December 10, 2017
Weekly Review And Open Thread 2017-45
Last week's posts on Moon of Alabama:
Dec 4 - Yemen Without Saleh
The unexpected end of Yemen's former president Saleh was followed by a Houthi campaign against his functionaries in Sanaa. At the same time the Saudi and UAE proxy forces in south-Yemen renewed their attacks towards Sanaa. The Houthi need to hold back on revenge against Saleh followers and concentrate on defense against the advancing enemy forces.
Dec 5 - Slapstick In Kiev
Saakashvili escaped the police, first by fleeing over the roofs of Kiev and then by being freed from a police car through the help of his supporters. He has since been apprehended again and is now in jail. No noise was heard from those foreign powers who supported the 2014 coup in Kiev. Only a few neocons still seem to hope that Saakashvili can play a role in their games. But without a big push from outside in favor of Saak the nazis and oligarchs that rule Kiev will let him rot in jail. That would a well deserved end of his career.
Dec 6 - Trump Settles Debt With Zionists - Confirms That Iran's Struggle Is Righteous
The "Arab leaders", aka the Gulf sheiks, have been mostly mum about Trump's prostration to the Zionists. The mildly criticizes his Jerusalem decision but took no action at all. Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah and leaders of militia in Iraq and Syria have publicly shown some backbone and called fro active resistance. They have a long-term strategy of building up forces to tackle Israel. The decisive action following from Trump's remarks on Jerusalem is still years away.
Dec 7 - Republican 'Deficit Hawks'
Republican's betray their voters. Nothing new here, so do the Democrats. A welcome side-effect of the whole Russia-gate theater is to detract from the Democrats support for the Republican agenda.
Dec 8 - Trump Is Bashing The 'Salvator Saudi' - Why?
Yesterday the WSJ and the NYT had pieces on the changed atmosphere between Trump and the Saudis. But just like us they found no clue of what is really going on behind the scene. A head-fake?
Dec 9 - Syria - ISIS Is Defeated - The U.S. Is Next In Line
The Iranian General Soleimani is warning the U.S. military to leave Syria. He predicts that it can not hold the ground. The Kurds are slowly moving back into the Syrian-Russian-Iranian camp. The neocons at the British Henry Jackson Society are already up in arms about this and foresee the end of the U.S. occupation. How do they feel about being in the same camp as Soleimani?
Please use the comments as open thread ...
Posted by b on December 10, 2017 at 11:13 AM | Permalink
Trump bashes Salvaltor (something)
The painting is ‘fake’ in the sense of its dubious provenance, the successive ‘restorations’ that have been done - imho da Vinci had nothing to do with it. It is very clumsy, botched, an artistic insult. Repellent, ugly to no purpose.
Would you put it on your wall?
Even the low res. pic on wiki shows: The figure has unmatched eyes and looks like a druggie, facial features muddled. Part of his hair (lower down) looks like art-student ad for hairdresser. Neck and chest don’t fit together. Hand up does not fit with the rest - compare the hand on left (from viewer’s pov) with the smoky ugly shading between neck and chest. (Somebody worked on that hand, but only the hand.)
Note exs. which would never occur even in a humdrum professional realist painting of a figure: the embroidered border on his shirt goes off to the left (from viewers pov) to nowhere, the left shoulder is pretty much missing. The embroidery is flat, as if a decorator worked on it as a frieze on a wall. The drapery of the right shoulder is weird. The transparent globe looks like poor photoshop, a sort of added on darker circle. (1st-year art school teaches how to paint glasses, vases, other transparent objects.)
The painting is desperate joke, in very poor taste, and blatantly a ... Who got the 450 mil? This is all tied to a Swiss scandal (Yves Bouvier vs. Rybolovlev, see wiki entry) which has many international ramifications. Quite interesting actually, but very complicated.
From a purely ‘art’ pov, the buyer was punked big time. But then the art market serves as a money-laundering machine, for pay-offs, secret deals, etc. The symbolism of muslims acquiring representations of religious figures, Christian in this case, is also very odd.
Posted by: Noirette | Dec 10, 2017 12:31:16 PM | 3
Not everyone in America is going along with the program as this exiting State Department woman explains
Human Rights come 2nd to National Security
The take away quote
She said she was “shocked” when Tillerson, who stepped down as ExxonMobil CEO to serve as Trump’s secretary of state, told department employees that advancing human rights across the globe “creates obstacles to our ability to advance our national security interests.“
Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 10, 2017 12:31:55 PM | 4
test | Dec 10, 2017 12:19:22 PM | 1
This section from the linked article sums it up. If it were applied against the US, it would be a good thing, but no doubt it will be applied against countries the US deems enemies.
"To constitute foreign interference, the conduct must be intended to:
serve the intelligence purposes of a foreign actor
harm Australia’s national security
influence the exercise or performance of a democratic or political right, or
influence a government or political process.
Other new offences will target the support or funding of foreign intelligence agencies."
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 10, 2017 12:39:25 PM | 5
Can anyone recommend some good, thorough readings about the opium-usa(cia)-afghan story? I have plenty of information but it is mostly sit-reps and other minutiae or just this or that writer/bloggers speculations. I am looking for a synopsis that uninformed but interested youngsters can be provided with, a sort of herschian/pilgerian "long-read" type of piece. Any pointers most welcome.
Posted by: Petra | Dec 10, 2017 12:51:10 PM | 6
So for whatever reason Trump decides to go a civil rights museum to build his cred.
Here is the PR statement before
White House spokesman Raj Shah said on Friday ahead of the visit that the civil rights movement was about fighting intolerance, hatred and bigotry and that Trump intended to honor the leaders of that struggle.
Here is what Trump said
Trump concluded his remarks by saying: “Today we pay solemn tribute to our heroes of the past and dedicate ourselves to building a future of freedom, equality justice and peace.”
The White House called the failure to attend by two prominent black leaders, "Unfortunate".
Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 10, 2017 1:02:41 PM | 8
Yeah (China and) Russia is to get covered only - this is a way to stop average joe to criticize/leaks about US and their allies actions.
The paranoia and crackdown on freedom of speech is spreading fast now in the west, US, EU and now Australia.
1984 isnt far off.
Posted by: test | Dec 10, 2017 1:05:48 PM | 9
Also, since I guess you are from Australia, is there any support, compassion for Assange or is the australian msm copying the american msm bs accusations, slander against him/wikileaks?
Posted by: test | Dec 10, 2017 1:08:12 PM | 10
The most thorough reading is the UN report
Of primary interest to this study, the larger organized crime groups controlling the trade in Central Asia are firmly rooted in the region’s domestic political, economic and social structures. This is possible through the development of intimate ties between organized
crime and state power structures. On some occasions, the power structures co-opt groups or attempt to control the trade, becoming themselves part of the organized crime structures. The possibility of state capture provides a central challenge in combating the threat regionally. An indication of their entrenched power, no major drug kingpin has
been arrested in Central Asia since the region’s independence in 1991. Although criminal groups are active in every Central Asian country, the countries most at risk are Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
And this here is the Rolling Stone magazin on the US not fighting the Afghan drug trade.
