The Madness of Turkey’s ‘Sultan’ Erdogan – Posted on May 30, 2016 by martyrashrakat

05.25.16

The Turkish president’s addiction to power is a disease his country can no longer afford.

LONDON—Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to power in 2002, a year after the formation of his AK party. But spending 11 years as prime minister wasn’t enough. In 2011, Erdogan changed the system, clearing the way for him to become the country’s first directly elected president in 2013.
True to all incremental power grabs, he initially sold this move to Turks as merely “ceremonial.”
That facade has now ended.

After this month no one was left in any doubt as to Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman delusions of grandeur, as he pushed out Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu while maneuvering to replace him with a long-time crony. At one point his own son in law seemed a likely appointee.

To use the cliché “palace coup” would not even be metaphoric on my part. Perched atop a hill on the outskirts of Ankara sits Erdogan’s specially commissioned 1,000-room White Palace, or AK Saray. Bigger than the White House and the Kremlin, this Sultan-like extravagance cost even more than the budgeted $615m. And as Erdogan’s sultanate grows, so too does Erdogan’s sultan-like caprice.

Freedom House reports that Erdogan has been eroding freedom of the press in Turkey at an alarming rate over recent years. This unhinged crackdown on journalists culminated last month in the seizure and state takeover of opposition newspaper Zaman, which is now embarrassingly owned and operated by the Turkish state. Such has been Erdogan’s assault on journalists that even President Barack Obama felt the need to warn the authoritarian Erdogan to back off.

But this is all run-of-the-mill for tinpot strongmen, who so often mistake their ability to retain office as a demonstration of popularity and power. The truth is, it’s also a weakness. Power is a weapon. And like a domestic firearm, it is a weapon that is likely at least as dangerous to you as to others.

Nothing highlights this weakness, this manic insecurity, and this puerile obsession with control in a more darkly comical way than the stunt Erdogan just pulled in Germany.
The president of Turkey, this once great leader of that proud and historic nation, filed a criminal complaint against Jan Boehmermann, a German satirist for… writing this poem about him.
The origins of the truly serious offence that was taken are found in the peculiar incident of Germany’s ambassador to Turkey, Martin Erdmann, being summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry over an ‘Extra 3’ satirical video about Erdogan. There, Erdmann was asked to explain—yes, explain— the video, and to ensure that it was taken off air. It was this incident that inspired Boehmermann’s poem.

You see, the Great Leader was butt-hurt.

But he won. Due to Germany’s archaic laws against offending organs of “foreign states,” one of Germany’s most intelligent satirists has been ordered by a Hamburg court to censor his song about Erdogan’s brutal assault on Turkey’s press.

Boehmermann responded on Twitter by linking to the iconic Beastie Boys song, “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!).”

From there, it was the reaction of the traditionally irreverent British liberal press that stole the show. The Spectator’s Douglas Murray responded to Erdogan’s cry-bully tactics by introducing an “insult Erdogan” poetry competition. That magazine even offered a £1000 ($1,448) prize for the most insulting limerick. The more offensive the better, they said, and the winning entry is worth repeating here:

There was a young fellow from Ankara
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Who was a terrific wankerer
‘Till he sowed his wild oats
With the help of a goat
But he didn’t even stop to thankera.
One suspects that this prize entry was noted less for its lyric virtues, and more for its author. Deliciously, it was uttered ad-lib by London’s former mayor Boris Johnson, of part-Turkish ancestry himself. One would be forgiven for tweeting the insulting lines under hashtag #OffendErdogan.

Mockery aside, there is a very serious and very dark element to Erdogan’s megalomania. Article 299 of the Turkish penal code—barely used in the past—states that anybody insulting the head of state can be jailed for up to four years.

Under Erdogan, between August 2014 and March 2015 alone, 236 people were investigated for “insulting the head of state.” From 2003 to 2014, 63 journalists were sentenced to a total of 32 years in prison. A 16-year-old boy was indicted earlier this year for calling the president a thief during a demonstration. If convicted, he faces a four year sentence. Even a former Miss Turkey has been charged for posting a poem on her Instagram account that the “Sultan” found offensive.
This is how the great Turkish Republic, long a bastion of pluralist secular Islam, is slowly being reduced to the midlife crisis of one man hunting down comedians in foreign countries.

Once upon a time—a couple of election cycles ago and before he kept changing the system to ensure he stayed in power—I used to defend Erdogan. I drew hope from the way he wrestled the Turkish economy from ruin to an expansion of 68 percent. That’s an average annual growth rate of 4.5 percent, second only to China. I was impressed by the way in which he pushed the perpetually interfering, habitually undemocratic Turkish military back into base camp. I was optimistic about his post-Islamist direction of travel towards religiously inspired secular democracy.

No longer. I was wrong, and I wholeheartedly apologize to liberal Turks everywhere.
To say that Erdogan has become drunk on power would be an understatement. The man is more like a crack addict. The sooner he is retired, the better. Indeed, the whole “Turkish Model” is dead, overdosed on Erdogan.

 

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OBAMA’S TERRORISTS SUFFER HUGE LOSSES IN HAMA; SYRIAN ARMY CRUSHES ISIS IN DAYR-EL-ZOR – By Ziad Fadel

image: https://scontent-ord1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/13307206_10209819218301762_5945092733193631169_n.jpg?oh=7970af18594b14ef1ea2528d8a7f88d5&oe=57CFCC42

A T-90 tank displayed in Aleppo.(Thanks, Khaled Nawaz Al-Nouri)

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HAMA:  Turk idiots are gnashing their teeth over the losses taken in this province yesterday. Jaysh Al-Fath lost over 45 of their favorite rodents at the break of dawn this last Sunday.  Nusra/Alqaeda also took a battering when it lost close to 18 rats.  Ahraar Al-Shaam, the group which the U.S. refuses to call a “terrorist organization” despite overwhelming evidence that it is exactly that, too, got a real drubbing yesterday and today.  Another group called Al-Jabha Al-Islaamiyya almost went extinct in fighting with the Syrian Army and its allies.   The fighting took place at Tal Bizaam, Tal Huwayr and East of Al-Mawrik (Mork).  Besides the rodent casualties which were documented after field assessments, the SAA destroyed a 57mm cannon, 3 rocket launchers and 6 Toyota pickups with 23mm cannons.

Al-Sa’an – Atharyaa Road:  ISIS lost 9 rodents and 1 pickup with 23mm cannon.

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DAYR EL-ZOR:

image: http://albaathmedia.sy/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AC%D9%8A%D8%B4-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A.jpg

الجيش السوري

Panorama:  ISIS vultures tried to sneak into this area by moving through the southwestern rim of the city about 48 hours ago.  The pack was made up of about 40 foreign rodents with 4 pickups armed with the usual 23mm cannons.  The SAA had prior knowledge of the attack and was prepared for them.  When the dust settled, 20+ rats were left behind for dead as the surviving scavengers hightailed it back to their base.

Al-Tharda Mountain:  SAAF flew 5 sorties yesterday over this area and west of the airbase.   An ammunition warehouse was destroyed, several armored cars disabled or destroyed and one standard 4-wheel pickup  with cannon was obliterated.

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NEWS AND COMMENT:

Tony Gratrex sent me this tape showing how Obama’s claimed “no boots in Syria” is a miserable lie:

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2016/may/27/breaking-us-soldier-in-syria-kill-em-all/

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WILE E. COYOTE MOMENT:

Khaled sends this scene showing the PKK blowing up an Erdoghani military truck:

image: https://shawglobalnews.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/wile_e_coyote_falling_with_phone.jpg?quality=70&strip=all&w=720&h=480&crop=1

http://www.hispantv.com/newsdetail/turquia/257092/video-pkk-convoy-militar-turquia

Read more at http://syrianperspective.com/2016/05/obamas-terrorists-suffer-huge-losses-in-hama-syrian-army-crushes-isis-in-dayr-el-zor.html#KGPgGt8rtlLrY7xq.99

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Can Labor win? It ain’t gonna be easy but it ain’t impossible either – By MARTIN HIRST

Martin Hirst 30 May 2016, 7:30am 53

25 0 0

 
TURNBULLSHORTEN2016
(Image via abc.net.au)

A Shorten election victory is now looking more likely but it is not due to the figures alone  Turnbull himself looks defeated, writes Dr Martin Hirst 

FOR THE LAST FEW days, I’ve been allowing myself to think that Bill Shorten can actually beat Turnbull – the “Fizza” – on July 2nd.

I know it’s going to be tough. The odds are not necessarily in Bill’s favour and we cannot underplay the significance of an all out “News Corpse” attack on Labor (ALP) over the next few weeks. We saw how successful this was in 2010 and 2013, and Murdoch’s hacks will pull out all stops to see Shorten defeated.

However, despite the obstacles, we could actually have a Labor government in the second half of 2016.

The math is not impossible, but it might take a few miracles.

In a way, perhaps I’m just channeling the late Bob Ellis. He predicted a Shorten victory way back in December last year. At the time I was wishing but not hopeful. But now I am convinced Turnbull cannot win on 2 July.

A few handfuls of votes is all it takes

To be honest, the prospect of beating Malcolm and his fizzas comes down to a few handfuls of votes in some key swing seats. Labor has to take back 17 seats and this requires a swing of around 4% or a bit more. It’s not impossible for this to happen.

NSW Seats

2013 % swing to Coalition

Change required in two party preferred vote

Banks

3.28

2,000 votes

Barton

7.1

500 votes

Dobell

5.75

700 votes

Eden-Monaro

4.85

500 votes

Lindsay

4.11

3,000 votes

Page

6.71

2,500 votes

Reid

3.53

500 votes

Robertson

4.0

3,500 votes

Victoria Seats    
Corangamite

4.22

4,000 votes

Deakin

3.78

2,600 votes

La Trobe

5.67

4,000 votes

QLD Seats    
Capricorn

4.45

1,600 votes

Petrie

3.04

500 votes

SA Seats    
Hindmarsh

7.97

2,000 votes

Tasmania Seats    
Bass

10.78

3,000 votes

Braddon

10.4

1,500 votes

Lyons

13.51

800 votes

 

A swing of just 1.7% would also give Labor the seat of Solomon in the Northern Territory. A swing of just 1.9% means that Labor also gains Hindmarsh in South Australia.Lyons is an interesting example because according to the ABC’s swingometer, a swing of just 1.4% to Labor would mean they win this seat. At 1.4% Labor would also win Capricornia and Petrie in Queensland.

When you break it down like this even a seat like Lyons in Tasmania is winnable for Labor if around 800 electors change their vote from the Coalition to Labor on a two-party preferred basis.

A gain of 2.7% in Braddon would give Labor its second Tasmanian seat. Only 2.8% and the NSW seat of Banks returns to Labor.

Take the swing to an even 3% and Labor wins nine seats including the bellwether of Eden-Monaro in NSW. Add just 0.3% to that and the seats of Robertson and Page (NSW) and Deakin (Victoria) return to Labor. At 3.4%, Labor gains Macarthur and Reid in NSW.

Macarthur would be the first seat to change hands in 2016 that was not held by Labor before the last election. In other words, it would be a loss for Turnbull, not a seat regained by the ALP. Significantly, a uniform swing of 3.4% to Labor would result in a nearly hung parliament.

Labor would have 71 seats, the Coalition 75 and four would be in the hands of independents. It is at this point that the 2016 election becomes very interesting.

A swing of 3.7% would give Labor its second steal from the Coalition, delivering Bonner (Queensland). It is worth noting that this would require about 4,000 people to switch their votes from 2013.

Is 3.8% the magic number?

Three-point-eight could be Shorten’s magic number in 2016. With a swing of this magnitude the ALP would win Gilmore from the Coalition. At this point, Labor and the Coalition would each have 73 seats and the balance of power would be squarely with the independents and Greens.

A 4% swing and the ALP wins Corangamite in Victoria and can form government in its own right with a comfortable two seat majority.

With a swing of 4.1% it is all over for the Coalition. The ALP picks up Bass (its third gain in Tasmania) and La Trobe in Victoria, giving it an unassailable six seat buffer in the lower house.

A swing greater than about 4.3% would see Labor win 20 seats in a landslide. The question really is to figure out if the ALP can get a swing of 4.3%. It is not impossible. The swing against Labor in 2013 was in the order of 4.5% and it would be difficult not to think that Turnbull is at least as unpopular as Rudd was three years ago.

Recent opinion polling indicates that Labor is on track to get the necessary swing and unseat the Coalition Government. The mainstream media pundits say Shorten needs 4.5% to gain the Treasury benches, so anything close to this would be pretty good for Labor.

A picture’s worth a lot of words

Having spent a few hours doing the sums I am optimistic that Labor can win on 2 July but before I chewed on the math and the swingometer, I have felt confident for some time.

But it really struck me a couple of weeks ago when images of Malcolm looking irritable, tired, washed out, grim and miserable began to pepper my newsfeeds. Yes, some of these images are when Turnbull has been caught off guard but they are telling. He looks like a man defeated.

I knew that Turnbull would have a reasonable honeymoon period with the mainstream media and that it would take some months for his shine to wear off. It’s taken a while but we’ve reached that point. The rusted on “Abbottistas” in the News Corpse bunker are unhappy with Malcolm but are obliged to grit their teeth and back him, while secretly wishing for an Abbott return (not going to happen). For Fairfax and the ABC, it’s taken a while but their support for the Coalition is not a ringing endorsement.

Turnbull is unpopular; he comes across as a “toff” and out of touch and his cabinet is still dominated by Abbott’s politics. The Turnbull reality is just as ugly as the Abbott reality. It’s the same pig with new lipstick.

The honeymoon is over, baby.

We have long passed the point where Turnbull could win in 2016 just by not being Tony Abbott. Beneath the glitter, smiles and plucked eyebrows, the Liberal Party is still the party of Howard and Abbott. Turnbull is leader only because just over half of the party room could no longer stomach the horror of a continuing Abbott/Credlin Government. Turnbull is not popular among the Liberals’ hardcore IPA-lite membership and he is being actively undermined by the hard right factions across the nation.

There’s no wonder then that he’s not looking his best, is easily irritated and often seems like he just wants to retire to the Caymans and enjoy his Mossack Fonseca profits.

Bye bye, Malcolm.

Read more by Martin Hirst on his blog Ethical Martini and follow him on Twitter @ethicalmartini.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

Extremely Unlikely US Will Pack and Go Home After Raqqa Liberation’ – BY DELIL SOULEIMAN

USATROUPSINSYRIA

© AFP 2016/ DELIL SOULEIMAN
Middle East

21:32 29.05.2016(updated 21:53 29.05.2016) Get short URL
1080417

The Pentagon has continuously denied that US Special Forces in Syria equals ‘boots on the ground’, but a new video has emerged of a US soldier standing next to an armoured personnel carrier with Kurdish militia YPG spray-painted on it.

The US support of the YPG Kurdish militia in Syria has been a hot topic primarily because it upsets Washington’s other ally Turkey.Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organization. The US support of the YPG is not welcomed by Turkey and this rift forms a political dividing line between US and Turkish interests.

