Mon, 21 Oct 2019 13:33:52 GMT Mon, 21 Oct 2019 13:33:52 GMT Homeschoolers are Educated, Not Indoctrinated Ron Paul

Schoolchildren across the country recently skipped school or walked out of class to rally for new restrictions on our economic and personal liberties in the name of fighting “climate change.” Instead of punishing students for playing hooky to promote a political cause, many teachers and administrators allowed, or even encouraged, students to skip school to attend these events. Public schools have also given students the day off to attend pro-gun control rallies.

The trend toward allowing students to miss school for political protests is an example of how indoctrination in left-wing ideology and politics has replaced actual education in many government schools. Some teachers may have seen their students’ eagerness to show support for authoritarian policies like the “Green New Deal” as confirmation of the teachers’ success in convincing students that the “science is settled” regarding climate change. The truth is that science regarding the causes, extent, and effects of climate change is far from settled. But you won’t learn that in most government schools.

Misleading students on climate change is far from the only, or even the worst, example of how student education is being shortchanged in order to promote socialism and its cousin, cultural Marxism. Government schools in Seattle are implementing a program called “Math Ethnic Studies.” As the title suggests, this replaces traditional mathematics with a curriculum built around the insane idea that math is not an objective truth, but a construct reflecting the interests of society’s dominant economic, social, and racial groups.

Among the questions the students are supposed to ask in this new curriculum are, “how is math manipulated to allow inequality and oppression in society?” and “who’s to say what is right?” In other words, two plus two may or may not equal four depending on one’s group identity.

Students who take this course may not be qualified to become scientists or engineers, but they will be qualified to agitate for expanded welfare and new limits on free speech in the name of “social justice.”

The politicization and dumbing down of government education does have an upside: it is leading more parents to pull their children out of government schools and homeschool instead. Homeschooling allows parents to ensure their children receive a quality education that does not undermine their political or other values.

Parents interested in providing their children with a quality education should consider my homeschooling curriculum. The Ron Paul Curriculum provides students with a well-rounded education that includes rigorous programs in history, mathematics, and the physical and natural sciences. The curriculum also provides instruction in personal finance. Students can develop superior communication skills via intensive writing and public speaking courses. Another feature of my curriculum is that it provides students the opportunity to create and run their own businesses.

The government and history sections of the curriculum emphasize Austrian economics, libertarian political theory, and the history of liberty. However, unlike government schools, my curriculum never puts ideological indoctrination ahead of education.

Interactive forums ensure students are engaged in their education and that they have the opportunity to interact with their peers outside of a formal setting.

I encourage all parents looking at alternatives to government schools — alternatives that provide children with a well-rounded education that introduces them to the history and ideas of liberty without sacrificing education for indoctrination — to go to for more information about my homeschooling program.]]> Mon, 21 Oct 2019 13:33:52 GMT
US Media in Crisis - Rick Sanchez at RPI's Washington Conference RPI Staff
]]> Sun, 20 Oct 2019 11:56:07 GMT
The US has backed 21 of the 28 ‘crazy’ militias leading Turkey’s brutal invasion of northern Syria Max Blumenthal

Footage showing members of Turkey’s mercenary “national army” executing Kurdish captives as they led the Turkish invasion of northern Syria touched off a national outrage, provoking US government officials, pundits and major politicians to rage against their brutality.

In the Washington Post, a US official condemned the militias as a “crazy and unreliable.” Another official called them “thugs and bandits and pirates that should be wiped off the face of the earth.” Meanwhile, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the scene as a “sickening horror,” blaming President Donald Trump exclusively for the atrocities.

But the fighters involved in the atrocities in northern Syria were not just random tribesmen assembled into an ad hoc army. In fact, many were former members of the Free Syrian Army, the force once armed by the CIA and Pentagon and branded as “moderate rebels.” This disturbing context was conveniently omitted from the breathless denunciations of US officials and Western pundits.

Left: John McCain with then-FSA chief Salim Idriss (right) in 2013; Right: Salim Idriss (center) in October, announcing the establishment of the National Front for Liberation, the Turkish mercenary army that has invaded northern Syria.

According to a research paper published this October by the pro-government Turkish think tank, SETA, “Out of the 28 factions [in the Turkish mercenary force], 21 were previously supported by the United States, three of them via the Pentagon’s program to combat DAESH. Eighteen of these factions were supplied by the CIA via the MOM Operations Room in Turkey, a joint intelligence operation room of the ‘Friends of Syria’ to support the armed opposition. Fourteen factions of the 28 were also recipients of the US-supplied TOW anti-tank guided missiles.” (A graph by SETA naming the various militias and the type of US support they received is at the end of this article).

In other words, virtually the entire apparatus of anti-Assad insurgents armed and equipped under the Obama administration has been repurposed by the Turkish military to serve as the spearhead of its brutal invasion of northern Syria. The leader of this force is Salim Idriss, now the “Defense Minister” of Syria’s Turkish-backed “interim government.” He’s the same figure who hosted John McCain when the late senator made his infamous 2013 incursion into Syria.

The “sickening horror” this collection of extremists is carrying out against Kurds is, in fact, the same one it imposed on Syrians across the country for the past seven years. Before, when their goal was regime change in Damascus, they had the blessing and wholehearted support of official Washington. But now that they are slaughtering members of a much more loyal US proxy force, their former patrons and enablers are rushing to denounce them as “bandits and pirates.”

The FSA and White Helmets become Turkey’s mercenary army

Turkey employed anti-Assad insurgents against the Kurdish YPG for the first time in March 2018, when it invaded the northern Syrian city of Afrin during Operation Olive Branch. That onslaught saw an array of heinous atrocities, from the vandalism of the corpse of a female Kurdish fighter to the looting of Afrin. These war crimes were committed largely by fighters of the defunct Free Syrian Army – the collection of “moderate rebels” once armed by the CIA.

In a video message, one of the invading fighters promised mass ethnic cleansing if Kurds in the area refused to convert to his Wahhabi strain of Sunni Islam. “By Allah,” the fighter declared, “if you repent and come back to Allah, then know that you are our brothers. But if you refuse, then we see that your heads are ripe, and that it’s time for us to pluck them.”

Also present in Afrin were the White Helmets, the supposed civil defense outfit that was nominated for a Nobel Prize, celebrated by the Western media as life-saving rescuers, and heavily funded by the US and UK governments. The White Helmets had arrived as auxiliaries of the Islamist mercenary forces, and were operating as Turkish proxies themselves.

This October, when Turkish-backed Islamist fighters stormed back into northern Syria, atrocities immediately followed.

Hevrin Khalaf, a Syrian Kurdish legislator, was pulled from her car by the militiamen and executed along with her driver. Other Kurds, including two unarmed captives, were filmed as they were murdered by the Turkish proxies. The mercenary gangs went on to deliberately free ISIS captives from unguarded prisons, releasing hundreds of their ideological soulmates to the battlefield.

The most shocking footage allegedly showed the Turkish mercenaries sawing the heads off of Kurdish fighters they had killed. For those familiar with Nour al-Din al-Zinki, a participant in the Turkish invasion that was formerly supplied by the CIA, and which beheaded a captive Palestinian-Syrian fighter on camera in 2016, this behavior was not surprising.

Left out of the coverage of these horrors was the fact that none of them would have been possible if Washington had not spent several years and billions of dollars subsidizing Syria’s armed opposition.

Prolific promoters of the “moderate rebels” run from their records

When the Turkish military and its proxy force overwhelmed the Kurdish YPG this October, Hillary Clinton angrily denounced their brutality.

Back in 2012, however, when Clinton was Secretary of State, she junketed to Istanbul to rally support for those very same militias during a “Friends of Syria” conference convened by Erdogan.

She later remarked, “The hard men with the guns are going to be the more likely actors in any political transition than those on the outside just talking. And therefore we needed to figure out how we could support them on the ground, better equip them…”

One of those “hard men” is Salim Idriss, today the “Defense Minister” of Syria’s non-existent “provisional government” and de facto leader of the mercenary forces dispatched by Turkey into northern Syria. He has pledged, “We will fight against all terror organizations led by the PYD/PKK.”

Back in 2013, however, Idriss was lionized in Washington and hyped as a future leader of Syria.

When the later Sen. John McCain made his notorious surprise visit to the Turkish-Syrian border in May 2013, hoping to inspire a US military intervention, he was warmly welcomed by Idriss, the then-leader of the US-backed Free Syrian Army.

“What we want from the US government is to take the decision to support the Syrian revolution with weapons and ammunition, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft weapons,” Idris told Josh Rogin, a reporter and neoconservative booster of regime change in Syria.

Though Idriss and his allies never got the full-scale intervention they sought from the Obama administration, they did receive shipments of heavy weapons, including hundreds of anti-tank TOW missiles.

They were also showered with adulation by droves of hyper-ambitious foreign correspondents from corporate Western outlets.

CNN’s Clarissa Ward was an especially enthusiastic promoter of the FSA, embedding with its fighters, painting them as a heroic resistance. When she returned to Syria years later, she used a top mouthpiece of Syria’s local Al Qaeda affiliate as a fixer for her unequivocally pro-opposition “Inside Aleppo” series.

CNN’s Clarissa Ward, then of CBS, with the FSA in 2011

Danny Gold was also among the flocks of Western reporters that embedded with the armed opposition during the height of the insurgency against Damascus. In 2013, he churned around a piece for Vice on “chatting about ‘Game of Thrones'” with a group of fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra, Al Qaeda’s local franchise.
Gold and a clique of rabid online regime change zealots spent the rest of their time clamoring for US intervention in the country and viciously denigrating anyone who disagreed. Gold has, for instance, likened The Grayzone’s factual coverage of Syria to Nazi propaganda.

This October, when the Turkish invasion of northern Syria began, Gold reported that one of the FSA fighters he embedded with back in 2013 was taking part in the assault on Kurdish positions.
Like Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Islamist fighters’ former boosters, Gold was clearly struggling with a case of cognitive dissonance. Unable to take responsibility for promoting these extremists as they rampaged across Syria for years, or for smearing anyone who forcefully opposed the regime change agenda, he lashed out at his critics: “Almost as if war is complicated and doesn’t fit into the neat little box the anime teens in my mentions don’t realize,” he tweeted.

As members of a former US proxy ruthlessly prey on a present day US proxy, Western pundits and politicians are hoping that no one notices that they spent the past seven years celebrating the former group. They are initiating a cover-up, not only of the blowback unfolding in northern Syria, but of their own records.

This band of hacks is now fully exposed for foisting a bloody scam on the public, marketing some of the most brutal fanatics on the planet as revolutionaries and “moderate rebels” while they destabilized an entire region. Like the extremists they once promoted, most have somehow managed to evade accountability and remain employed.

Below is SETA’s list of Turkish “national army” militias, outlining the type of US support each one received over the years:

Reprinted with permission from The Grayzone Project.
Support the Project here.]]> Sat, 19 Oct 2019 17:32:15 GMT
Has US Foreign Policy Changed? Steve Brown

While the dramatic US withdrawal from Syria is making headlines, little is being said about proposed withdrawal from Afghanistan or Iraq. The United States has invested trillions of US dollars in all three wars, with great loss of life, and little to show in positive results. But is there a bigger picture in Washington? Recent events outline an emerging pattern that may point the way to a new potential strategy for the execution of US foreign policy.

As pointed out by author and intellectual Tom Luongo, the departure of Joseph "Operation Iraqi Oil" Dunford as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on September 30th was a significant geopolitical event. Recall that Dunford was the highest-ranking military officer and regular military advisor to the president.

