All posts by Adam Garrie

American ‘Progressives’ Support Civil Liberties as The Rope Supports The Hanging Man

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In the year 2001, what ought to be called the most controversial legislation in the history of the United States was rapidly passed through Congress with few objections. The Patriot Act was an almost entirely unconstitutional expansion of American governmental power, all of which could be and subsequently has been directed against American citizens who were otherwise entitled to constitutional protections of their lives, liberties and property. Enacted into law just two months shy of the ten year anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Patriot Act authorised infringements on the civil liberties of Americans that would make many former Soviet KGB officers blush.

In spite of these epoch making changes to the birth rights of all Americans, Congress was given precious little time to debate the Patriot Act, the corporate media was uncritical of Patriot Act and those who dared to speak out against the Patriot Act were scarcely given any meaningful air time in an age when the internet did exist, but when social media as we know it today, did not.

Making matters more frightening was the fact that had George W. Bush not governed alongside a Congress in which he knew he could gather support for his unconstitutional proposals, he would have likely used executive power to impose the terms of the Patriot Act by declaring a national emergency. The same President Bush that suspended the writ of habeas corpus in order to fill the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp with prisoners would have almost certainly not hesitated to impose the conditions of the Patriot Act on the American people single-handedly, had it come to that. Luckily for him though, Congress did what he wanted and no anti-Congressional executive action was required.

Eighteen years later and both the US Congress, corporate media and social media are exorcised about the building of a wall along the Mexico-US border. In the last two months alone, it feels as though more impassioned arguments against the building of the wall have been offered than that which was offered in opposition to the Patriotic Act over the entire period that both George Bush and Patriotic Act extender Barack Obama were in office.

Of course, one of the few voices raised against both the Patriot Act and Trump’s wall is that of retired Congressman turned active political commentator and thinker, Dr. Ron Paul. Dr. Paul was one of the very few Republican Congressman to vote against the Patriotic Act and today he has stated that he believes building a wall is a waste of money, not least because one could more effectively cut down on illegal immigration by implementing further cost saving welfare reforms.

Of course, Dr. Paul’s consistency is rare in American politics, but whatever one might think about Trump’s wall, the idea that it infringes on the civil liberties of Americans is simply absurd. The only thing the wall might infringe on is the scenic view of those who live on the border. That being said, since most of the US-Mexico border is barren desert, this clearly isn’t a problem. The wall is simply a proposed means of enforcing existing immigration laws which only impact those trying to enter the US without permission. In this sense, it does not directly effect any law abiding individual in the US, nor does it impact any law abiding individual living in or passing through Mexico.

The Patriot Act however effected and in many instances continues to effect all Americans who have lost their cherished right not to have their privacy molested by a government operating on a presumption of collective guilt rather than one operating on the presumption that all men and women are innocent until proved guilty in a court of law. Furthermore, the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp which opened not long after the passage of the Patriot Act, continues to impact the lives of individuals from across the world.

There is no question therefore that in terms of constitutionality, civil liberties, expansion of the government and the treat to law and order – the Patriot Act has been a tower of wickedness where by contrast, Trump’s proposed wall falls well short in terms of having such a negative impact on the United States.

Those like Ron Paul who oppose both the Patriot Act and the wall due to a commitment to limited government, continue to speak from a position of continuity. The same is not true of those who said nothing about the destruction of civil liberties that the Patriot Act and related measures entailed, whilst claiming that an expansion of a border wall which already exists along some parts of the US-Mexico border, is somehow the end of the world as we know it. To put it bluntly, those shrieking about a wall which does not effect civil liberties while saying nothing about unconstitutionality of the Patriot Act and related pieces of legislation, have either lost a grip on rational thought or else they never had much capacity for rational thought in the first place.

Sadly, for far too many self-described American progressives, the wall stands tall in terms of their priorities, while restoring civil liberties is less than an afterthought.

Reprinted with permission from EurasiaFuture.

Understanding State Propaganda From The USSR to The USA

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While the de jure role of state sponsored propaganda is to convince a population to adopt a certain line of thinking on the issues of the day, the de facto function of state sponsored propaganda is rather different. In a society in which even a sizeable minority of the public are capable of critical thinking, few will immediately believe everything they are told, even if they can’t quite put their figure on a specific point of contention.

Because of that, in educated societies as the Soviet Union’s was, state propaganda serves a purpose of alerting people as to what they are forbidden to disagree with in public. In other words, if the official state line as delivered through state sanctioned newspapers, radio and television is that the economy is booming, people are being paid well and on time and that the new housing stock is superior to any other in the world – the authors of such propaganda do not expect those who are under-paid, living in mediocre housing and unable to elevate themselves into a higher living standard, to believe the self-evident nonsense that forms the core of the propaganda.

Instead, as part of the political requirement for society not to fall apart, it is expected that in private, people will complain to their friends and family about the fact that the economy is poor, people are stuck in dead end jobs and that housing is substandard, but that in public one will refrain from voicing these thoughts, because if they did, they would lose their job at a state owned factory, lose their state pension and if they took their message of opposition to greater heights, they could even receive a visit from the police.

Against this background, one could imagine a mild political dissident in early 1980s Moscow who enjoys poking fun at authority, but who nevertheless does not want to lose his day job or see his family harassed. Such an individual might look closely at the daily state propaganda that he does not for a moment take seriously, if for no other reason than to see if the satirical poem he is about to write regarding the Cuban fishing industry might get him into trouble back home in Moscow.

Thus, when the evening’s propaganda (aka “news”) bulletin indicates that one cannot criticise Soviet foreign policy (“because the war in Afghanistan is going great”), cannot criticise Moscow-Warsaw relations (“because both countries will forever be ruled by communist parties”) and cannot criticise timber production methods (“because worker productivity is at its highest in history”), the dissident in question will breathe a sigh of relief because there is no story indicating an official position on the fishing industry in brotherly Cuba.

But that was the Soviet Union, a now long gone state that has given way to a modern Russia whose biggest problem is not a lack of free speech but a lack of truly free markets. 

But while the USSR’s old adversary, the United States is having its own problems with a less and less free market that is overly taxed, overly regulated, back in love with tariffs and all at the mercy of an inflation happy yet unaccountable Federal Reserve, there is alas a giant free speech problem, one that is all the worse in America’s European allied states who don’t even bother to pretend to have something akin to America’s constitutional first amendment.

First, one must examine the propaganda business model of the US and the EU, as it is somewhat more complicated that the old propaganda model in the USSR. In the USSR, it was the state that owned the factories, your apartment and the media you were subjected to. Thus, the state looked after its own interests by telling people what they could not say in order to keep up the illusion that the state run industry and infrastructure was in far better shape than it was.

But while Soviet propaganda worked on a linear business model, today’s American and European propaganda machine works on a triangular model. At the top of the triangle is big business. At the bottom two points of the triangle are government and media – both of which want the help of big businesses in order to enrich themselves.

In order to accomplish this, big business will donate vast sums of money to all major political parties so that in spite of who is in putative control, they’ll generally get what they want out of government. To keep the people unaware of this scheme, big business will invest in the shares of media outlets in order for stories favourable to their business interests getting air time. Likewise, because government does not want its own complicity with the desires of big business to be exposed, it too will offer media corporations carrots and sticks so that they never step out of line. Some of the most popular carrots include everything from generous tax breaks, the ignoring of unethical business practices by media regulators, to invitations for so-called “journalists” to attend elite government events. The sticks are merely the opposite of the carrots and more often than not, everyone does what they are told so long as the increasingly worthless paper currency keeps being handed out to the good soldiers of the media-industrial complex.

The result is the same as it was in the USSR. Every day major western media outlets (the largest of which are American) tell the masses what they cannot say if they want to keep their job, get a credit card, a mortgage, maintain a position of high social standing and stay on the right side of the law. The only difference is that because the western business model is one that pretends to be open, while the Soviet model did not hide that it was all controlled by the state, some in the west are actually still stupid enough to believe that the propaganda they see is either the truth or an attempt to tell the truth, when the reality is that it is merely guidance about what one cannot disagree with in public unless one is willing to take a major risk to one’s economic and social welfare.

Thus, the American and European media constantly send messages that it is impermissible to have an opinion contrary to the standard line on the following issues: invading other people’s nations in the name of “human rights”, climate change being the fault of anyone with a car, the wonders of narcotics and pornography, why strict education is somehow evil and why fiat currencies are just swell.

Thus, just as Soviet propaganda had slogans that insulted the intelligence of the ordinary person like “brotherhood of nations” in order to keep people from questioning why certain investments were going to far off hinterlands while Russia’s heartlands were being economically destroyed, so too do western propagandists use terms like “fact checking” to imply that anyone who disagrees with a corporate (and hence government) sanctioned “fact” is a deceitful liar that should be shunned, shamed and insulted as such. While terms like “fact checking” are mostly used by social elites who author the propaganda, ordinary people tend to use the phrase “politically incorrect” to signal to their fellow man what cannot be said under fear of social and economic punishment.

This is why in the search for real news, one ought to look first at those proclaiming to be little more than entertainers, rather than official purveyors of “fact”. In societies whose official news outlets have vested interests in giving people nothing but guidance on what cannot be said, the best way to amuse the masses is by telling the truth that they are otherwise not only allowed to hear but more importantly, are not allowed say in the open with a straight face.

Reprinted with permission from Eurasia Future.

US Defense Secretary Mattis Rejects War on Iran

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US Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis has refuted claims that the US is preparing for war on Iran after US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley led a bizarre press conference in which she stated that Iran has armed Houthi fighters in Yemen and thus violating the terms of the JCPOA (aka Iran nuclear deal). Haley did not provide any evidence to substantiate her claims, claims which are logistically impossible given the Saudi led blockade of Yemen which predates the JCPOA by nearly four months.

As I wrote at the time:
Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s Ambassador to the United Nations, has given an extraordinary 'press conference,' even by her habitually outrageous standards.

First all, it was hardly a 'press conference' as Haley did not answer any of the questions posed to her. Instead, she merely assured journalist that she has evidence to back her up position, although it is not clear what this evidence might look like.

Haley’s position is that since the outbreak of the current crisis in Yemen, beginning in March of 2015, Iran has been supplying Yemen’s Ansar Allah Movement, more commonly known as the Houthis, with the missiles they have sporadically used to target Saudi Arabia and allegedly the UAE.

There is a fatal flaw in this line of thinking however. Saudi Arabia has, since the beginning of the conflict, controlled all air and sea traffic coming into Yemen, while monitoring the region with the latest US made technology.

Yemen has subsequently been surrounded by a Saudi Naval blockade, Saudi borders through which nothing can pass and Omani borders through which there is no evidence of anything passing and which in any case, border areas which do not belong to Houthi fighters, but instead have fluctuated between the Hadi government based in Aden, al-Qaeda terrorists and ISIS terrorists.

Not only has the Saudi blockade caused a man made famine which itself has resulted in a mass outbreak of the disease Cholera, but even the UN has found it difficult to convince the Saudis to allow basic medicine, bottled water and dried foods into the always poor and now starving nation.

But for Nikki Haley, who gave her press conference standing in front of what appeared to be a rusty missile casing–it all makes perfect sense. In Haley’s parallel universe, an aid ship with UN flags cannot bring bottles of water and jars of medical pills to Yemenis, but somehow Iranian ships bearing humongous missiles have easily passed through the Saudi blockade undetected.
There is simply no logic to the argument, no matter how it is interpreted.
Even a journalist at Haley’s “press conference” asked how the US can verify the provenance of the missiles and in particular when they were sent to Yemen. She had no answer apart from effectively saying ‘trust us–we know’.

The fact, as the Houthis themselves have always maintained, is that the missiles which they occasionally launch are taken from Yemeni military bases which Houthis have controlled for approximately two years. Video footage of the missile strikes is consistent with these statements.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has Tweeted the following photo, comparing Haley’s accusations against Iran to Colin Powell’s infamous accusations against Iraq, saying that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction which he did not possess.

In reality, Haley’s statement is even more ludicrous as there is physically no way for Iran to transport missiles or anything else for that matter, to Yemen without being seen and almost certainly stopped by the Saudi blockade, a blockade which started in March of 2015, nearly four months before the JCPOA even came into effect.

This last point is crucial as Haley’s allegations rest on the fact that in delivering missiles to the Houthis, Iran is in violation of the terms of the JCPOA, a longstanding US allegation that has been rejected by the EU as a whole, as well as individual parties to the agreement: Germany, France, Britain, China, Russia and the United Nations.

Haley of course repeated what for most American neo-cons is a standard line that Iran sponsors terrorism and is “behaving badly” in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. If fighting groups like ISIS(Daesh) and al-Qaeda is bad behaviour, the mind simply boggles. The closet Iran is to terrorism is fighting terrorism on the field of battle and advising Iraqi and Syrian partners on how better to do such.

Nikki Haley has proved once again that her aptitude is low, her ethics are non existent and her intelligence is a void.

The fact that she is an Ambassador to the UN but acts increasingly like a hybrid of a Secretary of State combined with a Defense Secretary, is a deeply worrying prospect for all those concerned with global peace and stability”.
While James “Mad Dog” Mattis has not refuted Haley’s ridiculous claims, he did say that the US is not going to take military action against Iran.

Mattis further explained:
It’s the reason Ambassador Haley was there and not one of our generals. This is a diplomatically-led effort to expose to the world what Iran is up to.
While Haley continues to lead an irrational and dangerous charge against Iran, many cooler heads in the Pentagon are well away that such a mission would end in untold disaster for the US.

This is the primary reason why the US has decided to fight Iran via proxy conflicts against Iranian allies and partners, rather than engage in a direct war against Iranian forces on Iranian soil.

Reprinted with permission from The Duran.

Six Major US Foreign Policy Failures of the Post-Cold War Era

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In the 1990s, US officials, all of whom would go on to serve in the George W. Bush White House, authored two short, but deeply important policy documents that have subsequently been the guiding force behind every major US foreign policy decision taken since the year 2000 and particularly since 9/11.

These documents include the Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994–99 fiscal years (more commonly known as the Wolfowitz Doctrine). This document, as the name implies was authored by George W. Bush’s deeply influential Deputy Defense Secretary  Paul Wolfowitz as well as I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who served as an advisor to former US Vice President Dick Cheney.

The other major document, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, from 1996 was authored by former Chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee in the administration of George W. Bush, Richard Norman Perle.

Both documents provide a simplistic but highly unambiguous blueprint for US foreign policy in the Middle East, Russia’s near abroad and East Asia. The contents of the Wolfowitz Doctrine were first published by the New York Times in 1992 after they were leaked to the media. Shortly thereafter, many of the specific threats made in the document were re-written using broader language. In this sense, when comparing the official version with the leaked version, it reads in the manner of the proverbial "what I said versus what I meant" adage.

By contrast, A Clean Break was written in 1996 as a kind of gift to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who apparently was not impressed with the document at the time. In spite of this, the US has implemented many of the recommendations in the document in spite of who was/is in power in Tel Aviv.

While many of the recommendations in both documents have indeed been implemented, their overall success rate has been staggeringly bad.  

Below are major points from the documents followed by an assessment of their success or failure. 

1. Regime change against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (A Clean Break)

This objective is in many ways both the clearest initial success and also the most strident overall failure.

In 1996, Richard Perle suggested that removing Saddam Hussein from power would be good for the US and Israeli interest because it would weaken a powerful, large Arab state that had poor relations with the US since 1990 and historically poor relations with multiple regimes in Tel Aviv. While Iraq’s President was removed from power by illegal force in 2003, that which happened subsequently did not deliver the outcome Perle had desired.

A Clean Break suggests that a post-Saddam Iraq could and should be ruled by a restored Hashemite dynasty, which was originally overthrown in 1958. Perle continues to suggest that Jordan, the last remaining Hashemite state in the Arab world, could work with Israel and the US to make this happen. Even more absurdly, Perle suggests that a Hashemite would-be union between Jordan and Iraq would be able to command more loyalty from Hezbollah supporters in Lebanon than Iran.

The realities could not be more different. After the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq, the idea of restoring the Hashemite dynasty was never again floated in any serious forum, as the idea would be simply impossible to implement. There was no will among any major faction in Iraq to restore a monarchy that was overthrown in a revolution in 1958 that many Iraqis continue to look back on with national pride.

Ironically, the biggest Arab bulwark against a resurgent Iran was Saddam Hussein. In the 1980s, the future neo-cons realised this, though they seemingly ignored what they once knew, as early as in 1992.

Since Saddam Hussein’s removal from power and violent execution, Iraq’s majority Shi’a population have generally rallied around Iran politically, militarily and spiritually. Iraq has recently signed a defensive military pact with Iran and it is well known that many of the Shi’a volunteer brigades which are fighting ISIS in Iraq have received training and advice from Iranian experts.

While the US bases in Iraq make a US military presence closer to Iran than it was prior to 2003, by the same token Iran’s influence in the Arab world, especially in Iraq has grown substantially. In any case, the desired illegal "regime change" war against Iran will likely never happen for two reasons. First of all, many in the Pentagon and in Washington moreover, realise that such a war would be an unmitigated disaster for the US and secondly, Iran has many influential international partners that it did not have in the 1990s, primarily Russia. Russia as well as China would not stand for a war on Iran in 2017.

In this sense, the US got very little of what it claimed it wanted in overthrowing Saddam apart from the weakening of a united Iraq.

2. ‘Containing’ Russia and China by preventing them from becoming superpowers (Wolfowitz Doctrine)

This policy has failed on every front. Since the rise of George W. Bush, the first White House adherent to the Wolfowitz Doctrine, Russia and China have risen to a status which means that there are three global superpowers, not the lone American superpower dreamt of by Wolfowitz and Libby.

China’s economic rise has fuelled a more robust stance from Beijing on global affairs. China now vigorously defends its claims in the South China Sea, has continually outflanked the US on the Korean issue, is engaged in the building of One Belt–One Road, the most wide reaching trade and commerce initiative in modern history and has opened its first military base overseas.

At the same time, the People’s Liberation Army continues its modernisation programme, making it as formidable a force which for all practical purposes, is as battle ready and capable as those of the US and Russia, countries which during the Cold War, had far superior armed forces to China.

Likewise, Russia’s return to superpower status, has been equally crushing in respect of the goals of Wolfowitz and Libby. Russia has not only strengthened old alliances but is now an important ally or partner to countries which were former Cold War opponents or otherwise non-aligned countries. This is true in respect of Russia’s alliances and partnerships with China, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Philippines and increasingly Indonesia. Russia is also becoming ever closer to South Korea and even Japan.

With Russia’s military now boasting modern defence systems which can rival those of the US and in many cases are objectively superior to those of the US, the idea that the US would prevent Russia from re-attaining super-power status and China emerging as a super-power has become a patent absurdity.

3. Containing Syria via Turkey and Jordan (A Clean Break)

For a while, this plan was implemented with some degree of success by the Obama administration. While Jordan never played a substantial part in the proxy wars on Syria, apart from being a NATO transport corridor, Turkey did help to undermine Syria’s sovereignty with its armed forces and its own proxies.

While relations between Turkey and Syria remain poor, relations between Turkey and the rest of its NATO "allies" is also poor.

Turkey has quietly ceased its support for terrorist groups (aka the opposition) in Syria, is participating in the Astana Peace Process with long time Syrian allies Russia and Iran and is engaged in multiple trading and commercial deals with Russia, including the purchase of the Russian made S-400 missile defence system.

The overall result of Turkey’s participation in the Syrian conflict has been a strengthening of Turkey’s relationship with historical adversaries, Russia and Iran, something which has happened simultaneously to Turkey’s essentially dead relationship with the EU and its incredibly weakened relationship with the US.

All the while, Ba’athist Syria has emerged from the conflict victorious with its commitment to the Palestinian cause as strong as ever.

Far from being “contained”, Syria is now more admired throughout the wider world than at any time in the last three decades.

4. Molesting Russia’s borderlands (Wolfowitz Doctrine)

In the original text of the Wolfowitz Doctrine, there was a provision stating that the US must work to make sure that places like Ukraine and Belarus became part of the US economic and geo-political orbit, maintaining both “market economies” and “democracies.”

The 2014 US engineered coup against the legitimate government in Kiev was a knee-jerk US response to the fact that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych rejected an economic association agreement with the EU, under the guise that the Ukrainian economy cannot afford to cut itself off from Russia.

Yanukovych was subsequently overthrown in a violent coup, and a neo-fascist, pro-western regime was installed. However, this can hardly be considered a success as the sheer violence and incompetence of the current Kiev regime has made it so that Ukraine, a place whose borders were always dubious to begin with, will almost inevitably fracture into something unrecognisable.

Already, much of Donbass has been incorporated into the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics that will never go back to Kiev rule and Crimea, whose relationship with Kiev was even more tenuous is now happily reunited with the rest of the Russian Federation.

Seeing the coup in Kiev, Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko has pledged to crack down on any would be trouble-makers, all while remaining a committed albeit tantrum prone ally of Russia.

The only part of this element of the Wolfowitz Doctrine which has not been a failure has been the weaponisation of eastern Europe. The reason this has succeeded is due to the fact that Russia has no interest in invading eastern Europe. Russia has merely responded by building up its defences against NATO’s provocative weaponisation of Poland and the Baltic States.

5. Weakening Hezbollah (A Clean Break)

In 2017, Hezbollah is not only more popular than ever, but is militarily might is stronger than at any time in its history. Hezbollah’s role in fighting terrorism in Syria has won the party praise from groups in Lebanon that previously were never keen on Hezbollah, as well as individuals in the wider world who seek to build a genuine anti-terrorist coalition.

The conflict in Syria has drawn Iran, Iraq, Syria and southern Lebanon (the heartland of Hezbollah) closer together than they have ever been. This has in many ways been a result of the common cause of fighting groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda that bound them all together.

In 2006, Hezbollah dealt Israeli forces a major defeat in South Lebanon. Today, Hezbollah is even stronger and everyone in Israel is all too aware of this.

This was a major failure in respect of implementing the "destruction" of Hezbollah advocated by Richard Perle.

6. North Korea not to be allowed nuclear weapons (Wolfowitz Doctrine)

The fact that North Korea just tested what is widely believed to be a hydrogen bomb, is a clear indication that this major goal of Wolfowitz and Libby has failed.

Beyond this, while Russia has condemned both North Korea and US led provocative acts on the Korean peninsula, Russian President Vladimir Putin has acknowledged that North Korea does have the right to self-defence, something which has become even more prescient after North Korea witnessed the destruction of Iraq and Libya which did not have weapons capable of deterring a US invasion.

Russia and China have clearly seized the initiative on the Korean issue. Apart from launching a disastrous war on North Korea, the US can now do little to change the realities in Pyongyang.

Conclusion: 

The aggregate effect of this analysis indicates that the US is still highly capable of starting wars and igniting conflicts throughout the world, but that it is likewise hardly ever capable of winning these conflicts or even achieving a majority of its own stated goals.

As the two most revealing foreign policy documents from the US in the post-Cold War era, both the Wolfowitz Doctrine and A Clean Break have been abject failures. In many cases, in attempting to achieve the goals of these documents, the United States has ended up achieving the opposite.

The US is militarily strong, but strategically, diplomatically and geo-politically, it is actually close to impotent.

Reprinted with permission from The Duran.

Five Weird Conspiracy Theories from CIA Director Mike Pompeo

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In a tirade against Russia based news outlets RT and Sputnik, Donald Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo blasted Russia for interfering not only in the 2016 US Presidential election but “the one before that and the one before that”. This would imply that Russia helped install Barack Obama in the White House even after his severely anti-Russian foreign policy became well known.

These statements are blasted by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the following way:
If (Pompeo’s) statements mean that we interfered in the elections in 2008 and 2012 that means that President Obama owes us his victories. I’ll refrain from comment. In my opinion, this crosses the lines of what is reasonable.
Pompeo’s assertion came after a tirade in which he said that Russia’s current Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov helped develop a ‘propaganda’ strategy which underlies RT and Sputnik’s alleged purpose. Pompeo further asserted that Gerasimov did this in the early 1970s. According to Pompeo:
His (Gerasimov’s) idea was that you can win wars without firing a single shot, with firing a very few shots in ways that are decidedly not militaristic. And that’s what happened

What changes is the cost to effectuate change through cyber and through RT and Sputnik, the news outlets and through other soft means has just really been lowered. It used to be expensive to run an ad on a television station. Now you simply go online and propagate your message, so they have found an effective tool, an easy way to go reach into our systems and into our culture to achieve the outcome they are looking for.
The ludicrousness of this claim can be easily debunked when one learns that General Gerasimov was born in 1955. If one can conservatively say that 1973 was the ‘early 1970s’, this means that Gerasimov developed a communications strategy that relied on the internet being up to 2017 standards when he was 18 years of age. There is simply no logic in Pompeo’s assertions.

This is the same Mike Pompeo who has told some rather strange tall-tales about Wikileak’s founder Julian Assange while simultaneously calming that RT is part of Wikileaks.

In April of 2017, Pompeo stated:
It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is – a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia. In January of this year, our Intelligence Community determined that Russian military intelligence—the GRU—had used WikiLeaks to release data of US victims that the GRU had obtained through cyber operations against the Democratic National Committee. And the report also found that Russia’s primary propaganda outlet, RT, has actively collaborated with WikiLeaks.
He then stated:
No, I am quite confident that had Assange been around in the 1930s and 40s and 50s, he would have found himself on the wrong side of history.
So to recap, the following are Mike Pompeo’s most ludicrous conspiracy theories:

1. Russia’s current Chief of the General Staff invented the concept of RT and Sputnik, one which relies on the power of the internet in 2017, in the early 1970s when he was in his late teens and still in the equivalent of high school.

2. Russia interfered in the US elections in 2008, 2012 and 2016, meaning that Russia supported Barack Obama who was the most anti-Russian US President in modern memory, but no one noticed this Russian interference at the time.

3. RT collaborates with Wikileaks which is a hostile intelligence agency rather than an on-line publisher.

4. Julian Assange, a self-styled free speech advocate and anti-war activist would have supported Hitler in the 1930s and 1940s.

5. RT and Sputnik are supported by Russia because they are cheaper than going to war. This is ostensibly a bad thing in Pompeo’s view. 

Mike Pompeo seems like less of an intelligence chief than a simplistic conspiracy theories.

Reprinted with permission from The Duran.

Two Western Narratives on North Korea; Both Cannot be True

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Friday night’s failed missile launch by North Korea has exposed a kind of cognitive dissonance in the western mainstream media and also some alt-media sources.

On the one hand, North Korea is an evil state whose nuclear weapons and advanced delivery systems are capable of setting hell-fire upon East Asia and even parts of the western United States.

At the same time, some of these same sources are promulgating an antithetical narrative that North Korea is little more than an ineffective dictatorship whose weapons delivery systems cannot get off the ground and whose conventional weapons are so lacking that during parades, fake weapons are on display.

The fact that this second narrative has captured  hearts and minds across the spectrum is best illustrated by the fact that maverick conservative alt-media figure Milo Yiannopoulos has posted a story about just how poorly North Korea is armed, citing, NBC news, Fox news, and the left-wing UK tabloid Daily Mirror.

So which is it? Is North Korea a kind of bite sized ‘evil empire’ ready and willing to destroy much of the world at a moment’s notice, or is it a comical commie monarchy whose weapons are just for show?

Donald Trump expressed his own unique brand of  cognitive dissonance on the matter, Tweeting: "North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!"

This is the same Donald Trump who in 2013 said of China, "China is not our friend. They are not our ally. They want to overtake us, and if we don’t get smart and tough soon, they will."

Donald Trump seems to think that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping bonded over  ‘the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake you’ve ever seen’, but the reality is that China and also Russia have been totally consistent over North Korea. It is western leaders and the western media that cannot seem to choose a narrative and stick with it.

China opposes nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula and has many disagreements with the North Korean government, but China also fervently disagrees with American military escalation in the region. Russia likewise offers plenty of condemnation for the behaviour of both North Korea and American war-hawks.

READ MORE: Furious China hits back at US on North Korea during UN Security Council Session

The truth of the matter is that the fire-power of North Korea is probably grossly exaggerated by both North Korea and by the same people in the US who lied about the nature of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2003, lied about Libya in 2011 and are lying about chemical weapons in Syria now.

Both North Korea and the US have strangely similar goals which underpin their need to exaggerate the true strength of North Korea’s military. Pyongyang wants to look mighty on the world states and the US wants to look both mighty and mighty angry over a real threat. It wouldn’t be very convincing if the US was threatening war over ‘fake weapons’. Then again many in the US want a new Cold War with Russia over, fake news.

That being said, North Korea does have nuclear weapons and even if North Korean delivery systems are as inadequate as they seem, they still could find some way to deliver the weapons to nearby countries, most prominently South Korea.

There is no good reason to inflame a situation that was more or less a sleeping issue. If China and Russia which both border North Korea are not frightened of Kim Jong-Un, a country on the other side of the Pacific, the United States, ought to adopt a similar approach.

Donald Trump should listen to his words and not show ‘disrespect’ to the Chinese President.

Reprinted with permission from The Duran.