Saturday, May 28, 2016

PEPE ESCOBAR Target Russia. Target China. Target Iran

Target Russia. Target China. Target Iran
 28.05.2016  OPINION 

Not a day goes by without US Think Tankland doing what it does best; pushing all sorts of scenarios for cold – and hot – war with Russia, plus myriad confrontations with China and Iran. 
That fits into the Pentagon’s Top Five existential threats to the US, where Russia and China sit at the very top and Iran is in fourth place – all ahead of «terrorism» of the phony Daesh «Caliphate» variety. 
Here I have come up with some concise realpolitik facts to counterpunch the hysteria – stressing how the Russian hypersonic missile advantage renders useless the whole construct of NATO’s paranoid rhetoric and bluster. 
The US Aegis defense system has been transferred from ships to land. The Patriot missile defense system is worthless. Aegis is about 30% better than the THAAD system; it may be more effective but their range is also limited. 
Aegis is not a threat at all to Russia – for now. Yet as the system is upgraded – and that may take years – it could cause Russia some serious concern, as Exceptionalistan is increasingly pushing them eastward, so near to Russia’s borders. 
Anyway, Russia is still light-years ahead in hypersonic missiles. The Pentagon knows that against the S-500 system, the F-22, the awesomely expensive F-35 and the B-2 stealth airplanes – stars of a trillion-dollar fighter program – are totally obsolete. 
So it’s back to the same old meme: «Russian aggression», without which the Pentagon cannot possibly fight for its divine right to be showered with unlimited funds
Washington had 20,000 planners at work before WWII was ended, focused on the reconstruction of Germany. Washington had only six after the destruction of Iraq in 2003’s Shock and Awe. 
That was no incompetence; it was «Plan A» from the get-go. The former USSR was deemed a mighty threat at the end of WWII – so Germany had to be rebuilt. Iraq was a war of choice to grab oil fields – mixed with the implementation of hardcore disaster capitalism. No one in Washington ever cared or even wanted to rebuild it. 
«Russian aggression» does not apply to Iraq; it’s all about Eastern Europe. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov anyway has made it clear that the deployment of the Aegis will be counterpunched in style – as even US corporate media starts to admit that the Russian economy is healing from the effects of the oil price war. 
Take a look at my liquid asssets
Here my purpose was to show that China is not a House of Cards. Whatever the real Chinese debt to GDP ratio – figures vary from as low as 23% to 220% – that is nothing for an economy the size of the Chinese, especially because it is entirely internally controlled. 
China keeps over $3 trillion in US dollars and other Western currencies in reserves while it gradually delinks its economy from the real House of Cards: the US dollar economy. 
So under these circumstances what does foreign debt mean? Not much. China could – although they don't do it yet – produce more yuan and buy back their debt, as much as the US with quantitative easing (QE) and the European Central Bank (ECB) as it asks certain 'favorite countries' (strong NATO supporters) to produce more than their share of euros. 
And yet Beijing doesn't really need to do this. China, Russia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and what's left of the BRICS (Brazil is on hold until at least 2018) are slowly but surely forging their own internal currency and currency transfer system (in China and Russia it works already internally) to sideline SWIFT and the Bank of International Settlements (BIS). 
When they are ready to roll it out for the rest of the world to join them, then US dollar-based foreign debt will be meaningless. 
US Think Tankland, as usual, remains clueless. As one of my Chinese sources explains, «whenever a Western big mouth mentions China's debt ‘problem’ they quote a figure that seems to come out of thin air, and it includes all debts, central, provincial, city government levels, estimated all corporate debts, loans from banks outside China. Meanwhile, they compare this total number in China with those of Western countries and Japan's central government debt alone».
The source adds, «China is operating with a balance sheet of the equivalent to $60 trillion. Loans from external sources is in the $11 trillion range while cash and equivalent is in the $3.6-4 trillion range. All this cash – or very liquid asset – is the biggest discretionary force in the hands of China's leaders while nothing worth mentioning is in the hands of any other Western government».
Not to mention that globally, Beijing is betting on what the World Economic Forum calls the Fourth Industrial Revolution. China is already the central hub for global production, supply, logistics and value chain. Which leads us to One Belt, One Road (OBOR); all roads lead to the Chinese-driven New Silk Roads, which will connect, deeper and deeper, China’s economy and infrastructure all across Eurasia. OBOR will simultaneously expand China’s global power while geopolitically counterpunching the so far ineffective «pivot to Asia» – Pentagon provocations in the South China Sea included – and improving China’s energy security. 
Sanctions, like diamonds, are forever 
Another major Exceptionalistan fictional narrative is that the US is «worried» about the inability of European banks to do business in Iran. That’s nonsense; in fact, it’s the US Treasury Department that is scaring the hell out of any European bank who dares to do business with Tehran. 
India and Iran have struck a $500 million landmark deal to develop the Iranian port of Chabahar – a key node in what could be dubbed the New India-Iran Silk Road, connecting India to Central Asia via Iran and Afghanistan. 
Immediately afterwards the US State Department has the gall to announce that the deal will be «examined» – as the proverbial Israeli-firster US senators question whether the deal violates those lingering sanctions against Iran that refuse to go away. This happens in parallel to a mounting official narrative of «unrest» contaminating former Soviet republics in Central Asia – especially Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. CIA-paid hacks should know those sources of unrest well – as the CIA itself is fomenting it. 
India doing business with Iran is «suspicious». On the other hand, India is more than allowed to formalize a historic military cooperation deal with the US hazily dubbed the «Logistics Support Agreement»  (LSA) – according to which the two militaries may use each other’s land, air and naval bases for resupplies, repairs and vaguely-defined «operations». 
So it’s all hands on deck all over Exceptionalistan to counter Russia, China and prevent any real normalization with Iran. These localized offensives – practical and rhetorical – on all fronts always mean one thing, and one thing only; splitting and fracturing, by all means necessary, the OBOR Eurasian integration. Bets can be made that Moscow, Beijing and Tehran simply won’t be fooled. 

