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Crusader

Moscow's three major moves of the past week in Syria, Yemen, and Iran

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© AP Photo/ Pavel Golovkin
Russia made three impactful moves in the course of only a week which show that it's truly returned to being a Mideast power.

Russia's diplomacy over the past week proved to the world that there's more to Moscow's Mideast policy than supporting the democratically elected government in Damascus in its War on Terror. As important and honorable as that action is, the Western mainstream media has obsessed over it and myopically framed it in such a way as to make it seem like Russia has no other method of projecting its influence in the area. Millions of people in the Mideast already knew this to not be true, but now such a false inference no longer holds any weight to the Western audience as well, since Russia resolutely demonstrated to the entire world that it has a robust regional policy capable of transforming events on the ground. The days of Russian diplomatic dormancy in the Mideast are definitely over, and Moscow now rivals Washington as the most important non-regional actor there. Let's take a look at what happened this past week in Syria, Yemen, and Iran:

Comment: Putin is relentlessly moving Russia forward on the world stage as an appropriate counter balance to the US.


Chess

Ukraine has lost Novorussia for good - Russian foreign analyst


Leonid Petrovich Reshetnikov is currently Director of the Russian Institute of Strategic Research.
In the journal of General Kanchukov I found an interview of the former SVR General Leonid Petrovich Reshetnikov, who now leads the RISR analytical center.

On the northern outskirts of Moscow, under reliable protection of the interior troops, the formerly secret institute of the Foreign Intelligence Service is hidden. The golden letters "Russian Institute of Strategic Research" now show up on the front of the overhang. But the peaceful name doesn't confuse those who are in the know — more than two hundred employees forge the Motherland's analytical shield here. Will there be a new war in the south-east of Ukraine? Who is behind the US president? Why so many among our officials can be called the ideological agents of influence? These and other questions of "AN" were answered by the director of RISR, the retired lieutenant-general Leonid Reshetnikov.

Rivals on the same field

AN: You had a serous "roof" — the SVR. Why would they suddenly declassify you?

General Reshetnikov: Indeed, we were a closed institute of the foreign intelligence, which mostly specialized in analyzing the available information on the far and near abroad. That is, on the information that is not only needed by the intelligence service, but also by the structures that determine the country's foreign policy. Oddly enough, there were no similar analytical centers in the Russian president's administration. Even though there were plenty of "institutions" in which there is only the director, the secretary and the wife of the director who works as an analyst. The PA lacked serious specialists and so the intelligence service had to share.

Today our founder is the president of Russia, and all governmental requests for research are signed by the head of the administration Sergey Ivanov.

AN: How much demand is out there for your analytics? For we are a paper country: everyone writes, writes a lot — but does that influence the final result?

GR: Sometimes we see the actions that echo our analytical papers. Sometimes it is impressive when you put up certain ideas and they become a trend in the Russian public opinion. It is clear that many directions are ripe for being pursued.

Comment: Here is part of the secret of Putin's successes in navigating the traps set by the West. He has surrounded himself with, and listens to, intelligent staffers who are not afraid to speak their mind. The final decisions may be his, but Putin is smart enough to know that many points of view are necessary to have an objective take on the problems he is forced to deal with.


Pocket Knife

Russia set to strengthen bilateral ties with North Korea

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© AP Photo/Vincent Yu
Russia is still set for expansion of cooperation with North Korea, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said Wednesday at a meeting with his North Korean counterpart Hyon Yong-chol.

"Our countries have big plans to expand bilateral ties in different spheres. I would like to emphasize that Russia's principled policy aimed at strengthening cooperation with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the spirit of agreements reached at the top level remains unchanged," Shoigu said.

In his words, Moscow is satisfied with activation of contacts with Pyongyang in 2014.

Comment: Is Russia continuing to poke a stick in the eye of the US?


Piggy Bank

America, meet your brand new largest foreign creditor

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Exactly one month ago we wrote that Japan Ties China As America's Largest Creditor when, according to Treasury International Capital in the month of January, China sold just over $5 billion in Treasurys while Japan bought $8 billion in US paper. Fast forward to today when we are pleased to announce that, as expected, the trend has continued and for the first time since the great financial crisis, Japan is once again America's largest foreign creditor with total holdings of $1224.4 billion, surpassing China, with $1223.7 billion, for the first time since just around the time Lehman filed for bankruptcy.

