contradictory 'handling' of Iran? The Obama administration appears to be courting Iran, while the Republican and AIPAC-dominated Congress is pushing for war. The struggle lies in the efforts of the US government to keep Iran 'on side' lest it be lost to Eurasian integration. They think they have 'a good read' on Iran and that they can entice it by resolving the contrived 'nuclear issue' while whispering sweet nothings in Iran's ear about ousting Russia as a major supplier of Europe's energy needs. Their difficulty lies in dealing with the fundamentalists in their midst who are constitutionally incapable of grokking realpolitik. That's why Bibi was right to be paranoid about 'foreign powers' interfering in the Israeli elections. More 'level heads' among the Washington elite wanted to see the back of him, thus improving their chances of 'managing' the center of the world and maintaining their dominance of the region. The Obama administration is now putting out feelers about passing a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements and ditching its long-standing policy of vetoing every single UN resolution critical of Israel. But don't get your hopes up about a substantive US-Israel rift: nearing the end of his last term, Dubya did the same thing.
It's a similar story of instigating then 'managing' conflict with respect to Syria. From being absolutely determined to see the back of Assad, John Kerry is now prepared to negotiate a settlement with him, or so he says. Elements of the US media are haranguing Kerry for his 'peacenik' proposals. I would again caution against seeing this 'flip-flopping' as a sign of US government incompetence or weakness. Ultimately, performing a balancing act of advances and retreats, hardline statements and conciliatory tones, is what the strategists speaking through mouthpieces like Kerry do in order to reach their goal, which is, of course, total hegemonic world domination. Basically, you can't trust a word they say.
recently published report by the Syrian Centre for Policy Research, sponsored by the UN, says that six percent of Syria's population of 23 million people has been killed or wounded in the West's 4-year-long proxy war. Life expectancy has gone from 79.5 years in 2010 to just 55.7 years. More than 5 million Syrians became refugees or migrated in search of work, while 40 percent of the remaining 17.65 million are internally displaced. The country has lost over $200 billion through destruction, looting, capital flight and GDP loss. Unemployment is officially at 58 percent; and most of those who have jobs depend on what's left of the national government. If and when that also collapses, Syria will have been left in utter ruins.
Everyone is pretending that the issue in Syria and Iraq is ISIS, but the terror menace is merely part of a 'dynamic narrative', which adapts on a daily basis as the conflict is managed - not solved - towards the preferred strategic outcome (which remains unchanged for almost a century: Western control of the
This management of the narrative is producing some jarring glitches. Just this week, the Syrian Army shot down a US surveillance drone over a coastal region of the country where, everyone agrees, no 'jihadists' are present. The US State Department's Jen Psaki 'would neither confirm nor deny' such had taken place, but warned the Syrian government - in a statement of breathtaking hubris - "not to interfere with its aerial assets in Syrian airspace", as if to say 'Hey! Don't do that. We're allies now, in the War on Terror, remember?'
US, British, Canadian and Australian Special Forces on land - all to 'deal with ISIS', of course - Syria has de facto been invaded and militarily occupied by stealth. But we're all supposed to pretend that it hasn't.
