Iran

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.

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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.

Content

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

Sources

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / WordPress / Patreon

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.

The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Persian Winter

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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.

Content

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

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

Iranian – Funded Terrorist Group (ISIS) Attacks Iranian Parliament 

ISIS raids Iranian parliament, and the US media and Saudi Arabia tries to sell Americans on Iran being the world’s largest supporter of terror. 

Anyone with a Wikipedia-level understanding of the Middle East knows that ISIS and Iran are enemies, and the US has been fighting WITH Iran in Iraq against ISIS.
Sorry FOX News, John McCain and Bill Kristol. 

Thomas Friedman Asks, Why Not Arm ISIS?

Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist who has more interest in selling the American people on Israeli policy than keeping them safe, suggested that we discuss the following question. Why should America fight another war for Iran in Iraq?

Now I despise ISIS as much as anyone, but let me just toss out a different question: Should we be arming ISIS? Or let me ask that differently: Why are we, for the third time since 9/11, fighting a war on behalf of Iran?

In 2002, we destroyed Iran’s main Sunni foe in Afghanistan (the Taliban regime). In 2003, we destroyed Iran’s main Sunni foe in the Arab world (Saddam Hussein). But because we failed to erect a self-sustaining pluralistic order, which could have been a durable counterbalance to Iran, we created a vacuum in both Iraq and the wider Sunni Arab world. That is why Tehran’s proxies now indirectly dominate four Arab capitals: Beirut, Damascus, Sana and Baghdad.

ISIS, with all its awfulness, emerged as the homegrown Sunni Arab response to this crushing defeat of Sunni Arabism — mixing old pro-Saddam Baathists with medieval Sunni religious fanatics with a collection of ideologues, misfits and adventure-seekers from around the Sunni Muslim world. Obviously, I abhor ISIS and don’t want to see it spread or take over Iraq. I simply raise this question rhetorically because no one else is: Why is it in our interest to destroy the last Sunni bulwark to a total Iranian takeover of Iraq? Because the Shiite militias now leading the fight against ISIS will rule better? Really?

Source

Simple answer to this is, America shouldn’t.

But Friedman doesn’t want to NOT fight a war, he just fears Shite Iran running Iraq. Why? Because this is what the Israel state fears. Instead, like major players in Israel, Mr. Friedman wants us to ponder the idea of supplying ISIS (Al Qeada) with weapons to fight against the Shites. Israel is already providing medical aid to Syrian rebel fighters sworn to Jaba Al Nusra, Al Qeada’s wing in Syria. The lesser of two evils for Israel is having unorganized Sunni groups running rough-shot over the countryside. Thomas Friedman thinks you should agree.

Even Mossad is warning the Israeli government & the US against more sanctions on Iran.

Israel source says leaked report of Netanyahu-Mossad rift on Iran sanctions is ‘Obama’s revenge’

Israeli officials in Jerusalem told Army Radio on Thursday that a report in Bloomberg highlighting the rift between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the vaunted intelligence agency Mossad over Iran sanctions was “the Obama administration’s revenge” over the Republican-controlled Congress’ invitation to the premier to speak before a joint session without consulting the White House.

According to the report, officials from Mossad have lobbied Congressional and administration officials to refrain from imposing new sanctions against Iran for fear that it would lead to a collapse of the Western powers’ talks with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program.

The White House expressed anger over the invite extended to Netanyahu, calling it “a departure from protocol.”

Tzachi Hanegbi, the deputy foreign minister and a Netanyahu ally from the ruling Likud party, told Army Radio that the invite extended to Netanyahu was an attempt by the Republicans to embarrass President Barack Obama.

“There’s tremendous tension between Congress and the administration, and that’s nothing new,” Hanegbi said. “The new Congress was elected just a few weeks ago. There’s been a change in control.”

“Now the Republicans are the majority,” Hanegbi said. “They’re happy about this, and they will look to be a thorn in the president’s side in the remaining two years of his term, while the president will ignore them and continue to implement the policy in which he believes as much as he can.”

“Israel has no interest in being involved in these matters,” Hanegbi said.

Mossad-Backed Jundallah Pledges Support for ISIS

Antiwar.com reports that a terrorist group formerly and openly funded by both the CIA and Israeli intelligence has joined ISIS. The post includes multiple sources including stories from Foreign Policy.

In a statement today Jundallah, a high-profile Balochistan-based Islamist faction, announced that it is pledging loyalty to ISIS, and will back “whatever plans they have” going forward. The move follows reports from the Associated Press last week that the group’s leadership was meeting with ISIS members.

Jundallah is primarily a Balochistan separatist group, active in both Pakistan’s far west and in southeastern Iran. In recent years, the group’s attacks have mostly centered on Iran, and there is evidence they have been backedby Israel’s Mossad in doing so.

Jundallah was originally an ally of al-Qaeda, but had a falling out with them in 2003. The group then started getting funding from what they claimed were CIA agents, and there was ample evidence at the time that it was the US funding them.

Hilary Clinton, The Warhawk Democrat Candidate

Steve Chapman over at Reason has a great piece on the “front-runner” for 2016 on the Democrat side of the ticket. Chapman breaks down Hilary’s past war-loving ways.

 Like the Iraq invasion:

 

“Unlike Obama, Clinton supported the Iraq invasion. In the months before the war, she defended Bush’s handling of Saddam Hussein in a way calculated to make her look presidential. “I know a little bit about what it’s like on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, making these difficult decisions,” she confided””.

 And the Afghanistan “Surge”:

“In Afghanistan, she favored a bigger troop surge than the one Obama eventually approved, and again, she wanted American forces to leave later rather than sooner. The earlier departure, she warned the president, “would signal we were abandoning Afghanistan,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote in his memoirs.”

 Let’s not forget Libya of course:

 

“The civil war in Libya was just another chance to do that. While Gates was highlighting the dangers of getting pulled into the conflict, Clinton was dying to scratch her chronically itchy trigger finger. A big reason the president eventually agreed to bomb Libyan targets was that, as Gates pointed out, Clinton was pushing him so hard in that direction.”

 Most recently, arming Al-Qeada in Syria:

 

“When an insurgency erupted there, Time magazine’s Michael Crowley reports, “she teamed up with CIA Director David Petraeus to devise a plan to arm and train moderate rebel factions”—a plan similar to what John McCain was demanding. This time, though, Obama decided the risks were too great.”

Here is a nice article about those very rebels crucifying people in Syria.

 She also is a great proponent of “pre-emptive” strikes on Iran:

 

“Going back to 2007, she has stressed the option of launching airstrikes to keep Tehran from getting the bomb. Like most in her camp, she acts as though a pre-emptive attack would be quick and easy—instead of being the opening round of a war that would not stick to her script any more than Iraq stuck to Bush’s.”

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