Moon of Alabama Brecht quote

Monthly Archives

May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 22, 2018

A Dive Into Washington's Swamp

One years ago Trump pledged allegiance to the Wahhabi Orb. The one Orb that rules them all:

This swearing of an oath to the Wahhabi death star was part of the opening of the potemkinesk "Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology" in Riyadh.
...
The Saudis arranged the whole theater to flatter Trump into fighting Iran for them. They hope to have bought Washington's obedience.

bigger

The Saudi "anti-terrorism" effort was directed at its local rivals Qatar and Iran. Trump strongly supported the Saudi anti-Qatar campaign until the Pentagon finally told him that Qatar hosts the biggest U.S. air-base in the Middle East, which can not be moved at a moments notice.

Now an interesting AP story gives some backdrop to Trump's deference to Riyadh. It is the result of many bribes and lots of shady dealings. If or rather how Trump or his family profited from these is not yet known.

The princes, the president and the fortune seekers:

Cont. reading: A Dive Into Washington's Swamp

Posted by b at 09:26 AM | Comments (9)

May 21, 2018

Trump's New Campaign Against Iran Will Not Achieve Its Aims

The Trump administration made it perfectly clear today that it wants regime change in Iran by whatever means it has.

In a well promoted speech at the Heritage Foundation Secretary of State Pompeo laid out twelve demands towards Iran. He threatened the "strongest sanctions in history" if those demands were not fulfilled.

But the demands do not make sense. They only demonstrate the incompetence of the Trump administration. The means the Trump administration laid out to achieve its aims are not realistic and, even if they were implementable, insufficient to achieve the desired results.

Iran is asked to stop all uranium enrichment. Stopping enrichment is a no-go for Iran. The program has wide support in Iranian politics as it is seen as an attribute its sovereignty.

Pompeo demands that Iran closes its heavy water reactor. Iran can not close its heavy water reactor. It does not have one. The one it was building in Arak was disabled under the nuclear agreement (JCPOA). Concrete was poured into its core under supervision of IAEA inspectors. How can the Secretary of State of the United States make such a fact-free demand in a prepared speech?

Cont. reading: Trump's New Campaign Against Iran Will Not Achieve Its Aims

Posted by b at 02:21 PM | Comments (94)

May 20, 2018

The MoA Week In Review and Open Thread 2018-25

Last week's posts on Moon of Alabama:

Yesterday I planned to write about the FBI spy who tried to infiltrate the Trump campaign. But the Syria piece took longer than anticipated. Now Glenn Greenwald beat me to it:

    The FBI Informant Who Monitored the Trump Campaign, Stefan Halper, Oversaw a CIA Spying Operation in the 1980 Presidential Election

The Intercept should not have used "monitored". Prof. Stefan Halper, a man with deep CIA and MI6 connections, spied on the Trump campaign for the FBI. He wasn't an informant, he was an operator. Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller reported the story on March 25 and was the first to name Halper. Larouche Pub and the American Thinker also ran the story and expanded it further.

After the Daily Caller report came out the FBI tried to hide the name of its spy, telling Congress that revealing the name would endanger the man as well as other 'informants' and secret investigations. The main stream media played along and the anti-Trump 'resistance' feigned outrage that anyone would attempt to look into this. But the name was out there all along for everyone to see, as was the whole story.

Greenwald concludes:

Whatever else is true, the CIA operative and FBI informant used to gather information on the Trump campaign in the 2016 campaign has, for weeks, been falsely depicted as a sensitive intelligence asset rather than what he actually is: a long-time CIA operative with extensive links to the Bush family who was responsible for a dirty and likely illegal spying operation in the 1980 presidential election. For that reason, it’s easy to understand why many people in Washington were so desperate to conceal his identity, but that desperation had nothing to do with the lofty and noble concerns for national security they claimed were motivating them.

Amen.

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b at 11:22 AM | Comments (130)

May 19, 2018

Syria Sitrep - Liberating The M5 Highway, Syria's Economic Lifeline

In this situation report we look at the consolidation of the Syrian government space, discuss the upcoming operatitwelons to secure the vital M5 highway, clear up the S-300 confusion and provide a bit on the political developments.

Over the last twelve months the Syrian Arab Army and its allies made a lot of progress.


May 20 2017 - bigger

The government held area was extended to the Euphrates and the Syrian-Iraqi border. Deir Ezzor was liberated. The border to Lebanon was secured. All "rebel" enclaves within the government held areas (except the ISIS desert pocket) were consolidated.


May 19 2018 - bigger

Cont. reading: Syria Sitrep - Liberating The M5 Highway, Syria's Economic Lifeline

Posted by b at 01:58 PM | Comments (72)

May 18, 2018

Trump's Newest Threat To North Korea Makes A Deal Impossible

President Trump again derailed the negotiations with North Korea. It will be difficult to get them back on track. The attitude he showed  makes it unlikely that any deal will be made.

Tuesday night North Korea threatened to cancel the summit with U.S. President Trump. Remarks by U.S. National Security Advisor Bolton that the "Libya model" would be applied to North Korea were taken as insult.

Libya had bought some equipment that could be used to eventually start Uranium enrichment. But it never had a coordinated program to develop nuclear weapons nor did it have the industrial and academic base to pursue such a project. To get out of sanctions Libya gave up the little material it had. All was shipped to the U.S. before the sanctions were lifted. Bolton probably referred to only that part of the "Libya model".

But there is also the other part. A few years after Libya had given up its minuscule nuclear stuff France, the United Kingdom and the U.S. (FUKUS) waged a regime change war against it. With U.S. help Muhammad Ghaddafi was murdered by radical Islamists and Hillary Clinton even joked (vid) about it. Libya has since devolved into total chaos and a multi-sided tribal war with continued foreign meddling.

North Korea naturally rejects both parts of the Libya model. It sees itself -quite rightly- as a full fledged nuclear state. It demands negotiations on an equal base.

On Wednesday, after the North Korean threat to cancel the summit, the White House spokesperson pulled back on Bolton's "Libya model":

Cont. reading: Trump's Newest Threat To North Korea Makes A Deal Impossible

Posted by b at 04:10 PM | Comments (98)

Afghanistan - U.S. Military Finds No Fault With Special Forces' Potential Drive-By Murder

On January 9 we wrote about a video some U.S. special force veteran had posted online to promote his tactical clothing brand. The U.S. military launched an investigation into the issue and has now announced its conclusion. Here are the first graphs of the original Moon of Alabama report:

Afghanistan - U.S. Special Forces Commit Drive-By Murder (Video):
A recent video mashup provided by some U.S. Special Force soldiers in Afghanistan seems to show evidence of a warcrime.

A military truck passes a civilian truck on a paved road at normal traveling speed. A soldier fires directly and intentionally at the driver of the civilian truck without any discernible reason.

This is the relevant two second long cut (repeated 5 times) from a private video mix of scenes taken during the last few months in Afghanistan.

The reporting on the video was taken up by several mainstream news sites. The U.S. military in Afghanistan launched an investigation into the incident. Stars & Stripes, a newspaper for the U.S. military, now reports of the official result:

Cont. reading: Afghanistan - U.S. Military Finds No Fault With Special Forces' Potential Drive-By Murder

Posted by b at 07:58 AM | Comments (34)

May 17, 2018

Syria - Inconsistent, Incomplete And Implausible - The OPCW Report On Saraqib Is Another Disgrace

On February 4, two days before a UN Security Council meeting on chemical weapon issues, a Syrian army helicopter flew into Idelb governorate which is held by al-Qaeda. Escaping the quite effective air defenses of the terrorists it dropped two chlorine gas cylinders near a militarily irrelevant agricultural warehouse 40 kilometers away from the front line of the war. Eleven men of fighting age who are living in the al-Qaeda ruled territory were allegedly impacted by the released gas but none of them was seriously hurt.

The implausible story above is the base of a recent report by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. All 'evidence' for the tale comes from organizations which tightly cooperated with al-Qaeda and other militant 'rebel' groups in Syria and are paid by 'western' governments opposed to Syria. The implausible story is repeated in the 'western' press without any journalistic skepticism.

The British Guardian writes:

The fact-finding mission by the OPCW on the Saraqeb attack determined that “chlorine was released from cylinders by mechanical impact on 4 February,” it said on Wednesday. The team’s conclusions were based on finding two cylinders that were determined as previously containing chlorine.
...
The incident is by no means the worst chemical weapons attack during the seven-year civil war, but it led to 11 people being treated for breathing difficulties. Western observers said the use of helicopters in the attack suggested Syrian government involvement since the opposition did not have access to helicopters.

