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‘Toxic History’: Washington State Prepares to Sue US Navy Over Hazardous Dumping

Sputnik – January 18, 2019

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson warned Thursday that he is preparing to join a pending lawsuit against the US Navy for knowingly dumping toxic metals directly into waters around the state, despite having been urged by the EPA to find another disposal method.

The lawsuit cited by Ferguson was initially filed in June 2017 by the Suquamish Tribe and nonprofit organizations Puget Soundkeeper and the Washington Environmental Council. The suit alleges that the US Navy committed multiple violations of the Clean Water Act by its decision to release toxic substances into the Sinclair Inlet, which flows into the Puget Sound, and failed to obtain the proper permits when cleaning a decommissioned aircraft carrier, the USS Independence.

Ferguson told the Seattle Times that his office decided to join the lawsuit after reviewing a report in October 2018 that revealed what toxic chemicals were in the materials that had been scraped off the Independence in January 2017. Ferguson’s letter indicates that “approximately fifty dump truck loads of solid waste” were dumped into the waters.

Those chemicals included zinc, copper, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, various other metals and polychlorinated biphenyls. “As a result, the [Environmental Protection Agency] listed the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Complex as a Superfund site under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, and the federal government has spent millions of dollars remediating the sediments at the site,” the AG’s notice explains.

It should be noted that Washington State houses the US Navy’s Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, which is just one of three Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facilities in the US that work with decommissioned vessels.

According to Ferguson’s letter, Navy officials took no precautions to contain the waste, discharging it directly into the Sinclair Inlet, despite having been urged by the EPA to use a dry dock to perform the cleaning.

As such, the letter says, the Navy is in direct violation of the Clean Water Act and the Washington State Water Pollution Control Act and is creating an “imminent and substantial endangerment to the environment under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).”

“We ask that the Navy remedy its ongoing violations of the [Clean Water Act] and Washington law, and abate the imminent and substantial endangerment under RCRA, at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard by removing from Sinclair Inlet the debris from the ex-Independence and taking any other action necessary to stop and remediate the ongoing discharge of pollutants and related environmental harm caused by the Navy’s in-water hull cleaning activities,” the letter states, noting that should naval officials fail to meet Ferguson’s demands within the next 60 days, his office will have no other option than to join the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, et al. v. US Navy, et al. case.Ferguson, who established the state’s Counsel for Environmental Protection in 2016, told the Seattle Times earlier this week that “there’s more trouble ahead,” as another ship, the supercarrier USS Kitty Hawk, is expected to undergo a similar cleaning process at the Puget Sound facility.

But this isn’t the only example of the US military playing fast and loose with environmental regulations, Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear’s radioactive waste specialist, told Sputnik Friday. “There are countless examples of the US military unleashing environmental destruction,” he said, giving as an example the housing development built on radioactive, contaminated soil in California’s old Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.

“The US Navy caused the radioactive contamination,” Kamps said. “Then a contractor hired during the supposed clean up, Tetra Tech, falsified testing samples, claiming the soils were cleaned up, when they were not.”

“This toxic history includes illegal and unethical dumping as has happened repeatedly in Puget Sound. Similarly, the US military dumped vast amounts of munitions, toxins and perhaps even radioactive waste into Lake Superior, after World War II,” he continued.

Other examples of the US’ environmental destruction include the Nevada Test Site, depleted uranium test firings in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and Jefferson Proving Ground in Ohio, where Kamps says government activities have resulted in “billions of dollars of clean up costs that may never be carried out.”

“Along the lines of the Washington State attorney general’s shock, such practices, incredibly, are not a thing of the past — they are still going on. They must stop, or tremendous damage to public health, safety and the environment will continue into the future, instead of being a tragic thing of the past.”

And it’s not just chemical dumping from the Navy’s facilities. A 2016 study carried out by NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center and the University of Washington found traces of soaps, industrial chemicals, the antidepressant Prozac and metformin, a diabetic medication, in the Puget Sound. Upon examining fish native to the Puget Sound, researchers found traces of such compounds within their tissue.

See also:

Nuclear Waste Shipments Expose Populations to Toxic Radiation

US Shores Up Toxic Waste Sites in Florida Ahead of Hurricane Irma – Environmental Agency

January 18, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Narrative Control Firm Targeting Alternative Media

By Caitlin Johnstone | Consortium News | January 18, 2019

The frenzied, hysterical Russia narrative being promoted day in and day out by Western mass media has had two of its major stories ripped to shreds in the last three days.

report seeded throughout the mainstream media by anonymous intelligence officials back in September claimed that U.S. government workers in Cuba had suffered concussion-like brain damage after hearing strange noises in homes and hotels with the most likely culprit being “sophisticated microwaves or another type of electromagnetic weapon” from Russia. A recording of one such highly sophisticated attack was analyzed by scientists and turned out to be the mating call of the male indies short-tailed cricket. Neurologists and other brain specialists have challenged the claim that any U.S. government workers suffered any neurological damage of any kind, saying test results on the alleged victims were misinterpreted. The actual story, when stripped of hyperventilating Russia panic, is that some government workers heard some crickets in Cuba.

Another report which dominated news for a day recently claimed that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort (the same Paul Manafort who the Guardian falsely claimed met with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy) had shared polling data with a Russian associate and asked him to pass it along to Oleg Deripaska, who is often labeled a “Russian oligarch” by western media. The polling data was mostly public already, and the rest was just more polling information shared in the spring of 2016, but Deripaska’s involvement had Russiagaters burning the midnight oil with breathless excitement. Talking Points Memo‘s Josh Marshall went so far as to publish an article titled “The ‘Collusion’ Debate Ended Last Night,” substantiating his click-generating headline with the claim that “What’s crystal clear is that the transfer to Kilimnik came with explicit instructions to give the information to Deripaska. And that’s enough.”

Except Manafort didn’t give any explicit instructions to share the polling data with Deripaska, but with two Ukrainian oligarchs (who are denying it). The New York Times was forced to print this embarrassing correction to the story it broke, adding in the process that Manafort’s motivation was likely not collusion, but money.

These are just the latest debacles as reporters eager to demonstrate their fealty to the U.S.-centralized empire fall all over themselves to report any story that makes Russia look bad without practicing due diligence. The only voices who have been questioning the establishment Russia narrative that is being fed to mass media outlets by secretive government agencies have been those which the mass media refuses to platform. Alternative media outlets are the only major platforms for dissent from the authorized narratives of the plutocrat-owned political/media class.

Imagine, then, how disastrous it would be if these last strongholds of skepticism and holding power to account were removed from the media landscape. Well, that’s exactly what a shady organization called NewsGuard is trying to do, with some success already.

report by journalist Whitney Webb for MintPress News details how NewsGuard is working to hide and demonetize alternative media outlets like MintPress, marketing itself directly to tech companies, social media platforms, libraries and schools. NewsGuard is led by some of the most virulently pro-imperialist individuals in America, and its agenda to shore up narrative control for the ruling power establishment is clear.

The product that NewsGuard markets to the general public is a browser plugin which advises online media consumers whether a news media outlet is trustworthy or untrustworthy based on a formula with a very pro-establishment bias which sees outlets like Fox News and the U.S. propaganda outlet Voice of America getting trustworthy ratings while outlets like RT get very low ratings for trustworthiness. This plugin dominates the bulk of what comes up when you start researching NewsGuard, but circulating a plugin that individual internet users can voluntarily download to help their rulers control their minds is not one of the more nefarious agendas being pursued by this company. The full MintPress article gives a thorough breakdown of NewsGuard’s activities, but here’s a summary of five of its more disturbing revelations:

No. 1 The company has created a service called BrandGuard, billed as a “brand safety tool aimed at helping advertisers keep their brands off of unreliable news and information sites while giving them the assurance they need to support thousands of Green-rated [i.e., Newsguard-approved] news and information sites, big and small.” Popularizing the use of this service will attack the advertising revenue of unapproved alternative media outlets which run ads. NewsGuard is aggressively marketing this service to “ad tech firms, leading agencies, and major advertisers”.

No. 2 NewsGuard’s advisory board reads like the fellowships list of a neocon think tank, and indeed one of its CEOs, Louis Gordon Crovitz, is a Council on Foreign Relations member who has worked with the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation. Members of the advisory board include George W Bush’s Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, deep intelligence community insider Michael Hayden, and the Obama administration’s Richard Stengel, who once publicly supported propaganda in the U.S. (see the Tweet below for a direct quote.)  All of these men have appeared in influential think tanks geared toward putting a public smiley face on sociopathic warmongering agendas.

 

No. 3 Despite one of its criteria for trustworthy sources being whether or not they are transparent about their funding, the specifics of NewsGuard’s financing is kept secret.

No. 4 NewsGuard is also planning to get its news-ranking system integrated into social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, pursuing a partnership which will make pro-establishment media consumption a part of your experience at those sites regardless of whether or not you download a NewsGuard app or plugin.

No. 5 NewsGuard markets itself to state governments in order to get its plugin installed in all of that state’s public schools and libraries to keep internet users from consuming unauthorized narratives. It has already succeeded in accomplishing this in the state of Hawaii, with all of its library branches now running the NewsGuard plugin.

We may be certain that NewsGuard will continue giving a positive, trustworthy ranking to the New York Times no matter how many spectacular flubs it makes in its coverage of the establishment Russia narrative, because the agenda to popularize anti-Russia narratives lines up perfectly with the neoconservative, government agency-serving agendas of the powers behind NewsGuard. Any attempt to advance the hegemony of the U.S.-centralized power establishment will be rewarded by its lackeys, and any skepticism of it will be punished.

We need to use every inch of our ability to communicate with each other to make these manipulations clearly understood.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium.

January 18, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 1 Comment

Israel minister calls to expel international observers from Hebron

MEMO | January 18, 2019

Israel’s Security Minister Gilad Erdan has called for international observers to be expelled from Hebron.

Erdan yesterday sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding that he end the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), in the south of the occupied West Bank.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Erdan claimed that the mission is “hostile to Israel rather than a neutral force, and is harmful to both the Israeli soldiers stationed in Hebron and the [illegal] Jewish settlers that live there”. Erdan reportedly gave Netanyahu a secret police report “with data to back up his assertion”.

The letter read:

It is no wonder that a force, composed of policemen from a hostile Islamic state such as Turkey and pro-Palestinian countries that sponsor boycotts [of Israel] such as Sweden and Norway, interferes with IDF soldiers and police, creates friction with the settlers, cooperates with radical organizations and promotes the delegitimization of Israel.

Erdan continued: “It is [therefore] right and proper for the Israeli government to prevent the continued activity of this ‘temporary’ force acting to harm Israel.”

The TIPH – a civilian observer mission which has been present in Hebron since 1997 – has a mandate which is renewed every six months by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel. The mission’s current mandate ends in 14 days, which likely explains the timing of Erdan’s appeal. In doing so, he joins the right-wing campaign led by Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely, to pressure Netanyahu to end the mission’s mandate.

In November, Netanyahu said he would review the mission’s status in December, but made no public statement on the issue.

The mission was formed in the aftermath of a massacre committed by Jewish extremist rabbi, Baruch Goldstein, who killed 30 Palestinian worshippers during their morning prayers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.

 

January 18, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

From the Barracks to the Courtroom: US ‘Lawfare’ in Action

By Wayne MADSEN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 18.01.2019

Somewhere along the line in recent history, some US think tank in the employ of the Central Intelligence Agency must have come up with the idea that overthrowing governments in Latin America by military coups came with bad optics for the coup plotters. Often, democratically-elected Latin American leaders were demonized by a cabal of military officers who left their barracks and laid siege to the presidential palaces. After taking control of the national radio stations, these generals would announce they had seized control of the government to “protect” the people from “communism” or some other concocted bogeyman.

Beginning in the early 2000s, another plan was devised by US national security planners ensconced in their faux academia “think tanks.” Their plan was simple: overthrow anti-American elected leaders in Latin America through the courts. In effect, lawyers and judges, not generals, caudillos, or military juntas, would carry out coups by abusing constitutional provisions and laws as a clever ruse.

Under Allen Dulles and Richard Helms, the Central Intelligence Agency relied on the old tried and true method of promoting coups via the façade of a “popular” rebellion. After the 1973 CIA-directed coup in Chile, which saw Socialist president Salvador Allende die in a hail of bullets fired from aircraft and tanks at the La Moneda presidential palace, the CIA began to look at other avenues to overthrow presidents in the Western Hemisphere.

For decades, CIA-influenced media, including the dubious Wikipedia, have insisted Allende committed suicide with an AK-47 assault rifle presented to him by Cuban leader Fidel Castro. However, nature would later provide the evidence that Allende was assassinated. The proof came in a 300-page top secret report found in the debris of the house of a former military officer. The house had been destroyed in the 2011 Chilean earthquake. The story of Allende’s “suicide” was spread around CIA-friendly media to mask the agency’s role in yet another assassination of a foreign leader. The CIA’s media manipulation was honed during its pre-eminent role in covering up the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and Dr. Martin Luther King. For the CIA, however, assassinations were costly in terms of the agency’s public image, so some other method of dispatching targeted leaders was in order.

A formerly CONFIDENTIAL CIA “Intelligence Memorandum,” dated December 29, 1975, concluded that Latin America had to be weaned away from “Third Worldism.” The conclusion was based on the votes of certain Latin American countries that had voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly resolution equating Zionism with racism. The countries were Brazil, Cuba, Grenada, Guyana, and Mexico. Eleven other countries in the Western Hemisphere abstained.

As the bloody coups in Chile, the Dominican Republic, and other countries showed, there had to be a simpler and less lethal way for the US to bring about undemocratic changes in governments in the hemisphere.

If the CIA were able to infiltrate a nation’s judiciary and law enforcement structures — the latter having already been thoroughly subsumed through CIA-financed “training programs” – it could bring spurious charges against targeted heads of state. This form of coup d’état would become known as “lawfare.”

The leader of the French left, Jean Luc Melenchon, recently condemned the use of lawfare against former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Lula, as he is popularly known, has been imprisoned since April 2018 on trumped up charges of corruption. Melenchon told the Brazilian press that “lawfare is now used in all countries to get rid of progressive leaders. This is what they did with Lula.” Melenchon added, “the judge [Sergio Moro] who condemned Lula is now a minister [minister of justice and public security] of Jair Bolsonaro, the new president of Brazil.” Lula was sentenced to 12 years in prison on politically-motivated money-laundering charges ginned up by Moro and other neo-fascists in the Brazilian judiciary. Bolsonaro, a champion of Brazil’s former military dictatorship and an admirer of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Donald Trump, has vowed to keep Lula in prison. Lula would have defeated Bolsonaro for the presidency had he been released from prison and allowed to run for political office. However, Moro and his fellow lawfare practitioners ensured that appeals to the Brazilian Supreme Court for Lula’s release were all dead-on-arrival.

Melenchon also stated “Lula has been a direct victim of accusations to destroy his work and image, built in more than 40 years of public life.” British human rights attorney Geoffrey Robertson QC echoed Melenchon in comments made to the “New Internationalist” in January 2018. Robertson cited the “extraordinarily aggressive measures” taken to imprison Lula and prevent him from running for president. Robertson cited as Lula’s enemies the judiciary, media, and “the great sinews of wealth and power in Brazil.”

Lawfare coups have been embraced by both Republican and Democratic administrations over almost two decades. The first example of a coup by semi-constitutional fiat was the February 28, 2004 forced removal from office of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. US Marines and American mercenaries escorted Aristide and his party from the presidential palace to a white plane with no other markings except for an American flag on the tail. The United States claimed Aristide voluntarily resigned his office, something that Aristide and his advisers vehemently denied. Aristide was literally tossed off the plane, along with his wife, in Bangui, Central African Republic. Through the abuse of “national emergency” provisions, the United States installed Haiti’s Supreme Court Chief Justice, Boniface Alexandre, in the presidential palace. The coup began after CIA-supported rebels and narcotics-gangs seized control of northern Haiti and marched to the capital of Port-au-Prince with the intention of ousting Aristide.

The second lawfare coup was against Honduras’s president, Manuel Zelaya. Staged on June 28, 2009, the coup was approved in advance by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as leaked cables from the US embassy in Tegucigalpa attest. Coup leader Roberto Micheletti cited the Honduran Constitution and a decision by the Supreme Court as providing legitimacy for Zelaya being marched from his home in his pajamas to a waiting plane that flew him to Costa Rica. The military junta that replaced Zelaya said that his letter of resignation had been approved by the National Assembly. Zelaya declared the letter to be a forgery.

The third major lawfare coup came in 2012. Paraguay’s democratically-elected president, Fernando Lugo, was ousted in a political impeachment carried out by right-wing forces in the Paraguayan Congress and Senate, with the full support of the US-trained and equipped Paraguayan military. From Washington, Secretary Clinton moved hastily to recognize the right-wing vice president, Federico Franco, and his new right-wing government to replace the center-left government of Lugo. As with Haiti and Honduras, the Paraguayan coup was accomplished with the thin veneer of the constitution.

In 2016, it was Brazil’s turn in the lawfare arena. The impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff of the left-wing Workers’ Party ensured that Michel Temer, her right-wing vice president, assumed the presidency. Without Rousseff in the presidential palace, her predecessor, Lula, became fair game for the right-wing.

Next on the American hit list was Venezuela. On December 6, 2015, the US-backed rightist opposition won control over the National Assembly. The rightists immediately commenced procedures to remove progressive socialist President Nicolas Maduro from power through dubious “constitutional” means. However, the plan faltered in Venezuela. In reaction, Washington applied crippling economic sanctions on the country, something that was to be repeated by the Trump administration against both Venezuela and the democratically-elected government of President Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua.

Pro-democracy forces in Latin America and elsewhere no longer have to worry about sudden troop movements and tanks converging on presidential palaces, but armies of judges and lawyers armed with nothing more than constitutional provisions and criminal codes stretched to the point of incredulity.

January 18, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Syria: In the History of Bad Excuses, This One’s Top-Tier

By Thomas L. Knapp | Garrison Center | January 17, 2019

US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) thinks — I’m using the term “thinks” very loosely here — that Americans dying in Syria is a compelling reason to continue exposing Americans to the danger of dying in Syria. So do Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), James Inhofe (R-OK), and Jack Reed (D-RI).

Ever since US president Donald Trump announced his intent to withdraw US troops from Syria in December, “hawks” in Congress have been looking for an argument against the withdrawal.

And this is the best they can come up with? If the troops don’t stay in Syria, they can’t keep getting killed in Syria? Wow, that really shows Trump, doesn’t it?

At issue:  The single deadliest Islamic attack on US forces in their nearly four-year US invasion and occupation of Syria, on January 16 in Manbij, in which four Americans (two members of the armed forces, a contractor, and a civilian Pentagon employee) died.

When former president Barack Obama authorized the invasion and occupation of Syria in 2015, he did so in complete defiance of both US and international law. Congress had not then declared war on Syria and has not since then offered any formal legal basis for the Obama’s actions. And since Syria is a United Nations member state which has never attacked the US nor indicated any intent to do so, the invasion/occupation constitutes a war of aggression — “the supreme international crime,” as Nuremberg Tribunal judge Norman Birkett called it.

Despite the complete absence of any compelling military or political reason for invading and occupying Syria, and despite the complete illegality of that invasion and occupation, these Senators believe that Trump should reverse his decision and keep US troops at risk in a land whether they’re neither needed nor welcome.

After all, if US troops aren’t there, US troops can’t be killed there, and US troops need to be killed there every once in a while to justify keeping them there in perpetuity. The Senators’ campaign donors in the “defense” industry need them kept there. Government contracts and stock dividends depend on it!

That’s the caliber of mind and morality the voters of South Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island send to Washington, DC.  Can’t say I blame the voters for wanting those guys to go somewhere, anywhere other than South Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma, or Rhode Island. If nothing else it probably raises those states’ average IQs and reduces their petty crime rates.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

January 18, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

A Convenient Killing of US Troops in Syria

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 18.01.2019

With unseemly haste, US news media leapt on the killing of four American military personnel in Syria as a way to undermine President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw troops from that country.

The deadly attack in the northern city of Manbij, on the west bank of the Euphrates River, was reported to have been carried out by a suicide bomber. The Islamic State (ISIS) terror group reportedly claimed responsibility, but the group routinely makes such claims which often turn out to be false.

The American military personnel were said to be on a routine patrol of Manbij where US forces have been backing Kurdish militants in a purported campaign against ISIS and other terror groups.

An explosion at a restaurant resulted in two US troops and two Pentagon civilian officials being killed, along with more than a dozen other victims. Three other US military persons were among those injured.

US media highlighted the bombing as the biggest single death toll of American forces in Syria since they began operations in the country nearly four years ago.

The US and Kurdish militia have been in control of Manbij for over two years. It is one of the main sites from where American troops are to withdraw under Trump’s exit plan, which he announced on December 19.

Following the bombing, the New York Times headlined: “ISIS Attack in Syria Kills 4 Americans, Raising Worries about Troop Withdrawal”. The report goes on, “the news prompted calls from Republicans and Democrats for President Trump to reconsider his plans to withdraw troops from the country.”

A more pointed headline in The Washington Post was: “Killing of 4 Americans in Syria Throws Spotlight on Trump’s Policy”.

The Post editorialized, “the bombing showed that [ISIS] is likely to be a force to be reckoned with in Syria for the foreseeable future.” It quoted politicians in Washington claiming the “bombing deaths… were a direct result of a foolish and abrupt departure announcement [by Trump], and made the case for staying.”

Democrat Senator Jack Reed, who sits on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, said: “From the beginning, I thought the president was wrong [in ordering the withdrawal]. It was a strategic mistake for the whole region.”

With macabre smugness, anti-Trump politicians and news media appeared to exploit the death of US troops in Manbij to score points against Trump.

The president’s claims made just before Christmas of having defeated ISIS were widely replayed following the Manbij attack this week by way of ridiculing Trump’s order to pullout US troops from Syria.

Nevertheless, despite the deaths, Trump and his Vice President Mike Pence stated they were still committed to bring the 2,000 or so US troops home. Some military figures also went on US media to defend Trump’s pullout plan in spite of the terror attack in Manbij.

There clearly is a serious division in Washington over Trump’s policy on Syria. For Democrats and supportive media outlets, anything Trump does is to be opposed. But there are also elements within the military and intelligence nexus which are implacably against, what they see as, his “capitulation to Russia and Iran” in Syria. That was partly why his Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned days after Trump made his announced withdrawal at the end of last month.

Having invested years and money in regime-change machinations in Syria, there are bound to be US military and intelligence cabals which are resistant to Trump’s move to pack up. Not that Trump’s move portends a peace dividend for the region. It is more a “tactical change” for how US imperialism operates in the Middle East, as his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in Cairo last week.

That is why Trump’s order to take troops out of Syria may not be a clear-cut withdrawal. His National Security adviser John Bolton on a tour of the Middle East last week has already tried to undermine Trump by attaching all sorts of vague conditions to the troop pullout. Bolton and Pompeo have talked about the need to ensure the total defeat of ISIS and of the countering of Iranian presence in Syria.

This brings up the question of who may have carried out the bombing in Manbij? Was it really a suicide bomber? Was it really ISIS? Several observers have pointed out that ISIS have not had any presence in Manbij for the past two years since the Americans and Kurds took control of the city.

As always, the key question arises: who stands to benefit from the killing of the American troops? The scale of the attack suggests it was carried out with a sharp political message intended for Trump.

One potential beneficiary are the Kurdish militants who are being abandoned by the putative US withdrawal. Without their American sponsor on the ground, the Kurds are in danger of Turkish forces launching cross-border operations to wipe them out, as Ankara has vowed to do. A Machiavellian Kurdish calculation could be to “disprove” Trump about “ISIS being defeated”, and that US forces are needed to prevent any resurgence of the terror group in Manbij and northeast Syria.

Another sinister player is the CIA or some other element of US military intelligence. It is certainly not beyond the realm of plausibility that the CIA could facilitate such an atrocity against American personnel in order to discredit Trump’s withdrawal plan.

Certainly, the way the anti-Trump media in the US reacted with such alacrity and concerted talking points suggests there was something a bit too convenient about the massacre.

It would in fact be naive to not suspect that the CIA could have pulled off such a false flag in Manbij. As in 1950s Vietnam, as told by Graham Greene in ‘The Quiet American’, the CIA have been doing such dirty tricks with bombing atrocities and assassinations for decades in order to precipitate wars in foreign countries that the agency calculates are in America’s geopolitical interests.

January 18, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Someone will make money by stoking fears’ – Ron Paul on new US missile doctrine

RT | January 18, 2019

The new US missile defense strategy is a boondoggle for the military-industrial complex, which will drive the US into more debt and can bring misery upon multiple nations by fueling an arms race, ex-US Congressman Ron Paul said.

Plans to weaponize space with a new layer of sensors unveiled by Trump as part of his administration’s Missile Defense Review is an unnecessary and hard-to-implement project that is sure to enrich the military-industrial lobby, Paul told RT.

“The biggest issue here is someone is going to make a lot of money on it. It reminds me of Star Wars. They’ve never really developed it, but people got excited about it,” Paul said, drawing parallels between President Donald Trump’s new endeavor and former President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative program.

Addressing the Pentagon on Thursday, Trump said that the goal of deploying ground-based interceptors to Alaska and sensors in space is to stop missile launches by hostile powers over their own territory.

Paul says the scale of the threat to US security has been overblown and does not warrant such extravagant means, which might not end up being efficient.

“I’m all for having defensive weapons if necessary, but I can’t quite see the danger that they are talking about that we have to now go much further into debt on something that can take many, many years and there are questions on how well it would work,” he said.

The mammoth project is another way of throwing more money at the military, Paul said, noting that the US is “already running a trillion-dollar debt every year” and will have to borrow money to pay for the futuristic missile defense shield.

National debt stands at over $21 trillion and continues to surge, with the federal deficit projected to top $1 trillion by 2020.

While it remains to be seen if Congress approves the major increase in funding that would be required to implement Trump’s plan, Paul says it’s unlikely to be nearly as contentious as Trump’s $5bn border wall that triggered a record-breaking government shutdown.

“But it seems like the money they spend on the military-industrial complex never gets the same scrutiny as some of these political issues,” Paul said.

Defense, unlike other political issues, tends to transcend party lines, as it “is more involved with money than anything else.”

“Fiscal conservatives are big spenders as much as liberals,” he said.

Of course, it also comes in handy to have the “usual scapegoats, the countries that they are able to stir animosity towards.”

The US will inevitably whip up an arms race if it adopts the new strategy, since no country singled out in the review – such as Russia, China, and ‘rogue nations’ Iran and North Korea – are going to ignore the US military beef-up. Those who will suffer the most from this are ordinary people who will have to carry the burden of the defense costs.

“Often these arguments get carried away to the point when one side is up-betting another side, building more and more and the only people that seem be really hurt from this are the people of the countries whose finances are drained,” Paul said.

And to consent to such massive spending, people have to be intimidated, the ex-congressman believes – thus, the negative media response to Trump’s announced withdrawal from Syria or thawing relations with North Korea.

“As if we’ve just created WWIII by suggesting they are not going to stay there,” Paul said, adding that the military-industrial complex profiteers and pro-war politicians appear to be in control of the propaganda machine.

January 18, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | | Leave a comment