The archive is catalogued by 'Economics', 'Politics', 'Mockingbird', 'And in other news' and 'Thoughts on other things' 

MarkGB 

"Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world" - Henry Kissinger

and yet...

"Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences" – Robert Louis Stevenson

Meet the new guy, same as the old guy

Longevity alert:

This is a very long piece with a lot of sources, and the ramifications of it are quite ‘heavy’…so if you are busy or ‘on a roll’, I suggest you come back to it when you have more time…and maybe bring along a cup of something nice when you do.

Section one – An underlying pattern:

Question: what have George W Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump got in common, apart from the obvious?

Answer: they were all elected on the promise of bringing ‘peace’ through a policy of ‘non-intervention’. Here’s George W Bush in 2000:

“I’m not sure the role of the United States is to go round the world saying this is the way it’s got to be…we stand alone in terms of power, so if we’re an arrogant nation they’ll view us that way, and if we’re a humble nation they’ll respect us…I don’t think our troops should be used for ‘nation building’…I’m concerned that we’re over-deployed around the world…I don’t want to be the world’s policeman, I want to be the world’s peace-maker…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsvf1HU0KHM

How did he get from those sentiments to declaring war on Iraq? And please don’t say 9/11 – those guys were primarily Saudis; they were led by a Saudi princeling, Bin Laden, who had been ‘used’ by the CIA to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. There was no al-Qaeda in Iraq prior to the ‘war on terror’…and just in case anyone has forgotten…there were no WMD either. But Dubya invaded Iraq anyway.

Now here’s Barack Obama in 2007:

“I will promise you this…that if we have not gotten our troops out (of Afghanistan) by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do, I will get our troops home, we will bring an end to this war…you can take that to the bank”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p12cAclNCRU

Never mind the Guantanamo fiasco, and the fact that the US is still in Afghanistan; how did he get from being that guy to the guy who turned Libya into a junkyard, who threatened to do the same to Syria? Maybe he had a ‘change of heart’? No…Obama’s heart was never in it; he wanted to be a saviour not a warlord. But he did it anyway…looking more remote and disconnected as each day passed.

Thirdly, here’s Donald Trump in April 2016:

“We should work with any nation in the region that’s threatened by the rise of radical Islamic terrorism…we’re getting out of the nation-building business and instead focusing on creating stability in the world. Our moments of greatest strength came when politics ended at the water’s edge”

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/28/us/politics/transcript-trump-foreign-policy.html

Here’s a guy who came into office aching to ‘stick it’ to the establishment…aching to do it his way…and after less than 100 days in office, five days after announcing that ‘regime change’ is no longer the US goal in Syria, he does a 180 degree turn and does exactly what the establishment want him to do, exactly what his defeated opponent Hillary Clinton said he should do just hours before he fired the tomahawks…exactly what he promised his supporters he wouldn’t do…But he did it anyway.

You would almost begin to think (smiley face) that permanent, largely unelected ‘members’ of government, coupled with groups of powerful vested interests actually want a war…or at least the constant threat of war. Question: Which vested interests? Answer: My guess is that it’s not the association of tulip growers…but I’ll come back to that later. 

But there is yet a bigger pattern here that is not exclusive to the last three presidents – which has been going on for centuries. I wrote a short piece about it in September 2014: ‘Governments lie to their people – nine strategies of empire’:

http://www.markgb.com/blog/2016/4/18/governments-lie-to-their-people-nine-strategies-of-empire

“All empires throughout history have employed a number of 'strategies' to create or defend hegemony. These include: (Here are 3 of them)

1. They wrap up their territorial/economic ambitions in the fabric of a more noble objective...

3. They demonize their rivals, inventing a narrative that is laughable from the perspective of a few hundred years, or even decades, but seems perfectly acceptable to the majority of people at the time…

6. They carry out false flag incidents, and lie about military intelligence in order to demonize their rivals and justify war…”

Let’s take each one briefly, and apply it to what’s happening in Syria:

1. They wrap up their territorial/economic ambitions in the fabric of a more noble objective...

Trump’s noble objective is the ‘humanitarian necessity’ that has been trotted out so many times that it’s amazing it still works…but it does.  It’s simple: You show someone pictures of an atrocity, you tell them who did it, you tell them why, and you stoke up emotional outrage whilst the ‘thinking brain’ takes a hike.  Thus: on one hand the US is currently supporting Saudi Arabia to bomb Yemen back to the stone age…causing a huge humanitarian disaster…and no-one seems to have a problem with that.  Question: Why not? Answer: No mention, no pictures, no blame. BUT…on the other hand retribution must follow for the poor souls killed by the ‘bad’ guys in Syria.  Imagine how reassuring it must be for those Yemeni parents as they await their impending slaughter…to be able to turn to their children and say “Don’t be afraid dear ones, at least we’re about to be ripped to pieces by American shrapnel…it must be awful for those poor Syrians butchered by the weapons of evil Russians”

3. They demonize their rivals, inventing a narrative that is laughable from the perspective of a few hundred years, or even decades, but seems perfectly acceptable to the majority of people at the time…

The demonisation narrative has been carefully constructed over many years: Putin is an evil tyrant who wants to recreate the Soviet Empire, invade Europe, and corrupt our liberal & democratic way of life (Yes, I know - what makes him think we need any help with that?).  The narrative excludes any mention of the fact that the US has reneged on Bush Senior’s promise to Gorbachev not to expand NATO one inch to the east, in exchange for Russia’s compliance with German reunification.  No mention either of the employment of NGOs to undermine and de-stabilise any government foolish enough to be friendly with Russia. Meanwhile, Assad is a mass murderer who has twice used nerve gas to slaughter his own people. We’ve arrived at number six:

6. They carry out false flag incidents, and lie about military intelligence in order to demonize their rivals and justify war…”

The demonisation narrative must avoid any mention of anything that counters its unquestionable ‘truth’…such as the University of Massachusetts (MIT) report authored by former UN weapons inspector Richard Lloyd, and Professor Theodore Postol, which exposed how the 2013 case against Assad was a fraudulent concoction designed to give a green light for western military operations. AKA a ‘false flag’ incident.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1006045/possible-implications-of-bad-intelligence.pdf

So…if as it seems, the last three presidents have junked their promise of non-intervention and waged war in the Middle East, the question becomes ‘how did we get to this state of affairs?’  Answer: Not overnight…

Section two – How did we get here?

We need some history for this: America’s position as the apex power was secure by 1945, at which point it was the only industrial nation not devastated by war, it had most of the gold, its western allies were up to their eyeballs in debt (owed to the US), and the axis powers were a) on their knees and b) totally dependent on US aid to rebuild. America was supreme. Only Russia stood apart: remote, paranoid, ruled by Stalin, a guy who had ordered more deaths than Hitler; a nation founded on an ideology built upon the absurd belief that a central group of clueless idiots can allocate resources for millions of independent souls without eroding the fabric and the soul of the economy…before slowly going bust (sounds just like the Fed doesn’t it?). But I digress…

For the first time in US history, the army did not ‘stand down’ at the end of hostilities. In 1952 the US elected its greatest war hero as the 34th president: Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and until a few months prior to his presidency, Supreme Commander of NATO. Never before or since, with the possible exception of George Washington, has a president been better positioned or more thoroughly educated in the machinations of ‘deep state’ power.

This is what he said in his last public address as president:

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defence with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together"

It is important to note also, that Ike had originally wanted to use the phrase ‘military-industrial-congressional’ complex but felt that this was too much for him to take on:

http://www.markgb.com/blog/2016/6/19/the-reach-of-the-lobbyists-dollar

But Ike was ignored. Over the next ten years America embarked upon the ‘guns and butter’ era of Lyndon B Johnson, the lowlight of which was the cruel and futile Vietnam War, a conflict escalated by the infamous ‘Gulf of Tonkin incident(s)’, when the USS Maddox was ‘allegedly’ attacked by the Vietnamese, an event which later drew this comment from LBJ himself: "For all I know, our navy was shooting at whales out there". False flag or not, the incident resulted in a Congressional resolution giving the president the right to intervene in any southeast Asian state threatened by ‘communist aggression’.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_Tonkin_incident

By the early seventies Nixon was in the White House, US debt was mounting, and because of the link to gold, the US could not simply print its way out of trouble. There was a ‘run’ on US gold led by President De Gaulle of France, who demanded gold for his US paper. On 13th August 1971 in what became known as the ‘Nixon shock’, Tricky Dickey went on national TV to announce the ‘temporary’ suspension of the link to gold. Forty-five years later and it’s still ‘suspended’ - as is often the case with politicians, what is ‘permanent’ is temporary and what is ‘temporary’ is permanent. But the point is this: America was now vulnerable; for the first time since the war its financial hegemony was under threat.  Enter the soon to be legendary Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, who negotiated a deal between the US and the Saud family, a Sunni ‘monarchy’ with huge reservoirs of oil: You sell all your oil in dollars, and we will guarantee your security, particularly from those Shiites that you hate so much. Particularly Iran.

Since that time, and despite the fact that the vast majority of ‘terrorist’ incidents have been carried out by Sunnis, many of them funded from Saudi Arabia, US policy has been pro-Saudi and anti-Iran.

Where does Syria fit into this? It has a predominantly Sunni population, with a ruling family that comes from a Shiite sect called the Alawites.  Relative to standards in the Middle East it is a ‘secular’ society, which is tolerant of religious minorities, such as the many Christians who live there. It’s primary allies are Iran and Russia, to whom it provides the lease on a naval base in Tartus - Russia’s only base in the Mediterranean, and therefore of great strategic importance to the Russians.  Look at a map of the Middle East and you will see very quickly that Syria sits in a highly strategic geographic position that cries out ‘use me to transport oil and gas from the gulf to Europe’…a factor which may well be its greatest asset, or its greatest curse…depending on how things turn out.

In 1983 a Central Intelligence Agency officer called Graham Fuller wrote a document for the agency entitled ‘Bringing real muscle to bear in Syria’. The document was approved for declassification 25 years later in 2008, and is now available here:

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP88B00443R001404090133-0.pdf

Here are the opening lines of the summary:

“Syria at present has a hammerlock on US interests both in Lebanon and in the Gulf — through closure of Iraq’s pipeline thereby threatening Iraqi internationalization of the war

And here are some recommendations:

The US should consider sharply escalating the pressures against Assad through covertly orchestrating simultaneous military threats against Syria from three border states hostile to Syria: Iraq, Israel and Turkey. Iraq, perceived to be increasingly desperate in the Gulf war, would undertake limited military (air) operations against Syria with the sole goal of opening the pipeline. Although opening war on a second front against Syria poses considerable risk to Iraq, Syria would also face a two-front war since it is already heavily engaged in the Bekaa, on the Golan and in maintaining control over a hostile and restive population inside Syria.

Israel would simultaneously raise tensions along Syria’s Lebanon front without actually going to war. Turkey, angered by Syrian support to Armenian terrorism, to Iraqi Kurds on Turkey’s Kurdish border areas, and to Turkish terrorists operating out of northern Syria, has often considered launching unilateral military operations against terrorist camps in northern Syria. Virtually all Arab states would have sympathy for Iraq.

Faced with three belligerent fronts, Assad would probably be forced to abandon his policy of closure of the pipeline. Such a concession would relieve the economic pressure on Iraq, and perhaps force Iran to reconsider bringing the war to an end. It would be a sharpening blow to Syria’s prestige and could effect the equation of forces in Lebanon.

It sounds almost as if it could have been written today doesn’t it? Except that in 1983 the Assad referred to was Bashar’s father, Hafez, and the gulf war was the Iraq/Iran war - in which the US backed Saddam Hussein. The ‘Iraq pipeline’ referred to received as little attention in the media back then as the Qatari pipeline does now…funny that…

The Qatari pipeline is a Sunni gas pipeline that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the US would like to travel through Syria on its way to Turkey, from whence it would serve the European market. It would thus provide competition to the gas provided to Europe by…of course…Russia. The problem is that in 2010 the junior Assad said ‘no’.  This is hardly surprising given his allegiance to Russia and the fact that the nations mentioned above have all been trying to get rid of his family for decades.

The forces arrayed against the Syrians are largely the same as it faced in 1983; the difference now being that Iraq is no longer a strong player. Iraq has been replaced in the equation by groups such as ISIS, al-Nusra, and others…some of whom, the so-called ‘moderates’, who have been recruited, funded and trained by the CIA in Iraq.

So…this forms part of the strategic backdrop to the events that transpired last week when the US unleashed 59 Tomahawk missiles against Syria’s Shayrat airfield. The above factors are not something that any of us will read about in the mainstream media. Whether or not the nerve gas was the Russians, the Syrians, or one of the terrorist cells, we will probably not find out for a very long time.  But as I wrote last week, if Assad ordered a chemical attack just 5 days after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated that his removal was no longer US policy, then he is so utterly dumb that he makes Kim Jong Un look like Sun Tzu. However, neither the President nor the CIA will be challenged by the media on their proclamation of Assad’s guilt. Why not? Because that wouldn’t fit the narrative. This sums it up beautifully:

“There is a principle of ideology that we must never look at our own crimes, we should, on the other hand, exalt in the crimes of others and in our own nobility in opposing them” – Noam Chomsky, The Four Horsemen’

Section three – where are we now?

In summary, we have a new president that has inherited a set of alliances, vested interests, political groupings & their supporting bureaucracies…that form what we can call the ‘deep state’.  This deep state is not an individual ‘entity’ as such; it is better conceived as a ‘system’.

Nonetheless, this ‘system’ is committed to a narrative that is constantly reinforced through a compliant corporately owned media. A narrative that supports the objectives of its ‘members’: armaments manufacturers, defence contractors, a host of other corporations who make money out of war, the politicians who operate as their ‘voice on the hill’, ‘think tanks’ such as the Council for Foreign Relations, intelligence agencies whose credibility and funding depends upon the narrative, and of course, the corporate media that are dependant on advertising revenues and political ‘access’. This is the modern version of the ‘military-industrial complex’ that Eisenhower warned about. It has its own political ‘philosophy’ that provides an intellectual base for its most ardent ‘members’ - neo-conservatism. The neocons may have been more obvious when George Bush served as Dick Cheney’s ‘sock puppet’, but they have never gone away.  Moreover, they won’t go away easily, as John Kerry discovered when his stance on Russia was repeatedly undermined by Victoria ‘Cookies’ Nuland.

Apparently, Obama used to refer to these folks as ‘The Blob’. The nearest thing they have to a ‘mission statement’ is the Wolfowitz doctrine, named after its author, Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defence under Bush. It says:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power' – Paul Wolfowitz

Of course…he meant Russia.

Section four – where do we go from here?

I think you should be highly sceptical of anyone who tells you that they know the answer to that. Geopolitics is often compared to a game of chess and this is a good analogy up to a point; but it’s way more complicated than that. Garry Kasparov is highly unlikely to upend the board…Donald Trump just might, and upending the board is a key milestone for ISIS. If any one of a number of Rumsfeld’s ‘unknown unknowns’ were to come about, even Mystic Meg would not be able to tell you where the pieces will land.

I will say this however – I do not believe my government or my media, and to those of you who live far afield from my little island, I don’t believe yours either. In the absence of a government or a media that is trustworthy…the question ‘cui bono?’ is a better friend.

Happy holidays…and as the late great Irish Comedian Dave Allen used to say: ‘Goodnight, and may your God go with you’

Dr Postol's assessment of White House Intelligence on Nerve Gas Attack

The Masters of War