Ambassador Nikki Haley is Completely Clueless

NOVANEWS

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By Daniel McAdams | Ron Paul Institute 

Just when we thought the great national embarrassment of a UN Ambassador Samantha Power was over, we are suddenly faced with a new US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who almost makes Ms. Power look like a giant in world affairs and diplomacy.

Addressing the UN Security Council Open Debate on Conflicts in Europe today, Ambassador Haley managed to get nearly every single point spectacularly wrong while mixing in the most banal of platitudes to further deaden the delivery.

Said Haley:

It can be tempting to take Europe’s peace and security for granted. Europe is a continent of strong, stable democracies. And Europe is a continent of flourishing economies that benefit from close cooperation.

But Europe faces serious challenges – most acutely, Russia’s attempts to destabilize Ukraine and infringe upon Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

How exactly is Russia attempting to destabilize Ukraine? It was Russia, after all, and not the US, which called together the opposing sides two years ago to hammer out the “Minsk II” ceasefire and reconciliation agreement. Was not that in fact a stabilizing move rather than a destabilizing move?

Haley continues:

More than three years ago, the Ukrainian people took to the streets to speak out against political oppression and corruption. These protesters demanded freedom, democracy, and respect for the rule of law, and they succeeded in creating a new Ukraine.

That is not all what happened. It was the “protestors” who started the killing. They targeted police officers to provoke a response and thus add fuel to the simmering flame of months long protests in 2014. Russian propaganda, you say? Not at all. The killers went on television to brag about it!

Here is the story of one of the cop killers, Ivan Bubenchik, as reported in Foreign Policy magazine (hardly a pro-Russia outlet) and told on camera to Ukraine’s Hromadske TV station:

To create a word of mouth effect, you have to shoot two or three [police] commanders I only picked two. And after that, there was no need to kill anyone else, so I aimed at the legs.

Does Nikki Haley support killing police officers?

Another report — this time in the BBC — told the same story. It was Nikki Haley’s peaceful protestors who started the violence by shooting at police:

The protest leaders, some of whom now hold positions of power in the new Ukraine, insist full responsibility for the shootings lies with the security forces, acting on behalf of the previous government.

But one year on, some witnesses are beginning to paint a different picture.

‘I was shooting downwards at their feet,’ says a man we will call Sergei, who tells me he took up position in the Kiev Conservatory, a music academy on the south-west corner of the square.

‘Of course, I could have hit them in the arm or anywhere. But I didn’t shoot to kill.’

Sergei says he had been a regular protester on the Maidan for more than a month, and that his shots at police on the square and on the roof of an underground shopping mall, caused them to retreat.

Does Nikki Haley believe shooting police officers is justified as long as you’re demanding “respect for the rule of law”?

In fact, the overthrow of the government in Ukraine was not at all set in motion by the Ukrainian people. It was planned in Washington and executed in the streets of Kiev, where US policymakers openly urged an overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government.

It is established fact that US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was on the streets of Kiev with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt meeting with the protesters, encouraging them, and handing out food. Later she was caught in a phone call with the US Ambassador plotting in detail the overthrow of the government and how to replace it with Washington’s picks.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was also on the streets of Kiev during the early stages of the coup. He was actively supporting the overthrow of Ukraine’s legal government. Said McCain:

We are here to support your just cause, the sovereign right of Ukraine to determine its own destiny freely and independently. And the destiny you seek lies in Europe…

Later on CNN, McCain admitted his role in the coup, stating:

What we’re trying to do is try to bring about a peaceful transition here…

How would Senator McCain react were a Russian member of parliament appear in the midst of a Washington, D.C. riot urging “a peaceful transition here”?

Trump’s Ambassador to the UN continued:

But Russia has tried to prevent the change that the Ukrainian people demanded. Russia occupied Crimea and attempted to annex this piece of Ukrainian territory – an act the United States does not recognize.

That is also demonstrably false. Russia did not “occupy” Crimea because the Russian military was already in Crimea! Russia had leased the naval base in Crimea from the Ukrainian government until 2042. The troops were already there. Russia did not attempt to annex Crimea, but rather a referendum was held in which, according to the BBC, 90 percent of the residents voted to rejoin Russia (of which they had been a part since the 18th century).

Surely this is fake news! Why would Crimeans vote to leave Ukraine and join Russia? In fact Russians make up more than 65 percent of the population of Crimea and when the US-backed coup brought to power a vehemently anti-Russian government in Kiev was it really so surprising that the people would look for the exit signs?

Haley continues:

Russia then armed, financed, and organized separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, leading to a devastating and senseless conflict that has cost more than 10,000 lives.

Again untrue. The rebellion in eastern Ukraine was fueled by the US-backed coup in Kiev. Eastern Ukraine is predominantly Russian-speaking and in some parts of the region 96 percent voted for the president ousted with US support. As one might expect, unrest follows when one’s president is overthrown with assistance from an outside power. And it was the US who did the arming, financing, and organizing the unelected coup forces who took power in Kiev.

More Haley:

The scenes of destruction from the town of Avdiivka in recent weeks show the consequences of Russia’s ongoing interference in Ukraine.

Avdiivka fell under attack after the Kiev forces advanced into the no-man’s land separating the opposing sides. Ukrainian deputy defense minister Pavlovaky admitted that “meter by meter, step by step, whenever possible our boys have been advancing.”

You get the point. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has no clue what is happening in eastern Ukraine and so has just dusted off the dusty old talking points of the Obama Administration.

While on the campaign trail last year, Donald Trump sharply (and correctly) criticized the Obama Administration’s militaristic foreign policy. At the time Trump said:

…unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct. You cannot have a foreign policy without diplomacy. A superpower understands that caution and restraint are really truly signs of strength.

He continued by calling for new people and new approaches to foreign policy:

My goal is to establish a foreign policy that will endure for several generations. That’s why I also look and have to look for talented experts with approaches and practical ideas, rather than surrounding myself with those who have perfect résumés but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war. We have to look to new people.

Well, Mr. President, I am sorry to have to inform you of this, but when it comes to Ambassador Nikki Haley, you may technically have “new people” in positions but you most certainly do not have new ideas. You have failed former ambassador Samantha Power’s stale, regurgitated talking points. Enough!

Posted in USA, UN0 Comments

Syria – A Confused Trump Strategy Lets Erdogan U-Turn Again

NOVANEWS
 
Erdogan

There are two new developments on the Syrian front. The Islamic State suddenly changed its tactic and the Turkish President Erdogan again changed his policy course.

In the last 24 hours news announcements about victories against the Islamic state (ISIS) rapidly followed each other:

  • The Kurdish U.S. proxy forces in east Syria (SDF) announced that it had reached the northern bank of the Euphrates between Raqqa and Deir Ezzor. This cuts the ISIS communication line between the two cities.
  • Turkish forces and their “Syrian rebel” mercenaries have been attacking Al-Bab east of Aleppo for nearly four month. They made little progress and incurred huge losses. Late yesterday they suddenly broke into the city and today took control of it. Various sources claim that a deal was made between the Turkish forces and ISIS for the later to evacuate Al-Bab unharmed and with its personal weapons. It is not yet known what price Turkey paid in that deal.
  • South of Al-Bab the Syrian Army is moving further east towards the Euphrates and took several villages from ISIS. The Syrian move is largely designed to cut the roads between the Turkish forces around Al-Bab and the Islamic State forces in Raqqa. (This now might become a race.)
  • Further south another Syrian Army group is moving east towards Palmyra.
  • In the eastern city of Deir Ezzor the Syrian army garrison is under siege by Islamic State forces. A few weeks ago the situation there looked very dire. But with reinforcements coming in by helicopter and massive Russian air force interdiction the position held out quite well. In recent days the defenders took several hills from a retreating ISIS.
  • In Iraq the army, police and the various government militia are pushing towards south Mosul. Today the airport south of the city fell into their hands with little fighting. Like everywhere else ISIS had stopped its resistance and pulled back. Only a few rearguards offered tepid resistance.

While ISIS was under pressure everywhere the sudden retreat on all fronts during the last 24 hours is astonishing and suggest some synchronicity. A central order must have been given to pull back to the buildup areas of Raqqa in Syria and south Mosul in Iraq.

But ISIS has nowhere to go from those areas. Mosul is completely surrounded and Raqqa is mostly cut off. After the massacres they committed everywhere ISIS fighters can not expect any mercy. They have made enemies everywhere and aside from a few (Saudi) radical clerics no friends are left to help them. The recent retreats are thereby likely not signs of surrender. ISIS will continue to fight until it is completely destroyed. But for now the ISIS leaders decided to preserve their forces. One wonders what they plan to stage as their last glorious show. A mass atrocity against the civilians in the cities it occupies?

When in late 2016 the defeat of the “Syrian rebels” proxy forces in east-Aleppo city was foreseeable the Turkish President Erdogan switched from supporting the radicals in north-west Syria to a more lenient stand towards Syria and its allies Russia and Iran. The move followed month of on and off prodding from Russia and after several attempts by Erdogan to get more U.S. support had failed. In late December peace talks started between Syria, Russia, Turkey and Iran with the U.S. and the EU excluded.

