By Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specializing in U.S. national security policy, who received the UK-based Gellhorn Prize for journalism for 2011 for articles on the U.S. war in Afghanistan. His latest book is Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare (Just World Books, 2014). Originally published by Middle East Eye. Republished with permission of author.
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman outraged many readers when he wrote an opinion piece on 12 April calling on President Trump to “back off fighting territorial ISIS in Syria”. The reason he gave for that recommendation was not that US wars in the Middle East are inevitably self-defeating and endless, but that it would reduce the “pressure on Assad, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah”.
That suggestion that the US sell out its interest in counter-terrorism in the Middle East to gain some advantage in power competition with its adversaries was rightly attacked as cynical.
But, in fact, the national security bureaucracies of the US – which many have come to call the “Deep State” – have been selling out their interests in counter-terrorism in order to pursue various adventures in the region ever since George W Bush declared a “Global War on Terrorism” in late 2001.
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By Theodore A. Postol, professor emeritus of science, technology, and national security policy at MIT. Postol’s main expertise is in ballistic missiles. He has a substantial background in air dispersal, including how toxic plumes move in the air. Postol has taught courses on weapons of mass destruction – including chemical and biological threats – at MIT. Before joining MIT, Postol worked as an analyst at the Office of Technology Assessment, as a science and policy adviser to the chief of naval operations, and as a researcher at Argonne National Laboratory. He also helped build a program at Stanford University to train mid-career scientists to study weapons technology in relation to defense and arms control policy. Postol is a highly-decorated scientist, receiving the Leo Szilard Prize from the American Physical Society, the Hilliard Roderick Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Richard L. Garwin Award from the Federation of American Scientists.
I have been examining the possibility that the attack on April 4, 2017 hit an ammunition dump as claimed by the Russians. Videos taken on the morning of the attack of the explosive debris clouds from four targets that were hit provide strong circumstantial evidence that this Russian explanation could be true. One of the clouds is quite distinctly different from all the others – with a base-area of the debris cloud stem that covers an area five or more times larger than the cloud-stem bases of the other bomb debris clouds.
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Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
The last thing I ever wanted to do was write about France’s likely next president, Emmanuel Macron, but here we are. This post was inspired by a very telling Financial Times article sent to me by a reader, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Most Americans paying attention to global affairs have some conception of his opponent, nationalist firebrand Marine Le Pen, but Macron is likely to be very much a black box. I hope today’s post changes that.
Any knowledge you may have about Macron probably comes from mainstream news outlets, which have been uniformly gushing about the socialist-centrist Rothschild protege.
As an example, just take a look at the following title from a January article published at Foreign Policy.
You’d think this guy was the second coming or something. Naturally, the gushing continues beyond the title. Here are the first few paragraphs.
In some of his many previous lives, 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron has been a philosophy student, an investment banker, and a minister of economy. It is not surprising, then, in his current life as an independent candidate for the French presidency, he does not always speak like other candidates. And it’s not only the substance of his language that stands out but also, sometimes, his choice of language. Last week, in a speech at Berlin’s Humboldt University, Macron spoke in impeccable English on the imperative of giving Europe a chance.
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Paul Atwood, a Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, provides a concise summary of the history that informs North Korea’s “relations with the United States” and “drives its determination never to submit to any American diktat”.
Excerpts from Atwood’s summary are here used as a framework, with other sources where indicated.
Atwood notes it is an American “myth” that the “North Korean Army suddenly attacked without warning, overwhelming surprised ROK defenders.” In fact, the North/South border “had been progressively militarized and there had been numerous cross border incursions by both sides going back to 1949.”
Part of what made the US’s ultimate destruction of Korea (which involved essentially a colossal version of one of the cross-border incursions) “inevitable” was the goal of US planners to access or control “global… resources, markets and cheaper labor power”.
In its full invasion of the North, the US acted under the banner of the United Nations. However, the UN at that time was “largely under the control of the United States”, and as Professor Carl Boggs (PhD political science, UC Berkeley) puts it, essentially was the United States. (28) While it is still today the world’s most powerful military empire, the US was then at the peak of its global dominance – the most concentrated power-center in world history. Almost all allies and enemies had been destroyed in World War II while the US experienced just over 400,000 overall war-related deaths after declarations and/or acts of war by Japan and Germany, whereas Russia, for example, lost tens of millions fending off the Nazi invasion. Boggs further notes that as the UN gradually democratized, US capacity to dictate UN policy waned, with the US soon becoming the world leader in UN vetoes. (154)
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Dear brothers and sisters of Ireland, your ambassador to the United States Anne Anderson spoke at the University of Virginia Tuesday afternoon.
After consulting one of your fine citizens named Barry Sweeney, I asked her this: “Since the U.S. government assures the Irish government that all U.S. military aircraft being refueled at Shannon are not on military operations and are not carrying weapons or munitions, and since the Irish government insists on this in order to comply with Ireland’s traditional policy of neutrality, why does the Irish department of transportation almost daily approve civilian aircraft on contract to the U.S. military to carry armed U.S. troops on military operations, weapons, and munitions through Shannon Airport in clear breach of international laws on neutrality?”
Ambassador Anderson replied that the U.S. government at the “highest levels” had informed Ireland that it was in compliance with the law, and Ireland accepted that.
So, the highest level of the U.S. government says that black is white, and Ireland says “Whatever you say, master.” I’m sorry, my friends, but with all due respect, my dog has a better relationship with me than you have with the United States.
We once had a former president named Richard Nixon who maintained that if a president does something it isn’t illegal. Apparently, Anderson takes a Nixonian view of the Trump regime.
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According to Bloomberg News, “When it comes to buying homes on the coast, most Floridians are still optimists. Since the end of 2010, median home prices in and around Miami rose 120 percent.” In other words: they’ve more than doubled. And yet, “Relative sea levels in South Florida are roughly four inches higher now than in 1992. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts sea levels will rise as much as three feet in Miami by 2060.”
And the Mayor of the city of Coral Gables is quoted there as saying that the break-point for real-estate values along Florida’s coast will be “the first time a [boat’s] mast fails to clear the bottom of one of those bridges because the water level had risen too far. ‘These boats are going to be the canary in the mine,’” he said.
Furthermore, “The impact is already being felt in South Florida. Tidal flooding now predictably drenches inland streets, even when the sun is out.” Moreover, “Sean Becketti, the chief economist at Freddie Mac, warned in a report last year of a housing crisis for coastal areas more severe than the Great Recession, one that could spread through banks, insurers and other industries. And, unlike the recession, there’s no hope of a bounce back in property values.” That wasn’t a regular consumer saying this; it was Freddie Mac’s chief economist, a top expert on the matter.
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A funny thing often occurs after a mania-fueled asset bubble pops: an echo-bubble inflates a few years later, as monetary authorities and all the institutions that depend on rising asset valuations go all-in to reflate the crushed asset class.
Take a quick look at the Case-Shiller Home Price Index charts for San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, OR. Each now exceeds its previous Housing Bubble #1 peak:
Is an asset bubble merely in the eye of the beholder? This is what the multitudes of monetary authorities (central banks, realty industry analysts, etc.) are claiming: there’s no bubble here, just a “normal market” in action.
This self-serving justification–a bubble isn’t a bubble because we need soaring asset prices–ignores the tell-tale characteristics of bubbles. Even a cursory glance at these charts reveals various characteristics of bubbles: a steep, sustained lift-off, a defined peak, a sharp decline that retraces much or all of the bubble’s rise, and a symmetrical duration of the time needed to inflate and deflate the bubble extremes.
It seems housing bubbles take about 5 to 6 years to reach their bubble peaks, and about half that time to retrace much or all of the gains.
Bubbles have a habit of overshooting on the downside when they finally burst. The Federal Reserve acted quickly in 2009-10 to re-inflate the housing bubble by lowering interest rates to near-zero and buying over $1 trillion of mortgage-backed securities.
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