Puppet Masters


Lavrov: Countries like Russia that act contrary to U.S. wishes are punished with 'colonial-style' sanctions

© RIA Novosti / Alexey Filippov
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
Making Russia change its stance by way of sanctions is outdated thinking in an age when diversity of opinion is supposed to be appreciated, Foreign Minister Lavrov believes. He says Russia is already "doing more than anybody else" to help Ukraine.

Moscow can hardly be accused of non-facilitating the peace-process in Ukraine, as it is exerting all of the authority it can on the anti-government forces in eastern Ukraine to make sure they comply with the September Minsk peace agreements, Sergey Lavrov said in his Sunday interview to the Russian NTV channel. It's the West, according to him, who could actually do more to resolve the Ukrainian crisis.

"Our Western partners... aren't really using their influence on Kiev to persuade them that there's no alternative to the agreements they've already reached with the self-defense," the minister said.

The West is meanwhile ever ready to put additional pressure on Moscow in the form of sanctions, which in Lavrov's point of view have little to do with the situation in Ukraine.

American war against terrorism and the obvious anti-Russian plans

© Unknown
A few days ago, Brussels served notice that NATO refuses to cooperate with Russia on Afghanistan. Furthermore, the alliance is shunting aside any opportunity to return to the level of cooperation with Russia that it had before.

The causes are obvious. The deep divisions concerning the matters of Syria and Ukraine have brought about a freeze. Regardless of that, however, the NATO demarche is not promoting regional stability. On the contrary, it fits with the view of many experts that NATO is deliberately trying to surround Russia's southern flank in an arc of instability.

The United States has decided to begin a new war on international terrorism in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan. At the NATO summit in Wales, the American plan received the full support of the alliance. The primary enemy in this war is the terrorist group called the Islamic State. Incidentally, they're the rebels Washington nurtured, the ones who got military aid and were trained by American instructors in Turkey and the Gulf countries. Having firmly established their presence, they are now freewheeling independent operators marching to the beat of their own drum. Now Washington is fighting against them.

"The United States underestimated the religious motivations of the rebels," Alexander Sobianin, the director of strategic planning at the Association for Cross-Border Cooperation, said in an interview with the author. "The special forces of the Gulf states, which invested far less in these groups than the United States did, could have redirected their objectives very quickly. The outcome left even cynical American intelligence services in a state of shock: videotaped beheadings of dozens of Americans and Europeans, the mass rape of women and children... The actions of Islamists in the broader Middle East, including Afghanistan, have become a direct threat to the strategic interests of the United States."

But characteristic is the fact that when Syrian President Bashar Assad consented to the bombing of the "caliphate's" positions in Syria, Turkey, which had previously taken great pains to distance itself from its NATO allies and their anti-terrorism operations, sprang back to life instantaneously. Taking advantage of the extremely complex Kurdish refugee situation, Ankara needed little time to decide that Turkish troops could be inserted into Syria. Turkey was acting on the Syrian Kurds' request for help and safety in response to the Islamists' capture of the tomb of Shah Suleyman, who was the grandfather of Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire. This Syrian exclave is considered Turkish soil. Damascus, naturally, is dead-set against the Turkish course of action. It is becoming clear to everyone that the so-called "anti-terrorist operation" is just another attempt to overthrow the Assad government.


Ronald Reagan's son: 'My father got Saudis to flood market with cheap oil, bankrupting USSR'

The Cold War is back. Or at least, some version of it has returned, with Russian troops on the move across the Crimean Peninsula with the oddsmakers predicting it will once again be Russian territory.

For critics of President Barack Obama, this is a prime opportunity to demonstrate how poorly he stacks up compared with the man who did all he could to topple the Soviet Union, President Ronald Reagan.

Reagan's son, Michael Reagan, offered this advice for Obama on the Townhall.com website:
"I suggest that President Obama might want to study how Ronald Reagan defeated the Soviet Union. He did it without firing a shot, as we know, but he had a super weapon -- oil. Oil was the only thing the Soviets had in the 1980s that anyone in the rest of the world wanted to buy, besides ICBMs and H-bombs, and they weren't for sale. Since selling oil was the source of the Kremlin's wealth, my father got the Saudis to flood the market with cheap oil. Lower oil prices devalued the ruble, causing the USSR to go bankrupt, which led to perestroika and Mikhail Gorbachev and the collapse of the Soviet Empire."

