Mantra for 9/11: 14 years later, how we got here and the hell it has created

© Flickr/familymwr
Fourteen years later and do you even believe it? Did we actually live it? Are we still living it? And how improbable is that?

Fourteen years of wars, interventions, assassinations, torture, kidnappings, black sites, the growth of the American national security state to monumental proportions, and the spread of Islamic extremism across much of the Greater Middle East and Africa. Fourteen years of astronomical expense, bombing campaigns galore, and a military-first foreign policy of repeated defeats, disappointments, and disasters. Fourteen years of a culture of fear in America, of endless alarms and warnings, as well as dire predictions of terrorist attacks. Fourteen years of the burial of American democracy (or rather its recreation as a billionaire's playground and a source of spectacle and entertainment but not governance). Fourteen years of the spread of secrecy, the classification of every document in sight, the fierce prosecution of whistleblowers, and a faith-based urge to keep Americans "secure" by leaving them in the dark about what their government is doing. Fourteen years of the demobilization of the citizenry. Fourteen years of the rise of the warrior corporation, the transformation of war and intelligence gathering into profit-making activities, and the flocking of countless private contractors to the Pentagon, the NSA, the CIA, and too many other parts of the national security state to keep track of. Fourteen years of our wars coming home in the form of PTSD, the militarization of the police, and the spread of war-zone technology like drones and stingrays to the "homeland." Fourteen years of that un-American word "homeland." Fourteen years of the expansion of surveillance of every kind and of the development of a global surveillance system whose reach -- from foreign leaders to tribal groups in the backlands of the planet -- would have stunned those running the totalitarian states of the twentieth century. Fourteen years of the financial starvation of America's infrastructure and still not a single mile of high-speed rail built anywhere in the country. Fourteen years in which to launch Afghan War 2.0, Iraq Wars 2.0 and 3.0, and Syria War 1.0. Fourteen years, that is, of the improbable made probable.

Fourteen years later, thanks a heap, Osama bin Laden. With a small number of supporters, $400,000-$500,000, and 19 suicidal hijackers, most of them Saudis, you pulled off a geopolitical magic trick of the first order. Think of it as wizardry from the theater of darkness. In the process, you did "change everything" or at least enough of everything to matter. Or rather, you goaded us into doing what you had neither the resources nor the ability to do. So let's give credit where it's due. Psychologically speaking, the 9/11 attacks represented precision targeting of a kind American leaders would only dream of in the years to follow. I have no idea how, but you clearly understood us so much better than we understood you or, for that matter, ourselves. You knew just which buttons of ours to push so that we would essentially carry out the rest of your plan for you. While you sat back and waited in Abbottabad, we followed the blueprints for your dreams and desires as if you had planned it and, in the process, made the world a significantly different (and significantly grimmer) place.

Comment: Bin Laden had nothing to do with 9/11. It was a "Pearl Harbor" event long wished for by the architects of the Plan for a New American Century, headed up by the arch-psychopath Dick Cheney, in alliance with the neocon 'friends of Israel', who's goals coincided with the American wish for the "full-spectrum dominance", the PNAC plan called for.

Fourteen years later, we don't even grasp what we did.


'Give me liberty or give me death': The loss of freedom and institution of a corporate police state in the 14 years since 9/11

"Since mankind's dawn, a handful of oppressors have accepted the responsibility over our lives that we should have accepted for ourselves. By doing so, they took our power. By doing nothing, we gave it away. We've seen where their way leads, through camps and wars, towards the slaughterhouse." ― Alan Moore,V for Vendetta
What began with the passage of the USA Patriot Act in October 2001 has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse. Since then, we have been terrorized, traumatized, and acclimated to life in the American Surveillance State.

The bogeyman's names and faces change over time, but the end result remains the same: our unquestioning acquiescence to anything the government wants to do in exchange for the phantom promise of safety and security has transitioned us to life in a society where government agents routinely practice violence on the citizens while, in conjunction with the Corporate State, spying on the most intimate details of our personal lives.

Ironically, the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks occurs just days before the 228th anniversary of the ratification of our Constitution. Yet while there is much to mourn about the loss of our freedoms in the years since 9/11, there is virtually nothing to celebrate.


Syria's Bashar al-Assad: Why the Anglo-American Axis cannot overthrow his government

© Unknown
Syria’s President Bashar Hafez al-Assad with Russia's President Vladimir Putin

Why is the Syrian President relentlessly demonized by the Anglo-American Axis?

Just like President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Syria's President Bashar Hafez al-Assad has been the victim of unrelenting character assassination and false reporting by the Western Mainstream Media (MSM). Many of the MSM outlets throughout the Anglo-American Axis (AAA) have published one false story after another in a concerted effort to turn the entire world against him. And for what?

Why are they so determined to overthrow one of the very few righteous leaders in the Middle East?

The true answers to this question are as profound as they are far-reaching. On a quite superficial level, Assad represents the proverbial skunk at the garden party. The Anglo-American Axis has a set agenda and predetermined schedule; and, they will not let any nation or political leader get in its way. A trained physician like Assad was thought to be the least of their (AAA) troubles during the choreographed Arab Spring events. After all, doctors everywhere take the sacred vow known as the Hippocratic Oath — "First, do no harm."

Comment: Imagine: You are the democratically elected leader of a country that is rich in human, cultural and natural resources. And for the past four years the hordes of hell have literally been unleashed on your country's lands and your country's people. Over 11 million of which have been either displaced within, or outside of, your country. With murders in the thousands. These same hordes of hell, you know, are actually the hidden arm of some of the most deceptive, powerful and ruthless forces on the planet - and they are all aimed at destroying you and your life's work of creating a better place for your citizens. The hordes threaten to turn the clock back on the country - towards a feudal psycho-state and puppet regime of the West. And most of the world is clueless about the reality of the situation.

To make matters worse, vicious lies have been spread about you that despite the evidence, or lack thereof, all too many seem all too willing to believe.

Your only help and hope is coming from the two most Western-vilified nations in the world (besides your own) and any precipitous actions or responses to the madness that is set upon you and your nation could not only damage it beyond all hope, but threaten to start WWIII.

What do you do?

Bizarro Earth

Blowback on a NATO beach

© Osman Orsal/Reuters
A man holds a poster with a drawing depicting drowned Syrian toddlers during a demonstration for refugee rights in Istanbul, Turkey, September 3, 2015.
We've had it coming. And when it came, virtually the whole planet reacted with stunned silence. Sometimes it takes just a photograph to put a noxiously complex version of hell in perspective.

Little did Nilufer Demir, 29, the female photojournalist of the Turkish Dogan News agency know that the moment she saw little Aylan Kurdi, 3, washed ashore at the Ali Hoca Burnu beach near Bodrum, she would be making history.

Aylan is alone, as if suspended by the immense solitude of death, just as his family's dream of offering him a new life in a new continent away from death and destruction was about to be fulfilled. It's as if his lone lifeless body at the shores of a NATO beach was also about to prefigure the death of Europe - or the death of a once pan-European dream of solidarity and compassion.

Hannah Arendt once wrote movingly about the banality of evil, referring to the mechanism of fascism and Nazism. Aylan's lifeless body now illustrates the banality of an evil he was trying to flee: the "arc of instability", a Pentagon self-fulfilling prophecy.

So to put hell in perspective we must retrace some steps of the arc.


China marks 70th anniversary of end to 'Great Anti-Fascist War' with massive military parade


China marks the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazism/Fascism with a massive military parade in Beijing
Celebrating the 70th anniversary of Japan's capitulation in WWII, China has showcased hundreds of its newest military hardware in a remarkable parade which saw some 12,000 troops marching across Tiananmen Square in front of dozens of world leaders.

Some 30 foreign leaders attended the memorial event, representing countries from Russia and Belarus, to Egypt, South Korea and Venezuela. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also attended the parade, while the majority of "high-profile" Western leaders have passed on the event.

Comment: No, that's not our term for WW2; the 'Great Anti-Fascist War' is what the Chinese call it. It's the best term for it because it accurately describes what it was.

This is the first time the Chinese have ever held a military parade to commemorate a war in which they were second only to Russia in terms of military and civilian casualties. They haven't held one before now because Sino-Communist ideology held that nothing prior to 1949 was worth remembering. But, like Russia revisiting and reintegrating the totality of its history, China is remembering its past.

The fact that (nearly) all Western countries boycotted it (undoubtedly because Washington told them to), while the same leaders of Eurasian countries attending the Moscow May 9th parade also attended here, speaks volumes about the division of the world into those contributing to or anticipating a post-American, post-hegemony world, and those desperately clinging to the violent, unjust, and ultimately doomed order.

They will tell you they are wary of China's 'militaristic intentions'. This 'concern' is laughable given the country's relatively peaceful and extraordinarily long history. Still waters run deep...


Shocking image of drowned Syrian boy symbolizes growing NATO war refugee crisis, sparking outcry on social media

The image of a lifeless toddler washed up on a beach lying face down in Turkish sand has sent shockwaves across social media, serving as a stark reminder of the reality of the refugee crisis facing Europe.

The tiny Syrian boy with his shoes still attached to his feet and wearing shorts and a t-shirt is also captured being plucked from the sand and carried off the beach by Turkish authorities.
© AP Photo/ DHA
A paramilitary police officer carries the lifeless body of a child, Aylan Kurdi, after a number of refugees died and a smaller number were reported missing after boats carrying them to the Greek island of Kos capsized.
Some have criticized the Independent newspaper's decision to publish the images on grounds they are too graphic. But Peter Bouckaert, emergency director of Human Rights Watch who shared the picture of the refugee who was one of 12 Syrians to drown crossing the Mediterranean from Turkey to Greece, defended the Independent's decision to circulate the pictures.

"What is offensive is dead kids washing up on our beaches when deaths could have been prevented by EU action, not the picture themselves," Bouckaert tweeted.

Comment: This latest heart-wrenching story comes less than a week after 50 dead NATO war migrants found were found decomposing in the back of an Austrian truck.

For more information on this horrific and rapidly escalating humanitarian crisis:

Read this sott focus article: Victims of Western wars forced to flee their countries called 'swarms of marauding people' by Western warmongering politicians

Listen to last week's 'Behind the Headlines' show on blog talk radio: NATO, war refugees and the EU immigration crisis

Better Earth

Preparing for the worst: Russian and NATO military exercises making war in Europe more likely?

© AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
NATO drills in Europe, August 2015
Over the last 18 months, against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the relationship between Russia and the West has deteriorated considerably. One aspect of the confrontation, as previously documented by the ELN, has been a game of Russian-instigated dangerous brinkmanship which has resulted in many serious close military encounters between the forces of Russia and NATO and its partners over the last 15 months. Another aspect, however has been the increased scope and size of the military exercises conducted by both Russia and by NATO and its partners in the Euro-Atlantic area since the Ukraine crisis began. To assist the public and wider policy community in understanding the realities of this new and dangerous security environment in Europe, the ELN has prepared a short policy brief and two interactive maps presenting in detail the anatomy of two recent, large scale military exercises. The two exercises profiled are:
  • A Russian 'snap exercise' conducted in March 2015, which brought together 80,000 military personnel.
  • The NATO 'Allied Shield' exercise conducted in June 2015, which brought under one framework four distinct exercises taking place along the Eastern flank of the Alliance, totalling 15,000 personnel from 19 Members states and three partner states.

Comment: Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev said on Tuesday:
The United States and NATO are increasing their military presence in European states neighbouring Russia. Hotbeds of military tension are being created near our border. There have been continuous attempts at bringing anti-Russian political regimes to power in former Soviet states.
This is what Russia has to deal with. In August alone Russia carried out 79 military exercises, focusing on Central Asia. More are scheduled for September, including joint drills with other CSTO members (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan).


US created ISIS to be a tool for overthrowing Syria's President Assad - leaked Pentagon report

Comment: Though this commentary was written at the time the Pentagon report was leaked, the analysis is as relevant today. ISIS has gone from strength to strength in a manner that could only be possible with massive, covert support.

From the first sudden, and quite dramatic, appearance of the fanatical Islamic group known as ISIS which was largely unheard of until a year ago, on the world's stage and which promptly replaced the worn out and tired al Qaeda as the world's terrorist bogeyman, we suggested that the "straight to beheading YouTube clip" purpose behind the Saudi Arabia-funded Islamic State was a simple one: use the Jihadists as the vehicle of choice to achieve a political goal: depose of Syria's president Assad, who for years has stood in the way of a critical Qatari natural gas pipeline, one which could dethrone Russia as Europe's dominant - and belligerent - source of energy, reaching an interim climax with the unsuccessful Mediterranean Sea military build up of 2013, which nearly resulted in quasi-world war.

The narrative and the plotline were so transparent, even Russia saw right through them. Recall from September of last year:
If the West bombs Islamic State militants in Syria without consulting Damascus, LiveLeak reports that the anti-ISIS alliance may use the occasion to launch airstrikes against President Bashar Assad's forces, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Clearly comprehending that Obama's new strategy against ISIS in Syria is all about pushing the Qatar pipeline through (as was the impetus behind the 2013 intervention push), Russia is pushing back noting that the it is using ISIS as a pretext for bombing Syrian government forces and warning that "such a development would lead to a huge escalation of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa."
But it's one thing to speculate; it's something entirely different to have hard proof.

And while speculation was rife that just like the CIA-funded al Qaeda had been used as a facade by the US to achieve its own geopolitical and national interests over the past two decades, so ISIS was nothing more than al Qaeda 2.0, there was no actual evidence of just this.

That may all have changed now when a declassified secret US government document obtained by the public interest law firm, Judicial Watch, shows that Western governments deliberately allied with al-Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups to topple Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad.

According to investigative reporter Nafeez Ahmed in Medium, the "leaked document reveals that in coordination with the Gulf states and Turkey, the West intentionally sponsored violent Islamist groups to destabilize Assad, despite anticipating that doing so could lead to the emergence of an 'Islamic State' in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
According to the newly declassified US document, the Pentagon foresaw the likely rise of the 'Islamic State' as a direct consequence of the strategy, but described this outcome as a strategic opportunity to "isolate the Syrian regime."
And not just that: as we reported last week, now that ISIS is running around the middle east, cutting people's heads of in 1080p quality and Hollywood-quality (perhaps literally) video, the US has a credible justification to sell billions worth of modern, sophisticated weapons in the region in order to "modernize" and "replenish" the weapons of such US allies as Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iraq.


Russian-American chess grandmaster: Vladimir Putin is America's reluctant foe

Editorial introduction
Lev Alburt will celebrate his 70th birthday in August. His life was divided in two: the first half passed in the Soviet Union, the second is going on in the USA. In his first homeland, the Odessian GM achieved many successes: he was 3-time Ukrainian Champion, a winner and a prize-winner of numerous international competitions, a repeated participant of the USSR Championship finals which were by then the strongest tournaments in the world. In 1979, Alburt, as the saying went, "chose freedom", deciding not to come back from abroad. He has settled down in New York city and has been living there from then on.

As Alburt moved to the USA, he became one of the top American Grandmasters, winning the U.S. Championship three times and representing this country many times at the Olympiads. He is still into chess, being not only a successful coach but also a prolific writer. He is the author of many chess books on various topics, which are being sold in prestigious American and European book shops and could occupy nearly a bookshelf if taken together.

Apart from that, Albert has devoted a lot of his time to fighting Soviet communism. He spent his first-earned US money on a trip to Washington D.C. for the Sakharov Hearings. Whenever he got a chance, he provided his chess colleagues coming to the West with anti-Soviet literature. He participated in different rallies and forums, knew Bukowski and Amalrik, was in correspondence with Solzhenitsyn. He was also a member of organizations that made no secret of their intentions to change the Soviet regime.

Dramatic acceleration of events in his former country the USSR, resulting in its collapse, was quite unexpected for Alburt as well as for many others. These days, 25 years after that sharp turn of history, Lev Alburt is still interested in the world political situation. The fate of his former country still worries him, as well as, of course, the fate of his new homeland. We are presenting the Grand Master's point of view on the matters still very important to him.

Comment: Like Julius Caesar dealing with Pompey and the Optimates before the Civil War, Putin is giving the West every opportunity to make the rational, better choice. But they refuse at every new opportunity. This status quo can only continue for so long...

See also:

Putin's phone call to Obama and its significance

Vladimir Putin's historic defiance of the Anglo-American Axis and their New World 'Order'

Eye 1

How covert agents infiltrate the internet to manipulate, deceive, and destroy reputations


A page from a GCHQ top secret document prepared by its secretive JTRIG unit
One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It's time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.

Over the last several weeks, I worked with NBC News to publish a series of articles about "dirty trick" tactics used by GCHQ's previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). These were based on four classified GCHQ documents presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking "Five Eyes" alliance. Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document, in full, entitled "The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations."

By publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse "hacktivists" of using, the use of "honey traps" (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself.