Covert meeting in Seychelles revives memories of a planned By Wayne Madsen Report
A January 11, 2017 covert meeting in the Seychelles has revived memories of an all-but-forgotten Cold War plan by Central Intelligence Agency-linked mercenaries to attack a U.S. military base and blame it on the Soviets.
Reportedly, a clandestine meeting was arranged on or about January 11 by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi between Blackwater founder Erik Prince, representing the Donald Trump transition team, and a Russian government envoy in Seychelles. Prince currently heads up an Abu Dhabi-based mercenary firm, Reflex Reponses (R2), and a Hong Kong-based company also involved with mercenaries called Frontier Services Group. Prince's companies have been involved in civil wars in Yemen, Libya, South Sudan, Somalia, and Syria.
The January meeting between Prince, the brother of Trump's Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and the Russian representative was reportedly designed to establish a back channel between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. In addition, the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, was trying to broker a deal with the Trump administration that would see Russia curtail its support for Syria and Iran in exchange for a lessening of Western sanctions against Russia. The Crown Prince reportedly met with key Trump transition figures Jared Kushner and Stephen Bannon in New York in December.
The Russian government denied the Seychelles meeting took place. The identity of the Russian envoy supposedly involved was never disclosed in press reports. Seychelles Foreign Secretary Barry Faure said he was not surprised that such a meeting could have taken place in his nation, adding, "The Seychelles is the kind of place where you can have a good time away from the eyes of the media." It is also a place from which the U.S. Navy, Air Force, and CIA operate MQ-9 Reaper drones, some armed with Hellfire missiles and satellite-guided bombs, in operations in the Horn of Africa.
The Indian Ocean multi-island nation of Seychelles is certainly no stranger to international intrigue. During the Reagan administration, when CIA director William Casey gave the green light for CIA "off-the-shelf" companies to engage in coup plotting and arms and drug smuggling, there were several aborted attempts to overthrow the Seychelles government of President France Albert Rene. One, in 1981, saw South African-based mercenaries led by the noted British-Irish mercenary Colonel "Mad Mike Hoare" attempt to overthrow Rene. Hoare and his mercenary team were working directly for former Seychelles president James Mancham, who was ousted in a 1977 coup by Rene. Hoare and his team masqueraded as drunken tourists but exposed when a rifle was uncovered by Seychelles Customs personnel at the international airport in Victoria on the main island of Mahe. Operation Anvil ended after fighting broke out at the airport. Several Seychelles security personnel were killed along with one of Hoare's team members. Six South African mercenaries were taken prisoner by the Seychelles government.
Hoare and his team managed to commandeer a recently-arrived Air India plane and directed the pilot to fly them to Durban, South Africa. The 1981 coup attempt was directly linked to the South African intelligence services.
The coup also involved Kenyan Attorney General Charles Njonjo and Irish-Kenyan national Bill Parkinson, a former Kenyan Special Branch officer and owner of Kenyan-based airlines, some tied to previous CIA and British MI6 operations in Africa. Parkinson was also known to have significant links to South African intelligence.
Parkinson was involved in the 1981 coup plot against Rene and it was one of Parkinson's aircraft that was to fly exiled Seychelles President Mancham and his cabinet back to Seychelles on the day of the planned coup to resume power after Rene's ouster. Parkinson's Sunbird Aviation Beechcraft 200 was to fly a "Mr. Morgan," an American tourist with a U.S. passport, from Mombasa, Kenya to the Seychelles. "Mr. Morgan" was, in fact, Mancham. The U.S. passport was courtesy of the CIA.
The CIA decided that the South Africans were incapable of ousting the pro-Soviet Rene, and opted to stage its own coup in 1983. A 1982 coup involving South Africa and disgruntled Seychelles military personnel, many of whom disliked the North Korean advisers salted througout their ranks, also failed.
The December 1983 coup plan, signed off by Langley, involved coup plotters assassinating President Rene and launching a "false flag" attack on a U.S. Air Force satellite tracking station, near Victoria International Airport atop La Misere (Poverty) Mountain. The blueprint was a duplicate of the scenario that resulted in the U.S. invasion of Grenada two months earlier. A Marxist coup that overthrew the leftist government of Grenada Prime Minister Maurice Bishop saw U.S. troops invade the island nation to "protect" U.S. medical school students on the island. U.S. forces subsequently expelled Cuban and other Soviet bloc and Libyan personnel from Grenada.
In the case of Seychelles, an attack on the U.S. Air Force facility would result in calls for U.S. military troops to invade and occupy Seychelles, resulting in the expulsion of Soviet, Chinese, North Korean, and East German personnel. According to declassified CIA documents, the scenario in Seychelles would have involved CIA-supported coup plotters potentially killing U.S. Air Force and NASA personnel working at the satellite station. The coup plotters involved two British nationals, a dual British-Zimbabwe citizen, and two French nationals.
The ex-US tracking station at La Misere.
