A Walk Around the Block

Since my mic was busted for the Decentralized News Hour Election Special, I decided to do a mobile episode of the podcast recapping the election night and my thoughts on the next two years.

 

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Back in the Saddle

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I’ve been away…mentally. The country has gone completely nuts, and it’s hard to add commentary to noise. So this is some quick thoughts on Saudi Arabia, the mid-terms and the state of American society.

Content

This episode can be found here.
The full episode archive can be found on Podomatic & on ITunes. The Youtube version is below:

Check out the #Informationwar & DecentralizedTruth, our channel over on YouTube and our Reddit

Khashoggi & The Screaming Neocons

The most recent events involving Saudi Arabia are interesting to me more because of the response than the actions of the Saudi government. Comments from Senators like Graham and Rubio included words like “regime change” in regards the Saudis.

This messes with my personal political narrative history, where the neoconservatives were friends with the Saudis (embarrassing close around 9/11), through their relationship with Israel and the defense industry.

I thought I’d take some time and effort to try to figure out what the Neocon angle would be for calling for the regime change of “MBS”, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. He has worked well with Tel Aviv and made deals with President Trump. The war in Yemen he started has received political, military and diplomatic over by the US and The West (thanks Iran). So I landed on MBS’s “purge” during 2017, and the names of those who he went after. I covered it previously.

Let’s start with Khashoggi, just to stay current. Khashoggi is not some revolutionary journalist and free thinker. He is the friend of princes, and former comrade of Osama Bin Laden.

Khashoggi’s downfall is that he supported/was supported by the wrong princes. His loyalty to Prince Turki Al-Faysal & Prince Khalid Al-Faysalprovided him connections with Saudi Intelligence and mainstream Saudi media working for the Al-Waton newspaper. Itself owned by a friendly prince. Prince Turki himself lead Saudi Intelligence leading up to 9/11, only stepping out of the position months before the attack. He is the brother-in-law and cousin of Prince Bandar (“Bandar Bush”), who famously has connections to the Wahhabi elements of the Royal Family. Prince Turki’s relationship with Bin Laden from their time as Mujahedden against the Russians may have helped him secure the shady (rumored) deal in 1998 between Saudi intel and Al Qeada to “outsource” the extremism. Going as far as helping with funding from the Taliban.

Khashoggi and his princes belong to one of three power groups that struggled for control after the death of King Abdullah.

The first group of course King Salman and the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

The second group’s face is Prince Nayef, the previous Crown Prince, who himself along with his sons were swept up in the “corruption” purge of MBS.

The final group is that of Prince Miteb, or the favorite son of King Abdullah. Miteb may not be a public name, but he is head of the National Guard: “an elite internal security force originally based on traditional tribal units that was run by his father for five decades.”. Miteb’s group represents Prince Bandar, Prince Turki, “Bush-era” House of Saad, the old guard.

It’s the last group that connects dots for me. They were the ones in charge during the height of Neocon control of Washington foreign policy. The Bin Laden family history is interwoven with this group. The theories behind Saudi involvement in 9/11, funding ISIS, assisting Al Qeada affiliates in Syria all include the names of this “old guard”.

I don’t know why MBS focused his purge in this direction. Remember, Prince Bandar was removed from power and arrested also. Maybe it’s a deal he made with Trump? Give up the 9/11-era pieces of trash in exchange for weapons/cover to bomb Yemen? Maybe he is of a different generation, and the separation is just change. Moving away from the extremist elements of the Saudi Family. Something that would anger the policy establishment which enjoys using Sunni radicalism to bring Iran down a peg. He has gone along with the US, when Trump announced an end to CIA support for jihadists in Syria for example.

Khashoggi’s murder was most likely because of his outspoken comments on the war in Yemen, and the Prince’s policies towards SyriaLebanon and Qatar. He wrote anonymously (until now) at Middle East Eye. Kings and princes have people executed. That’s why I’m fond of America. The prince took his power too far here and his enemies are jumping on it. The “old guard” of the Saudi Royal Family and their US allies within D.C. are attempting a P.R. campaign to guilt trip the president (and in term the Republican voter) into dumping MBS and allowing a return to business as usual. This is why I think we see Lindsay Graham and Rubio calling for the cutting off of diplomacy with Saudi Arabia.

Let me end by saying that completely support the efforts of Rand Paul to use this astro-turfed anger at Saudi Arabia to point out all the reasons the House of Saad is more of an enemy to the American people than an ally. MBS needs to be held accountable for his crimes, in Turkey and in Yemen. However, my fear of the “return of the Neocons” remains strong.

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Mob Rule & The Downfall of Jordan Peterson

I have a Saturday planned filled with sports and enjoyment, but I had some frustration to get out. Last night on Twitter, Jordan Peterson & Bret Weinstein of the “Intellectual Dark Web” both called for Kavanaugh to step down if confirmed on the Supreme Court. The argument is presented as if this move by Kavanaugh will “clear his name” and “heal the nation”. Neither is true, and part of me knows that both men know this. The backlash on Twitter is pretty absolute.

This video is about my fear of mob rule and how increasingly authoritarian the culture is getting. It’s not on the fringes any longer, and the mainstream has bowed down to it, and is hoping on board to keep power.

Yes, I sound a lot like Owen Benjamin. That is because along with Scott Horton, he is my spirit animal.

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Okinawa, Empire & The Cost of Occupation

Quick video about some foreign policy events of the day, and really about how you end up with anti-American sentiment in the world. Occupation is never accepted for long, and the occupier always has to be dehumanized.

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My First Post-Facebook Episode

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I’ve freed myself of my Facebook habit. The response to the Kavanaugh situation by both Team Red and Team Blue was a watershed moment for me. People on either side demonizing and rooting for the destruction of people they have no evidence are guilty or lying. The tribalism has become too much. Civil debate is dead when the opponent not just denies truth and reality, but ignores it. When the hypocrisy and dehumanization stays with long after you put the phone down or close the laptop, you know it’s time to step away.

The podcast and YouTube videos I’ve been doing are fun and a more healthy outlet. So here is my first post-Facebook recording:

Content

This episode can be found here.
The full episode archive can be found on Podomatic & on ITunes. The Youtube version is below:

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Check out the #Informationwar & DecentralizedTruth, our channel over on YouTube and our Reddit

Poor Michael Moore

Nothing too in-depth for this episode. I just felt like recording.

I muse about Michael Moore’s fight to save America, the #Resistance‘s love for the Deep State and how Iraqis protest THEIR government.

Content

This episode can be found here.
The full episode archive can be found on Podomatic & on ITunes. The YouTube version can be found below:

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / WordPress / Patreon / Youtube

Check out the #Informationwar & DecentralizedTruth, our channel over on YouTube and the Reddit page.

AFRICOM & A Coup

 

I have been heavily following the The Great Game of geopolitics ever since 2012-2013, once the Ron Paul presidential campaigns were over. Not that I wasn’t focused on war & imperialism before that, it was a major part of my politics. What changed after Ron stopped running, and Rand’s pull on domestic policies was limited, was that I stopped focusing on the economics, regulation, overall corruption of Washington. The stories don’t interest me.

Right around this time I began listening to Scott Horton religiously. All domestic politics just became bread & circus while the empire marched. Horton introduced me to a journalist named Nick Turse. Turse introduced me to the United States military’s expansion into Africa.

This week’s episode is a an update on that expansion, along with a bit of an introduction for those less aware.

The hub for information on Africa and more importantly, AFRICOM, is TomDispatch.com. Tom provides an introduction for most of the articles he publishes, and I wanted to share the one he wrote for the first piece by Turse that I read:

Unfortunately, there’s one place in that city’s global viewfinder that never seems to provides much of anything to riff off of, and so no fun whatsoever: Africa. Yes, today and Tuesday, Nick Turse continues his remarkable coverage of the U.S. military pivot to that continent, which promises a lifetime of chaos and blowback to come. Admittedly, what’s happening isn’t your typical, patented, early twenty-first-century-style U.S. invasion, but it certainly represents part of a new-style scramble for Africa — with the U.S. taking the military path and the Chinese the economic one.

By the time U.S. Africa Command is finished, however, one thing is essentially guaranteed: a terrible mess and a lifetime of hurt will be left behind. This particular pivot is happening on a startling scale and yet remains just below the American radar screen. Explain it as you will, with the rarest of exceptions the U.S. media, riveted by Obama’s so far exceedingly modest pivot to Asia, finds the African one hardly worth a moment’s notice, which is why, today, without the usual combustible mix of what’s recently in the news and what’s newsmaking in Turse’s two pieces, I have no choice but to skip the introduction. – Tom (4/13/2014)

So as far back as 2014, I’ve been following this clear build up of military infrastructure around the continent. Along with the build up, Special Forces has used the conflict zones throughout Africa as kind of a scouting expedition for the empire for the last five years. Providing training, arms and assistance to “friendly” regimes, making deals to allow US troops and forward bases within their countries for years to come. Direct action has also been a staple, with Green Berets, SEALS and other operators being involved in combat raids in Cameroon, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Tunisia. There has been at least 10 “unreported” attacks on US troops in West Africa since 2015. Not counting the most famous attack in Niger more recently. The one that exposed the ignorance of some the warmongers in Washington, who didn’t even know American troops were in Niger. The economic element is also there, conquest through “aid” and debt is also a weapon used. Much like the Chinese.

I learned about Camp Lemonnier, an old French Foreign Legion base in Djibouti that was the center of the AFRICOM footprint. It being the only permanent installation in Africa. Lemonnier has been getting upgrades and larger budgets since the beginning of Obama’s 2nd term:

“Camp Lemonnier is the only permanent footprint that we have on the continent and until such time as AFRICOM may establish a headquarters location in Africa, Camp Lemonnier will be the center of their activities here,” Greg Wilderman, the Military Construction Program Manager for Naval Facilities Engineering Command, explained.

“In 2013, we had a big jump in the amount of program projects,” he noted, specifically mentioning a large “task force” construction effort, an oblique reference to a $220 million Special Operations compound at the base that TomDispatch first reported on in 2013.

`According to documents provided by Wilderman, five contracts worth more than $322 million (to be paid via MILCON funds) were awarded for Camp Lemonnier in late 2013. These included deals for a $25.5 million fitness center and a $41 million Joint Headquarters Facility in addition to the Special Operations Compound. This year, Wilderman noted, there are two contracts — valued at $35 million — already slated to be awarded, and Captain Rick Cook specifically mentioned deals for an armory and new barracks in 2014. Source

Since 2014 the footprint has continued to grow, with the drone base in Niger being the most public and glaring new addition. I spoke about it briefly before last week, but the $100 million dollar base in Agadez, Niger has begun flying armed drone missions, an upgrade from the reconnaissance-only stance previously.

With the fall of Libya in his first term, Obama’s Pentagon looked at an opportunity to use the chaos in North Africa is grow the War on Terror. Signing deals with local government to combat the new Islamic radical issue in their territory, the military industrial complex has a new playground.

The drone program has been operational in Djibouti and Niger. The former as the staging area for strikes in Somalia and Yemen, with the latter mostly providing reconnaissance flights over the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin regions of Africa. Libya’s 550 drone strikes are usually launched from Sicily.

Maps help.

I will being linking to my older episode on this topic, along with my writing and all the Nick Turse you can handle.

Turse has recently summarized a release of AFRICOM documents from 2017 that outline the “worst case scenarios” for the different regions of Africa. Giving the organization ample excuses for an expanding budget. The documents were classified by the command chief of Africa, focusing on “potential gains” by terrorist organizations in the north and west of the continent.

The documents begin with Libya. The fear being that the ISIS and Al Qaeda elements in the eastern part of the country will use oil money to build relationship with “tribal elements” and plan attacks.

To the south, in the Sahel region, a union of ISIS & “Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb” (current rivals) could create in roads in Algeria, Mali and Tunisia. This would open up the UN Peacekeepers on the ground there since 2011-2012 to assassination and kidnapping.

In the Lake Chad Basin, the concern is a troop draw-down that was previously announced by the Trump administration. Of course this is a complaint floated publicly to build a case for a larger budget once violence in the region explodes. The draw-down is timed with the expanding drone program in Niger, making the need for troops on the ground less and less. So you could view it as a step in the right direction, if the Middle East drone policy was around to provide an example of things to come.

I see AFRICOM as an unfolding new chapter in the War on Terror, and really US imperialism. Now can be compared to the 1990s in the Middle East. Build up the hard infrastructure and relationships with local governments, begin with air power and surveillance, and when the eventual blowback from the policies comes, your well prepared to shape the region in your image. Or so the sharp minds think. The result will most likely be more chaos, more displaced populations, and more threat of attacks on innocent Americans and Westerners at home.

I hope you enjoy this week’s episode. I try to also touch on Syria and comment on the Trump vs. “anonymous” imperialists writing op-eds in the New York Times.

Content

This episode can be found here. The full archive can be found on Podomatic and on ITunes. The Youtube version can be found below:

Imperial Watch


Chinese President Xi Jinping and Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (left) on Monday in Beijing

In this episode I get back to my roots. There was a major story that EVERYONE needed to cover, so I got back to following the US military around and checking for geo-hotspots showing up in the news.

First, I wanted to hit on a “jump to conclusions” I expressed on a previous episode. I peddled a story about a Muslim ethnic group in western China, the Uyphur having 10% of its population placed in “reeducation camps”. Now, I’m not denying that some type of authoritarian social engineering is underway in the Xianjing region of China. It’s what was carried out in Tibet and during China’s Cultural Revolution. However, a journalist I respect very much, Max Blumenthal has done a short documentary showing that the narrative about Xianjing is almost completely coming from a human rights group for the ethnic Uyghur supported by NED, or the National Endowment for Democracy. So, yeah, rethinking that one.

This episode I examine the public push by China into Africa with its new $60 billion finance plan. This will be covered in western media as a threat that the United States will need to counter. Leaving out the long history of US military footprints in Africa (see Nick Turse). Which I break down.

War propaganda on the next Syrian attack will be coming shortly, and I speak on what to watch for. Like Nikki Haley for example.

I hope you enjoy my Saturday musings. My dog makes an appearance.

Be sure to check out other content creators under the #informationwarstag. I also am sometimes a guest on the Decentralized News Hour, where we chat about whats happening in political pop culture.

Content

This episode can be found here. The full archive can be found on Podomatic and on ITunes. The Youtube version (now with video) can be found below: