The Café Babylon War and Moar War Report [Updated]

ship of fools freda

‘Ship of Fools’, by anthony freda

Yes, some of it is likely muscular bellicosity that won’t necessarily lead to war, but it sho’ don’t help ‘Peace’, or even the status quo, sick as it is.  Iran, Russia, and China will be aware of these think-tank papers and news items all too well; the authors know that in spades.  Some of this rubbish is designed to create a new cold war arms race for Fun and Profit®, some of it to provoke China into some alleged over-reach or such in the South China Sea.  Come to think of it, I haven’t included some of the ‘Dare ya, China, Dare ya, North Korea links I thought I’d saved, but no matter: it’ all of a piece.  Some titles I’ll just let stand alone, some I’ll paste in a paragraph or two for the essence. Not all of it is really about the Imperium, either.  I’ve chosen to leave out ‘war by other means’, especially in the global south.

‘Kill Russians and Iranians, threaten Assad,’ says ex-CIA chief backing Clinton’ Mike Morrell on Charlie Rose), via RT

Thinking Through the Unthinkable”, RAND Corporation lays out scenarios for US war with China, 5 August 2016

The text at

‘Military Success in Syria Gives Putin Upper Hand in U.S. Proxy War’, NYTimes, Aug 6, Hiroshima Day

“WASHINGTON — The Syrian military was foundering last year, with thousands of rebel fighters pushing into areas of the country long considered to be government strongholds. The rebel offensive was aided by powerful tank-destroying missiles supplied by the Central Intelligence Agency and Saudi Arabia.”

Cool admission, no?

‘Pictures appear to show British special forces on Syrian frontline’; Images published by BBC depict soldiers securing the perimeter of a rebel army base following an attack by Islamic State, the Guardian, Aug. 9

‘New US Ambassador to Lebanon: I Came to Paralyze Hezbollah’,    Final paragraph:

“In her latest post before being appointed to custodianship on the Lebanese people, Richard was the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department. In her testimony at the congress in July 2015, she boasted the State Department’s achievements; counting the projects she supervised, such as: the initiative to qualify and develop industrial cities, creating job opportunities, activating exportation in Egypt, Jordan and “Israel”, the General Motors agreement to provide Egypt with huge amounts of electric energy, qualifying the railways in Algeria, buying tons of Iraqi rice, encouraging investments in the Gulf countries, supporting the youths initiatives and medical cooperation with “Israel” and the Arab Emirates… Most of the Middle Eastern and North African countries were present, yet Lebanon was absented from the achievements of Richard and her department last year, and now she comes to the weakest country in the region, having in her pocket a single (non-developmental) political project, promises to armament… and a raised wand!”

Yes, we always think ‘beneficence’ when we think of the US State Dept., don’t we?

Liz Richard’s State Dept. bio; eminently qualified./s  Nah, Nuland’s Twit thing has nothin’ about it…  mebbe she’s on a short leash now because: Ukraine and the Red Ovien (h/t: jason) Queen?

Note the contrast in coverage:

‘Putin raises stakes over alleged Ukrainian terror plot in Crimea; Russian president says Moscow will not ignore incidents in which two soldiers were killed, but which Kiev denies took place’, the Guardian

‘Ukrainian president orders forces on border with Crimea and eastern Ukraine on highest alert’ at RT, Aug. 11

‘Atlantic Council proposes to develop Poland as a stronghold for war with Russia,  (provocative ‘asks’ of Poland, see below.  Poland will surely be seen to comply, in any event.)

Paul Craig Roberts: ‘The Atlantic Council: The Marketing Arm of the Military/Security Complex

wtf turks

‘US Air Strikes in Libya Receive Mixed Reviews’,

The reviews don’t seem quite so ‘mixed’ to me, as the author cites comments at Al-Arab, Al-Kabar, Al-Sabah, etc. er…opinions.

“The situation on the ground is further complicated by the fact that there’s thousands of ISIS militants operating in the immediate vicinity of the city of Sirte, the town that is located near the vitally important hydrocarbon artery that feeds the failing states. The NCG troops that have been suffering severe losse[s] as of lately, decided to request the assistance of Fayez al-Sarraj, who, in turn, even though has not been recognized by the legitimate Parliament of the country yet, just phoned Washington to ask for help.

This step provoked harsh criticism in the Libyan Parliament, that described this move as unacceptable. A number of committees of the Parliament, namely the security and defence committees have labeled the US assault of Sirte as “politicization of the fight against terrorism.” According to them, the bombing raid is playing in the hands of Democrats in the US, providing them with an upper hand in the election race”.
Now why would they think that?

‘Turkey: Yet Another CIA Operation Uncovered by Journalists’,

It sounds about right to me, but most all of it is based on the alleged fact that it started last year:

“The new phase of confrontation between Ankara and Washington started last April, once Turkish officials threatened to ban US military personnel from using the Incirlik military base. Yet, the main reason behind the failed military coup that was prepared in much haste, was rapprochement between Ankara and Moscow that was perceived by the White House as a major threat to US domination in the Middle East.

According to a recent journalistic investigation, US intelligence services spent over 2 billion dollars on the preparations of the failed military in Turkey. The mastermind behind the coup, we are being told, is the former commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, General John F. Campbell. He was behind the planning of this operation and instructing Turkish military officers at the Incirlik military base. It’s been reported that this American General acted under the direct supervision of the CIA and in close contact with the movement of the self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen, who resides in Pennsylvania. The 2 billion dollars that Washington decided to spent on the coup was transferred to Campbell via Nigerian bank UBA. This sum was used to bribe Turkish officers who decided to participate in the failed coup attempt.” (the rest is here.)

‘Hundreds of protesters arrested in Kashmir’  (ha; subtitled): Indian forces arrest more than a thousand protesters as part of a security lockdown to stem anti-India demonstrations;, 8 August 2016, aljazeera

“Inspector-General Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani said on Monday that the arrests were made in a bid to end a month of protests in which more than 55 civilians had been killed and thousands of others injured.

Kashmir has been under a security lockdown and curfew since the killing of a popular rebel commander on July 8 sparked some of the largest protests against Indian rule in recent years.”

India said it’s all down to Pakistan, Pakistan denies it, but there seems to be no plan afoot except ‘talks’.  No Kashmiri Independence plebiscite in the works, tragically.  And Modi is now a new BFF to the Empire, so…

 Aug. 12:

Because the police state war on the Rabble would need another separate diary, let this suffice for now.  It’s not clear to me how many know of this decision from June of this year.  ‘A Mind-boggling travesty of justice: SCOTUS Further Enshrines Police State’, Café Babylon.

This just in, so bloody outrageous, it’s almost delicious: Via the WSJ: ‘U.S. Considers Sanctions Against Russia in Response to Hacks of Democratic Groups’; Levying sanctions would require White House to publicly accuse Russia or Russian-backed hackers’ (behind a paywall for me, but what’s readable is tuff enuff)  Do they consider that even J. Clapper (iirc) had admitted that there was (ahem) no evidence?  Will they next consider ‘sanctioning Trump’ for the leaks?  ho ho ha ha…


Solidifying behind Clinton, foreign policy establishment gins up a cold war with Russia/Iran Middle East’,  Philip Weiss at Mondoweiss, and oof, does he cover a lotta bases; soe you’ll recognize, some I hadn’t, at any rate.

Now this is a sincere find-fuck, although I’m not sure I’m getting where RedKahina’s going with her ‘for Clinton’ belief, but reading the piece shows that policy critiques can sure sure make for strange bedfellows: ‘ AG Lynch Announces Global Police Force Partnership With UN – ABC News: ‘AG Lynch Announces Global Police Force Partnership With UN’

During her speech at the United Nations, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the Department of Justice is launching a global police force in order to combat “violent extremism” in the United States.

A proposal such as this, with all of its various implications of an overreach of power, should be front-page news everywhere, but unfortunately, not many noticed. And that’s a concern to constitutional attorney KrisAnne Hall who released a video to make the rallying call.

“Something happened yesterday that I’m afraid will go completely unnoticed,” Hall began. “Yesterday, the Department of Justice, several cities within the United States, several municipalities, linked up with the United Nations to form a global police initiative. It is called the Strong Cities Network.”

“This is such an attack on our Constitution. This is such an attack on the sovereignty of our states,” she added. “This will eliminate the rights of the people as we know them under a constitutional republic.

Now the Pam Gellars (her part follows) of the nation are already convinced that we’re run by UN Fiat, and the piece didn’t say anything about what new powers the Force will have, but you can bet yer bottom dollar that it ain’t healthy for everyday Rabble Suspects, and yes: all dissidents are suspects now.

Second Update: Wot in the world?  The press release is from Sept. 2015Is it akin to global fusion centers?  Well, but: best practices, yanno.  The ABC story is dated Aug. 2016


Feeling a mite depressed or a yittle bit crazy?  How about a boogie tune?  Sure can’t hurt!  Yo, Titi!!


25 responses to “The Café Babylon War and Moar War Report [Updated]

  1. hi wendye,

    only through two of your links so far and a had to hit the music at the end, brilliant. (note: the paul craig roberts link is the same as the WSWS immediately above it)

    friend of mine and I were discussing the Democracy Now “war and peace report,” yesterday and you must have been listening in. both of us wondering where even a piece of peace was presently manifest, other than when i’m picking peas in the garden and witnessing two baby wrens hop out of one of the garden bird boxes and flitter around.

    moar war, local US Congressional GOP candidate theme is scarring the beegeezzuss out of seniors around here, imminent threat xenophobic twit. he’s former marine and Iraqi intelligence operative, was promoted to US counterintelligence group, is complaining about bloated budget deficit not mentioning military or intelligence costs and was on duty transcribing events as they unfolded with the benghazi incident and attacking clinton over that.

    i commented (under that news report) with the bloated ‘secret,’ intelligence budget expenditures shouldn’t his unit have prevented benghazi tragedy in the first place, do your job whiner. his primary election victory speech included, district voters were sending him to another “deployment,” against the enemy for keyriste sake.

    As GOP has legislative majority in DC, I guess he needs to take on his own party. disgusted with it as you are, but I keep jabbing back in my neighborhood, asking how are you keeping us secure with crumbling infrastructure, homeless vets, terrorized seniors, and allowing starving children (50% on reduced school lunch programs at minimum) state-wide. Outside money is pouring in for him.

    ps. I’m not siding with the clinton people on anything, anywhere either. hard to get most people to notice what’s beyond their back door around here, such as the news and coverage you’ve brought with this post.

    Luv ya, thanks.

  2. hey, stranger; good to see you, too, and love ya back. first, thanks for the heads-up on the wrong pcr link; i fixed in, and found a mondowiss piece on the weirding site. i’ll stick that in as well, also a mind-fuck of a piece (at abc??) i just found in the twittersphere concerning a plan announced by loretta lynch (in this case it fits again). it srsly has me reeling, speaking of xenophobia..

    but no, not much peace, is there? even in our garden and greenhouse it’s been war, lol. the gardens sucks so much that no Devias are even there (the findhorn folks call garter snakes,and mebbe toads that). ;-)

    that candidate sounds a lot like the loose cannon who’d announced his run for prez; how odd. but yeah, give him hell; it’s not a partisan issue, or not supposed to be… how fine that you’re working so hard on the ground there, nonquixote. state govs make huge differences, don’t they? especially those of the walker ilk.

    bet to you and your comrades there; what an uphill fight you have on your hands. i haven’t been in contact mi amigo sleeping jeezus there for a while, come to think of it. yikes. thanks for stopping by. and keep playin’ yahamba! it really helps. on the sidebar, watch for PFC’s ‘jah guide’ (peter tosh), too. simply magical.

  3. Nice foreign policy buffet you put out there, wd.

    It is interesting to watch the deep state and neoconservative public establishment coming to kneel before the Queen under the banner of “Stronger Together”. There is a shock initiation and a 25-year relationship behind that story. It’s good to know what Mike Morrell’s advice will be should the transition team appoint him to anything.

    At first look, the RAND report’s narrow assumptions look like a specific worst case scenario with a failure of diplomacy on both sides. I’ll look at it. Could be just another contingency plan without desiring that contingency. I’ll take a look at it.

    The US was replaying the World War II stall in its strategy with Daesh. Containment until Syria cleared Daesh from the population centers (Aleppo and Pamyra), leaving Assad weakened by the Gulf State-backed rebels (barely indistinguishable from al Quaeda), swooping in with a political agreement to stabilize Syria without Assad and then together eliminating Daesh from Syria before taking on the hard chore of liberating Mosul. This had strategic contradictions as to who was enemy and who was friend but avoided putting Erdogan on the spot to shut down Turkish enablement of Daesh as a hedge to prevent a Kurdish state. Russia’s backing of its client Assad and his regime as a guarantee of its base in Tartus (oh, that was why Assad must be removed; another regime might replace Russia in Tartus with the US). Well, Syria cleared Palmyra and is clearing Aleppo. The Kurds liberated Kobane (with the US providing help at the end to avoid the embarrassment of a Daesh slaughter in retaliation). The Iraqis finally mustered the will (with the help of Iran and US special forces to clear Tikrit, Ramadi, and Fallujah, and with the help of the Kurds to clear Daesh out of areas between Erbil and Baghdad.

    Just when the US, Iraq, and the Kurds are queueing up to begin the siege of Mosul, there is an attempted coup in Turkey. Erdogan’s loyal forces trace it to Incirlik and to elements of the Turkish intelligence service (look at John Helmer’s description of who was with Erdogan in Moscow). And Moscow gains if it is an US-inspired coup through closer relations with Turkey and in the extreme taking Turkey out of NATO (symbolically out of Europe, given Turkey’s quest for European Union membership, blocked because of Greece’s seeking a permanent unification of Cyprus as the price for Turkish entry to the EU.) A Russian-Turkish alliance (to get way ahead of where the story actually is) would turn the Black Sea into the equivalent of the Great Lakes between US and Canada. That would affect Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine.

    But Turkey is the other Sunni power in the Middle East, contending for position with Saudi Arabia and based on Ottoman Empire geography. Erdogan is said to have the dream of Turkish influence in the region and during the Arab Spring uprisings, he was poised to be the elder statesman figure supporting the new regimes (or so some reported). Stability happens in the region when Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey agree that stability is preferable, regardless of US wishes. Of course there are ways the US can prevent that agreement. And other countries can prevent it as well.

    Of course Russia has the upper hand in Syria; it delivered support to its ally and succeeded. It is now the US’s time in in the stall strategy to open the second front, the equivalent of D-Day and the western front against Germany. Politically, the momentum could have taken the Daesh issue completely out of the US election debate with the capture of Raqaa and Mosul. The coup in Turkey and the negotiations in Geneva about the end game in Syria and post-coup with Turkey about the status of the Kurds have slowed that.

    Erdogan went to Moscow to see what he could extort from Russia in return for closing the Turkish border to support for Daesh. The status of Assad was the sticking point; actually there it is Assad’s informal alliance with the emerging Kurdish independent commune villages in Syria that is a huge sticking point with Erdogan. A Kurdish state that comprises Syrian Kurd areas, Iraqi Kurd areas, Turkish Kurd areas, and Iranian Kurd areas is Erdogan’s worst case outcome. John Helmer’s article shows how the Putin-Erdogan talks went rapidly awry, much to US policy makers expectations are relief.

    So who benefits from stopping the momentum to eliminating Daesh before the November election and preventing Turkey from detente and possible movement in the direction of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization? It isn’t Obama/Clinton first off. So is it the case that US national security policy is divided from short-term political advantage in an election? It could be in Trump’s advantage if Trump were an actual player in this game. Or is it just an Turkish internal disruption that people construct narratives about? Maybe there will be emails sometime to clear that up. Or we might never know.

    Nice that the Brits can see what their money is going for in Syria. Most likely, US Special Forces have similar operations in Syria and Iraq with “moderate rebels”, Kurds, the Iraqi army, some undesignated Iraqi Sunni groups (just guessing at this one), and other players. That’s what astroturfed asymmetric warfare looks like.

    I’ll never get the fixation in Hezbollah after 30 years; US-Israeli policy created it as a reaction. It gave permanent Palestinian refugees a political voice in their host country and citizenship. I like honesty in US ambassadors but I fear that paralyzing Hezbollah reopens a civil war. wd, add Leabanon to your list of upcoming attractions.

    Poland and Ukraine seem to be the north and south ends of the current Cold War front. Just from geography, watch Belarus and Moldova. And read about the Białowieża Forest. US journalists likely will talking about it soon as they did about the Fulda Gap in the Cold War. Ukraine and Crimea are just tit-for-tat Ukraine probing for now. Poland is worth watching closer. The strategic issues are the Russian naval bases in Kaliningrad (Baltic) and Sebastapol (Black Sea). Of course, we might see a new area of pressure as the Arctic thaw moves to more of the year.

    “Eliminate Daesh” for the immediate future means crush their pretensions of having a geographical entity, call it a caliphate or a state, that is a base of power. That immediate objective means returning them to being a network of terrorist groups then pursued through intelligence agencies and special operations like drone assassinations. It also means pre-emptively closing down havens prior to the sieges of Raqaa and Mosul (and currently the siege of Aleppo). That in turn means shutting down the stronghold in Sirte and any other concentration of Daesh in Libya; it also means for Russia trying to get Turkey to close its southern border to Daesh movements to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the Caucasus areas of Russia. Having broken the politics in Libya, eliminating the Daesh presence becomes a politically tricky negotiation with the different forces controlling different parts of the country. Of course, that hasn’t happened; someone (from the usual suspects) stood up a supposed unity government and is using that for as long as it lasts to authorize outside action against Daesh in Libya. The US has provided air support and likely will supply (if not already) Special Forces.

    Modi has put two US client states against each other again. Kashmir is a political football that has been useful to two countries’ politicians for almost 70 years. Why should they stop now? Without Kashmir, there would be no excuse for either country’s nuclear weapons.

    Shaun King (NY Daily News) has a great and detailed article on Supreme Court decisions that give po-po’s almost carte blanche.

    Cybersecurity will not be a driver for more secure encryption and better systems but more warrantless wiretapping under the three reasons NSA cited for their huge databases – terrorism, international crime, cyberattacks. Marcy Wheeler (emptywheel) was onto this expansion of power maybe three years ago.

    good to hear nonquixote’s report.

    • talk about ‘whoooosh’ and add: holy sufferin’ sailfish, ya brilliant sumbitch (a fond appellation of course)! i thank you for all of it, including your updated primer on daesh. i do have a few questions, and i hope i don’t fade away before sleep time, cuz tomorrow is farmer’s market day, and mr. wd will be buying things to process and put away in the freezer for winter. pesto for one, he can buy big bouquets of basil, as my crop was dead in the water from the greenhouse…until some scraggly transplants kinda lived in the new raised bed he made for me outta scavenged huge timbers. but that’s TMI isn’t it? sorry.

      the rand piece is one that i reckoned the chinese will be reading of course, but for now i’d ask what you mean with this: “the banner of “Stronger Together”. There is a shock initiation and a 25-year relationship behind that story.”? but i’d have thought trump could love it as well, although with lynch…no, not so much. but all that time ago and nary a peep? odd bodkins.

      that’s all for now, but thank you again for being able to use your (i reckon) holographic memory and analysis for us. ach, there was another quetion, but…later, i guess. my best to miz thd, too. and yes, it’s good to hear from nonquixote.

  4. Going more slowly. “Stronger Together” is obviously the current Hillary campaign slogan.

    Shock initiation actually goes back to 1988 (the year of Bubba’s long boring speech at Dukakis’s convention) and this guy;

    Larry Nichols of Conway, Arkansas

    In 1988, Larry Nichols was fired from an Arkansas state agency for making phone calls to Contras in Central America on state phones.

    Phillip Weiss (Mondoweiss) blast from the past – New York Times 1997

    And here’s the WaPo coverage from 1998

    Tim Murphy of Mother Jones revisited the swamp in 2015

    Let’s back up here to the journeys of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
    Bill Clinton – Georgetown University undergrad, intern in office of Sen. William Fulbright (D-AR), Rhodes Scholar (Oxford University UK), Yale Law School

    Hillary Rodham – Wellesley College, Yale Law School

    Lots of places to come in contact with a variety of members of the current deep state before they were socialized into the institutions. Folks just starting careers. And professors at all of those institutions were birddogging for their nation’s intelligence agencies. For those focused on the professional track, opposition to the war in Vietnam was mostly symbolic and conflicted. Not disqualifying for security clearances. When and where were they individually or together initiated into the culture of the deep state? Was it the moment in December of 1992 that the transition team brought in the current CIA director to brief them? Or earlier? We really don’t know. So how to read the charges of Larry Nichols and the charges against Larry Nichols? How to read Linda Tripp’s presence in the White House as a carry over from the Bush administration? Which side of the fence was this Larry Nichols on? Yes, a state governor is wonderful CIA cover when there are operations that Congress is not supposed to know about. And yes, an economic development sorta guy with a good state budget is good cover for that sort of operation as well. And yes, firing someone in 1988 for something that was investigated before 1988 and likely shut down is kinda strange.

    And then there is Hot Springs Arkansas, Bill Clinton’s real home town. Paul Theroux in Deep South goes there and describes the place as it exists now with a riff on Bill Clinton growing up as an essentially self-motivated kid with somewhat a run of the town and seeing the folks of Hot Springs’s business, hot springs, and casino cultures as the role model of adults.

    The point remains. At some point in her life Hillary Clinton was initiated into an understanding of what the intelligence community and deep state actually do. That understanding goes at least back to the 1992 campaign, roughly 25 years ago. Who of those with whom she and Bill interacted during the 8 years in the White House were maintained in their network during her years in the Senate and the 2008 campaign? And who did she network with regularly during her stint as Secretary of State?

    The key point. Clinton is not an outsider; she is now part of the deep state, has their support, and knows their agenda. And for now, their agenda seeks to damp down the identity conflicts so that there is not violent division at home. After the multiple fractures over Obama’s Presidency, Occupy, and #blacklivesmatter, the last thing that the deep state wants is a Trump-catalyzed civil war. They trust her judgement. That’s my version of what used to be called Kremlinology when it was applied to the leadership struggles in the Soviet Union.

    And so of course, Clinton seeks the imprimatur of the iconic old men of the deep state: Henry Kissinger and Zbigniev Brezinski, and no doubt James Baker and George Schultz as well.

    The conflation of Clintons and bad things in Arkansas extends to the Mena Intermountain Municipal airport and Barry Seal;

    After 1984, Barry Seal was a DEA informant. “On March 3, 1986, Louisiana Attorney General William Guste hand-delivered a letter to US Attorney General Edwin Meese criticizing the government’s glaring failure to protect Seal as a witness. ”

    I get the distinct vibes that the deep state thinks Trump is, charitably put, a loose cannon. If he were less egotistical and smarter, you might see evidence of some sandbagging (unless that is Roger Stone’s job).

    There is a lot of interesting historical research in there for future history doctoral candidates and very much more into the network that Larry Nichols was and is a part of. Something deep in Arkansas politics has produced this take-no-prisoners politics.

    • well, i hadn’t known that that was her campaign slogan; now i get redkahina’s message. for tomorrow, most of it, such a memory you have!

      but yes to barry seals, as per his answer to my question about tom cruise’s ‘mena’ movie:

      “davidly | August 12, 2016 at 5:13 am

      Mena is in Arkansas. As part of the web that Gary Webb reported on in the San Jose Mercury News re. the matter of Central Intelligence’s flooding of LA with crack, there was pilot Barry Seal’s flying coke into a field in Mena. I’m sure the governor at the time didn’t know anything about it.”

      and yes, the former military and intel folks haven’t been subtle about declaring that man an unstable rogue element. (phillip weiss had the signatories to ‘the letter’.

      sweet dreams; i’ll keep the laptop lantern lit, but i’ll try to sign off for the night now. you might owls amaze me (but then, i don’t sleep much at night).

      on a quick edit: at (the accursed), where i wrote briefly, the constant drumbeat for the queen (now the new normal as ‘america’s mother) is that: “she knows how to get things done”. yep, she does, but they don’t seem to care about what those things are, in truth. crazy to see all of them save for a few: believe her campaign schtick. i guess a former blogging friend who uses his photographic memory for The Dark Side of the Empire, bothers me most. O, yes, he can dazzle them all with bullshit. i go there periodically to suss out what ‘libruls’ are talking about.

  5. one of the chunks of info that weiss brought in was philip giraldi on mike morrell, clinton devoteé: (see first link at RT)

    “When not fronting as a handsomely paid national security consultant for the CBS television network, Morell is employed by Beacon Global Strategies as a Senior Counselor, a company co-founded by Andrew Shapiro and Philippe Reines, members of the Clinton inner circle. As he has no experience in financial markets, he presumably spends his time warning well-heeled clients to watch out for random terrorists and Russians seeking to acquire “unwitting agents.” The clients might also want to consider that unless Morell is being illegally fed classified information by former colleagues his access to valuable insider information ended three years ago when he retired from CIA.

    The national security industry that Morell is part of runs on fear. His current lifestyle and substantial emoluments depend on people being afraid of terrorism and foreigners in general, compelling them to turn to a designated expert like him to ask serious questions that he will answer in a serious way, sometimes suggesting that Islamic militants could potentially bring about some kind of global apocalypse if one does not seek knowledgeable counsel from firms like Beacon Global Strategies. And the Russians and Iranians are inevitably behind it all.” [snip] (and when your mega-profiteering depends on ginning up fear…)

    “He is but one of a host of pundits who are successful in selling the military-industrial-lobbyist-congressional-intelligence community’s largely fabricated narrative regarding the war on terror and diversified foreign threats. Throw in the neoconservatives as the in-your-face agents provocateurs who provide instant intellectual and media credibility for developments and you have large groups of engaged individuals with good access who are on the receiving end of the seemingly unending cash pipeline that began with 9/11. And the good thing about a well maintained pipeline is that it keeps on flowing.”

    and this morning at the Guardian: ‘Vladimir Putin may believe time is ripe for another invasion; The Crimea crisis has come from nowhere but the Russian president has form for military adventures in Olympic years, says Luke Harding’

    “All of this leads to the suspicion, voiced by Carl Bildt, Sweden’s former prime minister and others, that Russia may be about to invade again.

    When it comes to the month of August, Putin has form. His previous invasions have coincided with Olympic Games, a time when the international community is distracted or on holiday – Georgia in 2008 after Beijing, and Ukraine in 2014 (after the Winter Games in Sochi.”

    atta boy, luke; they can’t pay you enough to keep Putin derangement syndrome so alive. shucks, that “invaded georgia” thang ain’t ever gonna go away, in part thanks to John McCrankypants: ‘today we are all georgians’. well, there’s a whole nother take on that, perhaps even…the truth of the matter

    • Excellent follow up on Morrell. Thanks for the new info.
      Yes on the “if he’s not leaking classified information, he’s not useful to his clients.” That’s exactly the Stratfor situation that hacking exposed at great cost. On some issues they had inside information; on others they were just bulling.

      • whoa, thanks for showing the similarity. i did look at emptywheel, but i must have miscontrued what what i’d thought you’d alluded to. no matter; you were correct. and shaun king: he tweets about a zillion points he’d made in one of his articles (how goofy!), but i reckon that it was the one about the scotus decisions? one didn’t ring a bell, so i went hunting, found another, but oy; i may have stuck something in my ‘saved’ messaages to myownself. i may remember to check later.

        got off on too many tangents to read your comments more carefully and ask questions. for now, i need to rest myself then start processing basil for pesto (yum) and boo-berries to store for winter.

  6. ReelFeel of 109 F here in Babylon on the Potomac! shoppers are not deterred. nor does the heat affect the BS Factory of punditry.

    kind of a small matter, but the good folks at wsws freak out a bit at each & every “study” released about war with iran, china, russia, n. korea, and maybe etc. which means they have what seems a biweekly freak out. when, to an extent, these “think” tank jobs are kind of sinecures for people temporariliy out of electoral favor where they spew streams of this highly unoriginal natsec threat-inflation garbage.
    “They’re also talking about Michele Flournoy for Secretary of Defense. After serving in the State Department under Obie, she founded and became executive director of the Center for a New American Security, one of the numberless swarm of Washington NatSec “think tanks”, buzzing like cicadas on a hazy, windless August afternoon. I do not understand the political economy of these outfits: why so many? Particularly since they all say more or less the same thing? Who pays for them? Why? I can only suppose that they’re intended as rocks for Permanent Government vermin like Fluornoy to hide under when they’re out of office, and that hedgies and defense contractors pay for them in order to keep these reptiles well-disposed.

    CNAS is very much par for the course, enjoying Madeleine Albright and Joe “Talks to God but doesn’t listen” Lieberman as tutelary deities. Not surprisingly, one of the axes they’re grinding most relentlessly is the nuke deal with Iran….”

    and b/c i can’t resist his lovely ending to this piece:
    “So if you thought Obie was bad — just wait for Hillary. She’s the real thing, red in tooth and claw. She can’t wait to start blowing people up, and she’s got a legion of fanatic gunsels who can’t wait to feed her the ammo belt.”
    good to know that Obie has been faking it the whole time.
    all the toxic garbage dredged up about the clintons at this site in the last couple of days! been awesome & disturbing.

    • Rand’s a big enough deal that i think the contributors knew that the chinese would read it.

      wow, hot there! my my, but ‘shoppers are not deterred’. leaving an air-conditioned car to go into an air-conditioned mall, perhaps? sip mint juleps or daiquiris a their pleasure?

      dayum, your comments at your 4-horseman link were almost too much fun; thank you for showing us, jason.

      i do love ‘obie’, too. took me a bit ,i confess, partially cuz i have an e-friend in switzerland who calls himself ‘obey’ for his initials as well.

      i had a link for you, but lost it, it seems. it was on various films that actually ended up being pysop gate-keepers for the realm. did they say, or did i remember…one of the definitions of the banality of evil being close to: folks who believe they’re acting for The Good, but have been so used to not thinking critically that the opposite happened. it had a great camus quote to that effect, as well.

      • They explicitly want the Chinese military to read it and maybe initiate high-level talks on keeping situations from running away. Whether the study authors’ recommendation makes it up the chain of command is something else. Army just wants a justification for moar money.

      • there is no doubt that RAND, I guess Stratfor & others, the biggies, CSIS, do serve a purpose. psyops, keep the chinese on their toes, or whatever. there are plenty of peeps in the military & intel divisions doing the same “research” that we never hear about. if there’s one gov’t operation that demands an overkill of redundancy, it’s the writing of these natsec briefs. but for sure they are not there to churn out papers & talking points forever. at some point some bright overachiever like M. Albright thinks, says, and then acts on the sentiment of “what’s the point of having this great military if you can’t use it?” Uncle Sam isn’t cranking the presses at Rand & Co. just to have its plans to destroy China go down the toilet. But the release of one of these papers isn’t one of the signs in the heavens of the immediacy of the Apocalypse. the rain it raineth every day, and they crank this garbage out striving to please the paymaster. every day.

        ReelFeel is now 114 F. all this harmony w/nature we got going on here…at about the 9:15 mark, the song “nature” (sorry, this neo-punk/new wave [or whatever] band was never big enough to merit separate song tracks on the ubertubers):

        • happy, happy, joy joy from the pinheads. oy. now it’s ‘standing in a mushroom, here come the mutants’, lol. well, at least there’d be cockraches, mebbe some odd dolphins to start stuff over?

          yeah, it’s not apocalypse day from rand on us/sino draft scenarios, but all of the links and tweets here added up to some heavy drum beats for war and reckon that the annointed one will indeed be in the WH soon. by hook or crook, cuz it’s been decided. what vote by the people?

          the link i just gave thd at the diplomat has some interesting things to say about china’s knowing it won’t rival the US in with its own hegemonic power, which makes sense for now. for now. but there are always those er…miscalculations we hear so often about w/ the military, as in FUBAR stuff where both sides are kinda edgy enough to go off half-cocked. but yes, albright and the natsec heavies genuflecting before the Queen of Huevos (gender indiscriminate) is worrisome. who did ‘live for today’?

          jimmy durante???? ;-)

          i found the source, and ha; it was one of my favorite commies: @cordeliers Jeff Skoll’s Participant Media is a “full service propaganda shop.”: ‘Co-opting the Anti-Nuclear Movement’, by Darwin BondGraham, July 22, 2010

  7. Here’s a summary of the summary of the RAND report gaming a limited conventional war with China over any of the currently contested issues.

    1. Context: The nature of the current situation provides incentives to both sides to undertake pre-emptive war. Systematic analysis of war in US and China has been province of war planners, who are mostly concerned with gaining military advantage, not avoiding economic and political damage. Sino-US war could damage global economy and international order, “such as it is”. While planning to win a war with China is necessary, it is not longer sufficient: The US must also consider how to limit war and its costs.

    US Army Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program paid for the study. It’s the Navy (and their Marines) who are itching for a Pivot to Asia mission. Not sure where the Air Force stands, but the Army is looking at a huge land war in Asia with the largest Eurasian army. A sentient Army general should be worried about the breakneck idea of a pivot to Asia.

    2. Study boundary assumptions. “We postulate”…should actually read “If the war actually turns out to be…this study might be useful. Otherwise not.”

    a. A regional and conventional war.
    b. Waged mainly by ships and submarines, by aircraft and missiles, in space (against satellites), and cyberspace (against computer systems).
    c. Fighting would start and remain in East Asia, location of flash-points and most Chinese forces.
    d. Much of the Western Pacific becomes a war zone (what does that mean for Hawaii?)
    e. Will not escalate to nuclear war because both sides see cost higher than benefits. (That is, “rational actors”)
    f. Only attacks on US homeland are by cyberspace. Argument is based on limited capabilities of Chinese conventional weapons in inventory.
    g. US non-nuclear attacks on military targets in China could be extensive, again based on US capabilities and conventional weapons inventory.
    h. Time frame (and thus deployable technology changes) is 2015-2025. That technology set includes sensors, weapon guidance, digital networking, information technologies used in targeting and are at parity between US and China. But they are such that threats are equal as viewed by the other, which creates incentives for pre-emptive degrading of these capabilities as the first step of war. This creates bias to sharp, reciprocal strikes and growing stalemate of control.
    i. Unlikely to involve large land combat because of mutual ability to deplete land capabilities. Result after stalemate is industrial-technological-demographic mobilization contest that will skyrocket costs of war.
    j. Open plan to engage Chinese policymakers in thinking through possible courses and consequences of mutually avoid economic damage.

    Analysis use four case studies:
    1. Whether the respective political leaders allow forces to execute plans to attack opposing forces unhesitatingly — intensity.
    2. Whether when one side loses, will they continue to fight or calculate to do so in counterproductive — duration.

    The four cases are built out of a 2×2 matrix of these factors:
    Brief – severe: A severely violent war–Chinese losses would be much greater that US losses; shock to Chinese global trade
    Long – severe: Worse prospects for China; incentives to continue fight on both sides; movement toward stalemate; reduction of commercial traffic through Western Pacific; greater likelihood of involving US allies in region.
    Brief, mild: Both sides decide not to go all out from the git-go; low-grade, sporadic, inconclusive fighting, with minimal military losses; with political latitude, a compromise might occur before the conflict produced major damage.
    Long -mild: Contained fighting, acceptable losses: with passage of time domestic and international political reactions intensify, though less consequentially than in the long, severe case.

    Conclusion: Once either militar is authorized to commence strikes, the ability of both to control the conflict is greatly compromised. But each side could regard a pre-emptive attack on the other as a way to gain a major early and sustainable edge in losses and capabilities to prevail. A classic illustration of the inherent instability of mutual, conventional counterforce capabilities and warfighting concepts.

    “These findings reinforce the widely held view that a Sino-US war would be so harmful that both states should place a very high priority on avoiding one. While expectations of huge costs make premeditated war improbable, they also demand strong crisis management and civilian control of the military by both governments. Given the extreme penalty for allowing one’s forces to be struck before they strike, creating mutual forbearance at the outset of hostilities could be as difficult as it is critical. It requires an ability to cooperate, in effect, even after fighting has begun. Thus, the need for instant and unfiltered leader-to-leader communications is as great when hostilities begin as it is during crises that could lead to them.

    Because the US might be unable to control, win,or avoid major losses and costs from a severe conflict, it must guard against automaticity in executing, if not initiating a sharp and prompt counterforce exchange. This demands fail-safe assurance of definitive Presidential approval to carry out miliitary plans, which in turn requires that military commanders provide the President with a range of feasible options.

    Here’s the bottom line for the US Army, which funded the study:

    The U.S. Army, in its Title X and joint responsibilities, can con-
    tribute by
    –investing in counter-A2AD capabilities—for example, mobile
    land-based missiles and integrated air defense to worsen expected
    Chinese military, naval, and air losses
    –strengthening, advising, and enabling East Asian partners to
    mount strong defense
    –assessing high-demand weapons and stocks in the event of a long,
    severe war.

    For each of the four cases, the study categorizes the effects as military, economic, domestic political, and international.

    The remaining report is the technical backup: the analytical model based on the four blocks of the matrix, estimates of degradation of forces and economic impacts and whatever from the model and a sufficient number of pretty-colored graphs to use for a PowerPoint presentation of the report.

    Let’s look at the buzzword “A2AD” or “anti-access/area denial”. Van Jackson had an article at The Diplomat about how that works for defense of Taiwan.

    For Taiwan, the most efficient means of doing so is through an anti-access military strategy that strings together relatively low-cost systems — such as undersea mines, drones, air and missile defense, and land-based anti-ship cruise missiles, to name a few — with defensively minded concepts of operation designed to nullify PRC advantages or impose costs on any attempts by the PRC to project power.

    So the Army’s role is in means of countering Chinese A2AD capabilities, assisting East Asian nations in developing their own A2AD capabilities, and making sure their inventory of high-demand weapons and ordnance is well-stocked. And of course, this means moar money.

    So the process here is:

    Worst case scenario–threat–analysis–model–hardware–moar money.

    But the study did call for (1) a hot line between the White House and the Chinese leadership; (2) the US military to refrain from railroading its preferred (and likely most expensive) strategy as a single-option plan to the President. (3) No rush to action where China is the opponent.

    One can hear the ghosts of World War I and World War II running through this study. Pre-emptive war, rush to intensity of action, anti-access/area denial (do you think of the Maginot line when you hear this?).

    And then there was the money spent for the study.

    • whoa, nellie; thank you for all that work, amigo. a lot of the terms are totally foreign to me, and as i was reading i was hoping there’s a Bat Phone between beijing and washington. i appreciate the link to A2AD, for obvious (wth?) reasons.

      i stayed and read ‘the u.s. misjudged the south china sea piece’ on the sidebar. the authors indicate that they’re trying to defuse things a bit; that’s a good thing, and they hope that such will be an obama legacy. but china is watching the elections, too, so… but a couple relevant outtakes out of many:

      “Some believe that the nine-dash line will collapse under the U.S. “combo punches” explained in Part I. Even if China will not give up the claim, it will largely hurt China’s international reputation. Considering its loss, some analysts hope that China might give up the nine-dash line. Such a prediction does not fully understand Chinese traditions and contemporary political culture. European culture values honor and dignity; similarly Eastern culture emphasizes face and harmony, which are reflected in the the “ASEAN way.” Though the SCS is not China’s core interest, humiliating a rising power is not wise for a hegemon to do. Such a move might have consequences far beyond the SCS. China is unlikely to change its policy of “no first use” of nuclear weapons, but it is possible that China might abandon its minimum nuclear deterrence strategy. Imagine a China that possesses more than 1,000 intercontinental ballistic missiles — what consequences would that have?” [snip]

      “U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is probably an old hand of George Kennan’s philosophy, but is he familiar with Confucius and Mohism? U.S. military activities in the SCS have harmed China in an unnecessary way and silenced the moderates’ voice in China, while stimulating Chinese nationalism. It creates tremendous internal and external pressure for Beijing, thus forcing the country to respond aggressively. In this case, it is inevitable for China to deploy military facilities and conduct military exercises in the SCS; otherwise, the government cannot dilute the increasing domestic nationalism. As Ouyang Yujing, director general of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of China’s Foreign Ministry, has said, the relationship between China and the United States is like a spring. The more pressure from U.S., the larger the rebound from China.”

      as per your cliffs notes, i had to go dig out the members of the SCO. er…i forgot to count them, but i had forgotten that india and pakistan are now in the pact as well now. oh, and i hadn’t known that the chinese say they have a no-nukes-first policy; oooof.

      thanks again, not that i feel all that much easier… ;-)

      • “we have a study here from the Bland corporation…” Strangelove. that was some heavy lifting working thru that report summary. they sure seem to be saying, hey murka, cool the jets a bit.

        def. i’m not plugging for trump but on the subject of “automaticity”, maybe it’s b/c he’s a commie stooge, or rather, is blinded by how superior an alpha-male bad vlad is to him, that he did not reflexively say the US would start ww3 over an incident in the Balkans. oh the how the foreign policy wolves howled & yipped & tore at that one.

  8. Rub concern with “face” against the U-S-A predilection to spike the ball. Not a happy situation. Which is why the RAND study advocates that military not be able to make essentially impulse decisions. Of course, that is also an argument to snap-to for the commander-in-chief even if she is Hillary Clinton. (or less likely, Donald Trump). Force cohesion and all that.

    Yes, don’t start feeling easier. The PTB on the March of Folly will not be denied their folly. Ref.: Cheney, Dick, Guantanamo, Iraq

  9. yeppers, and i should have used a snark tag. among many other things, Rand games a ground war? ach, sooooo old school. modern (post-modern?) war is fought in the air, and when in the sea, by missiles, tactical nukes or not), trident submarines, etc.

    and those ‘impulse decisions’ we may not know until *after* the world is, well, yanno. sorry to be hasty, but this time, RL is calling in the form of three PBS mysteries. if any are re-runs …well, never mind that….we’ll see; i might be back.

    but have you any idea how incredible blanching-to-shock fresh basil smells, coupled w/ toasting piñons? let me be in the first strike now; i’m ready! ;-)

    • RAND doesn’t game a ground war. It is focused on the role of the US Army, which typically tries to dominate the ground. The fact that the recommendations are so short and are about protecting the ground from attack and access is the best they could do with their assignment in terms of justifying additional US Army expenditures.

      • i read i again, and you’re right. i did get stuck on “Not sure where the Air Force stands, but the Army is looking at a huge land war in Asia with the largest Eurasian army.”

        i did think that the authors of the ‘u.s. misjudge… piece noting that europeans (guess that must cover amerikan to them?) are about ‘honor and dignity’ was quite diplomatic, considering. but srsly, the West never fails to not understand cultures they fear and aim to quash, one way or another. additionally, is it part of the Great Plan for this Imperium to overthrow secular leaders so that ‘extremist’ factions can take root? seems so to me, since: the first Shah’s advent.

  10. Jennifer M. Harris is a young Clinton State Department protege from the policy planning staff there, now a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations. This interview is one view of the coming attractions in a Clinton administration’s foreign policy.

    Harris begins the elaboration of what Clinton means when she (Clinton) talks about “soft power”. We’ve known that it doesn’t seem as soft in practice as it sounds — which is like a return to an emphasis on effective diplomacy, which it is not.

    The best way to understand it is in the title of Harris’s new book War By Other Means.

    This is a self-conscious inversion of the oft-quoted Clausewitz epigram that “War is politics by other means.”

    The implication is that “soft power” is war by other means (even the use of politics). I’m old enough to catch the definite scent of war without end (to use Carl Oglesby’s 1960s formulation of the emerging foreign policy of the US) as the founding presupposition of that turn of phrase.

    Indeed, Harris cites US diplomatic and international economic history in talking about the origins of the IMF in just those terms of continuity of the lust for empire.

    I’m fudging a bit and choosing the author more than a book per se. I’m very long on Grewal, a young scholar whose best work is yet to come. His big contribution here is to remind us that a lot of what we, certainly Americans, take for granted as the architecture of this rules-based economy — the tectonics of our global trading and finance system, things we imbue with a lot of internal logic and apolitical authority — actually are politics all the way down. This was intentional on the part of the US. When America built the liberal economic order it built after World War II, at that point, at least, the framers were quite clear-eyed about the choices they were making in the design of the WTO and IMF as expressions of US power and prerogative. For the US, it was a project as much about ending the British Empire as anything else. We’ve forgotten that somewhere along the way, particularly after the Cold War.

    And this:

    He’s writing about the Spanish civil war and reminding us just how un-self-aware US foreign policy is. A lot of the narrative accounts of the civil war come from Hemingway and Orwell. What Adam is doing is stepping behind a lot of the familiar tones the US feels comfortable with and showing how divided America was.
    He tells a somewhat untold story of the involvement of US corporations. A lot of the current focus, and my work, has looked at how ostensibly commercial entities from Russia and China are being used as conduits for projecting state power and accomplishing political aims. In fact, during the Spanish civil war, the same was true for US corporations. He tells a great story of Texaco. At one point the CEO, Torkild Rieber, a Norwegian immigrant, was a great admirer of both Hitler and Franco in the 1930’s, eventually turned much of his attention onto the Spanish Civil War. Rieber wound up violating a lot of the neutrality laws in order to continue supplying oil to Franco’s troops – at a discount, no less. He also allowed Texaco vessels to convey espionage and actual intelligence that it seems was quite meaningful to the course of that war.

    No doubt, Allen Dulles is smiling.

    • rock on. i bet the “IMF/WTO/etc. as war by other means” idea would come as no surprise to many people in the world. as churchill wanted the USSR & Germany to attrite each other, did the US wait to enter the war to allow sufficient upheaval to the Brit Empire so that taking over after the war would be easier? pure speculation on my part, don’t know enough about it, but it also wouldn’t surprise me that “allies” would do this to each other. and yes, the timely reminder that leaders of the west looked quite a bit differently at the fascist states in late ’39 than they had one year earlier.

    • glorious: “A lot of the current focus, and my work, has looked at how ostensibly commercial entities from Russia and China are being used as conduits for projecting state power and accomplishing political aims.”

      she must not have coined the term, cuz the last sentence of opening on this diary is: “I’ve chosen to leave out ‘war by other means’, especially in the global south.”

      now in the global south, i was of course picturing the many coups against chavismo and lesser socialism, the CIA and NGOs that are aiding and abetting not only the putsches, dilma’s ousting, but the MSM stories that make epic dastardly, antichrists out of them. stir in the horrendous results of nafta and other crap bi- and tri-lateral trade deals, new rulers privatizing the lands made public under socialistic leaders, allowing gmo crops again (macri, i believe i’d read), and the people’s economy is cut to ribbons.

      and really, crippling sanctions are another form of ‘war by other means’, aren’t they? isn’t that one of the things that made life for cubanos so miserable? well, anyway, got moar choars to do. but a nice stash of pesto and boo-berries is about to head to the freezer.

      oh, and before i forget: i stuck the link to this diary on the most recent of ian welsh’s diaries in the trump/clinton wars among commenters. one fellah said: wendydavis: you don’t know shit. of course i heartily agreed with the commenter. ;-)

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