Saraqib in Idleb governorate has been in the hands of the Syrian 'opposition' since late 2012/early 2013. In April 2013 Syrian 'rebel' forces alleged that a chemical attack with Sarin took place in Saraqib. However only one person died, allegedly from of Sarin intoxication, while no Sarin traces were found on two other affected persons.

On February 4 2018 new claims were made of a 'chemical attack' in Saraqib. The war front line is far away from Saraqib. No military operation has taken place there for years. The 'chemical attack' allegations came (us usual) at a political convenient time:

Amnesty International has accused the Assad regime of showing “utter contempt” of international law following a chlorine gas attack on the town of Saraqib Sunday. This latest chemical attack comes just one day before the U.N. Security Council failed to agree on a U.S.-proposed statement Monday condemning the continued use of chemical weapons in the war-torn nation.

The Amnesty International report is solely based on anonymous 'witness testimony' from propaganda organizations financed by countries which oppose the Syrian government:

Cont. reading: Syria - Inconsistent, Incomplete And Implausible - The OPCW Report On Saraqib Is Another Disgrace

Posted by b at 03:29 PM | Comments (60)

May 16, 2018

North Korea May Cancel Summit Over Bolton's 'Absurd' Demands - Updated

Updated below
---

The Trump administration thought it was an easy path in its negotiations with North Korea. Trump was euphoric when North Korea released three U.S. prisoners and proudly announced the June 12 summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore where North Korea would agree to give up all its nuclear weapons and nuclear development programs. Trump would get a Nobel peace prize and all would be well.

This was a serious miscalculation based on a lack of understanding. It misread each and every statement North Korea made. The Trump administration has no ambassador in South Korea, the most experienced North Korea expert at the State Department left in disgust. The National Security Council is run by a maniac who had sabotaged earlier agreements with North Korea and wants to do it again.

North Korea's overarching aim is to gain enough security to cut its military expenses and to then use its resources for economic development. The method to achieve peace with the U.S. was progress in its nuclear weapons program. Each time a milestone was reached in the nuclear field North Korea sought talks with South Korea and the United States. It offered some concessions - to stop or slow its progress in its development of nuclear warheads and missile - in exchange for a peace agreement and economic support. Each time a deal was made the U.S. did not stick to its commitment. The promised oil supplies were not delivered, the civilian nuclear reactors the U.S. promised were not build. Each time an agreement failed North Korea started the next phase of its nuclear weapons program up to the next milestone.

Last year it finally reached the apex. It tested a thermonuclear device, the ultimate destructive weapon. It launched an intercontinental missile that can carry such a bomb to the continental United States. North Korea is now a full fledged nuclear state. After this achievement North Korea was again ready to negotiate.

When Donald Trump came into office promising that he would not condone a nuclear weapon capable North Korea that could threaten the United States. He launched a "maximum pressure" campaign to take away North Korea's nuclear weapons. The UN security council put strong sanctions on North Korea.

North Korea was already ready to negotiate. It were not the sanctions that brought it to the table. It was its new status as a nuclear power. The Trump administration never understood that. It believed that its "maximum pressure" campaign brought North Korea to offer "complete denuclearization". North Korea used that wording but it was meant as an aspirational aim for the whole world, not a unilateral disarmament of its new capabilities.

The Trump administration did not get it - or did not want to get it. This was partly out of stupidity and lack of knowledge, it was partly mischievous:

Cont. reading: North Korea May Cancel Summit Over Bolton's 'Absurd' Demands - Updated

Posted by b at 07:18 AM | Comments (189)

May 14, 2018

Trump's Family Applauds Zionist Massacre Of Palestinians In Gaza

U.S. President Trump's family applauds Zionist massacre of Palestinians in Gaza:


bigger

At some settler event in the capital of Palestine Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, mentioned today's Gaza massacre in which Israeli soldiers murdered at least 52 and maimed 1,200 unarmed Palestinians. He accused them of being the guilty ones because they protest  against the Zionist theft and occupation of their land:

"As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today, those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution."

The White House omitted that sentence in its official transcript. In its daily press briefing the White House called the murder committed by the Zionist army "a propaganda attempt" by Hamas and Palestinians.

In response to today's massacre South Africa recalled its ambassador from Israel. It is so far the only country which did so. South Africa knows apartheid and colonial violence. It no longer condones it.

Posted by b at 02:58 PM | Comments (203)

The 'Kingmaker' Is Back - Muqtada Al-Sadr Wins The Election In Iraq

On Saturday the people of Iraq voted for a new parliament.

The surprising winner is the Sairoon coalition of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the Communist Party of Iraq. According to the preliminary results it gained 54 parliament seats. There are a total of 320 seats in the Iraqi parliament and complicate multiparty coalitions are necessary to gain a majority and to elect a new Prime Minister.

The Fatah Coalition headed by Hadi al-Amiri came in second with 47 seats. The Nasr coalition of the current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is third with 42 seats. The party of former premier Maliki is lagging behind with 25 seats.

Two, three or four of the larger blocks will have to find a coalition agreement that will also accommodate dozens of smaller parties with two or three parliament seats.

For outsiders Iraqi politics can be somewhat surprising. The female candidate of the Communist Party in the Shia holy city of Najaf, Suhad al-Khateeb, wears a Hijab. She is a scion of the Marjaiyya (religious establishment) family Saleem Adel. The Communist Party is allied with rabble rouser Moqtada al-Sadr. She won her parliament seat.


bigger

Muntaza Al Zaidi (vid), the Iraqi journalist who in 2008 threw his shoes at George W. Bush (vid) also won a seat.

This was the first election after the war against ISIS in Iraq has been won. It was feared that ISIS underground cells would interrupt the election by attacking candidates or voting locales but nothing significant happened.

With only 44.5% of the people voting the participation was abysmal. The last elections had participation rates above 60%. One reason might have been the generic election campaigns of the establishment parties. They lacked arguments on issues and policies. Fortunately sectarianism played only a small role with some Shia candidates winning large shares of Sunni votes and vice versa.

The low participation rates favored those parties and personalities with a large direct following. These "whale parties" will now have to make further coalition deals. It is quite possible that Prime Minister Abadi, whose party lost significantly, will stay in his office and lead a new coalition government in which he has less say. Muqtada al-Sadr will be the one who decides that.

Cont. reading: The 'Kingmaker' Is Back - Muqtada Al-Sadr Wins The Election In Iraq

Posted by b at 10:39 AM | Comments (35)

May 13, 2018

The MoA Week In Review And Open Thread 2018-24

Last week's posts on Moon of Alabama:

On this day in 1985 the police of Philadelphia engaged in a gun battle with members of the black radical group MOVE. After it had fired some 10,000 shots without much result the police built an improvised "barrel bomb" from military grade explosives and and dropped it from a helicopter onto the groups house. The bomb killed 5 adults and 6 children. The resulting fire destroyed 61 homes and made 250 people homeless.

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b at 01:50 PM | Comments (80)

John Bolton Once Sabotaged A Deal With North Korea - He Will Try To Repeat That Feat

The Washington Post published a half-truth story today about the U.S. occupied al-Tanf border station between Syria-and Iraq. Downplaying the possibility of military action around al-Tanf it inserts this strange nugget:

Mattis’s main focus of late has been preparing for possible conflict with North Korea.

Why is the Defense Secretary Mattis preparing for conflict with North Korea? Why is this his "main focus"? Ain't we all gonna have peace and love after Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un meet on June 12 in Singapore? No? Why am I not surprised?

I suspected all along that the whole theater between Trump and Kim Jong-un is a setup designed to fail. North Korea offers a phased denuclearization in exchange for a peace treaty and (partial?) U.S. withdrawal from South Korea. The U.S. is unlikely to accept that. For U.S. hawks nothing less than total capitulation is acceptable. But even if North Korea offers all its nukes at once the U.S. will demand more. It will likely ask for intrusive verification access to all North Korean military facilities and the like.  North Korea will surely reject such inspections as a danger to its defense capabilities and as a breach of its sovereignty. The Trump administration will spin that into a reason to heat up the conflict.

That would be a replay of the situation in 2008. Following the six-party-talks North Korea blew up (vid) the cooling tower of its sole reactor. It submitted information about its nuclear program as had been agreed. The U.S. did not fulfill its part of the deal, taking North Korea off the "terrorist supporter" list, but demanded additional verification access. That ended the deal.

From a forensic report at that time:

Cont. reading: John Bolton Once Sabotaged A Deal With North Korea - He Will Try To Repeat That Feat

Posted by b at 01:38 PM | Comments (75)

May 12, 2018

Countdown To War On Iran

John Bolton is a ruthless man:

In early 2002, a year before the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration was putting intense pressure on [José] Bustani to quit as director-general of the [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons].
...
Bolton — then serving as under secretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs — arrived in person at the OPCW headquarters in the Hague to issue a warning to the organization’s chief. And, according to Bustani, Bolton didn’t mince words. “Cheney wants you out,” Bustani recalled Bolton saying, referring to the then-vice president of the United States. “We can’t accept your management style.”

Bolton continued, according to Bustani’s recollections: “You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don’t comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you.”

There was a pause.

“We know where your kids live. You have two sons in New York.”

José Bustani successfully negotiated to get OPCW inspectors back into Iraq. They would have found nothing. That would have contradicted the U.S. propaganda campaign to wage war on Iraq. When Bustani did not leave voluntarily, the U.S. threatened to cut the OPCW's budget and "convinced" other countries in the executive council to kick him out.

John Bolton was also behind a campaign against the IAEA and its chief Mohamed ElBaradei. ElBaradei's phone was tapped and rumors were launched against him to oust him from his office.


bigger

The U.S. administration, the neoconservatives and the media are running a remake (recommended) of the propaganda campaign they had launched to wage war on Iraq. This time the target is Iran:

As with Iraq, it’s easier for Bolton and Netanyahu to achieve that goal if they discredit the current system of international inspections. Bolton has called the inspection efforts established by the Iran nuclear deal “fatally inadequate” and declared that “the International Atomic Energy Agency” is “likely missing significant Iranian [nuclear] facilities.” In his 2015 speech to Congress attacking the Iran deal, Netanyahu insisted that “Iran not only defies inspectors, it also plays a pretty good game of hide-and-cheat with them.”

Anyone who counters their propaganda must go. Bolton, who demands to bomb Iran, is back in charge. One of his natural targets is the IAEA which certifies that Iran sticks to the nuclear deal. It seems that Bolton succeeds with his machinations:

Cont. reading: Countdown To War On Iran

Posted by b at 06:35 AM | Comments (179)

May 11, 2018

Open Thread 2018-23

News & views ...

Posted by b at 01:33 PM | Comments (147)

May 10, 2018

Syria Sets New Rules For Israeli Strikes

When Trump killed the nuclear deal with Iran he gave Israel the chance to start a wider war with Syria. An earlier Israeli simulation of the situation had concluded:

The crisis created by the administration regarding the flaws of the nuclear agreement could be exploited to promote issues more urgent for Israel (mainly Iran’s missile program and presence in Syria).

The Israeli government claims that Iranian support for Syria is a threat to its country. That is a bogus claim. The Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahoo uses the "Iran threat" as boogeyman to divert attention from other issues like the various corruption cases against himself.

Over the last years Israel attacked Syrian army positions more than 100 times, often in support of al-Qaeda aligned "Syrian rebels". Syria did not respond as it was busy fighting against the Takfiri invasion within the country. In April Israel upped the ante when it attacked the T4 base in the middle of Syria from where Russian and Iranian forces support Syria's fight against ISIS. Iranian soldiers were killed in the attack. The Syrian air defense shot down at least one of the attacking Israeli F-16 jets. This shooting down of the Israeli jets was thought to have established a new balance, but Israel continued to provoke.

On Tuesday, just as Trump announced his breaking of the nuclear deal, Israel launched another strike on what it claimed were Iranian missiles in Syria targeted at Israel. The strike hit a Syrian army depot. Fifteen soldiers, some of them allegedly Iranians, were killed. Even the Israeli media had trouble to find an excuse for the illegal 'preemptive' attack:

Cont. reading: Syria Sets New Rules For Israeli Strikes

Posted by b at 07:41 AM | Comments (254)

May 09, 2018

Blumenthal, Norton, Khalek - The Turncoats Deliver A Poor Excuse - by Daniel

by Daniel
lifted from a comment

I see b’s Twitter linked to the "Moderate Rebels" discussion of Blumenthal / Norton / Khalek. I hope y’all don’t mind my posting the below. I originally wrote it as an "open letter" to the above triumvirate, but changed pronouns for this audience.

Max Blumenthal, Ben Norton and Rania Khalek talk about their late “evolution” on the war against Syria in this episode of “Moderate Rebels.”

For those who don’t know, each was pro-"opposition", anti-Syrian government for years, but changed positions sometime in around 2016.

I'm glad to hear Max finally directly address his anti-Syrian stance from 2011 to 2016. He acknowledges that Sharmine Narwani was correct all along. It would be nice to hear him actually apologize to Sharmine and other journalists he disparaged, but especially to the Syrian people who sure could have used the support of a well known Arab/Palestinian Rights advocate with a large audience and influence.

Yes, Max "didn’t take a serious look at what was actually going on" in Syria. And didn't for five more years. He began writing for Al Akhbar in Lebanon in July, 2011. As a journalist, he was obligated to inform himself about what was happening before writing about it. Syrian police and military had already been massacred by then. Post office workers had been thrown to their deaths from the roof because they were "government supporters." The violence of the "protesters" was even being reported in Israeli newspapers.

He says he "didn’t think it was going to become, you know, the 7-year devastating conflict that it became." That is apparent. Libya was already descending into the F-UK-US “Mission Accomplished” with NATO bombers warming up to finish the job. Perhaps Max’s dad had assured him that Syria would follow the same pattern his emails with Hillary Clinton show he had helped plan and define in Libya.

BTW: Has he ever addressed his father's role in the destruction of the once most prosperous country on the African continent? I haven't read or heard anything from Max on Syd Blumenthal's pre-Qaddafi "removal" explanation that Libya had to be destroyed to:

  1. Steal their nationalized oil.
  2. Confiscate the hundreds of tons of gold and silver Libya held.
  3. Prevent Libya from establishing a gold-backed currency and pan-African development bank to compete with the US petro-dollar and IMF, and lift Africa out of neo-colonial subservience.

Yeah. Max was "pretty quiet on Libya and not really - didn’t really make any coherent statements on that either."

That newspaper that Max publicly maligned and quit ("grandstanding" as he now says) "had taken an anti-imperialist agenda." Did that paper ever reject any articles Max wrote defending "the Syrian revolution"? I didn’t think so. Who had "an agenda"? Because it sure sounds like it was Max who was so focused on his new book release and two upcoming book tours that at the least he abandoned journalistic values. Or did he fear that "being associated" with a paper that also published articles critical of "the revolution" could hurt book sales?

After all, he thought it was all going to be over soon anyway.

It would also be nice for Max to explain why, once he changed his position on Syria after Russia had helped turn the tide, he, Ben and Rania scrubbed all their anti-Syrian/pro-"rebel" posts from the internet without explanation. How Orwellian.

Cont. reading: Blumenthal, Norton, Khalek - The Turncoats Deliver A Poor Excuse - by Daniel

Posted by b at 03:54 PM | Comments (127)

May 08, 2018

Trump Ends The Nuclear Deal With Iran - What's Next?

With a very belligerent speech Trump nixed the nuclear deal with Iran. He also lied a lot in it. Neither is a surprise. The United States only keeps agreements as long as they are to its short term advantage - just ask native Americans. One can never count on the U.S. to keep its word.

Trump will reimpose U.S. sanctions on Iran because:

  • The nuclear deal was negotiated by the Obama administration and thus must be bad;
  • Israel wants to keep Iran as the boogeyman;
  • the Zionists and right wing nuts in the U.S. want the U.S. to attack Iran;
  • MAGA - Trump needs Iran as enemy of the Gulf states to sell more U.S. weapons.

Three European countries, Britain, France and Germany, were naive enough to think they could prevent this. The EU3 offered the U.S. to put additional sanctions on Iran for other pretended reason - ballistic missiles and the Iranian engagement in Syria. I was disgusted when I first read of the plan. It was obvious from the beginning that it  would only discredit these countries AND fail.

Luckily Italy and some eastern European countries shot the effort down at the EU level. They were not willing to sacrifice their credibility over the issue. The nuclear agreement was signed and should be followed by all sides. They pointed out that there was no guarantee from Trump that any additional European effort would change his view.

Over the last weeks some last EU3 attempts to influence Trump were made. They were in vain:

On Friday, Pompeo organized a conference call with his three European counterparts. Sources who were briefed on the call told me Pompeo thanked the E3 for the efforts they had made since January to come up with a formula that will convince Trump not to pull out of the nuclear deal — but made it clear the President wants to take a different direction.
...
After Trump's statement, the European powers want to issue a joint statement which will make it clear they are staying in the Iran deal in an attempt to prevent its collapse.

The sanctions Trump will reintroduce are not just limiting U.S. dealings with Iran, but will also penalize other countries. That will lead to a flurry of protective measures as at least some of those other countries will limit their exposure to U.S. rules and may even introduce counter sanctions:

“We are working on plans to protect the interests of European companies” Maja Kocijancic, EU spokeswoman for foreign affairs, told reporters in Brussel.

Iran will largely stick to the nuclear deal if the EU effectively defends it and does not hinder Iranian deals with European companies. If the EU fails to do so the nuclear agreement will be null and void. Iran will leave the deal. The neoliberal Rouhani government that agreed to the deal will fall and the conservatives will be back. They will defend Iran's sovereignty at all costs.

The U.S. seems to believe it can go back to the same position Obama had build up in the years before the nuclear deal. Iran was under UN sanctions and all countries, including China and Russia, held them up. The Iranian economy was in serious trouble. It needed to negotiate a way out. That situation will not come back.

U.S. credibility has been seriously damaged. Its soft power is gone. Its hard power has shown to be inadequate in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

China and Russia are both making huge deals with Iran and are now effectively its protectors. While they have no common ideology all three oppose a globalized world under exclusive "western" rules. They have the economic power, the population and resources to do so. Neither the U.S. nor Europe has come to terms with that.

Iran has not only new allies but gained in the Middle East because of U.S., Israeli and Saudi stupidity. The wars on Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen have all strengthened Iran's position while it largely kept largely out of them. The recent election in Lebanon went well for the 'resistance' camp. Within Lebanon Hizbullah can no longer be challenged. The upcoming elections in Iraq will result in another Iran-friendly government. The Syrian army is winning the war waged against the country. The U.S. position in Afghanistan is hopeless. Saudi Arabia is now in a fight with the UAE over the war on Yemen. The GCC spat with Qatar is still unsolved.

While Israel wants to keep Iran as a boogeyman to divert attention from its genocidal campaign against Palestinians, it does not want a large war. Hizbullah in Lebanon has enough missiles to make modern life in Israel untenable. A war on Iran could easily end up with Tel Aviv in flames.

There are some people in the Trump administration who will want to wage war on Iran. The Bush administration also had such plans. But any war gaming of a campaign against Iran ended badly for the U.S. and its allied states. The Gulf countries are extremely vulnerable. Their oil output could be shut down within days. That situation has not changed. The U.S. is now in a worse strategic position than it was after the invasion of Iraq. As long as somewhat sane people lead the Pentagon they will urge the White House not to launch such an endeavor.

The U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal is a huge mistake. Defense Secretary Mattis spoke against it. Will Trump make an even bigger mistake despite the opinion of his military advisors? Will he wage war on Iran?

Posted by b at 02:21 PM | Comments (309)

May 07, 2018

'Black Cube' First Denies, Then Obfuscates, Then Admits Spying On Iran Deal Negotiators

Yesterday we published a piece about "Black Cube", an Israeli spy company with deep state relations. The piece was updated earlier today.

Black Cube used false identities to trick two former members of the Obama administration, Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl, as well as the pro-Iran lobbyist Trita Parsi, to find out if they had profited from the nuclear deal (JCPOA) with Iran. The Observer, which broke the story without naming Black Cube, reported that people related to the Trump administration had hired the company to get information that could help Trump to dump the nuclear deal with Iran.

Now the company is in panic and tries to cover its trail.

It is why we got mail:


bigger

Referring to the Moon of Alabama piece Black Cube writes:

"Please add our full comment ASAP! It causes us damage and it's defamation without our full denial."

I have cut their "full comment" from the above pictured email. I see absolutely no reason to publish their lying "comments" and denials.

How do I know that Black Cube lies?

Cont. reading: 'Black Cube' First Denies, Then Obfuscates, Then Admits Spying On Iran Deal Negotiators

Posted by b at 03:28 PM | Comments (60)