Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 11, 2017

Is There A New U.S. Syria Policy? Is There One At All?

What does the U.S. administration want with regards to Syria?

The elements were clear just a few days ago. The U.S. would split off the east and set up a Kurdish enclave which it would then occupy with the help of proxy forces. It would use the leverage to push for political regime change in western Syria. Israel would occupy another piece of the Golan.

While that looked somewhat favorable for the U.S. in the short term it was bad long term strategy. U.S. forces in the east would be surrounded by hostiles, cut off from the sea and under permanent guerilla attack from various opposing forces. But it looked at least like a viable short term way forward.

The new strategy, which may not be one at all, and the new U.S. commitment is all over the place:

As various officials have described it, the United States will intervene only when chemical weapons are used — or any time innocents are killed. It will push for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria — or pursue that only after defeating the Islamic State. America’s national interest in Syria is to fight terrorism. Or to ease the humanitarian crisis there. Or to restore stability.

I don't get it. The cacophony of the last days does not make any sense. There is no viable endgame I see here that would be advantageous for Trump or general U.S. borg policy - neither internationally nor domestically - neither short term nor long term. Trump is now losing the "America First" followers he will need to win another election.

Due to the anti-Russian panic Trump surrendered to the neocons. Suddenly the borg is lauding him for a senseless escalation. The neocons want chaos but chaos is not a plan. There seems to be no plan that will help any cause.

There is no chance that the U.S. can split Syria from its allies, Hizbullah, Iran and Russia. While Russia is under pressure in Kaliningrad, Crimea and Syria it has lived through way worse situation and these have always increased its determination. I don't see how or why it would fold now.

Trump had an intelligent strategy when he won against Clinton. He deftly use his advantages. There are few advantages that he has and can play with regards to Middle East policy. Use pure military force? That's not a strategy, just tactical game play. Though the generals who run his cabinet may not be capable to see that. If he destroys Syrian then Lebanon and Jordan will also fall to radicals. Other countries will follow. Iraq would again throw out all U.S. troops. Would the U.S., or Israel, want that? Why?

Whatever one might say about Trump, he is not stupid. He must have some kind of plan.

Help me out. What are his thoughts behind this. Or are there really none at all.

Posted by b on April 11, 2017 at 10:54 UTC | Permalink

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@ Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 12, 2017 5:23:25 AM | 193
@ Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 12, 2017 5:26:10 AM | 194

Propaganda can only do so much, the contents of that one aggregated article is more than sufficient material for many of the 189 nations of Terra, other than US/UK/Israhell/Turkey/GCC to demand UN action/investigations ...

As we discussed before, half-glass empty or glass half-full, re attitude & viewpoint of professional military, excluding senior brass political sell-outs ? The detailed leaks from Military & IC will now increase given the above ... they wanted the wahhabist head-chopper alliance to end, no war with Russia nor China nor endless war in ME, & 'Drain the Swamp', a not significant number of those 'Deplorables' who are feelin' betrayed are serving Military/Agencies (10%+ increase in vote from Military/Police for Trump-faction at the election/s)

Trump-faction and especially McMaster/Mattis/Tillerson may well not be so capable of chewing gum and kickin' ass at the same time, 'twould appear ;)

Hoarse, it's the entire military, not just a somewhat decrepit & obsolescent Nuclear arsenal, as was discussed in the open thread ... and RF capabilities are exercised for one/tenth the budgetary cost, China, 1/4 ... MICC has been all about corruption/bribes/cost+ contracts/vassal tribute, etc for far too long ... F35 farce, SDI, Zumwalts, Littorals, Army modernization program, and countless other USD sinkholes to nowhere, more & more chickens comin' home to roost.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 12 2017 9:48 utc | 201

Posted by: Mina | Apr 12, 2017 5:35:22 AM | 196

They seem to have demanded the withdrawal of German tornados and the closure of Rammstein US airbase. They also were not suicidal and intent on not getting caught.

You decide who likely did it.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 12 2017 9:58 utc | 202

@ Posted by: Mina | Apr 12, 2017 5:33:16 AM | 195

My understanding (can't nail down specifics) is that the UNSC text put forward may be a purposely drafted unacceptable flawed proposal, with the intention of forcing Russia/China to veto, so as to subsequently falsely claim Russia is concealing/protecting the supposed 'War Criminal' Assad, and demonstrates Russia's alleged failure to guarantee Syrias surrender of Chemical weapons ... typical perfidious Albion (UK) approach re UNSC. If so, it's not likely to float and may well generate severe blowback ...

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 12 2017 9:58 utc | 203

It is obvious the trumpeters have no clue about the world - never have & don't much care. Spicer is in trouble again this time for saying the nazis didn't use chemical weapons - yadayada breach of rule number one not remembering the holocaust in suitably hushed tones, the thing is he isn't getting pulled up on the real one - his claim that the US has never considered using chemical weapons.

Every year thousands of babies are born with birth defects in Vietnam; an issue which all amerikans willfully ignore.
For example when I searched 'Vietnam agent orange birth defects' the search engine threw up a pageful of stories on the handful of birth defects among the descendants of the perpetrators of the agent orange mass murders - so called 'vietnam vets' but not a word about the far greater numbers of defects among the grandchildren and great grandchildren of innocents. It wasn't until way down when I saw a link to the article in right wing englander trash rag that there was any acknowledgement of this horror perpetrated upon unwhite 'peasants'. These links are ordered by their popularity - it seems few amerikans show much interest in the reality of agent orange.

Of all the hypocrisies of the empire this one, the concern amerikans foist upon the agent orange perps while ignoring the horror visited upon millions of Vietnamese exposed to the agent orange neuro-toxin which I have always found to be one of the worst.
Cry for those babies trump let the cruise missiles rain down on capitol hill you weak prick. That's my takeaway from the last couple of weeks - donald trump like the vast majority of his countrymen is a weakling too gutless to deal with the reality of what amerika is.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Apr 12 2017 9:58 utc | 204

Outraged | Apr 12, 2017 5:48:28 AM | 198

I would add to that; very low moral in U.S. military personel on top of pathetic care for veterans crippled for life while serving.
The U.S.'s talent is no longer winning wars; just spreading chaos across a world it can no longer control...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Apr 12 2017 9:58 utc | 205

Debsisdead | Apr 12, 2017 5:58:51 AM | 201

Spot fucking ON!

Posted by: V. Arnold | Apr 12 2017 10:05 utc | 206

@ Posted by: V. Arnold | Apr 12, 2017 5:58:51 AM | 202

Hell, morale has been shot since 2005, and that includes Reserves & National Guard, don't get me started on VA !

SF have openly spoken to journo's of purposely doing a 'Go Slow' & not training head-choppers competently, 'Fuck orders! Ain't gonna do it!'. Going from draft to volunteer professional was supposed to prevent this, but all the contracts/regulations and promises have been repeatedly breached, and just too many damned lies ...

DC and the neocons/neolibs are in another reality, deaf/dumb/blind, completely detached and deluded by they're own propaganda/myths/lies ... occasionally reminds me of the day Ceausescu started a speech from the balcony above the ? square in Romania, and the gathered masses openly laughed, booed, heckled and mocked, within 24 hours the entire country and military turned on his unassailable dictatorship and summarily executed him and the worst of the worst.

Fantastical fantasy ?

