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ISSUE OF THE CENTURYPuerto Rico: All Banana, No Republicby Steve Sailer August 31, 2016View as Single Pagephoto credit: BigstockEthnic pride in Spanish Harlem, N.Y.Puerto Rico is being allowed to fall apart in order to rig American presidential elections by tipping Florida’s electoral votes to the Democrats. The looting of Puerto Rico’s institutions by the rich and the pooralike is depopulating the island.Puerto Rico is a fascinating test case for what has emerged as the central issue of 2016 politics: borders.The two American presidential candidates in 2016 both seem fairly centrist in terms of traditional left-right positions, but Mrs. Clinton ranks with John McCain as the purest example of current invade-the-world-invite-the-world establishment ideology. In contrast, as Hillary fumed last week, Donald Trump has fueled his surprise run by endorsing the “alternative” worldview that finds borders prudent and valuable.For example, Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU politician who heads the European Commission, enunciated this month the ascendant dogma: “Borders are the worst invention ever made by politicians.”Expressions of open-borders extremism such as this are becoming ever more explicit and common, but way back on Sept. 10, 2001, Mrs. Clinton’s husband affirmed “the ultimate wisdom of a borderless world” and called for “open borders to all.”Although The Wall Street Journal first called for the constitutional amendment “There shall be open borders” in1984, the world’s elites have typically been more enthusiastic about denouncing commoners for doubting their dream of borderlessness than in empirically testing their idea.Puerto Rico, therefore, is useful to study as a test of the effects of antinationalism because it is a third-world nation with its own Olympic team, yet it enjoys open borders with the United States.“In short, what the Puerto Rican nation needs is nationalism.”It’s increasingly turned out to be an expensive scam. Puerto Rico has run up $110 billion in debt and unfunded pension liabilities.But open borders have also been a catastrophe for Puerto Ricans, who have been abandoning their native land in droves.In the West Side Story song “America,” Rita Moreno snidely described life in Puerto Rico as:Always the hurricanes blowingAlways the population growingBut Puerto Rico’s population has been collapsing in recent years. The Wall Street Journal reported two months ago:Puerto Rico has suffered a population slide that is steeper and more financially disastrous than in any U.S. state since the end of World War II.In 2014 alone, a net of 1.8 percent of Puerto Rico’s population left for the mainland. The cumulative decline from its peak population in 2004 is now approaching 10 percent.In contrast, the Puerto Rican population of the 50 states grew about 50 percent from 2000 to 2013.About three-fifths of all Puerto Ricans now live on the mainland.That’s an important fraction to be aware of because we are often told that only a small percentage of the 6.1 billion people who live in the less developed nations would bother to decamp for the first world under a policy of open borders. But the experience of Puerto Rico, which is hardly poor (GPD per capita is near triple the world average), suggests that if allowed, third worlders would keep coming until life in America and Europe declines to third-world conditions.Puerto Rico’s slow depopulation due to corruption and ineptitude is particularly interesting for what it shows us about how the establishment’s invade/invite philosophy undermines civic responsibility and moral accountability. While nationalism encourages stewardship, globalism licenses Puerto Rican-style exploitation and shoddiness.Benjamin Franklin famously replied to a lady inquiring what the framers of the Constitution had come up with: “A republic, if you can keep it.”But Puerto Rico is a by-product of America’s first spasm of imperialism, the Spanish-American War of 1898. While the urbane Cubans were quickly granted some degree of independence, the impoverished, agricultural Puerto Ricans seemed too backward for self-rule.Moreover, master strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan argued that the U.S. Navy needed a coaling station in the Caribbean to protect the approaches to the future Isthmian Canal from the battle cruisers of the Queen and Kaiser, just as the British colony of Malta guarded the Suez Canal.When Puerto Ricans flooded into New York City after World War II, helping wreck the South Bronx, the U.S. implemented a Trump-like industrial policy to subsidize manufacturing jobs in Puerto Rico. This slowed immigration to the U.S. for several decades. But when a major tax break expired in 2006, the local economy immediately collapsed and the mass exodus began again.Besides the weak economy, crooked institutions plague this island nation that’s not allowed to be a nation-state. It’s a banana republic without even nominally ever having been a republic.There’s little point in being a Puerto Rican patriot and working to make Puerto Rico a better place because all the money is in conning Uncle Sam. Electoral politics within Puerto Rico are subservient to the issue of the relationship to the imperial power: Should Puerto Rico stay a commonwealth or become a state? (Only a few patriots call for independence from the Washington cash cow.) Few politicians are interested in local issues of good government.Puerto Rico in the 21st century demonstrates the moral debilitation caused by a lack of nationalism. Puerto Rico’s institutions have become thoroughly corrupt.For example, Puerto Rico’s police department appears to be violent, crooked, and ineffectual. A Mother Jones article entitled “You’ve Probably Never Heard of America’s Worst Police Force” reported:Between 2005 and 2010, more than 1,700 Puerto Rico police officers were arrested for crimes including murder, assault, theft, domestic violence, and drug trafficking. That’s roughly 10 percent of the 17,000-person force and nearly three times the number of New York City police officers arrested in a comparable five-year period. The NYPD is about twice the size of the PRPD.If you are an American criminal on the lam, though, Puerto Rico is a good place to hole up from the law. For instance, one of the more lurid recent murders in my neighborhood was the 2009 Armenian-versus-Armenian killing in the parking lot of the local Sears in North Hollywood, Calif. By analyzing social media, the victim’s father tracked the affluent killer down to a beach town in Puerto Rico and federal marshals arrested him. But to the outrage of the LAPD, a Puerto Rican judge let the killer out on $50,000 bail, and he immediately disappeared.Next Page171 COMMENTSYou Might Also LikeThe Rich Want This Free Video Banned and DeletedTop 12 Contaminated Fish You Shouldn’t be EatingNew Crazy Trick “Kills” Belly Fat – No Diet – No Exercise15 Makeup Tips All Older Women Should KnowHow I Finally Got Rid Of My Toe Fungus For Good (Watch)London Women In Awe: Never Use Botox Again, Do This InsteadHow To Get Rich In Canada? You Will Be ShockedWhiten Your Teeth ‘Naturally’ in 1 MinuteThis is What Will Happen When You Eat Avocados Every Day?RELATED ENTRIESSyria: Their War, Not Oursby Patrick J. BuchananGetting the Alt-Right Wrongby Jim GoadTrump Did Not Flip-Flop on Immigrationby Gavin McInnesA Slow Drifting Apartby James E. MillerIs Hillary Clinton a Brain-Damaged Invalid?by Jim GoadSIGN UPDaily updates with TM’s latestColumnistsJoe Bob BriggsPatrick J. BuchananDavid ColeTheodore DalrympleThe EditorsJim GoadAllan MassieGavin McInnesBunky MortimerSteve SailerKathy ShaidleTakiTakimagHOMEPOLITICSCULTURAL CAVIARCOMMERCEGREATEST HITSCONTRIBUTORSABOUT USSITES WE LIKEADVERTISINGCopyright © 2008 – 2016 TakiMag.com All Rights Reserved.Terms & Conditions  |  Privacy PolicyPlease share this article by using the link below. When you cut and paste an article, Taki’s Magazine misses out on traffic, and our writers don’t get paid for their work. Email editors@takimag.com to buy additional rights. http://takimag.com/article/puerto_rico_all_banana_no_republic_steve_sailer/print#ixzz4IwHwvR8e


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LEAKED SOROS MEMO REVEALS POTENTIAL PLAN TO USE BLACK LIVES MATTER TO FEDERALIZE US POLICEPublished: August 31, 2016Share | Print This ShareTwitterFacebookGoogle+StumbleUponEmailPinterestRedditSOURCE: MATT AGORISTMemos and documents published by DCLeaks continue shedding light on billionaire globalist George Soros and his progressive organization, Open Society Foundations (OSF). Due to their poor digital curation, however, the leaks are hard to traverse which is leading to the information slowly trickling out. The latest of the documents reveals the billionaire’s attempt to organize a “national movement” to create a federalized police force.The document shows that OSF saw the killings of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, and Freddie Gray as an opportunity to implement this mission of federal police guidelines. OSF, according to the documents, then held a meeting titled, “Police Reform: How to Take Advantage of the Crisis of the Moment and Drive Long-Term Institutional Change in Police-Community Practice.”According to Breitbart.com, the extensive memo further documents that Soros-financed groups and personalities influenced President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which last May released a final report consisting of 60 recommendations providing guidance to localities on how to modify policing practices.The information is from a 61-page report of an Open Society U.S. Programs Board Meeting that took place in New York City in May of last year.States the board meeting document:The federal government is seeking philanthropic support for a number of its initiatives. In addition to seeking support to advance the implementation of the recommendations of the Presidential Taskforce, the White House recently launched the Policing Data Initiative to explore how best to use data and technology to build trust, voice, and solutions to improve community policing. The Department of Justice recently selected the first six cities to host pilot sites for the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, which was launched last fall to help repair and strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve by exploring strategies intended to enhance procedural justice, reduce implicit bias, and support racial reconciliation.We are gaining a better understanding of these efforts in order to determine how best USP can use this moment to create a national movement. We have already had a set of preliminary conversations with about a dozen key stakeholders and will undertake a field scan to map the areas of work currently underway to advance police reform, including an assessment of the redundancies and gaps in work, and