Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Presidents and the War Power

Presidents and the War Power


Bombs Over Libya

President Barack Obama's claim that he doesn't need congressional authorization for his current war in Iraq and Syria is troubling. The country's founders would pass out upon hearing his claim that the post-9/11 congressional approval of force in 2001 against the perpetrators of those attacks and their abettors and the congressional resolution approving George W. Bush's invasion of Saddam Hussein's Iraq in 2003 give him the current authority for a very different war against very different people. However, Obama is not the first president to believe that he has the rather imperial authority for war by executive fiat.

Up until 1950, for major conflicts, presidents followed the nation's founders' intent in the U.S. Constitution to obtain a declaration of war from Congress. For the Korean War, however, Harry Truman, really the first imperial president, decided that this vital constitutional requirement was optional. Unfortunately, as I note in my new book -- Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty -- once a bad precedent is set, meaning that the chief executive gets away with an unconstitutional act, future presidents will cite it in carrying out their own questionable actions.

Over American history, that process has thus resulted in an expansion of presidential power much past what the founders had envisioned when they wrote their constitutional blueprint. Thinking of the powerful European monarchs of the day, who took their countries to war on a whim and let the costs in blood and treasure fall to their unfortunate citizens, the founders wanted an executive with severely restricted powers. Congress was to be the dominant branch of government, and the executive's role merely was to narrowly execute and enforce laws passed by that body. Even the president's commander-in-chief role, much abused by modern chief executives, was to be restricted narrowly to commanding the U.S. military in battle. In fact, contrary to the conventional belief in Washington and among the American public, the Constitution gives most of the powers in defense and foreign affairs to the Congress, not to the president. The erroneous notion that the chief executive is the "sole organ of American foreign policy," derives from the non-binding part of a Supreme Court decision in the 1930s (that is, fairly recently).

In the Constitution, the founders signaled their intent for Congress to approve even minor uses of force by the United States. The document says that Congress will issue letters of marque and reprisal. At the time, letters of marque were issued to private ship captains to raid an enemy nation's commerce.

So it is curious from his past behavior that Obama, a constitutional lawyer, believes that if he avoids putting "combat troops" on the ground -- defining this narrowly to exclude Special Forces hunting terrorists and American military trainers of local forces -- and limits his attacks to air strikes, it's not a real war that would require congressional approval. His criterion seems to be that if no Americans would be killed, it's not a "war" that the Congress needs to bother with authorizing. Yet aircraft can get shot down or malfunction and pilots can be captured or killed. Also, the people being bombed would probably call it a war, and so the people's representatives in Congress might want to comment on whether the United States should be in a state of hostilities with them.

The people's representatives don't always make the right decision -- as they didn't in President James Madison's pointless War of 1812, James Polk's war of aggression against the weaker Mexico to steal its land, William McKinley's colonial Spanish-American War, or Woodrow Wilson's ruining of the twentieth century by American entry into World War I -- but they should at least get to vote, as the nation's founders intended and the Constitution states.

Dubious Osama bin Laden Documents: A Pretext for a War on Iran

Dubious Osama bin Laden Documents: A Pretext for a War on Iran


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The CIA has given the Long War Journal exclusive access to the supposed Osama bin Laden files taken from his “compound” in Pakistan.

The Long War Journal is a project of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) where its editors are senior fellows. The foundation is a refuge for neocons and a staunch supporters of Israel and its policies. It is also a vocal advocate of confronting Iran.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise the CIA “shared” a carefully selected portion of the documents — some 500,000 files — with the Long War Journal.

The released documents focus on Iran and its supposed relationship with al-Qaeda.

On November 1, NBC News reported:
The trove also provides new insight into the often adversarial relationship between al Qaeda and Iran — the Sunni Muslim terror group and the Shiite republic — in the form of a 19-page report described by the Long War Journal as “a senior jihadist’s assessment of the group’s relationship with Iran.”
Intelligence officials describe the report as “evidence of Iran’s support of al Qaeda’s war with the United States.”

It cites the escape of al-Qaeda members from Afghanistan to Iran after the US invaded Afghanistan. I have written about this previously. There is no evidence al-Qaeda worked with Iran. Iranian officials said they have held al-Qaeda members in detainment, although they will not release further information, including names.

Once again, the neocons are attempting to spread lies and fabrication as a pretext to step up hostilities against Iran, same as they did with Iraq.

The CIA and the neocons at FDD are counting on the ignorance of the American people to sell these lies. It’s safe to say most Americans are unaware of the fact Shiite (Iran) and Sunni Muslims (primarily the Saudi Wahhabi variety) are sworn enemies and it is extremely unlikely they would cooperate on anything.

Naturally, the establishment media grabbed this fairy tale and ran with it.

“Iran and al-Qaeda: Best of Frenemies,” headlines Bloomberg.

The alt-right aka New Right website Breitbart, once again home to former Trump strategist Stephen Bannon, writes that “[a]mong the most interesting revelations are details of Iran’s collusion with al-Qaeda and bin Laden’s citation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a formative influence on his political thought.”

Is this the same Muslim Brotherhood that collaborated with the CIA?

“According to CIA agent Miles Copeland, the Americans began looking for a Muslim Billy Graham around 1955… When finding or creating a Muslim Billy Graham proved elusive, the CIA began to cooperate with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim mass organization founded in Egypt but with followers throughout the Arab Middle East,” writes Arab historian Said Aburish.

For more, see this interview with F. William Engdahl.

After Trump said he wants to designate both the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as terrorist organizations, the CIA stepped in and said that wouldn’t be a good idea. The agency is currently headed up by Mike Pompeo, a rabid anti-Iran zealot.

“MB groups enjoy widespread support across the Near East-North Africa region and many Arabs and Muslims worldwide would view an MB designation as an affront to their core religious and societal values,” according to the CIA.

I’m curious what Arabs and Muslims think about the CIA’s killer drone program and Trump’s merciless bombing of Syria. Is this considered an affront to their core religious and societal values?

It seems the non-stop deluge of negative news — including this latest batch of fairy tales — has resulted in an unfavorable view of Iran by Americans. If Pew Research can be believed, only 14 percent of Americans hold a favorable view of Iran and nearly 70 percent disapprove of the Iran nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, thanks to endless propaganda, many Americans look favorably on Saudi Arabia, a country where 92 percent of citizens approve of the Islamic State.

“One might reasonably wonder, then: why do Americans hate and fear Iran, over and above even the nation — the royal family and their clerics — that were actually behind 9/11? Might it be, perhaps, because the Shia clerics of Iran are as fundamentalist as the Sunni ones in Saudi Arabia? Not at all; but, yet, Americans seem to assume that that’s the case,” writes Eric Zuesse.

I disagree with Zuesse on his belief that Saudi Arabia was the prime motivator behind the 9/11 attacks. It certainly participated, but the blame falls squarely on the United States and its intelligence agencies. If not for the CIA and Saudi partnership, there would be no al-Qaeda, no al-Nusra, no Islamic State, and other Wahhabi terrorist organizations.

Reprinted with author's permission from Medium.com.

Washington Corruption Is Unparalleled In History

Washington Corruption Is Unparalleled In History
By Paul Craig Roberts
November 07, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - Dr. George Szamuely, a distinguished member of the Global Policy Institute of London Metropolitan University, is a British citizen and not a partisan of US politics. He has carefully investigated the so-called Russian dossier and reports that it was entirely the work of the Hillary Democrats.
This fact was known at the beginning both to former CIA director John Brennan and to former FBI director James Comey. Yet both went along with the DNC-invented story of Russian election hacking and Christopher Steele’s fake “dossier” on Trump’s imagined relations with Russians.
The presstitute media told the lies that they were supposed to tell. The consequence of this plot has been to waste the first year of Trump’s presidency and to prevent President Trump from reducing the dangerously high tensions with nuclear power Russia. This is a disservice not only to President Trump but also to the American people and the planet itself.
Dr. Szamuely delivers the sordid details of the plot by a corrupt American establishment to destroy a president selected by the people and not by the ruling interest groups.
You can read the story here:
The arrest of Paul Manafort by former FBI director Robert Mueller is a further indication of the corrupt character of Washington and the “law” that it utilizes as a weapon. Mueller is supposed to be investigating “Russiagate.” His arrest of Manafort has nothing whatsoever to do with Russiagate. Mueller arrested Manafort on the basis of allegations that in 2006, a decade prior to “Russiagate,” Manafort did not report as income payments he received as an unregistered agent for the Ukrainian government.

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According to newspaper reports at the time, Zionist Neoconservative Richard Perle, a former member of the Defense Policy Board and an Assistant Secretary of Defense, served as an unregistered agent for Turkey and was not arrested for his violation of the registration act.
But Manafort is different. By arresting Manafort, who served for a time as Trump’s presidential campaign manager, Mueller can pile on false charges until Manafort buys his way out by providing Mueller with false charges against Trump.
In US federal courts today, charges no longer have to be proven, just asserted. If Trump’s surrender to the military/security complex and abandonment of his intention to normalize relations with Russia do not suffice to make Trump acceptable to the military/security complex, Mueller can squeeze Manafort until Manafort agrees to whatever story Mueller hands him. The last thing Manafort or Trump can count on is justice. There has been no justice in the US “Justice” system for decades.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.
See also -
 

Libya, Syria, Ukraine – Same Playbook, Same Puppet Masters

Libya, Syria, Ukraine – Same Playbook, Same Puppet Masters
By Chris Kanthan
November 07, 2017 "Information Clearing House" -  Geopolitics becomes a lot easier if we can discern repeating patterns. For example, the common thread through the crises in Ukraine, Libya and Syria is a clever but ruthless playbook of regime-change. This stratagem of toppling governments while appearing noble should perhaps be called the “geopolitics of crocodile tears.”
There were times in history when a powerful country would simply invade the weaker ones. Now the elites resort to elaborate Hollywood-style scripts brimming with inspiring heroes, sob stories and altruistic efforts.
Here are the simple facts: Libya and Syria were a tad bit too independent and successful, and thus have been targeted by globalists for a long time. Ukraine, which borders Russia, is a treasured piece on the geopolitical chessboard – get Ukraine and Crimea, you weaken Russia immensely.
The fundamental ploy in Libya, Syria and Ukraine was the same: rile up the population and then stage a coup in the midst of chaos, while claiming to liberate the people.
The coup is carried out in many stages.
Stage 1: Planned Protests
Stage 2: Protesters killed, leading to outrage and UN resolutions/sanctions
Stage 3: Armed mutiny and attempts to force the government out
Stage 4: If Stage 3 fails, sponsor a full-fledged civil war to overthrow the government
Simple enough? Let’s hop on the time machine back to 2011.
Act 1: “Peaceful” protests
While all three cases were portrayed as “peaceful protests,” the facts on the ground couldn’t be more antithetical. The beginning is always peaceful and this sets the tone of the narrative. But truly peaceful protests always fizzle out when there is no major crisis in a nation.
The art of protests and violence are not well understood by the public. There are many elites and groups who are experts in mass psychology. Just like a clever marketing person creating a viral ad, there are social engineering gurus who know how to create protests and riots. For example, with 10 provocateurs and 100 well-paid community leaders, one can easily create a protest of few thousand people and then turn it into a riot. Once chaos begins, mob mentality sets in, and then innocent protesters morph into dangerous elements.
With enough money and weapons, you can overthrow any government.
Libya was a stable and wealthy country under Gaddafi. Everyone had access to free school, free college and free healthcare; young married couples got a free apartment; and Libya had the highest HDI (Human Development Index) in Africa. Similarly, Syria was prosperous and safe. Under Assad, the GDP had tripled (in US dollars), inflation was low, and debt was cut in half. Millions of tourists visited Syria every year because it was beautiful, free and safe. In Ukraine, the economy wasn’t so great and people weren’t too happy with the politicians, but that’s normal for Ukraine.
So how do you organize protests in such situations? In Libya, the excuse was “Day of Rage,” which was the anniversary of clashes in 2006 when police killed a few protesters. For the first few days in 2011, the protests and the riots were limited to small, remote towns. Large cities such as Tripoli, the capital, were calm and seemed unaware of the protests.
In Syria, the first few attempts to organize protests in February failed miserably. Then with more money and propaganda through Saudi-funded mosques, the protests began in March in Daraa, a small border town (which is close to … ahem … the U.S. military base in Jordan). The famous Omari mosque in Daraa turned into a warehouse for weapons, ammunition and cash. Just like in Libya, large cities such as Damascus and Aleppo were quiet and normal.
In Ukraine, thanks to George Soros, USAID and NED, there was a well-established system of grassroots movement that could spring into action at a moment’s notice. Outside of Kiev, there were no protests, but the media made it seem like the whole country was behind the Euromaidan faux revolution.
At this point, the corporate media all over the world would show wonderful pictures and videos of peaceful protesters demanding freedom and justice. Who can be against that? The media always makes sure that these protests are labeled “spontaneous.” Of course, most people outside these countries believe the narrative.
Act 2 Scene 1: Provocateurs and Snipers
This is where peaceful protests turn violent and bloody. However, there is a twist in the plot that is hidden from the public: the use of provocateurs and snipers by the same people who organized the protests. These trained provocateurs would attack the police/military and burn down government buildings. Some of them are like Antifa, but others are professional militants armed with lethal weapons and trained to kill.
In Libya, on the third day of the protests, police stations and security headquarters were burned down. In Syria, even before the protests spread to other places, dozens of Syrian military soldiers were ambushed and shot to death. (I describe the events in Syria in details in my book, Syria – War of Deception). In Kiev, masked thugs threw Molotov cocktails and beat up the police with chains and iron rods.
Then, at the end of Act 2 Scene 1, snipers come in to radically alter the story. Carefully placed on rooftops and tall buildings, the snipers target the police and the protesters. When the police are shot at, they naturally assume that the bullets came from the protesters, and so the police fire back. Sometimes there are also provocateurs with guns on the ground among the protesters, and they shoot at the police as well.
 
In Libya, to add fuel to the fire, the snipers cruelly shot and killed 15 people in a funeral. In Ukraine, analysis of bullets and shells proved that the same snipers killed both the protesters and the police.
Ignoring all these, the global media and the politicians have only one narrative regarding all three countries: the government brutally attacked/murdered peaceful protesters. (Example: NPR’s article discussing in June 2011 an incident where 120 Syrian soldiers were massacred and mutilated by the “peaceful protesters.”)
Act 2, Scene 2: Political/Economic Attack
Regarding Libya, Merkel said right away that Gaddafi was waging war on his own people. Western media screamed that Gaddafi was firing on his own people. The White House condemned Gaddafi for using mass violence against his own people.
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A month later, the exact phrase was used against Assad. In Assad’s case, this propaganda would last for the next six years, and later expanded to “Assad kills and gases his own people.”
In Ukraine, after the president was ousted, he was charged with “mass killing of civilians.”
This technique is a well-known form of psychological warfare and is called atrocity propaganda.
With crocodile tears and faux outrage, the West came up with UN resolutions against Syria and Libya, which were probably written months before.
Act 3: Bloodless Coup
In Ukraine, the West used neo-Nazis rather than jihadists as the provocateurs. The CIA befriended pro-Nazi Ukrainians (who were thus anti-Russian) right after WW II and the relationship never went away.
Yanukovych was a democratically elected President of Ukraine who had also twice been the Prime Minister. In 2004, he won the Presidency, but George Soros organized a “color revolution” and clamored for a new election. Lo and behold, the pro-US candidate won with 51% of the vote in the new election.
Then six years later, Yanukovych ran again and won the presidency fair and square. Four years into his presidency, he was simply driven out of the country by the US/EU coalition.
This is the reality of U.S. spreading “democracy.” You are free to choose whoever you want, as long as it’s the right candidate.
In Libya and Syria, Gaddafi and Assad were tough and not so willing to give up easily. Within a month after the first protest in Libya and Syria, the UN had passed resolutions that authorized arming “civilians” (a.k.a jihadists), and also gave NATO the right to shoot down Libyan planes. The Orwellian term “No Fly Zones” meant that only Gaddafi couldn’t fly his planes, but NATO/US planes could. On March 19, one month after the protests started, the US started bombing Libya with Tomahawk missiles. Syria was saved from NATO attacks, thanks to Russia and China.
Act 4 – Civil War
In Libya and Syria, weapons and money poured from the outside to fuel the civil war. Libya fell within a year, since NATO acted as the air force for the terrorists and destroyed Gaddafi’s planes, tanks and arsenals.
In Syria, less than half of 1% of the population joined the armed militia. This is why the “revolution” faltered after a few months, and tens of thousands of foreign jihadists had to fly into Syria. Thanks to the billions of dollars of cash and weapons from benevolent Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others, the war went on for six years, destroying a prosperous country and ruining the lives of 20 million people.
Trail of Chaos
Six years later, Libya still doesn’t have a unified government; Al Qaeda and militias rule half the country; and there is even slavery now. More than a million Libyans have fled to Europe, creating new problems.
Syria’s GDP has fallen 65% since 2011, its debt has doubled, Al Qaeda holds a large province, and it may take twenty years to rebuild the country.
Ukraine is split in half, and people who have lived together for 1000 years are now at war with each other. Using Ukraine as an excuse, the US and NATO are now spending billions to counter “Russia’s threat.”
So this is the geopolitical strategy of protests, proxy wars, and propaganda. Americans need to wake up, understand geopolitics, and demand an end to these expensive and immoral wars of chaos, misery and destruction.
Chris Kanthan is the author of a new book, Syria – War of Deception. It’s available in a condensed as well as a longer version. Chris lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, has traveled to 35 countries, and writes about world affairs, politics, economy and health. His other book is Deconstructing Monsanto.
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"Explosive" Leaked Secret Israeli Cable Confirms Israeli-Saudi Coordination To Provoke War

"Explosive" Leaked Secret Israeli Cable Confirms Israeli-Saudi Coordination To Provoke War

By Tyler Durden
November 07, 2017 "Information Clearing House" -  Early this morning, Israeli Channel 10 news published a leaked diplomatic cable which had been sent to all Israeli ambassadors throughout the world concerning the chaotic events that unfolded over the weekend in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, which began with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's unexpected resignation after he was summoned to Riyadh by his Saudi-backers, and led to the Saudis announcing that Lebanon had "declared war" against the kingdom. 
The classified embassy cable, written in Hebrew, constitutes the first formal evidence proving that the Saudis and Israelis are deliberately coordinating to escalate the situation in the Middle East. 
The explosive classified Israeli cable reveals the following:
  • On Sunday, just after Lebanese PM Hariri's shocking resignation, Israel sent a cable to all of its embassies with the request that its diplomats do everything possible to ramp up diplomatic pressure against Hezbollah and Iran.
  • The cable urged support for Saudi Arabia's war against Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen.
  • The cable stressed that Iran was engaged in "regional subversion". 
  • Israeli diplomats were urged to appeal to the "highest officials" within their host countries to attempt to expel Hezbollah from Lebanese government and politics. 
As is already well-known, the Saudi and Israeli common cause against perceived Iranian influence and expansion in places like Syria, Lebanon and Iraq of late has led the historic bitter enemies down a pragmatic path of unspoken cooperation as both seem to have placed the break up of the so-called "Shia crescent" as their primary policy goal in the region. For Israel, Hezbollah has long been its greatest foe, which Israeli leaders see as an extension of Iran's territorial presence right up against the Jewish state's northern border. 
The Israeli reporter who obtained the document is Barak Ravid, senior diplomatic correspondent for Channel 10 News. Ravid announced the following through Twitter yesterday:
  • I published on channel 10 a cable sent to Israeli diplomats asking to lobby for Saudis/Harir and against Hezbollah. The cable sent from the MFA in Jerusalem [Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs] to all Israeli embassies toes the Saudi line regarding the Hariri resignation.
  • The Israeli diplomats were instructed to demarch their host governments over the domestic political situation in Lebanon - a very rare move.
  • The cable said: "You need to stress that the Hariri resignation shows how dangerous Iran and Hezbollah are for Lebanon's security."
  • "Hariri's resignation proves wrong the argument that Hezbollah participation in the government stabilizes Lebanon," the cable added.
  • The cable instructed Israeli diplomats to support Saudi Arabia over its war with the Houthis in Yemen. The cable also stressed: "The missile launch by the Houthis towards Riyadh calls for applying more pressure on Iran & Hezbollah."
Watch today's Hebrew broadcast Channel 10 News report which features the Israeli diplomatic cable - the text of which is featured in Channel 10's screenshot (below) - here
Below is a rough translation of the classified Israeli embassy cable using Google Translate as released by Israel's Channel 10 News
"To the Director-General: you are requested to urgently contact the Foreign Ministry and other relevant government officials [of your host country] and emphasize that the resignation of Al-Hariri and his comments on the reasons that led him to resign illustrate once again the destructive nature of Iran and Hezbollah and their danger to the stability of Lebanon and the countries of the region.   
Al-Hariri's resignation proves that the international argument that Hezbollah's inclusion in the government is a recipe for stability is basically wrong. This artificial unity creates paralysis and the inability of local sovereign powers to make decisions that serve their national interest. It effectively turns them into hostages under physical threat and are forced to promote the interests of a foreign power - Iran - even if this may endanger the security of their country. 
The events in Lebanon and the launching of a ballistic missile by the signatories to the Riyadh agreement require increased pressure on Iran and Hezbollah on a range of issues from the production of ballistic missiles to regional subversion."
Thus, as things increasingly heat up in the Middle East, it appears the anti-Iran and anti-Shia alliance of convenience between the Saudis and Israelis appears to have placed Lebanon in the cross hairs of yet another looming Israeli-Hezbollah war. And the war in Yemen will also continue to escalate - perhaps now with increasingly overt Israeli political support. According to Channel 10's commentary (translation), "In the cable, Israeli ambassadors were also asked to convey an unusual message of support for Saudi Arabia in light of the war in which it is involved in Yemen against the Iranian-backed rebels."
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All of this this comes, perhaps not coincidentally, at the very moment ISIS is on the verge of complete annihilation (partly at the hands of Hezbollah), and as both Israel and Saudi Arabia have of late increasingly declared "red lines" concerning perceived Iranian influence across the region as well as broad Hezbollah acceptance and popularity within Lebanon.
What has both Israel and the Saudis worried is the fact that the Syrian war has strengthened Hezbollah, not weakened it. And now we have smoking gun internal evidence that Israel is quietly formalizing its unusual alliance with Saudi Arabia and its power-hungry and hawkish crown prince Mohammed bin Salman
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“Unparalleled Catastrophe”: The Possible Use of Nuclear Weapons by the US Within Months? Why?


“Unparalleled Catastrophe”: The Possible Use of Nuclear Weapons by the US Within Months? Why?

Part I

That’s what I hold quite likely in case the present US administration under Donald Trump’s formal leadership continues down the path its in-fighting militarist fractions seem to have chosen.
We’re in the worst, most dangerous situation since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sitting down and hoping for the best is neither responsible nor viable or wise.
I can only hope that I will be proved wrong. That the present extremely dangerous tension-building will die down by some kind of unforeseen events or attention being directed elsewhere.
The world could quite well be drifting toward what Albert Einstein called ’unparalleled catastrophe’. It’s something we may – or may not – know more about when President Trump returns from his trip to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam (APEC where he also likely to meet Russian President Putin) and the Philippines.
Except for 93-year old Jimmy Carter offering to go to North Korea, we witness nobody taking any mediation initiative – not the UN’ S-G Guterres, not the EU, not European NATO countries, not BRICS, not single countries like Sweden, not… well, you name them.
It’s about denial, about heads deep down in the sand, people hoping for the best at the moment when humanity’s future is in the hands of a couple of leaders from whom they would probably not buy a used bicycle.
That this silence all around is a roaring fact, is about as tragic and dangerous as the situation itself.
What most people don’t recognise – mainly thanks to the Western mainstream media – is that this is an a-symmetric conflict, an extremely a-symmetric conflict at that. For instance, North Korea’s military expenditures compared with those it must see as its adversaries in case of war is about 1:100, China excluded.
Why is the present situation so dangerous?
Why are we facing, seriously and for the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis, an increasing risk of nuclear war?
Here some, but not all, the reasons:
– the vastly superior US is run by what must in a historical perspective be close to a kakistocracy – government by the worst, least qualified and most unscrupulous citizens. There was no reason for Trump’s spontaneous golf club statement about doing something the world has never seen before, i.e. worse than Hiroshima and Nagasaki; neither for his post-dinner party statement about calm before the storm; North Korea issues statements and make tests that indeed offer reason for concern but they come out of dwarf who sees himself cornered and cheated repeatedly;
– asymmetric conflicts are particularly dangerous because the superior side may successively be seduced by love of his own strength and belief in his infallibility – while the weak side may react in panic and draw the conclusion that it is better to strike first than be hit by an overwhelming, all-destructive blow by the superior adversary;
– the rush into ’group think’ – we can make no mistakes, we are morally superior. Attacks and warfare, by definition, rest on what Norwegian philosopher Harald Ofstad so precisely called ’contempt for weakness’ – an integral part also of the Nazi ideology. All US leaders and the far majority of news reports in our media build on little but clear contempt for North Korea;
– since the US of today is inept at diplomacy and second to none in only one field, namely the military, hubris is a factor that can’t be excluded; additionally, the US has not yet bothered to appoint an ambassador to Seoul. One indeed wonders what kind of contacts there actually are beyond the North Korean ambassador to the UN; the risk of the parties getting their lives crossed is immanent and large;
– as reported by the New York Times, one can already sense the rationale behind the increasingly serious talk in South Korea and Japan about acquiring some national nuclear capacity; they too do not feel confident or secure with the so-called nuclear umbrella ’protection’ of a US under Trump that is even more unpredictable than Pyongyang and they know that North Korea could make them victims in a game that would not hit or hurt the US mainland. If within a few months or a year, 2-3 countries in the region feel compelled to acquire nuclear weapons, I for one fail to see how a nuclear exchange at some point later can be avoided;
– President Trump’s speech to and about Iran and the nuclear deal was not only totally unacceptable in terms of US-Iran relation and his – fake – image of Iran; in all its primitive anti-diplomacy thrust, it also sent a signal to everybody in Pyongyang that there is no point in trying to achieve a written agreement with the U.S. because, simply, you cannot trust it;
– today’s US does not have a unified, consolidated foreign policy and much less a cohesive strategy or doctrine. We see helter-skelter procedures and ongoing fight among the White House, Congress, Pentagon, State Department, CIA and other so-called intelligence services – something that can only add to the increasing danger;
– there is no clear taboo in the US against the US using nuclear weapons. A recent scientific study reveals that a clear majority of men and women in the US would find it OK to kill 2 million civilian Iranians if that could save the lives of 20.000 US soldiers in trouble in that country;
– Western mainstream media that still shape most people’s opinions about the world and adversaries of US and NATO has stopped, long ago, asking critical questions and using alternative expertise. We’re fed with only Western perspectives while the North Koreans, their interests, history, fears, worldview, leadership and policies are written off as not worthy of analysis and reporting;
– experts used by these media have been educated in understanding only Western academic theories and perspectives and they themselves and their research is paid by NATO governments, think tanks and corporate funds – no risk there that such unfree, for all practical purposes commissioned, research would lead to massive critique of US policies in this case either. One may easily imagine, however, how the same media and experts would express themselves and fulfill their expert roles had any other country in the world repeatedly, recklessly and unpredictably issued one nuclear-use threat after the other;
– politics have gradually become devoid of intellectualism and, to quite an extent, knowledge and awareness of dilemmas, compared with a couple of decades ago. The type of people and background that populated the White House at the time of Kennedy don’t exist anymore. More money is spent on marketing decision than on intellectual inputs into them.
– and if there is no nuclear exchange in the near future, there may well be later because the U.S. leads in absurd investments nuclear weapons development, planning to spend US$ 1200 billion – 1,2 trillion – on nuclear weapons development. Without fearology, making citizens – taxpayers – fear whoever is around, there would be a mass mobilisation against such perverse squandering of money.
The hashtag #metoo against sexual harassment is urgently important, pointing to a huge problem and the necessity of ending patriarchy – which happens to also be a basic driving force underlying militarism and war.
Sexual harassment is totally unacceptable. But threatening the annihilation of large parts of, or all of, humanity is an issue of quite a different order.
It is indeed time, too, that hashtags such as, say,
 #metoo_fornuclearfreedom or #metoo_notonuclearwar or #metoo_forBANtreaty –
taking the larger perspective of humanity as one – would be used by millions or billions of people in months to come.
However, in these dark times, we need of course much much more than clicking Like buttons and using hashtags on social media.
We need a sweeping global mobilisation and manifestation of civil society demanding that weapons in the hands of a few hundred people that can kill us all are incompatible with civilisation.
We need emphasis on the fact that there has never been held a referendum that gave these few people a mandate to hold humanity’s being or not being in their hands.
We need pointing out that the real international law violators and terrorists – nuclear balance of terror advocates – be stopped.
That is, a sweeping BAN and nuclear abolition movement, particularly in the nuclear weapons countries.
Part 2 to follow shortly will outline some of the steps that must be taken.

“False Flags” Are So Common that U.S. Officials Commonly Discuss Them

“False Flags” Are So Common that U.S. Officials Commonly Discuss Them

Despite the attempt to marginalize the concept, “false flags” are so common that U.S. officials frequently use that phrase.
The Washington Post notes that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld approved as an acceptable interrogation method
A technique known as “false flag,” or deceiving a detainee into believing he is being interrogated by someone from another country.
NBC News points out:
In another document taken from the NSA by Snowden and obtained by NBC News, a JTRIG official said the unit’s mission included computer network attacks, disruption, “Active Covert Internet Operations,” and “Covert Technical Operations.” Among the methods listed in the document were jamming phones, computers and email accounts and masquerading as an enemy in a “false flag” operation. The same document said GCHQ was increasing its emphasis on using cyber tools to attack adversaries.
Washington’s Blog asked high-level NSA official Bill Binney* if he had heard of the term “false flags” when he was with the NSA.
Binney responded:
Sure, they were under deception and manipulation programs.  I was not involved in doing them; but, I did have to figure out some that the other side was doing.  The other side called them “dezsinformatsiya” and Manipulatsiya.”

The Brits have been doing this for several hundred years and are quite good at it.
Washington’s Blog asked Philip Giraldi – a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer with the CIA – the same question with regards to his experience with the CIA.
Giraldi responded:
Yes, of course. We did false flags, and called them that, frequently in the operations directorate using false documentation to indicated that we were nationals of a country that was not the United States. Almost every CIA officer had false third country identification when operating overseas….
We followed up by asking:
Is it fair to say some of the false flags were for the purpose (i.e. premeditated) of blaming another country or group … not only just in case caught?
Giraldi replied:
Sometimes if it were a covert action attempting to do just that but more often just for cover reasons to make one appear to not be American…
Robert David Steele – a 20-year Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer, the second-ranking civilian in U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence, and former CIA clandestine services case officer – said:
Most terrorists are false flag terrorists or are created by our own security services.
***
In the United States, every single terrorist incident we have had has been a false flag, or has been an informant pushed on by the FBI.
Steele has repeatedly and publicly said (and also confirmed to Washington’s Blog) that he personally carried out a “false flag” attack while working as a U.S. intelligence officer.
Indeed, false flags are so common that there are official rules of engagement prohibiting false flags in navalair and land warfare.
* William Binney is the highest-level NSA whistleblower in history. Binney is the NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information, who served as the senior technical director within the agency, who managed six thousand NSA employees, the 36-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency and the NSA’s best-ever analyst and code-breaker, who mapped out the Soviet command-and-control structure before anyone else knew how, and so predicted Soviet invasions before they happened (“in the 1970s, he decrypted the Soviet Union’s command system, which provided the US and its allies with real-time surveillance of all Soviet troop movements and Russian atomic weapons”).
Videos
Examples of False Flags mentioned by senior US officials
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell: