TBR News May 16, 2016

May 16 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. May 16, 2016: “The American media is about as useless as tits on a boar pig when it comes to accuracy of reporting. The media outlets are all corporate entities and respond quickly to demands from the leading business oligarchs or the bureaucracy. If some incident occurs that might expose, say, a secret operation of the CIA, no paper discusses it but instead, points to something else in wonderment in the hopes that their readers will rush to look at it and not the CIA’s no-no. Foreign media does not, generally, have this control problem so the best place to search for accurate global news is on the foreign sites. RT (Russia Today) is an excellent site although its articles are slanted. They started pushing articles about the killing of American black citizens by the police, something picked up by other sources, and while these stories had an adverse effect, nevertheless they were truthful and generally swept under the rug by the American media.”


The Müller Washington Journals   1948-1951

At the beginning of December, 1948, a German national arrived in Washington, D.C. to take up an important position with the newly-formed CIA. He was a specialist on almost every aspect of Soviet intelligence and had actively fought them, both in his native Bavaria where he was head of the political police in Munich and later in Berlin as head of Amt IV of the State Security Office, also known as the Gestapo.

His name was Heinrich Müller.

Even as a young man, Heini Müller had kept daily journals of his activities, journals that covered his military service as a pilot in the Imperial German air arm and an apprentice policeman in Munich. He continued these journals throughout the war and while employed by the top CIA leadership in Washington, continued his daily notations.

This work is a translation of his complete journals from December of 1948 through September of 1951.

When Heinrich Müller was hired by the CIA¹s station chief in Bern, Switzerland, James Kronthal in 1948, he had misgivings about working for his former enemies but pragmatism and the lure of large amounts of money won him over to what he considered to be merely an extension of his life-work against the agents of the Comintern. What he discovered after living and working in official Washington for four years was that the nation¹s capital was, in truth, what he once humorously claimed sounded like a cross between a zoo and a lunatic asylum. His journals, in addition to personal letters, various reports and other personal material, give a very clear, but not particularly flattering, view of the inmates of both the zoo and the asylum.

Müller moved, albeit very carefully, in the rarefied atmosphere of senior policy personnel, military leaders, heads of various intelligence agencies and the White House itself. He was a very observant, quick-witted person who took copious notes of what he saw. This was not a departure from his earlier habits because Heinrich Müller had always kept a journal, even when he was a lowly Bavarian police officer, and his comments about personalities and events in the Third Reich are just as pungent and entertaining as the ones he made while in America.

The reason for publishing this phase of his eventful life is that so many agencies in the United States and their supporters do not want to believe that a man of Müller¹s position could ever have been employed by their country in general or their agency in specific.

Saturday, 25 June 1949

The Coplon woman is obviously some kind of a mental case. Yesterday she claimed that she was never a communist and blamed everyone around her for making false statements about her. It came out that she had slept with someone from the Justice Department but she swore they were both fully clothed at all times. That does not preclude having a sexual encounter although I imagine it would make the act less enjoyable. Unless, of course, they were at the North Pole. I will have to travel to New York the first part of next month. No escaping the hot weather there either.

Friday, 1 July 1949

Coplon received a ten-year jail sentence on Thursday. Still hysterical, she thinks she was falsely accused. I think she misses G. who is slated to be tried later this month. Quite warm today but the sky is overcast. (John, ed.) McCloy will be the new High Commissioner for Germany. I do not think there will be any trouble with him because Truman says that McCloy will “be reasonable” when dealing with the Germans and is expected, from private knowledge here, to grant some mercy to a number of people, including many of the SS.

Leaving tomorrow by train for New York City where I will stay at the Plaza again. The same suite with the view of the Park. I will go to a number of entertainments while I am there. More when I get to New York.


John J. McCloy, whom Truman appointed as High Commissioner to Germany did indeed prove to be very sympathetic to the Germans, especially to many who had been convicted of various actions during the war. He granted amnesty to many, some of whom immediately went to work for the United States, either directly or with the U.S.-controlled Gehlen organization in Pullach. By 1949, it had been decided in the United States and at the highest levels that a war with Soviet Russia might well transpire and that former SS and Police officials could be of great value in this war.

Witness, obviously, the fact that the Chief of the dreaded Gestapo was now living in great comfort in the capital of his former enemy and beginning to formulate policy matters with complete impunity and a great deal of official approval.

Times change and we must change with them. Müller certainly did

Saturday, 2 July through Wednesday, 6 July 1949

Very hot and often violent weather in New York. On Saturday I stayed at the Plaza and in the evening went to the Radio City Music Hall where they had a stage show called “Flying Colors” in the evening. Some youngish women with very nice legs that I do appreciate. I went with a U.S. Attorney who is working on the trials and he seemed to enjoy the flesh almost as much as I did. Truman, I see in the newspapers, is out on the Potomac River in his yacht, trying to keep cool in the heat.Later in the evening, the attorney and one of his friends and I went to a lounge and there I was fortunate to encounter another very attractive young woman with even nicer legs than the ones on the stage. A few drinks, mostly Cognac, for both of us and a cigar for me, and she finally decided to “have a nightcap” in my room. I was introduced as a Swiss working for the government (after all, that’s what almost everyone else thinks) and she at once asked me about gold watches.

I assume she thought I carried a trunk of them around with me to pass out as favors. She drank too much and I had to sober her up somewhat. I do not like sleeping with corpses after all. In truth, it was a pleasant evening and I am supposed to take her, (her name is Eunice) to a concert tomorrow night. Iturbi will conduct Brahms and Mozart. I can take the one but not the other, and afterwards we can ride one of those carriages around the park and then back to the hotel. E. works as a technician at the Museum here and we had an interesting conversation, after our encounters, about Manet. She seems to know something about him but fortunately, nothing about me.

The concert was acceptable and the evening even more so. I am afraid we splashed a good deal of water around in the bathroom as we began matters in a tub full of hot water. It does make one a little tired but that is not a bad thing.

The Fourth of July is the great American holiday. Explosives and rockets are set off, small children blow off their fingers or put out their eyes with fireworks and it was very hot here indeed. The Americans use the Fahrenheit scale and it was over 100 marks up. Very hot and the entire area is in a state of drought. The papers say that hundreds are dead from the heat. Eunice has to go and see her family in New Jersey today so I will take a small trip down to the water and visit a navy display. The attorney and his wife, a woman as thin as a pole with enormous teeth which looked like china plates and legs that were bowed outwards at an outrageous (at least to me) angle. And two whimpering children who did not like either the heat or ships. Husband and wife spent most of their time quarrelling about her mother who I learn is visiting them and spending all of her time locked in their only lavatory. I was left with the children. Kindly Uncle Heini, the Swiss chocolate baron. I gave both of them some chocolate which promptly melted in the heat and dripped all over both of them. Not that the parents noticed much. I told funny stories to the children who seemed to enjoy them until their mother saw the messes on their clothes and began to screech at them. Family life can be so rewarding.

We visited the carriers Roosevelt and Leyte and went on board with special papers at about one in the afternoon. I keep thinking 1300 but here we use Fahrenheit and a different time system. Also, women here shave their legs and many other parts of their bodies which is somewhat of a novelty. I remember one lady in Rome with legs which were so covered with dense hair that she reminded me of an Argentine soccer player they arrested in the Tiergarten (Berlin park, ed.) quite naked and covered with some kind of blue paint. I encountered this vision because someone thought he was a Russian spy and as I recall, they had quite a time getting up the paint from the floor.

Some American habits are not to be laughed at. In Italy the women spend more time shaving their moustaches than their legs!

After spending several uncomfortable hours in the heat, accompanied by an unhappy family, I finally finished my naval tour and returned to the hotel to take a cold shower. Afterwards, later in the day, I decided to take a short walk into the park before having a pleasant dinner. I took one of my guards with me…both of them were not happy that I had evaded them yesterday and today, but I am certain they found pleasant things to do in my absence. Soldiers, even in civilian clothes, always manage to get by.

I went out just before four and the heat struck me when I walked through the front door. I almost cancelled the walk but then decided to proceed and we walked down into the park, which is quite pleasant although I am told is somewhat dangerous at night.

A little after four, while we were walking along a broad path and both of us admiring the young ladies, and some not so young, taking the sun on the grass, a sudden very strong wind came up and I was certain it was an American tornado. Clothing, food containers, dust, branches from the trees, and leaves roared through the air. My guard grabbed me, knocked me to the ground and fell on top of me as a large tree limb flew overhead. I doubt if it would have hit me but I appreciated his zeal. Of course it got grass stains all over my nice white trousers which took the hotel staff several hours to remove and I lost my very expensive Panama hat. God knows what happened to it. It’s probably somewhere out in the river by now along with various paper plates, bras, stockings, sunglasses and newspapers.

The wind was still blowing when we decided to leave the pastoral joys of the park and get back to the safety of the hotel. We must have looked like the victims of a robbery but we certainly were not alone. It looked like a battlefield when we crossed the road to the hotel.

I put on a light-weight suit and treated the guard, whose name is Henry something or other but is called “Hank” to his friends, to a very elegant dinner as a token of my esteem. He kept apologizing for knocking me down but I assured him that I did not object and agreed that the small tree would have crushed all of us if he hadn’t been so diligent.

Just as I thought, he confessed that he had managed to find female companionship last night and hoped I wouldn’t tell anyone. I agreed to say that neither he nor his other military companion (not the woman) had never left me out of their sight.

Amazing what a few drinks will do. He has no idea who I am and spent the rest of the dinner telling me droll and rather obscene stories about his sexual exploits.

After dinner, I introduced him to an excellent Cognac and gave him one of my Upmanns. He told me he is used to beer and whiskey but liked the Cognac very much and said the cigar was very good.

I did not reciprocate the obscene stories but when we finished, I wished him good night and he shook my hand several times and then patted me on the back in a familiar manner.

There is no problem with this and he seems to be a decent sort with very good reflexes. I will have Felix replaced with him when we get back to Washington because he is more acceptable. Felix lies a good deal and “Hank” is transparently honest. He is of German background and comes from Iowa where his father has a farm and is very poor.

We must look after our own after all!

I find many Americans, certainly not the bosses, to be very straightforward, quite decent, very badly educated and rather likeable. This guard is an excellent illustration of my views. I find I have to be very basic when dealing with the average citizen here but I find these people much more simpatico than the conniving and treacherous lizards in Washington which I have to deal with day in and day out. I exclude the President from this judgment because I like him as a person.

Back to Washington by car on Wednesday because something has come up which I have to attend to at once and the train is very slow. This was certainly not a pleasant vacation, unlike my visit to Colorado.

Perhaps I can go to California next or Yellowstone Park and watch the steam eruptions. Eunice, whose name and address were written on a paper napkin and left on the bedside table (and put into the toilet and flushed away to join my hat as soon as she had left), told me about Yosemite Park in California that is very beautiful and the Grand Canyon.

The Hiss trial is coming to an end and there is a rumor that if he is convicted and jailed, the Soviets will seize one of our diplomats as a spy and attempt to use him to bargain for H’s release from jail. This has to be headed off very quickly and the Soviet Ambassador is to be told that any such attempt would result in “critical responses” from us.

They do understand force and that is all. It will be pointed out that his wife might be run over by a taxicab if this sort of thing is even discussed.

Saturday, 9 July 1949

The Hiss jury was “hung” (which Hiss ought to be) and most were in favor of convicting him. This will go to another trial and Hiss is free on a surety. It is hoped that he will flee to Moscow and avoid another very expensive trial.

The Americans ought to set up some sort of detention camp system and put people like Hiss and others into protective custody. I had some idiot tell me yesterday that all of our camps were filled with Jews who we gassed by the millions and then turned into lampshades, ladies gloves and hand soap! I have no idea where they get such shit but I imagine the American press makes it up for political reasons. The camps were never designed for Jews and we did not gas millions of them or make soap out of their remains. The camps were mostly for professional criminals and communists. About 75% of all camp inmates at any one given time were political prisoners and the rest divided up between criminals, spies and Jews. The worst error Himmler ever made was to put Russian prisoners into the camps because this brought typhus that killed off thousands of prisoners. The pictures often shown here of stacks of emaciated corpses are not pictures of dead Jews but pictures of typhus victims. And gas chambers at Dachau with sixty thousand gassed Jews there! I have visited Dachau on several occasions and no one was ever gassed there. Pictures of ovens with titles that “in these ovens, tens of thousands of murdered Jews were cremated” is more nonsense. All prisoners who died in jail were cremated and their ashes sent home. And especially with the typhus epidemics raging everywhere.

Well, I can say nothing about it so on to other matters.

I have read two books this week that have greatly impressed me. One is by the British former communist, George Orwell called “Animal Farm” and the other is by an American named Eric Hoffer called the “True Believer.” The first is a biting and very truthful satire on communism. How delightful that the fictional Bolsheviks are depicted as swine!

Hoffer, whom I would greatly like to meet, lives in San Francisco and works as a dockhand, unloading ships! Such a brilliant insight into the psychology of the members, motivations and history of mass movements. It is said that the author educated himself and I can easily understand this because this book is totally devoid of the usual academic thefts, prattling and general self-serving nonsense which one finds in such works as (those of, ed.) Eric Fromm and others. A true pleasure to read both and I am getting copies of these to pass out to various people here. I shall see that the President gets the Orwell book and possibly even the Hoffer one.

As I said, I have gotten rid of Felix, my chief guard here, and had him replaced with Henry, or “Hank,” the one from the New York adventure. Felix was a terrible liar and in the old days, I would have given him a dose of the cells to improve his attitude but instead, he will be sent to Germany to work in the occupation army. Who knows, with his ability to deny every one of his errors, he is a logical candidate for the State Department but I doubt if he is a fairy. At least he has one set of characteristics that would recommend him.

After all, no one who is German and has the same name as I do can be all bad. We need to educate this one and see where he goes then.

Tomorrow, after Mass, I will be meeting with several people with an eye to developing the same card file system here that I used for the Gestapo. They have such things here but the machines are getting much better and I want access to material and not have to beg Hoover’s people for it. I can get a good deal of raw material from the Army and old OSS files and will get as much from Hoover as I can.


When Müller took over the small Secret State Police office in Prussia after Hitler’s accession to power, he began to institute a card file on every German citizen. These cards, which were punched to enable easy access, had color codings, which permitted quick identification of potential or actual spies, opponents of Hitler’s government and other lawbreakers. Although Müller ordered much of this material to be destroyed at the end of the war, filmed copies were preserved and a reading of a sampling of these show the ruthless efficiency which with Müller was able to oversee and control the population of Germany.

How far his system was adopted in his new country is not known but it would not be difficult to believe that omnipresent surveillance of the population of the United States is well in place sixty years after its progenitor was begun in Nazi Germany.

Müller’s observations on the notorious German camp system are entirely his own but one should note are based on his close knowledge of it for a period of ten years and his journals were not written with publication, and justification, in mind.





Pentagon agency tests drone-launching pods that hide in ocean

May 16, 2016


The US military tech development agency is testing a special ‘pod’ drone delivery system that can hide in the ocean until remotely triggered to launch a drone.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) ‘upward falling’ payload (UFP) is designed to lie in wait on the ocean floor until a threat arises.

A “wake up” signal sent remotely by US military personnel triggers the pod to rise to the surface, where it releases an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) into the sky.

People thought this was an impossible, moonshot reach, and yet again DARPA has managed to achieve it,” Allison Barrie, who got a sneak peak of the device, told Fox News.

“You can activate this pod from anywhere in the world. … It’s come so far in such a short period of time.”

The pods are now undergoing sea demonstrations as part of their Phase 3 testing.

The pods are designed to lie “dormant and undetected”, withstanding immense pressure and unpredictable ocean conditions for extended periods of time. The pods could then kick into action after years in hibernation underwater.

“Getting close to objects without warning, and instantiating distributed systems without delay, are key attributes of UFP capability,” said DARPA program manager Jeffrey Krolik.

“To succeed, the UFP program must be able to demonstrate a system that can: (a) survive for years under extreme pressure, (b) be triggered reliably from standoff commands, and (c) rapidly rise through a water column and deploy its payload.”

DARPA says that given US Navy operational – and budgetary – limitations, the drone pods have the potential to fill gaps in naval support across wider areas of the world’s oceans.

Announcing the phase one element of the project in 2014, program manager Andy Coon said the development offers “low-cost alternatives to traditional approaches” that can “scale well to open-ocean areas”.

“As long as you can command the nodes remotely and quickly, and don’t have to send a ship out to launch it, you’re in good shape,” he added.


Chinese pour $110bn into US real estate, says study

Investment is set to double in the next five years as wealthy rush to get their money into overseas assets, especially houses

May 15, 2016

Agence France-Presse

Chinese nationals have become the largest foreign buyers of US property after pouring billions into the market in search of safe offshore assets, according to a study.

A huge surge in Chinese buying of both residential and commercial real estate last year took their five-year investment total to more than $110bn, according to the study from the Asia Society and Rosen Consulting Group.

The sheer size of that total has helped the real estate market recover from the crash that began in 2006 and precipitated the 2008 economic crisis, they said.

Chinese investment in property has also helped to inflate prices in other developed countries, notably the UK and Australia in the wake of the dip in world stock markets in 2015.

And despite a slowdown due to Beijing’s subsequent clampdown on capital outflows, the figure for the second half of this decade is likely to double to $218bn, the study said.

“What makes China different and noteworthy is the combination of the high volume of investment (and) the breadth of its participation across all real estate categories,” including a “somewhat unique entry into residential purchases,” the study said.

The authors of the study said their numbers, based on public and real estate industry data, understate the total. They necessarily miss purchases made by front companies and trusts that do not identify the sources of the funds.

Big deals such as the Anbang insurance group’s $2bn purchase of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York last year and its failed $14bn offer for the Starwood group in March have made headlines. But the study said Chinese buying of US homes far outpaces its investment in commercial land and buildings.

Between 2010 and 2015, Chinese buyers put more than $17bn into US commercial real estate, with half of that spent last year alone. Unlike many countries, there are very few restrictions on what foreigners can buy in the US.

But during the same period at least $93bn went into US homes. And in the 12 months to March 2015, the latest period for which relatively comprehensive data could be gathered, home purchases totaled $28.5bn.

That took the Chinese past Canadians, who have long been the biggest foreign buyers of US residential real estate.

Geographically, Chinese buyers are concentrated in the most expensive markets: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. Property in Chicago, Miami and Las Vegas is also popular.

That focus means they pay well above the average US home price: last year, Chinese buyers paid on average about $832,000 per home in the United States, compared with the average for all foreign purchases of $499,600.

The motivations are broad: some are buying second homes, some are buying as they move to the United States on EB-5 investor visas; some are investing for rental and resale.

Most of the money in US homes, the study noted, is private wealth, not corporate.

“This familiarity of utilizing real estate as an investment or wealth preservation tool is more prevalent in China and reflects the broader comfort of purchasing second homes in the United States by Chinese individuals and families,” the study noted.

Since last year, there has also been the motivation to get money outside China and into dollar assets amid worry about the continued fall in the yuan, which was devalued slightly against the US dollar in August.

The study says it expects a lot more commercial real estate buys in the United States by Chinese companies.

Last month, Chinese conglomerate HNA announced it would buy the 1,400-hotel group Carlson Hotels, owner of the Radisson brand.

“Anbang is not the only firm looking at these assets. Other Chinese entities were originally interested in acquiring Starwood in 2015 before Marriott reached an initial deal, including Jin Jiang Hotel Group, which had already acquired a European hotel chain in 2015, and CIC, the sovereign wealth fund,” the study said.

In Australia, the government recently blocked an attempt by Dakang Holdings to buy the Kidman farmland empire whose assets cover 1.3% of the Australian land mass.


Nebraska Republicans drop resolution meant as rebuke to Trump

  • Delegate against resolution was at centre of 2015 racial remarks scandal
  • State party resolves against third-party candidacy in rejoinder to Sasse
  • Planet Trump: the new Republican centre of gravity


May 15, 2016

by Ben Jacobs

the Guardian

At the Nebraska Republican convention on Saturday, a resolution condemning “degrading remarks toward women, minorities and other people by Republican elected office holders or party officials, including candidates for president of the United States” was quashed.

The resolution, which fell in the name of party unity, had been intended as an implicit rebuke to Donald Trump, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee. The Republicans were meeting to design their state party platform ahead of the national convention in July, at which delegates will create the campaign platform with Trump.

However, state school board member Pat McPherson, who has a history of controversy surrounding racial remarks and has faced allegations of inappropriate behavior towards a woman, made the motion to put the resolution aside.

Last year it was reported that repeated references to Barack Obama as “a half-breed” had appeared on McPherson’s blog. The Republican activist insisted that an anonymous contributor wrote the posts in question. He declined to identify that person.

A majority of the state school board called for McPherson to resign, as did Republican Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts and both its Republican senators, Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer.

It was not McPherson’s first brush with scandal. In 2003, he was forced to step down as a county election commissioner after being charged with third-degree sexual assault and disturbing the peace, over an incident at a Red Robin restaurant.

McPherson was acquitted of the charges, which involved allegations that he groped a 17-year-old waitress. Another man, then vice-president of Omaha city council Chuck Sigerson, was charged with one count of disturbing the peace. That charge was dismissed.

On Saturday, the Nebraska GOP passed overwhelmingly a resolution condemning any third-party bid in opposition to both Trump and Hillary Clinton.

This was seen as a rebuke to Sasse, the state’s junior senator, a vocal opponent of Trump who has pledged never to support the presumptive nominee.

In the Nebraska primary this week, held after Ted Cruz and John Kasich ended their campaigns, Trump received 61.4% of the vote.


Turkey: Parliament to vote on stripping MPs of immunity

Turkey’s parliament is set for a controversial vote on stripping members of their immunity from prosecution. This could become the precursor to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s calling new elections.

May 16, 2016


In a vote this week, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is hoping to amend the constitution to revoke parliamentarians’ immunity from prosecution. Such a change could open the door to a string of court cases against MPs of all stripes – but especially members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). With rivals out of the way, the path would be clear for the AKP to call Turkey’s third general election in two years in the hope of winning enough seats to realize efforts by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to increase executive powers.

The proposed amendment to remove immunity was passed by the parliamentary constitutional committee earlier this month despite fierce brawls that broke out in the committee during discussions. The fights grew to the point where the pro-Kurdish HDP stormed out of the committee. Parties had not been able to agree upon the principles discussed during the meetings, but the proposed amendment passed quickly after the HDP’s exit.

The proposal must receive 367 votes to be approved by parliament. Based purely on seats, the AKP could provide 316 votes and get another 40 from the opposition right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and 133 from the center-left Republican People’s Party (CHP). Though that would comfortably exceed 367 votes, there have been steady rumors that a number of deputies from both the AKP and the CHP will defy their parties and vote against.

The probability is high that AKP deputies who could themselves face prosecution will vote against revoking immunity. It has also been speculated that a segment of the AKP might vote against – arguing that prosecuting HDP members for alleged support of terrorist groups would be preferable to removing all parliamentarians’ immunity from Turkish law.

If the proposal receives between 330 and 367 votes, it could go to a referendum – with Erdogan’s decision critical at this point. Erdogan has the authority to take it to referendum or present it to parliament once more. Behind the scenes in Ankara, it has been speculated that Erdogan would prefer a referendum to another vote in parliament.

Question of constitutionality

“I am against this amendment and find it to be completely against the constitution,” Ergun Ozbudun, a professor of constitutional law at Istanbul Sehir University, told DW, adding that he believed it would nevertheless go through parliament without requiring a referendum.

“We are facing an amendment completely against the principle of equality,” Ozbudun said. “Amending the constitution by adding provisional clauses is effectively suspending the constitution. Since the purpose is the removal of immunity, the constitution would need to be changed on a permanent basis. Until the amendment goes into effect, it is being said that cases involving [the stripping of] immunity will be evaluated. This amounts to an amendment being made in a specific period regarding a specific group of people. It is clear that these kinds of amendments are completely against the law.”

Ozbudun said the political implications of lifting parliamentary immunity were worrying. “The stripping of immunity via such unlawful amendments will no have no other effect than the further radicalization of the Kurdish political movement,” he said, recalling a similar move in 1994, where pro-Kurdish deputies Leyla Zana, Orhan Dogan, Hatip Dicle, Ahmet Turk, Sırrı Sakık and Mahmut Alınak were stripped of their immunity. Zana, Dicle, and Dogan were subsequently imprisoned.

Opposition in crosshairs

“The primary goal is paving the shortest route toward a presidential system,” the journalist Sedat Bozkurt told DW.

“If possible, the AKP will try to take the immunity proposal to a referendum,” Bozkurt said. “By the time it goes to a referendum, domestic clashes will have already climbed significantly. The AKP will claim to the public that the HDP is behind these clashes. In such an atmosphere, the public will see no other option apart from voting for the AKP’s motion. After gaining major approval from this referendum, the AKP will immediately press the button for a new election. In that situation, both MHP and HDP would fall below the 10 percent threshold. The AKP would then be able to change the constitution on its own, and all barriers toward a presidential system will have been removed.”

Bozkurt said the AKP had made little effort to conceal its efforts to target opposition legislators by stripping their immunity: “While the HDP deputies are resisting this decision, the police will be forced to take them into custody. This will be another major blow to Turkish democracy.”

‘Chaos for Turkey’

Ibrahim Kaboglu, a professor of constitutional law at Marmara University, is among those who think that there will be enough dissenters to keep the proposal from passing in parliament.

“The CHP, for the sole purpose of not being perceived as pro-PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and pro-HDP, came over to the AKP’s side,” Kaboglu said. “It is contradicting itself. There is no guarantee that immunity will be stripped, because the votes are secret. Many CHP deputies will vote no.”

Kaboglu said that if the measure were to pass, the turmoil would not be limited to the parliament. “The stripping of immunity means chaos for Turkey,” he said. “The arrest of HDP deputies and the resulting street clashes will deepen social conflict. The CHP, who sided with the AKP even when it found the proposal to be in discordance with the constitution, will pay a heavy price. Turkey is sustaining this process not in the name of democracy but so that HDP deputies can be stripped of their immunity. This process will make every side unhappy, and will continue to damage the country’s democracy. It is important that the voting is secret, because that vote reflects not just the conscience of the deputies, but that of society.”

At the beginning of the year, there were 330 proceedings submitted against 80 of Turkey’s MPs, seeking to remove their immunity. Of these proceedings, 182 were submitted against HDP deputies, 105 against CHP, 34 against AKP and nine against MHP deputies. No such proceedings were submitted against then-Prime Minister and AKP leader Ahmet Davutoglu, but 49 were filed against HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtas, 33 against CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, three against MHP leader Devlet Bahceli and one against HDP co-leader Figen Yuksekdag.

This number has risen in recent weeks as tension in politics and on the streets has deepened. According to the parliament’s records, there are currently 619 files requesting the stripping of immunity from 136 deputies. This brings the total number of proceedings against the HDP to 366 – and 46 for the AKP. The immunity of 51 CHP deputies, 50 HDP deputies, 27 AKP deputies, and seven MHP deputies has been called into question.


U.S. sees China boosting military presence after island-building spree

May 14, 2016

by Phil Stewart and David Brunnstrom


Washington- China is expected to add substantial military infrastructure, including surveillance systems, to artificial islands in the South China Sea this year, giving it long-term “civil-military bases” in the contested waters, the Pentagon said on Friday.

In its annual report to Congress on China’s military activities in 2015, the U.S. Defense Department estimated that China’s reclamation work had added more than 3,200 acres (1,300 hectares) of land on seven features it occupied in the Spratly Islands in the space of two years.

It said China had completed its major reclamation efforts in October, switching focus to infrastructure development, including three 9,800 foot-long (3,000 meter) airstrips that can accommodate advanced fighter jets.

“Additional substantial infrastructure, including communications and surveillance systems, is expected to be built on these features in the coming year,” the report said.

“China will be able to use its reclaimed features as persistent civil-military bases to enhance its presence in the South China Sea significantly.”

The report comes at a time of heightened tension over maritime territories claimed by China and disputed by several Asian nations. Washington has accused Beijing of militarizing the South China Sea while Beijing, in turn, has criticized increased U.S. naval patrols and exercises in Asia.

The Pentagon report said China was focusing on developing capabilities to counter outside intervention in any conflict, but appeared to want to avoid direct confrontation with the United States in Asia, given the potential economic damage.

At the same time, “China demonstrated a willingness to tolerate higher levels of tension in the pursuit of its interests, especially in pursuit of its territorial claims,” the report said.


The Pentagon disclosed on Friday that the U.S. military’s top officer, Marine General Joseph Dunford, had proposed an effort to “bolster risk reduction mechanisms” to his counterpart, the Chinese Chief of the Joint Staff Department, General Fang Fenghui.

Dunford’s spokesman, Captain Greg Hicks, said in a statement that both sides agreed the talks, which took place by video conference on Thursday, were a valuable way to “manage both cooperative and contentious issues, and avoid miscalculation.”

The Pentagon’s report cautioned that China was committed to sustaining growth in defense spending even as its economic growth cools and to pursuing objectives increasingly distant from China’s shores.

Abraham Denmark, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, told a briefing that China’s 2015 defense spending was higher than it publicly disclosed and had reached $180 billion, compared with an official Chinese of $144 billion.

The report pointed to China’s November announcement that it was establishing a military facility in Djibouti. It said China was also expected to establish naval logistics hubs in countries with which it shares interests, including Pakistan.

The U.S report renewed accusations against China’s government and military for cyber attacks against U.S. government computer systems, a charge Beijing denies. It said attacks in 2015 appeared focused on intelligence collection.

“Targeted information could inform Chinese military planners’ work to build a picture of U.S. defense networks, logistics, and related military capabilities that could be exploited during a crisis,” the report said.

It also cautioned that the actions and skills needed for the intrusions carried out to date “are similar to those necessary to conduct cyberattacks.”

(Reporting by Phil Stewart and David Brunnstrom; editing by Stuart Grudgings)

Poof! It’s Forgotten

Five Ways the Newest Story in Iraq and Syria is… That There Is No New Story

by Peter Van Buren


One of the most popular apps these days is Snapchat. It allows the sender to set a timer for any photo dispatched via the app, so that a few seconds after the recipient opens the message, the photo is automatically deleted. The evidence of what you did at that party last night is seen and then disappears. POOF!

I hope you’ll forgive me if I suggest that the Iraq-Syria War against the Islamic State (ISIS) is being conveyed to us via Snapchat. Important things happen, they appear in front of us, and then… POOF!… they’re gone. No one seems to remember them. Who cares that they’ve happened at all, when there’s a new snap already arriving for your attention? As with most of what flows through the real Snapchat, what’s of some interest at first makes no difference in the long run.

Just because we now have terrifyingly short memories does not, however, mean that things did not happen. Despite the POOF! effect, events that genuinely mattered when it comes to the region in which Washington has, since the 1980s, been embroiled in four wars, actually did occur last week, last month, a war or two ago, or, in some cases, more than half a century in the past. What follows are just some of the things we’ve forgotten that couldn’t matter more.

It’s a Limited Mission — POOF!

Perhaps General David Petraeus’s all-time sharpest comment came in the earliest days of Iraq War 2.0. “Tell me how this ends,” he said, referring to the Bush administration’s invasion. At the time, he was already worried that there was no endgame.

That question should be asked daily in Washington. It and the underlying assumption that there must be a clear scope and duration to America’s wars are too easily forgotten. It took eight long years until the last American combat troops were withdrawn from Iraq. Though there were no ticker tape parades or iconic photos of sailors smooching their gals in Times Square in 2011, the war was indeed finally over and Barack Obama’s campaign promise fulfilled…

Until, of course, it wasn’t, and in 2014 the same president restarted the war, claiming that a genocide against the Yazidis, a group hitherto unknown to most of us and since largely forgotten, was in process. Air strikes were authorized to support a “limited” rescue mission. Then, more — limited — American military power was needed to stop the Islamic State from conquering Iraq. Then more air strikes, along with limited numbers of military advisers and trainers, were sure to wrap things up, and somehow, by May 2016, the U.S. has 5,400 military personnel, including Special Operations forces, on the ground across Iraq and Syria, with expectations that more would soon be needed, even as a massive regional air campaign drags on. That’s how Washington’s wars seem to go these days, with no real debate, no Congressional declaration, just, if we’re lucky, a news item announcing what’s happened.

Starting wars under murky circumstances and then watching limited commitments expand exponentially is by now so ingrained in America’s global strategy that it’s barely noticed. Recall, for instance, those weapons of mass destruction that justified George W. Bush’s initial invasion of Iraq, the one that turned into eight years of occupation and “nation-building”? Or to step a couple of no-less-forgettable years further into the past, bring to mind the 2001 U.S. mission that was to quickly defeat the ragged Taliban and kill Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. That’s now heading into its 16th year as the situation there only continues to disintegrate.

For those who prefer an even more forgotten view of history, America’s war in Vietnam kicked into high gear thanks to then-President Lyndon Johnson’s false claim about an attack on American warships in the Gulf of Tonkin. The early stages of that war followed a path somewhat similar to the one on which we now seem to be staggering along in Iraq War 3.0 — from a limited number of advisers to the full deployment of almost all the available tools of war.

Or for those who like to look ahead, the U.S. has just put troops back on the ground in Yemen, part of what the Pentagon is describing as “limited support” for the U.S.-backed war the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates launched in that country.

The new story is also the old story: just as you can’t be a little pregnant, the mission never really turns out to be “limited,” and if Washington doesn’t know where the exit is, it’s going to be trapped yet again inside its own war, spinning in unpredictable and disturbing directions.

No Boots on the Ground — POOF!

Having steadfastly maintained since the beginning of Iraq War 3.0 that it would never put “American boots on the ground,” the Obama administration has deepened its military campaign against the Islamic State by increasing the number of Special Operations forces in Syria from 50 to 300. The administration also recently authorized the use of Apache attack helicopters, long stationed in Iraq to protect U.S. troops, as offensive weapons.

American advisers are increasingly involved in actual fighting in Iraq, even as the U.S. deployed B-52 bombers to an air base in Qatar before promptly sending them into combat over Iraq and Syria. Another group of Marines was dispatched to help defend the American Embassy in Baghdad after the Green Zone, in the heart of that city, was recently breached by masses of protesters. Of all those moves, at least some have to qualify as “boots on the ground.”

The word play involved in maintaining the official no-boots fiction has been a high-wire act. Following the loss of an American in Iraqi Kurdistan recently, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter labeled it a “combat death.” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest then tried to explain how an American who was not on a combat mission could be killed in combat. “He was killed, and he was killed in combat. But that was not part of his mission,” Earnest told reporters.

Much more quietly, the U.S. surged — “surge” being the replacement word for the Vietnam-era “escalate” — the number of private contractors working in Iraq; their ranks have grown eight-fold over the past year, to the point where there are an estimated 2,000 of them working directly for the Department of Defense and 5,800 working for the Department of State inside Iraq. And don’t be too sanguine about those State Department contractors. While some of them are undoubtedly cleaning diplomatic toilets and preparing elegant receptions, many are working as military trainers, paramilitary police advisers, and force protection personnel. Even some aircraft maintenance crews and CIA paramilitaries fall under the State Department’s organizational chart.

The new story in Iraq and Syria when it comes to boots on the ground is the old story: air power alone has never won wars, advisers and trainers never turn out to be just that, and for every soldier in the fight you need five or more support people behind him.

We’re Winning — POOF!

We’ve been winning in Iraq for some time now — a quarter-century of successes, from 1991’s triumphant Operation Desert Storm to 2003’s soaring Mission Accomplished moment to just about right now in the upbeat third iteration of America’s Iraq wars. But in each case, in a Snapchat version of victory, success has never seemed to catch on.

At the end of April, for instance, Army Colonel Steve Warren, a U.S. military spokesperson, hailed the way American air power had set fire to $500 million of ISIS’s money, actual cash that its militants had apparently forgotten to disperse or hide in some reasonable place. He was similarly positive about other recent gains, including the taking of the Iraqi city of Hit, which, he swore, was “a linchpin for ISIL.” In this, he echoed the language used when ISIS-occupied Ramadi (and Baiji and Sinjar and…) fell, language undoubtedly no less useful when the next town is liberated. In the same fashion, USA Today quoted an anonymous U.S. official as saying that American actions had cut ISIS’s oil revenues by an estimated 50%, forcing them to ration fuel in some areas, while cutting pay to its fighters and support staff.

Only a month ago, National Security Adviser Susan Rice let us know that, “day by day, mile by mile, strike by strike, we are making substantial progress. Every few days, we’re taking out another key ISIL leader, hampering ISIL’s ability to plan attacks or launch new offensives.” She even cited a poll indicating that nearly 80% of young Muslims across the Middle East are strongly opposed to that group and its caliphate.

In the early spring, Brett McGurk, U.S. special envoy to the global coalition to counter the Islamic State, took to Twitter to assure everyone that “terrorists are now trapped and desperate on Mosul fronts.” Speaking at a security forum I attended, retired general Chuck Jacoby, the last multinational force commander for Iraq 2.0, described another sign of progress, insisting that Iraq today is a “maturing state.” On the same panel, Douglas Ollivant, a member of former Iraq commander General David Petraeus’s “brain trust of warrior-intellectuals,” talked about “streams of hope” in Iraq.

Above all, however, there is one sign of success often invoked in relation to the war in Iraq and Syria: the body count, an infamous supposed measure of success in the Vietnam War. Washington spokespeople regularly offer stunning figures on the deaths of ISIS members, claiming that 10,000 to 25,000 Islamic State fighters have been wiped out via air strikes. The CIA has estimated that, in 2014, the Islamic State had only perhaps 20,000 to 30,000 fighters under arms. If such victory statistics are accurate, somewhere between a third and all of them should now be gone.

Other U.S. intelligence reports, clearly working off a different set of data, suggest that there once were more than 30,000 foreign fighters in the Islamic State’s ranks. Now, the Pentagon tells us, the flow of new foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria has been staunched, dropping over the past year from roughly 2,000 to 200 a month, further incontrovertible proof of the Islamic State’s declining stature. One anonymous American official typically insisted: “We’re actually a little bit ahead of where we wanted to be.”

Yet despite success after American success, ISIS evidently isn’t broke, or running out of fighters, or too desperate to stay in the fray, and despite all the upbeat news there are few signs of hope in the Iraqi body politic or its military.

The new story is again a very old story: when you have to repeatedly explain how much you’re winning, you’re likely not winning much of anything at all.

It’s Up to the Iraqis — POOF!

From the early days of Iraq War 2.0, one key to success for Washington has been assigning the Iraqis a to-do list based on America’s foreign policy goals. They were to hold decisive elections, write a unifying Constitution, take charge of their future, share their oil with each other, share their government with each other, and then defeat al-Qaeda in Iraq, and later, the Islamic State.

As each item failed to get done properly, it became the Iraqis’ fault that Washington hadn’t achieved its goals. A classic example was “the surge” of 2007, when the Bush administration sent in a significant number of additional troops to whip the Iraqis into shape and just plain whip al-Qaeda, and so open up the space for Shiites and Sunnis to come together in an American-sponsored state of national unity. The Iraqis, of course, screwed up the works with their sectarian politics and so lost the stunning potential gains in freedom we had won them, leaving the Americans heading for the exit.

In Iraq War 3.0, the Obama administration again began shuffling leaders in Baghdad to suit its purposes, helping force aside once-golden boy Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and pushing forward new golden boy Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to — you guessed it — unify Iraq. “Today, Iraqis took another major step forward in uniting their country,” National Security Adviser Susan Rice said as Abadi took office.

Of course, unity did not transpire, thanks to Abadi, not us. “It would be disastrous,” editorialized the New York Times, “if Americans, Iraqis, and their partners were to succeed in the military campaign against the Islamic State only to have the politicians in Baghdad squander another chance to build a better future.” The Times added: “More than 13 years since Saddam Hussein’s overthrow, there’s less and less reason to be optimistic.”

The latest Iraqi “screw-up” came on April 30th, when dissident Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr’s supporters broke into the previously sacrosanct Green Zone established by the Americans in Iraq War 2.0 and stormed Iraq’s parliament. Sadr clearly remembers his history better than most Americans. In 2004, he emboldened his militias, then fighting the U.S. military, by reminding them of how irregular forces had defeated the Americans in Vietnam. This time, he was apparently diplomatic enough not to mention that Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese 41 years ago on the day of the Green Zone incursion.

Sadr’s supporters crossed into the enclave to protest Prime Minister Abadi’s failure to reform a disastrous government, rein in corruption (you can buy command of an entire army division and plunder its budget indefinitely for about $2 million), and provide basic services like water and electricity to Baghdadis. The tens of billions of dollars that U.S. officials spent “reconstructing” Iraq during the American occupation of 2003 to 2011 were supposed to make such services effective, but did not.

And anything said about Iraqi governmental failures might be applied no less accurately to the Iraqi army.

Despite the estimated $26 billion the U.S. spent training and equipping that military between 2003 and 2011, whole units broke, shed their uniforms, ditched their American equipment, and fled when faced with relatively small numbers of ISIS militants in June 2014, abandoning four northern cities, including Mosul. This, of course, created the need for yet more training, the ostensible role of many of the U.S. troops now in Iraq. Since most of the new Iraqi units are still only almost ready to fight, however, those American ground troops and generals and Special Operations forces and forward air controllers and planners and logistics personnel and close air support pilots are still needed for the fight to come.

The inability of the U.S. to midwife a popularly supported government or a confident citizen’s army, Washington’s twin critical failures of Iraq War 2.0, may once again ensure that its latest efforts implode. Few Iraqis are left who imagine that the U.S. can be an honest broker in their country. A recent State Department report found that one-third of Iraqis believe the United States is actually supporting ISIS, while 40% are convinced that the United States is trying to destabilize Iraq for its own purposes.

The new story is again the old story: corrupt governments imposed by an outside power fail. And in the Iraq case, every problem that can’t be remedied by aerial bombardment and Special Forces must be the Iraqis’ fault.

Same Leadership, Same Results — POOF!

With the last four presidents all having made war in Iraq, and little doubt that the next president will dive in, keep another forgotten aspect of Washington’s Iraq in mind: some of the same American leadership figures have been in place under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and they will initially still be in place when Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump enters the Oval Office.

Start with Brett McGurk, the current special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS. His résumé is practically a Wikipedia page for America’s Iraq, 2003-2016: Deputy Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran from August 2013 until his current appointment. Before that, Senior Advisor in the State Department for Iraq, a special advisor to the National Security Staff, Senior Advisor to Ambassadors to Iraq Ryan Crocker, Christopher Hill, and James Jeffrey. McGurk participated in President Obama’s 2009 review of Iraq policy and the transition following the U.S. military departure from Iraq. During the Bush administration, McGurk served as Director for Iraq, then as Special Assistant to the President, and also Senior Director for Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2008 McGurk was the lead negotiator with the Iraqi Government on both a long-term Strategic Framework Agreement and a Security Agreement to govern the presence of U.S. forces. He was also one of the chief Washington-based architects of The Surge, having earlier served as a legal advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority from nearly the first shots of 2003.

A little lower down the chain of command is Lieutenant General Sean MacFarland.  He is now leading Sunni “tribal coordination” to help defeat ISIS, as well as serving as commanding general of the Combined Joint Task Force. As a colonel back in 2006, MacFarland similarly helped organize the surge’s Anbar Sunni Awakening movement against al-Qaeda in Iraq.

And on the ground level, you can be sure that some of the current colonels were majors in Iraq War 2.0, and some of their subordinates put their boots on the same ground they’re on now.

In other words, the new story is the old story: some of the same people have been losing this war for Washington since 2003, with neither accountability nor culpability in play.

What If They Gave a War and No One Remembered?

All those American memories lost to oblivion. Such forgetfulness only allows our war makers to do yet more of the same things in Iraq and Syria, acts that someone on the ground will be forced to remember forever, perhaps under the shadow of a drone overhead.

Placing our service people in harm’s way, spending our money in prodigious amounts, and laying the country’s credibility on the line once required at least the pretext that some national interest was at stake. Not any more. Anytime some group we don’t like threatens a group we care not so much about, the United States must act to save a proud people, stop a humanitarian crisis, take down a brutal leader, put an end to genocide, whatever will briefly engage the public and spin up some vague facsimile of war fever.

But back to Snapchat. It turns out that while the app was carefully designed to make whatever is transmitted quickly disappear, some clever folks have since found ways to preserve the information. If only the same could be said of our Snapchat wars. How soon we forget. Until the next time…


The Civil War Inside the US Military

Interventionists and America Firsters face off in budget battle

May 16, 2016

by Justin Raimondo


In early April, a battalion of senior military officials appeared before a Senate panel and testified that the US Army is “outranged and outgunned,” particularly in any future conflict with Russia. Arguing for a much bigger budget for the Army, they claimed that, absent a substantial increase in funding, the Russians would overtake us and, even scarier, “the army of the future will be too small to secure the nation.”

The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming! And before you know it, Brooklyn will be renamed Putingrad.

Of course it was pure coincidence that, shortly after these alarm bells were rung, a piece appeared in Politico magazine purportedly showing that the Russians were breathing down our necks: it revealed a “secret study” – revealed for the first time! – that supposedly detailed Russia’s deadly new capabilities as demonstrated in Ukraine. Included in this potpourri of propaganda was the assertion by none other than Gen. Wesley Clark, former presidential candidate and well-known Russophobe, that Moscow had developed a tank that is for all intents and purposes “invulnerable.”

Perhaps embarrassed by what seemed like an exercise in inter-service internecine warfare, Politico recently ran an article by Mark Perry throwing new light on what is really going on here. Citing senior military figures, Perry’s piece threw a rhetorical hand grenade into the Army’s argument:

“’This is the ‘Chicken-Little, sky-is-falling’ set in the Army,’ the senior Pentagon officer said. ‘These guys want us to believe the Russians are 10 feet tall. There’s a simpler explanation: The Army is looking for a purpose, and a bigger chunk of the budget. And the best way to get that is to paint the Russians as being able to land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. What a crock.’”

The “secret study” supposedly showed a level  of technological prowess on the part of the ragtag Ukrainian rebels that many retired officers found unbelievable:

“’That’s news to me,’ one of these highly respected officers told me. ‘Swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles? Surprisingly lethal tanks? How come this is the first we’ve heard of it?’”

The reason may be because the source of this dubious intelligence is most probably the Ukrainian government, and they are notoriously unreliable: these are the same people who have been citing “evidence” of a full-scale Russian invasion for years now. Aside from demanding more economic aid to keep their bankrupt and notoriously corrupt economy afloat, Kiev has been eager to wheedle offensive weaponry from the US, constantly warning that, unless they get what they want, Putin will soon take the whole country. Former NATO Supreme Commander Philip Breedlove has been buttressing these warnings with what are nothing more than outright lies, claiming that tens of thousands of Russian troops armed with the latest weaponry are present in eastern Ukraine. As the German intelligence agency BND has pointed out, the sophisticated Russian military equipment supposedly pouring into eastern Ukraine is nonexistent. And German diplomats have denounced Breedlove’s overtly political interventions as “dangerous propaganda.”

What is clear is this: inter-service rivalry is driving this latest episode of “The Russians Are Coming!” Forced by budgetary considerations to choose between modernization and expansion, the Army wants to have its cake and eat it too. And they want the whole cake. They are arguing that a bigger Army is absolutely necessary in order to face down Putin in Europe – a region where, by dint of geographical reality, the Russians will always outnumber us no matter how many troops we pour into the continent. The Army’s position is that we just need more of everything – especially in terms of personnel. But as retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula and Doug Birkey, director of government relations at the Air Force Association, wrote:

“No war has been won through the mere presence of personnel or material – whether they are infantry, tanks, ships, or airplanes. If that were the case, the United States would have prevailed in Vietnam with the presence of half a million US boots on the ground in 1968, or through the expenditure of over one trillion dollars on personnel and resources over the past 14 years in Afghanistan and Iraq. Bottom line – it takes an insightful, flexible, and prudent strategy to deliver victory in any military operation.

“History stands in testament to this reality. No amount of bravery at a personal level can overcome the lack of a robust plan. Whether discussing the strategically bankrupt Rolling Thunder bombing campaign from 1965 through 1968, the failed 1980 Operation Desert One rescue mission In Iran, or the poorly planned and botched execution of Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan in 2002 – the raw projection of personnel and equipment into harm’s way without a viable course of action leads to disaster. It is fundamentally immoral to ask America’s sons and daughters to exercise bravery and sacrifice to fill the void of inadequate strategy.”

Deptula, now director of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, told Politico:

“It’s time to stop waving the bloody red shirt. Calling for more resources because you’re taking casualties is a wake-up call for a new approach – not for throwing more folks into the meat grinder. We really need to think in a deliberate goal-oriented way to secure national interests, not just parochial Army interests.”

The Army, resistant to budget constraints – and to any reform of its antiquated Vietnam era strategic perspective – is playing hawks in Congress for fools. And of course the hawks are eager to seize on any excuse to expand an already bloated US military budget – one that exceeds Russian military expenditures by seven-fold.

As for Wesley Clark’s “invulnerable” Russian tank, one officer told Politico: “What nonsense. If the Russians have developed tanks that can’t be destroyed that would be the first time that’s happened in the history of warfare.” Well, yes, but war propaganda has nothing to do with the facts: Clark, as Politico noted, is infamous for his eagerness to go up against the Russians. It was Clark who commanded a British officer to confront the Russians in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital, during the Balkan wars. And Clark has been going around making speeches in support of Kiev’s demands for lethal weaponry, echoing the Ukrainian coup leaders’ assertions that a “’renewed offensive from the east’ before VE day, on May 8” was imminent. That was May 8 of last year, and there’s still no sign of the Russian offensive.

It’s a vicious civil war unfolding in the US military, pitting “bigger is better” arguments proffered by Army advocates against the Air Force and the Navy, who say bigger isn’t better and we need to improve not only our capabilities but also our strategy – and, by implication, change US foreign policy to a less interventionist mode.

In an article supporting the Army’s position, former Army chief of staff Gordon Sullivan argued that ignoring the Army’s demands would result in more casualties: “It’s soldiers we are thinking of when we worry about the undermanned, under-ready and under-funded Army we’ve created,” he averred. Retired Col. Douglas Macgregor, cited by Politico, had a ready answer for him, laden with foreign policy implications aplenty:

“The statement is sickeningly false. If the generals actually gave a damn about the soldiers the last 15 years would have been totally different. What happened to the thousands of lives and trillions of dollars squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan? What happened to the billions lost in a series of failed modernization programs since 1991?”

The US Army has an institutional interest in our globalist foreign policy: the alleged necessity of stationing tens of thousands of soldiers in foreign lands, occupying territory, and pouring in megatons of military equipment and support networks means bigger budgets to play around with. The problem is that this strategy has failed – and it’s bankrupting us. One Pentagon officer put it to Perry this way:

“You know, which would you rather have – a high-speed rail system, or another brigade in Poland? Because that’s what this is really all about. The debate is about money, and there simply isn’t enough to go around. Which is not to mention the other question, which is even more important: How many British soldiers do you think want to die for Estonia? And if they don’t want to, why should we?”

An even more pertinent question is: How many American soldiers want to die so that the ruling oligarchs in Kiev can hold on to their power and pelf, living high on the hog at US taxpayers’ expense? The answer, I’m willing to bet, is none. And the American people will back them up in this, of that I have no doubt.

A civil war within the US military is raging, and it isn’t just a case of inter-service rivalry over scarce dollars, pitting the Army against the Air force: it’s also a reflection of the foreign policy debate that’s taking place among civilians – interventionists versus America Firsters. And I know what side I’m on.

The anti-Russian propaganda campaign has been ongoing for years: the military-industrial complex and their neoconservative allies (and beneficiaries) need a new enemy now that the “war on terrorism” is wearing a little threadbare. That’s why the media and the politicians are yelping about the alleged Russian “threat.” The only real threat, however, is to our ever-expanding military budget and the prestige of those ancient cold warriors who long for a return to the 1950s, when the prospect of World War III loomed large and Americans were digging bomb shelters in their backyards.


Donald Trump warning over UK relationship

May 16, 2016

BBC News

Donald Trump has warned he may not have a “very good relationship” with UK Prime Minister David Cameron if he wins the US presidency.

Mr Cameron has called the Republican hopeful “stupid, divisive and wrong” over his call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US.

Downing Street said Mr Cameron stood by his remarks but would work with whoever is elected US president.

Mr Trump is also involved in a spat with new London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The US presidential contender said he would not forgive Mr Khan for calling him “ignorant” – and challenged the Mayor to take part in an IQ test, an offer mocked by Mr Khan’s team.

Last year, Mr Trump, who has beaten his rivals to become the presumptive Republican candidate, called for a temporary halt to all Muslims entering the US in the wake of the deadly terror attack in San Bernardino, California.

He said many Muslims nursed a “hatred” towards America and a ban should be in force “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”.

Responding to Mr Trump’s comments at the time, Mr Cameron said: “I think his remarks are divisive, stupid and wrong and I think if he came to visit our country I think it’d unite us all against him.”

Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain earlier on Monday, Mr Trump said: “It looks like we’re not going to have a very good relationship, who knows.

“I hope to have a good relationship with him, but it sounds like he’s not willing to address the problem either.”

Mr Trump said he was not anti-Muslim but “anti-terror”, saying “we have a real problem and we have to discuss it”, as he called on Muslims to work with the people and “turn people in” that they suspected of extremism.

“I have many Muslim friends,” he said. “I was with one the other day, one of the most successful men, he’s Muslim and he said, ‘Donald you have done us such a favour, you have brought out a problem that nobody wants to talk about’.”

‘Special relationship’

David Cameron’s official spokesman was asked about Mr Trump’s suggestion that they might not have a good relationship following the Republican candidate’s latest comments.

“The prime minister has made his views on Donald Trump’s comments very clear. He disagrees with them and I haven’t got anything further to add,” said the spokesman.

“He continues to believe that preventing Muslims from entering the US is divisive, stupid and wrong.”

The Number 10 spokesman said that Mr Cameron was “committed to maintaining the special relationship” whoever wins the presidential election.

“He has been clear that he will work with whoever is president of the United States,” said the spokesman.

No proposal had been made for a phone call between the prime minister and Mr Trump, but the spokesman said Downing Street would be willing to consider it.

IQ test

Mr Trump also criticised what he called the “very rude statements” made about him by Sadiq Khan, after Mr Trump suggested he would make an “exception” to the ban for the London mayor.

Mr Khan, the first directly-elected Muslim mayor of a major Western capital city, dismissed Mr Trump’s offer and accused the US presidential hopeful of holding “ignorant” views of Islam which “could make both our countries less safe” by playing into the hands of extremists.

Responding, Mr Trump told ITV: “I am offended, he doesn’t know me.

“I think they were very rude statements and, frankly, tell him I will remember those statements,” he added.

Mr Trump also challenged Mr Khan to an IQ test.

‘Back of the queue’

But as the public spat between the two men continued, a spokesman for Mr Khan said US voters would reject Mr Trump’s “ignorant, divisive and dangerous” views.

He said there were “no plans” to seek direct talks with Mr Trump and mocked his IQ challenge, saying: “Ignorance is not the same thing as lack of intelligence.”

Mr Khan, who was elected Labour mayor of London last week, told BBC News his message for Mr Trump and his advisors was” your views on Islam are ignorant”.

“We’ve shown in London that there’s nothing incompatible with being a mainstream Muslim and Western liberal values, and we showed that comprehensively on 5 May,” he added.

Mr Trump, who is the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party after pushing out more than a dozen rival presidential candidates during the US primary season, reiterated that he backed the UK leaving the European Union.

In contrast to US President Barack Obama, who has warned that an EU exit would leave the UK at the “back of the queue” in trade talks, Mr Trump said he did not think it would harm the UK’s trade position.

“It wouldn’t make any difference to me whether they were in the EU or not,” he said. “They certainly wouldn’t be back of the queue, that I can tell you.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that it “can’t be good” if Mr Trump were to be elected as US president in November.

“I’d agree with that. I have huge and infinite faith in the American people that he won’t be,” she said.

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