Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 26, 2018

Open Thread 2018-32

[Just arrived back home after an extended and somewhat hilarious stay with my extended family. Regular blogging will proceed tomorrow.]

News & views ...

Posted by b on June 26, 2018 at 17:13 UTC | Permalink

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Welcome Back!

Posted by: CarlD | Jun 26 2018 17:34 utc | 1

that was a short break b! you're not some artsy idler like a number of us here.. welcome back!

Posted by: james | Jun 26 2018 17:54 utc | 2

Nothing better than when the family is all together; welcome back, b.


On Nicaragua:

Counterpunch article by Dan Kovalik provides a perspicacious overview and historical context, second article is the perspective of a Nicaraguan-American, and Max Blumentha's article illuminates the NED's role not just currently but over decades (which the WikiLeaks State Department cables also demonstrate in the hegemon's own words).

Something I have seen discussed only tangentially is the fact that there are clearly snipers picking off both protestors and security forces, with many wounds being shots to the head or neck. There is no way to prove where they come from or who their allegiance is to, but given the snipers we've seen before in Syria 2011, Ukraine 2014, Venezuela 2002, and even Paraguay 2012 in the violent clash between campesinos and police where both were shot at, campesinos claiming they had been infiltrated, in the run-up to the parliamentary coup that ousted Pink Tide leader Fernando Lugo, I think we can assume they are there to destabilize and cause a state of chaos and violence that can be blamed on the targeted government and be used an excuse for a soft coup or direct military intervention.

Posted by: George Lane | Jun 26 2018 18:00 utc | 3

It's a long article, but I think it's worth the time, Ella George's "Purges and Paranoia," which appeared in a May issue of London Review of Books. Say what you will about Erdogan, but he's proven that Turkey is able to take on all comers

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jun 26 2018 18:07 utc | 4

Thanks for the links, George. I don't read much of the MSM, so I'm curious how much attention Nicaragua is getting in the US corporate press.

Posted by: NoOneYouKnow | Jun 26 2018 18:21 utc | 5

If one recounts well, Pearl Harbor was a direct result of these same economic
strangulation technique used by the US against Japan in those days.

I would believe that if the US succeeds in this project, which depends
on the US ' ability to prevent China and India from buying Iran's oil
- if it succeeds- Iran will certainly retaliate by making sure all ME
production and shipping facilities are destroyed.

Or they can rain missiles on the root cause of all the Mayhem
in the ME: Israel.

I believe cornering Iran is not the best policy.

Posted by: CarlD | Jun 26 2018 18:53 utc | 6

Truth as to roots of "immigration" rancor is provided by veteran immigration lawyer R. Andrew Free and journalist Will Bunch, and those roots are of the utmost importance for more than just the current "immigration" SNAFU. The article provides very useful background on the crisis with its actual roots buried in Outlaw US Empire policy since prior to WW2. But I violently disagree with Bunch when he says: "Look, I don’t think Obama was a monster, and I’m not arguing that." Obama was a criminal and then a "monster" from his first inaugural onwards--there's absolutely nothing that can justify his many criminal actions.

What I see happening within the Outlaw US Empire is the long delayed anti-Obama protests for the misery and criminality of his policies--and those of Congress--which are now aimed at Trump since he's escalated most every policy that's anti-people. I anticipated the imposition of the many anti-people policies but doubted there'd be much push-back since very little of it was directed at Obama, who certainly deserved massive amounts. We certainly will see what transpires, but the ferment aroused by Sanders's campaign and the very active push-back against the anti-people policies of the GOP Congress coupled with the utter inanity of Trump and his policy pursuits are working to radicalize and provide a pole around which the citizenry can establish solidarity--all of which is a boon for the rather large number of anti-establishment state and federal candidates trying to change the political chemistry.

What writers like Bunch must do is to link the numerous anti-people policies together so people can see the entire fabric being woven into so many funeral shrouds. Non-MSM writers must try to topple what Finnian Cunningham calls "American Totalitarianism and the Culture of Fake News" that concludes thusly:

"The fascinating and distinguishing thing about the de facto US totalitarian system is the illusion that the public has of being “free” – the biggest fake news of all.

"This complacent acceptance of “freedom” as a seeming “fact” is perhaps the key factor in why the US and Western capitalist system perpetuates. Few suspect that they are in actual fact nothing but captives, slaves, subjects, in a menagerie of fakery, or false consciousness, about the oppressive condition of their lives."

All those kids and families in cages are images that can finally get people to understand they are far from being free--they are no different from the "internment" camps that jailed Japanese-Americans and others during WW2--a plicy deemed unconstitutional all too long after-the-fact.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 26 2018 19:02 utc | 7

CarlD 6
The U S forced the U K to discontinue her alliance with Japan and aid to the Japanese navy between the world wars .

Posted by: ashley albanese | Jun 26 2018 19:55 utc | 8


missing is this introduction:

According to PressTV, A US official (not identified) has said that the goal of
the US is to prevent Iran from selling any oil after November. They have asked
other producers to ramp up production so that Iran's production will not be missed.

This will depend on whether they will be able persuade India and China not to
buy Iran's oil. Albeit a tough cookie to crack, who knows what kind of pressure
they can exert on China and India?

Posted by: CarlD | Jun 26 2018 20:04 utc | 9

CarlD @6--

The huge difference is Iran extracts more than enough hydrocarbons for its use; japan was entirely dependent on imports for its war economy. Iran long ago instituted a program to have most of its domestic auto and truck fleet powered by LP gas, not refined petroleum which was being limited due to sanctions. So, Iran's even more energy resilient than most other nations--including the Outlaw US Empire. The Islamic Republic of Iran isn't going to disappear anytime soon; it'll probably outlast the US Empire.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 26 2018 20:06 utc | 10

CarlD @9 Et al--

At the just concluded OPEC meeting, Iran, Iraq and Venezuela were against any increase in extraction, while the Saudis wanted an increase. What resulted is detailed in this article. Moneygraph:

"... OPEC does not need to change its output deal since the group had already cut supply by much more than it had agreed. What Zanganeh offered was for OPEC and Russia to pump back up to decrease the current cuts to the initial 1.176 million barrels per day (bpd).

"Output in May 2018 was actually down by 1.9 million, somehow 62 percent or 724,000 bpd more than what was agreed upon in 2016."

The upshot is an increase will occur but no increase will occur--understand? The extraction amount agreed to in 2016 remains the amount OPEC will extract. There will be no increase in that amount this year.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 26 2018 20:25 utc | 11

Syria Update

The SAA is rapidly clearing out the foreign terrorists in the south of the country.

The entire Lajat area has been cleared almost cutting in half the eastern territory occupied by terrorists.

The SAA is now advancing in two main areas:

1. The SAA is surrounding Daara city from the north. The southern half of Daara city is held by terrorists. Once surrounded, the terrorists in the eastern part of the south of Syria will be cut off.

2. The SAA is now clearing out Al Hrak and will be moving down south clearing out the remaining terrorists in the eastern Daara countryside.

The goal is to secure the Nasib border crossing. Once secured, the flow of terrorists and weapons into Syria will be a major step closer to being stopped.

I assume that once the SAA surrounds Daara city, that the terrorists in the south of the city will just be contained while the massive SAA forces ready to start phase 2 of the anti-terror campaign.

Once they are ready the SAA will move on to clearing out the western Daara countryside all the way to both the Jordan and Palestine borders with Syria.

Activity by the US regime trying to play the same tired old UN and other 'humanitarian' organization games. The SAA is making such rapid advance that it will most likely be moot. Still waiting for the US regime's next fake chemical attack.

Posted by: Nerrian | Jun 26 2018 21:04 utc | 12

7 Karlof -

Yes, Obama made some criminally bad decisions. Michael Hudson quotes Barney Frank as wanting Hank Paulson to dedicate some of the second lot of TARP money to underwater mortgage holders. Paulson agreed to do it only if Obama asked for it. Obama rejected the idea.

Hudson also repeated the saw that Geithner was called the Albert Speer of the Obama administration.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Jun 26 2018 21:28 utc | 13

Today I was pleasantly surprised to find a short piece on Syria in Swedish MSM that looked like perfectly honest reporting. It depicted the Homs "rebels" in a very bad light, and though they didn't spell it out, it was an unequivocally pro-government piece.

Makes me think the efforts of the empire have shifted somewhere else. So where aren't we looking?

Here is the link (Swedish):

Posted by: Per | Jun 26 2018 22:18 utc | 14

Bart Hansen @13--

Obama became a criminal when he failed to have BushCo arrested once he was inaugurated for their many very major crimes, and it went downhill for him from thereon.

Once again, Alastair Crooke provides a thought provoking article: "The Beginning of the End of the Bilderberg Era," which isn't actually about Bilderbergers per se, but about Trump's attempts to sustain what remains of the Unipolar Moment. Europe proves to be the major actor in the drama:

"And it is here that the paradigm shifts in Europe come into play. It is not, I repeat not because Europe can be expected to show leadership or to ‘do’ much, but rather because the apophatic discourse of ‘saying the unsayable’ is spreading to Europe."

And then there's Iran, which is again being spasmed by its uptight portion of the populous that has no more patience with sanctions--fortunately, it's a rather small fraction. The Tehran Times article I linked @11 shows just how important Iran is within OPEC and the larger world.

And then there's Turkey with a new boss that's the same as the old boss but without as much power as he just wielded as Pepe Escobar explores post-election. Yet again, Europe's the mirror:

"For the EU’s political leaders, the only accepted narrative is blanket, hysterical condemnation of “illiberal democracies” distorted by personal rule, xenophobia and suppression of free speech. And that also applies to the strongmen in Hungary, Austria, Serbia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

"These EU leaders and the institutions that support them – political parties, academia, mainstream media – simply can’t understand how and why their bubble does not reflect what voters really think and feel.

"Instead, we have irrelevant intellectuals mourning the erosion of the lofty Western mission civilisatrice (civilizing mission), investing in a philosophical maelstrom of historical and even biblical references to catalog their angst."

I wonder if Escobar and Crooke have ever met?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 26 2018 22:55 utc | 15

Speaking of Iran, I must endorse this excellent article detailing some of Iran's post-war economic thought and practices that allowed it to survive then and prosper now despite sanctions.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 26 2018 23:20 utc | 16

Unnamed "Senior State Department Official" says the USA "expects all countries to reduce their Iranian oil imports to zero or face US sanctions."

"We have a lot of diplomatic muscle memory for urging, cajoling, negotiating with our partners to reduce their investments to zero," the official added.

(This official infers that EU countries will soon capitulate to US demands, but does he believe that, say, India will agree to this? The CNN reporters don't ask.)

Posted by: jayc | Jun 26 2018 23:25 utc | 17

I have a budding theory that Daniel Ellsberg is not trustworthy.

Douglas Valentine wrote an extremely interesting article on Ellsberg’s CIA connections in 2003 here:

and did an interview talking about it here:

I’m wondering whether he may have been posing as a heroic whistleblower for all these years when the whole time the Pentagon Papers were extremely useful for the CIA in hiding their drug smuggling operation in Southeast Asia and for the FBI hiding COINTELPRO while also bringing down Nixon. And whether he could since be using his status to befriend all these whistlebowers, who he would then have great influence over (eg. Kirakou, Snowden both love him, Freedom of the Press Foundation) . And the surely CIA-sponsored film The Post, which minimised the journalism done by the NYT, and hugely backed the WaPo. With their new "democracy dies in darkness" slogan it seems like they're honeytrapping whistleblowers like The Intercept with Reality Winner etc, while simultaneously bigging up Ellsberg as a hero.

Also, on 16 November 2014 Sue Gardner, then the executive director of Wikipedia,, made some changes to Ellsberg’s wiki page at his request. Some of the changes were strange, such as this one:

which removes a reference to Ellsberg’s high security clearance after serving in Vietnam, at the RAND corporation, for the given reason: "Ellsberg says he didn't have a high security clearance while in Vietnam: I can't find explicit support for it in the citation".

But the removed part wasn't talking about when he was in Vietnam.

Also this edit:

which removes a comment about Ellsberg being at the Gulf of Tonkin, reporting the incident to McNamara, because:

"Ellsberg says this isn't true (and it should probably come out regardless -- if it's only worth a parenthetical it's probably not sufficiently notable/interesting to be in the article".

But in Ellsberg’s own memoir he writes about the incident, and how he was the first to receive the cable from the courier about the Gulf of Tonkin:

It all seems very suspicious to me and I think it could use some more attention, Valentine is incredibly knowledgeable about the CIA and I think he makes a good case.

Posted by: J | Jun 26 2018 23:45 utc | 18

that sounds fun, tell us more.

Posted by: annie | Jun 27 2018 0:07 utc | 19

J @ 18

I think I would take Ellsberg over The Intercept any day of the week, and also would point out that the Washington Post, at the time of Watergate and thereabouts was the paper of record in breaking that whole messy but enlightening political scenario out of its sordid underworld and into the light of day. (I don't remember what part the NYT had to play in that, but newspapers were actually newspapers back in that day. That was then.)

It's always possible for those who have done something heroic to later become lesser men, but I don't think the changes to the record you document are in any way proof of that. For instance, Ellsberg says he wasn't at the Gulf of Tonkin, hence the correction. Then says he 'received the cable about...' Both statements agree in this case.

Certainly the Washington Post today is a different beast than it was back then.
They all are. I don't know the film, The Post, but if it was CIA sponsored that in no way changes what happened then, nor after the extremes that Snowden has gone to would he, I suspect, be vulnerable to any outside influence. I could always be wrong - I was wrong in voting for Obama first time, shame on me. I didn't the second time around, so I hope I am forgiven. Fool me once...

Posted by: juliania | Jun 27 2018 0:22 utc | 20

Sorry about the carryon of italics. Guess I will stay clear of those tags from now on!

Posted by: juliania | Jun 27 2018 0:24 utc | 21

@4 mike maloney... thanks for sharing that.. it's a good article.. i have isolated some quotes from the article that might interest moa readers... it is as you note - a long article, but well worth the read for anyone interested in erdogan and turkey at present.. the article was written may 11th... turkey is on a very difficult path at present.. erdogan has consolidated power to an unusual degree, but as the author of this article notes in his last statement - "Against the grim backdrop of Turkey’s contemporary descent into authoritarianism, the history of Abdul Hamid provides a reminder that Erdoğan’s project has its precedents.

"The best way to make sense of the party’s trajectory is to identify the moments at which alternative paths were ignored in favour of another step towards authoritarianism." and further down "The final move towards authoritarianism in the AKP’s second term was a showdown between Erdoğan and a group of newspapers and TV stations partly owned by Aydın Doğan, a businessman and a prominent critic of the government."

and further down "The AKP’s fourth term, Erdoğan’s first as president, has been far and away the most repressive. Since 2015, the country has been dragged into a war and experienced an attempted coup; it has been ruled under a state of emergency for 21 months and counting. The AKP can be charged with crushing the country’s secularist opposition, eroding the separation of powers, waging war and embracing a hyper-chauvinist nationalism."

and further down "A parliamentary commission attempting to investigate the events leading up to the coup was denied access to those involved and their requests to interview Fidan and Akar were rejected."

"He described the attempted coup as a ‘gift from God’, and in the following months it became clear that it had provided him with an opportunity to realise his most ambitious goals. Within days a state of emergency was declared. It was renewed for a seventh time this April, minutes after the government announced that snap parliamentary and presidential elections would be held on 24 June, 18 months earlier than expected. These elections will be conducted under emergency rule, a form of government which, according to Erdoğan, has been good for the economy because it protects the country from terrorism and prevents workers from going on strike."

"Turkey has become a society of informants in which no one is safe."

april 2017 vote "the vote was a referendum on Erdoğan’s rule. Remarkably, he nearly lost, saved only by a decision made after voting had begun to allow unstamped ballots to be counted, making it virtually impossible to determine whether or not there had been ballot stuffing. That the party had to resort to vote-rigging was stunning. Even more so was the narrow margin of the purported victory; only 51 per cent voted in favour. The country’s three largest cities – Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir – and much of the Kurdish south-east voted ‘No’."

"Erdoğan is an increasingly lonely figure; the shine long ago came off his international reputation. At home he presides over a state that is in many ways a reflection of his own paranoia. Fear of internal enemies means the highest echelons of state have been emptied out, leaving him to rule with his son, his son-in-law and a few trusted loyalists."

Posted by: james | Jun 27 2018 0:32 utc | 22

I have been out of town for a few days and am just trying to catch up a bit myself

Here is a link to an article I found interesting about current Mexico politics

Scourge of Mexico establishment poised to capture presidency

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 27 2018 1:30 utc | 23

Re: current Mexico politics post by psychohistorian (another poster i've always read)...

Website for a dark horse candidate in Municipal President election in a provincial city.

Posted by: Guerrero | Jun 27 2018 2:00 utc | 24

@ Guerrero with the link offer to Spanish language site.

I am lazy/busy and wish to know your message to me and others more clearly please and thank you.

I only know that the US was/is heavily involved in Mexico politics/economy over the years.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 27 2018 2:13 utc | 25

The Space Force Trump wants to create opens up all kinds of possibilities. To get support for funding a credible threat/enemy must be found. I suppose protection of satellites works to some degree but what would be better is alien enemies. The technology exists to simulate an alien invasion. What better way to unite the world against a common enemy? Those countries not going along can be said to be harboring alien bases.

Its coming

Posted by: Pft | Jun 27 2018 2:16 utc | 26

Nothing is very clear about it to me. I only offered as a local candidate's website.
not as a recommendation, only as a curiosity lets say, take a peek at mayoral election
there are at least seven candidates, at least three of them think they will win it seems

i asked an older lady at the store today but i don't have the pulse of the whole city
my take is that elections go by that they are something like a regularly scheduled fiesta
nothing in particular i can think of - some interesting rodeo and other videos for sure!

This candidate is a rodeo announcer and that is one reason people know him around here:

check out the atmosphere at a country village rodeo with local band laying out cool licks

Posted by: Guerrero | Jun 27 2018 2:40 utc | 27

OK, so now is yet another moment for us aged cynics to sharpen our stakes in readiness for the DNC reaction to the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez win the dem primary for the congressional gig in safe dem seat of NY's Bronx and Queens.
An early Saunders 4 prez backer in a state where the machine turned out huge for Hill the shill, Ocasio-Cortez knocked a formerly high ranking dem congressman who goes by the handle Joe Crowley outta 'his' spot at the top trough. After ten terms in congress, Crowley has been an Irish step 'n fetchit for Wall St and just about every 'shit on the people' action of the Clintons plus Oblamblam.

They (the DNC) will have to be much more circumspect in dealing with Ocasio-Cortez than they were say, with Ned Lamont when he rolled the zionazi Lieberman for the senate primary in Conneticut 10 years ago.
This is a slightly unwhite woman, whereas Lieberman a jew, was trounced by a middle aged whitefella businessman so the DNC played the old 'anti-semite' card when they jerked all funding off Lamont and gave kazillions to genocidal Joe.

I suppose the DNC will argue that since Ocasio-Cortez was a Bernie supporter backing an old bloke against the greatest sheila to walk on water she cannot be a 'real' feminist anyhow and the Latino issue will be dealt with by insinuations that her Puerto Rican heritage shows that Ocasio-Cortez is a mainchancer out to get Puerto Rico deeper into the federal funding trough because the minor storm which those theives n rapists beat up into a hurricane hasn't proved to be much of an 'earner'. Although that may play well in whitefella land Agent Orange has pretty much stitched up all those votes for the rethugs making this a particularly dangerous ploy since Latinos and blackfellas have become the two major demographics the dems can rely upon.
That unfortunately hasn't made much difference in the past when the professional pols do their well-worn "Fuck 'em. where else they gonna go" act.

This is gonna be a tough act to undo, I see the Graun thousands of miles east of amerika, but with a long tongue always ready and able to lick DC arse, has been quick to leap onto the 'damn with faint praise' stunt by calling Ocasio-Cortez a socialist, a term which is a vote winner everywhere but amerika where a century plus indoctrination of the mugs has made it a bigtime vote loser, a reality the graun is well aware of.

So we shall see what happens next. The only thing we can be certain of is that the DNC reaction will be hypocritical, ugly and self-serving.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jun 27 2018 3:31 utc | 28

james @ 22: Thanks for that synopsis. Could give us some insights into the direction the U$A's politics might be headed. I think nothing can be ruled out, given the cretins who now determine the country's direction..

Posted by: ben | Jun 27 2018 3:40 utc | 29

@21 juliania

Please don't stay clear of those tags. Simply keep them in their place. You used the ending tag < / i > correctly but you put it at the end of everything you wrote instead of the phrase you wanted to enclose within its format.

TIP: the "Preview" button is your friend. We will wait through many other comments while you perfect the look of yours, there's no rush.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 27 2018 3:47 utc | 30

"Abusive Employers Are Threatening to Call Immigration Authorities on Domestic Workers"

From Truthout:

The penalties for hiring undocumented workers are never enforced, but very stringent

Posted by: ben | Jun 27 2018 4:08 utc | 31

Paul Craig Roberts has always been one of my experts on the US economy - and I've disparaged his abilities in other geo-strategic fields - so his latest piece is a pleasure to share, for those who may be interested in such things:

How Long Can The Federal Reserve Stave Off the Inevitable? — Paul Craig Roberts

I have always had trouble understanding what role the bond market actually plays, and Roberts in this piece explains part at least of the equations at the heart of it. Here's a snippet that explains much to me [my emphasis]:

The way the Federal Reserve saved the irresponsible large banks, which should have failed and have been broken up, was to raise the prices of troubled assets on the banks’ books by lowering interest rates. To be clear, interest rates and bond prices move in opposite directions. When interest rates are lowered by the Federal Reserve, which it achieves by purchasing debt instruments, the prices of bonds rise. As the various debt risks move together, lower interest rates raise the prices of all debt instruments, even troubled ones. Raising the prices of debt instruments produced solvent balance sheets for the big banks.

It makes sense that bonds either rise in buy/sell value or they pay a larger dividend instead. That's what the bolded part of the quote means.

Roberts continues a few paragraphs later with this [my bold again]:

The Federal Reserve has learned that it can keep afloat the Ponzi scheme that is the US economy by printing money with which to support financial asset prices. The alleged rises in interest rates by the Federal Reserve are not real interest rates rises. Even the under-reported inflation rate is higher than the interest rate increases, with the result that the real interest rate falls.

This is why the cost of money is not actually rising. The Fed is paying us to spend its money - if by "us" we mean the banks, and if by "spend" we mean corporations buying their own stock to raise their CEO bonuses.

Another good piece on the US economy by Roberts.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 27 2018 4:09 utc | 32

@ Guerrero with the Mexico candidate link...thanks.....I like music with lots of brass....."Blood, Sweat and Tears" is my favorite classic group/album

@ Grieved with the comment about the PCR piece....I will read it but what is missing in what you/he presented about the bailout of the banks was/is the $3+ trillion of MBS dreck and Treasuries on the FEDs balance sheet.....slowly being reduced, they say.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 27 2018 4:53 utc | 33

@ Grieved with teh PCR link

I have read it now and agree with his last two sentences
If the prices of US debt and stocks were reduced to their real values, the United States would no longer have a place in the ranks of world powers.
The implication is that war, and not economic reform, is America’s most likely future.

What bothers me about PCR writings is that he knows, like many of us, that American finance is the proxy of the control of this version of GLOBAL empire....and yet PCR never explains things like The Shock Doctrine or reports on other global supra-national financial commodities, etc.

People like PCR keep the public from seeing clearly that structural change is needed over bandaids like his proposals......that is why he is still alive and being published. If/When he starts writing like Ellen Brown (web of debt) I might take notice.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 27 2018 5:15 utc | 34

OK I surrender I just cannot be bothered with the hassle of trying to discern whatever it is the MoA censorship software takes exception to.
Everything I post of any import seems to be held up for hours sometimes days until it is just too late and/or discussion has shifted to a newer thread.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jun 27 2018 5:24 utc | 35

Julianna @ 20

I misquoted the Tonkin incident, sorry: it doesn’t say he was AT Tonkin, it says ‘(and, in fact, was on duty on the evening of the [[Gulf of Tonkin incident]], reporting the incident to McNamara).’ This is in fact corroborated by the memoir. The NYT were actually the first to break the story and played a more important role than the Post in many ways. I also held Ellsberg up as a great hero but Valentine discusses how Ellsberg regularly lies about his time in Vietnam saying he was there with the army in a relatively unimportant role when in fact he worked closely with the CIA gathering intelligence on South Vietnamese leaders and lots of of other stuff, which doesn’t in itself show he didn’t leak in good faith of course, but his lying about it is very strange. I recommend listening to the interview linked as it goes into a lot of the details and is very interesting.

Re Snowden, he is a hero of course but his decision to go to corporate media with his leaks demonstrates great naivity in my view, and less than 10% of them have been released. He is President of the Freedom of the Press Foundation which sports Ellsberg as a board member (as well as Wikileaks-hating Micah Lee) and they unanimously voted to stop providing their financial service to Wikileaks in very sketchy circumstances. I think it’s certainly feasible at least that Ellsberg could have helped to persuade Snowden to vote this way, and then not to talk about the decision much afterwards. Assange tweeted a photo of loads of rats after the decision captioned ‘Freedom of the Press Foundation’ incidentally.

I’m no expert myself but the lack of any journalism about this topic whatsoever past the Counterpunch article I linked is strange as it seems like a very interesting topic to look into.

Posted by: J | Jun 27 2018 5:47 utc | 36

What do you readers make of the Ethiopian / Eritrean sudden rapprochement with the incoming new Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed? In 2016 Korybko was talking of a potential re-ignition of hostilities between the two nations. Saying that Eritrea was close to the GCC but if the conflict could be settled that this would be a huge victory for Multi-polarism, as Ethiopia is square in China's camp. Anyone familiar enough with the Horn of Africa to know about this? What, if any, influence would this have on Yemen, across the Bab al-Mandab.

In another article of January this year Korybko outlines a potential alliance between Egypt and Eritrea stating:

Egypt and Eritrea are now aligning against Ethiopia and Sudan, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE supporting the former pair while Qatar and Turkey back the latter one. China has a naval base in nearby Djibouti while Russia was offered one in Port Sudan, so both multipolar Great Powers have a stake in the peaceful outcome of this developing crisis and could potentially help mediate a solution...

In light of these developments the latest move by the Ethiopian Prime Minister can be seen as quite a victory for multi-polarism in that corner of the world. Who knows what role China and Russia played to mediate and bring this about. And while I'm sadly not too familiar with the region I do know that China has a high stake in Ethiopia from where it wants to increase its influence over East Africa as part of its One Belt initiative in Africa. It also has its only military base abroad in neighboring Djibouti.

While I appreciate Korybko's inputs from less analyzed corners of the globe I also often observe his bias so anyone here wishing to chime in, would certainly be interesting.

Other than that, great discussion as usual. I really hope Lopez Obrador makes it this time round in Mexico, he already won the elections against Calderón in 2006, but they stole victory from him.

Posted by: Alexander P | Jun 27 2018 7:30 utc | 37

karlof1 | Jun 26, 2018 6:55:46 PM | 15
Escobar ends with this sentence: „“Illiberal democracy”? Who cares?“
Well, some people care. Especially those who live there. In general they think about their well-being in this moment and do not like to sacrifice this in the favour of others peoples geopolitical dreams. Try to get informed about the details of present day life in Turkey!

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jun 27 2018 8:07 utc | 38

Grieved and psychohistorian. Good discussion

If you look at the Fed as being a central part of how government/public funds are allocated it's a horrible misuse of funds. As you say it's being used to prop up asset prices such as real estate (largely home prices) and equities (stock market). I cringe when I see the stock market or housing prices being used to as a measure of how well our economy is doing. There are so many better measures. Employment rates at livable wages. Availability of affordable health care and education. Decent retirement allowances.

As mentioned Naomi Klein (Shock Doctrine) and Ellen Brown (Web of Debt) do an excellent job of describing this sort of predatory capitalism. They point out that these public funds could definitely be put to better use.

I think it's also useful to point out that the Fed is just a reflection of Congress. It is giving Congress what it really wants which is to look after the top tier which own most of these assets rather than supporting more populist type programs.

Posted by: financial matters | Jun 27 2018 9:11 utc | 39

J 35

Re Snowden, he is a hero of course but his decision to go to corporate media with his leaks demonstrates great naivity in my view, and less than 10% of them have been released.

Although I didn't follow the Snowden affair closely (I've never understood the celebrity infatuation with "whistleblowers" who point out the obvious), my understanding is that his main message has been that the deep state is a good and necessary thing which merely needs "reform". If so that makes him no hero of mine, quite the contrary.

That's why I've found plausible the theory that Snowden is really some kind of misinformation agent, or else was part of a turf war between the CIA and NSA. That would also explain why he went to the corporate media, why his alleged revelation was immediately put under "professional journalistic" curatorial control (as if by pre-arrangement), and the murky way in which this PR firestorm served as the occasion for Omidyar to launch the Intercept (self-evidently no revolutionary publication, but well-designed to corral rising quasi-radical energy within prescribed limits).

The common thread throughout is a line designed to appeal to people with serious doubts about the system but who have not yet committed to rejecting it completely. The point is to rope them back in.

Posted by: Russ | Jun 27 2018 10:53 utc | 40

Russ 39

Yeah, that's a good point. I suppose I'm using hero rather loosely, in context of his perceived self-sacrifice to exfiltrate the data he leaked, and the data leaked, rather than his thoughts or other actions. Certainly I don't hero-worship him in any way. Perhaps I used the word carelessly.

The disinfo agent theory is certainly plausible too, as is the turf war theory. Particularly in light of the privacy software he's pushing which Yasha Levine and others have pointed out do not actually work. It's very difficult to tell though as anyone who would work for an intelligence agency for many years is going to have an absurdly blinkered view of the world/politics (stating the obvious I know) so even if they were legitimate they would probably still behave in a deeply naive way.

I am in complete agreement with the Intercept and beyond suspicious of everyone who doesn't acknowledge this (Greenwald, Dawson etc). I feel like the Ellsberg situation is far more unambiguous than the already murky Snowden situation which is why I'm so surprised that apart from that one Douglas Valentine article there is nothing written about him out there on this.

Posted by: J | Jun 27 2018 11:22 utc | 41

Big Day today. México versus Sweden in the third round of the World Cup in Ekaterinburg.
The Tri is group leader with all six points, yet there is some combination of results
involving goal differentials and penalty cards that come into play in cases of ties.
There were something like 40,000 tickets sold in Mexico;the USA bought 90,000 tickets.
At least half of those visitors have to be Mexicans who reside in the United States.

Posted by: Guerrero | Jun 27 2018 12:39 utc | 42

* yet there is some combination of results involving goal differentials and penalty cards
that come into play in cases of ties, that would eliminate Mexico's team at this stage.

Posted by: Guerrero | Jun 27 2018 12:40 utc | 43

Although I didn't follow the Snowden affair closely ... my understanding is that his main message has been that the deep state is a good and necessary thing which merely needs "reform". If so that makes him no hero of mine, quite the contrary.
Posted by: Russ (from Langley) | Jun 27, 2018 6:53:42 AM | 39


Snowden showed that NSA spies on everyone. The scope and ubiquity of the snooping made a mockery of NSA's pathetically juvenile NatSec excuse.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 27 2018 12:47 utc | 44

@7 karlof1

Thanks for the link to that article & the excerpts...

In addition to what you posted, there's this gem:

"The proof of this is the way truth-tellers are shunned and censored by the US mainstream media. An indoctrinated totalitarian system cannot abide dissent or criticism"

That says it all - in a vibrant, truth-seeking society, multiple POV would be welcomed and debated (properly) knowing that new ideas & perspectives bring about positive changes & improvements, that benefit all. But we don't have that do we? We are hungry for truth & feed only scraps (at best) or poison, disguised as food (or worst)- kinda like GMOs

If the PTB *REALLY* cared about the "little folk", then so much of what we accept as "normal" would not exist, like the aforementioned GMOs, wars, tainted vaccines, suppressed tech, flouride, chemtrails, etc

"The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant" - Maximilien Robespierre

Posted by: xLemming | Jun 27 2018 14:18 utc | 45

J 40

I didn't know about Snowden selling privacy software, but that sure fits.

Meanwhile even if such encryption "works", we already know every telecom and infotech seller (at least among US companies) puts backdoors into all such encryption and collaborates freely and willingly with the deep state. So it's most rational to view encryption itself (unless you can write and deploy your own software and communicate only with those who use same) as a baited trap, where the use of it is itself a red flag which draws surveillance attention. Like I said already, the telecom will happily hand over the encryption key whenever asked.

Returning to the main point, the whole notion of encryption technology clearly is a propaganda campaign to convince people that humanity can co-exist with the police state and surveillance technology. I've often seen techno-cultists claim that a surveillance-vs.-encryption arms race of information technology gives the people the edge over the corporate state. That's self-evidently absurd and thus provides a clue to the real propaganda function of the idea.

Certainly there are ways the people can beat the state, but they involve evasion and ju-jitsu, not direct confrontation on the state's own chosen ground. Again, we see the propaganda forces which are deployed to neuter all dissent and kill all thought.

Posted by: Russ | Jun 27 2018 15:03 utc | 46

Horsewhisper 43

Snowden showed that NSA spies on everyone.

Like I said I haven't needed whistle-blowers to point out the obvious. But I forgot about those to whom the obvious isn't always clear until it's presented in some suitably pre-chewed form. (Suitable according to the likes of the WaPo, Guardian, and Intercept, no less.)

Posted by: Russ | Jun 27 2018 15:10 utc | 47

Syria must be shaking, also a clear warning to Iran:

John Bolton in Russia for talks on Syria, Iran

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 27 2018 15:27 utc | 48

@34 debs.. i am sorry that has been happening to you... i once used a hastag a week or two back and that i think was the cause for the last time it happened for me..

Posted by: james | Jun 27 2018 15:45 utc | 49

I am aware that spectator football is an unhealthy force of mass mind control.

Myself, i NEVER watch professional league play, only the Mexican national team.

(I am not excusing myself, rather admitting to a life-persistent vice.)

The World Cup 2018 in Russia from a futbol fan's POV could NOT be more dramatic!

The broadcasting booth of Enrique Bermudez went CRAZY when Korea scored a goal
out in Kazan in their Group Match against reigning champion Germany. Something
was definitely strange about the officiating in the Mexico 0-3 loss to Sweden.

For what it is worth, there is definitely something magic about this World Cup.
The national teams are well matched; low scoring over-all, yet outstanding goals.

I think the experience of the supporters over there will be transformative
and I don't doubt too that Russian people will be tranformed by the presence
of the spontaneous and gaity that the mexican people generate when they gather.

Posted by: Guerrero | Jun 27 2018 16:13 utc | 50

Like I said I haven't needed whistle-blowers to point out the obvious. But I forgot about those to whom the obvious isn't always clear until it's presented in some suitably pre-chewed form. (Suitable according to the likes of the WaPo, Guardian, and Intercept, no less.)
Posted by: Russ | Jun 27, 2018 11:10:50 AM | 46

If "Like I said" is Langley-speak for "What I meant to say" it still doesn't explain why you didn't notice that what you actually said was bullshit.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 27 2018 16:38 utc | 51

The Russian Ministry of Defense is building a military innovative technopolis of the future. The opening is scheduled for September 2018.

Posted by: alaff | Jun 27 2018 17:06 utc | 52

¡Ja,ja,ja! Animated crowds have gathered outside the Korean ambassy in Mexico DF chanting:

"Amigo Koreano, ya eres Mexicano!"

("Korean, friend! now you are a Mexican!")

Posted by: Guerrero | Jun 27 2018 17:21 utc | 53

@ financial matters | Jun 27, 2018 5:11:47 AM | 38, Grieved and psychohistorian

I do enjoy great posts by all 3 of you, but I must admit that I actually admire Grieved's calm, measured and very optimistic approach to daily issues. Let me add my 2 cents to your discussion.

The only real solution for all that extra money splashing around in the Five eyes, is devaluation of $US, and currencies of those other 4 countries which depend on it. I think that actual value of $US is at most 1/3 of the current value!!! Only after the devaluation value of these Mac mansions (made of particle boards) would make some sense, but also value of the mostly undereducated labor force in those countries would become reasonable. It does not make any sense that engineer, or scientist, or even physical laborer in North America (and also in core EU countries) makes almost 10 times more than their peers elsewhere. And I do not even need to talk about chosen occupations: doctors, layers and banksters ... Yes, I think that purchasing power of all those countries is at least 3 times higher then it should be!

Posted by: ex-SA | Jun 27 2018 17:41 utc | 54


I think it's possible to compare the FED/US Treasury/Congress which effectively acts as one body (though they don't want you to believe this) with the state owned enterprises of China.

One is investing in McMansions and the other in useful global infrastructure.

One is losing it's military pre-eminence which allowed it to take other's resources.

I think this will lead to a devaluation of the USD and the rise of other currencies.

Posted by: financial matters | Jun 27 2018 18:46 utc | 55

Horse 51

"Like I said" means "like I said". Maybe you need to reread my original comment to confirm that, if your meds are affecting your memory.

Langley-speak? That reminds me, hasn't your hero Snowden been quite easy on the CIA (his former employer) all along, insisting it's the NSA who commits all the "abuses"? Ergo the turf-war theory about him.

Posted by: Russ | Jun 27 2018 18:49 utc | 56

any body seen this:


Posted by: Jason | Jun 27 2018 20:33 utc | 57

Deds, that's partly why I never post here anymore.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 27 2018 20:37 utc | 58

Hausmeister @38--

Escobar uses the term "illiberal democracies" in the intro to his article thusly:

"To the utter despair of stoic defenders of “Western values,” Europe is now condemned to suffer two populist autocracies on its eastern borders: Putin’s Russia and Erdogan’s Turkey.

"For the EU’s political leaders, the only accepted narrative is blanket, hysterical condemnation of “illiberal democracies” distorted by personal rule, xenophobia and suppression of free speech. And that also applies to the strongmen in Hungary, Austria, Serbia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic."

Quite plainly, he's not just referring to Turkey, and he ought to have included Italy. Rather, Escobar is setting the essay as a compare/contrast between the "stoic defenders" and those wanting to break from Brussels's diktat. Note that what would be called negative aspects of the named nations above are coming from the mouths of those same "stoic defenders" and amount to very poor propaganda.

So, it's not just Turkey we must strive to comprehend, but all nations large and small, weak and powerful, and which admittedly is a very tall task.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 27 2018 21:36 utc | 59

@57 jason - another video from the white helmet or syrian defense usa/uk funded bullshit..

Posted by: james | Jun 27 2018 21:55 utc | 60

of course nyt is also paid a premium to print it too... everybody wins according to the banks and propaganda artists..

Posted by: james | Jun 27 2018 21:56 utc | 61

"So, it's not just Turkey we must strive to comprehend, but all nations large and small, weak and powerful, and which admittedly is a very tall task."

The tangled mess of religion, tribalism, geo-politics with ignorance and a touch of psychopath added as a binder.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 27 2018 22:09 utc | 62

Khamenei earlier today provided some commentary about the legitimate concerns of the protests related to sanctions.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 27 2018 22:56 utc | 63

I'm going a little crazy this week between the escalated rhetoric of the Trump Administration and Establishment Democrats about the Supreme Court decision on the visa ban. I don't see this as a Muslim Ban. The total Muslim ban, that Trump campaigned for and generated Islamophobic fervor for among his right-wing base, was given a try and failed months ago. His retooled Muslim ban was also tried and failed. His third ban is really a Neocon/Neolib Targets ban, encompassing most of Wesley Clark's listed countries, with Venezuela and North Korea added for good measure. So Trump is bragging to his base that he delivered on his promise and liberal pundits are warning about the erosion of civil rights, but all I'm seeing is one more level of viciousness toward the peoples in countries that are the top targets of American Imperialism.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jun 28 2018 0:28 utc | 64

@Russ #46:

You have all the buzzwords, but your argument is a convoluted mess. Good, well written encryption does work. That's why the FBI et al are pissing their Armani suits. Also, if you're letting some telecom company hold your private key(s), that's an op-sec problem (i.e., your own damn fault).

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Jun 28 2018 1:20 utc | 65

Mike Maloney @4

The MSM coverage of Nicaragua in the US, and what I've seen from Britain is universally pro-"protester" and demonizing of Ortega. In fact, so is much of the "alternative" media. Just as with the Libya and Syria projects, one of the worst propagandists has been Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow!

Some days after devoting a show to fawning interviews of "protesters" and their backers, she did have a gentleman on who provided some good contrary views. DN questioned his views very critically (which would be great if they'd done anything of the sort for the "protesters"), but I give her/them credit for responding to the waves of criticism her earlier coverage received.

She continues to "report" on Syria and Nicaragua with "regime change" perspectives, but I think she's devoting less and less time to those subjects.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 28 2018 1:37 utc | 66

Nerrian @12

"Syria Update
The SAA is rapidly clearing out the foreign terrorists in the south of the country."

So naturally, "Animal Assad" bombed three hospitals yesterday. But luckily for "truth, justice and the Amerikkkan way," OPEC gave itself the power to ascribe guilt in the upcoming chemical weapons attacks. Thank Cheebuz for Western MSM to keep us so well "informed."

JIC.. yes, s/

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 28 2018 1:47 utc | 67

J @18

Yep. Reading Valentine's most excellent "CIA As Organized Crime" caused me to begin to look at Ellsberg and others a bit more skeptically. He also pointed out that Chris Hedges wrote some pro-"regime change" Iraq articles at the NY Times before coming out against the invasion.

I hadn't caught Hedges's uncritical interview not even two months after 9/11 with Iraqi "opposition" members promoting the myth that Saddam Hussein was training Sunni extremist terrorists, specifically to hijack airliners.

So, I looked it up.  And sure enough, none other than Ahmed "Curveball" Chalabi arranged the interview.

Kiriakou noted today that the same "journalist" who set up Reality Winner to get busted had set him up. He does not understand why anybody trusts Omidyar's The Intercept. Of course, Winner was promoting a CIA "Russia did it" conspiracy, so I really don't know what to make of her arrest and plea bargain.

I think it a generally good idea to never trust a former intelligence officer/agent. Some may be real whistleblowers and truth seekers. But never just take their words at face value (especially when those words reinforce one's own views).

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 28 2018 2:05 utc | 68

Debsisdead @28

Yes, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's win was something of a shocker. Even the relatively lefty TruthDig's initial headline article was more about the "loss" of a dedicated servant of the people, and how this plays into Trump's hands!

But despite the DNC's best efforts (and largely successful, too) a number of progressive, anti-Establishment Dems have won their nominations across the country. Now it gets interesting. The Democratic Party has a long history of preferring to lose to a Republican than win with a progressive, so I expect some dirty back room deals.

And of course, most voting districts in the US are completely opaque to election integrity monitoring. But it's pretty clear that the "Election of Rejection" season is not over yet. People are way more fed up than the MSM wants us to know.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 28 2018 2:21 utc | 69

After years of ridiculing “conspiracy theorists” for their claims that militaries have built vast underground bases (DUMBs), the Pentagon just announced that it has been running a $1/2 Billion/Year training program for war fighting in what it says are 10,000 underground military bases around the world.

They do not mention whether the vast underground structures recently uncovered by SAA and RF forces in Ghouta were included in that tally.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 28 2018 2:23 utc | 70

financial matters @39

I was totally onboard your comment until you wrote that the Fed does the bidding of Congress. What?!?

The Fed acts at the behest of the 12 District Banks... or more precisely, at the behest of the largely invisible owners of those private banks.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 28 2018 2:36 utc | 71

@ ex -SA with thoughts about devaluation of US dollar

I am not so concerned with how much adjustment needs to be made but how the elite have stacked the deck so that their "financial instruments" are "legally" first in line when the music stops and the world has another Bretton Woods sort of meeting. The private banks of the elite have had since 2008 with ZIRP and the newly legalized derivative instruments to establish their Bretton Woods "beachhead".

Yes, the ongoing equalizing of global consumption will continue and possibly accelerate in relation to Americans consuming less if the rest of the nations stop buying Treasuries and stop the MIC led vampire economy of the West.

At some point the discussion about which countries owe how much to the elite becomes funny but we are not quite there yet.
The God of Mammon/global private finance religion is losing its mystique to many and in a MAD world, might-makes-right can only get one so far. As the world shrinks with electronic communication, and assuming it all doesn't get taken away, continued bullying, verbal and physical is seeing daylight around the world and energy is growing to reign it in.....Trump is doing a great job of bring that sick energy out of the closet so humanity can see its hurt and chose to not allow anti-social behavior to become ascendant.

And the discussion about allowable social behavior needs to happen everywhere within the context of mutually respecting humans first with culture right behind and discrimination not allowed.....blah, blah, blah!!!

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 28 2018 3:30 utc | 72

@70 Daniel

Underground bases - that's a rabbit hole I would like to go down.

If you can supply a link or more collateral - it doesn't have to be now, we have forever - I would appreciate it.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 28 2018 3:58 utc | 73

@72 psychohistorian

"Might makes right" is an assassin's knife that cuts in two directions - fortunately for us.

I think we have seen the security state of Russia turn to the Mammon lobby and say, "These are your boundaries: pay your taxes, stay out of the affairs of state, and we will allow your corrupt game to endure."

I think we have seen the same thing from China, but rather less dramatically, when the west attempted a run on the Yuan (which I didn't follow and so am woefully ignorant about), and the government commanded the exchange markets to adhere to its policies - thus staving off defeat.

I say this because in some lights we could see the security state as the "might makes right" faction. But the light has changed. And I suspect the notion of the integrity of the state will continue to assert itself, even unto the final confrontation, which is against the bankers, who have no use for states.


It's a late-night thought, and I can wait to see how it plays. I was mostly riffing on your words. I admire the overall thesis, as you know.

But I wanted to introduce the notion of "debt repudiation" into the scheme. I think this is part of the realm of possibility. After all, the creditors don't really care about the principal. They're really only in it for the interest. So the nominal debt itself is always negotiable, I suspect. And it would be the non-bankers, the security state, who repudiate. And the bankers would simply roll over and settle to a new interest level. So long as the notion of interest itself was not challenged.

And this is exactly where we would ask our security state to be like Cuba and Iran - I think - and go the whole way to destroy even that notion, the central evil of compound interest.

I appreciate greatly your point about "their" instruments being first in the line of the tranches, and also your observation about Trump - this mysterious force of the unconscious, breaking surface continually into conscious policy. And what an unexpected bonus this has given to clear-seeing and the prevalence of truth in the air.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 28 2018 4:24 utc | 74

Daniel, Grieved

Some equipment and know-how behind the Ghouta tunnels. Media control/news generation and CW know-how also used in that area in 2013.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 28 2018 4:25 utc | 75

psychohistorian "The God of Mammon/global private finance religion..."

Religion. It seems we humans are blessed with and imagination that allows us to make tools, build shelters from the elements, grow plants as crops and farm animals rather than chasing them. It also curses us as our imagination creates spirits and supernatural to explain the unexplained or unknown which develops into gods and religions.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 28 2018 5:07 utc | 76

LOL, Grieved. Your “rabbit hole” is the best pun I’ve “heard” in a long time.

And boy oh boy, when one digs into secret underground facilities, one uncovers one Looking Glass after the other. Though the military has long acknowledged some extensive underground facilities (Cheyenne Mountain, Mount Weather and the famous bunker under the Greenbriar Resort ), there’s obviously a great deal more.

I did not save a list of the best I’ve read and seen about such things. But if you do a web search, you’ll be inundated with hits. Beware, there’s a great deal of misinformation/disinformation on this subject.

This is from the article I referenced

“Late last year, the Army launched an accelerated effort that funnels some $572 million into training and equipping 26 of its 31 active combat brigades to fight in large-scale subterranean facilities that exist beneath dense urban areas around the world.Late last year, the Army launched an accelerated effort that funnels some $572 million into training and equipping 26 of its 31 active combat brigades to fight in large-scale subterranean facilities that exist beneath dense urban areas around the world.”

“An assessment last year estimates that there are about 10,000 large-scale underground military facilities around the world that are intended to serve as subterranean cities, an Army source, who is not cleared to talk to the press, told”

This is a short look at one of those tunnels I mentioned

Walk ThroughA Terrorist Tunnel In Douma, Syria Ft Eva Bartlett

A couple years ago, I saw this:

“The US Army Corps of Engineers plans to supervise construction of a complex, oddly named "Site 911," five-story underground facility for an Israel Defense Forces at an Israeli Air Force base near Tel Aviv…. Each of the first three underground floors is to be roughly 41,000 square feet, according to the Corps notice.”

“Site 911 is the latest in a long history of military construction projects the United States has undertaken for the IDF under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.”

Enjoy your explorations. Don’t get in over your head. (ugh. your pun was much better, and not forced)

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 28 2018 6:20 utc | 77

elijah j m's latest on syria here.

Posted by: james | Jun 28 2018 6:36 utc | 78

More evidence of the murderous regime in Burma,

UN, Amnesty rip Myanmar for discrimination, 'crimes against humanity'

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 28 2018 7:15 utc | 79

The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, met on Wednesday afternoon in Moncloa [official residence of Spanish PM] with the guru of financial speculation, the Hungarian billionaire George Soros. Around seven in the afternoon, Sánchez and Soros began the meeting, which was not on the president's public agenda. The talk, as OKDIARIO has learned, lasted about an hour and a half.

Posted by: passerby | Jun 28 2018 9:15 utc | 80


This is quite significant as Italy is shutting its borders to migrants they need a new entry to Europe. Actually, overthrowing Rajoy to me looks more and more planned in order to have a socialist in place who would allow to open Spain's borders to people crossing the straight of Gibraltar. Also the focus is shifting to Northwest Africa by the MSM and the plight of migrants in Algeria. A report by the Moroccan Intel surfacing recently warned Spain of up to half a million of migrants heading to Morocco to attempt and get access to Spain (via Ceuta/Melilla).

In this regard the current EU summit is just more of the same window dressing and buying time for the end goals.

Posted by: Alexander P | Jun 28 2018 10:33 utc | 81

(US immig. topic.) karlof @ 7: What writers like Bunch must do is to link the numerous anti-people policies together so people can see the entire fabric being woven into so many funeral shrouds.

yes... Bunch sort-a points out that the ‘serious’ problems began under Obama, true (probably the best policy was that of Bush J., though his admin. was the one who pushed through The Wall w. Mex. and built most or all of what exists) - he doesn’t delve deep.

The various voted-in rules and how they were applied he is not familiar with (me neither..) and will not venture to explain how illegal immig., deportation, child ‘separation’ went totally thru the roof under Obama.

Mid screed, he takes a swipe at ‘repugs’ - nasty racist ppl who vociferated and seem to ‘like, + thumbs up’ imprisonment or whatever - standard fare in apportioning, sharing out, blame. The only photo of US citizens is one of such an event. No numbers are quoted. No experts are applied to. No income figures for private prisons. Nothing is said about what happens to these children after they have been locked up in cages -or nice child friendly centers- which is astonishing. Most importantly, no suggestions whatsoever about ‘what needs to be changed’ or ‘what should be done’ or ‘what can do’ etc. are made.

Vacuous, despicable, moral outrage with the usual props of terminally distressed babbos-kiddos touted to propagandise hate towards some person/group/entity. All leads nowhere. The US treats its children with extreme cruelty (highest in child poverty, income inequality, lack of health care, in OECD, etc. whatever, see intl. stats.. starvation is already a worry..) and it has, imho, an informal hierachy for how babies and children are treated. The most exploitable and ignored, under-the-radar, are these immig. children, because they are ‘parentless’, locked into a system, and have NO advocates. They are fair game for anything. Another slot (perhaps 3rd) is adopted children in the US.

A society (state..) who treats its children, native born or not, in this way is close to implosion, collapse.

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 28 2018 15:53 utc | 82


In normal fiscal operations, Congress authorizes money to be spent, and the Fed 'prints' this money and transfers it to the Treasury. Important to note is that it 'prints it' or 'creates it electronically'. It doesn't need to borrow it from China or Russia or take it from taxpayers. This is how it can come up with money so fast to do things it really wants to do like bail out banks and fund wars.

The Federal Reserve Act was an Act of Congress that established the Fed. So it can also disband it if it so desires. But it is useful to pretend that it has independence so Congress doesn't have to take responsibility for its actions. They can play the game of 'we don't have any money' for domestic programs etc.

This is somewhat of an oversimplification as the Fed took on unprecedented actions during the financial crisis.

Randy Wray has written as excellent 3 part series on the Fed and how it handled the financial crisis. They are pretty long but very entertaining.

Part 1 (2012)

Part 2 (2013)

Part 3 (2014)

Posted by: financial matters | Jun 28 2018 18:50 utc | 83

financial matters @83

I've been round and round with true believers in the Federal Reserve System, and am not in the mood to engage with another right now. As regards the Fed's "pretend" independence, I'll just cite Alan Greenspan.

Alan Greenspan PBS interview

Q: "What SHOULD BE the proper relationship between a Chairman of the Fed and a President of the United States?"

A: "Well, first of all, the Federal Reserve is an independent agency. And that means basically that, uh there is no agency of government which can overrule the actions that we take.

"So long as that is in place.. then what the relationships are don't frankly matter."

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 28 2018 20:29 utc | 84

@83 financial matters & #84 Daniel

It took an act of Congress to create the Federal Reserve, but the legislation was prepared by private bankers and passed during a holiday - was it actually Christmas? I don't recall. And it is true that it would take an act of Congress to dissolve the Fed. But between these two acts of birth and death there is no parental influence whatsoever.

The Fed is not a creature of Congress. The Congress is a creature of the power that underlies the Fed.

This was demonstrated in 1913 when the Congress passed the act of creation, almost literally in the dead of night, so that no democratic process could prevent it.

I've done no more than glance through the materials linked @83, so forgive me if I miss something, but I note that while the Ford Foundation paper explores numerous nuances of the role of the Fed, it never comes out and questions if the Fed should even exist. And that's really the only question that matters. Because as Nathan Rothschild said, he and his family don't care what the laws of a nation are, so long as they control the issuance of money.

And money is issued through the Fed, a private banking cartel. Why would they lie, these bankers? They've said what they want, and they have it. Everything else is a discussion that falls short of the mark - what some would call a limited hangout, although personally I don't like the term.

All discussion of how the Fed should be regulated plays into the paradigm that it deserves to exist.

But the one and only true paradigm is that the Fed should cease to exist.


With the parasite of the Fed gone, money creation would be manifested through the US Treasury, subject to the public actions of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, as tempered by the people through the weight and influence of their voting power, and as authorized by the sovereignty arising solely from the people, and delegated through laws to the institutions of governance.

In such an instance, we would also see the rapid disappearance of compound interest. Interest on new money is not necessary when capital is backed by the people through their government - this capital is abundant, and carries no further cost beyond fiscal and administrative equations.

In contrast, the deeply evil invention of compound interest requires elaborate deception to establish and to maintain in place. Here in the heyday of its glory, it takes a Federal Reserve System.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 29 2018 4:10 utc | 85

@ Grieved with the comment #85 about the Fed

My beret is off to you sir. The paradigm shift so nicely stated.

If only others could perceive what the manifestations of such a shift would be we could make "Alice's Restaurant ......" seem like just a song.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 29 2018 4:20 utc | 86

friendly english language grammar buffs? would you give me a hand with this...
How would you say?: (if you want to sound kind of eigthteen-century-ish) but without sounding lame:

That gallant insurgent leader, the immortal Vicente Guerrero was born in Tixtla; this town is rightly proud to have never been trod upon by the French, nor to have had the eagles of Napoleon III, nor those of Maximilian raised here, and neither the banners of Marquez nor those of Miramon ever desecrated its walls.

Posted by: Guerrero | Jun 29 2018 4:30 utc | 87

Grieved@85 Good points.

I would put more of the blame on Congress.

"This is epic. Pretty much no one expected Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to oust 14 term Congressman Joe Crowley, who was widely seen as Speaker-in-Waiting should the Dems retake the House in November and Pelosi was challenged."

I liked seeing this young socialist candidate beat a long standing neolib/neocon opponent who outspent her about 10-1 with many corporate sponsors.

The above comment is from a Naked Capitalism article. Nice to see their commentariat so strongly in favor of a socialist. I don't think we would have seen this 5 or 10 years ago.

Posted by: financial matters | Jun 29 2018 4:33 utc | 88

@88 financial matters - "I would put more of the blame on Congress"

Let's test this. I'll show up in the alley behind your house, and give you a bag with $10 million in cash. I tell you to pass my legislation. You, being honest, hand the bag back. I remind you that within months you will be dead, the legislation will be passed anyway, and your family will be destitute and your name dishonored.

You don't want the money. But you may as well take it. Because you've been fucked. You're in over your head, in a system that doesn't place a value on your morality.*

Is there any part of this scenario that we need to question?


* Morality carries no weight because it takes a revolutionary system to place a value on morality in national governance. This is why socialist nations arise out of revolutions - it takes this kind of force.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 29 2018 4:41 utc | 89


I think you accurately describe the pressure that is applied.

I see it similar to Putin fighting back in Syria. He stood up to the US bombing even knowing that it may lead to nuclear war. He was tired of being blackmailed and had to stand up to the bully.

Posted by: financial matters | Jun 29 2018 4:48 utc | 90

The contested regions of the world seem to be going against the imperium. Can cutting off Iran oil exports change the game?
It would seem delaying pumping oil may be the smartest thing to do. Fungible and the end of dollar dominance may blunt this blunt tool.

Posted by: Duck1 | Jun 29 2018 5:43 utc | 91

I appreciated reading some of the comments above discussing what happens when the great settlement moment comes and encourage more of it.

Our world is evolving, unless the elite chose global genocide, to not need labor in the same way as in the past. With the advances in mechanization, robotics, machine learning, etc. most of society could be without a job in 20 - 30 years or less. We are already on that path as evidenced by the high global unemployment rates and reduced participation percentages but not speaking to it as a society.

Given the above I believe that society needs to redefine an individual's responsibility to and support from "government". I think that most education should be free but some needs to have payback attached to the investment. I think that everyone should be required to "vote" and "contribute to the common good" on a regular basis in exchange for basic support and a "safe world".

I believe that humanity would be better served if we conducted better "risk management decision making" than that which led to nuclear energy perfidy like Fukushima. Requiring humanity to vote on such technological direction may impede some progress but eliminate immoral directions, IMO.

A debt jubilee is a great idea but not likely without telling the "should be holders" of such debt, the elite , that they are now like the rest of us riff-raff. I suspect that the current global debt has been manipulated by the elite to be held by pension funds, weak governments and lots of grandpa Joe and aunt Louise types....anyone but the elite.

Oh, to have the opportunity to make finance a public utility.............sigh

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 29 2018 6:43 utc | 92

Bravo! Grieved @85

In fact, you presented it so well that "financial matters" seems to agree that, despite the official presentation, you're correct.

Again, almost all barflies seem to agree with psychohistorian's "Prime Directive" of making finance a public utility instead of the privatized "free kill zone" it is today.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 29 2018 7:15 utc | 93

psychohistorian @92. Agreed. Anthropological studies for well over a century show that almost all "normal" people want to feel they are productive and appreciated members of their society. Our current "crony meritocracy capitalist system" strips many people of the ability to fulfill those near-universal drives, and encourages the egoism of "individuality" that is structurally anti-social.

As many researchers are now saying, our system rewards psychopathy and sociopathy, and so actually creates and nurtures those "social diseases" (still a fan of ) "Dear Officer Krupke"

But I believe that given the chance, almost all of us would happily adopt the world-view you promote.

re. a dharma to a social contract, I propose a mandatory "draft." Not for the military (though that could be one option). But how about every "able bodied person" giving 2 years after high school to public service? They could do "works projects," or data entry, or a whole range of services.

Before one enters "higher education" or trade school, or the work force, and while the mind is still a thirsty sponge, do good and imprint that ownership of and allegiance to one's society.

Any ideas?

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 29 2018 7:33 utc | 94

@ Daniel with the Any Ideas question about early human exposure

Youth should be exposed to many cultures and languages which means we have to stop eliminating them because they conflict with "capitalism".

I don't see a draft as much as an evolving mutually beneficial relationship. During the formative years it is a free ride except for learning personal/social responsibility. After that I see some base social service like you are thinking but more an ongoing relationship that represents a persons continuum of existence. Social service effort is not just done in exchange for education, travel, some special treatment, etc but is also done during transition times in early mid and later life.

I see society providing a subsistence living for all. If there are those that chose to limit their contribution to society, that choice should reduce their benefits from it to all but the basic level.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 29 2018 8:09 utc | 95

The Swiss voted against (only 25% for) the sovereign money initiative, which would have given all ‘money creation power’ to the Central Bank under Gvmt. control/ directives/ strictures. (maybe paywall?),_2018

Idk know why exactly. Neither pro or con campaigned in a determined way.

The public conversations (press, TV round tables, radio, etc.) that took place were interesting enough, but were perhaps too opaque, specialised? Only a third of voters actually voted on this proposal, which is ‘normal’, as we vote all the time, it is considered ‘proper, noble’ to abstain on issues one has little knowledge of, interest in, opinion about.

Plus, it is not as if the Swiss dislike or mistrust their Central Bank, which is a ‘private’ entity (to keep it separate from the acrid and unpredictable rough-n-tumble of electoral politics) which does far more than just supervise the minting of coins, and returns iirc half (it might be somewhat less) of its profits to Cantons, to do with whatever they like, i.e. manna from heaven that goes to funding day-care, bicycle paths, and other stuff ppl love. In the popular imagination, the CB is respected, it defends the Swiss Franc tooth and nail, and so on.

Maybe it was just that ppl are used to having a ‘personal’ relationship with ‘their banker’, aka at least a phone no. and e-mail, and the thought of having to borrow money ‘from the Gvmt’ and not from someone one has met? Or maybe just conservatism, what is wrong with the present system, nothing? (Gouging interest rates are forbidden by law.) Still, not a good omen for such plans.

The pov that CH lives of its banking sector which thus had huge occult influence etc. doesn’t wash. The whole finance-insurance sector (banks, hedge funds, traders, health insurance!, etc.) accounts for 5% employment and pre 08, 12% GDP, now down to 10 or so. (FAR lower than many EU countries. About the same as the USA.)

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 29 2018 14:37 utc | 96

Duck1 @91--

You'll benefit from reading Today's Pepe Escobar essay which focuses on Iran, the entire energy issue and its future prospects. Please take note of the importance of this quote:

"Persian Gulf traders said: “800,000 barrels a day of their cutback is due to depletion that cannot be restored.”"

As I've stated over and over, the annual rate of depletion--now about 8% and climbing--is beginning to bite. Furthermore,

"And oil and gas generated via fracked in the US is a short-term thing; it will largely be exhausted in 15 years. Moreover, the real story may be that shale oil is, in the end, nothing but a Ponzi scheme."

Pepe omits telling us that due to the deliberate tanking of oil prices in an attempt to harm Russia, almost all planned exploratory programs/contracts were cancelled because they require higher oil prices--$100/bbl+--for profitability; so, the test wells to bring in new sources haven't been drilled and won't for several more years thus leading to an even greater depletion rate. (Depletion rate: If 100 million barrels per day (mmbd) are being extracted annually and the depletion rate is 8%, then 8mmbd must be brought into production annually just to stay at 100mmbd.) Looking at the chart Pepe provides, it's obvious that no one producer can make up the rate of depletion. Remove 2mmbd from Iran, and that explanatory rate is now 10mmbd--the entire production of Saudi Arabia!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 29 2018 16:10 utc | 97

The amazing number of villages and towns accepting reconciliation in Daraa region is quite uplifting. This twitter page has many videos showing people rejoicing over the end of their long nightmare. As is noted, Russian troops are very much involved in the process. It seems Trump has won the internal political struggle to remove Outlaw US Empire forces from at least Southern Syria.

Meanwhile, Mattis gets lectured by Xi regarding China's position on its sovereign lands and expansionism. Garrie provides an elegant solution to ward off potential conflict over South China Sea.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 29 2018 17:05 utc | 98

Re: Jun 29, 2018 1:05:21 PM | 98

The situation in Daraa is indeed amazing. For weeks the news were about the government concentrating the troops but no action. Then a blitz in the lava fields that were in the north of the eastern part of the rebel pocket. Now a collapse of resistance, western part of the pocket is cut (SAA got a frontline with ISIS-affiliated "Yarmouk pocket", eastern part seems to have no coherent line of defense, and most importantly, it seems that "militants" are not militant anymore, at long last they are fed up with being cannot fodder. For the last year or two they were collecting their meager salaries while the conflict in the south was mostly frozen, dispirited low quality fighters facing each other, while the rebel leaders were issuing occasional feisty proclamations.

In the meantime, somewhat strange news on ISIS front. In the desert not so far from Daraa, "sleeper cells" activated and mopping them up too a week or so, that happen few times before in various places. But next, the large desert pocket of ISIS got liquidated??!! Why suddenly so fast? T

It is a bit early for summaries, some good news are still to come soon.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 29 2018 23:04 utc | 99


I had thought the ISIS pocket in the desert would be left as a dumping ground until the ISIS pocket on the Jordan Israel borders was cleared. But then Russian MoD says it has intel that a false flag CW attack is being prepared by the US for the Deir Ezzor area, so straight away, the entire desert region is cleared of ISIS.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29 2018 23:13 utc | 100

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