sábado, 20 de enero de 2018

Afrín


Continuando con su política de malos perdedores en Medio Oriente, los EEUU se decidieron a apoyar activamente a las milicias kurdas emplazadas al norte y noreste de Siria. Esto trajo consecuencias: los turcos están que arden y acaban de anunciar incursiones militares en la región de Afrín, casi en la frontera entre Turquía y Siria (véase el mapa de arriba). Así lo contaba ayer Russia Today:


Título: Turquía anuncia que emprenderá una operación militar en Afrín (Siria)

Subtítulo: El ministro de Defensa turco, Nurettin Canikli, considera que "no hay otra opción".

Texto: El Ministro de Defensa Turco, Nurettin Canikli, ha anunciado una intervención militar en el enclave sirio de Afrín, al considerar que "no hay otra opción".

La oposición siria, por su parte, ha mostrado su apoyo los planes de Turquía.

El ejército de turco ha estado movilizando tropas y vehículos durante las últimas horas en en los municipios de Hassa y Kirikhanla, cercanos a su recién declarado objetivo.


Tensión entre EE.UU. y Turquía

La tensión aumentó tras el anuncio de EE.UU. de armar y entrenar a 30.000 pertenecientes a milicias kurdosirias para habilitar una nueva fuerza y desplegarla en las fronteras con Turquía e Irak. Poco después, el gobierno norteamericano negó que su intención fuese construir una fuerza fronteriza y argumentó que se trataba de un malentendido, en un aparente intento de calmar la ira turca, pero las declaraciones beligerantes de Ankara han continuado.


"Afrín será vuestro cementerio"

La ciudad fronteriza de Afrín está bajo el control del llamado Partido de los Trabajadores del Kurdistán, al que el gobierno de Turquía considera una organización terrorista.

Por su parte, los kurdos turcos ya habían protestado contra los planes de intervención militar, saliendo a la calle en manifestaciones multitudinarias  en las que se escucharon consignas como "Afrin será vuestro cementerio".


Las cartas de EE.UU.

La frontera a lo largo del río Éufrates separa el país en dos partes, una de ellas de predominio kurdo, lo que Damasco califica como una violación a su soberanía. El historiador César Vidal recuerda que no es la primera vez que EE.UU. juega "la carta de los kurdos", que en este caso amenaza con "debilitar la situación" del presidente turco como parte de la actual política estadounidense.

En otro plano, Vidal señala que los que apoyan este "intervencionismo" pretenden difuminar el triunfo del presidente sirio, Bashar al Assad, y de Rusia contra el terrorismo islámico.


Desarrollo de infraestructuras de seguridad

Mientras los militares turcos preparan su operación en Siria, sus ingenieros, al parecer, han completado la primera fase de un sistema de seguridad instalado a lo largo del muro que se ha erigido en la frontera entre Turquía y Siria.

A 20 kilómetros de la frontera en el área de Afrin, el llamado 'Kayi Border Security System' cuenta con sensores y armas controladas a distancia para defender a Turquía de posibles intrusos.


Turquía ha erigido un muro de hormigón a lo largo de una gran parte de su frontera de 911 kilómetros con Siria en los últimos años, y está mejorando la estructura con medidas de seguridad adicionales en algunos lugares. La seguridad adicional está habilitada para la protección contra amenazas provenientes de personas, vehículos y drones; y cuenta con sensores subterráneos para detectar excavadoras de túneles.


***


Las noticias de hoy confirman los anticipos de ayer. Hay acción en Efrin, parece. Leemos también en Rusia Today:


Título: Turkish field op against Afrin Kurds ‘de facto underway’ – Erdogan

Texto:  Ankara has “de facto” begun its operation against Kurdish forces in Syria’s Afrin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after the army called the military strike “legitimate self-defense.”

“The Afrin operation has de facto been started on the ground,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in the city of Kutahya, as cited by AFP.

 “This will be followed by Manbij,” he added, referring to a Kurdish-controlled town in northern Syria, about 30 kilometers west of the Euphrates.

Both Afrin and Manbij are controlled by the YPG Syrian Kurdish militia.

“The promises made to us over Manbij were not kept. So nobody can object if we do what is necessary,” Erdogan said, referring to previous US assurances that the YPG would move out of Afrin.

“Later we will step-by-step clear our country up to the Iraqi border from this terror filth that is trying to besiege our country,” he concluded.

The army said it shelled Kurdish positions in Syria’s Afrin region on Friday and Saturday, destroying shelters and hideouts used by militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

In a written statement, the Turkish General Staff said the army hit the terrorist organization’s shelters “within the scope of legitimate self-defense,” as cited by Turkish news agency Anadolu.

According to Ankara, Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its affiliate People’s Protection Units (YPG) are allegedly linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey.

Turkey’s Defense Minister said on Friday that Ankara has no option but to carry out a military operation in the north-western Syrian enclave of Afrin (a Kurdish-held area of Syria.) The minister added that the operation has actually ‘de facto started’ with cross-border shelling.

According to Anadolu, at least ten howitzer shells were fired on targets in Syria by Turkish artillery deployed in the Kirikhan and Hassa districts of Hatay province. The Turkish military said they are preventing the creation of a “terror corridor” connecting Syrian Kurdish enclaves along the border.

RIA Novosti cited an YPG source as saying on Friday that “more than 70 artillery rockets” coming from the Turkish side had landed in the Afrin area.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on Monday that "the operation [in Afrin] may start at any time” adding that “operations into other regions will come after.”

Turkey’s allies should think twice before they consider helping what he called terrorists in Syria, Erdogan said.

“We won’t be responsible for the consequences,” the Turkish leader warned.

Over the past week, tanks and self-propelled howitzers have been arriving in the border areas inside Turkey, local media reported. Notably, the army has deployed signal jammers, indicating that the intervention might also include electronic warfare.

The looming military op in Afrin is a follow-up to Turkey’s seven-month Euphrates Shield Operation that was meant to target Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and drive Kurdish forces out of their enclaves in northern Syria.


 ***

Finalmente, en la nota que sigue (también de RT) se advierte sobre la significación de estas acciones en el contexto de las relaciones entre EEUU y Turquía:


Título: Afrin knot: How the battle for a small Kurdish enclave could be the death knell for US-Turkey ties

Texto: Turkey is gearing up to move troops toward Afrin, a Kurdish-held area of Syria. The battle over the tiny enclave, which many would struggle to find on the map, could put Ankara in open conflict with NATO ally the US – here’s how.

This week, the countdown began for Afrin, a Kurdish-held enclave in the north of Syria which is feverously preparing for a major Turkish offensive. Over the past few days, international media have been reporting about Turkish troops, tanks and armored vehicles rolling towards the Syrian border.

The upcoming intervention in Afrin is said to be an extension of Turkey’s Euphrates Shield Operation, the declared goal of which was to target Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and drive Kurdish forces out of their enclaves in northern Syria.


As soldiers on both sides prepare for what is shaping up to be a fierce battle, we look at how the likely siege of a small enclave adds fuel to the fire of already-strained US-Turkey ties, and how America’s policy of developing bonds with groups at odds with one another is leading to failure for Washington in Syria and beyond.


Turkey’s likely military plans

Not much is known about Ankara’s exact strategy of capturing Afrin, but a ground offensive seems to be the backbone of Turkish plans. Over the past week, tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and self-propelled howitzers have been arriving to the border areas inside Turkey, according to Turkish press reports. Notably, the army has deployed signal jammers, which indicates the intervention might also include electronic warfare.

However, it will not be the Turks themselves that lead the fight. In its previous operations on Syrian soil, Ankara heavily relied on pro-Turkish rebels who made up most of the manpower to fight against the Kurds. This time promises to be no different. On Tuesday, when asked if Syrian rebels would be involved in the Afrin operation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “Of course they will, together. This struggle is being conducted for them. Not for us.”

Some Turkish media suggested that the offensive will start with airstrikes on 149 targets of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), with the air raids involving fighters and drones. Haberturk reported, citing military forces, that Afrin and the adjacent areas have been monitored for several weeks by Turkish special forces, who will also be taking part in the offensive.


‘Capturing Afrin is no easy task’

Meanwhile, experts have expressed doubt that Turkish military’s operation to enter Afrin will be an easy ride. Grigory Lukyanov, professor of the Moscow-based Higher School of Economics, told RT by phone that some of the Turkish Army’s most battle-hardened officers were expelled from the military or persecuted after the failed 2016 coup, and such “cleansing of the ranks” might have weakened the armed forces. “The Euphrates Shield offensive has shown that Turkish military leaders… have little experience in conducting complex operations involving combat aircraft, ground forces and heavy armor,” Lukyanov said.

While the army has no shortage of ammunition and manpower, Lukyanov said it still lacks personnel able to operate systems such as drones and manned aircraft. Previous Euphrates Shield offensives came at a high cost for the Turkish military, Lukyanov added, as large numbers of soldiers were killed or injured, and multiple armored vehicles were destroyed beyond repair.

The Kurds, for their part, have managed to build up a reliable fighting force, having received training and modern weapons from the US, Lukyanov said, adding that the combat experience that Kurdish militias have accumulated during their fight against Islamic State makes them a “near-peer opponent” of the Turkish forces.


Russia quiet, Turkey puzzled

Though a ground offensive seems the safest option for Turkish military planners, it certainly won’t be without air support. The Turks cannot afford a high number of casualties among their troops, which makes airpower a game changer in the Afrin invasion.

In addition, the Kurdish enclave lies close to Russia’s Khmeimim Airbase, and Moscow’s attitude towards the Afrin operation is probably the trickiest question for Ankara. The airbase is protected by sophisticated S-400 air defense systems, and the adjacent province of Idlib, including Afrin itself, is certainly within reach of its surface-to-air missiles.

However, Igor Korotchenko, Russian military expert and editor-in-chief of ‘National Defense’ magazine, says S-400s are deployed to protect the airbase against enemy intrusion, and have nothing to do with covering other parts of Syria. “When it comes to some missions of foreign aircraft in Syria’s airspace, this is the area of responsibility of Syria’s air defense forces, not Russia’s,” he said.

Moscow has generally been wary of Turkish actions in the north of Syria, urging respect for the war-ravaged country’s territorial integrity. But to stay on the safe side this time, Ankara needs to keep the Russian military updated on every step it takes, and do its utmost to avoid dangerous incidents.

In recent days, Russia has been noticeably quiet on Turkey’s plans to invade Afrin. The only official statement was that of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who urged on Monday for people to refrain from coercive actions and move to the negotiating table. “Indeed, the Kurds are part of the Syrian nation,” he told a news conference. “Their interests must be taken into account.”

In the meantime, as Turkey amasses troops and armor along the border, the Kurds are far from sitting idle. Kurdish militias, many of them trained by American instructors, have been honing their combat skills and receiving considerable arms supplies from abroad. And this is where the US comes into play.


Friendly foes: America between Turkey & the Kurds

Washington’s Kurdish policy has been ambiguous since the start of the US-led anti-IS operation. On one hand, the US has designated the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting the Turks since the mid-1980s, a terrorist organization – as has the European Union and Turkey itself.

On the other hand, the US cultivated ties with Syria’s Kurdish YPG militia, despised by Ankara. YPG fighters proved effective in the fight against IS and Syrian government forces, and the group – which was set up by the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) – quickly became America’s key ally on Syrian soil.

And here is where it gets even more interesting – the US maintains that Turkey has the right to suppress the “terrorist” PKK, while at the same time siding with the YPG.

To make things worse, the Pentagon has launched a training program for Kurdish and Arab border guards in Syria to prevent the resurgence of IS. Details of the initiative soon came to light, with the US-led coalition unveiling a plan to set up a 30,000-strong “border force” on the basis of Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) veterans, who are set to make up half of the recruits.

The move caused predictable outrage in Ankara, with Erdogan promising “to drown this terrorist force before it is born.” The army of “traitors” that Washington seeks to create will point their guns against US troops at the first threat, Erdogan cautioned. Separately, Turkey raised the issue with NATO, demanding that the military bloc take action against the creation of the “terrorist army.”

Fueling the unfolding spat, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu “bluntly told” US counterpart Rex Tillerson this week that the step“could threaten our bilateral ties and could lead us down an irreversible route.”

Some Turkish politicians have even called to ban the US Air Force from using Incirlik Airbase until the Pentagon ends its alignment with the Syrian Kurds. Dogu Perincek, leader of the left-wing Vatan Party, suggested that the American troops from Incirlik be removed and cooperation with Russia and Iran be forged “to deter the United States.”

Notably, major Turkish media have also followed suit, ramping up rhetoric over the US presence in Syria, with leading newspaper Hurriyet writing in an opinion piece: “Is the US army ready to open fire on the Turks if the Turks open fire on forces that the US also once recognized as terrorists?”“Is this not a move that could lead to a de facto division of Syria and open another Cold War-era style politics, Mr. Trump?”


Afrin operation: Lose-lose for US

The US currently has an estimated 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria which were deployed without an invitation from Damascus or mandate from the UN Security Council. American soldiers were embedded with YPG forces taking part in a major offensive to capture the city of Raqqa from Islamic State last year.

As the outrage mounted, the Pentagon quickly backtracked on its support for the YPG or the Kurdish border force. “We don’t consider them as part of our Defeat ISIS operations which is what we are doing there and we do not support them,” Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway told the Turkish state Anadolu news agency. “We are not involved with them at all,” the military official reiterated, adding: “There is no train, advise and assist program going [on] in Afrin.”

On Wednesday, the Pentagon tried to downplay the significance of the 30,000-strong Kurdish force. “The US continues to train local security forces in Syria,” it said. “This is not a new ‘army’ or conventional ‘border guard’ force.” The US military is “keenly aware of the security concerns of Turkey, our Coalition partner and NATO ally,” the statement added.

Washington’s statements seem to have had little effect on Ankara’s plans. Chairing a four-hour National Security Meeting on Wednesday night, President Erdogan said Turkey will never allow the creation of “a terrorist army” in Syria. “It is regrettable that a state, which is part of NATO and our ally in bilateral relations, declares the terrorists as its partner and provides them with weapons, without any concern for our safety,” the Turkish leader said. He also demanded that weapons and equipment supplied to the YPG “be collected without delay,” adding that Turkey is losing patience.

The troops fully deployed along the Turkish-Syrian border are still awaiting the signal to move, providing a small window of opportunity to find a peaceful solution to the Afrin knot.

But will the Trump administration be able to pacify the Turks, calm down the Kurds and persuade the two to sit down and talk? Given the absence of a clear American strategy for the Middle East, the answer is probably ‘no’.

Indeed, it is chaotic, ambiguous and inarticulate US policy which is causing America to lose on every front in the region. A NATO partner engaging in an all-out war on your regional ally is a clear sign that something has failed in your foreign policy.


Why else would your friends become enemies?



viernes, 19 de enero de 2018

Descomposición del Estado Profundo


Nos llamaron la atención dos noticias que hablan del estado de descomposición del “Estado Profundo” en las entrañas del Imperio. Agencias de inteligencia desbocadas, casi independientes del poder político, trazan líneas de acción frecuentemente contrapuestas con aquellas del gobierno. La primera de las notas es de carácter general y viene del sitio web Strategic Culture Foundation:


Título: How the Establishment Undermines American Democracy

Texto: There is a growing consensus among many observers in Washington that the national security agencies have become completely politicized over the past seventeen years and are now pursuing selfish agendas that actually endanger what remains of American democracy. Up until recently it has been habitual to refer to such activity as the Deep State, which is perhaps equivalent to the Establishment in that it includes financial services, the media, major foundations and constituencies, as well as lobbying groups, but we are now witnessing an evolutionary process in which the national security regime is exercising power independently.

In a devastating critique former Central Intelligence Agency operations officer John Kiriakou has described how the Democratic Party, as part of its frenzied effort to bring down President Donald Trump, has embraced a whole group of former intelligence and law enforcement officers who appear to be on the same side in seeking a more responsible and accountable executive branch but who are in reality pursuing their own agenda.

Formerly intelligence and law enforcement agencies acted under the direction of the White House but without any political bias. Transitions from Democratic to Republican administrations were consequently seamless for the employees of CIA, FBI, DIA and the NSA, but this has changed. In the 2016 election a line-up of retired senior officers from those organizations openly supported the Clinton campaign and even went so far as to construct elaborate conspiracy theories regarding Trump and his associates, including the claim that Donald Trump is actually an agent of Russia.

The desire to discredit and ultimately delegitimize Trump even involved some active duty senior officers, including John Brennan, Director of CIA, who exploited Agency relationships with foreign intelligence services to develop information on Trump, and James Comey of the FBI who initiated an investigation of Trump’s associates. Both were involved in the later surfacing of the notorious Steele Dossier, a collection of fact mixed with fiction that sought to destroy the Trump presidency even before it began.

Kiriakou cites recent activity by Brennan as well as former NSA and CIA head Michael Hayden as well as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, all of whom have been politically active. The three men appear frequently on television as self-described “senior statesmen,” but, as Kiriakou observes they are “…monsters who have ignored the Constitution…and international law. They have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.” They together with lesser figures like George Tenet, Jose Rodriguez, Michael Morell and John McLaughlin authorized technical spying on nearly everyone, torture, rendition of suspects so they could be tortured by others, random killing of “profiled” foreigners and targeted killing of American citizens. Brennan was in charge of a “kill list” for President Barack Obama.

Former Reagan Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts meanwhile asks why liberal international organizations like Amnesty International are fundraising to oppose Trump when the real threat to a better and safer world and country is coming from the largely unaccountable “security agencies, the police, the neoconservatives, the presstitute media and the Republican and Democratic Parties?

Antiwar activist Justin Raimondo also picks up the gauntlet, describing how the national security agencies and the Democratic Party have joined forces to create a totally false narrative that could lead to nuclear war. They and the media appear to truly believe that “…the country has been taken over by Vladimir Putin and the Russian State…Trump is an instrument in their hands, and the independence of the United States has been fatally compromised: the president and his top aides are taking their orders from the Kremlin.” He concludes that “Our intelligence agencies are at war with the executive branch of government…to reverse the [2016] election results.” Raimondo believes that Trump is being particularly targeted because his unpredictability and populism threaten the wealth and power of the elites and he notes “If you think they’ve ruled out assassination you’re being naïve.”

Raimondo believes that something like a civil war is coming, with the war party Establishment fighting to defend its privileged global order while many other Americans seek a return to normal nationhood with all that implies. If true, the next few years will see a major internal conflict that will determine what kind of country the United States will be.



***


La nota que sigue, por su parte, es muy reciente y viene de Zero Hedge. Será esta la gota que derrame el vaso?



Título: "Explosive", "Shocking" And "Alarming" FISA Memo Set To Rock DC, "End Mueller Investigation"

Texto: All hell is breaking loose in Washington D.C. tonight after a four-page memo detailing extensive FISA court abuse was made available to the entire House of Representatives Thursday. The contents of the memo are so explosive, says Journalist Sara Carter, that it could lead to the removal of senior officials in the FBI and the Department of Justice and the end of Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation.

These sources say the report is “explosive,” stating they would not be surprised if it leads to the end of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation into President Trump and his associates. -Sara Carter

A source close to the matter tells Fox News that "the memo details the Intelligence Committee's oversight work for the FBI and Justice, including the controversy over unmasking and FISA surveillance." An educated guess by anyone who's been paying attention for the last year leads to the obvious conclusion that the report reveals extensive abuse of power and highly illegal collusion between the Obama administration, the FBI, the DOJ and the Clinton Campaign against Donald Trump and his team during and after the 2016 presidential election.

Lawmakers who have seen the memo are calling for its immediate release, while the phrases "explosive," "shocking," "troubling," and "alarming" have all been used in all sincerity. One congressman even likened the report's details to KGB activity in Russia. “It is so alarming the American people have to see this,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan told Fox News. “It's troubling. It is shocking,” North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows said. “Part of me wishes that I didn't read it because I don’t want to believe that those kinds of things could be happening in this country that I call home and love so much.”

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., offered the motion on Thursday to make the Republican majority-authored report available to the members.

The document shows a troubling course of conduct and we need to make the document available, so the public can see it,” said a senior government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the document. “Once the public sees it, we can hold the people involved accountable in a number of ways.”

The government official said that after reading the document “some of these people should no longer be in the government.” -Sara Carter


Lee Zeldin
@RepLeeZeldin
Immediately #ReleaseTheMemo #FISAMemo & ALL relevant material sourced in it. Every American needs to know the truth! We wouldn't be revealing any sources & methods that we shouldn't; only feds' reliance on bad sources & methods.
10:28 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Josh Caplan
@joshdcaplan
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) nods his head *Yes* before conceding he can't talk specifics when Sean Hannity asks if Comey knew about FISA abuses. #ReleaseTheMemo
3:58 AM - Jan 19, 2018
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Lee Zeldin
@RepLeeZeldin
Just read the classified doc @HPSCI re FISA abuse. I'm calling for its immediate public release w/relevant sourced material. The public must have access ASAP! #Transparency


Lee Zeldin
@RepLeeZeldin
Releasing this classified info doesn't compromise good sources & methods. It reveals the feds' reliance on bad sources & methods.
6:28 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Ron DeSantis
@RepDeSantis
The classified report compiled by House Intelligence is deeply troubling and raises serious questions about the upper echelon of the Obama DOJ and Comey FBI as it relates to the so-called collusion investigation.
5:10 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Ron DeSantis
@RepDeSantis
Replying to @RepDeSantis
While the report is classified as Top Secret, I believe the select committee should, pursuant to House rules, vote to make the report publicly available as soon as possible. This is a matter of national significance and the American people deserve the truth.
5:10 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) echoed Sara Carter's sentiment that people might lose their job if the memo is released:

Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein
“I believe the consequence of its release will be major changes in people currently working at the FBI and the Department of Justice,” he said, referencing DOJ officials Rod Rosenstein and Bruce Ohr.


Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Gatetz (R-FL) said not only will the release of this memo result in DOJ firing, but "people will go to jail."

Ryan Saavedra
@RealSaavedra
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on FISA memo: "I think this will not just end with firings, I believe there are people who will go to jail!" #ReleaseTheMemo
2:45 AM - Jan 19, 2018
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Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino says "Take it to the bank, the FBI/FISA docs are devastating for the Dems."


Dan Bongino
@dbongino
Take it to the bank, the FBI/FISA docs are devastating for the Dems. The whole image of a benevolent Barack Obama they’ve disingenuously tried to portray is about to be destroyed. The real Obama, the vengeful narcissist, is going to be exposed for all to see.
8:24 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Dan Bongino
@dbongino
My sincere apologies for the expletive but SHIT IS ABOUT TO HIT THE FAN.
The former Obama administration’s going to have a lot of explaining to do. #Obamagate
9:16 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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The dossier was used in part as evidence for a warrant to surveil members of the Trump campaign, according to a story published this month. Former British spy Christopher Steele, who compiled the dossier in 2016, was hired by embattled research firm Fusion GPS. The firm’s founder is Glenn Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who has already testified before Congress in relation to the dossier. In October, The Washington Post revealed for the first time that it was the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC that financed Fusion GPS.

Congressional members are hopeful that the classified information will be declassified and released to the public.

We probably will get this stuff released by the end of the month,” stated a congressional member, who asked not to be named. -Sara Carter

Releasing the memo to the public would require a committee vote, a source told Fox, adding that if approved, it could be released as long as there are no objections from the White House within five days.


Reactions from the citizenry have been on point:


Imperator_Rex
@Imperator_Rex3
Obama's FBI colluded with the Clinton campaign to destroy a Presidential candidate - and then an elected POTUS & his family. It's the greatest scandal in American history & the public need to know the truth. https://twitter.com/RepDeSantis/status/954083561350553600
6:07 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Christopher G. Adamo
@CGAdamo
Replying to @Imperator_Rex3
All of this is good to know. And it's perfectly understandable that the members of the House committee are outraged. But if the end results is not a series of indictments and prosecutions for flagrant criminal sedition, the Obama/Hillary corruption will be enshrined as law.
6:10 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Mike Tokes
@MikeTokes
The swamp runs deep and it is about to be EXPOSED. #ReleasetheMemo #Obamagate
11:43 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Kambree Kawahine Koa
@KamVTV
When you have congressmen getting on National Television stating the Intelligence memo they just read could threaten our Democracy, you damn well better #ReleaseTheMemo.
This DC swamp scum game needs end.
8:37 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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PHIL????????4TRUMP??
@PinkBelgium
#ReleaseTheMemo #ReleaseTheMemo #ReleaseTheMemo#ReleaseTheMemo#ReleaseTheMemo #ReleaseTheMemo #ReleaseTheMemo #ReleaseTheMemo#ReleaseTheMemo #ReleaseTheMemo #ReleaseTheMemo #ReleaseTheMemo
11:48 PM - Jan 18, 2018 · Elsene, België
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Carrie America
@carrieksada
@SenFeinstein is it possible for you to get a bladder infection long enough to leak ?? the FISA Memo?
America is asking. #ReleaseTheMemo #MAGA
11:55 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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thebradfordfile
@thebradfordfile
Replying to @thebradfordfile
Obama: what wires?#ObamaGate #ReleaseTheMemo
11:20 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Even WikiLeaks has joined the fray, offering a reward in Bitcoin to anyone who will share the memo:

@wikileaks
#ReleaseTheMemo: Do you know someone who has access to the FISA abuse memo? Send them here: https://wikileaks.org/#submit
WikiLeaks will match reward funds up to $1m sent to this unique Bitcoin address: 3Q2KXS8WYT6dvr91bM2RjvBHqMyx9CbPMN
or marked 'memo2018': https://wikileaks.org/donate
11:53 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Of all the recent developments in the ongoing investigation(s), this one is on the cusp of turning into a genuine happening.


jueves, 18 de enero de 2018

Pandora


¿Qué tipo de fuerzas oscuras se desataron en Europa (y en el resto del mundo) A raíz del salvaje desmembramiento de la ex Yugoslavia por parte de las fuerzas de la NATO? La respuesta, hoy, hay que ir a buscarla a Cataluña. La nota que sigue es de Živadin Jovanovi? para Red Voltaire:


Título: Secesionismo: Estados Unidos y Alemania abrieron la caja de Pandora

Epígrafe: A la luz de la crisis catalana, Zivadin Jovanovic, ministro de Exteriores de la República Federal de Yugoslavia entre 1998 y 2000, documenta cómo Estados Unidos y Alemania pisotearon el derecho internacional para impulsar la secesión de Kosovo, pero no en defensa del derecho de los pueblos a la autodeterminación sino en aras de sus propios intereses geoestratégicos. De hecho, Occidente ha estimulado el secesionismo para desmembrar Estados que no le agradaban –desde la desaparecida Unión Soviética y la antigua Yugoslavia hasta Sudán, país africano hoy dividido en dos Estados. Como resalta el semanario suizo Zeit Fragen al publicar este artículo: “Los documentos muestran que las políticas de doble rasero han favorecido la proliferación del separatismo, el extremismo y el terrorismo.

Texto: Los principales miembros de la OTAN, pero también los de la Unión Europea, han apoyado por mucho tiempo al UCK [1] en Kosovo. Como aliados, en 1999 emprendieron contra Serbia (la República Federal de Yugoslavia) una agresión que –según los principios que hoy proclaman los burócratas de la Unión Europea– constituyó un crimen contra la paz y la humanidad.

En pocas palabras, puede afirmarse que los países y coaliciones cuyos representantes juran todavía que sus políticas siempre respetan los principios internacionales perpetraron en 1999 la mayor violación del orden jurídico mundial y de las Naciones Unidas cometida desde el fin de la Segunda Guerra Mundial.


Propagación de las secesiones y del extremismo islámico

La política que esos países y sus coaliciones aplicaron durante las crisis de Yugoslavia y Kosovo favoreció la extensión de las secesiones, del extremismo islámico, del wahabismo y del terrorismo en Europa y en el resto del mundo. Al traicionar y violar los principios del Acuerdo de Helsinki (CSCE), de la Carta de Naciones Unidas y de otros acuerdos internacionales, provocaron una inestabilidad duradera en los Balcanes, la región más sensible de toda Europa.

Hoy siguen presionando a Serbia, a la que previamente destruyeron, engañaron y humillaron arrancando por la fuerza de su territorio la región de Kosovo y reconociendo esa secesión artificial, unilateral e ilegal. Luego exigieron a Serbia que hiciera “borrón y cuenta nueva” «en interés de su porvenir europeo». ¿Qué porvenir puede construirse sobre tales cimientos?

Este espíritu de separatismo y terrorismo que los principales países de la OTAN y la Unión Europea desataron en Kosovo en 1998-1999 para satisfacer los objetivos geopolíticos de Estados Unidos y de algunos Estados europeos, principalmente de Alemania y Gran Bretaña, se extiende cada vez más en Europa. La Unión Europea y la OTAN creen que todavía están a tiempo de meterlo nuevamente en la botella, que pueden volver atrás y revitalizar su unión moribunda sacrificando nuevamente a Serbia y sus intereses. La verdadera tragedia para Europa es la afirmación de que sólo existe una verdad –la de los comisarios y voceros de la Unión Europea. Esa pretensión impide comprender las verdaderas consecuencias fatales de los hechos históricos que están tragándose el continente.


Los motivos estratégicos de la guerra contra la República Federal de Yugoslavia

«La guerra contra la República Federal de Yugoslavia se libró para corregir una decisión errónea del general Eisenhower durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Había que reparar un error estratégico para poder desplegar allí soldados estadounidenses

Willy Wimmer, ex secretario de Estado en el ministerio alemán de Defensa, presenta esta citación en su informe del 2 de mayo del año 2000 al canciller alemán Gerhard Schroder. Es la explicación que el autor del informe escuchó en boca de representantes de Estados Unidos, en Bratislava, durante una conferencia de la OTAN, en abril del 2000 [2].

El primer punto de ese informe es la exigencia formal que Estados Unidos dirigió a los miembros europeos de la OTAN «de preparar tan rápidamente como sea posible el reconocimiento a nivel del derecho internacional de un Estado independiente en Kosovo». El décimo y último punto precisaba que «en todo ese proceso había que dar la prioridad al derecho a la autodeterminación por encima de toda otra disposición o regla del derecho internacional».

¿Podemos entonces seguir asombrándonos del actual referéndum de secesión de Cataluña?

El informe de Willy Wimmer precisa igualmente que la posición estadounidense, que se predicó en la conferencia de Bratislava, precisaba que la agresión de la OTAN contra Yugoslavia, en 1999, sin mandato de la ONU «era […] un precedente al que cualquiera puede referirse, lo cual no dejará de suceder». Eso siembra la duda, en cuanto a la pretensión de siempre de aplicar una política basada en las reglas fundamentales, cuando se afirma que esa agresión iniciada en violación de la Carta de Naciones Unidas es un precedente mientras que la separación de Kosovo, resultado de esa agresión, es presentada como un «caso único».


Ningún informe mencionaba un genocidio ni otros crímenes similares

Antes de la agresión de la OTAN contra Yugoslavia, dos grandes misiones internacionales se instalaron en la provincia de Kosovo: una bajo el patrocinio de la OSCE, bajo la denominación de Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM), bajo la dirección del diplomático estadounidense William Walker, y otra patrocinada por la Comunidad Europea como Misión de Observadores de la Unión Europea en Yugoslavia (ECMM, siglas de European Community Monitoring Mission) dirigida por el diplomático alemán Dietmar Hartwig. Este último informó sobre la frase, frecuentemente repetida, del director de la KVM y de su entorno anunciando que «no hay límites en los costos para la instalación de la OTAN en Kosovo. Se aceptarán todos los gastos

En 2006, después de la declaración de la dirigencia albanesa de Kosovo sobre su decisión unilateral e ilegal, Dietmar Hartwig escribió en 2007 4 cartas a la canciller alemana Angela Merkel suplicándole que impidiese que Alemania reconociera ese acto unilateral.

En su carta del 26 de octubre de 2007, [Dietmar Hartwig] precisa, entre otras cosas:

«En ningún informe [de la ECMM] correspondiente al periodo entre finales de noviembre de 1998 y la evacuación [de la ECMM y de la KVM] justo antes del inicio de la guerra [en 1999] hubo ningún relato de crímenes selectivos ni de gran envergadura de parte de los serbios contra albaneses, no se reportó ningún caso de genocidio.

«[…] En cambio, yo mismo señalé varias veces en mis informes [de la ECMM] que, vistos los ataques incesantes del UCK/KLA contra el ejecutivo serbio, los servicios de orden y de seguridad habían dado prueba de una contención notable y de una disciplina perfecta. Para la administración serbia se trataba de respetar escrupulosamente el Acuerdo [del 13 de octubre de 1998] entre Milosevic y Holbrooke para no dar a la comunidad internacional ningún motivo para intervenir.

«Como me confirmaron cuando me hice cargo nuevamente del buró regional de Prístina –principalmente mis “colegas” de las demás Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission (KDOM) (Estados Unidos, Gran Bretaña, Rusia, etc.), ya había en aquel momento considerables “diferencias de percepción” entre lo que los observadores (y en parte también las embajadas) reportaban a sus gobiernos y lo que estos transmitían a los medios de difusión y al público.


Informes falsos para preparar la guerra

«Tal divergencia es comprensible únicamente si se admite que era parte de los preparativos de una guerra contra Kosovo/Yugoslavia ya planificada desde hace mucho tiempo porque hasta el momento de mi partida de Kosovo no sucedió nada de lo que sobre todo los medios, pero también la política, nunca dejaron de afirmar. Así que no había, hasta el 20 de marzo de 1999, ninguna razón para intervenir militarmente. Por consiguiente, todas las medidas subsiguientes que adoptó la comunidad internacional eran ilegítimas.

«El comportamiento colectivo de los países miembros de la OTAN antes y después del estallido de la guerra dio naturalmente motivos para inquietarse seriamente ya que se escamoteaba la verdad y la credibilidad de la comunidad internacional sufrió grave daño. Al escribir esto, me refiero únicamente al papel de la República Federal de Alemania en la participación en esta guerra y los esfuerzos políticos por separar Kosovo de Serbia. […]


Alemania se implicó activamente a favor de la división de Serbia

«En la actualidad de los últimos meses ha resultado repetidamente que la República Federal de Alemania no sólo ha respaldado la voluntad estadounidense de independencia de Kosovo sino que ha trabajado activamente por su separación de Serbia. Dado el hecho que, según nuestra Ley Fundamental, es el canciller federal quien define las líneas directrices de la política, es usted la responsable. Específicamente su ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, quien como ministro de la Cancillería del predecesor de usted sabía ciertamente todo lo que sucedía en Kosovo. Actualmente, él sigue todas las instrucciones políticas de usted, se compromete constantemente a favor de la autonomía, de la “independencia de Kosovo” y, por tanto, a favor de la separación de Kosovo de Serbia. Impártale usted las instrucciones necesarias para que él se comprometa a favor de una solución correcta y conforme al derecho al derecho internacional en Kosovo y dé usted el ejemplo en política interior y exterior. Sólo el respeto de todos los Estados por el derecho vigente puede servir de base de una cohabitación pacífica entre todos los pueblos. […]

«Si se hace independiente a Kosovo, se prohibirá a los serbios el libre acceso a los monumentos conmemorativos de esta guerra y Kosovo seguirá siendo una región en crisis.


«Una señal peligrosa para otros grupos étnicos»

«Contribuya usted por su lado para que se alcance una solución basada en la Resolución [1244] de la ONU, que permitiría que Kosovo siga siendo territorio serbio. El desmembramiento de Serbia, que Estados Unidos desea y que usted misma esta apoyando, así como la completa independencia de Kosovo y de los albaneses de Kosovo son contrarias al derecho internacional, políticamente imprudentes y excesivamente onerosas […].

«Además, la separación de Kosovo de Serbia por coyunturas de carácter étnico es una señal peligrosa para los grupos étnicos en otros países (también en la Unión Europea) que pueden reclamar para ellos mismos –ya entonces con toda razón– una “solución al estilo de Kosovo”.»

Así concluía Dietmar Hartwig su carta a la canciller Merkel.

Mucho se ha hablado de «intervenciones humanitarias» y de preocupaciones por la protección de los derechos de la población albanesa como elemento particular del «carácter único del caso de Kosovo». ¿Es casualidad que la base estadounidense Bondsteel, cerca de la ciudad de Urosevac, sea una de las mayores bases militares fuera de Estados Unidos? ¿Es por el temor de los estadounidenses a ser espiados por el centro humanitario serbio-ruso de [la ciudad de] Nis que el mandato de Bondsteel es válido sólo localmente, por razones humanitarias y por un periodo de tiempo limitado?


Estados Unidos, la Unión Europea y la OTAN impiden la aplicación de la Resolución 1244 del Consejo de Seguridad

No fue Serbia sino Estados Unidos, la Unión Europea y la OTAN quienes congelaron el conflicto después de la agresión armada de 1999. Y lo mantuvieron congelado durante los últimos 18 años al aplicar sólo parcialmente la Resolución 1244 del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU.

Estados Unidos y sus aliados obligaron a Serbia a cumplir todas las obligaciones insistiendo en el carácter jurídicamente vinculante [o sea, de obligatorio cumplimiento] de la Resolución, mientras que ellos mismos y los albaneses se liberaban de todas las obligaciones previstas. Estados Unidos estaba totalmente consciente de que la Resolución 1244 del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU permitía mantener la integridad [territorial] de Serbia, precisamente lo que ellos no querían porque eso contradecía su propio proyecto geopolítico de expansión hacia el este. A pesar de todo, Occidente se ve ahora en una fase de transición en la que podría perder buena parte del poderío que ostentaba en los tiempos del orden mundial unipolar.

Ahora los occidentales exigen que Serbia «descongele» el «proceso de independencia» de Kosovo. ¿Cómo? Obligando a Serbia a firmar con Prístina un «acuerdo jurídicamente vinculante» en el que aceptaría una separación unilateral e ilegal, legalizando así la agresión ilegal de 1999, aceptando los resultados de las limpiezas étnicas violentas de las que fueron víctimas alrededor 250 000 serbios de Kosovo y aceptando la responsabilidad fundamental de todo.


Notas:

[1] UCK son las siglas que identifican al Ejército de Liberación de Kosovo, clasificado como organización terrorista y acusado de crímenes como la realización de operaciones de limpieza étnica, tráfico de drogas y tráfico de órganos humanos extirpados a prisioneros. Nota de la Red Voltaire.


[2] «La agresión de la OTAN contra la República Federal de Yugoslavia en 1999», por Milica Radojkovic-Hänseleit, Zeit Fragen (Suiza), Red Voltaire, 14 de abril de 2013.


miércoles, 17 de enero de 2018

Cansancio


El mundo se está cansando de la política exterior del Imperio. No sólo los tradicionales adversarios (Rusia, China, Irán). Europa misma comienza a mostrar signos de agotamiento ante la guerra permanente que les proponen en Washington. La nota que sigue es de Darius Shahtahmasebi para el sitio web Antimedia:


Título: The Whole World Is Sick and Tired of US Foreign Policy

Texto: According to four-star General Wesley Clark, in a 1991 meeting with Paul Wolfowitz, then-under-secretary of defense for policy at the Department of Defense, Wolfowitz seemed a little dismayed because he believed the U.S. should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein in Operation Desert Storm but failed to do so. Clark summarized what he says Wolfowitz said:

“‘But one thing we did learn. We learned that we can use our military in the region, in the Middle East, and the Soviets won’t stop us. We’ve got about five or ten years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes, Syria, Iran, Iraq, before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.’” [emphasis added]

This was certainly the case in the years that followed, as the United States used the pretext of 9/11 to attack both Afghanistan and Iraq with little to no substantive resistance from the international community. This trend continued as the Obama administration heavily expanded its operations into Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and even the Philippines, to name a few, right up until the U.S. led a cohort of NATO countries to impose regime change in Libya in 2011.

At the time, Russia withheld its veto power at the U.N. Security Council because it had received assurances that the coalition would not pursue regime change. After NATO forces began bombing Muammar Gaddafi’s palaces directly, a furious Vladimir Putin questioned: “Who gave NATO the right to kill Gaddafi?”

Following Gaddafi’s public execution on the streets of Sirte, Putin’s criticism of NATO’s betrayal went even further. He stated:

The whole world saw him being killed; all bloodied. Is that democracy? And who did it? Drones, including American ones, delivered a strike on his motorcade. Then commandos – who were not supposed to be there – brought in so-called opposition and militants and killed him without trial. I’m not saying that Gaddafi didn’t have to quit, but that should have been left up to the people of Libya to decide through the democratic process.”

No one appreciated it at the time, but America’s unchallenged ability to intervene anywhere and everywhere it chooses ended on that day. Fast forward to Barack Obama’s plans to implement an extensive strike plan against the Syrian government in 2013, which never transpired due  strong Russian opposition and widespread protests in the U.S. A few years later, Russia directly intervened in Syria at the request of the Syrian government and effectively implemented its own no-fly zone in significant portions of the country. Donald Trump’s April 2017 strike on the Syrian government was only conducted after his administration first notified the Russians through a deconfliction hotline set up to manage the Syrian conflict.

However, Russia isn’t the only country that is tired of America’s foreign policy, and the recent “emergency U.N. Security Council meeting” to discuss the current situation in Iran is a testament to that. Even Washington’s traditional allies cannot withhold their criticism of America’s desire to police the world.

However worrying the events of the last few days in Iran may be they do not constitute per se a threat to international peace and security,” French Ambassador to the U.N. Francois Delattre said. “We must be wary of any attempts to exploit this crisis for personal ends, which would have the diametrically opposed outcome to that which is wished.”

Russia went even further, bringing up America’s own behavior and treatment of protesters as a counter-argument to the notion that Washington is motivated by human rights concerns in Iran.

By your logic, we should have initiated a Security Council meeting after the well-known events in Ferguson,” said Russian U.N. Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya, addressing the U.S. delegation.

Iran also insisted the matter was an internal affair and not something for the U.N. to weigh in on, and China agreed, with their ambassador calling it a purely “domestic issue.”

French President Emmanuel Macron even went so far as to accuse the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia of instigating a war with Iran.

The official line pursued by the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia, who are our allies in many ways, is almost one that would lead us to war,” Macron told reporters, according to Reuters. Instead, Macron called for dialogue with Tehran as he warned against the approach adopted by the aforementioned three countries.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also came to Iran’s aid during the protests with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, openly stating:

Iran’s stability is important for us…We are against foreign interventions in Iran.”

At the end of last year, Erdogan stated that U.S. sanctions on Iran were not binding on Turkey as it sought to outmaneuver them. At the time, Hurriyet news quoted Erdogan as saying “[t]he world does not consist of the U.S. alone.”

America’s influential decline was most evident in Donald Trump’s recent Jerusalem debacle, which saw the Trump administration issue stern threats to the entire world, warning they needed to vote in favor of Washington’s interests at the U.N. Most of the world chose to ignore those threats and gave the United States a giant “middle finger,” so to speak, voting overwhelmingly against the Trump administration.


While Washington is more than capable of unilaterally attacking other countries both covertly and overtly with an ever depleting list of allies, what is becoming increasingly clear is that it may not be able to do so without active opposition from the rest of the world, including nuclear powers Russia and China, which refuse to stay silent as the U.S. tries to shape the world in accordance with its geopolitical desires.


martes, 16 de enero de 2018

BBB


La agencia china Dagong degradó ayer a "BBB+" el ranking crediticio de los EEUU, una medida que debe haber motivado cierto schadenfreude en numerosos analistas de la periferia del mundo. Qué tal un poco de su propia medicina, deben haber pensado. La nota que sigue es de Zero Hedge:


Título: China Downgrades US Credit Rating From A- To BBB+, Warns US Insolvency Would "Detonate Next Crisis"

Texto: In its latest reminder that China is a (for now) happy holder of some $1.2 trillion in US Treasurys, Chinese credit rating agency Dagong downgraded US sovereign ratings from A- to BBB+ overnight, citing "deficiencies in US political ecology" and tax cuts that "directly reduce the federal government's sources of debt repayment" weakening the base of the government's debt repayment.

Oh, and just to make sure the message is heard loud and clear, the ratings, which are now level with those of Peru, Colombia and Turkmenistan on the Beijing-based agency’s scale of creditworthiness, have also been put on a negative outlook.

In a statement on Tuesday, Dagong warned that the United States’ increasing reliance on debt to drive development would erode its solvency. Quoted by Reuters, Dagong made specific reference to President Donald Trump’s tax package, which is estimated to add $1.4 trillion over a decade to the $20 trillion national debt burden.

Deficiencies in the current U.S. political ecology make it difficult for the efficient administration of the federal government, so the national economic development derails from the right track,” Dagong said adding that "Massive tax cuts directly reduce the federal government’s sources of debt repayment, therefore further weaken the base of government’s debt repayment."

Projecting US funding needs in the coming years, Dagong said a deterioration in the government’s fiscal revenue-to-debt ratio to 12.1% in 2022 from 14.9% and 14.2% in 2018 and 2019, respectively, would demand frequent increases in the government’s debt ceiling.

The virtual solvency of the federal government would be likely to become the detonator of the next financial crisis,” the Chinese ratings firm said.

* * *

In a preemptive shot across the bow in the coming trade wars, last week Bloomberg reported that Beijing officials reviewing China’s vast foreign exchange holdings had recommended slowing or halting purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds. That warning spooked investors worried that sharp swings in China’s massive holdings of U.S. Treasuries would trigger a selloff in bond and equity markets globally. The report sent U.S. Treasury yields to 10-month highs and the dollar lower, although China’s foreign exchange regulator has since dismissed the report as "fake news."

Still, Dagong was quick to point out that not much would be needed to crush the public's confidence in the value of US Treasurys:

The market’s reversing recognition of the value of U.S. Treasury bonds and U.S. dollar will be a powerful force in destroying the fragile debt chain of the federal government,” Dagong said.


* * *

To be sure, China's move is far more political than objectively economic, and is meant to send another shot across the bow as the Trump administration prepares to launch a trade war with Beijing in the coming weeks. Still, while both Fitch and Moody’s give the United States their top AAA ratings (and the S&P is the only agency to infamously downgrade the US to AA+ in 2011), US raters have also expressed concerns similar to Dagong‘s. From Reuters:

S&P Global said last month’s proposed U.S. tax cuts would increase the federal deficit and looser fiscal policy could prompt negative action on U.S. credit ratings if Washington failed to address long-term fiscal issues.

In November, Fitch said the tax cuts would give a short-lived boost to the economy, but add significantly to the federal debt burden. It warned that the United States was the most indebted AAA-rated country and ran the loosest fiscal policies.


Moody’s said in September any missed debt payment as a result of disagreement over lifting the debt ceiling, a perennial point of partisan contention in Washington, would result in the United States losing its top-notch rating.


China is rated A+ by S&P Global and Fitch and A1 by Moody‘s, with the three agencies citing risks mainly related to corporate debt, which is estimated at 1.6 times the size of the economy and mostly attributed to state-owned firms.