Friday 16th of November 2018

entertainment after dessert...

fireworkx

Speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference on Monday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recalled the scene at Mar-a-Lago on April 6, when the summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping was interrupted by the strike on Syria.

“Just as dessert was being served, the president explained to Mr. Xi he had something he wanted to tell him, which was the launching of 59 missiles into Syria,” Ross said. “It was in lieu of after-dinner entertainment.”

As the crowd laughed, Ross added: “The thing was, it didn’t cost the president anything to have that entertainment.”

Ross, a billionaire financier, is new to government service. In the lunchtime conversation with David Rubenstein, co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, Ross reflected on his first impressions of public service.

 

 

“I’ve been heartened,” he said. “I thought the quality of people in the government was not as high as it has turned out to be. There are actually quite a lot of very good, very serious, very intelligent people wanting to do their best. It’s just they’ve been trapped in a fundamentally dysfunctional system.”

The president’s tax cut proposal has been a hot topic among the business community at this year’s conference. Rubenstein asked Ross whether it was realistic to expect a tax plan to pass this year.

“I certainly hope so,” he said. “God knows Congress has debated the issue enough times. It’s really a question of, ‘Is there the willpower to do it?’ If the Republican side can get itself unified, then it will work, even if the Democrats remain as determined as they seem to be to block any kind of progress.

read more:

http://variety.com/2017/biz/news/wilbur-ross-commerce-secretary-syria-mi...

 

the gas gangsters of washington...

 

The United Nations Charter, to which all member states are signatories and which prevails over all other treaties and agreements, states that the organization is obligated to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and to take military and nonmilitary action to “restore international peace and security.”

The justices at the Nuremberg trials in 1946 concluded that “to initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

The U.S. Constitution’s Article I states that only Congress has the authority to declare war, with the understanding that, per Article II, the president is empowered to respond to a “sudden” or imminent threat only if there is no time to pass such a declaration. An Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)amended in 2016 grants the president blanket authority to respond militarily to threats against the United States, but only if they originated with al-Qaeda and “associated forces.”

So how is it that on April 6 the United States attacked a fellow member state in the United Nations that has an internationally recognized sovereign government? That member state posed no imminent threat, had not attacked the United States, and was not at war with Washington. Nor did that member state consist of or support al-Qaeda or an associated group, and it was not under sanction from the United Nations Security Council to authorize any other member state to act against it. On the contrary, that member state was actively fighting several terrorist groups as defined by the U.S. government that had occupied its sovereign territory.

I am, of course, referring to the cruise-missile attack on Syria, which many critics are belatedly recognizing to be illegal under both international and U.S. law. But illegality being related to the ability to enforce the law, there has been little apparent desire on the part of the United Nations to bring Washington to heel, and the U.S. would surely use its Security Council veto to stop any undesirable UN action.

The United States has been backing various schemes to undermine and force“regime change” on Baathist rule in Syria since 2006, well before the so-called Arab Spring brought protests to the streets of Damascus. More recently, Washington has been arming and training so-called rebels against the Bashar al-Assad regime, ostensibly in unrealistic hopes that some kind of transition to a moderate, pro-Western regime might take place. Current White House policy appears to consist of putting pressure on ISIS and al-Qaeda-linked al-Ansar, which the Syrian government is fighting, while also demanding the replacement of Assad to permit resumption of all-party peace talks. Apart from those general markers, there has been little attention paid to what might happen on day two, after Assad is gone. Reasonable concerns that the vacuum created might be filled by radical Islamists have largely been ignored.

read more:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/who-is-destroying-syria/

 

So far the main point of 'regime change" has been to gift Syria to the Saudi/Sunnis and let them build a gas pipeline to Europe. Nothing more, nothing less. The US has been eager to get this pipeline through in order to stop the pseudo-monopoly of gas supply to Europe of the Russians. The US even sends gas tankers to Europe as well but it's cumbersome. It seems innocuous, but gas supply is mega-megabucks. Well in Australia, we should know by now.

In order to preserve this European monopoly, to deliver more reliable and cheaper gas than going through Ukraine, the Russians are building a North Sea pipeline parallel to "NordOne" called Nord2 which will double or triple the capacity of the Russian supply... But "possibly under instructions from the US" the Danes are not too keen on this "double up", though it has to be said that they get paid handsomely for the "right of passage"... So the Russian might go through Germany instead. Meanwhile, the Russians are also planning a pipeline that will go through Turkey. Here the negociations are on different footing but overall, like anywhere else, CASH will be king.

But under Trump, this Syrian caper might change. He has spoken directly with Putin and he is sending an official reprsentative to the Syrian peace negotiations organised by Russia:

 

Washington is dispatching a top State Department official as the US representative at the new round of intra-Syrian talks in Astana that kick off Wednesday. The move follows a call between US and Russian leaders, in which they discussed de-escalation in Syria.

While the US did send its observers to two previous rounds of the ceasefire talks, which were sponsored by Russia, Turkey and Iran and hosted by Kazakhstan for the fourth time, its senior representative at the meeting was US Ambassador to Kazakhstan George Krol. This time, however, its representative will be Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Stuart Jones, who previously served as US ambassador to Iraq in 2014-16 and to Jordan in 2011-14, Reuters reported, citing the State Department.

read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/386922-syria-ceasefire-talks-us-diplomat/

 

at the whim and fancy of a president...

 

Government watchdog United to Protect Democracy has launched a legal complaint to force the Trump administration to disclose the legal basis behind the April 6 missile strike on a Syrian airfield. The attack could set a dangerous precedent, the group warns.

 

The rights group filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice, Department of Defense and State Department, ar-Powers.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">demanding that data relevant to the missile strike be released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles were fired at Shayrat Airbase in Syria on April 6, killing at least six people and injuring several others. The move came in response to an April 4 chemical incident in the town of Khan Shaykhun, for which the US blamed the Syrian government, without providing any consistent evidence.

read more:

https://www.rt.com/usa/387831-trump-syria-strikes-lawsuit/

 

The same would apply to all the crap Obama did, but not so obviously over the counter...

 

deceitfully helping daesh...

“The US wants to create a semblance of a state, east of the Euphrates, in order to counteract the Syrian state. It is planned that this quasi-state will give the US privileges and opportunities like those provided by the Syrian state to Russia. As a result, there will be two governments in Syria, one under Russian and the other under the American protectorate,” Isi said.

 

The general further said that the United States has destroyed all the bridges across the Euphrates and on the western side of the river has placed its forces. 

“They have declared their intention to liberate Raqqa and that is the next stage of the plan before establishing a Kurdish state. According to US maps with the future borders of the region, the Kurdish state will directly border the oil fields of Syria,” Isi told Sputnik Arabic.

According to the general, anyone who pays attention can see that the Syrian Democratic Forces are the main allies of the US and Daesh at the same time. 

“Therefore, it can be said that Daesh are American soldiers in local clothes. The secret link between all these three sides suggests that the United States is in fact coordinating relations between Daesh and the Syrian Democratic Forces. Therefore, it should not be surprising if agreements between them are concluded under the strict guidance of the United States,” the general said.

He further said that Russia and Syria categorically do not recognize any such agreements because Daesh stands outside of international law.

According to the general, it was noted that when US forces tell militants to leave a certain place, they leave unconditionally without battles and executing the local population, thus vacating a spot for another American ally. 

“You must not believe the US assurances that they want to destroy Daesh. If they wanted to, they would have done so within just 24 hours,” Isi concluded.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday the United States said that its weapons transfers to the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG) have officially begun, much to the consternation of NATO ally Turkey.

The Pentagon's spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway said that the Kurdish fighters have been the recipients of US-provided small arms and military vehicles ready for the push to take Raqqa from Daesh who have used it as their de-facto capital in the war-torn country. 

read more:

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201705311054171152-us-secretly-suppor...

one day, peace...

 

On June 23, 2014 the Syrian government's last consignment of chemical weapon stockpiles was loaded onto a Danish ship, en route to destruction at a variety of designated facilities. The move was hoped to finally bring peace to the war-ravaged country, and take the prospect of Western "intervention" off the table permanently.

The process of destroying Syria's chemical weapons stocks began in September 2013, following the passing of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2118. The Resolution marked a diplomatic coup for Russian President Vladimir Putin — and laid the foundations for Russia's subsequently enhanced role in contemporary international politics, that of mediator and stabilizer.

On August 21 2013, rockets containing the chemical agent sarin struck several opposition-controlled areas in the Ghouta suburb of Damascus, killing 300 and injuring thousands. The timing of the attack could not have been more opportune for Western powers, as an international coalition of critical voices led by the US had openly been discussing waging war against Syria for much of the year. Then-President Barack Obama had often repeated that the use of chemical weapons would be a "red line" — the point at which Western intervention in the country became a moral necessity.

2013 GHOUTA CHEMICAL ATTACK killed 1300
Gordon Duff US war veteran describes US backed rebels loading gas canisters
https://t.co/bzKHcg2rpY pic.twitter.com/U0K0q94Q4N

— Nardeep Pujji (@AWAKEALERT) March 1, 2017

​While the attack's true source has been much disputed ever since, available evidence strongly suggests the official narrative — that the strike was carried out by government forces — is far removed from the truth.

In the following weeks, the US, UK and France all began gearing up to rain down bombs upon — if not outright invade — the country, at that point nearing the third year of a vicious internal conflict pitting the popular rule of Bashar al-Assad against predominantly foreign fighters. Attempts to secure a UN Resolution backing an intervention were thwarted by the efforts of Russia and China — however, President Putin opted to go one further, brokering a deal that would make the prospect of another US-led war an impossibility forevermore.

Revisions coming on this, I guess: pic.twitter.com/VOMldsYZqE

— Tim O'Brien (@TimOBrien) April 7, 2017

​At that year's September G20 summit, Putin met with Obama, and mooted the prospect of placing all Syrian chemical weapons under international control.

 

Then-Secretary of State John Kerry publicly stated airstrikes could only be averted if Syria turned over "every single bit" of its chemical weapons stockpiles within a week, and Syria "[wasn't] about to do it and it can't be done" — but Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov quickly responded Russia's proposal had been wholeheartedly welcomed by the Syrian government.

In all, 1,000-metric-tons of chemical weapons were subsequently relinquished to international control over the next nine months, and Syria joined the United Nations Chemical Weapons Convention.

To say the least, it has surely been a disappointment to many the move did seemingly nothing to halt hostilities in Syria. In fact, there is much to suggest far from quelling foreign funding and arming of the assorted "rebel" factions ravaging the once-peaceful land, contributions in fact gathered pace in its wake — perhaps interested parties believed it weakened the government's offensive capabilities, making the country ripe for regime change.

Nonetheless, with the assistance of Russian forces, the government of Syria battled on against the onslaught, and was so close to staving off their destabilizing efforts entirely that in December 2016, Russian-brokered talks between the Assad government and rebel forces began in earnest. While fighting continued in some areas during the initial months of 2017, it appeared a cessation of hostilities was finally within sight. 

 

This promising progress was shattered April 4, when a sarin gas strike killed over 70 in the Idlib Governorate of Syria, a town under the control of Tahrir al-Sham, previously known as the al-Nusra Front.

The echoes of the 2013 strike were unmistakable — an attack of uncertain provenance that could only serve to make Syria a "legitimate" target of Western intervention. Attempts by Russia and Iran to compel the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to investigate the attack have met stern resistance, for reasons unclear.

In response, the Trump administration has adopted an increasingly hardline stance on Syria generally, launching provocative strikes against Syrian targets, proposing cuts to Syria's foreign aid, including contributions to the UN and agencies helping refugees, and attempting to stop Syrian refugees from entering the country.

Trumps Tomahawk missile strike on Syria was not only done to distract us but also Trump profited off it- pic.twitter.com/EeXOhtgXGD

— Anti GOP Activist (@AntiGOPActivist) April 28, 2017

Observers have suggested the continued coalition airstrikes in Syria — invariably targeted at government troops — are an obvious attempt to shatter any hope of peace, which may well contravene international law and almost inevitably strengthen the variety of extremist organizations operating in the country.

 

Despite this, on June 9 Lt. General Sergei Rudskoi announced the civil war in Syria was "practically" over, largely thanks to the establishment of four safe zones administered by Iran, Russia, Syria and Turkey in the country, which have shored up a seemingly resilient cease-fire, allowing the quartet to focus their military energies on the remnants of Daesh still present in the country.

US-led coalition actions 'obstruct' defeat of IS in Syria — Rudskoi https://t.co/6aLl17nGJxpic.twitter.com/riRi4KnJSn

— Ruptly (@Ruptly) June 9, 2017

​Nonetheless, Putin is clear there is a "long, very long time to go" before the crisis is fully resolved.

While the US is said to have entered talks with Russia on developing further "safe zones" in the country, the US-led coalition shootdown of a Syrian Air Force craft June 18 is a seeming demonstration Western forces remain intransigent on the issue interconnected issues of Syria's independence, sovereignty, and future.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201706231054923371-syria-chemical-sto...

 

 

 

 

limited spectrum of acceptable opinion...

by Denis Churilov, Australia

There are so many real things Trump should be criticised for, yet the mainstream media keeps making up stuff, producing fake stories and misreporting news about him. What for? Isn’t there already enough real material for the media to destroy him without repeatedly making fools out of themselves?

The most recent case was last week, when major American news outlets (including ABC NewsCBS NewsCNNNBC News, as well as the Washington Post) reported that Trump called illegal immigrants “animals”, when in reality he was specifically referring to the members of MS-13, a criminal gang whose associates have been accused of beheading their victims.

Don’t they understand that, by fixating on minor things, taking remarks out of context, misreporting and blatantly making up stories, they only de-legitimise the anti-Trump movement?

Why do they have to lie?

***

 

Attempting to answer my own question, I would say that it has to do with the artificially “limited spectrum of acceptable opinion” described by Noam Chomsky in his 1998 book titled “A Common Good”. The establishment media can only discuss and debate things within a very narrow range of topics, creating an illusion of public discussion, while real issues remain unchallenged.

The reality is that those anti-Trump forces that lobby and sponsor the media actually support some a significant portion of the Trump Administration policies.  As such, all major US news outlets applaud Trump when he fires rockets at Syria.  The media don’t criticise Trump for selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, thus enabling the crisis in Yemen, because the US military-industrial complex makes hundreds of billions out of it (besides, being friends with Saudi Arabia helps the US-based financial institutions to maintain the petrodollar system).

The reality is that many of those in power who oppose Trump are complicit in many of his crimes; therefore, you are unlikely to see the mainstream media covering some of the most crucial issues. But they still want Trump out of the office, so they make stuff up to compensate for the lack of things they are allowed to talk about.

Besides, many post-modern thinkers say that we live in the post-truth world, where public discourse doesn’t have to correspond to facts and reality, so making stuff up shouldn’t be a huge deal for the media anyway.

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2018/05/22/fake-news-instead-of-real-criticism/

 

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a warning to china...???

US cruise missile strikes on Syria in April 2017 followed reports of the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces.

The 58 Tomahawk cruise missiles the US launched at a Syrian airbase were meant to show how Washington would respond to the use of chemical and other weapons of mass destruction by anyone, President Donald Trump told Fox News on Tuesday.

Donald Trump recalled that the cruise missile attack came as he was meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

"I told him, ‘Mr. President, we just sent 58 missiles into Syria to hit a certain target and he said ‘please say it again’ with his interpreter.  I said ‘we just sent 58 missiles… Every single one of those missiles from 700 miles away from ships in the ocean. 58 missiles – 58 hits,’” Trump said.

Trump further added that his administration is against the use of such lethal and dangerous weapons.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/us/201806131065358369-trump-missile-strike-messa...

 

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