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The Politics of Military Ascendancy

September 17th, 2017

James Petras

Introduction

Clearly the US has escalated the pivotal role of the military in the making of foreign and, by extension, domestic policy. The rise of ‘the Generals’ to strategic positions in the Trump regime is evident, deepening its role as a highly autonomous force determining US strategic policy agendas.

In this paper we will discuss the advantages that the military elite accumulate from the war agenda and the reasons why ‘the Generals’ have been able to impose their definition of international realities. We will discuss the military’s ascendancy over Trump’s civilian regime as a result of the relentless degradation of his presidency by his political opposition.

The Prelude to Militarization: Obama’s Multi-War Strategy and Its Aftermath

The central role of the military in deciding US foreign policy has its roots in the strategic decisions taken during the Obama-Clinton Presidency. Several policies were decisive in the rise of unprecedented military-political power.

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Julian Assange Offers U.S. Gov’t. Proof Russia Wasn’t Source of Democratic Party Leaks, Says WSJ

September 17th, 2017

Eric Zuesse

According to the Wall Street Journal, Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California spoke by phone on September 13th with U.S. President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, aiming to transmit to President Trump, from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, a trade of ‘proof’ of Russian non-involvement in the transmission to the public of internal Democratic Party information during the 2016 Presidential contest with Hillary Clinton, in return for the U.S. Government’s stopping its efforts to prosecute Mr. Assange. Assange wanted finally to become freed from his years-long virtual house-arrest inside Ecuador’s London Embassy, by the United States Government efforts to force him to be tried in U.S. courts. So, he wants to offer this trade in which Assange would provide to the White House physical ‘proof’ that Russia had nothing to do with the Democratic Party leaks from (or what Russia’s enemies call ‘hacks’ into) Democratic Party computers, which produced the revelations which Hillary Clinton says cost her the 2016 election.

According to the WSJ report, General Kelly refused to inform President Trump of the offer.

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Scores of Bomb Threats in Russia

September 15th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

On Wednesday, around 190 sites were evacuated in Moscow and 16 other Russian cities following bomb threats.

Emergency services remain on alert in schools and universities, shopping malls, railway stations, airports, hotels, cinemas and other locations.

Moscow’s emergency services received over 100 bomb threats. Sniffer dogs and bomb disposal teams searched numerous sites.

Over 50,000 people were evacuated from threatened facilities. Earlier cordoned off areas were later normalized.

Muscovite residents reacted calmly. No terrorist incidents or disturbances occurred. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “this is a matter for the security services to address.”

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Victory Achieved in Syria?

September 14th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Yogi Berra was right, saying “(i)t ain’t over till it’s over.” Things are heading in the right direction in Syria, miles yet to go to liberate the country from the scourge of America’s presence and terrorist groups it supports.

Each day brings more good news than bad. On Tuesday, Russian armed forces chief of staff in Syria General Alexander Lapin said:

“At present, 85 percent of the Syrian territory has been liberated from the militants of illegal armed formations.”

“About 27 square kilometers (10,424 square miles]) of Syrian territory remain to be liberated until the complete annihilation of” US-supported ISIS.

Defeating US-supported al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria) remains a formidable task to achieve. Encouraging news reported by AMN News said “(a)t least five Syrian rebel groups associated with the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) organization, a coalition of Syrian rebels closely linked to Al-Qaeda, have announced their defection, marking another episode in a recent string of defections affecting HTS.”

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Bill in Congress to Fund CIA and NSA Outlaws Wikileaks

September 14th, 2017

Eric Zuesse

The bill in Congress to fund U.S. intelligence services includes a provision, Sec. 623, which states:

SEC. 623. SENSE OF CONGRESS ON WIKILEAKS.
It is the sense of Congress that WikiLeaks and the senior leadership of WikiLeaks resemble a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors and should be treated as such a service by the United States.

In other words: if this bill passes, Wikileaks will be categorized by U.S. Intelligence in the same way as will the intelligence services of Russia, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and other countries that the U.S. Government wants to conquer. (Whereas the Cold War ended in 1991 on the Russian side, it secretly has continued on the American side.) Cooperation with Wikileaks would then be treated by the U.S. Government as treachery, the same as cooperation with Soviet intelligence was treated when the Republican Joseph R. McCarthy (backed by the Democratic Party’s Kennedy family) held sway over the U.S. Senate, from 9 February 1950 to 9 March 1954. Though this was the situation during the Cold War (prior to its having been ended by Russia in 1991), the time when there existed an authentic ideological reason for the U.S. Establishment’s opposition to the Soviet Union’s ruling Establishment (and when there existed not only the ongoing thirst for conquest of the entire world by the U.S. aristocracy), America’s Establishment (the aristocracy and its agents) is trying to restore that hostility now, 26 years after 1991, which was the year when the Soviet Union broke up, and after which, only Russia remained, and when communism had ended, and when the Soviet Union’s military alliance with the Soviet Union’s surrounding nations, the Warsaw Pact (mirroring America’s NATO), also ended — all of that happening in 1991.

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Former Georgian Despot a Man Without a Country

September 13th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

In 2003, Washington’s color revolution elevated him to power illegitimately.

Familiar tactics included election rigging, organized street protests, and major media disinformation. Once empowered, neoliberal harshness followed.

State enterprises were privatized. Georgia’s civil service was gutted. Business-friendly tax cuts were enacted. Widespread corruption gamed the system for personal advantage. Georgia became a ruthless police state. Heavy-handed repression replaced rule of law principles. Legitimate opposition was crushed.

Saakashvili’s tenure included suspicious deaths, disappearances, mass arrests, detentions, torture, loss of civil liberties, mass media control, and allying with Washington’s imperial agenda.

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Triumph in Deir Ezzor, Syria

September 13th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Syrian and allied forces, greatly aided by Russian aerial operations, broke ISIS’ three-year siege of Deir Ezzor governorate, an important achievement toward liberating the area entirely.

Russian warplanes killed ISIS’ emir and minister of war in the city with powerful bunker busting bombs.

ISIS’ siege of Deir Ezzor’s military airport was broken, located two km east of the city. Western Deir Ezzor’s Panorama area was liberated, ISIS’ front lines overrun.

Syrian forces regained full control over the strategic Sukhnah-Deir Ezzor highway, opening another route to the governorate’s capital. The area’s Teym oilfield was retaken. So were Tal Rubiyat and Khim Defaa, high ground on Deir Ezzor’s outskirts.

Government and allied forces continue advancing toward routing ISIS’ last stronghold in the country decisively.

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Russia Responds to Closure of Its Diplomatic Properties in America

September 13th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

US closure, seizure and searches of Russia’s diplomatic properties in San Francisco, Washington and New York were flagrant Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations violations.

They represented unacceptable US hostility toward a sovereign nation threatening no one, reflecting the dismal state of bilateral relations, worsening, not improving, moving things closer to direct confrontation.

That’s where this is heading if a way isn’t found to stop things from lurching toward war between the world’s dominant nuclear powers, a possible doomsday scenario if launched.

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The Disturbing Aftermath of 9/11

September 13th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

The day will live in infamy, the attacks planned well in advance. Bin Laden and so-called “crazed Arabs” had nothing to do with destroying the twin towers and striking the Pentagon.

The Big Lie persists. Most Americans no longer believe the the 9/11 whitewash commission’s official account of what happened.

Bin Laden was an unwitting CIA asset transformed into “Enemy Number One.” In December 2001, he died of natural causes in a Pakistani hospital, widely reported at the time - including by The New York Times (several months later), Fox News and the BBC.

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The Fall Offensive: the US, France and Brazil

September 13th, 2017

James Petras

The fall of 2017 will witness the most brutal assault on working and middle class living standards since the end of World War II. Three presidents and their congressional allies will ‘revise’ labor legislation, progressive income tax laws and regulations and effectively end the mixed economy in France, the US and Brazil.

Throughout the summer, public opinion has been diverted by US threats to launch new overseas wars, France’s rhetoric about forming a post-Brexit, Berlin-Paris pact, which will remake the European Union, and Brazil’s President Michel Temer’s corruption and crime scandals. These superficial controversies will be overwhelmed by fundamental class conflicts, which promise to alter the present and future structural relations within Western capitalism.

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