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 12 2017 10:15 utc | 207

@194 Hoarsewhisperer
I'm sorry, but what was there to misunderstand? Sounds pretty straightforward to me, the threat wasn't even veiled

Posted by: Grim Deadman | Apr 12 2017 10:20 utc | 208

@ Posted by: PavewayIV | Apr 11, 2017 3:23:23 PM | 107

Much of the genesis of current US policy rests in the period the British empire became bankrupted from the expenses of WWII and the US assumed ¡Pax Britannica!. Britain found itself economically captured by ME oil and incapable to buy sufficient supplies. The US was presented with the British rationalisation for control of the region - remember at the time the US was the world's largest supplier of petroleum - which the Yanks, as is their wont, took superficial cognisance of when accepting the remit. Those rationalisations are far down the Yank memory hole, inaccessible lodged in a history not remembered. A recommended read of that history is recorded in Peter Frankopan's "The Silk Roads, A New History of the World", ISBN 978-1-4088-3997-3 (Bloomsbury hardback, paperback available) which provides at the end of the historical part an excellent recital of the history of that period from which sound conclusions can be drawn.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Apr 12 2017 10:40 utc | 209

I don't buy the idea that Trump intended all this. I think the neocons have pushed him into it. Also, I think we can overplay the "deep state" line. There is no occult secret group that rules the world. There are powerful interest groups out to do this, but there is constant struggle against other similar groups, as well as other very different groups. I think the key tussle now is between the neocons and the Muslim Brotherhood related axis. The chemical incident, just like at Ghouta in 2013, reached MSM and the UN incredibly fast. The Al Nusra boys on the ground have some pretty efficient contacts to make it all work. They could easily pull off another stunt at any time, and given how successful this one was from their point of view, there will be strong forces in Idlib, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, pushing for just this to start the next stage of their fantasy attacks. Are the neocons ready for this ? Do they think they can get away with boots on the ground ? How would the US public take it ? I imagine there are a lot of nervous neocons at the moment, which makes the Muslim Brotherhood potentially very powerful. I expect at the recent G7 meeting Tillerson was saying to the Gulf states : "Control your attack dogs or the deal is off". Either way, the ball is now in Assad's court. Full speed ahead with spring offensives.

Posted by: aniteleya | Apr 12 2017 10:44 utc | 210

@ Peter AU

Well, here's the specifics of the 'advanced notice' to Russia re Shayrat, from Cresty link @ 179, via Consortium News, and only accentuates why they're so pissed:

Retired Lt. General Yevgeny Buzhinsky (Russian) dealt with the question of the forewarning which the Russians received from the United States before the missile launch, saying:

“Trump is sitting on two stools. This is very sad. Yes, the U.S. gave us one and a half hours, maybe two hours of advance warning of the attack. But how?

“There are several lines of communication between us. There is a Chief of General Staff to Chief of General Staff line, which is very fast. This was not used. Instead they used a line of communications set up by the 2015 Deconfliction Memorandum of Understanding, at the regional level, between Americans in Jordan and Russians in Syria.

“The message on the impending attack was sent to the U.S. command in Jordan in the middle of the night and the duty officer was in no rush to forward it to his Russian counterpart in Syria. The duty officer there sent it to Moscow, to the Ministry of Defense, which also did not rush to respond or to pass the message to the Syrians. Net result: the two hours was barely enough for the Russians to take necessary precautionary measures. The Russian Ministry was furious.”

No doubt this explains why the first Russian reaction to the whole affair was to suspend the Deconfliction Memorandum.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 12 2017 10:51 utc | 211

Superficially it certainly appears the U.S. mandate from heaven is over and the era of the mandate is now history, all but the shouting (and bombing, and mayhem). One option possible in the future is a deliberate and conscious return to the era of great powers such as existed prior to WWI, each assured of its place but incapable of successful military adventure on another great power. Such conditions did work fairly well until great powers agreed alliances with other great powers. Lingually great power is a better term than the commonly used superpower or hyper-power in avoiding the assumptions of hubris inherent in delusions of hegemony. There is absolutely no evidence of the assumed hegemon self correcting - ever.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Apr 12 2017 10:53 utc | 212

Who knows what the fuck Trump is doing. Looks very much like a game of 52 Card Toss, see which numbers are face up and have a talk about them. No cohesion in any voice. Tweets here, banshees there, clowns front and centre. 'Another toss up tomorrow then lads...?'

One thing for sure is the MSM sickness on show has gone into new territory with news anchors reciting Leonard Cohen lyrics to the latest US air strikes. The schisms in the collective mind of the public opening up a little more- 'why isn't the news attacking Trump for this...? It attacked everything else?' People starting to question a little more... don't think it was a goal here of Trump, but seeing Ron Paul's 'what if..' Spike in views the last few days is a pleasing side effect. From what I can tell of the comments sections of social media lately, the informed public are not doing a bad job at telling a more whole truth.

But, yeah, pretty stupid from the President. Trump separated himself from his base - and the best part of it - the MOST principled among voters who will work for free, but who a politician only her gets one chance with. Took him 3 months. Political suicide is clever...? Even Machiavelli would have a problem with this plan.

@122 Actually Syria is still a very functional country - IF those outside players would stop paying for invasion and destruction. The Kurds are able to work out some kind of limited autonomy - They say so repeatedly and demonstrated the same for all the years of this war. Likewise the Druze. The Sunni have voted repeatedly for Bashar, and 1450 towns & cities have a reconciliation settlement with the Government.
Syria, as far as Syrians are concerned, is still a viable state.
Does it have hope? That is a different question altogether... one I have trouble envisioning in the near term.

Posted by: les7 | Apr 12, 2017 12:41:24 AM | 170

Well said. Very foolish to say Syria is not a viable state. Last I looked it's running a very efficient war economy. What can emerge from this?? Necessity being the mother of invention and all I would argue that Syria is more bonded now than doesn't hear of bumbling sections of the SAA anymore. A daily existential threat will do just that - forge and bond a peoples under constant battle hardening conditions. I don't see ruins. I see bronze statues of Issam Zahradine dotted around the country in a few years.

The west has no idea of the collective psyche of the Syrian people. To say that the Syrian people want Assad removed is to deny the opposite reality. The west is delirious with misinformation.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Apr 12 2017 10:55 utc | 213

Reads like a policy to me...


Posted by: x | Apr 12 2017 10:59 utc | 214


I will run a thought scenario past you.

You most likely have seen it but check les7's post @170 also my two bits worth @174/175.
Also Rand Corporations "Thinking the Unthinkable"

From what I have read, China has built up a huge scientific database. China for some time has placed great emphasis on science and maths in schooling.
In some things, like manoeuvrable hypersonic glide missiles and perhaps other unknown mil hardware China is world leading. Within a decade, the scientific database, the schooling will bear a full crop.
They will be leading the world in technology and innovation - including military tech -, manufacturing, economy. China will have surpassed the US in every way.
If the US does not act now, between now and when China's foundation work fully matures in about ten years, the US will collapse in the same way as the soviet union collapsed, but perhaps far harder.

If this is the case, then China is the primary target, Russia secondary target. US going for broke.

The common theme coming out of Trump, Tillerson, Haley is that the US is willing to take unilateral action. They are now shaping up to hit both Syria and NK. The tomahawk attack on airbase where some Russian personal were stationed was a warning to get out. The strike on NK will be another warning to Russia, but the idea is to provoke retaliatory action that can be labeled aggression, necessitating a naval blockade of China. But before the naval blockade will be the decapitating strike on Syria, whether Russia is there or not. Russian sovereign territory naval and airbase not targeted. ( US thought behind this - if there is very little left for Russia to defend, they will pack up and go home and that will be the end of Russia as an up and coming power)
Part of the reason for the attack on Syria to provoke Iran into shutting down Strait of Hormuz to help deprive China of oil.

That is just a hypothetical based on what is occurring.

But if US intentions are along these lines, and what is driving them is the basis of the Rand report, which makes it fairly clear that it is now or never for the US, then it may take a lot to prevent the US from going ahead with it.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 12 2017 11:05 utc | 215

Very good translated Russian analysis on who profits from the "crisis"

Everyone lost who was supposed to win

Posted by: somebody | Apr 12 2017 11:09 utc | 216

@ Posted by: MadMax2 | Apr 12, 2017 6:55:45 AM | 210

Damned right & spot on!

Strategic bombing of civilians in WWII, NK, Vietnam and elsewhere never weakened resolve, morale or commitment, precisely the f*(king opposite effect. Bronze statues indeed. The uncommitted non-nationalists and incapable due to brutalization & trauma have long fled. The die-hards remaining are experienced, hardened, trained and better resourced & led than ever. They will not give up at the cusp of success over the the head-choppers, given the blood & treasure already expended. Not ... going ... to ... happen. Nor RF/Iran/Hezbollah. The stakes are too high.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 12 2017 11:11 utc | 217

outraged 208
You were pretty much spot on, saying one to two hours warning a couple of days ago.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 12 2017 11:19 utc | 218

Another foolish stance by China:

China's Xi tells Trump he wants peaceful solution to North Korea

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 12 2017 11:41 utc | 219

@Julian 137
Re: Timing of CW prior to Brussels Syria meeting and French elections. I was wondering about this timing... and also a 3rd diffusion seen with regards to what looks like an obvious 'unmasking a US citizen' felony by Barry'O's Susan Rice, confirming the 'wiretap' (with the addition of shining a light on the disturbing work of the 5 Eyes.)

This worked on a number of levels - if we look at what was in the spotlight before.

However, correct me if I am wrong, and a generalisation perhaps (and Hollande is not a great example), but the French never much seemed like a Nation Of Shiteaters like the Yanks, Aussies or Brits very much are, and are much more likely to respond to someone calling a spade 'a spade' against the grain of the MSM or guvna's narrative.

If mainstream polls during Brexit and the US Pres.election (Dutch response to a lesser degree) are anything to go by, I think you can place a little wager that Le Pen and Menchelon's number a little bit higher than what they appear.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Apr 12 2017 11:42 utc | 220

@189 I had Patrick Lang spell all that out to me yesterday, and with the added snippet that the possibility of hazardous chemicals was discussed, and it was the AMERICANS who decided that the risk was so low that they wouldn't object to a Syrian airstrike on the target warehouse.

Both Pat Lang and "Publius Tacitus" are insistent that the field officers know that this was not a deliberate CW attack, indeed, so insistent that they must be getting very credible insider information.

While I don't doubt their sincerity, it rather flies in the face of the US and the Russian postures.

I mean, surely the Russians *record* those phone conversations, and surely the Americans know that the Russians record those conversations.

And, let's face it, the Russians must be able to produce before/after photos of the very warehouse that had been the subject of that discussion, and they must have radar tracks showing a US drone circling overhead as the SU-22 dropped its bombs.

So why aren't the Americans acting like they know the Russians have them by the short and curlies?

The two sides simply aren't acting in the way that would be expected if Pat Lang's information was accurate.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 12 2017 11:51 utc | 221

@ Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 12, 2017 7:05:11 AM | 212

They will be leading the world in technology and innovation - including military tech -, manufacturing, economy. China will have surpassed the US in every way.

Unquestionably, and in a number of respects already has, where it matters. China is spending $400Billion USD on large scale renewable projects (Solar/Wind/Hydro/Thermal) in only the next 2.5 years, the equivalent of it's entire Annual Defense budget bianually, so it can rapidly de-commission coal power plants and offset strategic dependency on Oil/Gas imports.

Years ago visited numerous remote villages/small townships in regional areas that were entirely self-sufficient thru community scale Solar/Wind Hybrid/storage systems, including hot water/heating and battery backup/fail-over standby storage ... domestic cost was peanuts. China now owns and operates 5 of the 6 major & leading renewable energy manufacturing/corporations in the world, IIRC.

The stink-tank goals have always been there, endlessly regurgitated and rehashed again and again from one administration to the next. War with China is a prelude to a World wide economic depression that would make the 30's look like a walk in the park, IMV. Why has it not been done since '49, NK '53, Russia 1917, Cuba '62, and so on ?

When Nixon, Tricky Dicky, was on occasion drunk and deranged and openly threatening to Nuke Nth Vietnam & China, the officer assigned to the 'Football' was ordered to be 'scarce' and the JCS & Operations officers issued instructions to carry out any Presidential directives as if they were actual 'snails', until he sobered up ... and that included such moral & principled handlers such as the war criminal Kissinger! ... over what was at the time referred to as only commie gooks 7 chinks, 'others'. (can provide the open source references if anyone is interested.)

The capabilities have atrophied, overwhelming superiority has been lost, and the adversaries have passed beyond being defenseless potential victims. And largely due the reactions to the 'Rogue' conduct re 2001/2003 Afghan/Iraq. Cannot see it happening. And, IF it somehow did go ahead, as speculated, a single toss of the dice, risk it all on win or lose, to obtain hegemony of all of Terra ... well, say hello to almost inevitable immediate mutual mandatory reactionary escalation and subsequent MAD ... duck & cover, put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.

2017 is not '45, nor '62, etc. Lived and served thru the 60's to 90's, as have others, and the greater risk is not an actual direct attack, but a miscalculation/accident/misunderstanding when at sustained toe-to-toe, eyeball-to-eyeball, that inadvertantly instantly goes to shit, IMV.

The materiel/logistical key indicators with unavoidable lead times of min ~3-6 months, once such a strategic decision has been made and formally committed to, do not exist, yet.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 12 2017 11:52 utc | 222

John McDonnell is the latest Labour Party high flyer to condemn Assad without an investigation..First principles of NATURAL JUSTICE..
Audi Alteram Partem
[Latin, hear the other side.] It embodies the concept in Criminal Law that no person should be condemned unheard; it is akin to due process. The notion that an individual, whose life, liberty, or property are in legal jeopardy, has the right to confront the evidence against him or her in a fair hearing is one of the fundamental principles of Constitutional Law in the United States and England.
Western politicians and the MSM have dismissed International law And seem to be embracing the doctrine that might is right.

Posted by: harrylaw | Apr 12 2017 11:53 utc | 223

sorry but your idea of the french is pre-android games, pre-internet. No one will bother to take out to the streets.

Posted by: Mina | Apr 12 2017 11:59 utc | 224

Anon1 | Apr 12, 2017 7:41:54 AM | 216

So, you buy all the west's propaganda/bullshit about North Korea?
NK is probably the single biggest target of SK and U.S. propaganda in the world.
The U.S. doesn't like that which it can't control; if NK didn't have nukes it would have been destroyed decades ago.
Iran is still a target and likely will be attacked in the near term because it has no nukes. Russia and China may well play a role in stopping the U.S./Israel attacking Iran; that remains to be seen.
Anybody who believes anything coming out of the U.S. is an idiot/cretin fool.
Wake up fools; you're being played...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Apr 12 2017 12:08 utc | 225

@ Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 12, 2017 7:51:18 AM | 218

Corporate controlled western MSM. Gets no air.

From the moment first glimpsed the still with sprayed water, no treated rubber overboots, sealed NBC masks/suits/treated gloves, instantly new it was all total BS, and we'd soon see the likes of Scott Ritter & others articulately rip it all to shreds, and therefore wasted few words on it.

Should never confuse the cankerous husks of a clique of political sellouts among the brass at General/Admiral level, one star & above, such as urbane Colin Powell of Mai lay fame or that consistent & persistent for more than a decade now soulless rat bastard Petraeus, McMasters mentor/patron, with the average views/opinions/attitudes of field officers & SNCOs and below at the coal face, in the shit, down below ... two very different worlds indeed.

Snowdens/Mannings/etc are now popping up at an ever accelerating rate over the last decade ... and many can only succeed with at least the 'passive' support/indifference/acceptance/co-operation of immediate colleagues and peers ... why ?

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 12 2017 12:18 utc | 226

Trump is stupid.

Posted by: Eric Zuesse | Apr 12 2017 12:49 utc | 227

Trump is stupid, but some of the people who advised him were very intelligent, and he has since gotten rid of him or them.

Posted by: Eric Zuesse | Apr 12 2017 12:55 utc | 228

Eric Zuesse | Apr 12, 2017 8:49:42 AM | 224
Trump is stupid.

Yes, he is; and...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Apr 12 2017 12:56 utc | 229

@223 Ooooookay.... I'm backing away verrrrrry slowly.

Look, I'm just pointing this out: Pat Lang insists that the USAF deconfliction staff signed off on the Syrian AF plan because everyone - USAF, RuAF, SyianAF, EVERYONE - expected that the Syrian attack would set off a massive fireworks display. And instead they got a deadly CW cloud because That's What Was Being Stored In That Warehouse.

Now, again, I'm only making a simple point: If Pat Lang's information is correct then it staggers the imagination that the Russians *don't* have a recording of that phonecall, in which case Why On Earth Are The Trumpians Setting Themselves Up For A Kick In The Nuts When The Russians Release That Recording.

And, indeed, if Pat Lang's information is correct then why aren't the Russians releasing that recording, thereby kicking Trump in the nuts?

Ranting about how the MSM is "controlled" doesn't answer those points, precisely because it is the Russians who would have that recording, not CNN. And it would be Putin who would decide wether to release it, not Rupert Murdoch.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 12 2017 13:03 utc | 230

Ghostship 111
It's interesting that the deal for a civilian swap was made between Iran and Qatar and did not involve Damascus, US, Russia, Saudis, etc. Why Iran and Qatar?

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 12 2017 13:32 utc | 231

@188 mina, @189 or,

if the links don't pass muster, or if folks are just interested in them they're here as well.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 12 2017 13:37 utc | 232


No not at all, you misunderstood me completely, what I meant was that China is foolish for playing along with US against North Korea.

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 12 2017 13:44 utc | 233

@somebody 187

Not sure if you've read about the upgraded fusing in US w76 SLBMs. Apparently they effectively double the size of the US nuclear deterrent by giving a greater than 90% hard target kill capability against Russian silo based nuclear missiles. I think the latest round of coming Russian missile upgrades and the introduction of the Iskander are responses to the backdoor upgrade the US snuck in when doing life extension/stockpile stewardship.

The hypersonic delivery system + iIskander will help bring some parity vs. a US SLBM attack of Russian silos from just off their coast. They don't call it MAD for nothin!

Posted by: WG | Apr 12 2017 13:46 utc | 234

China has just sent a clear signal that they will not tolerate U.S. forces approaching the Yalu.

They sent a similar signal in the past which was ignored.

Will the U.S. listen and still ignore China's wishes this time around?

Posted by: Morongobill | Apr 12 2017 13:52 utc | 235

Posted by: WG | Apr 12, 2017 9:46:06 AM | 231

As I understood it "won" in this context means the US have no chance to achieve first strike capability in the sense that they can do it without having to fear retaliation.

If anything at all it will make the world safer because Russia has made it clear in the past that they would do "first strike" whenever feeling seriously threatened. Having achieved mutually assured destruction they might relax a bit.

Here from Germany, it seems the world has got used to the repeated attempt to start a new cold war, and takes it less and less seriously.

The issue has been taken from the first pages of newspapers. Putin and Lavrov are quoted in the news the same way Trump and Tillerson are.

Germany, France and Italy seem to have refused new sanctions - this will be the new Europe minus Britain.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 12 2017 13:56 utc | 236

@208 or,

yes, the joint chiefs of staff now how to 'deliver' messages they don't want delivered ...

Appendix A, Assault on the Liberty, James M Ennes Jr. ...

We have discussed in the preceding text five messages - all mishandled, delayed or lost - any one of which might have saved the ship had it been received by Liberty. On the following pages we will describe each message in more detail. All five messages are in standard military format and include the following elements:

... see the link above.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 12 2017 13:57 utc | 237

Trump has no foreign policy because he has no State Department. The Democrats, and a few republicans, are blocking confirmation of his nominations except for Tillerson.

The same is true of Defense. It cannot be said he is in control of the military because only two high-level Defense Department officials, Mattis, a general, and Work, a carry-over, are confirmed. Acting officials are in place but I doubt they can control the generals.

The hold-up on confirmations is high treason on the part of the Democrats. The only conceivable base for their conduct is Wall Street, and there is plenty of evidence of that.

Posted by: David Hungerford | Apr 12 2017 14:06 utc | 238

Anon1 | Apr 12, 2017 9:44:18 AM | 230

Well, take responsibilityfor your wording, which was ambiguous at best.
To be clear, I'm pleased with your intention as explained here.
And I agree...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Apr 12 2017 14:18 utc | 239

@211 x,

that 1983 paper by graham e fuller - godfather of al-cia-duh ... and father-in-law of ruslan tsarnaev, uncle of the boston marathon boys ... is an amazing read. these bastards never give up. we'll have to drive wooden stakes through their hearts. everyone of 'em at cia, nsa, fbi ...

Posted by: jfl | Apr 12 2017 14:34 utc | 240

@ Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 12, 2017 9:03:44 AM | 227

My apologies, haven't been sleeping well. Misunderstood, as rarely visit SST. Well, that would be interesting indeed, but sign-off, as opposed to 'not protest/object to' ? RF (& on behalf of SAAF) and US/Coalition do not 'approve' each others strikes/flights ...

Was there an actual phonecall, or was it encrypted secure voice, or numerous other comms means ? Even if there was a recording/record of a 'non-objection' why would anyone believe the Evil Russkies even if they claimed so ? Little else they say is given any credence, including by MSM (ranting again), no ? Lies, #Fake ! Its fabricated!

@ Posted by: jfl | Apr 12, 2017 9:57:36 AM | 234

Aware of the detail of the criminal conduct re the USS Liberty, different context though and involved Israhell ... our, 'Precious' ... including direct explicit 'lawful' orders to individuals re 'secrecy', and all the following non-investigations and ever evolving misinformation contrary to service regs & Law ... buried deep.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 12 2017 14:41 utc | 241

x @ 215
USA attempted coup in Syria long before 1983, way back under Ike in 1956-7, shortly after the "successful" coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran. Too much detail for this space, suffice to say the USA spies who offered big bucks to Syrians were all apprehended and escorted to the border. And of course USA media covered up the entire episode. Details are Blum, Killing Hope, Chapter 12 p. 84, pdf free online, just google it.

Posted by: mauisurfer | Apr 12 2017 21:34 utc | 242

Report by White House Alleging Proof of Syria as the Perpetrator of the Nerve Agent Attack in Khan Shaykhun on April 4, 2017

14 page document

Posted by: ALberto | Apr 12 2017 23:00 utc | 243

@277 "RF (& on behalf of SAAF) and US/Coalition do not 'approve' each others strikes/flights"

Fine. Seems to be splitting hairs - the deconfliction MoU must contain a mechanism whereby one side can raise an objection to the other side's plans - even if those objections are dismissed - and in this case Pat Lang insists that the USAF was told the time, location, and objective of the planned bombing raid and they raised no objection.

"Was there an actual phonecall, or was it encrypted secure voice, or numerous other comms means ?"

Both authors at SST insist that it is a dedicated phoneline, and if the phone operator can hear what is being said by the other side then so can a voice recorder.

It simply beggars belief that the Russians and the Americans don't record those deconfliction briefings, precisely so they can avoid post-cockup "he said/she said" finger pointing.

Honestly, how can you think otherwise?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 12 2017 23:24 utc | 244

Looks like young Kim is deliberately provoking US to attack.
Seems to be a bit happening in NK at the moment, but the picture that is starting to take shape is that NK is deliberately trying to make US attack, rather than just Kim shooting off his mouth.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 12 2017 23:38 utc | 245

@ 245

Honestly, how can you not understand what 'not object/not protest' means re your assertion. Do you actually understand what encrypted secure voice is and how it operates and is utilized between States such as US/RF ?

... in this case Pat Lang insists that the USAF was told the time, location, and objective of the planned bombing raid and they raised no objection.

All precisely how it works, and the latter, highly probable 'no objection/no protest', as I stated earlier contrary to your 'Signed off/agreed/approved/gave permission' assertion, are two entirely different things.

To use your phraseology, with respect ... Honestly, what are you on about ?

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 13 2017 0:10 utc | 246

@ Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 12, 2017 7:38:31 PM | 246

Further to the thought scenario, see following summary article, but especially recommend the embedded links/reports/sources, good aggregate and current as opposed to older dated material. More suitable than a long less detailed personal, 'rant'. There are other aspects considerations as well, yet, this covers the core of it.

Attacking North Korea: surely Donald Trump couldn’t be that foolish
April 12, 2017

Especially recommend links at:

'The fallout risk has long been recognised as one of the reasons discounting air strikes against North Korea as a viable military option.' and,

'It (Seoul) is virtually indefensible against artillery and missile barrage. It is virtually indefensible against artillery and missile barrage. Is the Trump administration willing to risk a cascade into full-scale war that would jeopardise the lives of millions of South Koreans in Seoul and its surrounds?'

PS: NK have habitually, routinely spouted overblown, pompous, bellicose exaggerated rhetoric since '50. It rarely means much, except for when there are obviously unusual & specific changes in phraseology/wording ...

PPS: Given the farce of the 'Intelligence report' by the WH on Syria ... against lived/professional training/experience ... the stupidity and conduct/actions of these insane clowns is beginning to make me start to doubt ... failing to properly assess hubristic/mendacious/duplicitous irrational lunatics as a result of being sufficiently sane/rational ?

Oh, and anything Tillerson says from now on cannot be in any way be considered credible. record so far of reliability & accuracy (E/4). He is now a repeatedly proven deliberate outright liar. Doesn't evade or misdirect, just casually outright lies.

@ jfl

Another useful summary and valuable aggregate of reference/sources, you may wish to archive, or not. Cheers ;)

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 13 2017 0:38 utc | 247

1. Wilful blindness of the Trump War Cabinet didn't just happen. It must have been planned weeks, if not months in advance.

2. It is also evident that Trump could not have betrayed his base without the political cover provided by the Democratic Party attack dogs inciting 'Not My President' protests and orchestrating smears about Russian influence.

Trump is very familiar with such controlled opposition efforts because he led the same against Obama. Now that Trump is President, all is forgiven!! No FBI investigation of the Obama birth certificate, no charges against Hillary.

Does anyone doubt any longer that there is collusion at the highest reaches of the duopoly and Deep State?

3. The conclusion is inescapable: Trump, like Obama in 2008, is a willing participant in the subversion of American democracy in furtherance of the Empire. I'd guess that the Clintons recommended him to the interests that the Clintons serve. Interests that Trump would already be very familiar with.

But how it actually happened is really beside the point. For Trump, the insecure opportunist, the Presidential show is his big break. Bigger than 'The Apprentice'. It's huuge. He will make billions and secure his place as American royalty. He'd give his left nut for that. And for all we know he has.

So the 2016 election was a nothing more than a show:

>> Sanders
The sheep-dog populist that got more followers than expected. Why did he refuse to show his 2014 taxes - despite saying how "boring" they were?

>> Hillary (& Bill)
The Centrist "voice of reason" that will be king-maker, if not President herself, in 2020 (as she was in 2016?). She made public 10 years of taxes because Clinton graft is masked by the Clinton Foundation - allegedly ;)

>> Trump
The populist hero and negotiator. He never showed his taxes: It's rumored that he's worth far less than he claims but the real scandal will be how his wealth grows during his Presidential term.

Minor parts were played by:

>> Low-energy Jeb and his protege Rubio robotico. Gotta love controlled oppo.

>> Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon
Were they duped into being the straight men for this 'con'? Each lent credibility to Trump's populist message.

>> Corporate Media

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

What happened to the anti-Trump protestors? Are they curled up in a corner suffering from cognitive dissonance?

It was only weeks ago that they called Trump a new Hitler, now they are silent as Trump launches an shoot-from-the-hip attack that is lauded by Democratic leaders and their media poodles.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 13 2017 1:56 utc | 248

@ Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 12, 2017 9:56:09 PM | 249

Yeeesss, but. Rationalization & revisionist, IMHO.

Trump-faction was not supposed to win, it was not intended, that is very clear from the detailed reactions of the 'briefed' leaders of the vassal States, EU, etc over a period of many weeks following ... immediately subsequently to the election/s the delegitimization/subordination campaign re-calibrated and then continued on at an even higher pitch & intensity ... recently, 7-10 days, given 180' degree backflips on clear statements from multiple appointments over a 48 hour period ... it would appear possible, offers were made, that could not be refused.

Sen. Chuck Schumer CIA SIX Ways To SUNDAY (Gods Day) to get back at you. Even a Pres. Jan 05 2017(Youtube 1Min23Sec)

Note 'Chuck' breaking the 4th wall ?

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 13 2017 2:48 utc | 249

@ Outraged

"PPS: Given the farce of the 'Intelligence report' by the WH on Syria ... against lived/professional training/experience ... the stupidity and conduct/actions of these insane clowns is beginning to make me start to doubt ... failing to properly assess hubristic/mendacious/duplicitous irrational lunatics as a result of being sufficiently sane/rational ?"

Method in the madness? Perhaps what we are seeing now, as compared to the cold war is more risk taking as things are getting desperate. The utter crap posted as intelligence that a child can see through (declassified social media evidence WTF) with MH17 and now this CW attack.

Perhaps the difference between now and the cold war is that if all players act according to international law, not that the US ever has, China will overtake the US in every way very shortly. The US has never faced this threat before.

From what I can see, Russia with its entry into Syria is only a geopolitical threat - pushing the vision of a multipolar world ect. If Russia can be made to fail in Syria, they will be effectively sidelined and dealt with at leisure.

What is the US strategy for taking China down. There has be one that the US is actively working on/enacting. Perhaps it is something similar to Rand Corp's "Thinking the Unthinkable" or perhaps it is something different. Whatever it is, any misjudgement - misjudgement of responses to actions, would most likely end in, or escalate to all out war.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 13 2017 3:09 utc | 250

@ Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 12, 2017 11:09:41 PM | 251

Largely concur, yet, would argue the moment passed years ago, maybe 2006-2008 ... the Empire has already lost.

To attempt to go for a Home Run on the final ball is tempting suicide on a mere flip of a coin.

Regardless of the Cold War circumstances, nor the events of the last 16 years especially, the 0.01% who have been in control since at least '45 are bullies, yet, critically, proven risk averse cowards. They will not take that final step, intentionally, IMV.

When they had the bomb, why did they not do as they wished from Sept '46 to August '49 when the USSR was arguably defenceless and vulnerable, until it detonated its own nuclear weapon ?

Suggest drawing a distinction between geopolitical objectives via threats/propaganda/rhetoric and the personal safety well-being of the 0.01% who direct, finance and manipulate the front facing puppets, Dem/GOP/Agencies/Stink-tanks/NGOs/Congress critters, et al.

Are the 0.01% irrational/insane ? Are they willing to risk nuclear Armageddon and live out they're lives in a sealed yet luxuriously appointed underground bunker complex ? Doesn't sound too appealing to me, even at my age ;)

One of the theories of geopolitical Statecraft developed and proposed during the latter stages of the Cold War was one of unpredictable irrationality. That is fine for the front facing puppets, but it is a contrived faux strategy to achieve a goal directed by sane/rational architects/patrons, yes ?

What I currently suspect we are seeing is simply the farcical conduct of incompetent clowns flailing about whilst attempting to fulfill the directions of those who have recently, made offers, that cannot be refused, in all likelihood.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 13 2017 3:38 utc | 251

@248 or,

from your link

In July 2006, former defence officials Ashton Carter and William Perry suggested that the US could prevent further missile tests and send a strong message to the North Korean leadership by surgically attacking the country’s missile launch platforms. Such proposals have never been followed through: the assumption North Korea would not retaliate is a high-risk bet.

Targeting missile facilities is one thing. Bombing North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure is a different proposition. For surgical air strikes to be successful, the US needs to be sure the most critical sites have been destroyed.

the fools in ac/dc know nothing about war ...

Bruce Cumings, The Korean War, a history

After much experimentation and scientific study by Germany, Britain, and the United States, by 1943 it became clear that “a city was easier to burn down than to blow up.”


Top air force officers decided to repeat “the fire” in Korea, a wildly disproportionate scheme in that North Korea had no pretense or possibility of a similar city-busting capability. Whereas German fighter planes and anti-aircraft batteries made these allied bombing runs harrowing, with high loss of life among British and American pilots and crew, American pilots had virtual free-fire zones until later in the war, when formidable Soviet MIGs were deployed. Curtis LeMay subsequently said that he had wanted to burn down North Korea’s big cities at the inception of the war, but the Pentagon refused - “it’s too horrible.” So over a period of three years, he went on,

  “We burned down every [sic] town in North Korea and South Korea, too .… Now, over a period of three years this is palatable, but to kill a few people to stop this from happening - a lot of people can’t stomach it.”[4]

To take just one example of these “limited” raids, on July 11, 1952, an “all-out assault” on Pyongyang involved 1,254 air sorties by day and 54 B-29 assaults by night, the prelude to bombing thirty other cities and industrial objectives under “operation PRESSURE PUMP.”

Highly concentrated incendiary bombs were followed up with delayed demolition explosives.

By 1968 the Dow Chemical Company, a major manufacturer of napalm, could not enter most college campuses to recruit employees because of napalm’s use in Vietnam, but oceans of it were dropped on Korea silently or without notice in America, with much more devastating effect, since the DPRK had many more populous cities and urban industrial installations than did Vietnam. Furthermore, the U.S. Air Force loved this infernal jelly, its “wonder weapon,” as attested to by many articles in “trade” journals of the time.* One day Pfc. James Ransome, Jr.’s unit suffered a “friendly” hit of this wonder weapon: his men rolled in the snow in agony and begged him to shoot them, as their skin burned to a crisp and peeled back “like fried potato chips.” Reporters saw case after case of civilians drenched in napalm - the whole body “covered with a hard, black crust sprinkled with yellow pus.”[5]

Korea recapitulated the air force’s mantra from World War II, that firebombing would erode enemy morale and end the war sooner, but the interior intent was to destroy Korean society down to the individual constituent: General Ridgway, who at times deplored the free-fire zones he saw, nonetheless wanted bigger and better napalm bombs (thousand-pound versions to be dropped from B-29s) in early 1951, thus to “wipe out all life in tactical locality and save the lives of our soldiers.”

“If we keep on tearing the place apart,” Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett said, “we can make it a most unpopular affair for the North Koreans. We ought to go right ahead.” (Lovett had advised in 1944 that the Royal Air Force had no restrictions on attacks against enemy territory, so the American bombers should “wipe out the town as the RAF does.”)[6]

[4] Princeton University, J.F. Dulles Papers, Curtis LeMay oral history, April 28, 1966. South Korean cities were bombed only when North Koreans or Chinese occupied them, and the destruction was much less than in the North. On the bombing as a war crime, see Walzer (1992), 155–56.
[5] Crane, Conrad C. (2000). American Airpower Strategy in Korea, 1950–1953. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 32–33, 66– 68, 122–25, 133; Knox, Donald (1985). The Korean War: Pusan to Chosin - An Oral History. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 552.
[6] Lovett in Truman Library, Connelly Papers, “Notes on Cabinet Meetings,” Sept. 12, 1952.


Air force plans for attacks on North Korea’s large dams originally envisioned hitting twenty of them, thus to destroy 250,000 tons of rice that would soon be harvested. In the event, bombers hit three dams in mid-May 1953, just as the rice was newly planted: Toksan, Chasan, and Kuwonga; shortly thereafter two more were attacked, at Namsi and Taechon. These are usually called “irrigation dams” in the literature, but they were major dams akin to many large dams in the United States. The great Suiho Dam on the Yalu River was second in the world only to Hoover Dam, and was first bombed in May 1952 (although never demolished, for fear of provoking Beijing and Moscow). The Pujon River dam was designed to hold 670 million cubic meters of water, and had a pressure gradient of 999 meters; the dam’s power station generated 200,000 kilowatts from the water. [10] According to the official U.S. Air Force history, when fifty-nine F-84 Thunderjets breached the high containing wall of Toksan on May 13, 1953, the onrushing flood destroyed six miles of railway, five bridges, two miles of highway, and five square miles of rice paddies. The first breach at Toksan “scooped clean” twenty-seven miles of river valley, and sent water rushing even into Pyongyang. After the war it took 200,000 man-days of labor to reconstruct the reservoir. But as with so many aspects of the war, no one seemed to notice back home: only the very fine print of New York Times daily war reports mentioned the dam hits, with no commentary.[11]

[11] Crane (2000), 160–64.

the koreans and the chinese know far too much about war ... vicious fools like donald trump may dare the gods to avenge their victims - while there are no gods to do so, there are the chinese. the usa attacking north korea would be like the chinese attacking tamaulipas or the yucatan. it would be crystal clear to the chinese that they were next. their response would follow as night follows day. the us fleet and all aboard would be at the bottom of the yellow sea before they'd fired their last cruise missile.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13 2017 3:49 utc | 252

@252 or, 'What I currently suspect we are seeing is simply the farcical conduct of incompetent clowns flailing about whilst attempting to fulfill the directions of those who have recently, made offers, that cannot be refused, in all likelihood.'

maybe, but they have the keys to car, and they're out to show the world who's boss! the israelis have always admired samson, and the americans are just deaf, dumb, and blind.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13 2017 3:56 utc | 253

The 0.01%. How may of them rely on the $US retaining the No 1 spot as world trade currency? This I do not know.
Controlling the world trade currency gives the 0.01% a lot of control over the world. Can they gain control of the yuan if it gains first spot? I take it the world trade currency is what much of current geo-politics revolves around.
I guess it is down to how important it is to the 0.01% that the US dollar retains top spot as to what sort of risks will be taken to keep it there.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 13 2017 4:03 utc | 254

Outraged @252:

... farcical conduct of incompetent clowns flailing about whilst attempting to fulfill the directions of those who have recently, made offers, that cannot be refused ...
ME money + Trump's business assets means that Trump has billions of reasons to play along. He didn't need an "offer that can't be refused".

There is no way to dismiss the obvious. The campaign to discredit Trump provide the excuse he needed to betray the public trust. Period.

A similar thing occurred with Obama.

And it just so happens that Trump is close to the Clintons - the most successful pay-to-play operators ever with much connections to ME money, and was the front-man and chief pusher for the birther movement (which Hillary started).

Such crazy right-wing attacks can only be viewed as psyop to reinforce love for the Dear Leader. That's why PRESIDENT Trump will not pursue any action against Hillary or Obama.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 13 2017 4:04 utc | 255

@ Posted by: jfl | Apr 12, 2017 11:49:03 PM | 253

Good extract/link, & absolutely concur.

China, and it's population in almost their entirety, will never again submit, nor bow down to the west, nor unequal treaties, nor have their land seized, their people exploited and their resources stripped for the benefit of a foreign power/empire. For anyone who knows their history, or even discusses the topic 'vox populi' with a typical Chinese everyman/woman of the 'street', that will never be tolerated again, ever, no matter the cost. There can be no doubt.

Vox populi, vox Draco, vox Dei.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 13 2017 4:17 utc | 256

@ Jackrabbit 256

With the sudden public turnaround on Syria (would have occured some time before the missile attack) Trump overturned some of his long held opinions.
I believe he spoke out about, or had doubts about 9/11 and also Ghouta. I think something about the Iraq invasion as well.
A very long term undercover agent? or was he flipped? His domestic policies I have never bothered about, not being American. My impression was he was immersed in the US culture of wide open capitalism, yet thought the US should not be fighting constant wars all over the world. That seemed to be a long standing position from what I could see.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 13 2017 4:22 utc | 257

@ Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 13, 2017 12:04:23 AM | 256

If so, then what is the explanation for the multiple 180' degree about face clear public statements over a matter of 48 hours re Russia, Syria, Assad, before after the CW 'incident' ?

Once the CW false flag went live, the Trump-faction had one option from a domestic politics perspective (and posted it clearly at the time). Be a War President, be 'Tough', re Russia (Syria), even if you betray your 'deplorables' base. Any other option or non action would have been disastrous, politically terminal/suicidal, given the long running campaign re Roosia, Roosia, Putin, Putin, Trump, Trump, and the indoctrinated brainwashed requirement for all Presidents to be 'TOUGH'. It was what was used to utterly crush & destroy Jimmy Carter.

AQ and the moderate head-choppers are indisputably run by CIA/MI6/etc clandestine services supported by GCC, then there is Turkey/Israhell. The activist journos, white helmets, social media accounts, SOHR, etc also.

Reasonable speculation the 'incident' was carefully timed with concurrent back channel threats ... therefore, after short deliberation ... Game Over, got'em by the balls. Can't go back.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 13 2017 4:34 utc | 258

Peter AU @258

IMO Trump is motivated by ego and money. They are two sides of the same Trump coin.

His long-standing position against bad trade deals and wars is probably close to what he really believes. But I think he is willing to be "flexible" if the $$$ is right.

Every new luxury hotel that the Trump Organization builds costs hundreds of millions of dollars and provides an opportunity for graft that a smart, well-connected developer can turn into tens of millions. The Trump Organization has plans to aggressively build hotels and golf courses in the US. And Trump has many other businesses!

Trump just opened a golf course in Dubai, partnering with a Qatari billionaire. There is a second golf course on the way. Plus Trump Dallas is being financed with Turkish, Qatari, and Kazakh money.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 13 2017 4:41 utc | 259

Outraged @259

Trump could've called out the fake news as he had been doing.

Imagine a tweet like: CNN, NYT, WAPO Rush to judgment on Syrian attacks: Fake News until we know more. Sad!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 13 2017 4:47 utc | 260

@ Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 13, 2017 12:47:19 AM | 261

If so, then what is the explanation for the multiple 180' degree about face clear public statements over a matter of 48 hours re Russia, Syria, Assad, before after the CW 'incident' ?

Tweet such, when first 'tested' as the 'Leader of the Free World' ? The 'response' to the trope of the fictional 'crisis' call to the WH at 3AM ?

The Jimmy Carter memes would have been overwhelming, and failure to decisively 'act' seized upon by the MSM as confirmation of Roosia/Trump/Putin. Politically 'dead-in-the-water' and bleeding profusely ... as the congress critter sharks/MSM come in for the kill. Just sayin' ;)

It'll eventually all leak out.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 13 2017 5:35 utc | 261

@247 "Honestly, how can you not understand what 'not object/not protest' means re your assertion."

OK, I'll try one more time: according to Pat Lang the RuAF spoke to the USAF regarding the plan to strike a warehouse in that village, and Lang insists that in that conversation the possibility of a chemical mishap was canvassed and (again, according to Lang) it was the USAF that determined that the risk was low.

That lack of objection is damning because it means that all three parties - the USAF, the RuAF, and the SyrianAF - must have been expecting a very satisfying pyrotechnic display when that SU-22 finally arrived overhead and dropped those bombs.

That this bombing instead led to the release of a deadly chemical cloud must therefore have come as a shock to *all* *three* parties, and so it is disingenuous for the Americans to be insisting that the Syrian air force launched a deliberate CW attack.

"Do you actually understand what encrypted secure voice is and how it operates and is utilized between States such as US/RF ? "

I have no idea why you are pushing this argument, since it should be obvious that this only applies to an attempt by a 3rd-party to intercept that phone conversation.

Here is a phone line, and it is an "encrypted secure voice" line.
At one end of that line is a RuAF officer, and he is speaking into the mouthpiece.
At the other end is a USAF officer, and he is listening to his headpiece.

Q: Is that USAF officer hearing the encrypted gobbly-gook, or is he hearing the decrypted words of that RuAF officer?
A: The latter.

If the two individuals at the end of that secure line can hear each other with their own ears then - obviously - they can record that conversation.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 13 2017 6:16 utc | 262

@263 yr

if you assume that the us knew of hts' real intent with its turkish chemicals - chlorine, phosphorus, whatever - then the us would certainly not have objected to the saaf plan to bomb them. but it seems what you're you're asking the russians to produce is their recording of the sound of the dog who did not bark.

what would proof of agency consist of in this instance? autopsies proving the people who died were killed by substances in the possession of hts or of the saa.

the russians are pushing for that, knowing that it was not the saa who was the agent of whatever happened.

the us is dragging its feet ... knowing what such an investigation would produce instead.

i don't know exactly what such an investigation might produce, but i'm sure it would vindicate the syrian armed forces and indict al-cia-duh for its part in the massacre / hoax and president donald trump for his act of bald aggression.

karlof has a link @59, White House "Intelligence Assessment" Is No-Such-Thing - Shows Support for Al-Qaeda, and a reference to an article by an Adam Larson writing for something called the indicter magazine, Analysis of evidence contradicts allegations on Syrian gas attacks that covers a series of 'chemical attacks' - documented by al-cia-duh - that he argues are often just takfiri massacres of infidels / apostates / people they don't like ... turned around and blamed on the syrian government.

it's plain who the bad guys are in syria : us/uk/eu/gcc/turkey/il. they control the tnc msm among themselves. too many people still give credence to the tnc msm fake news.

google is trying to push all non-fake news off the wire.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13 2017 7:25 utc | 263

I think it's fairly safe now to say that we are witnessing the end of the United States of America happening right now. We might be in 1988 relative to 1989, or 87 to 89, or maybe just a few days out, or maybe the cruise missile attack will be remembered as the beginning of the very few last days of the US. Maybe Trump's betrayal was the last push needed. Maybe it's just hubris but I'll say one might as well start to talk about the former US.

Two paragraphs from my comment on the latest open thread, read the entire comment in the thread to get the reasoning:

"The US is null and thus below the standing of North Korea and below the standing of non-existing historical entities like Nazi Germany/Third Reich and the Soviet Union, both of which have their commitments honored by replacement entities/states.

All US branches of government, directorates, agencies, and military forces are without legal backing and without any authority and can not claim to represent a country or a population. Legal documents like US passports, contracts, and money are also void and meaningless."

Yes it will be much easier for nations to continue to pretend nothing has changed. However such pretending risks that the complete lack of legal validity and representative authority spreads like a disease onto them, they might be keenly aware of such a risk.

Now we truly live in interesting times. Nuclear-armed pirates anyone? (An attempt at levity).

If one does not deny the fading away of the US then the most pressing issue is for the international community and nations to gain control of all the previously US-owned nuclear weapons (many of which are currently in international waters) since they are no longer under the control of any valid legal or representative authority. I assume Turkey and Saudi Arabia will be very quick to confiscate any nuclear weapons that are located on their territory once they realize this. Other countries such as Ireland would likely do the same if there are still any such weapons transiting their country by the time it dawns upon them that it is now their internatioinal obligation to do so.

Trump and all other politicians formerly of the US are irrelevant as is every single part of what still purports to be a US government.

The US no longer exists in any truly meaningful manner.

Maybe this will turn out to have been a little bit as if one had dealt with the end of the USSR in the same way as Portugal removed it's own fascist dictator by deceiving him into believing he was still in power. Quite a lot of the last decade makes more sense when adding such a perspective doesn't it?

That combined with the increasing lack of international support for the remains of the former US might very optimistically (and highly improbably I guess) be interpreted to the effect that most nations have started to realize what has happened (and much sooner than I did, which would be highly comforting if it turns out to be true).

If only we were that blessed :3

I wasn't planning on drinking today but now I'll down a drink to that thought. Cheers and happy easter everybody! :D

Posted by: Outsider | Apr 13 2017 12:39 utc | 264

I don't know why I bother repeating myself over and over.

The entire goal of the Syria crisis is to enable the setting of the preconditions for a war with IRAN.

Once you understand that, everything falls into place neatly.

1) Israel wants war with Iran, with the US doing the actual fighting.

2) The US military-industrial complex wants war with Iran because it will provide them with windfall profits for another decade.

3) The US wants Israel to start the war, and so does Israel...BUT...

4) Israel can NOT start the war as long as both Syria and Hizballah in Lebanon could be effective actors in the war. In particular, Hizballah, which has anywhere from 50-150,000 rockets depending on who you believe. If Hizballah enters the Iran war with that kind of arsenal, Israeli citizens will be in bunkers all day every day, the economy will evaporate, and the electorate will kick out the ruling elites in the next election. Plus no strategist worth his salt wants a two- or three-front war.

5) This is why Israel attacked Hizballah in 2006. But they failed due to Hizballah's impressive preparations and Israel not committing ground troops until the conflict was almost over.

6) The only way Israel can possibly defeat or degrade Hizballah's arsenal is to attack both from the south and from the north into the Bekaa Valley. To do that means crossing Syrian territory and therefore engaging Syrian troops - again, a two-front war.

7) BUT if the US and NATO were bombing Syria a la Libya, degrading the Syrian military, Israel would not have to worry about Syria.

8) Subsequent to Libya, the plan was to provoke a civil war in Syria, then bomb Syria into the Stone Age under "responsibility to protect" doctrine. This is PROVEN by the fact that all three US Resolutions submitted to the UN Security Council had Chapter 7 language in them exactly as occurred in Libya.

9) However, Russia and China, burned by Libya, vetoed those Resolutions.

10) Then Turkey and Israel both repeatedly fired on Syrian forces in alleged response to fire from Syria into their territories. The goal was to get Syria to fire back and justify a US/NATO attack. This failed because Assad did not take the bait.

11) Then the plan was to use false flag chemical weapons attacks to give Obama the excuse to attack Syria. Obama was within hours of launching the war in August, 2013, when several things happened:

a) General Dempsey told Obama there was no real evidence that Syria launched the Ghouta attack.
b) Clapper told Obama it was not a "slam dunk" that Syria did the attack.
c) Putin slammed the US and stated that the attack was a false flag.
d) Obama tried to shore up his support by going to Congress - but Congress resisted.
e) Putin got Assad to agree to dump his chemical weapons.

12) Next, the plan was for Turkey to invade Syria and establish a "safe zone." The alleged coup against Erdogan disrupted this plan somewhat and the entry of Russia into the war pretty much wrecked it.

13) In August, 2015, Obama renewed plans to establish a "no-fly zone" in Syria. This failed when Putin intervened militarily.

14) Russia's efforts reversed Syria's fortunes and put ISIS and Al Qaeda on the run.

15) Now Trump is using the false flag chemical attacks ploy yet again, with even less waiting than Obama did.

It should be absolutely clear that Trump is either too stupid to understand the US ruling elites goal in Syria or he has been brought into that goal by being lead by the nose by the Pentagon and the CIA.

Let me reiterate: The absolute GOAL of the Syria civil war is to degrade Syria's military so that 1) it can not prevent Israel from attacking Lebanon, and 2) it cannot be an effective actor in an Iran war. Once this is accomplished, then Israel will attack Lebanon and try to degrade Hizballah so that it can not be an effective actor in an Iran war.

As of now, the problem for Russia is it appears this plan of getting the US and NATO to attack Syria is still on, regardless of the Russian military presence in Syria. The US appears to have decided, or being close to deciding, that the risk of WWIII with Russia is sufficiently low that the US can go ahead and start a war with Syria, under the assumption that Russia will back down.

The cruise missile attack was a message to Russia that the US can attack Syria with cruise missiles effectively. Russian air defenses can not defend against low-flying Tomahawks until those missiles are over the horizon. This means the US can, with a sufficiently large-scale cruise missile attack, take out most of the Syrian and Russian air defenses by overwhelming them. This would be followed up by a large-scale air attack.

The failure of 60% of the cruise missiles to hit their targets as a result of Russian and Syrian ECM defenses sends a message back to the Pentagon that such a large-scale cruise missile attack is likely to be less effective than the Pentagon thought.

Nonetheless, the incident proves that Russia can NOT STOP a large-scale US attack on Syria. The one way Russia could do this would to sink the US Navy ships launching the cruise missiles at the first sign of such an attack. This is why Putin is sending the frigate and two corvettes capable of launching cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles to join the Russian fleet in the Med.

The only way the US can defeat this would be to sink those ships.

In either scenario, we're looking at potential escalation to WWIII nuclear war.

The only question remaining is whether Trump is willing or can be forced into going this far. I believe his attack on Syria shows that he can be.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 14 2017 2:01 utc | 265

Pic of white helmet actor who played part of father of twins in recent white helmet production.
Pic of the grief stricken father, alongside of earlier pic of same actor with white helmet logo behind, and a pic of meet greet and congratulation from Erdogan for his wonderful performance. Similar to seven year old Bana's pcs with Erdo after she escaped from Aleppo.

looks like Erdo is heavily into the production side of anti Syria propaganda, and now the recent white helmet snuff movie.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 14 2017 2:43 utc | 266

link to pic for post 267

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 14 2017 2:44 utc | 267

@ Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 13, 2017 10:01:16 PM | 266

Excellent summation.

However, Shayrat airbase was largely out of range of the S400/300+ complexes deployed Latakia/Tartus ... so not a real evaluation, even given possibly 60% failure to strike terminal target re Tomahawks ...

However each S400/300+ complex can engage up to 384 targets, before having to resort to secondary reloads, this is excluding all other integrated/overlapping Medium/Short range SAM/Gun systems, as well as EW capabilities. New complexes and almost certainly further Medium/Short AD systems are high probability now on the way to Syria for both the SAA/SAAF and wider deployment to protect RF elements deployed beyond Latakia/Tartus locales.

IF Cruise Missiles were launched en mass and the targets were RF AD systems, which is a mandatory pre-requisite for manned air strike packages, then, at that moment, WWIII has begun, even before the CMs are engaged. No doubt about it.

I believe his attack on Syria shows that he can be.

The Shayrat airbase strike was militarily ineffectual, a 'Pulled punch'. Its a question of whether that was an informed decision taken by Trump-faction, or JCS and below commands/commanders exercising 'liberties' re the specifics ... unknown.

Have doubts about field grade officers knowingly committing to unilateral Acts of War with a capable adversary (Russia/China) that will result in their own and that of their subordinates lives being promptly snuffed out thereafter, and certain inevitable mutual rapid escalation to Armageddon ... MAD. What for ? For an undefined goal/justification ? Having trouble reconciling that. And Russia/China will not back down nor submit.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 14 2017 3:57 utc | 268

According to Lindsay Graham it is Iran....
And Bill Kristol says the same

Also according to what Trump said today hes given the power to the military, so it seems its up to them as to where they want to start the next, and possibly last war..

Posted by: Kathryn | Apr 14 2017 4:00 utc | 269

@270 kathryn, 'Also according to what Trump said today he's given the power to the military, so it seems its up to them as to where they want to start the next, and possibly last war. ...'

got a link for that? it seems totally, terrifyingly believable.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 14 2017 5:47 utc | 270

@ "The neocons want chaos but chaos is not a plan."

Chaos can be a strategy when perpetual war is the goal. It satisfies the need for ongoing profits for the contractors, advancement through the ranks for the officers, it makes nations tremble in fear, and via accompanying terrorist-threat propaganda it can serve to deflect your own citizens' attention from all manner of domestic misdeeds. We wear the blinders of wars fought when the goal was to win them; the goal now is perpetual war. It's not for nothing that Pepe Escobar calls the U.S. the "Empire of Chaos."

My 2 cents.

Posted by: Paul E. Merrell, J.D. | Apr 14 2017 11:41 utc | 271

Trump Should Rethink Syria Escalation. The Risk of Nuclear War. Former Intelligence Officials Urge Trump to Rethink Blaming Syrian Government

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 15 2017 8:09 utc | 272

@pemjd, 'the goal now is perpetual war'

yes. although it had been throughout the obama reign as well there was still an official dissemblance. the wars would be over, won and over one day. but now, with vaudevillian trump pulling rabbits out of gun-barrels all pretense has been dropped. its the third stage of america's war with the world, if not yet the third world war.

no hiding it now. the business of america is business war. war business. fought 'for the ongoing profit of the contractors'.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15 2017 10:33 utc | 273

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