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January 20, 2021

Biden Administration's 'New' Foreign Policy Is The 'More Of The Same' Old One

Today a new U.S. administration will come in. On foreign policy issues it will be just as disappointing as the leaving one. U.S. foreign policy is dictated by ingrained interests. The mechanisms of policy making in Washington DC guarantee that it is always a continuity and that any changes to it are slow and will only be minor.

Donald Trump and his administration were hated by the woke 'libruls' and the media for their style, not for what they were or were not doing. While Joe Biden, who has been warmongering in the Senate for decades, is now being sold as fresh bread, he is bringing no change to the menu. His foreign policy marketing team will only change the package color of the same old product the Trump team has sold.

The confirmation hearing of Biden's incoming Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and of the incoming Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines give some hints towards these 'new' policies.

The Iranian parliament has ordered the government to end some IAEA inspections and to increase the enrichment level of Uranium starting in mid February unless the Biden administration immediately removes the sanctions on Iran and returns to the nuclear deal.

The Biden administration is likely to ignore this opportunity:

President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, pledged to consult with Israel, Gulf allies and Congress when seeking "a longer and stronger" agreement to rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions. During his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, Blinken said the incoming administration would “engage on the takeoff, not just the landing” with allies and partners before taking steps to rejoin the landmark nuclear agreement.
"President-elect Biden is committed to the proposition that Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon,” Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Iran with a nuclear weapon or the threshold capacity to build one is an Iran that would act with potentially greater impunity than it already is.”
If Iran returns to strict compliance under the nuclear pact, Biden has said he will reenter the multilateral pact as a starting point for follow-on negotiations to “tighten and lengthen Iran’s nuclear constraints” and address Iran's missile program. Blinken said Tuesday that “we are a long way from there," adding that the administration would need to first ensure Iran is making good on its obligations.

Iran does not want nuclear weapons. It wants its rights and respect. It is the U.S. which has broken the deal. Iran has responded to that by expanding its capabilities beyond some of the limits of the deal. This is reversible but only if the U.S. acts first and at a reasonable speed. Lengthy talks with allies and Congress will prevent that from happening.

The incoming DNI Haines seems to share that analysis:

Republicans questioned Haines on her views about China and Iran, including the Obama administration's Iran nuclear deal that Trump pulled back from. Haines said that while the incoming Biden administration has indicated that it would come back to the table with Iran if Tehran came back into compliance, she noted that "frankly, we're a long ways from that."

This summer the people of Iran will elect a new government, likely a conservative one. It will be even less willing to make additional concessions to the U.S. than the current Rouhani government. The conflict will thus fester.

There will also be no policy changes towards Tehran's allies. The Biden administration will not rescind but only 'review' the terrorist designation of the Houthi in Yemen even as it is causing a famine:

Cont. reading: Biden Administration's 'New' Foreign Policy Is The 'More Of The Same' Old One

Posted by b at 12:08 UTC | Comments (24)

January 19, 2021

Dystopia

The U.S. seems to have gone completely crazy these day.

Two full divisions worth of soldiers are closing off Washington DC to 'protect' a mostly virtual inauguration from a non-existing threat.

26,000 National Guard members to secure Washington for inauguration

The FBI is investigating the loyalty of those troops as if it were really in doubt.

FBI vetting troops stationed in Washington ahead of Inauguration Day

The leadership of the Democratic Party has gone completely nuts:

QAnon for Democrats? Hillary Clinton & Nancy Pelosi suggest Putin ORDERED Trump to launch Capitol siege in unhinged interview

Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton - 22:38 UTC · Jan 18, 2021

.@SpeakerPelosi and I agree:
Congress needs to establish an investigative body like the 9/11 Commission to determine Trump's ties to Putin so we can repair the damage to our national security and prevent a puppet from occupying the presidency ever again.

They are even more crazy than the outgoing pompous Secretary of State:

Nick Schifrin @nickschifrin - 17:14 UTC · Jan 19, 2021

BREAKING: Huge announcement from @SecPompeo: "I have determined that the PRC, under the direction and control of the CCP, has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang."

"I have determined ..." Who does the guy think he is?

Meanwhile reality delivered this low blow:

L.A. Suspends Air Quality Rules to Cremate Backlog of Covid-19 Victims

A fail to get a grip on this.

Posted by b at 18:20 UTC | Comments (111)

January 18, 2021

New Leaks Show How British Spies Infiltrate And Undermine Lebanon's Security Services

A few month ago we reported on documents which revealed secret British 'Strategic Communication' programs in support of the Jihadis who fight against the Syrian people and their government.

In December documents of a different secret program revealed similar British efforts in Lebanon. These were designed to influence certain 'liberal' youth groups in preparation for a 'color revolution' that would overthrow the Lebanese government.

A new set of documents, just recently published, shows British efforts to influence and infiltrate the security forces of Lebanon. These programs are coordinated with Canadian and U.S. efforts to gain influence in the country and to use it on behalf of Israeli interests.

Like usual these programs are sold as white man's burden efforts to 'help' the indigenous people and their governments. But they are in fact undermining the sovereignty of the country and hinder the self determination of its people.

As Professor As`ad AbuKhalil remarked on the previously released batch:

To be sure, the documents seem to be unclassified material related to the operation of the British embassy in Beirut. But it can be easily ascertained that the embassy (at least from these documents, which the British ambassador in Beirut refused to comment on when asked by Lebanese media) was engaged in activities that would close the Lebanese embassy in London if it were engaged in similar activities.

It’s clear Western powers allow their embassies to do things they would never allow developing countries to do from their embassies in the West. After the humiliating defeat of Israel in Lebanon in 2006, there has been a feverish escalation of the propaganda war in Lebanon against all those who declare resistance against Israel.
...
These documents help make it clear how the West hasn’t moved on from its colonial legacy. The natives are still regarded as mobs to be controlled and manipulated.

To manipulate and gain control of the 'mobs' it is helpful to manipulate and control the local security services - police, military and border control. The UK set out to do that when it created its 'Lebanon Conflict, Stability and Security Fund' (CSSF).

In April 2019 the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) sent invitations to a private supplier event to a few selected private companies. These were invited to bid on two projects:

  • Security Programme –Lebanese Armed Forces Project
  • Security Programme –Policing Project

The companies were asked to submit Expression of Interests for certain projects under the CSSF. They were send a summary of requirements that describe the aims of the programs and desired qualities needed to achieve these.

The above projects were build on assessments created during previous FCO projects. In 2018 one of such projects was the 'CSSF Lebanon: CT Border Needs Assessment'. Its objective was:

To increase UK understanding of the level of resilience at the Lebanese border to the transit of persons of CT interest. This includes FTFs, returnees and the terrorist displacement from Syria into Lebanon. The movement of goods, such as weapons, and finance these will not be the primary focus though the findings may have impact on these areas.

Note how this objective is in the interest of the UK, not necessarily Lebanon's. While it is framed as counter terrorism project its real aim is more likely to spy on and disrupt the movement of Hizbullah forces between Syria and Lebanon and on weapon supplies from Iran to Lebanon's Hizbullah - weapons which are needed to deter Israel from waging another war on Lebanon.


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The assessment project required collaboration from Lebanese security services:

Cont. reading: New Leaks Show How British Spies Infiltrate And Undermine Lebanon's Security Services

Posted by b at 20:18 UTC | Comments (68)

January 17, 2021

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-005

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

ANATꙮLY KARLIN @akarlin88 - 16:39 UTC · Jan 16, 2021
A Russian meets up with an American.
"We have freedom of speech," the Russian says. "I can post that Russian elections are falsified on social media."
"What's the big deal?" asks the American. "I too can write that Russian elections are falsified on social media."

---
Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-005

Posted by b at 13:33 UTC | Comments (171)

January 15, 2021

Guardian Smears Syria's President With Implausible Link To Beirut's Port Blast

On August 4 2020 2.750 tons of ammonium nitrate, stored in a warehouse of Beirut's harbour, exploded. The blast destroyed large parts of the city.

The dangerous load had come on a defect ship which was impounded by the Lebanese authorities. It had been stored since 2013. Despite urgent warnings, the complicate Lebanese bureaucracy had never found a way to get rid of the dangerous load.

Soon conspiracy theories sprang up about the 'real' ownership and purpose of the load and of who might have had an interest in igniting it. None made much sense. The original explanation of a bureaucratic tussle and pure neglect are still the most plausible cause.

But that does not stop the British Guardian from trying to blame the Syrian government for the incident:


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Here is how the Guardian 'links' the Syrian government with the explosion:

Cont. reading: Guardian Smears Syria's President With Implausible Link To Beirut's Port Blast

Posted by b at 12:17 UTC | Comments (147)

January 14, 2021

The Suppression Of Trump Voters Will Not Create Long Term Stability

Someone at CNN was tasked with writing a thrilling story about a brave democratic congressman who did not shy away from confronting the Capitol intruders.

How a swift impeachment was born under siege

Rioters were still ransacking the halls of the US Capitol when two Democrats stuck in lockdown together in the House office buildings across the street started drafting the impeachment resolution that led to the unprecedented second impeachment of President Donald Trump almost exactly one week later.

California Rep. Ted Lieu was forced to evacuate his office in the Cannon Office Building as insurrectionists converged on the Capitol. Grabbing a crowbar in his office, Lieu said he and his chief of staff called the top aide to Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline while wandering the halls and asked if they could hunker down in Cicilline's office in the Rayburn House Office Building. ...

Shortly after the story was published someone (a fact checker?, Lieu?) most have notified CNN that a crowbar is an unlikely instrument to be found in a representative's office.

The story was implausible and had to be changed. That done a correction was appended to it.


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The crowbar was replaced with a product placement, a "ProBar energy bar".

That is only one example of the ghastly reporting about the Trump impeachment by the 'librul' media.

They completely miss the point:

Michael Tracey @mtracey - 6:14 UTC · Jan 14, 2021
Virtually none of the corporate media coverage even bothers to remark on the radicalism of what occurred today. "Snap" impeachment with a total of two hours of debate, charging as a "high crime" that the president engaged in political speech.

The anti-Trump campaign, from Russiagate to Ukrainegate to this 'insurrection' nonsense, has likely done more damage to the U.S. than Trump managed to do during his four years in office. The hostility the Democrats have shown will create a huge backlash. Do they really believe that can suppress 74 million Trump voters?

As M.K. Bhadrakumar diagnoses:

For the outside world Trump Impeachment 2.0 can only appear as a kangaroo trial.
...
This ongoing project to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time in a little over a year is farcical. ...

What happened in Washington, DC, on January 6 was by no means an insurrection. Of course, US citizens were behind the Capitol Building siege. But the parallel ends there. There was no way they could have usurped power in America last Wednesday. In fact, even the vandalism was entirely due to the ineptness of the security personnel deployed there.
...
What is the guarantee that another Trump will not arise from outside the cabals that preside over politics in America and reaches out to the people directly? The fact of the matter is that Trump’s support base still remains the envy of any American politician. Seventy million Americans voted for him last November. That massive support base will feel further disenfranchised or disempowered by what the cabals are perpetrating on the Capitol Hill.

The real paradox is that the “mob” who besieged the Capitol building was largely drawn from the American middle classes — the petite bourgeoisie or the ‘transitional class,’ as Karl Marx described them ...
...
Make no mistake, this class is here to stay in America and if the post-pandemic economic recovery does not go brilliantly well or is mismanaged, its ranks will swell further. That is going to be Biden’s real challenge even if Pelosi were to dispatch Trump into political wilderness.

The backlash from this Trump impeachment will be huge. It may come in rare events of real domestic terrorism. But it is more likely to swell up through smaller acts of civil disobedience. There is a lot that the petite bourgeoisie can sabotage. The CIA has published volumes of advice, meant for people in other countries, on how to do that.

Feisal al-Istrabadi فيصل الاسترابادي @FIstrabadi - 00:03 UTC · 14 Jan 2021

Joy Reid just spoke on MSNBC of the necessity for “de-Baathifying” the Republican Party to rid it of Trumpian influences.

An excellent precedent. It has worked just great in Iraq.

The Democrats aren't stupid. They know that they are provoking more strife. They will use that to roll out authoritarian measure that will serve the powerful.

It is a suppression strategy that has, at times, worked in other countries.

But it does not lead to long term stability.

Posted by b at 17:45 UTC | Comments (187)

Open Thread 2021-004

News & views ...

Posted by b at 11:15 UTC | Comments (146)

January 13, 2021

Three Views On The Current Situation In The U.S. Of A.

No post by me for today but three views of interest on the current situation in the U.S. of A.

Pepe Escobar: 9/11 Was the Prelude. 1/6 Is the Holy Grail

So where will 75 million disenfranchised voters – or 88 million Twitter followers – go?

As it stands, we’re deep into Hardcore Class War. The Top of the Scam Gang are in full control. The remains of “Democracy” have gelled into Mediacracy. Ahead, there’s nothing but ruthless purge, protracted crackdown, censorship, blanket surveillance, smashing of civil liberties, a single narrative, overarching cancel (in)culture. It gets worse: next week, this paranoid apparatus merges with the awesome machinery of the United States Government (USG).

Alastair Crooke: America’s Battle Over the Nature and Direction of Change Itself

The next question for 2021 then, concerns that old adage: ‘Beware not to win too much’. It can be a mistake to corner your adversaries to having nothing to lose. The Blue state has ousted Trump; and Blue has taken everything across ‘the board’, and are ready to implement the ‘Re-set’ – the ultimate subjugation of Red by main force, achieved by the preponderance of wealth, ruling institutional leverage, and military power. A social ‘woke’ revolution, as well as a political transformation. The full outcome would likely reconstitute the constitutional order, in ways unrecognizable to most Americans today.

But will Red America succumb from exhaustion, or lack of leadership; or, on the other hand, might it find the energy to revitalise ‘their’ Republic? We shall see – a big question whose ramifications might make the EU élites particularly nervous. Of course Blue now possesses force majeure. But there is another old adage: ‘No passionate, partisan assessment has any value, save to inflame’ – and Big Tech and the MSM’s censorship and accompanying humiliation of Trump may turn him a martyr, and make the spirit of defiance all the stronger.

Diana Johnstone: Biden Exploits His Capitol Gains

From outside the melee, it is easy to define the serious issues that should dominate political debate in the United States. But instead of that, we hear a torrential exchange of insults. The establishment elite cannot stoop to exchange viewpoints with populists denounced as deplorable, racist, misogynist, white supremacist, fascist and now even “terrorist.”

The populists’ unfocused denunciation of the elite describes Wall Street Democrats as “socialists” and veers off into accusations of genocidal vaccination campaigns, occult pedophile rites and Satanism. Instead of anything resembling a clear political division, America is increasingly split by blind, burning mutual hatred.

What American political life needs is not more censorship, but the self-censorship of reason. That is very far away.

Posted by b at 19:15 UTC | Comments (140)

January 12, 2021

Apartheid News

Sheldon Adelson, the casino oligarch who has financed far right causes as well as the political careers of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahoo, has died. In 2013 Adelson had called for nuking Tehran (vid).

Good Riddance.

Unfortunately his money will continue to flow to the far right as his Israeli wife is the one who is now running the show.

In other news B'Tselem, the topmost Israeli human rights organization, finally describes both Israel and its control of the Palestinian territories as a single apartheid regime:

B’Tselem rejects the perception of Israel as a democracy (inside the Green Line) that simultaneously upholds a temporary military occupation (beyond it). B’Tselem reached the conclusion that the bar for defining the Israeli regime as an apartheid regime has been met after considering the accumulation of policies and laws that Israel devised to entrench its control over Palestinians.

Nothing really new there but it makes it official.

With B'Tselem finally speaking out it is much easier to refute those who falsely denounce the much justified condemnation of Zionism and Israel as anti-semitic.

This comes at a time when Israel is scheming to derail the incoming Biden administration's plan to return to the nuclear deal with Iran:

Israel will start by sending a stream of envoys on visits to Washington, the official said, requesting anonymity to discuss private deliberations. It’s stated publicly that it doesn’t want the U.S. to abandon sanctions on the Islamic Republic without a new deal, and that a tougher stance should be taken toward its nuclear project, ballistic missile program and regional proxy forces.

That strategy runs against the Biden team’s willingness to re-enter the deal, then negotiate an expansion of its terms. It’s conditioned on Iran’s returning to compliance with the accord, whose limits it breached after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement in 2018.
...
Israel also has a higher-risk card up its sleeve: the potential to upend diplomatic efforts through covert operations against Iran.
...
Netanyahu has been open about his intention to thwart renewed U.S. participation. In a rare public split, he rebuked his envoy to Germany for supporting Berlin’s push to expand the deal.

“There should be no return to the Iran nuclear agreement of 2015 -- a deal which is flawed to its foundations,” Netanyahu said.

With Biden being an arch-Zionist and with a team of Zionist Jews leading the State Department the chances of a fast return to the deal can be regarded as slim.

Posted by b at 18:07 UTC | Comments (214)

January 11, 2021

Dear Congress - Stop Wasting Time With Impeaching Trump - End His Famine In Yemen

The pompous U.S. Secretary of State informed Congress that he will designate the Ansarallah movement in Yemen as Foreign Terrorist Organization. As Ansarallah, also known as the Houthi, is ruling over some 80% of Yemen's population such a designation will make aid deliveries to those people impossible:

The designation is to take effect on President Donald Trump’s last full day in office, a day before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. Several aid groups pleaded on Monday for Biden to immediately reverse the designation. The Biden transition team has not yet expressed his intentions.

“Acting on day one cannot only be a figure of speech,” Oxfam America’s Humanitarian Policy Lead Scott Paul said. “Lives hang in the balance.”

Six years of war between a U.S.-backed Arab coalition and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have been catastrophic for Yemen. Most of its 30 million people rely on international aid to survive. The U.N. says 13.5 million Yemenis already face acute food insecurity, a figure that could rise to 16 million by June.

The threat of the designation has immediate consequences:

Yemen Solidarity Council @YSCouncil - 5:58 UTC · 11 Jan 2021

We are ceasing all operations in the United States for the time being, as well as putting a temporary halt to our intended plans for humanitarian fundraising.

Let it be known that the Trump Administration just criminalized foreign humanitarian aid to #Yemen.

The famine in Yemen is already acute:

[Seven-year-old] Faid weighs only 7 kg (just over 15 lb) and his tiny, fragile frame takes up barely a quarter of a folded hospital blanket. His family had to travel from Al-Jawf, 170 km (105 miles) north of Sanaa, through checkpoints and damaged roads, to get him there.

Unable to afford Faid’s medication or treatment, the family relies on donations to get him treated. Mohammed says malnutrition cases are on the rise and impoverished parents are forced to rely on the kindness of strangers or international aid to get their children treated.

Missing in almost all reports about the ghastly State Department act is the fact that Congress can easily prevent that the terrorist designation becomes reality. The State Department's designation of the Houthi comes under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Paragraph 219 (8 USC 1189) a.3.B.ii of the law says:

Any designation under this subsection shall cease to have effect upon an Act of Congress disapproving such designation.

In April 2019 Congress voted to end all U.S. support for the Saudi/UAE war on Yemen:

The House voted 247 to 175 to send the resolution to the president’s desk, where it is likely to be met with a veto. Sixteen Republicans broke ranks and joined Democrats in the effort. The Senate passed the resolution last month, with seven Republicans voting in favor of it.

It is likely that a similar majority could be found now to stop the designation of Ansarallah. To immediately do this would only need some initiative from Congress leaders.

Unfortunately those leaders are currently busy with nonsensical stuff:

Cont. reading: Dear Congress - Stop Wasting Time With Impeaching Trump - End His Famine In Yemen

Posted by b at 18:51 UTC | Comments (127)