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Sat, 18 Jan 2020
The World for People who Think


Yellow Vest

French insurgency: Mass arrests as tens of thousands converge for Acte 62 of Yellow Vest movement and Day 45 of national strikes

macron louis king protest
© REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
A striking French worker holds a portrait of French President Emmanuel Macron as King Louis XVI at a demonstration against pensions reform plans, Paris, 9 January 2020.
Demonstrators shouted slogans denouncing the police, President Macron and his pension reforms on Saturday.

French police have fired tear gas at protesters hurling projectiles and arrested dozens of people as thousands of "yellow vest" anti-government protesters returned to the streets of Paris.

Demonstrators on Saturday shouted slogans denouncing the police, President Emmanuel Macron and his pension reforms that have triggered the longest French transport strike in decades, which has snarled public transportation for millions of commuters in the French capital for 45 days.

With sirens wailing, dozens of vans carrying riot police fanned out the route along which thousands of protesters marched.

Young people wearing masks shouted "revolution" as tear gas drifted by the Bastille, the square where the French revolution erupted in 1789.


Comment: Paris Opera employees also took to the streets... and did this!




Black Cat

Britain in mourning for its favourite Middle Eastern dictator, Oman's Sultan Qaboos

Sultan Qaboos Oman
© EPA-EFE/Hamid al-Qasmi/File
Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Sultan of Oman, holds the opening session of the annual Council Meeting in Muscat, Oman, 31 October 2011.
Not one UK national newspaper has described Sultan Qaboos as a dictator, despite his being the Middle East's longest-serving autocrat, having taken power in 1970. Qaboos' half century in power was more than twice as long as Saddam Hussein's 24-year-rule in Iraq and even surpassed Muammar Gaddafi's 42 years in Libya.

Qaboos acted as Oman's prime minister, defence minister, finance minister, foreign minister and head of the judiciary. If the Sultan had been as popular as some commentators claim, then he could have successfully run for office. Yet he was never elected by the people of Oman and instead ruled by decree with absolute power for 50 years, suppressing all opposition.

Political parties were banned, independent media muzzled and it was a criminal offence to insult the sultan.

Comment: It seems Oman has been quietly sidling up to the West for some time. It's playing a dangerous game of attempting to steer a middle ground in the Middle East as the Great Powers jockey for hegemony.


Dominoes

Unintended consequences of the Soleimani assassination: Did Trump just gift the Middle East to China and Russia?

china iraq oil deal

After waiting 15 years too long, Iraqi PM Abdul-Mahdi signs over his country's reconstruction to China, October 2019
By the series of actions in recent months in Iraq and across the Middle East, Washington has forced a strategic shift towards China, and to an extent Russia, and away from the United States. If events continue on their present trajectory it could well be that a main reason why Washington backed the destabilization of Assad in Syria - to block a planned Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline - will now happen, unless Washington initiates full scorched-earth politics in the region. This is what we can call unintended consequences.

If nature abhors a vacuum, so too does geopolitics. When President Trump months ago announced plans to pull US troops out of Syria and the Middle East generally, Russia and especially China began quietly intensifying contacts with key states in the region.

Chinese involvement with Iraqi oil development and other infrastructure projects, though large, was significantly disrupted by the ISIS occupation of some one third of Iraqi territory. In September, 2019 Washington demanded that Iraq pay for completion of key infrastructure projects destroyed by the ISIS war - a war where Washington as well as Ankara, Israel and Saudi Arabia played the key hidden role — by giving the US government 50% of Iraqi oil revenues, an outrageous demand, to put it politely.

Network

Assassination of Soleimani Just One Shot in Battle of The Ages to Stop Eurasian Integration

naval drills
© AFP / HO / Iranian Army office
Iranian seamen salute the Russian Navy frigate Yaroslav Mudry while moored at Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman during Iran-Russia-China joint naval drills. The photo was provided by the Iranian Army office on December 27, 2019.
The Raging Twenties started with a bang with the targeted assassination of Iran's General Qasem Soleimani.

Yet a bigger bang awaits us throughout the decade: the myriad declinations of the New Great Game in Eurasia, which pits the US against Russia, China and Iran, the three major nodes of Eurasia integration.

Every game-changing act in geopolitics and geoeconomics in the coming decade will have to be analyzed in connection to this epic clash.

The Deep State and crucial sectors of the US ruling class are absolutely terrified that China is already outpacing the "indispensable nation" economically and that Russia has outpaced it militarily. The Pentagon officially designates the three Eurasian nodes as "threats."

Comment: See also:


Blackbox

What Poland Has to Hide About The Origins of World War II

nazi occupation poland
© Waldemar Engler/ Wikimedia Commons
A Nazi prepares to shoot a man during the Piaśnica massacres of 1939-1940, in which 12,000-14,000 Poles (intelligentsia, psychiatric patients, and others) were killed.
On 20 December 2019 President Vladimir Putin intervened very publicly to correct the West's fake history of the origins and waging of World War II. Four days later, obviously exasperated, he took aim at Poland, characterising the Polish ambassador in Berlin during the latter 1930s, Jósef Lipski, as "a bastard and anti-Semitic pig". The Polish governing elite was notoriously anti-Semitic, and in 1938 Lipski told Adolf Hitler that the Poles would "'erect him a beautiful monument in Warsaw' if he carried out [a] plan to expel European Jews to Africa." In reaction, the Polish parliament, with a bipartisan majority, has indicated its intention "to pass a law that criminalizes lies about the causes of World War II." Putin's language about Lipski was not very presidential, but he was clearly outraged. He had reasons to be.

Last August the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, issued a statement lamenting the "infamous" Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact, concluded on 23 August 1939. Trudeau equated the Soviet Union with Nazi Germany in bringing "untold suffering upon people across Europe". Obviously, Trudeau knows nothing about the origins and unfolding of World War II, but he is not alone. A few weeks later the European Parliament in Strasbourg (PACE) approved a resolution along the same lines as Trudeau's statement: the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact "paved the way for the outbreak of the Second World War." The resolution appears to have originated with a group of Polish MEPs representing the right-wing, so-called ECR Group. For PACE and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), such resolutions are old hat. In 2008-2009 PACE established a bogus holiday on 23 August to commemorate the victims of fascist and communist "totalitarianism" and the signing of the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact. East Europeans and the NATO (read: the United States) Parliamentary Assembly were also behind the launch of the new "holiday". The Poles would do well not to raise questions about the origins of the World War II. It is rather like digging with a stick into a pile of manure. As soon as you stir it up, the manure begins to stink.

Star of David

Wikileaks Stratfor email: Israel behind blast that killed 36 IRGC troops at Iranian missile base in 2011


Comment: This interests us today because it's the same location from which missiles were fired at Ukraine Airlines Flight 752 last week - Shahid Moddares missile base, near the village of Bidkaneh, west of Tehran.

Then too, the Iranians insisted the incident was 'an accident'...


IRGC base Bidganeh Iran
© AP
In this image taken from amateur video, smokes rises from an explosion at a Revolutionary Guard ammunition depot outside Bidganeh village, west of Tehran, last November
Israeli agents were responsible for a devastating blast last November that damaged an important Iranian military facility, according to an email written by the head of a leading private American intelligence company that was revealed Wednesday on Wikileaks.

Claiming to have spoken to multiple "good" Israeli sources, the CEO and founder of Texas-based intelligence company Stratfor, George Friedman, told his colleagues that he believes Israeli operatives were behind the explosion at a base of Revolutionary Guards on November 12. The blast killed more than 15 soldiers, among them at least one general.


Comment: In subsequent days, that death toll more than doubled to 36. And among the dead was General Hasan Moghaddam, described by the IRGC as "a key figure in Iran's missile programme."
moqaddam

General Hasan Moghaddam

"Everything I'm hearing from Israel is that they did it," Friedman wrote in an e-mail on November 15. While it isn't clear whether the explosion, which took place about 40 kilometers from Tehran, was caused by a special military operation or submarine-launched cruise missile, his Israeli contacts claim they were responsible for it, Friedman wrote.

Comment: WhatEVER it takes...

Was Iranian Missile Operator Tricked Into Shooting Down The Ukrainian Airlines Plane Over Tehran?


Caesar

Finding a 'Benedict Option' for the Humanities

tourists greek ruins parthenon
© Andrew Holbrooke/Corbis via GettyImages
The University of California Santa Barbara wants to hire a professor of woke alchemy:
politically correct sjw woke university course queer migration
Can you imagine wasting your money, your mind, and your life studying this garbage? As a Twitter follower of mine said:
tweets swj college course woke university
Ross Douthat writes an extremely sobering column about the collapse of the academic humanities (this "queer migrations" position sounds like social science, not humanities, but the general theme is applicable). It begins:

Comment: Further reading:


Eye 2

Heshmat Alavi wrote DOZENS of anti-Iran articles for MSM. Turns out he's an M.E.K. sockpuppet


Comment: The vast majority of what you hear about Iran is Fake News, literally...


fake person mask
© Soohee Cho/The Intercept
In 2018, President Donald Trump was seeking to jettison the landmark nuclear deal that his predecessor had signed with Iran in 2015, and he was looking for ways to win over a skeptical press. The White House claimed that the nuclear deal had allowed Iran to increase its military budget, and Washington Post reporters Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly asked for a source. In response, the White House passed along an article published in Forbes by a writer named Heshmat Alavi.

"Iran's current budget is funded largely through 'oil, taxes, increasing bonds, [and] eliminating cash handouts or subsidies' for Iranians, according to an article by a Forbes contributor, Heshmat Alavi, sent to us by a White House official," Rizzo and Kelly reported. The White House had used Alavi's article — itself partly drawn from Iranian sources — to justify its decision to terminate the agreement.

Comment: MEK has a long and terrifying history. The fact that neocon hawks like John Bolton are supporters only makes it worse. Naturally Israel is mixed up in it, as they view Iran as their principal threat to regional hegemony.


Health

Pentagon admits there WERE U.S. casualties from Iranian airstrikes, but 'only 11 injuries'


Comment: The Pentagon's P.R. operation regarding the damage Iran inflicted on its largest airbase in Iraq, and regarding U.S. casualties, continues...


us troops assad airbase
© Emiliene Malfatto/WaPo
U.S. troops walk by a crater caused by Iranian airstrikes inside al-Assad Air Base near Anbar, Iraq, on Jan. 13, 2020.
Eleven U.S. service members were flown out of Al- Assad Air Base in Iraq and treated for concussion symptoms after Iran's rocket attack targeting two Iraqi military bases earlier this month, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command revealed Thursday night.

President Trump and U.S. officials had said earlier that no Americans were killed or injured in the Jan. 8 attack.

Several U.S. troops "were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed. As a standard procedure, all personnel in the vicinity of a blast are screened for traumatic brain injury, and if deemed appropriate are transported to a higher level of care," Capt. Bill Urban, the Central Command spokesman, said Thursday.

He said that although no U.S. service members were killed in the attack on Al Assad Air Base, "in the days following the attack, out of an abundance of caution, some service members were transported... to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, others were sent to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, for follow-on screening. When deemed fit for duty, the service members are expected to return to Iraq following screening. The health and welfare of our personnel is a top priority and we will not discuss any individual's medical status. At this time, eight individuals have been transported to Landstuhl, and three have been transported to Camp Arifjan."

Comment: When US media was first allowed on the base about 4 days after the strikes, reporters heard Lt Col Staci Coleman, the U.S. air force officer who runs the airfield there, say:
"It's miraculous no one was hurt. Who thinks they're going to have ballistic missiles launched at them and suffer no casualties?"
Clearly, the brass, rank-and-file, their families and the media CAN and DO effectively engage in 'conspiracies of silence' about such things.

Maybe "11 concussions" is all there is to it, but maybe the Pentagon is in the process of walking back its initial claim because it was much worse than that.

See also: Iraqi TV network: Iranian airstrikes on al-Assad airbase resulted in hundreds of US casualties and extensive damage - UPDATE: 'Letter is fake'


Books

75th anniversary: Newly-released wartime docs debunk modern Polish myths about Soviet liberation of Warsaw

poland warsaw liberation

A Polish soldier waves the national flag in Warsaw, after it was liberated by the Soviet Union and its Polish allies on January 14-17, 1945.
Warsaw was liberated by Soviet forces 75 years ago today — and Polish officials have cloaked the pivotal event in myths ever since. Yet, newly-released historical documents help shed some light on the truth.

Official Warsaw had no plans to celebrate this date — but it is not the first time that Poland has ignored the liberation of its state capital. Since the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in the early 1990s, politicians across Eastern European have pushed the notion that the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were equally responsible for instigating World War II — and the idea that Red Army soldiers led a brutal occupation, instead of liberating Poland, has firmly found its place in the nation's history books.

That view continues to prevail in some other European states, too — but a trove of recently-declassified wartime documents, published by the Russian Defense Ministry, tells a different story.

Myth 1: 'Only the Home Army were true heroes'

With Poland under Nazi occupation, the Home Army (Armia Krajowa/AK), which supported the country's London-based government-in-exile, became a dominant resistance movement. Decades on, the AK are lionized by many in modern Poland as the true heroes and patriots of history, while Poles who helped Soviet forces are often demonized as traitors.

The AK are hailed in annual ceremonies around a white obelisk erected in the 90s in downtown Warsaw to honor their efforts. In 2019, President Andrzej Duda honored surviving AK members as role models and a "precious treasure of history."

Comment: Poland is so far gone into delusion that it isn't even commemorating this event. 200,000 Soviet soldiers died to liberate Warsaw... for what?

Even Poland's 'democratic revolutionary leader' in the 1980s, Lech Walesa, thinks Putin should have been invited to attend something.