Sunday, February 17, 2019

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The Bombshell Doug Band Memo

Via JustPhil, Cenk Uygur does a great job of breaking down the important “Doug Band Memo” detaling Clintons’ corrupt foundation here.

One of many great Zerohedge articles about it here.

Philippine Pres. Duterte Calls the US “Monkeys” Over Halted Sale of 26,000 Guns

This article was originally published at Underground Reporter.

 

Philippines — On Wednesday, controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte once again tore into the United States, this time for the U.S. cancelling a planned sale of 26,000 guns to Filipino police. At the same time, the president suggested he may turn to Russia or China for such hardware in the future.

“Look at these monkeys,” Duterte said during a televised speech, “the 26,000 firearms we wanted to buy, they don’t want to sell.”

Citing the burgeoning closeness between China — and, by extension, Russia — and the Philippines, Duterte pointed out his country now has far greater options.

“Russia, they are inviting us,” he said. “China, too. China is open, anything you want, they sent me brochure saying we select there, we give you.”

And besides, the president noted, lots of Filipinos are self-initiated:

“Son of a bitch, we have many home-made guns here. These American fools.”

On Monday, it was reported the U.S. State Department had halted the sale of 26,000 guns to the Philippines’ national police force. The move, explained The Guardian, was motivated by cries of human rights violations against Duterte’s administration:

“The relationship between the two governments has been complicated lately by President Rodrigo Duterte’s angry reaction to Washington’s criticism of his violent and controversial war on drugs.”

CNN, reporting Wednesday on Duterte’s comments, wrote similarly, noting the Philippines “has seen a sharp rise in violence and extrajudicial killings” since the newly-elected president took office and that his “war on drugs has drawn the ire of the international community.”

While it’s true more than 2,300 people have been killed in police actions or by suspected vigilantes since Duterte took office in June, smart money says the cancelled sale is far less about preventing human rights violations in the Philippines, and far more likely about the U.S. not wishing to supply military hardware to a nation who’s clearly abandoned its loyalty to the West.

As Anti-Media has detailed, President Duterte has, in recent weeks, made statements — some, even official — indicating his desire for his nation’s future to unfold in the Chinese and Russian spheres of influence, as opposed to that of longtime ally, the United States.

Regarding China, access to the South China Sea had previously been a major area of contention for the Philippines. China had, and still does, claim nearly all-encompassing sovereign rights to those waters. This had been a problem for Duterte’s predecessor, but the new Filipino leader has proven far more flexible on the issue in recent weeks. Now, China and the Philippines’ newfound cooperative spirit is experiencing its first true test.

Over the weekend, Filipino fisherman tentatively ventured into the South China Sea, near the Scarborough Shoal, after the Chinese government promised them unhindered access. As of Wednesday, China has made good on its word.

President Duterte’s national security advisor, Hermogenes Esperon — while noting an official maritime agreement between China and the Philippines had not been reached — nonetheless told Reuters “the climate has changed.”

“They have coast guard ships there,” Esperon said, “there are no more navy ships and our fisherman are no longer accosted, they are not driven away.”

“In short,” he summarized, “they are more friendly now.”

Turkey and Iraq on Verge of War as Turkish Military Positions Along Border

This article was originally published at Anti-Media.

 

Iraq — Hours after Turkey deployed tanks and military vehicles to its southern border town of Silopi — and just days after Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan said his military might pursue Kurdish fighters across the border into Iraq — Rudaw news service reported Wednesday that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has warned the Turkish military it will “pay a heavy price” if it crosses the border.

“We do not want to fight Turkey. We do not want a confrontation with Turkey,” Abadi said while speaking to journalists in Baghdad on Tuesday.

“God forbid, even if we engage in war with them, the Turks will pay a heavy price. They will be damaged. Yes, we too will be damaged, but whenever a country fights a neighboring country, there will be no winner, both will end up losing.”

Stating that “[they] will fight them and [they will] look at them and treat them as the enemy” if Turkish forces make a move into Iraq, Abadi added:

“We are not afraid of Turkey, but the aftermath of the emergence of a new war. We do not want that. We want reduction of the problems, not escalation.”

Last week, President Erdogan declared he may order his military to cross over into the northwestern Iraqi region on Sinjar. The Turkish leader claimed defense as a justification. Sinjar, he says, is the center of a growing Kurdish presence along the border.

From an October 27 report by the Associated Press:

“In a speech delivered on Thursday, Erdogan said the Sinjar region is fast becoming a base for the leaders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, similar to northern Iraq’s Qandil Mountains where the group’s commanders long maintained their headquarters.”

As Anti-Media has detailed, the Erdogan administration believes the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighting alongside the U.S. in Iraq and Syria are tied to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), whom the Turks hold responsible for a three-decade old insurgency still going on within Turkey.

Erdogan has gone on record to say that Turkey has no intention of waiting for threats to appear before responding. As such, statements like the following, made last week, may soon begin to hold more weight:

“We cannot permit Sinjar, because the PKK is there.”

Jump to Tuesday, when Reuters reported that “Turkey’s military has begun deploying tanks and armored vehicles to the town of Silopi near the Iraqi border.”

Turkey’s defense minister, Fikri Isik, said Turkey has “no obligation” to wait as the PKK, according to the Turks, secures a foothold in northwestern Iraq.

“We will not allow the threat to Turkey to increase,” he stated.

Turkey, incidentally, has already proven a willingness to fire on the Kurds, even as the U.S. continues to maintain the Kurdish YPG militias are crucial to the fight against ISIS in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi-led push to eject ISIS from Mosul is well underway, and plans by the U.S.-backed coalition to take out militants in Raqqa, Syria, are in the final stages of development.

But with Turkey emerging as an unpredictable — and potentially volatile — factor in Middle Eastern conflicts, Iraq’s Prime Minister Abadi may be thinking prudently when he states that “we have made our preparations in advance. We are still afraid of any objectionable step that might be taken. We hope it does not reach that point.”

America Is Not One Nation; It Never Was

Politicians at the federal level always try to sell the United States as a singular nation – on big glob, not a union of states.

Hillary Clinton peddled this myth during her speech at the Democratic National Convention.

When representatives from 13 unruly colonies met just down the road from here, some wanted to stick with the king. Some wanted to stick it to the king, and go their own way. The revolution hung in the balance. Then somehow they began listening to each other … compromising … finding common purpose. And by the time they left Philadelphia, they had begun to see themselves as one nation.”

Federal government officials have to sell this idea of “one nation” governopoly in order to justify their meddling in virtually every area of our life. The concept of state sovereignty dilutes their power and makes it more difficult for them to impose all of the crap they want to impose. So, they do everything within their power to erase state lines and subjugate the “unruly” states to federal authority.

Quite simply, this is Bovine Scat.

The founding generation never conceived the United States as a “nation.” A nation implies a single, unified political society. When they declared independence, the colonies became 13 sovereign nations in their own right. They did quickly band together in a confederation, but this is not the same thing as a “nation.”

Under the Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress had virtually no authority over the states. In fact, the loose nature of the confederation eventually led to the Constitution delegating more authority to the general government.

But even under the Constitution, the United States are not “one nation.” It’s not the United State.

Now, this is not to say some individuals in the founding generation didn’t envision America as “one nation.” Alexander Hamilton in particular dreamed of a single nation with the states merely functioning as corporations. But this was not the system eventually created by the Constitution. Even Hamilton conceded this in Federalist #32.

An entire consolidation of the States into one complete national sovereignty would imply an entire subordination of the parts; and whatever powers might remain in them, would be altogether dependent on the general will. But the plan of the convention aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the State governments would clearly retain all rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act, exclusively delegated to the United States.”

The United States exist as a federal republic. The government has some national characteristics, but the country was never consolidated into a singular entity. The states maintain their sovereignty, giving up only a few powers that were specifically delegated to the general government – retaining all the rest.

Black’s Law Dictionary describes the difference between a nation and a federal republic.

A national government is a government of the people of a single state or nation, united as a community by what is termed the ‘social compact,’ and possessing complete and perfect supremacy over persons and things, so far as they can be made the lawful objects of civil government. A federal government is distinguished from a national government by its being the government of a community of independent and sovereign states, united by compact.”

James Madison did perhaps the best job describing the American polity.

First, in order to ascertain the real character of the government, it may be considered in relation to the foundation on which it is to be established; to the sources from which its ordinary powers are to be drawn; to the operation of those powers; to the extent of them; and to the authority by which future changes in the government are to be introduced.

“On examining the first relation, it appears, on one hand, that the Constitution is to be founded on the assent and ratification of the people of America, given by deputies elected for the special purpose; but, on the other, that this assent and ratification is to be given by the people, not as individuals composing one entire nation, but as composing the distinct and independent States to which they respectively belong. It is to be the assent and ratification of the several States, derived from the supreme authority in each State, the authority of the people themselves. The act, therefore, establishing the Constitution, will not be a national, but a federal act.

“That it will be a federal and not a national act, as these terms are understood by the objectors; the act of the people, as forming so many independent States, not as forming one aggregate nation, is obvious from this single consideration, that it is to result neither from the decision of a majority of the people of the Union, nor from that of a majority of the States. It must result from the unanimous assent of the several States that are parties to it, differing no otherwise from their ordinary assent than in its being expressed, not by the legislative authority, but by that of the people themselves. Were the people regarded in this transaction as forming one nation, the will of the majority of the whole people of the United States would bind the minority, in the same manner as the majority in each State must bind the minority; and the will of the majority must be determined either by a comparison of the individual votes, or by considering the will of the majority of the States as evidence of the will of a majority of the people of the United States. Neither of these rules have been adopted. Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a federal, and not a national constitution.” [Emphasis added]

Many members of the founding generation would be appalled to hear federal government officials talking about one nation. They viewed this kind of consolidation – governopoly – one of the gravest threats to liberty.

During the Massachusetts ratifying convention, delegate Fisher Aims argued for the inclusion of what would later become the Tenth Amendment.

A consolidation of the States would subvert the new Constitution, and against which this article [the Tenth Amendment] is our best security. Too much provision cannot be made against consolidation. The State Governments represent the wishes and feelings, and the local interests of the people. They are the safeguard and ornament of the Constitution; they will protect the period of our liberties; they will afford a shelter against the abuse of power, and will be the natural avengers of our violated rights.”

When politicians like Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump start talking about America as one nation, they reveal their ignorance of the American constitutional system and history.

More importantly, talk of “one nation” reveals a mindset rooted in a lust for power. It’s certainly easier to rule over and control “one nation” than it is 50 unruly states. They want governopoly. We should resist them.

Russia: The West is Trapped in its Own ‘Propaganda-Created World’

This article was originally published at Anti-Media.

 

London — As the American corporate media continues to tow the official line that Russia is working to undermine U.S. elections, the head of the U.K.’s MI5 spoke with the Guardian on Tuesday. It was the first time an acting spy chief has given a newspaper interview in the agency’s 107-year history, and the subject matter important enough to prompt such an atypical occurrence was hardly a surprising one — Russia.

Or, more accurately, Russia as the big bad enemy.

“Russia increasingly seems to define itself by opposition to the west and seems to act accordingly,” MI5 chief Andrew Parker told the Guardian. “You can see that on the ground with Russia’s activities in Ukraine and Syria. But there is high-volume activity out of sight with the cyber-threat.”

“Russia has been a covert threat for decades,” he continued. Then, evoking the U.S. election hacking hype, he added, “What’s different these days is that there are more and more methods available.”

And according to Parker, Vladimir Putin’s Russia is utilizing these methods in “increasingly aggressive ways” to project its global influence:

“It is using its wide range of state organs and powers to to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways — involving propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyber-attacks. Russia is at work across Europe and in the U.K. today.”

The Kremlin was quick to issue a response to the Parker interview, one the Guardian detailed in a follow up piece.

“Those words do not correspond to reality,” spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said flatly. With regard to alleged U.S. election tampering, he added, “Until someone produces proof, we will consider those statements unfounded and groundless.”

Russia’s embassy in London, meanwhile, stated on Twitter it was “saddened to see a professional trapped to [sic] his own propaganda-created world.” Accompanying that tweet was the movie poster for the 1966 film The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming.

In the buildup to the U.S. presidential election on November 8 — and as Russian submarines are spotted off the British coast — Western nations are again amping up the anti-Russian narrative.

On October 7, for instance, the United States officially accused Russia of attempting to intervene in the U.S. political system. Then, just days ago, Western member countries of the G7 alliance agreed that continued sanctions against Russia for its role in Ukraine and Syria were “vital.”

For his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s response to such recriminations has been largely one of amusement, as demonstrated by comments he made last week.

While speaking to foreign policy experts in Sochi, Putin dismissed the “hysteria about Russia’s influence on the U.S. presidential election,” adding the “mythical and fictitious” issue has been used to distract the American voter from real problems facing the United States government.

“Does anyone seriously think Russia can somehow influence the American people’s choice?” Putin asked. “Is America some kind of banana republic? America is a great power!”

A great power, the Russian president made certain to note, with a top notch propaganda arm:

“I would like to have such propaganda machine in Russia, but, regrettably, there is no such thing,” Putin said, touching on the bought and paid for nature of Western corporate media. “We don’t have such global media as CNN, BCC and others.”

WikiLeaks Reveals Team Hillary’s Libya Spin

That it would be Syria now, if not for Clinton’s war.

Nancy Yousef at the Daily Beast.

Too bad no one was even asking. All the less-than-worthless Republicans can ever complain about was the lack of security and rescue at the Benghazi attack of 9/11/12; but they have nothing to say about the rest of the war, or even the treason helping run jihadis and guns off to Syria that got Stephens killed because the GOP is for all that stuff too.

For more on what the emails say about Hillary and Libya, see the Great Brad Hoff here.

Anti-ISIS Coalition Too Busy Defeating Themselves to Defeat ISIS

This article was originally published at Underground Reporter.

 

Washington, D.C. — As Iraqi military forces were beginning their initial push into Mosul on Tuesday, the Washington Post was reporting that U.S. defense officials are working to overcome serious roadblocks in the way of a successful campaign to eject ISIS militants from Raqqa — the capital, in northern Syria, of ISIS’ self-proclaimed caliphate.

“This is one of the situations in which we have contacts and influence over all the actors,” one official told the Post. “But we’re not in total control.”

The Raqqa offensive, according to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s comments in late October, will begin in a matter of weeks. Originally, the campaign was set to take place in coordination with the effort in Mosul that launched two weeks ago, but unresolved issues among participants forced planners to put the offensive on hold.

And those issues, according to the Post’s anonymous government sources, center largely on the continuing friction between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds.

“More ominously,” writes the Post, in reference to interviews with defense officials, “they cite the explosive dynamics between two allies: Turkey and Syrian Kurdish fighters, who form the bulk of the existing offensive force.”

That “existing offensive force” is the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and those “Syrian Kurdish fighters” come from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

The two separate forces — that of the Turkish military and that of the Kurdish YPG — are both purported to be U.S. allies in the fight against ISIS. Turkey doesn’t trust the YPG, however, because it believes the YPG is connected to a three-decade old Kurdish insurgency within Turkey.

Beyond trust issues, the situation is further complicated by the fact of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent independence streak. Riding newfound support at home after surviving a coup attempt, Erdoğan has begun to assert the Turkish military more boldly in Middle Eastern conflicts.

Turkey, for instance, stressed a desire to participate in the Iraq offensive to take Mosul, but was told by the Iraqi prime minister to keep out of it.

Certainly, then, Erdoğan was less than pleased to hear the comments of Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend — the U.S. military commander in Iraq — last week in Washington, D.C.

“The facts are these,” Townsend said while explaining to reporters that plans to retake Raqqa were underway. “The only force that is capable of any near-term timeline is the Syrian Democratic Forces, of which the Y.P.G. are a significant portion.”

Townsend didn’t say the Turks couldn’t play in Raqqa, though, he simply said they had to play nice.

“We’ll welcome any contributing nation that wants to make themselves part of the coalition,” he stated at a press conference last Thursday. However, he said, they can’t “come with a whole bunch of strings” and must “be willing to do what the coalition needs done.”

In other words, Turkey must control itself around the Kurds or step out of the coalition’s way.

Neither of these prospects appears promising, though, as Turkey has already proven both a willingness to fire on the Kurds and a resolute insistence regarding military participation in the region.

Perhaps the most dangerous element in the overall effort to eject ISIS from Iraq and Syria, however, will be spillover as the conflicts continue to stretch on.

Citing their anonymous defense officials, the Washington Post noted that, as all the campaigns proceed and potentially intersect, the fighting will come “within shooting distance of Aleppo, where Syria’s civil war is raging between rebels and government forces and their Russian and Iranian allies.”

Or, as one official flatly told the Post: “A lot of forces could collide.”

Turkey’s Crackdown on Criticism Continues as Journalists, 10K Civil Servants Arrested

This article was originally published at Underground Reporter.

 

Istanbul — A day after the administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dismissed an additional 10,000 civil employees and shut down another 15 media outlets inside Turkey, it was reported Monday that Turkish police have arrested roughly a dozen journalists at one of principle publishers critical of Erdoğan’s crackdown.

“Turkish police detained the editor and senior staff of a leading opposition newspaper on Monday over its alleged support for a failed coup in July,” writes Reuters, “in a move described by a top EU politician as the crossing of a red line against freedom of expression.”

That E.U. politician, Parliament President Martin Schulz, speaking via Twitter, additionally stated that “The ongoing massive purge seems motivated by political considerations, rather than legal and security rationale.”

To date, over 110,000 people have been either fired or suspended, and 37,000 have been arrested during Erdoğan’s ongoing consolidation of power.

The news agency raided, Cumhuriyet, is described by Reuters as “one of few media outlets still critical of Erdogan.” When asked to comment on his detention, one journalist, as he was being carted away, said: “I work for Cumhuriyet, isn’t that enough?”

Another employee, cartoonist Musa Kart, told reporters: “This is a comical situation. It is not possible for people with a conscience to accept this. You can’t explain this to the world. I am being detained solely for drawing caricatures.”

Over the past three and a half months, some 170 varied newspapers, magazines, and television stations have been shut down in Turkey — who, incidentally, is both a NATO member and a candidate for E.U. membership.

Monday’s news directly follows the revelation that 10,000 more government workers — among them “academics, teachers, health workers, prison guards and forensic experts” — had been sacked over the weekend, in a move made legal “through two new executive orders published on the Official Gazette late on Saturday.”

As highlighted by the BBC, the last edition published by Cumhuriyet’s senior staff featured a plain but highly appropriate headline:

“A few copies of Monday’s edition had been left at the gates of Cumhuriyet’s premises. The headline read simply: ‘Coup against opposition.’

“The story was about the suspension of thousands of civil servants and other laws introduced under emergency decrees. Only hours afterwards, the editor-in-chief and several writers were detained and arrest warrants issued for over a dozen of the paper’s executives.”

Erdoğan’s crackdown on free speech and journalistic license has riled some of his — formerly — staunch Western allies such the the United States, who purport to view freedom of expression as a paramount ideal.

The situation is complicated further by the fact that Turkey, under Erdoğan’s newfound boldness, is displaying an independent streak on Middle Eastern battlefronts that lends an element of uncertainty to those events, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

The complexity of it all was aptly characterized in another Monday article by Reuters:

“The unprecedented crackdown at home and his bellicose stance on the world stage have alarmed Western and some regional allies, who fear the NATO member and EU candidate nation is becoming an ever more unpredictable partner, and one over which they have decreasing leverage.”

The Party of Lincoln?

When Republicans who don’t like Donald Trump want to show how much they don’t like him, they say he is not worthy of the “party of Lincoln.” But the party of Lincoln was the big-government party of protectionism, industrial policy, civil-liberties violations, and war. Lincoln was even ready to enforce slavery even though he knew it was wrong.

The Russians and the Election

According to the New York Times and CNN, the FBI has been looking for links between Donald Trump and the Russians. So far, these news outlets report, no links have been found. Sources also tell the NYT and CNN that Russia’s alleged meddling in the election through email hacks has not be intended to help Trump win but only to sow, in CNN’s Evan Perez’s words, “confusion and chaos.”

If that’s so, the Russians are incompetent. How would disclosing emails from Clinton campaign chief John Podesta or the Democratic National Committee sow confusion or chaos? We’re learning things about the inner workings of the campaign that we all ought to want to know, and so far not one of the emails has been shown to be phony. Considering that Podesta and the DNC have the original emails, it is hilarious that they refuse to confirm or deny the authenticity of the leak materials. I take that as confirmation.

By the way, we have been given no reason to believe the Russian government is the source of the emails that WikiLeaks has disclosed. Clinton may say, and the news media may parrot, that 17 U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed that Russia and Putin were behind the hacks, but this is untrue — those agencies have not done so. If you want to see why I say this, read Jeremy R. Hammond’s “Is Russia Interfering in the US Election? Why You Can’t Believe the NYT.”

It is hard to square two things: 1) that Putin is a crafty ambitious ruler bent on undermining American democracy and 2) that his cyber experts “broke into” the DNC and Clinton campaign and left their “fingerprints” and “calling cards” all over the place. What is more likely: that Putin is trying — in an insanely obvious way — to influence the election, or that someone is trying to make it look as though he is trying to influence the election?

As judges tell jurors, don’t leave your common sense outside the deliberation room.

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