Bad Guys

Islamic State is the cancer of modern capitalism

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© AA
In Iraq and Syria, where IS was born, the devastation of society due to prolonged conflict cannot be underestimated.
The brutal 'Islamic State' is a symptom of a deepening crisis of civilisation premised on fossil fuel addiction, which is undermining Western hegemony and unravelling state power across the Muslim world.

Debate about the origins of the Islamic State (IS) has largely oscillated between two extreme perspectives. One blames the West. IS is nothing more than a predictable reaction to the occupation of Iraq, yet another result of Western foreign policy blowback. The other attributes IS's emergence purely to the historic or cultural barbarism of the Muslim world, whose backward medieval beliefs and values are a natural incubator for such violent extremism.

The biggest elephant in the room as this banal debate drones on is material infrastructure. Anyone can have bad, horrific, disgusting ideas. But they can only be fantasies unless we find a way to manifest them materially in the world around us.

So to understand how the ideology that animates IS has managed to garner the material resources to conquer an area bigger than the United Kingdom, we need to inspect its material context more closely.

Eye 1

Pepe Escobar: Cold War 2.0 - Eurasian emporium or nuclear war?

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A scene from the war-room in Kubrick's classic movie, 'Dr. Strangelove'

General Buck Turgidson: Mr. President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, truth is not always a pleasant thing. But it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless *distinguishable*, postwar environments: one where you got twenty million people killed, and the other where you got a hundred and fifty million people killed.

President Merkin Muffley: You're talking about mass murder, General, not war!

General Buck Turgidson: Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.
A high-level European diplomatic source has confirmed to Asia Times that German chancellor Angela Merkel's government has vigorously approached Beijing in an effort to disrupt its multi-front strategic partnership with Russia.

Beijing won't necessarily listen to this political gesture from Berlin, as China is tuning the strings on its pan-Eurasian New Silk Road project, which implies close trade/commerce/business ties with both Germany and Russia.

The German gambit reveals yet more pressure by hawkish sectors of the U.S. government who are intent on targeting and encircling Russia. For all the talk about Merkel's outrage over the U.S. National Security Agency's tapping shenanigans, the chancellor walks Washington's walk. Real "outrage" means nothing unless she unilaterally ends sanctions on Russia. In the absence of such a response by Merkel, we're in the realm of good guy-bad guy negotiating tactics.

The bottom line is that Washington cannot possibly tolerate a close Germany-Russia trade/political relationship, as it directly threatens its hegemony in the Empire of Chaos.

Comment: Nah, nuclear war isn't their preferred option; that's just a decoy.

Their preferred option is financial armageddon; they're going to pull the plug on the dollar.


Stock Down

Russian economist Mikhail Khazin: World faces recession exceeding Great Depression by 2.5x

The trend of centralization of the global economy will remain in the past. It will be replaced by regionalization. In today's economic instability, only systems with 0.5 to 1 billion people can be effective, - says the economist, member of the Izborsky Club, Mikhail Khazin. According to him, the formation of such systems will begin after the onset of the crisis, and the first prototypes have already appeared.

Khazin noted that the world economy has developed in the framework of expanding markets over the last 400 years. As a result, today it is in a very unstable state, since household spending is several times higher than income: by $3.3 trillion in the US and $2.5 trillion in the EU. The purchasing power of the average salary in the U.S. is at the level of 1958, all the rest - is induced demand due to the growth of private and public debt, said Khazin.

"The global economy harbors a potential recession, exceeding the scale of the Great Depression by 2.5 times," - said the economist.

Globalist tendencies are replaced by regionalization trends, smaller systems become more cost-effective.

"A norm is an economic system with 0.5 to 1 billion people. This means that the world economy should fall into 5-6 relatively independent units as a result of the crisis. An additional factor is that the dollar ceased to be the investment asset for the world economy. The value added generated by the economy today, is insufficient to ensure the normal investment process," - explains Khazin.

Comment: Khazin knows what he's talking about: SOTT EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Russian economist Mikhail Khazin: On gold, the imminent collapse of Western neo-liberalism, and Eurasianism


Light Saber

The Greece-Russia overture

© Robert Crc, Subversive Festival Media, Wikipedia Commons
Greece's Alexis Tsipras
Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis visited Moscow on March 29-30, 2015, during which he held several rounds of talks with his Russian counterpart Alexandar Novak and Gazprom's CEO Alexei Miller. Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras is also expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on April 8.

Furthermore, Tsipras will be in Moscow on May 9 to attend the celebration of the allied victory in World War II, while many European leaders have decided to skip the ceremony because of Russia's annexation of Crimea. EU Commission Spokeswoman Mina Adreeva said about the array of visits: "Freedom of speech and assembly exist, so we have no comment on Greek politicians' visits to Russia."

The energy aspect of Greece-Russia negotiations

Lafazanis told Sputnik following his visit to Moscow: "My meetings, especially those with Miller and Russian energy minister Novak, were very substantive, extremely constructive, and, I should say, they opened a new chapter in the energy partnership between the two countries."

Russia provides Greece with around 65% of its natural gas and the latter may ask for a discount on the resource. Greek state-owned gas utility DEPA has already obtained a retroactive 15% cut in gas prices last year.

Lafazanis also declared Greece's support for Turkish Stream, the 63 bcm gas pipeline that Russia is planning to build under the surface of Black Sea en route to Turkey as a replacement for South Stream. He expressed Greece's keen interest in extending Turkish Stream from the Greek-Turkish border into Greek territory.

Clipboard

Russia and Greece vs. the West: A geo-strategic 'game, set and match'?

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© Kremlin.ru
Vladimir Putin meets yesterday with General Director of Aeroflot Vitaly Savelyev. Are the Greece touristic flights warming up? (Kremlin)

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is headed to Russia April 8 to meet President Putin. With Russia and China emerging as an alternative to US-World Bank economics, the safe bet could be on a Russo-Greco bridge.


Greece's Industrial Reform Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and Syriza MP Thanasis Petrakos were in Moscow the last two days laying the groundwork for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' meet with Vladimir Putin. As a squirming cauldron of edgy bankers, politicians, and generals west of the Bosporus look on with prescience at the prospects, Russia and China have a singular opportunity. As a caveat, Petrakos told Spiegel Online and other media:
"This visit is very important for Greece. We intend to deepen our relationship with Russia in the energy sector and thereby hope to gain a significant advantage."
A couple of weeks ago I reported on Tsipras' acceleration of his meetup with Putin. With talks in Berlin and with Brussels upcoming, the Greek Prime Minister set out to play his country's economic hand with the cards he had been dealt. Holding a Russo-Greco deal over the bankers' heads, this was not genius, only deal-making 101. The follow up report the other day asking if Brussels had "warmed" to Tsipras' ideas of debt consolidation spoke of potential cooperation between Greece and Russia in terms of commodities like gold, and "collateral" to ensure Russia's "yield" on any deal would be guaranteed. What I did not speak of was long term gain for Russia, and all her investment interests, should Athens cement relations with Moscow. Here are some keen observations for predictive measures on the coming meetup.

Comment: Watch. One week after April 9th a false flag attack will be inflicted on Greece. Or, the U.S./troika will be making lame economic deal overtures towards Greece. Or both.


Airplane

Major media outlets claim video of Germanwings flight's last moments verifies official crash theory 100% - French investigators say no such video exists

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Batshit crazy conspiracy rag passing for 'news'
Screams of "My God," metallic banging and the cabin jolting to one side - the final moments of the doomed jet were said to have been captured on video, which several newspapers said they watched. However, French prosecutors say it's a hoax.

German Das Bild newspaper and French Paris Match magazine say they managed to watch the video, found among the wreckage, of the final moments of flight 4U9525 before the tragedy.

However, the outlets didn't post the actual video on their websites.

The phone memory card managed to survive the collision with the mountain, say the outlets, claiming it was found at the site by the investigators.

Das Bild claim the authenticity of the footage is "unquestionable," though the scene on board was "chaotic, totally blurred and no individuals can be identified."

Comment: No, this is not an April Fools' joke, although you will be excused for thinking we're all now inhabiting some planetary Twilight Zone. Das Bild and Paris Match really did make these claims. There is obviously no video showing the things these presstitutes claim it shows, otherwise they'd be ensuring the video's maximum public dissemination.

In perpetuating this conspiracy theory about the co-pilot deliberately crashing the Germanwings plane, Das Bild, Europe's largest publication and most-read news source, has completely broken from reality, and is clearly determined to pull as many people into its schizophrenic orbit as possible.

All we can say is that something really, really strange must have happened to that plane for the Powers That Be to pursue such a risky strategy of spreading lies that are so blatant, French prosecutors are immediately calling them out.

See also:

Germanwings crash: Not the full story?

Friends of Germanwings crash pilot say he is being framed by Lufthansa to cover-up mechanical failings

From found to damaged to lost: Lufthansa now says flight data recorder on Germanwings Flight 9525 'may never be found'


Info

Howling in Donetsk

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The superman statue rising from the destruction at Saur-mogila.
Asia Times' roving correspondent Pepe Escobar just returned from a reporting trip to the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), the pro-Russian enclave in the Donetsk Oblast province of eastern Ukraine. The area's been the scene of heavy fighting between pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian military.

I've just been to the struggling Donetsk People's Republic. Now I'm back in the splendid arrogance and insolence of NATOstan.

Quite a few people - in Donbass, in Moscow, and now in Europe - have asked me what struck me most about this visit.

I could start by paraphrasing Allen Ginsberg in Howl - "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness".

But these were the Cold War mid-1950s. Now we're in early 21st century Cold War 2.0 .

Blackbox

From found to damaged to lost: Lufthansa now says flight data recorder on Germanwings Flight 9525 'may never be found'

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This is the first 'black box', the cockpit data recorder, from Germanwings Flight 9525. The second 'black box', the flight data recorder was earlier reported found but with its memory card missing... and now 'will probably never be found. Ever.'
Germany's national airline Lufthansa says that the flight data recorder which could provide key evidence about the causes of the Germanwings plane crash last Tuesday may never be found.

Speaking on Gunter Jauch, a popular Sunday night talk show, the Lufthansa manager Kay Kratky said "it could be that the damage was so serious that it [the flight data recorder] is sending no signal."

While the first black box, which contains audio recording from the cockpit was recovered soon after search and rescue teams arrived at the crash site, the second black box's whereabouts have remained elusive.

The plane is reckoned to have hit the crash site in the French Alps at a speed in the region of 800 kph, causing the plane to fragment and scatter over a wide area.

Comment: On March 25th, The New York Times reported that:
At the crash site, a senior official working on the investigation said, workers found the casing of the plane's other so-called black box, the flight data recorder, but the memory card containing data on the plane's altitude, speed, location and condition was not inside, apparently having been thrown loose or destroyed by the impact.
And yet, 5 days later, Lufthansa says it will never be found?

Germanwings crash: Not the full story?


Bad Guys

No one is free until we all are free

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© AP / John Locher
A man takes a picture of a woman at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas in January.
This column is adapted from a talk Chris Hedges gave Friday night at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

The scourge of male violence against women will not end if we dismantle the forces of global capitalism. The scourge of male violence exists independently of capitalism, empire and colonialism. It is a separate evil. The fight to end male violence against women, part of a global struggle by women, must take primacy in our own struggle. Women and girls, especially those who are poor and of color, cannot take part in a liberation movement until they are liberated. They cannot offer to us their wisdom, their leadership and their passion until they are freed from physical coercion and violent domination. This is why the fight to end male violence across the globe is not only fundamental to our movement but will define its success or failure. We cannot stand up for some of the oppressed and ignore others who are oppressed. None of us is free until all of us are free.

On Friday night at Simon Fraser University—where my stance on prostitution, expressed in a March 8 Truthdig column titled "The Whoredom of the Left," had seen the organizers of a conference on resource extraction attempt to ban me from the gathering, an action they revoked after protests from radical feminists—I confronted the sickness of a predatory society. A meeting between me and students arranged by the university had been canceled. Protesters gathered outside the hall. Some people stormed out of the lecture room, slamming the doors after them, when I attacked the trafficking of prostituted women and girls. A male tribal leader named Toghestiy stood after the talk and called for the room to be "cleansed" of evil—this after Audrey Siegl, a Musqueam Nation woman, emotionally laid out what she and other women face at the hands of male predators—and one of the conference organizers, English professor Stephen Collis, seized the microphone at the end of the evening to denounce me as "vindictive." It was a commercial for the moral bankruptcy of academia.

Comment: This is what our world has become. When you give your power to psychopaths they exploit everything - women, children and the planet - in the worst and most unimaginable ways. If you'd like to learn more about how psychopaths can infect entire populations read: Political Ponerology by Andrew M. Lobaczewski.


Cowboy Hat

Hypocrisy hyperbole: Russian 'aggression' in Ukraine vs. Saudi 'defense' in Yemen


Saudi jets drop freedom bombs on Yemeni refugee camp. Gotta defend themselves from those darn refugees!
The military intervention in Yemen by a US-backed coalition of Arab states will undoubtedly inflame the conflict both in Yemen, and throughout the region. It is likely to be a protracted war involving many actors, each of which is interested in furthering its own political and geopolitical agenda.

However, it is the international reaction to this new regional war which is of particular interest; specifically, the way in which the United States has reacted to this undeniable aggression by its Gulf allies. While Washington has gone to great lengths to paint Russia's reunification with Crimea and its limited support for the anti-Kiev rebels of eastern Ukraine as "aggression," it has allowed that same loaded term to be completely left out of the narrative about the new war in Yemen.

So it seems that, according to Washington, aggression is not defined by any objective indicators: use of military hardware, initiation of hostilities, etc. Rather, the United States defines aggression by the relationship of a given conflict to its own strategic interests. In Crimea and Ukraine, Russia is the aggressor because, in defending its own interests and those of Russian people, it has acted against the perceived geopolitical interests of the US. While in Yemen, the initiation by Saudi Arabia and other US-backed countries of an unprovoked war with the expressed goal of regime change, this is not aggression as it furthers Washington's interests.

Comment: Hasn't everyone gotten the memo? Peaceful, non-violent, democratic defense of a region against fascist terrorists = Russian aggression. Unilateral, illegal, violent, destructive 'defense' of a shill government = democratic.