Links December 2015

December 17, 2015

First the news roundup and some general thoughts:

Two weeks ago I rushed out a couple of blog posts concerning Turkeys support of terrorism, the invasion of Syria by Western proxies, the ambush of a Russian SU-24 jet, and the massive onslaught against Kurds in southern Turkey. I was furious about Turkish aggression and irresponsibility, and I’m still disgusted and horrified by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is the personification of evil.

Facing the wicket and murderous policies of the US-empire, one cannot help but sympathize with the Russian air campaign against the terrorist proxies of the West, who since February 2011 are grinding down the Syrian state by suicide bombings, massacres, incriminate shelling of civilians, and senseless destruction of infrastructure, buildings, historical monuments, forests, fields, wells, everything.

And yet, every mortar, every rocket, every bomb (even the “smartest” one) is a weapon of mass destruction, no matter which party delivers it. Who can say for sure, if the killed and maimed deserved their fate?

Would there have been an alternative to war, a peaceful solution who would have addressed the grievances of the Syrian opposition?

The Syrian government acted measured and appropriate. Whatever the Western propaganda machine tells, the high death toll of police officers in the first month of the insurgency (much higher than the death toll among the rebels) tells another story.

The Syrian government invited the opposition many times to negotiations, it arranged numerous ceasefires, issued amnesties (the last one in June 2015), changed the constitution, and held multi-candidate elections. There were power sharing agreements (with the Kurds) and the government tried to uphold crucial state services even in the areas under rebel control by paying salaries of government employes and delivering necessary goods.

IS 08 2014 18

All this will never be acknowledged by Western governments and never be told in the Western press.

As the saying goes: Words are cheap and statements of intent are meaningless, but in the end “you will know them by their deeds.” And even that is difficult because when journalism is propaganda and news reports are fairy tales, fabrications, or blatant lies, it is nearly impossible to know what’s actually happening.

Most English language reports about Syria come from Rami Abdulrahman’s UK-based SOHR (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights), “citizen journalists,” who are usually members of Islamic rebel groups, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube accounts of jihadists, Western funded NGOs (White Helmets, The Syria Campaign, Hand in Hand for Syria, AI, HRW), and Thomson Reuters, owned by the Thomson billionaire family (worth 23 billion US$).

The reports from these sources sharply contradict the reports from SANA, Fars News, Al-Manar, As-Safir, RT, and Itar Tass. SANA is the Syrian State agency, Fars News is Iran’s leading news agency, Al-Manar is a Lebanese TV channel, As-Safir is the biggest newspaper in Lebanon, RT and Itar Tass are big Russian agencies. These  organizations employ hundreds of journalists (Itar Tass for instance has 68 foreign bureaus) and they all have reporters and contributors in Syria, often directly on the front lines.

The mentioned news outlets are for sure biased, but would anybody seriously suggest that Western news organizations are impartial, fair, and honest?

Western news organizations seldom have reporters in Syria, and the few Western journalists which dare to go there are all embedded with insurgent groups, writing fantasy stories of heroic rebels facing a barbarous regime onslaught with barrel bombs and nerve gas.

The most prominent source of Western Syria reporting, SOHR, has long ago been exposed as an absurd propaganda front operated by Rami Abdul Rahman out of his house in Coventry, UK. Abdul Rahman is not a “human rights activist.” He is a paid propagandist with clear stated sympathies for Islamic groups and a documented connection to the Muslim Brotherhood (his wife Etab Rakhamieh hails from a Muslim Brotherhood family in Banyas).

A few days ago the Russian military presented an impressive series of photos and videos shot by drones and satellites, proving that Turkey does indeed purchase oil from IS (Islamic State). Especially telling was evidence about the immense scale of the oil smuggling. One photo showed hundreds of oil tanker trucks moving in four parallel columns, another showed a nearly uncountable number (for sure more than thousand) tanker trucks at a gathering place waiting to be filled up.

The evidence confirms, that the oil trade is organized at the highest level of the Turkish state and that the USA must know everything about it. Unsurprisingly Western media channels didn’t discuss or mention the actual evidence and only spoke of “images the Russians claim to show.”

Western journalist only write what supports the official storyline.

Air Strike Azaz 1

Since a few weeks I check comment sections of news sites and blogs and it seems that there is growing frustration with and even hostility towards traditional news organizations, including established “alternative” media like Common Dreams, Huffington Post, Democracy Now, AlterNet, Salon, Mother Jones.

People don’t like to be fooled and people like even less to be regarded as idiots.

Russia, by entered the Syrian war theater, called the US bluff and exposed the farcical nature of US (in)actions against IS terrorists. The Russian air campaign made it nearly impossible for mainstream media spin doctors to re-explain and reinterpret the officially authorized narrative.

It wasn’t the first glitch in the US war script, Washington had already difficulties when the Kurds in Kobane refused to be slaughtered as planned and heroically held off the IS brutes long enough to make world opinion force “real” US air attacks against IS positions.

Over the last year the Western storyline has become more and more illogical and implausible, but this was the case in all other US-wars as well. Since the Vietnam public relations debacle US propagandists have honed their skills and usually are able to mislead, reeducate, indoctrinate, brainwash the majority of the population, which is glued to screens of various sizes (TV, computer, smartphone), overburdened with media trash, and unable to scrutinize and evaluate the presented informations. Only an insignificant minority of critical thinking persons remain still on the loose.

I doubt that US public opinion will turn against the spin doctors, but opposition and dissent around the globe is building up and will make US political maneuvering on the world stage more and more difficult. UNSC resolution 2249 (2015) about measures against terror groups, calls by many European nations to stop sanctions against Russia, and Russian President Putin’s worldwide popularity are encouraging signs.

Will this be enough to foil Western regime-change plans?

Will Putin’s geopolitical chess moves help the pragmatist faction in the White House to keep the neocon warmongers (Ashton Carter, Susan Rice, Victoria Nuland, Samantha Powers) in check?

london dont bomb Syria

Back to the question of alternatives to military actions. When more than 100,000 foreign trained, payed, and equipped terrorists descend on a country, there are not many options left.

What about some creative monetary policies? The terror groups use Syrian pounds, Iraqi Dinars, and US Dollars. It should not be impossible for a nation with highly capable scientists and technicians to create perfect counterfeits which are detectable only by comparing serial numbers.

There are already an estimated 70 million counterfeited US Dollars in circulation, so this action would not be something exceptional. The fake Dollars could entice foreign mercenaries to switch sides and could throw terrorist bureaucracies into disarray.

Lot of fake Dollars would eventually contribute to a crash of the international financial system, but as the financial system is mainly used to enrich billionaire investors, sell common goods like land, natural resources, infrastructure to giant corporations, keep nations in debt servitude, provide cheap commodities for the West, and collect funds for the US military, a financial crash would change quite a few things to the better.

Other than that there are only futuristic alternatives which are, if anything, maybe long-haul DARPA research projects, like aggressive “diesel bugs” (microbial bacteria, fungi, or algae) and nano particles (ferrocene), to ruin the engines of tanks and other military vehicles, biological warfare with mass releases of stinging and biting bugs, booby trapped ammunitions (reportedly used already in 2012 by the Syrian government), and various advanced crowd control techniques (Raytheon’s Microwave Gun, Israel’s skunk spray).

Back to reality:

Russia is building a second air base in Shaayrat, central Syria. If this base is ready, then bringing in a few Russian AWACS and/or MiG-31s would make sense. Russia will now deploy SU-34 equipped with advanced air-to-air missiles in northern Syria and Russian strike aircraft will be escorted by SU-30SM fighter jets.

So far, the Russians were able to organize and support their small force in Syria, but that in no way indicates a Russian capability to sustain a major air campaign or a ground operation in the Middle East. Russia cannot protect Syria from a combined assault of USA, NATO, Turkey, the Gulf monarchies, and Israel.

In a meeting between US Senator John McCain and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on November 27 in the joint US-Iraqi operational headquarters in Baghdad (which coordinates military actions against IS), McCain declared, that forces of 90,000 — 100,000 from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, and Jordan, plus 10,000 from the USA will be stationed in Iraq’s western parts. The Iraqi prime minister openly expressed bewilderment over McCain’s statement but was told that everything has already been decided.

No matter what Russia may or may not achieve in Syria, the SU-24 incident has surely emboldened NATO.

Now that the precedent has been set by Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian plane, any NATO member can do the same while feeling protected by the alliance. If tomorrow, say, the Latvians decide to strafe a Russian Navy ship in the Baltic Sea or if the Poles shoot down a Russian aircraft over Kaliningrad, they will immediately get the protection of NATO just like Turkey did. The USA will fully endorse the Latvian/Polish version of the events, the Secretary General of NATO will offer to dispatch more forces to Latvia/Poland to protect these countries from any threat of Russian retaliation, and the world’s corporate media will turn a blind eye to any evidence of Latvian/Polish aggression. This is an extremely dangerous development as it gives a strong incentive to the new NATO countries on Russia’s border to show their courage and their determination to challenge Russia on behalf of the USA.

NATO is also deliberately escalating its war on Russia by admitting Montenegro into the Alliance and by re-starting talks about admitting Georgia. In a purely military sense, the incorporation of Montenegro makes no difference whatsoever, but in political terms this is yet another way for the West to thumb its nose at Russia and say “see, we will even incorporate your historical allies into our empire and there is nothing you can do about it”. As for Georgia, the main purpose behind the discussion of its incorporation into NATO is to vindicate the “Saakashvili doctrine”, i.e. to reward aggression towards Russia. Here again, there is nothing Russia can do.

With more and more weapons pouring into Syria and five nuclear powers (USA, Britain, France, Israel, Russia) crowding the Syrian skies, this conflict has become a watershed moment, with possible consequences far more dangerous than the emergence of another sanctuary for Islamic terrorists, or the European refugee crisis, or more surveillance and curtailed civil rights.

One has to ask if this is still about Syria and Assad, or if the conflict is gradually morphing into the opening of WW III, where Russia and China, the last obstacles to complete world dominance by the USA plus allies and vassals, have to be destroyed?

British, German, French, US fighter jets and troops are gathered at Turkey’s Incirlik and Diyarbakir air base. Spain has Patriot missiles in Turkey, Denmark and Germany are sending war ships to the Mediterranean Sea. Are they fighting terrorists or protecting Turkey from Russia?

Turkish troops are in Bashiqa near Mosul and Turkish jets bomb PKK Kurds in northern Iraq. Iraq’s ultimatum to withdraw the Turkish troops in 48 hours was ignored, President Erdogan said that a withdrawal was “out of question.” A few tanks and soldiers were moved to another base in northern Iraq to give the appearance of compromise.

Do US experts indeed renovate the Abu Hajar airport in Syria’s Hasakah province?

Turkey deployed an ASELSAN Koral electronic jammer system at the border to counter the Russian Krasukha-4 jamming system. An Israeli jamming system has reportedly blinded Russian radar when the Israelis bombed Hezbollah positions.

Qatari jets attacked a Syrian army base in Ayyash, Deir Ezzor Province, and four soldiers died. The air raid was synchronized with an IS assault on the base and the base subsequently was overrun. Was this a first provocation to test Russia’s reaction?

Will Turkey close the Bosphorus straits?

Nuclear Warhead Inventories

When will the nuclear option come into play?

The USA and Russia are both modernizing their nuclear arsenals. Some 200 new nuclear warheads are stationed in the NATO members Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, and Turkey.

20 new B61-12 nuclear bombs were brought to the Luftwaffe’s Buchel Air Base. Th B61-12 is a dial-a-yield bomb from 0.3 to 50 kilotons with GPS aided tail kit, which can be used as a tactical nuclear weapon.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Republican presidential contender, hinted at the use of tactical nuclear bombs, saying: “I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.” This is nothing new, Dick Cheney in 1991 was considering the use of tactical nukes against Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard.

Did Israel use a tactical nuclear bomb in Yemen on May 20 and before in Khiam, during the 2006 war against Hezbollah?

Russian President Putin reminded the West, that Russia is also a nuclear power:

We know that high-precision weapons can be equipped with both conventional warheads and with special warheads, that is, with nuclear warheads. Naturally, in the fight against the terrorists, we hope that is something that will never be needed.”

The Russian military reports, that in 2015 it has received 35 new intercontinental ballistic missiles and two new nuclear-powered submarines equipped with intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The missile regiment of the Kozelsk unit equipped with the improved Yars ballistic missile system has been put on full combat alert.

Kim Jong-Un claims that North Korea has developed a hydrogen bomb.

Will we be able again to avert armageddon? Will we be as lucky as we were in October 1962?

Should we forget about global warming and rather prepare for a nuclear winter?

Am I just a naive victim of baseless scaremongering?

Nuclear Warheads 2015

Feline news:

Environmental news:

CO2 per capita emissions

Imperial news:
http://europe.newsweek.com/guntv-24-hour-sales-channel-400319?rm=eu Buy more guns to prevent more mass shootings.
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-11-21/us-congresswoman-introduces-bill-stop-illegal-war-assad-says-cia-ops-must-stop Watch out for Tulsi Gabbard.
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/truthdigger_of_the_week_seattle_city_councilwoman_kshama_sawant_20151122 Watch out for Kshama Sawant.
http://cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.co.at/p/tax-deductible-donation.html Cindy Sheehan would for sure deserve a donation.

Imperial conquest news:
http://williamblum.org/aer/read/141 Despite being 82 years old, William Blum is still the towering figure of anti-imperialism. It is highly recommended to read this piece and also, if time allows, as many of the previous Anti-Empire Reports as possible.

William Blum is fortunately not alone, there are many US-American activist who deserve sympathy and encouragement, one only doesn’t hear anything about them because they are blacklisted and censored by mainstream media.
http://petras.lahaine.org/?p=2065 James Petras is another bright star of the US dissident scene.
https://gowans.wordpress.com/2015/11/28/aspiring-to-rule-the-world-us-capital-and-the-battle-for-syria/ Great compilation.
The state of mind which Andre Vltchek describes is familiar to me, and probably to many other people in the world. It is a feeling of utter despair, confusion, exhaustion, sadness. Living beings in this world are suffering, are in pain, and the amount of suffering and pain is unimaginable and incomprehensible.

Andre Vltchek is not the first person to voice his sadness and despair and he will not be the last (provided that nuclear war doesn’t happen in the next days). The world never was a nice place. Early human societies survived in a hostile world by cooperation, sharing, caring, but they whipped out most great mammals (mammoth, forest elephant, giant deer, giant ground sloth). They probably also caused the extinction of their close relatives, the Neanderthals.

So, while even this largely peaceful early societies caused the suffering and violent death of fellow animals, as humans spread around the globe and became the dominating species, cooperation, sharing, mutual respect became less important and humans turned on each other.

Criminal elites emerged, warrior tribes killed or enslaved neighboring tribes.

We know how the story went on, we know that millions were slaughtered. We know that people were ripped apart, cut in pieces, boiled or burned alive, tortured in the most horrendous ways in the name of god or for the glory of a nation.

Human history is a history of crime and war, and one doesn’t have to study history and one doesn’t have to travel to war zones to realize this.

While delusions, self-deception, and ignorance can shield us from the reality of ubiquitous, omnipresent suffering, they also hinder us to apprehend the magnificent beauty of life. The mystery of life can’t be solved and the mental state of serenity, calmness, wisdom cannot be attained without accepting life in all its complexity, including even its most appalling and disturbing aspects.

The supposition in the preceding paragraph cannot be discussed in detail here, but common sense alone should make clear, that living in a filtered and distorted reality (filtered and distorted by delusions, self-deception, and ignorance) prevents us to react adequately to upcoming challenges and also hinders us to see and feel the beauty of life.

Despite all the misery and pain, life has its beautiful sides still and one has to learn enjoying it and not let the worries break ones spirit. I’m aware that this is easier said than done and comparatively easy for me to achieve, with my privileged quiet rural life in a peace zone in the middle of Europe. Most people are not that fortunate, downtrodden by poverty, environmental degradation, exploitation, and war.

Some miss out at the beauty of life because they have fallen victim to the temptations of consumerism and to urban vanity.

Meditation practices or contemplation about the Four Noble Truth of Buddhism could give help to some. Please read the extensive discussion at https://mato48.com/2014/12/20/love-peace-and-happiness/

The ingenious Bobby McFerrin brought it to the point with his purposely plain and simple song Don’t Worry Be Happy.

Tyler Durden is a fellow blogger, who runs a remarkably informative site http://www.zerohedge.com/ He is focused on economics but also covers all kind of other topics. His blog is highly recommendable. The motto of his blog is:

On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero (in other words: We all will die one day). So why bother?

The motto of my blog here is: For the critical thinking cat lover. Because cats make life bearable even in the bleakest moments.

So, to end this post on a bright note, here are the latest news from cat land:

All the cats are fine and have gone through the annual health check, including vaccination and worming pills. Gandhi has still not overcome the loss of Mia, his mother, and he is adopting me as his step mother. I do what I can.

Recently during one of our daily walks in the forest, he paused and looked at a group of bushes where Mia used to hide. He was sitting there, waiting that she would come out. When she didn’t, he looked at me and meowed mournfully. It was sad, heartbreaking, but when I talked to him calmly for a little while and stroke him, he started to purr.

Mia has gone, but she lives on in our hearts.

Since half a year I try to help a little bit at a nearby animal asylum and inevitably one of the poor cats deposed there has found her way to my home, joining the cat family. Her name is Lucia, she is three year old, very small (I initially thought she was a juvenile cat), friendly, intelligent, and indescribably cute. But look and decide yourself:

Lucia thuja tree DSCN4003Lucia studio DSCN3866Lucia roof toolshed DSCN3994Lucia hall upstairs DSCN3875Lucia garden DSCN3909Lucia garden DSCN3899Lucia Cheyenne DSCN3844Lucia Mato DSCN3853

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