The United States' alliances with opium traffickers in Afghanistan go back to the 1980s, when the CIA waged a dirty war to undermine the Soviet occupation of the country. Though opium had been grown for centuries in Afghanistan's highlands, large-scale cultivation was introduced in Helmand by Mullah Nasim Akhund-zada, a mujahedeen commander who was receiving support from the ISI and the CIA. USAID's irrigated farmlands were perfect for cash-crop production, and as Akhundzada wrested control of territory from the Communist government, he introduced production quotas and offered cash advances to farmers who planted opium.
Posted by: somebody | Dec 10, 2017 1:43:04 PM | 11
We Australians - at least some of us - are wealthy , 25 million with a continent of resources .
We are terrified of loosing this position in a changing world .
The emergence of John Howard's opportunistic government in 1996 was a disaster for Australia.
Used to see Assange walking to school in the early 80's or thereabouts . He was so gauky and unforgettable that I recognized him instantly when he became a celebratory.
No , for Australians generally he is far away marooned in a foreign embassy in a cold city . At lest those of us who read and think have such thoughts .
Posted by: ashley albanese | Dec 10, 2017 1:44:37 PM | 12
There could be nuance there that you are not picking up from Tillerson. I believe he is saying something to the effect that R2P is no longer a worthy or acceptable casus belli for humanitarian intervention. Indeed, he may be admitting that the last 30 years of R2P was bs and Orwellian code for self-destructing our true national interests, such as letting the RuAF bomb the shit out of rebel-held areas, for better or worse.
Are you still believing the the US' ability to affect positive, up-building change? That exiting state dept. employee sounds like she is well-versed in the globalist vernacular, hitting all the touchy-feely bases.
Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 10, 2017 2:03:30 PM | 13
Noirette | Dec 10, 2017 12:31:16 PM | 3
LOL, your description reminds me of that case which took place in Spain, where a woman in her 80s, who had some painting background, decided to restore an anciente Ecce Homo from the XIX siecle at the local church in Borja. It seemed that the woman had free access to the paint for years when she went adding his incalificable "style" in restorations....
The case had the whole country, and even parts of the rest of the world, making jokes and memes for almost a year, ending with the woman very affected by the harsh critics by what she had done with the best of intentions before the inexorable deterioration of the painting....
Posted by: elsi | Dec 10, 2017 2:06:14 PM | 14
@ Petra | Dec 10, 2017 12:51:10 PM | 6
I can add, a chapter related to the US´s activities, and of course of CIA, in Afghanistan from the book by William Blum, "Killing Hope", whose chapters a blog I usually read by communist comrades use to post with comments of them from the paper edition of the translation into Spanish made by Editorial Oriente, Cuba:
AFGHANISTAN 1979-1992. The American Jihad (chapter 53 of 'Killing Hope', by William Blum)
Only you will need to use a translator or I do not know whether you will able to find an English version at William Blum´s own site.
Posted by: elsi | Dec 10, 2017 2:40:16 PM | 15
@ Petra | Dec 10, 2017 12:51:,10 PM | 6
Well, Petra, here is the English version, altough I recommend you all to take a look at the Spanish site I am linking above, since they use to edit their posts adding interesting comments and photos...
Posted by: elsi | Dec 10, 2017 2:46:20 PM | 16
The game in Syria is strange, I am not sure if Trump is clever there, or it is serendipitous. My interpretation is that Trump decided to champion some foreign policy ideas according to his temperament and popularity among "the base". That includes "being tough" with North Korea and Iran, but also "cleaning ISIS mess that I got from Obama", and for that one, an arrangement with the government in Damascus + allies = Russia, Iran, Hezbollah that they do not hinder each other too much while maintaining resolute rhetoric that is often to the contrary.
Trump has somewhat loose control over Pentagon, and it is a bit of a puzzle who can control CIA. The latter can perform "miracles" like ferrying supplies to opponents of Assad even if that contradicts what Trump says, or what the king of Jordan says, and perhaps even what Erdogan says -- once there is a working arrangement to transport the stuff that nobody is allowed to acknowledge, with MIT (Turkish partner) and CIA involved, but also paymasters in the Gulf that allow to do out "off budget", it is hard to stop. I would not worry my little head if USA can supply YPD and their own troops in Syrian north-east. But without green light to do a major [expletive deleted], they are kind of harmless. If anything, Pentagon is making gestures that encourage YPD to seek other allies (e.g. telling them that heavy weapons will be soon collected back), while in the same time verbally reassuring neo-cons that they are there for keeps.
Observe that in the case of Tanf region (near Syria/Jordan/Iraqi border corner), Pentagon made a nice showing of protecting pet "moderates", SAA withdrew a bit, but without loosing face (most important!) the project of controlling this "strategic piece of the desert" is being gradually abandoned. De-conflicting is quite real, IMHO, but it includes certain regard for sensibilities. Given sharp differences in other areas, neither Russia nor USA wants to admit that some disputes (like "obstructing military places) are more smoke than fire.
Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 10, 2017 2:51:40 PM | 17
Kushner in deep shit...?? Flynn's testimony revealed no Russia collusion, but as the following article illustrates, there was significant collusion with another foreign power - Isreal. How in the hell this makes the Chicago Tribune in this climate I don't know...but , the zionist beast is clearly marked here.
Rachel Marsden: Flynn's plea deal reveals collusion, but not with Russia
There's a passage in the Flynn plea agreement involving another country that has been largely overlooked by the media. Shortly before a scheduled Dec. 22 vote on United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements, "a very senior member of the presidential transition team directed Flynn to contact officials from foreign governments, including Russia, to learn where each government stood on the resolution and to influence those governments to delay the vote or defeat the resolution."
Presumably, a delay would have enabled a new Trump administration to veto the Security Council's condemnation of Israel. Flynn made the call to the Russian ambassador and stated the administration's case. On Dec. 23 (after a one-day postponement of the vote), the Russian ambassador called Flynn back and basically said nice try, but nyet, Russia wouldn't be succumbing to the wishes of Team Trump. The resolution passed later that day, with Russia voting in favor of it, and with the Obama administration declining to veto the resolution and abstaining from the vote.
Just who do the Russians think they are to block the incoming administration's attempt to do Israel's bidding on an issue that has no discernable benefit to America?
Posted by: MadMax2 | Dec 10, 2017 2:53:59 PM | 18
@ 16 elsie
see the comment for you at the end of comments for Dec 9
Posted by: les7 | Dec 10, 2017 3:01:47 PM | 19
Are you still believing the the US' ability to affect positive, up-building change? That exiting state dept. employee sounds like she is well-versed in the globalist vernacular, hitting all the touchy-feely bases.
Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 10, 2017 2:03:30 PM | 13
And will I stop beating my wife? Jokes aside, USA has structural problems in terms of "positive, up-building change". Number one, this requires a concept of stimulating low tech and non-financial economy, something that USA does not excel even at home, to put it mildly. Macro-economic tools can do only limited good at home, but in Afghanistan, this is a joke. Number two, outsiders have limited ability to affect changes for better or worse, especially for the better, without a good cooperation with the locals. In Europe or Central America you have elites that cooperate with alacrity, and you can find them in, say, Indonesia, but in Muslim countries of West Asia and North Africa the locals tend to be on a grumpy side. Apart for the lucky few who are major stock holders of Citycorp and plethora of other corporations, the rest views the West with suspicion, and the feelings are very much mutual. It does not help that Americans that can be recruited to the work on imperial projects tend to be racist yahoos, or that say, Afghans raised backstabbing to the level of high art etc. And the cultural gap in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Saharan countries is as large.
Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 10, 2017 3:09:08 PM | 20
Thanks to Henry and les7 for your feedback on the previous thread.
Posted by: Nuff Sed | Dec 10, 2017 3:48:54 PM | 21
re 17 Piotr Berman
The game in Syria is strange,
I would have thought it simple. The US position is in decline.
As I mentioned in the last Syria thread, the situation is related to Iraq:
The ground was recently cut from under the US feet in Iraq, by the Iraqi-Kurdish agreement over Kirkuk behind the back of the US. The KRG Kurds are no longer US agents. And yesterday, Abbadi anounced the end of the war against Da'ish. So what reason for the US to stay? We'll be back to the situation of 2008 - the only way for the US to stay legally is a SOFA. And we know what happened then. I'm pretty sure Abbadi is manoeuvring to get the US out now.
It is difficult to see how the US can survive in Syria, without support from Iraq.
The Rojavan Kurds are havering between the US and Asad. The Sunni Arabs the same. They know that they will have to deal with Asad in the future. It doesn't look good for the US in Syria, now that Da'ish is supposed to have been defeated.
Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 10, 2017 4:32:58 PM | 22
Noirette @ 3:
What's even more odd is that the Louvre art museum sold the rights to the use of its name for $525 million to the city of Abu Dhabi, in what seems to be a precedent for franchising its name and reputation to the highest bidder by establishing an art museum in that city. Abu Dhabi is to pay an additional US$747 million for art loans, specialist exhibitions and management advice including training advice.
Others jumping onto the new trendy French-culture-for-profit-maximisation bandwagon (which might also serve as a colonisation / recolonisation effort) include the Sorbonne University which has also established a foothold in Abu Dhabi.
Posted by: Jen | Dec 10, 2017 4:47:43 PM | 24
Aloha from the state with the highest number of homeless people in the union. Makes me feel better now about my own homelessness. But that in turn renders participation on this site impossible. Censorship by any means possible.
Posted by: nottheonly1 | Dec 10, 2017 4:48:34 PM | 25
Took a few decades for a national leader to get motivated enough to tell a truism about the Zionist Abomination: It's a "Terrorist state that kills children."
Big rallies from one end of the Umma to the other--Morocco to Indonesia--protesting what Sputnik's calling the US Stunt on Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Idlib's being ground into by SAA and allies while also liberating the remainder of Northern Hama.
Elsewhere, Mercouris at the Duran has determined that Mueller's Special Investigation has morphed into The Cover-Up, must be put to an end so another special prosecutor can be named to investigate the real scandal and law-breaking connected to the 2016 election.
Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 10, 2017 5:01:07 PM | 26
Yes, I think there is EVIDENCE that the Russian and Chinese oligarchs have joined the Western oligarchy. Not the Russian or Chinese people, of course. They are helpless against their govts, which are run by their oligarchical usurpers. Just like us. Oligarchs who control banking and/or have grabbed up the country's assets must always tremble at any increased power of the people. In both countries there is widespread opposition to the fantastic wealth of a few mega-thieves. The natural allies of these thieves are the Western thieves that in many cases facilitated their economic power grab.
A country's development is proportional to the capital invested. Development of Russia's potential isn't wanted. So US & Russian oligarchs agreed on a "story" that wd make economic sanctions against Russia possible: The MH17 "crash" in Ukraine. It's a hoax. LOOK at the pictures. Heavy aircraft pieces and even engines supposedly fell from the sky-- yet they sit light as a feather upon the soft farmland. There is no impact crater or even a dent in the ground. All the heavy pieces are right by the road, so that they cd be transported by truck.
Posted by: Penelope | Dec 10, 2017 5:23:12 PM | 27
@les7 | Dec 10, 2017 3:01:47 PM | 19
Thank you very much, les7, I do all what I can to add information in my little time available, I am glad you find it useful.
Posted by: elsi | Dec 10, 2017 5:25:13 PM | 28
LA Times has a nice article on Syria. Very pleasing naming names and quoting quotes of pundits who were sagely explaining that ISIS is in a tacit collusion with Assad's government etc. etc. Perhaps before I die I will see articles in mainstream press discussing disappointing results of criminal methods in foreign policy.
The problems are shared with applications of torture. In abstraction, we cannot get less useful data from detained people if we increase the scope of "allowed interrogation techniques" to those that are "enhanced". But the troubles seem in. You need to find people who would willingly apply those techniques, and you will have to rely on the folks who like to do it. But then the "interrogations" will degenerate into thinly justified vehicles to satisfy the darkest of urges, and the ostensible purpose will be the least of priorities. And the problems creep along the chains of command, because planning atrocities similarly appeals to dark instincts and deflect from rational objectives.
Similarly, staying within the confines of international law is restricting our options, "unilateral disarmament" as some would put it, while a power that can veto UNSC resolution and avoid sanctions due to its hegemonic position cannot be inconvenienced by international laws. But again, "master of universe" mentality that illigal methods foster muddle the thinking. One can participate in atrocities vicariously, from home, office, or a think tank, and like watching sports, it is best enjoyed in groups or herds, so muddle think can become an epidemic.
Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 10, 2017 6:33:42 PM | 29
You guys wouldn't believe what it looks like here in Central Coast California. When I looked out the window at 7AM the sky to the South was the color of mud. When the sun rose high it was the color of a ripe tomato but shiny. You could look right at it; it was very small cuz you couldn't see the rays around it. The entire sky in every direction is covered w an impenetrable brown pall. There's about an inch of blue at the Western horizon, then the ominous brown blanket. I can't smell the fires at all, and I think the closest is the Thomas fire that's reached Carpinteria 70 miles away.
It's getting steadily darker and darker, with a yellowish tint to the light. There's particulate stuff lying all over all my garden plants, and my little hen is hiding.
Now I know how the dinosaurs felt. It's only 3:30, but I'm going to need a flashlight to go outside in a few minutes.
Posted by: Penelope | Dec 10, 2017 6:37:00 PM | 30
Ojai, CA is a preserve for turtles & condors, and is practically surrounded by fires. They managed to truck all the rare turtles-- 100s of them-- to Atascadero, which is a coastal city & they've let them loose in the basement of City Hall. Fire's pretty close to Atascadero too, but the air quality s/b ok in the basement.
I guess the condor's will just fly out of the area; at least it's not Springtime when they'd lose nests.
I heard the Russians might be flying special tanker planes out of Santa Maria to help combat the flames.
Posted by: Penelope | Dec 10, 2017 7:27:01 PM | 31
@ somebody 11, @ elsi 15, 16
Thank you both for the most useful pointers. Those are the sorts of pieces I was scouting for.
somebody, I would not have thought of examining UN sources, particularly under the puppet ban ki moon, but I see there are interesting allusions between the lines.
The Rolling Stone piece courts fate by being more explicit in its references.
elsi, I had skirted around William Blum, in the assumption that he was probably a bit outdated, but examining those two pieces, the English and the annotated Spanish, I see there s useful material there. (Blum is often cited by bloggers for "countries USA has been at war with..." and fine though his work is, I sometimes wish people would do a quick update when referencing him.)
Posted by: Petra | Dec 10, 2017 7:35:18 PM | 32
re: We'll be back to the situation of 2008 - the only way for the US to stay legally is a SOFA. And we know what happened then.
The US in 2008 had two agreements with Iraq. They were not considered treaties and so were simply signed by the president (Bush 43) exercising his "executive privilege."
Nov 19, 2008
--a withdrawal of forces agreement: "United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.". . .here
Nov 17, 2008
-- a Strategic Framework Agreement: "the Parties shall continue to foster close cooperation concerning defense and security arrangements without prejudice to Iraqi sovereignty over its land, sea, and air territory.". . .here
Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 10, 2017 8:58:56 PM | 33
why ask for comment on a painting fake or real then delete at least 15 reply.
folks making connections between trump russian chabad israeli projects donors who follows trump around and purchased 50 million dollar properties from him.sells a painting to trumped and kushners best friend donmeh jewish saudi prince mbs/
why delete is this a limited hangout project
Posted by: roy flushings | Dec 10, 2017 9:28:11 PM | 34
@34 roy / charles drake ad nauseam... why ask? see if you can make a post without mention of israel / jewish / hasbara whatever and maybe it will stay up??
Posted by: james | Dec 10, 2017 9:30:07 PM | 35
if you are confused you should read up on the oded yinon project the pentagram gone work for a common goal.
you see it all goes back a very long way.
The Sephardic Jews were banished from Spain. They had over hundred of years reached there slowly via Babylon, Egypt, Northern Africa then up into Spain - interbreeding and very much diluting their genetic genepool all the while. On banishment these Sephardics dispersed, often back to these nations, some to France, Germany, the U.S. In so doing a bonus was their freedom from the clutches of the Talmudic priesthood who then required a new flock to do their bidding toward their Talmudic World Revolution goal. They had heard of the Khazarian converts, referred to as 'those eastern Jews', travelled there, and set up their tyrannical dictatorship to control these unfortunates. Today you see the results all over the world. Their need for total control led to the Jewish created and led communist bolshevik anti-Christian Russian revolution and 66 million slaughtered including their control of the gulags. Read Douglas Reed's "THE CONTROVERSY OF ZION" a book which gives the whole history of the Judahites (they are not Israelites, the latter rejected the Levitical creed to remain separate from the rest of humanity and assimilated so they are us) and their writings in the Torah (using Jewish sourced books). Written in the 1950's it went unpublished for 22 years. What a masterpiece of information - I highly recommend it to Jews as well as Gentiles if a copy can be acquired. I got mine 2nd hand. His evidence is compelling, well sourced material.
Posted by: simon | Dec 10, 2017 9:37:40 PM | 36
it took james 2 mins to reply wow sitting on his laptop in dimona clicking refresh button mking report for his little kosher clean up crew.
limited hangout edit queen always on the watch why do you feel the need to hang out here 24 and 7 nothing better paying the sheckles dollars or sterling.
james judas goat guiding the herd.
as for israel is the knesset not the heart of the matter and i am not just talking of leader in live organ harvesting.
you are a fraud a bad talmudick act judas james abusted zionist flush
the paul joseph watson of this webshite
limited hangings out where nothing gets solved everything variations on a grey theme
Posted by: roy flushings | Dec 10, 2017 9:48:45 PM | 37
lol roy.. just a timing accident.. i don't hang here 24/7, but i can see a charles drake from many miles away...
Posted by: james | Dec 10, 2017 10:04:15 PM | 38
Can anyone recommend some good, thorough readings about the opium-usa(cia)-afghan story?
Dope, Inc if you can find it.
Posted by: Altamirano | Dec 10, 2017 10:11:20 PM | 39
Petra, try too Alfred McCoy's classic: The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade.
Posted by: witters | Dec 10, 2017 11:00:20 PM | 40
Came across a new to me Arab News site using English with good reporting about the current protests, public and governmental across the Umma. Also, The Angry Arab provides us with this nuanced view of the difference between public and government reaction in Jordan.
Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 10, 2017 11:14:48 PM | 41
I read the ZH link below and was a bit surprised by the frankness
"You Grow Up Wanting To Be Luke Skywalker, Then Realize You've Become A Stormtrooper For The Empire"
The ending bit
Then you realize you haven’t seen anything to support the idea that these poor fuckers are a threat to your home. You look around and you see all he contractors making six figure salaries to fix your shit, train Iraqis, maintain the ridiculous SUVs the KBR dicks ride around in. You consider the fact that every 25mm shell costs about forty bucks, and your company has been handing those fuckers out like shrapnel flavored parade candies. You think about all the fuel you’re going through, all the ammo and missiles and grenades. You think about every time you lose a vehicle, the Army buys a new one. Maybe you start to see a lot of people making a lot of money on huge amounts of human suffering.
Then you go on leave, and realize that Ayn Rand has no idea what the fuck she’s talking about. You realize that Fox News and Limbaugh and John McCain don’t respect you or your buddies. They don’t give a fuck if you get a parade or a box when you get home, you’re nothing to them but a prop.
Then you get out, and you hate the news. You hate the apathy, and you hate the murder being carried out in your name. You grew up wanting so bad to be Luke Skywalker, but you realize that you were basically a Stormtrooper, a faceless, nameless rifleman, carrying a spear for empire, and you start to accept the startlingly obvious truth that these are people like you.
Maybe your heart breaks a little every time some asshole brags about a “successful” drone strike.
Your statement is correct enough; if all of America was one dude, that dude would not give a shit about the little brown people we’re burning and crushing and choking to death. We aren’t all like that, but it makes me incredibly, profoundly sad to see what my country actually is.
Some of us care, and I think there are more every day.
Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 10, 2017 11:22:11 PM | 43
I haven't seen the latest linked to here so
The Children are yelling at each other in more shrill tones
The last few lines of the link
During his speech, Erdogan held a picture of what he said was a 14-year-old Palestinian boy from Hebron, in the Occupied West Bank, being dragged away by Israeli soldiers. Turkey and Israel had improved diplomatic ties in recent years but Erdogan has continued to defend the Palestinian cause and has regularly criticised Israeli policy.
In other news, Al Franken resigns instead of offering to do so at same time Trump does for worse allegations.
Follow the bouncing ball.........
Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 10, 2017 11:32:03 PM | 44
A couple points for 6 @ Petra on opium in Afghanistan, starting with the payments made to the Taliban in 2000-2001 in exchange for a ban on poppy cultivation; this was left out of the Rolling Stone story above:
May 17, 2001: US Gives Taliban Millions for Poppy Ban
Secretary of State Powell announces that the US is granting $43 million in aid to the Taliban government, purportedly to assist hungry farmers who are starving since the destruction of their opium crop occurred in January on orders of the Taliban. . . And in fact, in the same month Powell asks Congress to give Afghanistan $7 million more, to be used for regional energy cooperation and to fight child prostitution. . .This follows $113 million given by the US in 2000 for humanitarian aid.
The context here is that the U.S. under both Clinton and Bush, before 9/11, was pushing for a deal with the Taliban on the TAPI pipeline to bring oil and gas to Pakistan and India. This is extensively discussed in the book Forbidden Truth
: US-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia & the Failed Search for Bin Laden
The result of three years of investigation by a leading French intelligence expert & investigative journalist, Forbidden Truth is the untold story of the Clinton & Bush attempts to stabilize Afghanistan so that US energy companies could build a pipeline. In particular, it details the secret hazardous diplomacy between the Bush administration & the Taliban from February to August 2001--a story still untold in the US media--talks that ultimately led the US to make threats via Pakistani intermediaries to the Taliban in 7/01 that they were going to bomb Afghanistan if the Taliban didn't comply.
That book also details Al Qaeda financing out of Saudi Arabia by Khalid bin Mafhouz, which caused the Saudis to fill all kinds of libel suits against the book in Switzerland, France, Britain, etc. Well worth reading.
The conclusion is the U.S. funneled at least $150 million in cash direct to the Taliban from 2000-2001 in a bid to get them onboard with their oil pipeline plan; they were also hoping the Taliban would expel Osama bin Laden or hand him over - who knows where the money ended up. That pipeline was (is) to run right through Helmand Province, poppy central, which is why both GW Bush and Barak Obama tried so hard to 'pacify' Helmand, for example the Marine invasion in 2010. Endlessly failed pipedream.
The bottom line on opium, though, is that it's the only cash crop for the farmers; there's no market export system, they can grow food for subsistence but any cash for anything, machinery, whatever, opium is it. They can sit on the opium gum for months if necessary until a trader shows up, because it doesn't spoil in storage. This is all result of the post-1979 destabilization games Brezinski and Carter started in Afghanistan, though both the Soviet Union and Reagan played their roles, before that the country was looking pretty good, on the path to developing. Bastards playing their stupid fucking geopolitical chess games, right? Millions died.
There's another fact, too, the global pharmaceutical industry could plausibly buy Afghan opium, but it's cheaper for them to grow their own - they just grind up the whole poppy plant, extract the morphine with solvents, convert it to oxycontin and what not and that's what feeds the American pharmaceutical opiate addicts. When they lose their prescription, it's on to black market Mexican and Afghan heroin. Shooting up on the streets of every city, every homeless encampment, there it is.
Drugs, oil, guns, money, slaughter - the American Empire's stock in trade. The sooner the whole shithouse comes crashing down, the better.
Posted by: nonsense factory | Dec 11, 2017 12:35:41 AM | 46
@ nonsense factory with his upgrades on the opium/drug history....thanks
Given the optics of today, the biggest and sickest drug is faith in those ME religions and the one religion that binds them all, the God of Mammon/private finance drug that plagues our species.
Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 11, 2017 2:44:37 AM | 47
So I am enclosing the complete report from the China news source
TEHRAN, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that Iran could restore its relations with Saudi Arabia should the kingdom end its "friendship" with Israel.
The Islamic Republic would "have no problem" with Saudi Arabia if it stops "bowing to Israel" and relies on itself, Rouhani said at a parliamental meeting.
"We want Saudi Arabia to stop two things, the misguided friendship with Israel and the inhuman bombardment of Yemen," he stressed.
Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran in early 2016 in protest against the attacks against Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran following the Saudi execution of a Shiite cleric.
The firing of a ballistic missile at Riyadh by the Houthis last month led to renewed tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Rouhani's remarks came amid media reports that Riyadh has been seeking closer ties with Israel in a bid to counter the rising influence of Iran, a common enemy to Saudi and Israel.
On Nov. 25, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman compared Iran's growing regional influence to Germany's hegemonic policies in the Hitler era.
"We learned from Europe that appeasement would not work. We do not want the 'new Hitler' of Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East," he said.
A Saudi-led military coalition has been fighting the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015 to support President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was ousted by the Houthis in September 2014.
The Houthis have seized control of much of Yemen's northern areas, including the capital Sanaa since 2014.
Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 11, 2017 2:50:18 AM | 48
@psychohistorian (4) and @nemesiscalling,
I think NemesisCalling is right on this point.
The State Department's purported interest in securing "Human Rights" internationally has served as a cover for U.S. interventionist measures against regimes like Libya, Syria, Iran, but never against regimes like Saudia Arabia and Israel.
A return to an explicitly realist foreign policy wherein actually demonstrated U.S. interests serve as the basis for our foreign interventions would in reality lead to a more just, transparent, and peaceful U.S. foreign policy.
Part of the resistance to Tillerson at State is that he is willing to call bullshit on the kind of self-serving propaganda that has supported the last two decades of American imperium abroad.
Posted by: WJ | Dec 11, 2017 8:22:26 AM | 49
This comment is a request for help with a purchase I have been attempting to make as a American from Russia since mid-October.
I feel being treated poorly but it may be a cultural issue as well. Please contact me through my web site and TIA
Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 11, 2017 9:22:34 AM | 50
The fake news whores at CNN_MSNBC_CBS took a shellacking by Glenn Greenwald & Justin Raimondo this week over their bungled attempt to reignite their Russia Election Interference garbage.
Deep state's clumsiness of late seems to say that they're out of options and very scared of shadows in the moonlight. Either that, or someone else fed them the story to make deep state look dreadfully bad.
Posted by: DeepHumiliation? | Dec 11, 2017 10:09:58 AM | 51
ZH is reporting that Putin is in Syria on his was to Egypt and has announced the withdrawal of military forces in Syria where they were invited in stark contrast to the US blustering that they are in Syria for the long haul.
I feel sorry for the cannon fodder that remains in Syria as the fuse to some Wag the Dog next step in the moves of empire.
Putin Orders Withdrawal Of Russian Troops During Surprise Syria Visit
Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 11, 2017 10:22:06 AM | 52
It has been reported that during James Comey's secret testimony to congress, that he testified to evidence that his former boss, Loretta Lynch, interfered in the investigation about Hillary Clinton's email server.
"Comey spoke to lawmakers in a classified setting to discuss sensitive details that could not be shared with the public.
Previously, in a public hearing, Comey told lawmakers that AG Lynch had instructed him to refer to the criminal probe of Clinton as a “matter” rather than an “investigation.”
Posted by: DoggedlyBadBoy | Dec 11, 2017 10:31:41 AM | 53
You unpatriotic wretch comparing the aggressive Putin to our just and pacific Caesari Imperii. :)
Didn't you hear about the failed Bangladeshi "ISIS-inspired" [!?!] pipe-bomb terrorist attack today in NYC?
To me, this event demonstrates very clearly that we need American troops on the ground in Syria, where we can take the battle to those Bangladeshi "ISIS-inspired" and-likely-FBI-entrapped-patsies-or-informants before they strike the Homeland.
Really, though, the only way to completely destroy these Bangladeshi "ISIS-inspired" and likely-FBI-entrapped malcontents is to get rid of Assad, as he has a long history of supporting Bangladeshi "ISIS-inspired" terrorists as you would know if you relied on real news networks like MSNBC and CNN instead of the fake news of the alt-left, or alt-right, or whatever.
The only safe media is the corporate-state media. I just don't trust anything else. ;)
Posted by: WJ | Dec 11, 2017 11:09:53 AM | 54
nonsense factory @46, thanks for lots of fact about the trade trade. I would wish that you could remember that this is not a project of the American nation, but only of those who have usurped control over her. Your wish that she should come crashing down is only to affirm the plan of the usurpers. Neither their power nor their money depends upon maintaining America. They even have their private armies and their proxy armies. Indeed their efforts for a long while is to bring America down-- but also to avoid the blame for it so that we will go along w their one-world solution.
Posted by: Penelope | Dec 11, 2017 11:52:12 AM | 56
Your comment is incomplete. You forgot to include the /S tag.
American troops have been in Syria how many years - pretending to fight their little proxies, ISIS, while funding and arming them providing air cover. Oh and allowing ISIS to flee Ragga under secret U.S. approved deal-
LINK by Reuters as per MoA
On second thought one /S tag is nearly not enough.
Posted by: likklemore | Dec 11, 2017 11:55:54 AM | 57
A possible pointer to the next US disinformation direction, which I saw on RTS 1 (Swiss TV). While wanting to see Paris with Johnny Halliday and the people who came to the procession.
The "report was by "Human rights Watch". Name of "presenter was "Bilke" (subject to confirmation). This was about the "torture and extrajudicial killings carried out by the Shia Iraqis". She supposedly had seen "bodies" with bandages over the eyes and with hands bound" by the roadside. A photo of "overcrowding of ISIS members held in Mosul room", was also part of the report, as was the statement that she had seen 100 Iraqis in a 4metre x 6m. room, and some of them couldn't stand up because they had been kept in those conditions.
The "report" was to make the Shia Iraqis into the vilains.
The "key" bit was the statement that - "The Sunni youth, who the US supported, were OBLIGED to join Deasch by the Shias. Some of them would have been cooks (photo of bound person of about 25-30), or shopkeepers" (similar style of photo).
I did not mishear the word "obliged" (by the Shia Iraqis).
You get the style. 1) US supported "innocents" that were forced to become ISIS. 2). The nasty Iraqis are the ones who do the "torturing and extrajudicial killing", not ISIS.
Note that the use of "HR.....Watch" could be similar to UN watch, Media Watch, University Watch and probably others. These were Israeli pressure groups whose tactic was to threaten (by using the libel law, or by other means) individuals rather than groups. Presumably it was easier to attack the dissenter personnally rather than find arguments against what he/she was saying. (Alternatively was to claim they were anti-semitic).
... Add to the above that the French Minister "Le Drian" has accused the Russians of "misappropriating" winning the syrian war. So the US will try to claim that they did it.
Posted by: stonebird | Dec 11, 2017 12:10:13 PM | 58
@ Penelope 56,
Perhaps I should have been more clear - among the American Empire's primary victims are the American people themselves. Historically, this has always been the case with empires - the proceeds, the imperial tribute, only flows to a handful of wealthy elites. British lords, French aristocrats, Spanish kings, Soviet comissars - the general public in the 'homeland' always gets the short end of the stick.
Look around at all the homeless people, look at our crumbling domestic infrastructure, all the alcohol and opiate addicts who have no economic future other than crappy jobs at Walmart and McDonalds, the jobs shipped overseas to 'the territories' where labor is cheap and there are no pollution rules, while the top 1% move into exclusive gated communities with security guards, surrounded by miles of decaying housing - that's what empire creates.
So, when I say I hope the whole thing comes crashing down, well, that means that instead of dumping an estimated $13.2 trillion dollars into foreign wars (the estimated bill since the end of the Cold War c.1990), that money can go to domestic infrastructure, public education, basic health care - then our country would start looking more like Germany and Japan, and less like a Third World disaster. But, it means a big shift in the military budget, closure of many foreign bases - will they ever do that willingly? I don't know. We might have to go through something like the collapse of the Soviet Union to get there.
Posted by: nonsense factory | Dec 11, 2017 12:11:33 PM | 59
@46/59 nonsense factory.. thanks for your posts.. they are bang on..
Posted by: james | Dec 11, 2017 12:34:07 PM | 60
re 41 karlof1
Came across a new to me Arab News site (www.alaraby.co.uk/) using English with good reporting about the current protests, public and governmental across the Umma.
Al Arabi is of course a Saudi prince-owned newspaper. This is a different site, is it? benefiting from changing i to y in the URL.
Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 11, 2017 3:46:44 PM | 61
The Boston Marathon event and Miles W. Mathis
On a German blog somebody came up with the story that the Boston Marathon event was a fake. Reference was given, again, to Miles W. Mathis. As this guy is more active in US circles and gets real controversial comments, some say „he“ is a group that does some obfuscation op, I would like to ask those of you that have an opinion about it: the fake news estimation and this „Miles W. Mathis“.
Posted by: Hausmeister | Dec 11, 2017 3:50:47 PM | 62
Although its credibility's tainted, Greenwald at The Intercept does write excellent articles occasionally. This on describing the incredibly false news manufactured last Friday about the smoking gun email proving collusion beyond doubt between Trump, WikiLeaks and Russia IMO is a must read.
Laguerre | Dec 11, 2017 3:46:44 PM | 61
I suspected that might be the case, but The New Arab's Twitter feed says otherwise to me since it's critical about the Saudi response to Trump's action. It's banner announces: "Alternative Analysis, Not Alternative Facts."
Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 11, 2017 4:09:54 PM | 63
Posted by: mauisurfer | Dec 11, 2017 11:12:10 AM | 55
Is he playing billiard publishing this in the New York Times?
Posted by: somebody | Dec 11, 2017 4:19:44 PM | 64
Psychohistorian @ 50:
I used to buy CDs from a record shop in San Francisco (this was the old Aquarius Records before its owners sold the business) and on two occasions ordered a couple of CDs by a Russian band. Whereas other CDs imported by the shop took a matter of weeks to arrive, several months used to pass before these Russian CDs and sometimes the shop did not know if the CDs would ever come. I sometimes think obstacles were deliberately thrown up by US customs and postal officials to delay the passage of these music CDs.
Posted by: Jen | Dec 11, 2017 4:21:46 PM | 65
@nonsense factory #46
The TAPI pipeline re:Afghanistan is important as a part of the over-arching New Silk Road strategy which has guided the US for many years, with a goal of subverting all of Central Asia to US control with commerce as the primary weapon. Also a side benefit for the CIA has been the opium trade employing the Taliban, who had stamped out most poppy production in southern Afghanistan prior to 9/11.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 11, 2017 4:45:24 PM | 66
@ jen 65
I miss Aquarius Records. They were the best.
Posted by: roza shanina | Dec 11, 2017 5:04:42 PM | 67
Putin Declares Victory in Syria
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory against “terrorists” in Syria on Monday during a surprise visit to a Russian military base in the county, where he also announced a partial pullout of Russian troops.
It was Putin’s first trip to Syria, where Russia launched an air campaign in 2015 that allowed President Bashar Assad’s forces to gain the upper hand against the Islamic State group as well as Syrian rebels. It was also the first visit by a foreign head of state to war-ravaged Syria since the civil war began in 2011.
The Russians have won a war, an achievment not accomplished by the US in decades.
And memories of Obama, Sep 29, 2016, not so long ago.
"Russia will continue to send troops home [from Syria] in body bags"
Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 11, 2017 5:06:42 PM | 68
@67, Don Bacon,
I think the whole Silk Road (US version) is kaput, no chance at all. The only realistic Silk Road at this point is the Chinese one, via the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. (SCO). There is the fact that Exxon and Chevron agreed, summer 2016, to invest $37 billion in Kazakhstan, though - they expect that to pay off. But I think that gets exported via tanker and pipeline out of Baku with no need for TAPI - it's the Turkmenistan gas they want to export via TAPI, to India and Pakistan. A 20-year-old pipe dream. China now looks to be the Turkmenistan gas buyer, according to reports.
As far as the Taliban, the whole point of my post was that the only reason the Taliban stamped out poppy cultivation in 2000-2001 was that the Clinton & GW Bush bribed the Taliban with $150 million to do so - and for all we know, that money was used to finance the 9/11 hijackers, buy them first-class airplane tickets, pay for pilot school training and day-to-day expenses - that would be entirely unsurprising. The whole bill for 9/11 was a few hundred thousand dollars I think - and the US gave $150 million to the Taliban in the two years prior. I'm always astonished how few people seem to know that. US propaganda media just can't talk about it, it's too embarrassing, I guess. Plus it was a joint Clinton-Bush operation, so neither party wants to stick it to the other by bringing it up, because they get burned too. Pathetic.
The CIA doesn't really need drug money, anyway; they have their massive black budget. It's more that they protect drug traffiking organizations from DEA/Interpol etc. if they cooperate on regime change operations and so on. It's true, though, that they've used drug money to finance some off-the-books operations that they never want Congress to see, such as Iran-Contra in the 1980s.
These are the actions of a corrupt dying empire, at least I sure hope so. Epic failures, massive blowback, one after the other.
Posted by: nonsense factory | Dec 11, 2017 5:20:00 PM | 69
@nonsense factory #70
Your dismissal of my historically correct comment with "I think the whole Silk Road (US version) is kaput, no chance at all" is irrelevant nonsense, a cheap shot about a major US strategy that has had a huge effect. It was this strategy, not your pipeline, that was the major driver of US strategy in Central Asia. It may well be dead now, and it may have been impossible from the beginning, but the fact is that the US New China Road policy was the primary driver of everything that the US has attempted to do in Central Asia, and that's a lot.
And your claim that the Taliban quit the opium trade for a measly $150 million, a trade now variously estimated to be $30-70 billion, is without standing. More nonsense.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 11, 2017 6:52:06 PM | 70
Amazed nobody's mentioned Putin's Odyssey for today--Syria, to meet Assad; Egypt, to meet Sisi; Don't know where he met PA head Abbas; Jordan, to meet King PlayStation; then Turkey, to meet Erdogan. Unfortunately, the Kremlin website doesn't provide any info about the meetings with Abdullah and Abbas. What is being reported is all 6 are on the same page regarding the destabilizing nature of Trump's action and the need to restart direct talks between the Zionists and Palestinians before the violence escalates further.
Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 11, 2017 7:01:17 PM | 71
There's a significant "Show of Force" aka "show my big swingin' dong and hairy chest" occurring right now over the skies of North Korea.
The air base in Guam is heavily involved.
Posted by: fast freddy | Dec 11, 2017 7:06:30 PM | 72
Don Bacon @71--
The Unocal proposed pipeline negotiations began during Clinton. Rashid's Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia describes the process in great detail. There was also an Italian oil company involved, but I'd need to dig up my copy of the book to tell you which one. Rashid also divulges the strategic reason the Outlaw US Empire attempted that move, and it wasn't for anything altruistic.
In terms of scope, China's BRI and Russia's EAEU dwarf the miniscule Outlaw US Empire effort to destabilize Central Asia. It'll take more time, but the Empire will get ejected from Afghanistan just as it will be forced to depart Iraq and Syria.
Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 11, 2017 7:14:04 PM | 73
@ 63 karlof1.. i tend to view that site as @63 laguerre describes it.. maybe there will be some relevant info, but overall when i continually read ''iran backed hezbollah'' i am automatically suspicious... iran backed houthi and on and on the propaganda goes - get iran being the 24/7 message...
Posted by: james | Dec 11, 2017 8:03:03 PM | 74
karlof1 | Dec 11, 2017 7:01:17 PM | 72
Had read about Putin's trip to Syria and read his speech there at the President of Russia website, but did not realize he was doing a round trip. Normally, all roads lead to Moscow, so must be something major cooking if Putin is out and about.
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 11, 2017 8:15:54 PM | 75
@ Peter AU 1 with the comment about Putin being out and about so something major must be cooking.
Agreed. I see it as coordination to counter the huffing and bluffing of US and Israel in a manner that makes them fall on their own sword.......death through a thousand cuts, how deserving.
Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 11, 2017 8:57:12 PM | 76
@ karlof1 #74
the miniscule Outlaw US Empire effort to destabilize Central Asia
Like nonsense, your BS comment with "miniscule Outlaw US Empire" diverts from the fact that the US New Silk Road strategy has historical standing regarding the US activities in Central Asia, including Afghanistan.
S.2749 - Silk Road Strategy Act of 2006
"To update the Silk Road Strategy Act of 1999 to modify targeting of assistance in order to support the economic and political independence of the countries of Central Asia and the South Caucasus in recognition of political and economic changes in these regions since enactment of the original legislation. . ."
That's what drove the Clintons, and then Bush to fully engage in Central Asia. This involvement included a strong commercial effort especially in Kazakhstan, involving USAID, chamber of commerce, consultants etc. and the military effort, now ongoing in Afghanistan.
And like nonsense, you pretend to be able to predict the future -- "the Empire will get ejected from Afghanistan" -- which has nothing to do with how the US got there in the first place. Nothing.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 11, 2017 9:10:32 PM | 77
@ nonsense factory #70
The CIA doesn't really need drug money, anyway; they have their massive black budget.
Oh, so you know how much is in the massive CIA black budget? Give us the number, so we might compare it to the estimated Afghan drug business ($30-70B) and then WE can decide if the CIA really needs the drug money or not. (I didn't know that corrupt officials had an income limit.)
Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 11, 2017 9:14:10 PM | 78
@71, Don Bacon;
I just meant the Silk Road was now kaput, not that it hadn't been the driving force behind US policy in the region for decades. It dates all the way back to the mid-1990s, at least, and got started in Pakistan with Benazir Bhutto, with bids for the oil/gas pipeline between Unocal (not then part of Chevron) and the Argentinian company Bridas. Here's an excerpt from Steve Coll's Ghost Wars, from the beginning:
Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden By Steve Coll
"(1997) Tying a pipeline deal into the broader agenda of American foreign policy could provide Unocal with a competitive advantage. Some European or Middle Eastern companies seeking oil and gas deals in Central Asia arranged payoffs to local officials. Apart from Unocal, Niyazov [Turkemenistan president] dealt with an array of American consultants and middlemen, some of them thick with mysterious connections in Turkey and the Middle East. Unocal itself had a mysterious Saudi partner called Delta with little experience in the oil and gas field. If it was not on board to facilitate commissions to middlemen, its role was otherwise difficult to explain. But the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the United States made it very costly and risky for a large American company like Unocal to become directly involved with payoffs. What Unocal executives could offer instead was the credibility of a security alliance with the United States, grounded in big energy deals. As a salve for Russian pressure, Niyazov had long sought the attention of the U.S. government. By striking a major deal with Unocal he could insure himself against Russian intimidation. For its part the Clinton administration saw the promotion of American oil interests in the newly independent countries of Central Asia as sound foreign and economic policy. Trade between the United States and the newly independent states was soaring—up to $4.6 billion in the first half of 1995, a 35 percent increase over the previous year. Oil and gas interests led the way. In Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan. . .
As far as the opium deal, see the Rolling Stone article:
"It's about 10 pounds, a half-acre's yield. "If I'm lucky, I might get 60,000 kaldar for this," he says. That's about $600."
At 2000 pounds a ton, thats $120,000 a ton - and the UN says Afghanistan's total yield is 6,400 tons at most. That's $768 million at the farmer level. The article claims that the street value of that 10 pounds of opium, once converted to heroin, is $150,000. If true, that would be a total value of $192 billion.
But that's not how it works; there are probably ten middlemen in between the farmer and London street dealer, each taking their cut. Those 'street value' claims are mostly nonsense, it's sold at much lower wholesale prices and there's always some lost or intercepted. People always talk like having ten kilos of heroin makes you suddenly rich; but none of them have the slightest idea how to turn it into cash without getting jailed or robbed or murdered. That's movie thinking.
The Taliban would probably only get a percentage, a kind of tax, on opium smuggled out of the country. So to them, $150 million in cash looks pretty good in 2000, when the harvest was likely a good deal smaller. As far as how the CIA would get its hands on the drug money? They certainly wouldn't be getting billions, perhaps millions.
Posted by: nonsense factory | Dec 11, 2017 11:31:15 PM | 80
Thank you, also, to Altamirano #39 (Dope, Inc.), witters #40 (McCoy) and PeacefulProperity #42 (Henderson pieces) for your suggestions re drugs--cia.
I've managed to get hold of Dope, Inc. and it looks very wide-ranging. I have not delved into McCoy yet, but he looks like a thorough basis to go from. Henderson encompassing avery broad sweep of history, almost dizzyingly so, with some interesting perspectives.
Thanks, then, to nonsense factory ~46 for adding some further perspective with the Brisard book and the History Commons link;
and for the discussion that followed (nonsense, Don Bacon, karlof1). As always, we all have valuable things to says, which should not be allowed to become too strident, and we need to maintain healthy scepticism at all times.
Posted by: Petra | Dec 12, 2017 8:51:05 AM | 82
I think that offer to the US is not going anywhere. More recent news is the draw down of Russian forces from Syria.
Alexander Mercouris offers a reminder that I found timely:
Putin’s Syrian withdrawal announcement: neither a full Russian withdrawal nor victory in Syria
The Syria campaign was a stretch for the legally defined purpose of the Russian military (which is to defend the homeland only), and sending the soldiers home was the other side of the agreement that the Russian people made with Putin in allowing them to go as far afield as Syria - in order to kill the very terrorists who were coming next to Russia if unchecked. This was the compact Putin made, and Mercouris reminds us of this.
It's important to remember all this. One gets used to thinking from the west and seeing Russia as the new force in the Middle East. But one must look from Russia itself, outward to the world, to see the true view of things.
This is one of Mercouris's very best articles - not because it's so grand in its reach but because it's so blunt and simple in its reminder of things we may have forgotten.
My only disagreement with Mercouris is when he speaks of Putin's political necessity to do this now, with the elections coming. He never mentions Putin's heart, or that it's the right thing to do simply because now is the time - and to hell with the elections. But honestly I am persuaded by every other action of Putin the great leader and moral man, that this is his thinking. Not elections, but Christmas, and New year, and this very important time for soldiers to come home to their families.
Posted by: Grieved | Dec 12, 2017 12:32:55 PM | 83
nonsense factory @59:
We might have to go through something like the collapse of the Soviet Union to get there.
No choice. It's the only way to jolt the masses from their normalcy bias. The misery have to be felt nation wide and perhaps last a generation. It needs to be burned into peoples long term memory.
Posted by: Ian | Dec 12, 2017 12:33:54 PM | 84
it is all in the name non sense factory it does what it says on the tin.
mr monsense would never talk of us c130 heavy lift logistics processing chemicals in prime h out
nor talk of camp bondsteel. afghanistan is pure us,uk and israel logistics dhl and fedex style.
this is not a donkey or pony team operation but military industrial level the average grunt and squaddie on the ground the private teams of the weat are security.
follow the wars follow the rat lines simple.
wherever you have these perverts so called western democracy builders chatham house policy enablers you have these sex slave,organ harvesting drug running and architectual theft and destruction.
Posted by: murray head | Dec 12, 2017 1:01:03 PM | 85
> Petra. I would add just one point to nonsense factory’s ++ posts (but see Don Bacon as well.)
The poppy ‘ban’ by the Taliban was not a ban, and for whatever reasons it occurred (direct payments, etc. - NOT motivated by ‘morals’ or ‘religion’) it only amounted to slashing / halting production in at most or around 3/4 of fields, with the aim of making prices rise, as previous there was a production glut and prices sank into the pits. (Common knowledge on the street, and explained in a UN report that a quick search did not turn up, sorry.)
The sensible proposal was to regulate the poppy trade (invaders can kind of assume those privileges) and many, incl. the UN, WHO, etc. proposed Afgh. should become leaders in opioid production for the world market to the pharma industry, affording good revenues to part of pop. (Nobody was keen on the refineries in Pakistan, those would be shut down and go to Afgh.) Of course the US refused.
> Jen. A book about the ‘culture flogging’ scene is needed :)
Posted by: Noirette | Dec 12, 2017 5:41:35 PM | 86
Declassified documents "What Gorbachev heard" promises not to do any NATO expansion.
Posted by: somebody | Dec 12, 2017 6:12:59 PM | 87
nonsense factory @59. Thanks for the clarification. You say "So, when I say I hope the whole thing comes crashing down, well, that means that instead of dumping an estimated $13.2 trillion dollars into foreign wars (the estimated bill since the end of the Cold War c.1990), that money can go to domestic infrastructure, public education, basic health care. . . ."
Do you really think that the people who are behind this global mayhem are going to rebuild America?! The UN's Agenda 21 has been signed onto by the govt in 1992. It's a 40 Chapt plan to totally control people worldwide. Its implementation is local and it's already happening. The end product is people being restricted to "sustainable development zones", Everyone is to live in miniscule apts, using digital currency, w restrictions on travel, and so much more that I don't even know how to summarize it. All this invented political turmoil is to distract us from focussing on the progression to the global totalitarian NWO.
Posted by: Penelope | Dec 12, 2017 8:57:28 PM | 88
Breaking news according to CNN: Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, and Joe Biden will hold a press event and release a report at 12:00 EST on 24th of December at the Press Club. The report provides undeniable verified proof that Donald Trump conspired with Kim Jung Ill to steal the election in 2017 and moreover that North Korea also fooled the United States intelligence services as well as the DNC and the Hillary team as well as several US congressmen of both parties into chasing down a false narrative about Russian interference in the US election.
Further the report and evidence shows that the conspiracy between Kim Jong Ill and Donald Trump turned sour after Donald Trump cheated on the promises made to North Korea and that this in turn is the cause of the recent escalation in tension and threat of nuclear war as US forces have had to mobilize to do everything in power to prevent the North Koreans from tipping Guam over until it sinks.
Hillary Clinton says "If the North Koreans manage to tip over Guam it would sink, and if that happens the pointy bits could rip a hole in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean so that all the water drains out and then we have the largest ecological disaster in human history on our hands. We need to impeach Donald Trump now, and if that fails we have to assassinate Donald Trump to save the whales!"
I just could not resist making up a little bit of high quality fake news, it's so much better than the stuff they make :)
Posted by: Outsider | Dec 22, 2017 12:57:45 AM | 89
Penelope wrote about Agenda 21:
"Everyone is to live in miniscule apts, using digital currency, w restrictions on travel, and so much more that I don't even know how to summarize it."
Sounds like my life. Including the "so much more" bit. Maybe I'm ahead of my time :3
I've got rum and tobacco though.
Posted by: Outsider | Dec 22, 2017 1:14:00 AM | 90