Links March 2016

March 2, 2016

Feline news:

Environmental news:
http://www.boredpanda.com/fukushima-radioactive-disaster-abandoned-animal-guardian-naoto-matsumura/ My favorite story of this month. (One misgiving: the hero smokes.)
http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi/delhi-water-crisis-returns-5-million-likely-to-be-affected-on-monday/story-eZ9U9suSD5ExHErOR157ZP.html The new normal.

Imperial news:
Is Donald Trump inevitable? Is he bearable? Is he maybe even the lesser evil compared to Hillary Clinton? We simply don’t know, unlike Hillary, he didn’t have the chance until now to turn comparatively stable countries (Libya, Syria) into failed states.
Trump is disgusting, narcissistic, vulgar, but he shows occasionally flickers of common sense, something which is completely missing in other presidential candidates. He also doesn’t use a teleprompter, so there must be some abilities of intuition. His awkwardness at least appears to be more honest than the scripted performances of his cliche-babbling contenders. (This is not an endorsement!)
Donanld Trump US electionsOne shouldn’t overestimate the influence of US Presidents over the “shadow government” (also known as “deep state” or “permanent government”).

Peace Nobel Prize laureate Barrack Hussein Obama morphed the “audacity of hope” into the “illusion of hope,” but he at least tries to postpone the start of WWIII. Is that the best one can hope for in US politics?

Can we rest assured that US presidential elections are just an absurd theater without any real consequences?
This is an incredibly well written, intelligent and pointed piece about Donald Trump and US elections in general. And it nurtures the one big hope, which is that the US political system one day will implode because of its utter depravity and mendacity. A must read.
http://petras.lahaine.org/?p=2072 This too is an excellent analysis of the US election campaign and the unforeseen ascent of non-establishment candidates Sanders and Trump.

That all linked articles of “imperial news” in passing mention several serious ailments of US society without offering remedies and visions cannot be considered a flaw, because just a few catchphrases and statements would not suffice while a thorough deliberation would blow the articles out of proportion.

And yet, observations and analyses are just a first step and must be followed by visions and plans. Without presenting at least a few starting points of change, observations and analyses of this calamity are just depressing, demoralizing, crushing.

The dysfunctional state of US society and politics is a concern not only for US citizens, but for people all over the world because the USA sets the pace and direction for all Western nations and as a superior military power, spending 40 percent of global military expenses, US influence is felt even in the most remote corners of the earth.

This blog post is, just like the listed articles, not the best suited place to present visions and plans, but as a temporary measure until a major text is forthcoming, the following paragraphs contain nevertheless a short (and incomplete) list of possibilities:

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Gil Scott-Heron rightly said. Which implicates that there will be no revolution as long as people are glued to screens of various sizes. Gil btw proved the harshness and cruelty of US society with his own suffering. RIP, we will not forget you!

We have to:

1. Increase the awareness that not only news reports, but the entire output of mass media is biased, misleading, deceitful, and the reality presented on TV screens, computer screens, smartphone screens is distorted, censored, and tightly controlled.

2. Raise Skepticism and develop methods to bypass the main controlling entities, which are: Google (ranking algorithm), Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, news agencies (Reuters, AP, Fox, BBC) broadcasters (NPR, ABC, CNN, CBS, CNBC, MSNBC, Bloomberg) press (New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian), Hollywood. Avoiding contact would be best but this will not be possible all the time.

3. Create strong social connections, replacing telecommunication by personal contact, time in front of a screen by time with family, friends, neighbors, social networks on the internet (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, VKontakte, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram) by local networks (activist groups, neighborhood committees, circles of friends, co-ops).

4. Create local networks and support systems to replace the big support systems of corporations. Subsistence, self sufficiency, off-grid, neighborhood help, local autonomy, farmers markets, flea markets, time banks, counter currencies.

All this is happening already — if it wouldn’t be so, one could as well call it a day and prepare for the end of the world as we know it.

These countless activities are ignored, belittled, ridiculed by the establishment. Fortunately, because if they would be taken seriously, they would be regarded as dangerous and restricted or banned.

These activities have to be encouraged, supported, connected, and channelled into a broad movement.

By us, the citizens of the world.
Hillary Clinton US electionsMissing from the discussion about Hillary Clinton’s record has been her work in Haiti, where she blatantly manipulated and threatened Haitian government officials to control electoral outcomes. She and her husband were successfully promoting a sweatshop-led development model.

The following articles take a closer look into Clinton’s work in Haiti and what her Presidency could portend for other nations.
Clinton Emails Reveal “Behind the Doors Actions” of Private Sector and US Embassy in Haiti Elections
What Are We Missing About Haiti in the Hillary Emails?
A Look at Hillary (and Bill) Clinton’s Past in Haiti
The King and Queen of Haiti
Role of Hillary Clinton’s brother in Haiti gold mine raises eyebrows
Outsourcing Haiti: How Disaster Relief Became a Disaster of Its Own
WikiLeaks Haiti: Let Them Live on $3 a Day

Imperial conquest news:
https://www.lawfareblog.com/case-delisting-pkk-foreign-terrorist-organization Delisting the PKK as a terrorist organization and listing Turkey as a rogue nation.
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/03/01/assad-proposes-full-amnesty-for-syrian-rebels-who-lay-down-their-arms.html Interesting, that Rupert Murdoch’s Fox news publishes an article which seems to be sympathetic to the Syrian government.

Syria news:

A Russian- and US-sponsored cease-fire went into effect on February 27. The temporary truce will allow the Syrian army to create defensive lines before launching new attacks and consolidating gained territory while preventing counteroffensives.

A major operation against IS in Palmyra is rumored, while the al-Tabqa offensive seems to have been put off for now.

Syrian forces are within 8 kilometers of completing the encirclement of Aleppo’s rebel held districts, The Castello Road, last lifeline of the Islamists in eastern Aleppo districts, has repeatedly been closed by the Kurds in Sheikh Maqsoud. The FSA brigades in eastern Aleppo have been put under Ahrar al-Sham/Jabhat al-Nusra command.

The Khanasser road, supply line to Syrian forces in northern Aleppo, was blocked for several days by an unforeseen IS (Islamic State) offensive, but is usable again after a counter offensive pushed out the Islamists from Khanasser town and surrounding villages.

When Aleppo city is cleared of insurgents, Idlib province will be the logical next target. Control over this region is divided between various groups including Jabhat al-Nusra.

The positions of CIA sponsored FSA brigades (the so called “moderate rebels”), Ahrar al-Sham, and Jabhat al-Nusra are close together, and given that Jabhat al-Nusra does not fall under the cease-fire agreement, other groups might be targeted. These groups include organizations such as Firqa Shamaliya (Northern Brigade), Suqour al-Jabal, Firqa 13 (13th Brigade), Kataeb 40, Liwaa al-Haqq, Harakat al-Bayan, Faylak Sham, and Jund al-Aqsa.

Most of these groups are guided and coordinated by the MOM (military operations center) in Ankara. Jabhat al-Nusra flags have been removed all over Idlib to allow deniability of its presence and Russian air attacks against Jabhat al-Nusra will be inevitably condemned as cease-fire violations.

A local reconciliation initiative takes place in Ibtaa, Daraa province, involving more than 800 fighters and senior local leaders from Ibtaa and surrounding villages. The town will receive shipments of food and prisoners from this area will be freed.

This is one of many initiatives who call on armed groups to lay down their weapons in order to settle their legal status and return to normal life.

There could be more groups in the Southern Front who are ready to join the Syrian government forces and help rid the country of both IS and the Turkish controlled Islamic insurgents in the north. Most of the non-Islamic fighters joined the FSA-groups out of economic necessity and they will not mind to get their wage from the government instead from the CIA.

In a February 2016 interview with 60 Minutes, John Brennan, director of the CIA, mentioned that IS has, in a number of instances, “used chemical munitions on the battlefield.” This came a few days after James Clapper, director of the US Intelligence Community, said to a congressional committee that IS “has also used toxic chemicals in Iraq and Syria, including the blister agent sulfur mustard.” Specifically, IS used such munitions in an August 2015 attack on the Kurds in Kobane.

Unknown gunmen executer an IS official in Deir ez-Zor province. Reports about resistance in IS areas become more regular, as the heavy-handed rule of the jihadists motivate people to take the chance of revenge and personal justice.

The Caliphate is doomed and IS can’t just become a guerrilla type insurgency after they’ve been defeated. They have occupied large areas for several years and made their policies known. Millions suffered under their rule and became irreconcilable enemies. When one rules by such extreme measures, the reactions are going to be equally extreme when the grip of power slips.

It would take some serious rebranding to make IS appear as the little mans protector again. Good so, and even better, that they have tainted the image of other Islamic insurgents as well.

Latakia 29 02 2016

Northern Aleppo map 29 02 2016

The maps are high resolution. Click and zoom to see details.

News from cat land:

Lucia is recovering. She is now not only a European Short Hair but also a European Short Tail. Lucia joined the daily walks in the forest again, she is now highly disciplined and never leaves the group. I still have no idea what caused her tail injury, this will remain one of the unsolved mysteries of my live.

Linda and Lucia have become friends and often play together or just sit together. They are both two years old, have a similar fur, are both friendly and sociable. Gandhi has been left out and he feels a bit lonely at the moment.

It is unseasonal warm and sprouts are appearing everywhere. Occasionally it is snowing but when the sun comes out, snow and ice are instantly melting away.

Lucia Linda DSCN4445

Gandhi couch DSCN4346

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