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US Coverup Of Syria Massacre Shows The Danger Of The Assange Precedent

US Coverup Of Syria Massacre Shows The Danger Of The Assange Precedent

Listen to a reading of this article:

The New York Times has published a very solid investigative report on a US military coverup of a 2019 massacre in Baghuz, Syria which killed scores of civilians. This would be the second investigative report on civilian-slaughtering US airstrikes by The New York Times in a matter of weeks, and if I were a more conspiracy-minded person I’d say the paper of record appears to have been infiltrated by journalists.

The report contains many significant revelations, including that the US military has been grossly undercounting the numbers of civilians killed in its airstrikes and lying about it to Congress, that special ops forces in Syria have been consistently ordering airstrikes which kill noncombatants with no accountability by exploiting loopholes to get around rules meant to protect civilians, that units which call in such airstrikes are allowed to do their own assessments grading whether the strikes were justified, that the US war machine attempted to obstruct scrutiny of the massacre “at nearly every step” of the way, and that the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations only investigates such incidents when there is “potential for high media attention, concern with outcry from local community/government, concern sensitive images may get out.”

“But at nearly every step, the military made moves that concealed the catastrophic strike,” The New York Times reports. “The death toll was downplayed. Reports were delayed, sanitized and classified. United States-led coalition forces bulldozed the blast site. And top leaders were not notified.”

Journalist Aaron Maté has called the incident “one of the US military’s worst massacres and cover-up scandals since My Lai in Vietnam.”

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

Supply Chain Disruptions Will Continue

Supply Chain Disruptions Will Continue

Forty percent of all the cargo into the United States comes through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Offshore, there are thousands of containers stacked up on vessels waiting to get in. How many containers can the ports unload on a normal day?

New containers are coming in. There are daily arrivals. When will that supply chain backlog clear?

The answer is never. If there are more coming in than you can unload and you have an existing backlog that’s getting worse, it will never clear.

But let’s just say that with no new shipments coming in, it would take 30 days just to unload what’s already waiting offshore. Thirty days, by the way, puts you into December and the Christmas rush.

And getting it offloaded in California is just the beginning of the supply chain. You’ve got to put it on a train or a truck and get it to a distribution center and put it on another truck and get it to a store.

But wait, there’s also a trucking shortage. That’s a big part of the supply chain problem. If you can unload the merchandise but can’t transport it due to a trucking shortage, what good is it?

So this is not getting better. That’s probably the understatement of the year.

You may have heard about a semiconductor shortage. But you don’t need a computer, so what’s the big deal? Well, no, there are semiconductors in everything. You have semiconductors in your refrigerator, dishwasher, home entertainment system, etc.

The point is we’re highly dependent on vulnerable supply chains that are currently breaking down. Something radical is going to have to happen. We’re just going to have to stop importing goods. And China may actually oblige us, though not for these reasons…

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

Biden Targets Another US Pipeline For Shutdown After ‘Begging’ Saudis For More Oil

Biden Targets Another US Pipeline For Shutdown After ‘Begging’ Saudis For More Oil

Despite approval ratings in the toilet, President Biden and his administration are reportedly exploring the closure of yet another pipeline in a bid to shift the US away from fossil fuels and appease environmental activists.

The move – shutting down the Line 5 pipeline which links Superior, WI to Sarnia, Ontario, would cost tens of thousands of US jobs, billions of dollars in economic activity, and further exacerbate energy shortages and price increases hitting lower-income Americans the hardest, according to a Thursday letter from 13 House Republicans led by Rep. Bob Latta

Via the Daily Mail

According to the letter, the closure would affect workers across “Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and the region,” and would place the environment at greater risk “due to additional trucks operating on roadways carrying hazardous materials.”

Line 5 is part of a network of oil pipes which move approximately 540,000 barrels per day from western Canada to Escanaba, Michigan.

“Furthermore, as we enter the winter months and temperatures drop across the Midwest, the termination of Line 5 will undoubtedly further exacerbate shortages and price increases in home heating fuels like natural gas and propane at a time when Americans are already facing rapidly rising energy prices, steep home heating costs, global supply shortages, and skyrocketing gas prices.”

This comes less than two weeks after the White House begged OPEC to increase oil production amid ‘supply issues’ and soaring energy prices.

It also comes after a weekend which started out with US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm scoffing at the notion of increasing domestic oil production…

…and ended on Sunday with her warning that Americans should expect to pay higher costs to heat their homes this winter – telling CNN‘s “State of the Union”:

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

Oil Jumps As Investors Expect Cartel To Balk At Biden’s Demands To Boost Output: OPEC+ Preview

Oil Jumps As Investors Expect Cartel To Balk At Biden’s Demands To Boost Output: OPEC+ Preview

OPEC+, which meets later Thursday via video conference, has shown little signs it plans to waver from its plan to raise oil production gradually, despite pressure from senile presidents and consuming nations to temper high prices.

The OPEC+ alliance’s plan is to raise output by 400k b/d each month to remove previous cutbacks. That’ll increase the collective December target for 20 nations to 40.094m b/d…

… and all analysts in a Nov. 2 Bloomberg survey expect OPEC+ to ratify that today

Meanwhile, overnight Bloomberg reported quoting delegates and diplomats, that the U.S. had asking OPEC+ to increase production in December by between 600k-800k b/d, between 50% and 100% higher than the planned increase. And since OPEC+ will throw up all over this proposal – previously, both the Iraqi (Oct. 30) and Nigerian (Oct. 25) ministers said the planned 400k b/d increase is enough – the report noted that the US will accept the minimum 400k b/d increase if it comes with a pledge for other OPEC+ members to compensate if some fall short. Earlier this week we learned that OPEC delivered only about half of its October output increase as Angola and Nigeria struggled to pump more.

Sepratately, the U.S. and other consuming nations could potentially release oil from government- strategic stockpiles if they deem it an emergency, although such a move would hardly look prudent at a time when the entire world is pretending to care about the environment.

Going back to today’s OPEC+ meeting, Saudi Arabia cautioned that the coronavirus pandemic, which caused demand to plunge in 2020, is not yet over, while Iran has emerged  as another variable: with nuclear talks due to resume Nov. 29, there’s a growing possibility of an eventual lifting of U.S. sanctions, potentially unleashing more than 1m b/d of crude for export on global markets.

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

From Press Freedom To Prison Systems, Everything Assange Touches Gets

From Press Freedom To Prison Systems, Everything Assange Touches Gets

Listen to a reading of this article:

The US appeal of a British court ruling on the Assange extradition case has concluded, and the judges will probably not have a decision ready until at least January—a full year after the extradition was denied by a lower court. Assange, despite being convicted of no crime, will have remained in Belmarsh Prison the entire time.

During that time the judges will be weighing arguments they’d heard about the cruel nature of the US prison system, which formed a major part of the reasoning behind Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s rejection of the US extradition request. They’ll be considering the draconian policy of Special Administrative Measures, whose victims are cut off from human contact and from the outside world. They’ll be considering the brutality of the supermax ADX facility in Florence, Colorado whose inmates are kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, and where Assange could easily wind up imprisoned despite the prosecution’s flimsy assurances.

Assange probably never set out on this journey with the goal of calling attention to the abuses of the US prison system as his foremost priority, but, as is so often the case with anything his journey touches, those abuses keep getting pulled into the light of public awareness anyway. His case is now no longer just about press freedom, US war crimes, corrupt governments collaborating to stomp out inconvenient truth tellers, and the malfeasance of US alphabet agencies, but about the abusive nature of the US prison system as well.

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

‘Rules-Based International Order’ Means Washington-Based International Order

‘Rules-Based International Order’ Means Washington-Based International Order

Listen to a reading of this article:

The US government has shut down multiple news media websites based in the Middle East, including Iran’s state-owned Press TV, and al-Masirah TV which is owned by the Houthi group Ansarullah in Yemen. The Department of Justice said on Tuesday it had seized 36 Iranian-linked websites, claiming without evidence that they were associated with “either disinformation activities or violent organizations” and were shut down for a violation of US sanctions.

This would be the same US government that is imprisoning Julian Assange for journalism which exposed US war crimes, the same US government which paid for the weapons used to destroy more than 20 Palestinian media outlets in Gaza last month, the same US government whose unipolar domination of the planet is made possible by the journalism-destroying propaganda of the media-owning plutocratic class in alliance with sociopathic government agencies.

This would also be the same US government which constantly pays lip service to the need to protect the freedom of the press, as part of the “rules-based international order” it purports to uphold in the world.

 

The Biden administration has been bleating “rules-based order” so frequently and with such obvious meaninglessness that even The New York Times voiced some criticism of the way that vapid, idiotic phrase is being used instead of the well-defined term “international law”. As Medea Benjamin and Nicolas JS Davies wrote for Salon last month:

For Blinken, the concept of a “rules-based order” seems to serve mainly as a cudgel with which to attack China and Russia. At a May 7 UN Security Council meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested that instead of accepting the already existing rules of international law, the United States and its allies are trying to come up with “other rules developed in closed, non-inclusive formats, and then imposed on everyone else.”