Former Pentagon officer Michael Maloof shed some light on this issue in an interview with RT.

“The US is there to advise and assist but they also must protect themselves and provide training to the Kurds to use the equipment. We had a recent case where a Special Forces officer was killed as a result of direct conflict with Daesh. They are engaged in conflict, but their primary role is advising and training,” Maloof said.

He further said that he doesn’t know of any indication yet of having private military contractors in Syria but that is also a possibility to bring in private military contractors.

“They try to blend in; they will try to wear the uniforms of the folks that they are working with and that is understandable. When you look at the pictures you see the sophistication of some of the equipment that the US forces are wearing, so it leaves no doubt that they are very well equipped.”

The former Pentagon officer stressed that Turkey is watching this military assistance very closely. According to Maloof, in reality it is only the Kurds who are involved on the ground together with the Arabs.

Turkey considers the YPG, People’s Protection Units, a terrorist group, but US forces have been seen wearing the badges. Although it may seem like a provocation, Maloof said that it is not necessarily a provocation but it could represent a potential dividing line between US and Turkish interests.

“US interests are to support the ground troops. We purposely haven’t declared the YPG to be terrorists, because they are not, even though there is that affiliation with the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party].”

Talking about Erdogan in Turkey, the former officer said that the president has shown his true colors by being very indiscriminate against all Kurds within his own country and that is creating more problems.

“Erdogan is creating his own problems with the Kurds, and I think it’s going to blossom into a full-fledged conflict within Southeast Turkey if that continues,” Maloof said.

Regarding the presence of US Special Forces in Syria, the forces may number far higher than the 300 admitted by the White House, Daniel McAdams wrote for the Ron Paul Institute.

McAdams also wrote that these forces have no legal authority to operate inside of Syria. “As the US government continues to say that the current Syrian government must be overthrown and Syrian president Assad ‘must go,’ there is no reason to expect that the ‘kill ’em all’ mission statement of this US Special Forces soldier will end once Raqqa is liberated from Daesh control.”

According to the analyst the fact that US troops will participate in the removal of Daesh from Raqqa and “then pack up and go home is extremely unlikely as the original aim in Syria was the removal of Assad.”

 
Related:
Syrian Lawmaker Calls on Kurds to Ally With Russia Instead of Relying on US
German Arms Supplied to Turkey Used in Ankara’s Fight Against Kurds
G7 Support Investigation Into Reported Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria
Pentagon Denies US Troops Fighting in Syria Amid Release of Photos
US, Middle Eastern Allies Hampering Political Process in Syria
Tags:
ground operation, stronghold, military assistance, liberation, Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), US Special Forces, Pentagon, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Syria
 

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Counting Down To Israel’s Next ‘Mowing Of The Lawn’ In Palestine – BY ROBERT FANTINA

 ISRAELPALESTINIANSGENOCIDE
 

KITCHENER, Ontario — (Analysis) Every two years or so, Israel decides that it’s time to once more test out its weaponry, provided by the United States, on Palestine. It invents some vague pretext and levels the Gaza Strip, a process Israeli politicians have referred to as a periodic “mowing of the lawn.”
Indeed, the grass in any lawn will grow too tall if not mowed periodically. Palestinians in Gaza, suffering under a brutal siege that’s now entering a second decade, must be put down before they, too, grow too much. And since the last bombing was during the summer of 2014, Israel must be looking for a new excuse now to “mow the lawn.”
Due to the total blockade, very little reconstruction material enters Gaza, so there is little to bomb that hasn’t already been reduced to rubble.
Still, new weapons must be tested so they can be sold, even if, like previous weaponry, those weapons are banned by international law. After all, along with the U.S., which provides this weaponry and technology to Israel, Israel is one of the world’s largest exporters of armaments. So why not test them on the Palestinians, who the international community has more or less ignored for generations?
In 2014, the trigger for the bombing was the announced reunification between Hamas, the democratically-elected government in the Gaza Strip, and Fatah, the puppet government of Israel and the U.S. in the West Bank. Since Israel isn’t interested in a two-state solution, having a unity government is not in keeping with its goals, which include the complete obliteration of Palestine. So, looking around for a more publicly-acceptable excuse, the government decided that so-called “rocket” fire into Israel would do just fine. This enabled Israel to both unleash additional terror, over and above the everyday kind, on the West Bank, and bomb the Gaza Strip.
However, it may be more difficult for Israel to find a new excuse to “mow the lawn,” so it may fall back on ones it’s used in the past. Here are some examples:
It might be helpful to look at some facts on the ground in Palestine:
It would seem that if one of the two nations — Palestine or Israel — had a reason to bomb the other, it would be Palestine. Other than the ineffectual “rockets” referred to above, Palestine has no capacity to do so. But Israel does, and it uses any excuse to exercise its murderous military muscle, with the complete support of the hypocritical U.S.
What will be the reason this time? Perhaps it will be a few stabbings in Jerusalem. Or maybe renewed talk about a unity government will do the trick. Or peaceful (until Israeli terrorists start shooting) demonstrations opposing the occupation.
Whatever the excuse, Israel will bomb and the U.S. will support it. This time, though, the rest of the world may do more than shake their collective finger at Israel and say Israel really shouldn’t do that. No longer does the world rely solely on corporate-owned media for their information. By 2015, social media users have risen to an incredible 2.2 billion people. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement continues to score significant victories, and worldwide awareness of Israeli apartheid is growing.
Israel’s decades-long ability to terrorize and oppress the Palestinian people with complete impunity is over. Israel’s failure to recognize that fact does not negate it.
No one can adequately predict Israel’s next deadly move. But what can be said with some degree of certainty is that, at long last, much of the world is paying attention. And it does not like what it is seeing. The “grass” of anger at the brutal, illegal occupation and blockade will continue to grow, nourished by an increasingly knowledgeable populace around the world, that condemns the vicious oppression of the Palestinian people and demands their liberation. With this growing awareness, that liberation is not a matter of “if,” but “when.”
Originally published by MintPressNews.
Robert Fantina is an activist and journalist, working for peace and social justice. He writes extensively about the oppression of the Palestinians by apartheid Israel. He is the author of several books, including ‘Empire, Racism and Genocide: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy’.
Originally from the U.S., Mr. Fantina moved to Canada following the 2004 U.S. presidential election, and now resides in Kitchener, Ontario. Visit his web page at http://robertfantina.com/. Follow him on Twitter @robertfantina.
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Beijing warns US: Leave South China Sea – By SPUTNIK

© Chinamil/Fan Huaijiang

Military tensions heightened between China and the United States as the Obama Administration looks to clamp down on Beijing’s influence along the Pacific Rim. On Thursday, China’s defense ministry asserted that it acted within the rules of engagement after American officials criticized Beijing for a “provocative” and “unsafe” intercept of a US surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea last week.

A Pentagon spokesperson alleged that two Chinese fighter jets undertook an illegal intercept of an American spy plane during “a routine US patrol” over international airspace, heightening the risk of military miscalculation in the hotly contested region. The Chinese J-11 fighter jets flew within 50 feet (15 meters) of the US EP-3 aircraft, just east of Hainan Island.

Chinese defense ministry spokesman Yang Yujan took exception to the recounting of events, telling a monthly news briefing that the Chinese fighter pilots acted professionally and in line with international rules. The Chinese spokesman also said that future incidents could best be avoided if the US would restrain from surveillance flights near Chinese territorial waters. “That’s the real source of danger for Sino-US military safety at sea and in the air,” he said. The encounter was triggered when a US Navy ship sailed close to a disputed reef, causing Beijing to scramble fighter jets to prevent an encroachment.

This is not the first time that Chinese jets have intercepted American spy planes. In 2014, a Chinese fighter pilot flew acrobatic rings around a US surveillance aircraft to usher it away from China’s waters.

Unlike the 2014 incident, last week’s intercept of an American plane comes during a critical breakdown in US-Chinese relations, with the Obama Administration attempting to contain the Chinese as well as facing an ongoing international dispute over the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos.

On Monday, US President Barack Obama began a weeklong Asian tour with a stop in Vietnam, confirming to President Tran Dai Quang the end of a five-decade arms embargo. The visit to Hanoi was followed by three days in Japan that will conclude Friday with the first visit by an American head of state to Hiroshima, the city that was destroyed by a US atomic bomb in 1945.

In addition to exploring a policy of China containment by strengthening Pacific Rim alliances, the Obama Administration seeks to dispatch anti-missile systems to South Korea under the guise of preventing a threat from North Korea, but with a consequence of rendering Beijing’s regional nuclear deterrent ineffective.

The moves to contain China’s regional influence come amid accusations by Washington that Beijing is militarizing the South China Sea by installing military aircraft hangars in the Spratly and Paracel Islands. China claims most of the South China Sea territorial waters, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes annually, over competing claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei.

Comment: It will be extremely unlikely that the US bows to China’s demand to discontinue its surveillance flights, which amounts to an escalation. Obama’s goal for the Asian tour is to shore up allies to complete the encirclement of China’s borders. The US is also similarly maneuvering to contain Russia. None of these tactics bode well for a peaceful and cooperative future.

See also: China warns U.S. surveillance plane over South China Sea

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Israeli settler deliberately runs over Palestinian child – BY ROBERT FANTINA

PALESTINIANCHILDRUNOVERBYSETTLER

 
 

 

BETHLEHEM, (PIC)– An Israeli settler deliberately ran over a Palestinian child near Hussan village west of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank last night.
Family sources affirmed that the Israeli settler ran over the 5-year-old Palestinian child Adam Hamamrah, from Husan village west of Bethlehem.
The child was immediately taken to hospital for treatment as he suffered neck injury, while the settler managed to flee the scene and then turned himself to the Israeli police.
Hit-and-run attacks and other hate crimes by Israeli settlers against Palestinians, referred to as “price tag” attacks, are common in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, and are rarely investigated or prosecuted by the Israel authorities.
Originally published by The Palestinian Information Center.

Copyright © The Palestinian Information Center

Robert Fantina is an activist and journalist, working for peace and social justice. He writes extensively about the oppression of the Palestinians by apartheid Israel. He is the author of several books, including ‘Empire, Racism and Genocide: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy’.
Originally from the U.S., Mr. Fantina moved to Canada following the 2004 U.S. presidential election, and now resides in Kitchener, Ontario. Visit his web page at http://robertfantina.com/. Follow him on Twitter @robertfantina.
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Will Americans wake up before they are dead? – By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

© The UNZ Review

The Saker reports that Russia is preparing for World War III, not because Russia intends to initiate aggression but because Russia is alarmed by the hubris and arrogance of the West, by the demonization of Russia, by provocative military actions by the West, by American interference in the Russian province of Chechnya and in former Russian provinces of Ukraine and Georgia, and by the absence of any restraint from Western Europe on Washington’s ability to foment war.

Like Steven Starr, Stephen Cohen, myself, and a small number of others, the Saker understands the reckless irresponsibility of convincing Russia that the United States intends to attack her.

It is extraordinary to see the confidence that many Americans place in their military’s ability. After 15 years the US has been unable to defeat a few lightly armed Taliban, and after 13 years the situation in Iraq remains out of control. This is not very reassuring for the prospect of taking on Russia, much less the strategic alliance between Russia and China. The US could not even defeat China, a Third World country at the time, in Korea 60 years ago.

Americans need to pay attention to the fact that “their” government is a collection of crazed stupid fools likely to bring vaporization to the United States and all of Europe.

Russian weapons systems are far superior to American ones. American weapons are produced by private companies for the purpose of making vast profits. The capability of the weapons is not the main concern. There are endless cost overruns that raise the price of US weapons into outer space. The F-35 fighter, which is less capable than the F-15 it is supposed to replace, costs between $148 million and $337 million per fighter, depending on whether it is an Air Force, Marine Corps, or Navy model.

A helmet for a F-35 pilot costs $400,000, more than a high end Ferrari.

(Washington forces or bribes hapless Denmark into purchasing useless and costly F-35.)

It is entirely possible that the world is being led to destruction by nothing more than the greed of the US military-security complex. Delighted that the reckless and stupid Obama regime has resurrected the Cold War, thus providing a more convincing “enemy” than the hoax terrorist one, the “Russian threat” has been restored to its 20th century role of providing a justification for bleeding the American taxpayer, social services, and the US economy dry in behalf of profits for armament manufacturers.

However, this time Washington’s rhetoric accompanying the revived Cold War is far more reckless and dangerous, as are Washington’s actions, than during the real Cold War. Previous US presidents worked to defuse tensions. The Obama regime has inflated tensions with lies and reckless provocations, which makes it far more likely that the new Cold War will turn hot. If Killary gains the White House, the world is unlikely to survive her first term.

All of America’s wars except the first — the war for independence — were wars for Empire. Keep that fact in mind as you hear the Memorial Day bloviations about the brave men and women who served our country in its times of peril. The United States has never been in peril, but Washington has delivered peril to numerous other countries in its pursuit of hegemony over others.

Today for the first time in its history the US faces peril as a result of Washington’s attempts to assert hegemony over Russia and China.

Russia and China are not impressed by Washington’s arrogance, hubris, and stupidity. Moreover, these two countries are not the native American Plains Indians, who were starved into submission by the Union Army’s slaughter of the buffalo.

They are not the tired Spain of 1898 from whom Washington stole Cuba and the Philippines and called the theft a “liberation.”

They are not small Japan whose limited resources were spread over the vastness of the Pacific and Asia.

They are not Germany already defeated by the Red Army before Washington came to the war.

They are not Granada, Panama, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, or the various Latin American countries that General Smedley Butler said the US Marines made safe for “the United Fruit Company” and “some lousy bank investment.”

An insouciant American population preoccupied with selfies and delusions of military prowess, while its crazed government picks a fight with Russia and China, has no future.

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America silenced as it prepares for war – By JOHN PILGER

Returning to the United States in an election year, I am struck by the silence. I have covered four presidential campaigns, starting with 1968; I was with Robert Kennedy when he was shot and I saw his assassin, preparing to kill him. It was a baptism in the American way, along with the salivating violence of the Chicago police at the Democratic Party’s rigged convention. The great counter revolution had begun.

The first to be assassinated that year, Martin Luther King, had dared link the suffering of African-Americans and the people of Vietnam. When Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”, she spoke perhaps unconsciously for millions of America’s victims in faraway places.

“We lost 58,000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom. Now don’t you forget it.” So said a National Parks Service guide as I filmed last week at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. He was addressing a school party of young teenagers in bright orange T-shirts. As if by rote, he inverted the truth about Vietnam into an unchallenged lie.

The millions of Vietnamese who died and were maimed and poisoned and dispossessed by the American invasion have no historical place in young minds, not to mention the estimated 60,000 veterans who took their own lives. A friend of mine, a marine who became a paraplegic in Vietnam, was often asked, “Which side did you fight on?”

A few years ago, I attended a popular exhibition called “The Price of Freedom” at the venerable Smithsonian Institution in Washington. The lines of ordinary people, mostly children shuffling through a Santa’s grotto of revisionism, were dispensed a variety of lies: the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved “a million lives”; Iraq was “liberated [by] air strikes of unprecedented precision”. The theme was unerringly heroic: only Americans pay the price of freedom.

The 2016 election campaign is remarkable not only for the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders but also for the resilience of an enduring silence about a murderous self-bestowed divinity. A third of the members of the United Nations have felt Washington’s boot, overturning governments, subverting democracy, imposing blockades and boycotts. Most of the presidents responsible have been liberal – Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama.

Comment: Surprised to see Pilger include Kennedy here given what’s know about Kennedy’s resistance to the types of polices mentioned above. From the Sott series on JFK, see: John F. Kennedy and the Pigs of War

The breathtaking record of perfidy is so mutated in the public mind, wrote the late Harold Pinter, that it “never happened …Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. It didn’t matter … “. Pinter expressed a mock admiration for what he called “a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

Take Obama. As he prepares to leave office, the fawning has begun all over again. He is “cool”. One of the more violent presidents, Obama gave full reign to the Pentagon war-making apparatus of his discredited predecessor. He prosecuted more whistleblowers – truth-tellers – than any president. He pronounced Chelsea Manning guilty before she was tried. Today, Obama runs an unprecedented worldwide campaign of terrorism and murder by drone.

In 2009, Obama promised to help “rid the world of nuclear weapons” and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. No American president has built more nuclear warheads than Obama. He is “modernising” America’s doomsday arsenal, including a new “mini” nuclear weapon, whose size and “smart” technology, says a leading general, ensure its use is “no longer unthinkable”.

James Bradley, the best-selling author of Flags of Our Fathers and son of one of the US marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, said, “[One] great myth we’re seeing play out is that of Obama as some kind of peaceful guy who’s trying to get rid of nuclear weapons. He’s the biggest nuclear warrior there is. He’s committed us to a ruinous course of spending a trillion dollars on more nuclear weapons. Somehow, people live in this fantasy that because he gives vague news conferences and speeches and feel-good photo-ops that somehow that’s attached to actual policy. It isn’t.”

On Obama’s watch, a second cold war is under way. The Russian president is a pantomime villain; the Chinese are not yet back to their sinister pig-tailed caricature – when all Chinese were banned from the United States – but the media warriors are working on it.

Neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders has mentioned any of this. There is no risk and no danger for the United States and all of us. For them, the greatest military build-up on the borders of Russia since World War Two has not happened. On May 11, Romania went “live” with a Nato “missile defence” base that aims its first-strike American missiles at the heart of Russia, the world’s second nuclear power.

In Asia, the Pentagon is sending ships, planes and special forces to the Philippines to threaten China. The US already encircles China with hundreds of military bases that curve in an arc up from Australia, to Asia and across to Afghanistan. Obama calls this a “pivot”.

As a direct consequence, China reportedly has changed its nuclear weapons policy from no-first-use to high alert and put to sea submarines with nuclear weapons. The escalator is quickening.

It was Hillary Clinton who, as Secretary of State in 2010, elevated the competing territorial claims for rocks and reef in the South China Sea to an international issue; CNN and BBC hysteria followed; China was building airstrips on the disputed islands. In its mammoth war game in 2015, Operation Talisman Sabre, the US practiced “choking” the Straits of Malacca through which pass most of China’s oil and trade. This was not news.

Clinton declared that America had a “national interest” in these Asian waters. The Philippines and Vietnam were encouraged and bribed to pursue their claims and old enmities against China. In America, people are being primed to see any Chinese defensive position as offensive, and so the ground is laid for rapid escalation. A similar strategy of provocation and propaganda is applied to Russia.

Clinton, the “women’s candidate”, leaves a trail of bloody coups: in Honduras, in Libya (plus the murder of the Libyan president) and Ukraine. The latter is now a CIA theme park swarming with Nazis and the frontline of a beckoning war with Russia. It was through Ukraine – literally, borderland — that Hitler’s Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, which lost 27 million people. This epic catastrophe remains a presence in Russia. Clinton’s presidential campaign has received money from all but one of the world’s ten biggest arms companies. No other candidate comes close.

Sanders, the hope of many young Americans, is not very different from Clinton in his proprietorial view of the world beyond the United States. He backed Bill Clinton’s illegal bombing of Serbia. He supports Obama’s terrorism by drone, the provocation of Russia and the return of special forces (death squads) to Iraq. He has nothing to say on the drumbeat of threats to China and the accelerating risk of nuclear war. He agrees that Edward Snowden should stand trial and he calls Hugo Chavez – like him, a social democrat – “a dead communist dictator”. He promises to support Clinton if she is nominated.

The election of Trump or Clinton is the old illusion of choice that is no choice: two sides of the same coin. In scapegoating minorities and promising to “make America great again”, Trump is a far right-wing domestic populist; yet the danger of Clinton may be more lethal for the world.

“Only Donald Trump has said anything meaningful and critical of US foreign policy,” wrote Stephen Cohen, emeritus professor of Russian History at Princeton and NYU, one of the few Russia experts in the United States to speak out about the risk of war.

In a radio broadcast, Cohen referred to critical questions Trump alone had raised. Among them: why is the United States “everywhere on the globe”? What is NATO’s true mission? Why does the US always pursue regime change in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine? Why does Washington treat Russia and Vladimir Putin as an enemy?

Comment: Yes, but how likely are those questions to remain a part of Trump’s conviction and policy should he get elected?

The hysteria in the liberal media over Trump serves an illusion of “free and open debate” and “democracy at work”. His views on immigrants and Muslims are grotesque, yet the deporter-in-chief of vulnerable people from America is not Trump but Obama, whose betrayal of people of colour is his legacy: such as the warehousing of a mostly black prison population, now more numerous than Stalin’s gulag.

This presidential campaign may not be about populism but American liberalism, an ideology that sees itself as modern and therefore superior and the one true way. Those on its right wing bear a likeness to 19th century Christian imperialists, with a God-given duty to convert or co-opt or conquer.

In Britain, this is Blairism. The Christian war criminal Tony Blair got away with his secret preparation for the invasion of Iraq largely because the liberal political class and media fell for his “cool Britannia”. In the Guardian, the applause was deafening; he was called “mystical”. A distraction known as identity politics, imported from the United States, rested easily in his care.

History was declared over, class was abolished and gender promoted as feminism; lots of women became New Labour MPs. They voted on the first day of Parliament to cut the benefits of single parents, mostly women, as instructed. A majority voted for an invasion that produced 700,000 Iraqi widows.

The equivalent in the US are the politically correct warmongers on the New York Times, the Washington Post and network TV who dominate political debate. I watched a furious debate on CNN about Trump’s infidelities. It was clear, they said, a man like that could not be trusted in the White House. No issues were raised. Nothing on the 80 per cent of Americans whose income has collapsed to 1970s levels. Nothing on the drift to war. The received wisdom seems to be “hold your nose” and vote for Clinton: anyone but Trump. That way, you stop the monster and preserve a system gagging for another war.

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IDLIB! 54 ALQAEDA LEADERS KILLED WHILE PRAYING TO SATAN; SYRIAN INTELLIGENCE CARRIED OUT BOMBING; THOUSANDS IN SYRIA RETURN TO HOMES LIBERATED BY SYRIAN ARMY IN DAMASCUS – By ZIAD FADEL

 

IDLIB CITY:  The province of Idlib is mostly in the hands of Jaysh Al-Fath and Alqaeda/Nusra.  Yesterday was Friday, May 27, 2016, and it was time for the ritual of the noon prayer.  In this case, the terrorists were not praying to God.  They were praying to Satan.  For that, there was punishment and it came in the shape of a van with Turkish license plates.  The van has been identified as seized by the Syrian military some months ago in the area of Handaraat.  It was to pop up again here where everybody thought it was just another Saudi-supplied vehicle with no harmful uses.  Well, that was a serious misperception.

The Syrian Intelligence Services have penetrated the terrorist groups very well.  Not only do our agencies have extensive experience in identifying weak links in the make-up of these terrorist groups, they also have the perspicacity to emplace assets well before the group grows and acquires notoriety.  We can confirm that the explosion was carried out by a man and a woman who parked the Mitsubishi van in front of the entrance of the Shu’ayb Mosque in the far western Al-Dhaabit Quarter and, then, left it there with the 100 kgs of a C-4 and military grade TNT cocktail linked to a triggering mechanism held by a Syrian government asset a half kilometer away.  He waited until the husband-wife team merged with the throngs of cannibals and, at the moment he was sure they were sufficiently distant from any perimeter fallout, pressed the button that would kill 54 Alqaeda commanders, most of whom were from Uzbekistan, Daghestan and Kirghizstan.

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=35.931718&lon=36.621364&z=19&m=b

 

All the usual lying propaganda sites are trying to downplay the disaster which has befallen their terrorist heroes, but, the fact remains that the terrorists themselves have gone on the cellphone networks screaming bloody murder as the following names were constantly mentioned as being among the dead rats:

“Abu Kinaana Al-Uzbek”

“Abu Haneefa Al-Uzbekistaani”

“Abu ‘Abdul-Qaadir Al-Qibshak”

“Abu Dajaana Al-Daaghistaani”

And the list of dead foreign rodents goes on and on.

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00036BBE

DAMASCUS:  While the promoters of terrorism in the West were crying foul, the Syrian Army was successfully dislodging entrenched terrorists from the South and East Ghouta.  Well, all that has now paid dividends as thousands of families, once internally displaced,  have begun returning to their liberated homes to find the stench of the terrorist squatters still persisting in the crevices of their pockmarked walls.   Many of the citizens were seen preparing their lands for future agricultural efforts.

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PICTURES OF THE DAY:  A notorious ISIS slave-trader is captured.  Note the happy days before his imminent execution: (Thanks, Khalid Nawaz Al-Nouri)

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NEWS AND COMMENT:

The United States immersed in hypocrisy as seen here:

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article78962527.html

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