Monday 25th of May 2020

a conspiracy theory of narcissistic personality traits that make us believe in conspiracy theories...


But whether spreading unfounded myths about vaccines, the Moon landing or lizard people, conspiracy theorists generally tend to share a common belief system. Taking up sinister, unfounded beliefs may be catnip to people who share certain characteristics. It turns out that social scientists have found a link between conspiracy theories and narcissistic personality traits. People who need to feel unique or appear better or smarter than others may find it irresistible to propound theories that cast them as having special access to the truth. Especially if, under the blustery façade, they actually aren’t too sure of themselves.

Of course, we have to be dumber than this writer, Lynn Stuart Parramore, to go and analyse why we the conspiracy fruitcakes have low self-esteem for not playing-ball and not swallowing the pill… Yes:


Across three studies, we examined the role of self-evaluation in predicting conspiracy beliefs. Previous research linked the endorsement of conspiracy theories to low self-esteem. We propose that conspiracy theories should rather be appealing to individuals with exaggerated feelings of self-love, such as narcissists, due to their paranoid tendencies. In Study 1, general conspiracist beliefs were predicted by high individual narcissism but low self-esteem. Study 2 demonstrated that these effects were differentially mediated by paranoid thoughts, and independent of the effects of collective narcissism. Individual narcissism predicted generalized conspiracist beliefs, regardless of the conspiracy theories implicating in-group or out-group members, while collective narcissism predicted belief in out-group but not in-group conspiracies. Study 3 replicated the effects of individual narcissism and self-esteem on the endorsement of various specific conspiracy theories and demonstrated that the negative effect of self-esteem was largely accounted for by the general negativity toward humans associated with low self-esteem.


Are these guys for real? Unfortunately both these articles — one piggybacking on the other, do not make the difference between “conspiracy theory” and “conspiracies”. Yes I know, some fruitcakes, not us?, think the planet is flat… Anyway, to deny that there never has been any conspiracy in the world of governments, enterprises and robber barons is a tad naive and dangerously demanding that we all become sheep.
Without questioning the origins of events and their execution, we become mindless and possibly satisfied idealised bourgeois. We should perhaps know that “Social Psychology and Personal Sciences” is not a true science in the scope of accepted terms — as the studied subjects deftly adapt to circumstances. Here is another study about "the truth":

Thematic Analysis: Striving to Meet the Trustworthiness Criteria

As qualitative research becomes increasingly recognized and valued, it is imperative that it is conducted in a rigorous and methodical manner to yield meaningful and useful results. To be accepted as trustworthy, qualitative researchers must demonstrate that data analysis has been conducted in a precise, consistent, and exhaustive manner through recording, systematizing, and disclosing the methods of analysis with enough detail to enable the reader to determine whether the process is credible. Although there are numerous examples of how to conduct qualitative research, few sophisticated tools are available to researchers for conducting a rigorous and relevant thematic analysis. The purpose of this article is to guide researchers using thematic analysis as a research method. We offer personal insights and practical examples, while exploring issues of rigor and trustworthiness. The process of conducting a thematic analysis is illustrated through the presentation of an auditable decision trail, guiding interpreting and representing textual data. We detail our step-by-step approach to exploring the effectiveness of strategic clinical networks in Alberta, Canada, in our mixed methods case study. This article contributes a purposeful approach to thematic analysis in order to systematize and increase the traceability and verification of the analysis.

Here, there is a lot of self-serving gobbledegook towards a pHd, that we know is relative to the Mafia and other reputable organisations: we never know the entire truth of how a governmental strategy took its roots, how much people are manipulated to “believe” one explanation or another — and how much is deliberately created to be misleading, obfuscated and truncated. This is why, even in the media, there are differing points of views, though our mass-media at large is in bed with the general trends of capitalistic governments. We blame China for the stock market going down and praise our mercantile skills when it goes up. Even our former Rattus went on the breech today to warn us that the interest rates are too low… It’s possible his return on his bloated bank accounts are not enough for him to pay the enormous fees at his local Royal golf club.

To establish an alternative ("conspiracy theory" if you will) viewpoint, demands some serious analysis of circumstances and events. It’s never easy as there are secrecy, whitewashes and stonewalling by the culprits, usually in government. For example, the Australian government spied on the Timor Leste negotiations in regard to oil — and having been exposed for this ugly conspiracy, the government will make sure the whistleblower is going to be left high and dry on chains, in the pits of a humid dungeon. 

The creation of Daesh exposed by Meyssan is one of these conspiracies by the USA and their lovely friends such as the Saudis. I trust Meyssan, being based in Lebanon and understanding several lingoes, has connections to various original characters in this “play” — and is fully aware of other insights such as knowing that the Russians found enormous caches of US weaponry at the hand of the rebels, and that a French concrete firm, Lafarge, was helping build tunnels for such”rebels” under supervision of "US engineers”. 

Conspiracies on this scale are huge, complex and have multiple branches — including ramifications into Saudi Arabia, using Islamic divisions and manipulation of personal beliefs to steer an outcome: the goal was the destruction of Syria as a multi cultural “socialistic” society to be replaced by a Sunni Caliphate — becoming a subject of the USA empire. Conspiracy theory? Split the difference... Conspiracy? Yes. Theory? No. It has been a conspiracy started under the hegemony of the USA, with a historical context going back to WW1 and WW2. We want to get rid of Assad — any means will do. Hundred of thousand of people will die, but who cares, as long as the Europeans show their compasionate side and take in the refugees. Full-blown conspiracy? You bet. 

We know that we are able to lie to others and lie to ourselves. This is one of our self-defence mechanisms. Any study might be able to extract “individual level of truthfulness” but rarely can psychology go below the radar of organised “governmental conspiracy” without losing its funding. At this level, should we be deemed to be paranoid, we have to thank “Enemy of the State” the movie — and Snowden and Assange for revealing to us “how it’s done” and how “they” will get rid of you, using the “law”, torture or goonish assassins, as the case may be. 

In "my" own study of the French Resistance being betrayed by the British (study using mostly the original versions of deception and some subsequent serious analysis), and of some Generals being targeted for assassination (including possibly general de Gaulle by the Brits), there is a grave level of doubt that should make us ask the questions. Yet, between you and me and an electric scooter, it won’t matter two hoots for maintening our contentment. We could ask no questions and live happily ever after. But some of us have a twisted mind. We enquire and will suffer by getting into the twisted mind of the twisted conspirators and expose them.

We should know for example that the war on Saddam was a full-blown conspiracy by a few characters, including Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc… and that Bush, Blair and Howard were in full knowledge of this conspiracy designed to defraud the truth in order to go to war. If you do not understand this, then you are not seriously considering all the elements of this very sad event. You were bullshited to: conspiracy? Sure.
There is organised conspiracy in deception — and as mentioned many times on this site, MI6. MI5, the CIA, ASIO, the GRU etc, are mainly trained in the art of deception and in the detection thereof. The NSA is more an observer of our sceptical traits to gauge how much we have swallowed the deception of governments and how much we could be prepared to do damage to the status quo by revealing the stings. It’s highly inefficient considering the sheer scope of spying on us compared to the ratio of success, but effective at the same time by making us tighten our butts in fear. It’s my view that the NSA should actually concentrate on anyone who possesses a gun in the USA, rather than try to steal "our dick pics".

Deception at high level is a conspiratorial psychological art form. Used by the Double-Cross System during WW2, in conjunction with other direct forms of misinformation, it resulted in the Germans firmly believing that the attack on Normandy on D-Day was a foil to distract from the real invasion in the Pas-de-Calais — then called plan STARKEY and another (fake) plan to land in the region of Bordeaux (plan PREMIUM?). But deception is not always fool-proof. There are failures and one needs to adapt. For example Masterman, the Double-Cross System honcho, was fully aware of the pitfalls. 

The scientific community is fully aware of the pitfalls of vaccination. These are tiny in comparison to the benefits. And of course big Pharma will play the game as well. Some studies will show this or that — and at the end of it, the media (including the social media) will toot something, take a position… but we have to ask more questions.

So, the British Command had devised a few mechanisms to spread falsehood during the war, including the B.1.A section of MI5 under the W. Board and the Home Defence Executive, (if I understood well, the structure) that approved and coordinated the falsehoods. Confusion is important, but contradictory information, even false, can negate the effect of the deception. Coordination of the conspiracy is essential. Confusion is used as a side issue to extinguish little fires...

The Brits devised a phantom army called FUSAG (First United State Army Group) based in various places in the British Isles, including Scotland. This information (except that this army did not exist) was leaked to the Germans via agents and “trusted (on both sides)” double-agents of the Double-Cross System. 

The deception was to make sure the germans believed this army existed and — even a month after D-Day — the Germans still believe that FUSAG would soon attack to the north of France. This was a possible alternative attack plan, that made the Germans retain tank divisions in places away from the D-Day landing — operation OVERLORD.

Meanwhile a new problem was rising on the horizon, after having “helped” the Russians by opening a Western Front, the Allies recognised they would have to deal with the fast Russian advances into Eastern Europe and into Berlin.


As mentioned, deception on a grand scale was used by the Americans in regard to attack Saddam’s Iraq. BUT the deception was also frothed up by a willing media, all hell-bent in believing (wow! how can they?) the crap fed by Washington. Blair and Howard had to be part of the deception, in order to allow their generals to attack a country "with powerful dangerous weapons of mass destruction that no-one, not even the CIA, knew where they were”. Had this been true, The war on Saddam would have been a suicidal mission — even with the most powerful army on the planet. Only the atom bomb would have been the “safer” option… Bush, Blair and Howard had to know that Saddam had no WMDs.  The first bomb to hit Iraq fell on a restaurant where it was presumed that Saddam was having a meal, killing all patrons, except Saddam because the information of Saddam’s location was disinformation coming from a well-organised deceptive trick by the Iraqi secret services that also knew how to sell bullshit.


And now to the present. The bullshit is still flying thick and fast, though possibly more confused but with more forceful intent, due to different mode of communications, especially with the public at large sucking on "social media” and the main stream media struggling to survive in the middle of their own swamp. The main stream media needs to sell shit in all its format — from sticky to hard — with various bowel motions according to Trump being an idiot or a genius. The Russian conspiracy will stick to the end of days, but it won’t affect his chances, while the Democrats dither with old men, young women and a gay guy. Pete would be the best contender against Trump, because Pete is “innocuous”, reserved, quiet and has gone through the motions of the military and also worked for the “intelligence” service...

To believe in conspiracy (theories), whether we have narcissistic personality traits is also irrelevant. 99.999 per cent of humans living on this planet have narcissistic personality traits. So the study at top is flawed from the start. Narcissistic personality traits are cultivated in the Western sphere by the media at large playing on our “uniqueness” and "self-importance”. "We deserve to be self-conscious". Even far-eastern gurus tell us this, with contemplation. We preen, we wash, we decorate our bodies with bracelets, tattoos and enticing underwear to extend our narcissistic personality traits. We want to be seen, even if it’s only by ourself. 

Now the point is to gauge how much “god loves us” which is a highly narcissistic personality trait that we translate as “humility” for looking like Him (god is a male). Don’t laugh… Many people believe in the biggest conspiracy theory: god. So, we deceive ourselves. And this is fine: the earth is flat, the lizard-people control the governments and the moon landing never happened. 

But this does not mean that there are no, and never were, governmental (or persons in governments manipulating) organised secret conspiracies. The official narratives of events often leave too many holes and draughty corridors for us not ask more questions. The Kennedy assassination being one of them. 9/11 is  officially borderline. 

Most likely, the Skripal affair has been a complete invention by MI6 (or MI5?) in order to victimise and damage the Russians in the eye of the Western public — a public which would have no idea how their own media and governments are Bullshitting with a capital B. So from time to time, someone in the media or a president will stir the shit again, with no proof, but with a conspiratorial intent to add more sauce to the fading taste of the old dish.  Lucky, some of us, with narcissistic personality traits, dig under the Bullshit to find the diamonds of truth, or at least far better plausible alternatives.

Same with the MH17 tragedy. Blame the Russians, despite not a single proof of “who did it”. We need to weight possibilities even considering why the Malaysian government does not believe the JIT findings.

Same with the damage to tankers in the Gulf, attributed to Iran, which Iran denies vehemently. No reality on the accusations by the USA. These attacks, by their insignificant nature, were most likely false flags events, created by the US (or their Gulfy friends under instructions) to blame the Iranians. Had the Iranians decided to do such “attacks”, these tankers would have more likely sunk in three second flat. 

The Russians interfering with the 2016 US Presidential elections? This is a conspiracy with strange hairy legs, but has it been designed to delegitimise Trump or sink the chances of the Democrats at the 2020 elections? Strangely a bit of both. First, the deception was definitively started by the Obama administration falsely starting “an investigation” with the FBI, with British help such as the Steele dossier, to "prevent Trump” ascension. The Trump administration has been able to turn this around, because let’s face it, no Russians (apart from some lone operators in Macedonia, under orders from a few shady US characters) ever tried to bullshit about Hillary. Assange’s email dump did NOT COME FROM THE RUSSIANS but we have to seriously consider that they came from disgruntled DNC people who saw that their Bernie was being shafted. Assange's dump was not responsible for the election of Trump, anyway. 

That we invoke Uncle Rupe (Rupert Murdoch) at this stage, as the grand doodad of conspiracy would sell him short. He is the god of “getting the government of his choice” elected against all odds. Is manipulation of the mind of people, a conspiracy? Who knows, but the (deceptive?) techniques used by Uncle Rupe are far more emotionally influential than high intelligent sciences and deep analysis… Our man Gundlach would be proud. 

Yes, there was some dithering by Comey, who should have charged Hillary for her email misdemeanours, but most of the clever damaging destruction of Hillary came from the Mr Murdoch camp. But the Democrats won’t go there, below the surface of Fox News, which cleverly gives them a bit of friendly burley from time to time...

Some Democrats still think that Trump is impeachable. Good luck. All they will do is expose the double dealings of Obama and turn St Obama into night-trash. You don’t want to do this, especially that there is zero chances of removing Trump — and the more you haggle, the more you reinforce his position. 

The Obama deception is now working for Trump. Trump is working for the establishment. His deception was to demonise the establishment while preparing to work for the weapons manufacturers and warmongers, who are the establishment. Is this a conspiracy? Saying one thing and meaning another? Did he plan to do a double-summersault? The mind of sociopathic politicians has an enormous potential for flexibility and deception.

So Trump will say “stupid things” which are cleverly designed to bring a reaction — which of course will demand US pre-arranged actions… of fostering more weapon manufacturing and warmongering. And no gun control. The game is on. We’re just fodder with narcissistic personality traits… And Trump is the grand priest of narcissistic personality traits. Hurrah!

Trump is pushing all the buttons at once, stirring panic everywhere, except in his own camp (his own mind and his minders — Bolton and Pompeo) like shaking a tree and collecting the fruit. Trade wars, sanctions, blame for this and that, including attacking four female senators for "not understanding America” are gems of manipulation… Creating outrage and reviving the winning fascist technique to rally the Nazi troops. And we are SUCKERS BY TRYING TO ANALYSE THIS RUBBISH...

Conspiracies? Theory? Yes it’s all in our head. We have to trust that the earth is flat, the moon landing did not happen and we are slaves of the lizard people…

This was the area of expertise of General Dr. Michael Aquino… 
See also:
like a seagull on the wrong side of the window...


"it is I, leclerc!"... "man of a thousand faces, every one the same!"...


how I started worrying and hated the Bomb... jason and the advisory-nauts...


creepy freedom of choosing newspeak propaganda to obey big brother...



and of course:

(women don't understand conspiracies)...

(WW1 conspiracy)

(Kennedy's assassination)

we need to be told what to think...


shining light into very dark corners...

One of the nation's top spies has warned Australia's international intelligence sharing relations risk being harmed by leaks of classified information.

Key points:
  • Director-General of National Security Nick Warner says Australia relies on foreign intelligence
  • He warns Australia risks being cut out if partners are concerned their information could leak
  • Parliament's intelligence and security committee is examining protections for journalists and whistleblowers


In a rare foray into the spotlight, Director-General of National Intelligence Nick Warner has told Parliament's powerful intelligence and security committee the Government and its agencies bear "a heavy burden" balancing transparency and protecting national security.

The Federal Government directed the committee to investigate whether there were sufficient legal protections in place for journalists and whistleblowers, or if too much ground had been ceded in favour of national security.

It followed media outrage after the Australian Federal Police's raids on the Canberra home of News Corp political journalist Annika Smethurstand the ABC's Sydney headquarters over separate stories based on leaked classified information.

"Australia's national security depends on a network of international intelligence partnerships that extends well beyond our traditional allies — the US, the UK, Canada and New Zealand — to partners, including in North and South Asia, South-East Asia, Europe and the Middle East," Mr Warner said in his submission.

"For example, ASIO works with foreign partners to support the disruption of terrorism-related threats."



ABC chair Ita Buttrose has a "grave concern" about this week's Australian Federal Police (AFP) raid at the national broadcaster, which she says was "clearly designed to intimidate".

Key points:
  • Ms Buttrose said she had a "frank conversation" with the Federal Communications Minister about the raid
  • She said: "As ABC chair, I will fight any attempts to muzzle the national broadcaster."
  • Wednesday's raid at the ABC's Sydney headquarters lasted more than eight hours


AFP officers executed a search warrant at the ABC's Ultimo headquarters on Wednesday, over a series of 2017 stories known as the Afghan Files.

In a statement, Ms Buttrose said she had a "frank conversation" with Federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher on Thursday, and that the raid was "clearly designed to intimidate".

The AFP also raided the Canberra home of a News Corp journalist on Tuesday — however that incident was not related to the ABC search warrant.


Read more:




The former spy Witness K will plead guilty to breaching secrecy laws by revealing Australia’s spying on Timor-Leste but his lawyer, Bernard Collaery, will fight charges in the ACT supreme court.

In the ACT magistrates court on Tuesday, Collaery waived his rights to a committal hearing and prosecutors consented to send his case to the supreme court. Collaery was granted bail and was summoned to appear on 22 August.

Haydn Carmichael revealed that his client, Witness K, will plead guilty to a summary offence, one breach of section 39 of the Intelligence Services Act for communicating secret information obtained in the course of his duties as an Australian Secret Intelligence Service agent.

Outside the court, Collaery issued a statement that Witness K’s complaint had revealed a “cheating culture motivated by commercial interests” which was both “contrary to Australia’s national security interests” and unlawful.

Collaery said he stood by his legal advice to Witness K, labelling the accusation that he had unlawfully conspired with Witness K “contemptible”.

The two men were charged with disclosing information about the bugging of Timor-Leste government buildings in 2004, an operation that gave Australia the upper hand in talks to carve up resources in the Timor Sea.

Collaery said he was charged with “speaking to five journalists after my chambers were raided and my brief seized”, labelling the case “a likely turning point on … true freedom of expression against abuses of power”.

Collaery said the prosecution was “a very determined push to hide dirty political linen … under the guise of national security imperatives”.

He said an open court process would reveal the disclosures were “totally unrelated to national security concerns”.


Read more:



trump is therefore a fringe conspiracy theorist...


The latest video from James Corbett is in response to this memo from the FBI, which claims that “fringe conspiracy theories” will occasionally stir people to commit violent acts.

Disregarding the arguments about who is or isn’t responsible for acts of violence (or even whether or not they actually happened), the memo is of course totally ridiculous.

More than ridiculous: You don’t ban or censor things because criminals or lunatics liked them. Mark Chapman liked Catcher in the Rye, Charles Manson listened to The Beatles. 

The argument of post-war suburban mothers, that Rock music encourages sin and Devil worship is, deservedly, ridiculed as hysteria these days. And yet the FBI, and other agencies of the deep state, are using that same argument to shut down free speech on the web.

There will always be insane people. There will always be those who, for whatever crazy reason, seek to do others harm. We can’t legislate on that. Ted Bundy wore ties. Jeffrey Dahmer was gay. Hitler drank water.

Even taken totally at face value, completely on its own terms, even if – for some peculiar reason – you believe everything the FBI tells you: the argument for is deeply flawed. At best. 

Of course, that’s not really what the document is about.

What this document is really about, what this is all for, is buried in one short sentence somewhere in the preamble [our emphasis]:

Indicators that may lead to a revised judgment include…significant efforts by major social media companies and websites to remove, regulate or counter potentially harmful conspiratorial content.”

Yeah. That just about says it all really.


Read more:


Trump is therefore an "inspiring" fringe conspiracy theorist... for having said that migrants are "rapist and criminals"...




Read from top.

we're not hiding...



This publication is dedicated to all working and poor people. We are committed to providing the tools of information necessary to counter the lies of U.S. imperialism and its corporate media paid for by the super rich.

This publication is dedicated to exposing those who target us through their ownership of the land, the workplaces, equipment and the machines that are vital to our existence but are used primarily to make profits and wars — while they warm our planet — and not to meet the needs of the people.

This publication is dedicated to its use as an organizing tool for all of those who wish to fight for peoples’ control of the economy, where our work or lack of it determines whether we live or die.

This publication is dedicated to helping to fight and win the battles of those who face the brunt of racism, police and ICE terror, sexism, patriarchy and anti-LGBTQ2S oppression. It is our duty as Marxists to defend the right of self determination for oppressed nationalities and our class. We support Indigenous resistance.

We understand that the building of solidarity, especially against racism, and with all of those victimized by capitalism, is a prerequisite for creating the strength necessary for our class to build the revolutionary movement in this country.

Oh, yes — this publication is dedicated to making revolution.


Read more:


See more:

still lurking in the sun shadows...

Twenty-fourth report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team submitted pursuant to resolution 2368 (2017) concerning ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities



With the fall of Baghuz, Syrian Arab Republic, in March 2019, the geographical so-called “caliphate” of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)a has ceased to exist and the group has continued its evolution into a mainly covert network. Its leadership is primarily in Iraq, while its centre of gravity remains in Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic and areas of the immediate neighbourhood. The leadership aims to adapt, survive and consolidate in the core area and to establish sleeper cells at the local level in preparation for eventual resurgence, while using propaganda to maintain the group’s reputation as the leading global terrorist brand – the “virtual caliphate”. When it has the time and space to reinvest in an external operations capability, ISIL will direct and facilitate international attacks in addition to the ISIL-inspired attacks that continue to occur in many locations around the world.

Al-Qaida (QDe.004) remains resilient, although the health and longevity of its leader, Aiman Muhammed Rabi al-Zawahiri (QDi.006), and how the succession will work are in doubt. Groups aligned with Al-Qaida are stronger than their ISIL counterparts in Idlib, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen, Somalia and much of West Africa. The largest concentrations of active foreign terrorist fighters are in Idlib and Afghanistan, the majority of whom are aligned with Al-Qaida. ISIL, however, remains much stronger than Al-Qaida in terms of finances, media profile and current combat experience and terrorist expertise and remains the more immediate threat to global security.

The most striking international developments during the period under review include the growing ambition and reach of terrorist groups in the Sahel and West Africa, where fighters aligned with Al-Qaida and ISIL collaborate to undermine fragile national jurisdictions. The number of regional States threatened with contagion from insurgencies in the Sahel and Nigeria has increased. The ability of local authorities to cope with terrorist challenges in Afghanistan, Libya and Somalia remains limited. Meanwhile, the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka show the continuing appeal of ISIL propaganda and the risk that indigenous cells may incubate in unexpected locations and generate a significant terrorist capability. These and other ISIL attacks on places of worship, alongside the attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, of March 2019, offer a troubling narrative of escalating interfaith conflict.

The related issues of foreign terrorist fighters, returnees, relocators and detainees in the conflict zone have become more urgent since the fall of Baghuz. Member States also report pressing domestic security concerns, including with regard to radicalization in prisons and releases of terrorist prisoners, while only a few have the expertise and capacity to manage this range of counter-terrorist challenges successfully.


Read more:



Read from top.


Note: ISIL and Al Qaeda and other affiliated Sunni Wahhabi terrorist networks owe their existence by and large to the support from Saudi Arabia and the USA, to counter the influences of Iran and Russia. It's perverse.


The attack by the Houthis (allied of Iran) on the Saudi oil refineries could be a game changer. We shall see. Putin is demanding restraint and quotes the Q'ran...

policy failure...

The devastating blitz on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry has led to a flurry of accusations from US officials blaming Iran. The reason for the finger-pointing is simple: Washington’s spectacular failure to protect its Saudi ally.

The Trump administration needs to scapegoat Iran for the latest military assault on Saudi Arabia because to acknowledge that the Houthi rebels mounted such an audacious assault on the oil kingdom’s heartland would be an admission of American inadequacy.

Saudi Arabia has spent billions of dollars in recent years purchasing US Patriot missile defense systems and supposedly cutting-edge radar technology from the Pentagon. If the Yemeni rebels can fly combat drones up to 1,000 kilometers into Saudi territory and knock out the linchpin production sites in the kingdom’s oil industry, then that should be a matter of huge embarrassment for US “protectors.”

American defense of Saudi Arabia is germane to their historical relationship. Saudi oil exports nominated in dollars for trade – the biggest on the planet – are vital for maintaining the petrodollar global market, which is in turn crucial for American economic power. In return, the US is obligated to be a protector of the Saudi monarchy, which comes with the lucrative added benefit of selling the kingdom weapons worth billions of dollars every year.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Saudi Arabia has the world’s third biggest military budget, behind the US and China. With an annual spend of around $68 billion, it is the world’s number one in terms of percentage of gross domestic product (8.8 per cent). Most of the Saudi arms are sourced from the US, with Patriot missile systems in particular being a recent big-ticket item.

Yet for all that financial largesse and the finest American military technology, the oil kingdom just witnessed a potentially crippling wave of air assaults on its vital oil industry. Saudi oil production at its mammoth refinery complex at Abqaiq, 205 miles (330 kms) east of the capital Riyadh, was down 50 per cent after it was engulfed by flames following air strikes. One of the Saudi’s biggest oilfields, at Khurais, also in the Eastern Province, was also partially closed.

There are credible reports that the damage is much more serious than the Saudi officials are conceding. These key industrial sites may take weeks to repair.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo got it half right when he claimed, “Iran launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply”.

Yes, it is unprecedented. But Pompeo and other US officials have most likely got it wrong about blaming Iran.

Some Trump administration officials told US media that “cruise missiles” were responsible for the giant fireballs seen over the Saudi oil facilities. One was quoted anonymously as saying: “There’s no doubt that Iran is responsible for this… there’s no escaping it. There is no other candidate.”

In a hurried effort to substantiate accusations against Iran, satellite images were released which show what appears to be the aftermath of the air strike on the Abqaiq refinery complex. US officials claim the location of the explosions indicate the weapons originated not from Yemen to the south, but from either Iran or Iraq. 

Even the normally dutiful New York Times expressed doubt about that claim, commenting in its report: “The satellite photographs released on Sunday did not appear as clear cut as officials suggested, with some appearing to show damage on the western side of facilities, not from the direction of Iran or Iraq.”

The accusations made by Pompeo and others are assertions in place of substantiated claims.

It is noteworthy that President Donald Trump refrained from openly blaming Iran by name, merely hinting at the possibility. If Pompeo is so adamant in fingering Iran, why didn’t Trump? Also, the president made a telling remark when he said he was “waiting for verification” from Saudi Arabia “as to who they believe was the cause of the attack.” Again, if US officials are explicitly accusing Iran then why is Trump saying he wants “verification” from the Saudis?

For its part, Iran has flatly dismissed the allegations that it had any involvement, saying that statements by Pompeo were “blind” and tantamount to setting up a conflict.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi also rejected claims that his country’s territory might have been used by pro-Iranian Shia militants to launch the air strikes.

The Houthi rebels in Yemen have issued unambiguous statements claiming responsibility for the air raids on the Saudi oil installations. They were specific that the weapons were drones, not missiles, adding with details that 10 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were deployed

Notably too, most US media reported initially that the attacks were by drones flown from Yemen. Associated Press reported a level of sophistication in the attacks whereby drones were used first to disable the US Patriot radar systems before other UAVs proceeded to execute the air strikes. 

It therefore seems that US officials are attempting to switch the story by blaming Iran. It is reckless scapegoating because the logical consequence could elicit a military attack against Iran, in which event Tehran has warned it is ready for war.

The rationale for blaming Iran is that the Yemeni rebels (which Iran supports politically) are just not capable of using drones with such dramatic success against the Saudi oil industry. The culprit must be Iran, so the rationale goes. This is a follow-on from alleged sabotage by Iran against oil tankers in the Persian Gulf earlier this summer.

However, a timeline shows that the Houthis are more than capable of launching ever-more powerful ballistic missiles and deeper penetrating drones into Saudi territory. The rebels have been using drones from the beginning of the war which the US-backed Saudi-UAE coalition launched on the southern Arabian country in March 2015.

Over the past four years, the Houthi aerial firepower has gradually improved. Earlier, the Saudis, with American defense systems, were able to intercept drones and missiles from Yemen. But over the last year, the rebels have increased their success rate for hitting targets in the Saudi interior, including the capital Riyadh.

In May this year, Houthi drones hit Saudi Arabia’s crucial east-west pipeline. Then in August, drones and ballistic missiles were reported to have struck the Shaybah oil field near the border with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as the Dammam exporting complex in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. 

The Yemenis claim they are taking the war to Saudi Arabia and the UAE after years of relentless air strikes on their homeland which have resulted in nearly 90,000 dead. A recent UN report censured the US, Britain and France for possible complicity in war crimes through their military support for the Saudi coalition.

There must be trepidation among the monarchs in Saudi Arabia and the UAE that the rebels from war-torn and starving Yemen are now coming after them with drones that could demolish their oil economies. What’s more, the much-vaunted American protector is not able to deliver on its strategic bargain, despite billions of dollars of Pentagon weaponry. That’s why Washington has to find an excuse by casting Iran as the villain.


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