politics

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.

What I Learned from “Professor” Scott Horton About the War on Terror

Recently I had the opportunity to sit in on a webinar given by Scott Horton for Thaddeus Russell’s Renegade University program. Horton’s topic was the history of the War on Terror. Now, I listen to every interview Horton does, and spend a good amount of time reading everything at Antiwar.com. So I thought I knew all I could know about the War on Terror. I was wrong.

Horton provided a Powerpoint along with a Q & A. I decided to take notes over the three hours and see if Horton provided anything I hadn’t heard before that I could research or read in my spare time. Thought I would share what I found here.

“Islamic Terror” Not Just About Islam

Horton provided a bunch of examples showing that just because a country or people are Muslim, or even have issues with American policy, doesn’t mean that they will take to blowing themselves up to kill Americans.

In Bin Laden’s 1998 “Declaration of War Against Jews and Crusaders”, he speaks to the reasons for declaring war on the West. While the language includes talk of religion, the main argument is the American support for violent dictators in the Arab world, support for Israel, and the decade long bombing campaign on Iraq.

It’s when innocent people are being killed that groups like Al Qeada begin to gain support and popularity. For example, Iran has been in the cross-hairs of the United States for half a century now. Within that time, the only events in which Iranian citizens took arms against Americans include Americans on Iranian soil. Even with the sanctions, threats of war, insults by Western leaders and dozens of bases (and a full naval fleet) surrounding the country, Iranians are not looking for ways to sneak into America and kill innocent people.

Horton points to the writing of Robert Pape, the author of Dying to Warand the idea of “Credible Belief” as a main cause of terrorism. Remember, there were zero suicide bombing in Iraq before the United States invasion in 2003. To take it as far as suicide vests, there has to be a feeling that there can be victory. Whatever that is defined as. Bin Laden’s goal was never to defeat the United States army on the battlefield, but to bankrupt America, financially and emotionally. Without being invested at the highest level, no amount of convincing can make a population resist the way the people of Middle East have. We sa this with the Shite Iraqi army turning tail and running when ISIS was riding into Mosul in 2014. The Sunni tribal areas of northern Iraq are not the home of these Shites. They feel no connection to them or have any sense of urgency to keep them under Baghdad control. Horton provided another such example. The Spanish during the Iraq War refused to send troops to help it’s American allies. Why? Not their fight. How was assisting the United States in occupying Iraq going to protect the Spanish homeland?

You only need to look at the major leaders inside Al Qeada and ISIS to understand that occupation and domination are the driving factors of terrorism. Before 2004, there were no Al Qeada in Iraq. The leaders of this group, Ayman al-Zawahri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi were both radicalized by seeing family members tortured by the US or its puppet dictators (the Egyptian government for example), or by being tortured themselves. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi himself spent time in Abu Ghraib. Growing up in an environment of occupation lent itself to young men growing up ready to turn to terrorism and militancy. Must like growing up in a gang infected neighborhood leads to most young boys joining up at a young age.

In current events we see this also. The current “Knife Intifada” in the West Bank is a prime example given by Horton. Western, “millennial” Palestinians have taken to knifing Israeli settlers and checkpoint guards. Is this for the glory of Muhammad? Or is it more likely that it is because they have lived under occupation their whole lives? Resisting the only way they know how.

It is not like the talking heads and policy makers in Washington D.C. haven’t done everything but admitted in the past that terrorism is the “price of empire”. In the 1990s the Joint Chiefs of Staff stated that the threat of Terrorism is a “small price to pay for being a Superpower”. In their arrogance they blind themselves from the reactions and results of their stupid policies. Like Paul Wolfowitz said when discussing the reasons for 9/11, it’s not like the United States had troops in Afghanistan prior to that day. His hubris allows him to ignore the fact that there were troops in Saudi Arabia for a full decade before, one of the major reasons Bin Laden sites for declaring war.

Blowback is a Hell of A Term

The idea of “blowback” is one I’ve been aware of since Ron Paul dropped the mic on Rudy Guliani’s face back in 2008. Chalmers Johnson helped expand my understanding of it, and I thought I had all the points I’d ever need to get the theory across to people.

Horton gave a laundry list of examples of “we should have seen this coming” moments. He sites Eric Margolis in his book “War at the Top of the World”. Margolis was on the ground in Afghanistan during the fight against the USSR in the 1980s. He was around members of the Mujaheddin like Abdullah Yusuf Azzam. Azzam told Margolis that once they were done kicking the invading Soviets out of Afghanistan, they would “come for the Americans”. The leaders in that movement understood the reasons they were being helped by the Americans, and it wasn’t out of the goodness of Reagan’s heart.

Horton even brings Rambo III into the discussion. Pointing to a scene in which an officer to told by a fellow solder that Afghans have been invaded throughout their history. Fighting occupation is what they do, and no amount of firepower will stop them from resisting.

The same can be said about Clinton and Bosnian Muslims during the 1990s. Clinton provided aid to a number of different Sunni radical groups during that time. Muslims in Chechyna, Bosnia, Kosovo and even the Ughurs in China accepted weapons from the Pentagon to help with their cause. All the while never seeing America as a true friend to the cause. Clinton enjoyed using these Sunni radicals as covert forces so much, that he missed on at least ten opportunities to kill/capture Bin Laden throughout the 1990s according to Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden Unit.

It should not have taken until 2008 for Americans to be introduced to the idea of Blowback. But once the troops began coming back home, along with the stories and evidence of what was being done, a slow burn of war fatigue began to set in.

War for Empire and Nothing Else

Horton provided a number of examples when the regime in Washington showed their true colors and I have included those below for your viewing pleasure:

The clip below is pretty famous. Madeline Albright in 1997 all but admits on camera that the Gulf War and the Clinton policy of sanctions, no-fly zones and bombings throughout the 90s had no root in humanitarianism. The opposite is more accurate.

I will leave you with the most damning evidence of “Empire First, America Second”. But before the video, let me lay out some quick connections that Horton opened by eyes to.

The invasion of Afghanistan was sold to the American people as an action to get the people responsible for 9/11. But it should have quickly became clear that this invasion was just another chess move in the game of geopolitical hegemony. Afghanistan sits in the middle of the Eurasian continent, mineral rich and strategically important. It’s the reason the Soviets invaded in the 80s in the first place. It’s the reason the British and the Russians have been racing towards the country for centuries.

The Korengal Valley is a place we can point to for proof that the mission is not about the security of America. The valley is a place that is impossible to control, but it is an important transportation route for weapons in and out of Afghanistan towards Pakistan. The documentary “Restrapo” details the complete stupidity of the mission, providing you with two hours of opportunities to say “what the fuck are those troops there for?”. Whether its the pointless patrols of the US troops through the villages within the valley, or listening to the interviews with the Marines stuck there fighting for the brother next to them, the whole movie exposes the idiotic mission.

So again, I leave you with the most jaw-dropping example of clear disregard for the wants and needs of the American people in the name of Empire and Pentagon bank accounts, President Bush only 6 MONTHS after the towers fell admitting to reporters that he doesn’t consider Bin Fucking Laden a major point of interest in the newly declared War on Terror.

 

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.

A Year in Review – 2017

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2017 was a landmark year. Most people will say that is because of the election of Donald Trump. For me, it was the year that I realized that discussing politics had become almost impossible. The election of Trump allowed the emotional masses their opportunity to express their opinions, and man did it muddy the waters.

The reaction to Trump’s election forced me to disconnect from friends, shut down by Facebook, and retreat to simply providing my perspective letting people do with it as they please. Steemit helped me out in a major way, as the political discussions here are civil and based in facts (mostly). Getting screamed at by friends who hadn’t spent more than 15 minutes in the last 8 years reading up on a political story, or educating themselves on some belief they have.

Anyway, this episode is my opinion on what were the important things to take from this year. The list below contains some of what is covered:

  • Russia/Deep State “Scandal”
  • Irrationality of the Anti-Trumpers
  • Alt-Right/SJWs
  • The rise of cryptocurrency

I hope you enjoy the episode and here’s to a happy and healthy 2018!

Content

Episode can be found here…The full episode archive 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: Biblical Proporations

Sinai

This episode is focused mostly on the recent attack on a Sufi Islamic mosque in the Egyptian village of Biral-Abud. The village is located on the Sinai Peninsula, an area of Egypt that the central government in Cairo has little control over. What has grown in place of the military dictatorship Sinai has been Al Qeada, and more recently ISIS.

This attack was carried out by an regional ISIS cell which the newspapers call “Sinai Province”. Lead by Muhammad al-Iswai, this group has been expanding their control over the northern part of the Sinai. This is the area closest to the Gaza Strip, and of course Israel. An attack this one, or the more shocking downing of a Russian jetliner, definitely gets the attention of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

It is important to remember the Sinai Peninsula borders the Red Sea, which has a large tourism economy. The eastern coast of the Suez Canal also sits in on the Peninsula. An unstable Sinai is an international issue. Since Al Qeada began operating in the region in 2011, gas pipelines, the Canal and US troops have been in danger of attacks by Al Qeada and now ISIS.

Because of the disfranchisement of the Bedouin tribes of the Sinai, Cairo is dealing with a situation much like the tribal areas of Iraq or Afghanistan. Tribal leadership is the law of the land, and tribes either cooperate with the extremist groups or they fight them. The Sinai is no different. Stories of violence by Bedouin tribes against ISIS men in Sinai is not uncommon.

The reasons we can draw for the attack are many. Sufi Islam was founded in this small village, which groups like ISIS see as a crime against Islam. A more secular reason could be that that the Sufis have been working with the central authorities in Cairo to stop the growth of ISIS. This seems to me to make more sense, with religion has the cover. Further still, ISIS has been moving into tribal gang turf, as the Bedouins are in control of the smuggling of goods in Gaza. Attacks have taken place on both sides over these smuggling operations.

Israel has taken special interest in the Sinai, going back to the wars of the late 60s and 70s. The results of the Camp David Accords of 1979 still hold, as Egypt has to get Israeli approval for troop numbers within the Sinai. Israel has had talks about purchasing the Sinai Penensula from Egypt, helping to bring the right-wing in Israel it’s “fix” for the Gaza situation. The “Greater Gaza” idea is a real one, and includes moving the Arab population from Gaza to the Sinai, or at least expand the Strip south. By expanding Gaza, the hope is for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem to relocate, giving Israel full open range to settle the West Bank.

The “Greater Gaza” plan has the blessing of the United States. As does closer cooperation with Egypt and Israel. Joining this group more publicly then previously has been Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have been working more closely with Israel, and with MSB at the head of the royal family, he is cracking down on the extremist element within his Kingdom. This has to be at the request of Washington and Tel Aviv.

The attack has been used by MSB to help sell his new counter-terrorism group, which includes 40 Muslim countries.

Quick Hits

  • The Pentagon has been caught trying to cover up child abuse by Afghan security forces. Troops had admitted in an Inspector General’s report that they had been ordered to “ignore” the sexual abuse of children by the security forces they train.
  • Also in Afghanistan, the Trump administration has decided to start bombing opium production in the country. Once a crop our troops protected, recently the Taliban has taken over the trade from US allies, making the Pentagon have to make a 180 on heroin production in Afghanistan. This does give the military another excuse to continue the occupation that has gone on for over a decade.
  • Peace talks in Geneva about the war in Syria went “nowhere” this week. With the West still pushing for Assad to step down, there is no chance for any agreement on terms while Assad holds a major upper hand on the ground in Syria.
  • News has surfaced confirming what most already knew, the Pentagon has been lying about the number of troops in Iraq & Syria. The “official” numbers showed 500 troops in Syria, with another 5000 in Iraq. In reality, the numbers in Syria total 1700, with over 9000 in Iraq. This should be bigger news, but with CNN busy “getting” Trump, this story won’t become a scandal.

Content

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

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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Not-So-Grand Chessboard

I thought this week I’d hit on a bunch of different geopolitical situations that could escalate in the near future.

Ukraine

Ukraine has been in the middle of low-energy civil war since the coup that took place in early 2014. It set the pro-EU, anti-Russian west against the Russian-speaking, breakaway west. Ukraine has always been a country trying to find an identity. Its borders have changed and so have its allegiances. At one time, it was part of Russia. For a long time in fact. It was called “Little Russia” for parts of the Middle Ages, and Russian leaders have always looked that it as part of Russian history.

The western area has felt more at home with the West. Parts of it were part of the Polish Kingdom, before breaking off and joining Great Russia in 1654 with the signing of the Treaty of Pereyaslav. The western region has more recently has tried to outlaw the Russian language in Ukraine, and in the past they called Russian-speakers “Cossaks”, much like the Poles did.

Currently, the war has been more of a cold one. With the eastern regions continuing to support Russia, with Moscow expanding its influence over the area. The Ukrainian government from Kiev, and the Neo-Nazi political party that the United States helped take over, has seen the army become “fatigued”, as most soldiers not on either extreme sides of the conflict. Much like the American Civil War, fighting your “brother” can become tiresome.

Germany vs Poland

An interesting development has come up in Poland. Poland has recently been controlled by a more right-wing, anti-EU party. Poland looks to gain back its national sovereignty from Brussels and the Neo-Liberals in Germany. It has refused to accept even one Muslim migrant, and thinks pretty highly of Donald Trump.

Poland’s refusal to play ball has lead Germany to support regime change. They have gone so far as to have the Germany Defense Minister call for support of the new “youth resistance” in Poland. This “resistance” has been linked to George Soros, and seems to be another “color revolution”. There have been a long history of these color revolutions in Europe, a few in Ukraine in the 2000s, before the successfully violent one in 2014.

Poland has pushed the envelope, looking to create its own “bloc” in Europe. This bloc would be built out of the “Three Seas Initiative”. The initiative aims to bring together three different blocs within Europe, offering national sovereignty and some breathing room from the over-bearing governance of the EU. Some are calling the bloc: “Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 2.0”. This does not sit well with Angela Merkel and her friends in Brussels.

The bloc would also be very anti-Russian, which would date back to the days of Communism.

Libya

The news out of Libya isn’t really news at all. The story here is that CNN has finally decided to cover the ongoing slave trade in the country. This was being reported on by actual journalists back as far as April of this year, maybe before. CNN took it’s time for a few reasons I’m sure.

During the revolt against Gaddafi, CNN took its talking points from the CIA-backed rebels on the ground. The rebels (the ones Hillary is so happy to take pictures with) made it clear that all black African migrants were really “mercenaries” brought in my Gaddafi to protect his regime. In reality, these migrants were brought in as workers by Gaddafi for development projects. But CNN ran with the “mercenary” term, giving the rebels the look of “freedom fighters” killing the evil mercenaries brought in by the evil dictator to stomp out any uprising.

These African migrants were hunted down and killed in large numbers. The ones that weren’t killed, are the slaves you seen CNN talking about today.

The whole war was based off a lie. A lie that Gaddafi was going to slaughter his citizens in the streets. A story that has been debunked ever since.

In a war that has been dubbed “Hillary’s War”, it was exposed by Wikileaks that Clinton knew about the targeting of migrants, but she was more than happy to ignore that to achieve her end goals.

The reason I believe that this is finally seeing the light of day is simple. The United States wants to expand its imperial footprint in Africa (something I covered in a previous episode), and what better way to sell that to the American people then to tell them there is an actual slave trade going on. CNN of course will make no connection between the trade and the US-backed forces, or that they peddled the narrative that provided cover for this disgusting practice.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has always been the butt of everyone’s joke. The country where a wheelbarrow worth of its currency buys you nothing. Where Bitcoin is at 13K apiece. Well, it seems like the corruption and economic criminality has finally caught up with President Mugabe.

This week, the military of the country took over the state radio & TV stations. It also put President Mugabe and his wife under house arrest. The military is not calling it a coup.

The president has been in power since 1980 and his now 93 years old. He is the oldest head of state on Earth, and planned to hand over power to his wife. As recently as today, Mugabe addressed the country on TV, surpising everyone by stating he was not stepping down.

The situation should be followed as it unfolds.

Iraq/Kurds

This week we also saw (maybe) the end of Kurdish autonomy in Iraq. Kurdistan’s Regional Government declared that they support a “United Iraq”, but them at odds with the more radical elements of the Kurdish population. Since this Iraq military’s takeover of Kirkuk, the Regional Government has lost all of it’s power. The politicians in charge seem to have made a deal with the central government of Baghdad. Iraq and its US backers wanted the selling of oil in the Kurdish region to flow through Baghdad, and that seems to have taken place. The idea of Kurdish independence in Iraq would seem to be dead.

Yemen

The situation in Yemen continues to get worse. Just this week the Saudi regime bombed the airport in the capital city of Sanaa, effectively shutting down another route for aid into the starving country.

Speaking of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Senator Chris Murphyspoke on the floor of Senate, calling out the US government for its role in the crimes taking place in the Middle East’s poorest nation:

Let’s hope maybe this brings some attention to the situation and guilt-trips a Congressmen or two to find their morals, if they have any.

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

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