Comment: That this strategy was real is not dependent on whether or not the B-movie actor president 'ordered' it: it's playing out before our eyes again today:

Re-run of energy war against USSR: U.S. and Saudi Arabia artificially suppressing oil prices to hurt Russia


Re-run of energy war against USSR: U.S. and Saudi Arabia artificially suppressing oil prices to hurt Russia

Is it just my imagination or is there a global oil war underway pitting the United States and Saudi Arabia on one side against Russia and Iran on the other? One can't say for sure whether the American-Saudi oil alliance is deliberate or a coincidence of interests, but, if it is explicit, then clearly we're trying to do to President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, exactly what the Americans and Saudis did to the last leaders of the Soviet Union: pump them to death - bankrupt them by bringing down the price of oil to levels below what both Moscow and Tehran need to finance their budgets.

Think about this: four oil producers - Libya, Iraq, Nigeria and Syria - are in turmoil today, and Iran is hobbled by sanctions. Ten years ago, such news would have sent oil prices soaring. But today, the opposite is happening. Global crude oil prices have been falling for weeks, now resting around $88 - after a long stretch at $105 to $110 a barrel.

The price drop is the result of economic slowdowns in Europe and China, combined with the United States becoming one of the world's biggest oil producers - thanks to new technologies enabling the extraction of large amounts of "tight oil" from shale - combined with America starting to make exceptions and allowing some of its newfound oil products to be exported, combined with Saudi Arabia refusing to cut back its production to keep prices higher, but choosing instead to maintain its market share against other OPEC producers. The net result has been to make life difficult for Russia and Iran, at a time when Saudi Arabia and America are confronting both of them in a proxy war in Syria. This is business, but it also has the feel of war by other means: oil.

Pope Paul VI beatification overshadowed by involvement in Nazi ratline

On October 19, 2014, Paul VI (Monsignor Montini) in a solemn ceremony at the Vatican is to be beatified which is the first step to sainthood A miracle, the curing of an unborn baby's illness, has been attributed to Paul VI. However, Holocaust Victims and their families from Eastern Europe who are locked in a decade's long legal dispute with the Vatican over looted assets from the Second World War, question the saintliness of the man who as Vatican Secretary of State supervised the infamous Vatican ratline funded with Holocaust era loot.

The Vatican Ratline was a post war system of escape routes for Nazis fleeing Europe at the end of the Second World War. The Vatican version was centered at the Croatian Confraternity of Saint Jerome located in Rome at Via Tomacelli 132 just a block away from the Tiber River bridge and next to the sprawling Tomb of Augustus.

The so called "Golden Priest" Fr. Krunoslav Draganovic, the Apostolic Vistator for Croatian matters, was the chief conductor of the Vatican ratline whose beneficiaries included major war criminals like Croatian mass murderer Ante Pavelic who escaped to Argentina in 1947 despite being responsible for the deaths of 500,000 Serbs, Jews, and Roma. Other ratline escapees included the Nazi war criminals Klaus Barbie, Josef Mengele and Adolf Eichman.
Bad Guys

U.S. pretense of humanitarian goals in Syria dropped - by dropping so-called 'Free Syrian Army'

Washington tacitly admits that the FSA or Free Syrian Army really stands for Fictitious Syrian Army. Yet another creation by those in the psychopathic seat of power who'll go to any lengths of chaos to achieve their ends.
US President Barack Obama hosted a top-level war council this past week in Washington with the military leaders from 21 countries in attendance - under the official remit of coordinating tactics to defeat the Islamic State extremist group in Syria and Iraq.

The titular American commander-in-chief spoke with the gravitas of a decorated soldier. «This is going to be a long-term campaign and like all military campaigns there will be ups and downs», said Obama to the assembled military chiefs at Andrews Air Force Base, near Washington DC.

Obama's presumed military authority was something of an achievement, considering that he is, by profession, a community activist, a professor of constitutional lawyer, and a former senator. The 53-year-old politician has never served a single day of his life in the US military, let alone seen combat action or having been awarded medals for bravery.

But that's not the only anomaly that sprung to mind about Obama's war council in Washington. Together with the usual Western allies of Britain, France, Canada and Australia, there were military top brass from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Comment: The U.S. and allied psychopaths couldn't topple the Assad government before by supporting the FSA's false flag chemical attacks on Syria's citizens, and Russia stood in the way of a direct U.S. military attack a year ago. So now, via the need to destroy "one of the worlds greatest threats" ISIS, they have found a new way to get the boots on the ground and in the air above Syria. And will try, piecemeal, to continue to destroy Syria's infrastructure with their new cover story. And gee, whatever happened to Khorasan?!? Will we see a new appearance in the media about those baddies? Nahh, they'll stick to ISIS for now. They're good for name recognition and all that. Plus, they really are stirring up trouble - they're the perfect foil!

Light Saber

Wales: Gwynedd Council agrees to Israel embargo in wake of bombardment, invasion of Gaza

© Walesnews.org.uk
Gwynedd Councillors have agreed not to conduct future trade with Israel in the wake of the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip.

In a full council meeting last week, councillor Owen Williams proposed a motion condemning Israel for the bombardment and ground invasion of the Palestinian territory.

He said: "Following the latest attacks by the Israeli State on the territory of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, this council calls for the suspension of trading with Israel and condemns the over-reaction and savageness used.

"Furthermore, we confirm and underline this Council's decision not to invest in Israel or that country's establishments.

"We believe that if Gwynedd leads the way that there is hope that other councils in Wales and beyond will follow our example."

Councillor Sian Gwenllian said: "We condemn terrorism but we also condemn the killing of innocent people.

"It's very important that we here in Gwynedd look out at the world and seek to influence where we can."

Comment: It's about time.

Political analyst: EU report of Israeli war crimes in Gaza a sign of shifting sands in public opinion

Heart - Black

Guantánamo force-feeding manual reveals gruesome practices

focre feeding tubes
© John Moore / Getty Images
A U.S. Navy doctor shows off a display of feeding tubes for detainees at the hospital in the Guantanamo Bay detention center, Cuba.
Though heavily redacted and filled with euphemisms, new document should shake public conscience

Last week the U.S. government submitted to the District Court in Washington, D.C., the most recent standard operating procedures (SOPs) for force-feeding in the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. What remains of the documents, after redactions, is a shameful exercise in doublespeak that attempts to disguise what is really happening in the prison.

The SOPs were submitted in a case brought by Abu Wa'el Dhiab, an inmate represented by Reprieve, the international human rights organization that I head. Dhiab is a 43-year-old Syrian and father of four who has been held without trial or charge in Guantánamo for 12 years. The U.S. government told Dhiab four years ago that he was cleared for release, and yet to this day he remains behind bars. In a last resort to get back to his wife and children, he, along with many others, embarked on a hunger strike. His case concerns the manner in which that entirely legitimate hunger strike has been brutally opposed by the prison authorities.

The SOPs continually offer feigned concern for the prisoners. The "sole focus" of the doctors inserting the nasal tubes "is the health and welfare of their patients"; the force-feeding is carried out according to procedures performed "in nursing homes worldwide"; assessments are to be made during the feeding to check "the emotional well-being of the detainee." One typical instruction says that after restraining and force-feeding a prisoner, "a debriefing session is important." The instruction goes on to say - in a sickening parody of customer service - that medical staffers should note "any questions and feedback provided by the detainee."

Read more closely, though, and the cracks soon begin to open. The public learns what is involved when a man is dragged from his cell, strapped to a chair with five belts and held down as a tube - perhaps dangerously lubricated with olive oil - is forced through his nose, down his throat and esophagus and into his stomach so that he can be pumped full of liquid.

Comment: "Beating or kicking door" check; "yelling or screaming" check; "mumbling incoherently" check; "crying" check; "harmful to self" check; "requesting release" check!

Detaining innocent men for years on end with no evidence, no charges, no convictions. To still detain them years after being 'cleared for release'. It would seem that the aim of the US in Guantánamo is to ensure that ALL of the above boxes are ticked - a sickening and inhuman game of torture bingo.

"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons." --Fyodor Dostoevsky


Senior NSA official moonlighting for private cybersecurity firm

computer screen
© Felix Clay/The Guardian
The National Security Agency has developed close ties with certain private cybersecurity businesses.
The former director of the National Security Agency has enlisted the US surveillance giant's current chief technology officer for his lucrative cybersecurity business venture, an unusual arrangement undercutting Keith Alexander's assurances he will not profit from his connections to the secretive, technologically sophisticated agency.

Patrick Dowd continues to work as a senior NSA official while also working part time for Alexander's IronNet Cybersecurity, a firm reported to charge up to $1m a month for advising banks on protecting their data from hackers. It is exceedingly rare for a US official to be allowed to work for a private, for-profit company in a field intimately related to his or her public function.

Reuters, which broke the story of Dowd's relationship with IronNet, reported that the NSA is reviewing the business deal.

Comment: The ever narrowing gap between government activities and for profit corporations.

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power"
― Benito Mussolini

Star of David

No consequences: Israel's moral hazard in the Gaza Strip

The passage in the British House of Commons of a resolution favoring recognition of a Palestinian state, coming on the heels of the Swedish government's announcement of its intention to extend such recognition, is the latest indicator of European disgust with Israeli policies. Recognizing a Palestinian state is, of course, an empty gesture as long as no such state exists on the ground, and the ground that would constitute such a state is under another state's occupation. But recognition is a peaceful and respectable way to express dismay. The Conservative MP who chairs the House of Commons foreign affairs committee probably was speaking for many both inside and outside Parliament when he said that he had "stood by Israel through thick and thin" but that "over the past 20 years...Israel has been slowly drifting away from world public opinion," and that "such is my anger over Israel's behavior in recent months that I will not oppose the motion. I have to say to the government of Israel that if they are losing people like me, they will be losing a lot of people."
gaza destruction 2014
© Reuters/Suhaib Salem
A Palestinian woman reacts upon seeing her destroyed house in Beit Hanoun town, which witnesses said was heavily hit by Israeli shelling and air strikes during Israeli offensive, in the northern Gaza Strip August 1, 2014.
As the comments of the MP suggest, the behavior that is the object of the dismay and anger has both long-term and short-term components. The long-term part is the continued Israel occupation of conquered territory, with the accompanying subjugation of Palestinians and denial to them of political rights. In the shorter term is the destruction that the Israeli military wreaked on the Gaza Strip earlier this year, in an operation that began when the Netanyahu government attempted to use force to disrupt a unity pact between the main Palestinian political factions. This week United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon toured the devastation in Gaza, remarking that "no amount of Security Council sessions, reports, or briefings could have prepared me for what I witnessed today."

Another, even more recent, component of the Israeli-inflicted destruction in Gaza may also have influenced the mood of the Swedes, the MPs at Westminster, and indeed taxpayers in any Western country. At an international conference in Cairo participating countries pledged a total of $5.4 billion in aid, half for reconstruction in the Gaza Strip and the other half as budget support for the Palestinian Authority. Besides the sheer irksomeness of any of the rest of us in the world community having to pay to repair that damage, think about what this situation implies for Israeli incentives. The Israelis mow the lawn in Gaza as often as they like, and they don't even have to pay for the clean-up. They may even profit from it because any building supplies that Israel allows to enter the Strip generally come from Israeli sources. (Investment tip: it's time to be bullish on cement manufacturers in Israel.)

This is an example of what economists call moral hazard: of someone having no incentive to curtail risky (or in this case, outright destructive) behavior because someone else is covering the losses. This in turn is one reason to be pessimistic that the whole tragic cycle of periodic Israeli lawn-mowing will end any time soon. The Israelis' economic flank is covered by donor conferences, just as their political flank is covered by U.S. vetoes at the Security Council.

Comment: Israel is allowed its psychopathic behavior by being underwritten by the equally psychopathic US. Just one example from Israel's last 'mowing the lawn' in 2007.
  • Psycho talk: Netanyahu wants to cut water and power from Gaza while US lauds Israeli restraint
Nothing will happen until the rest of the world is willing to stand up to Israel and enforce consequences for their murderous ways. Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) is a good way to start.
  • Join the BDS movement: 9 brands to boycott to hold Israel accountable for 60 years of violating international law