Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tucker Carlson of Fox News talks to Theo Padnos, ex-prisoner of Al-Nusra/Al Qaeda in Syria

Hmm ... gotta watch more of Tucker Carlson. He's not bought into the Big Brother narrative of what's going on in Syria.

Bloomberg lists 80 programs that stand to lose under Trump's proposed budget

He's doing right in many quarters at home BUT not in his foreign affairs policies.  Wasn't he supposed to stop interfering in the Middle East and butting out of  other countries' affairs.  US personnel have gone uninvited into Syria, they are still occupying Iraq on the pretext of defending Iraqis from ISIS that the USA itself is largely responsible for creating in the first place.  Then there's Afghanistan where the occupation has been going on for 16 long years and bombing and death is a daily business.  

If not for the illegal foreign wars and the misinformation on Iran and Shia Muslims  that he has been brainwashed with by the Gaza butchers and lawn mowing Israeli Jews, I would say he's doing a "not too bad" of a job at home.

At first glance, it might look like he's being a meano but when you consider how the money is distributed to the same kind of causes but under different "names" of the entities, you can see that the duplicates are being done away with.

Informative article below with graphs,etc:

These 80 Programs Would Lose Federal Funding Under Trump’s Proposed Budget

U.S. President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal includes massive cuts across most of the federal government. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture face unprecedented discretionary funding cuts in excess of 25 percent, as Trump attempts to boost the military and national security.

Trump’s budget also proposes eliminating discretionary funding altogether for at least 19 agencies and 61 other programs. Plans for new NASA missions, climate change research, aid for low-income families and funding for commercial flights to rural airports would all be on the chopping block. Trump says many of these programs are inefficient or duplicative. All this could change; Trump will deliver a final budget in May and Congress would have to approve the cuts—something they have often resisted in the past.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Videos of some of the protests (hopefully a prelude to the much-needed revolution) in the USA

Saturday, March 11, 2017

US State Department report on Saudi Arabia 2016 Human Rights

 Below is the respond from the ADHRB (Americans for Democracy and Human Rights for Bahrain) to the "Saudi Arabia 2016 Human Rights Report" from the US State Dept.

ADHRB Responds to State Department’s 2016 Saudi Arabia Human Rights Report

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) cautiously welcomes the United States Department of State’s Saudi 2016 Human Rights report. With several exceptions, the report addresses the numerous human rights abuses perpetrated by the Saudi government within the last year.

Released on 3 March 2017, the report addresses a number of thematic issue areas, including freedom of expression and assembly, detention, torture and unfair trials, executions, human rights defenders, and labor violations. The report describes the legal frameworks underpinning the myriad human rights abuses committed by the government. It illustrates how the Basic Law and Press and Publications Law in conjunction with regulatory agencies and ministerial bodies work to censor or close media outlets, while security forces detain bloggers and writers who criticize the government. It notes that the government prohibits protests and political gatherings, while also refusing to license political and social organizations. The country does not allow for the functioning of political or social civil society and closes organizations and jails activists who attempt to operate such organizations. Among the groups officials have forced to close are the Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights, the Adala Center for Human Rights, al-Belady–a women’s civil society group–and the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia.

In addition to criminalizing critical expression and associations, the report notes that prisoners sometimes face unfair trials marred by torture and torture-coerced confessions. Among the detainees who were sentenced in trials that did not comply with international standards of due process and fair trials are Fadhil al-Manasif, Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon, and Abdullah al-Zaher. In al-Nimr, al-Zaher, and al-Marhoon’s cases, the court refused to allow them access to their lawyers while they were detained and later admitted their coerced confessions as viable evidence in their trials. This evidence proved crucial in sentencing them to death.

While the State Department’s report highlights and discusses widespread human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, there are several significant issues with the report. In the report, the State Department states that, “There was one allegation that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings in the country.” However, ADHRB would like to call attention to the executions of four minors on 2 January 2016, Amin al-Ghamidi, Ali al-Ribh, Mustafa Abkar, and Mishaal al-Faraaj. The government arrested them while they were under the age of 18 and detained them incommunicado. Officials tortured them until they confessed to a number of crimes put to them by authorities. Throughout their detention, officials denied them the right to talk to their lawyers. During their court proceedings, the court and prosecution used their coerced confessions to convict them and sentence them to death. The nature of their arrests, detention, and trials violates international law and international standards of due process and fair trials, such that their executions resemble arbitrary or unlawful killings......

Mexico ... Plaza de las Tres Culturas OR the remains of the pyramids and temples of the ancient Aztec city of Tlatelolco

Unfortunately, invaders, conquerors and occupiers besides being murderers are also looters and destroyers and the Spanish conquistadors committed all these atrocities..on steroids.

The Spaniards destroyed the larger temples or pyramids of  this ancient city of Tlatelolco so they could use the stones from them to build the church that you see in the background of the first pic above.

Tlatelolco is called the Place of Three Cultures because what's visible to the naked eye as soon as you set sight on the place is ...  the Aztec culture of almost 800 years ago via what's left of their pyramids which formed a part of their ancient city, and right behind the ruins is seen the Santiago de Tlatelolco Catholic Church, built by the Spaniards with stolen Aztec materials and then you see the buildings of  modern Mexico lining the streets behind the church.

We strolled down those streets and walked into the grounds of some of the many housing complexes and they looked a lot like some we have here in Canada.

Archeologists are finding more artifacts and tombs in the grounds of this  ancient city and parts of the site are under tents (see last pic) where the digging for past history continues. 

If you want to learn more, go
here and here.


Mexico ... Mexicans' Fascination with the Day of the Dead ...

known to most of us Christians as  All Souls Day.

Although, we were in Mexico in February and the Day of the Dead was celebrated months before that, the skeletal figures dressed up in fine red gowns and set up in various public arenas were prominently in view.  Check out pics from my camera below.

In a local market in the middle of Mexico City, with a myriad of tiny little lanes cramped with shops selling every kind of merchandise your heart desires, imagine our surprise when we came across what you see in the second pic below. 

What I liked most about Mexico is the fact that it's a Catholic country and the evidence of it is everywhere.
Missing "prominently" were waddling black tents.  So lovely!! Unlike Toronto. *sigh*

A short while before coming upon this place, we had heard the chiming of bells like the call for The Angelus and saw a Catholic priest with his acolyte, both chanting prayers while walking along the same little corridor with what looked like some kind of offering. We tried to follow the two to satisfy our curiosity as to what was going on but lost them in the maze of shops and the throng of people.  Were they there to lay an offering at the altar of the skeleton or at the altar of Jesus ... we wish we had seen.

If you want to learn more about the custom of the Day of the Dead, go here and here.

Mexico .... Expensive chocolates and cheap street food

We were lucky to be in Mexico City during the weekend a Chocolate Festival and Chocolates and Eggs exhibition was being held in the city centre.

Below some pics of the chocolates and buyers milling around the offers.  The chocolates on sale inside the hall were, IMO,  not cheap,  but there were several dozen stalls outside the main halls where vendors and buyers made themselves pretty happy.

Street food, especially in Mexico City, is unbelievably  cheap. We snacked on corn tacos, tortas and quesadillas every chance we got. These all come  filled with meat - mainly pork or chicken +  with powerfully spicy green or red chili sauces.. Although, we had packed some strips of Imodium, none of us had need for them. 

Below some pics from my camera. They include one art display titled "Jaque Mate" which I thought was a nice play on words.  Also included is a pic of the door of an upscale choc shop. Notice the gold lances shaped like cocoa beans. We bought a bag of chocs from the shop and before we reached the hotel, they were all gone.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

White Helmets OR how Hollywood nitwits got taken in by Al Qaeda affiliates and a British ....

military contractor, the owner of a questionable outfit which is probably doubling as a "terrorist-for-hire" kind of dirty business

Just like so many other industries that are going down and remaining down,  Hollywood is on its way out.  There's one thing that's good that's come out of this shameful and sordid event and that is: More and more people are waking up to what Hollywood and the airheads connected to it are doing to dumb down Americans and large tracts of our world.  After this latest disgrace, future documentaries that are given the stamp of approval by Hollywood will be best avoided or taken with a sackful of salt.  Once a liar is found out to be a liar, everything from that source is rendered suspect.

Below are some enlightened voices that have thrown sunlight on how deep run the sewers where American/UK/EU and unfortunately perhaps Canada too, has been aligning with Al Qaeda, White Helmets and other similar unsavory outfits to somehow bring down the Assad government. 

Multitude of links inside the articles.

Eva Nartlett speaks to Sean Stone

The above from a few months ago.

Hiroyuki Hamada at DissidentVoice
How Much Does It Cost to Tell a Lie That Big?

It was quite expected but I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that the US backed propaganda organization, the White Helmets, has effectively received an Oscar for the short documentary film about them.  Which, of course, indicates that it is not just acceptable to twist facts and call a group of people with documented criminal activities “heroes”, but it is acceptable to award them with cultural, artistic and humanistic recognition.  And it is all for the sake of waging a colonial war against a country that does not quite follow the imperial ways.

How much does it cost to tell a lie that big?  What is the human price of making people complicit in a project of death and suffering?  What consequences do we pay in erasing facts and twisting history when we regard ourselves as cultural beings? But all these questions are perhaps trivial compared to the 500,000 deaths, displacements of half of the population, and all the destruction inflicted by the imperial assault against Syria so far.

This is a huge operation involving many layers of the establishment and the society at large.  How can so many people claim to be blind to the facts and accept the lies and deceptions?

The western governments lie about the power dynamics on the ground in Syria while supporting proxy terrorists.  The media parrot the official narratives and promote fabrications of facts and analyses. Artists contribute by making up stories to help people visualize the lies as a part of a manufactured “reality”. All these efforts are supported by the financial interests that profit from the war efforts and the subsequent neoliberal colonization of Syria.  And we must note that Syria is only an example among such nations as Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Nicaragua, Ukraine and many others........

Brandon Tuberville at his blog
White Helmets Stand In Solidarity With al-Qaeda -
Hold Citizens Hostage In Damascus With No Water - Still Worthy Of A Peace Prize?
Only a short time after the terrorist support group known as the White Helmets, thoroughly exposed and discredited by the alternative media, were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, the true nature of the organization is on display yet again. This time, the water crisis in Damascus represents the fake humanitarian organization’s time to shine.

Shortly after the liberation of Aleppo, al-Qaeda fighters in the Barada Valley outside Damascus dumped diesel fuel into the water supply to the city on December 22. Obviously, this made the water supply impossible to consume and, on December 23, the Syrian military launched a campaign to retake the area and to restore the city’s water supply.

According to the Moon of Alabama website, photos were even posted online showing the water treatment plant rigged with explosives but those photos were, according to MOA, removed from the internet....

SouthFront at BSNews
Volunteers by day, terrorists by night: The double life of White Helmets
Volunteers of the White Helmets civil defense organization have a double life: they are ‘volunteers’ by day and terrorists by night.

Photos, published online, reveal ‘the second life’ of volunteers of the White Helmets civil defense organization that operates throughout the Syrian territory, controlled by the ‘moderate’ opposition.

According to the photos, the volunteers spend one part of their lives, providing assistance to civilian population, and then transform into members of terrorist groups and shoot at the same civilians.

The White Helmets, also known as the Syrian Civil Defense (SCD), was founded in early 2013 by British security consultant James Le Mesurier. The organization is supported by Mayday Rescue, a foundation, registered in the Netherlands. The SCD was created as “a response to indiscriminate bombardment of civilian communities in rebel-held areas by the Syrian Arab Air Force.” However, according to an official statement, the mission of the White Helmets is “to save the greatest number of lives in the shortest possible time and to minimize further injury to people and damage to property.”.......

From JournalNeo
Clooney and the “White Helmets,” Dupe or Dope?
George Clooney, one of Hollywood’s biggest box office names, a man with pretentions for the presidency for sure and sworn enemy of President-elect Donald Trump, has announced plans to make a film honoring Syria’s White Helmets. To the much of the public subjected to fake and censored news, the White Helmets are heroes. Always in areas controlled by “moderate opposition” or, quite frankly outright terrorists like ISIS and the group formerly named Jabat al Nusra, this organization has been lauded as the savior of the Syrian people from the beastly depredations of the “regime” and its “brutal dictator,” Assad.

The truth is something a bit different, a truth it would have taken Clooney only a few moments on the internet to discover, that or the most minimal research, which he either did or didn’t do. If he didn’t do the research, he is a dupe, meaning he has been fooled into supporting a terrorist group against a legitimate democratically elected government for purposes of protecting and supporting paid mercenary murders. Sound harsh? Probably not harsh enough as we will get into shortly.

The other possibility, of course, is that Clooney is buying his way into politics by making friends with the same ultra-rightest groups that founded the White Helmets and have used similar fronts with the same roots, as we will show, to propagandize color revolutions that have turned into disaster after disaster. From Vanessa Beeley for Global Research:
The western media mythology goes as follows:

    “They are made up of former bakers, builders, taxi drivers, students, teachers, pretty much anything apart from rescue workers,” according to the much repeated phrase used by their British ex-military, USAR (Urban Search & Rescue) trainer,James Le Mesurier who specialises in outsourcing warfare – the kind of private security operations exemplified by the likes ofBlackwater (now known as Academi) and DynCorp, and other well-known global suppliers of mercenaries and CIA outreach assassination experts.

