The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

A Future in Hell: The Bitter Fruits of Bellicose Policy

… When the Soviet Union fell, there was an opening — a genuine opening — to make a better world. But America’s bipartisan elites refused to take that path. Instead they chose a threatening military expansion, after promising not to do it. They chose the “Shock Doctrine” tactics of hyper-capitalism, driving millions of people into desperate ruin and early deaths, while empowering gangsters and crooks whose predatory instincts fit well with the new system. At every turn, they chose policies and supported corrupt leaders and a corrupt system that led people to see “democracy” as a dirty word, a hypocritical mask for robbery and repression. They chose to keep Russia down, keep it cowed and contained; they chose … to re-divide the world, seeing the Soviet collapse not as an opportunity to make a safer, more secure and prosperous future for their own people — but as a chance to push their sick agenda of domination, greed and elite rule.

And now these same fools, and their equally foolish successors, are astonished that Russia has not become a safe and peaceful liberal democracy but has instead turned to authoritarianism — as happens to many societies in chaos, grasping at any straw that seems to promise (however falsely) some way out of the abyss. They are astonished that the Russian regime mirrors the meddling, arms peddling and power-gaming that they have practiced ruthlessly for generations – just as they express astonishment and outrage that a people who have been violently repressed and confined for decades would dare to strike back at a regime that has killed multitudes of their children and literally sealed them up behind a concrete wall, as in Gaza.

So with the horrors raging in Ukraine and Gaza (and Iraq and Syria), we have now arrived at another turning point – yet another further turning away from sanity and humanity, toward more war, more hatred, more enmity, more grasping, more greed, and more – many, many more – needless deaths.

Prince Bandar and the Destruction of Syria | Pepe Escobar

Moscow won’t drop Damascus. Period. At the same time, as Bandar threatened, Geneva II seems more unlikely to happen than the Obama administration ceasing to drone Yemen to death.

The name of the game, in practice, remains Syria as the new Afghanistan, with the House of Saud in control of all aspects of jihad (with Washington “leading from behind”). Deadly historic irony also applies; instead of clashing with the Soviet Union, now the Saudis clash with the Russian federation. Bandar is simultaneously the new Weaponizer-in-Chief, as well as Liberator-in-Chief of Syria. The Comeback Spy is not accounting for future, inevitable, ghastly blowback; what’s alarming is that the Obama administration is right behind him.

Snowden: towards an endgame | Pepe Escobar

[…] While Washington spies, security officials of the BRICS nations, gathered in Vladivostok this month, have agreed to expand their cooperation in cyber-security; after all they now perceive the US as the biggest common threat. They are already collaborating on laying out the US$1.5 billion fiber-optic BRICS cable, which will link the five of them with 21 African countries, with service starting in 2015.

While Washington spies, the BRIC nations do deals. Russia and China are boosting their trade. China is getting most of the oil exported by Iraq and is solidifying its strategic energy partnership with Iran. Deeper into Pipelineistan, in Afghanistan the US might as well forget about the TAPI pipeline - from Turkmenistan to India via Afghanistan and Pakistan - (unless the Taliban receive a hefty cut).

On the other hand, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, before a visit to China, announced, “the economic corridor taking off from Kashgar [in China’s Xinjiang] to Gwadar [in southwest Pakistan] is a game changer”.

And that’s quite an understatement; this economic corridor, parallel to the Karakoram highway, will boast a series of special economic zones, fiber-optic cables, a rail link and - what else - a pipeline; this proves that the Iran-Pakistan (IP) pipeline, fought tooth and nail by both the Bush and Obama administrations, will have an extension to China, will become the IPC, and will offer yet another Chinese access to the Indian Ocean; take that, “pivoting” to Asia.

The by now famous tweet by Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee at the Duma, and very close to President Vladimir Putin, about Venezuela’s offer of asylum being Snowden’s “last chance”, has been misinterpreted. Rather than a measure of Russia’s exasperation, it should be seen as a measure of trepidation. Caracas did receive an extradition request from Washington. Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro said it has already been rejected. Caracas also received an asylum request from Snowden.

Maduro was clear; Snowden “will need to decide when he will fly here”. If the movie does become Our Man in Caracas, it’s up to Moscow to make it happen. Snowden can’t fly through Havana, overflying European and very close to US airspace. Obama may “scramble jets” after all.

Putin’s previous statement of offering asylum to Snowden as long as he stopped leaking was clearly designed to appease an enraged Obama administration. But is he prepared to authorize the smuggling of Snowden to South America in a Russian strategic bomber (or, better yet, a nuclear submarine)? And still there’s no guarantee Our Man in Caracas would not be whacked, sooner or later, by a CIA contractor. The ball is now in Russia’s court.

Israel warns Russia against arming Syrian government | guardian.co.uk

Russia has said it will supply one of its most advanced anti-aircraft missile systems to the Syrian government hours after the EU ended its arms embargo on the rebels, raising the prospect of a rapidly escalating proxy war in the region if peace talks in Geneva fail next month.

Israel quickly issued a thinly veiled warning that it would bomb the Russian S-300 missiles if they were sent to Syria, as such a move would bring the advanced guided missiles within range of civilian and military planes over Israel. Israel has conducted three sets of air strikes on Syria this year, [purportedly] aimed at preventing missiles being brought close to its border by the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah.

"The shipments haven’t set out yet and I hope they won’t," Moshe Ya’alon, the Israeli defence minister, said. "If they do arrive in Syria, God forbid, we’ll know what to do." [++]

Russia to send air-defence system to Syria | Al Jazeera English

Russia will not cancel plans to deliver an air-defence system to Syria despite Western opposition in order to help deter foreign intervention in the two-year-old conflict, according to the country’s deputy foreign minister.

Speaking in Moscow on Tuesday, Sergei Ryabkov also accused the EU of “throwing fuel on the fire” by letting its own arms embargo on Syria expire.

"We think this delivery is a stabilising factor and that such steps in many ways restrain some hotheads from exploring scenarios in which this conflict could be given an international character with participation of outside forces," Ryabkov said.

Israel and France had urged Moscow to refrain from sending high-precision S-300 missile systems to President Bashar al-Assad’s government in its campaign against opposition fighters.

Russian officials have not disclosed whether S-300s have actually been sent to Syria and Ryabkov would not specify.

"I can’t confirm or deny that these deliveries have taken place. I can only say that we will not disavow them," he said.

Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, ended nervous Washington and Pentagon speculation today by telling the ITAR-TASS news agency that the Kremlin isn’t actually going to sell the S-300 air defense missile to Assad. Whatever other arms deals Russia will honor with Syria, the S-300 won’t be included. Nyet! Now Russia Won’t Sell Badass Missile to Syria

Syria to receive advanced Russian air defense: report | Al Akhbar

Syria has already began payments for a $900 million purchase of an advanced air defense system from Russia and an initial delivery was due within three months, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday citing US officials.

Israel has asked Russia not to sell Syria the S-300, which could help President Bashar al-Assad fend off foreign military intervention, Israeli officials said on Thursday.

"We have raised objections to this (sale) with the Russians, and the Americans have too," an Israeli official told Reuters.

There was no immediate comment from Moscow or Damascus.

Russia Bans 18 Americans After Similar US Move | NYTimes.com

This is hilarious:

Russia on Saturday named 18 Americans banned from entering the country in response to Washington imposing sanctions on 18 Russians for alleged human rights violations.

The list released by the Foreign Ministry includes John Yoo, a former U.S. Justice Department official who wrote legal memos authorizing harsh interrogation techniques; David Addington, the chief of staff for former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney; and two former commanders of the Guantanamo Bay detention center: retired Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller and Adm. Jeffrey Harbeson.

The People’s Record Daily News Update

thepeoplesrecord:

Here’s a collection of news stories for February 9, 2013 that you may not otherwise have a chance to see/learn about.

Residents of the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh say more than 100 people have demonstrated to call for the release of people detained without charge.

Dozens of security vehicles blocked the intersections of two streets Saturday where the demonstrations were taking place. North of Riyadh in the city of Buraydah, around 30 people — mostly women related to the prisoners — held a similar rally.

In past years, a small number of Saudis have demonstrated in Riyadh to demand the release of thousands of people detained without charge or trial on suspicion of involvement in militant activity. Some have been held for up to 15 years.

Turkish officers are resigning en masse to avoid arrest and sentencing for conspiracy against the government. The cabinet of PM Erdogan is winning the decade-long battle with the country’s once almighty generals.

Mass detentions of both serving and retired officers have been taking place in Turkey over the last decade. The country’s media is closely following a number of trials against top brass accused of plotting against the ruling government. Over at least the past half a century, the Turkish armed forces have been notorious for regular interference in domestic politics, organizing several coups to displace governments and generally having great influence on the political landscape.

In late January 2013 the exodus of Turkish officers from the army was given a new push. Turkey’s number-two naval commander Admiral Nusret Guner resigned, allegedly over the detention of hundreds of his colleagues. His premature voluntary retirement sparked yet another wave of resignations.

In the United States, a Los Angeles police officer who is under investigation for threatening women with jail time if they refused to have sex with him is now being sued by a man he and another officer beat nearly to death after trying to extort money from him last May.

Mulligan “suffered a broken shoulder blade and facial fractures requiring several surgeries at the hands of police officers after they stopped him in the city’s Highland Park neighborhood and forced him to check into a local motel and stay there against his will,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

In Russia, a Moscow district court ordered Sergei Udaltsov, a prominent opposition leader, to be placed under house arrest on Saturday, in one of the most aggressive legal measures to date against a leader of the anti-Kremlin protests that began more than a year ago.

Mr. Udaltsov, the leader of the radical socialist Left Front movement, faces a charge of conspiracy to incite mass disorder, under a statute that can bring a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. According to Saturday’s ruling, he may not leave his house, use the Internet, receive letters or communicate with anyone outside his family and legal team until April 6, the current date for the end of the investigation of his case.

The ruling seemed to signal a new stage in the government’s effort to bring criminal cases against well-known critics of President Vladimir V. Putin.

In Palestine and the occupied territories, Israel’s army forced Palestinian activists to evacuate a West Bank encampment they had set up in protest against illegal Israeli settlement construction and declared the site a “closed military zone”.

Soldiers on Saturday destroyed tents that were being erected in two different areas near the southern West Bank town of Yatta and forced activists to leave, the Palestinian witness said.

At the first site no arrests were made, but soldiers used a cannon that shoots what is commonly referred to as “skunk” water because of its foul smell to disperse activists.

Six people were arrested at the second site, including two photographers.

WARNING: CISPA IS BACK!!!

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection act (CISPA) will be reintroduced before the US House next week following a spate of cyber espionage and hacking attacks. Civil liberties advocates have criticized the bill for violating privacy laws.

The House Intelligence Committee’s Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and ranking member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) will attempt to breathe new life into CISPA on Wednesday.

The bill will be identical to the version of CISPA that passed the House last spring, but was defeated on the Senate floor in August mainly because the upper house was hammering out its own cyber security bill.

(Source: thepeoplesrecord, via zeram-deactivated20130410)