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

Antony Blinken Continues to Lecture the World on Values His Administration Aggressively Violates

Antony Blinken Continues to Lecture the World on Values His Administration Aggressively Violates

How can you feign anger over others’ attacks on a free press when you imprison Assange as punishment for his vital revelations about U.S. officials?

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks on the importance of independent journalism, May 6, 2021 (Radio Free Europe); Julian Assange arrives at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London in his attempt to resist extradition by the Biden administration (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)

Continuing his world tour doling out righteous lectures to the world, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday proclaimed — in a sermon you have to hear to believe — that few things are more sacred in a democracy than “independent journalism.” Speaking to Radio Free Europe, Blinken paid homage to “World Press Freedom Day”; claimed that “the United States stands strongly with independent journalism”; explained that “the foundation of any democratic system” entails “holding leaders accountable” and “informing citizens”; and warned that “countries that deny freedom of the press are countries that don’t have a lot of confidence in themselves or in their systems.”

The rhetorical cherry on top of that cake came when he posed this question: “What is to be afraid of in informing the people and holding leaders accountable?” The Secretary of State then issued this vow: “Everywhere journalism and freedom of the press is challenged, we will stand with journalists and with that freedom.” Since I know that I would be extremely skeptical if someone told me that those words had just come out Blinken’s mouth, I present you here with the unedited one-minute-fifty-two-second video clip of him saying exactly this:

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

What? Default? Where? Dollar?

What? Default? Where? Dollar?

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that the first half of 2020 has brought, among many other things, renewed calls for the demise of the US dollar. It’s been pretty much a non-stop call for over a decade now, and longer. But this time, like all previous ones, I’m thinking: I don’t see it. I guess my first question is always: please explain why the dollar would collapse before the euro does.

For one thing, the dollar would have to collapse/default against one or more “entities”. The dollar is not like one of those highrises that collapse upon themselves. It will have to default or collapse against something(s) else. Since it is the world reserve currency, that means there would have to be a replacement reserve currency. Yes, that could also be for example gold or SDR’s, or even a basket of currencies, and something like that may happen eventually, but it doesn’t appear in the cards in the short run.

There are really only two candidates for the role, and neither looks at all fit to play it. The euro may have some ambitions in that direction, but it has far too many problems still. The yuan/renminbi certainly has such ambitions, but the Communist party refuses to let it get on stage to show what it’s got. As I recently wrote:

The main sticking point for Beijing is a conundrum it cannot solve. The CCP wants to have BOTH a global currency AND total control over that currency. It will have to choose between the two, and cannot make up its mind. So it pretends it doesn’t have to choose.

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

Intelligence

Intelligence

Sometimes I think I can only do this work properly if I’m angry all the time 24/7. But I don’t want to be angry all the time; what kind of life is that? Still, there are days when I just can’t help it. The British intelligence services (please let find another word for that, so as to not insult actually smart people) came out with a couple anti-Putin press releases today, and there we go again.

We can only guess at what they want this time, whether it to keep the UK’s own “RussiaRussia Putin is Hitler” flame alive, or are they seeking to help their US counterparts to rise from the ashes of their fully discredited years-long Orange Man Bad narratives, but boy, is this nauseating. What’s even worse is that people eat it up like candy.

Guys, this is your own highly paid snoops lying to you -along with your government(s)- like there’s no tomorrow, and you’re just sitting there worrying about wearing a face mask next time you go to a store. Know what that makes you? Sheep. I know y’all still know what those look like, and how they behave. So what’s the attraction?

Here’s BIGLY revelation no. 1 per the BBC. Do note the “almost certain” in both pieces, they need an easy way out if the story doesn’t stick. It also means that obviously they’re not at all certain, they’re just making it up.

Russian Hackers Target COVID19 Vaccine Research

Russian hackers are targeting organisations trying to develop a coronavirus vaccine, a group of national security services has warned. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said the hackers “almost certainly” operated as “part of Russian intelligence services”. It said the group used malware to try and steal information relating to Covid-19 vaccine development. NCSC director of operations Paul Chichester said it was “despicable”. The hackers are part of a group called APT29, also known as “the Dukes” or “Cozy Bear”.

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

Weaponizing the Dollar

Weaponizing the Dollar

Saul Leiter Phone call c1957

Don’t worry, we’re still talking virus, just from a slightly different angle. I was going to do something completely different, but then I saw an article at the South China Morning Post (SCMP) today that made me think “I don’t think that’s true”, realizing that at the same time many people would think it is.

Foreign holdings of US Treasuries are a misty environment for perhaps not just many, but most people. What triggered the SCMP piece is Trump’s threat, if it was ever meant to be one, to default on US dollar-denominated debt owned by China. Which by one estimate consists for about 70% of Treasuries.

And there are entire choirs full of voices willing to tell us that China can simply start dumping the -estimated- $1.2 trillion in Treasuries it holds, and threaten if not end the USD reserve currency status that way, if the US doesn’t “behave”. There’s little doubt that China would want this, but that doesn’t make the idea any more realistic.

What should give that away is, how easy can we make it for you, that it hasn’t done so yet. And now a conflict over the origin of a virus would trigger this? On a side note: if that origin is somewhere in China, even if it’s unintentional, how could Beijing possibly “admit” to it? How could it ever settle the lawsuits that would ensue?

No, the US cannot default on China’s holdings of its Treasuries. That alone would be a larger threat to the reserve currency status than anything anybody else could do, other then nuclear war. But at the same time, China cannot dump its Treasury holdings. because that would hurt … China.

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

Assange Is The Only One To Abide By The Law

Assange Is The Only One To Abide By The Law

Salvador Dali Self portrait  1921

On October 21 2019, Brexit became an entirely irrelevant issue. Or perhaps we should say it had already become that, but on that date it was exposed for all to see that it was. The parading into a courtroom of Julian Assange in London was all the evidence one could need that the UK government breaks its own laws as well as numerous international laws, with impunity. But that is not how the media reported on it, if it did at all.

And so, the core issue behind Brexit, i.e. who makes Britain’s laws, turned to nothing. If your government breaks its own laws all the time, what does it matter where those laws are made? They are meaningless anyway. Whether they come from Brussels or London make no difference if the government and judicial system don’t abide by them. Those million men marches for a Final Say look totally ridiculous once that reality sinks in.

I can’t get the picture of Julian Assange as he looked on Monday out of my head. I’ve written so much about him, tried so hard to find support for him, and now to see him withered away and perhaps not strong enough to see the end of his own extradition hearing is heartbreaking. So let’s go through the whole thing again; it’s not like I could write about anything else right now. I was thinking again yesterday about a song I used in an earlier article about Julian, I Fought the Law.

That is how the vast majority of people will see his case, that he fought the law and the law caught up with him. But that’s not at all what’s been happening. 

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

ExxonMobil Looks To Exit UK North Sea Oil & Gas

ExxonMobil Looks To Exit UK North Sea Oil & Gas

ExxonMobil

ExxonMobil has recently discussed with operators selling part or all of its assets in the UK North Sea in a move that could raise up to US$2 billion for Exxon and mark another major U.S. exit from the area, Reuters reported on Tuesday, quoting three industry sources familiar with the matter.

Exxon has been a major investor in the UK North Sea since 1964, when the first exploration drilling in the area began. The U.S. major holds interests in 40 producing oil and gas fields and produces around five percent of UK oil and gas production, with an average 80,000 barrels of oil and 441 million cubic feet of gas a day. Exxon’s investment in the North Sea is managed through a 50/50 joint operation with Shell.

If Exxon sells some or part of its assets in the UK North Sea, it will be yet another major U.S. oil and gas firm to divest interests in this mature area to focus on their current key growth areas, which for Exxon right now are the Permian in Texas and conventional oil production offshore Guyana.

While European supermajors Shell, BP, and Total continue to view the North Sea as one of their core assets, U.S. majors have been selling North Sea stakes as many of them are now focused on U.S. shale.

Marathon Oil said in February that it would be exiting the UK North Sea as it continues to focus on high-return U.S. shale oil operations.

In April, ConocoPhillips sold its UK oil and gas business to Chrysaor Holdings for US$2.675 billion in a deal which Wood Mackenzie described as “another story of the changing corporate landscape in the North Sea – for the first time, a non major is the number one producer in the UK.”

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

Understanding the Failure of U.S. Foreign Policy: The Albright Doctrine

Understanding the Failure of U.S. Foreign Policy: The Albright Doctrine

Albright typifies the arrogance and hawkishness of Washington blob.

How to describe U.S. foreign policy over the last couple of decades? Disastrous comes to mind. Arrogant and murderous also seem appropriate.

Since 9/11, Washington has been extraordinarily active militarily—invading two nations, bombing and droning several others, deploying special operations forces in yet more countries, and applying sanctions against many. Tragically, the threat of Islamist violence and terrorism only have metastasized. Although Al Qaeda lost its effectiveness in directly plotting attacks, it continues to inspire national offshoots. Moreover, while losing its physical “caliphate” the Islamic State added further terrorism to its portfolio.

Three successive administrations have ever more deeply ensnared the United States in the Middle East. War with Iran appears to be frighteningly possible. Ever-wealthier allies are ever-more dependent on America. Russia is actively hostile to the United States and Europe. Washington and Beijing appear to be a collision course on far more than trade. Yet the current administration appears convinced that doing more of the same will achieve different results, the best definition of insanity.

Despite his sometimes abusive and incendiary rhetoric, the president has departed little from his predecessors’ policies. For instance, American forces remain deployed in Afghanistan and Syria. Moreover, the Trump administration has increased its military and materiel deployments to Europe. Also, Washington has intensified economic sanctions on Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, and even penalized additional countries, namely Venezuela.

U.S. foreign policy suffers from systematic flaws in the thinking of the informal policy collective which former Obama aide Ben Rhodes dismissed as “The Blob.” Perhaps no official better articulated The Blob’s defective precepts than Madeleine Albright, United Nations ambassador and Secretary of State.

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

Lawlessness

Lawlessness

Pablo Picasso Rest (Marie-Thérèse Walter) 1932

With the news that Julian Assange is “wasting away” in Belmarsh prison hospital, and with UN rapporteur Professor Nils Melzer’s report detailing how this happens, I’m once again drawn towards the lawlessness that all “authorities” involved in his case have been displaying, and with impunity. They all apparently think they are literally above the law. Their own laws.

But they can’t be, nowhere, not above their respective national laws nor the international ones their countries have signed up to. They can’t, because that would instantly make any and all laws meaningless. So you tell me where we find ourselves today.

There’s this paragraph in an article by Jonathan Cook entitled Abuses Show Assange Case Was Never About Law, which lists “17 glaring anomalies in Assange’s legal troubles”, that sums it all up pretty perfectly:

Australia not only refused Assange, a citizen, any help during his long ordeal, but prime minister Julia Gillard even threatened to strip Assange of his citizenship, until it was pointed out that it would be illegal for Australia to do so.

See, Cook is already skipping a step there. Gillard didn’t take Assange’s citizenship away, because that is against Australian law, but it’s just as much against Australian law for a government to let one of its citizens rot in some kind of hell. Still, they did let him rot, but as an Australian citizen. At that point, what difference does anything make anymore?

This is a pattern that runs through the entire Assange “file”, and it does so to pretty astonishing levels. Where you’re forced to think that the countries involved effectively have no laws, and no courts, because if they did, the actions by their governments would surely be whistled back by parliaments or judges or someone, anyone. They’re all essentially lawless.

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

Peter Schiff: This Is the Beginning of a Much Bigger Crisis (Video)

Peter Schiff: This Is the Beginning of a Much Bigger Crisis (Video)

Wall Street has been on a roller coaster ride over the last few months. If you listen to the pundits on the financial networks, you’ll hear the word “volatile” used over and over again. That word certainly seems to describe the current state of US stock markets and in a broader sense the economy. But during a recent interview on RT News with Rick Sanchez, Peter Schiff said it’s not that the economy is volatile. It’s actually a bubble. And we are on the verge of a bigger crisis than the one we went through in 2008.

It’s not a volatile economy, it’s a bubble economy. Thanks to the Federal Reserve, they inflated an even bigger bubble, on purpose, than the one they inflated by accident that popped in 2008. And so the economy is in much worse shape structurally today then it was before it fell apart the last time. So, this is the beginning of a much greater crisis, of a much greater recession than the one that we experienced back in 2008.”

Sanchez asked Peter what exactly the Federal Reserve did wrong. Peter said, basically, everything.

But the biggest things they did wrong were lowering interest rates down to zero, practically, and leaving them there for pretty much the entirety of the Obama presidency. And then they’ve barely raised them. They’re still at 2%, which is very low. They also did all the quantitative easing where they printed a bunch of money and bought US government bonds and mortgage bonds. That enabled the housing bubble to reflate, and that enabled the US government to go much deeper into debt. So, the government didn’t cut spending, which is what we needed. They increased spending. But it also enabled corporations to lever up and buy stocks.

…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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