Sunday, January 29, 2017

Some News, Views and Opinions from the Alternative Media ... week ending Jan 29

Robert Parry at ConsortiumNews
Trump Lets Saudis Off His ‘Muslim Ban’

Exclusive: By leaving Saudi Arabia and other key terrorism sponsors off his “Muslim ban,” President Trump shows the same cowardice and dishonesty that infected the Bush and Obama administrations, writes Robert Parry.

President Trump’s ban against letting people from seven mostly Muslim countries enter the United States looks to many like a thinly concealed bias against a religion, but it also is a troubling sign that Trump doesn’t have the nerve to challenge the false terrorism narrative demanded by Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The Israeli-Saudi narrative, which is repeated endlessly inside Official Washington, is that Iran is the principal sponsor of terrorism when that dubious honor clearly falls to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Sunni-led Muslim states, including Pakistan, nations that did not make Trump’s list.

The evidence of who is funding and supporting most of the world’s terrorism is overwhelming. All major terrorist groups that have bedeviled the United States and the West over the past couple of decades – from Al Qaeda to the Taliban to Islamic State – can trace their roots back to Sunni-led countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Qatar.....

F William Engdahl at NEO Journal
Rex Tillerson and the Myths, Lies and Oil Wars to Come

Rex Tillerson, former CEO of the ExxonMobil oil colossus is not designated Secretary of State because of his diplomatic experience. He is there because clearly the Trump Project of those Patriarchs behind Trump–ones such as Warren Buffett, David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger and others–want a person from Big Oil guiding American foreign policy the coming four years. Already as President, Trump has given the green light to the controversial KeystoneXL pipelines that will not ship US oil, but costly Canada Tar Sands sludge. His EPA plans a friendly stance to the environmental hazards of shale oil production. But most essential, with Secretary Tillerson, the US plans a major reorganization of control over oil, reminding of the oft-cited Kissinger statement, “If you control the oil you control entire nations or groups of nations.”

I want to give here a personal account of the change in my own belief about the genesis of hydrocarbons as I feel it will become increasingly important in the near future to grasp precisely what the Oil Game of the Big Four Anglo-American oil giants–ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and BP–is truly about. It’s about creating myths, lies and ultimately oil wars based on those myths and lies.

It was during the period in late 2002 as it became clear that the Bush-Cheney US Administration was determined to destroy Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein. How a US government could risk a potential break with its European and other major allies for any real or imagined threat from Iraq at that point puzzled me greatly. There must be a deeper ground, I told myself.

Then a friend sent me an article from a now-defunct website, From The Wilderness, founded by the late Mike Ruppert. The article laid out a major argument as to how the volume of oil in the ground was finite and disappearing rapidly. It argued that the single largest oil field in history, Ghawar in Saudi Arabia, was so depleted that it needed water injection of millions of barrels daily to get an ever declining output of crude oil. They argued that Russia was past the “peak” in its oil. They illustrated their notion with the famous Gaussian bell curve graph. The world, after more than a Century in the hydrocarbon era, had consumed so much oil that we were near to “absolute peak.” Or so they claimed.

Absolute Peak?
I dug deeper, found other articles on the peak oil theme. It seemed to offer an explanation for the mad Iraq War. After all, Iraq according to estimates had the world’s second largest undeveloped reserves of oil after Saudi Arabia. If oil was in such short supply, it would offer an explanation......

Robert Roth at GlobalResearch
What’s Really Happening in Syria: Who Started the War,
Who Can You Trust to Tell the Truth?
A Consumer Fraud Lawyer’s Mini-Primer
If you try to follow events in the mainstream media (MSM), you may have noticed that they routinely refer to Syrian president Bashar al Assad as a “brutal dictator”. Assad is supposed to have responded to peaceful protests with repressive violence and by “killing his own people”. The U.S., UK, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar continue to maintain that “Assad must go”.

I disagree with all of that, as I’ll explain in this article.

I spent 25 years prosecuting lies in commerce for the attorneys general of New York and Oregon. I prepared this primer to help you cut through the lies and get at the truth about Syria.

It’s still quite possible that a nuclear war could arise from careless U.S./NATO confrontations with Russia in Syria. President-elect Trump has indicated he favors a cooperative relationship with Russia, but he will face continuing pressure from the Deep State, neocons, and apparently, the media, to continue the New Cold War that was initiated in Ukraine. And the demonization of Russian president Putin and of Russia itself has been going on for some time and shows no sign of letting up.1 So in addition to the suffering of the Syrian people, which has been horrific and continues as I write, the conflict in Syria also poses a serious threat to all of us.

Apart from this introduction and some other brief statements of my own, most of this article is a string of excerpts from the excellent work of other people I’ve come to trust and citations or links to sources for further information and analysis.....

From Telsur
Rex Tillerson Already Talking Regime Change in Venezuela

The secretary of state nominee attacked both Venezuela and Cuba.

The new U.S. administration of Donald Trump has made it public that it will seek a regime change policy in Venezuela disguised in “transition to democracy” rhetoric, the country’s potential new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in an interview this week.
“If confirmed, I would urge close cooperation with our friends in the hemisphere, particularly Venezuela’s neighbors Brazil and Colombia, as well as multilateral bodies such as the OAS, to seek a negotiated transition to democratic rule in Venezuela,” the former executive in ExxonMobil told Latin America Goes Global.

He further claimed that the economic crisis in the oil-rich South American country was “largely a product of its incompetent and dysfunctional government, first under Hugo Chavez, and now under his designated successor, Nicolas Maduro.”

The government of President Maduro has, however, blamed the recent crisis on an economic war by right-wing politicians as well as corporations who are hoarding products and halting production to put pressure on the socialist administration.

Meanwhile, Tillerson struck a less aggressive tone when pressed about how he would deal with the standoff between the government and the opposition-led national assembly in Venezuela.....

Andre Vltchek at InformationClearingHouse
The Philippines in the Center of Asian Realignment
Philippines, for decades a limping invalid, poor and suffering from countless ailments, is now suddenly finding itself at the vanguard, reshuffling the entire Asia Pacific, sending Western imperialists packing.

In Manila, where the US used to roam unopposed, now Russian warships are calling on goodwill and symbolic visits.

On January 6 2017, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte boarded the Russian anti-submarine combat vessel Admiral Tributs, chatted with its officers, and then declared, loudly and clearly: “Friends, long live! That’s from the heart; I hope you can come back more often.”

Definitely, Russians will be happy to come back!....

Emerson Urry at EnvironNews
It’s Finally Here: Radioactive Plume From Fukushima Makes Landfall 
Tillamook County, Oregon — Seaborne cesium 134, the so-called “fingerprint of Fukushima,” has been detected on US shores for the first time researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) said this month. WHOI is a crowd-funded science seawater sampling project, that has been monitoring the radioactive plume making its way across the Pacific to America’s west coast, from the demolished Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in eastern Japan. The seawater samples were taken from the shores of Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach, and were actually obtained in January and February of 2016 and tested later in the year. In other strikingly similar news reported last month, researchers at the Fukushima InFORM project in Canada, led by University of Victoria chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen, said they sampled a sockeye salmon from Okanagan Lake in British Columbia that tested positive for cesium 134 as well. Multiple other reports have circulated online, mostly in alternative media outlets, and mostly not corroborated by any tangible measurement data, that point to cases of possible radioactive contamination of Canadian salmon, but EnviroNews Oregon has not independently confirmed any of these claims........

Jeremy Scahill at TheIntercept
Seymour Hersh Blasts Media for Uncritically Promoting Russian Hacking Story
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh said in an interview that he does not believe the U.S. intelligence community proved its case that President Vladimir Putin directed a hacking campaign aimed at securing the election of Donald Trump. He blasted news organizations for lazily broadcasting the assertions of U.S. intelligence officials as established facts.

Hersh denounced news organizations as “crazy town” for their uncritical promotion of the pronouncements of the director of national intelligence and the CIA, given their track records of lying and misleading the public.

“The way they behaved on the Russia stuff was outrageous,” Hersh said when I sat down with him at his home in Washington, D.C., two days after Trump was inaugurated. “They were just so willing to believe stuff. And when the heads of intelligence give them that summary of the allegations, instead of attacking the CIA for doing that, which is what I would have done,” they reported it as fact. Hersh said most news organizations missed an important component of the story: “the extent to which the White House was going and permitting the agency to go public with the assessment.”

Hersh said many media outlets failed to provide context when reporting on the intelligence assessment made public in the waning days of the Obama administration that was purported to put to rest any doubt that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking of the DNC and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s emails....

Ron Paul

Daniel C Maguire at ConsortiumNews
Calling a Lie a Lie in the Age of Trump

The L word is suddenly center stage as Trump’s presidency begins. No surprise there, given the river of falsehoods flowing from the administration and his devious cabinet misfits. Journalists scruple about the propriety of calling a lie a lie, especially when the liar is the President of the United States. The New York Times made news by calling one of Trump’s manifest falsehoods a lie. National Public Radio, perhaps wary about federal funding, shies from the word.

Underlying all this is broad public confusion as to just what a lie is. The Oxford English Dictionary oversimplifies it by saying that a lie is “a false statement made with intent to deceive.” Let ethics come to the rescue. Telling the Gestapo that the Frank family had left Amsterdam (even though you were actually bringing them food on a daily basis) would not earn you the moral stigma of “a liar.”

And that is the point. “Lie” and “liar” are not neutral words. Sometimes you have a moral obligation to deceive as when someone intent on murder asks if you know the location of his intended victim. Truth-telling in that case would be lethal; intentional deception is mandatory....

From GreanvillePost
As much of Washington prepared
 for the inauguration of President Donald Trump, I spent last week on a fact-finding mission in Syria and Lebanon to see and hear directly from the Syrian people. Their lives have been consumed by a horrific war that has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians and forced millions to flee their homeland in search of peace. It is clear now more than ever: this regime change war does not serve America’s interest, and it certainly isn’t in the interest of the Syrian people.
We met these children at a shelter in Aleppo, whose families fled the eastern part of the city. The only thing these kids want, the only thing everyone I came across wants, is peace. Many of these children have only known war. Their families want nothing more than to go home, and get back to the way things were before the war to overthrow the government started. This is all they want.....

How can building a wall help when the bulk of the so called "illegal immigrants" come legally via valid visit visas and through US airports and then stay put in
US?  If Trump wants to compete with China's Great Wall why can't he just come out and say so.

Gareth Porter at InformationClearingHouse
US Intervention in Syria? Not Under Trump

 A new coalition of US-based organizations is pushing for a more aggressive U.S. intervention against the Assad regime. But both the war in Syria and politics in the United States have shifted dramatically against this objective.

When it was formed last July, the coalition hoped that a Hillary Clinton administration would pick up its proposals for a more forward stance in support of the anti-Assad armed groups. But with Donald Trump in office instead, the supporters of a U.S. war in Syria now have little or no chance of selling the idea.

One of the ways the group is adjusting to the new political reality is to package its proposal for deeper U.S. military engagement on behalf of U.S.-supported armed groups as part of a plan to counter Al Qaeda, now calling itself Jabhat Fateh al Sham.

But that rationale depends on a highly distorted presentation of the problematic relations between Syria’s supposedly “moderate” rebel groups and Al Qaeda’s Syrian offshoot.

The “Combating al-Qaeda in Syria Strategy Group” was formed last July by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), according to the policy paper distributed at an event at the Atlantic Council on Jan. 12.....

From RonPaulInstitute
Trump’s Foreign Policy: An Unwise Inconsistency?

Throughout the presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s foreign policy positions have been anything but consistent. One day we heard that NATO was obsolete and the US needs to pursue better relations with Russia. But the next time he spoke, these sensible positions were abandoned or an opposite position was taken. Trump’s inconsistent rhetoric left us wondering exactly what kind of foreign policy he would pursue if elected.

The President’s inaugural speech was no different. On the one hand it was very encouraging when he said that under his Administration the US would “seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world,” and that he understands the “right of all nations to put their own interests first.” He sounded even better when he said that under Trump the US would “not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.” That truly would be a first step toward peace and prosperity.

However in the very next line he promised a worldwide war against not a country, but an ideology, when he said he would, “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.” This inconsistent and dangerous hawkishess will not defeat “radical Islamic terrorism,” but rather it will increase it. Terrorism is not a place, it is a tactic in reaction to invasion and occupation by outsiders, as Professor Robert Pape explained in his important book, Dying to Win.

The neocons repeat the lie that ISIS was formed because the US military pulled out of Iraq instead of continuing its occupation. But where was ISIS before the US attack on Iraq? Nowhere. ISIS was a reaction to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. The same phenomenon has been repeated wherever US interventionist actions have destabilized countries and societies....

Jim Kavanagh at CounterPunch
Game Change: Syria, Interrupted
The recapture of Aleppo by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies marks a turning point not only in the conflict in Syria, but also in the dynamic of international conflict. For the first time since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the rolling imperial engine of regime change via American-led military intervention has been stopped in its tracks. To be sure, it’s certainly not out of service, even in Syria, and it will seek and find new paths for devastating disobedient countries, but its assumed endgame for subjugating Syria has been rudely interrupted. And in our historical context, Syria interrupted is imperialism interrupted.

Let’s remember where things stood in Syria seventeen months ago. After a four-year campaign, directed by the United States, thousands of jihadis in various groups backed by the US/NATO, the Gulf monarchies, Turkey and Israel, were on the offensive. ISIS occupied Palmyra, Raqqa, and swaths of territory, and was systematically raping, beheading, and torturing Syrian citizens and looting and destroying the country’s cultural treasures. Al-Qeada/al-Nusra had triumphantly poured into the eastern part of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city (and one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world), were beheading and crucifying their newly-subjugated Syrian captives, and were beginning their siege of the larger and more populous part of that city. Turkey had commenced military operations on Syrian territory against Kurdish forces (who had won significant victories against ISIS), and was enabling the transit of foreign jihadis into Syria and convoys of ISIS oil through its territory. Against these dispersed offensives, the Syrian Arab Army was undermanned and overstretched.

As John Kerry himself later admitted, in a meeting with Syrian opposition, the Obama administration saw the ISIS advance as a positive development: “[W]e know that this was growing, we were watching, we saw that DAESH [ ISIS] was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened. [We] thought, however, we could probably manage that. Assad might then negotiate.”(....

...In Facebook world, Russia and Syria are in a relationship.

The United States? Well, it has Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, al-Nusra (“bad” al-Qaeda), Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (“good” al-Qaeda), ISIS, the Free Syrian Army, the Army of Conquest, the Kurds, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, the rest of “Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve,” Refugee Nation, and Croatia? It’s complicated.

Whose Timeline would you want to get involved in?...

Eric Margolis at LewRockwell
Trump Bull in the Mideast China Shop

President Donald Trump is getting ready to plunge into the burning Mideast with all the zeal and arrogance of a medieval crusader. The new administration’s knowledge of the region is a thousand miles wide and two inches deep.

Reviving a truly terrible idea originated by know-nothing Congressional Republicans, Trump proposes US-run safe zones in Syria for refugees from that nation’s conflict. The president went out of his way to insist that such safe zones would spare the United States from having to shelter Syrian refugees.

He should better worry about Chicago where 762 citizens were murdered last year.

At the same time, Trump, declaiming from his new Mount Olympus of New York’s Trump Tower, vowed to impose a 30-day halt on immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen to ‘protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals.’
One wonders if any of Trump’s Praetorian Guard noticed that all these listed ‘terrorist’ nations have been attacked by the United States or seen their governments overthrown by Uncle Sam. I’m surprised Afghanistan and Pakistan were left off the list. Their time will likely come soon. Is it any wonder that all of these Muslim nations bear a serious grudge against the United States? The angriest group is ISIS, who are seeking revenge for the destruction of Iraq....

Patrick J Buchanan at his blog 
What Trump’s Wall Says to the World
“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” wrote poet Robert Frost in the opening line of “Mending Walls.”

And on the American left there is something like revulsion at the idea of the “beautiful wall” President Trump intends to build along the 1,900-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico.

The opposition’s arguments are usually rooted in economics or practicality. The wall is unnecessary. It will not stop people from coming illegally. It costs too much.

Yet something deeper is afoot here. The idea of a permanent barrier between our countries goes to the heart of the divide between our two Americas on the most fundamental of questions.

Who are we? What is a nation? What does America stand for?

Those desperate to see the wall built, illegal immigration halted, and those here illegally deported, see the country they grew up in as dying, disappearing, with something strange and foreign taking its place.

It is not only that illegal migrants take jobs from Americans, that they commit crimes, or that so many require subsidized food, welfare, housing, education and health care. It is that they are changing our country. They are changing who we are.

Two decades ago, the Old Right and the neocons engaged in a ferocious debate over what America was and is.....

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