Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Give Trump a Chance Von Ulrich Gellermann

Nach den Vorwahlen ist vor den Wahlen
Huch, hatten sie gesagt, in den Redaktionsbüros der deutschen Atlantiker, also in fast allen journalistischen Ansammlungen Deutschlands, huch, huch. Immer dann, wenn der Name Donald Trump fiel. Jetzt hat Donald der Haarige in den USA so viele Vorwahlen für die Republikanische Partei gewonnen, dass er wohl deren Spitzenkandidat werden wird. Und da er wahrscheinlich gegen die allgemein als korrupt bekannte, eiskalte Politik-Maschine namens Hillary (Killary) Clinton antreten muss, ist es gut möglich, dass „The Donald“ der nächste Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten werden wird. Huch. Da hätten unsere Berufs-US-FREUNDE doch lieber einen eleganteren, nicht ganz so brachialen Mann an der Spitze der USA. Am liebsten den Traum aller US-Romantiker, den James Dean unter den US-Präsidenten, unseren „Üsch-bün-oin-Börliner-JFK. So einer verkauft sich den Deutschen besser. Also lassen wir sie mal auftreten, die US-Präsidenten seit John F. Kennedy. Und beurteilen sie nur nach ihrer Außenpolitik. Denn mit der müssen die Nicht-Amerikaner leben. mehr...

Syria: Russia’s Military Might Surprises West

Syria: Russia’s Military Might Surprises West


Western media has raised hue and cry blaming Russia for great collateral damage in Syria. Much has been said about the Russian air strikes not being accurate enough to minimize the damage to civilian infrastructure and death toll among civilians.
For decades, Western military leaders viewed Russia’s military capabilities with condescension pointing at «obsolete» equipment and many drawbacks. They used to say that Russia was no match for NATO.
But the demonstration of Russia’s military capabilities in Syria has come as a shock. 
A just published confidential NATO analytical report on the issue has admitted Russia’s superiority over the Alliance’s forces and has praised Moscow for the «accuracy and efficiency» of its air strikes.
According to the information obtained by German Focus magazine, the Russian Aerospace Forces operations are much more effective than NATO air strikes, despite the Alliance’s numerical superiority.
The article written by Josef Hufelschulte published by Focus on March 5 refers to a classified NATO report, which informs that 40 Russian combat aircraft fly 75 sorties daily to deliver precision strikes against Islamic State targets. In comparison, NATO aviation flies 180 sorties a day to strike only 20 targets.
NATO experts believe Russian SU-35 aircraft to be superior to anything the Alliance has in its inventory.
The paper emphasizes the fact that Russian crews are better trained.
Russia’s combat capabilities are enhanced due to the intelligence data provided by Syrian military.
According to the document, the Russian military operation made terrorists retreat from previously taken positions. What is especially important – the report mentions no Russian aircraft-inflicted civilian casualties at all.
It’s not the first time, when Russia’s military operation is described as a big success.
«The Russian reinforcement has changed the calculus completely», Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said in Senate testimony. Assad is «in a much stronger negotiating position than he was just six months ago», Stewart noted«I’m more inclined to believe that he is a player on the stage longer term than he was six months to a year ago».
In an attempt to match Russia’s achievements, the United States is sending nuclear-capable B-52 aircraft to drop bombs on the Islamic State terror group, defense officials confirmed to Fox News on March 4.
The B-52 Stratofortress will start its first bombing campaign against Islamic State in April, the Air Force Time reports.
It's not clear how many B-52s or airmen will be involved.
An Atlantic Council report issued in late February warns of a grave «lack of progress» in the Alliance’s plans to reinforce itself.
Former Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Deputy Supreme Commander Sir Richard Shirreff and former Italian defence minister and NATO military committee chair Giampaolo di Paola are among the authors. The paper reads «Many of the alliance’s key members are still dogged by «critical deficiencies» in their «hollowed out» militaries».
A RAND Corporation paper modelling dozens of war game scenarios in consultation with the Pentagon, found that Russia’s forces would overrun NATO in the Baltic, and capture Tallinn and Riga, in a maximum of 60 hours, with a «catastrophic» defeat for defending alliance forces.
The European Leadership network published a report on February 8 warning of many weak points and drawbacks of NATO’s defense posture. 
«I think Russia has gained the upper hand in the region and this is by historical measures a novelty. And they have done so by the use of armed force»said Norbert Röttgen, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the German parliament and a member of Merkel's conservative party.
Thanks to continuous modernization, the Russian Armed Forces have gained a clear advantage, said one of the key NATO General Hans-Lothar Domröse. This became possible thanks to the Russian electronics and engineering skills, he said.
Russian military jets have, at times, been carrying out more sorties in a day in Syria than the US-led coalition has done in a month. The Russian navy has launched cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea 900 miles away, and kept supply lines going to Syria. The air defense systems installed by the Russian military in Syria are the most capable long-range weapons in the world to keep any potential enemy away. They have array radars that continuously monitor the skies. A missile can shoot down targets at the distance of 250 miles. There are about 40 fixed-wing aircraft based at Latakia: 12 Su-25s and four Su-30SM fighter-bombers; 12 ageing Su-24M2s and six Su-34s. More of the most advanced of these, the Su-34, codenamed Fullback by NATO, have been replacing older aircraft. There are also helicopters and an unspecified number of drones.
The deployment of Russian electronic warfare equipment in Syria, such as the Krasukha-4 which can jam AWACS and satellite radar systems, has been another sobering experience for NATO. Ronald Pontius, deputy to the US Army head of cyber command, stated«You cannot but come to the conclusion that we are not making progress at the pace the threat demands».
Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, the commander of the US army in Europe, has described Russian advances in electronic warfare in Syria as «eye watering».
It would stand NATO in good stead to know the reality its intelligence has failed to see.
As Russian President Vladimir Putin said pointing out the significance of the West seeing «for the first time that these weapons do exist, that they are of high quality, and that we have well-trained people who can put them to effective use. They have now seen, too, that Russia is ready to use them if this is in the interest of our country and our people».
The events in Syria happened to be an eye opener for the West to make it realize it had seriously underestimated Russia’s military capabilities. Its intelligence has failed again. The events in Syria rectified the omission.

Freidenker-Verband sagt Friedensveranstaltung aus Angst vor Angriffen ab
»Transatlantifa« droht Antifaschisten
Von Susan Bonath
Für den 9. März 2016 hatten die Berliner Freidenker eine Veranstaltung zum Thema „Die drohende Kriegsgefahr und was wir dagegen tun können“ geplant - mit Ken Jebsen als Referent und Diskussionspartner. Ähnlich wie in Aachen am 12. Februar gab es im Vorfeld Attacken gegen das Auftreten von Ken Jebsen. Während die Veranstaltung in Aachen - wenn auch in hitziger Atmosphäre - stattfand, wurde die in Berlin aufgrund von Drohungen abgesagt. Klar ist, dass eine Veranstaltung wie die geplante mit Ken Jebsen die Gegenseite auf den Plan ruft. Und diese Gegenseite ist die, die den Planeten mit Krieg überzieht. Sie gibt Milliarden für ihre Operationen zur Beeinflussung der öffentlichen Meinung und zur Desorientierung und Zerstörung wirkungsvoller Gegenbewegungen aus. Das mussten auch die Berliner Freidenker erleben. Stimmung gemacht wurde u.a. bei indymedia - mit einem Gegenartikel und großenteils anonymen Kommentaren. junge-Welt-Autorin Susan Bonath kommentiert diesen Vorgang und findet einen treffenden Begriff: Transatlantifa. mehr...

Lula and the BRICS in a fight to the death 

Pepe Escobar
Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia Times Online. Born in Brazil, he's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, and has lived in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Washington, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Even before 9/11 he specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central and East Asia, with an emphasis on Big Power geopolitics and energy wars. He is the author of "Globalistan" (2007), "Red Zone Blues" (2007), "Obama does Globalistan" (2009) and "Empire of Chaos" (2014), all published by Nimble Books. His latest book is "2030", also by Nimble Books, out in December 2015.
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva © Paulo Whitaker
“BRICS” is the dirtiest of acronyms in the Beltway/Wall Street axis, and for a solid reason: the consolidation of the BRICS is the only organic, global-reach project with the potential to derail Exceptionalistan’s grip over the so-called “international community.” 
So it’s no surprise the three key BRICS powers have been under simultaneous attack, on many fronts, for some time now. On Russia, it’s all about Ukraine and Syria, the oil price war, the odd hostile raid over the ruble and the one-size-fits-all “Russian aggression” demonization. On China, it’s all about “Chinese aggression” in the South China Sea and the (failed) raid over the Shanghai/Shenzhen stock exchanges.
Brazil is the weakest link among these three key emerging powers. Already by the end of 2014 it was  clear the usual suspects would go no holds barred to destabilize the seventh largest global economy, aiming at good old regime change via a nasty cocktail of political gridlock (“ungovernability”) dragging the economy to the mud.
Myriad reasons for the attack include the consolidation of the BRICS development bank; the BRICS’s concerted push for trading in their own currencies, bypassing the US dollar and aiming for a new global reserve currency to replace it; the construction of a major underwater fiber-optic telecom cable between Brazil and Europe, as well as the BRICS cable uniting South America to East Asia – both bypassing US control.
And most of all, as usual, the holy of the holies – connected with Exceptionalistan’s burning desire to privatize Brazil’s immense natural wealth. Once again, it’s the oil.

Get Lula or else

WikiLeaks had already exposed how way back in 2009 Big Oil was active in Brazil, trying to modify – by all extortion means necessary – a law proposed by former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, establishing profitable state-run Petrobras as the chief operator of all offshore blocks in the largest oil discovery of the young 21st century; the pre-salt deposits.
Lula not only kept Big Oil – especially ExxonMobil and Chevron – out of the picture but he also opened Brazilian oil exploration to China’s Sinopec, as part of the Brazil-China (BRICS within BRICS) strategic partnership.
Hell hath no fury like Exceptionalistan scorned. Like the Mob, it never forgives; Lula one day would have to pay, like Putin must pay for getting rid of US-friendly oligarchs.
The ball started rolling with Edward Snowden revealing how the NSA was spying on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and top Petrobras officials. It continued with the fact that the Brazilian Federal Police cooperate, receive training and/or are fed, closely, by both the FBI and CIA (mostly in the anti-terrorism sphere). And it went on via the two-year-old “Car Wash” investigation, which uncovered a vast corruption network involving players inside Petrobras, top Brazilian construction companies and politicians from the ruling Workers’ Party.
The corruption network is real – with “proof,” usually oral, rarely backed up by documents, obtained mostly from artful dodgers-cum-serial liars who rat on someone as part of a plea bargain.
But for the “Car Wash” prosecutors, the real deal was, from the beginning, how to ensnare Lula.

