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11 September 2013

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Anna-Marina

The final ignominy, the outright treason:
NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans' data with Israel
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/11/nsa-americans-personal-data-israel-documents

David Habakkuk

Matthew,

Thanks for the link to the Andrew Sullivan piece. I was particularly struck by one line:

“As that moment of truth loomed, the Russians gave way on defending or denying Assad’s use and possession of chemical weapons.” This seems to me to exemplify perfectly a general disappearance of a basic concern for elementary factual accuracy which characterises much contemporary American and British journalism.

Quite patently, at no point have the Russians been ‘defending’ the use of chemical weapons by Assad, and they couldn’t have been doing so, because they have never stopped ‘denying’ that he has ever used them. Of course, it is perfectly possible that in ‘denying’ that he has used the weapons, they are cynically disseminating disinformation, and that they are complicit in his use of these weapons.

Had Sullivan suggested this, his piece could have led on to a serious argument about whether, in this particular instance, the Russians are lying through their back teeth, or telling the truth. In the event, his decision to ignore easily ascertainable fact makes his journalism worse than useless: it is both morally corrupt and dangerous to the security of his adopted country.

What compounds the problem is that anyone with the most basic familiarity with the politics of the post-Soviet space ought to be aware that the Russian security services are both the perpetrators, and also the objects, of some elaborate and sometimes seriously bizarre ‘information operations’. It may very well be, for example, that the account of the sourcing of the chemical weapons given in recent piece by Wayne Madsen is the result of a Russian ‘information operation’.

(See http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2013/09/11/getting-bottom-rebels-chemical-weapons-use-in-syria.html )

However, I am left with a profound puzzlement about Obama, which the Sullivan piece reinforces. In both cases, it may simply be that they are too naïve even to contemplate the possibility that the supposedly decisive ‘evidence’ against Assad could be the product of an ‘information operation’. An alternative possibility, however, is that Obama has been fully aware that this is so from the outset, and has all along been complicit in the ‘information operation’. Yet another possibility is that he was gullible at the outset, but having being inveigled into committing himself, cannot now afford to admit any scepticism.

Ex-PFC Chuck

Submitted without comment:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/susannahgeorge/syria-researcher-elizabeth-o-bagy-fired

fred

Just read the puff piece on Ms. Rice in Vogue while having a cup of Joe in a local coffee
Shop. 'Elitist' was the first word that came to mind. Has that woman ever had any actual
experience with people who work for a living, or anyone outside of D.C./NYC? God help us.

Medicine Man

"His wife is evidently pleased and Fox News seems unhappy that World War III has not begun."

That's interesting -- was Michelle Obama against this lunacy?

Duncan Kinder

The entire Syria chemical story grows more and more like a Monti Python script.

While any actual intervention now is unlikely, should it occur it would be so surreal that it simply would not be serious.

Caligula once launched an expedition into northern Gaul, with Britain as his target as I recall. The actual military objective fizzled out, so Caligula along the banks of the Atlantic, proclaimed himself victor over the sea. He subsequently held a triumph in Rome, with his legions proudly carrying seashells and conchs as trophies.

This is really the only precedent for the current situation that I can now think of.

Medicine Man

Sorry, Col.

I just started reading the previous thread and saw the links to the first lady's opinions on a Syrian intervention. Please disregard my previous post.

It is interesting that she's more moored to reality than Obama though.

robt willmann

You bet!

No treaty exists on thermo-baric weapons, and since Russia was one of the first developers of same, some of the newer and smaller iterations of them can be of great use by the Syrian army and al-Assad against the "opposition".

And "to send a message", as the U.S. likes to say via Obama and Kerry, the Russians could send a few larger thermo-barics to Syria for a little fireworks demonstration after the "rebels" take over a small village or part of an urban area and have cleansed it of natives. Putin was not shy about using such items during his "debate" with the Chechens.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1854371.stm

http://en.rian.ru/military_news/20120410/172721237.html

This would also have the amusing side effect of shutting down any righteous indignation and arm-waving by Obama and Kerry, since the U.S. has also enthusiastically used fuel-air and thermo-baric weapons, and continues to develop them.

mbrenner

Two evident truths emerge from these turbid waters.

1. We are no closer to any resolution of the Syrian conflict than we were on August 20 despite all the sturm und drang.

2. It is highly unlikely that Obama will ever resort to military action of any kind in Syria. His near death experience this past week doubtless has traumatized this less than courageous soul. Although he has no qualms about killing people (he is no pacifist) nor doubts about the intrinsic virtue of American actions, his past resorts to force (Afghan escalation, Somalia, Yemen,Libya - from behind, kill lists, etc) all had fail-safe elements - i.e. circumstances permitted him to avoid their spinning out of control (actual or spin control). Syria obviously carries no such provision.

William R. Cumming

Apparently the foreign press has pretty much reached the conclusion that after the Obama speech none have a clue as to US FP in Syria or what US will do next!

When great power intentions are opaque then time to really watch out for aberrant international behavior.

Note in passing the 12th anniversary of 9/11 and Mr. Kean and Hamilton in a new report indicate in polite language that Congress is the source of all evil on Homeland Security.

Edward Amame

Indeed we should be grateful to the Russians. It looks like they provided face-saving cover for Obama: it was looking extremely doubtful that Harry Reid could muster a filibuster-proof 60 votes in favor for the vote that was supposed to be taken today and almost certain that the House would vote no.

This was certainly not the smooth operation that Dick Cheney ran.

Jose

This will fall apart within a week or two, the chances for a unilateral strike are greater than ever. BSHO has no central belief or principal just goes by polls, that is why I only voted for him once.

The beaver

From WaPo:
“I wish the president had said what he told Lindsey Graham and me in the Oval Office,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said at a Wall Street Journal breakfast this morning. “That he would support efforts to help the Free Syrian Army change the momentum and that would lead to negotiations that would lead to the departure of Bashar al-Assad.”
dixit Sen. McCain

Matthew

Ex-PFC Chuck: Washington produces more interesting characters than Hollywood now.

Matthew

mbrenner: Drone strikes are almost a metaphor for our President. They are remote, impersonal, and present no risk to the operator in Nevada.

Charles I

omg sorry dear Pat, you made me laugh cause I know how true it is!

If I was till a lawyer my ?'d be When did you stop killing humans? instead of "stop beating your wife"!

Charles I

and gives a second chance too.

Medicine Man

Your last paragraph is one of heavy importance for anyone interested in deciphering Obama's motives, Mr. Habakkuk.

Though I'm wary of buying in to the "branding" every politician comes wrapped in, I've often wondered if Obama really is a stubborn idealist who is all to willing to be misled, provided the deceptions flatter his biases.

JohnH

How to answer your question: stumbling and bumbling vs. planting seeds.

The creators of the "planting seeds" narrative should try to find a pattern of such behavior. Finding examples of stumbling and bumbling is easy.

Case closed?

The Twisted Genius

I have no idea what Obama wants to do about Syria from his rhetoric and actions to date. His speech last night did noting to clear this up. I do know that a substantial majority of the American people do not want us to get involved in the region no matter what is going on there. I also know that there is a substantial cabal of McCain/Graham/Rice/Power types that want to destroy the regimes in Syria and Iran on behalf of Israel. It's the fight between these two groups that will determine any future U.S. actions or inactions concerning Syria. Obama is just a not so innocent bystander.

As I mentioned a week or so ago, Russia is fully capable of doing another "Pristina Dash" and she did just that. The U.S. war cabal, Israel and the Saudis will do everything they can to derail the CW disarmament proposal. As Harper warned us, watch for a false flag move. I sincerely hope Russia quickly puts people on the ground in Syria to start accounting for and safeguarding the CW munitions. That would definitely be a Damascus Dash that would severely crimp the war cabal's plans.

Mark Logan

David Habakkuk,

I'd like to run this by you as a possible explanation: They deliberately left Assad plausible deniability, "a way out". They lay all the evidence on the table and he's a "convicted" war criminal with nothing to lose.

Something about how ridiculous it is in our post "Iraq War Curve-Ball World" to be coy about evidence makes me suspect it had to be deliberate.

The possibility of Obama, with the approval of Martin Dempsey and Hagel, two men I strongly suspect possess the "stones" to resign, would attempt to rail-road us into another cooked-intelligence based war seems very small. I see Kerry and the witches as "true believers" being "managed" in this, and Dempsey and Hagel the only two who Obama had to fully "read in" on his thinking.

Just a guess. By all means, criticize this freely.

Stephanie

Given that State and the White House tried to walk back Kerry's remarks as soon as they were out of his mouth, it was all probably completely unanticipated. It wasn't the only gaffe Kerry made; if he'd been prepped to respond to a planted question one would think he would have had a more carefully worded answer ready, although of course this is Kerry we're talking about.

This doesn't mean that such a solution hasn't come up in previous discussions with the Russians. I would be surprised if it hadn't. But if yesterday was a choreographed event the choreographer was no Balanchine.

Re: Col. Lang's original post. Seems to me it would be relatively simple to make a string of demands Assad can’t possibly meet and then declare him in non-compliance in the Rambouillet manner. Russian and China will object and the Administration (or some other Administration, Republican or Democratic) will reiterate its line that the UN is useless and proceed with a war. If Obama can wrangle an AUMF from Congress, even for an “unbelievably small” operation, anything goes – Congress loses all control. Obama may actually end up in a better position for war than previously, because he can say, “We tried.” The Syrians have conceded they have chemical weapons. No one seems to be hammering Obama on the subject of proof related to the attacks. Even if Assad can come to an agreement there’s no guarantee it will save him in the long term. Gaddafi did, and at an opportune moment NATO disposed of him regardless of the regional consequences.

Which is not to say that Putin and Assad didn’t come out ahead on points. Putin made Kerry look like a doofus, admittedly not the most difficult task, and Assad evades a U.S. strike for the time being. (Assad wins just by hanging in there, actually.) Putin may figure that there will be no military strike, given the domestic and Congressional opposition. I would not take that to the bank.

Charles I

Was there in fact ever an official bottom line on Yuri Nosenko, never mind that other guy who redefected back home in the 90's?

J

Due to the ugliness that Kerry/interventionists will attempt upon the upcoming negotiations, I propose some therapeutic relaxation and beauty before the negotiations begin:

Катя Баженова - Пилот
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOWjtyvM8YI

Enjoy.

Imagine

"Did You Know?: Two Secretive Israeli Companies Reportedly Bugged The US Telecommunications Grid For The NSA" [Jun '13]
http://www.businessinsider.com/israelis-bugged-the-us-for-the-nsa-2013-6#ixzz2edcz1S1L
references WIRED article "Shady Companies With Ties to Israel Wiretap the U.S. for the NSA" [Apr '12]
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/04/shady-companies-nsa/

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