But after the Trump administration took over the Turkish position changed again. Erdogan is now back to betting on a stronger U.S. intervention in Syria that would favor his original plans of installing in Syria an Islamic government under Turkish control:

Ankara understands today that Trump is aggressive toward Iran and gave his blessing to Saudi Arabia. Therefore Erdogan is taking a new position: hiding behind Saudi Arabia, mimicking the US hostility towards Iran and, in consequences, declaring himself once more against the Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The new Turkish position was confirmed by Senator John McCain’s visit to the Kurdish YPG and U.S. Special Forces in Kobani. McCain came via Turkey. An earlier visits to the YPK by U.S. special envoy Brett McGurk had been condemned by Ankara. Outside of a wider agreement such McCain’s antics would not be allowed.

The U.S. is allied with the Kurdish YPK in Syria who are blood-brothers of the Kurdish PKK group in Turkey which the Turkish government has been fighting for decades. The YPG fighters are good and reliable light infantry fighters. They work together with U.S. special forces and are well regarded.

Turkey offers to send its own ground troops together with Saudi forces to liberate Raqqa from ISIS. <snark>The expertise the Saudi military shows in Yemen combined with the Turkish military prowess in its “Euphrates Shield” operation in Syria will surely will be welcome by the U.S. military. </snark>

But there are bigger strategic issues at stake and some agreement between the U.S., Turkey and the Saudis has been found (adopted machine translation):

[T]he sudden transformation of the Turkish position occurred after a lengthy conversation conducted with the US president, Donald Trump, and the visit by the head of the U.S. intelligence agency (CIA). A re-shuffling of the cards took place which induced another turn in Ankara on the Syrian file.

The new U.S.-Turkish understandings that fixed the bridge between President Erdogan and the old U.S. ally is based on the escalation of hostility to Iran and the (re-)establishment of a “Sunni axis” led by the Turkish president. It includes the establishment of a buffer zone in Syria as a prelude to a partitioning [of Syria] scenario.

This is essentially a fall back to the positions taken by the Obama administration in 2011/12. The lessons learned since will have to be relearned. The signals from the U.S. military now suggest the introduction of additional regular ground troops in support of a U.S. proxy force and an eventual U.S. protected enclave in east-Syria. The YPK is the only reliable proxy force available to the U.S. and it needs heavier weapon support to take on Raqqa. But U.S. boots on ground in the Middle East have never been a solution. They are a guarantee of extended fighting and eventual failure.

The strategic view is contradictory. The U.S. wants to fight the Sunni radical forces that Saudi Arabia grows and pampers. Even while ISIS gets diminished new such forces are already growing in Iraq. Any anti-radical strategy that builds on cooperation with the Saudis will fail.

It is impossible to get Turkey and the YPK/PKK to fight on one side – McCain visit or not. The U.S. would loose its only reliable proxy force in Syria should it make common cause with Erdogan in the fight about Raqqa. Any anti-Kurdish Turkish-U.S. controlled “safe zone” in north Syria will come under fire from all other sides on the ground. Any U.S. base in Syria will be the target of various regular and irregular forces. In the long term the new plans are doomed and Erdogan’s latest u-turn is unlikely to be rewarded.

But until then we can expect more bloodshed and more fighting in Syria. As Eljah Magnier comments:

The US policy in Syria seems frantic and far-fetched without efficient powerful allies on the ground, and is unable to retake cities from ISIS with its Kurdish proxies alone. And the “honeymoon” between Washington and Riyadh will certainly have a substantial negative effect on the war in Syria. This will increase the closeness between Russia and Iran, but the tension between US and Russia is also expected to increase: one side (the US) wants partition and the other (Russia) wants a unified Syria without al-Qaida and ISIS, and without Turkey occupying the north of Syria and a Saudi Arabia return to the Bilad al-Sham. At this stage, it is difficult to speculate on what this clash of incompatible objectives will produce on the ground in Syria.

Posted in USA, Syria, Turkey0 Comments

Zionist McCain Illegally Travels To Syria

NOVANEWS
John McCain Illegally Travels To Syria, Meets With Leaders And Fighting Groups; No Criticism From MSM
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Shortly after the mainstream media erupted in hysteria and neo-McCarthyistic attacks against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn for having a routine conversation with the Russian Ambassador and for once having dinner with the President of Russia as part of an event, aging warmonger Senator John McCain recently announced that he had traveled illegally into Syria to meet with U.S. troops illegally stationed there as well as to meet with ISIS supporter and President of Turkey, Recep Tayip Erdogan.

McCain also met with the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and crown prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In addition, McCain also met with Kurdish fighters on the ground in Syria.

On February 22, McCain’s spokeswoman, Julie Tarallo, confirmed that McCain had made the trip, saying it was a “valuable opportunity to assess dynamic conditions on the ground in Syria and Iraq.”

Tarallo also praised Trump’s order to require the Department of Defense to provide a plan for combating the Islamic State in Syria within thirty days. She said, “Senator McCain looks forward to working with the administration and military leaders to optimize our approach for accomplishing ISIL’s lasting defeat.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, the trip was organized with the help of the U.S. military.

Curiously, (or, rather, typically), there were no catcalls of suspicion from the mainstream press nor were there suggestions that McCain had violated the Logan Act, even though he admitted he discussed the possibility of establishing “safe zones” in Syria and “strategies” for “fighting ISIS” in Syria with both Erdogan and international relations with the Saudi King and UAE crown prince.

McCain was also present at the Munich Security Conference where he criticized Trump’s rhetoric regarding NATO and his lack of adequate warmongering during the first two months of his presidency. According to the Associated Press,

During a speech Friday at the Munich Security Conference, McCain delivered a withering critique of Trump’s worldview as he lamented a shift in the U.S. and Europe away from the ‘universal values’ that forged the Western alliance 70 years ago.

McCain on Monday welcomed Trump’s selection of Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to be his national security adviser, calling the pick an “outstanding choice.”

Back in 2013, McCain traveled to Syria illegally where he met with terrorists backed by the United States and NATO, even taking pictures with terrorist leaders and some of the most bloodthirsty commanders of the invasion. McCain received virtually no criticism for his open violation of various American laws (including the ones he voted for). However, when U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard and former Rep. Dennis Kucinich met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after having traveled to Syria in order to tour the country and see the realities of the destruction the war, both were ravaged in the press.

McCain has had a long history of engaging in behavior that would have long ago torpedoed the career of many politicians and resulted in the incarceration of any average American. Remarkably, however, it doesn’t appear that age has slowed him down at all.

McCain Dismisses Missing Military Personnel

As Sydney Schanburg wrote in his excellent article, “The War Secrets Sen. John McCain Hides,” McCain was consistent, at least in his actions, in his refusal to allow any further attempts to discover and recover missing American POWs in Vietnam as well as even the possibility of allowing any further investigation as to the possibility that Americans were still being held captive. This is, of course, despite McCain’s incessant reliance on his military service as some type of qualification for whatever his political position of the day might be.

As Schanburg writes,

But there was one subject that was off-limits, a subject the Arizona senator almost never brings up and has never been open about — his long-time opposition to releasing documents and information about American prisoners of war in Vietnam and the missing in action who have still not been accounted for. Since McCain himself, a downed Navy pilot, was a prisoner in Hanoi for 5 1/2 years, his staunch resistance to laying open the POW/MIA records has baffled colleagues and others who have followed his career.

Critics say his anti-disclosure campaign, in close cooperation with the Pentagon and the intelligence community, has been successful. Literally thousands of documents that would otherwise have been declassified long ago have been legislated into secrecy.

For example, all the Pentagon debriefings of the prisoners who returned from Vietnam are now classified and closed to the public under a statute enacted in the 1990s with McCain’s backing. He says this is to protect the privacy of former POWs and gives it as his reason for not making public his own debriefing.

[…]

Many Vietnam veterans and former POWs have fumed at McCain for keeping these and other wartime files sealed up. His explanation, offered freely in Senate hearings and floor speeches, is that no one has been proven still alive and that releasing the files would revive painful memories and cause needless emotional stress to former prisoners, their families and the families of MIAs still unaccounted for. But what if some of these returned prisoners, as has always been the case at the conclusion of wars, reveal information to their debriefing officers about other prisoners believed still held in captivity? What justification is there for filtering such information through the Pentagon rather than allowing access to source materials? For instance, debriefings from returning Korean war POWs, available in full to the American public, have provided both citizens and government investigators with important information about other Americans who went missing in that conflict.

Would not most families of missing men, no matter how emotionally drained, want to know? And would they not also want to know what the government was doing to rescue their husbands and sons? Hundreds of MIA families have for years been questioning if concern for their feelings is the real reason for the secrecy.

Others, however, suspect that all of McCain’s insistence in keeping the information classified revolves around whether or not releasing the debriefings would open the door to McCain’s closet, suggesting that there skeletons lurking inside it that the Senator does not want falling out. Schanburg writes,

A smaller number of former POWs, MIA families and veterans have suggested there is something especially damning about McCain that the senator wants to keep hidden. Without release of the files, such accusations must be viewed as unsubstantiated speculation. The main reason, however, for seeking these files is to find out if there is any information in the debriefings, or in other MIA documents that McCain and the Pentagon have kept sealed, about how many prisoners were held back by North Vietnam after the Paris peace treaty was signed in January 1973. The defense and intelligence establishment has long resisted the declassification of critical records on this subject. McCain has been the main congressional force behind this effort.

The prisoner return in 1973 saw 591 Americans repatriated by North Vietnam. The problem was that the U.S. intelligence list of men believed to be alive at that time in captivity — in Vietnam, Laos and possibly across the border in southern China and in the Soviet Union — was much larger.

Possibly hundreds of men larger. The State Department stated publicly in 1973 that intelligence data showed the prisoner list to be starkly incomplete. For example, only nine of the 591 returnees came out of Laos, though experts in U.S. military intelligence listed 311 men as missing in that Hanoi-run country alone, and their field reports indicated that many of those men were probably still alive. Hanoi said it was returning all the prisoners it had.

President Nixon, on March 29, 1973, seconded that claim, telling the nation on television: “All of our American POWs are on their way home.” This discrepancy has never been acknowledged or explained by official Washington. Over the years in Washington, McCain, at times almost single-handedly, has pushed through Pentagon-desired legislation to make it impossible or much harder for the public to acquire POW/MIA information and much easier for the defense bureaucracy to keep it hidden.

Then there is also the case of the Truth Bill. A relatively simple bill which stated that

[The] head of each department or agency which holds or receives any records and information, including live-sighting reports, which have been correlated or possibly correlated to United States personnel listed as prisoner of war or missing in action from World War II, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam conflict shall make available to the public all such records and information held or received by that department or agency. In addition, the Department of Defense shall make available to the public with its records and information a complete listing of United States personnel classified as prisoner of war, missing in action, or killed in action (body not returned) from World War II, the Korean conflict, and the Vietnam conflict.

As one might suspect, a Pentagon implicated in the abandonment of these soldiers thus vehemently opposed the bill.

The bill was defeated in 1989. In 1991, it reappeared only to quickly disappear again. Although the interest from family members of the missing veterans as well as the American public had not necessarily waned, another bill was inserted in its place – The McCain Bill. As Schanburg describes,

This measure turned “The Truth Bill ” on its head. It created a bureaucratic maze from which only a fraction of the available documents could emerge. And it became law. So restrictive were its provisions that one clause actually said the Pentagon didn’t even have to inform the public when it received intelligence that Americans were alive in captivity.

First, it decreed that only three categories of information could be released, i.e., “information … that may pertain to the location, treatment, or condition of” unaccounted-for personnel from the Vietnam War. (This was later amended in 1995 and 1996 to include the Cold War and the Korean conflict.) If information is received about anything other than “location, treatment or condition,” under this statute, which was enacted in December 1991, it does not get disclosed.

Second, before such information can be released to the public, permission must be granted by the primary next of kin, or PNOK. In the case of Vietnam, letters were sent by the Department of Defense to the 2,266 PNOK. More than 600 declined consent (including 243 who failed to respond, considered under the law to be a “no”).

[…]

Finally, in addition to these hurdles and limitations, the McCain act does not specifically order the declassification of the information. Further, it provides the Defense Department with other justifications for withholding documents. One such clause says that if the information “may compromise the safety of any United States personnel … who remain not accounted for but who may still be alive in captivity, then the Secretary [of Defense] may withhold that record or other information from the disclosure otherwise required by this section.”

Boiled down, the preceding paragraph means that the Defense Department is not obligated to tell the public about prisoners believed alive in captivity and what efforts are being made to rescue them. It only has to notify the White House and the intelligence committees in the Senate and House. The committees are forbidden under law from releasing such information.

At the same time, the McCain act is now being used to deny access to other sorts of records. For instance, part of a recent APBnews.com Freedom of Information Act request for the records of a mutiny on merchant marine vessel in the 1970s was rejected by a Defense Department official who cited the McCain act. Similarly, requests for information about Americans missing in the Korean War and declared dead for the last 45 years have been denied by officials who reference the McCain statute.

In 1996, however, another bill appeared. Entitled the Missing Service Personnel Act, the bill attempted to force the Pentagon to do more and act faster to find and subsequently recover missing military service personnel. The bill contained measures that required very strict reporting requirements for these purposes.

Schanburg describes how McCain once again rode into town to destroy any potential that may have existed to discover existing missing personnel or any personnel who might become missing in the future. He writes,

McCain amended the heart out of the statute. For example, the 1995 version required a unit commander to report to his theater commander within two days that a person was missing and describe what rescue and recovery efforts were underway. The McCain amendments allowed 10 days to pass before a report had to be made.

In the 1995 act, the theater commander, after receiving the MIA report, would have 14 days to report to his Cabinet secretary in Washington. His report had to “certify” that all necessary actions were being taken and all appropriate assets were being used “to resolve the status of the missing person.” This section was stricken from the act, replaced with language that made the Cabinet secretary, not the theater commander, the recipient of the report from the field. All the certification requirements also were stricken.

[…]

In response, the backers of the original statute cited the Pentagon’s stained record on MIA’s and argued that military history had shown that speed of action is critical to the chances of recovering a missing man. Moving “the bureaucracy ” to Washington, they said, was merely a way to sweep the issue under a rug.

One final evisceration in the law was McCain’s removal of all its enforcement teeth. The original act provided for criminal penalties for anyone, such as military bureaucrats in Washington, who destroy or cover up or withhold from families any information about a missing man. McCain erased this part of the law. He said the penalties would have a chilling effect on the Pentagon’s ability to recruit personnel for its POW/MIA office.

Schanburg points out how McCain has personally acted as the first line of defense against any who may suggest that POWs were left to their fate in Vietnam. McCain acts, on this issue especially, behind a carefully crafted but false veneer of patriotism and military service that appears to make him infallible in the eyes of many low information voters.

Schanburg writes,

McCain does not deal lightly with those who disagree with him on any of these issues or who suggest that the evidence indeed shows that a significant number of prisoners were alive and cached away as future bargaining chips when he came home in the group of 591 released in 1973.

Over the years, he has regularly vilified any group or person who keeps trying to pry out more evidence about MIAs. He calls them “hoaxers” and “charlatans ” and “conspiracy theorists.” He decries the “bizarre rantings of the MIA hobbyists” and describes them as “individuals primarily who make their living off of keeping the issue alive.” Before he died last year of leukemia, retired Col. Ted Guy, a highly admired POW and one of the most dogged resisters in the camps, wrote an angry open letter to the senator in an MIA newsletter. In it, he said of McCain’s stream of insults: “John, does this include Senator Bob Smith and other concerned elected officials? Does this include the families of the missing where there is overwhelming evidence that their loved ones were ‘last known alive? ’ Does this include some of your fellow POWs?”

Clearly, McCain likes dissent the way he likes his veterans – silent. This silence, for McCain, can come by any means necessary.

Indeed, McCain has been the biggest denier of all when it comes to the possibility that American soldiers were left on the battlefield. Schanburg states,

McCain has said again and again that he has seen no “credible” evidence that more than a tiny handful of men might have been alive in captivity after the official prison return in 1973. He dismisses all of the subsequent radio intercepts, live sightings, satellite photos, CIA reports, defector information, recovered enemy documents and reports of ransom demands — thousands and thousands of pieces of information indicating live captives — as meaningless. He has even described these intelligence reports as the rough equivalent of UFO and alien sightings.

In Congress, colleagues and staffers who have seen him erupt — in the open and, more often, in closed meetings — profess themselves confounded by his behavior. Insisting upon anonymity so as not to invite one of his verbal assaults, they say they have no easy way to explain why a former POW would work so hard and so persistently to keep POW/MIA information from coming out. Typical is the comment of one congressional veteran who has watched McCain over many years: “This is a man not at peace with himself.”

Some McCain watchers searching for answers point to his recently published best-selling autobiography, Faith of My Fathers, half of which is devoted to his years as a prisoner. In the book, he says he felt badly throughout his captivity because he knew he was being treated more leniently than his fellow POWs owing to his propaganda value as the son of Adm. John S. McCain II, who was then the CINCPAC — commander in chief of all U.S. forces in the Pacific region, including Vietnam. (His captors considered him a prize catch and nicknamed him the “Crown Prince.”)

Also in the book, the Arizona Senator repeatedly expresses guilt and disgrace at having broken under torture and given the North Vietnamese a taped confession, broadcast over the camp loudspeakers, saying he was a war criminal who had, among other acts, bombed a school. “I felt faithless and couldn’t control my despair,” he writes. He writes, revealing that he made two half-hearted attempts at suicide. Most tellingly, he said he lived in “dread” that his father would find out. “I still wince,” he says, “when I recall wondering if my father had heard of my disgrace.”

[…]

But how would McCain’s forced confession alone explain his endless campaign against releasing MIA/POW information?

Some veterans and other McCain watchers have speculated that McCain’s mortification, given his family’s proud military tradition (his grandfather was also an admiral), was so severe that it continues to haunt him and make him fear any opening up of information that could revive previously unpublished details of the era, including his own nagging history.

McCain’s nagging problem – at least while surviving Vietnam veterans and/or their family members were more prevalent than they are today – was the fact that there were actual witnesses to the evidence pointing toward the existence of American POWs in Vietnam.

Schanburg writes about the case of Dolores Apodaca Alfond, Chairwoman of the National Alliance of Families. He states,

Her pilot brother, Capt. Victor J. Apodaca, out of the Air Force Academy, was shot down over Dong Hoi, North Vietnam, in the early evening of June 8, 1967. At least one person in the two-man plane survived. Beeper signals from a pilot’s distress radio were picked up by overhead helicopters, but the cloud cover was too heavy to go in.

Hanoi has recently turned over some bone fragments that are supposed to be Apodaca’s. The Pentagon first declared the fragments to be animal bones. But now it is telling the family — verbally — that they came from the pilot. But the Pentagon, for unexplained reasons, will not put this in writing, which means Apodaca is still unaccounted for. Also the Pentagon refuses to give Alfond a sample of the fragments so she can have testing done by an independent laboratory.

Alfond’s testimony, at a hearing of the POW/MIA committee Nov. 11, 1992, was revealing. She pleaded with the committee not to shut down in two months, as scheduled, because so much of its work was unfinished. Also, she was critical of the committee, and in particular Kerry and McCain, for having “discredited the overhead satellite symbol pictures, arguing there is no way to be sure that the [distress] symbols were made by U.S. POWs.” She also criticized them for similarly discounting data from special sensors, shaped like a large spike with an electronic pod and an antenna, that were airdropped to stick in the ground along the Ho Chi Minh trail.

[…]

Other than the panel’s second co-chairman, Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H., not a single committee member attended this public hearing. But McCain, having been advised of Alfond’s testimony, suddenly rushed into the room to confront her. His face angry and his voice very loud, he accused her of making “allegations … that are patently and totally false and deceptive.” Making a fist, he shook his index finger at her and said she had insulted an emissary to Vietnam sent by President Bush. He said she had insulted other MIA families with her remarks. And then he said, through clenched teeth: “And I am sick and tired of you insulting mine and other people’s [patriotism] who happen to have different views than yours.”

By this time, tears were running down Alfond’s cheeks. She reached into her handbag for a handkerchief. She tried to speak: “The family members have been waiting for years — years! And now you’re shutting down.” He kept interrupting her. She tried to say, through tears, that she had issued no insults. He kept talking over her words. He said she was accusing him and others of “some conspiracy without proof, and some cover-up.” She said she was merely seeking “some answers. That is what I am asking.” He ripped into her for using the word “fiasco.” She replied: “The fiasco was the people that stepped out and said we have written the end, the final chapter to Vietnam.” “No one said that,” he shouted. “No one said what you are saying they said, Ms. Alfond.” And then, his face flaming pink, he stalked out of the room, to shouts of disfavor from members of the audience.

As with most of McCain’s remarks to Alfond, the facts in his closing blast at her were incorrect. Less than three weeks earlier, on Oct. 23, 1992, in a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, President Bush — with John McCain standing beside him — said: “Today, finally, I am convinced that we can begin writing the last chapter in the Vietnam War.”

The committee did indeed, as Alfond said they planned to do, shut down two months after the hearing.

Schanburg is no “conspiracy theorist,” it should be noted. He is a Pulitzer Prize winner from 1975 whose coverage of the social and political situation in Cambodia won him the award. Indeed, it was Schanburg’s work that laid the basis for the movie The Killing Fields.

McCain’s Support For ISIS

Yet McCain’s treachery regarding missing US military service personnel is not the only crime of his career by any stretch of the imagination. On the Sean Hannity Show, when responding to some tepid criticism by Rand Paul regarding the methods taken to support Western-backed jihadist death squads in Syria, McCain stated,

Has Rand Paul ever been to Syria? Has he ever met with ISIS? Has he ever met with any of these people? No. No. We’re gonna have a fight because it’s patently false. This is the same Rand Paul that said we didn’t want to have anything to do with anything by the way. I don’t want to get in a fight with him at all. But it’s not true. I know these people. I’m in contact with them all the time and he is not.

Earlier in the interview, after stating that he could personally show Obama places on the map to bomb in Syria to kill ISIS, he also stated that, in regards to the death squads, “I know these people intimately. We talk to them all the time.”

McCain also referred back to the tired line of Syrian death squads actually being peaceful protesters “fighting for freedom.”

Indeed, of those who provide material support to terrorism, John McCain would obviously rank at the top of the list. After all, John McCain led the charge in support of ISIS even before the terrorist group actually was called ISIS. Even after the new name and the brutality of its terrorist acts were revealed, John McCain has continued to push the outlandish lie that ISIS is a better choice than the secular government of Bashar al-Assad. He has also pushed for the U.S. Congress to support acting as Al-Qaeda’s Air Force in Syria.

It is important to note that even as the U.S. House was debating whether or not to pass token legislation to passively allow the Obama administration to perpetrate yet another foreign war against a sovereign nation that poses no threat to the United States, rabid warmonger John McCain was grilling Secretary of State John Kerry in what amounted to nothing more than some mildly entertaining D.C. theatre.

McCain grilled Kerry on the reason why the United States is not engaging in airstrikes against Assad’s air defenses as well as a full-scale ground invasion. Attempting to somehow paint Assad as worse than ISIS, McCain stated,

I think at least we owe the Free Syrian Army, negate the air attacks that they will be subjected to when they finish their training and equipping, and go into the fight. So why is it that we won’t at least news release Bashar al Assad’s air activity which has slaughtered thousands and thousands and thousands, 192,000 dead, 3 million refugees, and we’re not going to do anything about Assad’s air capabilities? And finally, ISIL first, that’s what you’re telling these young men who really view Assad as the one who has slaughtered their family members. Not ISIL. As bad as ISIL is.

Yet while his ideology may not be a crime, actually meeting and coordinating with Al-Qaeda most certainly is. In this regard, McCain has overwhelmingly demonstrated his guilt, having been caught in a number of photographs with the leader of death squad battalions, cannibals, and even the leader of al-Qaeda/ISIS himself.

McCain’s photo-op in Syria is a very interesting case since members of the general public are still considered as guilty of “providing material support” to terrorists if they engage in the same activities.

Regardless, Salem Idriss, one of the men seen in the photograph with John McCain, is the commander of the FSA, the “opposition group” touted as a “moderate rebels.” In reality, of course, the FSA is nothing of the sort. As Daniel Wagner wrote for the Huffington Post in December, 2012,

In the outskirts of Aleppo, the FSA has implemented a Sharia law enforcement police force that is a replica of the Wahhabi police in Saudi Arabia — forcing ordinary citizens to abide by the Sharia code. This is being done in a secular country which has never known Sharia Law. This type of action is currently also being implemented in northern Mali, where the West has officially declared its opposition to the al-Qaeda government that took control earlier this year. If what is happening near Aleppo is representative of what may happen if the FSA assumes control of Syria, the country may become an Islamic state. Is that really what the U.S. and other Western countries are intending to tacitly support?

[…]

The FSA has also been targeting the infrastructure of the country. One of the main power plants in Damascus was knocked out for three days last week, impacting 40 percent of the city’s residents. Do ‘freedom fighters’ typically attack critical infrastructure that impacts ordinary citizens on a mass scale? The FSA long ago stopped targeting solely government and military targets.

The FSA is no stranger to atrocities. The FSA is the “moderate opposition” that was filmed forcing a young child to behead a Syrian soldier. It is also the “moderate opposition” that maintained “burial brigades,” a system of mass murder and mass executions against soldiers and those who support the Syrian government. The burial brigades were only one small part of a much wider campaign of terror and executions implemented by the Free Syrian Army.

Of course, the Free Syrian Army is merely the umbrella group of death squads carefully crafted to present a “moderate” face on what is, in reality, nothing more than savage terrorists. Thus, the FSA encompasses(d) a number of smaller “brigades” of al-Qaeda terrorists in order to cover up the true nature of its own ranks.

One such brigade was the Farouq brigade, to which Abu Sakkar was a member. Sakkar, also seen in photographs with John McCain, was the famous rebel videotaped cutting the heart out of a Syrian soldier and biting into it.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, another one of McCain’s pic-mates, is now the leader of IS (ISIS/ISIL) and was the leader of al-Qaeda forces at the time that the photograph was taken. As Voltaire Netdescribes Baghdadi,

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is an Iraqi who joined Al-Qaeda to fight against President Saddam Hussein. During the U.S. invasion, he distinguished himself by engaging in several actions against Shiites and Christians (including the taking of the Baghdad Cathedral) and by ushering in an Islamist reign of terror (he presided over an Islamic court which sentenced many Iraqis to be slaughtered in public). After the departure of Paul Bremer III, al-Baghdadi was arrested and incarcerated at Camp Bucca from 2005 to 2009. This period saw the dissolution of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, whose fighters merged into a group of tribal resistance, the Islamic Emirate of Iraq.

On 16 May 2010, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was named emir of the IEI, which was in the process of disintegration. After the departure of U.S. troops, he staged operations against the government al-Maliki, accused of being at the service of Iran. In 2013, after vowing allegiance to Al-Qaeda, he took off with his group to continue the jihad in Syria, rebaptizing it Islamic Emirate of Iraq and the Levant. In doing so, he challenged the privileges that Ayman al-Zawahiri had previously granted, on behalf of Al-Qaeda, to the Al-Nusra Front in Syria, which was originally nothing more than an extension of the ISI.

Note that at no time was Baghdadi a “moderate rebel” in any context. Nor was he ever anything more than a puppet for Western intelligence agencies.

So McCain has met with at least three terrorists and terrorist organizations in Syria. But these groups are by no means the end of the trail of McCain’s treachery or his connection to terrorism. After all, it must be remembered that McCain traveled to Libya during the assault against Ghaddafi in order to meet with terrorists in that country and promote the barbarism which they would ultimately bring. As Tony Cartalucci writes in his article, “John McCain Claims Al-Qaeda Thugs Have ‘Inspired The World,’”

He [McCain] had made an April visit to Benghazi, a city cited along with neighboring Darnah by a 2007 West Point report as the terror recruiting capitals of the world and the primary sources of foreign fighters that made their way to Iraq fighting and killing American troops. These fighters did so under the flag of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), listed to this day by the US State Department as a “foreign terrorist organization.” Despite overwhelming evidence and even admissions from Libyan rebels themselves of having ties to, being members of, or in Tripoli “council leader” Abdul Belhaj’s case, a leader of this listed terrorist organization, McCain would declare he had “met with these brave fighters, and they are not Al-Qaeda. To the contrary: They are Libyan patriots who want to liberate their nation.”

Despite McCain’s reassuring words, the rebels over the next several months would increasingly reveal their true nature to a horrified world as they waged racist genocide against Libya’s darker and black tribes, and conducted their “liberation” against cities resisting them with indiscriminate heavy weapons, blockades designed to literally starve the populations into submission and horrific reprisals once cities fell. While the corporate media did its best to obfuscate these atrocities, when entire cities like Tawarga with its 10,000 residents began disappearing from the map, even the propagandists were forced to acknowledge the “liberators” were less than noble.

It should also be noted that McCain is extremely close to the color revolution apparatus organization, the International Republican Institute, a wing of the National Endowment for Democracy and USAID. In fact, he is the current Chairman of the IRI.

As it currently stands, the fact that some people are more equal than others is clearly proven in the case of John McCain. While any other American would be immediately imprisoned and possibly tortured as a result of their connections to terrorism, John McCain is rewarded with the title of U.S. Senator and the false label of “war hero.”

It is thus important for every American to know that not only is there no such thing as a moderate opposition in Syria but that John McCain is no American hero. If the Americans mentioned in the recent AP report can be investigated, tried, and convicted of providing support for terrorists operating abroad then surely John McCain has earned his day in court.

McCain And The Nazis

Yet another stop on his world tour of destabilization and incitement to war crimes was Kiev, where McCain was photographed standing next to neo-Nazi Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of the nationalist and neo-nazi Svoboda party.

As Tony Cartalucci reported in his article “US Sponsored Democracy: A Tale of Two Protests. Ukraine and Thailand,”

Along with other racist, bigoted, extremist political parties including “Fatherland,” Svoboda has filled the streets, clashed with police, occupied government buildings and called for the overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine – for the sake of joining the European Union. The EU, for its part, awaits these mobs with open arms.

Joining the EU in anticipation is US Senator John McCain of the US National Endowment for Democracy’s (NED) International Republican Institute. McCain went as far as traveling to Kiev, Ukraine, and even taking to the stage at the protest – side-by-side with Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok.

Of Svoboda, the Business Insider would have this to say in their article titled, “John McCain Went To Ukraine And Stood On Stage With A Man Accused Of Being An Anti-Semitic Neo-Nazi:”

…Svoboda (which means freedom in Ukrainian) is one of those reconstructed modern European far right parties — it is aligned with the British National Party and the French National Front, for example — and it has gained some kind of electoral legitimacy, winning 10 percent of the seats in Ukraine’s parliament in 2010.

However, the party’s past is seriously murky. When it was founded in 1995, the party called itself the Social-National Party of Ukraine (SNPU), and it had a swastika-like logo. While it eventually split from its more right wing members, the party remained focused on celebrating Ukrainian ethnic identity in opposition to Russia and Communism.

Tyahnybok himself was expelled from the Our Ukraine parliamentary faction in 2004 after giving a speech demanding that Ukrainians fight against a ”Muscovite-Jewish mafia” (he later clarified this by saying that he actually had Jewish friends and was only against to “a group of Jewish oligarchs who control Ukraine and against Jewish-Bolsheviks [in the past]“). In 2005 he wrote open letters demanding Ukraine do more to halt “criminal activities” of “organized Jewry,” and, even now, Svoboda openly calls for Ukrainian citizens to have their ethnicity printed onto their passports.

One could scarcely imagine what justification John McCain could give for associating with literal Nazis. But one will have to be satisfied with only imagining, since the Western media, charged with seeking the truth, has not raised this question let alone answered it. Even the Business Insider attempts to give McCain the benefit of the doubt in order to allow the protests to continue and to allow the US, UK, and EU to continue openly supporting them.

Conclusion

The fact that John McCain is represented as an expert or, even worse, a hero by any mainstream media outlet is a slap in the face to all basic common sense. The facts surrounding this man show him placing American service men and women in harm’s way on almost innumerable occasions while simultaneously working to stab them in the back by ensuring that those who are missing in action are forgotten or even working closely with the individuals and organizations who are supposedly the enemy of the United States.

This is of no concern to McCain of course, who, like his friend Henry Kissinger, believes that military personnel are just “dumb stupid animals to be used for foreign policy.”

Obviously, GI John is no American hero.

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Fracking Caused Pennsylvania Earthquakes, New Report Confirms

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Earthquakes in Pennsylvania are usually rare but fracking operations triggered a series of small temblors in Lawrence County last year, officials at the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced in a Feb. 17 report.

Hilcorp Energy Co., a Texas-based oil and gas company, was fracking a pair of wells in the Utica Shale when seismic monitors detected five earthquakes measuring between 1.8 and 2.3 on the Richter scale between April 25-26, 2016.

“Our analysis after doing the review… is that these events are correlated with the activity of the operator,” DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell told Penn Live.

While the tremors were too small to be felt by humans or cause any damage, they are the first quakes in the state to be blamed on fracking. Pennsylvania happens to be the second largest natural gas-producing state in the country.

“At least within Pennsylvania, this is the first time that we have seen that sort of spatial and temporal correlation with [oil and gas] operator activity,” Seth Pelepko, chief of well-plugging and subsurface activities for DEP’s oil and gas management program, told Allegheny Front, a western Pennsylvania public radio program.

“No faults identified along portions of the well bore where these seismic events were detected,” Pelepko continued.

Hilcorp spokesman Justin Furnace said operations were immediately suspended after learning about the tremors. Fracking and stimulation operations have since been discontinued at the well pad indefinitely.

The DEP said that Hilcorp was using a technique known as “zipper fracturing” at the time, which involves the concurrent fracking of two horizontal wellbores that are parallel and adjacent to each other.

So how did the earthquakes happen? As Penn Live explains:

Four wells were drilled to depth of about 7,900 feet in that location.

Evidence indicates that induced earthquakes occur when the separation between Utica Shale and basement rocks is lessened during drilling operations. That means, when someone drills too close to basement rocks, there can be earthquakes.

Pelepko said that seems to have been the case in Lawrence County, where the basement rock is shallow compared to other areas in the state.

The distance between Utica Shale and basement rocks were between 2,500 to 3,000 feet at the fracking site.

The DEP has since given a number of recommendations to Hilcorp, including the discontinuation of zipper fracturing near gas wells in North Beaver, Union and Mahoning Townships where the earthquakes occurred. Additionally, the company must shut down operations and notify the DEP should any earthquake larger than 2.0 or three successive quakes between 1.5 and 1.9 in magnitude occur within a three-mile distance of a wellbore path.

Earthquakes caused by fracking a well are uncommon. However, the notorious spate of earthquakes in Oklahoma, which were caused by the disposal of large quantities of fracking wastewater into underground wells, are rampant. The disposal of wastewater produced from fracking, has led to the alarming increase of earthquakes with magnitude-3 or larger by nearly 300 times, or 30,000 percent in north-central Oklahoma alone. In 2014, more than 5,000 earthquakes were reported.

But a 4.8-magnitude frack-quake that struck Alberta, Canada in Jan. 2016 set a world record for the largest earthquake triggered by the controversial drilling process.

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US War on the Islamic State (ISIS) Designed to Fail

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Any US general providing candid views on fighting and winning a war admit the impossibility of victory as long as the source of an enemy’s fighting capacity remains intact.

In fact, as an excuse for why the US is still struggling in Afghanistan over a decade and a half after initially invading the Central Asian state in 2001, US General John Nicholson blamed outsiders including Pakistan, Iran and Russia for aiding, abetting and harboring anti-US forces.

No amount of military might brought to bear on forces fighting the US within Afghanistan’s borders can disrupt finances, recruitment, training, weapon supplies, logistics and refitting taking place beyond Afghanistan’s borders and thus beyond the US military’s reach. The United States suffered a similar problem during its prolonged occupation of Vietnam. North Vietnam, China and neighboring states provided support and safe havens for fighters in the south facing off against US troops and their South Vietnamese counterparts.

Despite killing up to 4 million people and dropping more ordnance on the region than had been dropped during the entirety of World War 2, the US ultimately failed to defeat North Vietnam or prevent the reunification and independence of the Vietnamese people.

Despite both a historical and contemporary example of futile warfare fought out of reach of the source of an enemy’s fighting capacity, the US is presenting to the American public a “plan” to fight and defeat the so-called “Islamic State” in Syria completely ignoring the terrorist front’s state sponsors.

The “Plan” To Defeat the Islamic State

The plan includes a possible expansion of US troops already operating illegally and uninvited in Syria. In the Guardian’s article, US military will retain core strategy against Isis as Trump mulls escalation,” it states:

[US General Joseph] Votel, speaking from Jordan on Wednesday, said that one option to speed up a long-signaled attack on Raqqa was to “take on a larger burden ourselves”. Shouldering more of the task would mean US forces, conventional as well as special operations, bringing more artillery and logistics options to the fight.

Absent from US President Donald Trump’s “plan,” and from comments made by US commanders, is any mention of the source of the Islamic State’s fighting capacity. No mention is made as to where they are drawing their fighters from, who is paying for and overseeing their training, arming, outfitting and continuous supplying of when finally they reach the battlefield, or how they have managed to fight the summation of Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Lebanese and Russian forces for years now.

Unlike in Vietnam and Afghanistan, two theaters the US desperately sought or seeks victory over indigenous resistance and had openly and repeatedly accused neighboring states of aiding and abetting that resistance, the US has been strangely quiet during both President Barack Obama’s and now President Trump’s administrations regarding neighboring states aiding and abetting the Islamic State.

However, without addressing the very source of the Islamic State’s fighting capacity, defeating the terrorist front will be difficult if not impossible.

A Pretext for US Occupation

A plan to place large numbers of US troops in Syria, without the Syrian state’s consent and amid an intentionally unwinnable, open-ended war against the Islamic State will create a pretext for the long sought after defacto US occupation of Syria. It will also give the US the ability to carve out yet another “safe haven” within Syrian territory, complimenting NATO-member Turkey’s in the north.

From these two locations, terrorist forces can and will be harbored, trained, armed, supplied and sent off deep within Syrian territory to further divide and destroy the Syrian state.

Far from mere conspiracy theory, such plans have been repeatedly articulated by US policymakers since at least as early as 2012, including a Brookings Institution paper literally titled, Assessing Options for Regime Change” (.pdf).

In it, the document clearly advocates a possible full scale US invasion and occupation of Syria, as well as the creation of what it calls “safe-havens and humanitarian corridors” that would be used not for any sort of actual humanitarian purpose but to further exert what the paper calls “coercive action.”

The  paper also specifically mentions Turkey’s role both in creating “safe-havens” and as serving as a base from which Syria is to be invaded and occupied.

The paper, written in 2012 under the administration of President Obama, depicts a strategy being reintroduced and expanded under US President Trump.

It represents not only a dangerous continuity of agenda, but a complete commitment by the special interests occupying Wall Street, Washington, London and Brussels to divide and destroy the Syrian state, a commitment that persists despite many setbacks.

A real “war” on the Islamic State would involve first and foremost the exposure, condemnation, isolation and destruction of its state sponsors who US intelligence and political circles have repeatedly admitted include interests within their own nation, as well as among their allies including Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Anything less indicates a rouse serving as nothing more than a pretext for an expanded US presence in Syria, not to fight and defeat the Islamic State, but to preserve it while attempting to further divide and destroy the Syrian state.

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Artificial Intelligence: ‘Frankenstein’ or Capitalist Money Machine

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The Financial Times’ Special Report (2/16/2017) published a four-page spread on the ‘use and possible dangers of artificial intelligence (AI)’.  Unlike the usual trash journalists who serve as Washington ’s megaphones on the editorial pages and political columns, the Special Report is a thoughtful essay that raises many important issues, even as it is fundamentally flawed.

The writer, Richard Walters, cites several major problems accompanying AI from ‘public anxieties, to inequalities and job insecurity’.  Walters pleads with those he calls the ‘controllers of autonomous systems’ to heed social and ‘political frictions’ or face societal ‘disruption’.  Experts and journalists, discussing the long-term, large-scale destruction of the working class and service jobs, claim that AI can be ameliorated through management and social engineering.

This essay will proceed to raise fundamental issues, questions leading to an alternative approach to AI relying on class analysis.  We will reject the specter of AI as a ‘Frankenstein’ by identifying the social forces, which finance, design and direct AI and which benefit from its negative social impact.

Basic Questions:  Demystifying AI

The best and the worst of the experts reporting on AI assert that it is an autonomous system, devoid of any link to the class structure within which it operates.  Their version of technological determinism, above and beyond the needs and demands of capitalists, has fits neatly with the corporate ideology of the trash journalists and pundits.

The fundamental questions that must be raised include: 1) ‘AI’, for whom?; 2) How are the productivity gains of AI to be distributed between capital and labor? 3) How are work time, income and pensions distributed between the owners of technology and the labor force?; and 4) What kinds of socio-economic activity does AI serve?

‘Artificial Intelligence’ and related technological innovations are financed, designed, controlled and ultimately applied by the major corporations and financial institutions in order to reduce the cost of labor and to enhance profits and competitiveness between capitalist rivals.

AI and similar capitalist technological changes, along with the overseas relocation of information technology and manufacturing production are the principal destroyers of workers’ employment and living standards in the US .

AI technology, alongside vast spending for imperial wars and military procurement, multi-billion dollar bank-bailouts and the promotion of finance-over-productive capital represent the forces driving down wages, salaries, living standards, pensions and, lately, life expectancy for the marginalized working class and rural population.

The innovators and promoters of AI, whether individuals or small groups, seek capitalist support to finance, market and ‘acquire’ their ‘discoveries’.  In fact, the entire industry has been built upon large-scale, tax-funded public research centers and university laboratories, which have paid for the buildings as well as the scientists’ and professors’ salaries.

Most of IT and AI related profits are distributed among the military-industrial complex, the chemical agro-industrial monopolies and the transport and consumer goods manufacturing elites.  While garbage journalists and experts cite ‘AI’s contribution to health, education and social services, they forget to clarify that these ‘innovations’ are controlled by private health corporations, private ‘charter’ schools and public sector education elites intent on increasing profits, lowering teachers’ salaries, slashing programs and undermining student learning.  The dismal, fragmented and mal-distributed state of healthcare and education in the United States are never seriously discussed because they put the lie to the absurd claims made about the benefits of AI and IT for the broader population.

Far from being ‘autonomous’ and subject to abstract ‘controllers’, AI, IT and high technology serve to concentrate wealth, power and profits for multiple sectors of the ruling class who determine how such technologies will be used.

The financiers of AI and their partners direct the scientists, engineers and marketers.  The garbage journalists are paid to proclaim the arrival of  ‘history-making’ innovations.  The media describe AI as ‘machine learning, a form of advanced pattern recognition technology to make judgments by analyzing large amounts of data (which) could supplement human thought’ (FT Special Report 2/17/2017).

Contrary to the above-mentioned assumptions, the ‘judgments’ are made by the ruling class, using parameters and metrics determined by the elite, deciding on what kinds of ‘patterns are to be recognized’ in order that they can derive the kind of information they need to enhance profits, make war, maximize killing and engineering massive layoffs of workers.  In a word, class assumptions dictate AI, IT and the use of these innovations.

Conclusion: Alternatives

If class determines AI, and in present-day America that means the ruling class, then only changes in the class structure can pose different questions and answers to our originally stated problems.  Only by sharpening the class struggle, which changes who rules the banks, factories and social institutions, will new assumptions direct AI and IT and other innovations.

Only workers, professionals and scientists, who replace the prioritizing of profits with meeting social needs, can produce an AI that lowers the retirement age, increases national health care, facilitates workers’ decision making, distributes high quality education and information to the citizenry, reduces inequalities and shifts earnings from capital to labor.

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“I am Not Your Negro”: Race, Class and Social Justice. The James Baldwin Documentary and the African American Struggle.

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Relevance in the United States Today
 
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Racial problems persists decades after African American literary awakenings

Review: I Am Not Your Negro

Filmmaker: Raoul Peck

Narration: Samuel L. Jackson

In the aftermath of World War II the African American people intensified their struggle against Jim Crow segregation for the acquisition of full equality and the right to political self-determination.

This resurgence in commitment towards realizing the objectives of previous generations from the period of slavery through Reconstruction, the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance and the Great Depression was exemplified on a literary level.

African Americans had utilized the pen as a method of protest and organization extending back into the 19th century when luminaries such as Maria Stewart, Mary Ann Shadd, David T. Walker, Frederick Douglass, Anna Julia Cooper and Ida B. Wells-Barnett opened up avenues of expression and communications which had global impact.

James Arthur Baldwin, who was born in Harlem, New York on August 2, 1924, represented the reemergence of this literary and political tradition when he began to address the so-called “race problem” in the United States through both fiction and essays. With a string of books during the 1950s and early 1960s such as Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), Giovanni’s Room (1956), Another Country (1962), Notes of a Native Son (1955), Nobody Knows My Name (1961) and The Fire Next Time (1963), Baldwin became one the most sought after public intellectuals in the mid-20th century.

“I am not Your Negro”: Trailer

The writer’s early life was marked by poverty and a rapidly growing awareness of institutional racism. Baldwin’s step-father was a minister which undoubtedly played a role when the author after a mystical experience took up the ministry at the age of 14. He would later reject preaching and Christianity as a religion and instead became a full-time writer and lecturer by the time he was a young adult.

He would soon move to Paris, France at the age of 24 in order to focus on his writing. He said that France provided him with the creative space to work as the racial situation of African Americans in the U.S. was fueling his personal rage.

I Am Not Your Negro

Raoul Peck’s treatment of Baldwin’s development and social impact utilizes archival television and film footage on both the subject of the documentary as well as productions which reflect the historical and cultural legacy of the U.S. The narration is taken from a manuscript Baldwin was working on at the time of his death entitled “Remember This House.”

The book was autobiographical in character where Baldwin looks into his own personal trajectory through the lives of three pioneering leaders within the African American freedom movement: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik Shabazz) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. All three personalities were intricately involved in the struggle against national oppression and social injustice during the 1950s and 1960s. Evers, Malcolm X and Dr. King were all assassinated for their political beliefs and social practice.

Evers (July 2, 1925-June 12, 1963) as a organizer for the Mississippi National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had played an important role in the investigation into the August 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American youth from Chicago who was brutally slain after allegation were made that he had dared make sexually suggestive comments to a white woman. Till was from Chicago visiting his great uncle near Money, Mississippi when he fell victim to the lynch mob. The two assailants, the husband and brother-in-law of the white woman who lied about Till, although claiming innocence during the trial, later confessed to the killing in a January 1956 interview with Look magazine for the sum of $4,000.

As a field secretary of the NAACP, Evers drew the ire of local white supremacists during the early 1960s. As the movement for Civil Rights escalated through mass demonstrations forcing federal government interventions, he was targeted for assassination on June 12, 1963. Evers was shot to death outside his home in Jackson by a member of the White Citizen’s Council, Byron De La Beckwith.

Malcolm X (May 19, 1925-February 21, 1965) was the national spokesperson for the Nation of Islam (NOI) under the leadership of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad. Baldwin had debated Malcolm X in 1961 over W-BAI radio in New York City on the role of the student sit-in movement and the character of the Civil Rights struggle in general. Baldwin in 1961 seemed to have been more in agreement with approach of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), headed by Dr. King.

Nonetheless, by 1963, Baldwin would publish his groundbreaking essay entitled “The Fire Next Time.” The book prefigured the rise of urban rebellions, revolutionary nationalism and the demand for Black political power in both the North and the South. By the time of Malcolm X’s assassination, after he had left the NOI and formed the Muslim Mosque, Inc., an orthodox Islamic group, and the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), patterned on the national liberation movements in Africa and the state-dominated Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Muslim leader and Baldwin were closer together ideologically. Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965 while preparing to address a public meeting in New York City.

Baldwin was also close friend and supporter of Dr. King and the SCLC. Nonetheless, he appeared to have rejected the nonviolent and direct action approach to the struggle voicing his rage through his books, lectures and media interviews. The SCLC leader was gunned down in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968 while he was providing support to striking sanitation workers seeking recognition as a labor union.

The documentary captures a segment of the late night ABC talk program then known as the Dick Cavett Show from June 13, 1968, when Baldwin is challenged by philosopher Paul Weiss who criticizes the author for placing too much emphasis on race a major factor in analyzing American society.

Baldwin says that within the U.S. African Americans are kept out of certain labor unions; they are segregated in ghettos by the real estate lobby; and that the school system provides inadequate and racist textbooks for substandard schools that Black children are forced to attend. He notes that this is the evidence of the history and contemporary situation in the country as of 1968.

He then raises the rhetorical question to Weiss emphasizing that this white academic is asking African Americans to believe in a set of ideals which do not reflect the reality of the social situation. Within the theater while the documentary was running people began to applaud Baldwin words which were spoken nearly five decades ago.

Race and the American Crisis in the 21st Century

Consequently, the evoking of these searing questions still has much relevance for the current period in the U.S. The ascendancy of the Trump administration has made many whites comfortable to express their greatest fears through racist demagogy and practices.

This film by Peck makes an important contribution in fostering a dialogue about race, class and social justice. It is good to see Baldwin, who was a highly visible figure in the 1960s and 1970s both through the print media and mass communications outlets, almost resurrected through this documentary. Baldwin died from cancer in France on December 1, 1987.

Similar voices such as Baldwin’s are needed today. This film raises the question as to who are the public intellectuals in the America of the second decade of the 21st century; those activists and thinkers that are immersed in the burning and pressing issues of the day.

This inquiry can only be answered by the younger generation which has recognized the need to continue the revolution to its completion. How this is to be done remains a chapter to be written for the annals of the future.

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Trump and Naziyahu “Co-Conspirators”: Embracing Illusions, Ignoring Reality

NOVANEWS

Trump and Netanyahu “Co-Conspirators”: Embracing Illusions, Ignoring Reality

 
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President Trump remained true to his customary flip-flopping on just about every issue when he stated during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu that he is “looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like… I can live with either one.” By stating so, Trump gave Netanyahu what he was hoping to get—a departure from the two-state solution.

To achieve that, Trump is reportedly looking at other options that would enlist the Arab states—who presently share mutual strategic interests with Israel to form a united front against their common enemy, Iran—to help broker a solution to the Palestinian problem.

 

To be sure, the two leaders who are both in trouble—Netanyahu is under multiple criminal investigations for corruption, and Trump is being attacked from just about every corner for his outrageous statements, contradictions, and self-indulgence—found comfort with one another.

Netanyahu went back home feeling triumphant, as he seemingly managed to sway Trump from the idea of two states, while Trump presented himself as a statesman thinking out of the box by looking at an Israeli-Arab comprehensive peace through which to fashion a solution to the Palestinian conflict.

Although CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with Mahmoud Abbas the day before the press conference, I was told by a top Jordanian official in Amman that Abbas was abundantly clear during the meeting that there is not and will never be an alternative to a two-state solution based on the Arab Peace Initiative (API). Moreover, Abbas indicated that Hamas’s position on a two-state solution is unequivocal, and in any case, Gaza and the West Bank must constitute a single Palestinian state.

While Netanyahu often pretended that he still believes in the two-state solution, during the many encounters he had with former Secretary of State John Kerry (including a joint meeting with Egypt’s President Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah in Aqaba in 2016) where he was presented with a comprehensive peace plan, he repeatedly changed his position.

Netanyahu habitually claimed that his extremist right-wing partners oppose the creation of a Palestinian state under any circumstances and that his government would collapse if he were to actively pursue the idea, as if he could not form a new government with the left and center parties who are committed to a two-state solution. Nevertheless, he continued to sing the song of two states for public consumption and to get the Obama administration off his back.

Regardless of what new ideas Netanyahu and Trump concocted, one thing remains certain: there is simply no other realistic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict other than two independent states, Jewish and Palestinian.

The viability of this solution does not only rest on preserving Israel as a democracy with a Jewish national identity while meeting the Palestinians’ aspiration for a state of their own. A careful scrutiny of other would-be alternatives floating around have no basis in reality.

Jordan is not and will never become a Palestinian state (as some Israelis advocate) because the Hashemite Kingdom will resist that with all its might; a binational state is a kiss of death to the Zionist dream; the establishment of a Palestinian state in Gaza while incorporating much of the West Bank into Israel is a non-starter; the creation of a federation between Israel, Jordan, and Palestine is a pipe dream; and finally, confining the Palestinians in the West Bank in cantons to run their internal affairs as they see fit, while Israel maintains security control, will be violently resisted by the Palestinians until the occupation comes to an end.

It is true that the Arab states view Israel today as a potential ally in the face of the Iranian threat, and there may well be a historic opportunity to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the context of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace. This opportunity, though, can be materialized only in the context of the API.

The central requirement of the API is a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on a two-state solution, which would subsequently lead to a regional peace. Indeed, only by Israel first embracing the API will the Arab states lend their support to a two-state solution by putting pressure on the Palestinians to make the necessary concessions to reach a peace accord.

Those who claim that the two-state solution has passed its time and new and creative ideas should be explored must know that many new ideas have been considered. None of them, however, could provide a solution that meets the Israelis’ or the Palestinians’ requirement for independent and democratic states enjoying Jewish and Palestinian national identities, respectively.

Netanyahu has found in Trump a co-conspirator. Both have a proven record of double talking, misleading, and often outright lying. Both are blinded by their hunger for power and are ready and willing to say anything to please their shortsighted constituencies. Neither has the vision or the courage to rise above the fray, and nothing they have uttered jointly meets the hardcore reality they choose to ignore.

What Netanyahu and Trump have demonstrated during their press conference was that both seem to revel in illusions where they find a zone of real comfort, while leaving Israelis and Palestinians to an uncertain and ominous future.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

A Tale of Two Realities: Donald Trump and I$raHell

A Tale of Two Realities: Donald Trump and Israel
 
Israel_Palestine_Flag1

After what came out after the meeting between Netanyahu and Trump, I am not exaggerating if I say that yesterday there was a semi-official announcement of the death of the path of negotiations. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Feb 16, 2017

It was supremely wicked, and rapidly meandered into horse muddied waters.  US President Donald J. Trump had openly expressed what many a US politician has felt but avoided for the sake of false decency: the two-state solution regarding Israel and Palestine was “a bad idea”.  There was only one supremo in this fight, and it certainly did not entail the downtrodden in Gaza or the West Bank.

In his consistently inconsistent manner before a press corps he has come to loathe, Trump also claimed that he could, “live with two-state or one-state”: “I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like.”

Another comment, of the same ilk, was equally gravity defying.  “I thought for a while it looked like the two-state, looked it may be the easier of the two, but honestly if Bibi and if the Palestinians, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.”

Not exactly high flying wisdom, given Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s general reluctance about giving ground on the issue, or mixed Palestinian stances on the subject. The general US approach to this has been to back Israel with few qualifications and insist that both sides yield in some undefined manner.

The tone has varied at stages, be it the Clinton guidelines set out at the Camp David summit or the meaningless “road map for peace” outlined at the Annapolis conference by George W. Bush.  The Obama administration kept the circus going, with a few neat additions, and failed.  The bitter icing on these fruitless efforts came from an indignant and frustrated Secretary of State, John Kerry.

Veteran Palestinian negotiator and member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation Hanan Ashrawi was understandably baffled by this change in the air, though the air on this subject had already thickened with Trump’s election.   “Accommodating the most extreme and irresponsible elements in Israel and in the White House is no way to make responsible foreign policy.”

A livid, ashen-looking Saeb Erekat saw even darker implications.  “Those who believe that they can undermine the two-state solution and replace it with what I call one state two systems – apartheid – I don’t think in the 21st century they will get away with it. It’s impossible.”  Fine sentiments indeed, though states continue “getting away” with atrocious conduct under the cover of law, provided they receive the relevant backing, or impotent complicity.

There was a moment when a bemused Netanyahu was faced with another observation from Trump: that Israel tread carefully on its illegal settlements, that great weapon that continues to render a two-state solution nugatory.

For Trump, the aggressive policy of continued building was perhaps not such a good idea, though there was nothing stopping the state of Israel from pushing on with it in cautious fashion.  “I would like to see you pull back on settlements a little bit.”  “The Art of the Deal!” exclaimed Netanyahu.

The Israeli Prime Minister has been pursuing his own variant of the deal, though there is very little artistic about it. In his Bar-Ilan University speech in 2009, Netanyahu accepted the two-state solution.  Before the 2015 election, he changed his mind, only to repudiate that stance after he won a fourth term.  His current approach is to render any discussion about the Jewish settlement problem irrelevant to the main discussions with the Palestinians.

Such a position is also allied to another, more invidious approach: that of assuming that the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are simply incapable of unifying on the issue of how best to pursue a two-state solution.  The comment from Abba Eben has become something of a reflex: “The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Divided, the Palestinian house has effectively fallen on the sword of a perceived Realpolitik: that a true stance to negotiate over would assume that Israel also include the occupied territories, but within a secular arrangement of equal rights. (This has a certain sinister tone of being different yet equal, though it seems to have wings in some circles.)

Even Erekat noted that vision of “one single secular and democratic state with equal rights for everyone, Christians, Muslims and Jews, on all of historic Palestine.”  That would effectively ditch the notion of Israel as the supreme Jewish state, singular and exclusive, a stance that is nigh impossible to envisage.

It remains to be seen whether that fateful press conference buried the two-state idea with few funeral rites.  If so, such a process can hardy banish the militant misery and indignation that Palestinians will continue to nurse and express.  The implacable enemy within remains the most dangerous of all.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Pablo Escobar’s Son Reveals His Dad “Worked for the CIA Selling Cocaine” — Media Silent

legendary-drug-lord-pablo-escobar-lost-21-billion-in-cash-each-year--and-it-didnt-matter

Juan Pablo Escobar Henao, son of notorious Medellín cartel drug kingpin, Pablo Escobar, now says his father “worked for the CIA.”

In a new book, “Pablo Escobar In Fraganti,” Escobar, who lives under the pseudonym, Juan Sebastián Marroquín, explains his “father worked for the CIA selling cocaine to finance the fight against Communism in Central America.”

“The drug business is very different than what we dreamed,” he continues. “What the CIA was doing was buying the controls to get the drug into their country and getting a wonderful deal.”

“He did not make the money alone,” Marroquín elaborated in an interview, “but with US agencies that allowed him access to this money. He had direct relations with the CIA.”

Notably, Marroquín added, “the person who sold the most drugs to the CIA was Pablo Escobar.”

Where his first book primarily covered Escobar, the man as a father, Marroquín’s second — which has just been released in Argentina — delves into the kingpin’s “international ties of corruption in which my father had an active participation, among them with the American CIA,” he said in a recent interview.

Those government associates “were practically his partners,” which allowed Escobar to defy the law, and gave him nearly the same power as a government.

Predictably, this information is conveniently absent from media headlines in America.

If the CIA trafficking cocaine into the United States sounds like some tin foil conspiracy theory, think again. Their alleged role in the drug trade was exposed in 1996 in an explosive investigative series “Dark Alliance” by Gary Webb for the San Jose Mercury News. The investigation, headed up by Webb revealed ties between the CIA, Nicaraguan Contras and the crack cocaine trade ravaging African-American communities.

The investigation provoked massive protests and congressional hearings, as well as overt backlash from the mainstream media to discredit Webb’s reporting. However, decades later, officials would come forward to back Webb’s original investigation up.

Then-senator John Kerry even released a detailed report claiming that not only was there “considerable evidence” linking the Contra effort to trafficking of drugs and weapons — but that the U.S. government knew about it.

El Patron, as Escobar came to be known, amassed more wealth than almost any drug dealer in history — at one point raking in around $420 million a week in revenue — and reportedly supplied about 80 percent of the world’s cocaine. Escobar landed on Forbes’ list of international billionaires for seven straight years, and — though the nature of the business makes acquiring solid numbers impossible — his estimated worth was around $30 billion.

Escobar and the Medellín cartel smuggled 15 tons of cocaine into the U.S. — every day — and left a trail of thousands of dead bodies to do so.

“It was a nine-hundred-mile run from the north coast of Colombia and was simply wide-open,” journalist Ioan Grillo wrote in the book, “El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency.” “The Colombians and their American counterparts would airdrop loads of blow out to sea, from where it would be rushed ashore in speedboats, or even fly it right onto the Florida mainland and let it crash down in the countryside.”

If what Marroquín reveals in the new book is, indeed, true, it would mean the CIA played a major role in ensuring Americans had access to boundless quantities of cocaine — while the U.S. government sanctimoniously railed against drugs to promote the drug war.

In fact, as Marroquín keenly observes, drug prohibition makes for the best pro-drug propaganda — the nature of something being illegal naturally gives it greater appeal.

That prohibition guaranteed Escobar’s bloody reign would be all the more violent. Marroquín now believes “his path of healing is reconciliation with the relatives of those whom his father ordered to kill.”

While Escobar certainly used violence, or ordered others to use violence, to effectively foment and maintain power, he wasn’t without a charitable bone in his body. As Business Insider notes, “He was nicknamed ‘Robin Hood’ after handing out cash to the poor, building housing for the homeless, constructing 70 community soccer fields, and building a zoo.”

El Patron met his fate in 1993 — by gunshot as he attempted to flee after his house was surrounded. However, the circumstances surrounding his death are still being debated today. Marroquín insists his father committed suicide rather than be shot or captured by police forces sent to hunt him down; while others believe Escobar was absolutely slain by police.

Either way, Escobar’s accumulation of wealth could be viewed as incidental to the role he played for the CIA and the war on drugs — a massive hypocrisy serving to keep people hooked on a substance deemed illegal by the State, so the State can then reap the profits generated by courts, prisons, and police work ‘necessary’ to ‘fight’ the ‘war on drugs.’

“My father was a cog in a big business of universal drug trafficking,” Marroquín explains, and when he no longer served a purpose for those using him that way, killers were sent to do away with the problem — the problem so many had a hand in creating.

Marroquín, who only revealed himself as Escobar’s son in 2009, says he’s had to forgive members of his family for their involvement in the drug business and betrayal of his father — but notes that forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting what happened.

But he has measured perspective about the man who brutally ruled the cocaine industry.

“Pablo Escobar is by no means a role model,” he asserts.

“I admire Pablo, my father, who educated me. Not Escobar, the mafioso.”

Marroquín noted drug lords like his father might appear to have everything as their status and name garner attention, but these material gains, in actuality, take control in the end.

“The more power my father had, the poorer he lived.”

 

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