The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Syria: Turks Invade, US Occupy

While the American media is busy with #Memogate, the already complex situation in Syria has become even more confusing. It seems like everyday a “US-backed”, “Pro-Syrian” or Russian force is attackedbombed or almost killed by some faction within Syria, almost setting off an international incident.

I thought it would be important to follow the ever-changing situation there, because one day it will be front page news on CNN, and when that day comes they won’t tell you the whole story.

Places like Steemit are filled with worthy content on the subject, from @saltycat@lordoftruth@haseeb96, to @clarityofsignal and many others, this quick write-up will be more of a resource center than a long-winded piece on the recent events. There is also this amazing real-time map of the conflict I’ve been used to follow the war day by day, along with Southfrontover on Youtube, which @clarityofsignal was a part of previously.

The latest stage in the conflict is the invasion of Turkish troops of Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria. Specifically, the region of Afrin.

President Erdogan of Turkey has declared (past and present) that the Kurds will never control territory west of the Euphrates River. Erdogan has always had issues with the Kurdish population within Turkey, and that doesn’t change when we move south. Erdogan sees the Kurdish YPG in Syria as an extension of his long-time enemy the PKK in Iraq.

Erdogan’s issues with the Kurds may stem from his belief in “Pan-Turkic”, or the idea that all people from Turkish decent should live under a single banner. The man wants Turkey to extend all the way to China, and be a Muslim state.

Since the attempted coup in his country, crackdowns on the disloyal haven’t really stopped. The recent invasion of Syria (fittingly named Operation “Olive Branch”) has only grown those numbers. Critics and protesters of the invasion have been arrested and jailed. The violence has even reached Europe, with a rather intense fight breaking out between Kurds and Turks in a German airport terminal:


Operation “Olive Branch” began with the invasion of the northwestern “canton” of Afrin. The Kurdish held region is isolated from the other canton’s under YPG and SDF (Syrian Defense Force) control by a 60 mile area under the control of the FSA (Free Syrian Army) backed by Turkey. Afrin contents no US special forces, and is home to the city of Aleppo. This should be name familiar to everyone not named Gary Johnson.

The Turkish invasion force includes a mix of Turkish army regulars, air power and rebel “shock troops”, some reportedly former ISIS members, evident by the inhumane treatment of civilians and the mutilation of Kurdish female fighters.

The Russians have given the Turks the green light for air strikes over the region, something not unheard of in this conflict: a foreign power having decision making power in a sovereign nation. The weird mix of relationships in Syria makes for an even more complicated situation.

For example, the Russians are allied with Assad, while the US is allied with the Kurds and their own rebels. Separately, the Turks and the Russians are becoming fast friends over oil and arms deals, but the rebels the Turks are backing see the regime in Damascus as their enemy. Still following?

Manbij & US Policy

Here is where the United States comes in. Manbij is the canton directly east of the 60 mile FSA/Turk controlled region separating Afrin from the rest of YPG territory. Manbij is the home of actual US troops, with the number of US troops rising the more east towards the Iraqi border you go.

Erdogan has warned the United States to leave Manbij immediately, stating that once he is done with Afrin it’s on to Manbij. In the same week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the United States has no plans to leave Syria, citing multiple reasons for the illegal occupation of the eastern part of the country.

The US presence in Syria is completely illegal under international law. The Trump administration has used the AUMF from 9/11 as its excuse for staying in Syria. Opposition to the US staying in Syria has raised the theory that the United States has plans to create an area in Northeastern Syria outside of the control of Assad, using the Kurds and a 30K strong border force manned by the SDF to do so. Much like in Iraq previously, the Kurds are used as simple pawns by the United States (and Israel) to advance its policy. The idea of splintering Syria apart is nothing new, cited in “A Clean Break” and laid out in the Wikileaks documents from the mid-2000s.

Tillerson lists the following reasons for the decision to stay in Syria:

  • Keeping a defeated ISIS from growing again
  • Holding Iranian power in the region in check
  • Eventually overthrow of Assad

The third reason is really a geopolitical move directed at Russia. In simple terms, and this is important:
the United States government has illegally invaded another country to destabilize and overthrow the regime in charge. This is nothing new, but all Americans need to focus and understand that this is out in the open this time around. No discussion in Congress, no UN vote, nothing. While you and I were busy deciding if we trust Devon Nunes, our government just doubled-down in Syria.

The Validation of the Sarin Gas Scandal

Maybe more shocking than the lack of media coverage of the US occupation, is the admission by General Mattis that the United States has NO EVIDENCE that Assad used sarin gas on his own people. Fittingly, this story broke in the Washington Post, the same rag that pushed the sarin narrative dating back to 2013.

This admission should end all support for the US presence in Syria, but the American people are completely distracted at the moment.

What it does do is validate the great reporting work of the late-great Robert ParrySeymour HershPhil, and tons of other true journalists who’s credibility was questioned by the complicit mainstream media.

What this all means for the future of the geopolitical chessmatch in Syria is yet to be seen, but in this week’s episode I give my thoughts.


This episode can be found on here, with the full archive on Podomatic and ITunes.

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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast Short: Required Reading 2

Required Reading.png

When I search the internet for a topic for that week’s podcast, I go through a lot of articles. Most do not make the show, even if I get something personally out of reading it. Focusing the podcast helps me produce a better product. I’d rabble way too much otherwise.

I’ve provided a list before, however this time I decided to do a short recording hitting on stories I found interesting.

I’ll be doing this more often going forward, too many great reads not to share, and I don’t have the time everyday to post about each on.

The episode can be found here and on Itunes.

The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Persian Winter


You might have heard that there have been protests in Iran. If you’re from America, you were probably told that we are witnessing just the latest attempt by the freedom-hungry Iranian population to break their chains of oppression. While the Iranian government is definitely an authoritarian one, reality is somewhere in the middle.

The purpose of this episode is to break down what these protests are, what is their importance to “the West” and to domestic Iran. The events in Iran have been seen by its enemies as an opportunity, which might actually work in Iran’s favor when examining the track record of those enemies.

Protests broke out before the new year in the city of Mashhad, near the northeastern border of the country. It has not been disputed by any media that the initial protests were economic in nature. Frustration over a bad economy and excess foreign spending lead to the more working class of the country to take the streets.

“Working class” is the term I read in most write-ups on the situation. The protests have been small in nature, popping up in smaller urban and rural areas of the country. Different from the Green Movement of 2009, these protests are more Tea Party than a fight for “civil rights” and election fraud. Upset with President Rouhani not delivering on promises of jobs, the same type of voter that turned from blue to red in the US this past election took to the street. They are not hardliners dead set on having “Death to America” or fighting Zionism, but more pragmatic and almost Western.

Rouhani came into office promising to really cut spending and roll back some of Ahmadinejad welfare spending. Rouhani has been fought by the hardline conservatives in his own government. Much like the US, the hardline conservatives fight against any welfare or warfare cuts. Coupled with a lack of reinvestment in the country after the Obama Nuclear Deal, and threats from the Trump administration, Rouhani has been a victim of having a “long term solution in a short term society”.

The reporting in the West of these protests have been more than biased. Counter pro-government protests have been organized in Iran, and videos and images of these events have been peddled by Western Media as anti-government protests, hoping to create an narrative for the common American that yet another Middle Eastern country is uprising against its dictator. The truth isn’t important.

Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu have verbally supported the protests and “wishes them success”. Both governments have recently come to a deal to “stop Iran” and have a “framework” in place to counter Iran in the region. Fox News and its neoconservative experts have taken the opportunity to talk up the idea of more sanctions and covert support for the protests in the response by the Iranian government “cracking down”.

I want to conclude with a question, does it really matter what the reality of these protests are if the narrative is sold correctly? Moon of Alabama has pointed out the these protests are small overall, domestic in nature and do not contain real radical Islamic elements. If anything, they are every-day-men, asking their government to “do their jobs”.

Why is every American being told everything about these protests? Why the interest and fake narrative? If anything, these are types of events that should be ignored by the warmongering crowd, since the response by the Iranian government has been tame in context of the region and country’s history. Of the 21 dead as of Sunday 12/31, 5 were cops, 2 were citizens who died after a firetruck was stolen and they were run over, and finally 6 of the 21 were rioters who were killed trying to take a police station. As the protests continued pasted the opening weekend, they became less and less filled with those Tea-Party Iranians and instead included more and more violent rioters, younger in age more aggressive overall.

It has also been pointed out by one Iranian reporter that the social media platform, Telegraph had been a recent election talking point. Government regulation and shutting down of certain pages on these Twitter-like platform had created anger among the population. Providing more fuel on the fire that these protests may have extended into their 2nd week with help from afar, one of the shows shutdown on the Telegraph network (on the request of the government) was run by the son of an exiled cleric. A cleric who may have had tied to foreign intelligence. Sparking more and more interest into the idea, much like in Syria, that what started as a domestic plea to “Make Iran Great Again”, might have been co-opted by Iranians enemies.

While the Neocons’ plans for Iraq, Syria, Libya and Ukraine have all backfired, don’t expect this to stop them from attempting to destabilize Iran in hopes to replace the regime with one “friendly to West”. Nothing makes a country’s population love you more than to overthrown their government and replace it for them, especially the Iranians.


Episode can be found here…The full episode archive can be found hereand on ITunes.

The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Arabian Nights

This is the story of a major shift in Saudi Arabian policy abroad. I think.


The purge that took place last week has to be seen through the viewpoint of it’s geopolitical ramifications. Saudi Arabia is doubling-down on it’s “shadow” war with Iran, this time in a more public way. From blaming a missile strike from Yemen on Iran, or actively working with the Israelis to isolate Hezbollah in Lebanon (to cripple Iran).

The Saudi regime dates back to WWI, when the house was one of many clans that worked with the British is its fight against the Turks. Later on, FDR made a deal a the end of WWII to protect the Saudi Royal Family if the US had access to Saudi oil. This deal stands to this day.

The Crown Prince selected the “corruption” purge with a purpose. Beginning at a meeting in 2014, elements of the Royal Family planned to oust the current king, King Abdullah. At that meeting, Prince Bandar was relieved of his duties. This might not have been evident at the time, but this was the start of the Saudis separating even more from the radical, Islamist elements of the family. Prince Bandar was shown to have helped fund the 9/11 hijackers, and has been known as one of the links between the royal family and the jihadists they fund outside of The Kingdom.

The plan was for a power-sharing to take place between three power groups:

  • King Salman & Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman

King Salman took over after the death of King Abdullah. Earlier this year, the crown prince, Prince Nayef, was replaced by King Salman’s favorite son, Mohammed Bin Salman. Recently, King Salman created an “anti-corruption” committee and placed his son in charge. This purge is a result of this committee, with the Crown Prince focusing on the family of former King Abdullah and the former Crown Prince.

  • Prince Nayef

The previous Crown Prince, Prince Nayef and his son have become targets by Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS).

  • Prince Miteb

Prince Miteb is the favorite son of King Abdullah. The head of the National Guard, he is supported by the ultra-conservative, old guard of the family. The National Guard in Saudi Arabia is seen as a “parallel” force to the military. To some, the military is seen as a puppet force of the US puppet regime. This is the same element that supports Al Qeada and pushes Wahhabism. The National Guard itself was created by the fonder of the House of Saad. The original members were former tribal warriors or “Mujahedeen”.

Prince Miteb has been arrested in the current purge.

Outside of the “power-sharing” agreement that went to hell, another name you will see in the coverage is Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal. Bin Talal has major stockholdings in Twitter, Lyft, Citi, 4 Seasons and previously Newscorp. He has been arrested along with other members of the media.

The Crown Prince has had the bank accounts of the arrested frozenprivate jets grounded, and in some cases physically assaulted. There has been two dead princes since the purge, one in a helicopter crash, another in a fire-fight.

Bin Salman has been busy outside of the Saudi Arabia also. His recent visit to Israel helped plan the recent breakdown of politics in Lebanon. The Prime Minister there stepped down live from Riyadh, stating that Hezbollah has taken over the country and “declared war on Saudi Arabia”. The president of Lebanon is seen has in Hezbollah’s pocket, so things in Lebanon will escalate.

The Prince also has been in charge of the war in Yemen, and his US overlords have made it clear that they want Iran isolated. This moves in Lebanon by Saudi & Israel and the double-down in Yemen are the two moves to keep in mind moving forward. The second part of this new policy is the attempt to marginalize the extremist elements within the family and the habit of funding terrorist groups. This was most likely asked of the new Crown Prince by Trump and Tel Aviv.

The upcoming tension in Lebanon and the blowback of any policy to crackdown on Wahhabism locally should be the storylines readers (and listeners) following in the months ahead.

Episode can be found here. The full episode archive can be found here and on ITunes.


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Episode: Sanctions, What Are They Good For?


In this episode, I discuss sanctions and how they are sold to the general public. The recent sanctions placed on Russia (Trump’s trade war with China) are just the latest imperialist move from the United States Government….allies & common man be damned. I also touch on the US public’s rejection of the “Anti-Boycott Israel Act” and the continued selective outrage from the left in terms of the Trump presidency.

Image Source


Russian PM: “The U.S. Just Declared Full-Scale Trade War On Russia”
Collateral Damage
69% Oppose AIPAC’s ‘Israel Anti-Boycott Act’
Trump Says U.S. ‘Losing’ Afghan War in Tense Meeting With Generals
Trump To Launch Trade War With China On Friday, Beijing Vows Retaliation
Trump: “Thank Congress That US-Russia Relations Are At All-Time And Dangerous Lows”
FOIA Dump Reveals Collusion Between Lynch, FBI And Media To Bury Bill Clinton Meeting
How Russia Could Strike at the US in 5 Simple Maps

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Episode: A Game of Thrones

In this episode I update you on the situation between Turkey and it’s NATO allies, especially Germany. I cover the protests at the Temple Mount in Israel, and point out that India and China both have nukes and don’t like each other very much.

Episode Link

Photo credit


Mahmoud Abbas freezes contact with Israel over al-Aqsa
Six Killed, Hundreds Wounded as Violence Rages Across West Bank
US Urges All Nationals In North Korea To “Depart Immediately”, Bans Tourists From Visiting
Trump Ends Covert Aid to Syrian Rebels Trying to Topple Assad
Trump’s DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana
Germany overhauls Turkey policy
Germany continues war of words with Turkey, reviews arms sales
Turkey has over 680 German firms on terrorism black list: security source
Billions Of Lives At Stake As China Threatens India With War After “Blatant Sovereignty Infringement”

Episode: 20 Years in Prison for Boycotting a Foreign Government

I wasn’t planning on this episode. But an article over at The Intercept prompted me to drop everything and dive into this story: The US Congress has a bill, with support, to make it a felony to join any movements with the purpose of boycotting Israel. It carries a fine of 250k and up to 20 years in prison. Such a violation of the 1st Amendment.

So in this episode I break down this law, and the influence of the Israeli lobby behind it. I give some backstory of the Israel lobby in this country and how it’s interests are not Americans interest. No matter what DC tells you.

I also follow up on the Turkey-NATO split and the revenge killings in Mosul.

Episode link

Picture source

Content sources:

Revenge Attacks Grow in and Around ‘Liberated’ Mosul

A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm

AIPAC Still Our Biggest Foreign Agent

US Imperils Nuclear Deal With New Iran Sanctions

Why Isis Fighters Are Being Thrown Off Buildings in Mosul
Netanyahu: Israel Opposes Cease-fire Deal Reached by U.S. and Russia in Southern Syria

Pentagon Furious After Turkey Leaks U.S. Base Locations In Syria

Moral Opposition to the Occupation: It’s Stories From Israel Like This That Shape My Stance

Not much to say on this topic, that’s a lie. I have a lot to say, but my emotions get the best of me to be honest. The hypocrisy of an occupation, complete with racist settlers and ghettos, being perpetrated by members of THE traumatized ethnic group of the last century (and the militate support for their actions) on another population is really too much to discuss calmly. So, what I like to do is set the scene. There have been books written, documentaries made, whole websites dedicated to covering the unbelievable situation that has unfolded over the past 50 years.

Below is just a small section of an article I came across today from Haaretz, an left-leaning Israeli news organization. The article is about a group of conservative, American Rabbis, who took a trip to Hebron, West Bank, in the Occupied Territories to see for themselves what is taking place there. For some it was a return trip, for others it was their first time. The full article is worth a read, the section below describes what can be seen there:

Hebron is the only Palestinian city in the West Bank that has an Israeli settlement located within it. A total of about 850 Israelis (including about 200 yeshiva students, who are not full-time residents) live here among 200,000 Palestinians – among them, some of the most radical and violent settlers to have emerged during a half-century of occupation. To make sure that the city’s tiny Jewish population is protected, hundreds of Israeli soldiers patrol the streets here.

But even this very conspicuous military presence is not enough, as the rabbis on the tour soon learn. To avoid friction between the two hostile populations, Israel has imposed heavy restrictions on the movement of Palestinian residents in what used to be bustling downtown Hebron.

Bubis opens a map filled with a maze of different colored lines to illustrate her point. On roads delineated in purple, she points out, Palestinians cannot drive vehicles. On those marked with purple-and-gold stripes, not only are Palestinians prohibited from driving – they are not allowed to open businesses. On roads delineated in red, not only can they not drive or open businesses, they are not even permitted to walk. These red roads, the guide explains, are known in army jargon as “sterile.”

The situation for Palestinians has improved, Bubis acknowledges. Until just a few years ago, on streets where pedestrian movement was allowed, Palestinians were forced to walk down very narrow paths sealed off by barricades. Those barricades have since been removed. And until just a few years ago, along one of the city’s main streets, they were not allowed to exit their homes through the front door. Rather, they were forced to climb up onto their roofs and jump along the roofs of their neighbors to exit through a back way. Those restrictions are no longer enforced either.

This isn’t a political situation. This is a moral one. This is not a right or left issue or agenda, it is a human one. The groups involved make it a “third-rail” within polite political discussion. This I guess I understand, but I do not accept. The only thing rude is pretending this can be explained away.

Business As Usually for the US Empire Under Trump

Now I know it is shocking to read an article title such as this with a Republican in the White House. With all of Trump’s talk of trying not to get bogged down in Middle East conflicts and business of empire, he is doing a terrible job so far.

Save maybe his stance toward Russia, Trump’s administration is continuing to signal that not much is going to change in the next four years.

Starting with his first week in office, Mr. Trump signed off on the raid in Yemen without any intelligence which left civilians dead, including the young daughter of previously slain Anwar Al-Awlaki. This raid was a sloppy mess, producing no usable intel and included even a US casualty; the US Navy Seal Trump attempted to use as a political chess piece at his first speech to Congress.The target of the raid was not even killed, as in early March he released audio taunting the president.

Trump’s next Clinton-like idea came in the form of “safe zones” in Syria. An idea which much like Clinton’s “no-fly zone” would need to be administered over sovereign Syrian terrorist. All to help destabilize the hold the government has on it’s own country there.

Moving to this week, we see the rest of the policy coming into form. I previously wrote about the US airstrikes in Mosul that killed dozens of civilians. Well, that number is now in the HUNDREDS and has been confirmed by coalition forces. Any idea that Trump would be shifting policy in Iraq seemed to go out the window when the man that Trump defers to on all things military, General Mattis, stated that US troops will need to stay in Iraq “for years”. This will not be nation-building Mattis says, but just “stabilization”. We don’t know to pull out like that wimp Obama and create another vacuum for ISIS to fill…

As we move to the African continent, we are introduced to the great military mind US African Commander Gen. Thomas Waldhauser. This genius is petitioning the president to keep US forces in Libya to help combat ISIS, which has a presence of 200 total men in a country the size of the Northeast. This is to help “stabilize” the nation, and also to keep Russia from influencing the government there. Something that is supposed to the job of the United States.

Commander Walhauser also wants expanded presence in Somalia. Doubling down on the Syria-type engagement strategy here. Arming rebels, embedding US Special Forces, airstrikes and drones. This keeps the Marines off the ground and allows for some PR space back home.

As you can see from the laundry list of bad ideas, not much is going to change under Trump. Not that this is shocking to anyone. If anything, it helps to highlight how the empire works. No matter who is sitting in the Oval Office, the policy stays the same.

The only saving grace with Trump was supposed to be his views on Russia and NATO. But even that seems to just be window dressing. Yes, he is annoying our NATO and EU allies with his brash behavior during his meeting with German Chancellor Merkel and his applause for Brexit. But this isn’t keeping his underlings from moving the status quo forward.

Newly confirmed Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley can be found on video threatening sanctions on Russia unless they “give back” Crimea and “leave” Ukraine:

Lets not forget about the rouge-element within Congress in the form of John McCain. Sen. McCain has been cheer-leading for more NATO expansion in eastern Europe, including the welcoming of Montenegro into the alliance. A move that will surely be approved by Congress and the president, no matter what Rand Paul’s feelings are on the subject.

Sen. McCain has become the leading voice for Neo-Conservative, Liberal-Internationalist wing of Washington with Trump in office. Just this Friday, McCain spoke out in Brussels repeating his support for more EU and NATO cooperation in the region. Going as far as to say that the world “cries out for American and European leadership” and that “The New World Order is under enormous strain”. Music to my ears but disaster in McCain’s eyes.

As the Trump presidency continues to unfold, focus at least some of your attention away from the dumpster-fire which is domestic politics, and watch to see if there is any change in the foreign policy of the Empire.

The Reason Attacks Like London Will Not End Anytime Soon – 33 Civilians Dead in US Airstrike in Syira

My reaction to the attack in London today is sure to come with the comments I usually receive: “How can you blame the victim?!” “This is about their religion!” “So you are blaming the US (Britain)!?” Of course, that is not what I am doing. I have become a bit numb to the complete horror of these attacks. I do go directly to the idea of “Blowback” that was introduced by the CIA, and further introduced to me by Ron Paul.

While the mainstream media and extreme left will cover this attack as if it is an irrational attack by an individual from a small minority of an otherwise peaceful culture or religion, the radical viewpoint on this that will come both from the right and left will be to directly attribute this attack to he religion of Islam.

I reject both of these as stated earlier. As I wrote in my previous post, the rational explanation of why these types of attacks take place can be found in the daily news coming out of the Middle East.

I went over to and read the following article posted today: “US Airstrike Kills 33 Civilians Sheltering in Syrian School“. The article covers the most recent idiotic military operation by the US in Syria. Ready for this? The US airdropped Kurdish fighters into ISIS-controlled Raqqa in an attempt to “liberate” the city. To clear the are for the airdrop, the US first provided airstrikes. One airstrike struck a school housing refugees, killing 33 people according to The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The indifference in which we treat these massacres carried out by our governments lead to the lashing out of the violently oppressed. I won’t get into who the refugee crisis in Europe is directly related to the destruction of the refugees’ countries. A six year old can figure that out on their own.

On the surface this is a tragedy in its own right. But the response and reaction by the US military, media and Westerners alike is the real story. Responsibility is not taken for the airstrike, even denial is in the cards. CNN, FOX or MSNBC won’t touch this story.

Because of this, the everyday Westerner won’t have any reaction. There will be no hashtags or profile picture changes.

They will say that this is “the price of empire” or that this is just what happens in that part of world. Well, I can sadly say that attacks like the one in London is the real price of empire, and it too is just what happens in THAT part of the world.