    Running operations through Blackwater gave the CIA the power to have people abducted, or killed, with no one in the government being exactly responsible. ~ The Atlantic, 2012

    White Helmets founder Le Mesurier, who graduated from Britain’s elite Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, is said to be an ‘ex’ British military intelligence officer involved in a number of other NATO ‘humanitarian intervention’ theatres of war, including Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq, as well as postings in Lebanon and Palestine. He also boasts a series of high-profile posts at the UN, EU, and UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Not to mention his connections back to the infamous Blackwater (Academi)......

From MoonOfAlabama
Al-Qaeda Gets An Oscar

Hollywood is all about fake. That is what movies are - fake depictions of a fake reality that only exist in the mind of scriptwriters, directors and a usually gullible audience. (Disclosure: I do like some movies.)

Hollywood has never been shy of plagiarizing. Every idea, tale of cinematographic trick that made a splash somewhere - and is thereby a potential money generator - will get copied again and again. Every successful make gets a remake. And another one.

In 2015 the promoting host of the Miss Universe franchise "misread" the name of the winner. He announced "Columbia" when the chosen winner was "Philippines". After he few minutes he "corrected" himself. That "mistake" brought a lot of additional media attention - and financial value - to the event owner.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the U.S. marketing and lobby organization of the movie makers, hands out some yearly rewards arranged to promote specific movies or persons in the movie business. The academy award ceremony is a rather boring event but it gets a lot of hype and media attention (and thereby generates lots of advertisement revenue).

To further increase its value this years event plagiarized the idea of the Miss Universe promoters. One of the hosts announced the wrong winning movie for some category and then reversed himself to announce a different "real" winner. It was a "mistake" just as surely as Hollywood's latest movie was a description of real life.

Those without memory went into the desired frenzy, the insiders yawned. "Oh, that clumsy fake again."

One of this years prices went to a fake "documentary" about a fake "rescuer" group which makes and distributes fake videos, staged photos and fake victims of the war on Syria. These al-Qaeda propaganda sidekicks, the White Helmets, are a British disinformation operation that is financed by more than $100 million of U.S. and UK taxpayer money. Its general task is to convince the "western" public that the war on Syria is justified because of the "cruelty of the Syrian government" which the fakes intend to establish in the mind of its consumers.

Hollywood never was shy of taking government money to promote war on this or that country or "enemy". The Pentagon's liaison office in Hollywood finances many movies. If there are some tanks needed and military heroes in a script the Pentagon will organize the props, real tanks and soldiers, at no cost - provided of course that it can read and "correct" the script the way it sees fit. The makers of "Top Gun" need planes, air craft carriers and lots of explosions? No problem at all and at no costs to the producers. In exchange military recruitment staff will wait to trap moviegoers when they leave the theaters. Congress will happily pass the money for more useless planes......

Rick Sterling at ConsortiumNews
Syrian War Propaganda at the Oscars
The Western-backed war in Syria, like the invasion of Iraq, was so smothered by propaganda that truth was not only the first casualty but has been steadily suffocated for five years, now reaching the Oscars, says Rick Sterling.
The Netflix movie “The White Helmets” may win an Oscar in the “short documentary” category at the Academy Awards on Sunday. It would not be a surprise despite the fact that the group is a fraud and the movie is a contrived infomercial.
Awarding “The White Helmets” an Oscar would fit with the desire of Hollywood to appear supportive of “human rights,” even if that means supporting a propaganda operation to justify another bloody “regime change” war in the Middle East.

Much of what people think they know about the White Helmets is untrue. The group is not primarily Syrian; it was initiated by British military contractor James LeMesurier and has been heavily funded (about $100 million) by the U.S., U.K. and other governments. The White Helmets are not volunteers; they are paid, which is confirmed in a Al Jazeera video that shows some White Helmet “volunteers” talking about going on strike if they don’t get paid soon.

Still, most of the group’s heavy funding goes to marketing, which is run by “The Syria Campaign” based in New York. The manager is an Irish-American, Anna Nolan, who has never been to Syria. As an example of its deception, “The Syria Campaign” website features video showing children dancing and playing soccer implying they are part of the opposition demand for a “free and peaceful” Syria. But the video images are taken from a 2010 BBC documentary about education in Syria under the Baath government......

Thursday, March 2, 2017

What some Canadian investigative journalists, NOT from the MSM, have to say about Syria

Eva Bartlett at GlobalResearch
Video: War on Syria: Manufactured Revolution and Fake Media Narrative
Canadian independent journalist Eva Bartlett is the object of a smear campaign by Canada’s mainstream media.

Listen to what she has to say and then decide who is telling the truth.

The mainstream media denies the existence of terrorists linked to Al Qaeda.

According to mainstream sources, there were no terrorists in Aleppo.

Al Qaeda and the Islamic State are supported by US-NATO, Saudi Arabia and Israel. They are the state-sponsors of terrorism. We are dealing with a war of aggression. Eva Bartlett provides detailed evidence of  war crimes.

The following video interview by Global Research TV was conducted in Montreal in January in the context of Eva Bartlett’s Canada speaking tour.

It is followed by her presentation at the Montreal venue. (M.Ch, GR Editor)

Mark Tailiana and Sarah Abed at GlobalResearch
Syria: The Criminal Empire’s Strategy Of Divide, Conquer, and Destroy
Part One of a Series

The US-led coalition of war criminals is using elements of Syria’s Kurdish population to achieve the U.S Empire’s goal of destroying the non-belligerent, democratic country of Syria, led by its hugely popular, democratically-elected President, Bashar al-Assad. [1]

Empire seeks to create sectarianism and ethnic divides in a country that, prior to the Western-launched criminal dirty war, had neither.

President al-Assad is well aware of the imperial forces behind the mercenaries invading his

country. In a speech to the newly elected members of the People’s Assembly of Syria (Syria’s

Parliament) on 7 June 2016[2], he elaborated upon the modus operandi of the invaders:

• They seek to attack the constitution by means of a so-called “transition” stage.

• They seek to destroy the two pillars of the government: the army and the diverse, national, pan-Arab and religious identity of Syrians.

• They seek to rebrand the savage terrorists as “moderates” and then to eternally provide them with a cover of legitimacy.

• They seek to create chaos, sectarianism, and ethnic enclaves that turn the people’s commitment from the homeland to conflicting groups that seek help from foreigners against their own people.

• They seek to be branded as “humanitarian” and “protectors” to save the people from (externally engineered) conflict and misery.

By imposing economic and armed terrorism on Syrians, by waging a phony war against their own terrorist proxies (including ISIS and al Qaeda), by creating sectarian and ethnic tensions, and by destroying Syria’s infrastructure — including water and electrical infrastructure — the Western, Zionist, and GCC agencies of terrorism seek to be perceived as saviours, humanitarians and protectors, who can then introduce the “free market” of international capital, which will be the coup de grâce to effect the final destruction of the host country. And mainstream fake news provides the criminal warmongers with on-going, 24/7 cover to commit their war crimes.

Syrian-American Sarah Abed, was born in Al Qamishly and has lived in both the USA and Syria throughout her life. She makes frequent trips back and forth. Sarah is in direct daily contact with family and friends that reside in different parts of Syria. Sarah conducted and translated an interview with a close family friend, “Samir”, who lives in Syria and is well informed about the conditions on the ground.

Samir’s commentaries are consistent with President Assad’s assessment of the Imperialists’ strategy of “divide and conquer”:....

Turkey's days are numbered as long as Erdogan leads it

Some of the news items from Feb 2017 that tell us all is not ok in Turkey and likely to keep getting worse.

If not for USA, Russia, UK, France and Germany backing the despot in power, Erdogan's government would have fallen by now.

Mother with 6-month-old baby detained in Balıkesir, 
sent to Tekirdağ for interrogation
Ayşe Büyükgezici, the mother of a six-month-old baby boy, was reportedly detained in Balıkesir over alleged links to the Gülen movement and sent to Tekirdağ for interrogation, a city located some 200 kilometers from where she was detained.

According to the TR724 news website, as part of an investigation launched by Tekirdağ prosecutor Sedat Taş, Büyükgezici was put under detention with her baby last week and had spent three nights in a Balıkesir jail. Upon the prosecutor’s demand, she was transferred to Tekirdağ for further interrogation on Saturday.

According to the report, Büyükgezici was detained after one of her relatives filed a complaint alleging that she had secret relations with the movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15.
Büyükgezici was reportedly released pending trial on Sunday.....

Report: Police chief sets up teams to torture post-coup detainees

Zonguldak Police Chief Osman Ak, who was appointed to his post with a decree issued by the Turkish government after a coup attempt on July 15, has ordered that teams composed of police officers be set up to torture people detained over links to the Gülen movement, the reported on Monday.

According to the report, victims detained by the torture teams are taken to either a police station or a mountain area for interrogation.

One of the team’s victims, identified by the initials A.T., told the news website that he was in detention for 28 days and that he had been beaten every single day until he fainted.....

German reporter arrested in Turkey

Turkish authorities arrested a correspondent for the Die Welt newspaper, Deniz Yucel, on charges of propaganda in support of a terrorist organisation and inciting the public to violence, according to a court witness.

Authorities initially detained Yucel on Feb. 14 after he reported on emails that a leftist hacker collective had purportedly obtained from the private account of Berat Albayrak, Turkey's energy minister and the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On Monday, an Istanbul court ordered Yucel, a dual citizen of Turkey and Germany, jailed pending trial, a witness at the court told Reuters....

855 detained, 48 arrested in post-coup operations in past week: ministry

A total of 855 people were detained, with 48 of them put under arrest, in operations targeting the faith-based Gülen movement over the past week, according to a statement from Turkey’s Interior Ministry on Monday.

The detentions and arrests took place between Feb. 21 and 27....

The hypocrisy of the MSM all too crystal clear on its reportage of ongoing Mosul battles

Have you noticed how US and Iraqi missiles and bombs don't kill civilians in Mosul but even when they do, that info is hidden well into some foggy paragraph and unless you have plenty of time on your hands to read through the entire item, you are not likely to see it at all? Whereas, Russian and Syrian missiles and bombs along with Syria's non-existent poison gases kill civilians in their thousands all over the Syrian landscape .... as blared out by the MSM's headlines.

Darius Shahtahmasebi at RonPaul Institute
US-Backed Siege of Mosul Shows How Hypocritical Media Manipulates Us

In order to determine the truth when it comes to the mainstream media’s coverage of American-led offensives in the Middle East, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of any article. This is where the most important information can be found. As can be seen in a BBC report on the U.S.-backed offensive to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State, the last line of the article reads:

    The UN said in late January that almost half of all the casualties in Mosul were civilians. At least 1,096 have been killed and 694 injured across Nineveh province since the start of October. [emphasis added]

Compared with a separate BBC report on the Russian-backed offensive to retake the Syrian city of Aleppo, the media’s coverage of these two military operations can hardly be viewed as balanced. In that report, the idea that Russia is constantly killing civilians is laid out in almost every paragraph.

A spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reportedly told Russian state-owned news site RT that the situation in Mosul is “incredibly desperate.”

In Mosul, 650,000 civilians are reportedly at risk, and as the U.N. has indicated, half of those being killed in the US-backed operation are civilians. The notion that American bombs are safer and more precise than Russia’s has no evidentiary basis, nor does any suggestion that the troops the US military is fighting alongside are less violent than Russian or Syrian authorities. In fact, the troops fighting alongside the US in Iraq are more or less aligned with those attempting to liberate parts of Syria from terrorist groups, anyway. This demonstrates America’s completely bipolar approach to the Middle East given the US has consistently opposed advances made by these troops in Syria.

In a press briefing, the Pentagon’s Baghdad-based spokesperson, Colonel John Dorrian, admitted that American troops on the front lines have come under fire in Iraq. The Trump Administration, with full knowledge of this, is nonetheless reportedly considering a “long-term commitment” to Iraq..........

Watching the Hawks on "US Islamophobia's Patient Zero"

Interesting episode

So ... what makes Trudeau's new FM Chrystia Freeland hate Russia with a vengeance?

Could it be that there's a bonafide Nazi somewhere in her closet that makes her hate Russia because without Russia the end of the WWII was questionable and who knows we might all have had to speak German by now? Nazis hated the Russians for the trouncing they got every single time they went against them and there are many still with the same Nazi ideology (look at Ukrainian nationalists with their feet planted firmly in the sewer of  Nazi-era admiration) who continue to intensely hate Russia and everything Russian.

Anna Tsukanova at ConsortiumNews
A Nazi Skeleton in the family closet
replaced Foreign Minister Stephane Dion with Chrystia Freeland, a former journalist proud of her Ukrainian roots and well-known for her hostility toward Russia. At the time, a big question in Ottawa was why. Some analysts believed that Trudeau’s decision may have started when it still seemed likely that Hillary Clinton would become the new U.S. president and a tough line against Moscow was expected in Washington.

However, by the time the switch was made, Donald Trump was on his way into the White House and Trudeau’s choice meant that Canada was allying itself more with the mounting hostility toward Russia inside the European Union than with President Trump’s hopes for a more cooperative relationship with the Kremlin. With Freeland running Canada’s Foreign Ministry, the chance for a shared view between Ottawa and Washington suddenly seemed remote.

People who have followed Freeland’s career were aware that her idée fixe for decades has been that Ukraine must be ripped out of the Russian sphere of influence. Her views fit with the intense Ukrainian nationalism of her maternal grandparents who immigrated to Canada after World War II and whom she has portrayed as victims of Josef Stalin and the Red Army.

So, Freeland celebrated the Soviet collapse in 1991, which enabled Ukraine to gain its independence. Freeland, then in her early 20s, was working in Kiev as a stringer for The Financial Times and The Washington Post, shining with delight over the emergence of a “New Ukraine.”..............

.....Freeland’s Grandfather

According to Canadian sources, Chomiak graduated from Lviv University in western Ukraine with a Master’s Degree in Law and Political Science. He began a career with the Galician newspaper Dilo (Action), published in Lviv. After the start of World War II, the Nazi administration appointed Chomiak to be editor of the newspaper Krakivski Visti (News of Krakow).

So the truth appears to be that Chomiak moved from Ukraine to Nazi-occupied Poland in order to work for the Third Reich under the command of Governor-General Hans Frank, the man who organized the Holocaust in Poland. Chomiak’s work was directly supervised by Emil Gassner, the head of the press department in the Polish General Government......

Monday, February 27, 2017

Mexico .... Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary

This cathedral is the largest in the Americas.  It was built in sections and took nearly 3 centuries to complete, starting from 1573 and finally completing the structure which has 14 chapels within it and two massive bell towers, in 1813. 

Pics from my camera.

Mexico .... The murals of Diego Rivera in the National Palace, Mexico City

Time constraints did not allow us to visit all the main venues showing off the Rivera murals, however, the ones we saw were very satisfying and we came away knowing why Diego Rivera is known as one of the greatest muralists ever. The details in his murals are so vivid and each little area seems to be loaded with a  tome of  Mexican history,  pre-colonial, during and after.  Simply wonderful!

Some pics from my camera are below.  The websites at bottom have extensive pics and wonderful titbits on the murals.

In a small segment of an extensive mural, Diego Rivera shows the much hated Bishop Diego de Landa, the burner of the Mayan codices and other works,



Mexico's Teotihuacan ... the city of pyramids

Teotihuacan means "the place where the gods were created" ... that the name the Aztecs gave the place when they first saw the city and stood there awe-struck at the size and beauty of the place. 

We have yet to discover the original builders of this city full of imposing pyramids. There are three main pyramids, the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon and the Temple of the Feathered Serpent (Quetzalcoatl).

This marvellous site whose secrets, including the identity of the peoples who actually built the pyramids and lived  in the city thousands of years ago, remains a mystery.  Archeologists and researchers are still trying to figure out the actual age of  the city and there are several who say the more accurate dating will go back perhaps thousands of years than the previous estimation of  between 900-1150 CE. 

It wasn't the Aztecs who were the builders, the Aztecs found the city, mostly intact ... but without its rightful occupants

Pics from my vacation in Mexico.

If you want to know more about Teotihuacan, below a couple of sites worth visiting
Aztec History

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Tracking Turkey for the month of January 2017

Tracking Turkey's downfall into a worse fate than the one Erdogan planned for Syria. 

2 injured after gunmen attack
restaurant in Istanbul – media
At least two people were injured in a gun attack on a restaurant in Istanbul’s Fatih district, local media reports. Police are looking for the suspects who fled the scene, Turkish news outlets say. ...

Turkey orders arrest of hundreds of businessmen in Gulenist purge
Warrants for 380 said to have backed imam who president claims was behind failed coup

From FT
Turkey orders arrest of hundreds of businessmen in Gulenist purge
Warrants for 380 said to have backed imam who president claims was behind failed coup

Al Nusra becomes PKK/PYD pawn
Experts say the west is distracting Turkey by throwing Al Nusra in front of them as a pawn to protect the PKK/PYD, and the recent assaults prove terrorists are working jointly against Turkey
Turkey launched the Euphrates Shield Operation on August 24 in Syria to ensure its border security and combat terrorist groups, such as Daesh and the PKK, lingering near its borders.

The Euphrates Shield Operation has yielded significant results in Al-Bab, pushing forward into the Daesh stronghold. Upon capturing Al-Bab from Daesh, Turkish officials announced that the next target would be Manbij and Afrin in order to clear the area of PKK and PYD terrorists.

The Democratic Union Party (PYD) is a faction of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) terrorist group, which has waged an armed war against Turkey for over 30 years.

Upon announcing the new direction of the Euphrates Shield Operation, Turkey has been encouraged by the U.S. to target Al Nusra instead....

From Yenisafak
Additional footage of gunman behind Istanbul attack released
New footage of the gunman responsible for Istanbul's New Year's Eve terror attack emerges
New footage of the gunman responsible for Istanbul's New Year's Eve terror attack at the Reina nightclub in Ortaköy has emerged.

In footage obtained by Yeni Safak daily, it has been revealed that the gunman left his house at 10:49 p.m.

The identity of the gunman has not been made known to the public. The gunman is allegedly Uyghur, and moved to Konya with his family in November 2016. His family has been taken into custody.....

Jan 12
Terror charges could get HDP leader life in prison
HDP Co-Chair Figen Yüksekdag accused of spreading terrorist propaganda and supporting separatism
Prosecutors are seeking life in prison for an opposition party co-leader on charges of disrupting the unity and territorial integrity of the state and spreading terrorist propaganda, according to judicial sources....

Turkey issues arrest warrants for 243 military members 
in post-coup probe: Anadolu
Turkish prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for 243 members of the military in 54 provinces across the country, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Wednesday, in a probe following July's failed coup.

Anadolu said the suspects were being sought on suspicion they were using Bylock, an encrypted smartphone messaging app that the government says was used by the network of Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based cleric accused by Ankara of orchestrating the attempted coup....

Turkey opposition fears 'dictatorship'
At President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's behest, the ruling AKP party wants to introduce a presidential system in Turkey. The country's political opposition is up in arms.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu doesn't mince his words. The head of the biggest Turkish opposition party, the CHP, believes that the introduction of a presidential system in the country would be tantamount to establishing a "dictatorship."

One thing seems clear: If Turkey were transformed from a parliamentary democracy to a presidential system under Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it would mean the strongman at the head of the country would become even more powerful.

A state of emergency has been in place in Turkey since the attempted coup last July, meaning that President Erdogan is able to rule by decree. At present, parliament has to approve these decrees retrospectively. Under the proposed presidential system, this parliamentary control would be dropped.

Added to this, the head of state would also be the head of government. In this position, Erdogan would be responsible for naming and removing all of his deputies and ministers. He would no longer be represented by the head of parliament but by his vice-presidents, and could decide for himself how many of these there would be.....

Turkey: 2 dead in explosion near courthouse in Izmir
Police killed two assailants, according to Izmir Gov. Erol Ayyildiz, who blamed the militant Kurdistan Worker's Party or PKK, for the attack.
So far, there has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.
On Thursday, police had stopped a suspicious vehicle at a checkpoint in front of the courthouse, which led to an armed clash between attackers and security forces, Ayyildiz said. During the clash, the attackers "detonated a car bomb as they tried to escape," he told reporters.
The attackers were armed with Kalashnikov rifles and grenades, Ayyildiz said. ....

Jan 27
Turkey threatens to cancel migrant deal after Greece ruling
Ankara considering scrapping deal to retake illegal migrants landing in Greece after Greek Supreme Court refuses to extradite eight soldiers suspected of involvement in July’s failed military coup.
ANKARA -Turkey on Friday threatened to abandon a key pillar of a deal with the EU to reduce the migrant flow after Greece blocked the extradition of alleged coup suspects.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara was considering scrapping a "readmission agreement" under which Turkey has been taking in migrants sent back across the Aegean after landing illegally in Greece.

His remarks followed Thursday's decision by the Greek Supreme Court not to hand over eight former military officers wanted in connection with last year's failed putsch in a move which angered Ankara.....

Jan 29
Education ministry suspends 11,285 personnel for PKK links

Thousands of teachers in southeastern Turkey, suspected of being connected to the PKK Terrorist Organization, become debarred
A total of 11,285 personnel of the Turkish Education Ministry have been suspended on Thursday for their alleged links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) terrorist organization.

The move comes days after the Turkish Prime Minister had announced some 14,000 teachers serving in the southeastern region were somehow associated with terrorism.

The figure is expected to escalate, as the PM had vowed that all teachers associated with the PKK terror group would be suspended....

UK's BAE Systems in deal with Turkey
to develop new Turkish fighter jets
Britain's BAE Systems on Saturday signed a deal with Turkey's national aerospace firm to develop a new generation of Turkish fighter jets, the British government said in a statement.

Under the deal signed in Ankara during a visit by British Prime Minister Theresa May, BAE Systems and state-owned Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) will establish a partnership for the development of the TF-X fighter jet.

Commenting on the agreement, May said it indicated that "Britain is a great, global, trading nation and that we are open for business", after the Brexit vote saw the country seeking new partners for trade....

Turkey jails HDP deputy co-chair Aysel Tugluk

Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy co-chair Aysel Tugluk has been arrested tonight after appearing in court in Diyarbakir.

A twice former MP of the HDP's predecessor Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Tugluk was detained on Monday in a house raid in Ankara.

According to reports Tugluk has been arrested on charges of being the "member of an illegal organisation", namely the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

12 HDP deputies are awaiting trial in custody on alleged terrorism related charges....

Cartoons .... they are all about the new US prez

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Some News, Views and Opinions from the Alternative Media ... week ending Jan 29

Robert Parry at ConsortiumNews
Trump Lets Saudis Off His ‘Muslim Ban’

Exclusive: By leaving Saudi Arabia and other key terrorism sponsors off his “Muslim ban,” President Trump shows the same cowardice and dishonesty that infected the Bush and Obama administrations, writes Robert Parry.

President Trump’s ban against letting people from seven mostly Muslim countries enter the United States looks to many like a thinly concealed bias against a religion, but it also is a troubling sign that Trump doesn’t have the nerve to challenge the false terrorism narrative demanded by Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The Israeli-Saudi narrative, which is repeated endlessly inside Official Washington, is that Iran is the principal sponsor of terrorism when that dubious honor clearly falls to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Sunni-led Muslim states, including Pakistan, nations that did not make Trump’s list.

The evidence of who is funding and supporting most of the world’s terrorism is overwhelming. All major terrorist groups that have bedeviled the United States and the West over the past couple of decades – from Al Qaeda to the Taliban to Islamic State – can trace their roots back to Sunni-led countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Qatar.....

F William Engdahl at NEO Journal
Rex Tillerson and the Myths, Lies and Oil Wars to Come

Rex Tillerson, former CEO of the ExxonMobil oil colossus is not designated Secretary of State because of his diplomatic experience. He is there because clearly the Trump Project of those Patriarchs behind Trump–ones such as Warren Buffett, David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger and others–want a person from Big Oil guiding American foreign policy the coming four years. Already as President, Trump has given the green light to the controversial KeystoneXL pipelines that will not ship US oil, but costly Canada Tar Sands sludge. His EPA plans a friendly stance to the environmental hazards of shale oil production. But most essential, with Secretary Tillerson, the US plans a major reorganization of control over oil, reminding of the oft-cited Kissinger statement, “If you control the oil you control entire nations or groups of nations.”

I want to give here a personal account of the change in my own belief about the genesis of hydrocarbons as I feel it will become increasingly important in the near future to grasp precisely what the Oil Game of the Big Four Anglo-American oil giants–ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and BP–is truly about. It’s about creating myths, lies and ultimately oil wars based on those myths and lies.

It was during the period in late 2002 as it became clear that the Bush-Cheney US Administration was determined to destroy Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein. How a US government could risk a potential break with its European and other major allies for any real or imagined threat from Iraq at that point puzzled me greatly. There must be a deeper ground, I told myself.

Then a friend sent me an article from a now-defunct website, From The Wilderness, founded by the late Mike Ruppert. The article laid out a major argument as to how the volume of oil in the ground was finite and disappearing rapidly. It argued that the single largest oil field in history, Ghawar in Saudi Arabia, was so depleted that it needed water injection of millions of barrels daily to get an ever declining output of crude oil. They argued that Russia was past the “peak” in its oil. They illustrated their notion with the famous Gaussian bell curve graph. The world, after more than a Century in the hydrocarbon era, had consumed so much oil that we were near to “absolute peak.” Or so they claimed.

Absolute Peak?
I dug deeper, found other articles on the peak oil theme. It seemed to offer an explanation for the mad Iraq War. After all, Iraq according to estimates had the world’s second largest undeveloped reserves of oil after Saudi Arabia. If oil was in such short supply, it would offer an explanation......

Robert Roth at GlobalResearch
What’s Really Happening in Syria: Who Started the War,
Who Can You Trust to Tell the Truth?
A Consumer Fraud Lawyer’s Mini-Primer
If you try to follow events in the mainstream media (MSM), you may have noticed that they routinely refer to Syrian president Bashar al Assad as a “brutal dictator”. Assad is supposed to have responded to peaceful protests with repressive violence and by “killing his own people”. The U.S., UK, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar continue to maintain that “Assad must go”.

I disagree with all of that, as I’ll explain in this article.

I spent 25 years prosecuting lies in commerce for the attorneys general of New York and Oregon. I prepared this primer to help you cut through the lies and get at the truth about Syria.

It’s still quite possible that a nuclear war could arise from careless U.S./NATO confrontations with Russia in Syria. President-elect Trump has indicated he favors a cooperative relationship with Russia, but he will face continuing pressure from the Deep State, neocons, and apparently, the media, to continue the New Cold War that was initiated in Ukraine. And the demonization of Russian president Putin and of Russia itself has been going on for some time and shows no sign of letting up.1 So in addition to the suffering of the Syrian people, which has been horrific and continues as I write, the conflict in Syria also poses a serious threat to all of us.

Apart from this introduction and some other brief statements of my own, most of this article is a string of excerpts from the excellent work of other people I’ve come to trust and citations or links to sources for further information and analysis.....

From Telsur
Rex Tillerson Already Talking Regime Change in Venezuela

The secretary of state nominee attacked both Venezuela and Cuba.

The new U.S. administration of Donald Trump has made it public that it will seek a regime change policy in Venezuela disguised in “transition to democracy” rhetoric, the country’s potential new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in an interview this week.
“If confirmed, I would urge close cooperation with our friends in the hemisphere, particularly Venezuela’s neighbors Brazil and Colombia, as well as multilateral bodies such as the OAS, to seek a negotiated transition to democratic rule in Venezuela,” the former executive in ExxonMobil told Latin America Goes Global.

He further claimed that the economic crisis in the oil-rich South American country was “largely a product of its incompetent and dysfunctional government, first under Hugo Chavez, and now under his designated successor, Nicolas Maduro.”

The government of President Maduro has, however, blamed the recent crisis on an economic war by right-wing politicians as well as corporations who are hoarding products and halting production to put pressure on the socialist administration.

Meanwhile, Tillerson struck a less aggressive tone when pressed about how he would deal with the standoff between the government and the opposition-led national assembly in Venezuela.....

Andre Vltchek at InformationClearingHouse
The Philippines in the Center of Asian Realignment
Philippines, for decades a limping invalid, poor and suffering from countless ailments, is now suddenly finding itself at the vanguard, reshuffling the entire Asia Pacific, sending Western imperialists packing.

In Manila, where the US used to roam unopposed, now Russian warships are calling on goodwill and symbolic visits.

On January 6 2017, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte boarded the Russian anti-submarine combat vessel Admiral Tributs, chatted with its officers, and then declared, loudly and clearly: “Friends, long live! That’s from the heart; I hope you can come back more often.”

Definitely, Russians will be happy to come back!....

Emerson Urry at EnvironNews
It’s Finally Here: Radioactive Plume From Fukushima Makes Landfall 
Tillamook County, Oregon — Seaborne cesium 134, the so-called “fingerprint of Fukushima,” has been detected on US shores for the first time researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) said this month. WHOI is a crowd-funded science seawater sampling project, that has been monitoring the radioactive plume making its way across the Pacific to America’s west coast, from the demolished Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in eastern Japan. The seawater samples were taken from the shores of Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach, and were actually obtained in January and February of 2016 and tested later in the year. In other strikingly similar news reported last month, researchers at the Fukushima InFORM project in Canada, led by University of Victoria chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen, said they sampled a sockeye salmon from Okanagan Lake in British Columbia that tested positive for cesium 134 as well. Multiple other reports have circulated online, mostly in alternative media outlets, and mostly not corroborated by any tangible measurement data, that point to cases of possible radioactive contamination of Canadian salmon, but EnviroNews Oregon has not independently confirmed any of these claims........

Jeremy Scahill at TheIntercept
Seymour Hersh Blasts Media for Uncritically Promoting Russian Hacking Story
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh said in an interview that he does not believe the U.S. intelligence community proved its case that President Vladimir Putin directed a hacking campaign aimed at securing the election of Donald Trump. He blasted news organizations for lazily broadcasting the assertions of U.S. intelligence officials as established facts.

Hersh denounced news organizations as “crazy town” for their uncritical promotion of the pronouncements of the director of national intelligence and the CIA, given their track records of lying and misleading the public.

“The way they behaved on the Russia stuff was outrageous,” Hersh said when I sat down with him at his home in Washington, D.C., two days after Trump was inaugurated. “They were just so willing to believe stuff. And when the heads of intelligence give them that summary of the allegations, instead of attacking the CIA for doing that, which is what I would have done,” they reported it as fact. Hersh said most news organizations missed an important component of the story: “the extent to which the White House was going and permitting the agency to go public with the assessment.”

Hersh said many media outlets failed to provide context when reporting on the intelligence assessment made public in the waning days of the Obama administration that was purported to put to rest any doubt that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking of the DNC and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s emails....

Ron Paul

Daniel C Maguire at ConsortiumNews
Calling a Lie a Lie in the Age of Trump

The L word is suddenly center stage as Trump’s presidency begins. No surprise there, given the river of falsehoods flowing from the administration and his devious cabinet misfits. Journalists scruple about the propriety of calling a lie a lie, especially when the liar is the President of the United States. The New York Times made news by calling one of Trump’s manifest falsehoods a lie. National Public Radio, perhaps wary about federal funding, shies from the word.

Underlying all this is broad public confusion as to just what a lie is. The Oxford English Dictionary oversimplifies it by saying that a lie is “a false statement made with intent to deceive.” Let ethics come to the rescue. Telling the Gestapo that the Frank family had left Amsterdam (even though you were actually bringing them food on a daily basis) would not earn you the moral stigma of “a liar.”

And that is the point. “Lie” and “liar” are not neutral words. Sometimes you have a moral obligation to deceive as when someone intent on murder asks if you know the location of his intended victim. Truth-telling in that case would be lethal; intentional deception is mandatory....

From GreanvillePost
As much of Washington prepared
 for the inauguration of President Donald Trump, I spent last week on a fact-finding mission in Syria and Lebanon to see and hear directly from the Syrian people. Their lives have been consumed by a horrific war that has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians and forced millions to flee their homeland in search of peace. It is clear now more than ever: this regime change war does not serve America’s interest, and it certainly isn’t in the interest of the Syrian people.
We met these children at a shelter in Aleppo, whose families fled the eastern part of the city. The only thing these kids want, the only thing everyone I came across wants, is peace. Many of these children have only known war. Their families want nothing more than to go home, and get back to the way things were before the war to overthrow the government started. This is all they want.....

How can building a wall help when the bulk of the so called "illegal immigrants" come legally via valid visit visas and through US airports and then stay put in
US?  If Trump wants to compete with China's Great Wall why can't he just come out and say so.

Gareth Porter at InformationClearingHouse
US Intervention in Syria? Not Under Trump

 A new coalition of US-based organizations is pushing for a more aggressive U.S. intervention against the Assad regime. But both the war in Syria and politics in the United States have shifted dramatically against this objective.

When it was formed last July, the coalition hoped that a Hillary Clinton administration would pick up its proposals for a more forward stance in support of the anti-Assad armed groups. But with Donald Trump in office instead, the supporters of a U.S. war in Syria now have little or no chance of selling the idea.

One of the ways the group is adjusting to the new political reality is to package its proposal for deeper U.S. military engagement on behalf of U.S.-supported armed groups as part of a plan to counter Al Qaeda, now calling itself Jabhat Fateh al Sham.

But that rationale depends on a highly distorted presentation of the problematic relations between Syria’s supposedly “moderate” rebel groups and Al Qaeda’s Syrian offshoot.

The “Combating al-Qaeda in Syria Strategy Group” was formed last July by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), according to the policy paper distributed at an event at the Atlantic Council on Jan. 12.....

From RonPaulInstitute
Trump’s Foreign Policy: An Unwise Inconsistency?

Throughout the presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s foreign policy positions have been anything but consistent. One day we heard that NATO was obsolete and the US needs to pursue better relations with Russia. But the next time he spoke, these sensible positions were abandoned or an opposite position was taken. Trump’s inconsistent rhetoric left us wondering exactly what kind of foreign policy he would pursue if elected.

The President’s inaugural speech was no different. On the one hand it was very encouraging when he said that under his Administration the US would “seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world,” and that he understands the “right of all nations to put their own interests first.” He sounded even better when he said that under Trump the US would “not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.” That truly would be a first step toward peace and prosperity.

However in the very next line he promised a worldwide war against not a country, but an ideology, when he said he would, “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.” This inconsistent and dangerous hawkishess will not defeat “radical Islamic terrorism,” but rather it will increase it. Terrorism is not a place, it is a tactic in reaction to invasion and occupation by outsiders, as Professor Robert Pape explained in his important book, Dying to Win.

The neocons repeat the lie that ISIS was formed because the US military pulled out of Iraq instead of continuing its occupation. But where was ISIS before the US attack on Iraq? Nowhere. ISIS was a reaction to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. The same phenomenon has been repeated wherever US interventionist actions have destabilized countries and societies....

Jim Kavanagh at CounterPunch
Game Change: Syria, Interrupted
The recapture of Aleppo by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies marks a turning point not only in the conflict in Syria, but also in the dynamic of international conflict. For the first time since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the rolling imperial engine of regime change via American-led military intervention has been stopped in its tracks. To be sure, it’s certainly not out of service, even in Syria, and it will seek and find new paths for devastating disobedient countries, but its assumed endgame for subjugating Syria has been rudely interrupted. And in our historical context, Syria interrupted is imperialism interrupted.

Let’s remember where things stood in Syria seventeen months ago. After a four-year campaign, directed by the United States, thousands of jihadis in various groups backed by the US/NATO, the Gulf monarchies, Turkey and Israel, were on the offensive. ISIS occupied Palmyra, Raqqa, and swaths of territory, and was systematically raping, beheading, and torturing Syrian citizens and looting and destroying the country’s cultural treasures. Al-Qeada/al-Nusra had triumphantly poured into the eastern part of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city (and one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world), were beheading and crucifying their newly-subjugated Syrian captives, and were beginning their siege of the larger and more populous part of that city. Turkey had commenced military operations on Syrian territory against Kurdish forces (who had won significant victories against ISIS), and was enabling the transit of foreign jihadis into Syria and convoys of ISIS oil through its territory. Against these dispersed offensives, the Syrian Arab Army was undermanned and overstretched.

As John Kerry himself later admitted, in a meeting with Syrian opposition, the Obama administration saw the ISIS advance as a positive development: “[W]e know that this was growing, we were watching, we saw that DAESH [ ISIS] was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened. [We] thought, however, we could probably manage that. Assad might then negotiate.”(....

...In Facebook world, Russia and Syria are in a relationship.

The United States? Well, it has Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, al-Nusra (“bad” al-Qaeda), Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (“good” al-Qaeda), ISIS, the Free Syrian Army, the Army of Conquest, the Kurds, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, the rest of “Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve,” Refugee Nation, and Croatia? It’s complicated.

Whose Timeline would you want to get involved in?...

Eric Margolis at LewRockwell
Trump Bull in the Mideast China Shop

President Donald Trump is getting ready to plunge into the burning Mideast with all the zeal and arrogance of a medieval crusader. The new administration’s knowledge of the region is a thousand miles wide and two inches deep.

Reviving a truly terrible idea originated by know-nothing Congressional Republicans, Trump proposes US-run safe zones in Syria for refugees from that nation’s conflict. The president went out of his way to insist that such safe zones would spare the United States from having to shelter Syrian refugees.

He should better worry about Chicago where 762 citizens were murdered last year.

At the same time, Trump, declaiming from his new Mount Olympus of New York’s Trump Tower, vowed to impose a 30-day halt on immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen to ‘protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals.’
One wonders if any of Trump’s Praetorian Guard noticed that all these listed ‘terrorist’ nations have been attacked by the United States or seen their governments overthrown by Uncle Sam. I’m surprised Afghanistan and Pakistan were left off the list. Their time will likely come soon. Is it any wonder that all of these Muslim nations bear a serious grudge against the United States? The angriest group is ISIS, who are seeking revenge for the destruction of Iraq....

Patrick J Buchanan at his blog 
What Trump’s Wall Says to the World
“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” wrote poet Robert Frost in the opening line of “Mending Walls.”

And on the American left there is something like revulsion at the idea of the “beautiful wall” President Trump intends to build along the 1,900-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico.

The opposition’s arguments are usually rooted in economics or practicality. The wall is unnecessary. It will not stop people from coming illegally. It costs too much.

Yet something deeper is afoot here. The idea of a permanent barrier between our countries goes to the heart of the divide between our two Americas on the most fundamental of questions.

Who are we? What is a nation? What does America stand for?

Those desperate to see the wall built, illegal immigration halted, and those here illegally deported, see the country they grew up in as dying, disappearing, with something strange and foreign taking its place.

It is not only that illegal migrants take jobs from Americans, that they commit crimes, or that so many require subsidized food, welfare, housing, education and health care. It is that they are changing our country. They are changing who we are.

Two decades ago, the Old Right and the neocons engaged in a ferocious debate over what America was and is.....