Enter the tropical Elliott Ness

That brings us to the Hollywood spectacular enacted last Friday in Sao Paulo that sent shockwaves around the world. Lula “detained,” interrogated, humiliated in public. This is how I analyzed it in detail.
Plan A for the Hollywood-style blitz on Lula was an ambitious double down; not only to pave the way for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff under a “guilty by association” stretch, but to “neutralize” Lula for good, preventing him from running for office again in 2018. There was no Plan B.
Predictably – as in many an FBI sting – the whole op backfired. Lula, in a political master class of a speech beamed live across the country, not only convincingly clad himself as the martyr of a conspiracy, but also re-energized his troops; even respectable conservatives vocally condemned the Hollywood show, from a minister in the Supreme Court to a former justice minister, as well as top economist Bresser Pereira, one of the founders of the PSDB – the former social democrats turned Exceptionalistan-allied neoliberal enforcers and leaders of the right-wing opposition.
Bresser actually stated the Brazilian Supreme Court should intervene on Car Wash to prevent abuses. Lula, for instance, had asked for the Supreme Court to detail which jurisprudence was relevant to investigate the accusations against him. Moreover, a lawyer on center stage during the Hollywood blitz said Lula answered all questions during the almost four-hour interrogation without blinking – questions he had already answered before. 
Lawyer Celso Bandeira de Mello, for his part, went straight to the point: the Brazilian upper middle classes – which include a largely appalling lot wallowing in arrogance, ignorance and prejudice, whose dream is a condo in Miami - are fearful and terrified to death that Lula may run, and win again, in 2018.
And that brings us to the judge and executioner of the whole drama: Sergio Moro, Car Wash’s leading actor.
Moro’s academic career is hardly exciting. He’s not exactly a theorist heavyweight. He graduated as a lawyer in 1995 in a mediocre university in the middle of nowhere in one of Brazil’s southern states and made a few trips to the US, one of them financed by the State Department to learn about money laundering.
As I noted before, his chef-d’oeuvre is an article published way back in 2004 in an obscure magazine (in Portuguese only, titled Considerations about Mani Pulite, CEJ magazine, issue number 26, July/September 2004), where he clearly extols “authoritarian subversion of juridical order to reach specific targets” and using the media to intoxicate the political atmosphere.
In a nutshell, judge Moro literally transposed the notorious 1990s Mani Pulite (“Clean Hands”) investigation from Italy to Brazil – instrumentalizing to the hilt mainstream media and the judiciary to achieve a sort of “total delegitimization” of the political system. But not the whole political system; just the Workers’ Party, as if the comprador elites permeating Brazil’s rightwing spectrum were cherubic angels.
So it comes as no surprise that Moro’s prime sidekick as Car Wash unrolled is the Marinho family’s oligopoly, the Globo media empire – a nest of reactionary, and not very clever, vipers who entertained very cozy relations with the Brazilian military dictatorship from the 1960s to the 1980s. Not by accident, Globo was informed about Lula’s Hollywood-style “arrest” way before the fact, allowing it to invest in CNN-style blanket coverage.
Moro is viewed by legions in Brazil as an indigenous Elliot Ness. Other lawyers who have closely followed his work though hint he harbors the warped fantasy of a Workers’ Party as a mob leeching and plundering the state apparatus with the aim of delivering it, in pieces, to trade unions.
According to one of these lawyers who talked to Brazilian independent media, a former president of the Lawyers’ Association in Rio, Moro is surrounded by a bunch of young fanatical prosecutors, with little juridical knowledge, and posing as the Brazilian Antonio di Pietro (but without the solidity of the “Clean Hands” Milanese prosecutor). Worse, Moro is oblivious that the implosion of the Italian political system led to the rise of Berlusconi. In Brazil, it would certainly lead to the rise of a clown/village idiot supported by the Globo empire, whose oligopolistic practices are quite Berlusconian.

The digital Pinochets

A case can be made that the Hollywood blitz on Lula holds a direct parallel to the first attempt at a coup d’etat in Chile in 1973, which tested the waters in terms of popular response before the real deal. In the Brazilian remix, assorted Globo media maggots pose as digital Pinochets. At least many a street in Sao Paulo now bears graffiti to the effect of “Military coup – Never again.
Yes, because this is all about a white coup – in the form of a Rousseff impeachment and sending Lula to the gallows. But old (military) habits die hard; Globo media maggots are now extolling the Army to take to the streets to “neutralize” popular militias. And this is just the beginning. Right-wingers are getting ready for a national mobilization on Sunday calling for – what else – Rousseff’s impeachment.
Car Wash’s merit is to investigate corruption, collusion and traffic of influence in abysmally corrupt Brazil. But everyone, every political faction, should be investigated – including those representing Brazilian comprador elites. That’s not the case. Because the political project allied with Car Wash couldn’t care less about “justice”; the only thing that matters is to perpetuate a vicious political crisis as a means to drag the seventh largest economy in the world into the mud and reach the Holy Grail: a white coup, or good ol’ regime change. But 2016 is not 1973, and the whole world by now knows who’s a sucker for regime change.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.Source: