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Fri, 30 Sep 2016
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The use of psychological operations, false narratives and deception by the American government is standard operating procedure

Psychological operations are spreading information to a population or a target group to influence their emotions, their motivation, their way of thinking and, finally; how they act. Psychological operations target foreign governments, organizations, groups and individuals. In psychological operations disinformation and deceit is routine. This is included in the standard arsenal of for instance the US military forces.

Guidelines for deception and fraud/hoax

Is this something I merely claim to be true? Far from; the opening to this article is found in the manual for The United States (US) Army Psychological Operations (PSYOP) doctrine currently in force. The document can be downloaded here (pdf). The manual opens as follows:
PSYOP are planned operations that convey selected information and indicators to foreign target audiences (TAs) to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately, the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals. The purpose of all PSYOP is to create in neutral, friendly, or hostile foreign groups the emotions, attitudes, or desired behavior that support the achievement of U.S. national objectives and the military mission. In doing so, PSYOP influence not only policy and decisions, but also the ability to govern, the ability to command, the will to fight, the will to obey, and the will to support.
The US Army isn't exceptional. Psychological warfare is ancient as warfare itself. I examined this in the article "The art of storytelling in times of war". The American manual quotes the German military theorist Carl von Clausewitz, who wrote that "In war everything is intertwined with psychological forces and effects" in his most notable work "On War".

Comment: See also:


Pirates

Al-Qaeda terrorists sent to Syria to compete with ISIS to establish emirate

© Stringer / Reuters
ISIS and Al-Qaeda...sibling rivalry?
A number of Al-Qaeda veterans have secretly been sent to Syria, where their goal is to do the groundwork for the establishment of an emirate, US and European intelligence officials have told the New York Times. Such a mission would imply competing with Islamic State.

Al-Qaeda is reportedly planning to set up an alternate headquarters in Syria, using its local affiliate, Al-Nusra Front. The step could mean that Syria gains increasing importance for Al-Qaeda, as well as the potential for violent escalation between the two terrorist groups, officials told NYT.

Another, possibly even more alarming, consequence could be Al-Qaeda's establishment of an emirate in Syria. Earlier this month, the group's leader in Pakistan, Ayman al-Zawahiri, released his first audio statement in months, which could be taken to mean his blessing to set up the emirate, Western officials say.

This new entity may pose an elevated terror threat to the world as the terror group will gain immediate access to fighters from Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. "The combination of an Al-Qaeda emirate and a revitalized Al-Qaeda central leadership in northern Syria would represent a confidence boost for the jihadi organization's global brand," Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, also wrote in Foreign Policy magazine earlier this month.

The organization may seem to relate more to ordinary Muslims than Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), too. "Al-Qaeda would present itself as the smart, methodical and persistent jihadi movement that, in contrast to the Islamic State, had adopted a strategy more aligned with everyday Sunni Muslims," Lister added. US officials seem to be concerned about this prospect as well. "We have destroyed a large part of Al-Qaeda. It is not completely eliminated, so we have to stay focused on what it can do," CIA director John O. Brennan told NBC earlier in May.

Some Al-Qaeda leaders allegedly oppose the creation of an emirate now, believing the timing isn't right for such a step, NYT reported Sunday. There are between 5,000 and 10,000 fighters in Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, Al-Nusra Front, while IS has up to 25,000, most of them in Iraq and Syria. The majority of the rebel groups waging war against the Syrian government reportedly reject the idea of creating an emirate due to concerns that it would further divide the opposition forces.

Comment: It is an interesting idea that two Western-spawned proxy terrorist groups would end up face-to-face, potentially outing each other. Is it a bluff in order to get the most proxy boots to locate together as a homogenized pseudo-fighting force to insure the fracturing of Syria? Or are they really so at odds it will be a fight to the death, winner take all, while the US sits by still pretending. How quickly they forget Syria belongs to Syrians. How quickly they forget what Russia can do!


Whistle

Deal or not, Merkel sacrificed Europe to Erdogan

© beforeitsnews.com
Merkel: Between a rock and a hard place.
Angela Merkel isn't having a good year. In trying to deal with the refugee crisis plaguing Europe in a manner that pleases and appeases everyone, the German chancellor has sacrificed Europe to the whims of an increasingly despotic Turkish leader.

But it hasn't taken long for Merkel's short-sighted handling of the crisis to come back to haunt her. A deal which was meant to continuously ease the flow of migrants and refugees into Europe is now on the brink of collapse over Turkey's unwillingness to meet Brussels halfway, and criticism is coming from all angles.

Brussels and Ankara have gone back and forth over the details for months. By returning refugees to Turkey from Greece, the deal is supposed to minimize the incentive for people to travel illegally to the EU — taking the pressure off Berlin and Merkel herself. By some assessments, the plan was working. This naturally means all the stops will be pulled out to save it. At issue now is a request from Brussels to have Ankara narrow its definition of terrorism. That's important, because in the recent past, Erdogan's government has used the words 'terrorist' or 'terrorist sympathizer' to go after critics, including journalists.

Blackmail or bust

If Ankara complies with Brussels' full list of 72 requirements, it will receive €3 billion(US$3.4 billion) to help deal with the refugee crisis, a re-energization of talks on Turkey's ascension to the European Union — and Turkish citizens will receive visa-free travel to Europe's Schengen zone. But Erdogan has shown no signs of complying. In fact, he's doing nothing to hide the fact that he is ready and willing to exploit that Europe, desperate for a deal, has had the weaker hand to play. If Brussels doesn't back down on its requirements, he has threatened to "turn on the migration tap".

Comment: You give an inch; they take a mile. Merkel's ratings are bottoming, as she is under fire from her country and the EU for bowing to bribery at the dictates of a pathological tyrant. Was she politically posturing, too trusting or does she have a blind spot in her judgement? All three, you say? Good faith can always be trumped by leverage. Fact is: 'The deal' was never in Merkel's control.


Post-It Note

Senate passes bill allowing 9/11 victims' families to sue Saudi Arabia; Obama to veto

© theantimedia.org
In a stunning rebuke to President Obama's warning of a veto, and the Saudi threat to attempt to crash the U.S. economy by selling off their U.S. holdings, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation that would allow Americans to sue foreign governments for terrorist attacks committed on U.S. soil, according to The Hill.

In an exceedingly rare moment, the Senate voted unanimously for the bipartisan "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act," sponsored by John Cornyn and Chuck Shumer. The legislation now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives, which has its own version of the bill.
"This bill is very near and dear to my heart as a New Yorker because it would allow the victims of 9/11 to pursue some small measure of justice," said Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, according to The Hill. "[This is] another example of the [John] Cornyn-Schumer collaboration, which works pretty well around here."

Snakes in Suits

Headchoppers in Saudi Arabia warns of 'Plan B' for Syria while US keeps stalling

© Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during his meeting with Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir Kevin Lamarque
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during his meeting with Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir
While the world powers that gathered in Vienna on Tuesday to discuss the Syrian peace process stressed that all parties to the conflict should make peace a priority, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister warned that time may be coming for "Plan B" in Syria.

"It was made clear that Bashar al-Assad has two choices - either he will be removed through political process or he will be removed by force," Adel al-Jubeir told reporters after the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) meeting co-chaired by Russia and the US.

"We believe we should have moved to a 'Plan B' a long time ago," he said.

"If they do not respond to the entreaties of the international community... then we will have to see what else can be done."

Quenelle - Golden

Victims of ethnic cleansing in Donbass sue Kiev in European Court

© Aleksey Filippov/AFP/Getty Images
A bullet-ridden road sign stand outside Donetsk international airport.

Residents of the territories of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions, uncontrolled by Kiev and affected by the so-called "ATO", filed in the European Court of Human Rights more than two thousand complaints and demanded about 113 million euros compensation from the state of Ukraine.

According to The Politnavigator, it was reported by Vladimir Markin, a representative of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.

He emphasised that at the moment the investigation of crimes committed by the Ukrainian authorities against the population of Donbass is carried out by the Investigative Committee of Russia. Under investigation there are about 60 criminal cases on numerous killings of the civil Donbass population, the use of prohibited methods of warfare, kidnapping, obstructing the work of journalists and their murders, and others.

Comment: Also see:


Quenelle - Golden

Venezuela and Palestine unite in the struggle against imperialism

The Palestinian foreign minister said in a visit to Caracas that Venezuela has given unconditional solidarity to Palestine against the Israeli genocide.

Venezuela has for years provided "unconditional solidarity" to the Palestinian struggle against "the Israeli genocide," the Palestinian government said in a statement late on Monday after Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said the Palestinian people were "an example of resistance for those of us who struggle against imperialism."

"Since the arrival of the Bolivarian Revolution in 1999, Venezuela has become a voice for historically marginalized peoples, reclaimed social struggles and raised the banners of justice, including for those in Palestine," Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki said in a statement during a visit to the Venezuelan capital Caracas.

Comment: This is yet another reason why Venezuela has been targeted for a 'soft coup' by Western powers.

Also see:


Wolf

Leaked letter shows Cameron 'knee-deep in conspiracy' with big business to keep Britain in EU

© AP Photo/ Matt Dunham
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron is accused of being "knee-deep in a conspiracy" to keep Britain in the EU after leaked letters reveal he discussed the 'remain' campaign with big business when he was still officially on the fence over Brexit.

A leaked letter from security firm Serco's CEO Rupert Soames to the PM reveals how the boss said he would look at how to "mobilize corporates" during the 'remain' campaign. The letter was sent 11 days before Cameron struck a deal with EU leaders over Britain's place in the bloc. At that time, the PM said he could still back the 'leave' campaign if the UK failed at negotiations.

Former London mayor and prominent 'leave' campaigner Boris Johnson described the revelation as the "biggest stitch-up since the Bayeux Tapestry."

Comment: The EU was a post-WW2 CIA project from the beginning, and Britain is Washington's foothold within the EU. No doubt Cameron had his marching orders from the US neocons.


Gold Bar

Russia and China ditch billions of US dollars for bullion

© Sputnik/Oleg Lastochkin
Global gold demand in the first quarter of 2016 was 21 percent higher compared to 2015, as Russia and China continued to accumulate significant quantities of the precious metal, the World Gold Council reported.

Global demand for gold in the first quarter of 2016 was 1,290 tons, the highest ever for a first quarter, as investors sought a safe haven due to the economic fragility and uncertainty raised by negative interest rates, the World Gold Council reported on Thursday.

The price of the malleable metal has risen 19 per cent since the beginning of this year to $1,275 per troy ounce.

"Looking ahead, we anticipate that ongoing market uncertainty and unconventional monetary policies will continue to support both investment and central bank demand. This, combined with an expected recovery in India, should see gold demand remain healthy over the course of 2016," stated Alistair Hewitt, Head of Market Intelligence at the World Gold Council.

The organization also reported that China and Russia, the two largest purchasers of gold last year, continue to accumulate significant quantities.

Between January and March China purchased 35.1 tons, adding to the 103.9 tons bought in the second half of 2015.

War Whore

National security state: The militarization of American culture

In his 1961 farewell address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of the growing influence of the "military-industrial complex" on American politics and policy. Interestingly, Eisenhower's original formulation of the menace was the even more accurate "military-industrial-congressional complex." (Emphasis added). Seeing how that network of special interests has worked its tentacles into so many aspects of American political and economic life in the intervening decades indicates just how prescient was Eisenhower's warning.

But there has been an even more subtle and pervasive militarization of American culture. It has been evident since World War II, but it has been accelerating markedly in recent years. Perhaps the most corrosive domestic effect of the global interventionist foreign policy that Washington adopted after World War II has been on national attitudes. Americans have come to accept intrusions in the name of "national security" that they would have strongly resisted in previous decades. The various provisions of the Patriot Act and the surveillance regime and its abuses epitomized by the NSA are a case in point.

The trend toward a more intrusive, militaristic state has become decidedly more pronounced since the September 11 attacks and the government's response, but there were unmistakable signs even before that terrible day. My colleagues at the Cato Institute have done an excellent job documenting the gradual militarization of America's police forces, beginning in the 1980s, with the proliferation of SWAT teams and the equipping of police units with ever more lethal military hardware.The terrorism threat simply provides the latest, most convenient justification to intensify a trend that was already well underway. Most SWAT raids in fact have nothing to do with terrorism; they are used to serve search or arrest warrants in low-level drug cases.


Politicians learned early that the fastest way to overcome opposition to a pet initiative was to portray it as essential to national security. Thus, the statute that first involved the federal government in elementary and secondary education in the 1950s was fashioned the National Defense Education Act. Similarly, the legislation establishing the interstate highway system was officially the National Defense Highway Act. In retrospect, President George W. Bush probably missed an opportunity when he did not label his legislation for a Medicare prescription drug benefit the National Defense Elderly Care Act.

Comment: The United States has long since lost its moral compass, and judging from the prospect of having either Trump or Killary Clinton take the helm of the country, there is little likelihood that there will be any change in this militaristic attitude. In fact, it may get even worse, whereupon Mother Nature may decide it's time for a reset.