Category Archives: Terrorism

Saudi Arabia: the Useful Idiots

As Christopher Davidson makes clear in his 2016 book ‘The Shadow Wars’; the extremist ideology of wahhabism – an ‘offshoot’ of Islam, is deeply imbedded in the Saudi regime. That sectarian brutal regime could not have come to power and retained  its military domination over the Arabian peninsula, without the unconditonal support of first the British and latterly the United States. Their Wahhabist dogma states that all who don’t believe in their version of Islam are heretics and should be forcibly converted or put to death.

This dogma is the foundation of Al Qaeda and ISIS ; and these groups, along with fanatical wahhabist ideology promoted  in many Saudi  funded  Sunni mosques around the world, has been actively promoted by those in power in Riyadh since they were effectively installed by the British in the First World War to counter the Turkish Ottoman Empire’s reach..

As Davidson meticulously notes in his book, the support of the British and then the Americans for this fanatical regime, has never wavered; even after the 9/11 terror attack and now the genocide occuring in Yemen. The ongoing U.S. and British support for wahhabist terror to further Western agendas can be taken as a given.

As Human Rights Watch notes (2017) Saudi Arabia does not tolerate public worship by adherents of religions other than Islam and systematically discriminates against Muslim religious minorities, notably Twelver Shia and Ismailis, including in public education, the justice system, religious freedom, and employment. Government-affiliated religious authorities continued to disparage Shia Islam in public statements and documents.

And now we see a Saudi  attempt to completely eliminate any Shia  influence within the  ‘kingdom’  in  their ongoing brutal  crackdown  of the minority Shia population in Awamiya  on the Arabian peninsula.

Because of the huge amounts of money flowing from the Saudis into Washington and other Western ‘think-tanks’ ( ie propaganda outlets) , both Western media mainstream media and the Washington and London ‘intelligence’ communities are largely  uncritical of this despotic regime and its outpourings of hatred and violence to any Muslims and other Middle Eastern religions who do not espouse their Wahhabist ideology. As long as the Wahhabists remain useful in the cause of eliminating any threats to Israel, countering an independent Iran  or eliminating other Middle Eastern states critical of the United States or the United Kingdom- then that is all good!- regardless of the loss of lives or the devastation left behind…The destruction of the Shi-ite state of Iran is a priority of both the Saudis, Israel, as well as the U.S. and U.K. The re-appropriation of Iranian assets and oil by Western interests is looked upon longingly.

Saudi Arabia funds many wahhabist sect mosques throughout the Western world; whose aim is to preach hate and sectarian discord and promote the killing of others who do not accept their extremist views. Given that this sectarian dialogue is visible open and blatant, how is it that those western mosques have not been closed and the Saudi funnelling of money towards Wahhabists has not been blocked?

Or is this ‘minor’ irritant of localised terrorism and hate in Western states ‘worth it’, when the majority of the mosques’ gullible and disenfranchised indoctrinated young adherents can be shunted off to the Middle East with the assistance of Western intelligence agencies, so that Shi-ite or non secular non U.S. aligned states can be destroyed?

We have reached a rather surrealist situation where the previously hidden long term ‘agreement’ to divide the Middle East according to their respective spheres of influence between Israel and Saudi Arabia has now become completely visible, and now means that ISIS has needed to apologise to Israel for their unintended attack on Israeli ‘Defence’ forces. For many Arabs this apology is a clear signal of the betrayal by the Saudis of the Palestinians and their 60 year brutal occupation of Palestine by Israel military forces. Taken in conjunction with their genocidal war against the impoverished Yemen people by massive Saudi military forces, and with the total support of the U.K. and U.S., Saudi credibility has reached an all time low amongst Arab populations across the Middle East.

Once can only hope that the end of the brutal ‘reign’ of the House of Saud is nigh.


Links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wahhabism

https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/saudi-arabia

https://off-guardian.org/2015/12/10/saudi-arabia-leads-the-jihadist-nations-u-s-assists-them/

https://www.sott.net/article/308121-Investigating-Saudi-Arabias-sponsorship-of-Turkish-politics-terrorism-and-the-frenzied-conflict-in-Syria

http://intpolicydigest.org/2015/11/29/why-isis-exists-the-double-game/

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/isis-wahhabism-saudi-arabia_b_5717157.html You Can’t Understand ISIS If You Don’t Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia

Shadow Wars-The Secret Struggle for the Middle East, Christopher Davidson 2016

https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/christopher-davidson-ian-sinclair/christopher-davidson-interview-what-is-role-of-west-in-middle-e

http://thesaker.is/who-are-the-sunnis-a-lamentation/

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line

http://www.unz.com/pcockburn/war-with-iran-seems-likely-as-trump-cosies-up-with-saudi-arabia/


Postcript  Links

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201705201053811797-abu-trump-al-amriki/

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/manchester-attack-salman-abedi-salafi-jihadism-wahhabism-isis-al-qaeda-islam-muslim-suicide-bombing-a7754301.html

The Genocide that is Yemen

Based on the latest United Nations estimates;   ‘as of 1 November 2016 , health facilities reported more than 7000 people killed and more than 43,000 injured since mid-March 2015, including more than 3,200 children killed or injured. (UNOCHA) (out of an estimated totally Yemeni population of 27,913,984).

Medical materials are in chronically short supply, and only 45 per cent of health facilities are functioning. As of October 2016, at least 274 health facilities had been damaged or destroyed in the conflict, 13 health workers had been killed and 31 injured. 

Saudi intervention in what was till 2015 a relatively low-level civil war between rival Yemen factions, began in March 2015, to support one of the pro-Saudi  factions, and it would appear, to successfully strengthen the hold of Al Qaeda in the south of Yemen.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) states that as of March 2017:

The humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate almost one and a half years after the escalation of conflict in March 2015.The escalation amplified an already existing protracted crisis, which was characterised by widespread poverty, conflict, poor governance and weak rule of law, including widely reported human rights violations.

Yemen was already the poorest county in the Middle East when the crisis escalated.  Men, women, and children were already facing a humanitarian crisis, stemmed from years of poverty, poor governance, and instability, including widespread violations of human rights. The situation has only worsened in the past year and the speed and scale of the deterioration is alarming. The economy is near collapse, public and private services have all but disappeared, and Yemenis have lost most of their livelihoods and have depleted most of their saving.  Yemen has turned into a protection crisis where the average citizen is facing tremendous hardships and the most vulnerable populations are struggling simply to survive.

More than 19 months since conflict escalated have left an estimated 18.8 million people in need some kind of assistance or protection in order to meet their basic needs, including 10.3 million who are in acute need. This represents an increase of almost 20 per cent since late 2014 and is driven by increases across key sectors. The 18.8 million people in need estimation is lower than the 21.2 million cited for 2016. These changes do not reflect an improvement in the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Yemen, but rather a further tightening around priorities based on a rigorous analysis of evidence. 

Even Human Rights Watch, a notoriously Western biased “human rights’ organization committed to western ‘human rights interventions’ (read ‘invasions of countries of people who are not white’), has stated that ‘With help from former President Saleh, Houthis, the Zaidi Shia group, took control of the capital and much of the north in late 2014. President Hadi and his cabinet fled to Saudi Arabia in early 2015 and in March, a Saudi Arabia-led coalition launched air strikes against the Houthis. Dozens of the airstrikes appeared to violate the laws of war. Houthi forces laid landmines and used other indiscriminate weapons in unlawful attacks . The UN reported in January 2016 that the conflict had claimed 2,795 civilian lives in 2015.

Not only is Saudi Arabia deploying the largest arsenal in the Middle East  courtesy of the United States and the U.K.) against the impoverished country of Yemen, but it has financed armed and trained their Wahabbhi ‘rebels’ like Al Qaeda and Al Nusra in Syria along with Qatar, to a massive degree over the past few years. The vicious sectarian ideologies of the Saudi ‘kingdom’s’ Wahabbists; long supported and bolstered by the U.K. , are the rationale for killing anyone who does not espouse those extremist Sunni views. The 40-45% of Yemenese who follow the  Zaidi order of Shia Islam- many of whom are supporters of the Houthis, are therefore regarded as apostates for extermination by the Wahabbists. Small wonder that Saudi pilots are clearly under order to attack Shi-ite civilian centres. It should however be noted   that  given  the U.K.’s longstanding  and extensive role in human rights abuses and war crimes in Yemen  (particularly in 1964 supporting the Saudis)  as detailed in  Christopher Davidson’s book “The Shadow Wars: the Secret  Struggle for the Middle East” , as well  as the huge investment by the UK war machine and the incompetence of the Saudi military, it is highly likely that, as in 1964, “retired’  RAF pilots are engaged in the aerial  bombardment of civilians in Yemen and other atrocities.

As supposedly democratic and humanitarian Western governments usually do in times like these, the U.K. government has contracted lawyers to concoct grotesque legal arguments that their massive arms sales to Saudi Arabia and their support of U.S. drone killings in Yemen, do not constitute an equally massive violation of the rule of international law. The U.K. Government, its foreign policy advisors and its hand-in-glove armaments manufacturers are once again undoubtedly guilty of horrifying war crimes.

Middle East Eye notes that The UK government licensed arms exports worth £3.3bn ($4.2bn) to Saudi Arabia during the first 12 months of the Saudi-led conflict in Yemen, a campaign group has revealed. The Campaign Against Arms Trade’s analysis of government figures, released this week, shows the total is at least £500m more than previously thought.

From April 2015, the UK approved exports including so-called smart bombs, components for combat aircraft, armoured vehicles and communications equipment.

The government in Riyadh is the UK arms industry’s biggest customer and the figures show that the Middle East is the UK’s largest overall export market for weapons, including Eurofighter Typhoon jets that have dropped devastating 2,000-lb bombs in urban areas in Yemen.

Note only has the UK been supplying the corrupt regime in Riyadh with massive amounts of military hardware over many many years , but it also has (as do the Americans) personnel on the ground assisting the Saudis in their genocide.

The U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabia however, dwarfs the U.K.’s historical complicity with the brutal Saudi regime. Since 2009, the Obama administration’s has signed Saudi Arabia up to $57 billion worth of arms sales.

Manifestly internationally illegal U.S. drone murders in Yemen have been targeting Al Qaeda there for the past 15 years. Supposedly these drone strikes target Al Qaeda leaders in Yemen, yet mysteriously Al Qaeda has steadily grown in power and influence; particularly and predictably since the Saudis launched their war against the Houthis, supported by the U.S. and the U.K. Now the Trump administration is once again increasing the Yemen drone strikes.

In  addition, the Saudis,  despite their denials,  are enforcing a  naval  and air blockade of Houthi  held areas of Yemen,  further  exacerbating an already  dire humanitarian  situation on the ground. The Saudis  and United States and the mainstream media claim,  without any evidence,  that  the Iranians  are militarily supporting the Houthis.  Should this have been  the case,  we would have seen  satellite imagery  of Iranian  planes and  ships  trying to  break  the blockade, if not Iranian  seized vessels and arms.

The reality is that  the Houthis have more than enough  weaponry  through  the Yemen army that have  largely backed  the Houthis,  and through  seized armaments from the Saudis. While a different branch of Shi-ism,  the Iranian  government is clearly sympathetic to  the  Houthis and is likely to  have at  least supplied  the Houthis with the technical  now-how for their devastating missile attacks on  Saudi  troop deployments.

The sad reality is that Western democracies have cloaked their barbarities in pursuit of profit and power under labels of ‘ bringing the true religion’, ‘civilisation’, ‘democracy’ and ‘humanitarian intervention’, since long before the rise of capitalism. Western governments cannot kill their own populations in large numbers as they would no longer be in power at the next election!: instead they are licensed to kill the ‘other’, the ‘dark races’, the ‘uncivilized’, the ‘un-Christian’ in ‘foreign’ countries. Yemen is the epitome of ‘foreign’ to the West.   For not only are they of significant interest to the West’s pawns in Riyadh, the Saudis; they are also tribal, dark skinned, and at the bottom of the heap in terms of poverty and far away from the gaze of Western publics.  An ‘ideal’  testing ground for Western  weapons.

The Gulf potentates are therefore none better for the West to sell vast amounts of weapons to, and watch their incompetent new owners destroy them in vast numbers in the vicious war with the Houthis and their allies in Yemen. It makes little difference to their Western minders that the Saudis are committing genocide in Yemen; aided with targeting facilities and refueling of aircraft by the United States and U.K trainers..

The current application of the rule of law in international politics and conflict is a complete farce. It is grounded purely in ‘right is might’;  which for this current and previous century at least, has been the prerogative of Western powers against ‘The South’.  That dynamic is now of course changing rapidly with the rise of China and the resurgence of Russian military power.

Should we see the control of the International War Crimes Tribunal pass from Western judges who have been consistently ‘pressured’ by Western governments to take certain political stances, to Russian or even Chinese adjudicators; we may finally see some justice in bringing the long line of Western politicians and military leaders responsible for more than a century of horrendous war crimes around the world, to justice.

Finally, while the removal of suffering of Yemen’s humans should be the priority of our fellow humans; there is no-one and nothing that protects the devastation to the other species that were already struggling to survive before this brutal war erupted.

While we have likely already passed the point of no return in having a relatively liveable climate on this planet; we still, as the sole cause of this destruction in this world, have an obligation to try and save what remains of the other species on this precious Earth. Our constant futile human wars are doing a great deal to speed up that process of planetary destruction.


Links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yemeni_Civil_War_(2015%E2%80%93present)

http://www.unocha.org/yemen/crisis-overview

http://news.antiwar.com/2017/03/10/saudi-airstrike-kills-26-mostly-civilians-in-yemen-market/

https://www.hrw.org/middle-east/n-africa/yemen

https://www.caat.org.uk/resources/countries/saudi-arabia

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-03-03/66440

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/372979-british-collusion-sectarian-violence/

http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2016/01/15/data-how-guns-and-oil-dominate-uk-saudi-arabia-relationship/

http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/uk-approves-33bn-arms-sales-yemen-126867279

http://www.reprieve.org.uk/press/uk-bases-used-targeting-secret-us-drone-war-documents-indicate/

https://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/reading-elisabeth-webers-kill-boxes/

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/march/09/bomb-the-shstart-out-of-them-trump-drones-yemen-more-in-one-week-than-obama-in-a-year/

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/blowback-americas-disastrous-policy-yemen-will-be-profound-18698

Christopher Davidson:  “The Shadow Wars: the Secret  Struggle for the Middle East” 

http://christopherdavidson.net/BaseHub/2017/01/22/shadow-wars-video-trailer/

The Monster that was Obama

Thankfully the  words of adulation for  ex-president Obama are now dying down and we are instead  now innundated with hate media  (not altogether underserved)  for President Trump.

Obama was above all  things a con-artist. The sweet  honeyed words of the used car  saleman,  masking  sociopathic   intent . A man  who  talked peace and made war. A man  who  preached enviromentalism  and destroyed much  more than he preserved. A man  who  faked humanity while ruthlessly killing  innocents by  drone.

And a man  who  has set  the scene for the  destruction of what little remains of the U.S democratic  process, through  his  persistent undermining of his successor.

By  why  let me drone on?

Please look at this excellent  record of  his legacy by  Samuel Johnson   for yourself,  and decide….


Links

View story at Medium.com

 

The Syrian Propaganda War: (Stage Two)

Now that Eastern Aleppo has been  finally retaken by  Syrian government troops and their allies  after 4 years of war there, we see a curious phenomenon in  the Western press. Rather than applauding the  return to  peace for the millions of civilians  in Western  Aleppo  and a  potential  return to  some normalcy   for the few remaining in Eastern  Alleppo,  we are instead  treated to   ongoing accusations  from ‘rebel’  sources  of massacres; statements that  cannot be verified in  any way because  the reporters  are not on the ground in  Syria, and statements which  are intended to  undermine the Assad victory. We are also told in  each of these mainstream  reports that ‘the war will  go  on regardless’-  one might be forgiven for thinking that those journalists and media  outlets  are actually wanting the war to continue?
We know that  Western  governments  and the Gulf State dictatorships have poured  millions of dollars,  not only into arming and training the ‘rebels’ of any affiliation  in Syria over the past five years-  but also  poured millions into  a  huge propaganda network designed to  convince the Western  public that  Al Qaeda  in Syria is in  fact moderate and cuddly and that  only the Syrian  government forces do  terrible things.
This is a brutal  war   without question. Both sides have committed atrocities  and enormous devastation: to pretend otherwise is to  be blind to the costs of war.
But  it is absolutely clear that without the ongoing  Western  government resourcing of salafist extremists in Syria this war would have been long over.
This war was not inevitable; it was a deliberate decision by  Western governments to overthrow Assad;  firstly ,  because the Syrian  government opposes the ongoing  Israeli  occupation of Palestine and the Syrian  Golan  Heights  heights  and secondly because their allies; the Gulf dictatorships of  Saudi Arabia , Qatar and UAE  see a secular Syria  under Assad as a threat  to  their support for the  Wahhabist sunni  extremist  doctrine espoused by  Al Qaeda and ISIS, and thereby  alters their power  play against shi-ite Iran.
I for one,  hope that peace will  prevail over the dogs of war.
Postscript
As of 15th December, mainstream media are  now reporting that Chinese green buses are now transporting some of the remaining  East  Aleppo  rebels and their families to Idlib province  and possibly Turkey. This is going to make the ongoing reporting of massacres and  pictures of carefully  cement dust covered babies, that much harder for Western PR  agencies to make plausible for the western public. The ruthless evil  dictator Assad granting amnesty to  the poor defenceless rebels?- that doesnt  quite add up…? hmmm

Aleppo- the final battle ground for the Saudis?

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have put huge resources,  not only into  funding and paying for anti-Shiite Salafist  soldiers in  Syria, but also into  resourcing  a vast media   campaign to   attack   Iran  and the IRGC for its role in  supporting the Assad regime.

With the imminent defeat of the Saudi  funded jihadists in Aleppo, the Saudis are facing a huge hit to their morale and international  standing-  especially when  taken alongside their disastrous war in Yemen, which increasingly is seen  to be a humanitarian  human rights genocidal  campaign against  the Yemen people. The anti-Iran campaign  now means that it will be considered internationally that Iran has in effect, defeated the Saudis in Syria. This is however, not the true state of affairs; while Iran’s IRGC has played a significant role in Syria over the past two years, their role does not appear to have been a game changer- despite the Iranian  hype about the famed General  Suleiman and his soldiers.

With the likely defeat of all opposition forces in Eastern Aleppo in the next few weeks,  those 25,000  battle-hardened SAA (Syrian Government) soldiers in  action there can  now be deployed elsewhere in  Syria. This re-deployment will likely result in  the final defeat of the majority of forces  aligned with the Saudis and Qataris  and  trained  by  Western  governments  in the Jordanian  ‘rebel’  camps. The “King’  of Jordan will  now have to make  some considerable  contortions in  order  to ‘make up’  with Assad – but it’s quite possible that  those jihadis escaping back over the Jordanian border will now  make a serious attempt to overthrow  another of the West’s  pawns in  the Middle East. Additionally, those rebels of European origin,  which  Western intelligence agencies have been facilitating into Syria  for the past five years, are also likely to return  to  their native European countries bringing their  carefully honed military skills and sectarian hatreds with them.

Should the Assad regime succeed in  pacifying the majority of Syria , the huge resources put into destabilising Syria by the George Soros business empire, the French,  the U.K., Turkey and the U.S.,  means  that  their corporate intent to profit from  re-building the Syria they have destroyed,  will have come to nothing. Chinese and Russian businesses are now well placed to do that.

And Saudi Arabia, has by its attempts to play  Iran  as the key evil  agent in Syria ,  almost literally, shot itself in the foot-  with  a consequence that  the whole Saudi  regime is now likely to  go  gangrenous  in a relatively short space of time. No wonder the UK is panicking in its absurd manipulation of MSM media coverage of the Syrian war! The loss of the Saudi ‘kingdom’ to UK control and arms sales, would be a catastrophic loss for those who hold the puppet-strings of power in Whitehall and ‘The City’. Should the Qatari regime also be brought down in the aftermath of a SAA victory, the implications for Western influence in the Middle East will be huge.

Given that Egypt now appears to be wavering towards supporting the Assad regime and the Russians, there are serious international re-alignments happening. Even the wily but somewhat  deranged President Erdogan of Turkey is admitting that his long-term interests no  longer lie with  being antagonistic to  Russia – particularly if the  oil pipeline from Russia to Europe can run  through  his backyard!

Early prognostications were that the EU and US sanctions against Russia, (ostensibly for their Crimean ‘invasion’) would cripple the Russian economy. With the shift of economic focus of Russia towards the East and China’s One Belt Road, the impacts of the sanctions have been somewhat reduced,  and the medium  term economic outlook  for Russia  now looks  considerably more rosy than even the worst dreams of  U.S. neocons .

For the Chinese, the increasing hysteria coming from the US about China’s growing power, economically and militarily, is now being mitigated by the rapid development of  the ‘One Belt Road’   This new high-speed  overland trade route to  Russia  and the West means that China will, in  the near future, be somewhat insulated from the increasing risks of Western  warships blockading its trade routes to the outside world. Bizarrely the U.K. government in London is now also sending its aging warships to the South China Sea (shades of the ‘Opium Wars’). Commercial  engagement in  a revitalised Syria is just one part the Chinese are likely to  play in their resurgent role in the Middle East.

In short, the battle for Aleppo is one symptom of the shifting power alignments in the world. A victory for Assad and his allies implies a significant change in the ways of the world for the medium to long term.

Triumphant

There have been  way  too  many commentaries on  the  ‘unexpected’  succession  of Donald Trump  to the White House.

Trump coat of arms Source By Ernstvongriffe - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53057525
Trump coat of arms: Source By Ernstvongriffe – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53057525

However  notwithstanding all  those commentaries ,  I will  endeavour to add my own  little spin  on  those events.

Donald Trump’s win  was  ‘unexpected’  for two reasons: 1) the media said it was not going to happen  and 2) the polls said it was not going to happen.  And indeed, Hillary  Clinton  did win more votes in  the  total national  count of the 54% who  decide to  vote, but lost out at  the electoral  college state level.  Both  Trump  and Clinton were voted for by  approximately 27% of the total possible electorate.  But the poll  margins expected, at  the very least,  a 4% margin  for Clinton. Was it because  those responding to the pollsters hid their true intent ; maybe too  ashamed to  say  they  were intending to  vote for someone the media portrayed as a bigot, sexist and buffoon, but who   responded to their anxieties about the future? Or was it that the low voter turnout  dramatically skewed the potential for any accurate recording  of those who  in the end decided to  vote?-  I would suspect  more the latter.

The role  of the media in this campaign has been  astonishing to an outsider.  Not one US mainstream  news agency  supported Trump through his campaign. Even in little old New Zealand the bias  in  reporting pro  Clinton and against  Trump was extraordinarily obvious. One of the more obvious signs of this bias was the  mass media taking up the Clinton   campaign’s farcical claims  that Trump  was in  bed with Putin, the Russians were trying to   fix the election and Wikileaks was an  arm of the Russian secret  police.  Where was the analysis of these absurd allegations ? Did this obvious bias  result in  a backlash  from voters as has been claimed in  some media reports? -I would very much  doubt it-  American citizenry  have been taught to  believe whatever the media says is the truth-why  doubt them now?- however absurd the claim  is.

However I do  think  one outcome of the media Trump-bashing frenzy  has been to instill a high level of fear and anxiety in those parts of the American  population who  see themselves as marginalized: the gay communities, Hispanics to some degree, many  blacks,  as well  as all those who  are fighting for more rights and freedoms  within  the American state system. Are those fears justified?-we shall  have to wait  and see whether Donald puts his  money  where his mouth is! As one reporter noted recently-  ‘all  American presidential  elections are like this; say anything you like  in  the run-up  to the vote, but once elected become a sober and careful  politician’. With  Donald Trump,  that may not necessarily be the case. All indications are that Donald Trump  has an ego  of unbelievable proportions, is not used to taking advice from singular or  multiple sources , is  in fact  both  sexist and racist and likes to make executive decisions at the minutist level.  Will  that make his decisions worse?-  probably not, given the calibre of recent presidential policy  decision -making.  Will  it make those decisions more unpredictable?- most certainly yes. We are in  for uncertain times in  the world.

We are also  in  for a world driven  entirely by  greed:  well, more obviously so at  least. In the past, that greed has been  hidden by  more subtle statements; ‘bringing democracy’,   ‘removing human rights abuses’, ‘responsibility to  protect’,  regime change’,  ‘efficiency’, ‘progress’  etc etc . The removal of environmental  controls for instance, will  simply make evident  what  was already  in  place; a total  unwillingness by  the American  state to  countenance a reduction  in  the consumption of fossil  fuels and the degradation of the environment if it meant profits for the big companies were going to  be reduced.  “Growth’  is what  drives money into  the pockets of the politicians. The environmental   Paris Accord is a political  farce, and every politician knows it.

The other  factor driving unpredictability in  Trump’s decision-making  is that he doesn’t need to be bought by  the highest  bidder;-unlike Hillary and the Clinton Foundation.   As a billionaire, Trump has sufficient  money  that  no-one can influence him   through bribery  and corruption, should he choose not to  go there.  The traditional  methodology for policy   decision-making in  Washington  has now been  removed for four years-  a very  scary  thought to  those who  have been buying privilege and influence in Washington for so many many years!   And particularly scary for those in  the military  and arms industries and certain  foreign states, who  have relied on  extensive lobbying and financial  ‘incentives’  to  ensure ongoing wars wherever they  meet  their interests.

Finally , the role of media and  politicians  in fostering the  post-election anxiety   and street  demonstrations needs to be explored. The casual  statements by  both  Hillary  Clinton and Obama that  Trump needs to ‘be given  a chance”  has the hidden  and not so  subtle or veiled implication  that, once Trump  makes his first  wrong move as President,  then  we can  go  after him  with whatever it takes to  remove him.

The  violent demonstrations on  the streets in   the U. S. as a result of the  presidential  election are unprecedented, and may be a sign of  further clashes between the so-called ‘liberals’  in  the pro-Clinton  camp,  and the bigots and racists  and ‘fearful  white folks’  who  made up  a significant proportion of the pro-Trump vote.

We live in  ‘interesting times’, as the Chinese curse has it….

 

White Helmets and Western Governments call for Bloodbath in Syria..

As the Syrian  government forces and its allies prepare for the final  advance  to  push  the jihadists  from the small  part of  Aleppo  still held by the jihadists, Western  governments and their propaganda arm,  the White Helmets, are upping the PR campaign to push  for the  establishment of  a no-fly zone  across Syria- effectively banning the Syrian  and Russian airforces from the skies.
The PR campaign  alleges that  the only  people  killed in this evil  war  are civilians  killed by  the bombs  from  the sky. For some  reason, the truck-bombs,  tank fire,   artillery, mortars, missile barrages, sniper fire and suicide attacks  from  the jihadist  side, do  not cause any civilian casualties  for the vast majority (1.5  million) of Aleppo civilians sheltering on the government side of the warzone in Aleppo. Part of the issue is that Western media only report on casualty figures provided by  the ‘rebel’  side;  so  we are left to  assume  that  the SAA; -the Syrian  Army, is entirely responsible for all  civilian  casualties;  which,   given the enormous amounts of  firepower provided by  Western  governments, Turkey  and the Gulf dictatorships to the ‘rebels’, would be somewhat  unusual!
The U.S. military  is well  aware that  Al Qaeda affiliates are the major force on the ‘rebel’ side in East Aleppo, and that  Western   interventions against  the Assad government  only strengthen Al Qaeda.
Western governments are also well  aware that  a no-fly zone-  as in  Libya ,  will  create the perfect  opportunity for  Al Qaeda affiliates  and their ‘moderate’  allies  to  defeat  the Syrian  government forces , over-run Damascus in a blood-bath, and  establish  a jihadist  centre of power in  Syria and  the elimination of the more than 26% of the Syrian  population who  are not Sunni  arabs or who do  not subscribe to  the medieval  views of their Gulf state sponsors.
Just  as in  Iraq, with the fictional  incubator babies on Iraqi  bayonets in Kuwait saga, the fictional  viagra supplied to  Gaddaffi’s soldiers in Libya to rape civilians; we are now sold endless fictional  stories of the “last hospital in Aleppo”,  well- framed photos of young men carrying babies through  war-torn  streets,  or babies and young children immaculately  covered  in concrete dust .
Yes, this is a brutal  war;  civilians will  and are dying in  immense suffering on both  sides of the ever shifting frontlines . But the most effective mechanism  to   stop  the barbarity is for Western  governments and their Gulf dictatorship proxies,  to  stop  arming  jihadist  rebels.. The hypocrisy of Western leaders-  particularly the ‘socialist’  premier Hollande, knows no  bounds it would appear.
Go  figure….

Links

Aleppo Media Center ( Western backed media support for jihadists) (use Google translate)

The Self-destruction of Western Societies?

The recent  ‘terrorist’ bombings in European  cities  may need to be  looked at from  a wider  perspective. Is this increasing wave of violence on urban  communities a signal of a deeper malaise?

The ‘terrorists’  who  have perpetrated these attacks  over the past few years ( ie not just  “ISIS’  inspired  killings);  have inevitably be enacted by  dispossessed angry young men   who  predominantly  have no  clear ideology of much  longstanding.  While they  have often attributed the rationale for their attacks to  some formal ideology  like ISIS, I suspect  that   any ideological  excuse would have sufficed for them. The recent killings by  those who  stated their motivations  were in  the name of Allah  and ISIS, were almost all by young men  who  had lacked any consistent  commitment to  Muslim  practice; ie not regularly attending a mosque, and indulged in drinking, drugs , gambling etc.

This indicates that  the rationale for the killing did not come from  idealogical  sources, but rather from their own anger and hurt about their own life experiences.  Undoubtedly however, the  last few years  of ISIS, Al Qaeda and other similar extremist  groups espousing the glories of  the killing of innocents,  have provided a focus  and a ‘rationale’   for that  anger and blood-lust.

This process might be likened to  the Christian  crusades   to  the “Holy Lands” in mediaeval  times, when  Europeans  from  all  walks of life joined  armies  to  supposedly ‘free”  the Holy Lands from  Saracen tyranny, but in  fact used that  license  to indulge in  vast  amounts of rape, pillage and  terror  of  local  populations,   both on their journeys to  Palestine through  Europe and the Middle East , but also  within  Palestine  itself.

What is different this time around however, is that  this is an internal  self-immolation of societies and almost a global  one: predominantly by  young men  who  were born  within European  societies, but at  the same time alienated from them.

What  we see then, is a political  response to these multiple deaths  which labels them as “terrorists’  attacks rather than  an  epidemic of murder/-suicides by  young angry  and hurting men.

Instead of addressing the root causes of that anger;  alienation from  society,  loneliness, poverty,  drugs and perceived inequalities and injustices;  Western  governments have increasingly focussed on more and more draconian responses to  these murders;  an action which   further legitimizes the  imaginary  ideological  fervour of more and more  young men.

As in  the United States, the  political  response is to further  militarise police forces and restrict  human rights and freedoms, and thereby  increase the likelihood of inappropriate and unjust responses by  the ‘authorities’  to  legitimate  community  conflict  situations. It is plain  that such  actions lead only to  community disintegration.

One might therefore  argue that  the actions by  both parties are symptomatic of a global  community in decline; in  a state of self-immolation, as it  unconsciously acknowledges the  multiple absurd paradoxes of our  global consumer society whilst  we inexorably head towards   an unliveable over-heated  and species depleted  planet.

 

 

Obama and the Baseball Cards

Obama’s legacy; and  this may  well be his prime legacy- and  one he may  remember in his  older years as he stands before the International War Crimes Tribunal, (once its decisions are no  longer controlled by  the U.S.  State Department), was his omnipotent capacity to  decide who shall  live and who  shall   die by  drone anywhere in  the world,  based on  limited pieces of information  provided on baseball  cards. (a kind of  Roman Emperor  type role: – thumbs- up  or down at  the Coliseum)

Baseball Card Kill List DEPICTION
Lawfareblog.com notes ‘This is a mock-up/depiction of what an actual kill-list baseball card looks like. It is not a real baseball card and is not based on any classified information.’

 

Taken together, the secret documents lead to the conclusion that Washington’s 14-year high-value targeting campaign suffers from an over-reliance on signals intelligence, an apparently incalculable civilian toll, and — due to a preference for assassination rather than capture — an inability to extract potentially valuable intelligence from terror suspects. They also highlight the futility of the war in Afghanistan by showing how the U.S. has poured vast resources into killing local insurgents, in the process exacerbating the very threat the U.S. is seeking to confront. The Intercept 

One might almost be forgiven therefore  for coming to  the conclusion that  the intent of the U.S. targeted killing process is  not to  eliminate the sources of terror, but to  exacerbate them.

drone operator
Drone operator cabin- Daily Mail Australia

As we have seen in many a colonial  war, those who  ‘hand in’ terrorists to  the colonial  power inevitably have their own  agendas;  feuding families and clans, or perhaps financial   or property interests, but rarely because they  are in  fact  ‘terrorists”.  In addition we  can be certain  that  US military  and State Dept claims of minimal   ‘collateral  damage’ (accidental  killing of civilians who  get in the way  of a  drone  missile’s large detonation area)  are complete fabrications. And we can be certain too  that drone operators have less than minimal  knowledge of foreign cultural  issues- e.g. the difference between a  wedding party celebrating by firing automatic weapons into  the air and a  terrorist  group in weapons training , let alone  their drone “eyes” having sufficient  definition to  pick  up  who  is who  on the ground.

So,  when  dear President Obama  gives the thumbs down  on that particular baseball  card, he really has no  idea what  he is agreeing  to; other than that  his decision will  kill  someone or more likely , quite a few  people, out there . But of course, if  that Hellfire  missile with  its 9kg warhead  just  happens to  kill a few other  ‘military-age males’  in the vicinity of the explosion,  all  to the good.  By  using  remote killing mechanisms  the US president can appear to  take a Herod-like hands-off approach  to  the art of murder, with  the added benefit of limited  capacity of verifying what  carnage has  actually occurred on the ground.

In addition the United States’  penchant for targeting  supposed ‘leaders’ of terrorist  groups, rather than  their supply lines, infrastructure or financial  backers, means that  drones can be used over and over to  kill  the next leader who  takes the deceased’s  place in  the leadership line; or as in  many cases , the United States simply ‘kills’ the same person  over and over again; such  is the usefulness of remote unverified killing.

United States government lawyers have in  the past contorted themselves in  all  sorts of unusual  positions to justify  remote murder by  executive order,  much as their  contracted psychiatrists  managed to  create a lofty argument that  putting  prisoners through  ‘stress positions’  was not in  fact  totally illegal,  inhumane  torture and contravened  international  human  rights on  a grand scale.

President Obama has even been known  to joke publicly about his life and death  decision-making powers, not too  dissimilar from his psychopathic Secretary  of State ,  Hilary Clinton.

I hope I will  be around to  see  them  stand before the International  tribunal.


Links

https://theintercept.com/drone-papers/the-assassination-complex/

http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-presidents-kill-list

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/uploads/2013.05.23_fact_sheet_on_ppg.pdf

https://www.aclu.org/news/aclu-comment-presidents-national-security-speech

https://www.aclu.org/issues/national-security/targeted-killing

https://www.aclu.org/foia-collection/targeted-killing-foia-database

https://www.aclu.org/foia-document/joint-targeting-cycle-and-collateral-damage-estimation-methodology

https://theintercept.com/document/2015/10/14/geolocation-watchlist/

https://www.lawfareblog.com/kill-list-baseball-cards-and-targeting-paper-trail

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249252/Brandon-Bryant-Drone-operator-followed-orders-shoot-child–decided-quit.html

Patriotism: The Refuge of Scoundrels

The blog heading is one of Mark Twain’s quotes. But here is  a much  better one from Mr Clemens.

Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people’s countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood of his hands and works for “the universal brotherhood of man”- with his mouth.
– “The Lowest Animal”- Mark Twain

Today, in my little part of the world; it is once again  Anzac Day, originally  commemorated to  mark  the bloody  failure  of the  British  Empire’s coordinated attack on Turkish  positions in the Dardanelles at  Gallipoli   in World War One, but now, ( supposedly) it ‘acknowledges the sacrifice of all those who have died in warfare, and the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.” Strangely however  this commemoration of all  who  have died in  wars is marked by   artillery salutes, marching uniformed men and much  fanfare about  this country’s patriotism. We are encouraged to  believe that Anzac Day now promotes a sense of unity, perhaps more effectively than any other day on the national calendar. People whose politics, beliefs and aspirations are widely different can nevertheless share a genuine sorrow at the loss of so many lives in war, and a real respect for those who have endured warfare on behalf of the country we live in. (New Zealand Government).

I for one,  am  appalled  that  the majority consensus in New Zealand appears to  be that  ‘plucky little New Zealand’  became a real  country  with its own  identity, and not just  a member of the British  Empire, by  maiming and killing its way through  a series of foreign “adventures”.  The one possible exception to this catastrophic jingoistic litany of murder and mayhem, is New Zealand’s very  real  contribution to  the war  against  Nazi Germany and  Japan  during the Second World War, when  a New Zealand invasion by  the Japanese Imperial Army was a high  probability at  one point.

Every  other war  we have fought, we have fought at  the behest  of others-  from  the genocide inflicted on the Boers during the Boer Wars as part of the British  Imperial  Army’s need to maintain  control of South African assets, the First  World War’s bizarre clash of European monarchies , the  staggering level  of genocide  inflicted on Koreans  by  the “Allies’ (including New Zealand naval  bombardment  of civilian areas) during the Korean War, our implicit involvement in American  genocide in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, our explicit connection to  rendering of Afghan suspects to   U.S. torture centres in Afghanistan, and our ongoing  complicity in the Five Eyes  intelligence project,  which  currently serves American  and U.K. interests in  promoting terrorism  around the world and destroying  human rights.

All in all,  it is not a record I for one am proud of.  Our ongoing subservience to  the  paranoid and psychopathic American  war machine and its  business interests, serves no-one’s interests  on this planet, other than  a few  crazed right wing  American  idealogues and the military/industrial  complex.

I was proud of my country  when our prime minister of the time, Norman Kirk, sent frigates to  Muroroa Atoll  in the south Pacific,  to protest  the French  destroying that island with nuclear bombs and contaminating the environment for thousands of miles.  I was proud when  our prime minister of the day,  David Lange, announced we would henceforth  be a nuclear-free nation, and even a little proud when prime minister Helen Clark refused to send   significant ground troops to Iraq  to  support the American  invasion there.  But we have sunk to new lows since those times, in obsequiously following our U.S.  masters into Iraq once more, to   fight a stupendously foolish  war  in Afghanistan,  and to  mouth support for America’s duplicitous  ‘war on terror’   while  unconditionally  supporting the key  centres of terror in the world; Saudi Arabia and Turkey,  along with support for the 60  year  old  brutal  Israeli  occupation of Palestine .

Despite successive  New Zealand governments’ posturings that  we are now a sovereign nation  because of Anzac Day, when are we truly going to be a proud and  independent nation  who  stands in truth  for peace and international justice?