Dunford on Syria:
"Our primary partners on the ground, the Syrian Democratic Forces, have been successful in recovering a large swath of ground in northeast Syria.. The SDF’s recent operations in the town of Shaddadah effectively severed the last major artery that connected Raqqa and Mosul.  Over time, the size of the Syrian Democratic Forces, and specifically the Arab component inside the Syrian Democratic Forces, has grown.  And our focus right now is on continuing to – continuing that trend to grow the capabilities of the Syrian Democratic Forces.."  
Dunford On Afghanistan:
"Last summer highlighted, though, that the Afghan forces continue to need our support to build their capacity, specifically in areas like logistics, special operations, aviation capability, what I’d call broadly ministerial capacity."
And as Dunford stated in 2016, "First, the Russian military presents the greatest array of threats to U.S. interests.  Despite declining population, shrinking economy, Russia has made a significant investment in military capabilities," addressing the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

These are the words of Dunford the career military officer, dutifully providing career military advice to a non-career president, that will keep US military forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria… seemingly forever. All debacles that the US itself created. While such military adventures may work wonders for the military budget, the loss in lives, treasure, and US prestige over many decades cannot be calculated, estimated, or even imagined.

Now with the passing of the Dunford regime as Joint Chief in September, General Milley steps in, with significant changes to public policy already on display. For example, Milley’s commissioned study of the Iraq war -- long awaited and delayed by military pressure to prevent release of a largely negative report -- was publicly released by Milley in January of 2019. The report states, “that coalition warfare (in Iraq) was ‘largely unsuccessful’ for several reasons, that failing to account for a lack of understanding of the inner workings of Iraqi politics and group struggles’ in part led to failure there. That’s an account that Dunford was unlikely to approve, and may have caused him to delay. So, with the departure of Dunford and Mattis as we shall see, the way forward for US disengagement from Syria’s northeast was made possible.

Earlier in June of 2019, the president appointed Mark Esper as Secretary of Defense to replace Jim "Mad Dog" Mattis. The schism with Mattis originated with the proposed US disengagement from Syria, which was a significant departure point for Mattis. The Syria rift was enough to provoke Mattis to say to the president, “You’re going to have to get the next Secretary of Defense to lose to ISIS. I’m not going to do it.” Considering Mattis’s great stature as a military man, such a statement from him borders on insubordination. After all, who is subordinate Mattis to second guess the president? Internal sources claim that Mattis had disagreements with Joint Chief’s appointment Milley too, over Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

With Mattis’s resignation, Trump appointed Mark Esper, a former senior executive at Raytheon, as Secretary of Defense. Esper is seen as more of a pragmatist and corporate type, perhaps willing to entertain Mr Trump's views about ending pointless wars and provocations in the Middle East. Esper is still an unknown quantity in Washington, with largely a corporate background, but seems willing to back the president publicly, to an extent lacking in Mattis.

Next, recall that on September 10th, 2019, John Bolton was let go as National Security Advisor. Bolton's termination was almost as startling as the fact that he was ever hired in the first place. While the scope of John Bolton’s rise and fall is beyond scope here, Bolton’s impact was certainly felt when the president originally announced an US withdrawal from Syria almost one year ago, then Bolton subsequently appeared in public to walk back that statement.  On the heels of other embarrassing public statements, most notably involving US policy toward North Korea and Venezuela, Bolton was fired last month. 

Bolton's successor as National Security Advisor is Robert O'Brien, a senior partner in a respected Washington law firm. O’Brien takes a low-key approach; his legal background presents quite a contrasting style and character to that of his predecessor. O'Brien’s twitter page makes little reference to his position, whereas John Bolton used his twitter page as a platform to seriously ridicule political opponents, and to incite all others.

So far, there is little indication that O’Brien will be an activist advisor. According to reports (perhaps inaccurate) O’Brien’s only action has been to rather awkwardly intervene in the Sacoolas affair. In other words, O’Brien is apparently not the sort to upstage his boss, or to publicly announce reversals to the president’s plans. Which underlines a most important point about the AUMF.

While a disheveled, confused, and motley crew in US Congress – whether Democrat or Republican – may bemoan the president’s authority to intervene in places that the US does not belong, it was Congress that provided the president with that authority. The Authorization for Use of Military Force was passed by Congress in September of 2001, just subsequent to the blowback of the twin towers attacks. The AUMF has been invoked ever since to allow aggression in Afghanistan, Philippines, Georgia, Yemen, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq, Somalia, Djibouti and even Kenya.

Based on post-911 hysteria, the US Congress essentially gave any US president the authority to invade and occupy any sovereign nation that the president so desires, under just about any pretext that can be construed as “terrorist acts”. Regardless of personal feeling about the matter, it is quite clear that such war power held by the Executive was never envisaged by the Founders or US Constitution, and that a spineless and largely corrupt US Congress is unable to reverse its unconstitutional and despicable act. So, Lindsey Graham and Pelosi may grandstand and prance about with great hysteria about Syria to their heart’s content, feigning ignorance of the AUMF that they so engineered, to create the very predicament to whit they so vociferously object.

Thus, due to Congress’s despicable AUMF, Mr Trump is able to act individually on Syria to end the crisis just as his predecessor created it. Another intriguing element is that of Israel, mostly speculation, although borne out by the conflict map.  On the conflict map, any element relating to “unidentified warplanes” always relates to Israel.  Somewhat limited in the areas in which it may operate, Israel has been regularly bombing suspected Iranian troop emplacements in Iraq, Syria, and southern Lebanon for many months now. 

Due to the presence of upgraded S-300’s and now-operational S-400’s around Damascus, Israel has been limited to bombing the region around al Bukamal and al Qaim in eastern Syria, on the fringe of the Syrian oil fields, or southern Lebanon. In other words, Israel has been taking a more provocative role in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, while the US has been dialing-back. Reminiscent of the Nixon Doctrine, and Haig under Reagan, Mr Trump is likely telling Israel to engage in its own aggression versus Syria, using Israel’s advanced and expensive (mostly) US weaponry, instead of relying in the United States to fight Israel’s wars.*  If so, such a development would represent quite a change to US policy.

Likewise, evidence exists that Mr Trump is now impatient with Netanyahu. Mr Trump likes ‘winners’ and has little time for losers. It is already apparent that Netanyahu cannot form a new government. If so, that creates friction until Gantz forms a government, however Gantz’s ability to form a government is questionable too.  As such, how Israel will go forward with the many challenges it faces internally and externally may call into question its highly dependent relationship to the United States. And, the big Israeli donors who helped Trump in 2016 may not be as relevant this time around.  

To add to the fray, consider the surprising advocacy by billionaire plutocrats to end US intervention in Afghanistan. The Koch proposal to end US intervention in Afghanistan appeared in the press just one week subsequent to the departure of John Bolton as National Security Advisor. 

According to the president of the Koch organization, “The 18-year war in Afghanistan continues to cost precious lives and is exacerbating our nation’s fiscal crisis. President Trump is right to pursue his promise to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. We need to focus our foreign policy on what is necessary to keep America safe, prosperous and free.”

Generally associated with pushing for lower taxes and Corporate “free trade” (read: monopolization and conglomeration) is it surprising that Plutocrats might push for disengagement from foreign interventionism? Prima facie the foregoing indicates a signal change to the continuous history of US aggression and foreign interventionism since 1950.

With the bigger picture in mind, let’s consider the entire structure and policy of US interventionism since 1950, where the idea is not to “win” any war, but to create a Failed State or Vassal State to serve the interest of the global Hegemon.

In the Herland Report interview with Joaquin Flores, Mr Flores describes the western motivation for failed states:
Create a political vortex/vacuum to draw in political adversaries to their detriment

Privately exploit the resources of the Failed State for gain

Deny direct responsibility for government, subsidy, or maintenance of the Failed State

Use the Failed State as an example to others, and conquer its people by fragmentation/ division
Regardless of the means or motivation, the US-Israeli goal in Syria was not for regime change, but to create a failed state. The means and motivation to create that Syrian failed state have expired, just as in Iraq, and in Libya, where the US lacks the resources to exploit.**

Besides Syria, we must consider US attempts to render both Venezuela and Iran as failed states too, and those attempts have failed. The United States is not in a position, economically or militarily, to fully enforce the five pillars of US power in 2020; while we still don’t know but can only suspect that the bottom line is economic. Despite the financial games played by the West, the greed of the Warfare State has perhaps finally caught up with it, where the hard, cold bottom line is that the US cannot afford to pursue endless war any longer. 

For one thing, it is difficult to dissent versus financial collapse. Even a president cannot do that. If the only hope for the future is to turn back the ultimately profitless, ever-growing, and omnipresent Warfare and Surveillance State, then that is what must be done. It’s an omnipresent Warfare and Surveillance State that has been growing almost exponentially, but can no longer be afforded -- even by the constant production of fiat currency -- or morally tolerated.

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Since May, we have seen rapid and surprising developments: mysterious attacks on shipping in the Gulf; the downing of an RQ-4 reaper by Iran; strikes on Saudi oil infrastructure; the departure of key flamboyant cabinet members in US National Security and Defense to be replaced with unknowns; the withdrawal of US troops from Syria (except al Tanf) and various proposals (including billionaires) for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

A further indication of US policy thawing and "détente" in the Middle East is to remove US troops from Iraq, for the US to engage Iran in peace talks, while distancing itself from Saudi-inspired terror, and pressing for peace in Yemen… and for the US to acquiesce to what surely must eventually be an armistice between Turkey and the Kurds in northeastern Syria. 

That all of the foregoing will certainly infuriate Israel must be calculated with the prospect of Israel’s own waning power. The question now is not how to “make America great again” … but how to save it.  Meanwhile, let Pelosi, Graham, and Schumer shout out their frustrations.        

*If the SNA and even Turkish forces were able to employ upgraded S-300’s around the Syrian oil fields, that region of Syria would be off-limits to the IAF.

**Ironically, Turkey has exploited those Libyan resources via Misrata oil, in reaction to Iranian oil sanctions imposed by the US. 

Steve Brown is the author of "Iraq: the Road to War" (Sourcewatch) editor of "Bush Administration War Crimes in Iraq" (Sourcewatch) "Trump's Limited Hangout" and "Federal Reserve: Out-sourcing the Monetary System to the Money Trust Oligarchs Since 1913". Steve is an antiwar activist, a published scholar on the US monetary system, and has appeared as a guest contributor to The Duran, Fort Russ News, and Strategika51.
]]> Sat, 19 Oct 2019 17:07:25 GMT
So, Admiral McRaven Just Called for a Military Coup, Kinda Peter Van Buren

Admiral William McRaven, famous for being the guy who told the guy who told the other guy who told the other guy who told that guy to go kill bin Laden, has essentially called for a military coup against the President of the United States in a New York Times Op-Ed.

He begins with something to get the blood up, a call to the good military stuff, invoking generals who are “highly decorated, impeccably dressed, cleareyed and strong of character, [yet] were humbled by the moment” at a change of command ceremony. Then a little history, invoking the WWII Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner to today’s CIA and Special Operations community, who had “faith that these values were worth sacrificing everything for.” In case it wasn’t clear, they “personified all that is good and decent and honorable about the American military,” his Op-Ed’s intended audience.

Then, invoking that oath that requires the military to protect America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, McRaven explains to them why they are being now called to battle: “The America that they believed in was under attack, not from without, but from within.” This is not subtle.

McRaven continues: “These men and women, of all political persuasions, have seen the assaults on our institutions: on the intelligence and law enforcement community, the State Department and the press. They have seen our leaders stand beside despots and strongmen, preferring their government narrative to our own. They have seen us abandon our allies and have heard the shouts of betrayal from the battlefield. As I stood on the parade field at Fort Bragg, one retired four-star general, grabbed my arm, shook me and shouted, ‘I don’t like the Democrats, but Trump is destroying the Republic!'”

Quick Summary: The president is destroying the Republic, from within. The last folks who wanted to destroy the Republic were the Nazis, the Commies, and the terrorists and you know what we did to them.

McRaven’s next step is reassuring the troops that whomever they are next ordered to kill, it is all for a good cause. “We are the most powerful nation in the world because we try to be the good guys. We are the most powerful nation in the world because our ideals of universal freedom and equality have been backed up by our belief that we were champions of justice, the protectors of the less fortunate.”

That leaves aside the silliness of such a statement in light of what hell the American pursuit of justice has wrought among the millions dead in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia, never mind in an earlier century across Southeast Asia and the Americas. This is not about that. This is about dehumanizing the next enemy, who may look alot like you this time McRaven is hinting, to convince his shooters they are killing for freedom.

Finally, what this is really about. You guys need to be ready to take out Trump.

Here are McRaven’s words: “If this president doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, both domestically and abroad, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office — Republican, Democrat or independent — the sooner, the better. The fate of our Republic depends upon it.”

Now everyone knows the election where Americans get to choose the next president is a year from now, no sooner. A generous soul, reading McRaven’s sentence in isolation would say that bit about “the sooner the better” maybe means he is hoping for impeachment to supersede the election, you know, get Trump out sooner without the risk and muss of allowing The People a say in it all. That’s certainly what McRaven would claim, perhaps with a wink at Jake Tapper this Sunday across the desk. But take this Op-Ed and reimagine something similar being said by a displeased colonel in the Turkish or Iranian army, or what as an intelligence officer yourself you’d be reporting about it from Moscow if it was said to you by a prominent Russian former general with deep personal loyalties into special operations.

Sure, McRaven is not ordering Seal Team Six into action today. But go ahead, convince yourself he isn’t laying the groundwork, or at least trying to remind people he could.

I’ve been fired, accused, hated on by friends and relatives, and deplatformed multiple times for “supporting Trump.” I do not. But I am willing to think past him. It’s the old warning about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater; what we say and do now to get rid of Trump will survive him, and become part of the political lexicon forever. Impeach a president still widely supported by the American people three years into his term over a phone call? Sure, seems OK. Tolerate calls for violence, veiled threats of a coup in our largest newspaper? Constantly call the president dangerously mentally ill, a literal nutcase who should be institutionalized? That’s how to operate a democracy?

And spare me the idea that Trump is not widely supported, with his low approval ratings. President Obama’s 11th quarter in office, October 2011 same now as Trump, was the worst of his administration, based on his quarterly average job approval ratings. His 41% approval average is down six percentage points from his 10th quarter in office, and is nearly four points below his previous low of 45% during his seventh quarter.

Reprinted with permission from]]> Fri, 18 Oct 2019 20:10:02 GMT
Peace Expert George W Bush Says ‘Isolationism’ Is Dangerous To Peace Caitlin Johnstone

Humanity was treated to an important lecture on peace at a recent event for the NIR School of the Heart by none other than Ellen Degeneres BFF and world-renowned peace expert George W Bush.

“I don’t think the Iranians believe a peaceful Middle East is in their national interest,” said the former president according to The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin, whose brief Twitter thread on the subject appears to be the only record of Bush’s speech anywhere online.

“An isolationist United States is destabilizing around the world,” Bush said during the speech in what according to Rogin was a shot at the sitting president. “We are becoming isolationist and that’s dangerous for the sake of peace.”

For those who don’t speak fluent neoconservative, “isolationist” here means taking even one small step in any direction other than continued military expansionism into every square inch of planet Earth, and “We are becoming isolationist” here means “We have hundreds of military bases circling the globe, our annual military budget is steadily climbing toward the trillion-dollar mark, and we are engaged in countless undeclared wars and regime change interventions all around the world.”

It is unclear why Bush is choosing to present himself as a more peaceful president than Trump given that by this point in his first term Bush had launched not one but two full-scale ground invasion wars whose effects continue to ravage the Middle East to this very day, especially given the way both presidents appear to be in furious agreement on foreign policy matters like Iran. But here we are.

From a certain point of view it’s hard to say which is stranger: (A) a war criminal with a blood-soaked legacy of mass murder, torture and military expansionism telling Trump that he is endangering peace with his “isolationism”, or (B) the claim that Trump is “isolationist” at all. As we’ve discussed previously, Trump’s so-called isolationism has thus far consisted of killing tens of thousands of Venezuelans with starvation sanctions in an attempt to effect regime change in the most oil-rich nation on earth, advancing a regime change operation in Iran via starvation sanctions, CIA covert ops, and reckless military escalations, continuing to facilitate the Saudi-led slaughter in Yemen and to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, inflating the already insanely bloated US military budget to enable more worldwide military expansionism, greatly increasing the number of bombs dropped per day from the previous administration, killing record numbers of civilians in airstrikes for which he has reduced military accountability, and of course advancing many, many new cold war escalations against the nuclear superpower Russia.

But these bogus warnings about a dangerous, nonexistent threat of isolationism are nothing new for Dubya. In his farewell address to the nation, Bush said the following:
In the face of threats from abroad, it can be tempting to seek comfort by turning inward. But we must reject isolationism and its companion, protectionism. Retreating behind our borders would only invite danger. In the 21st century, security and prosperity at home depend on the expansion of liberty abroad. If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led.
As we discussed recently, use of the pro-war buzzword “isolationism” has been re-emerging from its post-Bush hibernation as a popular one-word debunk of any opposition to continued US military expansionism in all directions, and it is deceitful in at least three distinct ways. Firstly, the way it is used consistently conflates isolationism with non-interventionism, which are two wildly different things. Secondly, none of the mainstream political figures who are consistently tarred with the “isolationist” pejorative are isolationists by any stretch of the imagination, or even proper non-interventionists; they all support many interventionist positions which actual non-interventionists object to. Thirdly, calling someone who opposes endless warmongering an “isolationist” makes as much sense as calling someone who opposes rape a man-hating prude; opposing an intrinsically evil act is not the same as withdrawing from the world.

Nobody actually believes that US foreign policy is under any threat of anything remotely resembling isolationism. The real purpose of this buzzword is to normalize the forever war and drag the Overton window so far in the direction of ghoulish hawkishness that the opposite of “war” is no longer “peace”, but “isolationism”. By pulling this neat little trick, the propagandists of the political/media class have successfully made endless war seem like a perfectly normal thing to be happening and any small attempt to scale it back look weird and freakish, when the truth is the exact opposite. War is weird, freakish and horrific, and peace is of course normal. This is the only healthy way to see things.

It would actually be great if George W Bush could shut the fu*k up forever, ideally in a locked cell following a public war tribunal. Failing that, at the very least people should stop looking at him as a cuddly wuddly teddy bear with whom it’s fun to share a sporting arena suite or a piece of hard candy or hang award medals on for his treatment of veterans. This mass murdering monster has been growing more and more popular with Democrats lately just because he offers mild criticisms of Trump sometimes, as have war pigs like Bill Kristol and Max Boot and even John Bolton for the same reason, and it needs to stop. And in the name of a million dead Iraqis, please don’t start consulting this man on matters of peace.

Reprinted with permission from
Support Ms. Johnstone on Patreon or Paypal.]]> Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:23:59 GMT
Does Socialism Lead To War? With Special Guest Sen. Rand Paul RPI Staff
]]> Thu, 17 Oct 2019 16:33:50 GMT
To End the Wars, Attack the Right From the Right Scott Horton

Sadly, the antiwar and anti-national security state inclinations of American liberals and progressives have weakened since the days of President George W. Bush. Partisan incentives during Barack Obama’s presidency combined with the FBI-CIA-Democratic Party-media plot to falsely accuse President Trump of high treason with the Russians, or at least terribly insufficient patriotism, for the last 3 years have done much to confuse liberals about where they should stand. There’s no question that many great leftist writers and readers out there have stayed great, but overall the numbers tell a sad story. One might wonder though if liberal voters’ hearts are really in it outside of current circumstances. It seems the general presumption still stands that, while Democratic politicians and appointees love war, their voters do not.

But that’s okay either way. We currently have a Republican president. Attacking America’s interventionist foreign policy from the left would not be likely to do much good anyway. It’s the rank and file right that is still seen as supporting a "muscular" foreign policy. But what if they don’t?

The convenient thing about being libertarian is that we’re better than the left and the right on the things they’re actually good on (e.g. drugs, gays and cops; gold, guns and taxes). This gives us the opportunity to meet our interlocutors halfway while simply asking for a little consistency. Attack the left from the left and the right from the right. Let them be right, just now even more right than before. The Tenth Amendment Center’s Michael Boldin calls this "the Horton rule" (not to be confused with Horton’s Law, which is about how none of this ever works).

If we have the slightest hope of building on the recent US withdrawal from northeastern Syria, we must attack the right from the right. As I argued in a speech I gave a year ago for the Committee For a Responsible Foreign Policy in Washington, the most important thing we can do is give Trump the right impression so that when he imagines the great mass of Americans out there past his oval office window, he knows his base supports him in seeking peace with the "rogue states" such as North Korea and removing US forces from the Middle East, where he correctly says we "never should have been."

Trump doesn’t believe in peace, it’s just that he doesn’t really believe in the mythology of America’s "global mission" either. He needs to know that his supporters feel the same way about it.

But how can regular people be heard on this issue? We have the answer.

In this recent news piece about how the Syrian Kurds didn’t need the US to protect them anymore anyway, Matt Lee of the AP writes:
"[Trump] has told aides that the chants of ‘Bring them home!’ from his rally crowds, including one in Minnesota earlier this month, are evidence that the decision is popular with his base – a key demographic as he heads into the 2020 election." [Emphasis added.]
There you have it. This is the most important thing antiwar libertarians, conservatives, Republicans and especially 21st century Middle East war veterans can do for this next year. Show up. Make sure "Bring them home!" gets shouted out and chanted at every event. Not just Trump rallies, but Republican campaign events of every kind.

No more nation-building.
No more policing the world.
No more on no-win counterinsurgency wars that don’t protect the security of the American people.
No more wasting trillions of dollars which causes economic damage that increases popular support for socialism.
No more betraying the troops by allowing the establishment to continue to waste their lives this way.
No more undermining the US Constitution and Bill of Rights in the name of the emergency.
Bring them home!

A new right-leaning group,, led by Afghan war combat vet Dan McKnight, is already spreading around the country at a wildfire’s pace, including the launching of new chapters in more than 20 new red states outside of its founder’s Idaho within their first 10 months. They join the antiwar veterans movement alongside Concerned Veterans of America, Veterans For Peace, About Face: Veterans Against the War, VoteVets, and Iraq Veterans Against the War. And they have the incumbent President’s own words to invoke and support when stating their case that 18 years of this is enough. Their movement has the potential to serve as the greatest antiwar force in our society.

