Congratulating Colonel Lang on the 10,000,000 page views this blog has attained, Ishmael Zecariah described it as 'one of the few venues where "truth and honor" still have meaning.'
When, more than nine years ago now, the Colonel initiated this blog, he wrote that he would 'tell the truth as it is given to me to know the truth.' As one of the 'old lags' who has been reading and commenting on SST since those early days, I have always hoped that among its audience would be people in the U.S. intelligence community – and perhaps indeed the British – for whom the concepts of 'truth and honor' do still have a great deal of meaning.
The presence of honest and competent analysts in the U.S. intelligence community was readily apparent at the time when both our countries were lied into the catastrophic invasion of Iraq – in part because such people were 'stabbed in the back' by MI6 and the British Joint Intelligence Committee's endorsement of the claim that Saddam Hussein had sought uranium from Niger.
Subsequently, however, such analysts succeeded in frustrating attempts to misrepresent the Iranian nuclear programme so as inveigle us into another disastrous war. And while the JIC were quite happy to collaborate in attempts to lure both our countries into an attack on Syria, honest and competent analysts at the British defence science laboratory at Porton Down, if Seymour Hersh's account is to be believed, supplied their colleagues in the Defense Intelligence Agency with the evidence which enabled General Dempsey to frustrate the attempt.
For some time, the veteran journalist Robert Parry has been suggesting that what U.S. intelligence analysts know about the shooting down of the Malaysian flight MH17 on 17 July does not mesh with official claims that there is unambiguous evidence that the insurgent forces were responsible.
Yesterday, he claimed that U.S. intelligence analysts now believe that the atrocity was likely to have been the result of a deliberate attempt by extremists in the new regime in Kiev to shoot down a Russian plane.
It was at 7 pm (GMT) on this day one hundred years ago, a little after the time at which I am posting this, that, following the German invasion of Belgium, the British Government delivered the ultimatum which led to its declaration of war four hours later. Some reflections on 'truth and honor', on the claims and counter-claims about MH17, and on Europe's rush to catastrophic war a century ago may be timely.
"In the face of stiff resistance from Shiite militias aligned with Iran that have stalled their march on Baghdad, the ISIS fighters who captured Mosul in June pushed north during the weekend. By Sunday afternoon, they were in control of two other towns after fierce battles with Kurdish security forces, known as the pesh merga, who have been thrust into combat to defend the border of their autonomous region in northern Iraq from encroachments by ISIS.
In a statement, ISIS boasted of conquering “more important areas which were controlled by the pesh merga and the secular militias.” With the new territory, which the group described as “the border triangle of Iraq, Syria and Turkey,” ISIS strengthened its hold on territory that traverses the frontiers of Iraq and Syria, giving it an even greater ability to move fighters and weapons between the front lines of the civil wars in both countries." NY Times
IMO IS is systematically "cleaning up" its strategic "rear' in Iraq and Syria before continuing "march on Baghdad." I don't think this pause in the campaign against the Iraqi government has anything to do with Shia militia resistance. When IS finishes this phase of its campaign plan it will move to the next phase.
In this instance the Kurds lost important locations and populations to IS. Like the Iraqi government after the IS capture of Beiji and Tikrit, the Kurdish Authority will have one opportunity to demonstrate its ability to recover lost ground from IS. If that fails then the Kurdish Authority will be at the mercy of future IS "attention," and its fate will probably depend on Turkish, Iranian or US intervention.
With its program of Salafi renewal of supposed early Islamic practices, IS treats heterogeneous Islamic groups like all the Shia factions, Yazidis, Druze, etc. even worse that it does Christians or Jews (if there are any to be found in the "caliphate." ) These non-Sunni groups are simply considered to be murtadoon (apostates) and they are killed. Christians are offered the choice of payment of jizya (the dhimmi tax on second class people), conversion or the sword. pl
Someone wrote to ask how he/she/it might customize the little colored square thingies that appear next to your comments. I asked Typepad. They say that if you have a Typepad account then the picture you have on your Typepad page will automatically appear chez nous. Other than that, no chance. Some hilarious possibilities exist. pl
If you think the current Israeli invasion of Gaza is a response to the discovery of the bodies of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers in late June, think again. Israel’s invasion was a pre-planned action and, if you simply go back and examine the news reports since April, you will realize that the missing teens became a convenient, tragic symbol that Israel disgracefully used as a pre-text for trying to destroy Hamas. Let me walk you thru some of the relevant press clippings.
Let’s start on 25 April 2014 with an article by John Lyons of the Australian entitled, Fatah, Hamas Unity Hurts:
After a bitter seven-year split, Fatah, which governs the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, announced yesterday that they had agreed on reunification.
The US expressed “disappointment” and Israel reacted angrily, immediately cancelling a round of peace talks with the Palestinians. . . .
Periodically, Hamas fires rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel. However, more often than not the rockets are fired by Islamic Jihad or one of the five Salafist groups who do not acknowledge Hamas’s right to rule Gaza.
Israel’s policy is to respond to any rockets from Gaza, regardless of who fires them. Within hours of the latest announcement, Israeli jets launched an air strike on Gaza. Israel said this was in response to rockets fired from Gaza.
On 2 June 2014, Israel was still miffed at the apparent unity forged between Fatah and Hamas. Agence France reported:
Early on Monday, Israeli warplanes staged two bombing raids on targets in central and southern Gaza following rocket fire on southern Israel, a spokesman said.
“After two rockets were fired at Israeli territory over the last two days, the Israeli airforce attacked two terrorist sites in central and southern Gaza,” he said, noting the raids were successful.
Summing up at this point in time:
- Lieutenant Gordin is declared dead by the IDF. The government faced a wave of public hysteria that would have tied their hands. This declaration restores some of their freedom of action.
- Marc Regev, Bibi's spokesman told Blitzer today that Palestinian civilian casualties in Gaza have been "greatly exagerated" by "forces hostile to Israel." Frank Luntz should be very proud of such disciples.
- The IDF says it has "nearly finished the job" in destroying "teghor (terror) tunnels." Why is it that they can find these infiltration routes into "Isghael" (Israel) now and could not before? Simple. The US started giving them Ground Penetrating Radar imagery a week or so ago. Before that they were blind mice searching for holes in the ground. they are understandably annoyed that they did not have their hands in this US cookie bowl before.
"According to the Associated Press, the two spoke on the phone Friday amid growing tensions between the US and Israel over the Gaza conflict, that has in the meantime further detirorated after a UN and US backed ceasefire collapsed Friday morning.
Obama and other US officials did not directly blame Hamas for the abduction of 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, but they made clear they hold Hamas responsible for the actions of all factions in the Gaza Strip. The language was a distinct change from Thursday when Washington was focused on the deaths of Palestinian civilians.
Netanyahu told Shapiro the Obama administration was “not to ever second-guess me again” and that Washington should trust his judgment on how to deal with Hamas, according to people familiar with the conversation." Ynet News
IMO Dan Shapiro is a fervent Zionist and should not be US Ambassador in Israel. His religion is not the issue. His political philosophy should be the focus. pl
"Q Thanks. I want to ask about the situation in the Middle East. And why do you think Israel should embrace a cease-fire in Gaza when one of its soldiers appears to have been abducted and when Hamas continues to use its network of tunnels to launch attacks? And also, have you seen Israel act at all on your call to do more to protect civilians?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I think it's important to note that we have -- and I have -- unequivocally condemned Hamas and the Palestinian factions that were responsible for killing two Israeli soldiers and abducting a third almost minutes after a cease-fire had been announced. And the U.N. has condemned them as well.
And I want to make sure that they are listening: If they are serious about trying to resolve this situation, that soldier needs to be unconditionally released as soon as possible.
The fundamental principal of the Justification Meme is that no land inhabited by people is allowed to be taken. So, if you want to steal the land from a native population, you must first de-people it. This is an easy task; all that is necessary is that you give the inhabitants a good nickname such as redskin or wog and a few negative adjectival and verbal associations. It helps if you are far richer and technologically advanced than the targeted population and if a large lot of them can be terrorized to death. After that the land is devoid of people and all is copacetic. The theft is now moral and the use and conquering of the land is now a noble act done in fulfillment of the obligations of good stewardship of the earth and duty to God.
It is not easy for a normal person to steal from one’s family and neighbors because one can experience empathy and guilt for the act. Stealing from a dog engenders little regret. Thus, if a people seek to oppress another people and steal their birthright land, they first must dehumanize them to the equivalence of dogs or monsters; hence, nicknames are assigned. Secondly, some adjectival tag must be attached that further minimizes the victim’s worth, like being lazy, dirty, cowardly, or the favorites, evil and savage. Thirdly, the adjectival tag must be paired with some worthy characteristic of the oppressor for comparison such as civilized, skilled, or heroic. Similarly, the land of the native needs a characterization such as untamed wilderness or barren land. Finally, an oppressor’s act with respect to the native’s land must be described in some positive way like tamed, swamp drained, or desert made to bloom. Together, these adjectival and verbal tools can be assembled to create a myth or meme that justifies the theft and grants the oppressor a warm and satisfied feeling of accomplishment and religious fulfillment.
Three crooks, three liars, three men who have betrayed the trust of the American people; what should be done with them?
- DNI Clapper perjured himself before the US Senate and was allowed to apologize and stay on.
- General Keith Alexander has gone into business in retirement for the purpose of selling cyberwarfare knowledge that rightly belongs to the American people.
- John Brennan is now revealed as yet another liar. He told everyone who would listen that CIA had not hacked its way into computers belonging to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI). Now the CIA IG has produced a report that states the opposite. Brennan has apologized to the senate. That is not enough. The SSCI's role is oversight of the CIA. Under Brennan's command CIA tried to escape that oversight.
Obama will probably not allow prosecution of these traitors to the spirit of American democracy. They know too much. pl
Frank Luntz wrote a paper for his fellow Zionists a few years back. In this paper he specified the kind of language to be used in public utterance for the purpose of eliciting a conditioned response from the American public. For example Israeli PWs should always be described as having been "kidnapped," "abducted," or as being held "hostage." This trickiness is intended to create a mental image of innocent, indeed childlike IDF soldiers who have been victimized by criminals. This is clever. Today Martin Fletcher and Blinken from the NSC were all over Morning Joe using this language to describe an IDF soldier taken prisoner. Blinken demanded that Hamas release this "hostage. " At the same time the point is made that this "abduction" was perpetrated against a group of IDF engineers who were demolishing tunnels inside Gaza DURING THE CEASE FIRE. Lordy! Lordy! How dare the Hamasniks do such a thing! Have they never heard of the rules of Israeli Warfare?
Rule 1 - We do what we please but you must not imitate us, because we are "special" and we want to WIN!!
Ariel Sharon once infamously conducted a major armored offensive operation during a cease fire that Israel had accepted. This was during the Battle of the Chinese Farm in 1973. He defeated the Egyptian Army who stupidly were abiding by the UN sponsored cease fire, and Sharon WON! He won because he was "SPECIAL," but don't you think for a minute you Palestinian terrorists that you can do the same. NO, NO NO! You are not "special." pl
Can anyone identify the maker of the shell?
This requires no comment. It reminds me of street scenes in Frankfurt am Main when I lived there as a child just after WW2. And we are giving the IDF more bombs? How can we pretend to be seeking a cease-fire when we are doing that? pl
We have been distracted by Gaza and the R2P campaign against Russia. While we have been so deflected, IS in Iraq have been busy.
The idiot press has interpreted IS' consolidation of its gains as exhaustion or some other nonsense. In fact they have been; prosecuting their war against the Syrian Arab Government, chopping heads as the opportunity presents, and bringing their forces, both guerrilla and conventional into position for an offensive against the Iraqi "Government." Yesterday, they destroyed a bridge across the Tigris between Samarra and Tikrit thus isolating the Tikrit and Beiji areas from any movement north toward these key places. At the same time IS forces sit on the eastern and western flanks of the supply lines of GOI forces at Samarra.
It is now clear that the happy, reveling Shia crowds celebrating Eid al-Adha face the prospect of Sunni cooperation with IS west of the Tigris in the Adhamiya Sunni barrio of Baghdad . That is where the airport and the US Embassy are located.
To "top things off," there are now a lot of of suicide attacks and fighting in the Sunni towns south of Baghded that are located just south of the capital and on the roads leading to them. Closure of the two main roads leading south from Baghdad will isolate the capital. It is inevitable in that case that the airport will be attacked at least enough to make it unusable. That will seal the fate of Shia Baghdad. IS must be sharpening their machetes (or whatever they use). To quote Eddy Izzard, "kill, kill, kill, ah. lunch."
All this will add another burden of defeated adolescent fantasy to the Obama seminar.
Judy Miller, once of the NY Times, used to tell me that I was a pessemist. Do they still employ the hasbara shill (maybe?) Michael Gordon? pl
In the past two days Kiev’s forces have launched several short-range ballistic missiles into areas in east Ukraine controlled by self-defense forces, CNN reports, citing US government sources. The move “marks a major escalation” in the Ukrainian crisis, CNN said.
“Three US officials confirmed to me a short time ago that US intelligence over the last 48 hours has monitored the firing of several short-range ballistic missiles from territory controlled by Ukraine government forces into areas controlled by the pro-Russian separatists,” Barbara Starr, CNN’s Pentagon correspondent, said in a live report. Short-range ballistic missiles can carry warheads of up to 1,000 pounds (450 kg) and are capable of killing dozens of people at a time, Starr said.
A Moscow correspondent for another American television network, ABC, tweeted Tuesday that the Kiev forces fired three ballistic missiles at self-defense forces near the town of Snezhnoe (Snizhne in Ukrainian) in the Donetsk Region. According to Kirit Radia, this is what a US official told ABC’s Pentagon digital journalist Luis Martinez. “In last 48 hours Ukraine's military fired 3 SS21 short range ballistic missiles at separatists near Snizhne, US official tells @LMartinezABC” (RT.com)
Oops! Somebody at the Pentagon didn’t get the memo. I cannot understand how advertising the Banderistas’ use of SRBMs helps sell the message that Putin is the devil. That’s not the worst part of this story. A correspondent for the Saker’s blog just put this news out this morning.
Information from very reliable sources. These sources are in Novorossiya, Russian Federation, EU and Ukraine:
29.07.2014 in afternoon Ukraine time 4 SS-21 Tochka tactical ballistic missiles were fired by Ukraine Armed Forces. At least two were clearly aimed at Saur Moglia with the idea of the Ukes trapped in The Cauldron having a sudden escape route opened for them. Moments before launch Russian Federation units surged toward the border at The Cauldron area and to the north of The Cauldron.
“Under those circumstances, Israel would potentially have to contend with tens of thousands of casualties, the paralysis of all its systems and the need to create defensive measures for individual neighborhoods and even for streets. And all of that is based on the assumption that West Bank Arabs and some the Israeli Arabs will not join the campaign. Counter-attacks by the air force won’t help when everyone is dug in deep underground, laughing all the way to Jerusalem.”
This horrific scenario that he so ardently etched in the consciousness of the Israeli masses justifies the killing of civilians in Gaza and the deaths of Israeli soldiers in battle. It ends with an apocalyptic prediction: “In the best-case scenario, international forces would be brought in to demilitarize the state,” the popular status update says, continuing, “Israel’s nuclear weapons and the whole dream of a Jewish state would disintegrate for another thousand years.” According to this article, the kidnapping and murder of the three teens paved the way for a military operation that resulted in the discovery of a “brilliant plan” to destroy Israel." Akiva Eldar
Hysteria and skillful use of IO has brought about this image in Israeli minds and the same bilge is being sold to American audiences by Zionist spokesmen like Steve Schmitt who mouthed this line on Morning Joe" yesterday.
In fact, what we are talking about in the actual, as opposed to the fantasy, combat situation is posession by Hamas of a mass of homemade artillery rockets that are wildly innacurate and that are easily defeated by the American funded "Iron Dome." In addition, Hamas has some tunnels which penetrate as much as a mile into the Israeli desert and which can be used for raiding in Israel.
This is an existential threat? Does the IDF not station troops in the desert near Gaza? Do the Israelis in all their genius not posses Ground Penetrating Radar? No? Well, the Americans can always give them the equipment and/or training or can provide them with the imagery.
Natanyahu is smarter than to believe this silliness. His real purpose is to destroy Hamas so that he can dominate the PA. pl
Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/07/israel-protective-edge-right-left-support-avri-gilad.html?utm_source=Al-Monitor+Newsletter+%5BEnglish%5D&utm_campaign=6f08e48c7b-July_29_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_28264b27a0-6f08e48c7b-93066749#ixzz38sKpM42d
"Vice President Cheney knew all along Saddam had zero nukes. His main interest was to establish a democracy in Iraq which he believed would have a rippled effect among Israel’s neighbors and provide the Jewish state with 25 years of peace and security. Given the bloody failures of Afghanistan and Iraq, President Obama is understandably gun-shy, reluctant to get more deeply involved in a geopolitical game he clearly does not understand.
John Kerry, his Secretary of State, while well-equipped intellectually for the job, showed yawning gaps of Middle Eastern knowledge, when he made 12 roundtrips to the Middle East in almost as many weeks — in the mistaken belief that Israel and Hamas in Gaza were ready for a Middle Eastern settlement." De Borchgrave
What is it with Cheney and Israel? Rumors have circulated in Washington for years that he has some undisclosed family or other personal connection with the Zionist cause. Is that what all this has been about? Alternatively, does he harbor resentment against the "Aghabs" for slights received during his business years. God knows it is easy to be offended by the behavior of a lot of Arabs in the business world.
Kerry is an "Innocent Abroad." He has been a striver with beautiful hair for a long time. His vanity is apparent. For such people it is easy to imagine that the irresistable charm of your manner gives you leverage in interpersonal relations that, unfortunately, does not exist.
The thought of John Kerry trying to cozy up to a hyper-nationalist fascist like Natanyahu is sadly amusing. pl
Read Latest Breaking News from Newsmax.com http://www.newsmax.com/ArnauddeBorchgrave/Afghanistan-Iraq-Iraq-in-Crisis/2014/07/29/id/585556#ixzz38xUGS9NH
Barack Obama: "I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes."
Benjamin Netanyahu: "And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire" politifact
And what will Israel "receive in exchange?" How many billions do we give Israel every year? pl
"Harel writes however that a kind of "Oral Law" has developed inside IDF which is supported by many commanders, even at brigade and division level, that goes further than the official order, including the use of tank shells or air strikes. "A dangerous, unofficial interpretation of the protocol has been created," a senior officer told Haaretz. "Intentionally targeting a vehicle in order to kill the abductee is a completely illegal command. The army's senior command must make this clear to officers."
wiki on "The Hannibal Directive"
Well, well, the US Army will do almost anything to retrieve a captured soldier alive, or even his dead body. "We leave nobody behind" has become an impractical but hearfelt mantra inherited from the SOF raiding forces. Apparently, the IDF equivalent would be "we leave no man behind alive."
This policy, however cloaked in silence by the IDF certainly must be a matter of concern for conscripts and reservists in the context of Palestinian and Lebanese fighters who are increasingly willing to "mix it up" in close combat. In such circumstances the possibility of capture is great.
Richard Silverstein in his blog Tikkun Olam has recounted the story of an IDF NCO killled at Gaza in such an incident and as a reward for his account has been subjected to a deliberate campaign among the Zionists to drive him from the public square. Hmm. they do that? pl
Evil has many faces.
Once it was a bespectacled jackbooted 'specialist' working assiduously to increase the throughput of the gas chambers.
Today it is a bunch of drunken louts on a hilltop cheering as bombs and shells destroy apartment building after apartment building along with their occupants.
Or, the fanatics steeped in religion who brutally kill people because they hold different beliefs.
Evil arises in the human heart. When it fills it to the brim the heart becomes a blackened, putrid bit of flesh, instead of the repository of the feelings and emotions that make us human.
When Evil fills a heart it makes it easy to commit the greatest of all crimes − kill another human being. When Evil fills the hearts of a whole people it makes it easy for them to annihilate another people. It makes no difference if that is done to seize their land or to purify one's own; the crime remains the same.
Such manifestations of Evil pose a challenge to the rest of humanity. Either we stand up and condemn or oppose them, or we become complicit in the crime − there is no middle, neutral ground.
While few indeed can summon up the shining heroism of a Rachel Corrie, or even the courage of a young Lucas Koerner (who stood up in Jerusalem to say: Not in my name), it is important to disassociate oneself from the abomination being perpetrated by bearing witness to one's opposition, each according to their circumstances. That is how one affirms one's own humanity.
As for those who support, excuse, or even condone this crime, or use mealy-mouthed circumlocutions to avoid showing their true colours, they become a part of the Evil abroad in the land. The Evil descends into their hearts, and they begin to recede from humanity, and join its enemies.
"When National Guard units are not under federal control, the governor is the commander-in-chief of the units of his or her respective state or territory (such as Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands). The President of the United States commands the District of Columbia National Guard, though this command is routinely delegated to the Commanding General of the DC National Guard. States are free to employ their National Guard forces under state control for state purposes and at state expense as provided in the state's constitution and statutes. In doing so, governors, as commanders-in-chief, can directly access and utilize the Guard's federally assigned aircraft, vehicles and other equipment so long as the federal government is reimbursed for the use of fungible equipment and supplies such as fuel, food stocks, etc. This is the authority under which governors activate and deploy National Guard forces in response to natural disasters. It is also the authority under which governors deploy National Guard forces in response to man-made emergencies such as riots and civil unrest, or terrorist attacks."
Wiki on The National Guard of the United States
"The Act, as modified in 1981, refers to the Armed Forces of the United States. It does not apply to the National Guard under state authority acting in a law enforcement capacity within its home state or in an adjacent state if invited by that state's governor." Wiki on The Posse Comitatus Act
Having been both an enlisted (sergeant E-5) National Guardsman and an officer (colonel O-6) of the Regular Army of the United States, I have a deep interest in the employment of these forces.
He said there was an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 foreign fighters with various groups battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s troops.
Karen Koning AbuZayd, a member of the commission, said most of the Syrians joining Islamic State were defecting from other armed opposition groups fighting in the country’s civil war, now in its fourth year.
“They see it’s better, these guys are strong, these guys are winning battles, they were taking territory, they have money, they can train us,” Mr AbuZayd told reporters." Irish Times
Syrian IS and Iraq IS are quite different. Iraq IS remains the same coalition of ISIS/Tribal allies/ex-army that it has been since the beginning of the "Breaking the Borders" campaign. Syrian IS is morphing into a much more Syria oriented force.
It will be interesting to see if the IS "high command' will be able to bring these Syria focussed fighters into Iraq or Saudi Arabia to continue their declared war against the existing regional governments. pl
"Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria fighters have seized a Syrian army base in the northern province of Raqa, killing scores of troops and beheading some of them, an activist group said Saturday.
I associated with and/or conducted liaison with The Israel Defense Force (IDF) for many years. This activity occurred as part of my regular duties as a US Army officer and later as a civilian executive of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Since my retirement from US government service I have had many occasions to visit Israel and to watch the IDF in action against various groups of Palestinians all over the West Bank. I have many friends who are retired and/or reserve members of the IDF. My observations concerning the IDF are based on that experience.
I write here of the ground force. The air force and navy are unknown to me from personal experience except that I know some of their officers from their service in joint (inter-service) assignments like general staff intelligence.
IMO, the IDF is an army built to very specifically suit Israel's individual circumstances, needs, and philosophy. It is in some ways, a singular force. It actually more closely resembles the Swiss military establishment than it does a large standing force backed by reserve units in the way that the US Army is built.
The IDF ground force is essentially a reserve or militia army that keeps most of its forces in inactive status while maintaining a handful of units on active duty as a training base and a force in being to meet short term contingencies.
In this post I am writing of the "line" of the ground forces as represented by armor, infantry, paratroop and artillery units at brigade level and below, i.e., battalion and company.
The special operations forces are a small part of Israeli capabilities and are manned and maintained on a very different basis. In many ways they are more like a "SWAT" team than a military force.
Let us keep a running account of Israeli and Palestinian casualties here both civilian and military. It appears to me that one of the reported Israeli civilian deaths was that of a Beduin Arab.
It appears that the number of Gazan civilian deaths is now over 1,000. The number of IDF deaths now seems to be 37?
Fill us in. pl
We now live in an age of 24-hour reporting of news and are being bombarded with innumerable bits of information and soundbites that need processing. IMO Twitter is by far the most onerous of these soundbite machines. This is a time of information saturation. Yesterday's news is being rapidly discarded in pursuit of the next new thing.
Wikipedia's entry offers a critical assessment of the phenomenon:
According to former journalists Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, 24 hour news creates ferocious competition among media organizations for audience share. This, coupled with the profit demand of their corporate ownership, has led to a decline in journalistic standards.
With little time to react, there is little time for research, and the perpetual risk that somebody beats them to the story. So they run a story, even with incomplete information, which makes the news vulnerable to disinformation and propaganda. The result is a poor quality of reporting even without companies enforcing policy as US networks did by removing troublesome journalists for the crime of not sticking to network narrative.
With all that information around - a fact lost on many a twitterer - journalists need to have an a attention span beyond a 24-hour news cycle. It is hardly an impossible task: The internet makes yesterday's news available through tools like Google.
You cannot speak falsely about a party or country simply because they are your rivals. I confess that I am stunned by the sudden resurrection of Cold War sentiments in the U.S. media. But much worse, is the U.S. government’s attempt to make a judgment that declares Russia’s wickedness to be the cause of the terrible Ukraine shoot-down of an airliner ,when it knows it lacks adequate information to make such a judgment stick. Our judgment that we are always right never leads to a genuine truth. That kind of predominating certainty flatters the national conceit, and national conceit is a hungry deity that soon casts about for victims. Nothing can be more ridiculous indeed than the way in which we exaggerate another’s vices and extenuate our own. The whole is an affair of prejudice on one side of the question, and of partiality on the other. The administration doesn’t act as if it’s judgments are merely hypotheses. No, instead, they desire to think in decrees.
So what you see happening today is the transformation of individual convictions that become overwhelming in force because they are repeated endlessly by those in authority. The cautious restrictions of what once was called, “Iron objectivity” had been discarded as too ineffectual and cumbersome. Few in the media have the intellectual or moral strength to resist what is told them by their leaders. The collectivities have the habit of drowning anything that is private and not collective.
"Israel must be permitted to crush Hamas." Michael Oren
"I have seen no confirmed reports, however, of Hamas using force to keep people in targeted areas so they can serve as human shields — and perhaps sway world opinion by boosting the body count. When people decide they must leave their homes, they can do so. But where are these evacuees supposed to go? To the nearest school or hospital? Not if these, too, are considered legitimate targets by the Israeli Defense Forces.' Eugene Robinson
Oren is undoubtedly a spokesman for the real Israel. He is CNN's leading man on the Middle East. Was that apointment happenstance? He is "Ambassador in Residence" at the Atlantic Council, etc. There has been a lot of prevarication on the part of the Zionists here and there, a lot of talk of "limited objectives," "desperate efforts to avoid civilian casualties," and of the "traumatization of Israeli civilians" by Hamas/IJ rockets. (This last in spite of the nearly complete ineffectiveness of Hamas/IJ rockets). But, here, in former American Oren's oped we see a little honesty. Israel means to destroy Hamas in order to make a peace of subjugation with the PA, and that is the whole story. Hamas is not crushed yet. It fights on and therefore Israel does not want "peace." Next stop will be rebellion on a large scale in the West Bank and I am still waiting to know what Hizbullah will do to back up their statements.
Robinson, after the still obligatory oath of fealty to Israel, opines that they have gone too far. Amen, brother. pl
"Hundreds have found shelter in areas between Mosul and Irbil – the capital of the Kurdistan regional government – that are controlled by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, but they face an uncertain future.
"If Isis stays, there is no way the Christians can return," Father Boutrous Moshi said from Qara Qoosh, a Christian area south-east of Mosul. "It is up to God whether we return or not. They have not burned the churches but they did set fire to the pictures and the books and broke the windows."
Monks at the 4th-century Mar Behnam monastery, a major pilgrimage site run by the Syriac Catholic church, were allowed to take only the clothes they were wearing.
Sarab Hazem, from the Zehoor neighbourhood of Mosul, said that initially there were no attacks on Christians when Isis took the city in a lightning offensive in June, though Isis fighters did capture and take away police, security agents and soldiers. "No one knows what becomes of them," he said.
Then, statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary were destroyed. "They are savages," Hazem said. "This is oppression for no reason. I believe it is no longer possible for Christians to live in Iraq."" The Guardian
There are still vast numbers of Americans who have no grasp of the idea that there are Arabic and Aramaic speaking Christians in places like Iraq and Palestine, and that these Brethren in Christ lived well under secularists like Saddam and the Assads as well as under the Hashemites in Jordan. Jesus was an Aramaic speaker. These are among the oldest Christian communities in the world. ISIS gave them a choice of conversion, the Jizya (capitation tax) or death. At least they had a choice. Correct me if I err but I thnk the Shia and the Yazidis are simply killed as murtadoon (apostates). Non-wahhabi Sunnis are given one chance to "repent."
Why do they do things like destroy Jonah's Tomb? As strict muwahiddoon (wahhabis) they believe that reverence for any object, whether grave, shrine, or a person is shirk (a form of idol worship). pl
"The latest invented story appears to have been produced primarily as a replacement for Harf’s increasingly debunked allegations surrounding the MH17 shoot-down, a talking point which has gained her no small mocking in the press over the past week, as she directly contradicts the US intelligence community’s own releases on the matter.
Harf’s latest allegations included the phantom artillery fire and secret evidence of Russia planning to maybe send a bunch more weapons to the rebels. One member of the assembled press, humorously, asked if there was “a YouTube video or something that you can point us to,” calling back to Harf’s regular use of social media as “proof” for her claims.
Harf declared “I just said I wasn’t going to give you the underlying source,” and asked if the press preferred she keep things to herself that she can’t prove. This led to another exchange, with someone shooting back “Marie, I think that it would be best for all concerned here if when you make an allegation like that, you’re able to back it up with something more than just “because I said so.”" Anti-war.com
Women like this one and Mika B give women a bad name. They can't find a woman spokesperson for State who looks like something more than a sorority girl homecoming queen? pl
"WASHINGTON — Israel attempted to use tapes of former US president Bill Clinton’s steamy conversations with intern Monica Lewinsky to leverage the release of Jonathan Pollard, a new book on the Clinton family’s political enterprises has claimed. In the book, titled “Clinton Inc: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine,” author Daniel Halper relies on on-the-record interviews with former officials together with a close analysis of documents termed “the Monica Files” to paint a salacious – and uncomplimentary – picture of one of the most prominent political families in the United States.
Halper reviewed hundreds of pages of documents compiled as a contingency to use in case the former intern ever was involved in legal action against Clinton.
According to the author, the documents indicate that during the Wye Plantation talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, held in Maryland in 1998, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled Bill Clinton aside to press for Pollard’s release.
Halper said that Israel had found new leverage to push for Pollard’s release.“The Israelis present at Wye River had a new tactic for their negotiations–they’d overheard Clinton and Monica and had it on tape. Not wanting to directly threaten the powerful American president, a crucial Israeli ally, Clinton was told that the Israeli government had thrown the tapes away. But the very mention of them was enough to constitute a form of blackmail,” Halper wrote, adding that “according to information provided by a CIA source, a stricken Clinton appeared to buckle.”
Wounded Knee 1890 – Gaza 2014
Manifest Destiny in the United States and Israel
"Charles Marion Russell - The Custer Fight (1903)" by Charles Marion Russell - The Library of Congress. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
"There is no good Indian except a dead Indian.” Gen. Phillip Sheridan 1869
“Stay as long as you need to stay. Go wherever you need to go to deal with the vipers nest called Hamas.” Sen. Lindsay Graham 2014
As the process of extirpating the Palestinians from Israel comes to its final culmination, a little bit of historical comparison between the United States and Israel is appropriate. Analysis of the prevailing myths and memes can be helpful in understanding how two groups of people living in the same neighborhood can reside on different planets.
American “Manifest Destiny”, the total conquest of the North American continent by the Europeans from the Atlantic to the Pacific, was the predominant theme of U.S. culture up until the end of the nineteenth century, after which the U.S. joined the colonialists.
The final act in Manifest Destiny was the completion of the subjugation of the Native Americans by finally forcing all of the free-roaming Native Americans onto Indian reservations. From the beginning in the 1600s, the European settlers invaded a land populated by a people who had no effective way to resist the germs, guns, agriculture, and advanced technology of the settlers. Ultimately, the Native Americans were killed, acculturated, or put on a reservation out of the way of American Progress. Their primitive societies were fully outmatched by European science and organizational practices. The indigenous peoples never had a chance of winning.
Most have discounted the possibility of an air to air missile taking down MH17 as the recent Russian MOD briefing suggested as a possible scenario. Up to now, I’ve also considered this as the least likely explanation. All eyes are on the BUK. But is this a case of sleight of hand, a misdirection? Perhaps.
Let’s take a closer look at the air to air missile theory. The most probable missile that would have been used is the R-60. The NATO designation is AA-8 Aphid. The R-60 weights only 44 kg (100 lbs) and can be launched from a wide range of high performance jets, including the SU-25. Even the HIND attack helicopter can use it. It’s warhead uses either a 3 or 3.5 kg high explosive charge surrounded by a tungsten expanding rod. Some versions have an additional 1.6 kg of depleted uranium for increased lethality. It uses a proximity fuze. That is an important point.
Some analysis of damage found on part of MH17 suggest a proximity explosion slightly below and ahead of the planes port wing. NBC News use this information to confirm that it was an SA-11 missile because an infrared guided air to air missile would have hit an engine. I always thought that would be the case since my experience was with the Redeye which tracks the aircraft’s hot exhaust and detonates on impact, usually up a jet engine’s ass end. The NBC News analysts obviously were working with the same limited and dated understanding as I had.
"WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia was responsible for "creating the conditions" that led to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement.
The intelligence officials were cautious in their assessment, noting that while the Russians have been arming separatists in eastern Ukraine, the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.
The officials briefed reporters Tuesday under ground rules that their names not be used in discussing intelligence related to last week's air disaster, which killed 298 people.
The plane was likely shot down by an SA-11 surface-to-air missile fired by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, the intelligence officials said, citing intercepts, satellite photos and social media postings by separatists, some of which have been authenticated by U.S. experts.
But the officials said they did not know who fired the missile or whether any Russian operatives were present at the missile launch. They were not certain that the missile crew was trained in Russia, although they described a stepped-up campaign in recent weeks by Russia to arm and train the rebels, which they say has continued even after the downing of the commercial jetliner. " Saker
Iraq in 2003, Syria last year, Russia now. The US government has become a machine for manufacturing falsehoods based on half truths, whole untruths and political agenda.
There does not seem to be any difference in the desire to do this between the two major US political parties.
The motivation for the desire to lie the public into an hysteric war frenzy is claimed to be a search for justice, etc., blah, blah...
In fact the motive is apparent. It is the desire of the foreign policy clique in the academy, government and media to maintain its imagined imperial supremacy in the world and any lie will do if the lie contributes to that goal. pl
The IDF evidently claims it has lost 32 killed so far but from my count of the dead mentioned in this Haaretz piece I would make that 34 counting the two armored corps captains killed by snipers who are mentioned farther down in the article. Armored officers are killed by small arms fire usually when parts of them are outside the vehicle. A head sticking out of a hatch where visibility is better makes a good target. IDF casualties will continue to accumulate and IMO will increase in number if the IDF presses farther into Gaza City.
Richard Engels' linked video makes it clear that the IDF is targeting clearly marked ambulances employing the lame excuse that they are being used to transport armaments. They are doing the same with marked medical facilities. The IDF has long done such things. A Givati lieutenant once told me in Bethlehem that they "normally shoot people giving first aid to Palestinian wounded."
IMO the whole Gaza strip is one big undergraound fortified zone with interconected bunkers, tunnels, fighting positions, supply points, etc. The underground facilities are very well built, have electric power and uninterceptable communications.
Hamas/IJ want a big bite out of the IDF and if this continues they will get it.
At the same time Ben Gurion airport remains closed. People like Bloomberg have flown over there to show "solidarity." IMO he should volunteer for service in the Golani Brigade and stay there. The Israeli government wants more US money for Iron Dome so that it can continue to defy the US government's desire for a cease fire? Bloomberg should show his solidarity by donating the money. pl
"I’d like to propose a new rule of thumb for writers: When your op-ed’s first sentence reads “Let’s state the obvious: No one likes to see dead children,” you should step away from the keyboard, take a look in the closest mirror and think long and hard about exactly the argument you’re about to make. Otherwise, you may end up with an execrable screed like the one New York University law professor Thane Rosenbaum published in the Wall Street Journal on Monday. Rosenbaum argues that the adult residents of Gaza are not innocent civilians, as even Israeli leaders (sometimes begrudgingly) admit, but part of a “citizen army.”" Washington Post
This linked oped by Rosenbaum is contemptible, racist, fascist evidence that some Jews evidently learned a lot from their experience if the Shoa. Unfortunately, what they learned were the worst things possible. pl
"Hanin Zoabi, a favourite target for the right, was briefly arrested at a rally in Haifa on Friday. Lieberman called her political party Balad "a party of traitors", and suggested that she be barred from running for office in the next election.
The vitriol directed at Zoabi, Barakeh, and others, is rarely applied to Jewish politicians who make incendiary statements. Ayelet Shaked, a prominent member of Bennett's Jewish Home party, penned a status on Facebook earlier this month suggesting that Israel kill the mothers of Palestinian fighters, lest they give birth to more "little snakes". There was no public outcry or official censure.
"When they are under fire, soldiers killed, rockets flying in the centre [of the country], they become irrational, totally irrational," said Basel Ghattas, another Knesset member from Zoabi's party.
Public criticism has come mostly from the relatively liberal enclaves of Tel Aviv and Haifa. But those voices are being drowned out in a society that has drifted steadily to the right over the past decade.
Knesset members have pursued laws to declare Israel a "Jewish state", drive Palestinian parties out of politics and crack down on left-leaning NGOs. Opinion polls find that younger Jewish Israelis are increasingly right-wing and hold negative views of Palestinians. Al-Jazeera
Bennett is frequently interviewed in US TV as a supposedly rational actor on the Israeli political scene. pl
And then there is the question of Hizbullah. What will Nasrallah say on Friday? pl
While conventional states try to win hearts and minds abroad before necessarily resorting to military force, the jihadist group is also achieving its aims by psychological means - backed up by a reputation for extreme violence.
The Islamic State, which in June captured a vast stretch of territory in the north including the largest city Mosul, used this strategy when its fighters met armed resistance from the town of al-Alam for 13 days running.
They kidnapped 30 local families and rang up the town's most influential citizens with a simple message about the hostages: "You know their destiny if you don't let us take over the town."
The Twisted Genius (TTG) posted this comment on SST in response to another member of the committee. I think it deserves front page publication. pl
"Judging by your analysis and comments, I gather that you find it near inconceivable that the Ukrainian junta forces could have shot MH17 down intentionally or accidentally. To be fair, I find it very conceivable that either junta or rebel forces could have shot it down accidentally and just as conceivable that the junta forces shot it down intentionally. Kiev is desperately trying to pin the blame on the rebels and the Russians. So far their efforts to offer proof have proved rather inept. The "smoking gun" video of rebel conversations was produced before MH17 was shot down and was pieced together from several conversations. The "smoking gun" video of the rebel BUK heading to Russia was shown to be filmed in junta controlled territory. This stinks of either cover up at best or false flag at worse. Today's briefing by the Russian MOD offered commercial ATC radar images and satellite imagery to show a Ukrainian military aircraft (probably a SU-25B1) performing unusual maneuvers in the vicinity of MH17 just before it was shot down and the presence of several Ukrainian BUK systems in the same area. They didn't claim the Ukrainians shot down MH17 at this briefing, but they did demand explanations for these finding from the government in Kiev. In the next few days, we'll see if Kiev can rebut or explain Russia's findings or poke serious holes in the evidence. NATO or the U.S. have yet to offer comparable evidence. Why do I think the junta in Kiev is capable of deliberately shooting down MH17? A majority of that government is from Svoboda and Pravy Sektor, right wing extremist groups with a virulent hatred for Russia and the rebels of Novorossiya. Kiev's military forces are now made largely of these right wing groups' paramilitary forces. They have had no problem killing hundreds of civilians in their efforts to exterminate the rebels. They are not a professional military force. I seriously doubt these right wing thugs would have any problem shooting down an airliner if it would further their mission to destroy the rebels." TTG
His eminence praised the persistence of the Hamas resistance and the tremendous patience of the people of Gaza and strongly supported their rightful demands to end the current battle.
Sayyed Nasrallah heard from Meshaal comforting and confident stance, as he reassured that Hamas resistance was ready to make a second victory in July." al-Manar
Israel should seriousl think about agreeing to a cease fire. It has been suggested by some of our European friends on SST that Hizbullah does not care about Gaza and will not fight the Israelis over the "destiny" of th eGazans. IMO Nasrallah is not making an empty gesture. If the IDF continues its ravishment of Gaza, Hizbullah will begin to fire into nothern Israel. They can target just about anything in th enoerthern half of the country and have many, many weapons. A good question now would be the degree of redundancy in Iron Dome. pl
Hasbara work - "Now, there are 40 people in the interactive unit of the Israel Defense Forces, including videographers, animators, graphic artists and computer programmers, pumping out missives in six languages, on many platforms, in a tone much punchier than the typical news release. “Israel uses the Iron Dome to protect its civilians,” it said on Twitter over the weekend. “Hamas uses civilians to protect its rockets.”
"What I’ve been told by one source, who has provided accurate information on similar matters in the past, is that U.S. intelligence agencies do have detailed satellite images of the likely missile battery that launched the fateful missile, but the battery appears to have been under the control of Ukrainian government troops dressed in what look like Ukrainian uniforms.
The source said CIA analysts were still not ruling out the possibility that the troops were actually eastern Ukrainian rebels in similar uniforms but the initial assessment was that the troops were Ukrainian soldiers. There also was the suggestion that the soldiers involved were undisciplined and possibly drunk, since the imagery showed what looked like beer bottles scattered around the site, the source said.
Instead of pressing for these kinds of details, the U.S. mainstream press has simply passed on the propaganda coming from the Ukrainian government and the U.S. State Department, including hyping the fact that the Buk system is “Russian-made,” a rather meaningless fact that gets endlessly repeated." Robert Parry
Parry has it right except that the resolution claimed in the imagery is unrealistic. I will leave it at that. pl
Though I am undecided on what to think, the parallels between how the Ghouta incident was 'handled' and MH-17 are striking:
The US and US media have put forth the argument that since the airliner was shot down with a Russian missile, that means Russia did it. Pretty much Ukraine's entire arsenal is of Russian/Soviet origin. When a Russian missile was used, that proves nothing.
The State Department has now released a so-called "government assessment" that holds Russia responsible for the airliner shoot down.
In light of Ghouta, the issuing of another 'government assessment' suggests to me that there was serious doubt in the intelligence circles as to Russia's actual guilt in this matter, and that the policy side insisted and proceeded on their own.
When Kerry and his Amazons blamed Assad for the chemical incident at Ghouta, they argued similarly: Since Syria had Chemical weapons, and Chemical weapons were used at Ghouta, Assad must have done it. No mention of indications that, indeed, the Syrian Jihadi opposition was thought to have just such a capability.
Since apparently the intel community couldn't be cajoled into confirming the official line, the White House and State Department people made up something so-far unheard of - a "government assessment" that held, of course, Assad responsible.
The Whitehouse and State department people apparently believe in that 'the early bird catches the worm'.
They strive to, and usually succeed at, getting out their narrative as early as possible to have it further their objectives. Truthfulness is in this fully optional. What counts is to get on message first, frame the issue, and then persistently stay on message.
Being the first on message achieves that, for lack of other available information on the new story, the media, to be competitive, run with what's available first, and that is the administration's cue, often helped with themes deliberately generated on social media.
After that, the media proceed on their own, and usually follow their own biases: Putin is a thug and Assad a tyrant. That apparently translates in media assuming both guilty by default. The self-censorship involved is probably the worst aspect of this media complicity. In practice it means that facts that would run against the narrative, and would support Assad or Putin, are being actively not reported, misreported or outright suppressed, lest the thug or tyrant be helped.
Just as the Whitehouse has persistently denied it, Russians have frequently pointed out that the Svoboda and Right Sector people are, well, Nazis. Point is, the Russians are absolutely correct. And on 13 December 2012 the EU parliament also stated just that.
"The European Parliament
8. Is concerned about the rising nationalistic sentiment in Ukraine, expressed in support for the Svoboda Party, which, as a result, is one of the two new parties to enter the Verkhovna Rada; recalls that racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views go against the EU’s fundamental values and principles and therefore appeals to pro-democratic parties in the Verkhovna Rada not to associate with, endorse or form coalitions with this party;"
So it isn't as if this is a secret. The Whitehouse just lies brazenly. The media by and large don't challenge that. Since it is Putin who says they are Nazis, American media apparently cannot bring themselves to agree with him and state the bloody obvious. After all, it would support that devil Putin, and US media don't support thugs, truth be damned.
In doing so, they let the US administration get away with lying to the US public, and allow them to not have to explain why the US is supporting an administration in Kiev with Nazis in key positions of power. If American values mean anything, a US alliance involving Svoboda’s racist, anti-Semitic xenophobes would, I feel, not be a natural match. That should be worth an explanation.
Alas, this interesting question remains unasked, and as a result the media serves not just as a willing conduit but as an integral and indispensable amplifier for what, put plainly, is government propaganda.
In the US domestic propaganda is prohibited by law. The lawmakers who enacted the law understood that propaganda at home is a serious threat to policymaking because it prevents a sober assement of policy in the electorate and elected bodies alike, and besides - on a gut level - probably because that's something Nazis and Commies do i.e. is un-American.
And yet, as a result of technological advances, American use of propaganda abroad, comes back to screw the US at home. In that sense, domestic propaganda is the collateral damage of secret policy and deception abroad.
In today’s globalized world with instant information access, there is no border between malign 'domestic propaganda' and benign 'overseas propaganda' anymore. They are one.
PS: An excursion into the sewers of Ukrainian politics I provide some links that may help shed some light on Svoboda and their ilk.
Forty-five years ago this night, Neil Armstrong became the first man to step onto the moon. It was an exhilarating event in the U.S. and in much of the world. I did not see it on TV. Instead, I was camping with two of my friends. On this night, forty-five years ago, we were lying in our sleeping bags on a thick bed of pine needles on the crest of a pine covered hill overlooking a local reservoir. The land was posted, but we were adept at stealth camping. We had a perfect view of the full moon on that clear, warm night. Normally, we never had a radio or even a watch when we camped. But this time we made an exception. I carried a small transistor radio to listen to Walter Cronkite narrate the landing. Looking back on it, we made the right decision. It was glorious to be surrounded by nature looking at the moon with our own eyes while listening to history being made.
Given the state of the world today and the craven cowardice of so many of our politicians and pundits, I find solace in what we once were. It's either that or rum.
Each evening, from December to December,
Before you drift to sleep upon your cot,
Think back on all the tales that you remember
Ask ev'ry person if he's heard the story,
And tell it strong and clear if he has not,
That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory
"On Sunday, 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in a series of attacks in the Gaza Strip, where the death toll is believed to have climbed beyond 400." abc news
"Israel's defence force have not yet confirmed if any of its soldiers are among the dead, but it is understood 44 wounded soldiers are in Ashkelon Hospital with more in other hospitals. It comes amid unconfirmed reports that the military wing of Hamas destroyed an Israeli tank in a suicide bombing. Israelis are yet to comment on the reports." abc news
"On Israel's side, two civilians have been killed by cross-border fire and 18 soldiers have died in fighting. More than 50 Israeli troops have been wounded, hospital officials said." abc news
As sad as it is to say, the main effects of this round of fighting in Gaza will be found; 1- in the worldwide political damage done to Israel for the callous massacre of civilians and 2- the impact on Israeli and more importantly American popular opinion of a high Israeli military body count. Throughout previous Israeli operations intended to "mow the grass," in Gaza, the IDF has operated with impunity, able to continue from day to day without major fear of the likelihood of its own casualties in dead and wounded. If these present reports are correct, that has changed. The American people have many admirable characteristics but their inability to see virtue in "losers" is not one of them. An ability on the part of the Hamas/IJ fighters to inflict casualties on the IDF would raise the public image of the Palestinians in America. According to the Israel FB page, Hamas now says that it will equip large numbers of Gazan youth with grenades and send them against IDF forces in suicide attacks. The Israelis do not seem to understand how potent a weapon that would be. pl
"... residents are proud that their sons both fiercely resisted U.S. invaders and then joined forces with their former adversaries as part of the so-called Awakening movement, in which the U.S. military paid ex-insurgents and others to fight Al Qaeda-style hard-liners. Hatem, 36, a father of four, was one of hundreds of Sunnis in Adhamiya who signed up.
But the residents of Adhamiya and other mostly Sunni areas are now facing a more entrenched foe: the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and its heavy-handed security forces.
In interviews here, Adhamiya residents complained of a pattern of harassment, random arrests and illegal imprisonment: the kinds of grievances that helped detonate the uprising raging in Sunni-dominated provinces to the north and west.
Those interviewed said they empathized with Sunni fighters who have seized large swaths of Iraqi territory, but insisted that they did not back the Islamic State, the Al Qaeda breakaway faction leading the uprising. Whether their professed antipathy for the militants was authentic or meant for Western consumption was not clear." LA Times
The inhabitants of the Sunni parts of western Baghdad are a potential fifth column likely to assist IS coalition forces in penetration of Baghdad between BIA and the US Embassy. pl
“Profoundly moved” by this picture of desolation wrought by his troops, General von Hausen departed from the ruins of Dinant secure in the conviction that the responsibility lay with the Belgian government “which approved this perfidious street fighting contrary to international law.” The Germans were obsessively concerned about violations of international law. They succeeded in overlooking the violation created by their presence in Belgium in favor of the violation committed, as they saw it, by Belgians resisting their presence. With a sigh of long -tried patience, Abbé Wetterlé, Alsatian delegate to the Reichstag, once confessed, “To a mind formed in the Latin school, the German mentality is difficult to comprehend.” The German obsession had two parts: that Belgian resistance was illegal and that it was organized from “above” by the Belgian government or by burgomasters, priests, and other persons who could be classified as “above.” Together the two parts established the corollary: that German reprisals were righteous and legal, regardless of degree. The shooting of a single hostage or the massacre of 612 and the razing of a town were alike to be charged to the Belgian government —this was the refrain of every German from Hausen after Dinant to the Kaiser after Louvain. The responsibility must “fall upon those who incited the population to attack the Germans,” Hausen protests constantly. There can be absolutely no doubt, he insists, that the whole population of Dinant and other regions was “animated— by whose order?— by one desire to stop the advance of the Germans.” That people could be animated to stop the invader without an order from “above” was inconceivable.
Tuchman, Barbara W. (2009-07-22). The Guns of August: The Outbreak of World War I; (Kindle Locations 5890-5902). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Regarding the shoot-down of the Malaysian jetliner on Thursday, I’m [Robert Parry] told that some CIA analysts cite U.S. satellite reconnaissance photos suggesting that the anti-aircraft missile that brought down Flight 17 was fired by Ukrainian troops from a government battery, not by ethnic Russian rebels who have been resisting the regime in Kiev since elected President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown on Feb. 22.
According to a source briefed on the tentative findings, the soldiers manning the battery appeared to be wearing Ukrainian uniforms and may have been drinking, since what looked like beer bottles were scattered around the site. But the source added that the information was still incomplete and the analysts did not rule out the possibility of rebel responsibility. (Consortium News)
If these serious doubts exist in the IC, why are Obama, Biden, Power and the other usual suspects so cocksure that MH17 was “blown out of the sky” by that devil Putin and the equally evil Novorossiyan rebels? Obviously they are fixing the facts and intelligence around the policy. Where have we heard that before?
For god’s sake, we have five billion invested in this project. We can’t walk away from Nuland’s neocon dream for Ukraine. Can you imagine some poor young imagery analyst being badgered by the R2P harpies to come to the “correct” interpretation of the aerial photos?
Those analysts need top cover from powerful men of honor in our government. They may be few and far between, but it doesn’t take many to make a difference. One or two will do. We haven’t heard from General Martin Dempsey yet. He’s saved us before. General Michael Flynn is short. He might as well go out in a brilliant blaze of honor and glory. Gentlemen, stop the rush to an unnecessary and dangerous war. Make this old soldier proud.
The defeat brought to an end a three-week campaign by the government in Baghdad to recapture Tikrit, which fell to the Islamic State on June 11. Military spokesmen earlier this week had confidently announced a final push to recapture the city.
Instead, Islamic State forces turned back the army’s thrust up the main highway Wednesday. Beginning late Thursday, the Islamist forces stormed Camp Speicher, a former U.S. military base .
Witnesses reached by phone, who asked not be identified for security reasons, said that by Friday morning the final pocket of government troops had collapsed, an ignominious end for a counteroffensive that had begun with a helicopter assault into Tikrit University but ended with troops trapped at Camp Speicher.
"There were earlier Russian reports that the rebels had captured Ukrainian surface-to-air defense but no details. The SA-11 or SA-17 are, however, logical systems for rebels to have used earlier in shooting down a Ukrainian AN-26 military transport at a reported altitude of 26,000 feet.
A passenger aircraft would have no warning of such an attack, and its black box would not record any data on the intercept. It is extremely unlikely to pilots ever saw the incoming missile or could accurately characterize it if they had only seconds in which to speak in ways the black box could record." CSIS
The Yellow Media are creating a Doctor Strangelove situation. They do not seem to grasp the idea that the war between Russia and the USA toward which they are groping will destroy both countries altogether. Once more, a war between the USA and Russia WILL DESTROY BOTH COUNTRIES and much of the rest of the world.
As Cordesman notes there are many unanswered questions concerning the fate of Malaysia Flight 17. The evidence that has been revealed is sketchy. There is still the possibility of an electro/mechanical failure of some sort. Nevertheless, people who should know better than to do this are participating in jacking up public hysteria that pushes the country toward war with Russia. I guess the money must be good.
Perhaps the neocon/R2P crowd in power do not understand what nuclear war would mean. pl
"Yesterday saw Israel come in for particular criticism after the al-Wafa hospital, which cares for patients suffering from brain and spine trauma, was damaged by the Israeli air offensive.
Asked if Israel “has the right to defend itself by bombing hospitals”, Dermer said: “Actually, if you turn your hospital into a command post & missile launching site you do. But Israel hasn't.
“Israel cares more about Pal civilians in Gaza than Hamas,” he continued. “We try to get them out of harm’s way. They put them in harm's way.”"
Well, at least he is no longer an American. pl
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
* Adam L. Silverman is the Cultural Advisor at the US Army War College. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Army War College and/or the US Army.
It's also entirely possible that the network felt Mohyeldin's objectivity had been compromised after witnessing such tragic violence up close. Or, fearing post-traumatic stress, felt he needed, emotionally, to be extricated from the war zone. But if that's the case, NBC should say it, rather than broadly claiming "security concerns."
The network has not responded to a request for comment." NY Magazine
"A spokesman for Hamas?" What more do you need to know? pl
"A Malaysian airliner crashed over eastern Ukraine Thursday, killing all 295 people aboard and sharply raising stakes in a conflict between Kiev and pro-Moscow rebels in which Russia and the West back opposing sides.
The total number of dead in the crash near the Russian border includes 23 U.S. citizens, a Ukrainian interior ministry aide said. No other independent confirmation of the total was available. " Chicago Tribune
The lunatic "yellow" US media has immediatedly leapt into pursuit of the theory of a missile shootdown by rebel forces aligned with Russia. Like Obama and the R2P Harpies they seem to have no concept of the risk of provoking Russia into an irrationally hostile act towards the US. US DoD has stated that in spite of continuous surveillence of the scene they have no indications of the cause of this event. I will observe that we now have seen two Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft that have come to an ill end at approximately the same altitude. pl
Multiple news services are reporting the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 17 over Ukraine. The aircraft was a Boeing 777 with 229 passengers and 15 crew en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. None survived, 23 held American passports. The aircraft was in cruise at approximately 33,000ft, so it is alleged that the culprit was a heavy SAM. The crash site is some 50 km from the Russian border.
Claims and counter claims are already swirling around the internet as to the authors of this deed. Russia, the rebels, the Ukraine? All apparently own capable systems. My personal view is that neither Russia nor the rebels have anything to gain from such an action while it might be construed that the current Ukrainian government could want to encourage NATO intervention on its side as a result of this tragedy.
Russia allegely has a sophisticated and multi layered air defence system with I assume very good command and control systems so there should be radar evidence as well as forensics to identify the missile and the culprit.
My personal view is that if Washington does not approach the investigation of this matter in a bipartisan cooperative manner with Russia, then we can assume that the Obama Administration contemplates bringing Ukraine under NATO protection with the associated risk of direct military confrontation with Russia. Will the tone of Whitehouse press releases tell us which course, for better or worse, the Administration has chosen? Walrus
"It was in 440 BC that Greece set up a group of Greek city states called the Delian League, founded by Cimon, which would end up becoming the Athenian Empire led by Pericles.
There was one central conception that gained strength after the Greek’s victory in the Persian Wars and that was establishment of the democratic political system in which the numerical majority possessed all authority and all power of decision in the state. Under Pericles, this became “Imperial Democracy,” and the success of this system set in motion the seeds of its own destruction, just as it always does and has. Too put it simply, Athens was a city state that could not stay still. It was always meddling, always stirring up and attacking its allies and enemies alike. In the past, Persians had been the most deadly and constant enemies of Athens, as was Sparta and other Greek city states. Slowly, Pericles seized control of the allies’ wealth in order to fight the Persians, but in attempting to block a Persian move in Egypt, the fleet of Athens was almost totally destroyed. The Athenian Empire ended when the Spartans defeated Athens in the Peloponnesian War, and Sparta itself would thereafter be defeated by the Thebans. On the heels of the Thebans came Macedonia. But during that time Athens’ greed for power, its mania for expansion prevented any chance of stability in the region and that greed produced its ruin.
The communal life of Athens was the climax of the Greek development of the state or the polis. The government of Athens was so constituted that it would be compelled by its very nature to strive for power over its neighbors. The classic city state was held in place by two competing forces, education and power, according to an outstanding Greek scholar, Werner Jaeger. (Jaeger and Jacob Burckhardt are the best interpreters of Greek culture that I know of.) The antagonism between education and power was inevitable. When the state asked the citizen to sacrifice himself to serve the purposes of the state, it was assumed that the individual’s purposes were more or less identical to the state’s. There was no room for personal judgments and no personal freedom in the modern sense. The individual’s aims had to agree with the aims of the whole community and its parts, and they agreed to serve those ends with all their energy and determination. There was a widespread belief among the Greeks that the welfare of the community and its parts can be measured by an objective standard. Earthly justice was based on the justice of heaven. The Greeks had long considered that their ethical standard rested on justice (dike). The happiness of the state was founded on that idea. The crisis of the state was therefore a crisis in education. Education always reacted very strong to any attack on established authority, because the city’s greatest pride was founded on being the defender of justice and the defender if the unjustly oppressed.
The career of Pericles was made possible only by the great new extensions in the power of the masses. Plutarch says that Pericles’s bought the people off, thanks to grants of land. But beneath the surface smoldered the inextinguishable spark of revolution among the politically dispossessed aristocrats, or what were called oligarchs, and the rest of the citizens. While the foreign policy of Pericles won success after success, the aristocrats were loyal or feigned loyalty and contorted them self into grotesque forms paying flattery to those in power in feats of gigantic hypocrisy.
JC, an old Army friend with long experience in Israel and Gaza sent me the following today.
"In that the current situation is unfolding somewhat similar to the 2006 Lebanon "fiasco", I am forwarding a brief summary of the Winograd Commission (edited, but courtesy of Wikipedia). I suspect that we may see a repeat of the final statement.
According to the Winograd Commission Report, the Second Lebanon War was regarded as a "missed opportunity" and that "Israel initiated a long war, which ended without a defined military victory". The report continued to state that "a semi-military organization of a few thousand men resisted, for a few weeks, the strongest army in the Middle East, which enjoyed full air superiority and size and technology advantages". Furthermore, Hezbollah's rocket attacks continued throughout the war and the IDF did not provide an effective response to it. Following a long period of using standoff firepower and limited ground activities, the IDF launched a large-scale ground offensive close to the UN Security Council's resolution which imposed a cease-fire. "This offensive did not result in military gains and was not completed".
..."The fact Israel went to war before it decided which option to
select and without an exit strategy, all these constituted serious failures of the decision making process."" JC
As JC observes this situation appears similar. Once again, Israel has initiated hostilities with an Arab group without any clear idea of the result to be rationally expected or of an "exit plan" from the war itself. The "strategic thnking' involved appears to have consisted of an unbounded hatred for the Palestinians and a desire to smash and humble them while using the worldwide resources of the Zionist cause to silence criticism. A humilation like that which resulted from the Second Lebanon War now seems likely to emerge from a "permanent" cease fire unless Israel decides to "double down' in a large scale ground incursion into the Gaza Strip. pl