In 1983, CIA-backed mercenaries in the Seychelles planned to attack the U.S. Air Force satellite tracking station on Mahe island in a "false flag" attack designed to bring about a U.S. military invasion of the Indian Ocean islands. In the 1960s, there were proposals for the U.S. to buy the Seychelles from Britain and turn the islands into an "Indian Ocean Hawaii."
Today, on the grounds of the satellite station is now found a massive palace built by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahayan, the Emir of Abu Dhabi and President of the United Arab Emirates. The palace is heavily guarded by Gurkha mercenaries from Nepal.
In 1986, there was another coup attempt against the Rene government. Code named Operation Distant Lash, the revolt involved Seychelles Defense Minister Ogilvy Berlouis, 30 mercenaries, and 350 Seychelles citizens, including military personnel.
The 1986 plot against Rene involved his assassination upon his return from the Non-Aligned Summit in Harare, Zimbabwe. While in Harare, Rene was tipped off about the coup plot by Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, a summit participant. Gandhi arranged for Rene to be flown back to Seychelles in the Indian Prime Minister's official airplane, "Air India One." In what Indian intelligence dubbed "Operation Flowers are Blooming,” Rene was disguised upon arrival as an Indian woman wearing a traditional sari dress. The coup, like its predecessors, was a failure, as Rene rallied his supporters in the Seychelles capital.
The Seychelles has now drawn the malevolent attention of Prince and his CIA-linked mercenary armies. There is an ironic postscript to the story about the failed Seychelles coups. Before his recent death, Parkinson agreed to sell his Phoenix Aviation Ltd. aircraft company, based at Nairobi's spy-infested Wilson Airport, to Prince's Frontier Services Group. Prince had previously established Phoenix Aviation Malta Limited that is believed to be involved in Libya's civil war.
With Prince's sister Betsy, a Mormon convert and wife of Amway co-founder Dick DeVos, firmly ensconced in Trump's Cabinet and Christian creationist Mike Pompeo in charge of the CIA, Africa should be very wary of "Christian missionary" organizations and their "flying services." In fact, Africa should be doubly-wary of Prince, a convert to the far-right Opus Dei sectarian wing of Roman Catholicism.
Posted by Macu at 4/19/2017 04:40:00 PM
Labels: Abu Dhabi, Betsy De Vos, Blackwater, CIA, CIA "false flag" attack, Donald Trump, Erik Prince, Frontier Services Group, Opus Dei, Seychelles, Wayne Madsen Report
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Trump administration produces fake intelligence on Russia in Syria and Afghanistan By The Wayne Madsen Report
Trump administration produces fake intelligence on Russia in Syria and Afghanistan By The Wayne Madsen Report
The Trump administration, which is increasingly coming under the grip of Bush 43-era neoconservatives, has been formally issuing and "leaking" fake intelligence reports on Russia not only being involved in the alleged April 4 Sarin gas attack by the Syrian government in the village of Khan Sheikoun but also alleged Russian military support for the Taliban in Afghanistan. The U.S. intelligence community appears to have taken a cue from the constantly-lying Donald Trump to come up with its own lies, in the form of "intelligence," to further its aims.
During a joint press conference with visiting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump said he was open to the idea that Russia had advanced knowledge of the Syrian Sarin attack. He based his claims on information he received from Defense Secretary James Mattis and a "Pentagon group that does that kind of work." In fact, there is alternate and more credible intelligence that it was not Russia that had advance warning of a Sarin gas attack, but Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. In 2013, the Syrian government was blamed for a similar chemical gas attack on civilians in Ghouta. However, Syrian rebels admitted to the Associated Press reporter on the ground that they had been given the banned weapons by Saudi Arabia but that they exploded after being handled by the rebels improperly.
There are reports, not tainted by the Pentagon or General H. R. McMaster's National Security Council, that the Sarin was delivered by an Israeli drone that took off from the al-Tanf secret joint Israeli-Saudi base in rebel-held southern Syria, just over the Jordanian border, that is used to militarily support the Syrian rebels. The base operates with the full backing of Jordanian King Abdullah. Trump and the Jordanian king were meeting at the White House just hours after the reported Sarin gas attack took place in Syria. Trump met with the influential Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the son of King Salman, in mid-March.
The Trump White House insists the "evidence" that Syria launched the attack is contained in a four-page highly-subjective declassified National Security Council report titled, "The Assad Regime's Use of Chemical Weapons on April 4, 2017." In the report, Syrian and Russian complicity in the attack is claimed from "signals intelligence and geospatial intelligence, laboratory analysis of physiological samples collected from multiple victims, as well as a significant body of credible open source reporting." The report concedes that the "open sources" that it relied upon included "pro-opposition social media reports." Moreover, there is no indication in the NSC report that U.S. imagery satellite intelligence was used to blame Syria and Russia. The report states, "Commercial satellite imagery from April 6 showed impact craters around the hospital [where the gas victims were allegedly taken] that are consistent with open source reports of a conventional attack on the hospital after the chemical attack."
The NSC is being totally disingenuous in its white paper. Commercial satellite imagery is not separate from open sources, it is an open source. If the imagery intelligence cited in the NSC is open source, what defines "signals intelligence?" Perhaps, the NSC now regards commercial and Internet radio broadcasts from the Syrian opposition as "signals intelligence." The NSC report is a shoddy piece of work that is not based on legitimate U.S. or foreign government intelligence sources but on the propaganda constantly issued forth by such tainted groups as the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and the Syrian "White Helmets."
Fake intelligence alert! Trump's NSC report alleging Syrian and Russian involvement in Khan Sheikoun gas attack was not based on U.S. intelligence imagery but that obtained from open source commercial satellite vendors.
National Security Adviser McMaster is a veteran of the "cherry picking" of intelligence to fit a pre-conceived narrative, something that was used effectively by the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency to "prove" that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. Now, this same methodology is being used to justify U.S. military action against Syria and Assad's government. Unlike Iraq, however, the Trump administration is trying to paint Russian President Vladimir Putin into the circle of outlaw renegade leaders, who also include Assad and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The Trump administration has shown the world that it is as reliant on bogus military attacks as was the Obama administration. Even the two photographs of senior White House officials huddled around tables in their respective "situation rooms" -- Obama and his advisers witnessing the alleged Seal Team 6 killing of "Osama Bin Laden" at the White House and Trump and his advisers dealing with the cruise missile attack on the Shayrat airbase in Syria at Mar-a-Lago -- are similar.
File:Obama and Biden await updates on bin Laden.jpg
No difference in the phoniness scale between Obama and Trump. Trump even copied Obama's pose at situation room "crisis" meeting.
Just as it is doing with regard to Syria and Russia, the Pentagon is trying to link Russia to support for the Taliban in Afghanistan. Mattis and his Pentagon team are relying on reports from a dubious former Taliban leader who defected to the West that Russia is strengthening its links with the Taliban. The allegations are preposterous. Russia has been the victim of Taliban-trained jihadists, who have gone back to Russia to commit a number of bloody terrorist attacks. Russia, which was then the Soviet Union, fought a long war against CIA-supported Afghan jihadists. These jihadists ultimately morphed into the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The Pentagon is pushing unsubstantiated "intelligence" that Russian -- and Iranian -- arms are pouring into Afghanistan. In the case of Russia, weapons for the Taliban are said to be coming from Tajikistan, where Russia has important bases to check any advance of jihadists into the former "Soviet space" that includes Tajikistan.
Russia and Iran both supported the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance before the 9/11 attack. At the same time, the United States supported the Taliban, even though it was harboring Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. For Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the Taliban's help in building a pipeline for UNOCAL across Afghanistan was more important than ideology. The Iranians have never forgiven the Taliban for executing 9 Iranian diplomats, an Iranian journalist, and another civilian at the Iranian consulate in Herat, Afghanistan in 1998. There is zero reason to believe that Shi'a Iran would easily forget what the extreme Sunni sect did to its citizens in Herat and suddenly "make nice" with the Taliban. Ditto the Russians. Russia is fully aware that Taliban-trained Chechen jihadists have committed some of the most horrendous attacks on Russian civilian targets, including schools, trains, and subway stations.
Mattis, McMaster, and — Trump?
Military juntas are known for telling big lies based on fake intelligence
Mattis and his advisers are either woefully ignorant of the recent history of Afghanistan and the south-central Asian region or are trying, as they and General McMaster are doing with respect to Assad and Russia, to hoodwink the American public. The Trump administration, with so many ignorant generals calling the shots, more resembles a military junta than a civilian administration. Juntas are known for spinning lies, something that was witnessed constantly by the bogus propaganda coming forth from the Galtieri junta in Argentina during the 1982 Falklands War, the Franco junta in Spain, and the military junta that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974.
Posted by Macu at 4/16/2017 04:23:00 PM
Labels: Fake Intelligence, Fake News, Russia, Syria, Wayne Madsen Report
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
America's fascist corporate-military junta takes shape By The Wayne Madsen Report
America's fascist corporate-military junta takes shape
By The Wayne Madsen Report
The United States elected what was believed to be a Trump administration that would reject Obama-era "regime change" wars, entangling global alliances, and targeted sanctions on nations. America will get none of this under a Trump White House that has seen power concentrated among five men who use Donald Trump as a logo -- a political version of "Ronald McDonald" or the "Stay Puff Marshmallow Man" -- representing their neocon policies. The Trump administration is maintaining a regime change war against Syria, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN ambassador Nikki Haley both cheer leading with shouts that the days of the "Assad regime" are numbered.
Tillerson is now part of a Trump administration neocon-military cabal that is shaping Trump's foreign policy, much to the delight of Republican war-mongering neocons like Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio. However, Tillerson is not wielding the greatest amount of power inside the cabal. That distinction goes to National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, who seeks to project a "tough guy" image by using two initials, like the fictional Texas oilman "J. R." Ewing and his non-fictional counterpart "H.L." Hunt, for his name. Herbert McMaster, a Philadelphia native, is a typical neocon, but one with a more dangerous streak: historical revisionism.
In his 1997 book, Dereliction of Duty, McMaster castigates President Lyndon Johnson and Defense Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara for not listening to the generals in Vietnam who wanted an all-out war to ultimately defeat the Vietcong in South Vietnam and militarily defeat North Vietnam. That's easy for McMaster to conclude from his arm chair and the luxury that he was still shitting in his diapers during the Vietnam War. The actual mistake in Vietnam was not a failure to listen to the generals -- Johnson and McNamara did way too much of that -- but in failing to carry out President John F. Kennedy's wish and withdrawal all U.S. troops from South Vietnam by the end of 1964.
McMaster's foolish belief that the Vietnam War could have been "won" by America fails to take into account China and the Soviet Union, neither of which was about to see U.S. troops parading victoriously through the streets of Hanoi and Haiphong. McMaster's myopic vision of unbridled American military superiority -- no matter the costs -- is already steering the United States into some dangerous waters in the Middle East, East Asia, and elsewhere.
McMaster's theory that the U.S. could have defeated both the Vietcong and North Vietnam shows an individual who harbors extremely dangerous thoughts about the extent of U.S. military power and a tendency toward brinkmanship. But there should be no surprise since McMaster is an understudy of the now-disgraced General David Petraeus.
As with his lavish praise for Petraeus, McCain also licks the boots of McMaster. After Trump chose McMaster as his National Security Adviser, McCain said, "I have had the honor of knowing [McMaster] for many years, and he is a man of genuine intellect, character, and ability." That is because McMaster, like Petraeus, is a veteran not so much of battles but of globalist think tanks. McMaster served as a senior researcher for the Bilderberg Group-linked International Institute for Strategic Studies in London and the neocon Hoover Institution at Stanford University. God help the United States with McMaster now calling the shots on U.S. military policy as the United States nears showdowns with Russia and Iran over Syria, China over the South China Sea, and North Korea.
Another key member of the neocon cabal is Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner. Kushner is Israel's Mossad's "eyes and ears" within the Trump White House. His father, ex-federal convict Charles Kushner, is a longtime Mossad asset who helped arrange for the Israeli gay "honeypot" blackmail operation directed at New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey. The honey pot, Golan Cipel, was able to have McGreevey appoint him as head of homeland security for the state of New Jersey, a key position that enabled Israel to destroy evidence held by New Jersey law enforcement agencies on Israel's involvement in helping to carry out the 9/11 attack.
Now, Charles Kushner's son stands ready to commit more acts of treason as Trump's "senior advisor to the president." Kushner recently accompanied Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Joseph Dunford on a trip to Iraq. In Iraq, senior U.S. and Iraqi military commanders briefed Kushner and Dunford on counter-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) activities in Iraq. Undoubtedly, this information eventually ended up in the hands of the Netanyahu government in Israel, a government that helped to create and continues to nurture ISIL.
It was Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, who reportedly weighed heavily on Trump to believe the "intelligence" that Assad "gassed his own people" at Khan Sheikoun. The Trump neocon cabal even resurrected Assad's alleged use of "barrel bombs" against rebel forces in Syria. "Gas" and "barrel bombs" are neocon bullet points that are constantly used by the usual talking head suspects on television. Before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the neocons used similar phrases, including "WMDs" and Saddam "gassing his own people" in a propaganda blitz engineered largely in Tel Aviv.
Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to President Donald J. Trump, receives a gift from Iraqi Minister of Defense Erfan al-Hiyali at the Ministry of Defense in Baghdad, Iraq, April 3, 2017. Jared Kushner (center) was pictured walking in a blazer and flak jacket during a visit to Iraq.
Left: Kushner receives a gift from Iraqi Defense Minister Erfan al-Hiyali at the Iraqi Ministry of Defense in Baghdad on April 3, 2017. Right: Kushner bedecked in his "combat" uniform, consisting of a flak jacket over a blue blazer.
The fourth member of the Trump foreign policy-making cabal is Defense Secretary James Mattis. Mattis has an intelligence pedigree. His mother, who was born in Canada and came to the United States as a child, served with U.S. Army Military Intelligence in South Africa during World War II. The primary intelligence target for the U.S. was South Africa's pro-Nazi movement, the anti-British Ossewabrandwag, which carried out acts of sabotage against military forces loyal to Prime Minister Jan Smuts, who joined the Allies against the Axis.
While chief of the U.S. Central Command, Mattis was not trusted by senior Obama administration officials because of the general's eagerness to engage in an armed conflict with Iran. It is easy to see why the neocon hive within Team Trump wanted Mattis at the Pentagon. Not only Syria, Russia, China, and North Korea are in the Trump neocon gun sights, but also Iran. Mattis was key in hammering out deals that saw billions of dollars in military hardware, including advanced war planes, being sold by the Trump administration to Saudi Arabia and its puppet client state, Bahrain.
The Trump Five cabal's fifth man is Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who wore a pair of $500 Stubbs-Wootton bedroom slippers, embroidered with the Commerce Department insignia, to Trump's February address before a joint session of Congress. Ross is known as the "king of leveraged buyouts," who specialized in buying up bankrupted companies. An alum of N. M. Rothschild & Sons in New York and a trustee of the globalist Brookings Institution, Ross learned how to cut corners, even at the expense of safety of employees. The Sago, West Virginia mine that in 2006 collapsed after a gas explosion, which killed 12 miners, was owned by Ross's company, International Coal Group.
Ross did absolutely nothing after 12 roof collapses in the Sago mine during 2005, and 208 safety violations recorded by the U.S. Department of Labor during the same year, including 21 incidents involving the buildup of toxic gasses. It is too bad that Mr. Trump and his cabal do not show the same level of concern for the gassing of West Virginia coal miners by Wilbur Ross as they do for Assad's dubiously-alleged Sarin gassing of Syrian villagers.
Trump's neocons shout "Remember Khan Sheikoun!" How about "Remember Sago?"
Posted by Macu at 4/11/2017 11:04:00 PM
Labels: American Fascism, Jared Kushner, Rex Tillerson, Wayne Madsen Report
The emerging Hillary Donald Trumpton administration By The Wayne Madsen Report
The emerging Hillary Donald Trumpton administration
By The Wayne Madsen Report
The Electoral College elected Donald Trump president even though Hillary Rodham Clinton received 3 million more popular votes. But Hillary supporters should cheer up because President Trump is now instituting some of the same foreign and tax policies so vigorously opposed by Trump's "America First" and libertarian base.
Trump's Tomahawk cruise missile attack on Syria over unproven allegations that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad "gassed his own people," -- an echo of a neocon propaganda refrain that demonized Saddam Hussein -- have been followed by Trump policies that match exactly those of Barack Obama and advocated by Mrs. Clinton. These include calling for "regime change" in Syria, proposing increased economic sanctions against Russia over Syria and Ukraine/Crimea, threatening a military confrontation with China over the South China Sea, and something not even considered by Obama or Clinton: use of nuclear weapons against North Korea.
Trump's ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, told the war-mongering CNN over the weekend that regime change in Syria was "inevitable." While Haley has adopted the very same interventionist policies of her two Obama administration predecessors, Susan Rice and Samantha Power, Trump's ambassadors in Serbia and Macedonia have been encouraging George Soros-financed protesters to take to the streets in opposition to the Russia-friendly presidents of both nations. In both Serbia and Macedonia, Trump's Soros-friendly ambassadors, Kyle Scott and Jess Baily, respectively, are demanding the governments to adhere to European Union directives on changing their governments and freezing out Russia.
Image result for Donald trump hillary clinton morph
Donald Trump has morphed into Hillary Donald Trumpton.
In Ecuador, Trump's ambassador Linda Jewell has been working with opposition groups to question the victory of progressive presidential candidate Lenin Moreno over a Wall Street stooge, Guillermo Lasso. The Trump administration has also given support to the proto-fascist president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, in his attempt to imprison opposition leaders fighting against Macri's banker-directed austerity measures. Macri, the former mayor of Buenos Aires, and Trump have cooperated on Trump Organization real estate projects in Buenos Aires.
Trump is now being lauded by the corporate-military media complex for his attack on Syria. Trump has appointed several alums to senior White House positions from the Council on Foreign Relations, Heritage Foundation, Brookings Institution, and Center for Strategic and International Studies to his White House team. These individuals, all having excellent neocon street credentials, include National Security Adviser Gen. H. R. McMaster; his assistants Dina Powell, Lisa Curtis, and anti-Russian polemicist Fiona Hill; and presidential adviser Sebastian Gorka -- a neo-Nazi Hungarian-American by way of London.
Stand by for the "Trump Tax"
Trump is also signaling his support for a "border adjustment tax" being proposed by congressional Republicans. A "BAT" is nothing more than a halfway house to a "VAT," or "value added tax." Although a BAT is directly imposed on U.S. companies importing goods they manufacture in foreign nations, the border tax is passed by the affected companies on to consumers.
A BAT will drive up the cost of clothing, electronics, and certain food items. In fact, the Trump administration wants to go further than the BAT with a VAT, a national sales tax that would be applied not merely to imported goods but also to domestically-produced products and services. A VAT is widely seen as severely impacting low and medium income earners. Moreover, the VAT being considered by Trump is not in lieu of the national income tax but in addition to it. Mrs. Clinton and her Democratic loyalists, most notably Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), have long proposed a VAT, with some exemptions on the poor and middle class. However, there are no exceptions or exemptions with the Trump VAT. Low and middle income households would have to shell out more money for staples while they would see no increase in salaries.
A VAT will also result in more intrusive baggage searches at U.S. Customs entry posts. Travelers deemed to be bypassing the VAT by buying clothing, electronics, and small luxury items at duty free shops or in inexpensive countries abroad will face confiscatory duties and fines assessed at Customs stations. Even clothing removed by travelers from store packaging with tags removed, but still showing folded creases, may land travelers in hot water with Customs and Border Protection agents. Travelers may also be required to show agents documented proof that their smart phones, laptops, and expensive watches and jewelry were purchased within the United States. Lying to agents about foreign purchases would very likely result in their confiscation by the federal government. The Koch Brothers, suspecting the BAT is a transition to a VAT, are due to run TV ads across the nation in opposition to the border tax. It is indeed, a case of hell freezing over when the Kochs are absolutely correct with their ads opposing the BAT. Of course, for Trump's billionaire pals, who enter the United States in private jets and yachts, the customs rules will be much looser, if they are enforced at all.
Posted by Macu at 4/11/2017 11:00:00 PM
Labels: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Wayne Madsen Report
Sunday, April 09, 2017
U.S. cruise missiles are far from "precision-guided" By The Wayne Madsen Report
U.S. cruise missiles are far from "precision-guided"
By The Wayne Madsen Report
The Pentagon is claiming that the 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles it fired on the Shayrat airbase in Homs province, Syria were precision-guided from the moment they left their launchers on two U.S. Navy guided missile destroyers, the USS Porter (DDG-78) and USS Ross (DDG-71), on station in the eastern Mediterranean. The Pentagon also claimed that the cruise missiles did not target an area of the base that was being used by Russian forces that were conducting anti-Islamic State operations in Palmyra, 50 miles away, with helicopter gunships. It is also known that Iranian military advisers were bivouacked at the Shayrat base. The Pentagon insisted that it "minimized casualties among third-country nationals," typical DoD language meant to indicate that it could not rule out casualties among Russians, Iranians, members of Lebanese Hezbollah, or Iraqi Shi'as who may have been at the base at the time of the attack.
The Tomahawks used in the attack were manufactured by Raytheon and were armed with 1000-pound conventional warheads. Raytheon and its bought-and-paid for members of Congress and media outlets, including CNN, Fox News, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, and MS-NBC, claim the Tomahawk is "precision-guided," a Pentagon meme used to avoid accusations of collateral civilian casualties resulting from U.S. cruise missile attacks. These missiles are anything but "precision-guided," a term that, like "military intelligence," is misused by the Pentagon.
During the 1991 Desert Storm operations against Iraq, 288 Tomahawks were fired from U.S. Navy ships and submarines in the Persian Gulf. One, targeting the Zafraniyah Nuclear Fabrication Facility outside of Baghdad, crashed into the Al Rasheed Hotel in downtown Baghdad, killing two civilians.
In June 1993, 23 Tomahawks were fired into downtown Baghdad as the result of a phony story about former President George H. W. Bush being targeted by Iraqi agents in an assassination plot during his visit to Kuwait. Although the story was false, the Tomahawks, said to have been targeted on Iraqi Intelligence headquarters, struck three civilian homes, killing nine civilians.
In 1995, During NATO's Operation Deliberate Force, the USS Normandy, a cruiser, fired 13 Tomahawks at Bosnian Serb communications facilities near Banja Luka. Instead of striking communications facilities only, the Tomahawks destroyed water treatment facilities and power plants, killing a number of civilians.
Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile -crop.jpg
The Pentagon's much-prized Tomahawk "precision-guided" cruise missile has killed thousands of civilians in "collateral damage."
On August 20, 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered 79 missiles fired on targets in Afghanistan and Sudan. While there was no indication that Operation Infinite Reach interfered with Al Qaeda's ability to bomb U.S. embassies, as what had just occurred in Kenya and Tanzania and was used as justification for the attack, 13 of the cruise missiles destroyed a pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, killing a civilian guard. As far as the attack on a supposed Al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan was concerned, Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden revealed that a "few camels and chickens" died in the attack.
In early December 1998, Clinton authorized 415 Tomahawks to be fired on Iraqi targets in Operation Desert Fox. Targets included were six Iraqi presidential palaces, a number of Republican Guard Barracks, and the Ministry of Defense. Critics claimed the attack was conducted to draw away the public's attention from the Monica Lewinsky scandal surrounding Clinton. The "precision-guided" attack on only "military" targets, resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths, including those at the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry in central Baghdad, at Baghdad Museum of Natural History and Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad and at another university in northern Iraq, and at an oil installation in Basra.
In early 1999, 218 Tomahawks were fired against Serbia and Montenegro in Operation Allied Force. Some 528 civilians were killed by the "precision-guided" missiles, including 201 in Serbia, 5 in Vojvodina, and 8 in Montenegro. The civilian dead included rescue and medical personnel. Among the civilian targets were cross-Danube bridges (including the Marshal Tito bridge in Novi Sad), civilian buses and trains, police stations, factories, the Belgrade Heating Plant, civilian semi-trucks, the Yugoslav Radio and Television headquarters in Belgrade, the Pathology building of the Nis Medical Center, the Nis central market, a Nis car dealership, the "Nis Express" parking garage, and the Dubrava penitentiary complex in Kosovo. NATO Commander General Wesley Clark spent most of the time during press briefings "apologizing" for "collateral damage" from his precision-guided munitions. In May 1999, other U.S. "precision-guided" munitions, "smart bombs," dropped by B-2 bombers and which, were supposedly targeted the Yugoslav Federal Supply and Procurement directorate, hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade instead. Three Chinese journalists were killed at the embassy.
U.S. "precision-guided" munitions struck the Chinese embassy in 1999, killing three Chinese journalists. Will Donald Trump boast about U.S. "precision guided" weapons technology used against Shayrat airbase in Syria while talking to visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in Florida?
On October 7, 2001, 50 Tomahawks were fired into Afghanistan in the initial stages of Operation Enduring Freedom. Some 76 civilians were reportedly killed by the cruise missiles. In 2003, more than 803 Tomahawks were fired into Iraq. A number of targets were civilian in nature and thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed by the cruise missiles. In March 2008, two Tomahawks were fired into Somalia, killing six civilians. In December 2009, two Tomahawks were fired into Abyan province Yemen, killing 21 children and 14 women. In March 2011, 124 Tomahawks were fired into Libya. Hundreds of civilians were killed in the attacks.
In 2011, America's precision-guided missiles struck the Tripoli home of Muammar Qaddafi, killing children. NATO insisted the home was a "command-and-control" center. Really, with an advanced foosball table at the ready? WMR's editor saw, first-hand, the ridiculous by-product of the Pentagon's "smart weapons" in the hands of dumb commanders-in-chief and flag officers.
This 26-year old Libyan civilian was severely injured when a U.S. precision-guided missile hit his home in Tadjoura, west of Tripoli. Still unconscious, he was not aware that the attack killed two members of his family.
On September 24, 2014, 14 Tomahawks were fired into Syria by the USS Arleigh Burke and the USS Philippine Sea. At least seven civilians were killed in the village of Kafr Deryan in northern Idlib province. On October 13, 2016, five Tomahawks were launched into northern Yemen from the USS Nitze. Civilian deaths were reported in the barrage.
Neocons in the U.S. Congress praised the most recent Tomahawk attack on Syria, as did the Wahhabist Islamic governments of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and the Islamist dictatorship of Turkey. The Trump administration has gone full neocon, with national security decisions now being made by Trump's cadre of military interventionists, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Adviser General H. R. McMaster, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo, National Security Council deputies K.T. McFarland and Dina Powell, staff advisers Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller, and White House economics adviser and Goldman Sachs alum Gary Cohn.
Posted by Macu at 4/09/2017 10:58:00 AM
Labels: cruise missiles, Pentagon, Raytheon, Syria, Wayne Madsen Report
Thursday, April 06, 2017
North Korea wasn't first to pursue nuke weapons on the Korean peninsula By The Wayne Madsen Report
North Korea wasn't first to pursue nuke weapons on the Korean peninsula
By The Wayne Madsen Report
North Korea was not the first power on the Korean peninsula to pursue the acquisition of nuclear weapons. That distinction goes to U.S. ally South Korea under the dictatorship of Park Chung Hee. Ironically, as the U.S. corporate media joins the Pentagon in rattling war sabers against North Korea, the daughter of the South Korean leader who gave the green light to a South Korean nuclear arsenal, Park Geun-hye, was recently placed in prison on criminal fraud charges following her impeachment and removal from the South Korean presidency.
Currently, U.S. news networks are sending crews to South Korea to file reports on the U.S. military readiness to repel an attack from the North. Along with those reports come advertisements from such war contractors as Northrop Grumman, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin.
A Confidential cable from the U.S. embassy in Seoul to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on July 30, 1974, just a little over a week before the resignation of President Richard Nixon, set off quiet alarms in Washington. A South Korean official told the U.S. ambassador in Seoul that word reached Seoul that North Korea was preparing to ratify the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). While such a move would have been welcomed in the region as a step toward de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula, the South Korean government waffled on whether it would follow Pyongyang's lead in acceding to the NPT.
In fact, as a series of U.S. State Department cables indicate, the South Koreans had no intention of following Pyongyang on ratifying the NPT. The reason was simple: the Park dictatorship had secretly been developing its own nuclear arsenal.
Seoul began letting its nuclear cat out of the bag in an editorial in the July 12, 1974, edition of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA)-dominated newspaper Kyunghyang Shinmun. The editorial thought it unwise for South Korea to pursue non-proliferation under the American nuclear protection umbrella. The cable from Seoul to Kissinger stated that the editorial was unambiguous about Seoul's intentions: "the ROK [Republic of Korea] can no longer take a negative attitude on the spread of nuclear capability out of humanitarian or sentimental concerns." The cable contained a stark warning for Washington: "Most senior ROK defense planners desire to obtain capability eventually to produce nuclear weapons." The cable added that U.S. pressure on Seoul could be expected to be met by "growing independence" by South Korea on defense matters.
