Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 15, 2019

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2019-54

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

- Bolton Leaves the National Security Council in Ruins - Foreign Policy

- The Spy Who Failed - Scott Ritter / Consortiumnews - Recommended

- Look to 2013 787 grounding to see how Boeing will return MAX to service - Scott Hamilton / Leeham
- India Plans to Conduct Its Own Checks on Boeing 737 Max Jets - Bloomberg

"India plans to conduct its own checks and demand simulator training for all pilots before Boeing Co.’s 737 Max jets can fly in the country again, even if the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration were to clear the grounded jets ..."

- Iran Rejects U.S. Accusations Over Saudi Oil-Facility Attacks- WSJ

"The coordinated strikes forced Saudi Arabia to suspend production of 5.7 million barrels a day of oil, more than half of its output and over 5% of the global supply.
A U.S. government assessment has determined that up to 15 structures at Abqaiq suffered damage from the strike on their west-northwest-facing sides.

One person familiar with the damage at Abqaiq said the facility was “a wreck.” The person said production capacity was “heavily impacted.” "

Other issues:

- September 11 2001: 30 minute long on-the-ground footage I hadn't seen before
Mark LaGanga's WTC 9/11 Video (Enhanced Video/Audio & Doubled FPS) - Youtube

- 'Pro-democracy' protesters ...

SCMP Hong Kong @SCMPHongKong - 13:47 UTC · Sep 15, 2019
A video going viral online shows a middle-aged man being beaten up by protesters this afternoon. He was later found lying injured at Gloucester Road. Paramedics treated him; he was conscious vid

There were several such incidents today. These rightwing 'protesters' are extremely aggressive.

- On the demise of the Guardian
How the UK Security Services neutralised the country’s leading liberal newspaper - Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis / Daily Maverick

- American Renewal: The Real Conflict Is Not Racial Or Sexual, It’s Between The Ascendant Rich Elites And The Rest Of Us - Joel Kotkin / Daily Caller (!)

- The Only Way to End ‘Endless War’ - First, America has to give up its pursuit of global dominance. - Stephen Wertheim / New York Times

"American war-making will persist so long as the United States continues to seek military dominance across the globe. Dominance, assumed to ensure peace, in fact guarantees war. To get serious about stopping endless war, American leaders must do what they most resist: end America’s commitment to armed supremacy and embrace a world of pluralism and peace."

- President Trump Called Former President Carter To Talk About China - WABE, Apr 14, 2019

Carter suggested that instead of war, China has been investing in its own infrastructure, mentioning that China has 18,000 miles of high-speed railroad.

“How many miles of high-speed railroad do we have in this country?”

Zero, the congregation answered.

“We have wasted I think $3 trillion,” Carter said of American military spending. “… It’s more than you can imagine. China has not wasted a single penny on war and that’s why they’re ahead of us. In almost every way.”

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on September 15, 2019 at 14:35 UTC | Permalink

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Three things about the Kotkin article are striking. First, the notion that financialization etc. doesn't breed a new sort of middle class, with long run interests more closely tied to the genuinely rich is wrong. A college president with a million dollar income may be a peon by comparison to a hedge fund manage, but his is not an independent figure in the way "middle class" is pretended to mean. Second, the notion that the sharp edge of current feminism, anti-racism etc. is aimed primarily at the lowers forgets the competition. #MeToo feminism is about highly paid women wanting to be even more highly paid. Hollywood actresses and directors wanting the same millions and equal numbers of films as the men don't think the men are overpaid, they think they are exploited. The black entrepreneurs who are so far removed from the ghetto want to compete for top spots in the really big money. Etc. Third, insofar as the so-called clerisy is a thing, it is not intellectuals perverting the minds of the great unwashed for personal privilege, especially the academics. It is about being an employee of a system that produces ideas that apologize for the status quo and help to reproduce it. In this case the academics pushing the notion that race, gender, etc. are the spiritual defects of the masses are helping the owners by setting the lower orders against each other, substituting anything to avoid class analysis.

Kotkin tries to pretend the so-called clerisy is attempting to tear down the old traditions that defended the working classes and middle classes in some mythical golden age. But Kotkin is lying. The old traditional ideas were the ideas promoted by the owners of a previous time, and those ideas were meant to serve their long run interests every bit then as now. The changes in the ideas promoted are changes in tactics and strategies, not changes in goals. The ideas that emerge in times of social ferment, in times of revolution, are the ideas that actually express the long run interests of the lower classes. It is shocking how little they have to do with the tradition Kotkin aims to defend. His purpose is as much to help the owners confuse the lowers with delusions about going back to the past, as it is to be paid for writing this stuff. He is not a friend to humanity, he too is an employee.

Carter forgets that China, which is to say Deng, most certainly did engage in war, even forgetting the war in Korea. Deng chose to earn respect with the capitalist world by invading Vietnam in an otherwise pointless war. There were tens of thousands, maybe even over a hundred thousand casualties in Vietnam (including thousands of civilians.) Chinese casualties were apparently 9 000 dead and an equal number wounded. In addition, the costs of this war of choice were significant, perhaps delaying completion of the current economic plan. Crimes against peace were once deemed the worst. But of course all the defenders of imperialism love, love, love Deng. Whatever people may rave about the famine after the Great Leap Forward, there were actually natural causes involved as well. Equally, whatever they may rave about the Cultural Revolution, there were two sides fighting. But the people killed in Deng's project? They died for his personal benefit.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Sep 15 2019 15:19 utc | 1

About the LaGanga 911 video. I have seen many videos, but not that one before... incredible. You cannot get that much dust from a couple of steel buildings without a major force, that is for sure. Gravity cannot do that. Any believable story must explain how you convert steel buildings to dust.

Posted by: Norwegian | Sep 15 2019 15:47 utc | 2


The Americans have gotten themselves in a real bind with their maximum pressure campaign on Iran. This latest attack on Saudi Arabia's oil production looks like an escalation of the previous attacks on shipping and the spy drone. It is not evident how the Americans can respond to this latest attack.

As I see it their options are:

1. To let KSA respond to the Houthi attack and continue with their campaign to shut down Iranian oil production, without any direct U.S. response to the attack. However this will achieve nothing, as next month Iran will up pressure again with another attack on Middle-East oil assets, and we'll be back to the same place.

2. To bomb Iran's oil industry, as Pompeo and Graham suggest. However this risks blowing up the whole Middle East, as well as the World's oil market and their own (Western) economies.

3. Forget about Iran and move the fight to maintain U.S. global hegemony to another front: back to Venezuela? Serbia? Hong Kong? Taiwan? However the end result of such a move would more than likely be another humuliating defeat for the U.S.

4. Do as Stephen Wertheim / New York Times suggest and sue for peace. This will end the dream of U.S. World dominance, Globalization and the current western based financial system. The U.S. will become no more than a heavily indebted regional power in a 'Multi-polar World Order' led by China and Russia.

As I see it, the U.S. is out of options to continue their war for global dominance. #4 is the only viable option. But, as one author argued in a recent paper (I don't have the reference), wars continue long after the victor is clear, because the loser can't admit defeat (at heavy additional costs to the loser). I think that this is the position that the U.S. finds itself in now.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Sep 15 2019 15:58 utc | 3

What the attack on Saudi oil infrastructure shows us, is that now Iran has united her proxys into one united front.
While they were cautious to not leave evidence of their involvment with the Houtis before, they now are putting their support more and more into the open.
The attack seemed to have involved not only Houti drones (already build with help from Iran), but also Iranian backed forces in Iraq, AND pro Iranian forces in Saudi Arabia itself. And maybe even other actors.
This is a major new development. Not only for the war on Yemen, but also in the context of Iran providing a credile detterence against US+Saudi aggression.
They excalated with increasing levels, and one wonders, what could top this last attack off.
And i am pretty sure, we will find out sooner rather than later.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Sep 15 2019 16:21 utc | 4

Norwegian says:

Any believable story must explain how you convert steel buildings to dust

yes, bingo! the relatively diminutive rubble pile(there is a more or less clear line-of-sight across what was the lobby area) and ankle deep dust covering most of lower Manhattan are anomalies that cannot be explained by any kind of conventional demolition...

...and until we have such an explanation the 'who dunnit' angle is just an exercise in futility.

Posted by: john | Sep 15 2019 16:24 utc | 5

Concrete floors and walls right? In addition to the massive elevator concrete boxes. And plenty of gypsum plaster too I'm sure. "Steel building" my ass; it's the framework and facade not the entire building!

Concrete is "fantastic" (it is an awful thing) at creating amazing amounts of dust. Tumbling from some height and being crashed and ground and broken against or hit by everything else it should almost be more surprising (but there is no surprise at all, hence only almost) that there was so much left in the rubble that hadn't been turned dust :P

Gravity (potential kinetic energy) can do pretty much anything. Gravity can even do fission easily if given the right materials and a genuinely surprisingly small amount of gravity, and it can also do fusion if given enough scale (a lot): go look at the sun Norwegian :P (don't hurt your eyes while watching the fusion engine in the sky).

Moo! :)

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Sep 15 2019 16:30 utc | 6

The Scott Ritter link (like anything written by the man) is good.

My reading of the evidence presented by Ritter is that the Smolenkov report sent by Brennan to Obama was essentially a total fabrication by Brennan, produced for political reasons - to manipulate the interpretation of the election results and to fabricate grounds for Russiagate and surveillance of Trump. That is why he pulled everything out from normal vetting procedures and made the custom-analysts sign confidentiality agreements - because the interpretation he wanted was fabricated. According to this scenario Brennan knew the Smolenkov reports were worthless from an intelligence perspective, and wilfully covered up that fact for political reasons. (What was actually in the Smolenkov reports is irrelevant, according to this scenario).

In my opinion this would be totally consistent with what we know about Brennan.

It is also possible that the fabrication was with the full knowledge of Obama, with the intention to protect the secret extra-administration power structures set up by Obama (which they thought they could continue anyway, as they didn't expect to lose the election) and have them continue to operate illegally undermining the Trump administration.

Posted by: BM | Sep 15 2019 16:48 utc | 7

Unfortunately the Carter times in the White House were not good for the country. He may be totally correct but we all know the US and the West in general is not united around peaceful progress. Carter views of peace and security were far different than what the bureaucracy is build and educated around. He had no choice but use the over educated nitwits from our centers of higher education so beloved by all.

Even with a powerful majority in both houses put in place post Watergate nothing got accomplished to move the country from its permanent war footing. Nothing happened to improve society in a social sense. You would think post Vietnam there would be some reassessment. There was none.

Camp David was an amazing accomplishment. Getting Begin to Shake hands with Sadat was unbelievable.

It is amazing how quickly the Republicans came back into power post Watergate and Nixon. The Carter years were one of high interest rates, recession, and inflation. Fed Chair Paul Volcker raised the interest rates so high the economy froze. Building stopped dead in its tracks.

Reagan came in and teed up not only the destruction of unions and union pensions but opened up the era of the corporate raiders who took down many unionized companies and their wages, benefits and pensions. They called it unlocking the value of a company and their actions placed them into the super class.

Carter may have had some great ideas but the bureaucracy would never allow the contemplation or enactment of such notions. The War Party is here to stay until the empire collapses. Blame the education system, especially the high class colleges which everyone longs to go to so they can be a player. Obviously both parties are complicit and the media is framed by those who clear their paychecks.

Posted by: dltravers | Sep 15 2019 16:49 utc | 8

This probably figured prominently in a rumored meeting between US officials and all Lebanese parties except Hezbollah yesterday. I am guessing ISIS and Al qaeda will be unscathed.

From the WSJ (they modified their original version which had a quote from the former Treasury sanctions official who is now the Sheldon Adelson funded Institute for the Defense of Democracies):

"WASHINGTON—The Trump administration unveiled new counterterrorism powers on the eve of the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and imposed sanctions on dozens of individuals and entities allegedly involved with terror groups.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that the new powers created by an executive order by President Trump bolster authorities created in the wake of the attacks. The administration said the changes represent the most significant expansion of counterterrorism powers since they were originally ordered by then-President George W. Bush in the days after the World Trade Center and Pentagon were struck.

The U.S. Treasury and State Department blacklisted dozens of people, currency-exchange houses and companies allegedly associated with U.S.-designated terror groups, including Hamas, al Qaeda, Islamic State, Hezbollah and the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Besides cutting off the targets’ access to the U.S., the sanctions also mean any individual or company doing business with them also risk being cut off from the world’s most powerful economy.

. . .

“These new authorities will allow the U.S. government to starve terrorists of resources they need to attack the United States and our allies, and will hold foreign financial institutions who continue to do business with them accountable,” Mr. Mnuchin said.

. . . Those exchange houses, U.S. officials and terror experts say, are key conduits for financing Hezbollah, Hamas, the IRGC and other groups.

Under the new powers, any foreign financial institution that is found to have conducted terror-linked transactions risks losing access to the dollar and the world’s most important financial system, a sanction that has often spelled the end of financial institutions.

Many of the targets also have operations in Turkey, highlighting a major concern among U.S. officials that lax financial and corporate oversight by the government in Ankara has allowed terror financing and evasion of sanctions to proliferate in the country. The Turkish Embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment."

Posted by: Schmoe | Sep 15 2019 16:56 utc | 9

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Sep 15 2019 16:21 utc | 4

What the attack on Saudi oil infrastructure shows us, is that now Iran has united her proxys into one united front.
They're devilish, aren't they, those evil Iranians? All their "proxies" obey without hesitation their masters' orders, all goose-stepping together, don't they?. Well, that's what the US and Israel want you to believe, so I guess you're speaking on their behalf.

No collusion is necessary. The Houthis were quite capable of doing it on their own, though good planning was needed, perhaps with some ground reconnaissance from their friends the Saudi Shi'a.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 15 2019 17:01 utc | 10

In the old days, the Vatican Bank, for 10 or 15 percent fee, was the exclusive bank for money laundering. Being a Sovereign and secret entity, no outside entity could audit its books. Now all the banks are all in on the action.

The Pentagon lost track of 2.3 trillion and the next day, nine eleven destroyed the bookkeeping office.

Everything is in proper order now. All cleaned up.

Mnuchin advances the agenda of Bull hockey.

Posted by: Kristan hinton | Sep 15 2019 17:13 utc | 11

- On the demise of the Guardian

I didn't think there was much in that article that was new or unknown. It was mainly an assembly of everything in one place. In any case, I don't think the Guardian is really demisen (to use a fake grammatical formulation). It's still as good a liberal newspaper as you can find in Britain. and probably much of elsewhere. If the secret intelligence services are getting at you, you have to haver, and nothing was lost in the end.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 15 2019 17:30 utc | 12

Laguerre: I agree that "Iraqi" part of the attack is dubious, for example, element of surprise was probably needed because the air defenses were not inherently inadequate, and it is hard to see how Houthis and PMUs could coordinate in real time in a manner invisible to NSA. Moreover, placing a suspicion of PMUs is convenient in the context of Saudi-American pressure to disband those units.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 15 2019 17:32 utc | 13

This CSIS position paper may explain why the US deep state is all over Iran for the Saudi oil facility attack:

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 15 2019 17:35 utc | 14

Discussion of "options" faced by Administration in the context of the bombing of an oil complex in KSA, Posted by: dh-mtl | Sep 15 2019 15:58 utc

It really puzzles me if anything resembling a discussion of options occurs under this Administration. If there are meetings, the participants seem to either stick to their preconceptions, honed for decades while cooking intelligence or "expertise" in think tanks, alternatively, champion "President's will", and lastly. military men providing an input if something can be done or cannot. That builds a huge inertia toward maintaining the current policy, perhaps with small tweaks, regardless of facts.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 15 2019 17:41 utc | 15

@Norwegian #2
Take 500,000 tons and drop it an average of 500 feet: The result is dust.
A mouse can fall from several stories and walk away, a horse splashes. A building turns to powder.
Secondly, the WTC buildings were on something like a 4-6 story deep hole in the ground. Given that the buildings were mostly air by volume, it isn't surprising the rubble isn't piled high.
Note 500,000 tons of steel is quite compact - steel density is about 8 tons per cubic meter while concrete is about 1.25 tons per cubic meter. If we say the overall was 4 tons per cubic meter, the entire WTC building mass, in a heap, would be 62,500 cubic meters. The floor area was at least 3000 square meters, so the total mass would be 20 meters high or so - which corresponds to about 6 stories. In reality, the WTC was sitting in a larger basin area which was some significant fraction larger than 3000 square meters, so the corresponding rubble would be even lower.
Nothing obviously unusual about the rubble site.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 15 2019 17:49 utc | 16

The Scott Ritter article is extremely interesting.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 15 2019 18:05 utc | 17

In the Sept. 12 post, b wrote: “Boeing has so far provided a solution for the Flight Control Computer problems.”

