Welcome to Sott.net
Thu, 11 Feb 2016
The World for People who Think

Puppet Masters

War Whore

Finest fighting force in the history of the world? The U.S. military bombs in the 21st century

© Listverse
Here's my twenty-first-century rule of thumb about this country: if you have to say it over and over, it probably ain't so. Which is why I'd think twice every time we're told how "exceptional" or "indispensable" the United States is. For someone like me who can still remember a moment when Americans assumed that was so, but no sitting president, presidential candidate, or politician felt you had to say the obvious, such lines reverberate with defensiveness. They seem to incorporate other voices you can almost hear whispering that we're ever less exceptional, more dispensable, no longer (to quote the greatest of them all by his own estimate) "the greatest." In this vein, consider a commonplace line running around Washington (as it has for years): the U.S. military is "the finest fighting force in the history of the world." Uh, folks, if that's so, then why the hell can't it win a damn thing 14-plus years later?

If you don't mind a little what-if history lesson, it's just possible that events might have turned out differently and, instead of repeating that "finest fighting force" stuff endlessly, our leaders might actually believe it.After all, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, it took the Bush administration only a month to let the CIA, special forces advisers, and the U.S. Air Force loose against the Taliban and Osama bin Laden's supporters in Afghanistan. The results were crushing. The first moments of what that administration would grandiloquently (and ominously) bill as a "global war on terror" were, destructively speaking, glorious.

If you want to get a sense of just how crushing those forces and their Afghan proxies were, read journalist Anand Gopal's No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes, the best book yet written on how (and how quickly) that war on terror went desperately, disastrously awry. One of the Afghans Gopal spent time with was a Taliban military commander nicknamed -- for his whip of choice -- Mullah Cable, who offered a riveting account of just how decisive the U.S. air assault on that movement was. In recalling his days on the front lines of what, until then, had been an Afghan civil war, he described his first look at what American bombs could do:
"He drove into the basin and turned the corner and then stepped out of the vehicle. Oh my God, he thought. There were headless torsos and torso-less arms, cooked slivers of scalp and flayed skin. The stones were crimson, the sand ocher from all the blood. Coal-black lumps of melted steel and plastic marked the remains of his friends' vehicles.

"Closing his eyes, he steadied himself. In the five years of fighting he had seen his share of death, but never lives disposed of so easily, so completely, so mercilessly, in mere seconds."
The next day, he addressed his men. "Go home," he said. "Get yourselves away from here. Don't contact each other."

"Not a soul," writes Gopal, "protested."

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


300+ al-Nusra terrorists killed by Syrian forces

Syrian Government forces positioned near a tank located some three kilometers from the villages of Nabbul and Zahra in Syria's northern Aleppo province.
Syrian government troops have killed over 300 members of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front group during clashes in the northwestern Aleppo province. The Takfiri terrorists were killed near the village of Ratian, during the Syrian forces' latest offensive in the province, the al-Mayadeen television network reported on Sunday. Al-Nusra has confirmed the deaths stating that they occurred over the last few days during heavy fighting in the region.

Syrian forces backed by Russian air support are currently engaged in one of their most significant campaigns since Moscow joined the battle against Daesh Takfiri terrorists September 30, 2015. According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday, thousands of terrorists are on the run as Syrian forces head towards the town of Tal Rifaat, close to the Turkish border.

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman noted that recapturing the area would stem the flow of militants and arms entering Syria via Turkey. The strategic town is considered the last militant stronghold in the volatile border region. Syria's Arabic-language newspaper al-Watan has said that the recapture of Tal Rifaat would be a major blow to the militants. "If it falls, the army will be able to progress and seize control of all of the northern part of Aleppo province," al-Watan reported.

The foreign-backed conflict in Syria, which began in March 2011, has reportedly claimed the lives of more than 260,000 people and displaced almost half of the country's population.

Comment: If the Turks are still thinking about invading Syria, grabbing some land and bolstering NATO terrorist proxies, they may be a bit too late. Thanks to Russia and an invigorated Syrian military, that plan may never happen.

Light Saber

US General Campbell testifies 'I do not have authority' to offensively attack Taliban

© JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
US General John Campbell
The U.S. military, since President Obama declared that American troops had ceased their combat mission at the end of 2014, has only been able to attack the Taliban from a defensive position, the top commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan told lawmakers. "I have the authority to protect our coalition members against any insurgency — Haqqani [Network], Taliban, al Qaeda — if they're posing as a threat to our coalition forces," testified the commander, Gen. John Campbell, before the House Armed Services Committee.

The general's comments came in response to Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) asking if he had the authority to attack the Taliban, which has stepped up attacks since the end of 2014 and has been linked to the deteriorating security conditions in the Afghanistan.

"If the Taliban are attacking coalition forces, then I have everything I need to do that," responded Gen. Campbell, who is expected to retire soon. "To attack the Taliban just because they're Taliban, I do not have that authority."

"It is astonishing that we have an authority to go after the Taliban and the president is preventing us from doing that," proclaimed Bridenstine. The Oklahoma Republican argued that the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) 2001, passed by Congress and signed into law by the U.S. president at the time, grants the top commander the authority to use the necessary force against the Taliban.


An exasperated John Kerry: 'What do you want me to do, go to war with the Russians?!'

"Russian and Syrian forces intensified their campaign on rebel-held areas around Aleppo that are still home to around 350,000 people and aid workers have said the city - Syria's largest before the war - could soon fall."
Can you spot what's wrong with that quote, from a Reuters piece out today? Here's the problem: "could soon fall" implies that Aleppo is on the verge of succumbing to enemy forces. It's not. It's already in enemy hands and has been for quite some time. What Reuters should have said is this: "...could soon be liberated."

While we'll be the first to admit that Bashar al-Assad isn't exactly the most benevolent leader in the history of statecraft, you can bet most Syrians wish this war had never started and if you were to ask those stranded in Aleppo what their quality of life is like now, versus what it was like in 2009, we're fairly certain you'll discover that residents aren't particularly enamored with life under the mishmash of rebels that now control the city.


Western media tears for Daesh as Syrian-Russian alliance frees besieged towns, cuts off Turkish terrorist supply routes

A man waves a Syrian national flag as residents of Nubul and al-Zahraa, along with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, celebrate after the siege of their towns was broken, northern Aleppo countryside, Syria, in this handout picture provided by SANA on February 4, 2016.
The Syrian Arab Army, with Russian air support, recently broke the 'rebel' siege on some towns in northern Aleppo province in Syria, thus cutting the terrorists' supply lines to Turkey. The U.S. was hoping that a ceasefire would protect their terrorist assets from this very scenario. No such luck. Just like it was in Ukraine before both Minsk agreements, the West only wants peace when its hired killers (and rapists and torturers) risk getting their asses handed to them on a platter by the populations they've been savaging.

The Western media response has been predictably shrill, and completely at odds with the reality of the situation. Here are some of the more odious examples. Get your sick bags ready!

First up is the Guardian's Natalie Nougayrède. One cannot help but be moved at her heartfelt sympathy for head-chopping jihadists...

Snakes in Suits

Madeleine Albright says: 'There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other'

© AP
In its endorsement of Hillary, the New York Times editorial board did such a sloppy job I can't help but think it may have done permanent damage to its brand. Upon reading it, my initial conclusion was that the editorial board was either suffering from Stockholm syndrome or merely concerned about losing advertising revenues should they endorse Sanders. Then I thought some more and I realized my initial conclusions were wrong. Something else is going on here, something far more subtle, subconscious and illuminating. The New York Times is defending the establishment candidate simply because the New York Times is the establishment.

One of the biggest trends of the post financial crisis period has been a plunge in the American public's perception of the country's powerful institutions. The establishment often admits this reality with a mixture of bewilderment and erroneous conclusions, ultimately settling on the idea people are upset because "Washington can't get anything done." However, nothing could be further from the truth. When it comes to corruption and serving big monied interests, both Congress and the President are very, very good at getting things done. Yes it's true Congress doesn't get anything done on behalf of the people, but this is no accident. The government doesn't work for the people.

With its dishonest and shifty endorsement of Hillary Clinton, I believe the New York Times has finally come out of the closet as an unabashed gatekeeper of the status quo. I suppose this makes sense since the paper has become the ultimate status quo journalistic publication. The sad truth is the publication has been living on borrowed time and a borrowed reputation for a long time. Long on prestige, it remains very short on substance when it comes to fighting difficult battles in the public interest. Content with its position of power and influence within the current paradigm, the paper doesn't want to rock the boat. What the New York Times is actually telling its readers with the Hillary Clinton endorsement is that it likes things just the way they are, and will fight hard to keep them that way. It is as much a part of the American establishment as any government institution.
- From the article: A Detailed Look at The New York Times' Embarrassing, Deceitful and Illogical Endorsement of Hillary Clinton

2 + 2 = 4

Russia isn't 'collapsing' - The country that demolished the Nazis can handle low oil prices

Russia's collapsing — again.

Yes, the west's most omnipotent wordsmiths are already brimming with excitement about the completely real, 100%-for-sure collapse of Russia. Did we mention that this time Russia is really going to collapse? The 10,000 previous times that Foreign Policy Experts have written about Russia collapsing was just fluff.

But now it's finally happening. Try to imagine Alexander J. Motyl's face were when he wrote this:
Russian President Vladimir Putin used to seem invincible. Today, he and his regime look enervated, confused, and desperate. Increasingly, both Russian and Western commentators suggest that Russia may be on the verge of deep instability, possibly even collapse.
Let's very quickly summarize why Motyl is so sure that Russia is "on the verge of collapse", and then dig a bit deeper to find out what kind of medication he's on.

Star of David

Egypt floods Gaza tunnels on Tel Aviv's request

© Reuters
A Palestinian climbs upward in a pier of one of the tunnels dug between the besieged Gaza Strip and the Egyptian border town of Rafah.
An Israeli minister says Egyptian authorities have flooded the underground tunnels connecting the besieged Gaza Strip to the North African country at the request of the Tel Aviv regime. Speaking at a seminar in Beersheba on Saturday, Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli minister of energy and water resources, said Cairo pumped water into the tunnels at the order of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Turkey's official Anadolu news agency reported. He added that "security coordination" between Cairo and Tel Aviv is at its best.

Gaza tunnels serve as the only lifeline for Palestinians to bring basic commodities like construction materials, food, and fuel into the besieged coastal enclave. Israeli and the Egyptian army forces have launched a campaign to destroy the tunnels.

Dozens of people, mostly Palestinians, have lost their lives during the destruction process, which has intensified since Egypt's first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was toppled in a July 2013 military coup led by Sisi.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty. The Israeli regime denies about 1.8 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs with proper wages as well as adequate healthcare and education.

Comment: The number of tunnels available to Palestinians has been reduced from about 250 to a handful. Besides the loss of supply lifelines, loss of life with each tunnel flood and overflows into residential areas, the salinity of seeping seawater also destroys life-sustaining Palestinian agricultural land and pure water aquifers. Flooding offers many means to an end for the Israelis in pursuit of the ongoing destruction of the Palestinians.

Star of David

Zionazism on the march: IDF chief demands popular Israeli bloggers submit posts to military censor

© Yannis Behrakis / Reuters
Israel's new chief military censor has demanded that popular bloggers writing on security-related issues submit their posts to her before publication. Failure to do so will be considered a crime. Critics say the move is Orwellian.

The expansion of the IDF's censorship scope was first revealed by one of the bloggers targeted, Yossi Gurvitz. He runs a Facebook page called "George's Friends" - a title alluding to writer George Orwell - which has over 10,000 subscribers.

This week he tweeted that the IDF's former spokesperson, who was appointed chief censor less than a year ago, has ordered that he submit his posts for pre-publication review.

Bad Guys

Pentagon hypes bogus 'Russian threat' while the U.S. threatens the entire planet

© www.truth-out.org
The film about nuclear war with Russia recently shown on the BBC, which is considered to be a serious and not an entertainment channel, suggests that such a war is no longer unthinkable but a real possibility. What was even more frightening was that the people in the film who made a fateful decision to start an Armageddon were not actors, but high level albeit retired politicians.

The film was timed to the release of the latest Pentagon analysis where Russia topped the list of threats to U.S. national security, followed by China, North Korea, Iran and finally, terrorism. The Zika virus was not mentioned - Ebola was not in the past - but from the tone, even if NASA were to warn that a huge asteroid was approaching Earth, it would not replace Russia as a major threat.

Ash Carter's statement no doubt brought considerable relief to ISIS, Al-Qaida, Al-Nusra, Boko Haram, and dozens of their affiliates around the world (according to the UN, there are at least 34 such groups), who can celebrate the fact that contrary to WWII, when Americans and Russians fought together to defeat the Nazis, this time for Washington, Moscow is a greater evil and therefore one cannot expect an East-West alliance against terror.

Comment: Don't expect the US elections to change anything - the lunatics have obviously overrun that asylum.

Further reading: