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Don’t Let Trump’s Budget Proposal Be Used to Distract You From the Real Spenders

By Thomas L. Knapp | Garrison Center | February 15, 2020

As a political junkie, I get lots of email pleas from politicians and political advocacy groups. Today, I got one from US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Well, not exactly. That’s what the “from” header said, but the message was signed “Team AOC” and delivered via Daily Kos.

What does Team AOC want me to know? That “Donald Trump is robbing the working and middle class to give huge tax breaks to the wealthiest among us.” His latest budget proposal, they say, “is a classic right-wing plan that would gut our most critical social programs.”

I probably dislike Trump’s budget proposal as much as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does, if not more, and if not for all  the same reasons. It asks Congress for way too much, and way too much of what it asks for is corporate welfare for arms manufacturers in the guise of “defense.”

But Team AOC wants me to do more than dislike it. They want me to take it seriously, so that I donate money to help them “fight” it.

I don’t take it seriously. I dislike it in the same way I like a bad movie or a poorly written novel. It’s fiction, and not particularly entertaining fiction.

As Peter Suderman writes at Reason, “[t]he president’s annual budget proposal has about as much impact on the budget process as the lunch menu in the Rayburn House Office Building cafeteria, possibly less, given that one actually impacts the disposition of sitting members of Congress.”

For nearly a century, under the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, the president has been required by law to submit an annual budget request.

And for nearly a century, Congress has felt free to ignore that budget request.

In theory, Trump can ask for anything and everything he might, in his wildest dreams, want.

As a practical matter, since the Democrats control the US House of Representatives, he gets whatever the Democratic Party decides to let him have.

Yes, he can veto what they offer. Yes, the two sides can dig in, triggering a “government shutdown” that’s more dramatic production than true crisis.

But when the smoke clears, the president gets not one thin dime to spend unless Congress appropriates it. That was true when big-spending Republicans controlled Congress during the Obama years, and it’s true now.

Don’t let Congress con you. They, not the president, are  responsible for government spending, deficits, and debt.

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

February 15, 2020 Posted by | Deception | | 2 Comments

But would anyone notice? CNN breaks ‘report’ of Syrian airstrikes… from 2018

RT | February 15, 2020

CNN readers anxious to get updates on the Syrian war have been treated with a fresh report on the “regime’s atrocities” citing the usual suspects… or it would only seem so, as the network reran a two-year-old story instead.

Citing the UK-based and rebel-linked Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the story claims that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad killed at least 71 people and injured 325 others in a series of airstrikes on rebel-held Eastern Ghouta. Published this week, the report is featured on CNN website’s ‘World’ and ‘Middle East’ sections.

A screenshot from CNN’s ‘World’ page, February 15, 2020

The only problem is that Ghouta has been under the control of Assad’s government for nearly two years. Homes in the region are being rebuilt, not leveled by bombs.

In fact, CNN ran the same story, word for word, back in February 2018. The same paragraphs detailing the horrendous bombing appeared, along with a handy get-out-clause: “CNN could not independently verify the claim.”

So why tell old news again? Did the network feel the need to remind its readers again which side they should take in Syria’s eight-year civil war? Did its editors slip in an old story under the radar to bulk up its weekend coverage?

Whatever the reason, Saturday is often a slow news day, and clicks are clicks. After all, if it weren’t for the ad revenue generated by stories like this, CNN couldn’t send its reporters into the field to cover the stories that really matter, like when it revealed how President Trump eats “chicken with a fork.” Nor could it afford to pay its journalists to doxx pro-Trump meme makers and mock Trump supporters’ ‘yokel’ accents.

Perhaps CNN listened to its audience, one of whom complained on Sunday “how there’s still nothing about Syria on the CNN front page.” Perhaps in the rush to pump out Syria-related content for this one viewer, its editors figured anything was better than nothing.

CNN is sometimes accused of peddling ‘fake news,’ but the real reason for the Syria rerun was probably less sinister. The article’s URL features the same 2018 date as the original, meaning some overworked editor likely pressed the wrong button in the website’s backend.

Though its publication was likely a slip of the mouse, the article conveniently bolstered the pro-rebel coverage of Syria’s venerable conflict.

“Sure, CNN will claim there was a minor edit,” journalist Eva Bartlett wrote on Facebook. “But as a ‘professional news organization,’ if that were the strange case, they should remove the fake news article from the rest of their current fake news.”

February 15, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

People in NATO Countries Say ‘No’ to Supporting a NATO Ally in a Military Conflict with Russia

By Adam Dick | Ron Paul Institute | February 11, 2020

NATO is marketed as providing each member nation with the benefit that the other member nations are committed to coming to its aid militarily in the event of an attack by another nation, especially Russia. However, Pew Research Center poll results released Sunday indicate that the majority or plurality of people in 11 of 16 NATO countries where individuals were questioned oppose their respective governments meeting this commitment, at least if the military adversary were Russia.

These poll results indicate that serious thought should be given to disbanding NATO, an organization with a primary objective that appears to be at odds with public opinion in many NATO countries.

When asked if their respective countries’ governments should use military force to defend a NATO ally country neighboring Russia with which “Russia got into a serious military conflict,” people living in the 16 NATO countries tended to answer in the negative. “No” was the answer for the majority of polled individuals in eight countries — France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Turkey. In three more NATO countries — the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland — a plurality rejected military intervention. Only in five countries — the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Lithuania — did more people (a majority in each case) support such military intervention than reject it.

Read the poll results here.

February 15, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

Amazon Provides Free Shipping to Illegal Jewish Settlers, Charges Palestinians

Palestine Chronicle – February 15, 2020

In blatant defiance of international law, global e-commerce company Amazon is offering free shipping to illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, but not to Palestinians living in the same area, according to the Financial Times.

The investigative report reveals that Amazon’s free shipping offer extends to nearly all Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, considered illegal under international law.

Palestinian customers who list their address as “the Palestinian Territories” are forced to pay shipping and handling fees starting from $24.

Amazon spokesman Nick Caplin told the Financial Times that Palestinians can only circumvent the issue by selecting Israel as their country.

“If a customer within the Palestinian Territories enters their address and selects Israel as the country, they can receive free shipping through the same promotion,” said Caplin.

Amazon was not included in the United Nations Human Rights Council’s database of companies operating in the illegal settlements released last week.

February 15, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

American Citizens Killed and Tortured by Israel?

No one is ever held accountable

Palestinian-American Mahmoud Shaalan was shot five times by Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint
By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | February 15, 2020

One of the principal functions of a United States Embassy overseas is to provide citizen services, which includes coming to the assistance of Americans who are treated badly by the local government. It is a responsibility that most embassies take seriously, with the exception of the facility currently located in Jerusalem. One has to understand that that is so because the United States Embassy in Israel is like no other. In other countries, the American Embassy exists to support American travelers, businesses and a broad range of national interests. In Jerusalem the Embassy exists to support Israeli interests and to serve as an apologist every time the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes on a killing spree or does something else that is similarly outrageous, to include bombing neighboring Syria every other day.

America’s current ambassador, former Trump bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman, has funded Israel’s illegal settlements, which did not in any way complicate his confirmation as nearly everyone in Congress and the White House does not believe that the Palestinians actually are human beings. Since taking up his position, Friedman has defended Israel when its army sharpshooters have shot down scores of unarmed Gazans, including children, and has both praised and endorsed out-and-out theft by the Israeli government in Jerusalem, on the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

What the U.S. Embassy under Friedman will not do is put any real pressure on the Israeli government if its security forces or rampaging settlers kill, beat, maim or torture an American citizen, especially if said citizen happens to be of Palestinian descent. Indeed, Friedman is only the latest manifestation of Israel-first-itis among U.S. Ambassadors, the rot having started inevitably with Bill Clinton, who appointed Australian citizen Martin Indyk as the first Jewish ambassador to Tel Aviv. The two most recent ambassadors, Friedman and Daniel Shapiro, both political appointees, have also been Jewish. Shapiro so enjoyed being an Israeli that he decided to remain in the country after his appointment as ambassador was completed. He now works for an Israeli government funded think tank.

The Israeli army and police have in fact killed a number of American citizens without any real pushback from the Department of State or White House. The unwillingness to confront Israel on any level stems from the formidable Jewish power in the United States, which uses money and media control to corrupt the political system at national, state and local levels. The media and the chattering political class worry about Russian interference while ignoring the implications of a Haaretz article that appeared on February 12th entitled “AIPAC Must Stop Bernie Sanders – At All Costs!” AIPAC is, of course, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, widely regarded as the chief U.S. lobbying arm of the Jewish state.

And witness the fate of Congresswoman Betty McCollum from Minnesota, who fell afoul of the Israel Lobby when she introduced H.R.2407, legislation that prohibits American taxpayer money from being used by Israel to arrest and detain Palestinian children. She stated that “Israel’s system of military juvenile detention is state-sponsored child abuse designed to intimidate and terrorize Palestinian children and their families. It must be condemned, but it is equally outrageous that U.S. tax dollars in the form of military aid to Israel are permitted to sustain what is clearly a gross human rights violation against children.” She might have added that the estimated 10,000 Arab children who have been detained since 2000 are frequently tortured by the Israeli authorities. The bill currently has 23 cosponsors and is unlikely to attract more due to fear of the Lobby. It will never reach the House floor for a vote and will never become law.

Betty McCollum U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 4th congressional district at a women’s roundtable at Hillary for Minnesota Headquarters in St Paul, MN. Credit: Lorie Shaull/ Flickr

McCollum’s courage was on display when she was viciously attacked by AIPAC, which posted Facebook ads that referenced “radicals in the Democratic party,” including a photo of McCollum, with the text stating that “It’s critical that we protect our Israeli allies especially as they face threats from Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah ISIS and — maybe more sinister — right here in the U.S. Congress.”  McCollum stood her ground against being called “more sinister” than ISIS and released a statement that describes AIPAC as a “hate group,” which of course it is, but she will find few in the Democratic party brave enough to defend her.

Israel’s willingness to kill Americans in support of what it perceives as its own interests goes back nearly to the founding of the state in 1948. The Lavon Affair of 1954 was an Israeli plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy Information Agency libraries in Alexandria and Cairo Egypt, blaming the attacks on the Egyptians to draw the United States closer to Israel. The bombs were placed by Egyptian Jews acting for Israeli intelligence. They exploded, but fortunately no one was killed.

In June 1967 Israel was at it again, attacking the intelligence gathering U.S. naval vessel the U.S.S. Liberty in international waters, killing thirty-four American sailors, Marines and civilians in a deliberate air and sea onslaught that sought to sink the intelligence gathering ship and kill all its crew. It was the worst attack ever carried out on a U.S. Naval vessel in peace time. In addition to the death toll, 171 more of the crew were wounded in the two-hour assault. The Israelis, whose planes had their Star of David markings covered up so Egypt could be blamed, attacked the ship repeatedly from the air and with gunboats from the sea. When one Israeli pilot hesitated, refusing to attack what was clearly an American ship, he was instructed to proceed anyway.

The most disgusting part of the tale relates to how U.S. warplanes sent to the Liberty’s aid from an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean were called back by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara acting under orders from President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who declared that he would rather see the ship go to the bottom of the sea than embarrass his good friend Israel. Ironically, the first ship to reach the Liberty and offer assistance was from the Soviet Union, an offer that was declined.

More recently there have been a number of killings of Americans. In a bizarre incident in August 1988, an elderly Palestinian-American with a heart condition died after being forced to climb stairs to paint over anti-Israeli graffiti on a school wall. Rebhi Barakat Kaid, 67, of Columbus, Ohio, was on the West Bank visiting relatives. He died of a heart attack after three Israeli soldiers ordered him and his 14-year-old Chicago-born grandson at gunpoint to climb the 22 steep steps that led from the house to the street above without his being allowed to take his heart medicine first.

Much better known is the March 2003 killing of Washington State’s Rachel Corrie, who was deliberately run over by an Israeli military bulldozer when she was protesting the destruction of a Palestinian village. A month later there was an incident in which Brian Avery, a 24-year-old from Albuquerque, New Mexico, was shot in the face in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin by Israeli soldiers in an armored personnel carrier firing machine guns at protesters.

Rachel Corrie lies on the ground fatally injured by an Israeli bulldozer driver. Rachel’s fellow activists are trying to keep her neck straight due to spinal injury. Photo by Joseph Smith. Credit: ISM

In March 2009 Tristan Anderson, a 37-year-old from Oakland, California, suffered permanent brain damage when Israeli soldiers shot him in the face with a tear gas canister as he watched a protest in the West Bank village of Nilin.

Another American citizen, Furkan Doğan, an 18-year-old born in Troy, New York, was killed aboard the Turkish flagged Mavi Marmara in the Mediterranean Sea in May 2010 as a flotilla of international activists attempted to break Israel’s illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip to deliver humanitarian supplies. The United Nations’ General Assembly Human Rights Council determined that Doğan had been killed by Israeli naval commandos through an “extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution.” He was shot five times, including once in the face from “point blank range.”

Furkan Doğan

The same day that Israel murdered Furkan Doğan, 21-year-old Emily Henochowicz of Potomac, Maryland, was protesting the attack on the flotilla at the Qalandiya checkpoint near Jerusalem, when an Israeli soldier shot her in the face with a teargas cannister, resulting in the loss of an eye.

And then there was in October 2014 the shooting by Israeli soldiers of Orwa Hammad, a 14-year-old Palestinian-American from Louisiana. The Israeli army claimed that Hammad was throwing a Molotov cocktail at the time of his death, but witnesses stated that he was among a group of children throwing rocks at the heavily armed and armored soldiers.

And most recently, there is the case of Florida-born 16-year-old Palestinian-American Mahmoud Shaalan who was shot repeatedly at an Israeli check point on the West Bank on February 26, 2016 while he was walking to a nearby village to visit his aunt. He was still alive after the shooting, but Israeli soldiers denied him any medical treatment for three hours and he died before an ambulance was allowed to approach him.

Arrest of Palestinians and others without probable cause under “administration detention” guidelines followed by torture has also become a hallmark of Israel’s occupation of Arab land. Torture methods used by Israel include stress positions, severe beatings, sleep deprivation, emotional blackmail, threats of torture of family members and the transfer of detainees to secret prisons where torture is constant. In one case reported to a Human Rights Association “The harsh beating was committed with the intention to kill the detainee.”

In another reported case of torture, nineteen-year-old Mahmoud Zakarner’s testicles were smashed by soldiers in front of his uncle to force the man to provide the names of Palestinian resistance members. Mahmoud is now paralyzed and unable to speak as a result.

Israeli expertise in torture is in demand from authoritarian regimes worldwide, creating a growth industry for the specialized “advisers and technicians.” Many are currently working with right wing regimes in South and Central America. Several even showed up at Abu Ghraib as trainers for U.S. interrogators and were able to suggest refinements like the “Palestinian chair.”

Inside Israel torture of Palestinians is routine on the grounds of “necessity” and absurd “ticking-bomb” scenarios. The courts and the medical profession aid and abet the practice. Over 1,200 complaints regarding the torture of Palestinians in Israeli prisons have not resulted in even a single indictment of the torturers.

So, killing Americans as well as many others and torturing prisoners are all in a day’s work for the Jewish state. What is disgraceful, of course, is the fact that the United States government, which has the power to do something about it, instead chooses to do nothing to stop the bleeding or even to demand inquiries to find out who is to blame. Instead, Washington lavishes money and praise on Israel, reportedly America’s best friend and closest ally, while it also avoids looking at the horrors that are evident to most of the rest of the world.


Philip M. Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served nineteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was the CIA Chief of Base for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and was one of the first Americans to enter Afghanistan in December 2001. Phil is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group that seeks to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values and interests.

February 15, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Andrew McCabe’s case shows hypocrisy of Democrats claiming ‘No one is above the law’

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | February 15, 2020

After months of hearing that President Donald Trump must be impeached because “no one is above the law,” America found out that this talking point doesn’t actually apply to Democrats such as ex-FBI deputy director Andy McCabe.

As his lawyers triumphantly announced on Friday, the Department of Justice decided not to press criminal charges against McCabe “after careful consideration” of the inspector-general’s report that said he lied to investigators and leaked to the media.

“Based on the totality of the circumstances and all of the information known to the Government at this time, we consider the matter closed,” said the DOJ letter. It sent waves of glee through the ‘Resistance’ establishment, which set up and propagated for years the ‘Russiagate’ hysteria aimed at removing Trump from office.

One of the people who cheered “Andy” was Lisa Page, the FBI lawyer who famously discussed an “insurance policy” in case Trump gets elected in McCabe’s office with agent Peter Strzok, with whom she was carrying on an extramarital affair. Strzok, Page and McCabe’s fingerprints are all over the FISA scandal – in which the FBI spied on Trump’s campaign, fishing for dirt to tie him to Russia.

Though he was fired from the FBI, McCabe was hired by CNN back in August, joining former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper – two other ‘Russiagate’ pushers – in the lucrative land of political punditry.

In fact, precisely zero people involved with setting up and conducting the three-year “witch hunt” of Trump – unprecedented in the history of the American republic, by any measure – have suffered any adverse consequences for it. Even Michael Avenatti – the sleazy lawyer who has apparently defrauded and embezzled multiple clients in pursuit of political ambition – has only been convicted of attempting to extort Nike, rather than, say, lying to the Senate during the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh.

Compare that to how anyone even remotely associated with Trump has been treated by the long arm of the law. Former campaign manager Paul Manafort was imprisoned over matters entirely unrelated to the 2016 election. Trump’s first national security adviser, General Michael Flynn, was fired after just two weeks on the job and bullied into pleading guilty for “lying to FBI agents” (one of whom turned out to be Strzok) – which he is now contesting. Campaign aide George Papadopoulos went to jail because he made a remark about Hillary Clinton’s private email server that was used to claim Trump was “colluding” with Russia. Political operative Roger Stone is currently facing the possibility of dying in prison for tripping into a perjury trap.

Trump has done little or nothing to help any of his former staff or associates. Admittedly, Democrats and the media both shrieked “abuse of power” when he merely tweeted about Stone’s proposed sentence being too harsh – showing once again that it’s never about the what, only about the who/whom.

Having come to Washington on a promise to “drain the swamp,” Trump has instead meekly submitted to the very same swamp’s endless lawfare. Yet that kind of restraint has not stopped his critics from declaring him a fascist, tyrant and dictator. In fact, the more he let them off the hook, the more they shrieked about how he seeks to subvert justice!

The case of Andrew McCabe – and his boss Jim Comey before him – is the perfect illustration that there are people effectively above the law. That there are in fact two sets of laws in America: one for Trump’s enemies, who have gotten away with a coup, and another for the “deplorables” who got punished for supporting him.

Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done. There is a point at which restraint turns into stupid magnanimity.

On more than one occasion, Trump has used ‘Game of Thrones’ memes. If he actually watched the show from the beginning, he might remember that Ned Stark’s naivete about the impartiality of King’s Landing law enforcement ended with his head on a pike outside the Red Keep.

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

February 15, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

The Koch-Soros Quincy Project: A Train Wreck of Neocon and ‘Humanitarian’ Interventionists

By Daniel McAdams | Ron Paul Institute | February 15, 2020

Those hoping the non-interventionist cause would be given some real muscle if a couple of oligarchs who’ve made fortunes from global interventionism team up and pump millions into Washington think tanks will be sorely disappointed by the train wreck that is the Koch/Soros alliance.

The result thus far has not been a tectonic shift in favor of a new direction, with new faces and new ideas, but rather an opportunity for these same old Washington think tanks, now flush with even more money, to re-brand their pet interventionisms as “restraint.”

The flagship of this new alliance, the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, was sold as an earth-shattering breakthrough – an “odd couple” of “left-wing” Soros and “right-wing” Koch boldly tossing differences aside to join together and “end the endless wars.”

That organization is now up and running and it isn’t pretty.

To begin with, the whole premise is deeply flawed. George Soros is no “left-winger” and Koch is no “right-winger.” It’s false marketing, like the claim that drinking Diet Coke will make you skinny. Both are globalist oligarchs who continue to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to create the kind of world where the elites govern with no accountability except to themselves, and “the interagency,” rather than an elected President of the US, makes US foreign policy.

As libertarian intellectual Tom Woods once famously quipped, “No matter whom you vote for, you always wind up getting John McCain.” That is exactly the world Koch and Soros want. It’s a world of Davos with fangs, not Mainstreet, USA.

A ‘New Vision’?

Anyone doubting that Quincy is just a mass re-branding effort for the same failed foreign policies of the past two decades need look no further than that organization’s first big public event, a February 26th conference with Foreign Policy Magazine, to explore “A New Vision for America in the World.”

Like pouring old wine into new bottles, this “new vision” is being presented by the very same people and institutions who gave us the “old vision” – you know, the one they pretend to oppose.

How should anyone interested in restraining foreign policy – let alone actual non-interventionism – react to the kick-off presentation of the Quincy Institute’s conference, “Perspective on U.S. Global Leadership in the 21st Century,” going to disgraced US General David Petraeus?

Petraeus is, among many other things, an architect of the disastrous and failed “surge” policy in Iraq. He is still convinced (at least as of a few years ago) that “we won” in Iraq… but that we dare not end the occupation lest we lose what we “won.” How’s that for “restraint”?

While head of the CIA, he teamed up with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to develop and push the brilliant idea of directly and overtly training and equipping al-Qaeda and other jihadists to overthrow the secular government of Bashar Assad. How’s that for “restraint”?

When a tape leaked of Fox News contributor Kathleen T. McFarland meeting with Petraeus at the behest of then-Fox Chairman Roger Ailes to convince him to run for US president, Petraeus told her that the CIA in his view is “a national asset… a treasure.” He then went on to speak favorably of the CIA’s role in Libya.

But the absurdity of leading the conference with such an unreconstructed warmongering interventionist is only the beginning of the trip down the Quincy conference rabbit hole.

Rogues’ Gallery of Washington’s Worst

Shortly following the disgraced general is a senior official from the German Marshal Fund, Julianne Smith, to give us “A New Vision for America’s Role in the World.” Her organization, readers will recall, is responsible for some of the most egregious warmongering propaganda.

The German Marshal Fund launched and funds the Alliance for Securing Democracy, an organization led by such notable proponents of “restraint” as neoconservative icon William Kristol, John McCain Institute head David Kramer, Michael “Trump is an agent of Putin” Morell, and, among others, the guy who made millions out of scaring the hell out of Americans, former Homeland-Security-chief-turned-airport-scanner-salesman Michael Chertoff.

The Alliance for Securing Democracy was responsible for the discredited “Hamilton 68 Dashboard,” a magic tool they claimed would seek and destroy “Russian bots” in the social media. After the propaganda value of such a farce had been reaped, Alliance fellow Clint Watts admitted the whole thing was bogus.

Moving along, so as not to cherry pick the atrocities in this conference, moderating the section on the Middle East is one “scholar,” Mehdi Hasan, who actually sent a letter to Facebook demanding that the social media company censor more political speech! He has attacked what he calls “free speech fundamentalists.”

Joining the “Regional Spotlight: Asia-Pacific” is Patrick Cronin of the thoroughly – and proudly – neoconservative Hudson Institute. Cronin’s entire professional career consists of position after position at the center of Washington’s various “regime change” factories. From a directorial position at the mis-named US Institute for Peace to “third-ranking position” at the US Agency for International Development to “senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the [neoconservative] Center for a New American Security.” This is a voice of “restraint”?

Later, the segment on “Ending Endless War” features at least two speakers who absolutely oppose the idea. Rosa Brooks, Senior Fellow at the “liberal interventionist” New America Foundation, wrote not long ago that, “There’s No Such Thing as Peacetime.” In the article she argued the benefits of “abandon[ing] the effort to draw increasingly arbitrary lines between peacetime and wartime and instead focus[ing] on developing institutions and norms capable of protecting rights and rule-of-law values at all times.” In other words, war is endless so man up and get used to it.

This may be the key for how you end endless war. Just stop calling it “war.”

Brooks’ fellow panelist, Tom Wright, hails from the epicenter of liberal interventionism, the Brookings Institution, where he is director of the “Center on the United States and Europe.” Brookings loves “humanitarian interventions” and has published pieces attempting to convince us that the attack on Libya was not a mistake.

Wright himself is featured in the current edition of the Council on Foreign Relations’ publication Foreign Affairs arguing that old interventionist shibboleth that the disaster in Iraq was not caused by the US invasion, but rather by Obama’s withdrawal.

This Quincy Institute champion of “restraint” concludes his latest piece arguing that:

Now is not the time for a revolution in U.S. strategy. The United States should continue to play a leading role as a security provider in global affairs.

How revolutionary!

The moderator of that final panel in the upcoming Quincy Institute first conference is Loren DeJonge Schulman, a deputy director at the above-named Center for a New American Security. Before joining that neoconservative think tank, Schulman served as Senior Advisor to National Security Advisor Susan Rice! Among her other international crimes, readers will recall that Rice was a chief architect of the US attack on Libya.

Schulman’s entire career is, again, in the service of, alternatively, the war machine and the regime change machine.

The Quincy Institute’s first big event, which it bills as a showcase for a new foreign policy of “restraint,” is in fact just another gathering of Washington’s usual warmongers, neocons, and “humanitarian” interventionists.

Quincy has been received with gushing praise from people who should know better. Any of those gushers who look at this first Quincy conference and continue to maintain that a revolution in foreign policy is afoot are either lying to us or lying to themselves.

But Wait… There’s More!

Sadly, the fallout extends beyond just this particular new institute and this particular event.

Those who continue to push the claim that Koch and Soros are changing their spots and now supporting restraint and non-interventionism should be made to explain why the most egregiously warmongering and interventionist organizations are finding themselves on the receiving end of oligarch largese.

Just days ago a glowing article in Politico detailed the recipients of millions of Koch dollars to promote “restraint.” Who is leading the Koch brigades in the battle for a non-interventionist, “restrained” foreign policy?

Politico reveals:

Libertarian business tycoon Charles Koch is handing out $10 million in new grants to promote voices of military restraint at American think tanks, part of a growing effort by Koch to change the U.S. foreign policy conversation.

The grants, details of which were shared exclusively with POLITICO, are being split among four institutions: the Atlantic Council; the Center for the National Interest; the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; and the RAND Corporation.

The Atlantic Council has been pushing US foreign policy toward war with Russia for years, pumping endless false propaganda and neocon lies to fuel the idea that Russia is engaged in an “asymmetric battle” against the US, that the mess in Ukraine was the result of a Russian out-of-the-blue invasion rather than an Obama Administration coup d’etat, that Russia threw the elections to Putin’s agent Trump, and that Moscow is seeking to to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

The Atlantic Council’s “Disinfo Portal,” a self-described “one-stop interactive online portal and guide to the Kremlin’s information war,” is raw, overt war propaganda. It is precisely the kind of war propaganda that has fueled three years of mass hysteria called “Russiagate,” which though proven definitively to be an utter fraud, continues to animate most of Washington’s thinking on the Left and Right to this day.

The Atlantic Council, through something it calls a “Digital Forensic Research Lab,” works with giant social media outlets to identify and ban any independent or alternative news outlets who deviate from the view that the US is besieged by enemies, from Syria to Iran to Russia to China and beyond, and that therefore it must continue spending a trillion dollars per year to maintain its role as the unipolar hyperpower. Thus, the Atlantic Council – a US government funded entity – colludes with social media to silence any deviation from US government approved foreign policy positions.

And these are the kinds of organizations that Koch and Soros claim are going to save us from Washington’s interventionist foreign policy?

Equally upsetting is the “collateral damage” that the Koch/Soros alliance and its love child Quincy hath wrought. To see once-vibrant and reliably non-interventionist upstarts like The American Conservative Magazine (TAC) lured away from the vision of its founders, Pat Buchanan and Taki Theodoracopulos, to slip into the warm Hegelian embrace of well-funded compromise is truly heartbreaking. It is to witness the soiling of that once-brave publication’s vindication for being right about Iraq War 2.0 while virtually all of Washington was wrong.

Incidentally, and to add insult to injury, it is precisely these kinds of Washington institutions who most viciously attacked TAC in those days who now find themselves trusted partners and even “expert” sources!

TAC ! Beware! It’s not too late to wake up and smell the deception!

How to End Endless Wars (The Easy Way)

If a Soros-Koch alliance was actually interested in ending endless US wars and re-orienting our currently hyper-interventionist foreign policy toward “restraint,” it would simply announce that not another penny in campaign contributions would go to any candidate for House, Senate, or President who did not vow publicly in writing to vote against or veto any legislation that did not reduce military spending, that imposed sanctions overseas, that threatened governments overseas, that appropriated funds in secret or overtly to destabilize or overthrow governments overseas, or that sent foreign “aid” to any government overseas.

It would cost pennies to make such an announcement and stick to it, and the result would be a massive shift in the American body politic toward what the current alliance advertises itself as promoting.

But Koch/Soros don’t really want to end endless US interventions overseas. They want to fund the same old think tanks who are responsible for the disaster that is US foreign policy, re-brand interventionism as non-interventionism, and hope none of us rubes in flyover country notices.

To paraphrase what Pat Buchanan said about Democrats in his historic 1992 convention speech, the whitewashing of Washington’s most egregiously interventionist institutions and experts as “restrained” non-interventionists is “the greatest single exhibition of cross-dressing in American political history.”

February 15, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Chinese FM after Pompeo & Esper speeches: Replace ‘China’ with ‘US’, and maybe lies become facts?

RT | February 15, 2020

Beijing has issued a scathing rebuke of Mike Pompeo’s claim that China is involved in covert activities as part of its desire to obtain greater power, noting that the allegation might be true – if he were referring to Washington.

“All these accusations against China are lies, not based on facts,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. “But if we replace the subject of the lie from China to America, maybe those lies become facts?”

Earlier during the conference, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused China of using tech firms such as Huawei in order to pursue its desire for dominance. He also claimed that companies that receive assistance from Beijing are “Trojan horses” in the service of Chinese intelligence.

His comments were echoed by Pentagon chief Mark Esper, who alleged that Huawei’s 5G technology serves Beijing’s “nefarious strategy” of compromising Western infrastructure.

Washington has repeatedly claimed that Huawei poses an existential security threat to its allies. However, these allegations have been largely dismissed by Europe. The UK has already decided to allow Huawei limited participation in its 5G network, and countries such as Germany, Portugal and Italy have been vocal critics of US pressure to cut all ties with the Chinese firm.

February 15, 2020 Posted by | Deception | , | 2 Comments

Human Activity in China and India Dominates the Greening of Earth, NASA Study Shows

A map showing increases in leaf area per year, represented in green. India and China stand out with large areas of dark green.

Over the last two decades, the Earth has seen an increase in foliage around the planet, measured in average leaf area per year on plants and trees. NASA satellite data shows that China and India are leading the increase in greening. The effect stems mainly from ambitious tree planting programs in China and intensive agriculture in both countries.
Credits: NASA Earth Observatory

NASA | February 11, 2019

The world is literally a greener place than it was 20 years ago, and data from NASA satellites has revealed a counterintuitive source for much of this new foliage: China and India. A new study shows that the two emerging countries with the world’s biggest populations are leading the increase in greening on land. The effect stems mainly from ambitious tree planting programs in China and intensive agriculture in both countries.

The greening phenomenon was first detected using satellite data in the mid-1990s by Ranga Myneni of Boston University and colleagues, but they did not know whether human activity was one of its chief, direct causes. This new insight was made possible by a nearly 20-year-long data record from a NASA instrument orbiting the Earth on two satellites. It’s called the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, and its high-resolution data provides very accurate information, helping researchers work out details of what’s happening with Earth’s vegetation, down to the level of 500 meters, or about 1,600 feet, on the ground.

The world is a greener place than it was 20 years ago, as shown on this map, where areas with the greatest increase in foliage are indicated in dark green. Data from a NASA instrument orbiting Earth aboard two satellites show that human activity in China and India dominate this greening of the planet.

Taken all together, the greening of the planet over the last two decades represents an increase in leaf area on plants and trees equivalent to the area covered by all the Amazon rainforests. There are now more than two million square miles of extra green leaf area per year, compared to the early 2000s – a 5% increase.

“China and India account for one-third of the greening, but contain only 9% of the planet’s land area covered in vegetation – a surprising finding, considering the general notion of land degradation in populous countries from overexploitation,” said Chi Chen of the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University, in Massachusetts, and lead author of the study.

An advantage of the MODIS satellite sensor is the intensive coverage it provides, both in space and time: MODIS has captured as many as four shots of every place on Earth, every day for the last 20 years.

“This long-term data lets us dig deeper,” said Rama Nemani, a research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, in California’s Silicon Valley, and a co-author of the new work. “When the greening of the Earth was first observed, we thought it was due to a warmer, wetter climate and fertilization from the added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to more leaf growth in northern forests, for instance. Now, with the MODIS data that lets us understand the phenomenon at really small scales, we see that humans are also contributing.”

China’s outsized contribution to the global greening trend comes in large part (42%) from programs to conserve and expand forests. These were developed in an effort to reduce the effects of soil erosion, air pollution and climate change. Another 32% there – and 82% of the greening seen in India – comes from intensive cultivation of food crops.

Land area used to grow crops is comparable in China and India – more than 770,000 square miles – and has not changed much since the early 2000s. Yet these regions have greatly increased both their annual total green leaf area and their food production. This was achieved through multiple cropping practices, where a field is replanted to produce another harvest several times a year. Production of grains, vegetables, fruits and more have increased by about 35-40% since 2000 to feed their large populations.

How the greening trend may change in the future depends on numerous factors, both on a global scale and the local human level. For example, increased food production in India is facilitated by groundwater irrigation. If the groundwater is depleted, this trend may change.

“But, now that we know direct human influence is a key driver of the greening Earth, we need to factor this into our climate models,” Nemani said. “This will help scientists make better predictions about the behavior of different Earth systems, which will help countries make better decisions about how and when to take action.”

The researchers point out that the gain in greenness seen around the world and dominated by India and China does not offset the damage from loss of natural vegetation in tropical regions, such as Brazil and Indonesia. The consequences for sustainability and biodiversity in those ecosystems remain.

Overall, Nemani sees a positive message in the new findings. “Once people realize there’s a problem, they tend to fix it,” he said. “In the 70s and 80s in India and China, the situation around vegetation loss wasn’t good; in the 90s, people realized it; and today things have improved. Humans are incredibly resilient. That’s what we see in the satellite data.”

This research was published online, Feb. 11, 2019, in the journal Nature Sustainability.

Bar chart showing that China and India are leading the increase in greening of the planet, due to human activity

Credits: NASA Earth Observatory

February 15, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | 1 Comment

Skripal in Prison — The First Book to Report the Truth

Editor’s note: John Helmer of Dances With the Bears is one of the two people who have done the most work on Her Majesty’s Skripal fiasco (the other being Rob Slane of The Blogmire). He’s the longest-serving foreign reporter in Russia (arrived to cover the Perestroika and simply never left) and with unnerving regularity manages to know more than you would think would be possible for one Australian in Moscow. Now he has a book out on the whole thing.


By John Helmer | Anti-Empire | February 14, 2020

It is exactly two years since the case of two Russians, Sergei and Yulia Skripal, began with their collapse on a park bench in the middle of England on the afternoon of March 4, 2018.

On their anniversary it is necessary to tell this story. But it isn’t the story of what happened. This is because the only people who can tell that one, the Skripals, are locked away in isolation, guarded by determined men under secret government orders.

Instead, this is the story of what didn’t happen – provably didn’t happen because it was quite impossible circumstantially; and because the legal papers warranting that it did have not been signed by a judge, tested in a court of law, or released in public.

The facts which you have seen, heard or read about the incident of March 4, 2018, have been falsified. Everything that has flowed from them is false too. Understanding this is a start to the other story, and so something solid to work from – not missed until now; more like seen but disbelieved. As if the truth were fiction, and the fiction truth.

This is the story of how the largest and longest criminal investigation in modern British history ended in a prosecution without evidence of the crime, the weapon, the crime scene, and even of the crime victims. Allegations there are; evidence admissible in a British court of law there is not. That’s to say, a prosecution which will not be presented in court, before no judge and jury; with no witnesses on oath; and no verdict. That is no prosecution at all.

To say otherwise, as do the British Government, its allies abroad, and every one of its mass-circulation media without exception, is a lie. The victims, it turns out, are held in a British prison, at a secret location, incommunicado, without access to lawyers to defend them, without contact with their families, or the consular representatives of the state whose passports they hold. No court has judged them or sentenced them to this punishment.

The Prime Ministers, Theresa May & Boris Johnson, lied.

MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, lied.

The BBC lied.

The coroner broke the law.

The police and prosecutors faked the evidence.

Russian intelligence agents tried to rescue Sergei Skripal but were foiled in the attempt.

This is the story of what didn’t happen, and the truth of what did.

WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING

  • “You’ve lost me John”  —  Mark Urban, BBC
  • “Other books will follow on the Skripals, but they will struggle to match the texture of Urban’s research, its knowledgeable hinterland” — The Times
  • “There are people out there who know exactly what happened and who are biding their time before revealing all. I am not such a person, nor would I want to be, but I believe that such people do exist” —  Rob Slane, The Blogmire
  • “One of the most experienced foreign journalists in Moscow, John Helmer has lived in Russia for the last 30 years and knows more about it than necessary” — Andrei Shitov, Chief Political Observer, Tass
  • “The book explains why the truth, though known, has not been told” — Katrina van den Heuvel, Editor, The Nation, New York.
  • “You are picking on a dead man who can’t answer for himself” – Joe Lauria, Editor, Consortium News
  • “[John Helmer is] a notorious conspiracy theorist” — Jeremy Kinsman, former Canadian ambassador to Russia, foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Skripal in Prison  — the Paperback

Skripal in Prison — the E-book

February 15, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | 2 Comments