Archive | January 19th, 2017

US has no credibility in Middle East

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The United States has no credibility in the Middle East region despite President Barack Obama’s efforts to make it look like otherwise, a political analyst says.

Gordon Duff made the comments in an interview with Press TV on Monday when asked about Obama’s remarks that the US and Israel are still close allies and the recent anti-Israel UN resolution has not damaged the military and intelligence ties between Washington and Tel Aviv.

“I don’t think it caused a major rupture in relations between the United States and Israel,” said Obama in his final interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday night.

“Obama’s statement to put himself on a record of the US sustaining the relationship with Israel is not based on any kind of reality. The Obama administration has been at odds with Israel in many ways that never hit the news, (and) the public has never seen,” said Duff, senior editor of Veterans Today.

“There is no question that Obama and (Secretary of State John) Kerry have found Israel the most miserable possible partner that has been in political eyes continually,” he noted.

“All Obama is trying to do now is to make the US look like it’s still relevant and the relationship we had with Israel and the one we’re going to have is going to make this very clear that the US no longer has a role of any kind in the Middle East, nothing, the US has no credibility, has no position, has nothing to offer, except hate and that’s what’s coming,” he added.

The UN Security Council voted 14-0 last month to pass Resolution 2334, which demanded an immediate end to Israel’s “illegal” settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories. The US decided to abstain – and not veto – the resolution, allowing it to be adopted.

The Obama administration has argued that the abstention was in line with the official US policy which views the settlements as a major impediment to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But the move angered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who accused President Obama and Kerry of being behind the “shameful” act.

The continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has always been a roadblock to peace initiatives in the Middle East.

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Putin: Trump’s Defamers Worse than his own “pissing prostitutes”

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Vlad, forgive us, we just couldn’t help ourselves…

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he speaks during a press conference at the Kremlin in Moscow on January 17, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

President Vladimir Putin has denied claims that US President-elect Donald Trump has been compromised by Russian intelligence, adding that those behind by allegations are no better than “prostitutes.”

Putin’s Tuesday remarks were his first direct denial of an unverified report compiled by a former British intelligence agent that claimed Trump was compromised while on a trip to Russia in 2013.

“The people who are ordering this kind of false information, who are now disseminating it against the president-elect of the United States, who fabricate it and use it in a political fight, are worse than prostitutes,” he said while addressing reporters in Moscow.

While adding that such people have “no moral scruples,” he stressed that at the time Trump was in Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant Moscow was not even aware that he had political ambitions.

US President-elect Donald Trump boards the elevator after escorting Martin Luther King III to the lobby after meetings at Trump Tower in New York City on January 16, 2017.

“When Trump visited Moscow several years ago, he wasn’t a political figure. We didn’t even know about his political ambitions, he was just a businessman, one of America’s richest people. So does someone think that our intelligence services go after each American billionaire? Of course not, it’s complete rubbish,” he added.

He added that the unprecedented use of such measures against Trump shows the level of degradation of Western political elites.

“I don’t know Mr. Trump personally, I have never met him and don’t know what he will do on the international arena. So I have no grounds to attack him or criticize him for anything, or protect him or whatever,” he added.

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Kevin Barrett challenges Alex Jones: Debate Zionism and Islamophobia!

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American Muslim Dr. Kevin Barrett, host of Truth Jihad Radio, plays some INSANE Alex Jones clips — including one in which Alex explodes in blubbering rage when a caller mentions Kevin’s name.

Does Alex, who spreads Islamophobia and grovels before Bibi Netanyahu, have the courage to debate Kevin? Please call in and ask him to!

Call-in To The Show — Weekdays 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Central: (800) 259-9231 — Sunday 4 to 6 pm Central:  (877) 789-ALEX or (512) 646-1776. More information:

Alex Jones Explodes in Blubbering Rage at Mere Mention of My Name

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Obama Commutes Whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s Sentence

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Chelsea Manning

After years of being detained for exposing war crimes committed by US forces that got completely swept under the rug, President Barack Obama will use his final days in office to cut Chelsea Manning’s sentence.

Manning had been sentenced to 35 years for leaking confidential material related to US military operations in the Middle East.

According to the reduction, Manning will released from US detention on May 17.

Manning had been charged with “wrongful and wanton publication to the internet intelligence belonging to the United States.”

On August, 21 2013 a court martial slapped Manning with the historically long sentence, the longest prison sentence ever ascribed to someone for leaking documents or footage.

The US Army court martial had also charged Manning with five counts of stealing US government records, six counts of “willful communication of information relating to the national defense,” one charge of intentionally relaying information in “unlawful possession,” one count of exceeding authorized access to a US government computer, one charge of “willful communication of information relating to the national defense obtained by accessing a US government computer,” and five cases of failure to the US Army’s orders.

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Operation Condor

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Operation Condor: Latin-American Heads of State Condemned by Rome Tribunal, Declassified Docs Reveal Role of Henry Kissinger

 
Operation_Condor_participants.svg

Rome Court Concludes 3-Year Trial on Multinational Repression in Latin America

National Security Archive Provided Declassified Evidence to Tribunal, Hails Historic Ruling

A tribunal in Rome, Italy, today sentenced two former heads of state and two ex-chiefs of security forces from Bolivia and Peru, and a former Uruguayan foreign minister to life imprisonment for their  involvement in the coordinated, cross-border system of repression known as “Operation Condor.”  The National Security Archive, which provided testimony and dozens of declassified documents as evidence to the tribunal, hailed the ruling.  Today’s posting on the Archive’s web site includes several exhibits from the trial.

One declassified Department of State document that the Archive provided to prosecutors stated that Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay

“have established Operation Condor to find and kill terrorists … in their own countries and in Europe.” “… [T]hey are joining forces to eradicate ‘subversion’, a word which increasingly translates into non-violent dissent from the left and center left.” Their definition of subversion, according to the document, was so broad as to include “nearly anyone who opposes government policy.”

The document notes that former Foreign Minister Blanco of Uruguay was one of those behind this vision.

Former Uruguayan Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Blanco (Photo: Flores.org.uy)

In another document introduced in the trial, Peru’s former defense and prime Minister Richter Prada claims that three Argentine fugitives were “legally expelled and delivered to a Bolivian immigration official in accordance with long-standing practice.” The document goes on to say that the  fugitives are probably “permanent disappearances.”

The Rome trial considered the disappearance of 42 dual citizens – 33 Italian-Uruguayans, 5 Italian-Argentinians and 4 Italian-Chileans. The tribunal sentenced to life in prison former military dictator Francisco Morales Bermudez and the prime minister at the time, Pedro Richter Prada from Peru; former dictator Luis Garcia Meza and minister of interior Luis Arce Gomez from Bolivia; and former Uruguayan Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Blanco (1973-76). Two Chilean military, Hernán Jerónimo Ramírez and Rafael Ahumada Valderrama, were also sentenced to life. Recently deceased former head of the Uruguayan National Security Council, Gregorio Alvarez, was also one of the initially accused, along with the head of the Chilean secret police (DINA), Manuel Contreras, and DINA operative Sergio Arellano Stark (both deceased).

Surprisingly, the tribunal  acquitted infamous Uruguayan intelligence operatives in Argentina from 1976 Nino Gavazzo, Jose Arab, and Jorge Silveira; along with Jorge Troccoli, a Uruguayan marine intelligence officer operating in Argentina in 1977.  Ten other Uruguayan military were acquitted. Interviewed in Rome, former prosecutor and current director of the Uruguayan National Institution of Human Rights Mirtha Guianze deplored the tribunal acquittals. Relatives of the Uruguayan victims have indicated they will appeal.

The trial had its origin in a complaint filed in 1999 by six relatives of victims: Cristina Mihura, wife of Bernardo Arnone; Marta Casal del Rey, wife of Gerardo Gatti; María Luz Ibarburu, mother of Juan Pablo Recagno; María Bellizzi, mother of Andrés Bellizzi; Aurora Meloni, wife of Daniel Banfi, and Claudia Allegrini, wife of Lorenzo Viñas.

In 2001, Cristina Mihura and prosecutor Giancarlo Capaldo visited the National Security Archive seeking assistance in locating and compiling documentary evidence. Capaldo requested the indictment of the defendants in 2006. The trial started in 2013 and the hearings and debate in February 2015.

According to Carlos Osorio, the Archive’s Southern Cone analyst, “the sentences are the result of the unquenchable thirst for justice of dozens of relatives and victims.” Osorio testified before the court on May 19-20, 2016, and supplied the court with 100 declassified records.


Listen to Archive analyst Carlos Osorio (pictured above at the Argentine embassy in Washington on March 23, 2015) testify at the Rome trial, where he provided dozens of declassified documents as evidence.

Osorio Testimony 5/19/2016

Osorio Testimony 5/20/2016

READ THE DOCUMENTS

Summary of Document 1

On the role of Henry Kissinger:
Document 01
Department of State, Memorandum of Conversation between Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Argentine Foreign Minister Adm. Cesar Guzzetti, Secret, June 10, 1976
Source: Freedom of Information Act request filed by Carlos Osorio
During a June 1976 OAS meeting in Santiago, Chile, (which corresponded with the second Condor meeting, also held in Santiago at the same time), Henry Kissinger met privately with Admiral Cesar Guzzetti, foreign minister of Argentina’s military regime. This declassified “memcon” reveals that Kissinger not only encouraged the ongoing internal repression in Argentina, but also endorsed the “joint efforts” with other Southern Cone regimes, which Guzzetti described, to address “the terrorist problem.” In what appears to be the very first time Kissinger is told of the Condor collaboration, Guzzetti informs him that Argentina wants “to integrate with our neighbors … All of them: Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil,” to fight subversion. In response, Kissinger advises him to step up diplomatic efforts to explain the repression and offset international condemnation:
“You will have to make an international effort to have your problems understood. Otherwise, you, too, will come under increasing attack. If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly. But you must get back quickly to normal procedures.” When Guzzetti suggests that “The terrorists work hard to appear as victims in the light of world opinion even though they are the real aggressors,” Kissinger agrees. “We want you to succeed,” he concludes. “We do not want to harass you. I will do what I can … “

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War and Peace? Trump’s Relations with Russia?

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Trump and Putin

Longstanding adversarial relations, hugely exacerbated by Obama’s neocon administration, won’t be easy to change…

Trump genuinely appears to want better bilateral relations. Huge challenges confront him, including possible impeachment if he diverges from longstanding US foreign policy.

What he intends remains to be seen, likely focusing on Russia after his first 100 days, devoted mainly to domestic issues, according to what he explained earlier.

An previous article discussed his 8-point first 100 days plan. It includes:

1. Appointing judges who’ll “uphold the Constitution” – likely code language for supporting conservative, anti-progressive policies.

2. Restricting immigration to help Americans get “good-paying jobs.”

3. Holding countries “cheat(ing) on trade” accountable – how not explained, if by imposing stiff tariffs, they’ll likely be countered by similar ones on US products, the way trade wars begin.

4. “Cancel(ing) rules and regulations that send jobs overseas.” Companies need incentives to keep jobs at home. As private enterprises, they’re free to operate anywhere.

5. Lifting restrictions on energy production – nothing in his plan  shifts from greenhouse-producing fossil fuels and dangerous nuclear power to renewable green sources.

6. “Repeal(ing) and replac(ing) jobs-killing Obamacare.” What’s vitally needed Trump opposes – universal healthcare, everyone in, no one left out, assuring all Americans have the most important human right along with food, shelter, clothing, and governance serving everyone equitably.

7. “Passing massive tax reform to create millions of new jobs and lower taxes for everyone.” Economic growth creates jobs, not tax cuts, largely benefitting high-income earners, most ordinary people getting little or nothing.

8. “Impos(ing) tough new ethics rules…to the office of Secretary of State.”

Trump said nothing about ending US imperial wars or repairing relations with Russia. Stressing “America first” ignores its responsibility to respect the sovereign rights of all nations.

It’s customary for an incoming president to focus mainly on domestic issues straightaway, especially with so much damage to repair, notably under Bush/Cheney and Obama.

With America at war in multiple theaters, it’s crucial to address what’s going on and take responsible steps to change things – hard as it’ll be to do, maybe impossible.

Normalizing relations with Russia and China is vital to avoid possible nuclear war – more important than anything else on Trump’s plate, in the interest of world peace and stability. Lacking them risks catastrophe vital to avoid.

On January 20, Sergey Lavrov said “Donald Trump has stated repeatedly that his priority in the international arena will be the fight against ISIS as the main terrorist threat to the whole of mankind.”

“We completely share this approach and hope that under the new conditions, international cooperation and coordination of efforts by all the main players on this antiterrorist front will be far more effective.”

Lavrov hopes Washington under Trump will participate responsibly in helping to resolve Syria’s conflict – unlike how Obama obstructed it, waging imperial war, seeking regime change.

On Saturday, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said a Putin/Trump meeting may happen in months, not weeks, Russia’s leader to be ready whenever it occurs, in Moscow, Washington or in neutral territory.

The sooner both leaders meet, the better the chance for improved bilateral relations and world peace – no easy objectives to achieve with US dark forces strongly against them.

 

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Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record

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Rex_Tillerson

During his Secretary of State confirmation hearing, recently retired ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson came under questioningby Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) about his stance on Saudi Arabia’s awful human rights record, a country which contains the biggest oil reserves on the planet and is a long-time ally of the U.S.

While Tillerson offered mild criticism of Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women, LGBQT people, and others, several Senators found his response far from full-throated and said as much. A DeSmog investigation shows that Exxon has long been involved in Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas industry. Not only did the company, through its predecessor Standard Oil, help launch the industry there and co-owned the country’s first major export pipeline, but to this day it maintains deep business ties with Saudi Arabia and the industry in a variety of sectors, both there and in the U.S.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will vote on whether to confirm Tillerson on January 23, and Rubio’s vote one way or the other could make or break President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of Tillerson for Secretary of State. It appears human rights will play a central role in Rubio’s decision, which he has not yet made. However, Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) has threatened to bring Tillerson’s nomination to a full floor vote regardless of whether he passes in committee.

Corker took $6,000 in campaign contributions from Exxon during his 2006 electoral victory effort and another $10,000 for his 2012 re-election effort.

Exxon’s Saudi America

Exxon and Saudi Arabia have state-side projects too. Currently, Saudi state-owned company Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) is working alongside Exxon through the company Gulf Coast Growth Ventures to permit and build a natural gas refinery facility along the Gulf of Mexico to manufacture plastics.

“Sites under consideration are in St. James and Ascension Parishes, Louisiana and San Patricio and Victoria Counties, Texas,” details the Gulf Coast Growth Ventures website. “We are very early in the process and have extensive studies and due diligence to perform before making a site selection decision among the four sites under consideration.”

Though not clarified on the company website, presumably that gas would be obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), given the horizontal drilling technique’s rampant use in Texas’ Eagle Ford, Barnett, and Permian Basin shale formations, as well as in Louisiana’s Haynesville Shale basin. The facility’s website only maintains that “feedstock for the facility will be acquired from domestic sources,” but industry publication Platts reported that much of that could be sourced from the Eagle Ford.

Meanwhile, a grassroots movement has arisen in opposition to the plant’s proposed site in Portland, Texas, calling itself Portland Citizens Unite. While Exxon has made appearances at city council meetings to advocate for the facility, it’s a hard sell. Portland’s city council passed a resolution on January 3 in opposition to the plant’s proposed locale.

Portland, Texas Exxon Saudi Arabia Plant

Image Credit: City of Portland, Texas

Exxon and SABIC have also created a front group supportive of the project named We Are United for Growth, which showed up in green t-shirts (to represent giving the project a “green light”) at a recent Portland City Council meeting. SABIC says that it expects a final decision on whether to go ahead with the project by sometime during the second quarter of 2017.

Exxon in Saudi Arabia

Back in Saudi Arabia, Exxon also has a heavy footprint. In a 2016 company brochure, Exxon boasts of its close ties to the Saudi petrostate via three crucial petrochemical refining facilities.

“Today, ExxonMobil is one of the largest foreign investors in the Kingdom and also one of the largest private sector purchasers of Saudi Aramco crude oil,” reads the brochure. “Through our joint venture (JV) interests, we have participated in the petroleum refining and petrochemicals manufacturing industries in the Kingdom for over 35 years.”

Take the Saudi Yanbu Petrochemical Company (YANPET), a 50-50 joint venture between Exxon and SABIC, open in Saudi Arabia since the 1980s. This facility, similar to the Gulf Coast Growth Ventures one, creates the chemical compound ethylene, which is then used to manufacture plastics. YANPET is viewed as a worldwide model in the industry.

“Yanpet is a fully integrated plant, making it one of the largest and lowest-cost producers in the world,” writes Exxon. “It is recognized as a petrochemical industry global pacesetter.”

Saudi Aramco Mobil Refinery (SAMREF) is another of the major Exxon co-owned refineries in Saudi Arabia, this time with Saudi Aramco. Saudi Aramco owns and operates the Ghawar Field, the largest onshore oil field in the world, as well as the Safaniya Field, the world’s largest offshore oil field.

Opening in 1984, SAMREF situates itself as “one of the most sophisticated refineries in the Middle East, supplying products to a number of markets around the world,” according to Exxon. “SAMREF processes approximately 400,000 barrels per day of Arabian crude, and approximately half of its output is consumed domestically.”

And then there’s the Al-Jubail Petrochemical Company (KEMYA), a 50-50 SABIC-Exxon joint venture, which also manufactures plastics. On the supply side, Exxon owns a 49 percent stake in the Arabian Petroleum Supply Company (APSCO).

“APSCO operates its aviation fueling services in almost 21 national and international airports. APSCO is a long term supplier of aviation fuels to the national carrier, Saudi Arabian Airlines at several airports in the kingdom,” details its website. “Also, APSCOprovides bunkering and marine lubricants in several national and international ports on a 24 hours basis, utilizing a fleet of bunkering ships.

Exxon and Saudi Aramco are among the largest emitters of carbon in the world, according to a groundbreaking 2014 study by Richard Heede, completed for the Climate Accountability Institute.

Image Credit: CarbonMajors.org

“Often Been Reluctant”

The kindred bond between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia centering around fossil fuels is well-documented, becoming a central tenet of U.S. foreign policy after the famous handshake between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Saudi Arabia founder Abdulaziz Ibn Saud in 1945.

In fact, as a parting gift from the White House, the Obama administration offered $115 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia in September.“We’ve often been reluctant to put as much pressure on states that we are dependent upon for oil, than in situations with states where we’re not dependent on oil,” said U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) during Tillerson’s January 12 confirmation hearing.

Would Rex Tillerson, given the corporate ties that bind him to Saudi Arabia and his long-standing support for the country, reverse course on this status quo as U.S. Secretary of State? That’s doubtful, to say the least.

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Joint Russian, Turkish Bombing Campaign in Syria Deepens NATO Crisis

Israel Claims Airstrikes on Damascus

The launching of coordinated air strikes by Russian and Turkish warplanes against Islamic State (ISIS) targets in northern Syria Wednesday has further exposed the crisis gripping Washington’s intervention in the war-ravaged Middle Eastern country, as well as the deepening contradictions plaguing the NATO alliance on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration as US president.

The bombing campaign struck targets around the Syrian town of al-Bab, the scene of bloody fighting between Turkish troops and ISIS militants over the past several weeks.

From a political standpoint, the joint action by Russia and Turkey, a member of the NATO alliance for the past 65 years, is unprecedented. It stands in stark contradiction to the anti-Moscow campaign being waged by Washington and its principal NATO allies, which has seen the cutting off of military-to-military ties, the imposition of sanctions, and the increasingly provocative deployment of thousands of US and other NATO troops on Russia’s western borders. Just last week, the US sent 3,000 soldiers into Poland, backed by tanks and artillery, while hundreds more US Marines have been dispatched to Norway.

Turkey’s collaboration with Russia represents a further challenge to the US-led alliance under conditions in which Trump has severely rattled its European members with recent statements describing NATO as “obsolete” and charging its members with not “taking care of terror” and not “paying what they’re supposed to pay.”

The joint air attack was carried out under the terms of a memorandum reached between the Russian and Turkish militaries the previous week, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

The document, signed on January 12, was designed to prevent “incidents” between Turkish and Russian warplanes, as well as to prepare “joint operations … in Syria to destroy international terrorist groups,” Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudoskoy said in a statement.

Russian-Turkish relations reached their nadir in November 2015 when Turkish fighter jets ambushed and shot down a Russian warplane carrying out airstrikes against Islamist fighters near the border between Turkey and Syria. The incident brought Turkey, and with it NATO, to the brink of war with nuclear-armed Russia. At that point, Turkey was serving as the main conduit for foreign fighters, weapons and other resources being poured into Syria to wage the US-orchestrated war for regime change, while Russia was intervening to prop up its principal Middle East ally, the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In June of last year, Ankara sought to mend it relations with Moscow, which had retaliated for the shoot-down with economic sanctions. Relations grew closer in the wake of the abortive July 2016 military coup, which the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed on the US and its allies.

The turning point in bilateral relations between Turkey and Russia came at the end of last year, with the Russian-backed Syrian army’s routing of the Western-backed, Al Qaeda-linked militias in their last urban stronghold of eastern Aleppo. Turkey joined with Russia in brokering a withdrawal of the last “rebels” from the area and a nationwide ceasefire, which continues to prevail in much of the country.

Washington was pointedly excluded from the negotiations surrounding both Aleppo and the ceasefire. Only at the last moment has Moscow invited the incoming Trump administration—over the objection of Syria’s other major ally, Iran—to participate in talks aimed at reaching a political settlement over the six-year-old war that are to convene in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, next week.

The joint Russian-Turkish airstrikes around al-Bab came in the wake of bitter protests by the Turkish government over the refusal of the US military to provide similar air support for Ankara’s troops in the area. The Pentagon’s reluctance stemmed from the conflicting aims pursued by Turkey, which sent its troops into Syria last August in what the Erdogan government dubbed “Operation Euphrates Shield.”

Ostensibly directed against ISIS, Ankara’s primary target was really the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing, the People’s Protection Unit (YPG). The Turkish government views these groups as affiliates of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), against which it has waged a protracted counterinsurgency campaign within Turkey itself. The offensive against ISIS-controlled al-Bab is aimed principally at preventing it from falling to the YPG and at blocking the linking up of eastern and western Kurdish enclaves along Turkey’s border.

For its part, Washington has utilized the YPG as its principal proxy ground force in the US attack on ISIS, sending in US special forces troops to arm, train and direct these Kurdish fighters.

The US refusal to back Turkish forces around al-Bab with airstrikes led to angry denunciations of Washington by the Turkish president, who charged that the US was supporting “terrorists” instead of its NATO ally. Ankara also began delaying approval for US flights out of the strategic Incirlik air base in southern Turkey and threatened to deny Washington and its allies access to the base altogether.

It was likely these threats, combined with the Turkish-Russian agreement to conduct joint strikes, that led the Pentagon to reverse its previous refusal to support Turkish forces and launch limited bombing runs around al-Bab as well this week.

This crowded and geostrategically tense battlefield is likely to grow even more dangerous following Trump’s ascension to the White House.

Trump has reportedly called for the Pentagon to come up with proposals to deal a decisive defeat to ISIS in Syria and Iraq within 90 days. Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Wednesday that he would “present options to accelerate the campaign” against ISIS to retired general James Mattis, Trump’s incoming defense secretary.

Citing unnamed Pentagon officials, CNN reports that “The Defense Department is prepared to provide the new administration with military options to accelerate the war against ISIS in Syria that could send additional US troops into direct combat.”

“One option would put hundreds, if not thousands, of additional US troops into a combat role as part of the fight to take Raqqa,” the Islamic State’s Syrian “capital,” according to the television news network. “… in the coming months, the Pentagon could put several US brigade-sized combat teams on the ground, each team perhaps as many as 4,000 troops.”

Plans are also reportedly being drawn up to escalate military provocations against Iran, which Mattis, in testimony before the Senate, described as the “biggest destabilizing force in the Middle East,” adding that the Trump administration must “checkmate Iran’s goal for regional hegemony.”

There is every indication, Trump’s rhetoric about improving relations with Moscow notwithstanding, that US imperialism is preparing for another eruption of militarism in the Middle East that will pose an ever greater threat of spilling over into a new world war.

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Globalization and Social Inequality: Obscene Wealth of Eight Mega-Billionaires

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american money

The super-wealth of an elite eight equals a staggering $427 billion – as much as humanity’s 3.6 billion poorest, struggling daily to survive, many not making it.

Oxfam highlighted unprecedented global inequality, threatening social stability. The chasm between super-rich and desperate poor is obscene. Instead of abating, wealth disparity is increasing, Oxfam explaining:

Since 2015, the richest 1% owns more than the rest of humanity. Eight mega-billionaires are as wealthy as humanity’s 3.6 poorest.

“Over the next 20 years, 500 people will hand over $2.1 trillion to their heirs – a sum larger than the GDP of India, a country of 1.3 billion people.”

From 1988 – 2011, the incomes of humanity’s poorest 10% increased by less than $3 a year – less than nothing when adjusted for inflation.

Over the same period, the incomes of humanity’s richest 1% increased 182 times as much.

“A FTSE-100 CEO earns as much in a year as 10,000 people in working in garment factories in Bangladesh. A Dow CEO likely earns as much as 20,000 or 30,000 impoverished third-world workers.

Over the last 30 years, income growth of the world’s bottom 50% was zero. The top 1% tripled their income over the same period.

“In Vietnam, the country’s richest man earns more in a day than the poorest earns in 10 years.”

Super-wealth in the hands of a select few used to make obscene greater amounts is incompatible with peace, equity and justice – what so-called Western civilization abhors, exploiting the many by every means imaginable for greater riches, war-profiteering a favorite way.

Mass slaughter and destruction enriches them, unspeakable human misery considered a small price to pay.

Here’s the Oxfam infamous 8:

  • Bill Gates: Net worth $75 billion
  • Amancio Ortega: NW $67 billion
  • Warren Buffet: NW $60.8 billion
  • Carlos Slim: NW $50 billion
  • Jeff Bezos: NW $45.2 billion
  • Mark Zuckerberg: NW $44.6 billion
  • Larry Ellison: NW $43.6 billion
  • Michael Bloomberg: NW $40 billion

Beyond the infamous 8, the two Koch brothers have a net worth of nearly $80 billion. The world’s billionaire class in total has a staggering net worth of $6.5 trillion.

The above figures courtesy of Forbes, publishing a guide to the world’s billionaire class for the past 30 years – 1,810 members in the class of 2016.

Oxfam international executive director Winnie Byanyima called it “obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when one in ten people survive on less than $2 a day.”

If the present trend continues, one or more trillionaires may top the super-wealth list in another generation. Predatory capitalism enriches the few at the expense of most others.

Growing inequality pulls societies apart, said Oxfam. “It increases crime and insecurity, and undermines the fight to end poverty.”

Billions of people live on the edge, impoverishment crushing them. The obscenity of today’s gilded age dwarfs the earlier one in super-wealth concentration.

Prosperity for the few at the expense of most others is a prescription for dystopian hell. There’s no good ending to this scenario if not checked and reversed.

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KASHMIRIS WAVE HIZBULLAH’S BANNER

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KASHMIRIS WAVE HIZBULLAH’S BANNER AND REJECT THE MOSSAD-RAW ATTEMPTS TO DIVIDE THEM ON SECTARIAN LINES
by Jonathan Azaziah

Here we go! Let it rock Kashmiris! In response to RAW’s agents burning pictures of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Bashar al-Assad and Hassan Rouhani last Friday, Kashmiris in Srinagar gathered in massive numbers–some brothers say hundreds, others say thousands–on Sunday to counteract the hatred, sectarianism and division represented by these degenerates in the pay of Hindutva and Zionism.

The defiant demonstrators waved Hizbullah’s flags, held up Ayatollah Nimr al-Nimr’s (R.A.) pictures and chanted against all forms of sedition. Shi’a, Sunnis, Sufis and even a few Sikhs were present as booming cries of “Death to India!”, “Death to ‘Israel’!” and “Death to Al-Saud!” rang throughout the Kashmiri capital’s streets. Just in case it needed to be said, and for some, clearly it does – THIS IS THE TRUE FACE OF THE KASHMIRI AZADI (FREEDOM) STRUGGLE. Unity and Resistance. And this isn’t a mere slogan either. It’s not even a way of life. It just is. That’s how Kashmiris are and this is what Kashmiris do. Being split on ethnic or sectarian lines is NOT in their nature and it is NOT going to happen; Kashmiris aren’t going to be bullied, nor will they be browbeaten into accepting something alien to their culture, history and identity.

Not by RAW’s subversion.

Not by the brutality of the Indian occupation army.

Not by the usurping Zionist entity’s thirst for expanding its global hegemony.

Not by Saudi Arabia’s petrodollar-fueled Wahhabi-Takfiri fanaticism either.

The fight for Azadi in the Vale is one that encompasses all peoples from all Islamic schools of thought and all faiths. Going on seven decades, Kashmiris have consistently rebuked every one of the Indian regime’s attempts to fracture and factionalize them. And nothing exemplifies that more than the raising of the Lebanese Islamic Resistance’s yellow banner. Hizbullah fights to unify the region. Kashmiris struggle to unify the Valley. The two go together like Wazwan followed by Kahwah on the day that the whole of Kashmir is liberated from the Indian occupation’s reign of terror.

Posted in India, Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on KASHMIRIS WAVE HIZBULLAH’S BANNER


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