange on the question of a Trump-Russia connection which he revealed a few important factors for the public to consider:

Hillary Clinton has done quite well strategically to try and draw connection between Trump and Russia because she has so many connections of her own,” now, my analysis of Trump and Russia is that there is no substantial connection. Why do I say that? Because Trump was trying to invest in Russia before Putin in the 1990s, after Putin, in fact nearly all the way up to the present moment, and he’s had no success,” Assange continued “He’s not managed to build hotels in Russia, so that shows how insubstantial his contacts are”

Israeli intelligence news agency also confirmed that Russia did not hack into the DNC servers according to a July 31st Sputnik news article:

However, analysts with the Israeli intelligence news agency DebkaFile found more holes in these assertions than a five-dollar block of Swiss cheese and came to the conclusion that the “hacking was almost certainly not carried out by GRU’s cyber warfare branch. First of all, the analysts blast the notion that a branch of Russian intelligence would leave obvious signatures, such as the terms “Fancy Bear” and “Cozy Bear” as claimed by CrowdStrike to be found by investigators unless their goal was to undermine Trump’s candidacy.

They also raise the question of why Russia, who is focused on securing strategic and economic data, wasting scarce resources to determine the DNC’s opinion of Bernie Sanders’ religious orthodoxy. Then there is the fact that blaming the attack on Russia, a perennial punching bag for politicians and media whenever something goes wrong whether or not the claims are rooted in fact, was so brazenly quaint and also served as a reminder that the most famous leaker of US classified documents, Edward Snowden, continues to live free from prosecution in Russia

Edward Snowden also said that if Russia did hack the DNC, the NSA would obviously know who was behind it “Even if the attackers try to obfuscate origin, #XKEYSCORE makes following exfiltrated data easy. I did this personally against Chinese ops,” Snowden said on a twitter message. In an interesting turn of events, Snowden revealed in 2014 that the U.S. government (NSA) had spied on more than 122 world leaders and their governments.

Whether you like Donald Trump or not he is for a better diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation and has said that NATO is “obsolete.” Trump has called on European countries to fund NATO themselves which is something that Washington’s establishment does not want. They prefer to pay NATO with U.S. tax dollars instead. Washington prefers NATO forces in close proximity to Russia’s borders in any event that calls for a nuclear first strike capability against the Russian Federation.

The establishment including Michael J. Morell (who said he will vote for Clinton) wants Trump defeated come this November. The DNC, Michael Morell (who is also calling for Russian and Syrian government forces to be killed covertly in Syria to threaten Syrian president Bashar al-Assad) and the MSM puppets are now pushing the“Conspiracy Theory” narrative upon the public. They are desperate and they are running out of ammunition against Donald Trump, Russia and the alternative media. What is their solution? Spread misinformation and fake conspiracy theories to make their opposition less credible. That is all the ammunition they have left.

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US Military Prepares New Offensives in Syria and Iraq

NOVANEWS

2000px-Iraq_Syria_Locator.svg

Even as tensions are rising with Russia in Eastern Europe and China in Asia, the United States has launched a new war in Libya and is preparing a major military escalation in the Middle East, nominally directed against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In an interview yesterday with USA Today, Air Force Lieutenant General Jeffrey Harrigan confirmed that the US-led coalition is planning coordinated offensives against two ISIS-held cities—Mosul in northern Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. “If we are able to do simultaneous operations and synchronise the Mosul piece and the Raqqa piece, think about the problem that generates for [ISIS],” he said.

Harrigan, who recently took over command of air operations in the Middle East, said coalition war planes had been striking targets in both cities in recent months. “The team is focussed on force generation to try and make that simultaneous operation occur, because we see huge benefits from it,” he said, referring to the build-up of anti-ISIS ground forces in Iraq and Syria.

USA Today reported US troops are already operating extensively inside Syria, stating:

“US Special Operations Forces are helping to identify and organise Syrian rebel groups into a force that can take on the Islamic State [ISIS]. The force now numbers about 30,000 and had generated some surprisingly early successes, particularly around the northern city of Manbij.”

Within Iraq, US-led preparations have been underway for months to retake Mosul, the country’s second largest city, which still has a population of up to one million despite a mass exodus. Iraqi government forces last month seized the Qayyarah air base, 60 kilometres south of Mosul, which is being transformed into a major hub of operations for the upcoming offensive.

The US has funnelled in around 400 troops to carry out repairs, as well as to provide military advice, logistics, communications and intelligence to Iraqi ground troops, which have already begun seizing villages and towns to the south of Mosul. The air base’s runways are being upgraded and extended to allow large military transports to land, along with US and Iraqi fighters and helicopter gunships.

The anti-ISIS forces preparing for the Mosul offensive consist of an unstable coalition of Kurdish peshmerga militia, regular Iraqi army troops and Shiite-dominated Popular Mobilisation Forces, which are notorious for their atrocities against Sunni civilians during the battle for Fallujah. Already concerns are being raised about the potential for sectarian fighting and human rights abuses once Mosul is recaptured.

Lieutenant General Sean MacFarland, the top US commander in Syria and Iraq, declared this week:

“We are going to try to get Mosul back as fast as we can. It’s one million people living under an oppressive rule under terrible conditions… The Iraqi security forces around Qayyarah are in a position now to begin that process and we’ll try to hurry that along as fast as we possibly can but putting an exact time on it, I’d rather not.”

MacFarland, who is due to be replaced, declared the US was winning the war against ISIS, reducing their territory in Iraq by more than half. “Although it’s not a measure of success and it’s difficult to confirm, we estimate that over the past 11 months we’ve killed about 25,000 enemy figures.” He provided no estimate of the number of civilians killed in the fighting or in US air raids.

The general also downplayed the role of US military forces, declaring they were only playing an “advise and assist” role at a distance and in specific locations. It is clear, however, that US troops are increasingly involved closer to the frontlines.

In an article late last month, the Washington Post reported: “While US Special Operations forces have already been advising elite counterterrorism troops and Kurdish peshmerga forces at their lower levels, the Qayyarah mission marks the first time since 2014 that US forces have advised Iraqi army battalions in the field.”

A small team of American combat engineers accompanied Iraqi forces on July 20 to advise on the task of constructing a temporary bridge over the Tigris River to the southeast of the town of Qayyarah. According to the Post, the US troops spent a few hours in the field in what was a “narrowly targeted mission, with limited battlefield exposure”—a model for “the restricted role that American commanders are planning for US ground forces in the Mosul operation.”

US generals are clearly concerned that American battlefield deaths will fuel anti-war sentiment at home, but have not ruled out putting US troops on the frontline. “In private, other senior officers are even more blunt, making reference to troops they lost in earlier Iraq deployments. This time, they will place Americans in the thick of fighting only if the overall mission is at risk,” the newspaper stated.

The timing of offensives in Iraq and Syria is also being driven by political considerations. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party are increasingly attacking Republican nominee Donald Trump as being unfit to be commander-in-chief of US forces. A substantial military victory in the Middle East, no matter what the cost in Syrian and Iraqi lives, has the potential to boost Clinton.

The issue is clearly being discussed in Washington circles. An article on thePolitico website on August 1, entitled “Get ready for Obama’s ‘October Surprise’ in Iraq,” suggested that “the American public could be treated to a major US-led military victory in Iraq this fall, just as voters are deciding who will be the nation’s next president.”

The article cited unnamed senior US officers who insisted the Mosul offensive’s timing was not bound up with politics, but it did not rule out the possibility. “If Mosul is retaken, it would both mark a political triumph for Barack Obama and likely benefit his party’s nominee at the polls, Hillary Clinton, undercutting Republican claims that the Obama administration has failed to take the gloves off against Islamic State,” it noted.

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Spies Like Us: Pentagon Taps Private Intel Contractors to Fight ISIS in Syria

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pentagone

A no-bid $10 million contract announced in late July is possibly the first instance in which the Pentagon has publicly acknowledged using private military contractors alongside American special operations forces fighting Islamic State in Syria.

In a public announcement on July 27, the Department of Defense said it awarded an intelligence analysis contract to private contractor Six3 Intelligence Solutions, a cyber and signals intelligence and surveillance firm that is a subsidiary of CACI International Inc. The contract will require Six3 to assist US forces working against Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS or ISIL) within Syria.

Wow….a first. US military contractors now working inside Syria. http://bit.ly/2a0uVu8 

Six3′s work pursuant to the contract will occur over the next year in Syria, as well as Germany and Italy, the Pentagon said. The DOD and CACI would not expand on the ”intelligence analysis services” involved in the contract, The Daily Beast reported. “This is no ordinary contractor,” Sean McFate, a former private contractor and author of Shadow War, told the Beast. ”Six3 Intelligence Solutions is a private intelligence company, and the fact that we outsource a good portion of our intelligence analysis creates a strategic dependency on the private sector to perform vital wartime operations.”

It’s not just U.S. troops battling ISIS. Now Army is sinking millions of dollars into private contractors for fight http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/08/09/spies-for-hire-now-at-war-in-syria.html 

Photo published for Spies-for-Hire Now at War in Syria
Spies-for-Hire Now at War in Syria

It’s not just U.S. troops battling ISIS. Now the Army is sinking millions of dollars into private intelligence contractors for the fight.

thedailybeast.com

According to US officials, there are about 300 US military special operations soldiers in Syria to ”advise and assist” US allies fighting Islamic State, the militant group that holds territory in Iraq and Syria. In November, the Pentagon first announced that 50 US troops would operate in Syria. In April, the Obama administration said that around 250 more troops would be sent in ”advisory” roles. The CIA has long operated and armed militants in Syria.

While the Six3 contract is likely the first public acknowledgment of private contractors assisting the US in Syria, experts suggest it is probably not the only contractor involved.

“I’ve long said, the military looks at professional services contractors like the old American Express commercial, i.e., they dare not leave home without them,” David Isenberg, a private security contractor analyst, told the Beast.

Four weeks prior to the Syria contract announcement, the Pentagon revealed that it had awarded Six3 a $28.61 million contract to provide intelligence services to US forces in Afghanistan.

CACI, the parent company of Six3, has been one of the top 30 contractors for the US government by amount of contract funds awarded in fiscal years 2012 through 2015. According to US military investigators, CACI employees were involved in interrogation and torture of prisoners held at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, more than a decade ago. Images of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib were released in 2004, becoming one of the biggest scandals associated with the US invasion and occupation of Iraq beginning in 2003.

Operation Inherent Resolve is the name given to military’s operation to combat IS in Iraq, Syria, and beyond. As of July 27, the US-led operation had conducted a total of 14,093 airstrikes against IS targets in Iraq and Syria. Of that total, the US conducted 10,826 of the strikes, according to the Pentagon.

From August 8, 2014, when airstrikes targeting the terrorist group began, to July 15, 2016, the operation has cost a total of $8.4 billion, or an average of $11.9 million a day.

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Tensions Rise between Russia and Ukraine after Terrorist Provocation

ukraine-russia-flags

The Western-backed regime in Ukraine announced Thursday that it was placing its military forces on the highest state of combat alert amid the ratcheting up of tensions with Russia in the wake of a reported terrorist provocation in Russian-ruled Crimea.

For its part, Moscow announced the staging of maneuvers in the Black Sea, with the Russian navy rehearsing tactics for the repulsion of a attack on Crimea.

The Ukrainian government, which on Thursday sent its ambassador to the United Nations to speak before the Security Council on the matter, charged that Russia has massed more than 40,000 troops in Crimea and on the Ukrainian border. As Crimea is the historic base of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, it has always had a large deployment of the country’s military.

Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, dismissed the charge, declaring, “Instead of counting our military, they should be bringing an end to the conflict” in eastern Ukraine, where the Kiev government’s forces have continued to attack a separatist Russian-speaking minority, claiming some 10,000 lives since April 2014.

Moscow has charged the Ukrainian government with organizing a terrorist attack aimed at striking vital infrastructure inside Crimea, a territory that Russia annexed following a plebiscite in which the peninsula’s population voted for unification with Russia. The move followed the February 2014 coup, orchestrated by Washington and Germany and spearheaded by ultra-nationalist and fascist forces, which overthrew the elected, pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych and installed a rabidly anti-Russian regime. The United States backed the putsch in a bid to escalate the US-led drive to encircle and militarily subjugate Russia.

A NATO official told the AFP news agency that the US-led military alliance was carefully following the rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine, declaring that “Russia’s recent military activity in Crimea is not helpful for easing tensions.”

State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau called the situation “very dangerous” and reiterated Washington’s position that “Crimea is part of Ukraine.”

Both dismissed Russia’s account of terrorist actions against Crimean territory by a Ukrainian-organized special operations squad.

Russia’s state security agency, the FSB, issued a detailed statement Wednesday, saying that the attacks were carried out on the night of August 6-7 under the direction of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. Further attempts at infiltration were repeated on August 8.

The statement said that one FSB agent was killed in the attempt to detain the Ukrainian operatives, whose object was described as the targeting of “critical infrastructure and life support facilities” in Crimea. A Russian soldier also was reportedly killed by fire from Ukrainian military units, including armored vehicles, in support of the operation.

The FSB claimed to have recovered “20 improvised explosive devices with a total explosive power of 40 kg [of] TNT,” along with land mines, grenades and special assault weapons.

The agency also presented evidence it said was given by a Ukrainian described as an operative of Ukrainian military intelligence and a leader of the special operations units, identified as Yevgeniy Aleksandrovich Panov.

Sergei Aksyonov, Crimea’s prime minister, charged that the real source of the terrorist operations was Washington. “Ukrainian officials wouldn’t have had the courage for such actions … These are not their own actions and messages,” he said, adding, “the US State Department is looming behind them.”

There is every reason to suspect that this is the case. The provocation in Crimea comes in the midst of a drumbeat of escalating US rhetoric and actions taken against Russia. The US has stepped up its arming and funding of Al Qaeda-linked militias in Syria in an attempt to reverse the victories of Syrian government forces, which have been closely supported by Russian air power. On August 1, the US-backed jihadists shot down a Russian helicopter on a relief mission, killing all five aboard. In the media, former top officials and columnists with close government connections have called for US air strikes against the Russian-backed forces and the imposition of a “no-fly zone” that would inevitably spell a confrontation with Russia’s air force.

In Ukraine itself, Washington has worked to build up the military of the crisis-ridden, right-wing regime in Kiev headed by the oligarch Petro Poroshenko. A 500-strong US unit is presently on the ground in western Ukraine training Ukrainian forces, including members of fascist-led militias, while hundreds, if not thousands, of other US military personnel and contractors are regularly rotating in and out of the country. Last month, the US Navy joined with Ukrainian warships in the “Sea Breeze” exercises aimed at challenging Russia in the Black Sea. In July, US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Ukraine for talks with Poroshenko, where he reiterated Washington’s support for the Kiev regime’s claims on Crimea.

The dangerous war tensions between Ukraine and Russia have been unleashed in the midst of an election campaign that has seen the presidential front-runner, Democratic candidate and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, attack the fascistic Republican candidate Donald Trump from the right, particularly over the question of Russia.

The Democrats have staged a neo-McCarthyite campaign against Trump, accusing him of being a puppet of Vladimir Putin, while also charging—with no evidence—that the Russian president was behind the WikiLeaks release of Democratic National Committee emails exposing attempts to rig the primaries against Clinton’s challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders.

Among the charges leveled against Trump—again without substance—is the assertion that his campaign “watered down” the Republican platform’s language on Ukraine. The language, in fact, denounces the Obama administration for abetting a “resurgent Russia,” backs sanctions against Moscow, and calls for “appropriate assistance to the armed forces of the Ukraine.” The complaint was that it left out a reference to supplying them with “lethal weapons,” something the Obama administration itself claims it is not doing.

That Clinton attacks such policies from the right, with growing support from key figures in the US military and intelligence apparatus along with growing numbers of Republican policy makers, constitutes a clear warning. Preparations are being made for a direct military confrontation with Russia in eastern Europe, with provocations like those staged in Crimea serving as the likely trigger. Whether such a dangerous escalation of conflict, involving the world’s two major nuclear powers, will be postponed until after November is itself an open question.

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The Battle for Aleppo and the Hypocrisy of US War Propaganda

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This week marks two years since President Barack Obama initiated the latest US war against Iraq and Syria, launched in the name of combating the Islamic State militia. The American president cast the new military intervention as not only a continuation of the “global war on terrorism,” but also a crusade for human rights, invoking the threat to Iraq’s Yazidi population and insisting that he could not “turn a blind eye” when religious minorities were threatened.

The toll of this supposed humanitarian intervention has grown ever bloodier. According to a report released this week by the monitoring group Airwars to mark the anniversary, more than 4,700 civilian non-combatant fatalities have been reported as a result of the “US-led Coalition’s” air strikes (95 percent of which have been carried out by US warplanes). More innocent Iraqi and Syrian men, women and children have been slaughtered by American bombs in the course of two years than the total number of US soldiers who lost their lives during the eight years of the Iraq war launched by President George W. Bush in 2003.

All of Washington’s lies and pretexts about its latest war in the Middle East—as well as the decade-and-a-half of wars waged since 9/11—have been exploded in the course of the past several days as the US government and media celebrated purported victories by “rebel” forces in the battle for control of Aleppo, Syria’s former commercial capital.

That the “rebel” offensive has been organized and led by an organization that for years constituted Al Qaeda’s designated Syrian branch, and the operation was named in honor of a Sunni sectarian extremist who carried out a massacre of captured Syrian Alawite soldiers, gave none of them pause. So much for the hogwash about terrorism and human rights!

The scale of the military gains made by the Al Qaeda-led forces in Aleppo are by no means clear. They have, however, apparently succeeded in placing under siege the western part of the city, which is under the government’s control and where the overwhelming majority of the population lives. The “rebels” have killed and maimed hundreds of people with mortar and artillery rounds.

Washington and its allies, the Western media and the human rights groups that accused the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad of crimes against humanity for bombing the jihadists in eastern Aleppo are now indifferent when these imperialist-backed terrorists are killing civilians in the western part of the city.

Sections of the Western media have gone so far as to celebrate the exploits of “rebel” suicide bombers for providing a strategic “advantage” for the Western-backed militias. Among the most dishonest and duplicitous accounts of the recent fighting are those that have appeared in the pages of the New York Times, whose news coverage and editorial line are carefully tailored to serve the predatory aims of US imperialism.

In a Monday article on Aleppo, the Times wrote that the challenge to government control had been mounted by “rebels and their jihadist allies.” The article continued: “A vital factor in the rebel advance over the weekend was cooperation between mainstream rebel groups, some of which have received covert arms support from the United States, and the jihadist organization formerly known as the Nusra Front, which was affiliated with Al Qaeda.”

The newspaper reports this as casually as if it were publishing a report on the late artist formerly known as Prince. The Nusra Front changed its name to the Fatah al-Sham Front and announced its formal disaffiliation from Al Qaeda—with the latter’s blessing—just one week before it launched the offensive in Aleppo.

There is every reason to believe that this rebranding was carried out in consultation with the CIA in an attempt to politically sanitize direct US support for an offensive led by a group that has long been denounced by Washington as a terrorist organization.

The Times never names any of the “mainstream rebel groups” it says are fighting alongside the Al Qaeda militia, suggesting that they constitute some liberal progressive force. In point of fact, one of these groups recently released a video showing its fighters beheading a wounded 12-year-old child, and virtually all of them share the essential ideological outlook of Al Qaeda.

The Financial Times of London carried one of the frankest reports on the Aleppo “rebel” offensive, noting that it “may have had more foreign help than it appears: activists and rebels say opposition forces were replenished with new weapons, cash and other supplies before and during the fighting.” It cites reports of daily columns of trucks pouring across the Turkish border for weeks with arms and ammunition, including artillery and other heavy weapons.

The newspaper quotes one unnamed Western diplomat who said that US officials backed the Al Qaeda-led offensive “to put some pressure back on Russia and Iran,” which have both provided key military support to the Assad government.

The Financial Times also quotes an unnamed “military analyst” as stating that the character of the fighting indicated the Al Qaeda forces had received not only massive amounts of weapons, but also professional military training.

Significantly, even as the fighting in Aleppo was underway, photographs surfaced of heavily armed British commandos operating long-range patrol vehicles in northern Syria. Similar US units are also on the ground. These are among the most likely suspects in terms of who is training Al Qaeda’s Syrian forces.

They would only be reprising the essential features of the imperialist operation that gave rise to Al Qaeda 30 years ago, when the CIA—working in close alliance with Osama bin Laden—supplied similar support to the mujahedeen fighting to overthrow the Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan.

While the blowback from that episode ultimately gave us September 11, the present operation in Syria holds far greater dangers. In what is now openly described by the corporate media as a “proxy war” in which Al Qaeda serves as US imperialism’s ground force, Washington is attempting to overthrow Russia’s key Middle East ally as part of the preparations for a war aimed at dismembering and subjugating Russia itself.

The frontrunner in the US presidential contest, Democrat Hillary Clinton, has repeatedly signaled that she intends to pursue a far more aggressive policy in Syria and against Russia, making neo-McCarthyite charges of Vladimir Putin’s supposed subversion of the US election process a central part of her campaign.

Whether Washington can wait till inauguration day next January to escalate its aggression is far from clear. The “rebel” gains in Aleppo may be quickly reversed and the fighting could end with the US-backed Al Qaeda militias deprived of their last urban stronghold.

US imperialism is not about to accept the re-consolidation of a Syrian government aligned with Moscow. Pressure will inevitably mount for a more direct and more massive US intervention, threatening a direct clash between American and Russian forces.

Fifteen years after launching its “war on terror,” Washington is not only directly allied with the supposed target of that war—Al Qaeda—but is preparing to unleash upon humanity the greatest act of terror imaginable, a third world war.

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Shootout in Crimea: Russia’s “Anti-terrorism Agency” (FSB) vs Ukrainian Saboteurs

NOVANEWS
The FSB interception of Ukrainian sabotage groups attempting to infiltrate Crimea raise tensions.
 
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Anyone who has been following Ukraine related news over the last few days will be aware of reports of Russian troop movements in Crimea, of a shoot out there between the Russian security forces and alleged Ukrainian infiltrators which left several people dead, and of claims that Ukrainian sabotage groups had attempted to infiltrate the peninsula.

On  10th August 2016 came final confirmation of the incident from Russia’s counterintelligence and anti terrorism agency, the FSB (full statement attached below).  It reported separate incidents involving three Ukrainian sabotage groups connected to the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Defence Ministry, shoot outs between FSB operatives and the Russian military and the Ukrainian military across the border line, and the deaths of one FSB operative and of one Russian soldier caught up in the shoot outs.  Other reports speak of the death of at least two Ukrainian infiltrators, and of the capture of several others, which claims however the FSB report does not confirm. The FSB report does however speak of twenty improvised explosive devices containing more than 40 kilograms of TNT equivalent, ammunition, fuses, antipersonnel and magnetic bombs, grenades and the Ukrainian armed forces’ standard special weapons being found in one of the locations involved in the incident.

The FSB report also says that several Ukrainian and Russian citizens belonging to an undercover spy ring operating inside Crimea have been arrested on charges of planning to help the saboteurs.  The FSB has named the ringleader as Yevgeny Panov, a resident of Ukraine’s Zaporozhye region born in 1977, who the FSB says is an employee of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate.  Presumably he has been working in Crimea for some time under cover.  The FSB says it has arrested him and that he is “giving evidence”.

The FSB has not identified the targets of the saboteurs other than saying that they were “critical infrastructure and life support facilities on the peninsula”.  Some Russian media reports have suggested that the intention was to create “false flag” incidents that would set Crimea’s Tatar and Russian communities against each other.  The reference to “critical infrastructure and life support facilities on the peninsula” does not however support this.  Rather it suggests an attempt to disrupt power supplies and possibly water treatment plants at the height of Crimea’s tourist season and on the eve of the elections.

The Ukrainians for their part deny all these allegations, claiming that the whole incident has been invented by the Russians.  The Western media, predictably enough, is following the Ukrainian line with wild speculations that the Russians have fabricated the whole incident in order to justify a Russian invasion of Ukraine during the Olympic Games.

Whilst the full truth of this incident will only become known over time – when or if people like Panov are put on trial – there is actually no reason to doubt that the Russian account is true.  The Russians are hardly likely to arrange the death of one of their own FSB operatives and of one of their soldiers in order to fabricate an incident like this, and the report of the capture of several of the saboteurs, and the confirmation of the arrest of the members of the spy ring which was created to support them, all but confirms that the Russian claims about this incident are true. Indeed given that Ukrainian leaders frequently speak of Ukraine being at war with Russia it is not difficult to see why they might authorise a sabotage mission of this sort in order to disrupt elections which would confirm the extent of Crimea’s integration into Russia.  Presumably the Ukrainian plan was to claim that the attacks were the result of local anti-Russian resistance cells, thereby fostering the fiction that there is opposition within Crimea to its unification with Russia.  It has been a cause of serious embarrassment to the Ukrainian leadership and its Western backers that there has been no real evidence of such opposition up to now.  The sabotage mission appears to have been intended to “correct” this.