On Wednesday 18th, "two terrorists disguised in military clothes" got into Tunisia's parliament building, then - using kalashnikovs - opened fire at tourists disembarking from a bus at an adjacent museum. The massacre left 23 people dead and 50 wounded. Responsibility for the attack has been claimed by 'the Islamic State'. Well, not exactly. It's been claimed by private US-Israeli intelligence agency 'SITE Intelligence' to have been 'claimed by ISIS'. For a steep fee, you can go here for the details. Or you can just read any number of mainstream news articles about this 'discovery', which all just repeat verbatim what SITE said. Here's Reuters description of what the 'audio recording' - 'found' online by SITE Intelligence - says:
"We tell the apostates who sit on the chest of Muslim Tunisia: Wait for the glad tidings of what will harm you, o impure ones, for what you have seen today is the first drop of the rain."Those mooslim t'rrists really like their flowery prose, don't they? Personally, I don't really see any claim of responsibility there. Nevertheless, Tunisian president Beij Caid Essebsi has promised to wage full-scale ground war against terrorists:
"I want the Tunisian people to understand that we are in a war against terrorism and that these savage minorities do not frighten us. We will fight them without mercy to our last breath.""I want the people to understand that we are..." Where have I heard this before? Oh yes, here. Anyway, moving along... Tunisian authorities have identified the two terrorists - killed on the scene by Tunisian security forces - as Hatem al-Khashnawi and Yassin al-Abidi, both Tunisian, and one of whom was reported by local media to have spent time in Iraq and Libya - not, presumably, to take in the scenery. Tunisia's Prime Minister Habib Essid said Abidi had been under surveillance, but - get this - "not for anything very special." So one or both of these terrorists were under surveillance for... what, traffic violations? Were they still under surveillance when they got into Tunisia's parliament building dressed as soldiers and armed with kalashnikovs?
accused Saudi Arabia of "destabilizing the country and supporting Yemen's enemies." Lo and behold, multiple 'suicide' bomb attacks today targeted mosques and government buildings in the capital. Some 80 people were killed and hundreds more wounded. Abdullah al-Matari, a leader of Yemen's Nasserite Organization, suspects that 'al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula' is behind the attacks. That Islamic terrorists intervene at the most opportune times to prop up the Empire's preferred state of affairs and tarnish the reputation of genuine Arab reformists never ceases to surprise me. Although it really should.
No news yet from SITE Intelligence on who was behind the bloodbath in Gothenburg, Sweden on March 18th. People were watching a football match after work when two guys walked in - armed with kalashnikovs, of course - and shot the place up. 2 people were killed, including the barman, and another 15 were injured. The shooters have not been caught, and the authorities have no clue who they are. Swedish media is suggesting it's gang-related, but they've not yet provided any details as to means or motive. Across the water in Copenhagen, yet another shoot-out was taking place around the same time, this time in a large Danish shopping mall. This was too was vaguely attributed to gang-warfare, and again only sparse details were released. Bucking the trend of mass shootings these days, the authorities in both Sweden and Denmark seemed to go out of their way to stress that these were "not terror-related shootings."
War against Ukraine, well, Russia - same thing
The Russian government has issued new sanctions - entry bans and asset freezes in Russia - against some 200 Westerners, including politicians, civil servants and other public figures known for their openly anti-Russian activities. About 60 people on the list are from the United States. Among these are Deputy National Security Advisor Caroline Atkinson, presidential advisers Daniel Pfeiffer and Benjamin Rhodes, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Robert Menendes and Senators John McCain, Daniel Coats and Mary Landrieu.
Russian MP and deputy head of the State Duma Committee for Foreign Relations, Leonid Kalashnikov, told Izvestia newspaper that the Russian government has no particular desire to play this tit-for-tat game with the West, and pointed out that the travel bans' primary purpose is "to deprive Russian politicians and public figures the opportunity to deliver their position at international parliamentary conferences," a strange stance to take for a country so strongly committed to 'freedom of speech'. Elsewhere on the anti-Russia propaganda front, the Dutch government today corrected privately-owned broadcaster RTL's midweek 'special report' on the MH17 plane crash that cited 'final proof' that a BUK missile shot down the airliner. Apparently the investigation is still "in progress" and the Dutch government is "not yet ready to take any conclusion." Nice try by the Dutch propagandist though.
here. The Ukrainian regime apparently uses a different definition of 'terrorist' than the civilized world: anyone suspected of being less-than-fully committed to the 'Glory of Ukraine' in Kiev's 'war against the Moskals' is one. The reality split generated by Russia's firm resistance to the West's 'reality-creating' continues to produce schizophrenic reactions in Eastern Europe. While a Polish MP broke ranks to talk some sense earlier this week, saying that Poroshenko has "lost control over his country and himself," Lithuanian authorities have begun rounding up 'anti-constitutional suspects' who are "trying to create a view that life in Lithuania is bad, and that what is going on in Crimea is great." If the reverse were true, surely expressing such an 'incorrect' view wouldn't need to be criminalized? But the Lithuanians aren't really thinking straight these days. Just yesterday the Ministry of Foreign Affairs freaked out when it heard that a train coming from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad to Vilnus was packed full of... young people!! This was construed as clear evidence of a Russian invasion since there were a lot of "young men eligible for military service" on board. The invasion alert was only cancelled when it became clear that the train passengers were only intending to invade Vilnus' shopping district... to buy things. On the same day, the Lithuanian parliament voted to bring back compulsory military service, just in case the Russians really do invade.
are sending 'military specialists' in to 'train' the Ukie army in how to impose liberal democracy through the barrel of a gun. They probably did so long before now, but consider it important to send Russia a message by publicizing it today. The US, meanwhile, is sending tanks into the region and stamping its authority on Europe by sending out a war party from the Baltic states through Poland to its garrisons in Germany. As part of Operation 'Atlantic Resolve', the US is also seeking to position troops and armored battalions in all eastern European countries, and as far away as Georgia. They should enjoy it while they can; they may soon be called back home on an emergency...
US (controlled) implosion looming?
The US appears to be on course for some kind of major internal showdown. While US police forces continue shooting black people with impunity, somebody else is feeding the outcry, recently by leaking outrageously racist internal police communications. On the 'other side' in this racial divide, the 'New black Panther Party' is parading its weaponry and proposing that "every black person in America be armed with a gun."
You can see how close the situation is to boiling point following last week's shooting of two cops standing guard outside the Ferguson, Missouri police station... while a protest against their brutal tactics was underway. They have since beaten a confession out of a local man who supposedly shot the cops from his vehicle, but there are strong suspicions, from both police and protesters that this was a 'professional hit' from a sniper's rifle, probably from a nearby rooftop. Now where have we seen this happen before; a highly charged situation is brought to a head by mystery snipers who shoot a bunch of people, chaos ensues and a new order is imposed...
Greek exit this way
The new Greek government successfully passed a new 'humanitarian crisis law' last week that will provide housing allowances and emergency food aid for the poorest Greeks. You get a real sense of just how much power has been centralized in the EU when you hear the unelected European Commission in Brussels describe the law as "a unilateral move", the implication being that the Greek government has no sovereign right to draft and pass a law that covers the most basic needs of its population. PM Tsipras also revealed plans to reopen the state broadcaster and offer taxpayers more lenient terms on overdue taxes, "without having been given the green light from international creditors," prompting an EU official to say, "There is a general feeling that the Greek side is completely out of touch with reality." Yeah, I mean, what the hell is the Greek government thinking, cutting poor people some slack. It's just outrageous! What is this guy, Tsipras, a Commie?? The IMF weighed in by reporting that Greece is "the most unhelpful country the organization has dealt with in its 70-year history," and complaining that the rebel country isn't adhering to the $254 billion bailout extension deal reached in February. Good. It's about time someone stood up to these psychos.
feel differently about it.
Speaking of those money masters of the universe, they were confronted in Frankfurt this week at the opening of the European Central Bank's new headquarters - which cost €1.3 billion of taxpayers money - with a 'Blockupy' anti-capitalist protest of some 10,000 people. It quickly became a fiery riot when the usual 'Black Bloc' types started torching cars; hundreds of protesters were subsequently injured and arrested as police cracked down hard. Easy peasy. I could have sworn that in some similar situation last year such state responses were officially deemed 'authoritarian', 'undemocratic', and merited a change of regime, but I might be getting my 'dynamic narratives' crossed...
Eurasia or bust
And what of the 'hope of the world'? Since his return to the public limelight after a brief working holiday, Putin has - on the one year anniversary of Crimea rejoining Russia - signed a deal with South Ossetia in the Caucasus that effectively makes it a Russian protectorate; granted Turkey a 10.25% discount on gas prices; initiated multiple simultaneous war games exercises across the entire expanse of Russian territory - and in Venezuela; held bilateral talks with the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee (Russia is the first foreign government to do so, ever); flown to Astana to discuss a currency union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan; spoken (and sung!) to a crowd of 100,000 people on Red Square celebrating the anniversary of Crimea's reunification with Russia. Not too shabby for a few days' work. Sure puts all those asshats in the West to shame.
Ignoring direct pleas from the Obama administration, three of Europe's biggest economies - Germany, Italy and the UK - have signed up to become founding members of the new Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a long overdue rival to the World Bank and other institutions set up by the US after it took all the spoils following World War II. The Americans, needless to say, are not happy about it.
say they want to "get in on the ground floor to help shape governance" of the new bank, and also to make sure it "plays a complementary role to the World Bank." If they think they're going to be 'in' yet 'out' - like they have been with respect to the EU, in order to thwart and 'manage' European integration in Washington's favor - then they must think the Chinese were born yesterday. However, given that the UK's economic viability depends on London being the global casino for recycled petrodollars, should the dollar go, it's only natural for the Brits to turn 180 degrees and offer their services to its replacement. British Chancellor Osborne has invited China to consider the City of London its primary future clearing house for the yuan outside Asia. And thus the American elite are getting a taste of that famed British perfidiousness. Hurts, doesn't it?
Quite what the Europeans think they'll get out of membership of an institution set up by Chinese leader Xi Linping to help fund infrastructure projects in poor Asian countries is unclear, but I guess that even some of the most hardcore neo-liberal predatory capitalists out there can see the writing on the wall: the dollar's day in the Sun is coming to an end. Same goes for the English language as the 'lingua franca' of international business: the working languages of the growing anti-NATO Shanghai Cooperation Organisation - whose current member-states represent half of humanity - are Chinese and Russian. Something the Chinese will want to keep an eye on is the British government's redeployment of its Skynet military satellite (yes, it's called Skynet) "over the Asia-Pacific region to provide secure communications to Britain's allies in the region," which probably means 'to gain an edge over China for NATO'.
The Americans can whine all they like, but they have blown repeated chances to maintain hegemony without forcing such developments. In 2010, the 188 member-states of the IMF agreed a package of reforms that would distribute influence in the organization more evenly, while keeping the IMF under the effective control of Washington. However, Congress refused to approve the agreement. US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew went before the House Financial Services Committee this week to again plead with US Senators to
"...urgently address prior unmet commitments, which have grown to levels that raise significant questions about U.S. credibility and leadership in the multilateral system. Failure to do so could result in a loss of U.S. shareholding at a time when new players are challenging U.S. leadership in the multilateral system."Reminding Congress that the IMF and World Bank "effectively leverage our limited resources in service of our national and global interests," and if the other IMF members decide to rebalance power within the institution without US approval, the result, he warned, would be "a loss of US influence and our ability to shape international norms and practices." Oh dear! Say it ain't so! Lew was basically saying that the US is poised to lose it all and face the music with respect to its gargantuan debt, which sits at 104% of GDP, and growing.
That means the USA is officially a failed state, and the only things keeping its head above water is the fact that it has tied most of the rest of the world to its fate via the dollar-as-reserve-currency and the petrodollar. You'd think alarm bells would have gone off in Congress at hearing that from their own Treasury Secretary. Instead, they changed topic to grill Lew on what he knew about which email account Hillary Clinton used to contact which people while Secretary of State. Did they not understand the importance of what Lew was telling them, for America's economic survival and therefore its global hegemony? Were they blithely unconcerned because they've heard rumors about something big coming down the pike? Or were they too busy dreaming about what they're going to do with the fat checks they've all received from the Israel lobby? Time will tell.