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13 March 2018

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SmoothieX12

That is his assigned mission.

Of course military operates within its mission and manuals. I was talking about judgement--US military at this very moment has better judgement than its political top. In fact, it becomes increasingly obvious.

William Fitzgerald

Pat Lang,

I'm sad to say that I concur with your estimate and conclusions. The American objective and strategy in regard to Syria has become increasingly obvious since the air attack on the embattled Deir ez Zor garrison. The course being followed seems to have its own momentum, regardless of administration, bureaucracy, or congress. Addressing the "ancient" AUMF in congress could be a hopeful development were it not for the relentless and escalating anti-Russian propaganda. Is that being orchestrated in order insure a favorable AUMF?

WPFIII

Account Deleted

Smoothie

..even most hysterical (unless they are completely berserk) functionaries get the idea of being evaporated in the nuclear blast.
You are a military analyst and a good one from what I read, but I believe that this misses the point here re the danger. The issue is not that the people who matter do not know what nuclear Armageddon looks like, it is that they may not appreciate that a chain of unpredictable events - of the kind that JohnsonR described upthread - can lead us there from here.

I think the Colonel is absolutely right in his analysis and historical comparison because we now have exactly the right (wrong) mix of personalities in combination with an already dangerous proxy war. A very dangerous game is being played and I am not at all convinced that one side has the imagination to appreciate how dangerous it is.

Oilman2

A kinetic weapon carries no exploding payload. The velocity of the missile itself is sufficient to destroy targets. This requires extreme velocity, the effect being similar to a meteor, Various space agencies have been reported to have this tech, sometimes referred to as "the rod of God', the rod being a metallic mass in rod form shot from orbit. The new Satan 2 is purported to have these type warheads fired from flightpath of the ICBM.

The Beaver

Colonel,

Like the Heritage Foundation pipsqueaker Haley, Pompeo has his admirers in Israel:

http://www.jpost.com/American-Politics/Pompeo-very-positively-disposed-to-Israel-strong-critic-of-Iran-deal-545010

aleksandar

They will not. Maybe you have forgotten what war is, we don't.
Never will german, french, belgian or italian people allow their gvts to let that happen and it will be worse in Hungary or Czech republic.
I'm not talking about political circus but about massive riots, sabotages and violence.

About Gina Haspel an arrest warrent was issued by Germany against her and send to Interpol two years ago.

ISL

Jason,

That sounds like a Russian strategy. It seems Russia has managed to get revenge for actions that targeted its assets in Syria (I read an article that suggests the E. Ghouta push is hitting also US SF advisors) but they do not brag about it on twitter.

For example, I assess that the poor performance of the Tomahawk attack was EW (the other explanation being they are crap missiles), but in either case, Putin did not brag on twitter.

Also consistent with the Putin story about the rat per Luke8929.

One might hope that an encrypted channel (that had been cracked) would provide a few minutes warning for our sailors to get overboard - the fact that carrier groups are useless against a peer power is accepted in naval circles since the 80s.

blue peacock

Jack

I believe you are spot on that the US has very little national interest in the Middle East. It would seem that Trump's instinct during the campaign was correct that better relations with Russia is in US interests, especially if Trump intends to change the trade relationship with China.

As Putin had suggested in his interviews with Oliver Stone, we should have Russia join NATO and align militarily with them. I would suggest we go further and negotiate a "Peace & Friendship" treaty with the Russians. There is much that can be achieved with a mutually beneficial partnership with Russia.

turcopolier

oilman2

Ah, you mean things like rail guns. Well, sure but the military more generally applies the term "kinetic operations" to any shooting/bombing operation. pl

LeaNder

precisely because it was reasonable at the time to believe that Tillerson could be instrumental in restoring correct relations with Russia.

Flavius, I had the impression he sought support from the military quite early. I didn't take more then a rather superficial glance at his campaign website, or on Clinton's horribly bad one. But the military, I suppose a necessity in the US seemed to be one of his central columns. Clinton: Aesthetically bad, and non-focused it felt.

I am open to corrections of cause. Can't help though: to what extend was his position on Russia simply a response (countervailing?) to the launched Russiagate theme?

Babak Makkinejad

I hope to never see Russia joining NATO; the Western Diocletian states are already generally insufferable, Heaven only knows what they would do once the Orthodox join them.

But I can assure you that the attempt at White Hegemony of this planet will be resisted tooth and nail by the Beige, the Brown, the Yellow, and the Black.

I agree with you that the United States - indeed the entire Western Diocletian states - have no rational interests in the World of Islam that warrants war.

English Outsider


Kooshy - Under correction from the Westminster experts here, Westminster seems to be calling for further joint European/American sanctions rather than for military action.

UK trade with Russia is not as great as that of the Continental Europeans. There is UK investment in Russia, however, and handling expatriate Russian money is profitable for the City. Therefore, unless we want to cut off our noses to spite our faces, there's not that much damage the UK can do to Russia.

As for the hate speech, in which we are now rivalling even the Poles, I assume Putin welcomes it. Every jab another bunch of votes for him, I'd imagine, unless the Russian people are more saintly than the rest of us.


Laura

LondonBob -- Time to reread Tuchman's The Proud Tower, I guess. 1914 didn't happen because no one knew a war would be politically disastrous or because their instincts kicked in. And "just rhetoric" is a very dangerous concept. Words have power and words do matter.

jjc

May's British government is in a weak position domestically, with the fear and loathing of Corbyn motivating a certain hysteria since last years snap election. What has transpired this week appears direct from the Thatcher playbook. What is stunning is, for all the bluster, they have reached a verdict without a trial, without any evidence at all of an "attempted murder", without even being able to explain what happened. To then wrap their denunciations in the banner of standing tall for "our values" and sticking up for the "rules-based system" while trampling on the logic and procedure of the basic justice system - that's just crazy and rather thoughtless.

Here, the 1914 analogy can be seen in the rapid insistence that friends and allies of Britain must also stand tall and denounce the Russians - evidence be damned - lest the alliance crumble. This will permit the "unlawfull chemical weapon attack" meme to grow just as Russiagate has done, with unproven allegations presented as settled fact, requiring "action" in response. Further, by this reaction, the British government has assured the investigation into whatever happened will be politicized, and that any information countering the government's charges will be suppressed so to prevent a loss of face.

Valissa

blue peacock, Jack

Apparently US policy in the ME is strongly about oil, though I expect basic geopolitics is the twin reason.

I've excerpted some key paragraphs, but suggest reading the whole thing if you want to know how The Borg thinks about the ME.

A Rare Glimpse into the Inner Workings of the American Empire in the Middle East - The U.S. foreign policy elite still wants the Middle East for its oil and its strategic location. http://fpif.org/rare-glimpse-inner-workings-american-empire-middle-east/
In recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, four former U.S. diplomats provided remarkably candid commentary on recent U.S. involvement in the Middle East, revealing a number of the most closely guarded secrets of U.S. diplomacy.

The four former diplomats emphasized the importance of the region’s oil, spoke critically about the weaknesses of U.S. strategy, made a number of crude comments about U.S. partners, displayed little concern about ongoing violence, and called for more “discipline” throughout the region.

... Currently, all signs indicate the United States is increasing its hold over the Middle East.

The only problem, according to the former diplomats, is that the United States continues to face significant resistance. Although the U.S. has constructed a kind of informal American empire, they believe that U.S. actions and polices are creating blowback that is bringing more conflict and violence to the region.

...Indeed, Jeffrey insisted that it would be necessary to accept more death and violence if the United States was going to achieve its strategic objectives. This kind of trade-off, he believed, was simply how things worked in the area. Citing recent retaliatory actions by the Israeli and Saudi government against missile attacks, Jeffrey said that the high civilians death tolls that resulted from such operations had simply become one of the costs of military engagement in the region.
--------------

HawkOfMay


This thread me wonder about the status of the US Sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine. It seems that are still moving along towards final sale.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-defense-ukraine/u-s-approves-possible-sale-of-anti-tank-missiles-to-ukraine-idUSKCN1GD6DK

David Habakkuk

LondonBob,

In response to comment 87.

Unfortunately, although the pieces by both Séamus Martin and Craig Murray to which you link are much better than most MSM coverage, among many problems with them is the rather basic one that both accept without question an unproven assumption that is fundamental to the whole British case against Russia over Skripal – that a class of lethal CW called ‘Novichoks’ actually exists.

A relevant post has just appeared on the site of a ‘Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media’ recently set up by a group of British academics. It is co-authored by Paul McKeigue, Professor of Statistical Genetics and Genetic Epidemiology at Edinburgh University, and Piers Robinson, Professor of Politics, Society and Political Journalism’ at Sheffield University, and is entitled ‘Doubts about “Novichoks”.’

(See http://syriapropagandamedia.org/working-papers .)

In the Commons on 12 March, Theresa May claimed that ‘world-leading experts at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down have established that Skripal was poisoned with one of a ‘group of nerve agents known as Novichok,’ developed by Russia.

Until recently the head of the detection laboratory at Porton Down was Dr Robin Black. As McKeigue and Robinson note, back in 2016 this ‘world-leading expert’ on chemical weapons – he really is that – published a chapter in a book on ‘Chemical Warfare Toxicology’ entitled ‘Development, Historical Use and Properties of Chemical Warfare Agents.’

The link to this at the site of the Royal Society of Chemistry is at the end of the piece by McKeigue and Robinson – a free download if one registers. I would very strongly recommend the whole chapter to anyone seriously interested in getting to grips with issues to do with chemical weapons, as it provides an authoritative account accessible to those without a scientific background.

Of particular interest in relation to May’s accusations against Russia is the fact that Black specifically states that the existence of the Russian programme to which she refers was unconfirmed as of his writing:

‘In recent years, there has been much speculation that a fourth generation of nerve agents, ‘Novichoks’ (newcomer), was developed in Russia, beginning in the 1970s as part of the “Foliant” programme, with the aim of finding agents that would compromise defensive countermeasures. Information on these compounds has been sparse in the public domain, mostly originating from a dissident Russian military chemist, Vil Mirzayanov. No independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published.’

What he is suggesting is that in the course of the – OPCW-monitored – destruction of the Russian chemical weapons programme, no evidence emerged confirming the claims by Mirzayanov. For this to be consistent with the Prime Minister’s claims, some pretty radical assumptions have to be introduced.

As McKeigue and Robinson also note, a similar scepticism was expressed in a March 2013 report by the Scientific Advisory Board on the OPCW – again, the link is in the ‘Working Group’ document:

‘[The SAB] emphasised that the definition of toxic chemicals in the Convention would cover all potential candidate chemicals that might be utilised as chemical weapons. Regarding new toxic chemicals not listed in the Annex on Chemicals but which may nevertheless pose a risk to the Convention, the SAB makes reference to “Novichoks”. The name “Novichok” is used in a publication of a former Soviet scientist who reported investigating a new class of nerve agents suitable for use as binary chemical weapons. The SAB states that it has insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of “Novichoks”.’

Of course, it is possible that, since Dr Black wrote, both Porton Down and the OPCW have received conclusive evidence vindicating the claims by Mirzayanov. It is even just remotely conceivable – very remotely conceivable – that all these people are part of a conspiracy to cover the devastating information revealed by Mirzayanov. But those who want to argue this owe us at least an attempt to provide a coherent account of how this might be so.

And then, it has to be born in mind that there is a long history of people in the West accepting, without critical examination, claims from ‘dissidents’ and ‘defectors’ from the former Soviet Union and now Russia.

In this connection, I would refer people to two reports from Judith Miller. One, from 1999 in the ‘New York Times’, is entitled ‘U.S. and Uzbeks Agree on Chemical Arms Plant Cleanup’. It both accepts Mirzayanov’s claim’s at face value, and suggests American officials also did this.

(See http://www.nytimes.com/1999/05/25/world/us-and-uzbeks-agree-on-chemical-arms-plant-cleanup.html .)

Another, published yesterday in the ‘City Journal’ is entitled ‘Chemical Weapons are Back, Thanks to Russia; The banned agents are increasingly being used for assassination and terror.’

(See https://www.city-journal.org/html/chemical-weapons-are-back-thanks-russia-15766.html .)

The ‘City Journal’ is an outlet with which I was unfamiliar. At first glance, and particular in the light of their publishing Judith Miller, it seems to me it might usefully be retitled ‘Still useful idiots, after all these years, and proud of it’, or ‘Inside the bubble, and terrified of having it pricked.’

If this seems extreme, have a look at her article.

Compounding the confusion is the fact that various Russians quoted repudiating Theresa May’s accusations have not denied that the ‘Novichoks’ programme existed. In general, these seem to me to be people who could not be expected to have a grasp of the detailed history of the Soviet chemical weapons programme, and this would not be the first time that such figures have opened their big mouths in response to questionable accusations and in so doing given these unmerited credibility.

(See https://www.rt.com/news/421200-uk-novichok-agent-allegations/ ; https://sputniknews.com/russia/201803131062469325-russia-nerve-agent/ .)

However, these are not matters which need to be prejudged. What we clearly need is clarification about the actual state of the evidence about ‘Novichoks’ from people who are well-informed, both on the Western and Russian sides. Maybe if some people in the Western MSM actually did some journalism, as it used to be understood, we might get it.

It would not be sufficient to establish Russian responsibility to establish that the programme to create ‘Novichoks’ actually existed, but it would seem rather close to a necessary condition. Until the problems raised by McKeigue and Robinson are cleared up, it really is premature to conduct any discussion of the Skripal poisoning on the basis of the assumption that it did.

Meanwhile, it is difficult to see what possible grounds there can be for the apparent reluctance of the British to supply the Russians with samples for testing.

An intriguing question is raised by the arguments made by McKeigue and Robinson. Clearly something was tested at Porton Down, and some kind of results produced. If in fact ‘Novochoks’ do not exist, what was it that was tested, and what were the results?

As with the test results from Porton Down and other laboratories on samples from incidents where CW have been used in Syria, one comes back to the urgent need to have the actual test results in the public domain, and the obvious implausibility of claims that ‘sources and methods’ considerations mean that this cannot be done.

Incidentally, Professor McKeigue is also the author of what I take to be a highly cogent demolition of the report of the UN/OPCW ‘Joint Investigative Commission’, issued last October, which blamed the Syrian government for the Khan Sheikhoun sarin atrocity, to which I have referred in earlier comments.

(See https://timhayward.wordpress.com/2017/12/22/khan-sheikhoun-chemical-attack-guest-blog-featuring-paul-mckeigues-reassessment/ .)

Among other things, his argument provides very strong reasons to suspect that intense pressure was put on people at the OPCW to collaborate in the cover-up of a ‘false flag.’ It thus becomes perfectly natural to ask whether similar pressure may have been put on people at Porton Down.

The fact that Theresa May simply assumed away the possibility of a ‘false flag’ would seem reason at least to a range of possibilities regarding her role – ranging from very great naivety to actual collusion in a cover-up of a ‘false flag.’

If she wants to prove such suspicions are groundless, she should order the disclosure of the kind of information I have suggested needs to be made public – just as General Mattis should order the disclosure of the test results relevant to Syrian CW incidents which publicly available evidence indicates must be available to him.

In all these cases, what we most of all simply need are the charts showing the ‘spectra’ of the various compounds identified by the testing processes. It is difficult to see any cogent ‘sources and methods’ grounds for not disclosing these. Once they were disclosed, an informed discussion by people with relevant scientific competence would become possible.

Until they are disclosed, suspicion will be unavoidable that those who do not want to see them disclosed are afraid of what such informed discussion would reveal.

different clue

Laura,

( reply to comment 11),

Even though several others have replied to you first, I will repeat the question:
do you have any specific evidence of the known-to-be-proven details of Russian meddling in our election?

Further, do you have any specific evidence of how such meddling (if any) actually affected any votes on the ground? If so, which votes? How many votes? Which districts and precincts?

How do you feel about Clinton and the Clintonites and the DemParty officials meddling in the primary to underhandedly disadvantage Sanders? I can tell you how I feel about it. I nurture and cherish a cold bitterness which will last for years.
Which in fact will last until every last piece of Clintonite filth has been exterminated from public life and private influence. Do you think Russia meddled me into feeling that way? Really? Reeeeaaaa . . .ly?

Lastly, here is a video clip of Clinton speaking in India just recently. I assume you agree with her stated sentiments and you agreed with them even before you heard her say them. Would I be wrong?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KKPpjN5PTc

DC

Rand Paul says he will oppose, and does not rule out a filibuster. Some may disagree with him about a lot of things, but he's a patriot, no doubt. Go get em Paul.

Anna

"anything for israel..."
http://politicalhotwire.com/world-politics/57199-american-soldiers-dying-israel.html
“Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was critical. ... According to Philip Zelikow, a former member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and now a counsellor to Condoleezza Rice, the ‘real threat’ from Iraq was not a threat to the United States. The ‘unstated threat’ was the ‘threat against Israel’, Zelikow told an audience at the University of Virginia in September 2002. ‘The American government,’ he added, ‘doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell.’
That was then… Today with have this situation: http://silentcrownews.com/wordpress/?p=5814
“Washington and Israel have signed an agreement which would see the US come to assist Israel with missile defense in times of war… according to Haimovitch [Israeli IDF Brig. Gen.] “I am sure once the order comes we will find here US troops on the ground to be part of our deployment and team to defend the state of Israel”
General Clark, the US Army: “We are ready to commit to the defense of Israel and anytime we get involved in a kinetic fight there is always the risk that there will be casualties…”
https://whiskeytangotexas.com/2018/03/13/general-clark-u-s-ground-troops-are-now-prepared-to-die-for-the-jewish-state/
More: “Jerusalem - IDF, US Army Celebrate Inauguration Of First American Base In Israel” https://www.vosizneias.com/280626/2017/09/18/jerusalem-idf-us-army-celebrate-inauguration-of-first-american-base-in-israel/

catherine

''We will probably never learn why President Trump turned on Rex Tillerson. If we ever do, it may be because Neocons are furious reality refuses to bend to their fantasies. ''


One speculation about Tillerson being on Kusner's hit list.

Trump Fired Tillerson To Protect Jared Kushner
https://forward.com/opinion/396570/trump-fired-tillerson-to-protect-jared-kushner/
''It all comes back to an underwater building in Manhattan, 666 5th Avenue. The property, owned by Kushner’s family, is severely in debt, and the family could face financial ruin if they fail to finance it. To this end, Kushner has been seeking financing for the building from some top players, including from a Qatari investment group
''The Qataris did not in the end agree to finance the building. And weeks later, Qatar found itself under a blockade, imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, formally known as the Anti Terror Quartet.
Tillerson was reportedly enraged. And he blamed one person for Trump’s support of the blockade: Jared Kushner. “Rex put two-and-two together,” his close associate told reporters, “and concluded that this absolutely vacuous kid was running a second foreign policy out of the White House family quarters.”

About Qatar here...

Tillerson and Mattis Cleaning Up Kushner’s Middle East Mess
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/tillerson-and-mattis-cleaning-up-kushners-middle-east-mess/
June 27, 2017
''Qatari operations were more than symbolic. The Qatari military trained rebel units, shipped them weapons, accompanied their fighting units into battle, served as a link between rebel commanders and NATO, tutored their military commanders, integrated disparate rebel units into a unified force and led them in the final assault on Qaddafi’s compound in Tripoli.“We never had to hold their hand,” a retired senior U.S. military officer says. “They knew what they were doing.” The Qatar intervention has not been forgotten at the Pentagon and is one of the reasons why Defense Secretary James Mattis has worked so diligently to patch up the falling out between them and the coalition of Saudi-led countries ”
Tillerson’s aides, I was told, were convinced that the true author of Trump’s statement was U.A.E. ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, a close friend of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. Otaiba weighed in with Jared and Jared weighed in with Trump. ''

Wouldnt be the first time Kushner tried to hit someone who denied him something:

https://www.cjr.org/special_report/cjr-kyle-pope-jared-kushner-observer.php
“You can’t say ‘hit job’ in here.”
I was six months into my tenure as the editor of the New York Observer, and I was schooling my publisher, Jared Kushner, on why ordering up a slam of someone who had crossed his family in business didn’t pass the journalistic smell test.
Kushner, in an earlier meeting, had asked for a hit piece on an official at Bank of America, and was now in my office to check on how the story was coming together. I had spent the previous weeks trying to avoid the subject with him, knowing full well that the Observer was never going to pursue a story about an anonymous banker whose only sin was running afoul of the Kushner family.''


catherine

Well I am now sufficiently scared that some false flag incident will start up WWIII in the ME. Which imo will be the end of the USA for all practical purposes.
So what to do?
Why cant the CIA just disappear 2 or 3 dozen certain individuals and let us have some peace and sanity for awhile.

walter

Jack, in my opinion, there is no "US". The "US" doesnt have an interest. There are individuals who behave in their own individual self interest. The individuals who work in our State Dept., CIA, DOD, corporate defense contractors, lobbyists, politicians, media......these individuals appear to benefit on an indivdual level (promotions, high paying jobs, social acceptance, nice neighborhoods and schools for their kids) when they "accept the party-line" that masquerades as US interests". Its a monumental unconscious group-think based on individual self interest. This is my understanding of "the Borg" and "US interests", "US foreign policy goals"....they are actually individual interests shaped by what individuals who work in this realm believe they should believe and espouse to achieve their own goals. Rebels, individual thinkers tend to get fired, not promoted, snubbed

As Bannon said, "Washington is a business model." The business is getting paid.

SmoothieX12

it is that they may not appreciate that a chain of unpredictable events - of the kind that JohnsonR described upthread - can lead us there from here.

I agree with that and I don't dismiss the fact that probability of the conflict, and with it the escalation to a threshold, increased substantially. I merely pointed out that US military at this stage has much better judgement and awareness. In plain language it means that there are more per capita responsible people at this stage than it is in US political class. Even Russian media reported on that. This also is in agreement with Colonel's title of Mattis being the only adult in the room. This very well might be true. But my feel, which, of course, could be entirely wrong, is that this is not planned to go beyond hysteria. That is why I reject completely any suggestions, not here, on this site, but now floating in great numbers in blogosphere that this is some kind preparation of "public opinion" to war with Russia. Posturing? Yes. Preparation? Don't think so. Desperation of some large strata of US political elite, especially neocons? Absolutely.

SmoothieX12

I hope to never see Russia joining NATO

Babak, Russia is not joining the NATO. It is political, ideological, technological and cultural impossibility. In the end, Lord Ismay's definition of NATO still stands.

But I can assure you that the attempt at White Hegemony of this planet will be resisted tooth and nail by the Beige, the Brown, the Yellow, and the Black.

It is not that simple, especially once you listen to both recent Putin's Valdai conversation with youth and then Lavrov's press-conference.

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