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NATO is a Con Game

Marc Riboud Forbidden City under the snow, Beijing 1957

Okay, well, Trump did it again. Antagonizing allies. This time it was Germany that took the main hit, over the fact that it pays Russia billions of dollars for oil and gas while relying on the US for its defense … against Russia. And yes, that is a strange situation. But it’s by no means the only angle to the story. There are many more.

For one thing, The US has by far the largest military industry. So it makes a lot of money off the billions already spent by NATO partners on weaponry. Of course Raytheon, Boeing et al would like to see them spend more. But once they would have done that, they would clamor for even more after.

At some point one must ask how much should really be spent. How much is enough, how much is necessary. The military-industrial complex (MIC) has every reason to make the threat posed by ‘enemies’ as big as they possibly can. So knowing that, we must take media reports on this threat with tons of salt.

And that is not easy. Because the MIC has great influence in politics and the media. But we can turn to some numbers. According to GlobalFirePower, the US in 2018 will spend $647 billion on its military, while Russia is to spend a full $600 billion less, at $47 billion. And the US Senate has already voted in a $82 billion boost recently.

There are other numbers out there that suggest Russia spends $60 billion, but even then. If Moscow spends just 10% of the US, and much less than that once all NATO members’ expenditure is included, how much of a threat can Russia realistically be to NATO?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Who Needs Enemies?


Vittorio Matteo Corcos Conversation in the Jardin du Luxembourg 1892

Obviously, there are tensions between Europe and the US. Just as obviously, these tensions are blamed on, who else, Donald Trump. European Council President Donald Tusk recently said: “With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?” EU Commission chair Jean-Claude Juncker even proclaimed that “Europe must take America’s place as global leader”.

These European ‘leaders’ love the big words. They think they make them look good, strong. In reality, they are merely messenger boys for Berlin and Paris. Who have infinitely more say than Brussels. Problem is, Berlin and Paris are not united at all. Macron wants more Europe, especially in finance, but Merkel knows she can’t sell that at home.

So what are those big words worth when the whip comes down? It’s amusing to see how different people reach wholly different conclusions about that. Instructive and entertaining. First, Alex Gorka at The Strategic Culture Foundation, who likes the big words too: “..a landmark event that will go down in history as the day Europe united to openly defy the US.”and “May 17 is the day the revolt started and there is no going back. Europe has said goodbye to trans-Atlantic unity. It looks like it has had enough.

Brussels Rises In Revolt Against Washington: A Turning Point In US-European Relations

The May 16-17 EU-Western Balkans summit did address the problems of integration, but it was eclipsed by another issue. The meeting turned out to be a landmark event that will go down in history as the day Europe united to openly defy the US. The EU will neither review the Iran nuclear deal (JPCOA) nor join the sanctions against Tehran that have been reintroduced and even intensified by America.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

That Collapse You Ordered…?


I had a fellow on my latest podcast, released Sunday, who insists that the world population will crash 90-plus percent from the current 7.6 billion to 600 million by the end of this century. Jack Alpert heads an outfit called the Stanford Knowledge Integration Lab (SKIL) which he started at Stanford University in 1978 and now runs as a private research foundation. Alpert is primarily an engineer.

At 600 million, the living standard in the USA would be on a level with the post-Roman peasantry of Fifth century Europe, but without the charm, since many of the planet’s linked systems — soils, oceans, climate, mineral resources — will be in much greater disarray than was the case 1,500 years ago. Anyway, that state-of-life may be a way-station to something more dire. Alpert’s optimal case would be a world human population of 50 million, deployed in three “city-states,” in the Pacific Northwest, the Uruguay / Paraguay border region, and China, that could support something close to today’s living standards for a tiny population, along with science and advanced technology, run on hydropower. The rest of world, he says, would just go back to nature, or what’s left of it. Alpert’s project aims to engineer a path to that optimal outcome.

I hadn’t encountered quite such an extreme view of the future before, except for some fictional exercises like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. (Alpert, too, sees cannibalism as one likely byproduct of the journey ahead.) Obviously, my own venture into the fictionalized future of the World Made by Hand books depicted a much kinder and gentler re-set to life at the circa-1800 level of living, at least in the USA. Apparently, I’m a sentimental softie.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Americans Trust ‘Our’ Intelligence Agencies. Should We?

Americans Trust ‘Our’ Intelligence Agencies. Should We?

Americans Trust ‘Our’ Intelligence Agencies. Should We?

The record is clear that ‘our’ (that is, the ruling Establishment’s) intelligence agencies, such as the CIA, have lied to the public many times, actually lie routinely — but these lies are always revealed only decades later, by historians, which is too late, because the damage was already done. Think, for example, of just two of the now-famous cases, Iran 1953, and Chile 1973, in both of which instances the US Government ended a democracy abroad, and established a brutal dictatorship there (the Shah in Iran, and Pinochet in Chile) — but what good can a historian do, when the Government and its ‘news’-media were persistently lying, and they had fooled the US public, at the time — which is all that really counted (and ever will count)? Can a historian undo the damage that the Government and its propaganda-agencies had perpetrated, by means of their lies, and coups, and invasions? Never. But this Government, and its propaganda-agents, claim to defend democracies, not to end them. Can it actually be a democracy, if it’s doing such things, and doing it time after time?

Something’s deeply wrong here. Government by deceit, cannot be a democracy. And, yet, the public still don’t get the message, even after it has been delivered to us in history-books. By then, it’s no longer in the news, and so only few people really care about it. The message of history is not learned. The public still accepts the ongoing lies — the new lies, in the new ‘news’, for the new atrocities.

During the period after the Soviet Union, and its communism, and its Warsaw Pact military alliance, all ended in 1991, the US-and-allied historical record (all now after the Cold War has supposedly been over) is even worse, and is even more clearly evil, because the ideological excuse that had formerly existed (and which was only the excuse, and not the reason, in most cases, such as in Iran, and in Chile) is gone.

Iraq in 2003 was a particularly blatant demonstration of the US-Government’s psychopathy regarding foreign affairs. So: let’s consider this example (hopefully, to learn a lesson from it — which still hasn’t yet been learnt):

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

You Know The U.S. is Losing, We’re Willing to Talk

You Know The U.S. is Losing, We’re Willing to Talk

How do you know when a politician is lying?

Their lips move and words come out.

How do you know when the United States is at a disadvantage in a geopolitical quagmire?

Our diplomats and Presidents want to ‘open up talks.’

Multiple times in the past four years the U.S. has used negotiating ceasefires in Syria and Ukraine to rearm and regroup those we’re backing or get our opposition (the Syrian Arab Army, the Russians) to let their guard down and then attack within 24 hours.

We’ve used the U.N. Security Council as a bludgeon to brazenly lie about on the ground facts in Syria to attempt to save our pet jihadists in places like Aleppo and now eastern Ghouta.

And in each of these instances the Russian counterparts have documented the U.S.’s mendacity, patiently building up an international file of such incidents for future use.  As I’ve pointed out so many times, the Russians rightly feel we are “Not Agreement Capable” either from a short-term or long-term perspective.

Winning Looks like Losing

So, why do I think the U.S. is in a losing position right now, despite the pronouncements from President Trump and his most ardent supporters that he’s winning on everything?

Because on the two most important issues of 2018, Korean denuclearization and strategic arms control, Trump is ready to sit down and talk.  And we have not been willing to do that on either of these issues at the Head of State level for most of this century, if not longer.

I wrote recently that the Neoconservative cabal in D.C. is in its final push for war with Russia.  The catalyst, for me, was President Putin’s state of the union address on March 1st where he unveiled new weapons that conjured up images from the finale of Dr. Strangelove.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russian Ambassador Speaks Out: “Relations With The US Are The Worst I Can Remember”

The Russian ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, told NBC’s Today that he can’t remember a period when relations between Washington and Moscow were worse, after both countries expelled dozens of each other’s diplomats following the poisoning of a former Russian spy.

“It seems to me that atmosphere in Washington is poisoned — it’s a toxic atmosphere,” he said. “It depends upon us to decide whether we are in Cold War or not. But … I don’t remember such [a] bad shape of our relations.”

Pointing out that “there is great mistrust between the United States and Russia” at present, Antonov said that “today Russia’s responsible for everything, even for bad weather.”

“It’s high time for us to stop blaming each other. It’s high time for us to start a real conversation about real problems.”

Then again, with the wave of anti-Russia hysteria sweeping the US today at levels not seen since the days of Joe McCarthy, that is unlikely. It is even more unlikely considering Trump’s two recent neocon cabinet picks: Mike Pompeo as secretary of state and John Bolton as national security adviser.

In the interview, Antonov echoed Putin’s denial that Russia is behind the Skripal poisoning, saying there was “no evidence” Russia was responsible, even suggesting a conspiracy by noting that the attack happened “very close to U.K. military chemical laboratory.” He asked: “Do we have a motive to kill [Skripal] on the eve of [the] Russian presidential election? … Where is the motive?”

Skripal spent five years in Russian jail. So it was enough time for us to know everything that he knew. Why we should make revenge? You see that he was in our jail. And you’ll see that he was in our hands. And for us, it’s clear that he’s empty. He knows nothing.”

Antonov also repeated Russia’s denials that it meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, saying it was “impossible to imagine” that the Kremlin was responsible, and said that the recent indictment by Robert Mueller of 13 Russian nationals on suspicion of interfering in the vote was “not a proof” of responsibility.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russia Warns West Risks “Hot War” After Mass Expulsion Of Diplomats

After a legion of western nations announced this week that they would expel Russian diplomats in solidarity with the UK, one Russian ambassador warned during an impromptu unscripted speech that, by hastily blaming Moscow for the poisoning of a former Russian spy at a shopping center in Salisbury, the West was risking a return to the Cold War. A second Russian ambassador took the warning a step further, and claimed the West has inadvertently risked a “hot war” with Russia.

So far, 23 countries have expelled over 130 Russian diplomats since the UK pointed the finger at Russia, accusing it of organizing an assassination plot that involved poisoning former Russian spy Sergei Skripal with a Soviet-era nerve agent called Novichok.

The UK demanded that Russia explain how the nerve agent came to be used in the attack, if it wasn’t ordered by senior officials in the Russian government, per Newsweek.

Grigory Logvinov

Russia responded by demanding a sample of the chemical used, and offered to assist the UK in its investigation, but has been rebuffed. Meanwhile, the UK media reports say Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal may never fully recover from the attack.

Amid the escalating noise, Russia’s ambassador to Australia said on Wednesday that the world will enter into a “Cold War situation” should the West continue its “biased” attacks on Russia, according to Reuters.

“The West must understand that the anti-Russian campaign has no future,” Russian Ambassador Grigory Logvinov told reporters in Canberra.

“If it continues, we will be deeply in a Cold War situation.”

Australia said Tuesday it would expel two Russian diplomats, inspiring Logvinov to make his address warning of the dangers of deteriorating relations between Russia and its partners. So far, countries have at least stopped short of adding to the sanctions against Russia that were imposed following the annexation of Crimea.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Can Nuclear War Be Avoided?

Can Nuclear War Be Avoided?

Two factors are driving the world to nuclear war. One is the constant stream of insults, false accusations and broken agreements that the West has been dumping on Russia year after year. The other is Russia’s response, or, perhaps more correctly, the lack thereof.

Articles documenting Washington’s betrayals and provocations of Russia are available online and on my website. There is no point in repeating them here.

I have pointed out that the Russian government’s factual, diplomatic, and legal responses actually produce more provocations and insults. See, for example, https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/03/17/war-is-on-the-horizon/ Stephen Lendman agrees (http://stephenlendman.org/2018/03/russia-expelling-23-uk-diplomats-way-inadequate/ ) and so does Peter Koenig ( https://thesaker.is/russias-reaction-to-the-insults-of-the-west-is-political-suicide/ ).

Russia has two alternatives to the self-defeating response the government has chosen. One, recommended by Peter Koenig and myself, is to turn her back on the West, cleanse herself of all Western embassies, businesses, media, and NGOs, and cease relying on Western communication systems and bank clearing mechanisms. The West has nothing Russia needs. The West is exhausted and corrupt. The future lies in the East of which Russia is a part. Russia should focus on the partnership with China and relationships in the East and simply stop responding to blatantly false accusations and provocative insults.

Russia can be part of the West only if Russia surrenders to Washington’s hegemony. One would have thought that by now the Russian government would have figured out that Washington is determined to marginalize and isolate Russia, discredit Russia’s government, dislodge Putin and install a puppet like May, Macron, and Merkel, and failing these efforts to push Russia to the point that her only alternatives are to surrender or go to war.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

The Real Bleep-Hole Moment—–$40 Trillion And Counting

The Real Bleep-Hole Moment—–$40 Trillion And Counting

You can call it the bleep-hole moment (per the Fox “family channel”) or the shit-hole moment (per the rest of the MSM), but what you can’t call yesterday’s contretemps in the White House is evidence that sentient adults are in charge of the Imperial City.

And, no, we are not getting down on the Donald for using a swear word—nor are we trying to out race-card Don Lemon as to the obvious implications of the President’s crude phraseology.

Indeed, even prior to yesterday’s outburst it was hard to deny that Trump is a semi-literate bully and that he never got (read) the memo on racial comity and respect. But we actually happen to think that the Donald’s potty-talk eruption resulted not from some dark place in his mind and heart, but from sheer frustration as the intractability of the immigration issue closes in on him.

What we mean is that neither party has its cards face up on the matter—-which goes way beyond the potential deportation of the 800,000 dreamers, chain migration, the diversity lottery and the Wall. Underneath it all there is a brutal, raging political struggle for dominance which is almost existential in import.

To wit, the sundry Dem caucuses want more immigrants, and the browner the better, because it’s their only route to electoral dominance. By contrast, the hard core GOP immigrant-thumpers are desperately attempting to hang-on to Red State rule in the face of the forbidding demographic math of the white population—and the fact that not many Norwegians want to come to America anyway.

It would not be too far-fetched to say that the partisan battle for office is morphing into a racial-ethnic war.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump’s Continuation of US Interventionism

Trump’s Continuation of US Interventionism

Criticizing his predecessors for misguided foreign wars, President Trump promised a break in that approach, but his National Security Strategy report indicates a shift more in rhetoric than substance, reports Dennis J. Bernstein.


President Trump’s recent report on National Security Strategy supposedly reflected his America First “realism” but his approach seems more like old wine in a new bottle, particularly his continued strong support for Saudi Arabia and Israel in the Middle East combined with an even more aggressive U.S. policy in Asia aimed at containing China as well as confronting North Korea.

President Trump outside the Department of Defense on July 20, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

For more background on Trump’s foreign policy, I spoke to Matthew Hoh. In 2009, Hoh resigned his position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the escalation of the Afghan War by the Obama administration. He previously had been in Iraq with a State Department team and with the U.S. Marines. He is a senior fellow with the Center of International Policy. Hoh is also a member of the advisory boards of Expose Facts, Veterans For Peace and World Beyond War.

Dennis Bernstein:  Before we get into Trump’s recent major speech on foreign policy, let’s take a look at Afghanistan, where you were posted by the State Department until you resigned in protest. Your thoughts after over 16 years of a US-waged war there?

Matthew Hoh: For the people of Afghanistan, this war has been going on since the 1970’s, much of it propelled by and supported by outside involvement.  It has been eight years now since I resigned.  If you had told me back then that this level of tragedy would still be continuing eight years on, there is no way I would have believed you.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Syria – ISIS Is Defeated – The U.S. Is Next In Line

Syria – ISIS Is Defeated – The U.S. Is Next In Line

Is the US really a superpower or just the biggest collection of stupidity on the planet?

Washington has already lost the Syrian war once. Now it is about to lose it a second time.

A few days ago the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, declared a “complete victory” in Syria:
“Two hours ago, the (Russian) defense minister reported to me that the operations on the eastern and western banks of the Euphrates have been completed with the total rout of the terrorists.”

The Iranian commander of the forces which support the Syrian and Iraqi governments sent a note to the U.S. to let Washington know that any remaining U.S. forces in Syria will be fought down:

“The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp Brigadier General Haj Qassem Soleimani sent a verbal letter, via Russia, to the head of the US forces commander in Syria, advising him to pull out all US forces to the last soldier ‘or the doors of hell will open up.’”

“My message to the US military command: when the battle against ISIS (the Islamic State group) will end, no American soldier will be tolerated in Syria. I advise you to leave by your own will or you will be forced to it.” http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48387.htm

According to reports, Russia has confirmed that Iran will stay in Syria as long as Syrian President Assad, who insists on liberating all of Syria without exception for the Americans, decides. Washington’s plan to occupy a corner of Syria and revive ISIS is dead in the water, as will be all US troops sacrificed to this purpose.

According to reports, CIA director Mike Pompeo sent a letter to Soleimani expressing his concern about Iran’s intention to attack American interests, declaring Washington “will hold Soleimani and Iran accountable for any attack.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Broke is the House of Saud?


Salvador Dalí The oecumenial council 1960
Trying to figure out what on earth is happening in the Middle East appears to have gotten a lot harder. Perhaps (because) it’s become more dangerous too. There are so many players, and connections between players, involved now that even making one of those schematic representations would never get it right. Too many unknown unknowns.

A short and incomplete list of the actors: Sunni, Shiite, Saudi Arabia, US, Russia, Turkey, ISIS, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Kurds, Lebanon, Hezbollah, Hamas, Qatar, Israel, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Houthis, perhaps even Chechnya, Afghanistan, Pakistan. I know I know, add your favorites. So what have we got, or what do we know we’ve got? We seem to have the US lining up with Israel, the UAE and Saudi Arabia against Russia, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah. Broadly. But that’s just a -pun intended- crude start.

Putin has been getting closer to the Saudis because of the OPEC production cuts, trying to jack up the price of oil. Which ironically has now been achieved on the heels of the arrests of 11 princes and scores of other wealthy and powerful in the kingdom. But Putin also recently signed a $30 billion oil -infrastructure- deal with Iran. And he’s been cuddling up to Israel as well.

In fact, Putin may well be the most powerful force in the Middle East today. Well played?! He prevented the demise of Assad in Syria, which however you look at it at least saved the country from becoming another Iraq and Libya style failed state. If there’s one thing you can say about the Middle East/North Africa it’s that the US succeeded in creating chaos there to such an extent that it has zero control left over any of it. Well played?!

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Biggest Ponzi in Human History


Jean-Léon Gérôme Slave market 1866
Here’s the story in a nutshell: Ultra low interest rates mark a shift away from people’s wealth residing in their savings and pension plans, and into to so-called wealth residing in their homes, which are bought with ever growing levels of debt. When interest rates rise, they will lose that so-called wealth.

It is grand theft auto on an unparalleled scale, and it’s a piece of genius, because while people are getting robbed in plain daylight, they actually think they’re winning. But as I wrote back in March of this year, home sales, and bubbles, are the only thing that keeps our economies humming.

We haven’t learned a thing since March, and we haven’t learned a thing for many years. People need a place to live, and they fall for the scheme hook line and sinker. Which in a way is a good thing because the economy would have been dead without that ignorance, but at the same time it’s not because it’s a temporary relief only and the end result will be all the more painful for it.

Whatever Yellen decides as per rates, or Draghi, it doesn’t really matter anymore, this sucker’s going down something awful. This is a global issue. Housing bubbles have been blown not only in the Anglosphere, though they are strong there, many other countries have them as well, Scandinavia, Netherlands, even Germany and France. It’s what ultra low rates do.

First, here’s what I said in March:

Our Economies Run On Housing Bubbles

What we have invented to keep big banks afloat for a while longer is ultra low interest rates, NIRP, ZIRP etc. They create the illusion of not only growth, but also of wealth. They make people think a home they couldn’t have dreamt of buying not long ago now fits in their ‘budget’. That is how we get them to sign up for ever bigger mortgages. And those in turn keep our banks from falling over.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Deploys Special Forces “Decapitation” Team To South Korea

US Deploys Special Forces “Decapitation” Team To South Korea

Today, the South Korean and U.S. navies kicked off massive combined drills off the coast of the Korean peninsula amid heightened tensions, a training exercise which North Korea has warned may prompt another ballistic missile launch potentially to coincide with the launch of the Chinese 19th Party Congress on October 18. The two allies plan to continue the Maritime Counter Special Operations Exercise (MCSOFEX) through Friday in the East Sea and the Yellow Sea.

As reported over the weekend, the drill involves the U.S. 7th Fleet’s aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) and two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers – the USS Stethem (DDG-63) and the USS Mustin (DDG-89). The carrier strike group will train with South Korean warships and other defense assets, such as the Sejong the Great Aegis ship and P-3 Orion anti-submarine aircraft in the East Sea.

And while details of the drill were well-known in advance, what was reported for the first time overnight from Yonhap is that a unit of U.S. special forces tasked with carrying out “decapitation” operations is also aboard a nuclear-powered submarine in the group, according to a defense source. So far, little else is known about why said decapitation team is on location, or whether it will be put into use, although it presence may explain Trump’s “calm before the storm” comment that beffudled the media two weeks ago.

Among other assets mobilized for the joint drill are F-15K, FA-18 and A-10 fighter jets, as well as AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, Lynx and AW-159 Wild Cat naval choppers. The U.S. has also deployed a Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) plane to closely monitor the North’s ground and naval forces.

Some more details about the drill from Yonhap:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Turkey Sentences Wall Street Journal Reporter To Jail For Terrorist Propaganda

Turkey Sentences Wall Street Journal Reporter To Jail For Terrorist Propaganda

A Turkish court has just fanned the flames of an incipient diplomatic crisis between the US and NATO’s most problematic member, when it found a Wall Street Journal reporter guilty of engaging in “terrorist propaganda” in support of a banned Kurdish organization. Ayla Albayrak was sentenced to more than two years in prison for writing a 2015 story about clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish separatists in the country’s restive southeast.

While charges have been pending against the reporter – who presently resides in New York and was convicted in absentia – for more than a year, the decision will promptly be interpreted by the US as the latest recrimination in a spat that began last week when Turkey arrested a local employee at the US consulate in Istanbul on terrorism-related charges, alleging he was a supporter of Fehtullah Gulen, an Turkish cleric living in self-imposed exile in the US who Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed for last year’s coup attempt. The arrest prompted the US to suspend visa issuance for Turkish citizens, a move that was swiftly reciprocated by the Turkish government. On Monday, Turkey announced charges against another US embassy employee, sending the Turkish lira crashing the most since the July 2016 failed “coup”, while local stocks and bonds tumbled in sympathy.

WSJ Editor in Chief Gerry Baker slammed the Turkish court’s decision” “This was an unfounded criminal charge and wildly inappropriate conviction that wrongly singled out a balanced Wall Street Journal report,” said Baker. “The sole purpose of the article was to provide objective and independent reporting on events in Turkey, and it succeeded.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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