Comment: Looks like a race on who can sell the fastest.


Network

Chinese White Paper on Tibet's development: "Tibet has been an integral part of China since antiquity"

© Sputnik/ Iliya Pitalev
The Chinese government issued a document laying out its vision for Tibet's development, based on "an irresistible historical tide."

The Chinese government published an extensive report on Wednesday in which it denounced the 'Middle Way' approach espoused by the Dalai Lama as an attempt "to create a 'state within a state' on Chinese territory, to be ruled by the 14th Dalai Lama and his supporters, as an interim step towards the ultimate goal of full independence."

In the document, released by the State Council Information Office and entitled 'Tibet's path of development is driven by an irresistible historical tide,' China says that under its rule, which began in 1950, "Tibet has been transformed from a poor and backward society to one that is advanced in both economy and culture."

"The end of the old system was a historic inevitability," says the White Paper, describing Tibet as having been "a society of theocratic feudal serfdom," prior to its administration. According to the White Paper, since the early 1950s, life expectancy in Tibet has doubled and the rate of illiteracy, which was 95 percent, "has been wiped out."

After justifying Tibet's "Sound Path of Development," the text devotes a chapter to the Dalai Lama's 'Middle Way' approach, entitled "The Essential Intent of the 'Middle Way' Is to Split China," describing the approach as a veneer for the campaign for Tibetan independence.

Comment: On the surface the Dalai Lama's 'Middle Way Approach' says it seeks stability and equability with the Chinese government. But when we strip down the high sounding pseudo-evolved language, we're left with a Western funded scheme to destabilize Asia. Haven't we seen what happens to enough countries as wards of the US? The Chinese government is fully justified in not opening it arms in acceptance of such a destructive proposal.


Footprints

Investigation of Saudi involvement with 9/11 and Al-Qaeda suppressed

The United States investigation into the 9/11 attacks has once again come under the geopolitical microscope after former Al Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui's damning testimony.

The so-called '20th hijacker', in his recent testimony in a lawsuit alleging Saudi involvement in the attacks, has accused members of the Saudi royal family of funding Al Qaeda to carry out the catastrophic New York and Washington attacks.

Among the most influential Saudi royal family members accused by Moussaoui of funding the terror attacks are Prince Turki al-Faisal, then the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who served as Saudi ambassador to the US, and Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a billionaire investor. The three princes have deep ties with the US and Prince Bandar is even known as 'Bandar Bush' for being close to Bush family and the 'toast of Washington'.

The former Al Qaeda operative, serving life sentence in a US prison, claims he even discussed a plan with a diplomat in the Saudi embassy in Washington to shoot down Air Force One with Bill and Hillary Clinton on board. Saudi Arabia has rubbished these claims, saying "Moussaoui is a deranged criminal with no credibility."

This is not the first time the Saudi royal family has been under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Not only the families of the 9/11 victims, but the US lawmakers have also accused Saudi royal family of having tacit alliance with Al Qaeda and being involved in attacks.

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, wants the 28 pages of Congressional Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks declassified only to 'demystify' the notion of a Saudi conspiracy.

Comment: Of course the 28 page inquiry will never see the light of day. Here's one of those wild 'conspiracy theories': the Saudis weren't acting alone in their involvement they in 9/11 but were partnered with the US empire. Their shared vested interest likely has a whole lot more to do with the benefit of mutual silence of covert power relationships than financial interests alone.


Snakes in Suits

Neocon 'chaos promotion' in the Mideast

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Former Washington insider and four-star General Wesley Clark spilled the beans several years ago on how Paul Wolfowitz and his neoconservative co-conspirators implemented their sweeping plan to destabilize key Middle Eastern countries once it became clear that post-Soviet Russia "won't stop us."

As I recently reviewed a YouTube eight-minute clip of General Clark's October 2007 speech, what leaped out at me was that the neocons had been enabled by their assessment that - after the collapse of the Soviet Union - Russia had become neutralized and posed no deterrent to U.S. military action in the Middle East.

Comment: With the 'pivot to Asia', Africa in chaos, Ukraine upheaval, and the Middle East meltdown; death and destruction follows the neocons all over the world. But you have to hand it to Woolfie and his ilk. In a way, they know who their enemies are even before their enemies do - and even if they don't or can't completely understand why they are their enemies. Heavens knows though, most countries on this planet are not actively seeking out conflict and destruction in order to achieve power - to anywhere near the degree that the U.S. is in any case. And that is because, ultimately, the Neocons are nearly unmatched in their not wanting to understand anyone, or anything, outside of manifesting their own psychopathic drives.


Stock Down

'Inconceivable' negative interest rates on mortgages in Portugal and Spain, with Italy on deck

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© MARIO PROENCA/Bloomberg News
The vast majority of mortgages in Portugal, and a huge number in Italy and Spain are tied to Euribor, the rate it costs European banks to borrow from each other.

If Euribor drops low, enough banks will have to pay borrowers. It has already happened in Spain.

Comment: What a wonderful development for people wanting mortgages!


Info

Recent protests in Brazil are motivated by elite discontent over expanding economic and political inclusion for the nation's majority

© Nelson Almeida / AFP
Protesters in São Paulo Plead for a Military Coup, March 15, 2015
Don't believe the right-wing media's emphasis on corruption—the recent demonstrations are motivated by entrenched elite discontent over expanding economic and political inclusion for the nation's majority.

Reading the English-language press these days, one could be forgiven for thinking that Brazil is in the throes of a democratic uprising against a singularly corrupt government, a politically incompetent president, and a floundering economy. Since late last year, the center-left Workers' Party (PT) government headed by President Dilma Rousseff has been rocked by an ever-widening scandal involving over-inflated contracts and kickbacks to government-allied politicians at the state-owned oil giant Petrobrás. Indignant PT militants—rather than lamenting corruption in a party that once ran on its anti-corruption credentials—have tended to attack the media for highlighting PT corruption after ignoring abuses during the 1995-2002 administration of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, as well as similar scandals in state governments controlled by the opposition Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB).

In part due to the collapse of Petrobrás's stock, down 67% since the start of September, the Brazilian currency has plunged nearly 40% against the dollar since then. Inflation over the last year has reached nearly 8%, the highest since 2005, inviting Brazilians to nervously recall the hyperinflation of the 1980s and early 1990s. On March 15, nationwide demonstrations organized on social media gathered anywhere from 300,000 to two million protesters in dozens of cities. They brandished signs saying, "Out with the PT!" and demanded Rousseff's impeachment, although the one-time head of Petrobrás has not been implicated in the kickback scheme and can constitutionally only be impeached for crimes committed during her presidency. In the wake of the demonstrations, the percentage of Brazilians rating her government as "excellent" or "good" dropped to an abysmal 12%, while 64% rated it "poor" or "terrible." This disapproval rating is the highest for any president since Fernando Collor de Mello's 68% on the eve of his own impeachment for corruption in 1992. (Incidentally, Collor, now a government-allied senator, is one of 47 politicians currently under investigation for their role in the Petrobrás scandal.)

Comment: It appears the Brazilian elites along with the neo-liberals in Washington have not been at all happy since Dilma Rousseff defeated Aecio Neves last October. The Brazilian model of income distribution is against the interests of big business and Brazil's foreign policy is now diametrically opposed to that of The Empire of Chaos.

And the loser in Brazil is - neoliberalism


USA

The power of lies: Abraham Lincoln was a tyrant, not a hero - Paul Craig Roberts

The Empire's lies are institutionalized in history books, movements & in historical memory

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It is one of history's ironies that the Lincoln Memorial is a sacred space for the Civil Rights Movement and the site of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

Lincoln did not think blacks were the equals of whites. Lincoln's plan was to send the blacks in America back to Africa, and if he had not been assassinated, returning blacks to Africa would likely have been his post-war policy.

As Thomas DiLorenzo and a number of non-court historians have conclusively established, Lincoln did not invade the Confederacy in order to free the slaves. The Emancipation Proclamation did not occur until 1863 when opposition in the North to the war was rising despite Lincoln's police state measures to silence opponents and newspapers. The Emancipation Proclamation was a war measure issued under Lincoln's war powers. The proclamation provided for the emancipated slaves to be enrolled in the Union army replenishing its losses. It was also hoped that the proclamation would spread slave revolts in the South while southern white men were away at war and draw soldiers away from the fronts in order to protect their women and children. The intent was to hasten the defeat of the South before political opposition to Lincoln in the North grew stronger.