US-Russia diplomacy in crisis: “Something very serious transpired” over Syria, “behind the scenes”

Global Research, September 27, 2016
Sputnik 27 September 2016

The current “level of violence in verbal attacks” on Russia at the UN is unprecedented,” Gilbert Doctorow, European Coordinator for the American Committee for East West Accord told Radio Sputnik, adding that this seems to indicate that something grave must have happened between the two countries with regard to Syria behind the scenes.

The United States and Russia have lashed at each other over the Syrian conflict, with Washington and Moscow trading blows at the urgent UN Security Council meeting on Sunday.

US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, who has never been known “for her diplomatic talent,” as Doctorow put it, accused Russia of “barbarism” in Syria. She added that Moscow and Damascus ostensibly “make war” instead of “pursuing peace.” She also blamed both governments for “bombing the humanitarian convoys, hospitals and first responders who are trying desperately to keep people alive.”

“We reached a new low,” the analyst said.

Doctorow described the US’ behavior at the UN as “rude.” He also noted that such rhetoric has been absent from the UN Security Council meetings for decades. We have not seen “this level of open hostility and direct name calling” since 1985.

“The violence of this, the extreme hostility implicit in these actions suggests that something more is going on between the two sides than we find on the front pages of the newspapers,” the analyst observed. Latest developments seem to point that “something very serious has transpired between Russia, the United States and its closes allies over Syria – far more serious than what has been in the public domain.”

Doctorow further said that the US-coalition airstrike on the Syrian Arab Army in Deir ez-Zor and the SAA resuming air raids in Aleppo are not sufficient to explain this level of verbal hostility.

On Monday, Damascus said that the Syrian intelligence services have an audio recoding of communications between US forces and Daesh prior to Deir ez-Zor attack that claimed the lives of at least 62 Syrian servicemen on September 17.

“It could be true, but it will have no implications because truth is the least of the factors on the playing field today,” the analyst noted.

Doctorow recalled that the Western media did not cover the Russian Defense Ministry’s press briefing over Daesh’s illegal oil trade with Turkey.

Ammunition and ‘Guns of Hell’: Rare Glimpse of Handarat Camp in Aleppo “That was dramatic. It was a fantastic demonstration. What was the result? Zero. There was no coverage in the Western press although all of NATO military attaches in Moscow were scribbling furiously and taking as many photos of the Russian flights as they could,” he said.

In Doctorow’s opinion, the Syrians and the Russians “can prove anything they like,” but mainstream media in the West will “totally” ignore it. “That is a sad fact today. This is why force and not diplomacy seems to be resolving the question or seems to be addressing the question of what future Syria has. Diplomacy has only been decorative.”

Russia prepares for war, plans to move thermonuclear ICBMs to border

“The crazed American government drowning in its own hubris has set us on a course to nuclear war. Can America produce a leader who can reverse course?”
The real question is: Are ordinary Americans willing to be leaders in their own communities to reverse this national course? Are they willing to stand up and speak out? Are they willing to openly oppose this aggression against Syria and against Russia? 
Only that will change the present course. 
Global Research, September 27, 2016
Another Day in the Empire 25 September 2016

Last week TASS reported Russia’s western-most ICBM division will be rearmed with the RS-24 Yars missile system. Yars is a MIRV-equipped, thermonuclear, intercontinental ballistic missile that can reportedly carry up to 10 independently targetable warheads. The ICBM RS-24 Yars constitutes the backbone of Russia’s strategic missile force.

“The westernmost strategic missile force division in the Tver region will soon begin to be rearmed with the missile system Yars. It will be a sixth strategic missile division where the newest mobile ground-based missile complexes will replace the intercontinental ballistic missile Topol,” Sergey Karakayev, the commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Force told the news agency.

The Russians claim the deployment is in response to NATO installing a US anti-missile system in Eastern Europe in violation of previous Russian-US arms treaties. The United States has made the outrageous claim its missile system is designed to respond to threats from Iran.

“Now, after the deployment of those anti-missile system elements, we’ll be forced to think about neutralizing developing threats to Russia’s security,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in May.

Putin added that the US anti-missile systems currently in place in Romania and soon in Poland can be easily repurposed to fire short and mid-range missiles.

Russia announced it would modernize a launch detection system in response to the threat along its border. It has also discussed stationing its state-of-the art Iskander missiles at its westernmost Baltic outpost of Kaliningrad which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania. The Iskander travels at hypersonic speed and is capable of evading anti-ballistic missiles.

In addition to missiles and nuclear warheads, NATO and Russia have engaged in massive war games this year. NATO’s Anakonda 2016 exercise involved more than 30,000 troops, about half of them Americans, and thousands of combat vehicles from 24 nations. The huge exercise simulated battle maneuvers across Poland. A simultaneous naval exercise, BALTOPS 16, simulated “high-end maritime warfighting” in the Baltic Sea. Exercises were conducted in the waters near Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania. The maritime exercise represented a clear provocation.

“All of this—the aggressive exercises, the NATO buildup, the added US troop deployments—reflects a new and dangerous strategic outlook in Washington. Whereas previously the strategic focus had been on terrorism and counterinsurgency, it has now shifted to conventional warfare among the major powers,” Michael T. Klare wrote for The Nation in July.

“Washington might intend the military buildup as pressure on President Putin to reduce Russian opposition to Washington’s unilateralism. However, it reminds some outspoken Russians such as Vladimir Zhirinovsky of Hitler’s troops on Russia’s border in 1941,” notes Paul Craig Roberts.

“To make the crisis clear for my readers and for all peoples, Washington is surrounding Russia with nuclear missile sites that can be silently converted from ABMs to first strike nuclear missiles that can reach Russian targets in a mere few minutes. Washington attempted to disguise this first strike capability with the explanation that the missiles were there to protect against an Iranian ICBM attack on Europe. This explanation was given by the US government despite the fact that everyone knows that Iran has neither ICBMs nor nuclear weapons,” he writes on his website.

Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, is not optimistic about what such frenzied military activity portends.

He believes it is futile for Americans to plan for retirement.

“The crazed American government drowning in its own hubris has set us on a course to nuclear war. Can America produce a leader who can reverse course?”

Hillary Clinton will undoubtedly continue along this suicidal path. Donald Trump has said repeatedly he will not confront Russia. However, he has announced if elected the United States will expand its already massively inflated military budget.

Paul Craig Roberts: Armageddon Approaches

Increasingly true.

July 22, 2016

Armageddon Approaches
Paul Craig Roberts

The Western public doesn’t know it, but Washington and its European vassals are convincing Russia that they are preparing to attack. Eric Zuesse reports on a German newspaper leak of a Bundeswehr decision to declare Russia to be an enemy nation of Germany.
http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/06/09/germany-preparing-for-war-against-russia.html
This is the interpretation that some Russian politicians themselves have put on the NATO military bases that Washington is establishing on Russia’s borders.

Washington might intend the military buildup as pressure on President Putin to reduce Russian opposition to Washington’s unilateralism. However, it reminds some outspoken Russians such as Vladimir Zhirinovsky of Hitler’s troops on Russia’s border in 1941.

Zhirinovsky is the founder and leader of Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party and a vice chairman of the Russian parliament. In a confrontation with the editor of a German newspaper, Zhirinovsky tells him that German troops again on Russia’s border will provoke a preventive strike after which nothing will remain of German and NATO troops. “The more NATO soldiers in your territory, the faster you are going to die. To the last man. Remove NATO from your territory!”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQm8L8d8uDc 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has expressed his frustration with Washington’s reliance on force and coercion instead of diplomacy. It is reckless for Washington to convince Russia that diplomacy is a dead end without promise. When the Russians reach that conclusion, force will confront force.

Indeed Zhirinovsky has already reached that point and perhaps Vladimir Putin also. As I reported, Putin recently dressed down Western presstitutes for their role in fomenting nuclear war. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/07/08/are-you-planning-your-retirement-forget-about-it-you-wont-survive-to-experience-it/See also: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45055.htm
Putin has made it clear that Russia will not accept US missile bases in Poland and Romania. He has informed Washington and the imbecilic Polish and Romanian governments. However, as Putin observed, “they don’t hear.”

The inability to hear means that Washington’s arrogance has made Washington too stupid to take seriously Putin’s warning. If Washington persists, it will provoke the preventive strike that Zhirinovsky told the German editor the Merkel regime was inviting.

Americans need to wake up to the dangerous situation that Washington has created, but I doubt they will. Most wars happen without the public’s knowledge until they happen. The main function of the American left-wing is to serve as a bogyman with which to scare conservatives about the country’s loss of morals, and the main function of conservatives is to create fear and hysteria about immigrants, Muslims, and Russians. There is no sign that Congress is aware of approaching Armageddon, and the media consists of propaganda.

I and a few others try to alert people to the real threats that they face, but our voices are not loud enough. Not even Vladimir Putin’s voice is loud enough. It looks like the West won’t hear until “there remains nothing at all of the German and NATO troops,” and of Poland and Romania and the rest of us.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate.

Armageddon Approaches — Paul Craig Roberts

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Ukraine shows off new domestic cruise missile as part of ‘military modernization’ (VIDEO)

For the full version of the article and the video, see the RT link. Technical issues are preventing the entire article from being posted.

From RT

Sept. 24, 2016

© КБ Луч

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko showed off a slow-motion video of the country’s new domestic guided missile. However if it comes into service, experts warn that the weapon could violate the Minsk ceasefire agreement with rebels in the east of Ukraine.


https://www.rt.com/news/360502-ukraine-cruise-missile-test/

Ex-DARPA head becomes consultant to Ukraine’s military industry

From Sputnik

August 30, 2016

Kiev doesn’t seem to have lost its appetite for hiring foreign officials and advisors. Their latest acquisition is Anthony Tether, the former head of the Pentagon’s secretive Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA. Tether is now an advisor for Ukraine’s state-owned defense conglomerate Ukroboronprom.

According to Ukroboronprom’s official press release, Tether will serve as an “advisor on the long-term development” of the Ukrainian defense industry. The American made history by becoming the conglomorate’s first-ever foreign consultant. His competencies are expected to include offering advice on developing Ukraine’s military-industrial complex, and selling its weapons abroad.

Behind the scenes, speaking to US media after his swearing-in ceremony, Tether hinted that US defense firms will now be more interested in direct investments into Ukrainian companies. He also admitted that discussions about possible US buyouts of major Ukrainian enterprises like Antonov were part of the mandate granted to him by Ukroboronprom, though they do not constitute the focus of his efforts as an advisor.

Ukroboronprom director Roman Romanov praised the ex-US official, saying that Tether would “help us to integrate global management practices, and establish a modern system for the management of business processes.” The Ukrainian military-industrial complex, he said, “has already fulfilled its priority tasks of repairing and restoring military equipment. Now, we will enter into a new level in the exchange of technology, and will be able to produce modern equipment and weaponry. As a result, we will receive access to new markets and integrate even deeper into existing ones.”

Tether, in turn, officially emphasized the importance of creating synergy between the US and Ukrainian defense sectors, as part of expanded cooperation between the two countries. “I think that this will allow us to add 2 plus 2 and get the answer 5,” he quipped, using the Orwellian turn of phrase to describe this ‘synergy’ effort.

Over the next six months, the American consultant is expected to study the “culture” of Ukraine’s military industry. “Today we start writing a new page in the history of the rapid development of Ukraine’s defense complex,” he said.

Beginning in 2015, Ukroboronprom has been making a concerted effort to transition to NATO standards for defense production.

Experts can’t help getting the feeling that Tether’s appointment at Ukroboronprom is either directly or indirectly connected to Kiev’s recent diplomatic offensive to see the joint production of weapons with the US. Last week, Ukrainian Ambassador to the US Valeriy Chaly said that he had high hopes that Ukraine could “produce weapons in cooperation with the Americans on Ukrainian territory.”

Accordingly, Tether’s appointment may very well be Washington’s effort to test the waters and get a real sense of the state of the Ukrainian military industrial complex, and whether there are any tasty morsels left within its mostly Soviet-era R&D and production capabilities.

https://sputniknews.com/military/20160830/1044784786/us-adviser-for-ukroboronprom-analysis.html

The anti-Muslim origins of “The Star-Spangled Banner”

The Washington establishment counts on the ignorance of the American public to its own history.

From Sam Husseini

August 30, 2016

As several writers have noted — before and after the furor surrounding quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusing to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” — the national anthem is racist. Specifically, the third stanza:
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Even less well know, the song originates in slaveowner Francis Scott Key’s “When the Warrior Returns” — which was set to the same tune.

As Alex Cockburn, the deceased and much missed co-editor of CounterPunch, noted following President Obama’s much celebrated 2009 address in Cairo:

An early version of the “Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key, written in 1805 amid the routing of the Barbary states, offered a view of Islam markedly different from Obama’s uplifting sentiments in Cairo:

In conflict resistless each toil they endur’d,

Till their foes shrunk dismay’d from the war’s desolation:

And pale beamed the Crescent, its splendor obscur’d

By the light of the star-bangled flag of our nation.

Where each flaming star gleamed a meteor of war,

And the turban’d head bowed to the terrible glare.

Then mixt with the olive the laurel shall wave

And form a bright wreath for the brow of the brave.

In 1814 Key rehabbed this doggerel into the Star Spangled Banner. So America’s national anthem began as a gleeful tirade against the Mahommedans. And of course every member of the U.S. Marine Corps regularly bellows out the USMC anthem, beginning “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.”

In short, America’s march to Empire was minted in the crucible of anti-Islamic sentiment. (One admirer of this early chapter in America’s imperial confrontations with Islam is that ardent Crusader, C. Hitchens who cites Joshua London’s Victory in Tripoli: How America’s War with the Barbary Pirates Established the U.S. Navy and Shaped a Nation, on the origins of the Star Spangled Banner.)

I actually first learned of the racism in the national anthem from Alex Cockburn’s 1987 book Corruptions of Empire, which features a splendid cover.
Note to illustration on the front of jacket: In August 1814, a British raiding party led by Admiral Sir George Cockburn launched an attack on Washington. They set fire to the Capitol, then proceeded to the White House and, before setting fire to it, consumed a meal set out by Dolly Madison which had been abandoned by the fugitive President and his family. Cockburn next proceeded to the offices of The National Intelligence to avenge himself on the press which had abused him. He ordered his men to destroy the paper’s printing types, saying ‘Be sure that all the Cs are destroyed so that the rascals cannot any longer abuse my name’. Cockburn then laid siege to Baltimore, the unsuccessful fusillades prompting the composition of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’, whose reference to ‘the hireling and slave’ in the British force alludes, as Robin Blackburn points out in The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery, to the fact that Cockburn had offered freedom to all slaves who would join him in his attacks of 1813 and 1814. According to a British report these slaves conducted themselves very well and ‘were uniformly volunteers for the Station where they might expect to meet their former masters.’ Some of these black recruits were in the party that burned the White House”
Alex’s brothers Andrew and Patrick have also written about this.

This highlights the darkest heart of the United States, eager to assault indigenous people — be they African or natives of what we call “America” or Berbers or Arab or whoever. Native Americans, who are perceived as having been defeated, can now be romanticized to an extent, while Arabs and Muslims who are not eager to roll over for U.S. establishment power are demonized. It also highlights that racism and violent nationalist identity are closely intertwined and attempts at separating the two may well be mere cover for both.

http://husseini.posthaven.com/the-anti-muslim-origins-of-the-star-spangled-banner

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Colin Kaepernick is righter than you know: the American national anthem is a celebration of slavery

From the Intercept

by
2016-08-28

Before a preseason game on Friday, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” When he explained why, he only spoke about the present: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. … There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Twitter then went predictably nuts, with at least one 49ers fan burning Kaepernick’s jersey.

Almost no one seems to be aware that even if the U.S. were a perfect country today, it would be bizarre to expect African-American players to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Why? Because it literally celebrates the murder of African-Americans.

Few people know this because we only ever sing the first verse. But read the end of the third verse and you’ll see why “The Star-Spangled Banner” is not just a musical atrocity, it’s an intellectual and moral one, too:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

“The Star-Spangled Banner,” Americans hazily remember, was written by Francis Scott Key about the Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812. But we don’t ever talk about how the War of 1812 was a war of aggression that began with an attempt by the U.S. to grab Canada from the British Empire.

However, we’d wildly overestimated the strength of the U.S. military. By the time of the Battle of Fort McHenry in 1814, the British had counterattacked and overrun Washington, D.C., setting fire to the White House.

And one of the key tactics behind the British military’s success was its active recruitment of American slaves. As a detailed 2014 article in Harper’s explains, the orders given to the Royal Navy’s Admiral Sir George Cockburn read:

Let the landings you make be more for the protection of the desertion of the Black Population than with a view to any other advantage. … The great point to be attained is the cordial Support of the Black population. With them properly armed & backed with 20,000 British Troops, Mr. Madison will be hurled from his throne.

Whole families found their way to the ships of the British, who accepted everyone and pledged no one would be given back to their “owners.” Adult men were trained to create a regiment called the Colonial Marines, who participated in many of the most important battles, including the August 1814 raid on Washington.

Then on the night of September 13, 1814, the British bombarded Fort McHenry. Key, seeing the fort’s flag the next morning, was inspired to write the lyrics for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

So when Key penned “No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,” he was taking great satisfaction in the death of slaves who’d freed themselves. His perspective may have been affected by the fact he owned several slaves himself.

With that in mind, think again about the next two lines: “And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave / O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

The reality is that there were human beings fighting for freedom with incredible bravery during the War of 1812. However, “The Star-Spangled Banner” glorifies America’s “triumph” over them — and then turns that reality completely upside down, transforming their killers into the courageous freedom fighters.

After the U.S. and the British signed a peace treaty at the end of 1814, the U.S. government demanded the return of American “property,” which by that point numbered about 6,000 people. The British refused. Most of the 6,000 eventually settled in Canada, with some going to Trinidad, where their descendants are still known as “Merikins.”

Furthermore, if those leading the backlash against Kaepernick need more inspiration, they can get it from Francis Scott Key’s later life.

By 1833, Key was a district attorney for Washington, D.C. As described in a book called Snowstorm in August by former Washington Post reporter Jefferson Morley, the police were notorious thieves, frequently stealing free blacks’ possessions with impunity. One night, one of the constables tried to attack a woman who escaped and ran away — until she fell off a bridge across the Potomac and drowned.

There is neither mercy nor justice for colored people in this district,” an abolitionist paper wrote. “No fuss or stir was made about it. She was got out of the river, and was buried, and there the matter ended.”

Key was furious and indicted the newspaper for intending “to injure, oppress, aggrieve & vilify the good name, fame, credit & reputation of the Magistrates & constables of Washington County.”

You can decide for yourself whether there’s some connection between what happened 200 years ago and what Colin Kaepernick is angry about today. Maybe it’s all ancient, meaningless history. Or maybe it’s not, and Kaepernick is right, and we really need a new national anthem.

https://theintercept.com/2016/08/28/colin-kaepernick-is-righter-than-you-know-the-national-anthem-is-a-celebration-of-slavery/

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