Iran

Foreign Policy Roundup – 8-18-19

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Tanker Wars


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Well, I guess Rand Paul didn’t do that well. I had finished recording my last video on Rand Paul being tapped to discuss peace with Iran, news broke that the US had shot down an Iranian drone. The US told the drone to back off, it didn’t, it was shot down. What a way to spoil diplomacy.

I wasn’t shocked to find out that Iran had denied that their drone was shot down. A +1 for Iran, they provided video footage of their drone returning to base safely. This was immediately denied by Trump and Western media. “Also doubt the Iranians. They are never honest”.

From there things continued to get more dramatic. Iran boarded two British tankers, the “Stena Impero” and the “Mesdar”. Iranian “fast boats” were used to direct these ships into Iranian water. Using “violations of maritime law” as an excuse to board the ships, the Iranians were following through on their promise to retaliate against British tankers in response to the Iranian tanker “Grace 1” taken by British forces near Gilbralter back at the beginning of July.


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This Iranian policy of theft on the high seas is definitely their way of showing their power in the actual gulf. A few stopped tankers and the world takes notice. Another British tanker was threatened but had an armed escort. The “Mesdar” was boarded, searched and released. The “Stena Impero” also had a weak escort, but the Iranian special forces beat them to the tanker:

After all this drama, and insanely heightened tensions between the US and Iran, STILL no war. In my video I talk about how all this being allowed to happen without a war breaking out bodes well for a path to a deal. Pompeo stated on Friday that “Iran needs to come to the table”. Trump now says he DID sign off on Rand Paul meeting with the Iranians.

So I guess there’s still a table. That’s always good. But there are those troops setting up shop in Saudi Arabia again…

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You can find the audio version of the episode here and on ITunes, and as always the video is available:

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Rand Paul Tapped For Negotiations With Iran

Big news in the search for a path to peace with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Late Wednesday afternoon, stories dropped that Senator Rand Paul had asked President Trump last weekend over a round of golf to allow him to meet with the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who is visiting New York City this week to meet with UN officials among others.

Paul has been a devoted critic of the administration’s policy with Iran. He took the president to task over his attempted coup in Venezuela, and spoke out strongly against Elliot Abrams getting anywhere close to a decision making position. He’s been a leader in the Senate in trying to end the horrific genocidal policy in Yemen and has pushed for cutting off foreign aid to all nations (including Israel) and halting all arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

He’s applauded President Trump for his talks with North Korea and his restraint in Syria. He went to Russia to invite them to D.C. to ease tensions in the face criticism from all of mainstream media & Congress.

He’s probably the only member of the government I have respect for. This development helps to confirm my suspicion that he’s had Trump’s ear in helping him fight off the Neoconservative & warhawk voices in his administration.

Comments this week from Trump, Pompeo and the acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper showed the tide might be turning back towards diplomacy and away from Mr. Mustache John Bolton’s bloody dreams. This move to give Rand Paul his shot all but confirms that.

He’s the best we can ask for right now. Hopefully, we’ll see him as the new Secretary of State in the next Trump administration.

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You can find the audio version of the episode here and on ITunes, and as always the video is available:

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Don’t Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran

Is Iran an enemy of the American people? Or is the American government and its allies the true enemy?

A recent article by Scott Horton in The National Interest listing all the ways that Iranian regime attempted to assist the United States in the War on Terror. If the American citizens living at that time were allowed to know about these attempts at corporation, they might be a bit confused why their government was denying assistance and demonizing Iran, while continuing to cozy up to the Saudis, Egyptians, Pakistanis and Gulf Nations, all whom had nationals involved in the 9/11 attacks. Below is a short list from the article:

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I Return to The Circus

I’ve taken some time off to try to focus on this thing called “life”. I discovered in the process that it is the best way to fight against all the darkness within politics and culture (see below):

I return to shine some light on the war hotspots of the day, what to be aware of going forward, and how to spot war propaganda.

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You can find the audio version of the episode here and on ITunes, and as always the video is available:

The Resistance Continues

In this episode, I discuss how General Mattis looks to be the voice of reason on having a war with Iran within the Trump administration, how the story of Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi is incredible, and finally the TSA’s shocking “Quiet Skies” program and how it violates all the rights.

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The Culture War Has Taken Over

I thought going into this recording that the ranting and scolding of America was behind me. However, as I was looking over the stories I planned to discuss, I realized that even straight forward stories of corruption and imperialism are now seen through such a partisan and political lens by the viewer (or listener), that simply providing the news isn’t enough anymore.

As the photo at the top illustrates, the world is upside down for common American. Someone still living with T.D.S. refuses to accept that Tucker Carlson on FOX NEWS is leading anti-war voice on their television. Principles have gone out the window, especially with much of the left.

 

Even sharing the interview from Carlson’s show above, with a caption reading something like: “Even FOX NEWS doesn’t want war with Iran!”, will be met with “Carlson is a racist!”. The ability to separate Team Blue vs. Team Red from rationally looking at events that any well-adjusted human would applaud has completely disappeared in mainstream, bar-hopping, Happy Hour circles. Only the extreme progressive left, like CODEPINKfor example, have been able to keep their sanity.

The “Never Trump” crowd, or the Irrational Minority, as I call them can’t even take a step back when CNN and MSNBC describe the idea floated by Rand Paul and President Trump to take security clearance away from former heads of the CIA & NSA as “Erdogan’s Turkey”. Now I understand that Trump is using this as a power move, but the crimes and lies of the men and women he is talking about stripping of these powers are completely ignored by the hysterics. Even when placed firmly in their faces:

 

The Rational Majority is able to praise Donald Trump for meeting with North Korea. They are able to take a critical and contextual look at stories that come out only days after the summit stating that Kim has already begun ignoring his promises. The may, at the very least, question the motives of such stories. Understanding that the same outlets providing these narratives pushed war in the past.

The Irrational Minority is unable to do so. They jump at the chance to have a story prove what they already know, that Donald Trump can only destroy the world. Providing them deeply researched articles showing the opposite is no use. Their minds can not handle the idea.

My attempt to discuss the new push for war with Iran, and any nuances are ruined by the fact that it’s Trump’s administration doing the pushing. No explanation of how the neoconservatives within his circles are the ones really looking for “boots on the ground”, maybe not Trump himself.

Pointing out the media’s tame response to The Orange Man’s all caps attack on the Iranian President is lost on people.

The media has them by the balls mentally. They are eating right out of Jack Tapper’s hand. And in effect, the Deep State, the War Party, the same people that Michael Moore made his millions attacking in his movies.

Content

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

 

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Memorial Day Roundup

This episode was meant to be in two parts. As I was researching, it was clear there were a ton of stories to breakdown. So I decided to do an overview of many, with rabbit-holes-a-plenty linked to within this article.

Iran

The two bureaucratic moves that caught my interest are both positive, if war with Iran is something you wish to avoid.

The EU Commission used a legislative weapon called the “blocking statute”, which in this case forbids EU based companies from complying with the new US sanctions placed on Iran. As insanely authoritarian and dystopian as that is, it does give individual EU companies that wanted to ignore Washington’s orders political and legal cover to do so.

The second act of a legislature came from the US House. Which passed an amendment to this year’s NDAA unanimously stating that the Trump administration has “no legal authorization for war with Iran”. The amendment can be removed in the Senate, where the real war hawks are. The vote is still interesting with a Republican controlled House.

John Bolton’s plans seem to be slowed for another week.

North Korea

This is where things get weird.

Donald Trump continues to drop in Hail Marys, and it’s starting to look like he has a plan. One that our friend John Bolton is not happy about.

To sum up the drama quickly, let’s start with Mr. Bolton. Two weeks ago now, Bolton provided comment about North Korea, including language about how a deal with North Korea should be in the “Libya model”. This translates into “regime change and violent death of former US-backed dictator”; or Iraq, Libya, and attempted Syria. Don’t forget this is same plan Bolton and his neoconservative allies have for Iran.

Needless to say, North Korea did not take kindly to this suggestion from Bolton. Further tension when the Vice President repeated Bolton’s narrative. Leaving to Trump to back things off, and cancel the summit in the process. A move the media attacks him for, when a month ago they were outraged he set it up in the first place. But I move on.

So the world was ending again, in nuclear flame at Donald Trump’s hand. When out of nowhere, South Korean president Mooon Jae-in returns from North Korea on Saturday and confirms that Kim and North Korea are still “committed to the summit” on June 12. The US followed up by sending officials to the truce-village of Panmunjom, to meet with North Koreans officials. Let’s see how this goes.

Israel/Gaza

Bibi is pushing his luck. While he tries (again) to sell the world on Iranian plans for nuclear domination, the domestic events within Israel or the occupied territories are killing Israeli PR in the West.

The move of the US embassy to Jerusalem is actually taking place, and that has of course raised tensions in the West Bank, its the open brutality at the border fences in Gaza that has pierced the minds of a Western (liberal) audience that usually publicly ignores this topic.

I won’t go into the history of this conflict, but the numbers of injured and dead I think speaks for itself. 62 Palestinians killed, with 3200 injured on May 14th. Included in that were 18 paramedics. One of which did an interview with Electronic Intifada, a Palestinian online media operation that clearly has a bias, but does actual journalism. Lacking more and more no matter the slant you come with.

Long time followers of this conflict understand that Gaza is in its end game, an 11 year blockade, no airspace, coastline control, sparse electricity, the age of the population; these things taken into account, no matter who you blame for them, pushed these protests. The same story plays out. A violent factor is always included on the Palestinian side, which is a “duh” for me at this point. Israel responses with collective punishment, relying on its cover in the political and media realm.

This is getting harder. With stories and imaged getting out more and more, the everyday voter in the Western world is becomes more aware, and in turn the politician who wants that vote will begin voicing opposition to Israeli “tactics”, which is a start.

Torture Queen

Haspel has been confirmed for some time, so lets not dwell there. Sam Husseini, a writer with Consortium Newsasks an interesting questionregarding the torture that took place during Haspel’s time in Thailand: Was torture the tool to build the Iraq War lie?

Instead of just chalking up the torture of Abu Zubaydah to sadism on Haspel’s part, let’s think for a minute. The tapes of him being waterboarded 83 times in a month are gone. So is the evidence of his head being slammed against the wall. No information was collected from his time there. But what were the questions? Where the tapes destroyed more to cover up the nature of the interrogations then the graphic violence?

Lawrence Wikerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, says that Powell knew the “evidence” he used at the UN was the result of torture. For example, the 2014 Senate torture report makes it known that Ibn Shaykh al-Libi told Egyptian authorities that Saddam had provided Al-Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons assistance. A hilarious story on the face of it. Was he asked this outright? To build on the narrative? al-Libi recanted his statement, after he was sent to America’s buddy Gaddafi. Where Ibn Shaykh al-Libi committed suicide…

Yemen

The war in Yemen has been a topic on my show since I began to take it seriously. My first episode on the conflict is still my most downloaded. In the future, hopefully, Yemen will be Obama’s war crime.

The Shite Houthis from the north of the country are running out of port cities within their control. The last one they hold is the city of Hodeichh. The Yemeni army, backed by Saudi Arabia and the United States, has taken control of a neighboring town and may soon be in position to take Hodeichh.

Hodeichh is the last port in which humanitarian aid can get to the civilian population in the north of the country. The crisis in Yemen has reached historic heights.

The Yemeni ambassador to UNESCO Ahmad al-Sayyad suggests that Saudi Arabia and the UAE(United Arab Emirates) would strike a deal to divide Yemen. The UAE has been involved with the fight against the Houthis in the south of the country, where the capital and government control was concentrated. The Saudi-backed puppet Hadi, who was forced out of power when the Houthis took the capital and now lives under house arrest in Riyadh, would like very much to be placed back on his throne. But the ambassador makes a good point. What do the Saudis care about Hadi’s feelings? They could give concessions to UAE, with a guarantee for continued help in the north fighting the Houthis and “Iranian influence”.

The Great Syrian Highway

While the war in Syria continues to get more complex and closer to exploding on a global scale, on the ground it the same weird stories all wars have.

I read a story by Moon of Alabama about the M5 Highway. This highway is the economic lifeblood of Syria, connecting Turkey to Jordan, and providing most of the traffic between the Gulf States and Turkey. Parts of it have been under rebel and ISIS control, but if you follow the victories and expansion of territory by the Syrian army over the last year you see that almost all of the highway is back under government control.

The highway hits all Syrian major cites: Aleppo, Homs, Hama, and Damascus. Turkey, Russia, Syria, Jordan, the gulf states all want this highway open and functioning. Talks were held in Kazakhstan on May 14-15 between Turkey, Russia and Iran about Syria. This was the 9th of their kind. No progress was made, but the highway might have been a topic of discussion. If not this time, then in the past. Both parties did confirm that the “integrity of Syria” is still the agreed upon plan, kicking the ball back into the United States’ court, since it continues to occupy a good portion of the east of the country.

Content

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

Bibi Youtubes for War

This war is going to be sold a little bit different, but it’s going to be sold.

In this episode I break down Benjamin Netanyahu’s lies about Iran and how his “evidence” is all old news. His presentation is for a “audience of one” and outlandish in its smugness. He doesn’t even attempt to proof-read or hide the inconsistencies.

I cover the attacks by Israel on Syrian military bases and within the Golan Heights. This war is hot and tensions are high.

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

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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Imperial Dilemma

Korea

I like the way Justin Raimondo puts it in the title of his latest piece, “Peace breaking out”. The current state of affairs in Korea is really quite amazing. We have the totalitarian dictator from the north, and the liberal republican type from the south, drawing tensions down at a very quick pace, and the world liberal order is worried it might be losing its influence. Even going as far as talking about preemptive war if those damn Koreas keep getting along.

The mainstream line on the situation is that the north is simply buying time to test more nukes, that they don’t have their hearts in it. Who cares about the motivation? With the Olympics coming up, both governments agreed to march under an united flag. The announcement of a joint Women’s ice hockey team also peaks my interest. There have been agreements on reestablishing a hotline between the two leaders, along with talks about a family reunion program being created.

All of this is bad for the neoconservatives, John Bolton nationalists, or the Hillary Clinton liberal internationalists. The racism of low expectations must continue to be the curtain covering the imperial nature of our role in that region of the world. The South Koreas need to need the United States. The arguments from pundits on mainstream TV describe this reopening of dialog as “driving a wedge” between the South and its imperial masters. Americans don’t know that South Koreans sometime protest the presence of US troops there.

If Trump could stay somewhat true to his campaign talk about “America First”, maybe he can see the savings that could be had by using this opportunity to take a back seat for awhile. The South has asked the US to halt military drills until the Olympics are over. Trump should agree to that publicly, see what happens.

Iran

Iran has been in the cross-hairs of the United States in someway in another for almost as long as North Korea has. After the protests last week, every hawk in Washington wanted Trump to use the opportunity to push Iran. The bet was on Trump ripping up the Nuclear Deal. Turns out they were wrong. Trump will be keeping the deal, mostly on the request of European allies. In this case, Trump’s lack of “nationalism” actually helps the American people.

At the same time, the false allegations against Iran for violations of the Nuclear Deal continue. The ability of the US to push this narrative in the face of all evidence shows the disconnect between reality and the American media consumer. Iran has threatened to leave the IAEA, a move that North Korea took on its way to a true “rogue” nuclear power.

Nick Turse & Special Operations

It might be the simple way he attacks the story, but Nick Turse is one of my favorite reports. His continued coverage of AFRICOM and overall US Special Operations policy in the world never has holes. Taking his sources directly from Freedom of Information Act results, it’s the raw stuff. He has a new article out about the coming year in Special Operations.

Trump all but promised to expand the Special Operations budget when he took office. Removing restrictions on what the military can do, and allowing lower level officers to make larger decisions, we should know where this is going. Every type of “Expendables” fantasy would be funded with little oversight. The numbers in 2017 are shocking. Operations took place in a record 149 nations in 2017, 33 of those countries were in Africa. That number is also up. I’ve written about the expansion of the drone program into Africa.

The bulk of the troops are still found in the Middle East, but the percentage is down to 54%. NATO’s war games in Eastern Europe have the European number up 10% from last year. If Trump’s eyes ever turn to Ukraine, it could go either way. If McCain is in his ear, we could have real bad news. However, I personal lean the other way on this, which is way I think the topic is left out of Trump’s view.

MSNBC: What’s Yemen?

Whenever I have a chance to embarrass MSNBC I’m going to take it. FAIR has analyzed their coverage from 2017, and focused on two very special subjects; Russia & Yemen. Now for Russia they were really looking at stupid “Trump Loves Putin” drama, and boy did they find some. There was nearly no coverage of Yemen in the 2nd half of 2017, with it only being noted once the whole year. When it was mentioned, what was left out is the story. No talk of cholera, US targeting and refueling help, the blockade on aid, civilian bombings, or the arms deals Obama made with the Saudis to fund this “war”.

In compassion, Trump & Russia was mentioned 5000% more.

Huge Rise in Civilian Deaths

survey was done by “Action of Armed Violence” looking at the civilian deaths of conflicts in the Middle East during the last year. The deaths have doubled. Doubled. Air campaigns by the US & Russia have accounted for 15 thousand deaths from airstrikes, a rise of 42%. With the warfare being focused in urban areas condensed with a large population, operations in places like Mosul & Raqqa showed shocking numbers.

Russian Base in Syria Attacked with Al Qeada’s Air Force

A Russian base in Syria was attacked in the middle of the night by 13 armed drones. The attack came from the US backed rebel forces in the country, making one wonder how out of control our policy in that country has become. Are we really training terrorists in Jordan, arming them with drones, and letting them go attack Russian bases in the middle of the night? If this isn’t our policy, our policy got us here.

Content

The episode can be found here and the full archive can be found on Podomatic or Itunes. The Youtube is below.