Tag Archives: war on terror

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 Rogue State that is the United States of America

As  one more US aircraft  carrier  steams  off to  confront the North Koreans and threaten nuclear war once again , it is timely to  recall  that  60  years ago  the United States and its allies (including a very  compliant New Zealand) began  a genocidal  bombing of every  town  and city in  the north of Korea.  Millions of Koreans died. Since that  war ended,  the largest and nuclear superpower in  the world has refused to  sign  a peace treaty  with  North Korea,  has stationed thousands of troops  and weapons along its South Korean border and has regularly  threatened to nuke North  Korea,  applied  annual  large scale attack  manoeuvres along the border with North Korea, as well  as  implementing  sanctions that in  several years since the war,  caused mass starvation in  the north.   Small  wonder that the North  Korean  regime might be considered  paranoid and unstable!
Ironically, the United States has absolutely no  interest  in  the Korean peninsula and its peoples;  its sole rationale for  maintaining the ongoing conflict  with North Korea is to justify  maintaining the extensive military  bases encircling China, with the support of the Japanese. China has recently  proposed “As a first step, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) may suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises,” but  this eminently reasonable offer has been  once again  refused by  the United States because it would reduce the threat to  China.
While the latest  American  President is  also  considered unstable and unreliable, it is  important to  recognise that every American president’s  foreign  policy  since the 1900s   has almost entirely consisted of  a psychopathic policy of violence and war and repeated acts of genocide:-  in  the Philippines,   at  Hiroshima and Nagasaki,  in  Korea, Vietnam and Laos,   in Iraq,   and Libya,  as well  as support for unspeakable acts of murder and  terror in South  America .  Its  full logistical and weaponry  support for the starvation of millions of Yemen ‘s children by  Saudi Arabia  because they do  not share the Saudi regime’s  extremist  and sectarian Wahhabist views,  (ably supported in  this war of terror by  its sycophantic ally, the United Kingdon),  tells you exactly where the United States’ current moral  and ethical  foreign policy stands.
The old fiction of the “Shining City Upon  a Hill”  –  an American beacon of hope, democracy,  liberty and freedom ,  has been ceaselessly trotted out by American  Presidents  over the years and regurgitated by  the American mainstream  media. Now the facade of that  shining city is falling away;-exposing the house of horrors within.
United States  foreign policy  does not recognise the international  rules of war or human rights obligations;   it stands above any necessity for humanity or compassion or  peaceful  solution to  conflicts.  It is in fact,  a rogue state.

Links

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 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.

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?

 

 

Syrian Blowback?

The attacks by  Islamist extremists  in Paris on 13th and 14th   November  are one of a long series of terrorist attacks in France. The characteristics of those supposedly involved are interesting:  young males in  their late 20s, association with  drug-dealings, one whose  recent  employment was  destroyed by  a Police decision to  shut down his part-owned café because of suspected drug-peddling, poverty and refugees- yet not a strong connection to  an Islamic tradition  of the extremist  Wahhabist  sect  that  espouses asceticism and the  hatred of other non Sunni sects.

As with  many other  civilian  targeted  terrorists attacks around the world , they occurred the same day  as a   major Paris medical response drill to a terrorist attack; coincidence? -probably…

We need to  acknowledge  that  Western intelligence  services, particularly those governments heavily involved in  destabilising Syria -eg France, have turned a blind eye to   young men   going to  Syria to fight in  the extremist  Takfiri    groups against  the Assad government regime there. Small  wonder then  that  France’s intelligence agencies were fully aware of the main perpetrators of the Paris attacks , and did nothing.

Despite  some attempts, particularly by  American mainstream  media, to portray  those joining ISIS and the other Al Qaeda offshoots in Syria as dedicated to  Islamic values and a return  to  a ‘golden age’ of a caliphate; the reality appears very  different.  These are predominantly  angry  young men, dispossessed,  poor with  few prospects to make money  or a career in  the West, lured by  promises of glory, violence and a new world where they  are the rulers of destiny.  Western Intelligence and Gulf State governments’ cynical manipulation of these dispossessed, has resulted in  the catastrophe  that  is the Middle East.  Over the past few years, the United States’ half-hearted attempts to   destroy  ISIS with  limited bombing runs  and a focus on destroying extremist leaders’ rather than  extremist  infrastructure, has led ISIS and the other Al  Qaeda affiliates in Syria and Iraq, to believe they  are impervious to  Western threats of force.

The recent  extremely intensive  aerial  bombardment by   Russian  air-force  and  missiles of  terrorist infrastructure in Syria,  has  changed the strategic balance. No  more is it likely, as the Americans would have it, are we in  for a ‘long war’ against  ISIS.  The militant groups are fast  approaching the point where  keeping  large concentrations of  militants  on  the ground and thereby  ‘holding ground’, will be impossible. A resort to guerrilla tactics is therefore likely, but with  vastly less impact  on the Syrian population and landscape.

Small  wonder the that  France and the other colonialist  governments in  the West  are concerned about the impacts of Russian attacks in  Syria. Where else do  the militants go;  but home?  We are likely therefore to  see many more attacks  in the West by  disenfranchised Muslim youth, skilled in  the use of explosives and  weapons, in the months to  come.

Postscript

The shooting down  of a  Russian SU24 bomber  close to  the Syrian/Turkish  border  by  a Turkish  Airforce  F16 on November 24th, has been downplayed in most media as something that is kind of unfortunate and will  ‘blow over’.

The reality is somewhat  different. This is the first  time that  a state agency (the Ankara Erdogan government) has explicitly  supported its ISIS and Al Qaeda allies, along with  the Turkmen mujaheddin  allied with  Al  Qaeda: a state agency  that has apparently ‘pretended’ to  support the war  against  ISIS and now shows its colours- hence the ‘stab in the back ‘ statement by  President Putin

The   shooting down   in what  appears to  be Syrian airspace is a serious violation , along with the not unexpected violation of the Geneva Conventions by  the Turkmen ‘insurgents’ killing the parachuting ejected pilots in  the air.  NATO, while urging  caution in the Russian  response, clearly does not wish  to  see itself allied with  such  reckless actions by  President Erdogan of Turkey, and has indicated its belief that  the shootdown occurred in  Syrian air-space.

The ramifications of this act are enormous, and will  likely lead to  significant internal  rumblings by  the Turkish military  against  this further slide of  the Erdogan  government towards   Islamic extremism within  and without Turkey. There are also  clear lines of accountability to  senior Turkish politicians benefiting from  the sale of ISIS oil .

While the Russian government has requested the immediate discontinuation of Russian  tourists visiting Turkey, the trade  sanctions responses to  Turkey  are likely to be severe  in an already  vulnerable Turkish  economy. The ongoing deployment of S300  and S400  anti-air batteries by  the Syrians and Russians, along with the deployment of fighter air cover for Russian bombers is likely to  result in a shootdown of Turkish fighters if Erdogan is not restrained. How will  NATO respond?  Whatever happens, the  long term   outcomes of this reckless  action spell  disaster for Turkey.

See the interesting and informative article by  Gareth  Porter on his interpretation of Turkey’s recent actions in Syria here


Links

http://original.antiwar.com/porter/2015/11/30/the-real-reason-for-turkeys-shoot-down-of-the-russian-jet/

http://atimes.com/2015/12/is-the-west-turning-syria-into-a-new-afghanistan-in-the-mediterranean/

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2015/12/putin-announces-war-on-tayyeep-bin-ardogan-over-fighter-shoot-down-and-bosphorus-blockade.html#more

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/12/03/more-coming-out-on-isis-kingpin-bilal-erdogan/

http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2015/12/09/elephant-room-terrorism-and-us-gulf-states-alliance

http://thesaker.is/erdogan-the-trojan-horse-of-terror/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06s0qy9

The Farcical “War on Terror”

Reports are now  coming thick and fast  from  both the Middle East  and from the  United Stated sources of the  role the United States  and its key allies have played in  first  establishing and  then maintaining   ISIS, Al Qaeda and numerous other salafist  affiliates, under the  flimsy  guise of them being  “moderate” jihadists.

As one more instance of this support, the  recent  debacle of a defeat for Iraqi troops against  ISIS in Ramadi points to  the clear decision by United States  forces not to  conduct  airstrikes  against  ISIS  positions, when there was every   opportunity to  do  so., and the US recommendation to  the Iraqi government not to deploy Shi-ite militias in Ramadi The United States is now  aggrieved that Iranian military players are now directly involved in  the re-taking of Ramadi for the Iraqi government .

The consistent intent  for   United States policy  since the Iranian revolution in1979,  has been to  contain and eliminate any potential threat from Shi-ite groups that might negatively impact on the US supported Persian Gulf (Sunni) dictatorships. The Gulf State dictatorships have consistently demonstrated  their unconditional  support  and loyalty  for  US and Israeli  imperial  policies  in  the region; unlike the Shi-ite  states of Iran, Syria and now Iraq, who  foolishly prefer a path of self-determination for their peoples.

The usual   pack of neocon  psychopaths , with John Bolton  snarling in  the lead, has been  to  attempt to  ramp up the non-existent Iranian nuclear weapon threat, to provide unconditional  support for Israeli genocide in  Palestine and to support   anything , regardless of international law or the rights of humanity, that  will extend the United State’s power internationally. If that means  using delusional  Saudi  and Qatari “princes”  to  find and resource even more psychotic ISIS military leaders,who  believe that  all Shi-ites must  be exterminated;  then so be it.

There is clear evidence of an ongoing policy by  the neocons to destroy secular Middle East  governments ( ie not specifically Sunni  oriented governments) like Saddam’s  Iraq, Libya, Syria, which  can lead  on to the ultimate goal  for the US, Israel  and the Saudis; the destruction of Shi-ite  Iran. The  Saudi bombardment of Yemen’s Houthi movement and all  Yemeni  civilians , is  just  a minor diversion  in  the larger game plan.

The recent public announcement by the US that  it wil  be funding training  and arming  “moderate” Syrian opposition forces to  fight the Syrian Assad regime , is one more step  in this bizarre and farcical journey of creating  monsters to  kill them. As has  been clearly demonstrated; there is in fact no  “moderate” opposition fighters. It is possible that  at  the beginning of the fight against  Assad in the “spontaneous” Arab Spring uprising against  him , that  there were a few  secular   and moderate voices, but they have long gone.  As this Department of Defence report for 2012 clearly indicates,   the US knew well  (even 3 years ago) that  the Syrian opposition  fighters that it supported and continues to  support, were  almost entirely composed of extremist jihadists and salafist ( anti-Shiite and anti  any other non-Sunni sect)

Additional  little snippets of the tight connection between Western governments and Middle East  terrorist  groups can  be  found in Seamus Milne’s account here.  Or the recent post  in  the Levant Report documenting how  the ISIS Leader Omar al-Shishani Fought Under U.S. Umbrella as Late as 2013

But even  in these accounts, Western  reporters are  extremely cautious in ascribing  a direct  linkage between  terror and the West ; one  which  now undoubtedly exists. Note how key Western governments are now happy to pay ISIS good prices for their stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil.

Or note ex-President of  Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai’s view that  the U.S is actively taking a two  sided approach  to  creation and  destruction of jihadist  groups to  serve its power interests.

Time and time again  we are seeing reports in  the mainstream U.S. and U.K. media that  ISIS is here to  stay  for  the long term; how hard it will be  to eliminate them; and really, things are such  a lot better for those people in Iraq, Libya and Syria now that  ISIS and its Western  subsidised offshoots are there.  After all  we have “law and order”-never mind that this “law” is an obscene  psychopathic one  As a “delightful ” example of this  obscene  Western view on  that”Isis isn’t really that bad” -read this article in the U.K. Independent by   Richard Barrett (who) was head of counter-terrorism at MI6 before spending nine years as the co-ordinator of the UN’s Al-Qaeda and Taliban Monitoring Team.

What  you sow, so  shall  you reap……

 Postscript

A great  article on where all  that wonderful  hardware comes from  that ISIS  uses at  Antiwar.com http://original.antiwar.com/Dan_Sanchez/2015/06/15/where-does-isis-get-those-wonderful-toys/, which rather begs the question; who is training those little psychopaths in all  this new hi-tech  equipment?

And some additional information from  Andrew P Napolitano  at  antiwar. com brings to  the sunlight  at  least one war equipment  ratline managed by  Secretary  of State Clinton to  terrorists in Libya and Syria .

And from Sibel Edmonds, ex-American intelligence operative; a podcast  on  the role of the U.S. Black-ops community in  establishing and maintaining  various international   terrorist  groups


Links

http://journal-neo.org/2015/05/25/washington-confesses-to-backing-questionable-actors-in-syria/

http://original.antiwar.com/Dan_Sanchez/2015/06/08/the-us-governments-not-so-secret-support-for-al-qaeda-and-isis/

http://rt.com/op-edge/265474-isis-syria-iraq-rebels/

 

U.S. Dept of Defence classified report on Syria 2012

Greatest Threat to Free Speech Comes Not From Terrorism, But From Those Claiming to Fight It: The Intercept

We learned recently from Paris that the Western world is deeply and passionately committed to free expression and ready to march and fight against attempts to suppress it. That’s a really good thing, since there are all sorts of severe suppression efforts underway in the West — perpetrated not by The Terrorists but by the western politicians claiming to fight them.

Read more here

What more do I need to say?

Link

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/05/13/greatest-threat-free-speech-comes-terrorism-claiming-fight/

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2015/05/us-intelligence-predicted-us-support-for-rebels-in-syria-would-lead-to-fall-of-ramadi.html

Judicial Watch download of State Dept document 2012

U.S. Dept of Defence classified report on Syria 2012
U.S. Dept of Defence classified report on Syria 2012 (page 1)