Is Open-Ended Chaos the Desired US-Israeli Aim in the Middle East?

Courtesy of Counterpunch:

During the last week we have seen Sunni militias take control of ever-greater swathes of eastern Syria and western Iraq. In the mainstream media, the analysis of this emerging reality has been predictably idiotic, basically centering on whether:

a) Obama is to blame for this for having removed US troops in compliance with the 2008 Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) negotiated and signed by Bush.

b) Obama is “man enough” to putatively resolve the problem by going back into the country and killing more people and destroying whatever remains of the country’s infrastructure.

This cynically manufactured discussion has generated a number of intelligent rejoinders on the margins of the mainstream media system. These essays, written by people such as Juan Cole, Robert Parry, Robert Fisk and Gary Leupp, do a fine job of explaining the US decisions that led to the present crisis, while simultaneously reminding us how everything occurring today was readily foreseeable as far back as 2002.

What none of them do, however, is consider whether the chaos now enveloping the region might, in fact, be the desired aim of policy planners in Washington and Tel Aviv.

Rather, each of these analysts presumes that the events unfolding in Syria and Iraq are undesired outcomes engendered by short-sighted decision-making at the highest levels of the US government over the last 12 years.

Looking at the Bush and Obama foreign policy teams—no doubt the most shallow and intellectually lazy members of that guild to occupy White House in the years since World War II—it is easy to see how they might arrive at this conclusion.

But perhaps an even more compelling reason for adopting this analytical posture is that it allows these men of clear progressive tendencies to maintain one of the more hallowed, if oft-unstated, beliefs of the Anglo-Saxon world view.

What is that? Continue reading

What is TTIP and why should we fight it?

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Courtesy of Young Greens:

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated in the US and EU between governments and corporations presents an unprecedented threat not only to food, labour and environmental standards but to democracy itself.

TTIP is a proposed ‘free trade’ agreement between the US and the EU. The negotiations around it are shrouded in secrecy, but the information that has been forced out shows that if successful, the agreement would lead to deregulation of what we eat, how we work, and increase the power that large corporations hold over national governments. TTIP is designed to benefit these corporations: the removal of tariffs and regulatory ‘barriers’ to trade and labour would allow them to maximise their profits, at the cost of workers and consumers. All reasons why Greens in both the UK and across Europe oppose this bosses’ charter.

The Center for Food Safety has already raised concerns about the potential for TTIP to establish a Regulatory Cooperation Council, which could result in ‘harmonisation’ of safety standards, meaning that food not meeting EU standards could be sold here anyway. Such products include chemically washed poultry, livestock treated with growth hormones, and genetically modified crops. These are allowed in the US, which adopts a ‘cost-benefit’ approach to food safety, balancing the interests of corporations against the safety of consumers, as opposed to the ‘precautionary principle’ used in the EU. A lobbyist for the US Council for International Business has admitted that ‘getting rid of the precautionary principle’ is a key aim of TTIP negotiations. Furthermore, such deregulation would apply not only to goods but to labour, allowing business to relocate to places – such as the US – where working standards are lower. This would result in huge job losses in Europe. Continue reading

“Cluster Of Central Banks” Have Secretly Invested $29 Trillion In The Market

Courtesy of The Hedge:

Another conspiracy “theory” becomes conspiracy “fact” as The FT reports “a cluster of central banking investors has become major players on world equity markets.” The report, to be published this week by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF), confirms $29.1tn in market investments, held by 400 public sector institutions in 162 countries, which “could potentially contribute to overheated asset prices.” China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange has become “the world’s largest public sector holder of equities”, according to officials, and we suspect the Fed is close behind (courtesy of more levered positions at Citadel), as the world’s banks try to diversify themselves and “counters the monopoly power of the dollar.” Which leaves us wondering where are the central bank 13Fs?

While most have assumed that this is likely, the recent exuberance in stocks has largely been laid at the foot of another irrational un-economic actor – the corporate buyback machine. However, as The FT reports, what we have speculated as fact for many years now (given the death cross of irrationality, plunging volumes, lack of engagement, and of course dwindling credibility of central planners)… is now fact…

Central banks around the world, including China’s, have shifted decisively into investing in equities as low interest rates have hit their revenues, according to a global study of 400 public sector institutions.

“A cluster of central banking investors has become major players on world equity markets,” says a report to be published this week by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (Omfif), a central bank research and advisory group. The trend “could potentially contribute to overheated asset prices”, it warns.

The report, seen by the Financial Times, identifies $29.1tn in market investments, including gold, held by 400 public sector institutions in 162 countries.

Continue reading

How The US Is Arming Both Sides Of The Iraqi Conflict

It looks like Iranian forces are going to have to enter the foray and what better way to stretch the Iranians, who are also involved in Syria against the same set of US backed and trained heart eating jihadists. It’s also a good way to test the Iranians with their war machines, provided to help create a destabilised region where millions have and will be slaughtered, impoverished and displaced. It’s all an agenda and it’s all going to plan, truly abhorrent behaviour. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Waziristan, , Ukraine and coming to a town or country near you. Courtesy of Zerohedge:

Recall a week ago we wrote “US Begins Delivering F-16s To Iraq This Week, A Decade After It Wiped Out Iraq’s Air Force” in which we said:

… the US will deliver the first of 36 F-16 fighter jets to Iraq in what Baghdad’s envoy to the United States called a “new chapter” in his country’s ability to defend its vast borders with Iran and other neighbors.

….the US earlier in March provided Iraq with some 100 Hellfire missiles as well as assault rifles and other ammunition. Then in April the US sent more arms, providing Iraq with 11 million rounds of ammunition and other supplies.

It is unknown how many of these have fallen into Al Qaeda/ISIS hands (we do know that at least one Iraqi Black Hawk chopper was captured during the rush for Mosul). What is known is that as PBS Frontline reported two weeks ago, while the administration has denied arming Syrian “rebels”, i.e. the same ISIS militants that have crossed the border and are now fighting in Iraq…

… the reality is that it has. From: “Obama Says Not Arming Syrian Rebels, Syrian Rebels Say He Is”

… the Syrian rebels themselves say they are already armed and trained by US in the use of sophisticated weapons and fighting techniques, including, one rebel said, “how to finish off soldiers still alive after an ambush.” The interviews are the latest evidence that after more than three years of warfare, the United States has stepped up the provision of lethal aid to the rebels, as PBS notes “it appears the Obama administration is allowing select groups of rebels to receive US-made anti-tank missiles.”

The commander of the unit also told Ali that their American contacts had asked him to bring 80 to 90 members of his unit to Ankara for training.

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One of the fighters said they received three weeks of training in how to conduct ambushes, conduct raids and use their weapons. They also said they received new uniforms and boots.

“They trained us to ambush regime or enemy vehicles and cut off the road,” said the fighter, who is identified only as “Hussein.” “They also trained us on how to attack a vehicle, raid it, retrieve information or weapons and munitions, and how to finish off soldiers still alive after an ambush.”

To summarize: the US was arming and training the same Al Qaeda/ISIS groups of Jihadists, that it concurrently gave Iraq weapons to fight. And since the Iraq army has so far proven utterly incapable of any resistance, it is now up to US drones to “fight” the same “rebels” that the US itself was collaborating with until a month or so ago.

The clear winner here? The US military-industrial complex, of course, as well as the banks who lend money to the governments to fight wars provoked by various “developed nation” spy agencies.

Collateral damage? Millions of innocent people on the ground in Syria and Iraq, and everywhere else too.

The average UK household pays more in tax than it spends on food, clothing, housing, fuel and power

A picture can be worth a thousand words….so this austerity thing? So this national debt interest thing? So those unfunded liabilities thing? So these corporate tax avoidance schemes thing? So the City of London acts as a corridor to the biggest tax havens in the world thing. So you might as well bend over and take it without hesitation and a rye smile on your face thing.

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Little by Little We Went Insane

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. More fiat debt anyone? Courtesy of Tim Price @ Sovereign Man:

“Are we finished ? The answer is no.”

– Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, 5th June 2014, having just cut ECB deposit rates to minus 0.1 percent.

“The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.”

– Ernest Hemingway.

“The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.”

– Vladimir Lenin.

If it looks like insanity, smells like insanity, tastes like insanity, feels like insanity and struts about barking, “This is insanity”, then perhaps it might just be insanity.

“We were in the jungle. We had too much money. We had too much equipment. And little by little, we went insane.”

Not the words of Mario Draghi – yet. They are the words of film director Francis Ford Coppola in relation to his magnum opus, ‘Apocalypse Now’, a film that so outrageously exploded beyond its budget and beyond any reasonable compass that during its making it started being referred to as ‘Apocalypse Later’.

Coppola’s unique vision came at a price. What was expected to be a 14-week shoot in the Philippines ended up taking more than a year. Coppola fired his leading man, Harvey Keitel, after just two weeks. His replacement, Martin Sheen, turned out to be fighting alcohol addiction and suffered a heart attack on set.

Numerous members of the crew went down with tropical diseases. At key points, helicopters hired for pivotal action sequences were suddenly redirected to quell a revolt in the southern Philippines. Then a typhoon hit, the set was destroyed and the production was shut down.

Throughout all of it, Coppola was dealing with increasingly worried money men back in Hollywood as the film’s budget ran dry. As the film’s scriptwriter, John Milius, pointed out: “Studio executives, you know, are not noted for their social courage”. Continue reading

War Gear Flows to Police Departments

Seriously, only in America but don’t forget, fighting terror with terror is the sensible and humane option. If there is no terror, just create it. As George Carlin said, it’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.

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Courtesy of The NY Times:

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A military-style armored personnel carrier, top, that the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in Florida bought off a contractor. Credit Jacob Langston

NEENAH, Wis. — Inside the municipal garage of this small lakefront city, parked next to the hefty orange snowplow, sits an even larger truck, this one painted in desert khaki. Weighing 30 tons and built to withstand land mines, the armored combat vehicle is one of hundreds showing up across the country, in police departments big and small.

The 9-foot-tall armored truck was intended for an overseas battlefield. But as President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s “long season of war,” the former tools of combat — M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more — are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice.

During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft. Continue reading

Queen’s Speech: Controversial Infrastructure Bill will allow fracking companies to drill under homes without owner’s permission

Looks like HS2 will be going through regardless of the environmental affliction, cost and even logical reasoning. Then there’s fracking, courtesy of The Independent:

Controversial plans to extract shale gas were accelerated yesterday when the Government announced proposals to allow fracking companies to drill under homes without the owner’s permission.

Reform of the trespass laws will be included in an Infrastructure Bill outlined in the Coalition’s final Queen’s Speech before the general election.

Although ministers claimed a final decision would depend on the outcome of a recently-launched public consultation, they signalled their firm intention to press ahead to prevent objections delaying their plans to exploit Britain’s shale gas reserves.

Michael Fallon, the Energy Minister, said: “At the moment, a developer can apply to the courts for permission to drill a horizontal pipe a mile down underneath your house and needs to go to the Secretary of State to get that permission. We’ve got a solution that we think simplifies that and we’re consulting on it now.”

Denying that it was a “Big Brother” move, Mr Fallon said fracking firms would still need planning permission from the local authority. “We do want to make sure that they’re not unnecessarily held up and don’t have to spend two years going through the courts,” he said.

Ken Cronin, chief executive of the UK Onshore Operators Group, welcomed the proposal, saying: “It serves no one if an anomaly in the legal system allows the few to block access to much needed natural resources.” Continue reading