opportunities for collaboration. As we proceed, we will engage the funder network we helped to establish, the Executive Alliance on Men and Boys of Color, which now includes forty foundations.U.S. Programs (USP) is a part of OSF with the stated mission of working to further a vibrant democratic society in which all people can meaningfully participate in its civic, economic, and political life.According to the above excerpt, USP was thinking of ways to capitalize on police killings to ‘create a national movement’ to implement their agenda.The think tank also raises the question of how to properly steer the ostensible ‘grassroots’ organizations, such as Black Lives Matter, to achieve USP goals.The events of the past several months have understandably led to a wide range of activities, including a variety of advocacy efforts, to respond to the significant challenges in policing that have been exposed and the opportunity to promote meaningful and lasting change. For example, organized under the banner of the Civil Rights Coalition on Police Reform, organizations like the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, LCCHR, and LDF are advocating for federal reform efforts with a particular emphasis on data collection and transparency and, as noted above, 35 effecting federal funding streams. A variety of other national advocacy organizations, including grantees Advancement Project, PolicyLink, the Center for Popular Democracy and the ACLU are working to provide advocates with toolkits and resources to help their organizing efforts. Locally based groups such as the Ohio Student Association, the Organization for Black Struggle, the Asian Law Caucus, and the ACLU of New Jersey, to name a few, are advocating for specific reforms at the city and state levels. Another layer of grassroots and youth-oriented groups like Freedom Side, Ferguson Action, Black Lives Matter and Million Hoodies Movement for Justice are also advocating for specific reforms. The range of efforts underway raises a number of questions and concerns about capacity, the need for coordination and the appropriate prioritization of policy objectives, among others, which we will discuss in the policing portion of the meeting.While the intentions of reforming police in America seem noble, the very idea of a Soros-led initiative is chilling.Another memo, leaked earlier this month, showed the billionaire was potentially funding the Black Lives Matter movement, to the tune of $650,000. Now, as today’s memo shows, we know why.As the Free Thought Project has pointed out many times before, Soros has been exposed literally manipulating the world.Earlier this month, in an email, found within the WikiLeaks’ Hillary Clinton archive, with the subject ‘Unrest in Albania,’ Soros makes clear to Clinton that “two things need to be done urgently.” He then directs the Secretary of State to “bring the full weight of the international community to bear on Prime Minister Berisha” and “appoint a senior European official as mediator.” Revealing the influence he wields within the corridors of power, Soros then provides Secretary of State Clinton with three names from which to choose. Unsurprisingly, Clinton acquiesced and chose one of the officials recommended by Soros — Miroslav Lajcak.This is standard operating procedure for Soros. Anyone familiar with the history of the Soros Open Society Foundations in Eastern Europe and around the world since the late 1980’s, will know that his supposedly philanthropic “democracy-building” projects in Poland, Russia, or Ukraine in the 1990’s allowed Soros the businessman to literally plunder the former communist countries wealth, according to the New Eastern Outlook.Soros-affiliated organizations are deeply connected to numerous color revolutions, the Arab Spring, and a number of other uprisings across the world. They have been intimately involved in the coup that took place in Ukraine, and subsequent ratcheting up of Cold War tensions with Russia.As these leaked memos and emails prove, the United States is nothing more than one of Soros’ pawns.While Americans remain oblivious and argue over strawmen fed to them by the mainstream media, the police state is growing, both here and abroad. As the citizens are promised ‘reform’ the only thing that actually changes are the puppets in marble buildings. SHARE THIS ARTICLE…ShareTwitterFacebookGoogle+StumbleUponEmailPinterestReddit


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HOMEABOUT USNEWSVIDEOSProbable Cause with Sibel EdmondsSpotlight with Sibel & SpiroSpiro ReportsNewsbud PresentsNewsbud RoundtableThe EyeOpener ReportPODCASTSBoiling Frogs Show with Sibel EdmondsARTICLESSibel EdmondsProfessor Filip KovacevicChristoph GermannTodd MacfarlaneChristian SorensenKatie AguileraProfessor James PetrasSUBSCRIBEDONATESTORECONTACTLOG INAssault on Judicial Transparency: From 4th Amendment to Lengthy Pre-Trial Detention & One-Sided Plea DealsTODD MACFARLANE | AUGUST 17, 2016LEAVE A COMMENTContinuing Case(s) in Point about Judicial Transparency & Other ThingsThis is another follow-up to myprevious BFP pieces about the lack of transparency in the so-called justice system.When I started on this subject I had not planned on focusing so much on the Bundy case(s), but, at least for the time being, they keep providing such good examples of both the judicial transparency issue I’ve been talking about, and some other basic legal reality check principles, that I can’t resist continuing to use relevant examples from those cases.Last week the Internet, including Twitter, was abuzz with a story about Ryan Bundy.  What really happened is anybody’s guess.  According to the Bundy family and their supporters, as reported by Fox News, at a time when no court hearings were scheduled, Ryan was forcibly transported from the Multnomah County Jail, and taken somewhere.  The concern was that he was being taken to a hospital to be subjected to forced surgery, against his will, to remove something from his arm or shoulder.  That something was a bullet, bullet fragment, or shrapnel, depending on who you ask.  Ryan received it as part of an injury he sustained at the stop when LaVoy Finicum was killed.Other journalists less sympathetic to the Bundy case reported that the whole incident was exaggerated, dramatized, and they questioned both whether there was in fact any bullet or bullet fragment, as well as why Ryan wouldn’t want to have it removed to serve as evidence of some sort.  One of the alleged points of contention surrounded the question of what would happen to such alleged evidence, and who it would belong to.  According to Ryan’s reported reasoning, as long as the object remained in his body, he would maintain in physical possession and control of it, whereas if it was removed, who knows what might happen to it.Multiple media sources have reported that regardless of the reason(s) for Ryan’s apparent temporary removal from the jail that day, when jail guards came to get him, some sort of scuffle ensued between Ryan and the guards, and as a result of that purported scuffle, upon his return, Ryan has subsequently been moved to “disciplinary” quarters, including solitary confinement.Now, for purposes of this discussion, here’s the most important point: According to Aimee Green at the Oregonian, there were no court records explaining where or why Bundy was being taken.  According to her, there was nothing on the court calendar, including some kind of hearing or court proceeding, that would explain what had happened.  So regardless of the conflicting stories about what had happened, apparently there was no way to actually confirm or verify anything.This is a subject Cheri Roberts and I discussed on her Challenging the Rhetoric radio program last week. Cheri wanted to know what would be required, legally, to do what the Bundys were suggesting had happened, and why Ryan might be opposed to it – because, arguably, extraction of whatever was in his arm might provide definitive evidence regarding the ongoing investigation into the actions of FBI HRT members during the fatal stop that resulted in LaVoy Finicum’s death, which is a good point.As I explained to Cheri, however, regardless of the fact that Ryan is being held in pre-trial custody, the Fourth Amendment still provides protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.  And any such purported surgery would be considered and treated as a search, and recovery of any object(s) would be considered and treated as a seizure of evidence.  Under the constitution, in order to undertake anything of that nature, even with someone in custody, who has been deprived of their liberty, in the absence of valid, voluntary consent, there must be constitutionally adequate due process, including reasonable notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard.Any such procedure without consent, and against a person’s will would require a warrant or court order, signed by a judge, following procedures constituting due process.  In other words, it’s not just something that jail guards, jail administrators, law enforcement, including the FBI, or the Justice Department can lawfully do without a court order.  It has to be ordered by a judge.  And any time such due process occurs in the court system, there is supposed to be a record of the proceeding.  And that brings us back to the whole transparency issue that I have been talking about.Ever since last week, no one really seems to know what actually happened.  Upon Ryan’s return to the jail, apparently he was placed in “disciplinary quarters” and solitary confinement, so he hasn’t had much of a chance to communicate or talk to anyone, and court records don’t seem to shed light on any of this.  And it’s not just Bundy-bashers who are interested in this sort of thing.  Ryan has a family.  He has a wife and children.  They all want, and deserve, to know what is going on with him.  But, for a variety of reasons, there appears to be a woeful lack of transparency.On this point, one of the phrases we often hear – especially when it comes to judicial processes — is: “the record speaks for itself.”  And that is supposed to mean something.  There is supposed to be a record, and when there is, there is no need to speculate about it, because the record speaks for itself.  In a truly transparent system, that would be the case.  We could look at the record and know exactly what was going on.  But, as this situation illustrates, apparently that is not always the case.And speaking of the T-word, for the sake of transparency, Cheri Roberts wanted to know why Ryan might not want to have the object removed from his arm, to possibly help answer and resolve some lingering, unanswered questions.  I told her I couldn’t speculate as to Ryan’s motives in that regard, but as I explained to her, transparency is something we expect and require of our governments.  Individuals, on the other hand, have a right of privacy, and are not required to be transparent.  As a general rule, in the absence of probable cause, due process, and other requirements, individuals are not required to waive their privacy; they are not required to have their persons, places and papers invaded, and cannot be forced to testify and provide evidence against themselves.  The constitution protects individual privacy.And here’s a big point that many people seem to forget – especially in this case, that I later had the opportunity to discuss in more detail with Trent Loos on Rural Route Radio.  Prior to trial, after a person has been accused and charged with a crime – even while that person is being held in pre-trial custody, they are entitled to a constitutional presumption of innocence.  What this means, among other things, is that they are entitled to substantive and procedural due process; they are entitled to their full Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure, and; nothing that happens during the pre-trial phase or custody is supposed to be any form of “punishment.”  Punishment is only supposed to be imposed once a person has been convicted – either by admission, or after being found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  The only reasons a person is supposed to be held in custody pending trial, is based on legitimate concerns that they might attempt to abscond, and fail to appear for future court proceedings, including trial, or that they pose a genuine threat to themselves or public safety.  In most cases, bail is sufficient to insure court appearances, and that is the method most often used as a substitute for pre-trial detention.And that certainly raises some interesting questions in this case, where so many of the defendants have now entered into plea deals after being held so long in pre-trial detention.  The reality is, the conditions in pre-trial detention – especially for federal inmates – are usually much worse than post-trial incarceration.  In my view, one of the government’s big strategies in this case has been the use of lengthy pre-trial detention – whether it is warranted and justifiable or not – as leverage to get some of the defendants to make plea deals.I have been scratching my head about this particular issue for months.  How can the government possibly justify such extensive pre-trial detention for so many of these defendants?    That the government might charge some of them is one thing (I have said on multiple occasions, that I don’t think some of the defendants, including Wes Kjar, for example, should have ever been charged in the first place, and if the government wanted to get rid of those cases, the charges should have been dismissed outright), but to insist on holding so many of them in pre-trial detention for so long is another matter entirely.  And I can’t see the legitimate justification.In my view, Dave Bundy, who is currently being held in Nevada, is a prime example of this.  That Dave might be charged with something is one thing (it will be interesting to see what evidence is ultimately presented), but the only reason I can see that the government would insist on holding him in custody for months pending trial (it will be close to a year by the time the case finally goes to trial in early 2017) is purely for harassment, and presumed guilt by association, because his last name is Bundy.As part of the government’s one-size-fits-all approach in these cases, unreasonable pre-trial detention appears to be a big part of the government’s strategy in pressuring a whole bunch of the Defendants to enter plea deals, purportedly “admitting” that they engaged in a conspiracy to impede federal officers.  On that score, to the extent many of these defendants were part of any alleged conspiratorial agreement, I seriously doubt that the affect such actions might have on federal employees even occurred to them, let alone served as any kind of motivating force. Under this theory, one might argue that the federal government shutdown in October 2013 was a conspiracy to impede federal officers, and that all congressmen who did not vote for the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014, were part of the conspiracy.  One of the big issues becomes the question of who, if anyone, might have actually intended to impede federal officers.For many of these defendants, however, having been left with the impression that once the government had locked them in custody, it fully intended to throw away the key, the thought of better treatment in prison –  in the post-trial, punitive phase of the process — rather than prolonged pre-trial detention was probably an incentive to do a plea deal – even if it meant admitting to things they never did, including, in Wes Kjar’s case, things they never even had an opportunity to do – just to reach a resolution and move on.When it comes to plea deals in this case, there is anything but a level playing field.  The government has all the leverage, and seems to be using it to full advantage.Finally, and in all fairness to the bashers, there is no question, the actions of some of these defendants (including a wide variety of bizarre court filings) are not helping their cause in this regard.  Many of them have now insisted on representing themselves, and have made a variety of statements and court filings that raise all kinds of questions, including challenges to the court’s authority, oath of office, etc.  While I seriously question the wisdom of much of what they have done in this regard, objectively, the bottom line is the vast majority of it amounts to nothing more than “political speech.”  Among other things, they are exercising their right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech – which they still have a right to do, because they have not yet been convicted.  But they are saying things the federal government does not want to hear, and it certainly appears that they are being punished for expressing such views, even at this stage of the proceedings.  In fact, one could argue that most of the pre-trial detentions in these cases are nothing more than pre-trial punishment for political speech.  To a large extent, what they are doing seems to be the functional equivalent of what other political dissidents have done, around the world, and ended up being jailed indefinitely in places like China or the USSR for criticizing their own governments.  In this case, it appears that the biggest so-called crime, and the one for which they are being subjected to lengthy pre-trial detention, is political speech against the government.  In that sense, their situation does bear similarities to political prisoners around the world.  There are parallels between how they are being treated, and how so-called enemy combatants are treated by the U.S. Government, at places like Guantanamo Bay.  And there seems to be little question that the government has chosen to use these defendants as examples, to show the rest of the country what can happen when you become too vocal, too critical of our government.Once again, if all this leaves you scratching your head, you’re not the only one.# # # # #Todd Macfarlane, Newsbud-BFP Legal Analyst, is an attorney, rancher, writer, political activist, conservationist and commentator.  Although he is comfortable wearing several different hats, beyond faith, family and grass-fed livestock ranching, his primary interests include natural law, property rights, western land-use, political policy, and what he often refers to as the “so-called justice system.”  FILED UNDER: LEGAL REALITY CHECK WITH TODD MACFARLANE


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EDITOR’S CHOICE | 31.08.2016Can Americans Overthrow the Evil That Rules Them?Paul Craig Roberts Paul Wolfowitz and the lies that he told in the high government positions that he held are responsible for a massive number of deaths and massive destruction in seven countries. Wolfowitz has announced his vote for Hillary Clinton. Does this make you feel reassured? The real surprise would have been Wolfowitz’s announcement in favor of Donald Trump. So why was what was expected news? Trump has said that he doesn’t see any future in the conflict Washington has initiated with Russia, and Trump questions the point of NATO’s continuing existence. These peaceful attitudes make Trump into a “national security risk” according to Wolfowitz. What Wolfowitz means is that a peace candidate is a threat to Wolfowitz’s doctrine of US world hegemony. In the crazed mind of Wolfowitz and the neoconservatives, America is not safe unless it rules the world. Hillary is a warmonger, perhaps the ultimate and last one if she becomes president, as the combination of her hubris and incompetence is likely to result in World War 3. On July 3, 2015, Hillary declared: “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m president, we will attack Iran. …we would be able to totally obliterate them.” The crazed Hillary went on from this to declare the President of Russia to be “the new Hitler.” Little doubt she thinks she can obliterate Russia also. Hillary is the one who brought Zionist neocon Victoria Nuland into the State Department to oversee the US coup in Ukraine in order to create more propaganda against Russia and force Washington’s European vassals to impose sanctions and place military bases on Russia’s borders, thus provoking a nuclear power and raising dangerous tensions. This fits in perfectly with Wolfowitz’s intention. As Wolfowitz is Hillary’s likely Secretary of Defense, the two together mean World War 3. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Wolfowitz, then a high Pentagon official, penned the Wolfowitz doctrine. The doctrine states that the principal goal of US foreign policy is to prevent the rise of other countries that could serve as constraints on US unilateralism. This means Russia and China. The combination of Hillary with Wolfowitz should scare everyone in the entire world. The prospect of nuclear weapons being in such crazed hands as those of Hillary and Wolfowitz is the most alarming though imaginable. The question is whether Hillary can be elected in the face of her violations of national security rules, for which she received a pass from corrupt Obama, and her heavily documented self-dealings that have produced a Clinton private fortune of $120 million and $1,600 million in their foundation. It is completely clear that the Clintons use public office for their private aggrandizement. Is this what Americans want? Two people who become even more rich as the world is led into nuclear war? But with electronic voting machines, the question will not be decided by what Americans want, but by how the electronic machines are programmed to report the vote. The US has already had elections in which the exit polls, always a reliable indicator of the winner prior to the appearance of electronic voting machines, indicated a different winner than the electronic voting machines produced. The secrecy of how the voting machines are programmed is protected by “proprietary software.” The machines have no paper trails, precluding vote recounts. As both political establishments are fiercely opposed to Trump, how do you think the machines will be programmed? Indeed, the media is so opposed to Trump, the question is whether there will be exit polls and if there are, will they be misreported? Republican operatives, not Republican voters, are all in a huff over their allegations that Trump is costing the Republicans votes. How can this be when Republican voters chose Trump over other candidates? Aren’t the Republican operatives saying that they, instead of the voters, should choose the Republican candidate? If so, they are just like the Democrats. Some years ago the Democrat establishment created “super delegates” who are not chosen by voters. Enough “super delegates” were created in order to give the Party establishment the ability to over-ride the voters’ choice of presidential candidate. That it was the Democrats – allegedly the party of the people – who first took the choice away from the people is astonishing. Much information indicates that Bernie Sanders actually won the Democratic presidential nomination but was denied it by vote fraud and “super delegates.” This is politics in America – totally corrupt. Chris Hedges might be right: nothing can change without revolution. The demonization of Trump by the presstitutes is proof that Trump, despite his wealth, is regarded by the Oligarchs who comprise the One Percent as a threat to their agendas. The Oligarchs, not Trump, own or control the media. So the presstitute demonization of Trump is complete proof that he is the candidate to elect. The oligarchs who oppress us hate Trump, so the oppressed American people should support Trump. The presstitute demonization of Trump did not work in the Republican primaries. Is it working in the presidential election? We don’t know, because the polls are reported by the presstitutes, not by Trump. If the demonization does not work, and the election has to be stolen from Trump by the electronic machines, the consequence will be to radicalize Americans, something long overdue. Perhaps the expectation of this development is the reason all federal agencies, even the post office and Social Security, have acquired arms and ammunition, and Cheney’s firm Halliburton was paid $385,000,000 to build detention centers in the US. Those who control us are not going to give up their control without a world war. In the United States evil has seized power from the people, and evil will not give it back. paulcraigroberts.orgTags: Clinton Print0011


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CLINTONS’ BODY COUNT MOUNTSPublished: August 31, 2016Share | Print This ShareTwitterFacebookGoogle+StumbleUponEmailPinterestRedditSOURCE: STEPHEN LENDMANA previous article discussed mysterious deaths associated with the Clintons, dating from when Bill was Arkansas attorney general in the 1970s.Were they suicides as reported or murders? Cover-ups and lack of proper media investigative work conceal full knowledge of what happened.Yet one thing seems clear. Anyone able to expose Clinton crime family wrongdoing not already made public runs the risk of dying under mysterious circumstances, indicating possible foul play.WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is at risk, especially  after saying he’ll release thousands of “significant” documents on Hillary before November’s election.Asked by Fox News if new revelations could be an election game-changer, he said “(i)t depends on how it catches fire.”So far, the constant drip of new damning information on Hillary hasn’t affected her v. Trump based on polling results. Will Assange release anything likely to change things? Not easily with media scoundrels one-sidedly supporting her.Yet his potential threat perhaps endangers his life and well-being. If the Clintons or others in Washington want rid of him badly enough, he doesn’t stand much of a chance.In June 2012, Ecuador gave him asylum in its London embassy after fabricated Swedish rape charges risked his extradition to America to face wrongful imprisonment and brutalizing treatment on phony espionage charges, similar to what Chelsea Manning continues experiencing – her life and well-being grievously harmed for doing the right thing.Washington wants Assange’s ability to expose government wrongdoing stopped. Hillary wants him kept from revealing more damning information about her corrupt dealings beyond what’s already known.On August 22, an Ecuadorean press release confirmed reports of an unidentified man trying to scale its London embassy wall, likely with intent to break in.Was it an attempt on Assange’s life? Were the Clinton’s behind it? If one attempt was made to do him in, will others follow?He’s vulnerable wherever he is or may go at some future time. Ecuador criticized UK authorities for responding slowly to the embassy incident, saying police taking two hours was “inadequate.”They should have been there in minutes at most. Host nations are responsible for the security of embassies and their personnel on their territory.A WikiLeaks tweet indicated a London police station is a two-minute walk away. If Assange leaves the security of Ecuador’s embassy, he’s subject to immediate arrest, his final destination America through complicit Swedish authorities.On August 23, BeforeItsNews.com (BIN) reported the mysterious death of Assange’s lawyer John Jones – struck by a train. Did he jump or was he pushed? Draw your own conclusions?Why would a successful lawyer defending a high-profile client like Assange and others like him want to end his life?He died in April, BIN only learning about it in late August, saying “a complete media blackout and total lack of interest from the media on this story” kept it from getting the attention it deserved.BIN described Jones as a millionaire lawyer in London, a husband with two young children, having “absolutely no reason whatsoever to commit suicide…”“(I)t appears that (well-known) people who expose” Bill and Hillary Clinton wrongdoing or threaten to all too often end up dead.Is Assange next to go? SHARE THIS ARTICLE…


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Washington’s Sunni myth and the Middle East undoneCyrus MalikWar on the RocksTue, 23 Aug 2016 23:18 UTC Comment: Malik offers a detailed and fairly insightful analysis of what’s going on in Syria and Iraq. However, he hasn’t quite escaped from the lies of the Western propaganda machine. Even then, his analysis shows that even if you accept much of the West’s propaganda narrative, it is not enough to rationally justify any of the U.S.’s policy choices when it comes to Syria. The narrative is self-defeating. Of course, it’s that way on purpose, because their real goals are diametrically opposed to their professed goals. But if enough people saw this, it would at least be a bit more of a challenge for the U.S. to destroy Syria like it did to Libya and countless other countries over the past couple generations. See part 1 here: The Syrian and Iraqi wars: Washington’s myth of Sunni/Shia sectarianism A Westerner with extensive on-the-ground experience in Syria and Iraq tackles conventional Western views of the civil wars in Iraq and Syria and proposes a dramatic rethinking of the region. Editor’s Note: This is the second of two articles on this topic, the first of which was published last week. There has been some controversy over my decision to allow this author to write under a pen name. I know the author’s identity and while his arguments are surely controversial, I am confident in his sourcing and subject matter expertise. I carefully considered his request to use a pen name. I decided that this case reasonably meets the standards for such protection published on our site. The author, in my view, can reasonably and seriously fear for his professional employment and safety publishing under his real name. -RE I was not surprised to see my first article greeted with so much outrage by those who adhere to the conventional Western narrative of the civil wars in Iraq and Syria as well as the larger tumult of the Middle East. In truth, these conflicts are not so easily defined by the easy sectarian narrative offered in the Western press. I argued that Western elites were surrendering to and even embracing the Saudi definition of what Sunni identity should mean. And I provided accounts of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq that do not comport with what you likely have been reading in the newspapers. But there is far more to the story. It is worth recounting how we got to this point. In the aftermath of the toppling of Saddam and his regime, Iraq’s Sunnis were betrayed by many of their own religious, political, and tribal leaders who demanded that they boycott the post-2003 political order by waging an insurgency against the world’s most powerful military and the government it sought to stand up and support. Of course, it did not help that the U.S.-led occupation and the security forces it empowered victimized Sunni Iraqis disproportionately. Comment: The post-2003 insurgency may have been a pipe dream, but we would hardly call it a ‘betrayal’ of Iraq’s Sunnis. The government the U.S. “sought to stand up and support” could hardly be called legitimate. The betrayal came from the top. The American military’s posture was more aggressive in Sunni-majority areas, and Iraqi security forces collaborated with Shia death squads in pursuit of a vicious counterinsurgency strategy that saw bodies piled up and neighborhoods cleansed. Iraqis en masse suffered from a collective trauma that will take decades to recover from. But hardline Sunni rejectionists and their Western backers have claimed that if Sunnis are not “empowered” then there is no alternative available to them but the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). When adopted by Westerners, this argument seems to support Sunnis but actually represents a very low opinion of them because it holds that Sunnis require disproportionate political power to avoid becoming terrorists. Since 2003, Sunni rejectionists have pushed this narrative to hold Iraq hostage, blackmailing Baghdad and its allies like gangsters in a protection racket. If Sunni leaders did not receive the government position or the business contract they wanted, they would then claim persecution on account of their Sunni identity, switch sides, gather their relatives, and use violence. Examples of this phenomenon from early 2013 include:Rafi al Essawi, former finance minister and deputy prime minister who is alleged to have allowed Sunni extremists into Anbarprovince;Rafi al Mishhin, the son of the Jumaila tribal leader and a former leader of the U.S.-established Awakening groups;Ali Hatem Suleiman, a tribal sheikh from Anbar who worked with Americans as a contractor and served as a disgruntled member of Maliki’s State of Law list and who later joined the demonstrations that welcomed al Qaeda (and future ISIL members) into their ranks and called for attacks against the Iraqi Army (but not Iraqi Police, because they might be local Sunnis);And Khamis Al-Khanjar, an influential businessman from Falluja financed those same demonstrations and described the initial ISIL attacks as a tribal revolution.Still, the West has pressured the Iraqi government to allow into its ranks Sunni representatives like the above, who oppose the very legitimacy of the government and the notion of a Shia ruler. There were no Shias in the Anbar or Ninawa provinces to threaten Sunnis. At best, they were politically disgruntled, which is an insufficient reason to embrace the world’s most vicious terrorist organization. The Jihad Returns to Haunt Syria The interplay between the conflict in Iraq and the Syrian civil war created a perfect storm. The U.S.-led occupation of Iraq and the sectarian war it ignited influenced how Syrian Sunnis thought of themselves. The Syrian government was warned that it was next in line for regime change, and it took preemptive measures to scuttle the American project in Iraq. By supporting or tolerating insurgents (including al-Qaeda) for the first three years of the occupation, Damascus sought to bog the Americans down. But by then, the Syrian government had lost control of its eastern border. After 2006, at least one million mostly Sunni Iraqis fled into Syria, including some with ties to the insurgency who either came to Syria to facilitate insurgent operations in Iraq, to find a safe place for them and their families, or both. Many former al-Qaeda in Iraq members had fled to Damascus and were living normal lives as family men and laborers before the Syrian crisis erupted in 2011. In my own interviews with detained members of Jabhat al-Nusra, I learned that when the Syrian insurgency started, these men were contacted by old friends who told them, in effect, “We’re putting the band back together.” Many of these Iraqis formed the early core of al-Nusra, which until recently was al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate. Comment: This surface narrative leaves out the probability that the Iraqi insurgency was deliberately infiltrated with AQI members as a means of demonizing and discrediting the insurgency. By 2010 or 2011, Iraq appeared to be stable. When the uprising started in Syria and the country became unstable, many of the Iraqi Sunni rejectionists returned to Iraq from their Syrian exile. Insurgents in Syria had created failed state zones, power vacuums full of militias, and a conservative Islamist Sunni population mobilized on sectarian slogans. The Turks were letting anyone cross into Syria, which was exploited most successfully by jihadists. By the summer of 2012, many local Syrians saw the arrival of foreign fighters in a positive light, as if they were members of the Lincoln Battalion of foreign volunteers in the Spanish Civil War. As I myself witnessed, they were welcomed and housed by Syrians, who facilitated their presence and cooperated with them. Comment: Keep in mind that ‘many’ is a relative term. The Syrian ‘ uprising’ did not have a particularly high level of domestic support. These thousands of foreign fighters in Syria eventually sided in large numbers with ISIL, seizing parts of Syria. From there, the group was able to launch its offensive into Iraq in the summer of 2014 (although the ground in Mosul had been prepared by the jihadists for quite some time). The prospect of a Sunni sectarian movement seizing Damascus evoked their dreams of expelling the Shia from Baghdad (although the difference, of course, is that Baghdad is a Shia-majority city, unlike Damascus). The Syrian uprising mobilized public and private Gulf money for a larger Sunni cause in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere in the region. A lot of this support went to the Sunni rejectionists of Iraq, who staged sit-ins and demonstrations in majority-Sunni cities in Iraq. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera had transformed from the voice of Arab nationalism into the voice of sectarian Sunnis, virtually promoting al-Qaeda in Syria and celebrating the initial ISIL “revolutionaries” in Iraq. From Syria, Back to Iraq In 2012, as jihadists gathered in centers of rebellion around Syria, Sunni rejectionists in Iraq allowed jihadists to re-infiltrate their ranks as they launched this campaign of demonstrations, thinking they could use the presence of these men as leverage against the government. At the time, al-Qaeda and ISIL forerunner Islamic State of Iraq were still united. They had systematicallyassassinated key leaders of the “Awakening” movement, neutralizing those that could have blocked the jihadist rapprochement with Sunni leaders in Iraq. From 2006 to 2009, they also assassinated many rival insurgent commanders to weaken alternative armed movements. Former insurgents described to me how just before the Americans withdrew from Iraq in 2011, insurgent leaders from factions as politically diverse as the Naqshbandis, the Islamic Army, the Army of the Mujahedin, and the 1920 Revolutions Brigades all met in Syria to plan to take the Green Zone in Baghdad (an ambition that was, ironically, accomplished this year by Shia rather than Sunni masses). While these groups initially lacked the ability to take the Green Zone, they made their move when the demonstrations started with the help of the Islamic State, which saw utility in cooperating with these groups, for the time being. When Sunni protestors in 2012 and 2013 filled squares in Ramadi, Mosul, Hawija, Falluja, and elsewhere chanting “qadimun ya Baghdad” (“we are coming, Baghdad”), it was hard for the government and average citizens in Baghdad not to interpret this as a threat from various Sunni-majority cities. These were not pro-democracy demonstrations. They were rejecting the new order — an elected government — and calling for overthrow of the Shia. Sunni rejectionist leaders rode this wave of support and became a key factor in how easily ISIL later seized much of the country.According to Iraqi insurgents I spoke to, ISIL’s leaders initially thought that they would have to depend on former insurgents, including Baathists, as a cover to gain support. While ISIL’s jihadists did initially cooperate with some of these groups, it was not long until ISIL discovered it did not need them and purged them from its newly seized territories. Many Sunni rejectionist leaders, now understanding the horror of what they helped to unleash, then fled, leaving their populations displaced, destroyed, and divided. Likewise in Syria, Sunni rejectionists and their Western supporters argued that the only way to defeat ISIL is to topple Assad, and thus placate their sectarian demands. And the West somehow believes that they are representative of Syria’s Sunnis writ large. The secular or progressive opposition activists amenable to pluralism unfortunately have no influence because they have no militias of their own. The Evolution of Sectarian Identity in the Modern Middle East There is a major crisis within Sunni identity. Sunni and Shia are not stable, easily separable categories. Twenty years ago, these terms meant something else. The 2003 invasion of Iraq was the geopolitical equivalent of the asteroid that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. Just as species were killed off or arose thanks to that cataclysm, so too in the Muslim world, old identities were destroyed while new ones were created, as discussed by Fanar Haddad at the Hudson Institute. One of these new identities was the post-Saddam “Sunni Arab,” treated by their Western taxonomists as if they were an ethnic group rather than a fluid, fuzzy, and diverse religious sect. For centuries, Sunni identity was conflated with “Muslim” and the identity of “Muslim” was distinct from members of heterodox or heretical sects. Generally speaking, Shias living in areas dominated by Sunnis were subordinate to them juridically and by custom. The war in Iraq helped create a sense of “Sunni-ness” among otherwise un-self-conscious Sunni Muslims, and it also overturned an order many took for granted. To make matters worse, not only were Shia Islamist parties (such as Dawa and the Supreme Council) brought to power (as well as Sunni Islamist parties such as the Islamic Party), but Sunnis bore the brunt of the occupation’s brutality (while Shias bore the brunt of the insurgency’s brutality). The result is that we now see Sunni identity in the way that the Saudis have been trying to define it since they began throwing around their oil wealth in the 1960s to reshape Islam globally in the image of Wahhabism. Haddad explains:[T]he anti-Shia vocabulary of Salafism has clearly made some headway in Iraq and indeed beyond. This is only to be expected given that Salafism offers one of the few explicitly Sunni and unabashedly anti-Shia options for Sunnis resentful of Shia power or of Sunni marginalization.In other words, we now see a Sunni identity in Iraq that dovetails with Saudi Wahhabism. And the response in the West is to reinforce this! Ironically, we do something similar with Shia identity. Westerners (and sectarian Sunnis) believe Shia are all the same and all an extension of Iranian (Persian) theocratic power — but they are not, and assuming this is the case has negative effects in the region. It is true that there is far more political coherence to Shia religious identity in the Middle East compared to the Sunni, but placing the center of Shia identity in Iran dramatically misconceives the center of power in the Shia Arab world. To be a sect, you need to have a sense of coherence with centers of power through which someone speaks on your behalf. Shias know what they are and who their leaders are. In Iraq and even beyond its borders, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani looms larger than others for Shia, especially but not exclusively in the Arab world. The Sunnis have no equivalent leader. We tend to view Hizballah or the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps solely as threats to the West or Israel, but they are also mature local actors with influence on other Shias. Before 2011, the Shia axis was merely an idea. Compared to the Shia of Lebanon, Syria, and Iran, Iraqi Shias were relatively isolated from neighboring countries and struggles. They were insular, and their aspirations were more mundane, as they were discovering middle-class life. Just as Sunni rejectionists playing ISIL’s game in radicalizing their populations, this process also radicalized many Iraqi Shia, mobilizing them in self-defense and even launching some of them into Syria to support Assad. Now Shias from Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere are cooperating on the battlefield. From 2003 until the present day, Shia civilians have been targeted in Iraq nearly every day, not to mention in Pakistan, Afghanistan,Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. Despite this virtual war on Shias supported and condoned by major Sunni religious leaders, Shias have remained much more restrained than their Sunni counterparts. What is keeping Lebanese, Iraqi, and Syrian Shias from committing massacres and displacing all Sunnis in their path? By and large, it is a more responsible religious leadership guiding them from Qom or Najaf, organizing Shias and offering structure and discipline. According to interviews I have conducted in the region, Hizballah leaders privately complain to Iraqi Shia leaders about their behavior, condemning them for alienating and failing to absorb Sunnis. They scold these leaders for their violations, reminding them that when Hizballah expelled the Israeli occupation, it did not blow up the houses of the many Christian and Shia collaborators or violently punish them. When we say Sunni, what do we mean? There are many kinds in too many countries: Sunni Kurds, Uighurs, Senegalese, tribal Arabs, urbanites in Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad, Bedouins, and villagers. You cannot make Sunnism into a politically coherent notion unless you are willing to concede to the narrative of al-Qaeda, ISIL, or the Muslim Brotherhood. The latter has historically avoided the explicit, toxic sectarianism of the jihadi groups, but it is also a broken and spent force as its projects in the Arab world having largely failed. Before the rise of the modern Arab nation-state, cities possessed a state-sponsored moderate Islam that was involved in the law. Urban Sunnis were largely part of the moderate Hanafi school of Sunni jurisprudence. This school, one of four mainstream Sunni schools, is the most tolerant and flexible. The countryside historically practiced folk Islam or considered itself Shia, Sufi, or Alawi. Hanafization took place because it was the religion of elites, the religion of empire, the religion of Ottomans. Today, there is no state Hanafi Islam and other moderate institutions. The traditional Sunni Islam of the state has crumbled. It is therefore impossible to find a genuine center of Sunni power. It is not yet Saudi Arabia, but unless the West changes the way it sees the Middle East, that will become a self-fulfilling prophecy with cataclysmic results. Saudi Arabia is the dominant state supporting Sunni Islam today via mosques, foundations, and Islamic education. As a result, Salafism — a movement that holds Islam should be practiced as it was by the Prophet Mohammad and his companions — is the new religion of empire and its rejectionist tendencies are a danger to all countries with a Sunni population, from Mali to Indonesia. One reason why Syrian Sunnis became so radicalized is that many of them spent years working in the Gulf, returning with different customs and beliefs. When a Gulf state supports the opening of a mosque or Islamic center in France or Tanzania, it sends its Salafi missionaries and their literature along with it. Competing traditions, such as Sufism, are politically weak by comparison. Muslim communities from Africa to Europe to Asia that lived alongside for centuries alongside Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus are now threatened as Sufis and syncretic forms of Islam are pushed out by the Salafi trend. I have come to understand that in its subconscious, the institutional culture of the Syrian regime views this transnational Sunni identity as a threat and it is one reason why Alawites are overrepresented in the Syrian security forces. This is partly for socioeconomic reasons, but it is also seen by the regime as key to preserving the secular and independent nature of the state. Their rationale is that Alawites as a sect have no relations or connections or loyalties outside of Syria. As a result, they cannot betray the country by allying with the Saudis, Qataris, or the Muslim Brotherhood, nor can they suddenly decide to undo the safeguards of secularism or pluralism inherent in the system. The vision propagated by the Islamic State is consistent with the Salafi interpretation of Islamic law, which is why Egypt’s al-Azhar or other institutions of “moderate Islam” cannot be counted upon to stem the tide of Salafism. Al-Azhar, traditionally the preeminent center of Sunni Islamic learning, failed to reject ISIL as un-Islamic. Leading Sunni theologians in the Arab world have condemned ISIL on the grounds that the group is excessive, applying the rules wrong, or pretending to have an authority it does not legally possess, but they do not cast the movement as un-Islamic and contrary to Sharia. Only technical differences separate the ideology of Jabhat al-Nusra from that of ISIL or Ahrar al-Sham or even Saudi Arabia. The leadership of al-Nusra also holds takfiri views, and their separation from al-Qaeda did not involve a renunciation of any aspect of its toxic ideology. Ahrar al-Sham likewise appeals to the same tendencies. Curiously, U.S. political leaders seem more dedicated than anyone in the world to explaining that ISIL is not true to the tenets of Sunni Islam. The problem is that Muslims do not look to non-Muslim Western political leaders as authoritative sources on Islam. The irony, of course, is that the main victims of Salafization are Sunnis themselves. Sunni elites are being killed, and the potential to create Sunni civil society or a liberal political class is being made impossible. ISIL seized majority-Sunni areas. Main Sunni cities in Iraq and Syria are in ruins and their populations scattered, and, obviously, the Syrian Arab Army’s brutal campaign has also contributed to this. Millions of Sunnis from Syria and Iraq are displaced, which will likely lead to a generation of aggrieved Sunni children who will receive education that is extreme, sectarian, and revolutionary or militant in its outlook — if they get any education at all. Already, many live in exile communities that resemble the Palestinian refugee camps, where a separate “revolutionary” identity is preserved. The Sunni public has been left with no framework. Sunnis represent the majority of the Middle East population, and yet having in the past embraced the state and been the state, they now have nothing to cohere around to form any robust and coherent movement or intellectual discourse. A movement built around the idea of Sunnism, such as the foreign-backed Syrian opposition and some Iraqi Sunni leaders, will create an inherently radical region that will eventually be taken over by the real representatives of such a notion — al-Qaeda, ISIL, or Saudi Arabia. Comment: Is it just a coincidence that this outcome happens to closely resemble the objective of the U.S.’s death-squad/Operation Condor-type programs in Southeast Asia and Latin America? Terrorize the populations, kill all moderate leaders, support the crazies. A guarantee against a strong, unified, politically effective leadership that will respect the rights of its people. State Collapse and Militias Fighting for Assad Five years of bleeding has weakened the Syrian army and forced it to rely upon an assortment of paramilitary allies, nowhere more so than in Aleppo. On July 28, the Russians and Syrians offered insurgents in east Aleppo amnesty if they left, and they invited all civilians to come to the government-held west Aleppo. This offer was explicitly modeled on the 2004 evacuation of Falluja’s residents, which came at a high price, in order to retake the city from al Qaeda in Iraq. In response, Sunni extremists called for an”epic” battle in Aleppo. The jihadist offensive was named after Ibrahim al Yusuf, a jihadist who killed dozens of Alawite officer candidates at the Aleppo military academy in 1979 while sparing Sunni cadets. It is led by Abdullah Muheisni, a shrill Saudi clericwho called upon all Sunnis to join the battle and who marched into the city triumphantly. Up to two million people in west Aleppoare threatened by the jihadist advance, protected by an army hollowed out after five years of attrition. This has forced the Syrian regime to rely on Shia reinforcements from Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iran. There is a big difference between these Shia reinforcements and their jihadist opponents. The Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and others have come to Syria to help the Syrian army prevent further state collapse. They would not be there had a foreign-backed insurgency not weakened the army. The foreign Shia militias do not interact with Syrian civilians and are only on the frontlines.They are not attempting to impose control. Even the worst of the Iraqi Shia militias avoid overt sectarianism and work hard to stress that the enemy is not all Sunnis but rather those who advocate for a violent Wahhabi ideology. Moreover, I learned in interviews that the regime has arrested and even executed unruly Shia militiamen. Meanwhile, Muheisni and his hordes represent an explicitly totalitarian and genocidal ideology that endangers all people of the region who are not Salafi men. The Shia PMF units in Aleppo such as Kataeb Hizballah and Nujaba have plenty of Sunnis in Baghdad that they could massacre if they had an anti-Sunni agenda, and yet they leave them alone just as they do the Sunni civilians of government-held portions of Aleppo. Finally, Iran and its non-Syrian Shia partners cannot establish roots in Syria or change its society as easily as some seem to think. As much as the Alawite sect is called Shia, this is not entirely accurate and they do not think of themselves as Shia. They are a heterodox and socially liberal sect that bears little resemblance in terms of religious practice or culture to the “Twelver Shias,” such as those of Iran, Iraq, or Lebanon. There is only a very tiny Twelver Shia population in Syria. Many of the soldiers fighting in the Syrian army to protect Aleppo are Sunnis from that city, and most of the militiamen fighting alongside the army in various paramilitary units are Sunni, such as the mixed Syrian and Palestinian Liwa Quds and the local Sunni clan-based units. In Aleppo, it is very much Sunni versus Sunni. The difference is that the Sunnis on the government side are not fighting for Sunnism. Their Sunni identity is incidental. By contrast, the insurgents are fighting for a Sunni cause and embrace that as their primary identity, precluding coexistence. This does not, of course, mean the government should drop barrel bombs on their children, however. Comment: Assad doesn’t lob barrel bombs at children: The Dirty War on Syria: Barrel Bombs, Partisan Sources and War Propaganda The presence of Iraqi Shia militiamen is no doubt provocative and helps confirm the worst fears of some Sunnis, but the fact that these foreign Shia are supporting their Syrian allies does not negate the fact that there are many more thousands of Sunnis on the side of the government. Those foreign Shia militias believe, according to my interviews, that if they do not stop the genocidal takfiri threat in Syria, then Iraq and Lebanon will be threatened. Alawites and other minorities believe this too of course. But in Syria there is still a state and it is doing most of the killing, though not for sectarian reasons but for the normal reasons states use brutality against perceived threats to their hegemony. There have been exceptions such as the 2012 Hula or 2013 Baniyasmassacres in which ill-disciplined local Alawite militiamen exacted revenge on Sunni communities housing insurgents, targeting civilians as well. Comment: The Dirty War On Syria: The Houla Massacre Revisited What is Washington to Do? U.S. policy in the Middle East, especially in conflict zones and conflict-affected states, should be focused on (1) doing no harm and (2) making every effort to stop Saudi Arabia from becoming the accepted center of the Sunni Arab world or the Sunni world writ large, while (3) building and reinforcing non-sectarian national institutions and national forces. America’s Troublesome Saudi Partners As regards Saudi Arabia, many American thought leaders and policymakers have long understood the fundamental problems presented by this longstanding U.S. partner but the policy never changes. Indeed, U.S. policy has in many ways accepted and even reinforced the longstanding Saudi aim to define Sunni identity in the Arab world and beyond. It is dangerous to accept the Saudi narrative that they are the natural leaders of the Sunni world given the dangerous culture they propagate. Promoting a sectarian fundamentalist state as the leader of Arab Sunnis is hardly a cure for ISIL, which only takes those ideas a bit further to their logical conclusions. Comment: Which is precisely why it is U.S. policy to support them. Washington may not have the stomach to take a public position against the form of Islam aggressively propagated by its Saudi “partners,” but there must be an understanding that Wahhabism is a dangerous ideology and that its associated clerical institutions represent a threat to stability in Islamic countries around the world. The United States could seek to sanction media outlets, including satellite channels and websites, that promote this form of Islam. Think this is unprecedented? Washington has targeted Lebanese Hizballah’s al-Manar station with some success. Syrian and Iraqi Sunnis are not holding their breath waiting to hear what Gulf monarchs will say. They wait only to see how much money might be in the envelopes they receive for collaboration. For leadership, Iraqi and especially Syrian Sunnis should be encouraged to look closer to home — to their own local communities and the state. The state should be strengthened as a non-sectarian body. The Need for Non-Sectarian Institutions in the Middle East In Washington’s policy circles, we often hear calls for Sunni armies and militias to “solve” Iraq and Syria. Yet Sunni armies already exist in these countries in the form of ISIL, al-Qaeda, and Ahrar al-Sham. The answer is not more Sunni armed groups. Comment: Again, the answer is obvious: they’re talking about ISIL, al-Qaeda and Ahrar al-Sham. The goal is not to excise jihadism, but to use it. If the goal is to excise jihadism, do not try to coexist with Sunni rejectionists advancing Saudi notions of Sunni identity. If Assad were fed to the jihadists as a sacrifice, then the next Alawite, Christian, Shia, secular, or “apostate” leader would become the new rallying cry for jihadists. Their goal is not merely the removal of one leader, but the extermination of all secularists, Shias, Alawites, Christians, and Jews, and others who are different — including fellow Sunnis. The Syrian government is often criticized for making little distinction between ISIL, Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, and the “moderates” who cooperate with them, but this misconceives how the Syrian state forces see the conflict. To them, any insurgent force with Islamist slogans is a slippery slope leading to the same result. Critics may complain that at various points in the war Syrian state forces spent more resources fighting the American-backed insurgents than ISIL, but this is because ISIL emerged largely in areas where the Syrian government had already been driven out. Meanwhile, the so-called moderates were the main day-to-day threat to government-held population centers such as Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Damascus, and Daraa. It is irrational for the West to expect the Syrian government to focus on the enemies the West wants to see defeated while Western powers, along with Gulf countries and Turkey, are supporting insurgents that attack government forces which secure cities. The Syrian security forces have a finite amount of men, ammunition, fuel, and other resources, and they need to protect a great deal of military infrastructure, terrain, population centers, and supply lines. This naturally forces the regime to make choices. When foreign-backed insurgents attack state-held areas, the state’s security forces are less able to conduct operations elsewhere. For example, when American-backed insurgents cooperated with al-Qaeda and foreign fighters to seize cities in Idlib province last year, the Syrian Arab Army sent reinforcements from the east to Idlib. This left Palmyra wide open for ISIL to attack, which they did, seizing the ancient city. In February of this year, with the Cessation of Hostilities in place, the Syrian state was able to focus more resources on ISIL and retake Palmyra with Russian backing. ISIL and al-Qaeda thrive in stateless zones throughout the Muslim world. Supporting insurgents to create more such zones will only give such groups more space to occupy. Comment: Again, that’s the plan. Every proposal to further weaken regime security forces leads to a greater role for Shia militias and the ill-disciplined militias the regime relies upon for support. Escalation by supporting proxies does not pressure the regime to negotiate. It only pressures the regime to use even more repressive and abhorrent tactics. The only compromises it makes are about which actors it will rely upon to defeat its enemies. As law and order breaks down, even Alawite militias have lost respect for the security forces. What is left of the Syrian state is failing, and the West bears some responsibility for that. Comment: Understatement alert! As jarring as this may sound to many Western readers, the Syrian government offered a model of secular coexistence based on the idea of a nation-state rather than a sect. This is a model wherein Sunnis, Alawis, Christians, Druze, Kurds, Shias, and atheists are all citizens in a deeply flawed, corrupt, and — yes — repressive system in need of improvement but not in need of destruction. The Syrian state has clearly become progressively more brutal as the civil war has dragged on. Still, the regime is not sectarian in the way most in the West seem to think. It is also not purely secular in that it encourages religion (a bit too much) and allows religion to influence the personal status laws of its various sects. Comment: We highly doubt the “regime” has become “progressively more brutal”. That’s the West’s propaganda narrative. The regime has always felt insecure vis-à-vis its conservative Sunni population, and it has gone out of its way to placate this group over the years by building mosques and Quranic memorization institutes across the country. But denying that the regime is sectarian is not a defense of the regime’s moral choices. Rather, it just shows that it commits mass murder and torture for other reasons, such as the protection and holding together of what is left of the state. This is not an apology for the massive and well-documented human rights violations committed by the Syrian government throughout the course of this war. But until 2011, it offered a society where different religious groups and ethnicities lived together, not in perfect harmony, but at peace. If you do not believe me, look at the millions who have fled from insurgent-held areas to government-held areas and have been received and treated just like any other citizens. Comment: Indeed, that should alert an outside observer that the image Westerners have of Syria is not just a bit off, but almost totally wrong. This is far preferable to the sectarian model advanced by much of the Syrian armed opposition, which seeks to create something that will lead ultimately to, at worst, a jihadist caliphate and, at best, a toxic and repressive state in the mold of Saudi Arabia. As I noted in my previous article, the Syrian government has unleashed desperate levels of brutality, using collective punishment, indiscriminate attacks on insurgent-held areas, and harsh siege tactics. Many thousands have died in the regime’s prisons, including the innocent. Likewise, the insurgency has slaughtered many thousands of innocents and participated in the destruction of Syria. This legacy of crimes committed by all will hopefully be dealt with, but all responsible parties should view ending this conflict as the first priority. In Iraq, there exists a state that should be supported over the claims of Sunni rejectionists who still think they can reestablish Sunni dominance in Iraq. The West should have learned from Iraq, Libya, Egypt, and now Yemen how disastrous regime change is.Better instead to promote a gradual evolution into something better by abandoning the disastrous (and failed) regime change policy and supporting decentralization, as called for by Phil Gordon. What Drives Disorder? It is wrong to listen to those who say that insurgents will not stop fighting as long as Assad is in power. Many have stopped already, many cooperate tacitly or overtly, and there are many discussions about ceasefires taking place inside and outside Syria. It is often claimed that Assad “is a greater magnet for global jihad than U.S. forces were in Iraq at the height of the insurgency.” Assad inherited the same enemy the United States faced in Iraq. The primary recruiter for extremists is the war, the power vacuum created by war, the chaos and despair resulting from it, and the opportunity jihadists see to kill Shias, Alawites, secular apostate Sunnis, Christians, and Western armies gathering for what they view as the final battle before judgment day. Assad is barely mentioned in ISIL propaganda. He is too small for them. They want something much larger, as do the other Salafi jihadi groups operating in the region. It is naive to think that if Assad is simply replaced with somebody else the West finds suitable that the jihadis will be satisfied. Moreover, Assad (just like Maliki) is not in Yemen, Libya, the Sinai, or Afghanistan, and, yet, the Islamic State is growing in all those places. Many Sunni majority countries in the Middle East and elsewhere are also skeptical of regime change in Syria. Even Turkey, which has allowed jihadists to freely use its territory for much of the war, is slowly changing its policy on regime change in Syria. So those who worry about alienating the so-called Sunni world are really only talking about alienating the Saudis — they just won’t admit it.Saudi Arabia is a more mature version of ISIL, so why should they be placated to defeat anyone? Regime change or further weakening the Syrian army creates more space for ISIL and similar groups. It grants a victory to the Sunni sectarian forces in the region and leads to state collapse in the remaining stable areas of Syria where most people live. By pitting moderate Sunnis against extremist Sunnis, the United States merely encourages the sectarian approach. The answer to sectarianism is non-sectarianism, not better sectarianism. If you are looking for a Sunni narrative, you are always playing into the hands of the Sunni hardliners. This does not mean the answer is the Syrian regime in its past or current forms. Opposing sectarian movements does not necessarily mean supporting authoritarian secular states. But functioning states, even imperfect and repressive ones, are preferable to collapsed states or jihadist proto-states. Westerners are outsiders to this civil war, even if they helped sustain it. For the West, this is not an existential threat, but it is for many of those who live in the Middle East. Those in the region who are threatened by ISIL feel as though beyond the walls of their safe havens there is a horde of zombies waiting to eat their women and children. They might feel that if there is not a cost, in a social sense, paid by those communities who embraced ISIL, then those communities will not have been defeated or learned their lesson. Then, they worry another generation of Sunni extremists will just wait for another chance to take the knives out again. There is an anthropological logic to violence. This is a civil war, inherently between and within communities. It is not merely two armies confronting each other on a battlefield and adhering to the Laws of War. In the eyes of the Syrian and Iraqi states, it is a war on those who welcomed al-Qaeda and then ISIL into their midst. There is no mechanical link between showing benevolence to formerly pro-ISIL communities and to their not radicalizing in the future. Islamic culture today is globalized, courtesy Saudi funding and modern communications. Many Iraqi Sunnis previously embraced al-Qaeda, only to then embrace the even more virulent ISIL. Future generations should remember that this choice garnered consequences for atrocities, such as the Bunafer tribesmen engaging in the Speicher massacre of Shia soldiers in Iraq. There is a symbolism in a Shia PMF fighter marching into Tikrit, making it clear to Sunni chauvinists that they cannot be the masters over Shia serfs. Yet too severe a punishment, or an unjust one, can indeed leave people with nothing to resort to but violence. There is little good Washington can do, but it can still inflict a great deal of harm, even if it is motivated by the best of intentions. InThe Great Partition, the British historian Yasmin Khan asserted that the partition of India and Pakistan, which killed over one million and displaced many millions, “stands testament to the follies of empire, which ruptures community evolution, distorts historical trajectories and forces violent state formation from societies that would otherwise have taken different—and unknowable—paths.” The same lessons can be learned in Iraq, Libya, and the clumsy international intervention in Syria. It is time that the West started to mind its own business rather than address the failure of the last intervention with the same tools that caused the disaster in the first place. At most, the West can try to help manage or channel the evolution of the region or contain some of its worst side effects. The order in modern Europe is a result of bloody processes that saw winners and losers emerging and the losers accepting the new order. ISIL’s arrival has expedited this historic process in the Middle East. It has helped organize and mobilize Iraq Shias and connect them to the rest of the world, while the disastrous decision of many Sunnis to embrace movements such as ISIL has caused many of their communities to suffer irreparable damage and dislocation. Perhaps the Middle East is going through a similar process that will lead to a new more stable order after these terrible wars are over. This period of great flux offers creative opportunities. While some analysts have called for breaking up Syria and Iraq into smaller ethnic and sectarian entities, this would lead to more displacement and fighting, as it did in the Balkans over the course of over a century. Instead of promoting the worst fissiparous tendencies in the region, the solution might be creating greater unity The American asteroid that hit the Middle East in 2003 shattered the old order. Those tectonic plates are still shifting. The result will not be an end to the old borders, as many have predicted or even suggested as policy. It will also not be the total collapse of states. The evolving new order will retain the formal borders, but central states will not have full control or sovereignty over all their territory. They will rely on loose and shifting alliances with local power brokers, and they will govern in a less centralized way. Accepting this and supporting looser federal arrangements may be the best path forward to reduce fears, heal wounds, and bring about stability. Cyrus Malik is a pen name for a security consultant to the humanitarian community in the Levant and Iraq.                       


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‘I’m a little scared’: Huff Post writer censored and fired for writing about Killary’s healthTyler DurdenZero HedgeTue, 30 Aug 2016 20:38 UTCOver the weekend we posted about how the media’s coverage of Trump and Clinton’s health had become “outright bizarre” (see “American Electorate Loses As Partisan Media Coverage Of Candidate Health Turns Outright Bizarre”). We also asked whether Google had taken measures to censor searches related to Hillary’s health condition (see “Is Google Censoring Search Results To Protect Hillary?”). Turns out that the Huffington Post may have just joined in on the bizarre behavior by censoring a journalist with the audacity to question Hillary’s health. On Sunday night, an obviously shaken Huffington Post contributor, David Seaman, posted a video to YouTube after the HuffPo had taken measures to revoke his publishing access and delete two articles he had previously published on Hillary’s health…a move that left him “a little scared” and “spooked out”. According to Seaman, he has a long standing relationship with the Huffington Post which has included “100’s of successful articles” that have been published under the banner. Seaman reported the move by Huffington Post by live streaming a video of his reactions on YouTube (full video below).”Huffington Post, where I was a contributor, they have revoked my publishing access and they’ve deleted both of my articles that were published earlier over the weekend. Both of my articles have been pulled without notice of any kind. Just completely deleted from the internet. And both of those articles mention Hillary’s health which is both a hashtag on Twitter and I linked to a video that a YouTuber, Paul Joseph Watson, had uploaded back on August 4th showing signs that Hillary Clinton’s health is quite poor.” “Whenever a video concerning a presidential candidate’s health is viewed more that 3.5 million times somebody who is under contract to the Huffington Post and AOL should be able to link out to that.”Seaman goes on to point out that completely removing a published article from the internet is unprecedented and leaves him “a little scared” of being the next person to be “vanished” for criticizing the Clinton campaign.”I’ve honestly never seen anything like this. This is happening in the United States in 2016. It’s frankly chilling. I’m a little scared. I’m doing this video also to say, I’m not suicidal right now; I am not a particularly clumsy person; I don’t own a car at the moment. So if I’m to slip in the shower over the next couple of days or something silly like that you have to really employ probability and statistics here because I’m not a clumsy person, right, and I’m also not a depressed person right now. I’m a person who is spooked out though.” “For Huffington Post to delete those posts without any notice, that is Orwellian. That is something I’ve read about happening in mainland China.”Fortunately, we’ve discovered a cached version of one of the articles published by Seaman (which can be read here). In it, Seaman questions whether his readers truly believe Hillary to be healthy noting that he can’t express an opinion because he “needs to keep [his] job and platform.” Seaman goes on to point out that “we all know what happens when you speak a little too much truth about the Establishment-beloved Clintons.”I realize some readers might be wondering after watching Paul Watson’s video… how is she strong, or healthy, after seeing all that? Look guys, I need to keep my job and platform. A lot of people read the Huffington Post and AOL properties. We all know what happens when you speak a little too much truth about the Establishment-beloved Clintons. Just ask longtime broadcaster Dr. Drew Pinsky. “CNN has canceled Drew Pinsky’s HLN show, Dr. Drew On Call, just eight days after Pinsky made comments on a radio show questioning the health of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Pinsky’s show, which is six years old, will air for the last time Sept. 22,” The Daily Beast reported.Unfortunately for Seaman, it turns out that even posing a question about Hillary’s health is a little too much for the Huffington Post. And, just for good measure, here is Paul Watson’s original video posted on August 4, 2016. Sure enough, the video is up to 3.6mm views and counting.Just to confirm his story, we took the opportunity to check out Seaman’s “long-standing relationship” with the Huffington Post.Certainly a quick search reveals that Seaman is a frequent contributor to the website on a variety of topics. And sure enough, two of his posts, “Donald Trump Challenges Hillary Clinton To Health Records Duel” and “Hillary Clinton’s Health Is Superb (Aside From Seizures, Lesions, Adrenaline Pens)” seem to have been deleted from the website. Clicking on those two posts redirects readers to the following “Editor’s Note” indicating that “This post is no longer available on the Huffington Post.” “Surprisingly”, however, the Huffington Post isn’t quite as concerned about censoring Seaman’s views on Canada legalizing medical marijuana…that post can still be enjoyed in its entirety. And the “outright bizarre” behavior continues…