TBR News July 20, 2017

Jul 20 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., July 20, 2017: “Here are some depressing figures sent to us by a reader who thought they might be of interest. No source was quoted but we checked on the figures and they appear to be correct…and depressing:

  • ‘Nearly one out of every four women in the United States are taking antidepressants.
  • In 2010, the average teen in the US was taking 1.2 central nervous system drugs. Those are the kinds of drugs which treat conditions such as ADHD and depression.
  • Suicide has now actually surpassed car accidents as the number one cause of “injury death” in the United States.
  • More US soldiers killed themselves than were killed in combat last year.
  • One-third of American employees suffer chronic debilitating stress, and more than half of all ‘millennials’ (18 to 33 year olds) experience a level of stress that keeps them awake at night, including large numbers diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorder.
  • 28 million Americans have a drinking problem, and about 22 million Americans use illegal drugs.
  • People in the US are tied with the UK for the highest average number of hours spent watching television: 28 hours per person per week.
  • One out of every three children in America lives in a home without a father.
  • For women under the age of 30 living in the United States, more than half of all babies are being born out of wedlock
  • The United States has the highest child abuse death rate in the developed world.
  • In the United States today, it is estimated that one out of every four girls is sexually abused before they become adults.
  • The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the world by a very wide margin.
  • It is estimated that about one out of every six Americans between the ages of 14 and 49 have genital herpes.(The difference between love and herpes is that herpes is forever)
  • One out of every four teen girls in the US has at least one sexually transmitted disease.
  • Americans spend more time sitting in traffic than anyone else in the world.
  • America has the highest incarceration rate and the largest total prison population in the entire world by a very wide margin.’”


Table of Contents

  • Government ‘Cyber Troops’ Manipulate Facebook, Twitter, Study Says
  • The Rise of Russia and the ‘End of the World’
  • One in eight people who voted for Trump having second thoughts – Reuters/Ipsos poll
  • Jeff Sessions Wants to Make “Legalized Theft” Great Again
  • Trump regrets hiring Attorney General Jeff Sessions
  • The price of loyalty –
  • Massacre of Mosul Revealed
  • Trump to end lavish CIA support for ‘moderate’ anti-Assad forces in Syria – reports
  • Germany overhauls Turkey policy
  • US Senator John McCain diagnosed with brain cancer

Government ‘Cyber Troops’ Manipulate Facebook, Twitter, Study Says

An Oxford study found authoritarian and democratic governments game social media to shape public opinion.

July‎ ‎17‎, ‎2017‎

by Adam Satariano


Governments around the world are enlisting “cyber troops” who manipulate Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets to steer public opinion, spread misinformation and undermine critics, according to a new report from the University of Oxford.

Adding to growing evidence of government-sponsored efforts to use online tools to influence politics, researchers found 29 countries using social media to shape opinion domestically or with foreign audiences. The tactics are deployed by authoritarian regimes, but also democratically-elected governments, the authors said.

“Social media makes propaganda campaigns much stronger and potentially more effective than in the past,” said Samantha Bradshaw, the report’s lead author and a researcher at Oxford’s Computational Propaganda Research Project. “I don’t think people realize how much governments are using these tools to reach them. It’s a lot more hidden.”

Online behavior of the government-backed groups varies widely, from commenting on Facebook and Twitter posts, to targeting people individually. Journalists are harassed by government groups in Mexico and Russia, while cyber troops in Saudi Arabia flood negative Twitter posts about the regime with unrelated content and hashtags to make it harder for people to find the offending post. In the Czech Republic, the government is more likely to post a fact-check response to something they see as inaccurate, said the report.

Governments also use fake accounts to mask where the material is coming from. In Serbia, fake accounts are used to promote the government’s agenda, and bloggers in Vietnam spread favorable information. Meanwhile, government actors in Argentina, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey, Venezuela and elsewhere use automation software — known as “bots” — to spread social media posts in ways that mimics human users.

“Cyber troops are a pervasive and global phenomenon,” said the report published by the group that is studying how digital tools are being used to manipulate public opinion

Propaganda has long been a dark art used by governments, but digital tools are making the techniques more sophisticated, according to Bradshaw. She said governments over the past several years have taken note of the way activists have used social media to spread a message and build support, and are adopting some of the same methods. Online tools such as data-analytics software allow governments to more effectively tailor a message for specific groups of people, maximizing its impact.

Bradshaw said that while Russia and authoritarian regimes get most of the attention for manipulating social media, Western democracies have been using similar techniques. In the U.K., the British Army created the 77th Brigade in 2015, in part for psychological operations using social media. Bradshaw said democratic governments aren’t forthcoming about their digital propaganda efforts.

“They are using the same tools and techniques as the authoritarian regimes,” she said. “Maybe the motivations are different, but it’s hard to tell without the transparency.”

Following the U.S. election, Facebook and Twitter have been criticized for not doing enough to filter out fake news and offensive content. Facebook, which had no immediate comment on the report, has hired more human curators and partnered with fact-check organizations in an attempt to keep misinformation out of people’s feeds. Twitter spokesman Ian Plunkett referred to a June a blog post that said the company “should not be the arbiter of truth,” and that others on the site do a better job of highlighting wrongdoing. The company has taken steps to crack down on the use of bots.

Bradshaw said there isn’t an easy solution when balancing the benefits of sharing information across the Internet against the problems with spreading propaganda. She said one improvement would be tools that make it more clear when a government is involved.

“There’s a fine line,” she says, “between free speech and censorship. ”


The Rise of Russia and the ‘End of the World’

by Joe Quinn

“What the darkness cannot possess, it seeks to destroy”

You’ve probably read all sorts of theories that seek to explain the causes of the ‘new cold war’ in which we find ourselves. From the embarrassingly simplistic “Putin’s a Hitler” offered by the Western press to the more nuanced idea of an ‘energy war’ between US-Europe-Russia. The truth about why we are where we are right now, as a species, however, is actually fairly simple. But to understand it you’ll have to ditch the idea of a ‘new cold war’ and replace it with ‘the 120-year-old war that never ended’.

Over 100 years ago, in 1904, one of the founding fathers of both geopolitics and geostrategy, Oxford University graduate and co-founder of the London School of Economics, Sir Halford Mackinder, proposed a theory that expanded geopolitical analysis from the local or regional level to a global level. Geopolitics is the study (by people in positions of power) of the effects of geography (human and physical) on international politics and international relations. In layman’s terms, this means the study of how best to control as much of the world – its resources, human and natural – as possible. When you or I think about the world, we think of a big, complicated place with billions of people. When the ‘elite’ think of the world, they think of a globe, or a map, with nation states on it that can, and should, according to them, be shaped and changed en masse.

Mackinder separated the world into just a few regions.

The ‘world Island’, and area roughly comprising the interlinked continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The offshore islands, including the British Isles and the islands of Japan.

The outlying islands, including the continents of North America, South America, and Australia.

The most important of these, by far, was the ‘world island’ and in particular what he called the ‘heartland’, which basically means Russia. Mackinder said that whoever controls the ‘heartland’ (Russia) controls the ‘world island’ (Eurasia and Africa), and whoever controls that, controls the world. It’s a fairly self-evident analysis of the situation because the great majority of the world’s population and resources are on the Eurasian continent, and holding a vast northern position on that landmass – with your rearguard protected by an impassable frozen ocean – gives you the prime vantage point, or ‘higher ground’ if you will.