Two days ago I reported about a meeting Putin had with his security chiefs which appeared to have been hurriedly convened in a secret location.  I speculated that the meeting was held to discuss the situation in Aleppo.  Whilst Aleppo undoubtedly was discussed at this meeting as shown by the presence of Foreign Minister Lavrov and the Kremlin’s account of the meeting – which referred to Putin’s forthcoming meetings with foreign leaders, of whom the two most important were President Erdogan of Turkey and President Rouhani of Iran with whom the topic of Syria and Aleppo would certainly be discussed – the meeting between Putin and his security chiefs undoubtedly also discussed the situation in Crimea, and the reports of the Ukrainian sabotage mission there.

Might there have been any other purpose to this Ukrainian sabotage mission other than to create the appearance of instability in Crimea during the tourist season and during the coming election season?  Putin in the joint press conference he held in Moscow following his meeting with Armenia’s President Sargsyan linked the incident to the attempted murder of Igor Plotnitsky, the leader of the Lugansk People’s Republic.  If true that would suggest that having despaired of a military victory the government in Kiev is now turning to assassination and sabotage tactics in order to keep the struggle with Russia going and to achieve its political goals.  Alternatively it could be that the Ukrainians have carried out these operations in preparation for the summer offensive in the Donbass that has been much talked about but which has yet to happen, though it is not clear how planting bombs in Crimea could aid a military offensive in the Donbass.  Yet another explanation is that the Ukrainians might be sensing a weakening in European support and might have launched the operation in order to heighten tensions and to rally support and to further undermine the Minsk II peace process.

My own opinion is that the most likely explanation for this frankly reckless action – which will cause serious embarrassment to some of Ukraine’s European backers even if they are not prepared to say so publicly – is the chaotic condition of the Ukrainian power structure and the perennial infighting that goes on there.  Given the luridly romantic language many members of the Maidan movement customarily like to indulge in I can easily see how the sabotage operation in Crimea and the murder attempt on Plotnitsky – if the two are indeed connected – might have been planned by individuals in Kiev who might think that the success of such operations would increase their credibility and popularity within the Maidan movement and therefore their chances of achieving political success in Ukraine.

Whatever the precise motivations behind this incident Putin has made it very clear that the Russians are taking it extremely seriously.  He has already said that there will no Normandy Four meeting with Merkel, Hollande and Poroshenko at the forthcoming G20 summit in China.  Moreover and in contrast to what happened following the trial of Savchenko, whose actions were carried out in the Donbass and therefore in territory the Russians continue to recognise as Ukrainian, I expect the Russians to be much slower to agree to prisoner exchanges of the Ukrainian operatives who were involved in this mission and who they accuse of carrying out or planning to carry out violent actions on Russian territory.

Here is the text of the statement describing the incidents which has been provided by the FSB:

“The Russian FSB averted terrorist acts in the Republic of Crimea that were being prepared by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine.

The Russian FSB averted terrorist acts in the Republic of Crimea that were being prepared by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, and which targeted certain critical infrastructure and life support facilities on the peninsula.

The goal of the attacks was the destabilisation of the socio-political situation on the peninsula prior to the approaching elections to the federal and regional governmental institutions.

The search operations carried out during the night of 6/7 August 2016 in the vicinity of the city of Armyansk, Republic of Crimea, uncovered a group of saboteurs. While attempting to detain the terrorists, an FSB operative was killed by enemy gunfire. The following was discovered on the scene: 20 improvised explosive devices with a total explosive power of 40kg TNT, munitions, special detonators, standard-issue anti-personnel and magnetic land mines, grenades, and special-issue weapons used by Ukrainian armed forces’ special operations units.

The follow-on measures on the territory of the Republic of Crimea eliminated a network of agents operated by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Ukrainian and Russian citizens, engaged in the preparation of terrorist attacks, were arrested, and are now giving evidence. One of the organisers is Yevgeniy Aleksandrovich Panov, born 1977, an inhabitant of the Zaporozhye Region of Ukraine, an operative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukrainian MOD, who has also been arrested and is giving evidence.

During the night of August 8, 2016, Ukrainian MOD special operations units attempted two more infiltrations by saboteur units which were prevented by the armed units of the FSB and collaborating entities. The infiltration effort was covered by heavy fire from the adjacent country, including by armored vehicles belonging to Ukrainian military. A Russian soldier was killed by the fire.

On the basis of the investigative and combat actions, the Crimea FSB Directorate’s investigations department has launched a criminal case. Additional investigative measures are being implemented. Places where large groups of tourists are concentrating and resting, and critically important infrastructure and life support facilities have been taken under additional security. A strengthened border control regime has been introduced on the border with Ukraine.”

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Hilary Clinton – History Repeats Itself?

NOVANEWS
 
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Once upon a time, there was a man called James Buchanan. He was a Democrat, a Secretary of State and then the President of the United States. A good friend of mine, a historian, told me about him.

Buchanan was the last U.S. President who previously served as Secretary of State. He was a Pennsylvania native, and he took his place in the Oval Office in 1857.

Now, more than 150 years later, Hilary Clinton may be about to follow in his footsteps. And some footsteps they were!

Before serving as Secretary of State (in the administration of President James K. Polk), James Buchanan was a Senator, elected as a Democrat, same as Ms. Clinton.

While heading the State Department, the future President did some nasty, really nasty things, like provoking a war with Mexico and defining Washington’s colonialist policy towards Cuba and the Caribbean basin. Elected President at a time of growing animosity between the industrial anti-slavery North and agrarian pro-slavery South, he was unable to calm the passions of the opposing sides and to find a political solution to the crises. He committed some of the most outrageous errors, and to this day is remembered as one of the worst leaders in American history, being held responsible for the Civil War, which started just a few months after he retired. Before stepping down as a President, Buchanan’s only suggestion for averting the disaster was issuing “an explanatory amendment” reaffirming the constitutionality of slavery in the states, the fugitive slave laws, and popular sovereignty in the territories.

The National Intelligencer, then a leading opposition newspaper, published a biting, sarcastic piece about Buchanan’s adventurism and expansionism:

We must retrench the extravagant list of magnificent schemes which received the sanction of the Executive … the great Napoleon himself, with all the resources of an empire at his sole command, never ventured the simultaneous accomplishments of so many daring projects. The acquisition of Cuba … ; the construction of a Pacific Railroad … ; a Mexican protectorate, the international preponderance in Central America, in spite of all the powers of Europe; the submission of distant South American states; … the enlargement of the Navy; a largely increased standing Army … what government on earth could possibly meet all the exigencies of such a flood of innovations?

Sounds familiar?

Hillary Clinton, also a former Senator for the Democratic Party, also used her time at the State Department in the most ‘effective way’: she initiated a war in Libya, provoked a devastating civil war in Syria and masterminded coup in Honduras, while provoking and antagonizing left wing governments in virtually all parts of Latin America.

Running for President of the United States at a time of growing social tension and what is often described as ‘popular outrage’, Ms. Clinton, just like Mr. Buchanan, is now offering absolutely no new, progressive and effective solutions or reforms that could prevent the situation from slipping into a shattering social disaster. She is fighting for the status quo, and in the process eliminating her political opponents in the most Machiavellian fashion.

Many now predict that if Hillary Clinton is elected, her reign may lead into a real tragedy similar to the one that occurred in the United States a little over 150 years ago.

Unlike James Buchanan, she also sits on a pile of nuclear weapons, while doing her absolute best to antagonize and provoke two powerful and independent-minded nations: China and Russia. Her policies could easily lead to the most destructive international conflict, or even a series of conflicts. But it does not seem to distress her. She is on her ego trip, and on a crusade!

While history judges Mr. Buchanan simply as an inept, bigoted and trigger-happy imperialist and supremacist, Ms. Clinton also shares all those characteristics of her predecessor, but with her own unique touch: she is also in possession of those grotesque and deadly “qualities” of Dr. Strangelove.

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Human beings are not as complex as we often think they are, and history tends to repeat itself.

Both of this year’s US Presidential candidates have, undoubtedly, their doubles in the not so distant past. While Donald Trump’s ones lived in the 20th Century in Germany and Italy, Hilary Clinton had a homegrown predecessor; a man who was defending slavery and the status quo and who, most importantly, turned the United States into an aggressive imperialist and neo-colonialist power.

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