In Wyoming, State majority whip, representative and navy veteran Tyler Lindholm is leading their efforts against Rep. Liz Cheney with Cheney is trying to decide whether she wants to be speaker of the US House of Representatives or a senator. They’d like to see her get a real job instead. McKnight says that their opposition to Cheney has been "incredibly well received in the ultra conservative state of Wyoming." A defeat for Cheney, proud heir to every one of her father’s most despicable crimes and would-be instigator of further international crises in the future, would be a terrible setback for the war party and a major victory for those who have had enough of her ilk making things so much worse.

He also says that other states are about to formally launch BringOurTroopsHome chapters: Ohio, Oregon, California, Arizona, Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Montana and Colorado. And they’re just getting started. The official launch of their new chapters is being planned around an event they’re hosting in Washington, D.C., November 12-13. (Details will soon be posted at the blog.)

Groups like this are helping to make the reality impossible to avoid: there’s just not enough support among the people to keep the disastrous Middle East wars going any longer.

America has so many wars going now, Trump could order withdrawals from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Niger, Chad and the rest of the Middle East and Africa; another one every couple of months until election day. He’d be Trump the Great, sure to win reelection. According to our Constitution, ending wars is one area where the president certainly has absolute authority. And what a great way to judo-jam the Democrats in 2020: by making them embrace and defend George W. Bush’s continuing wars in the face of a Republican Party seeking to end them. Let them explain that to their progressive base in an election year: “Withdrawal is dangerous! Precipitous! Eighteen years is just too soon! But just a couple more might do the trick!”

How will the liberal media channels play it when "Bring them home" becomes a regular chant at Trump and other GOP rallies? Of course they’ll decry it as irresponsible "isolationism," but the reality that those Trump crowds are full of war veterans and that the NPR, MSNBC and CNN studios are most decidedly not, will be inescapable. (CIA officers don’t count.)

Andrew McCarthy at the National Review warns Trump that the Senate could turn on him in the impeachment scandal if he keeps up the bad behavior, such as pulling out of northeastern Syria. This goes to show where the establishment’s priorities are, but in reality, they wouldn’t dare — as long as the GOP base made it clear that they supported him in doing the right thing.

This is not a call for naïve hope or loyalty to any politician, but for the smartest politics we can play with the hand we’ve been dealt. We don’t have the power. But the war party must maintain some important narratives to keep their gravy train rolling on. After all, if the GOP base is the last major bastion of popular American support for intervention outside of Washington, D.C., and that is taken from them, who do they have left? No one outside of the special interests and halls of the powerful politicians themselves. (Think of the tragedy if our narrative instead does not catch on, and "let’s go be tough and macho and kick Muslim butt" is perceived as the Trumpian base’s consensus instead.)

For liberals and progressives, if Republican voters and even some Republican politicians are striking an antiwar note, that obviously does not really mean you should have to support intervention just to spite them. When 2020 Democratic candidates start calling withdrawal irresponsible at their events you should start chanting "Bring them home!" too. What are they going to do, shout you down with "USA.! USA.!"? Even if so, wouldn’t it be worth it to force them to expose their true priorities in such an obvious way? By all means, throw down the gauntlet. Draw a line in the sand. Make them take a stand. The antiwar right could be very useful to you in this as well. Instead of rallying around a Clintonian foreign policy (a sure loser), use non-interventionist Republicans as a cudgel against Democratic candidates to put or keep them on the right path. Tell them they better get to the left of Rand Paul and Donald Trump on war right now or they’re through. How can they argue with that?

What if the left- and right-wing bases of both parties chanted "Bring them home!" at every rally this campaign season, supporting the candidates when they swear to end the wars and demanding that they had better get it right when they don’t?

We could force the media and the parties to deal with that reality for the next year, straight. The consensus has changed. The people want the wars over now. It’s as simple as that. We just have to explain it to them in the only language they can understand: electoral politics.

Enough of this terrible waste and destruction already.


Let’s put in the work. We can make a difference if we have our priorities straight.

Reprinted with permission from]]> Thu, 17 Oct 2019 13:46:23 GMT
Truth Is A Kremlin Talking Point Caitlin Johnstone

In response to a statement during the Democratic primary debates by presidential candidate Andrew Yang that both Russia and the United States have engaged in election interference, liberal pundit Molly McKew tweeted, “I now retract any vaguely nice thing I ever said about Yang knowing technology things because he answered the question on Putin with moral equivalency and a Kremlin talking point.”

If you’re in the mood for some depressing amusement, just type the words “Kremlin talking point” without quotation marks into Twitter’s search engine and scroll through all the results which come up. Just keep on scrolling and observe how this label, “Kremlin talking point”, gets bleated by mainstream empire loyalists to dismiss subjects ranging from the rigging of Democratic primaries to criticism of US regime change wars to endless US warmongering to concerns about new cold war escalations to disliking John McCain to criticism of Nancy Pelosi. Any criticism of the status quo which cannot be labeled false or misleading gets labeled a “talking point” of Russia/Putin/the Kremlin by those who support and defend the status quo of US-centralized imperialist world hegemony.

Yang’s statement about US intervention in foreign elections is indisputably true, of course. Both alternative and mainstream media outlets have thoroughly documented the fact that the US government’s own data shows them to have interfered in scores of foreign elections, far more than any other nation on earth. This includes an interference in Russia’s elections in the nineties that was so brazen they made a Hollywood movie about it. Former CIA Director James Woolsey openly admitted on Fox News last year that the US still interferes in foreign elections to this very day.

These are not conspiracy theories. These are not even secrets. These are facts. But because they are inconvenient facts, they get labeled “Kremlin talking points” by those whose job it is to defend the status quo.
Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was also branded with the accusation of voicing “Kremlin talking points” for remarks she made during last night’s debate. In her case those “talking points” consisted of the indisputable fact that the bloodshed in Syria can be blamed on US politicians from both parties, and the indisputable fact that the US has armed extremist militias in that nation with the goal of effecting regime change.

“Literally a Kremlin talking point, but whatever,” tweeted #Resistance pundit Leah McElrath in response to Gabbard’s debate comments.

“It is a fact that the Russian talking point for years has been that the United States arms al-Qaeda in Syria. Tulsi Gabbard just said it on national television,” tweeted journalist Scott Stedman.

“How odd to listen to Tulsi Gabbard mouthing Syrian and Russian talking points on the Democratic debate stage…sorry but no one thinks US troops withdrawn by Trump were there as part of a ‘regime change war’ by the US,” tweeted Susan Glasser of CNN and The New Yorker.
So the establishment narrative managers now have an official three-word debunk of any criticism of the establishment which employs them, which applies even when that criticism is fully based in facts and reality. Facts are a Kremlin talking point, and anyone who believes them is Russian. Facts are Russian. Truth is Russian. Skepticism is Russian. Asking questions is Russian. Dissent is Russian. Revolution is Russian.

So let’s all get Russian then, baby. Let’s all fill our heads with objectively true Kremlin talking points and Cossack dance our way to a fact-based relationship with reality. Get as Russian as possible. Get aggressively Russian. Get offensively Russian. Get so Russian it hurts. Get so Russian it curls Louise Mensch’s hair. If they are going to start telling us that truth is Russian, then the only appropriate thing to say in response is dasvidaniya.

Reprinted with permission from
Support Ms, Johnstone on Patreon or Paypal.
]]> Thu, 17 Oct 2019 12:11:24 GMT
DC’s Atlantic Council raked in funding from Hunter Biden’s corruption-stained employer while courting his VP father Max Blumenthal

With its relentless focus on corruption in Russia and Ukraine, the Atlantic Council has distinguished itself from other top-flight think tanks in Washington. Over the past several years, it has held innumerable conferences and panel discussions, issued a string of reports, and published literally hundreds of essays on Russia’s “kleptocracy” and the scourge of Kremlin disinformation.

At the same time, this institution has posed as a faithful partner to Ukraine’s imperiled democracy, organizing countless programs on the urgency of economic reforms to tamp down on corruption in the country. 

But behind the curtain, the Atlantic Council has initiated a lucrative relationship with a corruption-tainted Ukrainian gas company, the Burisma Group, that is worth as much as $250,000 a year. The partnership has paid for lavish conferences in Monaco and helped bring Burisma’s oligarchic founder out of the cold.

This alliance has remained stable even as official Washington goes to war over allegations by President Donald Trump and his allies that former Vice President Joseph Biden fired a Ukrainian prosecutor to defend his son’s handsomely compensated position on Burisma’s board. 

As Biden parries Trump’s accusations, some of the former vice president’s most ardent defenders are emerging from the halls of the Atlantic Council, which featured Biden as a star speaker at its awards ceremonies over the years. These advocates include Michael Carpenter, Biden’s longtime foreign policy advisor and specialist on Ukraine, who has taken to the national media to support his embattled boss. 

Even as Burisma’s trail of influence-buying finds its way into front page headlines, the Atlantic Council’s partnership with the company is scarcely mentioned. Homing in on the partisan theater of “Ukrainegate” and tuning out the wider landscape of corruption, the Beltway press routinely runs quotes from Atlantic Council experts on the scandal without acknowledging their employer’s relationship with Hunter Biden’s former employer. 

This case of obvious cronyism has not been overlooked because the Atlantic Council is a bit player, but because of its success in leveraging millions from foreign governments, the arms and energy industries, and Western-friendly oligarchs to bring its influence to bear in the nation’s capital.

NATO’s think tank in Washington

The Atlantic Council functions as the semi-official think tank of NATO in Washington. As such, it cultivates relationships with well-established policymakers who take a hard line against Russia and support the treaty organization’s perpetual expansion.

Biden has been among the think tank’s most enthusiastic and well-placed allies.

In 2011, then-Vice President Biden delivered the keynote address at the Atlantic Council’s distinguished leadership awards. He returned to the think tank again in 2014 for another keynote at its “Toward A Europe Whole and Free” conference, which was dedicated to expanding NATO’s influence and countering “Russian aggression.” Throughout the event, speakers like Zbigniew Brzezinski sniped at Obama for his insufficiently bellicose posture toward Russia, while former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright fretted over polls showing low public support for US interventionism overseas.

In his own comments, Biden emphasized the need to power Europe with non-Russian sources of natural gas. This provided a prime opportunity to Ukrainian suppliers like Burisma and US energy titans. Many of these energy companies, from Chevron to Noble Energy, also happen to be top donors to the Atlantic Council.

“This would be a game-changer for Europe, in my view, and we’re ready to do everything in our power to help it happen,” Biden promised his audience. 

Biden at the 2011 Atlantic Council distinguished leadership awards ceremony

At the time, the Atlantic Council was pushing to ramp up the proxy war against pro-Russian forces in Ukraine. In 2015, for instance, the think tank helped prepare a proposal for arming the Ukrainian military with offensive weaponry like Javelin anti-tank missiles. 

Given that the Atlantic Council has been funded by the two manufacturers of the Javelin system, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, this created at least the appearance of a conflict of interest. In fact, the think tank presented its Distinguished Business Leadership Award to Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson that same year.

Dubious arrangements like these are not limited to arms manufacturers. Anders Aslund, a neoliberal economist who helps oversee the Atlantic Council’s programming on Russia and Eastern Europe, was quietly paid by a consortium of Latvian banks to write an October 2017 paper highlighting the supposed progress they had made in battling corruption.

Aslund was asked to write the piece by Sally Painter, a longtime lobbyist for Latvian financial institutions who was appointed to the Atlantic Council board in 2017. At the time, one of those banks was seeking access to the US market and facing allegations that it had engaged in money laundering.

Pay-for-play collaborations have helped grow the Atlantic Council’s annual revenue grow from $2 million to over $20 million in the past decade. In almost every case, the think tank has churned out policy prescriptions that seem suited to its donors’ interests. 

Government contributors to the Atlantic Council include Gulf monarchies, the US State Department, and various Turkish interests.

In May 2017, Turkish President Recep Erdogan was filmed watching as his personal guards brutalized Kurdish protesters in Washington DC; lost in the headlines was the fact that he was on his way into an event at the Turkish ambassador’s residence hosted by the Atlantic Council.

Among the think tank’s top individual contributors is Victor Pinchuk, one of the wealthiest people in Ukraine and a prolific donor to the Clinton Foundation. Pinchuk donated $8.6 million to the Clintons’ non-profit throughout Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

Asked if Pinchuk was lobbying the State Department on Ukraine, his personal foundation told the Wall Street Journal, “this cannot be seen as anything but a good thing.”

Obama’s 'point-person' on Ukraine

In mainstream media reports about the Bidens, scarcely any attention is given to the critical role that Joe Biden and other Obama administration officials played in the 2013-2014 Maidan revolt that replaced a fairly elected, Russian-oriented government with a Western vassal. In a relatively sympathetic New Yorker profile of Hunter Biden, for example, the regime change operation was described by reporter Adam Entous as merely “public protests.”

During the height of the so-called “Revolution of Dignity” that played out in Kiev’s Maidan Square, then-Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland boasted that the US had “invested $5 billion” since 1991 into Ukrainian civil society. On a December 2013 tour of the Maidan, Nuland personally handed out cookies to protesters alongside then-US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. 

In a phone conversation that leaked two months later, the two US diplomats could be heard plotting out the future government of the country, discussing Ukrainian politicians as though they were chess pieces. “I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience,” Nuland said, essentially declaring Arseniy Yatsenyuk the next prime minister. Frustrated with the European Union’s reluctance to inflame tensions with Moscow, Nuland exclaimed, “Fu*k the EU.”

By Feb. 2014, the Maidan revolt had succeeded in overthrowing Yanukovich with the help of far-right ultra-nationalist street muscle. With a new, US-approved government in power, Biden assumed a personal role in dictating Ukraine’s day-to-day affairs. 

“No one in the US government has wielded more influence over Ukraine than Vice President Joe Biden,” Foreign Policy noted. The Atlantic Council also described Biden as “the point person on Ukraine in the Obama administration.” 

“Ukraine was the top, or one of the top three, foreign policy issues we were concentrating on,” said Carpenter, Biden’s foreign policy advisor. “[Biden] was front and center.”

Biden made his first visit to the post-Maidan government of Ukraine in April 2014, just as Kiev was launching its so-called “anti-terrorist operation” against separatists who broke off from the new, NATO-oriented Ukraine and its nationalist government and formed so-called people’s republics in the Russophone Donbass region. The fragmentation of the country and its grinding proxy war flowed directly from the regime-change operation that Biden helped oversee. 

Addressing the parliament in Kiev, Biden declared that “corruption can have no place in the new Ukraine,” stating that the “United States has also been a driving force behind the IMF, working to provide a multi-billion package to help Ukraine..”

That same month, Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of Burisma.

Hunter Biden starred at one of Burisma’s energy conferences in Monaco, which are today co-sponsored by the Atlantic Council

Burisma recruits Hunter Biden

The ouster of Yanukovych put the founder and president of Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky, in a delicate spot. Zlochevsky had served as the environment minister under Yanukovych, handing out gas licenses to cronies. Having watched the president flee Ukraine for his life, currying favor with the Obama administration was paramount for Zlochevsky.

He was also desperate to get out of legal trouble. At the time, a corruption investigation in the UK had resulted in the freezing of $23 million of Zlochevsky’s assets. Then, in August 2014, the oligarch was forced to follow Yanukovych into exile after being accused of illegally enriching himself.

The need to refurbish Burisma’s tattered image, as well as his own, prompted Zlochevsky to resort to a tried and true tactic for shadowy foreign entities: forking over large sums of money to win friends in Washington. Hunter Biden and the Atlantic Council were soon to become two of his best friends.

Hunter Biden was no stranger to trading on his father’s name for influence. He had served on the board of Amtrak, the train line his father famously rode more than 8,000 times, earning himself the nickname “Amtrak Joe.” Somehow, he also rose to senior vice president at MBNA, the bank that was the top contributor to Joe Biden’s senate campaigns. 

Moreover, the vice president’s son reaped a board position at the National Democratic Institute, a US-funded “democracy promotion” organization that was heavily involved in pushing regime change in Ukraine. And then there was Burisma, which handed him a position on its board despite his total lack of experience in the energy industry and in Ukrainian affairs.

Hunter Biden tried to repay the $50,000-a-month gig Zlochevsky had handed him by enlisting a top DC law firm, Boies, Schiller, and Flexner, where he served as co-counsel, to help “improve [Burisma’s] corporate governance.” By the following January, Zlochevsky’s assets were unfrozen by the UK.

Back in Washington, the arrangement between the son of the vice president and a less than scrupulous Ukrainian oligarch was raising eyebrows. During a May 13, 2014 press conference, Matt Lee of the Associated Press grilled State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki about Hunter Biden’s role on Burisma’s board.

“Does this building diplomatically have any concerns about potential perceptions of conflict or cronyism – which is what you’ve often accused the Russians of doing?” Lee asked Psaki.

“No, he’s a private citizen,” Psaki responded, referring to Hunter Biden.

In a December 2015 op-ed, the editorial board of the New York Times took both Bidens to task for the unseemly business arrangement: “It should be plain to Hunter Biden that any connection with a Ukrainian oligarch damages his father’s efforts to help Ukraine. This is not a board he should be sitting on.”

For a paper that had firmly supported the installation of a US-aligned government in Kiev, this was a striking statement.

Hunter Biden maintained that he had only a brief conversation with his father about his work at Burisma. “Dad said, ‘I hope you know what you are doing,’ and I said, ‘I do,'” Hunter recalled to the New Yorker.

Despite his constant focus on Ukraine, the elder Biden claimed this September that he never spoke to his son about his business dealings in the country.

A disaster for Ukrainians, a boon for the Bidens

On January 12, 2017, the criminal probes of Zlochevsky and Burisma were officially closed under the watch of a new Ukrainian prosecutor.

Less than a week later, Biden returned to Ukraine to make his final speech as vice president. By this point, three years after the Maidan uprising overthrew Yanukovych, it was clear that the national project the vice president personally had presided over was a calamitous failure.

As even the Atlantic Council’s Aslund was willing to admit, Ukraine had become the poorest country in Europe. The country had also become the top recipient of remittances in Europe, with a staggering percentage of its population migrating abroad in search of work.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International stated: “Ukraine is descending into chaos of uncontrolled use of force by radical [far-right] groups. Under these conditions, no person in Ukraine may feel safe.” As the country’s proxy conflict with pro-Russian separatists dragged on, it transformed into a supermarket for the international arms trade.

Meanwhile, Biden’s son Hunter was making a small fortune by simply warming a seat on Burisma’s board of directors.

During his 2017 press conference in Kiev, Biden seemed oblivious to the trends that were driving Ukraine into ruin. He encouraged Ukraine’s leadership to continue on an IMF-led path of privatization and austerity.

He then urged Kiev to “press forward with energy reforms that are eliminating Ukraine’s dependence on Russian gas,” once again advancing policy that would serve as a boon to the energy firms plowing their cash into the Atlantic Council.

Mykola Zlochevsky, former employer of Hunter Biden and current partner of the Atlantic Council

Burisma recruits the Atlantic Council

Even with Hunter Biden on his company’s board, Zlochevsky was still seeking influential allies in Washington. He found them at the Atlantic Council in 2017, literally hours after he was cleared of corruption charges in Ukraine.

On January 19, 2017 – just two days after the investigation of Zlochevsky ended – Burisma announced a major “cooperative agreement” with the Atlantic Council. “It became possible to sign a cooperative agreement between Burisma and the Atlantic Council after all charges against Burisma Group companies and its owner [Mykola] Zlochevskyi were withdrawn,” the Kyiv Post reported at the time.

The deal was inked by the director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia program, a former US ambassador to Ukraine named John Herbst. 

Since then, Burisma helped bankroll Atlantic Council programming, including an energy security conference held this May in Monaco, where Zlochevsky currently lives.

“[Zlochevsky] invited them purely for whitewashing purposes, to put them on the façade and make this company look nice,” Daria Kaleniuk, executive director of Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Action Center, said of the Monaco event to the Financial Times.

At one such conference in Monaco, then-Burisma board member Hunter Biden declared, “One of the reasons that I am proud to be a member of the board at Burisma is that I believe we are trying to figure out the way to create a radical change in the way we look at energy.” (Hunter Biden left Burisma with $850,000 in earnings when his father launched his presidential campaign this year).

While the Atlantic Council was bringing Burisma in from the cold, the company was still too toxic for much of the business world to touch.

As the Financial Times noted, the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine had rejected Burisma’s application for membership. “We’ve never worked with them for integrity reasons. Never passed our due diligence,” a Western financial institution told the newspaper.

“The company just does not pass the smell test,” a businessman in Ukraine commented to the Financial Times. “Their reputation is far from squeaky clean because of their baggage, the background and attempts to whitewash by bringing in recognizable Western names on to the board.”

In fact, a year before the Atlantic Council initiated its partnership with Burisma, the think tank published a paper describing Zlochevsky as “openly on the take” and deriding board members Hunter Biden and former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski as his “trophy foreigners.” (Kwasniewski is today a member of the Atlantic Council’s international advisory board).

For Herbst, however, Burisma’s generosity seemed too hard to resist.

“If there are companies that want to support my work, if those companies are not doing anything that I know to be illegal or unethical, I’ll consider their support,” Herbst stated in reply to questions about the Burisma partnership from the Ukrainian news site, Hromadske.

“They’ve been good partners,” he added.

Men of integrity

The Atlantic Council has provided more than just a web of influence for figures like Biden and Zlochevsky. It extended into the Trump administration, through a former employee who served as the president’s lead envoy to Ukraine.

On the sidelines of a September 2018 Atlantic Council event in New York City, Burisma advisor Vadym Pozharskyi held a meeting with Kurt Volker, then the State Department Special Liaison to Ukraine. A former senior advisor to the Atlantic Council and national security hardliner, Volker had earned praise from Biden as a “solid guy.”


At the time, Volker also served as the executive director of the McCain Institute, named for the senator, John McCain, who authored the congressional provision requiring the US to budget 20 percent of all aid to Ukraine for offensive weapons. As I reported in 2017, the McCain Institute’s financial backers included the BGR group, whose designated lobbyist, Ed Rogers, was a lobbyist for Raytheon – the company that produced the Javelin missiles that both Volker and the Atlantic Council wanted sold to Ukraine.

Following his abrupt resignation this September, Volker was called to testify before the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs on the so-called Ukrainegate affair. There, he defended Biden as “a man of integrity and dedication to our country” who would never be “influenced in his duties as Vice President by money for his son…”

Biden’s chief advisor on Ukraine goes to work for Burisma’s favorite DC think tank

Throughout Biden’s tenure as the “point person” on Ukraine, one figure was constantly by his side: Michael Carpenter, a former Pentagon specialist on Eastern Europe who became a key advisor to Biden on the National Security Council. When Carpenter traveled with Biden to Ukraine in 2015, he helped provide the Vice President with talking points throughout his trip.

Once Trump was inaugurated, Carpenter followed fellow members of the Democratic foreign policy apparatus into the think tank world. He accepted a fellowship at the Atlantic Council, and assumed a position as senior director of newly founded Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, which provided office space to Biden when he was in Washington.

At the January 23, 2018 Council on Foreign Relations event where Biden made his now-notorious comments about threatening the Ukrainian government with the withdrawal of a one billion dollar loan if it did not fire Shokin – “well son of a bitch, he got fired!” Biden exclaimed – Carpenter was by his side, rattling off tough talking points about Russian interference.

Since then, Carpenter has remained engaged in Ukrainian politics, throwing his weight behind some of the country’s most hardline elements. In July 2018, for instance, he helped welcome Andriy Parubiy, the speaker of the Rada (the Ukrainian parliament), to a series of meetings on Capitol Hill.

Parubiy is the founder of the Social-National Party, which the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson described as “openly neo-fascist.” In fact, Parubiy appeared in a Nazi-style uniform, packing a pistol beneath a Wolfsangel symbol on the cover of his Mein Kampf-style memoir, “A View From The Right.” 

After the Senate meeting with Parubiy, I challenged Carpenter over bringing the far-right politician to Capitol Hill. “Andriy Parubiy is a conservative nationalist who is also a patriot who cares about his country,” Carpenter remarked to me. “I don’t think he has any neo-Nazi inclinations, nor background.” He went on to dismiss the basis of my question as “mostly Russian propaganda.”

Months later, Carpenter staged a meltdown on Twitter over the incident, fabricating quotes by me, branding me as a “sleeze” [sic] and “pro-Asad and pro-Putin scumbag,” while falsely and baselessly claiming I “enlist[ed] RT,” the Russian-backed news network, “to do an exposé on him.”

Asked by The Grayzone about Carpenter’s work for a think tank funded by Burisma while simultaneously involving himself in Biden’s political machine, Atlantic Council media relations deputy director Alex Kisling stated, “Council staff and fellows are free to participate in election activity as individuals and on their own time, provided they do so in a way that could not be seen as acting as a representative of the Council or implying Council endorsement of their activity or views. Michael’s affiliations and previous service are on our website. (He is not part of our full time staff).”

The Penn Biden Center did not respond to a question on whether it supported Carpenter’s work at the Burisma-backed Atlantic Council.

The Beltway press scrubs Burisma’s ongoing influence-buying

As the scrutiny of Biden’s dealings in Ukraine intensifies, Carpenter has thrust himself into the media limelight to defend his longtime boss. 

In an October 7 Washington Post op-ed denouncing Trump’s “smear campaign” against Biden, Carpenter insisted that Biden had gone to great lengths to remove the Ukrainian prosecutor, Shokin, for his failure to take action against Burisma. That evening, Carpenter took to Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC to reinforce the message that Biden moved against “corrupt players” in Ukraine, presumably referring to Burisma.

At no point did he mention that Burisma was funding the think tank that hosted him as a senior fellow.

In publishing an “explainer” purporting to debunk the charges against Biden, the Atlantic Council also failed to mention its ongoing relationship with Burisma. Atlantic Council media relations deputy director Kisling dismissed the non-disclosure, telling The Grayzone, “The Council discloses its funding from Burisma on its website and whenever asked.” (Ironically, the Atlantic Council has pushed for greater transparency in political advertising on Facebook, one of the top donors to the think tank).

Perhaps the most absurd omission took place in a GQ article about Ukrainegate by reporter and Russia-watcher Julia Ioffe. In painting Ukraine – the largest nation entirely located in Europe – as a “small country” drowning in corruption, Ioffe noted, “the best way to launder one’s shady reputation and shine for international investors is to hire big-name Western consultants – as Burisma did.”

In the very next paragraph, Ioffe quoted Daniel Fried, a former State Department official now serving as a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. “It’s a country where there’s a lot of freelance money and a lot of competing interests,” Fried remarked.

Revealingly, Ioffe failed to acknowledge that Fried was one of those “big-named Western consultants” helping to launder Zlochevsky and Burisma’s “shady reputation” through the Atlantic Council.

In fact, Fried was photographed in a one-on-one meeting with Burisma advisor Vadim Pozharskyi at a September 2018 Atlantic Council conference in New York City.


As the furor over “Ukrainegate” continues, Biden and his allies are soldiering ahead, insisting that scrutiny of his activities in Ukraine constitute nothing more than a vast right-wing conspiracy.

Meanwhile, the Beltway press shrugs at Burisma’s buying of influence at a powerful think tank intertwined with Biden’s political operation.

Russia might be a “kleptocracy” and Ukraine might be endemically corrupt, but in Washington, this is all business as usual.

Reprinted with permission from the Grayzone Project.
Support the Grayzone Project here.]]> Thu, 17 Oct 2019 11:18:59 GMT
Bipartisan Support For Turkey Sanctions - A 'Victory' For Trump? Daniel McAdams
]]> Wed, 16 Oct 2019 16:33:58 GMT
Politics Drops Its Pretenses Jeff Deist

Can the increasing politicization of life in America be stopped, or even slowed?

To be sure, average Americans do not want this. Most people prefer not to lead overly political lives, beyond perhaps voting once in a while and grumbling about taxes or potholes. Most people prefer to focus on work, family, hobbies, sports, or a million other pursuits instead of politics. We watch the game instead of attending the Tuesday night city council meeting. But increasingly we all feel the pressure, drawing us inexorably into a highly-politicized world which demands we take binary "sides" on Trump, impeachment, abortion, guns, climate change, and far more. This politicization seeps into our jobs, family lives, neighborhoods places of worship, social interactions, and even our sports and entertainment. 

The most salient feature of national politics in 2019 America is its lack of pretenses. The two political Americas, represented by Red and Blue teams, no longer pretend to share a country or any desire to live peaceably together. Much has been made of this cold civil war on both the Left and Right, and much of what has been made is probably over-hyped. Americans, after all, are materially comfortable, soft, addled, diabetic, and rapidly aging; the over-65 population is set to double in the coming decades. Hot civil wars require lots of young men with nothing to lose who are not busy playing Fortnite. But the overall mood of the country is decidedly hostile and suggestive of irreconcilable differences. 

So how does our political system address this? By throwing gasoline on the fire, in the form of another national election in 2020. That looming contest already tells a story, it's not about healing or coming together. Today the political class is more open about its desire to hurt and punish opponents; in fact, revenge and punishment feature prominently in the political narratives that fill our media feeds.

Hillary Clinton recently quipped that maybe she should run against Donald Trump in 2020 and "beat him again," openly positioning her personal vendetta as the rationale for seeking the presidency. "The issues," such as they are, take a distant backseat to her more pressing goal of defeating both Trump and his voters in a visceral way. Her 2020 candidacy, should it materialize, will coalesce around revenge: voters failed her not once but twice, in 2008 and 2016. Her campaign, almost by necessity, will be a scorched-earth exercise in revenge against the Deplorables. 

Her potential Democratic primary rival Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile, appeared last week at an LGBT equality town hall—organized by CNN for the express purpose of further politicizing sex and sexuality (so much for pre-political rights). In response to a softball question about gay marriage (likely planted), Warren sneered that a hypothetical religious man should marry a woman "if he can get one." Needless to say the audience loved it, which tells us less about Warren's safe, vanilla views that it does about the setting and mood of attendees. Identity politics is required, not optional.

These presidential aspirants, like Trump, no longer care to maintain a facade of representing all Americans or smoothing over divisions when elections are over. Nobody runs for president to represent all Americans, and of course, nobody could in a far-flung country of 330 million people. Candidates who give lip service to the idea, as Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang have, gain little traction in the media-driven bloodsport. The presidency is about winning either Red or Blue America, not both, and presidential candidates will be far more open about this in 2020—and with their hostility for the Electoral College. They are in the business of winning at all costs, not persuading. 51% of the electorate will do, and the rest deserve to suffer for not going along with the program. 

The standard explanations and justifications for politics are breaking down. Democratic consensus and needful compromise and good governance were always empty bromides, but today our political overlords understand and pander to an altogether different mood. The Trump presidency, like the Brexit vote, was never accepted by the same elites who spent the early 21st century gushing about the sanctity of democracy. The entire pretense for democratic politics, ostensibly the peaceful transfer of political power and the consensual organization of human affairs, now gives way to new and uncomfortable questions. What if we cannot vote our way out of this? What if the structural problems of debt and entitlements and central banking and foreign policy cannot be solved politically? What if the culture wars are unwinnable? What if we have reached the end of politics as an instrument for keeping American society together?

Democracy and politics will not alleviate our problems; only committed individuals working in the intermediary institutions of civil society can. Democratic elections can work locally, and in small countries or communities; Switzerland's system of express subsidiarity comes to mind. And clearly the best hope for America's survival will come through an aggressive form of federalism or subsidiarity, one that dramatically reduces the winner-take-all stakes of national elections. But mass democracy, in a country as large as America, is a recipe for strife, bitterness, endless division, and much worse.

Murray Rothbard said in Power and Market that "ballots are hailed as substitutes for bullets." But in modern America, politics leads us closer to war, not closer to peace and justice and comity. Why should we accept weaponized mass politics when we have civil society, markets, and non-state institutions?

We need an anti-politics movement just as surely as we need an antiwar movement. 

Reprinted with permission from]]> Wed, 16 Oct 2019 14:19:04 GMT
Terrorized, Traumatized and Killed: The Police State’s Deadly Toll on America’s Children John W. Whitehead

“‘Am I going to get shot again.’”
—2-year-old survivor of a police shooting that left his three siblings, ages 1, 4 and 5, with a bullet in the brain, a fractured skull and gun wounds to the face

Children learn what they live.

As family counselor Dorothy Law Nolte wisely observed, “If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn. If children live with hostility, they learn to fight. If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.”

And if children live with terror, trauma and violence—forced to watch helplessly as their loved ones are executed by police officers who shoot first and ask questions later—will they in turn learn to terrorize, traumatize and inflict violence on the world around them?

I’m not willing to risk it. Are you?

It’s difficult enough raising a child in a world ravaged by war, disease, poverty and hate, but when you add the toxic stress of the police state into the mix, it becomes near impossible to protect children from the growing unease that some of the monsters of our age come dressed in government uniforms.

Case in point: in Hugo, Oklahoma, plain clothes police officers opened fire on a pickup truck parked in front of a food bank, heedless of the damage such a hail of bullets—26 shots were fired—could have on those in the vicinity. Three of the four children inside the parked vehicle were shot: a 4-year-old girl was shot in the head and ended up with a bullet in the brain; a 5-year-old boy received a skull fracture; and a 1-year-old girl had deep cuts on her face from gunfire or shattered window glass. Only the 2-year-old was spared any physical harm, although the terror will likely linger for a long time. “They are terrified to go anywhere or hear anything,” the family attorney said. “The two-year-old keeps asking about ‘Am I going to get shot again.’”

The reason for the use of such excessive force?

Police were searching for a suspect in a weeks-old robbery of a pizza parlor that netted $400.

This may be the worst use of excessive force on innocent children to date. Unfortunately, it is one of many in a steady stream of cases that speak to the need for police to de-escalate their tactics and stop resorting to excessive force when less lethal means are available to them.

For instance, in Cleveland, police shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was seen playing on a playground with a pellet gun. Surveillance footage shows police shooting the boy two seconds after getting out of a moving patrol car.

In Detroit, 7-year-old Aiyana Jones was killed after a Detroit SWAT team launched a flash-bang grenade into her family’s apartment, broke through the door and opened fire, hitting the little girl who was asleep on the living room couch. The cops were in the wrong apartment.

In Georgia, Christopher Roupe, 17, was shot and killed after opening the door to a police officer. The officer, mistaking the remote control in Roupe’s hand for a gun, shot him in the chest.

These children are more than grim statistics on a police blotter. They are the heartbreaking casualties of the government’s endless, deadly wars on terror, on drugs, and on the American people themselves.

Then you have the growing number of incidents involving children who are forced to watch helplessly as trigger-happy police open fire on loved ones and community members alike.

In Texas, an 8-year-old boy watched as police—dispatched to do a welfare check on a home with its windows open—shot and killed his aunt through her bedroom window while she was playing video games with him.

In Minnesota, a 4-year-old girl watched from the backseat of a car as cops shot and killed her mother’s boyfriend, Philando Castile, a school cafeteria supervisor, during a routine traffic stop merely because Castile disclosed that he had a gun in his possession, for which he had a lawful conceal-and-carry permit. That’s all it took for police to shoot Castile four times as he was reaching for his license and registration. 

A child doesn’t even have to be directly exposed to a police shooting to learn the police state’s lessons in compliance and terror, which are being meted out with every SWAT team raid, roadside strip search, and school drill.

Indeed, there can be no avoiding the hands-on lessons being taught in the schools about the role of police in our lives, ranging from active shooter drills and school-wide lockdowns to incidents in which children engaging in typically childlike behavior are suspended (for shooting an imaginary “arrow” at a fellow classmate), handcuffed (for being disruptive at school), arrested (for throwing water balloons as part of a school prank), and even tasered (for not obeying instructions).

What is particularly chilling is how effective these lessons in compliance are in indoctrinating young people to accept their role in the police state, either as criminals or prison guards.

If these exercises are intended to instill fear, paranoia and compliance into young people, clearly, our children are getting the message, but it’s not the message that was intended by those who fomented a revolution and wrote our founding documents. Their philosophy was that the police work for us, and “we the people” are the masters, and they are to be our servants.

Now that philosophy has been turned on its head.

Certainly, it’s getting harder by the day to insist that we live in a nation that values freedom and which is governed by the rule of law.

Yet unless something changes and soon, there will soon be nothing left to teach young people about freedom as we have known it beyond remembered stories of the “good old days.”

For starters, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, it’s time to take a hard look at the greatest perpetrators of violence in our culture—the US government and its agents—and do something about it: de-militarize the police, prohibit the Pentagon from distributing military weapons to domestic police agencies, train the police in de-escalation techniques, stop insulating police officers from charges of misconduct and wrongdoing, and require police to take precautionary steps before engaging in violence in the presence of young people.

We must stop the carnage.

Reprinted with permission from Rutherford Institute.]]> Wed, 16 Oct 2019 13:57:42 GMT
Pentagon Hands Manbij To The Russians (Can We Get Them To Take Afghanistan Too?) Daniel McAdams
]]> Tue, 15 Oct 2019 16:58:35 GMT
Twitter Targets Hong Kong in US-backed Regime Change Operation Tony Cartalucci

When Twitter Safety announced that it was taking actions against “information operations” directed at Hong Kong, informed observers could have immediately assumed that Twitter was not actually serious about stopping anything of the sort but rather ensuring the information operation they are a part of was protected and those attempting to take action against it were purged from their platform.

And of course, those informed observers would be correct.

The official statement published on Twitter’s official blog titled, “Information operations directed at Hong Kong,” would claim:
We are disclosing a significant state-backed information operation focused on the situation in Hong Kong, specifically the protest movement and their calls for political change.
The statement would also claim:
This disclosure consists of 936 accounts originating from within the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Overall, these accounts were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground. Based on our intensive investigations, we have reliable evidence to support that this is a coordinated state-backed operation. Specifically, we identified large clusters of accounts behaving in a coordinated manner to amplify messages related to the Hong Kong protests.
Ironically, “a coordinated state-backed operation” is exactly what the Hong Kong protests themselves are.

Extensively documented evidence – much of which was being exposed and shared by accounts purged by Twitter including this author’s own Twitter accounts – has proven beyond doubt that the Hong Kong protesters are funded and directed by the United States government with virtually every protest leader having literally traveled to Washington D.C. to conspire with US politicians and organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – an entity openly admitted to be used for destabilizing and overthrowing political orders in foreign nations.

Despite this overt foreign-backed effort to destabilize Hong Kong and wider China – Twitter has instead decided to target accounts within China itself to disrupt any effort to expose and confront this US-backed unrest unfolding in Hong Kong.

Twitter, Western Media Aiding and Abetting Terrorism 

More recently, US-backed agitators have turned from violence including attacking police and arson – to attacking Hong Kong’s civilian infrastructure including its mass transit system. Protesters have been seen intentionally trying to derail trains, and in fact one train did derail injuring several passengers.

The Washington Post in its article, “Under Hong Kong’s streets, the subway becomes a battleground for protesters and police,” would report (emphasis added):
Rail operator MTR Corp. also has become a protest target, stemming from a perception among demonstrators that it has conspired with authorities to stymie protest action. Stations have been vandalized so frequently in recent weeks that there is a shortage of parts needed for repairs, the rail union has said. 

In a city where about 90 percent of journeys are via public transportation, the clashes have left some of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million residents feeling they no longer have any safe spaces, susceptible to arrest or police scrutiny whenever they venture out. Some people are boycotting the MTR, while others suffer flashbacks when they ride the trains.
An “AFP Fact Check” attempting to exhonerate protesters of being caught sabotaging rail that led to a derailment which injured five commuters simply notes that protesters caught on camera sabotaging tracks were at a different location trying to derail a different train than the train in question.

This ham-fisted sleight of hand by the western corporate media shows there is likely a hidden western intelligence agency hand in their supposed ‘watch dog’ coverage.

Nowhere does AFP attempt to deny the protesters were still very much so sabotaging train tracks and endangering hundreds of lives in the process.

Despite presenting evidence to the public clearly showing protesters sabotaging civilian mass transit infrastructure and thus endangering hundreds of innocent lives – because it wasn’t at the specific location the derailment occured – AFP boldly declares at the top of their “Fact Check” that it was “FALSE.”

The paralyzing “fear” the Washington Post describes but falls intentionally short of properly labeling, and the deliberate sabotage of train tracks AFP attempts to spin and defend is called “terrorism.”

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines terrorism as: the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. Terror is defined as: violence or the threat of violence used as a weapon of intimidation or coercion.

Thus the Hong Kong protests whose “legitimacy” Twitter is dedicated to preserving are engaged in terrorism. Twitter is thus an eager accomplice.

Information Warfare Disguised as Social Media 

None of this should be surprising. The 2011 so-called “Arab Spring” was a region-wide campaign organized years ahead of time by the US government in coordination with other social media giants including Facebook and Google which admittedly trained and equipped agitators to destabilize and if possible overthrow their respective governments.

This continues today with many nations now reacting by restricting or banning foreign social media platforms and producing their own domestic versions. Russia and China are two nations in particular that have done this with great success and have attracted constant criticism for it across the Western media under the false pretext of “eroding free speech.”

It is little wonder why Twitter is banned in China.

It is not a matter of China seeking to impede free speech because free speech itself is a concept completely alien to Twitter. Massive purges are regularly carried out by Twitter – as well as other social media networks like Google’s Youtube and Facebook – to remove political content that targets the special interests these large social media networks represent.

Twitter is banned in China specifically because it is a weaponized platform – designed specifically to manipulate public perception and serve as a vector for very real “information operations” carried out by the US, aimed at China itself – including China’s special administrative region of Hong Kong.

If mere suspicions of “Russian influence” can induce massive network-wide purges on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to stave off alleged foreign interference in another nation’s internal political affairs, certainly Hong Kong protest leaders like Joshua Wong, Martin Lee, Johnson Yeung Ching-yin, and Jimmy Lai literally travelling to Washington, receiving funding and political backing from the US government constitutes an overt example of such foreign interference and should be moved to the top of Twitter’s purge list.

The fact that Twitter not only has taken no action to expose and stop US interference in Hong Kong, but is actively aiding and abetting it illustrates unmistakable as well as unforgivable hypocrisy shedding any doubt over what Twitter actually is. It is not a social media platform, but a political tool merely masquerading as social media.

This revelation – proven indisputably numerous times and most recently in regards to Hong Kong – should prompt nations around the globe to follow Russia and China’s lead in producing domestic alternatives and regulating Twitter, Facebook, and Google out of their information space.

For Twitter and its most recent purge to uphold the “legitimacy” of Hong Kong’s protesters, the end result is simply proving that US social media platforms are just as eager in reality to purge users and censor content as they claim China is.

Reprinted with permission from 21st Century Wire.]]> Tue, 15 Oct 2019 14:04:39 GMT
BREAKING: US Working With Russia to Handover Patrols Between Turkish and Syrian Armies in Manbij Patrick Henningsen

This morning, Russian military officials announced they are now patrolling the region surrounding Syria’s northern town of Manbij, specifically in the areas which separate Turkish troops and the Syrian Arab Army soldiers.

According to a Russian Defense Ministry statement issued Tuesday, Russian military police are being positioned as a ‘buffer’ around the area northwest of Manbij, “along the line of contact between the Syrian Arab Republic and Turkey.” Officials also indicated that they are in communication with the Turkish military leadership to ensure that patrols are observing necessary deconfliction protocols.

More interestingly, US reports suggest that the Pentagon has been working together with Moscow in order engineer a seamless handover to Russian military police of positions previously held by US forces.

According to one senior Pentagon official who spoke to Newsweek, some US personnel have stayed to behind to assist Russian forces, noting that US special forces “having been in the area for longer, has been assisting the Russian forces to navigate through previously unsafe areas quickly.”

“It is essentially a handover,” said the official. “However, it’s a quick out, not something that will include walk-throughs, etc., everything is about making out with as much as possible of our things while destroying any sensitive equipment that cannot be moved.”

This latest move by Moscow to install a security buffer should allay any international concerns that Trump’s sudden withdrawal of US forces would create a power vacuum that might lead to some sort of Turkish ‘massacre’ of ethnic Kurds in northern Syria. The sheer volume of alarmist western propaganda promoting that scenario has been incessant over the last week. The UK’s Guardian newspaper even went so far as to promote the idea that a US withdrawal would result in “genocide” of Syrian Kurds.

Also helping to promulgate the idea of an impending Turkish-led massacre was America’s ABC News, who used old footage from a Kentucky gun range – claiming it was Turkey firing on the Kurdish population in Syria. Watch:
This latest news comes immediately on the heels of a new deal struck yesterday between Kurdish officials in northeastern Syria and the government in Damascus allowing the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to takeover key strategic positions along Syria’s northern border with Turkey. The new security agreement also includes disbanding and abolishing the previously US-backed SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces), and with remaining militias to be incorporated into the Syrian Republic’s Armed Forces including “all the current Kurdish forces and military groups joining the 5th Corps (Assault Legion) under Russian control.”
As a newly unified SAA and Russian military police establish positions around Manbij, the threat still remains of advancing platoons of Turkish-backed former FSA (Free Syrian Army) ‘opposition’ fighters who are now rebranded as ‘Syrian National Army.’ These opposition militants could still cause problems in maintaining peace and stability along proscribed battle lines.

Reprinted with permission from 21st Century Wire.]]> Tue, 15 Oct 2019 13:19:52 GMT
Kurds Make Alliance With Assad - Victory For America (But Not For Neocons) Daniel McAdams
]]> Mon, 14 Oct 2019 16:26:42 GMT
Washington is Wrong Once Again – Kurds Join Assad to Defend Syria Ron Paul

When President Trump Tweeted last week that “it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous endless wars,” adding that the US would be withdrawing from Syria, Washington went into a panic. Suddenly Republicans, Democrats, the media, the think tanks, and the war industry all discovered and quickly became experts on “the Kurds,” who we were told were an “ally” being sent to their slaughter by an ignorant President Trump.

But it was all just another bipartisan ploy to keep the “forever war” gravy train rolling through the Beltway.

Interventionists will do anything to prevent US troops from ever coming home, and their favorite tactic is promoting “mission creep.” As President Trump Tweeted, we were told in 2014 by President Obama that the US military would go into Syria for just 30 days to save the Yazidi minority that they claimed were threatened. Then that mission crept into “we must fight ISIS” and so the US military continued to illegally occupy and bomb Syria for five more years.

Even though it was the Syrian army with its Russian and Iranian allies that did the bulk of the fighting against al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria, President Trump took credit and called for the troops to come home. But when the military comes home, the military-industrial-Congressional-media complex loses its cash cow, so a new rationale had to be invented.

The latest “mission creep” was that we had to stay in Syria to save our “allies” the Kurds. All of a sudden our military presence in Syria was not about fighting terrorism but rather about putting US troops between our NATO ally Turkey and our proxy fighting force, the Kurds. Do they really want us to believe that it is “pro-American” for our troops to fight and die refereeing a long-standing dispute between the Turks and Kurds?

It was a colossally dumb idea to train and arm the Kurds in Syria in the first place, but after spending billions backing what turned out to be al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria to overthrow the Assad government, Washington found that the Kurds were the only willing boots remaining on the ground. While their interest in fighting ISIS was limited, they were happy to use Washington’s muscle in pursuit of their long-term goal of carving out a part of Syria (and eventually Turkey) for themselves.

We can never leave because there will be a slaughter, Washington claimed (and the media faithfully repeated). But once again, the politicians, the mainstream media, and the Beltway “experts” have been proven wrong. They never understand that sending US troops into another country without the proper authority is not a stabilizing factor, but a de-stabilizing factor. I have argued that were the US to leave Syria (and the rest of the Middle East) the countries of the region would find a way to solve their own problems.

Now that the US is pulling back from northern Syria, that is just what is happening.

On Sunday the Kurds and the Syrian government signed an agreement, brokered by the Russians, to put aside their differences and join together to defend against Turkey’s incursion into Syrian territory.

Now “our Kurdish allies” are fighting alongside the army of Syrian President Assad – who we are still told by US officials “must go.” Washington doesn’t understand that our intervention only makes matters worse. The best way to help the Kurds and everyone else in the region is to just come home.]]> Mon, 14 Oct 2019 12:38:52 GMT
Washington’s Sum of All Fears: Kurdish Militants Cut a Deal with Damascus Patrick Henningsen

Last night, Kurdish officials in northeastern Syria issued a statement that an agreement has been reached with the government in Damascus allowing the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to takeover key strategic positions along the Syria’s northern border with Turkey.

Not surprisingly, cheers can he heard from Damascus to Moscow, and Tehran too, while leaving Washington’s foreign policy blob visibly moaning in agony.

The reality of the situation is that Turkey sprung a trap set by Damascus and its allies. In doing so, Turkey helped to cleaned up what was previously a near impossible situation for Damascus.

While much of the western mainstream media has laboured over "Trump’s decision" to full-out US troops from Syria, there are other factors which have been driving the current situation. If you’ve been monitoring the Turkish press over the last few years, you would know that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been eager to fire-up his AKP base at home and project Neo-Ottoman power regionally, so this latest Turkish foray into Syria can be seen as a resumption of the "New Turkey" – the AKP’s gradual transformation of Turkey from a secular Kemalist state, to an Islamic one.

This gradual revolution is not confined within Turkey’s own borders though, as it hopes to extend its micro-colonial project of Sunnification to include areas in question located inside and along Syria’s northern border with Turkey. Hence, Ankara has moved its forces into Syrian territory for the third time in as many years, this time dubbed, “Operation Peace Spring,” with Erdogan justifying the move under the auspices of "fighting terrorism," vowing once again to secure the country’s national security by stamping-out the Kurdish YPG-PKK ‘terrorist threat’ embedded in northern Syria.

Unknowingly perhaps (or not), Turkey helped towards resolving at least three separate problems which had been grating at Damascus and Moscow for at least the last three years. Firstly, the Turkish incursion has finally displaced uninvited US military forces that had begun illegally occupying northeastern Syria since late 2016, effectively propping-up their SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) Kurdish-led proxy militants, many of whom share membership with Kurdish YPG/PKK militant groups. This weekend has shown the world that without its US protection, Kurdish-led forces are not a viable as they have been depicted in the western media, now exposed to the painful reality that their "autonomous" status in northeastern Syria is on borrowed time, evidenced by the fact that they failed to protect Kurdish residents from the Turkish military and their jihadi vanguard ground forces, formerly known as Free Syrian Army (FSA), who’ve rather cynically rebranded themselves now to the "Syrian National Army."

With Syrian Kurdish forces now on their back heals, they were left with no other option than to approach Damascus to negotiate an alliance. That agreement was inked this weekend, with the SAA now heading towards key towns and cities in the northeast of Syria including one of the centers of fighting – the hotly contested Syrian border town of Kobani. This new reality also means that Turkish military will not willingly fire upon SAA forces inside of Syrian sovereign territory, although Turkey’s jihadist FSA/SNA militias might engage with its old nemesis.

Those side skirmishes could prolong instability, but they are not nearly as insurmountable as entrenched US forces in the area.

Reports show the SAA’s arrival in these areas as being met with cheers from crowds – which is a public relations disaster for Washington and its Kurdish "Rojava" nation-building project in northern Syria.

Lastly, aside from securing its key northern border crossings, Damascus in now one step closer to reclaiming its oil and gas fields situated north of the Euphrates river near the city of Deir Ezor, and which have been continuously occupied by ISIS and SDF forces respectively since 2014. Liberating its own domestic energy supply will go a long way towards helping Damascus mitigate some of the economic suffering felt as a result of the imposition of joint EU-US  sanctions, a punitive embargo designed by western powers to strangle the country and foment more domestic unrest.

A New Middle East

The Kurdish request for Damascus protection also flies in the face of years of western propaganda which tried to justify Washington’s policy of military occupation and nation-building by convince the world that the Syrian government was unwelcome in the northeastern region of its own country, and that “Kurdish independence” was a fait accompli. Moreover, Damascus is a step closer to securing previously vulnerable stretches of is eastern border with Iraq which the US was previously "managing" and which allowed ISIS the move through and use as a staging ground for attacks further afield in areas like Sweida and Al Tanf. If a mutual security arrangement can be reached between Syria and Iraq to secure its shared border, then this would potentially revolutionise political and economic affairs in the region, and even globally.

If these events do come to pass, it would be a complete defeat for decades of Washington-led efforts in the region. Together with its allies, the US has worked long and hard to keep this part of the Middle East unstable and divided. It was in this US-led and Saudi and Israeli-engineered environment of destablisation that both al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorists were able to emerge and thrive for so long. Its adversaries should remain vigilant though, as history demonstrates, both Washington and Israel are not above provoking instability in order to achieve their shared short-term and long-range goals for the region.

Regardless, the board has been flipped in Syria. Unable to either hold territory or keep thousands of ISIS prisoners in custody, US-backed SDF militias have been exposed as the latest in a long lineage of hapless pawns of Washington in the Great Game. Once new ground locations are secured by SAA forces, then Damascus could invite Russian air support to secure this airspace – an outcome which can only mean that terrorists’ days will be numbered going forward. Any remaining ISIS or Al Qaeda terrorists brigades active in north of the Euphrates will have few remaining escape routes, other than north to seek refuge in the various AKP-sanctioned terrorist enclaves located across the border in southern Turkey.

As this author said back in early 2018, the US-Kurdish dance in northeastern Syria was always a game of musical chairs, and sooner or later, someone had to leave. And that someone is the USA, and immediately followed by ISIS.

As President Bashar al-Assad said already, Syria is determined to reclaim “every inch” of its territory. So it might behoove western powers not to underestimate the will and determination of a country and army which has withstood eight years of a fully internationalised regime change war waged against it.

Reprinted with permission from 21st Century Wire.]]> Mon, 14 Oct 2019 12:23:33 GMT
Finding a Vaccine for the Impeachment Derangement Virus Peter Van Buren
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Once intelligent people are talking about actual civil war in America. This began after Trump retweeted a pastor saying impeachment would cause a “civil war-like fracture in this Nation.” Never mind that it was a retweet, and never mind that the original statement used “like” to make a comparison. The next headline was set: Trump Threatens Civil War If He’s Impeached. Newsweek quoted a Harvard Law professor saying that the “threat” alone made Trump impeachable. Another headline asked: “If Trump’s Rage Brings Civil War, Where Will the Military Stand?”

Blowing up some online nonsense into a declaration of war tracks with the meme that Trump will refuse to leave office if defeated in 2020, or will declare himself the winner even if he loses, sending coded messages to armed minions. “Trump Is Going to Burn Down Everything and Everyone,” reads the headline from a NASDAQ-listed media outlet. “Before Trump will allow himself to be chased from the temple, he’ll bring it down,” wrote The New York Times.

That’s just what the MSM is saying; it gets worse the further off the road you drive. “Trump is going to try everything, Fox is going to try everything, and they’re going to both further the injuring of societal reality and inspire dangerous individuals to kill and maim,” Jared Yates Sexton, a well-known academic, tweeted on September 28. “There’s a vast number of people in this, people who have been taught their whole lives that they might need to kill in case of a coup or corrupt takeover,” he continued. “Trump and Republicans signal to them constantly. They’re more than ready to see this as the occasion.”

The idea that Americans are steps away from squaring off across the field at Gettysburg is something that should only exist in satire. It would be hilarious, except that such fantasizing is influencing the actual future of our country. We have crossed a line where rationality is in the rearview mirror.

Most of us have lost track of the constitutional crises that have never actually happened since the first one was declared, over the non-issue of Trump losing the popular vote in 2016. What was it last week? Sharpiegate? Or the hotel in Scotland? Or an impeding war with Iran/North Korea/China? Or treason? Or something about security clearances? The Kurds were a thing in 2017 and again now. Paul Krugman of the New York Times first declared that Trump was going to destroy the economy in 2016, and has written the same article regularly ever since, most recently just last week. It doesn’t seem to matter that none of these things have actually proven to be true. Learned people are saying them again and again.

Those who oppose Trump have convinced themselves they must impeach for something, and if all of Russiagate (remember that? It’s like Aunt Edna’s brief failed marriage, only not mentioned at the dinner table) wasn’t enough, then Democrats will impeach over a phone call to a minor world leader.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The fantasy was to use Robert Mueller’s summer testimony about Trump being a literal Russian asset to stir up the masses—Mueller Time, Baby! Congress would go home for August recess to be bombarded by cries for impeachment, and then autumn would feature hearings and revelations amplified by the Blue Check harpies leading up to, well, something big.

Were rationality still in vogue, it would be hard to imagine that Democrats would consider the Ukraine call impeachable. But they closed out Russiagate like the OJ Simpson murder trial, certain Trump had gotten away with so much that they had to catch him at something else to make it even. 

Fair Use. Read the rest here.]]> Mon, 14 Oct 2019 12:12:19 GMT