Sooner or later, China will squelch the Hong Kong uprisings. From Eric S. Margolis at lewrockwell.com:
Time was when flying to Hong Kong was a really big thrill – or maybe scare would be a better term. Its old airport, Kai Tak, was right in the middle of bustling downtown Hong Kong. Flying into Kai Tak used up 11 of one’s 12 lives.
The wide-bodied jumbo aircraft would drop down into a long fjord that was usually shrouded in fog or mist. The nervous passenger would see nothing but cloud. Suddenly, the aircraft would break out of the thick cloud cover right over the airport.
To the left and right were apartment buildings festooned with drying laundry at the same height as one’s plane. The big 747 airliner landed with a huge thud and screaming tires right in front of another bunch of apartment buildings.
Even for veteran air travelers like myself, this was a heart-stopping experience. Amazingly, I recall only one crash at Kai Tak, which we used to call ‘Suicide Airport.’ Still, it was like landing a jumbo-jet on New York’s Park Avenue. Not for the faint of heart.
The Blackwater story is a lot like the Jeffrey Epstein story: a scandal in plain view that’s been hanging out there for years, essentially unexplored. From Brett Wilkins at antiwar.com:
Former Blackwater USA guard Nicholas Slatten was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison nearly eight months after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder for his role in the September 2007 massacre of 17 Iraqi civilians at Nisour Square in Baghdad.
“The jury got it exactly right, this was murder,” US Judge Royce Lamberth said while pronouncing the life sentence in Washington, DC. Lamberth rejected numerous requests for leniency from family, friends and supporters who argued in court that Slatten was a scapegoat being sacrificed upon the altar of US-Iraq relations. The defense had argued that the 35-year-old was “a person of high integrity” from a fourth-generation military family.
However, prosecutors charged that Slatten was the first to open fire during the September 16, 2007 massacre, killing 19-year-old Ahmed Haithem Ahmed Al Rubia’y, who was driving his mother to an appointment. The defense unsuccessfully argued that Slatten and other guards only started shooting after Al Rubia’y’s Kia sedan, which they thought might be a suicide car bomb, moved quickly toward their convoy.
The US wants to continue to push around the world as it has been doing, but the world is pushing back, and the US doesn’t really have a Plan B. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
Conflict is popping up everywhere: A major portion of the Turkish army stands ready to invade parts of Syria (though invasion may have been averted for now); PM Modi may just have ignited the next round of Kashmir wars with Pakistan with his Hindu ‘nationalist’ putsch to annex Muslim majority Jammu-Kashmir; Japan has started a mini trade war with South Korea; Turkey is bracing for a face-off with Greece and Cyprus over energy exploration in the East Mediterranean; the Yemen war is heating up with the war increasingly being fought inside southern Saudi Arabia; the US-Iran and the Syria conflicts simmer, and Hong Kong has boiled-over into violence.
What is going on? Is there some unifying thread connecting this sudden outbreak of widespread global tension? Of course all these conflicts have their separate background contexts. But why so many at the same time? Well, in a word, it’s all about change — about the recognition that we are at the cusp of major changes. The world is beginning to pre-position.
Take, for example, the about-turn by the UAE (heretofore, a major agitator for an Iran confrontation) reaching out to Iran. Much of this Gulf State fervour for confrontation with Iran arose on the rebound from the Obama move to normalise with Iran (through the JCPOA). The Gulf States feared losing the umbrella of the US protection which, it was believed, inoculated these monarchies as much from repression of their internal reformists, as from Iran. Then, with the arrival of President Trump, the opportunity seemed to present itself again to lock-in that US ‘guarantee’ by inciting the new President, already obsessed with his notion of Iranian ‘malignity’ into action.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Military, Politics, Trade
Tagged China, Iran, President Trump, Russia, Turkey
War is the American religion. From William J. Astore at tomdispatch.com:
America’s Militarized Profession of Faith
When I was a teenager in the 1970s, I looked to the heavens: to God and Christianity (as arbitrated by the Catholic Church) and to the soaring warbirds of the U.S. military, which I believed kept us safe. To my mind then, they were classic manifestations of American technological superiority over the godless Communists.
With all its scandals, especially when it came to priestly sexual abuse, I lost my faith in the Catholic Church. Indeed, I would later learn that there had been a predatory priest in my own parish when I was young, a grim man who made me uneasy at the time, though back then I couldn’t have told you why. As for those warbirds, like so many Americans, I thrilled to their roar at air shows, but never gave any real thought to the bombs they were dropping in Vietnam and elsewhere, to the lives they were ending, to the destruction they were causing. Nor, at that age, did I ever consider their enormous cost in dollars or just how much Americans collectively sacrificed to have “top cover,” whether of the warplane or godly kind.
There were good and devoted priests in my Catholic diocese. There were good and devoted public servants in the U.S. military. Admittedly, I never seriously considered the priesthood, but I did sign up for the Air Force, surprising myself by serving in it for 20 years. Still, both institutions were then, and remain, deeply flawed. Both seek, in a phrase the Air Force has long used, “global reach, global power.” Both remain hierarchies that regularly promote true believers to positions of authority. Both demand ultimate obedience. Both sweep their sins under the rug. Neither can pass an audit. Both are characterized by secrecy. Both seem remarkably immune to serious efforts at reform. And both, above all, know how to preserve their own power, even as they posture and proselytize about serving a higher one.
Unlike any of the other presidential candidates, Tulsi Gabbard has actually served in the military. And unlike any of the presidential candidates, Gabbard has met Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. There is a connection between those two facts. From Scott Ritter at theamericanconservative.com:
Tulsi Gabbard speaks to CNN’s Jake Tapper about her 2017 visit with Syrian President Bashar Assad back in January. (CNN/Screenshot)
There’s a good reason the presidential hopeful met with Assad, but the media doesn’t want to talk about it.
It was eight minutes of hell for Kamala Harris. Onstage at the second Democratic debate in Michigan, Harris was subjected to a blistering assault on her record as a California prosecutor at the hands of Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.
Afterwards, Harris was asked about Gabbard’s attack by CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “Listen,” she replied, “I think that this coming from someone who has been an apologist for an individual, [Syrian President Bashar al] Assad, who has murdered the people of his country like cockroaches. She has embraced and been an apologist for him in the way she refuses to call him a war criminal. I can only take what she says and her opinion so seriously, so I’m prepared to move on.”
Harris was referring to a controversial four-day visit by Gabbard to Syria in early January 2017, during which she met with Assad. While Gabbard’s performance during the debate was stellar (her name was the most searched of all the Democratic candidates), Harris’s jab regarding Assad seemed like all the mainstream media wanted to talk about.
“When sitting down with someone like Bashar al-Assad in Syria,” MSNBC’s Yasmin Vossoughian asked Gabbard, “do you confront him directly and say why do you order chemical attacks on your own people? Why do you cause the killings of over half a million people in your country?”
Is one faction of the Deep State so disgusted with the other that it’s trying to clean house? From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:
The “traditionalist” Neocons are going to have to decide to fish or cut bait.
I’ve been writing about the fracturing Deep State for the past five years:
Is the Deep State Fracturing into Disunity? (March 14, 2014)
Is the Deep State at War–With Itself? (December 14, 2016)
Epstein and the Explosive Crisis of the Deep State (July 15, 2019)
The conflict has now reached the hot-war stage where bodies are turning up, explained away by the usual laughable covers: “suicide,” “accident” and “heart attack.” That Jeffrey Epstein’s death in a secure cell is being labeled “suicide” tells us quite a lot about the desperation of the faction trying to protect the self-serving predators that have wormed their way into control of many Deep State nodes of power.
Here’s the basic structure of the Deep State conflict as I see it. For context: The Deep State exploded in size and power during World War II. At the war’s end, the proper role of the U.S. in the postwar era was up for grabs, and over the course of a few years, the CIA and other intelligence agencies were established and the doctrine of containment of the Soviet Union became the dominant narrative, a narrative that held with remarkable consistency for four decades until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
This collapse was another critical juncture, and debates over America’s role in this “unipolar era” were finally settled in favor of the militarily-geopolitically activist ideology of neoconservatism (Neocons).
This globalist ideology spawned a variety of monstrous policy disasters and as a result the Neocons have been challenged by factions within the Deep State.
Just because somebody doesn’t advertise their political views doesn’t mean they don’t have them, that they’re not strongly held, and that they won’t, if push comes to shove, shove back…with firearms if necessary. From the Raconteur Report at raconteurreport.blogspot.com:
You irrepressible commie halfwits think you’ve got the cards. You’re the idiot talking tough with the shotgun in your hand, and you’re about to get comeuppance. In Louis L’Amour’s memorable phrase, you’re about to have your meathouse torn down. With a mere couple of nutbags (mainly your own nutbags, nota bene) doing what nutbags do, you imagine you’ve got enough pull now to leverage your way into more asinine abridgments of the Constitution.
You haven’t, you won’t, and you really, really need to knock it off.
I remind you of this while you’ve got your limbs and most of your teeth all still attached.
We’re really not kidding.
You’ve had all the slices of our cake you’re ever getting.
Step. AWAY. From the table.
STFU, keep your hands in plain sight, and walk away, and you might live through this.
And for the cynical timid souls on the other side suffering from Stockholm Syndrome and normalcy bias, desist.