Is Obama’s Entire Foreign Policy Going Down in Flames? (I) ERIC ZUESSE

Is Obama’s Entire Foreign Policy Going Down in Flames? (I)
 | 29.05.2016 | WORLD

On May 19th, the Washington Post headlined «Agreement that could lead to US troops in Libya could be reached ‘any day’», and reported that Joseph F Dunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that US troops will be sent to Libya to fight against ISIS, and that, «there will be a long-term mission in Libya», in order to deal with the mushrooming presence of ISIS fighters who have come to Libya after the secularist leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, was overthrown there by US bombing backed up by other NATO forces, and some Libyans on the ground.
«There is interest among some NATO nations in participating in the mission, Dunford said, but the specifics of who and what would be involved remain unclear. The operation will likely focus on training and equipping militias that pledge loyalty to Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, the leader of the new Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA)», which «has not yet been accepted by either existing rival government in Libya». In other words: the US and its allies had produced a failed state and a festering jihadist breeding-ground where US troops now will be sent in order to re-establish the peace and prosperity that it had destroyed there. They’ll do this by participating in Libya’s civil war – trying to dictate whom Libya’s leader will be.
So, on the Libyan matter, America’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s, famous victory statement«We came, we saw, he died. Ha, ha!!» turns out to have been more the start of a US defeat in an unprovoked invasion, than the start of a US victory against any authentic provocation by ‘the enemy’. Obama’s current plan to turn his defeat into victory there has no more reason to succeed than his predecessor, George W Bush’s plan to do likewise in Iraq did after he had, on 1 May 2003, declared victory there, aboard the warship USS Abraham Lincoln. Then, his famous 2007 «troop surge in Iraq» utterly failed to produce peace and to end the sectarian war the US and its allies had generated by their thoroughly counter-productive and shameful invasion against a nation that (like Libya) hadn’t invaded nor threatened to invade the United States – nor its allies. There, as in Syria, too, America’s aggression produced only mass death and misery – and trillions of dollars in US federal debt, which hasn’t yet resulted from America’s invasions of Libya and Syria, but might. And, of course, millions of refugees.
Two days prior, on May 17th, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a joint press conference, in which the Obama Administration’s longstanding bottom-line demand, that «Assad must go» before any peace negotiations can start in Syria, was finally and totally abandoned by Kerry, when he said that «all of the parties» (including now the United States, which formerly had refused to join with Russia and Iran on this) «have agreed on a basic framework, which is a united Syria, nonsectarian, that is able to choose its future through a transitional governing body which is, in effect, the implementation of the Geneva process». Previously, the Obama regime had demanded that Assad step down before there can be any negotiations, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had repeatedly condemned that stand against democracy in Syria, by asserting that «the future of Assad must be determined by the Syrian people,» and «it is up to the Syrian people who have to decide the future of President Assad». As I previously reported, the reason why Obama had been standing firm on removal of Assad prior to any political process was that even Western polling firms have been finding that Assad’s remaining as Syria’s leader is supported by 55% of Syrians, and that the US is blamed by 82% of Syrians as being the source of Syria’s civil war: «82% agree ‘IS [Islamic State] is US and foreign made group’». In other words: Syrians, the most secular, the most anti-theocratic, people in the entire Middle East, blame people such as John Brennan as the source of their miseries. This same poll found that «79% agree ‘Foreign fighters made war worse’». It also found «70% agree ‘Oppose division of country’».
In other words, it was Obama who had been standing in the way of a democratic solution to the question of whom the leader of Syria would be – Obama knows that any democratic national election of Syria’s leader will produce the same leader that now heads Syria’s government: the only non-sectarian head-of-state still remaining anywhere in the Arab world. (Assad is a non-sectarian Shiite, and the few Syrians who want him overthrown are the most-fundamentalistic of Syria’s Sunnis.) And, as Robert F Kennedy Jr and other honest historians also have noted, the US CIA has been trying ever since 1949 to overthrow Syria’s non-sectarian governments in order to become allowed by a fundamentalist-Sunni regime to build through Syria «the Trans-Arabian Pipeline, an American project intended to connect the oil fields of Saudi Arabia to the ports of Lebanon via Syria».
The ultimate intended destination of that oil and gas has been Europe, the world’s largest oil-and-gas market, so as to choke off Russia’s main export market, and transfer that business from the USSR and now from just Russia, to the American aristocracy and its allied aristocracies in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UAE. (Those Arabic oil royal families, especially the Sauds, are the main funders of jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS, but now with the added help of their fellow fundamentalist Sunni Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, ISIS’s main funding comes from selling the stolen oil from Syria and Iraq.) As RFK Jr described the proposed pipeline, it «would have linked Qatar directly to European energy markets via distribution terminals in Turkey which would pocket rich transit fees. The Qatar/Turkey pipeline would have given the Sunni Kingdoms of the Persian Gulf decisive domination of world natural gas markets and strengthen Qatar, America’s closest ally in the Arab world. Qatar hosts two massive American military bases and the US Central Command’s Mid-East headquarters».
Furthermore, as Seymour Hersh and others have reported, the Obama regime has been strongly backing and arming al-Qaeda in Syria, which is called al-Nusra there, and Obama thus had long insisted that Russia not be allowed to include al-Nusra along with ISIS as targets to be bombed by Russia in Syria while the peace talks go on, but Russia refused to allow the US to protect al-Nusra, as if that group were anything other than jihadist, and so the only way that Obama could allow these talks to take place was by accepting Russia’s condition, that al-Qaeda was beyond the pale, just like ISIS. Otherwise, Russia would not negotiate terms for a cessation of hostilities there.
So, when Kerry in that press conference on May 17th said, «we call on all parties to the cessation of hostilities to disassociate themselves physically and politically from Daesh and al-Nusrah», this inclusion of al-Nusra along with Daesh constituted a major concession to Russia.
Finally, Kerry made another major concession to Russia there by saying that «we pledged our support for transforming the cessation of hostilities into a comprehensive ceasefire». This is actually the last shoe to drop, because it means that the Obama regime is now fully committed to ending the invasion of Syria by means of a political process, instead of by means of a conquest. The US aristocracy now accept that the dream of transporting the oil and gas from the Saud family’s Saudi Arabia, and from the Thani family’s Qatar, through Syria, into the EU, cannot be achieved, at least in the short term.
Only one American reporter, from the New York Times, was given the opportunity to ask a question at the end of this joint press conference, and he seemed quite hostile toward Kerry. He said: «It appears you have less leverage over President Assad now than you did when the Vienna agreement was reached at the end of October. If anything, thanks to the intervention of Mr Lavrov’s government, Mr Assad seems to feel now more secure than he did eight months ago». Kerry gave a defensive, anti-Russian, answer, to satisfy the reporter. They just don’t let up, but Obama now is no longer going along with the effort; he now accepts that the Syrian people, democracy, will decide Syria’s leader.
On Tuesday May 17th The Hill bannered «Senate passes bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia», and reported that, «The Senate on Tuesday approved legislation that would allow victims of the 9/11 terror attacks to sue Saudi Arabia, defying vocal opposition from the White House. The upper chamber approved the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act by unanimous consent».
As I had reported a month earlier: «Saudi Arabia, owned by the Saud family are telling the US Government, they’ll wreck the US economy, if a bill in the Congress that would remove the unique and exclusive immunity the royal owners of that country enjoy in the United States, against their being prosecuted for their having financed the 9/11 attacks, passes in Congress, and becomes US law».
Obama demanded that the bill to lift the immunity of the Saud family not be passed and he said he’d veto it if it comes to his desk. But, as it turns out, the Sauds might not even have the capability any longer to retaliate in the way they’re threatening to.
On May 18th, Mish Shedlock headlined «Saudi Arabia Delays Payment to Contractors, Considers IOUs: Liquidity Crunch at Best», and he reported that, «Saudi Arabia burnt through its reserves faster than anyone thought. In signs of a huge liquidity crunch, at best, the country has delayed paying contractors and now considers paying them in IOUs and tradable bonds. In retrospect, the Saudi threat to dump US assets looks more ridiculous than ever».
The US Congress is about to call the bluff of the Saud family and of President Obama. That would throw another huge monkey-wrench into the effort to overthrow Assad, whom the Sauds hate, and whose overthrow they’ve spent huge sums to finance. From yet another standpoint, the Sauds and Obama are losing.
(To be continued)

Amnesty International CIA unterwandert

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Basel, Mai, 2016
Amnesty International (AI) verschickt per Ende Mai 2016 Flyer und Einzahlungsscheine zu Syrien in die Schweizer Haushalte mit den reisserischen Titeln „Warum lässt dieser Mann sein Volk derat leiden?“ (mit Bild des Präsidenten Bashar Al-Assad) und „Das Leben in Syrien ist kein Leben mehr“ (mit Bild eines verwundeten Mädchens).
Wir können diese AI Kampagne nicht so stehen lassen.
Wir stellen fest:
Seit Beginn der Ereignisse im 2011 reiht sich AI in die Hetze gegen den Syrischen Präsidenten und die Syrische Regierung ein. Dazu werden alle gängigen Klischees und Vorurteile bemüht: Der Präsident
„würde eisern an seiner Macht festhalten“ Richtig ist: Er wurde legitim gewählt! Er würde „Menschen verschleppen und in überfüllten Kerkern verschwinden lassen“ Die Armee „würde Ortschaften abriegeln und die Menschen verhungern lassen“ und weiteres mehr. Wo sind die Beweise für diese Behauptungen?
Nehmen Sie bitte zur Kenntnis:
Seit Beginn der Unruhen im Jahr 2011 unternimmt die gewählte und legitime Regierung Syriens mit Präsident Bashar Al-Assad alles in ihrer Macht stehende, um den Konflikt zu entschärfen und die Kämpfe zu beenden. Dass dies nicht oder nur zum Teil gelingt, ist den hier FSA, IS al Nusra und al Kaida genannten Söldnern und Todesschwadronen geschuldet. Diese werden via Saudi Arabien, Qatar und der Türkei von den USA und den NATO Mächten finanziert und ausgebildet. Syrien ist, nach Palästina, dem Irak und Libyen in der Region ein weiteres, von den USA, den NATO-Mächten und Israel angegriffenes Land.
Mit derartigen Aufrufen versucht AI den Syrischen Staat noch weiter zu destabilisieren und zu diffamieren, dies empfinden wir als Schande. AI missbraucht damit die Solidaritätsbereitschaft vieler Menschen, welche sich vermeintlich für die „Menschenrechte“ einsetzen und sich für eine bessere Welt engagieren wollen. Es ist in der Tat auffällig, wie AI immer wieder Kampagnen gegen angegriffene Länder führt, Syrien steht keineswegs allein da. So prangern sie u.a. Kuba, Ägypten und Venezuela an. Hingegen werden Israel, die USA und die NATO Staaten, welche Krieg, Völkermord und verbrannte Erde zu verantworten haben von AI in aller Regel ebenso wenig kritisiert wie deren Vasallen Saudi Arabien, Qatar, die Türkei und andere.
Hände weg von Syrien – Bündnis gegen den imperialistischen Krieg protestiert hiermit in aller Form gegen diese hetzerischen Kampagnen von AI. Wir fordern Sie auf, über die angegriffenen Länder korrekt zu berichten: Wenn Folter und Menschenrechtsverletzungen in diesen Ländern passieren, dann handelt es sich in aller Regel um westlichen „Import“. Erinnert sei an Abu Ghraib, erinnert sei an Guantanamo, erinnert sei auch an die zahllosen, noch immer nicht vollständig aufgedeckten Foltergefängnisse der CIA rund um den Globus.

Für „Hände weg von Syrien – Bündnis gegen Krieg“

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