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The Odds Are Never In Your Favour

The Odds Are Never In Your Favour

The irony of the phrase “may the odds be ever in your favor” is not lost on the readers of the Hunger Games trilogy of novels or the film adaption. Despite the grimness of the story, over 65 million copies of the books have been sold. The total box office take so far has exceeded $1.4 billion for the four movies. The dystopian series tackles real issues like severe poverty, starvation, torture, oppression, betrayal and the brutality of war. It doesn’t fit into the standard film making success recipe of feel good fluff, politically correct storylines and happy endings. Each film in the series gets progressively darker, with the final episode permeating doom and gloom. The books and the movies capture the deepening crisis mood engulfing the world today. And they realistically portray the world as a place where there are no good guys in positions of power. The ruling class, in all cases, is driven by a voracious appetite for supremacy, wealth, and control.

An Ambiguous, Confusing, Dangerous World

The world is a morally ambiguous place where those in power and those seeking power utilize the influence of media propaganda and PR campaigns built around “heroes” and “icons” to psychologically control the masses, while enriching themselves and their crony capitalist sponsors. Endless war against the latest “bad guys” further enriches the arms dealers and their political lackeys who joyfully use faux patriotism and nationalistic fervor to insist upon more boots on the ground, drones in the air, bombs dropped, and missiles launched.

War is good for business and keeps the masses distracted, while the Wall Street financiers harvest the wealth of the citizens.

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A Blind Eye Toward Turkey’s Crimes

A Blind Eye Toward Turkey’s Crimes

Exclusive: The alleged ties between Turkish President Erdogan and Islamist terrorists in Syria is an embarrassment for the Obama administration and the U.S. news media, which would prefer to look the other way rather than face up to the danger created by an out-of-control NATO “ally,” writes Robert Parry.


Theoretically, it would be a great story for the American press: an autocrat so obsessed with overthrowing the leader of a neighboring country that he authorizes his intelligence services to collaborate with terrorists in staging a lethal sarin attack to be blamed on his enemy and thus trick major powers to launch punishing bombing raids against the enemy’s military.

And, after that scheme failed to achieve the desired intervention, the autocrat continues to have his intelligence services aid terrorists inside the neighboring country by providing weapons and safe transit for truck convoys carrying the terrorists’ oil to market. The story gets juicier because the autocrat’s son allegedly shares in the oil profits.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

To make the story even more compelling, an opposition leader braves the wrath of the autocrat by seeking to expose these intelligence schemes, including the cover-up of key evidence. The autocrat’s government then seeks to prosecute the critic for “treason.”

But the problem with this story, as far as the American government and press are concerned, is that the autocratic leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is in charge of Turkey, a NATO ally and his hated neighbor is the much demonized Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Major U.S. news outlets and political leaders also bought into the sarin deception and simply can’t afford to admit that they once again misled the American people on a matter of war.

 

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What Stinks in Saudi Ain’t the Camel Dung

What Stinks in Saudi Ain’t the Camel Dung

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In recent weeks one nation after another is falling over themselves, literally, to join the turkey shoot known, erroneously, as the war in Syria, ostensibly against the Islamic State or Daesh. The most wanted but most feared question is where will this war frenzy lead, and how can it be stopped short of dragging the entire planet into a world war of destruction?

On September 30, responding to a formal invitation or plea from the duly-elected President of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Russian Federation began what was an initially highly effective bombing campaign in support of the Syrian Government Army.

On 13 November following the terror attacks claimed by ISIS in Paris, the French President proclaimed France was “at war” and immediately sent her one and only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, to Syria to join the battle. Then on December 4, the German Parliament approved sending 1,200 German soldiers and six Tornado jets to “help” France. Reports out of Germany say the Germans will not work with Russia or the Assad regime, but with CentCom command in Florida and coalition headquarters, not in Damascus, but in Kuwait. The same week the UK Parliament approved sending British planes and forces to “fight ISIS” in Syria. Again we can be sure it’s not to help Russia’s cause in cooperation with the Syrian Army of Assad to restore sovereignty to Syria.

Then Turkey’s hot-head President Recep Erdoğan, fresh from his criminal, premeditated downing of the Russian SU-24 in Syria, orders Turkish tanks into the oil-rich Mosul region of Iraq against the vehement protests of the Iraqi government. And added to this chaos, the United States claims that its planes have been surgically bombing ISIS sites for more than a year, yet the result has been only to expand the territories controlled by ISIS and other terror groups.

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Western firms plan to cash in on Syria’s oil and gas ‘frontier’

US-led coalition forces carry out a large-scale attack on Syria’s Omar oil field

US, British, French, Israeli and other energy interests could be prime beneficiaries of military operations in Iraq and Syria designed to rollback the power of the ‘Islamic State’ (ISIS) and, potentially, the Bashar al-Assad regime.

A study for a global oil services company backed by the French government and linked to Britain’s Tory-led administration, published during the height of the Arab Spring, hailed the significant “hydrocarbon potential” of Syria’s offshore resources.

The 2011 study was printed in GeoArabia, a petroleum industry journal published by a Bahrain-based consultancy, GulfPetroLink, which is sponsored by some of the world’s biggest oil companies, including Chevron, ExxonMobil, Saudi Aramco, Shell, Total, and BP.

GeoArabia’s content has no open subscription system and is exclusively distributed to transnational energy corporations, corporate sponsors and related organisations, as well as some universities.

Authored by Steven A. Bowman, a Senior Geoscientist for the French energy company CGGVeritas, the study identified “three sedimentary basins, Levantine, Cyprus, and Latakia, located in offshore Syria” and highlighted “significant evidence for a working petroleum system in offshore Syria with numerous onshore oil and gas shows, DHIs (direct hydrocarbon indicators) observed on seismic, and oil seeps identified from satellite imagery.”

France’s secret affair with Assad’s Syria

At the time, when civil unrest was sweeping across Syria, CGGVeritas was contracted to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Sources.

The French company is one of the world’s largest seismic surveyors. Backed by the French government which owns 18% voting rights in the firm, CGGVeritas had acquired seismic data on offshore Syrian resources in 2005, and since then has been the main point of contact for geophysical and geological datasets on behalf of the Syrian regime.

Is David Brooks Pushing For Another Vietnam?

US Congresswoman Introduces Bill To Stop “Illegal” War On Assad; Says CIA Ops Must Stop

US Congresswoman Introduces Bill To Stop “Illegal” War On Assad; Says CIA Ops Must Stop

Last month, US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard went on CNN and laid bare Washington’s Syria strategy.

In a remarkably candid interview with Wolf Blitzer, Gabbard calls Washington’s effort to oust Assad “counterproductive” and “illegal” before taking it a step further and accusing the CIA of arming the very same terrorists who The White House insists are “sworn enemies.” 

In short, Gabbard all but tells the American public that the government is lying to them and may end up inadvertently starting “World War III.”

For those who missed it, here’s the clip:

That was before Paris.

Well, in the wake of the attacks, Gabbard has apparently had just about enough of Washington vacillating in the fight against terror just so the US can ensure that ISIS continues to destabilize Assad and now, with bi-partisan support, the brazen Hawaii Democrat has introduced legislation to end the “illegal war” to overthrow Assad. 

Gabbard, who fought in Iraq – twice – has partnered with Republican Adam Scott on the bill. Here’s AP:

In an unusual alliance, a House Democrat and Republican have teamed up to urge the Obama administration to stop trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad and focus all its efforts on destroying Islamic State militants.

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat, and Austin Scott, a Republican, introduced legislation on Friday to end what they called an “illegal war” to overthrow Assad, the leader of Syria accused of killing tens of thousands of Syrian citizens in a more than four-year-old civil war entangled in a battle against IS extremists, also known as ISIS.

“The U.S. is waging two wars in Syria,” Gabbard said. “The first is the war against ISIS and other Islamic extremists, which Congress authorized after the terrorist attack on 9/11. The second war is the illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad.”

Scott said, “Working to remove Assad at this stage is counter-productive to what I believe our primary mission should be.”

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

 

Paris and What Should Be Done

Paris and What Should Be Done

Dear Fellow Americans: Do You Have Any Idea What’s Being Done In Your Name In Syria?

Dear Fellow Americans: Do You Have Any Idea What’s Being Done In Your Name In Syria?

And Americans know that the U.S. “war against ISIS” hasn’t done much, while the Russians have been pounding Syrian targets with jets.

But Americans have no idea that the U.S. is deploying fighter jets designed solely to engage in plane-to-plane dogfighting … in order to counter the Russians.

And we don’t understand that the U.S. is arming the Syrian “rebels” with should-fired anti-aircraft weapons. As the Wall Street Journal  reports:

The U.S. and its regional allies agreed to increase shipments of weapons and other supplies to help moderate Syrian rebels hold their ground and challenge the intervention of Russia and Iran on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. officials and their counterparts in the region said.

The deliveries from the Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi Arabia and other allied spy services deepen the fight between the forces battling in Syria, despite President Barack Obama’s public pledge to not let the conflict become a U.S.-Russia proxy war.

Saudi officials not only pushed for the White House to keep the arms pipeline open, but also warned the administration against backing away from a longstanding demand that Mr. Assad must leave office.

In the past month of intensifying Russian airstrikes, the CIA and its partners have increased the flow of military supplies to rebels in northern Syria, including of U.S.-made TOW antitank missiles, these officials said. Those supplies will continue to increase in coming weeks, replenishing stocks depleted by the regime’s expanded military offensive.

An Obama administration official said the military pressure is needed to push Mr. Assad from power.

“Assad is not going to feel any pressure to make concessions if there is no viable opposition that has the capacity, through the support of its partners, to put pressure on his regime,” the official said.

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France Deploys Its Only Aircraft Carrier To Fight ISIS

France Deploys Its Only Aircraft Carrier To Fight ISIS

In mid-October, just as Russian presence in Syria was ramping up and Putin unviled the creation of Russia’s first air base in the region based in the Bassel al Assad air base (from where it could easily reach as far as the Suez Canal), we reported that in a previously disclosed move, the US would do something it has almost never done before: leave the Persian Gulf, and the US Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain, with a “gap” in U.S. aircraft carrier support in a region that has traditionally been rather volatile.

Previously we wrote that while in 5th Fleet, the CVN-71 USS Theodore Roosevelt was the largest symbol in the U.S.-led anti-ISIS collation responsible for “1,812 combat sorties totaling 10,618 combat flight hours, taking on 14.5 million gallons of jet fuel and expending 1,085 precision-guided munitions,” as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.” It has

We concluded by saying that whatever the reason behind the US naval “gap” may be, one thing is clear: the departure of the Roosevelt comes at a particularly awkward time – just as Russia is setting up its own aicraft base in Syria.

We may have been too early.

As Reuters reported earlier today, just as one US carrier was leaving the middle east, another widely feared and respected geopolitical superpower was set to replace US carrier presence in the Middle East in the ongoing war against “ISIS” – France.

Earlier today, in a statement by the French presidency following a meeting of its defence cabinet, the government said it would send its only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle warship, to the eastern Mediterranean for operations against Isis in both Syria and Iraq. 

According to the Independent, “the deployment of the battle group alongside the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier has been decided to participate in operations against Daesch and its affiliate groups,” the statement said after a defense cabinet meeting, referring to the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

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CIA, Saudis To Give “Select” Syrian Militants Weapons Capable Of Downing Commercial Airliners

CIA, Saudis To Give “Select” Syrian Militants Weapons Capable Of Downing Commercial Airliners

Wednesday brought a veritable smorgasbord of “new” information about the Russian passenger jet which fell out of the sky above the Sinai Peninsula last weekend.

First there was an audio recording from ISIS’ Egyptian affiliate reiterating that they did indeed “down” the plane. Next, the ISIS home office in Raqqa (or Langley or Hollywood) released a video of five guys sitting in the front yard congratulating their Egyptian “brothers” on the accomplishment.

Then the UK grounded air traffic from Sharm el-Sheikh noting that the plane “may well” have had an “explosive device” on board.

Finally, US media lit up with reports that according to American “intelligence” sources, ISIS was probably responsible for the crash.

Over the course of the investigation, one question that’s continually come up is whether militants could have shot the plane down. Generally speaking, the contention that ISIS (or at least IS Sinai) has the technology and/or the expertise to shoot down a passenger jet flying at 31,000 feet has been discredited by “experts” and infrared satellite imagery.

But that’s nothing the CIA can’t fix.

With the Pentagon now set to deploy US ground troops to Syria (and indeed they may already be there, operating near Latakia no less), Washington is reportedly bolstering the supply lines to “moderate” anti-regime forces at the urging of (guess who) the Saudis and Erdogan.

Incredibly, some of the weapons being passed out may be shoulder-fire man-portable air-defense systems, or Manpads, capable of hitting civilian aircraft. 

But don’t worry, those will only be given to “select rebels.” Here’s more from WSJ:

The U.S. and its regional allies agreed to increase shipments of weapons and other supplies to help moderate Syrian rebels hold their ground and challenge the intervention of Russia and Iran on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. officials and their counterparts in the region said.

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

Another Black Swan? Turkey Holds Snap Elections Amid NATO-Backed Civil War

Another Black Swan? Turkey Holds Snap Elections Amid NATO-Backed Civil War

There’s a potential black swan event taking place in Turkey on Sunday and no one seems to care. That is, the media isn’t devoting nearly enough coverage to Turkish elections considering the impact the outcome will invariably have on the situation in Syria, on the fate of the lira, and on the Pentagon’s strategy with regard to embedding spec ops with the YPG.

As a reminder, Turkey held elections back in June and the outcome did not please President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

AKP lost its absolute majority in parliament thanks in no small part to a relatively strong showing by the pro-Kurdish HDP and that meant that Erdogan couldn’t move forward with plans to consolidate his power by amending the constitution. Well, if you know anything about Erdogan, you know that he isn’t exactly the type to take these kinds of things lying down, and so, he decided to trade NATO access to Incirlik for Western acquiescence to a crackdown on the PKK.

Of course that’s not how it was pitched to the media.

The official line was that after a suicide bombing in Suruc claimed by ISIS, Ankara decided it was time to go after Islamic State. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that’s a joke. The PKK and many other observers have long contended that Turkey is complicit in allowing money, guns, and personnel to flow across the border into Syria so that ISIS can continue to destabilize the Assad regime which Ankara opposes. In other words, Erdogan has no interest whatsoever in fighting ISIS. What he does have an interest in is starting a new war with the PKK in order to convince voters that the security situation in Turkey is such that only a dictator can get the situation under control – that’s the whole gambit.

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

Congresswoman Calls US Effort To Oust Assad “Illegal,” Accuses CIA Of Backing Terroists

Congresswoman Calls US Effort To Oust Assad “Illegal,” Accuses CIA Of Backing Terroists

One point we’ve been particularly keen on driving home since the beginning of Russian airstrikes in Syria is that The Kremlin’s move to step in on behalf of Bashar al-Assad along with Vladimir Putin’s open “invitation” to Washington with regard to joining forces in the fight against terrorism effectively let the cat out of the proverbial bag.

That is, it simply wasn’t possible for the US to explain why the Pentagon refused to partner with the Russians without admitting that i) the government views Assad, Russia, and Iran as a greater threat than ISIS, and ii) Washington and its regional allies don’t necessarily want to see Sunni extremism wiped out in Syria and Iraq.

Admitting either one of those points would be devastating from a PR perspective. No amount of Russophobic propaganda and/or looped video clips of the Ayatollah ranting against the US would be enough to convince the public that Moscow and Tehran are a greater threat than the black flag-waving jihadists beheading Westerners and burning Jordanian pilots alive in Hollywood-esque video clips, and so, The White House has been forced to scramble around in a desperate attempt to salvage the narrative. 

Well, it hasn’t worked.

With each passing week, more and more people are beginning to ask the kinds of questions the Pentagon and CIA most assuredly do not want to answer and now,  US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is out calling Washington’s effort to oust Assad both “counterproductive” and “illegal.” In the following priceless video clip, Gabbard accuses the CIA of arming the very same terrorists who The White House insists are “our sworn enemy” and all but tells the American public that the government is lying to them and may end up inadvertently starting “World War III.”

Enjoy:

For more on how Russia and Iran’s efforts in Syria have cornered the US from a foreign policy perspective, see “ISIS In ‘Retreat’ As Russia Destroys 32 Targets While Putin Trolls Obama As ‘Weak With No Strategy‘”

NATO Threatens To Send In Troops After Russia Stations Ground “Battalion” In Syria

NATO Threatens To Send In Troops After Russia Stations Ground “Battalion” In Syria

As the propaganda “war” between East and West intensifies ahead of what might ultimately transform into an actual war in the skies above Syria, the world is transfixed with the scope of Russia’s week-old military campaign in support of the Assad regime.

Thanks to the fact that the West selected Islamic militants as its anti-Assad weapon of choice, Putin gets to pitch the entire effort as a “war on terror” which means The Kremlin effectively has a license to brag and sure enough, slickly-produced ISIS videos of beheadings have now been definitively replaced by slickly-produced videos of Russian warships launching cruise missiles at terrorist targets.

In short, Moscow is on a roll both militarily (of course that’s not difficult when you’re a superpower playing against a couple of JV militias) and perceptually, which makes it possible to continually ratchet up the pressure on anti-regime forces as the global applause only seems to grow with each incremental escalation much to chagrin of both the Pentagon and Washington’s Mid-East allies and as we said earlier this week, “a very likely course of events is that despite Russia’s denials, the Pentagon will use the gambit of a Russian ground campaign, credible or not, to get permission from Congress to send a ‘small’, at first, then bigger ground force of US troops in Syria to, you guessed it, ‘fight ISIS’, but really to do everything to prevent Russian troops from taking over key strategic positions.”

On Thursday we get the latest set of headlines from Syria, starting with NATO asserting that Russia has a ground battalion at the ready supported by tanks. Here’s Reuters:

Russia’s military build-up in Syria includes a “considerable and growing” naval presence, long-range rockets and a battalion of ground troops backed by Moscow’s most modern tanks, the U.S. ambassador to NATO said on Wednesday.

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

Syria Ground War Imminent? U.S. Accuses Russia Of Launching Syrian Land Campaign

Syria Ground War Imminent? U.S. Accuses Russia Of Launching Syrian Land Campaign

While the US was been surprised and angered by the stunningly fast turn of events in Syria where in the span of less than a month Russia unleashed a massive, Syria-based airborne campaign against what it says are ISIS terrorists, even as the US accuses Putin of targeting “moderate rebels”, it has had little recourse in accusing Putin of violating Syrian sovereignty: after all Russia is the only nation that Syria has officially invited to eradicate the “terrorist threat” that is ISIS.

Then, last Friday, Syria raised the stakes once again, when as Bloomberg reported a loyalist of the Assad regime said “terrorism cannot only be fought from the air,” making an appeal for more military involvement to defeat Islamic State.

In a defiant speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem criticized the current approach to fighting the group that has conquered swathes of territory and was encroaching on President Bashar al-Assad’s coastal stronghold in Latakia. Those gains triggered Russian intervention.

“Air strikes are useless unless they are coordinated with the Syrian Arab army, the only force to combat terrorism,” al-Muallem, who also holds the title of deputy prime minister, told a largely empty assembly hall on Friday, the last day of speeches.
The logical implication is that Syria will next invite, if it hasn’t already done so, Russian troops to join the Russian airforce in eradicating the great ISIS strawman which until recently was the pretext for “coalition” forces to bombard Syria with complete disregard for Syrian sovereignty, and the intention of destroying Assad’s military so the CIA can conclude a regime change with a pro-western leader, one which will permit the passage of a Qatar gas pipeline.

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

The Western Alliance Is Crumbling

The Western Alliance Is Crumbling

Obama Cannot Defeat Assad without EU’s Help

EU Also Rejects Obama’s TTIP & TISA Demands

Obama’s Presidential ‘Legacy’ Heads to Failure

Europe is being overrun by refugees from American bombing campaigns in Libya and Syria, which created a failed state in Libya, and which threaten to do the same in Syria. Europe is thus being forced to separate itself from endorsing the U.S. bombing campaign that focuses against the Syrian government forces of the secular Shiite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, instead of against his fundamentalist Sunni Islamic opponents, the jihadist groups (all of which are Sunni), such as ISIS, and Al Qaeda in Syria (al-Nusra)

A member of the Iraqi parliament has said:

The pressure on the Syrian regime, which is fighting ISIS, must be lifted. They should not try to strengthen the feeble Free Syrian Army [FSA]. There is no FSA. There is ISIS in Syria and Iraq. You cannot fight ISIS in Iraq, yet support it in Syria. There is one war and one enemy. The U.S. should give up its hypocrisy. People are not brainless.

The European publics oppose America’s bombings, which have poured these refugees from American bombing, into Europe. European leaders are starting to separate from alliance with the United States.

U.S. Senator John McCain, who, as a fanatical Vietnam-war bomber-pilot, has always hated Russia even more than does U.S. President Barack Obama (who got his hatred from other sources), is egging Obama on to war against Russia in Syria; he says, “We need to have a no-fly zone,” where we prohibit Russia’s planes from bombing areas that are controlled by American-supported jihadists (which the U.S. government still euphemistically calls “the Free Syrian Army”). 

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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