Mackinder’s geostrategic map of the world

Mackinder probably arrived at this conclusion as a result of the British experience of Empire. The British had a large empire on which ‘the sun never set’ (and the blood never dried), and while the British elite made a lot of money, and caused a lot of suffering, by expropriating the resources of other peoples, they were never able to truly ‘rule the world’ because the ‘heartland’ (Russia) was not conquered and made a subservient state of Western powers, largely due to its massive size and the fact that Russia had long since been an Empire itself.

In 1904, Mackinder’s ideas (shared by his contemporaries) were already common currency among the anglo-American elite of the day, who sought global domination by way of the prevention of any competitor to the United States. Russia was that natural potential competitor, again due its size, resources and imperial history. So even before the turn of the 20th century, the US elite, in league with their British co-ideologues, were busying themselves with the task of ‘neutralizing’ Russia as a threat to their plans for global hegemony. As Mackinder published his ideas, US and British political, industrialist and banker types had already embarked on the process of ‘regime change’ in Russia by way of one of the ‘offshore islands’, specifically, Japan.

In 1898, Russia had agreed a convention with China that leased the Chinese port of ‘Port Arthur’ to Russia. At the time this was Russia’s only warm water Pacific seaport (and it was as strategically important as Crimea is to Russia today). Both the British and Americans were concerned about the close relationship between Russia and Germany (Tsar Nicholas II and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany were cousins) and the possibility that France might join them in a triple anti-British alliance. To the British and Americans this was a clear “threat to the international order”.1 To thwart Russian intentions in Asia, in 1902 Great Britain and Japan signed the ‘Anglo-Japanese alliance’ which stipulated that if either Japan or Great Britain were attacked by more than one enemy they would support each other militarily. This was effectively a green light from the British for Japan to go to war with Russia if necessary, safe in the knowledge that neither France nor Germany (Russia’s allies) would intervene and risk war with Britain. From this point on, Japan effectively acted as a protector of British interests in East Asia.

From February 8th 1904 to September 5th 1905 the first ‘great war’ of the 20th century was fought between Japan and Tsarist Russia, largely over access to ‘Port Arthur’. The British government supplied the Japanese navy with war ships and during the war itself passed intelligence to the Japanese. Perhaps the most significant aid to the Japanese government came in the form of loans from British and American banks and financial institutions that totaled $5billion at today’s value, including a $200 million ‘loan’ from prominent Wall St. banker Jacob Schiff.2 During World War I, Schiff and other Wall Street bankers would also extend loans to the Central Powers, despite officially being enemies of their adopted homeland, the USA.

Russia fielded over one million soldiers and sailors against Japan’s 500,000, but Russia still lost the war, largely due to support from the British and the Americans. The decisive battle occurred on 27-28 May 1905 when the Russian and Japanese navies met at the Tsushima strait. Two thirds of the Russian fleet was destroyed. Russia’s defeat was underlined by the Treaty of Portsmouth, which confirmed Japan’s emergence as the pre-eminent power in East Asia and forced Russia to abandon its plans to develop the Siberia-Pacific region and launch Far East trade routes. Japan also became the sixth-most powerful naval force and the war costs dealt a significant blow to the Russian economy.

Even before the war officially ended, it was Russia’s dire financial straits, the defeat at Tsushima, and pressure from the British that led the Tsar to ultimately back away from the 1905 Treaty of Bjorko he had signed with Kaiser Wilhelm (and, by implication, France). As soon as the British government and their network of anglophiles in Russia found out about the secret deal signed on the Kaiser’s yacht in the Baltic sea – a deal that would have threatened ‘world order’ by aligning Russia with Germany – they threatened to cut off funding to Russia and marshaled the Russian press, which they apparently controlled, to launch an anti-German propaganda campaign. The Kaiser wrote to the Tsar: “The whole of your influential press, have since a fortnight become violently anti-German and pro-British. Partly they are bought by the heavy sums of British money, no doubt”.3

With Russia isolated and economically broken, and the threat of Eurasian integration removed, the next logical step was to get rid of the Tsar altogether and transform Russia into a controlled, retarded and ‘captive’ market for Western finance. But to achieve that goal, Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany would first have to be decisively dealt with, and that meant war. To prepare the ground for that war, the British signed the Anglo-Russian entente in 1907 and then later added France to the ‘triple entente’, allying the world’s most powerful militaries against Germany.

Between 1903 and 1914, the British public was gradually whipped into an anti-German frenzy and assaulted with countless newspaper articles, books and pamphlets (falsely) warning of Germany’s aggressive rearmament and intentions to invade Britain and take over the world. British newspaper and publishing magnate at the time Alfred Harmsworth, who was intricately linked with the British political and banking elite, exerted enormous influence over the British public through his newspapers. In an interview with the French newspaper Le Matin, Harmsworth said: “The Germans make themselves odious to the whole of Europe. I will not allow my paper to publish anything which might in any way hurt the feelings of the French, but I would not like to print anything which might be agreeable to the Germans”.3

The anti-German hysteria culminated in the passage of the UK’s Official Secrets Act of 1911, which effectively established the British intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6. It is fitting that these agencies, tasked today with manufacturing terrorist threats to scare the British – and global – public into supporting war, had their foundation in a manufactured threat from Germany.

The chosen ‘flash point’ for an Anglo-American war to destroy Germany, weaken the European powers and make the whole of Europe subservient to Western banking interests was the Balkans. In November 1912, a telegram from the Russian ambassador in Bulgaria to the Russian foreign minister (Isvolsky) identified a representative of the British newspaper The Times who claimed that “very many people in England are working towards accentuating the complication in the Balkans to bring about the war that would result in the destruction of the German fleet and German trade”.4

This Times journalist was most likely James David Bourchier, a member of the English aristocracy who was deeply involved in the Balkan League, an organisation set up in 1912 by the Russian ambassador in Belgrade, Nicholas Hartwig, to lobby for the independence of Balkan states from the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires. Nicholas Hartwig was an agent of the English monarch, Edward VII, and, thereby, of the British elite5. Independence for the Balkan states was fully in line with the British elite’s aim of dismantling competing empires.

The assassination of arch-duke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 is recorded as the spark that ignited the First World War. But this is a distortion of the facts. As mentioned, British plans for war against Germany were at least a decade old by that point. In any case, assassinations of royalty and nobility were fairly common at that time in Europe, and the death of Ferdinand was not something that would necessarily have provoked a world war. Certainly, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was only interested in quieting the Serbs, and Germany, Austria-Hungary’s ally, was decidedly against the crisis spiraling out of control.

After the assassination, the British government deceptively announced to Austria-Hungary and Germany that they accepted Austria-Hungary’s right to compensation from Serbia. When Austria delivered its July Ultimatum on July 23rd to the Serbs – a series of demands that were intentionally made unacceptable – it expected a local war to result, but Russian foreign minister Sazonov (another British agent)6 responded by mobilizing Russian forces on July 28th against the wishes of the Tsar. The British also quietly mobilized their own troops in anticipation of a German move against Belgium, which occurred on August 4th.

What neither Germany nor Austria-Hungary realised was that the assassination – the casus belli – had been orchestrated by the Serbs with the encouragement of British agents in the Russian government. In the 1917 court case on the assassination, Serbian colonel Dragutin Dimitrijević confessed that he hired Ferdinand’s assassins and that the murder was planned with the knowledge and approval of the Russian ambassador in Belgrade – Nicholas Hartwig – and the Russian military attaché in Belgrade, Viktor Artamonov. Both Hartwig and Artamonov were effectively in the pay of the British government. If it had been widely revealed at the time that the Russians were directly involved in the assassination, the British government could not have justified the war to the British public, who held strong anti-Tsarist opinions, thanks to being systematically fed anti-Russian propaganda during the ‘Great Game’ of the 19th century. If anything, they would have called for war against Russia.

Even as the Russian and German armies were marching out of their barracks on July 1st, the Tsar and the Kaiser were exchanging telegrams in a futile attempt to avert disaster. In a note he wrote later that day, the Kaiser finally understood the depth of British perfidy: “I have no doubt about it: England, Russia and France have agreed among themselves to take the Austro-Serbian conflict for an excuse for waging a war of extermination against us… the stupidity and ineptitude of our ally is turned into a snare for us … the net has been suddenly thrown over our head, and England sneeringly reaps the most brilliant success of her persistently prosecuted purely anti-German world policy against which we have proved ourselves helpless. We are brought into a situation which offers England the desired pretext for annihilating us under the hypocritical cloak of justice.” 7 It should come as no surprise that during this ‘great’ war to protect the free world, British and American arms manufacturers, many with links to City of London and Wall Street banks, were arming all sides in the conflict. For just one example, the British-owned Armstrong-Pozzuoli Company, headquartered on the bay of Naples, employed 4,000 men and was the chief naval supplier to Britain’s enemy, Italy, and a high-level English naval officer, Rear Admiral Ottley, was a director!8 During the war, Labour MP Philip Snowden angrily told the House of Commons that “submarines and all the torpedoes used in the Austrian navy are made by the Whitehead Torpedo works in Hungary… they are making torpedoes with British capital in order to destroy British ships.”9 The same torpedoes were being used by German U-boats to sink British, and later American, ships.

Talk about a revolution

The disastrous effects to Russia of the British-inspired Russo-Japanese war provoked the 1905 Russian ‘revolution’ that lasted until 1907. That revolution paved the way for the overthrow of the Tsar and the coming to power of the nihilistic Bolsheviks in the October revolution of 1917. The event would define Russia’s history for the next 70 years. Far from being an impediment, the fact that Tsarist Russia was a British ally in the middle of WW1 appears, at the time, to have been seen by the British and American governments as an opportunity to stab the Tsar in the back when, and from where, he least expected it.

Like the first World War, the plan for the overthrow of the Tsar and revolution in Russia was years in the making. In fact, it seems that the 1905 Russo-Japanese war was used by the aforementioned Jacob Schiff and Co. to sow the seeds of that 1917 revolution 12 years in advance. In her book, ‘Jacob H. Schiff: A Study in American Jewish Leadership’, prolific Jewish-American author Naomi Wiener Cohen states: “The Russo-Japanese war allied Schiff with George Kennan in a venture to spread revolutionary propaganda among Russian prisoners of war held by Japan (Kennan had access to these). The operation was a carefully guarded secret and not until the revolution of March 1917 was it publicly disclosed by Kennan. He then told how he had secured Japanese permission to visit the camps and how the prisoners had asked him for something to read. Arranging for the ‘Friends of Russian Freedom’ to ship over a ton of revolutionary material, he secured Schiff’s financial backing. As Kennan told it, fifty thousand officers and men returned to Russia [as] ardent revolutionists. There they became fifty thousand “seeds of liberty” in one hundred regiments that contributed to the overthrow of the Tsar.” While Schiff was a strident opponent of the Russian Tsar for his treatment of Russian Jews, it’s difficult to tell if sympathy for his co-religionists in Russia was the motivation for Schiff, and other Jewish Wall Street bankers and industrialists, to finance the Bolshevik revolution. After all, they all also reaped massive financial rewards as a result.

Russian General Arsene de Goulevitch, who witnessed the Bolshevik Revolution firsthand, stated: “The main purveyors of funds for the revolution were neither the crackpot Russian millionaires nor the armed bandits of Lenin. The ‘real’ money primarily came from certain British and American circles which for a long time past had lent their support to the Russian revolutionary cause… I have been told that over 21 million rubles were spent by Lord [Alfred] Milner in financing the Russian Revolution”.10 Milner was perhaps the preeminent agent of the British Empire at that time. As High Commissioner for Southern Africa, German-born Milner pioneered concentration camps and ethnic cleansing during the Boer War to expand British control of Africa. Milner was also the chief author of the Balfour Declaration, despite it being published in Arthur Balfour’s name. In his book on Milner, Edward Crankshaw summed up Milner’s ‘ideology’: “Some of the passages [in Milner’s books] on industry and society… are passages which any socialist would be proud to have written. But they were not written by a socialist. They were written by “the man who made the Boer War.” Some of the passages on Imperialism and the white man’s burden might have been written by a Tory diehard. They were written by the student of Karl Marx.” 11 Milner’s ideological bi-partisanship – and utter indifference to his German roots – mirrored that of the Wall Street bankers. Speaking to the League for Industrial Democracy in New York on 30th December 1924, Otto H. Kahn, who was Jacob Schiff and Felix Warburg’s partner in Kuhn, Loeb & Co. and director of American International Corp., said: “what you radicals, and we who hold opposing views differ about, is not so much the end as the means, not so much what should be brought about, as how it should, and can, be brought about”.

De Goulevitch cites reports from local observers and journalists in Petrograd in 1917 of British and American agents handing out 25-rouble notes to soldiers of the Pavlovski regiment just before they mutinied and joined the revolution.5 De Goulevitch also named Sir George Buchanan, the British Ambassador to Russia at the time, as one of the main players in financing what was effectively an early ‘color revolution’ in Russia.

As Jennings C. Wise has written, “Historians must never forget that Woodrow Wilson… made it possible for Leon Trotsky to enter Russia with an American passport.”12

With the Tsar gone and the Western-backed Bolsheviks in power, US and other Western governments and corporations had succeeded not only in destroying Russia’s economy and industry, but breaking off parts of the Russian empire.The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is a testament to the fecklessness of the Bolsheviks in that, in order to withdraw Russia from the war, they were forced cede territory to Germany and Austria-Hungary. The first round of negotiations stalled because the mad-cap revolutionaries believed that Germany and Austria-Hungary were on the brink of revolution themselves. When Lenin and Co. finally came to their senses, they were forced to sign an even more punitive agreement with the Central Powers. While Russia regained much of this lost territory after WWII, it lost it all again in 1991. In fact, Russia’s post-1991 western border bears a marked similarity to that imposed by the Brest-Litovsk treaty.

Under Lenin and Trotsky, the Bolshevik ‘revolution’ had effectively shut down the Russian economy and its industry, allowing Western bankers to step in to ‘rebuild’. Consider the words of American journalist, labor organizer, and publicist, Albert Rhys Williams, who was both a witness to – and participant in – the October revolution, as he testified at the Senate Overman Committee:

Mr. Williams: […] it is probably true that under the Soviet government industrial life will perhaps be much slower in development than under the usual capitalistic system. But why should a great industrial country like America desire the creation and consequent competition of another great industrial rival? Are not the interests of America in this regard in line with the slow tempo of development which Soviet Russia projects for herself?

Senator Wolcott: So you are presenting an argument here which you think might appeal to the American people, your point being this; that if we recognize the Soviet government of Russia as it is constituted, we will be recognizing a government that cannot compete with us in industry for a great many years?

Mr. Williams: That is a fact.

Senator Wolcott: That is an argument that, under the Soviet government, Russia is in no position, for a great many years at least, to approach America industrially?

Mr. Williams: Absolutely. When the Bolsheviks started their first bank, Ruskombank, in 1922, one of its directors was Max May of Guaranty Trust. Guaranty Trust was a J.P. Morgan company. On joining Ruskombank, May stated: “The United States, being a rich country with well developed industries, does not need to import anything from foreign countries, but… it is greatly interested in exporting its products to other countries, and considers Russia the most suitable market for that purpose, taking into consideration the vast requirements of Russia in all lines of its economic life.”13 J.P. Morgan’s Guaranty Trust also raised loans for the German war effort while simultaneously funding the British and French against the Germans, and also the Russians, both under the Tsar against Germany, and then the Bolsheviks against the Tsar and for the “revolution”.14

Two world wars, courtesy of the anglo-American elite.

Via Wall Street bankers, the US government under Woodrow Wilson broke with international convention after WWI and refused to forgive debts from the massive war loans it pumped to its allies, primarily Britain and France.15 Germany was in an even worse position because of the reparations demanded by the extremely harsh Treaty of Versailles. None of these countries were in a position to pay back the money owed, so the ‘Dawes Plan’ was enacted whereby the US government would loan money to Germany so that it could pay reparations to France and Britain, who would then give the money back to the US to pay off their war debt. That’s how ‘funny money’ works. Nevertheless, World War I was a boon for the USA. It went from owing foreigners $4.5 billion in 1914 to being owed $25 billion by foreigners in 1928, including Europe’s war debt. As a result, much of Europe’s gold also ended up in Fort Knox. Professor of economics Michael Hudson claims that the motivation for massive US government financial claims on Europe was political rather than economic.

Germany paid off the final tranche of its debt to the US government in 2010. The UK is still paying. The debt to the US and allies from WWI was the primary cause of the collapse of the German economy in the early 1930s that gave rise to Hitler and the Nazis… who were also financed by the same cabal of Wall Street bankers.16

In 1925, a European theorist of imperialism, Gerhart Von Schulze-Gaevernitz, suggested that history would show that the most important result of World War I was not “the destruction of the royal dynasties that ruled Germany, Russia, Austria and Italy”, but the “shift in the world’s center of gravity from Europe, where it had existed since the days of Marathon, to America”. This new era of ‘superimperialism’, he said, had turned traditional imperialism on its head because now “finance capital mediates political power internationally to acquire monopolistic control and profits from natural resources, raw material and the power of labor, with the tendency towards autarky by controlling all regions, the entire world’s raw materials.”17

During the 1920s Russian industry was effectively rebuilt by US corporations, with several of Lenin’s five-year plans financed by Wall Street banks. The aim was to prepare Russia for WWII, where it effectively won the war for the allies but was largely ruined (again) in the process and, like the other European powers, incurred massive debt to Wall Street and London bankers. As revealed by Antony Sutton, the extent of Western influence and control inside Soviet Russia is exemplified by the fact that, during the Vietnam war, the military vehicles being used by the North Vietnamese military to fight American soldiers were produced in a Soviet factory, the Kama River Truck Plant, owned by the US Ford corporation.

By imposing the Bolshevik Revolution on Russia, Wall Street ensured that it could not compete with the USA. For the next 70 years, the ‘managers of the world’ in the US and Western Europe expanded their global domination through the use of a bogus “Communist threat” (which they created). In the late 1980s, the Western banking elite decided that their global power was sufficient to allow them to pull back the ‘iron curtain’ and, once again, open Russia up, but this time for some ‘free market’, ‘open society’ neo-liberal plunder. All was going to plan for most of the 1990s until Vladimir Putin arrived on the scene and began to spoil the Western elites’ ‘we rule the world’ party.

So what’s the point of this little history lesson? I hope it serves to highlight two things. That over 100 years ago the Western banking/corporate/political elite – the type of people who think, and say, things like… “To think of these stars that you see overhead at night, these vast worlds which we can never reach. I would annexe the planets if I could; I often think of that. It makes me sad to see them so clear and yet so far.”

“I contend that we are the first race in the world, and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race.”

~ Cecil Rhodes …understood clearly that the only way they were going rule the world was to ensure that Russia never emerged as a competitor to their center of operations – London, and then the USA. From a practical perspective, to achieve that goal they were going to have to perpetually marginalize Russia on the Eurasian continent and prevent European nations, in particular Western European nations, from ever forming an alliance with Russia. That task began in earnest in the late 1890s. It continues to this day, but it is failing.

Since coming to power Putin has made moves to do to Russia precisely that which the Western banking elite spent over 100 years trying to prevent: make it a strong independent country, free (to the greatest extent possible) of the Western bankers’ toxic influence. Even worse, Putin’s plan does not seem to be limited merely to freeing Russia, but includes the idea of using Russia’s influence to establish a new ‘new world order’, based not on the hegemony of the few, but on multipolarity, real national sovereignty, mutual respect, and genuinely fair trade among nations. In their 15 short years at the helm in Russia, Putin and his friends have gone a long way towards achieving their goals. The response from the Western elite has been interesting to watch. From NATO’s attempts to encircle Russia in Eastern Europe, to economic sanctions imposed on the basis of trumped-up charges, to sabotaging Russia-EU economic relations, to staging a coup in Ukraine in 2014, to manipulating the price of oil and assassinating ‘opposition figures’ inside and outside Russia; the anglo-American elite are resorting to increasingly desperate and hysterical measures to maintain the global imbalance they worked so hard to achieve. But nothing they do seems to phase Russia or divert it from the path it has chosen.

So what can we expect next from the Western elites? Short of all-out nuclear war with Russia (which is not and never was an option, contrary to Cold War propaganda) what scurrilously duplicitous maneuvers are left to be made? Not many, to be sure. Perhaps the only weapon left in their arsenal is the one that, more than any other, has allowed them to dominate the globe for so long: the almighty US dollar, its position as the world’s reserve currency, and the ‘petrodollar’.

For decades, these two financial ‘instruments’ have forced all other countries to hold large reserves of the American currency, thereby providing the US economy with a ‘free ride’ and securing its position as the world’s largest economy. If the US dollar were, for some reason, to collapse, it would create massive panic in the world economic system, and result, quite possibly, in the collapse of governments around the world. This is likely the reason that both Russia and China are wasting no time in establishing the basis for a new economic order that is not dollar-based. If that initiative progresses far enough, there may come a time in the near future when the dollar can be safely ‘ditched’ and replaced with another reserve currency, or basket of currencies, thereby avoiding or mitigating the systemic threat to the global economy (if not the US economy) of a dollar collapse, and forcing the Western elite, with their base of operations in the USA, to accept a more humble and justified position among the nations.

Fat cat feeding time almost over?

Anyone who has investigated and understood the nature of these “elites” of which I speak, knows that they are not the type of people who simply accept defeat, even when it is staring them in the face. They’re like a highly narcissistic chess player who, seeing that ‘check mate’ is almost upon him, opts to knock all the pieces of the board (and maybe burn it… and the room) rather than suffer the ignominy of defeat. It can then be claimed, ‘see, you didn’t win, we’ll have to start again’. The chess analogy is appropriate given that one of the main exponents of Mackinder’s theories of Eurasian strategy is Zbigniew Brzezinski, author of The Grand Chessboard, where he wrote “it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America.”

With the US debt currently running at over 104% to GDP (and rising), and the US unable or unwilling to reduce that debt or to increase GDP, the USA is effectively insolvent, a ‘failed state’ in all but name. The only thing preventing its economic collapse is the dependency, for now, of so many other nations on the US not collapsing. Is it possible that, facing the almost certain end to their reign as rulers of the world, the Western psycho-elite will chose the ‘financial nuclear option’ of ‘doing an Enron’ and collapsing the American dollar in a last, insane and futile effort to avert defeat by bringing the whole house of cards down… so they can ‘rebuild’ from scratch?

As my opening quote asserts: “what the darkness cannot possess, it seeks to destroy.”


1 Chapman, John W. M. Russia, Germany and the Anglo-Japanese Intelligence Collaboration

2 Schiff organised the purchase by US investors of $200 million in Japanese bonds

3 Farrer, England Under Edward VII p. 143

4 Stieve, Isvolsky and the First World War p. 116

5 Durham, Twenty years of Balkan Tangle ch 19 pp 2-3 and Docherty and Macgregor, Hidden History: The secret origins of the First World war Ch.18

6 See; Docherty and Macgregor, Hidden History: The secret origins of the First World war Ch.16

7 Barnes, Genesis of the World War, pp. 268-9

8 Perris, The War Traders: an Exposure

9 Murray, Krupps and the International Armaments Ring: the scandal of modern civilization p.3

10 De Goulevitch,: Czarism and Revolution, Omni Publications, California, pp. 224, 230

11 Crankshaw, The Forsaken Idea: A Study of Viscount Milner (London: Longmans Green, 1952), p. 269.

12 Wise, Woodrow Wilson: Disciple of Revolution (New York: Paisley Press, 1938), p.45

13 Sutton, A. Wall Street and the Bolsheviks Ch. 4

14 ibid

15 Hudson, M. Super Imperialism: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance p. 50

16 Sutton, A. Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler

17 ibid


One in eight people who voted for Trump having second thoughts – Reuters/Ipsos poll

July 20, 2017

by Chris Kahn


NEW YORK (Reuters) – About one in eight people who voted for President Donald Trump said they are not sure they would do so again after witnessing Trump’s tumultuous first six months in office, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll of 2016 voters.

While most of the people who voted for Trump on Nov. 8 said they would back him again, the erosion of support within his winning coalition of older, disaffected, mostly white voters poses a potential challenge for the president. Trump, who won the White House with the slimmest of margins, needs every last supporter behind him to push his agenda through a divided Congress and potentially win a second term in 2020.

The poll surveyed voters who had told Reuters/Ipsos on Election Day how they had cast their ballots. While other surveys have measured varying levels of disillusionment among Trump supporters, the Reuters/Ipsos poll shows how many would go as far as changing the way they voted. The survey was carried out first in May and then again in July.

In the July survey, 12 percent of respondents said they would not vote for Trump “if the 2016 presidential election were held today” – 7 percent said they “don’t know” what they would do, and the remaining 5 percent would either support one of the other 2016 presidential candidates or not vote.

Eighty-eight percent said they would vote for Trump again, a slight improvement over the May figure of 82 percent. Taken together, the polls suggest that Trump’s standing with his base has improved slightly over the past few months despite his Republican Party’s repeated failures to overhaul the healthcare system and multiple congressional and federal investigations into his campaign’s ties to Russia.

To be sure, most presidents lose support among core supporters the longer they are in the White House. According to the Gallup polling service, former President Barack Obama saw his popularity dip among Democrats and minority voters, though it did not come until later in his first term. But Obama, who won the Electoral College with greater margins than Trump, was not as reliant on retaining his core supporters.

The minority of Trump voters who said they would not vote for him again gave varying reasons in interviews for why they had changed their minds.

Some were tired of his daily trolling of Democrats, the media and the judiciary. Some were disappointed that the Trump administration has not yet swept illegal immigrants out of their communities. Others said the president has not ended the mistrust and hyper-partisanship in Washington as much as they had hoped.

T-Shirt Politics

“If I had to walk around wearing a T-shirt saying who I voted for, I may have voted differently,” said Beverly Guy, 34, a Trump voter who took the poll in July. If the election were held today, Guy said she would vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

Guy said she picked Trump mostly because she did not support Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. She never cared that much for Trump and now finds herself rationalizing a decision that has angered many of her friends.

“I care more about my neighbors than I do about politics,” she said.

Another poll respondent, Brian Barnes, said he was standing by his choice to vote for Trump. He thinks the media is focusing too much on the Russia investigation and not enough on Trump’s accomplishments like his elevation of another conservative justice to the Supreme Court.

“I think he’s doing all he can,” Barnes said, “even though the Republicans in the House and Senate are creating a lot of problems” by not passing a healthcare bill.

Experts in American politics said it makes sense that a transformative political figure like Trump would retain a high degree of loyalty from his supporters no matter what negative headlines are swirling around the White House. Political winds do not shift quickly in a strong economy, they said, especially when many of the president’s decisions have yet to take root.

“People are still invested in the choices they made” on Election Day, said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “They’re not about to admit that they’re wrong, at least not yet.”

Elaine Kamarck, an expert in American electoral politics at the Brookings Institution, said the erosion in Trump’s base could certainly hurt his chances of re-election, though it is too early to say so for sure. The most important question is whether he loses support where it counts – in battleground states that he barely won last year.

“If these disenchanted Trump voters are in California, it doesn’t matter,” Kamarck said. “If they live in Wisconsin or Michigan or Pennsylvania, it matters.”

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English throughout the United States and has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of about 5 percentage points.

The July 11-12 poll gathered its sample from 1,296 people, including 541 Trump voters, while the May 10-15 poll gathered its sample from 1,206 people, including 543 Trump voters. In both cases, Ipsos weighted their responses according to voter profiles gathered from the U.S. Census’ voting and registration supplement to the Current Population Survey.

Reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Ross Colvin

 Jeff Sessions Wants to Make “Legalized Theft” Great Again

July 20 2017

by Alex Emmons

The Intercept

Donald Trump’s Justice Department revived a federal program on Wednesday that gives state and local law enforcement more power to seize property from people who haven’t been charged, let alone convicted, of a crime.

The practice — known as “civil asset forfeiture” — became widespread as part of the drug crackdown in the 1980s, after Congress passed a law in 1984 that allowed the Department of Justice to keep the property it seized. At the time, forfeiture was billed as a way to undermine the resources of large criminal enterprises, but law enforcement saw it as a way to underwrite their budgets, and have overwhelmingly gone after people without the means to challenge the seizures in court.

The practice has become so widespread that in 2014, law enforcement officers took more property from American citizens than all home and office burglaries combined.

Civil liberties organizations have called asset forfeiture “legalized theft,” and as the practice has become more widespread, it has become deeply unpopular. According to a poll last year by the Cato Institute, 84 percent of Americans oppose property seizures from people not convicted of a crime. Most states have passed laws restricting the practice, or banning it outright.

But Donald Trump has shown strong, personal support for civil forfeiture. At a meeting of sheriffs at the White House in February, after being told that a Texas state legislator was trying to reform the practice at a meeting of sheriffs in February, Trump said “We’ll destroy his career.”

It appeared that Trump was learning about the practice for the first time.

On Wednesday, the Justice Department reopened a specific loophole that allows state and local police to sidestep state laws through a practice known as adoptive forfeitures. The loophole allows state and local law enforcement to continue to pillage the property of citizens even in the face of local bans on the practice, as long as they refer the case to federal agencies after they seize property. They get to keep up to 80 percent of what they take, and can use it for their own budgets. The feds take a 20 percent cut of the loot.

That loophole had been a 30-year policy of the Department of Justice, until the Department under Obama banned it in 2015. In response to its reinstatement, the ACLU released a statement calling the move “part of Sessions’ agenda to bring back the failed and racist War on Drugs.” The move was even opposed by members of Trump’s own party. Republican Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said the practice violates the Fifth Amendment, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, released a statement saying “the DOJ seems determined to lose in court before it changes its policies for the better.”

The department also released guidelines that purport to limit the use of adoptive forfeitures. They require the Department of Justice to police itself and ensure that “adoptions involve property lawfully seized” — a measure that civil liberties advocates say is woefully inadequate.

“These purported safeguards amount to little more than self-policing, and we all know how well that works,” said Kanya Bennett, a lawyer for the ACLU that focuses on criminal justice issues. “We can’t trust the very law enforcement agencies that stand to profit from a forfeiture to police themselves.”

The guidelines list certain conditions that must be met to allow adoptive forfeitures for cash amounts less than $10,000. One of the conditions is that police are allowed to make adoptive forfeitures as long as it is alongside an arrest, something that Bennett says is deeply problematic, and may incentivize more arrests.

“At least one of these safeguards will promote more entanglement with the criminal justice system because it suggests all cash seizures under $10k are legitimate if they occur incident to arrest.”

“The real safeguard is the one that Attorney General Sessions is reversing — that would have prevented local law enforcement from circumventing more restrictive state forfeiture laws that are trying to protect against civil liberty violations.”


Trump regrets hiring Attorney General Jeff Sessions

July 20, 2017

BBC News

US President Donald Trump has said he would never have appointed Jeff Sessions if he had known the attorney general was going to recuse himself from leading a Russia investigation.

Mr Trump told the New York Times the actions of Mr Sessions had been “very unfair to the president”.

Mr Sessions recused himself after admitting meeting Russia’s ambassador.

He said on Thursday he would not resign and he would continue running the Justice Department effectively.

“I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate,” he said.

The president also accused Mr Sessions of giving “some bad answers” at his confirmation hearing performance


The price of loyalty

July 20, 2017

by Anthony Zurcher,

BBC News,

Washington-With Donald Trump, loyalty will only get you so far.

Mr Sessions was the earliest and most enthusiastic of Mr Trump’s top-tier political supporters, and he was rewarded with a plum Cabinet appointment. Now, however, that position of power appears not quite as golden a prize.

While the former Alabama senator has toiled to implement the president’s agenda as attorney general, Mr Trump personally blames him for the ongoing independent counsel investigation that has bedevilled his presidency.

The irony is that while Mr Trump views Mr Sessions’s recusal from the Russia probe as a betrayal, the attorney general made clear during his confirmation hearings that he would likely do just that if he were implicated in an investigation that had not yet begun in earnest.

It was only later that then-FBI Director James Comey – himself a target of the president’s scorn – revealed the Trump campaign itself was under the microscope.

Now the president has made clear that Mr Sessions lacks his full confidence. While the attorney general says he loves his job and plans to keep it, how secure can his position be when his boss lobs bomb after bomb his way from the White House?

Mr Sessions would have headed the justice department’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election. Congress is also conducting inquiries.

His recusal ultimately led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to lead the investigation.

The Times interview reflects the anger the president feels at this development.

He said: “A special counsel should never have been appointed in this case… Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else.”

Mr Trump said Mr Sessions had given him “zero” notice of the recusal.

“How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I can’t, you know, I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair, and that’s a mild word, to the president.”

‘I didn’t do anything wrong’

Mr Trump then reflected on the performance of Mr Sessions at his Senate confirmation hearing in January at which he denied meeting any Russians. He later revealed he had met Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Mr Trump said: “Jeff Sessions gave some bad answers… He gave some answers that were simple questions and should have been simple answers, but they weren’t.”

The president suggested the justice department’s Russia investigation was rife with conflicts of interest, not least that Mr Mueller had wanted to replace James Comey, who Mr Trump had sacked as FBI director.

“There were many other conflicts that I haven’t said, but I will at some point,” Mr Trump said.

Mr Trump warned Mr Mueller about straying too far from his remit but again said he did not think he was personally being investigated.

“I don’t think we’re under investigation,” Mr Trump said. “I’m not under investigation. For what? I didn’t do anything wrong.”

US media have reported that Mr Mueller is investigating Mr Trump for possible obstruction of justice, both in the firing of Mr Comey and over whether Mr Trump tried to end an inquiry into sacked national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Associated Press news agency quoted a Trump adviser as saying that the president’s comments did not mean he was going to sack the attorney general, but the adviser questioned whether such a public dressing-down might prompt him to quit.

Massacre of Mosul Revealed

True civilian death toll feared at 40,000

July 19, 2017

by Patrick Cockburn

The Unz Review

More than 40,000 civilians were killed in the devastating battle to retake Mosul from Isis, according to intelligence reports revealed exclusively to The Independent – a death toll far higher than previous estimates.

Residents of the besieged city were killed by Iraqi ground forces attempting to force out militants, as well as by air strikes and Isis fighters, according to Kurdish intelligence services.

Hoshyar Zebari, until recently a senior minister in Baghdad, told The Independent that many bodies “are still buried under the rubble”. “The level of human suffering is immense,” he said.

“Kurdish intelligence believes that over 40,000 civilians have been killed as a result of massive firepower used against them, especially by the federal police, air strikes and Isis itself,” Mr Zebari added.

Mr Zebari, a native of Mosul and top Kurdish official who has served as the Iraqi finance minister and prior to that foreign minister, emphasised in an exclusive interview that the unrelenting artillery bombardment by units of the Iraqi federal police, in practice a heavily armed military unit, had caused immense destruction and loss of life in west Mosul.

The figure given by Mr Zebari for the number of civilians killed in the nine-month siege is far higher than those previously reported, but the intelligence service of the Kurdistan Regional Government has a reputation for being extremely accurate and well-informed. Isis prevented any monitoring of casualties while outside groups have largely focused on air strikes rather than artillery and rocket fire as a cause of civilian deaths. Airwars, one such monitoring group, estimated that attacks may have killed 5,805 non-military personnel in the city between 19 February and 19 June.

Mr Zebari accuses the government in Baghdad, of which he was until recently a member, of not doing enough to relieve the suffering. “Sometimes you might think the government is indifferent to what has happened,” he said. He doubts if Christians, Yazidis, Kurds and other minorities, who have lived in and around Mosul for centuries, will be able to reconcile with the Sunni Arab majority whom they blame for killing and raping them. He says some form of federal solution for future governance would be best.

Reading from Kurdish intelligence reports, Mr Zebari says that a high level of corruption among the Iraqi military forces occupying Mosul is undermining security measures to suppress Isis in the aftermath of its defeat. He says that suspect individuals are able to pass through military checkpoints by paying $1,000 (£770) and can bring a vehicle by paying $1,500. He says corruption of this type is particularly rife in the 16th and 9th Iraqi army divisions and the Tribal Volunteers (Hashd al-Ashairi), drawn in part from the Shabak minority in the Nineveh Plain.

The ability of Isis militants to remain free or be released from detention by paying bribes has led to a change in attitude among people in Mosul whom Mr Zebari says “were previously willing to give information about Isis members to the Iraqi security forces”. They are now wary of doing so, because they see members of Isis, whom they had identified and who had been arrested, returning to the streets capable of exacting revenge on those who informed against them. Several anti-Isis people in Mosul have confirmed to The Independent that this is indeed the case and they are frightened of these returnees and Isis “sleeper cells” that continue to exist.

Civilians in Mosul say they do not fault the behaviour towards them of combat units that have borne the brunt of the fighting, such as the Counter-Terrorism Service, but they are concerned about what to expect from less well-disciplined troops. A belief that Isis fighters and officials detained in Mosul are later able to bribe their way free explains why soldiers, most of whom are not complicit in bribery networks, have summarily executed Isis prisoners, sometimes by throwing them off high buildings.

Corruption by the occupying military forces takes different forms, according to Kurdish intelligence information cited by Mr Zebari. Some people are “being charged $100 for removing a body from the rubble and others $500 to reoccupy their house”, where it is still standing. Iraqi army and militia units have always been notorious for exacting fees and protection money from civilians, with trucks moving goods on the roads being a particularly profitable target when they pass through military checkpoints.

Much of the blame for the calamitous level of destruction in west Mosul has been put on air strikes, but it is evident at ground level that a lot of the damage was caused by artillery shells and rockets. This is confirmed by an Amnesty International report issued last week titled At Any Cost: The Civilian Catastrophe in West Mosul, Iraq, which points to a greater and more indiscriminate use of its firepower by pro-government forces in the final stages of the attack on east Mosul, starting in January 2017 and continuing over the following six months during the assault on west Mosul. It says that Iraqi government and US-led coalition forces “relied heavily upon explosive weapons with wide area effects such as IRAMs (Improvised Rocket Assisted Munitions). With their crude targeting abilities, these weapons wreaked havoc in densely populated west Mosul, where large groups of civilians were trapped in homes or makeshift shelters”. The UN estimated that Mosul had 1.2 million inhabitants at the start of the siege.

In addition, Isis snipers killed great numbers of civilians trying to escape. The militant group was using civilians as “human shields”, though in the event their presence shielded very little. Mr Zebari said that intelligence had even intercepted messages “from Isis fighters to their commanders saying they were tired of killing civilians”.

Mr Zebari says that he is disappointed by the lack of Iraqi government plans to reconstruct Mosul. As finance minister in Baghdad until late last year, he had made provision for $500m in the budget for rebuilding Mosul. He says: “I wanted $500m upfront to encourage other donors, but now the government has withdrawn from the fund and used the money elsewhere. This was not an encouraging sign.”

Even if there is reconstruction, Mr Zebari, who grew up in Mosul and still has a house in the east of the city (though long confiscated, first by Saddam Hussein and later by Isis), laments that “the soul of Mosul has gone and its iconic buildings are destroyed”. He says he cannot imagine Mosul without the Nabi Yunus mosque (the tomb of Jonah) that Isis blew up as a heretical shrine in 2014 and the al-Nuri mosque, with its 12th century leaning minaret, which Isis destroyed in the last stage of the battle to prevent its capture by government forces. In addition, there is “an unimaginable level of human suffering with more than one million people displaced”.

He agrees that the government has won a big victory by destroying Isis as a state structure controlling extensive territory. But he warns that the militant group has shown that it is capable of “adapting themselves to new realities”. He says that the arms and heavy equipment from three Iraqi army divisions that Isis captured when it seized Mosul in June 2014 has never been fully accounted for. He says that there have been reports that much of it was hidden by Isis in tunnels, gorges and valleys in the arid wastelands of western Iraq and eastern Syria. “This is where they came from when they started their attacks,” he says.

Asked if the self-declared caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is alive or dead, Mr Zebari said he did not know. But he added that, if Baghdadi was dead, it was strange that no new caliph or Isis leader had been declared since part of the ideology of such movements is that they do not rely on a single human being. Successors had been quickly announced when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, was killed in a US air strike in 2006 and Osama bin Laden was shot dead by US special forces in Pakistan in 2011. Moreover, he says that there “has been no sign of a change in the Isis command and control structure”.

Trump to end lavish CIA support for ‘moderate’ anti-Assad forces in Syria – reports

July 20, 2017


The White House and CIA have reportedly decided to end a covert operation to arm the so-called moderate Syrian rebels. The US has allegedly pumped some $1 billion into train-and-equip efforts with questionable outcomes.

On Wednesday, US officials told the Washington Post (WP) and Reuters that Trump has decided to put an end to the covert CIA plan which began arming and training the so-called moderate Syrian rebels in 2013.

Authorized by President Barack Obama, the secret Timber Sycamore weapons supply and training initiative has served as the backbone of Washington’s strategy to topple the Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Two US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity with Reuters, said the covert CIA scheme has produced little results.

The Washington Post meanwhile claimed, based on their sources, that Trump’s reported intention to stop arming the rebels is the American president’s way of finding common ground with Russia on Syria.

Moscow has always warned against arming the so-called moderate rebel groups in Syria, pointing out that weapons supplied to them often fall into the hands of jihadist groups such as Jabhat al Nusra and Islamic State.

“Of course it’s been a tremendous waste of money … to train rebels who immediately turned weapons over and joined Al-Nusra [Front] or Al-Qaeda,” Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, told RT.

“The money in the training that the CIA has provided has primarily helped Al-Qaeda,” Sterling said. He described Trump’s decision was a positive step, but added it is likely “to come under attack now, and the decision may be undermined or sabotaged.”

Trump’s decision to end the CIA program was reportedly taken in consultation with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and national security adviser H.R. McMaster ahead of his meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg earlier this month. During that meeting, on the sidelines of the G20 summit, Trump and Putin reached a ceasefire agreement for southwest Syria.

The scrapping of the CIA’s Timber Sycamore program was not a precondition for the ceasefire negotiations, the US officials insisted.

Without sharing the details of the program’s demise, the unnamed US officials claimed that Timber Sycamore would be phased out over a period of months. The WP report also said the decision to end the operation is being supported by the Jordanians, where some of the CIA training has been taken place.

Varied US arms and training strategies to bolster rebel groups in Syria under the Obama administration have been notoriously underwhelming. In 2015, General Lloyd Austin, CENTCOM commander at the time, told Congress that only four or five of US-trained fighters have gone to Syria of the 5,000 the Pentagon envisaged.

Earlier that year, the then Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee Carter that less than 1 percent of the pool of 7,000 Syrian volunteers for the US-funded train-and-equip program had made it through the vetting process.

“As of July 3, [2015] we are currently training about 60 fighters,” Carter said. “I can look out at your faces and you have the same reaction I do, which is that that’s an awfully small number.”

The Reuters report notes that the US will continue to support select Syrian rebel groups with airstrikes and guidance as part of a separate effort.

The White House declined to comment on the reports at their daily briefing. The CIA has also refused to comment when reached out to by Reuters.

In February, Reuters reported that the US had frozen the CIA-run program after rebels in northwest Syria came under major attack by Islamists. The alleged suspension of the program, which included salaries, training, ammunition, had nothing to do with Trump replacing Barack Obama as president, two US officials familiar with the CIA program told Reuters at the time.

The CIA declined to comment on the reported freeze, while officials in Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia – the other three countries funneling support to Syrian anti-government rebels – also refused to discuss the matter.

Germany overhauls Turkey policy

Germany is sharpening its policy toward Turkey in response to jailings of journalists and human rights activists. The Foreign Ministry is now warning German citizens that they face risks if they go to Turkey.

July 20, 2017

by Jefferson Chase


Germany’s foreign minister interrupted his vacation on the North Sea to return to Berlin to deliver the most strongly worded statement yet against Turkey’s imprisonment of German journalists and human rights activists.

“We want Turkey to be a part of the West, or at least remain in its current position, but it takes two to tango,” Sigmar Gabriel at a press conference in Berlin. “I cannot make out any willingness on the part of the current Turkish government to follow this path with us. For that reason Germany is forced to reorient its Turkey policy. The first consequences will be new travel advisories for German citizens in Turkey.”

Gabriel said that Germans traveling to Turkey were incurring “risks,” and the ministry website recommended Germans should exercise “heightened caution” when visiting Turkey since “consular access” to Germans detained in Turkey had been “restricted in violation of the obligations of international law.”

Gabriel said that the measures were being taken after consulting with both conservative chancellor Angela Merkel and Social Democratic chairman and chancellor candidate Martin Schulz. Although they stopped short of a travel warning against Turkey, they do represent an increased frostiness between the two countries.

‘Obviously unfounded accusations’

The re-calibration of Germany’s Turkey policy came after a court in Istanbul ordered six human rights activists, including Peter Steudtner from Berlin, to investigative custody on Tuesday. Turkey accuses them of supporting terrorism.  Gabriel specifically mentioned Steudtner.

“These accusations are obviously unfounded and have simply been dragged out irrationally,” the foreign minister said, adding that Steudtner had taken no position on current Turkish politics and was quite possibly present in the country for the first time.

The Amnesty International representative was arrested earlier this month at a conference in Istanbul while teaching Turkish colleagues about IT security and non-violent conflict resolution. German journalist Deniz Yucel has been held in investigative custody since late February. Seven other Germans are also currently in such custody.

Gabriel said that Germany had showed patience in the ongoing row with Ankara and hadn’t responded to incendiary comparisons between the Federal Republic and Nazi Germany. He said Berlin had tried to restart relations with Turkey, but had been “repeatedly disappointed.”

“The government and the coalition parties will be discussing further consequences,” Gabriel said, adding that a range of financial sanctions were also under consideration.

Access to German detainees

On Wednesday, Turkey’s ambassador to Germany was summoned to the German Foreign Ministry and warned that Berlin does not accept the detention of its citizens. German Justice Minister Heiko Maas has said that Germany must take a tougher stance towards Turkey, but cautioned that diplomatic relations also had to be maintained.

“We have to keep in mind that German citizens are sitting in Turkish jails, and we need access to them,” Maas told the DPA news agency. “I think it would be a mistake right now to give Turkey any arguments to deny us that access.”

Turkey has accused Germany of interfering in its internal affairs. There has been speculation that Erdogan is using the German detainees essentially as hostages in an attempt to force Berlin to deport Turkish citizens in Germany whom Ankara considers terrorists.

Other German politicians have called for a range of measures to punish Turkey from general economic sanctions to a cancellation of the deal between the EU and Turkey on refugees.

Turkish non-delight

The Turkish government criticized Gabriel’s remarks and the announced change in the German position.

“We strongly condemn statements that German citizens who travel to Turkey are not safe and that German companies in Turkey should have hesitations and concerns,” said Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin.

The Chairman of the Commission for Foreign Affairs Taka Ozhan, a member of Erdogan’s AKP party, repeated Turkish accusations that Germany is harboring Turkish citizens who are trying to overthrow the government – in particular, Kurdish separatists and members of the Gulen movement.

“What we’re seeing in Germany at the moment is a crisis of principals,” Ozhan said in a statement to Deutsche Welle’s Turkish division. “The question is whether terrorism is supported or not…The Terrorists think ‘Once we get to Germany, we’re home safe.’ That has to change.”

The number of Turks applying for asylum in Germany dramatically increased last year amidst a government crackdown after the failed Turkish coup on July 15, 2016. Since then, tens of thousands of people have been arrested and more than 100,000 have lost their jobs in Turkey.

US Senator John McCain diagnosed with brain cancer

Arizona senator and former presidential candidate John McCain was reviewing treatment options after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, his office said. President Trump wished the 80-year-old a speedy recovery.

July 20, 2017


Doctors discovered the tumor after McCain underwent blood clot surgery last week at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, the hospital said on Wednesday.

“Subsequent tissue pathology revealed that a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot,” McCain’s aids confirmed in a statement.

Glioblastoma is a very aggressive form of cancer whose five-year survival rate for patients over 55 is about 4 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

The politician and his family are considering further treatment, including a combination of chemotherapy and radiation, McCain’s office said, adding that the senator was “in good spirits as he continues to recover at home with his family in Arizona.”

McCain, who serves as the head of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, will consult with his medical team about returning to work in Washington. Doctors noted that he was recovering from his blood clot surgery “amazingly well” and that his underlying health was excellent.

Hanoi to Washington DC

US President Donald Trump said he and his wife Melania were sending their “thoughts and prayers” to McCain and his family. “Senator John McCain has always been a fighter,” Trump said in a statement. “Get well soon.”

The 80-year-old politician served as a pilot in the Vietnam War. He was shot down over Hanoi and captured in 1967, spending the next five and half years as a prisoner of war. McCain entered politics in 1982, when he successfully ran for Congress in Arizona. He is currently in his sixth term as a US senator.

Senator McCain drew international attention by running for the Republican Party against Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. Speculation about his ailing health was reignited last month, when McCain quizzed ex-FBI director James Comey during a widely publicized hearing on Trump’s alleged ties with Russia. Appearing disoriented, McCain asked several questions on Hillary Clinton’s emails and tried to tie the issues together.

The senator later joked that his apparent confusion was due to him staying up late and “watching the Diamondbacks,” a baseball team from Arizona.

Daughter praises McCain’s courage

The latest cancer diagnosis comes after doctors removed several malignant melanomas on McCain’s skin in the 1990s and 2000s, including an invasive melanoma in 2000.

McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain issued a statement after the diagnosis was made public, saying that her father remained “confident and calm.”

“He is the toughest person I know. The cruelest enemy could not break him. The aggressions of political life could not bend him,” she said in a statement. “So he is meeting this challenge as he has every other. Cancer may afflict him in many ways: but it will not make him surrender. Nothing ever has.”

Comment:Glioblastoma, also known as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), is the most aggressive cancer that begins within the brain. Signs and symptoms of glioblastoma are initially non-specific. They may include headaches, personality changes, nausea, and symptoms similar to those of a stroke. Worsening of symptoms is often rapid. This can progress to unconsciousness. The most common length of survival following diagnosis is 12 to 15 months, with fewer than 3% to 5% of people surviving longer than five years.’ Wikipedia





One response so far

  1. MERS next? Hoping………. 🙂


    “$5 billion in student loan debt could be forgiven due to missing paperwork”

    (WHDH) – Student loans follow college graduates years after they receive their diplomas. But a mix-up involving missing paperwork could mean that $5 billion of loan debt could be forgiven.

    Fox Business reports that private loans issued by the National Collegiate Student Loans Trust are missing critical paperwork.

    According to the New York Times, the 166,000 loans that total $5 billion are now in the middle of a legal battle.

    The loans in question were originally granted by banks, then later bundled and sold to National Collegiate. That makes it unclear who exactly owns the loans, and if National Collegiate cannot provide documentation, a judge can throw out the loan.

    Judges have already started clearing debts in several states, including New York, Texas, and Ohio. According to Fox Business, student loans account for $1.4 trillion in debt nationwide.

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