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Whitewash: Obama chief of staff handling redactions for Senate's CIA torture report

© AFP Photo / Brendan Smialowski
Chief of Staff Denis McDonough
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough is deeply involved in negotiating how much to redact from a classified US Senate probe into the CIA's post-9/11 detention and interrogation program, according to a new report

McDonough is playing a top role in hashing out what will be available to the public upon release of an abbreviated executive summary for the 6,000-page report, Huffington Post reported citing sources close to the negotiations.

The Senate Intelligence Committee's $40 million investigation into the Central Intelligence Agency's Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Program - which was active from September 11, 2001 to 2006 - has found that the spy agency purposely deceived the US Justice Department to attain legal justification for the use of torture techniques, among other findings that resulted in the report, completed from March 2009 to December 2012. Of that investigative report, the public will only see a 500-page, partially-redacted executive summary that is in the process of declassification.

McDonough's involvement may indicate how monumental the tug-of-war between the Senate committee and the CIA has become during the investigation. The committee has alleged that the CIA has spied on its staff, while the intelligence agency has accused the committee of leaking classified information amid its "inquisition" of the CIA, as one intelligence source described the probe.

The White House did confirm that McDonough was involved in the negotiations, but questions over the nature of his participation were left unanswered.

"We're not going to get into the details of our discussions, but White House officials, including Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, are in regular touch with [Intelligence Committee] leadership on a variety of matters, including to discuss the committee's review of the Bush Administration's rendition, detention and interrogation program, in an effort to help ensure the executive summary is completed and declassified consistent with national security interests," Bernadette Meehan, spokeswoman for the National Security Council, told Huffington Post.
Vader

Turmoil in Hong Kong, terrorism in Xinjiang: America's covert war on China


Seriously?!
China is facing increasing pressure along two fronts. In its western province of Xinjiang, terrorists have been stepping up destabilization and separatist activities.

In China's southeast Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, protests have disrupted normality in the dense urban streets, with protest leaders seeking to directly confront Beijing while dividing and destabilizing both Hong Kong society and attempting to "infect" the mainland.

What is more troubling is the greater geopolitical agenda driving both of these seemingly "internal" conflicts - and that they both lead back to a single source beyond China's borders. With the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS) now implicated in receiving, training, and employing terrorists from China's Xinjiang province, and considering the fact that ISIS is the result of an intentional, engineered proxy war the US and its allies are waging in the Middle East, along with the fact that the unrest in Hong Kong is also traced back to Washington and London, presents a narrative of an ongoing confrontation between East and West being fought on the battlefield of fourth generation warfare.
Bullseye

Will US led military and economic fiasco in Ukraine lead EU into financial collapse?

merkel


What do I care if Ukraine never pays us back? The German taxpayer is my ATM.
As the military situation in Ukraine grinds to a stalemate, the still more desperate economic plight comes to the fore, laying bare the culpable folly of European diplomacy.

In an earlier posting we had suggested that the unification of Germany could serve as a benchmark for the potential cost of any attempt to keep the implicit promise to Ukraine of EU accession, tossing out a guesstimate of one-half trillion Euros - an obviously impossible sum in the context of a European continent sliding into renewed recession.

In a recent paper, Carnegie's always incisive Dmitri Trenin has suggested that the actual cost of the reunification of Germany was closer to E1.5 trillion, albeit over a period of 23 years. While this latter number is almost certainly closer to the mark, given the realities it is no more than a substantial rounding error; Mr Poroshenko's trip to Washington - from which he returned with a generous $52 million - suggests that the likelihood of Ukraine receiving anything like either number is identical - precisely nil.
Alarm Clock

President Israel: Our country is suffering from an epidemic of violence that must be treated

© AFP Photo / Pool / Ronen Zvulun
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin: “It is time to honestly admit that Israeli society is sick – and it is our duty to treat this disease”.
Israel is suffering from an epidemic of violence that must be treated, the country's President Reuven Rivlin said. After the latest bloody conflict in Gaza, Jews and Arabs seem to have lost the capacity for dialogue, as relations have reached a new low.

"It is time to honestly admit that Israeli society is sick - and it is our duty to treat this disease," Rivlin told the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities at a xenophobia conference on Sunday in Jerusalem.

"The tension between Jews and Arabs within the State of Israel has risen to record heights, and the relationship between all parties has reached a new low," he said, as cited by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

"We have all witnessed the shocking sequence of incidents and violence taking place by both sides. The epidemic of violence is not limited to one sector or another, it permeates every area and doesn't skip any arena. There is violence in soccer stadiums as well as in academia. There is violence in social media and in everyday discourse, in hospitals and in schools."

He added that he personally endured verbal abuse, including on his Facebook page.

Israeli society has taken a right-wing swing amid the latest escalation in Gaza this summer. The violence erupted after the kidnapping and subsequent murder of three Jewish teenagers, which triggered a major crackdown by the Israeli security forces in Gaza strip.


Comment: Violence taking place by both sides? Not quite.
The Israelis work hard to dehumanize the Palestinians, and so rehumanizing them is an important defense. Israel's position in regards to the Palestinians is very tenuous because Israel is so strong and Palestine so weak that their propaganda campaign has to pour significant effort into maintaining the illusion of a militant and dangerous Palestinian population. The numbers simply don't match up. The Palestinian dead versus Israeli dead is usually 1,000 to 1 or more.

In ancient Rome, and many other countries where slaves were kept, the common punishment for a slave killing a master was to kill the slave and everyone immediately around him. Up to 200 slaves or more were killed. This method is being used on the Palestinians. If one Palestinian commits a crime, such as shooting a rocket into Israel, regardless of whether or not it kills an Israeli, then Israel invariably responds by killing hundreds or thousands of Palestinians in "retribution." This has led to a situation where Palestinians are damned to helplessness.

This is compounded by the fact that the majority of people committing such crimes are usually emotionally unstable and manipulated teenagers. The source of the manipulation is debatable because we know that Israeli security services exert a certain amount of influence on Hamas and other terrorist organizations, but we don't know precisely to what extent they encourage the practice of firing rockets into Israel to furnish the Israeli Political Establishment and Hasbara fodder for more propaganda. Then again, as Joe Quinn pointed out, chances are, agents of the state of Israel are the most likely culprits behind the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teens that was used to justify the massacre of 2000 Palestinians.
Genocide in Gaza: Viable Palestinian strategic options in the face of Israeli tactics


Comment: We would like to remind Mr. Rivlin of the following: "Ignota nulla curatio morbid', do not attempt to cure what you do not understand.
(Israeli) society is thoroughly ponerised, including academia:

Thought crime: Academics fight for freedom as critical thinkers eliminated from Israeli universities

Bad Guys

Ominous developments in Donbass: Is a Ukrainian attack imminent?

This short post is just to inform you of the latest developments in the war in the Ukraine.

Ukie forces
© Unknown

Following the use of a tactical ballistic missile against Donetsk by the Ukies, Zakharchenko has declared that the ceasefire was basically over.

Strelkov has made an official appeal warning that according to this information the Ukies were massing troops in preparation for an attack. According to Strelkov, the Ukie plan is for a very short and very rapid "push" towards Donestk and the Russian border to make any Novorussian state non-viable and thus to negotiate from a position of force. True, Strelkov does have a record of exaggerating threats in order to minimize them, but this time there are some strong signs that his analysis is shared by the Russian military, and these signs are the most ominous signs of all.

Russian sources - including the excellent Colonel Cassad blog - report that the voentorg aid-spigot has been fully re-opened including for some major deliveries. While, of course, I am very happy that the Novorussian resistance is getting much needed equipment (and specialists), this kind of full reopening of the voentorg also indicates to me that the Russian intelligence services have concluded that an attack is very likely, possibly very soon.
USA

America's covert war on China: Turmoil in Hong Kong, terrorism in Xinjiang

Uyghur

Jihadi Jian, fighting for U.S. interests in China!
China is facing increasing pressure along two fronts. In its western province of Xinjiang, terrorists have been stepping up destabilization and separatist activities.

In China's southeast Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, protests have disrupted normality in the dense urban streets, with protest leaders seeking to directly confront Beijing while dividing and destabilizing both Hong Kong society and attempting to "infect" the mainland.

What is more troubling is the greater geopolitical agenda driving both of these seemingly "internal" conflicts - and that they both lead back to a single source beyond China's borders. With the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS) now implicated in receiving, training, and employing terrorists from China's Xinjiang province, and considering the fact that ISIS is the result of an intentional, engineered proxy war the US and its allies are waging in the Middle East, along with the fact that the unrest in Hong Kong is also traced back to Washington and London, presents a narrative of an ongoing confrontation between East and West being fought on the battlefield of fourth generation warfare.

ISIS: Washington's Global Expeditionary Force

If one was asked to name a global-spanning military and intelligence operation opposed to Syria, Iran, Russia, and China, they might say the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the US Government - and they would be right. But they could also easily answer by saying the "Islamic State" or ISIS/ISIL as it is also known. This is especially true after revelations surfaced that US-backed Uyghur separatists in China's western-most province of Xinjiang have joined ISIS for training with intentions of leading an armed rebellion against Beijing upon their return.

Comment: China, and Russia, pose a serious threat to American hegemony. As such, they must be neutralized, whatever the means. Paul Craig Roberts offers some additional insight into the strategy against China, and what kind of power China really has, in his article Will Russia and China hold their fire until War is the only alternative?:
... China could deal a more lethal blow. Choosing a time of heightened concern or disruptions in US financial markets, China could dump its trillion dollar plus holdings of US treasuries, or indeed all its holdings of US financial instruments, on the market. The Federal Reserve and the US Treasury could try to stabilize the prices of US financial instruments by creating money with which to purchase the bonds and other instruments. This money creation would increase concern about the dollar's value, and at that point China could dump the trillion dollars plus it receives from its bond sales on the exchange market. The Federal Reserve cannot print foreign currencies with which to buy up the dollars. The dollar's exchange value would collapse and with it the dollar's use as world reserve currency. The US would become just another broke country unable to pay for its imports.

...

Both Russia and China have Muslim populations among whom the CIA operates encouraging disassociation, rebellion, and violence. Washington intends to break up the Russian Federation into smaller, weaker countries that could not stand in the way of Washington's hegemony.


HAL9000

Top Saudi cleric slams Twitter as 'Source of all evil'

© Reuters/Susan Baaghil
In the latest attack against Twitter in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf state's leading cleric criticized Twitter as "the source of all evil and devastation," triggering a social media firestorm.

Saudi Arabia finds itself in a rather complicated relationship with Twitter, the popular social media platform. With the highest percentage of active Twitter users in the world among internet subscribers, Saudi Arabia, with its ultraconservative, authoritarian Islamic regime, also ranks as one of its most ardent critics.

"If it were used correctly, it could be of real benefit, but unfortunately it's exploited for trivial matters," Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh remarked on his Fatwa television program on Monday, as quoted by AFP.

Comment: People networking together will always be a 'threat' to psychopaths and the elites' agendas.

Attention

Miss him yet? Republicans promise to bring back the 'W' days


President George W. Bush speaks to Fox News
The Republican National Committee is still hawking "I miss W" t-shirts, but now they have a new message.

In a fundraising email sent out Tuesday, RNC chief operating officer Sara Armstrong promised Republicans would bring the leadership qualities of President George W. Bush to the Senate if they prevailed in the upcoming Nov. 4 midterm elections.

"President George W. Bush once said, 'I will live and lead by these principles: to advance my convictions with civility, to pursue the public interest with courage, to speak for greater justice and compassion, to call for responsibility and try to live it as well,'" the email starts.

"That's what America needs right now: a big dose of leadership. The kind of principled conservative leadership President Bush provided our great nation. And the kind of leadership Republicans will deliver when we win a Senate majority."

Republicans need to gain six seats to win back the Senate, and recent polling suggests control of the upper body of Congress is within their grasp.

Comment: This is the surreal reality that authoritarian followers and psychopaths live in despite polls showing Bush as being the worst president since WWII.

Chess

Pepe Escobar: Turks, Kurds, Americans: the Kobani riddle

Kobani airstrike
© Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach
Smoke and dust rise over Syrian town of Kobani after an airstrike, as seen from the Mursitpinar crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province October 22, 2014.
Pay close attention to the women of Kobani, where Syrian Kurds are desperately fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. They are also fighting the treacherous agendas of the US, Turkey, and the government of Iraqi Kurdistan. Who will prevail?

Let's start by talking about Rojava. The full meaning of Rojava - the three mostly Kurdish provinces of northern Syria - is conveyed in this editorial (in Turkish) published by jailed activist Kenan Kirkaya. He argues that Rojava is the home of a "revolutionary model" that challenges "the hegemony of the capitalist, nation-state system" - way beyond its regional "meaning for Kurds, or for Syrians or Kurdistan."

Kobani - an agricultural region - happens to be at the epicenter of this non-violent experiment in democracy, made possible by an arrangement between Damascus and Rojava (you don't go for regime change against us, we leave you alone). Here, for instance, it's argued that "even if only a single aspect of true socialism were able to survive there, millions of discontented people would be drawn to Kobani."

In Rojava, decision making is via popular assemblies - multicultural and multi-religious. The top three officers in each municipality are a Kurd, an Arab and an Assyrian or Armenian Christian; and at least one of these three must be a woman. Non-Kurd minorities have their own institutions and speak their own languages.

Among a myriad of women's and youth councils, there is also an increasingly famous feminist army, the YJA Star militia ("Union of Free Women", with the "star" symbolizing Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar).
Rose

Afghan opium poppy yield hits all-time high

© Parwiz/Reuters
An Afghan man works on a poppy field in Jalalabad province.
Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan hit an all-time high in 2013 despite years of counter-narcotics efforts that have cost the United States $7.6 billion, the U.S. government watchdog for Afghanistan reconstruction spending said on Tuesday.

The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime reported that Afghan farmers grew an "unprecedented" 209,000 hectares (516,000 acres) of opium poppy in 2013, surpassing the previous high of 193,000 hectares (477,000 acres) in 2007, said John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.

"In past years, surges in opium poppy cultivation have been met by a coordinated response from the U.S. government and coalition partners, which has led to a temporary decline in levels of opium production," Sopko said in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and other top U.S. officials.

"The recent record-high level of poppy cultivation calls into question the long-term effectiveness and sustainability of those prior efforts," he said.

Afghanistan produces more than 80 percent of the world's illicit opium, and profits from the illegal trade help fund the Taliban insurgency. U.S. government officials blame poppy production for fueling corruption and instability, undermining good government and subverting the legal economy.

Comment: The CIA must be happy with the increase in opium poppy cultivation.

An example of CIA involvement in the drug trade (Source: Benazir Bhutto - A Warning To Us All):
Drugs For The World

But there were also the spoils of empire to be considered. With the help of President Zia, Afghanistan was deemed a country perfectly suited for the production of vast quantities of opium, the proceeds from which the empire would use to fuel its progress and at the same time flood certain population centers with narcotics and engage in a little "social engineering" (the black neigborhoods of America being a case in point).
CIA covert weapons shipments were sent by the Pakistani army and the ISI to rebel camps in the North West Frontier province near the Afghanistan border. The governor of the province, Lieutenant General Fazle Haq, who author Alfred McCoy calls Pakistani President Muhammad Zia ul-Haq's "closest confidant and the de facto overlord of the mujaheddin guerrillas" allowed hundreds of heroin refineries to set up in his province. Beginning around 1982, Pakistani army trucks carrying CIA weapons from Karachi (Pakistan) would arrive in Haq's province and return loaded with heroin, protected from police search by Pakistani intelligence (ISI) papers. By 1982, Haq was listed with Interpol as an international drug trafficker, not to mention a CIA asset. Despite his worsening reputation, visiting US politicians such as CIA Director William Casey and Vice President George H. W. Bush continued to meet with him when they visited Pakistan. Haq then moved his heroin money through the criminal Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). A highly placed US official later stated that Haq "was our man... everybody knew that Haq was also running the drug trade" and that "BCCI was completely involved".
See also:

War On Drugs Is A Hoax - US military Admits to Guarding, Assisting Lucrative Opium Trade in Afghanistan

Opium and the CIA: Can the U.S. triumph in the drug-addicted Afghanistan War?
...the CIA profited indirectly from the drug traffic, and developed over the years a close relationship with it. The CIA's off-the-books war in Laos was one extreme case where it fought a war, using as its chief assets the Royal Laotian Army of General Ouane Rattikone and the Hmong Army of General Vang Pao, which were, in large part, drug-financed. The CIA's massive Afghanistan operation in the 1980s was another example of a war that was in part drug-financed.


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