A mysterious, unseen, planetary object with a mass somewhere between that of Mars and Earth may be lurking in the outer reaches of our solar system, according to new research.
Scientists at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) put forward evidence that this unknown “planetary mass object” may explain why the plane of the solar system is warped in the outer reaches of the Kuiper Belt.
The Kuiper Belt lies beyond the orbit of Neptune and hosts a vast number of minor planets, mostly small, icy bodies and a few dwarf planets.
All planets in our solar system orbit around the sun on the same plane but, according to the measurements made by the research team, the most distant Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) appear to be tilted away from this by about eight degrees.
This indicates that something unknown is warping the average orbital plane of the outer solar system.
“The most likely explanation for our results is that there is some unseen mass,” says Kat Volk, lead author of the study. “According to our calculations, something as massive as Mars would be needed to cause the warp that we measured.”
The tilt angles of the orbital planes of more than 600 objects in the Kuiper Belt were analyzed for the study.
“We expect each of the KBOs’ orbital tilt angle to be at a different orientation, but on average, they will be pointing perpendicular to the plane determined by the sun and the big planets,” Volk said.
As the team observed KBOs further out, they found that the average plane actually warps away from the invariable plane.
They noted that the chance of the warp being a statistical fluke was no more than 2 percent.
The paper also ruled out the possibility that the mysterious object could be ‘Planet 9’, pointing out that this planet is predicted to be much bigger and much farther out. Planet 9’s existence is unconfirmed, but is expected to be located at more than 200 times Earth’s distance from the sun.
“That is too far away to influence these KBOs,” Volk said.
The data does not rule out the possibility that the warp could result from more than one planetary mass object.
Details of the study conducted will be published in the Astronomical Journal.
Contributed by RT.com of RT.com.
Delivered by The Daily Sheeple
by Mike Adams
June 27, 2017
Fake news network CNN is reeling under a massive scandal involving three top-level CNN journalists — including one Pulitzer Prize-winning editor — who got caught fabricating completely fake news accusing a Trump associate of collusion with Russia.
“That article — like so much Russia reporting from the U.S. media — was based on a single anonymous source, and now, the network cannot vouch for the accuracy of its central claims,” writes Glenn Greenwald from The Intercept. CNN was forced to pull the story as every single “fact” cited by CNN writers unraveled and was proven to be utterly false.
The entire “Russian collusion” narrative still being desperately pushed by the delusional Left, it turns out, is nothing but “spy fiction.” It’s not just this one story from CNN that’s blatantly false, of course: It’s thousands of stories published over the last two years on President Donald Trump and his presidential campaign. Almost everything CNN publishes is rooted in falsehood or fabricated fiction that we’re supposed to believe actually came from “anonymous sources.” What CNN how demonstrates is that, inside the mainstream media, “anonymous sources” simply means “we just made sh#t up and published it.”
CNN is “no longer a news organization,” said Tucker Carlson in a widely televised analysis of the collapse of CNN’s remaining credibility. “It is a campaign with a political mission” that routinely publishes fake news to achieve the political goal of destroying President Trump and brainwashing the American public.
So far, three journalists have resigned from CNN, and a top CNN producer has even been caught on camera saying the entire Russian narrative being pushed by CNN is “bullsh#t.” (See video link below.)
Even the people who work at CNN know it’s all fake, yet they participate in the fakery by telling themselves it’s “a business,” and business is booming in the Trump era. According to CNN, it’s far more important to feed the delusional frenzy of Left-wing hatred in America than to get stories factually correct. In this way, CNN has become a journo-terrorist organization, feeding the very kind of radical Left-wing hatred and violence that recently led to the attempted mass executions of Republican lawmakers on a baseball field in Virginia.
As I wrote about CNN in November, 2016 as CNN’s fakery became apparent,
Members of the leftist media smugly claim they advocate love, compassion and progressivism, but any honest analysis of their content leads to the conclusion that their reporters are journo-terrorists. They deliberately fabricate falsehoods about their political enemies to effectively hypnotize their readers into being terrified of them. FALSE FEAR is the mantra of the journo-terrorists.
[The voters] have been programmed with so many layers of disinformation and fear that they can no longer recognize the difference between what’s real vs. fiction. They are trapped in a mental prison of fear, carefully constructed by the leftist media for the sole purpose of exerting absolute control over the psychology of the electorate.
In effect, CNN and other formerly “mainstream” news outlets have abused their power to run a full-on campaign of fake news narratives to deliberately misinform the public and achieve the political overthrow of President Trump.
But CNN is hardly alone when it comes to embarrassing retractions regarding Russia. Over and over, major U.S. media outlets have published claims about the Russia Threat that turned out to be completely false — always in the direction of exaggerating the threat and/or inventing incriminating links between Moscow and the Trump circle. In virtually all cases, those stories involved evidence-free assertions from anonymous sources that these media outlets uncritically treated as fact, only for it to be revealed that they were entirely false.
The Intercept goes on to cite totally fake news from the Washington Post, which faked a story that claimed Russian hackers had penetrated the U.S. electricity grid — a claim that turned out to be entirely fabricated and baseless. Yet the fabricated nature of the story didn’t story MSNBC from running with the false narrative, accusing Putin of attempting to freeze Americans to death during a cold winter. As Greenwald writes:
Literally every facet of that story turned out to be false. First, the utility company — which the Post had not bothered to contact — issued a denial, pointing out that malware was found in one laptop that was not connected either to the Vermont grid or the broader U.S. electricity grid. That forced the Post to change the story to hype the still-alarmist claim that this malware “showed the risk” posed by Russia to the U.S. electric grid, along with a correction at the top repudiating the story’s central claim.
But then it turned out that even this limited malware was not connected to Russian hackers at all and, indeed, may not have been malicious code of any kind. Those revelations forced the Post to publish a new article days later entirely repudiating the original story.
As President Trump asked in a recent tweet, what about all the other fake news stories CNN has published over the last two years?
It seems like CNN should be forced to issue a full retraction of almost everything it has published over the last two years.
Through revelations like these, the credibility of CNN, NYT and the Washington Post has utterly collapsed. Only complete fools believe anything they read in these fiction rags. Time after time, these publications have been caught fabricating “anonymous sources” to spin the stories they want to publish, even when those stories are knowingly false.
Rarely do the stories get retracted, and for every retraction that does take place, there are a thousand other fake news stories published on their websites that never get removed or corrected. The mainstream media has literally become the very FAKE NEWS they accused the independent media of pushing.
Yet Google, the world’s leader in “fake search” which just got slapped with a $2.7 billion fine by EU regulators for rigging search results, continues to highlight CNN, the NYT, Washington Post and other fake news pushers as “credible” news sources on Google News. Everywhere across the ‘net, CNN is still treated as if it’s a legitimate news organization, when the raw truth is that CNN has been utterly and exhaustively discredited as a fake news fiction rag… a mouthpiece for the Democrats, operating with the goal of overthrowing the legitimately elected President of the United States.
In sum, anything is fair game when it comes to circulating accusations about official U.S. adversaries, no matter how baseless, and Russia currently occupies that role (more generally: the less standing and power one has in official Washington, the more acceptable it is in U.S. media circles to publish false claims about them, as this recent, shockingly falsehood-ridden New York Times article about RT host Lee Camp illustrates; it, too, now contains multiple corrections).
Conservative radio host Sean Hannity has even called for CNN’s head honcho Jeff Zucker to be fired over the fake news. As Breitbart News reports:
Hannity made the call just hours after it was announced that three employees including the executive editor of a new investigative unit resigned after CNN was forced to retract an article connecting a Russian investment firm to associates of President Trump.
He also said he doubted the official narrative being fed out of CNN headquarters, suggesting that the employees may have been paid to resign, perhaps to spare Zucker’s reputation.
As Greenwald writes in The Intercept, CNN has become a very real threat to America:
The importance of this journalistic malfeasance when it comes to Russia, a nuclear-armed power, cannot be overstated. This is the story that has dominated U.S. politics for more than a year. Ratcheting up tensions between these two historically hostile powers is incredibly inflammatory and dangerous. All kinds of claims, no matter how little evidence there is to support them, have flooded U.S. political discourse and have been treated as proven fact.
This is why I have openly called for the investigation, arrest and prosecution of anti-America journo-terrorists operating inside fake news networks like CNN. The network is not a “news” organization; it is a propaganda front that seeks the overthrow of the U.S. government and the destruction of democracy. CNN needs to be criminally investigated for the simple reason that it continues to knowingly push vile, hate-filled dangerous propaganda that is driving America toward a violent civil war. If CNN continues on its current path, its actions are literally going to result in mass bloodshed and death, perhaps followed by an actual civil war in America.
That seems to be what CNN wants. We the People must stop their poison from harming our nation and destroying this Republic.
In the mean time, if you want to stay informed about real news, read Censored.news which aggregates top headlines in real time from the most censored independent news websites in the world.
Shattering the stereotype of the lazy pothead, new research suggests cannabis users are actually more satisfied, more successful, and even more likely to volunteer in their communities than their nonsmoking counterparts.
Last week, the Independent described to its readers how the research was carried out:
“The study, conducted by market researchers BDS Analytics, surveyed consumers and abstainers across a wide variety of mental, social and financial factors. These included life satisfaction levels, attitudes towards parenting and employment data.
“The survey analysed extensive data from two US states that have voted to legalise the sale of cannabis — California and Colorado.”
Among other surprising findings, researchers discovered that weed consumers make significantly more money than those who abstain, with Californians who use the plant earning nearly $24,000 more a year. This could be related to the fact that 20 percent of California pot consumers hold a master’s degree while only 12 percent of non-smokers in the state can say the same.
Researchers found a similar situation in Colorado, where 64 percent of cannabis users have full-time jobs versus 54 percent of abstainers. Given those numbers, perhaps it’s not surprising that weed consumers in the state generally feel better about their personal lives than non-smokers.
Marijuana consumption is also associated with healthier habits and a more active social life, researchers for BDS Analytics found. In Colorado, for instance, 36 percent of smokers described themselves as “very social people,” compared to 28 percent for those who avoid the plant. Additionally, in both Colorado and California, those who consume cannabis enjoy outdoor recreation at significantly higher rates.
Perhaps the most surprising discovery, however — given the cliched image of the slacker on the couch eating Cheetos and watching reruns of Family Guy — is that users tend to be more generous with their time. Nearly 40 percent of California’s weed enthusiasts volunteer in their communities, researchers found, whereas only 25 percent of abstainers have decided to do the same.
In a press release, head of consumer research for BDS, Linda Gilbert, says all these data points lead to a very real and increasingly apparent conclusion:
“Cannabis consumers are far removed from the caricatures historically used to describe them.”
The Iranian parliament speaker says the US and some regional states claim to be fighting terror, while they are in fact promoting it.
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has accused the US of playing with terrorism instead of fighting the scourge, calling for increased pressure against the promoters and sponsors of terrorist ideology.
Larijani made the remarks in an address to the second meeting of parliament speakers of Eurasian countries in the South Korean capital, Seoul, on Tuesday.
“In fact, the US strategy is playing with terrorism, not fighting it,” he said, calling on Eurasian states to “increase the costs for those promoting the ideology of terrorism and their sponsors in propaganda, political and security fields.”
He said the US and some regional states claim to be fighting terrorism, but “it is clear to everyone that they are in fact supporting the terrorists in different ways.”
Larijani also expressed dismay that “terrorism and violent extremism have turned into a devastating global threat endangering international peace and security.”
Terrorism has left thousands of defenseless people dead or wounded and made millions displaced in countries such as Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen, he pointed out.
The Iranian parliament speaker further touched on the “shameful crimes” committed by terrorist groups such as Daesh, citing the twin terrorist attacks in Tehran as an example.
On June 7, gunmen mounted almost simultaneous assaults on Iran’s Parliament and the Mausoleum of the late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Imam Khomeini. Daesh claimed responsibility for the assaults, which killed 18 people and injured over 50 others.
Elsewhere in his comments, Larijani said the Syria crisis has deepened due to foreign interference.
Iran supports the Syrian government’s measures in its fight against terror outfits and stresses the Arab nation’s role in determining the country’s political structure, he said.
The officials also noted that coordinated efforts by Iran, Russia and Turkey within the framework of the peace process in Astana have helped reduce violence and establish a ceasefire in Syria.
Additionally, he emphasized that the Saudi aggression against Yemen has created a human tragedy in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state.
The political and military support of some world powers for the Saudi aggression has prolonged the Yemen conflict and increased civilian casualties there, Larijani said.
The Islamic Republic believes that the military strategy in Yemen is useless and urges a halt to clashes as well as the resumption of intra-Yemeni talks.
Referring to a recent bill approved by the US Senate to impose economic sanctions on Iran and Russia, Larijani said such measures are against US commitments under international law on non-interference in domestic and international affairs of other countries.
He also underlined the need for taking retaliatory measures by the two countries’ governments and parliaments to foil the bans and prevent such “arbitrary and coercive behavior.”
“This was not a chemical weapons strike…That’s a fairy tale… He was told we did not have evidence of Syrian involvement and yet Trump says: ‘Do it’.”
Liberty Blitzkrieg’s Mike Krieger notes that part of Trump’s appeal to many of his voters was, at least ostensibly, the idea that he would employ a less hawkish/neocon foreign policy than his opponent Hillary “We Came, We Saw, He Died” Clinton.
While it’s still too early to decisively say that Trump will usher in yet another foreign policy disaster for these United States and the world, it’s certainly not looking good.
The lobbing of tomahawk missiles into Syrian based on the fairytale that Assad launched a chemical weapons attack was the first sign that Trump is easily manipulated and impulsive. In fact, the episode bothered me so much I wrote a post detailing the dire ramifications titled, Prepare for Impact – This is the Beginning of the End for U.S. Empire. I suggest taking a read if you missed it the first time, it’s my most popular post of the year.
While that was bad enough, Trump’s cozying up to the barbaric, terrorist-supporitng leaders of Saudi Arabia has been by far the most concerning aspect of his foreign policy (if you can call it that) so far. This policy has become even more dangerous now that the 30-year old princeling who is leading the Saudis’ increasingly aggressive stance in the region has been named crown prince. It appears Trump is willing to let the Saudis do whatever they want in the region, which is guaranteed to have disastrous implications for America and the Middle East.
But a new Seymour Hersh article is out showing that the US knew there was no Assad chemical attack in April, but President Trump decided to bomb anyway.
And the details are shocking… as TheAntiMedia.org’s Darius Shahtahmasebi details, never one to accept the U.S. government’s official explanation of events without question, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh has investigated Donald Trump’s decision to strike the al-Shayat Airbase in Syria in April of this year, which the president launched amid widespread allegations that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack.
In a report entitled “Trump’s Red Line,” published Sunday in the daily German newspaper Die Welt, Hersh asserts that President Donald Trump ignored important intelligence reports when he made the decision to attack Syria after pictures emerged of dying children in the war-torn country.
For those of us without goldfish memories, Hersh’s recent investigation is reminiscent of his previous examination of the alleged chemical weapons attacks in 2013, detailed in an article entitled “Whose Sarin?” That article was published in the London Review of Books.
The official White House explanation for the events in April of this year was that Donald Trump was moved by the suffering of “beautiful” Syrian babies – the same Syrian babies he doesn’t want to set foot in the United States – and decided to punish the Syrian government for the attack two days after it allegedly occurred. This punishment came in the form of an airstrike despite the lack of a thorough investigation regarding what took place that fateful day in April and who was ultimately culpable (though the Trump administration insisted they were certain that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was to blame).
In that context, it should come as no surprise that Trump acted rashly without consideration of the facts on the ground. However, what is most disturbing about Hersh’s account is the fact that, according to his source, Trump was well aware that the U.S. had no solid intelligence linking the Syrian government to a chemical weapons attack — and that’s because, according to Hersh’s article, it’s doubtful a chemical weapons attack occurred at all.
“The available intelligence made clear that the Syrians had targeted a jihadist meeting site on April 4 using a Russian-supplied guided bomb equipped with conventional explosives. Details of the attack, including information on its so-called high-value targets, had been provided by the Russians days in advance to American and allied military officials in Doha, whose mission is to coordinate all U.S., allied, Syrian and Russian Air Force operations in the region.”
“None of this makes any sense,” one officer reportedly told colleagues upon learning of the decision to bomb Syria, according to Hersh. “We KNOW that there was no chemical attack … the Russians are furious. Claiming we have the real intel and know the truth … I guess it didn’t matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump.”
According to Hersh, Trump “could not be swayed” by 48 hours worth of intense briefings and decision-making following the initial reports of the alleged chemical weapons attack. Hersh, who reportedly reviewed transcripts of real-time communications, explains that there is a “total disconnect” between the president and his military advisers and intelligence officials.
As is the case with Syrian military operations, Russia gave the U.S. details of the carefully planned attack on a meeting in Khan Sheikhoun, according to Hersh’s admittedly anonymous sources. The Russians had employed a drone to the area days before the attack to develop the intelligence necessary to coordinate it.
According to Hersh’s sources, the United States and its Russian counterpart routinely share information regarding planned attacks in order to avoid collisions. However, they also permit “coordination,” a practice that involves giving the other side a “hot tip about a command and control facility,” which then helps the other side carry out their attack.
Therefore, there was no surprise chemical weapons attack, as the Trump administration alleged. In fact, Russia had actually warned its American counterpart on the off-chance that there were any CIA assets on the ground who should have been forewarned of an impending attack.
“They [the Russians] were playing the game right,” a senior adviser told Hersh.
“Russian and Syrian intelligence officials, who coordinate operations closely with the American command posts, made it clear that the planned strike on Khan Sheikhoun was special because of the high-value target. ‘It was a red-hot change. The mission was out of the ordinary – scrub the sked,’ the senior adviser told me. ‘Every operations officer in the region’ – in the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, CIA and NSA – ‘had to know there was something going on. The Russians gave the Syrian Air Force a guided bomb and that was a rarity. They’re skimpy with their guided bombs and rarely share them with the Syrian Air Force. And the Syrians assigned their best pilot to the mission, with the best wingman.’ The advance intelligence on the target, as supplied by the Russians, was given the highest possible score inside the American community.”
Hersh confirms Russia’s account of the incident, in which Russian authorities alleged that the Syrian Air Force bombed a “terrorist warehouse,” and that secondary bombings dispersed dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere.
Strangely, if Hersh’s reporting is accurate, it is not clear why Russia didn’t give the detailed account at the time — and why the Russians didn’t emphasize that they had shared information with the U.S. military well in advance of the attack, as this would have cast further doubt on the official U.S. narrative. In that context, Russia could have provided proof of any prior communications that took place within the so-called deconfliction channel. It also doesn’t explain why Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, appeared to endorse two competing theories behind the events at Khan Sheikhoun.
However, Hersh continues:
“A team from Médecins Sans Frontières, treating victims from Khan Sheikhoun at a clinic 60 miles to the north, reported that ‘eight patients showed symptoms – including constricted pupils, muscle spasms and involuntary defecation – which are consistent with exposure to a neurotoxic agent such as sarin gas or similar compounds.’ MSF also visited other hospitals that had received victims and found that patients there ‘smelled of bleach, suggesting that they had been exposed to chlorine.’ In other words, evidence suggested that there was more than one chemical responsible for the symptoms observed, which would not have been the case if the Syrian Air Force – as opposition activists insisted – had dropped a sarin bomb, which has no percussive or ignition power to trigger secondary explosions. The range of symptoms is, however, consistent with the release of a mixture of chemicals, including chlorine and the organophosphates used in many fertilizers, which can cause neurotoxic effects similar to those of sarin.”
Hersh is not the first high-profile investigator to cast major doubts on the Trump administration’s official narrative regarding the events at Khan Sheikhoun. MIT professor emeritus Theodore Postol, who previously worked as a former scientific advisor to the U.S. military’s Chief of Naval Operations, poked major holes in the claims that the Syrian government had launched a chemical weapons attack at Khan Sheikhoun, noting the “politicization” of intelligence findings (you can access all of his reports here). Postol argued that there was no possible way U.S. government officials could have been sure Assad was behind the attack before they launched their strike, even though they claimed to be certain. Postol took the conversation even further, asserting that the available evidence pointed to an attack that was executed by individuals on the ground, not from an aircraft. Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter had similar concerns regarding the White House’s conclusions, as did former U.K. ambassador to Syria Peter Ford. The mainstream media paid almost zero attention to these reports, a slight that exposes the media’s complicity in allowing these acts of war to go ahead unquestioned.
“This was not a chemical weapons strike,” the adviser said. “That’s a fairy tale. If so, everyone involved in transferring, loading and arming the weapon – you’ve got to make it appear like a regular 500-pound conventional bomb – would be wearing Hazmat protective clothing in case of a leak. There would be very little chance of survival without such gear. Military grade sarin includes additives designed to increase toxicity and lethality. Every batch that comes out is maximized for death. That is why it is made. It is odorless and invisible and death can come within a minute. No cloud. Why produce a weapon that people can run away from?”
According to Hersh’s source, within hours of viewing the footage of the ‘attack’ and its aftermath, Trump ordered his national defense apparatus to plan for retaliation against the Syrian government. Hersh explains that despite the CIA and the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) having no evidence that Syria even had sarin, let alone that they used it on the battlefield, Trump was not easily persuaded once he had made up his mind.
“Everyone close to him knows his proclivity for acting precipitously when he does not know the facts,” the adviser told Hersh. “He doesn’t read anything and has no real historical knowledge. He wants verbal briefings and photographs. He’s a risk-taker. He can accept the consequences of a bad decision in the business world; he will just lose money. But in our world, lives will be lost and there will be long-term damage to our national security if he guesses wrong. He was told we did not have evidence of Syrian involvement and yet Trump says: ‘Do it.”’ [emphasis added]
At a meeting on April 6, 2017, at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump spoke with his national security officials regarding the best way to move forward. The meeting was not to decide what to do, Hersh explains, but how best to do it (and how to keep Trump as happy as possible).
Trump was given four options. The first one was dismissed at the outset because it involved doing nothing. The second one was the one that was decided upon: a minimal show of force (with advance warning to Russia). The third option was the strike package that Obama was unable to implement in 2013 in the face of mounting public opposition and Russia’s threats of intervention. This plan was Hillary Clinton’s ultimate fantasy considering she was encouraging it moments before Trump’s lone strike actually took place. However, this would have involved extensive air strikes on Assad’s airfields and would have drawn in the Russian military to a point of no return. The fourth option involved the direct assassination of the Syrian president by bombing his palaces, as well as his underground bunkers. This was not considered, either.
As we all witnessed in April, the second option was adopted, and the airbase Trump struck was up and running again in less than 24 hours, making it a very symbolic and empty show of force.
Hersh’s insight into the way Trump is conducting his foreign policy does not bode well for the future of the Syrian conflict (or anywhere else in the world, for that matter). Trump was not interested in the intelligence or the facts on the ground — if he had been, he would have waited until an investigation had determined culpability before ordering a strike.
Missing from Hersh’s account, however, is the fact that it was newly appointed national security advisor General H.R. McMaster who laid out the military strike proposals to the president at his resort on April 6. McMaster replaced former national security advisor Michael Flynn after the latter was forced to resign due to leaks from within the intelligence community. Due to Flynn’s alleged ties to Russia, it seems unlikely he would have proposed such a strike on Russia’s close ally to begin with.
It is unclear whether McMaster proposed the strikes in order to appease Trump or because McMaster ultimately wants Trump to adopt a tougher stance against Syria and Russia; McMaster has a history of pro-interventionism and anti-Russian sentiment.
Those commentators who can review these startling revelations but still condone Trump’s actions with a lazy ‘Assad is still a bad guy and must be overthrown’ mindset argument are being intellectually dishonest, with themselves and others. As was the case in 2013, there is still very little evidence that Assad has ever used chemical weapons — particularly in the attacks that the U.S. has tried to pin on him — yet this is the standard by which the corporate media and our respective governments have instructed us to judge Assad. Even without this conclusive evidence, shortly after the April events, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley stated Assad will fall from power.
Hersh’s investigation bolsters many claims that the U.S. acted rashly without first conducting or ordering an impartial inquiry regarding what happened in April of this year. Hersh’s report also serves as a reminder to the world of the warpath we are continuing down, spearheaded by an impulsive and reckless megalomaniac who has no interest in ascertaining fact from fiction.
* * *
Liberty Blitzkrieg’s Mike Krieger also notes that just as interesting as the information above, is the fact that Hersh had to turn to a German newspaper to publish it. This makes perfect sense, because the one area where U.S. corporate press maintains unassailable consistency is when it comes to cheerleading for an interventionist, imperial foreign policy based on unverified claims and outright lies. Trump’s little fireworks display checked all those boxes, which is why the corporate media drooled all over the bombing, celebrating Trump for the first time of his Presidency. As Hersh notes:
After the meeting, with the Tomahawks on their way, Trump spoke to the nation from Mar-a-Lago, and accused Assad of using nerve gas to choke out “the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many … No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”
The next few days were his most successful as president. America rallied around its commander in chief, as it always does in times of war.
Trump, who had campaigned as someone who advocated making peace with Assad, was bombing Syria 11 weeks after taking office, and was hailed for doing so by Republicans, Democrats and the media alike. One prominent TV anchorman, Brian Williams of MSNBC, used the word “beautiful” to describe the images of the Tomahawks being launched at sea. Speaking on CNN, Fareed Zakaria said: “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States.”
A review of the top 100 American newspapers showed that 39 of them published editorials supporting the bombing in its aftermath, including the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.
Which once again goes to show just how worthless, irresponsible and downright dangerous U.S. corporate media really is.
Finally, as Ron Paul rages below, Republicans cannot let go of “regime change” for Syria and new Cold War with Russia — even as the Democrats are starting to back away. Will the mainstream media stick with the narrative as well? Or is it all about to come crashing down?
“…one shouldn’t put one’s trust in speeches like that from the gentlemen, for on such occasions the gentlemen liked to say agreeable things, but they had little or no significance and, once uttered, they were forgotten for all time, but admittedly, on the very next occasion one got caught again in their trap.” (Franz Kafka)
With these words Kafka described the modern condition, each one of us trapped in the sticky web of technology and deceit designed to manipulate us to act and think against our selves, to accept the role of monkeys offered bananas in a cage, surrendering the struggling to escape it.
The most dangerous element of that technology is the constant and increasing flood of images of war, of “terror,” of cities destroyed, cultures erased, entire progressive socio-economic systems torn apart, or threatened with destruction, not by the “terrorists” but by the states that declared their “war on terror,” by the states that in reality created the terror in all its forms; the worst being the constant threat of instant and universal annihilation in a nuclear war.
That threat, the threat of nuclear war is more dangerous with every passing day as we see the NATO build-up along Russia’s western borders echoing the Nazi build-up before their invasion in 1941, the rolling invasion of Syria by American and allied forces, the hysterical rhetoric and military movements against North Korea, and the increasing contempt for Chinese sovereignty. Any of these threats from the United States could lead to nuclear war but the threat that concerns all of us is the one against Russia because a nuclear war with Russia is, as President Putin pointed out recently, not survivable. Yet, it is the threat against Russia that is building, building, building; increased military pressure on all fronts, increased economic warfare, called “sanctions,” increased hybrid warfare ranging from hacking of Russian computer systems, to direct attacks on Russian forces in Syria, from expulsion of diplomats to verbal abuse against and assassination of ambassadors. But the extent of the danger is to be seen not outside the United States but in the internal political turmoil that is taking place inside the United States.
Their propaganda against Russia as the “enemy” trying to destroy America through various forms of subversion is daily fare in all the mass media. The alleged subversion is stated as fact. The fact that the allegations are patently absurd means nothing when those who mould opinion refuse to say so and openly lie to the people with every word they utter. But the level of the threat against Russia is signalled by the willingness among the war faction to sacrifice anyone, no matter who they are or what position, in order to advance this propaganda. We now watch as the US Congress holds hearings in which senior government officials are called to defend themselves against charges of having had Russian connections. The President of the country is himself subject to a barrage of accusations of treason.
This scandal is not just about the bickering between the losing party in the US elections and the winning party with the losers willing to risk the security of the people of the country in a bid to take power denied them at the ballot box. There is an element of that. The war faction does want to have its finger directly on the button. Elections and democracy mean nothing to them so long as they take the power. But they could have used any scandal to try to do that. They have concocted the “Russian threat to democracy” because they want war with Russia and to convince the people of the United States and the world that this war is necessary and just, are willing to destroy even their own leaders, and their country’s democratic system, as weak and non-representative of the needs of the people as it is, in order to achieve their purpose.
The longer this spectacle in the United States goes on the worse it is going to get. But those under attack do not seem to understand what is happening to them, that they are being used to advance this propaganda, that they are being set up as scapegoats and in fact they even play along with the game, with Jeff Sessions, the US Attorney-General, today, the 13 of June, telling the US Senate Intelligence investigative committee that the accusation he “colluded” with Russia was “an appalling and detestable lie” but playing his role in this propaganda show by adding,
“that he was concerned the President did not realise the severity of the threat from Russia interference that can never be tolerated.”
The former FBI Director James Comey, a man with deep state connections, testified to the same committee that he was fired because of his investigation into the Russian allegations even though he provided no proof there was anything to investigate. Again, the facts don’t matter. The only thing that matters is the impression left, that Russia has and is attempting to subvert the United States and has succeeded in infiltrating its agents into the presidency and senior government and military levels.
To further advance this propaganda theme purges are necessary to add to the drama and we have seen Comey leave, General Flynn resign and others forced out of office or threatened with it. But the main objective of these hearings and the mass media coverage of them is to generate peoples hostility towards Russia, and this seems to be succeeding, as polls indicate. The next level of the propaganda war will be to create such an intense situation in the United States that the calls for war by the people will be the natural reaction of their outrage and, in any case, this is what the war faction and media will tell us, that the people demand action.
President Putin can meet with celebrities like Oliver Stone to correct the facts and state the truth. He can successfully dance circles around bubble headed American journalists in interviews, but he cannot control the mass media in the west that rarely allows Russian points of view to be heard. Still the attempt must be made.
The United States is in a crisis. The games being played there are dangerous for its people. The logic of the demands made by those making the allegations means that President Trump must resign or be charged with treason. If he refuses to go there will be attempts to force him. If he is forced out, the people that voted for him and support him will feel rightly cheated and they will react. And who is to replace him? It can only be one of the war faction or a puppet and if that cannot issue be resolved peacefully then the military could step in to “manage” things in a time of “threat” and “urgency.” There have been coup d’états before in the United States. We are witnessing another now.
The United States is in a crisis generated by people who have no idea how to control all the possible consequences of the events they have begun and because of this they are very dangerous to themselves and to the world. While the Russians prepare for the worst and hope for the best we in the west must do what we can to challenge the war propaganda, the propaganda of hostility and hatred that is inflicted on us by the criminals in control of the western governments and western media. Each of us is just one voice, but our voices united become a shout and with our shout we can level the walls of hostility that keep us from the peaceful coexistence that the peoples of world need to continue the struggle for economic and social justice, for real democracy, for progress, against the forces of reaction and fascism that always threaten us. Let’s not get “caught again in their trap.”
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds”. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
Featured image: New Eastern Outlook
“It’s mostly bullsh*t right now. Like, we don’t have any big giant proof,” Bonifield tells a reporter in secretly-filmed footage released by conservative activist James O’Keefe via Project Veritas.
O’Keefe formed Veritas in 2010 claiming its mission is to “investigate and expose corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud and other misconduct.” It has since been sued for its information-gathering methods, primarily targeting liberal organizations, and presenting its findings in a misleading, highly edited format.
In this latest Veritas sting, Bonifield, Supervising Producer at CNN Health, makes the admissions to an unidentified journalist, who is heard in a brief edit of clips asking about the Russian narrative in CNN’s reporting.
“So why is CNN constantly like, ‘Russia this, Russia that?’” the journalist asks, to which Bonifield responds, “Because it’s ratings.”
“Our CIA is doing shit all the time, we’re out there trying to manipulate governments,” Bonifield says.
“I think the President is probably right to say, like, look, you are witch-hunting me,” Bonifield admits.
CNN’s Russia tactic has paid off, Bonifield admits: “Our ratings are incredible right now.”
Bonifield explains how far CNN pushed the Russia line, describing a meeting in which reporters were told by the CEO to stop covering climate accords, urging instead “Let’s get back to Russia.”
“It’s a business, people are like the media has an ethical phssssss…All the nice cutesy little ethics that used to get talked about in journalism school you’re just like, that’s adorable. That’s adorable. This is a business,” Bonifield says in the video.
Bonifield does not mention CNN’s current CEO Jeff Zucker by name in the video, which O’Keefe says was filmed in Atlanta in a video monologue.
RT has reached out to CNN for comment, but has yet to receive a response.
Three CNN journalists resigned this week following the retraction of a story published on their website which investigated a “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials.”
CNN claims the initial publication of the article, which contained only one source for the claim, was due to a “breakdown in editorial workflow.”
O’Keefe’s record as a highly controversial conservative activist goes back almost a decade. He previously had a deal to publish his sting videos on a Breitbart site, biggovernment.com.
In May 2015, the Trump Foundation donated $10,000 to Project Veritas. Donald Trump later cited an O’Keefe video depicting democrats advocating incitement of violence at Trump rallies.
The Intercept reports O’Keefe is the subject of a million-dollar lawsuit that alleges he broke local and federal wiretapping laws in a sting operation on Democracy Partners, dubbed as “modern-day Watergate burglars.”
The lawsuit claims O’Keefe and his organization infiltrated a Democratic consulting firm under false pretenses, secretly recorded conversations and published heavily edited footage of the conversations.
O’Keefe claims the lawsuit is an intimidation tactic to impede Project Veritas’ “army of guerrilla journalists” and their pursuit of the truth.
Project Veritas released 119 hours of raw audio in February that O’Keefe claimed came from CNN.
Ongoing accusations that Russia assisted Trump’s campaign have plagued his presidency, with allegations that the hack of the Democratic National Committee which leaked emails from Hillary Clinton’s team was ordered directly by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
No evidence has been produced to back up the claims, which Moscow has resolutely denied.
They’ve punched holes in their own ship.
Elite TV news anchors are gone: hypnotic effect crumbling
The ship is going down
There are many reasons why viewers are deserting mainstream news. This article is about one reason that has been overlooked. One vital reason…
Elite television news anchors are absolutely essential to the hypnotic delivery of fake news. They have always been a mainstay of the mind control operation.
From the early days of television, there has been a parade of anchors/actors with know-how—the right intonation, the right edge of authority, the parental feel, the ability to execute seamless blends from one piece of deception to the next:
John Daly, Douglas Edwards, Ed Murrow, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Harry Reasoner, Water Cronkite, Dan Rather, and more recently, second-stringers—Brian Williams, Diane Sawyer, Scott Pelley.
They’re all gone.
Now we have Lester Holt, David Muir, and an as-yet unannounced permanent replacement for Scott Pelley. Muir and Holt are decidedly junior varsity; they couldn’t sell water in the desert.
Lester Holt is a cadaverous timid presence on-air, whose major journalistic achievement thus far is interrupting Donald Trump 41 times during a presidential debate; and David Muir has the gravitas of a Sears underwear model.
The network news trance is falling apart.
The networks have no authoritative anchor-fathers waiting in the wings. They don’t breed them and bring them up in the minor leagues anymore.
Instead, armies of little Globalists and ideologues who don’t realize they’re working for the Globalists have been infiltrating the news business. At best, they’re incompetent.
This is one reason why mainstream news has been imploding.
When gross liars don’t have hypnotism, they don’t have anything.
And lately, things have gotten even worse for the mainstream. Their ceaseless attacks on Trump are backfiring. More members of the public are seeing through the puerile throw-ANYTHING-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach; and more important, the style of these attacks is breaking the time-honored rhythms and pace of traditional news presentation, and thus are failing to put the viewing audience into passive brain-states.
Fundamental and tested means for trance-induction are going out the window. When you add in rude and contentious interviews and thinly disguised editorializing by “news reporters” who have no business being within a mile of a broadcast studio, who spout random shots of venom, the news-production techniques that enable an ongoing illusion of oceanic authority collapse like magnetic fields that have been suddenly switched off.
The selective mood lighting, the restful blue colors on the set, the inter-cutting of graphics and B-roll footage, the flawless shifts to reporters in far-flung places…it’s as if all these supporting features have suddenly been overcome by actors in a stage play who are abruptly stepping out of character. The spell is broken.
Humpty-Dumpty is off the wall and lying in pieces on the floor.
Elite mainstream news is committing suicide. And in a fatuous attempt to save themselves, they are trying a democratic approach. Anchors are sharing more on-air minutes with other reporters. But this is counter-productive in the extreme. The News has always meant one face and one authority and one voice and one tying-together of all broadcast elements. It’s as if, in a hypnotherapist’s office, the therapist decides to bring in colleagues to help render the patient into an alpha-state.
Network news executives are clueless. News directors are clueless. The whole lot of them are too young and too foolish to remember what once made news dominate the public mind.
Plus they are swimming in shark-infested waters. The sharks are independent media.
This is a cause for celebration.
The movie called fake reality is packaged rolls of footage in the back of a very large truck moving slowly toward a graveyard.
The elite standard has always been: can we hypnotize the viewing audience and keep them hypnotized? And now the answer is leaning further toward NO on both counts.
Information mind control, as delivered by elite television news, depends entirely on the elite anchor. His modulated voice and presence and delivery are the glue that holds the illusion together. If by some miracle, the news bosses could raise Walter Cronkite, “the father of our country,” from the dead and put him back in the chair, they might have an outside chance of re-establishing their dominance. But too many years have gone by; years of unaccomplished anchors. Humpty-Dumpty is in pieces on the floor, the horse is out of the barn, the cat is out of the bag.
This is why major news outlets have been appealing to the new king: social media. Facebook, Google, Twitter, and You Tube are, in various ways, trying to shape the news the public receives and doesn’t receive. But their desperate attempt is failing, too.
It is crashing on the rocks of vast, uneven, open decentralization of information.
One veteran news director told me several years ago, “We’re losing the war. We don’t have the stars [elite anchors] anymore. The star system is dead. The same thing happened to Hollywood. Now it’s happening to us. You could comb all the local news outlets in America, and you wouldn’t find one face and voice who could really carry the freight. They’ve vanished. The up and coming people are lame and weak. We’ve made them that way. It’s some cockeyed standard of equality we’ve internalized. And now we’re paying the price.”
Jon RappoportThe author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.
“Since 2002 Washington has spent a mind-boggling US$780 billion on its (unfinished) Operation Enduring Freedom. It has absolutely nothing to show for it – apart from over 100,000 dead Afghans.”
With permsiion from
June 23, 2017
Will the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) ever manage to cross the Hindu Kush?
Temerity is the name of the game. Even though strategically located astride the Ancient Silk Road, and virtually contiguous to the US$50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a key BRI node – Afghanistan is still mired in war.
It’s easy to forget that way back in 2011 – even before President Xi Jinping announced BRI, in Kazakhstan and Indonesia, in 2013 – the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touted her own Silk Road, in Chennai. No wonder the State Dept.’s vision bit Hindu Kush dust – because it assumed war-torn Afghanistan as the plan’s lynchpin.
The state of play in Afghanistan in 2017 is even more depressing. Dysfunctional does not even begin to describe the administration that emerged out of the fractious 2014 presidential election and which passes for a government.
Since 2002 Washington has spent a mind-boggling US$780 billion on its (unfinished) Operation Enduring Freedom. It has absolutely nothing to show for it – apart from over 100,000 dead Afghans.
President Obama’s much-touted 2009 nation-building-cum-counterinsurgency surge was, predictably, a disaster. Aside from reframing the global war on terror (GWOT) as Overseas Contingent Operations (OCO) it achieved nothing. There was no “clear, hold, and build”; the Taliban are back virtually everywhere.
Washington has spent around US$110 billion in Afghan “reconstruction.” Adjusted for inflation that’s roughly equivalent to the full cost of the Marshall Plan. Yet no gleaming Afghan Frankfurt sprang up around the Ghazni minaret; over US$70 billion went to the Afghan military and police; and waste and corruption were always pervasive. Afghanistan’s GDP last year was still a paltry US$17 billion, or US$525 per capita.
The new Afghan “policy” under the Trump administration has consisted in dropping an MOAB (Mother of All Bombs) in the east, to no effect, coupled with the Pentagon demanding more troops. Enduring Freedom forever, indeed.
Wanna go mining? Ask the Taliban
It should not come as a surprise that, under the radar and without most Atlanticist circles even noticing, Chinese government researchers recently met with foreigners in Beijing for a discussion billed as “Afghanistan Reconnected”.
Sun Yuxi, the first Chinese ambassador to Kabul after the Taliban were bombed out of power in late 2001, correctly summed up the stakes as follows: “If the way and connectivity through Afghanistan is not open, it would be like an important vein being blocked on the Belt and Road, which leads to many diseases to this organ.”
How to reconnect/ reconstruct/ rebuild Afghanistan is the substance of sleepless nights in places such as the Beijing-based Centre for China & Globalization think tank.
Everyone knows about the projections Afghanistan may be sitting on at least US$1 trillion in mineral wealth from copper, gold, iron ore, uranium and precious stones. But how to safely extract it?
Beijing’s security dilemma about protecting its investments is spectacularly illustrated by the ongoing Mes Aynak copper mine saga. The Chinese Metallurgical Group Corp bought the mine – 40 kilometers southeast of Kabul – in 2008. Theirs was the largest foreign investment project in Afghanistan. It took the Taliban another eight years to pledge its resolve not to attack it.
Meanwhile, on the railway front – which is key to BRI – in September 2016 the first ever freight train from China arrived in Haratan, in Afghanistan, via Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The trade flow is still negligible, though, so no regular service for now.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), led by Russia and China, is finally stepping in. At its latest summit, while warning about the security “deterioration”, the SCO pledged to be directly engaged in finding an “all-Asian” solution for Afghanistan, with both India and Pakistan, now full SCO members, on board.
The “Syraq” connection
Afghanistan is a close neighbor to the Xinjiang autonomous region – and some of its most inaccessible parts host the odd member of the Uyghur separatist East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which is closely linked to al-Qaeda (while being dismissed by Islamic State).
To compound the problem, any possible New Silk Road eventually traversing the Hindu Kush must consider the direct connection with what’s happening with the phony caliphate in “Syraq”.
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is moving inexorably towards the Iraq border. At the same time, the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units have reached the Syrian border in Al-Waleed. Between them we happen to find US forces – which are occupying al-Tanaf in Syria. Damascus and Baghdad have agreed, however, to close the al-Tanaf crossing from the Iraqi side of the border. This means the US forces have nowhere to go, except back to Jordan.
Bets can be made that the Pentagon won’t take this lightly. The Ministry of Defense in Moscow is convinced these US forces will use High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) to eventually prevent the meeting of the Iraqi units and the Syrian army, whose mission is to pursue Daesh remnants inside Syrian territory.
This “Syraq” meeting of the armies is so important because it heralds in effect the realignment of a key nexus in the New Silk Roads: Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut.
It is a categorical imperative for Beijing to expand BRI across the Levant, linking China to the Mediterranean overland just like the Ancient Silk Road did. And yet that clashes frontally with the crucial fact admitted on record by Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn himself: that the Obama administration made a “willful decision” to let Islamic State fester, with the objective of arriving at a “Sunnistan” across “Syraq” as a means to accelerate regime change in Damascus. Translation: let ISIS break up the BRI in the Levant.
There’s no question influential sectors of the US deep state have not abandoned the project. At the same time President Trump has declared unwavering war on ISIS. The fundamental question is whether the “House of Saud policy” – striking against Damascus and its supporters in Iran – will prevail in Washington.
When the Taliban went after Afghan warlords across Pashtun lands in the mid-1990s, the local population supported them because they brought safety to roads and villages. They were widely regarded as angels fallen from heaven to help the Prophet against his enemies in Mecca.
In my travels across “Talibanistan,” some of them documented at Asia Times, I found the Taliban to be stone-cold pious and moralistic, enveloped in a sort of heavily-weighted obscurity, virtually inaccessible.
But the main actors in this renewed Great Game in the Hindu Kush are far from being the Taliban. It’s all about the jihadi diaspora after the collapse of the caliphate in “Syraq”.
ISIS is already shipping out jihadis in retreat in both Iraq and Syria to the Hindu Kush. At the same time, it is actively enrolling scores of Pashtuns with lots of cash and weapons – a workforce including tens of thousands of potential suicide bombers.
Besides Afghans, a new batch of recruits includes Chechens, Uzbeks and Uyghurs, all of them quite capable of blending in with the scenery in a mountainous region inaccessible even to the Pentagon’s MOABs.
It’s no wonder secularized Afghans in Kabul already fear that Afghanistan is the new citadel of a re-morphed caliphate. Against the self-declared Islamic State Khorasan (ISK), it’s up to the SCO – primarily China, Russia, India, Pakistan – to come up with a rescue brigade. Otherwise Eurasian integration will be in mortal danger all across the intersection of Central and South Asia.
At the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), founded in 2001, both India and Pakistan were admitted as full members, alongside Russia, China and four Central Asian “stans” (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan).
So now the SCO not only qualifies as the largest political organization – by area and population – in the world; it also unites four nuclear powers. The G-7 is irrelevant, as the latest summit in Taormina made it clear. The real action now, apart from the G-20, also lays in this alternative G-8.
Permanently derided in the West for a decade and a half as a mere talk shop, the SCO, slowly but surely, keeps advancing a set up that Chinese President Xi Jinping qualifies, in a subdued manner, as “a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation.”That’s the least one can say when you have China, India and Pakistan in the same group.
The SCO’s trademark, under the radar game is quite subtle. The initial emphasis, as we were entering the post-9/11 world, was to fight what the Chinese qualify as “the three evils” of terrorism, separatism and extremism. Beijing – and Moscow – from the beginning were thinking about the Taliban in Afghanistan, and their Central Asian connections, especially via the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).
Now the SCO is actively warning about the security “deterioration” in Afghanistan and calling for all members to support the “peace and reconciliation” process. That’s code for the SCO from now on directly engaged in finding an “all-Asian” Afghan solution – with both India and Pakistan on board – that should transcend the failed Pentagon “remedy”; more troops.
NATO, by the way, miserably lost its war in Afghanistan. The Taliban control at least 60% of the country – and counting. And adding supreme insult to predictable injury, the Islamic State Khorasan (ISK) – Daesh’s branch in Afghanistan – has just captured Tora Bora, where way back in late 2001 the Pentagon’s B-52s were bombing already-escaped Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Make no mistake; there will be SCO action in Afghanistan. And that will include bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table. China has taken over the rotating presidency of the SCO and will be keen to show practical results in the next summit in June 2018.
Step on the gas, pay in yuan
The SCO has also steadily evolved in terms of economic cooperation. Last year Gu Xueming, head of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation at the Ministry of Commerce, proposed a SCO economic think tank alliance, also tasked to study the set up of SCO free trade zones.This spells out further economic integration – already ongoing for scores of small-and medium-sized businesses. The trend is inevitable, in parallel to the interpenetration of the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Russian-led Eurasia Economic Union (EEU).
So no wonder at their bilateral meeting in Astana, Xi and President Putin once again exhorted the merging of BRI and EEU. And we’re not talking only about the BRI, EEU and SCO trio; that also concerns the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the BRICS’s New Development Bank (NDB), the Chinese Silk Road Fund — a full array of politico-economic mechanisms.
Things are moving incredibly fast – on all fronts. At a recent “Future of Asia” conference in Tokyo, the supposedly rabid anti-Chinese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced, although subject to many conditions, that Japan is ready to cooperate with BRI, with its “potential to connect East and West as well as the diverse regions found in between.” A possible China-Japan reset would add the definitive momentum to the BRI, EEU and SCO interpenetration.
Now compare it with US Secretary of State “T.Rex” Tillerson calling for regime change in Iran.
As Eurasia integration inexorably moves in leaps and bounds, the contrast with the proverbially swampy Atlanticist arrogance could not be more glaring.
When Moscow decided its game-changing intervention in the Syria tragedy, no analyst in the West apart from Alastair Crooke identified how that was configuring a sort of SCO-style operation; true, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah are not part of the SCO, but the way they coordinated with Russia spelled out a feasible alternative to unilateral NATO humanitarian imperialism and regime change-style adventures.
The “4+1” mechanism – Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah – quietly backed by China, was set up to fight all forms of Salafi-jihadi terrorism and at the same time to prevent regime change in Damascus, a NATO-GCC wet dream.Now with shambolic Trump foreign policy hardly coordinating any policy at all apart from harassing Iran, both Russia and China understand how Iranian membership of the SCO should be key.
Beijing already understood the ultra high stakes ramifications via its relationship with Qatar – a key natural gas provider sooner or later to accept payment for energy in yuan.
Qatar’s quiet pivot towards Iran – the key reason that drove the cornered House of Saud absolutely bonkers – revolves around the common exploitation of the largest gas field in the world, North Dome/South Pars, which they share in the Persian Gulf.
It took a while for Doha to realize that after the “4+1” established facts on the ground a gas pipeline from Qatar to Turkey via Saudi Arabia and Syria for the European market will never happen. Ankara also knows it. But there might eventually be an Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline – even with a possible extension to Turkey — with gas jointly provided by North Dome/South Pars.
That would revolutionize the entire energy equation in Southwest Asia; and a key casualty might be petrodollar hegemony, to which Saudi Arabia and the UAE duly abide.
Imagine Qatar/Iran selling their future Europe-bound gas in euros, not in US dollars, just like the Chinese will adamantly move to pay Qatar – and Saudi Arabia – in yuan for their energy supplies.
Make no mistake; the – inexorable – future spells out trading energy not in petrodollars but in yuan, which is convertible to gold.
Long live the new Caliphate
It’s never enough to stress the importance of the Russia-China strategic partnership coordinating all their policies regarding Eurasia integration, including efforts by the usual suspects to thwart it.During the first part of 2017, Moscow and Beijing’s working hypothesis was that the Trump administration was keen to engage Russia as a partner for new oil and gas projects in Eurasia. In a Kissingerian vein, suggested to Trump, the Russia-China strategic partnership would be weakened while Washington would increase pressure on Beijing in multiple fronts.
Well, that may not happen anytime soon – considering the pervasive, demented anti-Russia hysteria consuming the Beltway.
What does remain in place is the GWOT (global war on terror) corollary of Trump’s policy; to rollback – by all means necessary – increasing Iranian influence all across Southwest Asia. And that implies boosting the geopolitical power of the GCC – led by the noxious House of Saud.
That would explain Trump’s enthusiastic twitter boost of the House of Saud’s anti-Qatar blitzkrieg – which doubles as a move against Iran. Beijing for its part is watching closely, and has identified it for what it is; an attempt to disturb the progress of the New Silk Roads.
At the same time, Beijing and Moscow cannot help being amused by the glaring inconsistencies. The Pentagon does not seem inclined to annex the rest of Qatar; the Al Udeid air base and the HQ of Centcom are enough. Pentagon head “Mad Dog” Mattis was more than pleased to sell $12 billion in F-15s to “supporter of terrorism” Doha. Trump “supports” the House of Saud. Mattis “supports” Doha. Tillerson declines to take sides.The GCC as we know it may be dead and buried – as well as the embryonic Arab NATO feted by Trump with that pathetic sword dance in Riyadh. And yet Moscow and Beijing – as well as Tehran – are fully aware how these setbacks will only exacerbate the Exceptionalistan environment, a.k.a. the swamp, a.k.a. the deep state, to double down, and continue to provoke havoc.
The Caliphate in the “Syraq” desert is now dead – especially if Russia confirms the Caliph himself has gone to meet his maker. Too bad – because a totally destabilized Syria would be perfect to destabilize Russia from the Caucasus to Central Asia; Russian intelligence has always been focused on those 900 km from Aleppo to Grozny.
Like Terminator, the US deep state will be back. An expanded wet dream remains to create the conditions for the destabilization of a vast stretch from the Levant to South Asia — with possible future terror waves expanding north to Russia and east to China. The target: the interpenetration of BRI, EEU and the SCO.
To compound it, the Pentagon will refuse to abandon Afghanistan – a bridgehead to wreaking havoc in Central Asia. What could possibly go wrong? After all, Daesh is now virtually positioned in Central Asia, not far from Xinjiang and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a key node of BRI.
Still, the Saudi anti-Qatar blitzkrieg – as much as it’s already unraveling – may in the medium term precipitate a monumental seismic shift, accelerating Iran’s as well as Turkey’s entry into the SCO; consolidating Doha’s pivot towards an entente with both Russia and Iran; and anticipating a serious blow to petrodollar hegemony. All this must have been discussed in detail in Astana at the SCO summit – mostly at the Putin-Xi bilateral.As Exceptionalistan grows increasingly erratic, all key strategic decisions ahead rest with Xi-Putin – and they know it. What’s certain is that the SCO is bound to get involved deeper and deeper in protecting the key project of the young 21st century; Eurasia integration.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.
Israel and Washington seem to have been instrumental in the rise of Riyadh’s new leader, a hot-headed young royal who leaves a trail of havoc behind him. But can they control him?
June 22, 2017
In the hilarious novel by Christopher Buckley, ‘Thank you for smoking,’ the central character, Nick Naylor, works for Big Tobacco as a chief spokesman. The reason why Naylor, who lobbies on behalf of cigarettes using ingenious ploys, was given the job in the first place was due to a blunder he made as a journalist before, where he incorrectly announced live on air the death of the US president.
His new boss believed Naylor would be brilliant in his new job as he would have so much to prove. Indeed, in one scene Naylor even explains to schoolchildren how smoking isn’t bad for your health.
It almost seems a fitting description of Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman. For those who are only now tuning in to the news from Saudi Arabia, King Salman, 81, gave his court a bit of a surprise when he deposed his nephew Muhammad bin Nayef of all his official duties. In his place, the king installed his son, Mohammad bin Salman, 31, as crown prince and heir apparent to the throne.
By most accounts, the young crown prince was, just three years earlier, an entirely obscure figure whose short period as defense minister was marred by several unfortunate setbacks, including billions of dollars lost in Yemen. Then there was the time he threw his weight behind an oil scheme that resulted in an oil price crash, which has left the Saudi economy decimated.
The new crown prince really does have an awful lot to prove. But that’s not a good thing.
Ruthlessly ambitious and an outsider, this makes him dangerous and unpredictable, yet for Donald Trump’s purposes the perfect partner to spearhead his ill-conceived campaign against Iran. Slowly, Trump’s pieces are falling into place in the Middle East, and it is no surprise that the first media in the region to praise Mohammed’s swift takeover of the cherished post was that of Israel.
Mohammed bin Salman has inherited a country not only at a crossroads in its contemporary history, as it struggles to unshackle itself from oil dependency, but one which appears to be suffocating under its own insecurities, foibles and paranoia. Indeed, the more the House of Saud moves, it seems, the more it appears to be in a permanent state of geopolitical dysfunction. In fact, few analysts, except perhaps for David Ignatius of the Washington Post – who was recently accused of having not an entirely healthy journalistic relationship with the Saudi elite – have failed to notice the country’s blunders in the region. It’s as though almost everything that Riyadh does outside of its borders just turns to ashes. Syria, Yemen and now Qatar.
Can this absurdly young, aggressive and outlandish new leader, who will take the reigns under an increasingly despondent and frail father as remaining monarch, really help his country? Or is he doomed to push it into the abyss as many regional commentators fear?
Salman has a reputation as being anti-establishment and desperate to be seen as a reformer. But his haste was his downfall in the past. Despite being hugely popular and very much seen at home as a modernist – who we should remember took away key powers from the religious police and is throwing his weight behind a modernization plan to drag the country into the 21st century – Mohammed’s bold idea to thunder ahead with a military campaign in Yemen was a great error which his adversaries are only too keen to cautiously point out.
He was also a chief proponent in the 2015 decision to over produce oil in a craven attempt to financially drain US fracking companies – but which in the event failed after a few months and resulted in the oil price crash, which today has taken away much of Riyadh’s clout in the region.
And it’s that same region where the present king and his son believed would at least provide them with some payback, once Trump came to Riyadh and breathed new life into the kingdom.
Yet it was Prince Mohammed who led a multi-nation effort to quarantine Qatar over its ties with Iran and support for Islamist groups that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have opposed for years.
Was the Qatar crisis, which is really backfiring on the Saudis, a catalyst for the crown prince to swoop in and take the most powerful job in government or were there other factors?
It’s not clear at this stage what role the Qatar fiasco played. But what is clearer is that Mohammed bin Salman, who didn’t study in the West like so many of his contemporaries and speaks little English, will take a much harder line both on Qatar and more importantly Iran.
Consequently, we are almost certainly witnessing both Saudi Arabia and Iran approaching the abyss of a crisis which appears to be almost entirely crafted by Israel, Saudi Arabia and of course America. Indeed, as far as hard-liners go in Riyadh, Trump couldn’t have dreamt up a Saudi leader more suited to his plans to marginalize Iran. Even if it means through military efforts in an all-out war.
But there are many factors which have rushed his arrival into office as crown prince and heir to his father, King Salman. Many believe his father’s mild dementia might be developing; others point to the catastrophe of Qatar. But most of all, Iran’s perceived threat – which is largely invented to use as a platform to justify a less challenging style of governance and an inflated public image among other GCC states that admire Riyadh’s high defense spending – is at fever pitch.
Never have the Saudis been so up for a scrap with Iran, but paradoxically, so ill-equipped to execute it. The attack on Iran, although carried out by Al-Qaeda, is believed to have been commissioned by Riyadh. But like almost everything they do, it was also poorly timed and misjudged. The Saudis couldn’t have banked on Iran sending over a bevy of missiles precisely targeting Al-Qaeda groups on the ground in Syria. Said by one Iranian commentator to be a ‘slap’ for Saudi Arabia, the message was clear. We can hit your proxies. And if you persist, we can use the same precision missiles against you on your own soil.
But the strike must have been music to the ears of those in Riyadh and Washington who actually want a tangible justification to begin a military campaign against Iran.
Prince Mohammad is not interested in diplomacy with Iran, as he has recently stated quite clearly. And few believe he will change his views on how to deal with the Iran problem.
“It is not really a question of if but rather of when a new escalation with Iran starts,”said Olivier Jakob, managing director of consultant Petromatrix GmbH, as quoted by Reuters. “Under his watch, Saudi Arabia has developed aggressive foreign policies and he [Crown Prince Mohammed] has not been shy about making strong statements against Iran.”
Indeed, his capricious style, which has led his critics to label him as “brash” and one who “starts wars on a whim” is a clear point in his favor to those who helped install him. For it is no accident that a series of bizarre meetings in Washington between Trump’s Middle East experts and Adel al-Jubeir, the highly articulate foreign minister, assisted by officials from the UAE followed by the bizarre provocation in Tehran all point to one thing: his appointment is not solely down to his father’s wishes, but from regional powers – in particular, Israel – which believes that King Salman’s son will recognize the Jewish state and open the floodgates of business for the Israelis.
The crown prince is not merely ambitious. I am told he is ready to do anything to take the Saudi throne when ultimately his father’s health wanes, a claim supported by journalist Jamal Elshayyal of Middle East Eye.
He is a creation of Washington and Tel Aviv and the recent terrorist attack in Tehran [on June 7, two terrorist attacks were carried out in the Iranian capital, one on the parliament building, and the other at the Mausoleum of Ruhollah Khomenei, which left 17 civilians dead and 43 wounded], designed to accelerate the process of his passage to supreme power, under the guise of Trump and Netanyahu.
Qatar threatened to cloud this process of promoting debate, which questioned the fallacious threat of Iran and so needed to be dealt with quickly. Almost certainly the new crown prince will adopt a much tougher strategy against Qatar that may result in a standoff against Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the emir of Qatar.
What we are witnessing in Saudi Arabia is not only a cataclysm of rules of dynasty and power, but an intense polarization of the Middle East which is only heading in one direction. Trump’s defense secretary Jim ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis may be alone in warning others in the White House about the perils of fighting Assad’s army in Al-Tanf in Syria, but he seems to have signed off a blueprint for a war with Iran – presumably to garner a wave of military spending from the cabal of Muslim countries, a subject Trump alluded to during a speech in Riyadh.
But naked ambition, seized upon by other players in the region, might throw the kingdom further into turmoil. There’s a huge amount of gambling going on simply to give the young crown prince his dream of the Saudi throne, which includes a shake up of the intelligence apparatus and a new 28-year-old US ambassador in Washington.
If you think the Qatar plan was whacky, hold on to your seats for the Iran sequel. We’re all in for a rough ride, and it’s hard to see after Riyadh’s demise both in Yemen and Syria that its own forces will fare well against Iran’s. Even if a coalition of Muslim countries steps up, who is going to lead such a vanguard of its closest allies? Could it be that, like Qatar, there has been a miscommunication between Riyadh and Washington and the new crown prince is expecting US forces to take on the task?
If that is the case, Mohammed’s dispatch from the corridors of power might be as speedy as his entry, if Trump cannot rein him in and keep him from starting a war with Iran. Otherwise, we may need someone like Nick Naylor to explain to our children what went so disastrously wrong in a movie entitled, ‘Thank you for bombing.’
Martin Jay is based in Beirut and can be followed at @MartinRJay
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
With permission from
In 2015 about a quarter of a billion people used drugs. Of these, around 29.5 million people – or 0.6 per cent of the global adult population – were engaged in problematic use and suffered from drug use disorders, including dependence. Opioids were the most harmful drug type and accounted for 70 per cent of the negative health impact associated with drug use disorders worldwide, according to the latest World Drug Report, released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Disorders related to the use of amphetamines also account for a considerable share of the global burden of disease. And while the market for new psychoactive substances (NPS) is still relatively small, users are unaware of the content and dosage of psychoactive substances in some NPS. This potentially exposes users to additional serious health risks.
The Report finds that hepatitis C is causing the greatest harm among the estimated 12 million people who inject drugs worldwide. Out of this number, one in eight (1.6 million) is living with HIV and more than half (6.1 million) are living with hepatitis C, while around 1.3 million are suffering from both hepatitis C and HIV. Overall, three times more people who use drugs die from hepatitis C (222,000) than from HIV (60,000). However, the Report stresses that despite recent advances in the treatment of hepatitis C, access remains poor, as treatment remains very expensive in most countries.
This year marks 20 years of the World Drug Report, which comes at a time when the international community has decided to move forward with joint action. UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov highlighted that the outcome document of the 2016 landmark UN General Assembly special session on the world drug problem contains more than 100 concrete recommendations to reduce demand and supply, however he acknowledged that more needed to be done.
“There is much work to be done to confront the many harms inflicted by drugs to health, development, peace and security, in all regions of the world,” said Mr. Fedotov.
Changing business models for drug trafficking and organized crime
In 2014, transnational organized crime groups across the globe were estimated to have generated between one fifth and one third of their revenues from drug sales. Mobile communications offer new opportunities to traffickers, while the darknet allows users to anonymously buy drugs with a crypto-currency, such as bitcoin. While drug trafficking over the darknet remains small, there has been an increase in drug transactions, of some 50 per cent annually between September 2013 and January 2016 according to one study. Typical buyers are recreational users of cannabis, “ecstasy”, cocaine, hallucinogens and new psychoactive substances (NPS).
Global Drug Market Trends
The spectrum of substances available on the drug market has widened considerably, the Report says. The opioid market in particular is becoming more diversified, with a combination of internationally controlled substances like heroin, and prescription medicines that are either diverted from the legal market or produced as counterfeit medicines. NPS continued to evolve such that by 2015, the number of reported substances had nearly doubled to 483 compared with 260 NPS in 2012.
Opium production is up and the cocaine market is thriving. In 2016, global opium production increased by one third compared with the previous year and this was primarily due to higher opium poppy yields in Afghanistan. The Report also points to the expansion of the cocaine market, such that from 2013-2015, coca bush cultivation increased by 30 per cent mainly as a result of increased cultivation in Colombia. Following a period of decline, there are signs that cocaine use is increasing in the two largest markets, North America and Europe.
Drugs and terrorism
Although not all terrorist groups depend on drug profits, some do. Without the proceeds of drug production and trafficking, which make up almost half of the Taliban’s annual income, the reach and impact of the Taliban would probably not be what it is today. Up to 85 per cent of opium cultivation in Afghanistan occurs in territory under some influence of the Taliban.
UFO Photo story: https://goo.gl/6C2Dqe