I’m not clear whether b just means Boeing has provided what it calls a solution, but he isn’t expressing an opinion as to its functionality – or whether instead he is saying Boeing has in fact solved at least the Max’s flight control computer hardware/software problem, which b had convincingly portrayed as potentially intractable in an earlier blog post.

I’d appreciate some elaboration on what was meant here.

Posted by: David G | Sep 15 2019 18:11 utc | 18

A U.S. government assessment has determined that up to 15 structures at Abqaiq suffered damage from the strike on their west-northwest-facing sides.
According to Wikipedia west-northwest covers 286.875° to 298.125° with the middle azimuth at 292.500.
From Abqaiq that arc misses Syria or Iraq but covers Saudi Arabia (obviously), Jordan and Israel. I do hope the U.S. government isn't suggesting that Israel, that beacon of peace, democracy, freedom and stability is responsible for this outrage.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Sep 15 2019 18:19 utc | 19

David G I think a "no" went missing, easy to do.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Sep 15 2019 18:30 utc | 20

"not" :(

Moo to me too XD

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Sep 15 2019 18:32 utc | 21

Tsentr-2019 strategic drills have started in Donguz, Orenburg oblast, Russia. The participating countries are Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and India. 128,000 servicemen, 20,000 military hardware units, 600 aircraft and 15 ships will take part in the drills.

It's quite unusual to see Pakistani and Indian generals speak from the same scene, and Pakistani and Indian soldiers march at the same parade. I don't know how Russian MoD has managed to pull that off, especially given the present situation in Kashmir.

A video of the opening statements and the parade: Торжественная церемония открытия учений «Центр-2019» (Russian, English, Chinese).

Posted by: S | Sep 15 2019 18:56 utc | 22

3 An important lesson to understanding oil news is that oil and gas energy demand is price insensitive on the upside, while production supply is absolutely price sensitive on the downside.

Cheney's destruction of Iraq sweet light crude, during the $15/bbl Food For Fuel gambit, spiked world prices 1000% to $145/bbl, and the 3W nearly lost an estimated two billion people, if not for lucky back-to-back grain surpluses those years. Now even with Russian and Iranian oil sanctions, they're saying $25/bbl is on the horizon, because of the Great 5-7 Year to Flameout 'Fracking Revolution'.

With Trump's re-opening Keystone XL pipeline, Canadian Tar Sands are again booming this summer, while frackers south of the border in Odessa are going bankrupt. Keeping Iran offline was Trump's 'peaceful' alternative to Cheney's forceful one, until declining world trade following Trump's Federal crypto-VAT 'tariffs' to make up for falling Federal tax revenues.

So the #5 choice for US foreign policy is to keep Iran sanctions on, keep Russia sanctions on, push for near-zero prime rate, keep the WINNING! trope going into Christmas retail blowout season, and hope to clear all that warehoused inventory. Otherwise January will bring an apocalypse to retail, then to foreign trade, then to oil demand, then to oil production, and a war inevitable to destroy excess oil and save the Bankster empire.

Crazy when you think of it, but humans are crazy. We're burning through the only time in human history where there was cheap energy, other than forced slavery or burning the forests down for charcoal. But we're not leaving anything of substance for our future. The Petrocene was a one-time gift. And crazy humans squandered it, and will continue to squander it, as civilization rots away from the bottom up, and the last liter of petrol is in a quartz canopic jar under amber LEDs in some Royal Museum of Art.

Posted by: Jack Martin | Sep 15 2019 18:58 utc | 23

The true utility of the HK protests was articulated by former US envoy to HK and Taiwan Stephen Young in the Asia TImes this week, declaring that the "one country, two systems" framework was now "dead" since "Beijing has reneged on its pledges to introduce local autonomy and democracy to Hong Kong." He claims it is already too late for HK - "But the lesson for Taiwan's 23 million citizens is different. Build your defences, solidify your relations with your essential security partner, America, and make it clear you will fight for your freedom."

This is an incorrect and self-serving analysis. China has not reneged on any pledges or undermined the Basic Law, despite claims to the contrary. Much like "Russian aggression" became a key narrative thread in Ukraine despite little actual evidence of such aggression, the alleged "brutal authoritarian" activity on behalf of the Chinese government will continue as "the" story in Hong Kong even if it hasn't actually happened.

A big provocation has been promised by the protesters to spoil the October 1 celebration of 70 years of PRC. Then focus will switch to Taiwan and its election in January. The Americans hope the nationalist anti-PRC forces win, helped by the hysteria generated over HK, and then the program of militarizing the island to serve as a fount of tension in the region will begin in earnest with an explicit rejection of Taiwan's status as a part of China.

Posted by: jayc | Sep 15 2019 19:04 utc | 24

@Jack Martin #23:

The Petrocene was a one-time gift.

Natural gas, gasoline, jet fuel, etc. can be produced from H2O and CO2 using hydrolysis and Sabatier reaction powered by large amounts of electricity, which can be generated by hydropower or nuclear power. So even if we run out of fossil fuel, we can still continue to operate our gas and liquid fuels–based economy. Not on the same scale as today, but keep in mind that the world population is going to plateau at 11 billion in 2100 and then go down. So we might still make it. We should, of course, make every effort to expand green energy capacity and limit our energy consumption (which entails designing durable, repairable consumer goods).

Posted by: S | Sep 15 2019 19:37 utc | 25

thanks b... i enjoyed a quick overview on the guardian's demise... thanks for that article and for the week of great articles from you!

@ 8 dltravers.. good post.. thanks.. i liked carter.. it sounds like the republican party was more easily malleable to neoliberalism - corporate take down of the usa.. i am sure it is the same here in canada.. we are just a slower version of the same..

@10 laguerre.. i tend to see it your way too... either that, or according the the exceptional nation - iran is extremely organized and evil and all the rest of the rot..

Posted by: james | Sep 15 2019 19:38 utc | 26

"The Washington Post said the US government believed that 15 buildings at Abqaiq had been damaged on the west-northwest sides, not the southern sides facing Yemen."

Well OK, the houthies sent 10 drones to two different allocations but in one of them (Abqaiq) they inflict damages to 15 buildings...and set ablaze the whole refinery to decrease the production to 50% in just one punch

"People heard engine noise and gun fire" and that could be heard in some videos (it sound like small Walmart drones and some gun shots), and then the hell...

Too much damages for a bunch of small drones sent 1500 Km away by a militia from the middle of the desert

Posted by: DFC | Sep 15 2019 19:46 utc | 27

Jaye @24

IMO the Honk Kong thing is backfiring a bit on the empire.
These very loud calls for Trump and England to come to their aid and liberate them is not what the evil empire had in mind.

Posted by: arby | Sep 15 2019 20:02 utc | 28

@ 27
WaPo: Abqaiq . .damaged on the west-northwest sides
That's it! It was Hezbollah for sure. (not)

Actually there were two targets, the Buqaiq (Abqaiq) oil processing plant and the Khurais oil field, both in the Eastern Province.

These attacks are not the first -- from longwarjournal:

Last month, the Houthis claimed another drone operation against Saudi’s Shaybah oil field near the United Arab Emirates. At more than 1,000 miles away from it’s Yemen territory, that strike marked one of the Houthis farthest claimed attacks.
The Houthis also claimed a drone strike on the Abu Dhabi airport last year, but that has been denied by Emirati officials.
Additionally, a drone strike on Saudi’s East-West oil pipeline near Riyadh earlier this year, which the Houthis claimed responsibility, was allegedly conducted by Iranian-backed Iraqi militants. If accurate, that means the Houthi claim of responsibility acted as a type of diplomatic cover for the Iraqi militants.
Since beginning its drone program last year, the Houthis have launched at least 103 drone strikes in Yemen and Saudi Arabia according to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal. . .here. . .and more here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 15 2019 20:13 utc | 29

The US Navy is doing its usual thing in the South China Sea (SCS) exercising hegemony under the banner of "freedom of navigation." I won't go into the details, but just address how it's reported.

The Seventh Fleet has the capability to issue press releases on its website under "news reports" or otherwise, but that's not what they do. One can't find the Fleet report of the encounter in the SCS on the Fleet's site or on the google-web, only in articles in the MSM. These articles cover the US-China encounter based on what the 7th Fleet spokesperson told us (Reuters), or issued in a statement (CNN), or sent by email (taken from the various articles). The mode of issuance is apparently varied, and also the content is varied, with the different media sources providing different "statement" contents while we don't have any original document to judge for ourselves what was actually said about an important hostile encounter between major powers.

So we end up with fake news, stuck with whatever the corporate for-profit gangsters want us to hear, which is apparently what the Pentagon wants too. They (in this case) trust the MSM to Do The Right Thing, and not to mention that China has a much better legal position than the US has which is why the offending US ship was evicted (according to China, but not mentioned by the MSM). It's a part of "Military Information Support Operations," or what we call propaganda.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 15 2019 20:42 utc | 30

If DontBelieveEitherPr @4 can present some evidence that Iran was involved, Pompeo might be able to sleep at night.

I agree with laguerre @ 10 .. "The Houthis were quite capable of doing it on their own, though good planning was needed, perhaps with some ground reconnaissance from their friends the Saudi Shi'a. <= by: Laguerre @ 10
Peotr Berman @13 to Laguerre: I agree that "Iraqi" part of the attack is dubious, ... it is hard to see how Houthis and PMUs could coordinate in real time in a manner invisible to NSA. Moreover, placing a suspicion of PMUs is convenient in the context of Saudi-American pressure to disband those units. <=by: Piotr Berman @ 13

Here is days before Saudi Oil Production target

Posted by: snake | Sep 15 2019 20:43 utc | 31

For a little smile. Just a little one.
Hillary Clinton found her emails at the Venice Biennale!


Posted by: roza shanina | Sep 15 2019 20:45 utc | 32

Thank you laguerre #10, precisely. If any one unites the shia it is the FUKUSA and particularly Israel. The houthis are perfectly capable of conducting these effective war manouvers. As were the liberation forces in Vietnam of executing the Tet offensive anc before that the victory at Dien bien Phu.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 15 2019 20:49 utc | 33

craig murray has a good post up today on assange and etc..

The World’s Most Important Political Prisoner

Posted by: james | Sep 15 2019 20:49 utc | 34

@ 23 Jack Martin

Funnily enough I was just composing a comment on this precise subject (shale) when I stopped to read the latest comments. You say what I wanted to say much better than I could have done. I was reading just today that investors are backing out of shale in the US as it is essentially loss-making at current oil prices and production is down for the year. What you say about sanctions on Iran is very interesting. Maybe I haven't been paying attention but knocking Iran - and Venezuela - out of the picture should, in theory, raise oil prices, and thus save the billions invested in shale. This sort of strategy would appeal to the Trump mentality.

Posted by: Lochearn | Sep 15 2019 21:24 utc | 35

Really appreciated the write up on the Houthis attack.
Sounds like the attack left substantial damage. Another bigger issue underlying all of this, aside from Saudi inability to get what it wants now from it's IPO, is the fact that the US Patriots did not detect this attack.
The Saudis spent billions last year on this defense system. Sounds like the clown Prince better give Russians a call about their S-400.
But the US wouldn't appreciate that much, would they?

Posted by: Hercules | Sep 15 2019 21:27 utc | 36

@1 steven t johnson

Agree with respect to points 1 and 2 but is at least Kotkin's is a bit more insightful than the recent Markovits book on meritocracy. In the latter, Markovits divides the entire country into middle class and elites, with the owners and Kotkin's clerisy combined and subject to the same structure, rewards and stresses. Never a mention of capital or ownership of the means of production. Guess one should not be shocked that a Yale professor considers himself elite, but a little surprising that he does not understand that he serves at the pleasure of the owners. That's a club and he's not in it as the comic-laureate Carlin would say. A little class consciousness goes a long way.

Posted by: sad canuck | Sep 15 2019 21:29 utc | 37

@30 Don Bacon

If Taiwan and the USA break the existing "one China policy" (either by word or deed) then it's game on for a resumption of the unfinished civil war. China has zero need to invade Taiwan. All it needs to do in order to win is control the sea and air lanes which are immediately off its coast in the vicinity of Taiwan. The Kuomintang would fold in a fortnight and the United States would be powerless to stop it without going nuclear given the distance to the front. Nobody sensible in Taiwan or on the mainland wants a confrontation and we all know the only actor that benefits from these tensions :)

Posted by: sad canuck | Sep 15 2019 21:50 utc | 38

We passed through the Permean Midland-Odessa Texas area a few months back, and the activity level was crazy high, for a rural area, with a lot going on. The area was full of travel trailers which are the abode of many workers involved in the actual fracking, plus transportation etc. But I guess its days are numbered.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 15 2019 22:01 utc | 39

We can only hope that the next attack will finish off the remainder of Saudi Arabia's capacity and give Russia a chance to take on the customers that will run to them.
It is just a matter of time before Iran's coastal defences become offensive weapons well within striking range of not only the Strait of Hormuz, but most of their enemies in the middle east.
It will be interesting to see what Charles Kupperman would recommend that American forces do.

Posted by: Vonu | Sep 15 2019 22:05 utc | 40

@ sc 37
Yes, I agree, the principal threat is the US divide-and-conquer strategy which it employs wherever it can. It's Instability-R-Us. One just has to notice where Washington says it's going to bring stability next, and expect the worst. . . .I'm thinking California. :)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 15 2019 22:11 utc | 41

Scott Ritter - "The Spy Who Failed"

It could be as Ritter says but my own thesis is that USA decided to initiate a new Cold War (and elect a Nationalist) in 2014 to meet the challenge from Russia and China. They certainly didn't need any help from Putin to do so!

Putin/Russians have no reason to prefer any USA political candidate because, as everyone knows, USA foreign policy never really changes no matter who the Presidential mouthpiece is selected.

CIA may well have figured out that Smolenkov was a double agent and Brennan simply used him as scapegoat for the new Cold War (guess he was good for something).

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

I've been pointing to Brennan as the likely "point man" in the new Cold War for months (Comment #17).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 15 2019 22:12 utc | 42

Delusional arrogance is the hallmark of empires and monarchies.

Tribes earlier forced into the mountains by lowlanders have nowhere else to go. They will fight to the bloody end. The Houthis drove off the Egyptians in the 1960s. UAE has left the fight. As b said, Saudi Arabia and the USA have to sue for peace in Yemen. The USA cannot exterminate the Houthis or prevent more drone attacks against oil infrastructure. A prolonged 50% cut in Saudi oil production will have significant adverse effects. A Democrat will be elected President due to the increased gasoline prices. The global economic recession will get worse. The tortured Saudi Princes’ families will get their revenge against MBS.

A war with Iran will only accelerate the collapse.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Sep 15 2019 22:17 utc | 43

@ Don Bacon

In the satellite images it can be seen 17 points of impact in key infraestructures in Abqaiq with stunning precision; for example the holes in the storage spheres are all exactly in the same position, and all the 11 spheres hit

Too much for 10 drones from a militia in the middle of the desert at 1500 Km away....

I am not convinced at all this was made by Iran (through Iraq proxies), because it will be clearly a "casus belli" for US and KSA

Posted by: DFC | Sep 15 2019 22:19 utc | 44

A HREF="">Features and Capabilities of Samad-1, Samad-3 Drones

The spokesman of the armed forces told reporters in a news conference on Tuesday, commenting on scenes broadcasted at the conference, that “Samad-3 has a range of 1500 to 1700 km and was tested in several successful operations targeting Saudi airports. Samad-3 can explode from top to bottom or directly hit the target and contains adequate quantities of explosives. Samad-3 uses advanced technology helping it avoid detection by Saudi radars.

This story looks and feels real and the threat looks very impressive. With all the chaff thrown up by all sides it is hard to determine what is going on. If true the Saudis are going to have to work hard to counter this threat.

There is always a counter to a threat like this. Solar powered sound monitors in the desert designed to pick up the sound of a drone well before they reach a populated area is one option. Chain guns designed to home in on the sound of the drone and a camera to help place accurate fire on the drone by is shape and movements. Anything is possible, the West loves technology.

Posted by: dltravers | Sep 15 2019 22:35 utc | 45

@ Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 15 2019 22:01 utc | 38

About the peculiarities of shale reserves:

The Shale Boom Is About To Go Bust

In fact, since 2012, average lateral lengths have increased 44 percent to over 7,000 feet and the volume of water used in drilling has surged more than 250 percent, according to a new report for the Post Carbon Institute. Taken together, longer laterals and more prodigious use of water and sand means that a well drilled in 2018 can reach 2.6 times as much reservoir rock as a well drilled in 2012, the report says.

That sounds impressive, but the industry may simply be frontloading production. The suite of drilling techniques “have lowered costs and allowed the resource to be extracted with fewer wells, but have not significantly increased the ultimate recoverable resource,” J. David Hughes, an earth scientist, and author of the Post Carbon report, warned. Technological improvements “don’t change the fundamental characteristics of shale production, they only speed up the boom-to-bust life cycle,” he said.

For a while, there was enough acreage to allow for a blistering growth rate, but the boom days eventually have to come to an end. There are already some signs of strain in the shale patch, where intensification of drilling techniques has begun to see diminishing returns. Putting wells too close together can lead to less reservoir pressure, reducing overall production. The industry is only now reckoning with this so-called “parent-child” well interference problem.

About the Permian:

The story is not all that different in the Permian, save for the much higher levels of spending and drilling. Post Carbon estimates that it the Permian requires 2,121 new wells each year just to keep production flat, and in 2018 the industry drilled 4,133 wells, leading to a big jump in output. At such frenzied levels of drilling, the Permian could continue to see production growth in the years ahead, but the steady increase in water and frac sand “have reached their limits.” As a result, “declining well productivity as sweet-spots are exhausted will require higher drilling rates and expenditures in the future to maintain growth and offset field decline,” Hughes warned.

Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2019 22:42 utc | 46

The China/Taiwan situation is more complicated than Taiwan just being a renegade China province. Beijing claims Taiwan to be part of the People's Republic of China (PRC), the legitimate government of China, whereas Taipei views itself as the Republic of China (ROC), the legitimate China government with the PRC an illegal government occupying China.
So those in Taiwan wanting independence would have to give up the "we're China" position, which might be difficult for some. And certainly Beijing would not stand for it since even the current Taiwan position is that Taiwan is a part of China.
Confused? Me too.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 15 2019 22:43 utc | 47

DFC @ 43

That might be a bridge too far for those drones. Notice the storage tanks in the area are drawn down as well. Stories can be planted by agencies ahead of an operation for cover. Anything is possible. Haste makes waste. The tanks can be welded back into shape fairly quickly, the compressor stations will take some time.

Sorry for the broken link...

Posted by: dltravers | Sep 15 2019 22:47 utc | 48

When Bolton resigned I said he most likely had set something in motion and was stepping aside to distant himself, and mentioned that strange things happen this time of year as an 18 yr anniversary of a certain event was near.

The attack of the Saudis oil infrastructure was likely a false flag. Whether they did it themselves or had Israels help I can not say. The US certainly signed off on it. Iran had nothing to gain. Higher oil prices don't help them much if they lose their own refineries because then they need to import gasoline and fuel

Saudi gets higher oil prices ahead of Saudi Aramco’s looming IPO. Shale industry in US saved, and Trump considering a mutual defense treaty with Israel much like the British had with Poland. Setting up another false flag in Israel blamed on Iran that requires the US to begin a war with Iran. War time presidents usually win their next election . Win-Win-Win

If you want to believe the desert dwellers could launch such an accurate and sophisticated technological attack then you believe other nonsense like Saudis who never flew jets before turning 3 steel framed buildings to dust due to fires from the jet fuel

Another aspect of this is China takes a big hit, losing out on Saudi and Iranian oil. Russia on the other hand will be rolling in money, and as a loyal friend of Israel no doubt will stand down on any attack on Iran like they did in Iraq.

Posted by: Pft | Sep 15 2019 22:54 utc | 49

@ DFC 43
Too much for 10 drones from a militia in the middle of the desert at 1500 Km away

I know nothing about drone targeting, but I believe it's inconsiderate to classify technicians, many from the previous Yemen army, people with extensive recent drone experience (see my 29 above), as "a militia in the middle of the desert." Or perhaps Yemenis are genetically stupid?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 15 2019 22:55 utc | 50

@ 41 Jack Rabbit

In your infinite intelligence I have to say I have no idea what you are on about. Please explain.

Posted by: Lochearn | Sep 15 2019 22:56 utc | 51

Roza @31

And that's how you make a silk purse from a sow's ear.

Posted by: arby | Sep 15 2019 23:04 utc | 52

Via ZeroHedge:

Oil Explodes 20% Higher, Biggest Jump On Record

Satellite Images Reveal It Would Take "Months" To Fix Saudi Oil Facility

Posted by: Stever | Sep 15 2019 23:06 utc | 53

#38 Don. Passed through Ft McMurray about the time you were in Odessa, and for the first time since they crashed a decade ago, thanks to Trump re-authorizing Keystone XL, things are starting to boom. Albertans are a different breed than their Leftist cousins in BC, and that's a problem with Leftist Trudeau and Back to Lodge Houses First Nations who are blocking expansion of Tar Sands to the coast.

The facilities there are as big as Kazahkstan's, room for 30,000 workers they brought in from as far away as Poland and Chile and India, if you can imagine that many travelers. I kick myself I missed both the Alaska Pipeline and then Tar Sands, and with what's happening now in a global slowdown and massive government-banking failures on the horizon, it's doubtful there will be another in my life.

Interesting, the first question I asked was where was all the pollution, and they laughed, showing me thick forests already growing on the restored excavation pits, after they steamed the rock and sand clean and piled them back high above the permafrost, new forests are growing like Wyoming. When the Petrocene ends, First Nations will have rich hunting and lumber resources they never had before, but Saint Gerta will still be wagging her finger from a velvet cushion at the foot of Prince Albert, lol.

And yes, #25 S, methanol reverse production from CO2 is possible in practice, using CO2 derived from coal plus gigawatts of hydro, geothermal or nuclear, but at what cost? And where will the power come with nuclear already 300% more expensive than even the most expensive 'renewable', which themselves are neither renewable nor reliable, using more fossil fuels to mine, fabricate and install than they ever provide in their short, intermittent, lousy line-quality MTBF? Methanol cars for the very rich, perhaps, and methanol by the pint for the very poor dying on the sidewalks and the alley ways. The gift of the Petrocene wasn't just energy freedom from slavery and deforestation, it was also CHEAP.

Posted by: Jack Martin | Sep 15 2019 23:06 utc | 54

"The World is a hellish place, and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering." Tom Waits.

Posted by: Lochearn | Sep 15 2019 23:08 utc | 55

The Houthi military spokesman said, “This was one of the largest operations which our forces have carried out deep inside Saudi Arabia. It came after careful intelligence and cooperation with honourable and free people inside Saudi Arabia.”

Again, I'm green at this, but couldn't those honourable and free people inside Saudi Arabia, the Iranian-linked Aramco workers, put radio markers (or some such) on the desired drone target points?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 15 2019 23:20 utc | 56

@ dlt 47
...a bridge too far

That expression dates us, or me anyhow. And I happened to meet the author in Netherlands some years back. It may have been an anniversary visit of a military tragedy, for the troops that parachuted in.

google: Cornelius Ryan's "A Bridge Too Far" gives an account of Operation Market Garden, a failed Allied attempt to break through German lines at Arnhem in the occupied Netherlands during World War II.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 15 2019 23:37 utc | 57

"What the attack on Saudi oil infrastructure shows us, is that now Iran has united her proxys into one united front."

I'll add my voice to those disagreeing with this post.
The "Houthis" are no more proxies than Hezbollah are. Calling them such is an amplification of imperialist propaganda, designed, at one and the same time, to discredit resistance forces and alienate their bases and to perpetuate the racist libel that Arab people are incapable of supporting each other.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 15 2019 23:40 utc | 58

Lochearn @50

Did you read the Scott Ritter article that b linked to?

Ritter basically raises the possibility that Brennan was fooled because Smolenkov was a double agent.

IMO this is not the most logical nor the most natural interpretation of events. Firstly, because it posits that Putin/Russia caused US intelligence agencies to believe that Russia was "meddling" in the US election and thus essentially triggered anti-Russian sanctions and international rebuke.

Secondly, it makes a great deal of sense that USA Deep State sought to initiate a new Cold War and elect a nationalist President to meet the challenge from Russia and China - a view that is supported by Kissinger's 2014 Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal: Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order: The concept that has underpinned the modern geopolitical era is in crisis. In his Op-Ed, Kissinger calls for a revitalized America which sounds a lot like MAGA (Trump entered the race for President about 10 months later).

My view also explains much of the strangeness of the 2016 election. Trump was the only populist on the right (in a field of 19!), and Hillary made mistakes that no seasoned candidate would make - like her alienation of key voter groups (snubbing progressives; taking blacks for granted; calling whites "deplorables"; etc.) and her not campaigning the three states that SHE KNEW would decide the election.

I'v explained my thinking at length at MoA so anyone that's interested should search MoA for more.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 15 2019 23:53 utc | 59

"..Leftist Trudeau and Back to Lodge Houses First Nations who are blocking expansion of Tar Sands to the coast." @53
Thanks Jack for giving us a real flavour of the reactionary politics of Alberta, where the royalties are so low a child couldn't limbo dance under them. A province where it is still widely believed that Oil Companies are doing people a favour by employing them.
1. Calling Trudeau (Q: What's 14 inches long and hangs between Trump's legs? A: Justin Trudeau's tie) the guy who paid two billion dollars for Enron's lost pipeline, "a leftist" is very droll.
2/ The First Nations in BC never ceded their land to any Canadian government but you go right ahead and take it from them if you can.
3/ Anyone who doubts that Alberta's Oil Patch is an ecological disaster zone or that the Tar Sands project is a crime emblematic of the capitalist system should subscribe to The Narwhal (its free) where the sad and sordid story is monitored.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 15 2019 23:55 utc | 60

Sad Canuck @ 37:

The Guomindang / Kuomintang Party has been in opposition in Taiwan since 2016 when Tsai Ing-wen (of the Democratic Progressive Party) won the Presidency. The DPP also won legislative elections in the same year.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 16 2019 0:03 utc | 61

We called it, you read here first!

EU Could Face Billions in Fresh US Tariffs After WTO Airbus Ruling - Report

Posted by: vk | Sep 16 2019 0:19 utc | 62

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 15 2019 23:53 utc | 58

That is full conspiracy :-))

1. Hillary is not a very gifted politician. To be nearly beaten by Bernie Sanders in the Democratic race - though she was backed by the party establishment - speaks volumes. She had been damaged in the race against Obama already.

2. Hillary's backers tried to maintain "momentum" by questionable polling. They ended up believing their own polls.

3. The E-Mail scandal was very bad and DNC and Podesta-E-Mails were worse as they stopped Democrats and Independents voting for her.

4. Trump was backed by state of the art software gaming the US election system. I remember journalists being surprised of the places Trump would go to give a speech.

5. Trump was clearly stunned to have won.

6. Trump has probably done to Republicans what Boris Johnson is doing to British conservatives just now - they are not going to recover for quite some time.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 16 2019 0:25 utc | 63

@60 Jen

Right you are and I just threw them both in the same hopper. Taiwanese politics never fails to baffle me with it's many slightly different shades of green and blue, which to me, do not seem to be all that different. They have learned well at their master's knee.

Posted by: sad canuck | Sep 16 2019 0:41 utc | 64

somebody @62

My "Theory" is based on independent, logical thinking. Any one is free to apply their mind and do some research to determine for themselves if it makes sense.

In doing so, they should consider facts like:

1) USA is Empire First. "Change You Can Believe In" and "America First" have proven to be empty slogans;

2) Every USA President has had strong connections to CIA since at least George H. W. Bush;

3) Hillary seemed to do everything wrong and new-comer Trump did everything right? That makes no sense;

4) Russiagate and the DNC 'hack' have proven to be devoid of substance. These are hyped by Western media way beyond what is warranted and other facts have been contorted to fit the narrative (like ignoring Israeli and Saudi influence on Trump);

5) USA thought Russia would eventually join the West - until Russia stood against USA in Syria (September 2013) and Ukraine (February - August 2014).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2019 0:51 utc | 65

So 48K UAW workers are set to start a US strike a midnight tonight.

What is the chance that the SA oil facility attack was a false flag to divert global attention away from the UAW strike?

If the US is at war with Iran then the UAW strike can be ended by the president, correct?

Lots of moving pieces here...not the least of which is the US economy tanking and empire looking for someones to blame or methods of deflection...and make more profit by taking advantage of any and all crisis, manufactured or otherwise.

WWIII at its core is about public/private finance going forward, IMO. In the interim there will be lots of obfuscation, attempts of narrative control and tons of Plato's Cave display propaganda.

Interesting times

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 16 2019 1:16 utc | 66


Those markups on the zerohedge pics are a bit misleading. Those spheroidal tanks hold high pressure NGLs. Any penetrations would have set of enormous explosions and fires. So where is the scorching? I'm not convinced they were even hit.

Posted by: GeneO | Sep 16 2019 1:25 utc | 67

somebody @82

Responding to your specific points.

1. Hillary is not a very gifted politician.


>> She is married to the brightest political mind of our generation.

>> She has been a politician in her own right for over 16 years.

>> She had already run a Presidential campaign.

>> She was supported by the entire Democratic establishment and much of the Republican establishment during the general election.

>> In contrast, her opponent was new to politics.

2. Hillary's backers tried to maintain "momentum" by questionable polling. They ended up believing their own polls.

>> No seasoned politician wants to be the "inevitable winner". That energizes the competition and de-energizes your own supporters.

>> Campaigns do their own polling.

3. The E-Mail scandal was very bad and DNC and Podesta-E-Mails were worse as they stopped Democrats and Independents voting for her.

This is the typical excuse of Hillary supporters. Why not add that Putin cost her the election?/sarc

Hillary and her advisors are well aware that political candidates lose because people have no reason to vote for them not because people have a reason to vote against them.

4. Trump was backed by state of the art software gaming the US election system.

>> Using Cambridge Analytica is another red flag. We have since learned that Facebook was providing data to MANY companies, not just Cambridge Analytica (as we were led to believe at first). Why didn't the Trump campaign hire a US firm?

>> And why was UK so involved in this election?

-Fusion GPS

- Cambridge Analytica

-Mifsud's spying on the Trump campaign

-via the Integrity Initative we learned that it's likely that there was a British spy in the Sanders campaign

- And Haspel was there too

5. Trump was clearly stunned to have won.

An actor appeared to be surprised? LOL.

6. Trump has probably done to Republicans what Boris Johnson is doing to British conservatives just now ...

You're straining here. What's really relevant is the evident failure of democracy in the West. My theory is aligned with that inconvenient fact.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2019 1:30 utc | 68

More to my scenario in comment # 65
What is the chance that the SA oil facility attack was a false flag to divert global attention away from the UAW strike?
Lets say that empire knew that the Houthi's were going to strike the SA oil facility so they expanded on the strike to make it look like if was done by Iran.

This would explain the Houthi saying it was their strike even as it looks like more damage than their 10 drones could have accomplished.....Jets did fly into the NY twin towers but it seems like maybe the result was "helped along"

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 16 2019 1:40 utc | 69

43/48 - "Armed Forced News is reporting the tragic loss of a KC-46A refueling tanker flight crew over the weekend. The aircraft had just finished routine refueling operations for a USAF patrol squandron returning from a security sweep of Southern Iraq airspace." That kind of targeting precision now being disclosed is ONLY possible with US/IL air-launched weaponry. Netanyahu needed this, ARAMCO IPO needed this, the Odessa Oil Patch loan sharks needed this, and the disgraced Boltonaut AIPACim needed this. Another Miracle of the Three Towers and Two Planes. Yippe aye oh kayea! More global structural austerity!!

59 bevin - I have been to the mountain!! We flew entirely over the Tar Sands, then we drove through their older replanted recovery zones, thick resplendent forests, surrounded by 1,000 miles of barren lifeless permafrost, scruffy tioga and tundra stretching to the Arctic Circle. Not even a shimmer of sheen on the Athabaska or Clearwater either. From reading your posts, you don't seem like a psylop sychophant. I'd have thought you preferred on-the-ground reporting, than sniffing the skirts of a Royal Choir Singer preparing for her Big Moment at UN. Gerta is somewhat compelling to those with her special condition, but scripted words coming from her mouth, FEAR_PANIC_TERROR End of Days evangelical fervor? Nyet! I would sooner watch Craigslist for Free Stuff and stub cigarette butts out in my palm.

Posted by: Jack Martin | Sep 16 2019 1:43 utc | 70

@ martin, fossil fuels aren't cheap if they destabilize the climate. another fossil fuel shill infests the forum.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Sep 16 2019 1:44 utc | 71

The NYTimes is on full war mode now regurgitating as usual what the military says. They really expect us to believe that drones are like bows and arrows? The direction of attack is irrelevant other than the drone finding the best direction to attack

Saudi Oil Attack Photos Implicate Iran, U.S. Says; Trump Hints at Military Action

“The government released satellite photographs showing what officials said were at least 17 points of impact at several Saudi energy facilities from strikes they said came from the north or northwest. That would be consistent with an attack coming from the direction of the Persian Gulf, Iran or Iraq, rather than from Yemen, where the Iranian-backed Houthi militia that claimed responsibility for the strikes operates.”

Posted by: Stever | Sep 16 2019 1:56 utc | 72

Thanks b for the Scott Ritter referral. Brennan was played and even made a total fool of himself by personally confirming his stupidity to Bortnikov, head of Russian FSB. Send him down. What a clown show.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 16 2019 2:06 utc | 73

@23 / 53 / 69 jack martin... i am not sure where you are coming from... reading your posts it is hard to tell.. bevin might be correct though... it is hard to tell with the lingo you are using.. your quote "not even a sheen on the athabasa" run counter to Federal study says oil sands toxins are leaching into groundwater, Athabasca River.. i guess since you didn't see any sheen on the river and you saw first hand, this makes you position more one of knowledge, lol... the indigenous people living down stream have been suffering from the effects of the tar sands for a number of years.. it's not just that they can't eat the fish, but much worse... i suppose there experience doesn't count in your first hand experience either..

this quote of yours "Leftist Trudeau and Back to Lodge Houses First Nations who are blocking expansion of Tar Sands to the coast" suggest you really are out to lunch... the leftists on the coast are the furthest thing from anything trudeau, as are the first nation folks... where exactly are you from jack? you sound straight out of red neck alberta... good luck with kenney and scheer if so... the tar sands dream is an environmental nightmare... i guess you missed all the tailing ponds in your fly over too.. i suppose the oil corps that you are rooting for are hopeful they can download all the toxic costs onto the taxpayer while the gov't gives the same oil corps are free ride... is that what you are hoping for? you are one sick dude if so, no matter whatever the hell you are trying to say in your 3 posts here on this moa thread...

Posted by: james | Sep 16 2019 2:21 utc | 74

Jack Martin@53

Links please..

Sorry I cannot share your optimism.

I have conducted mine reclamation research throughout BC, Alberta, Wyoming and Colorado and have seen first hand all the messes the mining operation have left.

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 16 2019 2:56 utc | 75

The punctured spheres are odd. All hit from the west and at the same elevation angle. No scorching to speak of, as though all tanks were empty or contained inert gas. Very accurate for cheap drones and too high for sabotage. Also too many hits on the plant for the number of drones houthi's say they launched.
Pics from Zero Hedge

Spheres on google maps

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 3:03 utc | 76

Below is a link from Xinhuanet about a coming meeting between Iraq and China

Iraqi PM's visit to China to boost bilateral ties

The take away quote
The volume of the trade exchange between China and Iraq exceeded 30 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, according to Zhang, asserting that "China is the biggest trading partner of Iraq, and Iraq is the second biggest oil supplier to China, and the fourth biggest trading partner of China in the Middle East."

This reads to me like another step of Iraq ending the incumbent US military presence.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 16 2019 3:09 utc | 77

Someone has to say it.

The attack on the Saudi oil facility/war on Iran could not have been better timed:

No Parliament in UK
BoJo free to speechify and rally the West like his hero Winston Churchill;

Eve of Israeli elections
Sith Lord Netanyahu gets the crucial boost he needs to win election.

Bolton resigns/dismissed a few days before.
- Trump displays his peaceful intentions
- Neocons crow: this is what happens when you show weakness/sarc

News that the massive IPO might be restarted appeared in early July but it wasn't until August 9th that it was confirmed. This, despite the lack of any real solutions to the problems that caused the Saudis to shelve the IPO(!) But the dashed IPO plans magnify the butt-hurt and serve to shield MbS from suspicion that the Saudis had a hand in the destruction of their main oil facility to achieve a more important goal: convincing the Western public that war with Iran is a "just war".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2019 3:15 utc | 78

psychohistorian 68 "Lets say that empire knew that the Houthi's were going to strike the SA oil facility so they expanded on the strike to make it look like if was done by Iran."

I am wondering the same thing after looking at the spheres.

Another option is that Houthi launched the stated number of drones from Yemen, but then more were launched from close to the plant by local shia working with Houthi.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 3:20 utc | 79

@Don Bacon #55

You're right. It is an obvious possibility that some radio-beacons were put on the targets. There are some reasons for that:
-There is a part of the Saudis people who is Shia Muslim. Most of them inhabit in these areas where are the oil infrastructures.
-The GPS is not accurate enough for such pinpoint targeting; Furthermore, due to the previous drone attacks on Saudi Barbaria, this area should have been protected by local GPS accuracy degradation, or plain jamming.

Posted by: Parisian Guy | Sep 16 2019 3:34 utc | 80

Here's something encouraging: a freshman female MP in India's parlaiment speaks truth to power:

In her fiery maiden speech, Mahua Moitra cuts through the crap and with great fervor delineates the signs of creeping facism in India.

A must-see-and-hear!

Posted by: farm ecologist | Sep 16 2019 3:59 utc | 81

Many here will recall that the UK Parliament went along with Blair's war on Iraq.

But in 2013, the UK Parliament was not so compliant! They balked at supporting the bombing of Syria. Leaving Obama in a pickle and thus causing a delay in bombing that MAY have allowed the time necessary for the Russians to formulate their peaceful alternative (after a gaff by John Kerry).

So it's rather interesting to note that crucial decisions that could mean WWIII may be taken while the UK Parliament is "prorogated" (suspended).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2019 4:08 utc | 82

Jackrabbit #58, The Russians had the double agent under observation for the entirety of his employment. His first appointment as storekeeper was likely a test of his staid adherence to loyalty in a shitty job. The dude was likely serving a much higher purpose than he knew.

The cost of all this may seem ilogical and may seem absurd but consider what they got.
The Russians could manufacture a controlled narrative and the pigeon would deliver.
The Russians would be able to track him as he moved about and see who he met.
The Russians would capture any data outputs from devices and gain understanding and even tap into secure code transmissions - everwhere!

This man was the jackpot. Obama berated Putin, Brennan berated his equivalent. Both of those Russian gentlemen would have high fived every ti e they met for weeks after. And then they let the CIA rescue their man and pay out and make fools of their own nation.

Now that's payback for the post Yeltsin plunder. Vengence is a meal best eaten cold.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 16 2019 4:09 utc | 83

A lot of things make it look like now or never for the US to hit Iran. There is also the big China deal with Iran a few weeks back.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 4:16 utc | 84

One other thing. US was to have an operational capacity of tactical nukes mounted on Tridents by the end of September.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 4:18 utc | 85

uncle tungsten @82

I'm not really disputing that he was a double agent. That seems to make some sense.

But why have him pass along info that Putin (Putin himself!) is "meddling" with the US election? 1) Putin likely knows that anyone selected as President will do the Deep State's bidding (so "meddling is futile!); and 2) any proof of Putin's meddling that a spy could option would just cause unwanted blow-back (sanctions, propaganda, etc.)

And why does Brennan (Brennan himself!) take such a keen and personal interest? It's very very strange.

Scott Ritter's answer: Brennan didn't follow procedure and got burned.

My answer: Brennan knew that Smolenkov was a double agent (for all the reasons Scott Ritter says he should have known!) and used him as a CYA fake source for Russiagate.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2019 4:24 utc | 86


The numbers do not add up. And I agree about the lack of scorch marks on the spheres. I'm no squint and not a BDA guy, but I'm wondering if those spheres were hit at all?

Houthis claimed they launched ten drones. That was for both the strikes at Abqaiq and also Khurais. If you eliminate the eleven spheres from the 17 claimed points of impact at Abqaiq, that might indicate six hits at Abqaiq. That would leave four more drones to strike Khurais.

Posted by: GeneO | Sep 16 2019 4:24 utc | 87

@ Peter AU 1 who wrote
A lot of things make it look like now or never for the US to hit Iran. There is also the big China deal with Iran a few weeks back.
If you read my Xinhuant link in comment # 76, it looks like the China/Iraq relationship growth is just one step behind.....meeting early next week

What is empire smoking to think that China/Russia will let them attack Iran w/o serious consequences?....not saying Iran can't take care of themselves but they don't have nukes that we know of.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 16 2019 4:25 utc | 88

CYA : Cover Your Ass

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2019 4:26 utc | 89

GeneO 86

Sounds about right.
From what I read, the sat pics were declassified by Trump and released to the public. Not enough definition to be able to tell if the marks on the tanks are holes from shaped charges or simply a bit of black paint. Wouldn't take long to slip around on a mobile cherry picker type platform and slap a bit of paint on.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 4:29 utc | 90

psychohistorian @87

You're not understanding the mindset and the goals.

They wouldn't attack Iran to conquer it, they'll attack to destablize and degrade. While supporting internal opposition.

Israeli hardliners and neocon chickenhawks have been plotting and planning for what to them seems like an eternity. They will not want to let an 'opportunity' like this slip away.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2019 4:32 utc | 91

Amid all the speculation regarding the details of the strike on Saudi, the one thing we know for sure is that the result is real.

The Houthi have claimed authorship of the strike, and it fits seamlessly in their strategy and recent activities. Whether it was done by drone or missile or entirely by indigenous saboteurs with drones providing smoke and mirrors seems very secondary to the one naked fact on the ground that it was done, and this has changed the entire war.

The Houthi predicted this strike, and effectuated this strike, and then said they can choose to do it again, and no one in the world is contradicting their ability to do it again and even repeatedly.

The Sauds underestimated the sophistication of the Houthi, and so does much commentary that suggests this must be an action by Iran, or Israel, or the US - anyone but the Houthi, because obviously this is above their pay grade?

Escalation where it is due. This is one for the Houthi.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 16 2019 4:35 utc | 92

@ Jackrabbit who wrote in response to my 87 comment
You're not understanding the mindset and the goals.
What sort of attack to destablize and degrade Iran can they get away with and not have their asses handed to them?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 16 2019 4:38 utc | 93


Also note: it's quite possible that they actually created this 'opportunity' as suggested by:

>> timing of recent events: as I've outlined above;

>> previous likely false-flag coordination: as I've explained on the other thread;

>> bomb damage: as GeneO and Peter AU 1 have just been discussing.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2019 4:38 utc | 94

@ Grieved 91
Right on. And kudos for saying it so well.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 16 2019 4:40 utc | 95

Just took another look at the marks on the spheres. Slightly north of west. Access roads or lanes run down this side of each row of spheres. Access roads running approx south west north east direction.
The evenness of the heights suggest either charges or paint placed at full reach of a mobile platform.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 4:45 utc | 96

psychohistorian @92 What sort of attack ... can they get away with ...?

IMO they'll start with quick, "punishing" attacks aimed at defense infrastructure. When Iran responds to those attacks, they'll do a massive attack.

That's when Russia and China would object forcefully*. But incredible damage could be done in a short period. After that, they'd hope for a civil war/guerrilla war (including drone attacks).

* Why would they wait? Maybe because they hope that Iran could win the war by inflicting heavy damage on USA/USA allies before USA does a massive bombing.

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Anyway, these are just guesses. Any war is going to be unpredictable.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2019 4:50 utc | 97

I read earlier Brent had jumped from $60 or so into the 70's. Good news for the frackers as I took $60 to be around the break even point.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 4:51 utc | 98

Grieved @91: underestimated the sophistication of the Houthi

This is speculative.

It's possible that they did NOT underestimate the Houthi but allowed the attack to happen and maybe even did add-on attacks that increased the apparent severity of the attack.

Not to consider such a scenario is to ignore the 800-lb Zionist gorilla in the room: Israelis, Saudis and neocons WANT WAR with Iran. But they need USA to join them.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2019 4:56 utc | 99

As to attacking Iran, I cannot agree with the unspoken premise in a lot of the speculation here that the US can attack Iran and get away with it.

If the US could bomb or otherwise attack Iran in a limited strike, and do this with impunity, it would have done so by now. It doesn't need any more reasons than those it has already conjured, and that it can whip into a froth overnight through the Wurlitzer.

The US cannot attack Iran. If it mounts any offensive whatsoever, this action will not last beyond the immediate retaliation by Iran. While Iran has not told us what this would be, it has promised that it will be 'shocking" to the US. The US will be traumatized by the Iranian response to its first offensive.

Nations throughout the world understand the US far better than the US understands itself - witness the verbal jousting from North Korea with its instant memes. The US can very easily be traumatized, and thrown into disarray. There's no doubt that Iran knows that the US psych is very fragile, and has studied diligently how to hurt it.

And I hope no one here will bring up the subject of tactical nukes. This would be the geopolitical end of US influence in this world. Iran would survive such attacks, would strike back with equal force using conventional weapons - except that Iran's strikes would be accurate, deadly and vastly damaging - and with full moral justification.

And still the US would have gained nothing and lost everything, while Iran would still stand, defying the US to make another move - which of course it would not, because it would be psychically finished by then.

One should recall how the bully acts when punched by the victim. Bluster, always.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 16 2019 5:00 utc | 100

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