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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:

Afrin

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 GiraldiAntiwar.com, 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.

Content

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

Image sources: 1234567

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Discussion: Would “Russiagate” Liberals Balk at a Trump/Putin Peace Deal?

I was listening to Scott Horton on the way to my 9-5 this morning and he laid out a policy move for Trump that I believe most rational people would applaud. Then I realized rationality has been thrown out the door since Trump became president.

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Everyone is a “Russian agent” nowadays. As the New York Times reporter Michelle Goldberg wrote in her recent “investigative” article (one that she has since admitted was bullshit), not only is anyone that points out the huge holes in the Russia story are agents of Putin, but also any historically conservative organizations that supported Trump: like the NRA.

With this in mind, back to Horton’s proposal. Scott suggests the following:

Donald Trump invites Putin to D.C., he tells Billy Kristol and the Democrats to go fly a kite and signs a peace deal over Syria AND sign a nuclear agreement deescalating the build up of nuclear weapons.

Now, I’m not saying that this is possible in the current climate or with the American Empire as it is. That is not the point of this exercise.

The question I am proposing for discussion is: What do you believe the establishment reaction to Trump doing this would be? What would Rachel Maddow, Jake Tapper and MSNBC’s reaction be? Are they so hysterical that they would look at it as “treason” or some other disloyal move by Trump? Or would they snap out of whatever cognitive dissidence allows them to hold the moral high ground and support the Deep State at the same time?

Looking to see what you guys think!

Image sources: 1234

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 Short: Required Reading 2

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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 – Jerusalem

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This episode took awhile for me to get recorded. I wanted to let Trump’s decision play out for a few, and I wanted to figure out from what angle I would come at this situation from. I decided to give my opinion on the announcement from the perspective of an American who lived through 9/11 and happens to think governments are just criminal gangs who answer to no one.

I know this decision has been rationalized by it’s supports from Israel because the Palestinians are Muslims with a culture that doesn’t vibe with my Western one. I should be on the side of the society which looks more like mine. But that is the society that continues to create situations which eventually end with Americans being attacked for our government’s absolute support for the Israeli State. So when I heard of Trump’s announcement, my anger came from two place:

  1. A right-wing government controlled by religious extremists which has treated the people they occupy like 2nd or 3rd class citizens. Sometimes, in the example of non-Jewish Israeli citizens living in “Israeli Proper”, they are 2nd class citizens. The extreme right in Israel looks upon the Arabs living among them (Christian and Muslim) as a population in the way. They would must rather have an ethno-state then a democracy. Trump’s decision legitimizes the actions and aspirations of this group. A group I despise, regardless of the ethnicity they want to spread.
  2. The government of the United States continues to put the wishes and wants of a foreign nation ahead of it’s own people. This isn’t new, and Israeli isn’t the only nation Washington whores itself out for. But it is the only nation that I am told is my “ally”, who I must support regardless of how immoral its actions are. Even when its influence leads to my government invading Iraq, killing hundreds of thousands and creating American vets with horrible mental and physical issues. Even when its influence push my country toward invasion of another sovereign nation (Iran). Even when that nation steals nuclear material, bombs US Seamen, openly supports Al – Qeada, declares 9/11 “good for Israel” and destroys the lives and careers of anyone who speaks out against United States material support for Israel.

I’m tired of living in a country which supports this regime. If proponents of Israel think they have the moral ground for their actions, fine; but acknowledge that this situation only exists because of US government and social support. And this American wants no part of it.

Quick Hits

  • In Yemen, the Houthi rebels killed the ex-president Saleh last week in reaction to rumors that Saleh was going to rekindle his relationship with the Saudis. Maybe as a result of this news, President Trump declared that the blockade of aid to the Yemeni people must end immediately. The word “aid” is important, as this in no way means the US has stopped supporting the Saudi slaughter in the Middle East’s poorest country.
  • In Syria, Israel has decided it can target and bomb installations in a sovereign nation without declaring war on it. They probably get this idea from the Americans who provide them with cover to violate whatever international laws they wish. The Israelis state that the places bombed were really Iranian bases, and that is all their supporters in the US needed to hear. Speaking of the Americans, the Pentagon has declared US troops will stay in Syria to help with “training and supporting” their allies. In reality, they will be violating the sovereignty of a nation they were not invited into, because “terrorism”.

Content

Episode can be found here…The full episode archive can be found hereand on ITunes.
DISCLAIMER: The YouTube version of this episode is not available at this time as I had issues doing the conversion.

Sources

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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Arabian Nights

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

Background

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.

Sources:

Image Source: 1 ,2345

The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Week Roundup – From Clinton to Riyadh

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In this episode we talk about the DNC’s civil war, Robert Mueller’s history, a Saudi “coup”, the end of ISIS and Kurdish independence.

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

Sources:

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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Oozing with Sarcasm

It’s been over a week since the last episode. In this one I talk about some stories about the CIA, news out of the Middle East, and why no one cares about the Clintons’ Russia collusion.

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

Image source

I bring you, the State of the Union by Joey “CoCo” Diaz (NSFW):

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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Just Play Football

Bright and early on a Sunday morning is a good time as any to record this week. I spend most of the time ranting about the situation with the NFL, and how the masses have taken over the political discussion in this country while solutions to the issues are put on the side. Virtue Signaling is the new activism. I also get into the Kurdish referendum and Catalonia’s attempt at it’s own.

Episode link here.

Full podcast archives can be found here. The podcast can also be downloaded from ITunes on any of the podcast apps you use.

Article to check out:

The Dancing Israelis – By Philip Giraldi

Sources

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Episode Preview: The Voluntary Exchange Podcast – Week of 9/28/2017

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Good morning!

This week was light on news, if you don’t really care about the NFL like me. I will speak on it a bit in this week’s episode though. I guess I have to. I want to talk more about the Kurdish Referendum and Catalonia. Along with a couple other stories I found interesting, this week’s episode will be more freeform then usual. Last week being ignored.

This week’s topics include:

Image source – Erbil