The year 1974 presented a "perfect storm" for South Korea to embark on a nuclear weapons program. The skyrocketing of oil prices that year propelled South Korea's nuclear power industry, which was bolstered by two Westinghouse nuclear power plants then under construction and contracts for Canada to supply South Korea with two CANDU reactors. In addition, Seoul was talking to Gulf General Atomics about obtaining three 800-megawatt reactors that used highly-enriched uranium fuel. Moreover, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), believing South Korea to be "loyal" to the cause of nuclear non-proliferation, heartily endorsed the South's obtaining additional nuclear power plants through 1985.
The highly-enriched uranium obtained by the South was also necessary for the development of nuclear weapons. South Korea also had a separate covert program to develop weapons-grade plutonium. As seen from its acquisition of "dual use" nuclear technology, Seoul's nuclear weapons program had gone far beyond the planning stages when the U.S. embassy in Seoul first alerted Kissinger about Seoul's nuclear ambitions.
The Canadian ambassador in Seoul informed his U.S. counterpart that Canada was aware that South Korea might decide to divert its CANDU nuclear reactor technology to nuclear weapons production. In August 1974, Park, obviously aware that Washington was preoccupied with the resignation of Nixon and was not looking closely at Korea, privately told South Korean journalists that he ordered South Korean scientists to develop atom bombs by 1977. The CIA then believed that South Korea could develop its own nuclear bomb by 1980 by diverting technology for its nuclear power plants and secretly acquiring nuclear fuel reprocessing equipment from France. Park's agents also approached McDonnell-Douglas to acquire 200-mile range ballistic missiles capable of reaching Pyongyang from South Korean territory.
Under tremendous pressure from the Gerald Ford administration, South Korea, which had signed the NPT in 1968, finally ratified it in 1975. However, it is believed that work never actually stopped on South Korea's nuclear weapons program. Like that of Japan, it was buried deep within the "peaceful" nuclear power program. During the Jimmy Carter administration, when it was announced that the U.S. would withdraw its ground troops from South Korea, Park resumed the covert South Korean nuclear weapons program by secretly trying to obtain nuclear fuel reprocessing technology and materials from France. South Korea was not the only country with nuclear weapons aspirations to have approached the French for reprocessing capabilities. The French were negotiating a similar agreement with Pakistan.
It was South Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons that resulted in North Korea pressuring China and the Soviet Union for a similar capability. Pyongyang's intention of ratifying the NPT was a casualty of Seoul's intentions. There is no evidence that either Beijing or Moscow provided the North with nuclear weapons technology, decisions that prompted the North to look elsewhere.
In 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, North and South Korea signed the "Joint Declaration of South and North Korea on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." Although the North had not signed the NPT, it agreed with Seoul to not seek to "possess nuclear reprocessing and uranium enrichment facilities." Furthermore, North and South vowed that they would not "test, manufacture, produce, receive, possess, store, deploy or use nuclear weapons." North Korea proceeded to violate the North-South accord by continuing to develop a nuclear weapons capability. It tested an underground nuclear weapon at the Punggye-ri Test Site in 2006.
In 2004, the South Koreans had a surprise for the IAEA. It declared to the agency that it had conducted uranium enrichment and conversion and plutonium separation experiments at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI). The IAEA considered the South's breach a severe violation of the NPT. The South Korean government said the experiments had been conducted "without the knowledge or authorization of the government." In a structured society like South Korea, the claim by Seoul was laughable, if it had not been so serious a move to acquire weapons-grade nuclear material.
N. Korea-Kim Jong Il & Sec of State Madeline Albright.jpg Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (R) meeting with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il (L) in Pyongyang
It takes a certain amount of tact, patience, and experience to deal with North Korea: Jimmy Carter with Kim Il Sung, 1994 [left], Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Kim Jong Il, 2000 [center], Bill Clinton with Kim Jong Il, 2009 [right]. Trump misses out on all three requirements.
Today, the war mongers inside the Trump administration are hankering for a military showdown with North Korea. Such brinkmanship comes at a potential deadly cost to the United States. There are over 130,000 American citizens, including military forces, living in South Korea. Most live within range of North Korean artillery, which, in the first stages of a military conflict, will rain down their shells on metropolitan Seoul.
The Trump administration appears to be as befuddled and incompetent on Korea as was the Ford administration. For example, a February 28, 1975, National Security Council memo to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who also served as National Security Adviser, stated that South Korea's "initial stage of nuclear weapons development . . . would have a decidedly stabilizing effect in Northeast Asia," when the exact opposite was the case.
South Korea's covert nuclear weapons program under Park came to a halt in 1979 after the South Korean president was shot to death by his own KCIA chief. Although the KCIA's founding organization, the U.S. CIA, denied any role in the assassination, it was noted that the normal CIA complement of between 40 and 50 agents at the CIA station in Seoul doubled to over a 100 just prior to the assassination. Most of the agents worked out of the U.S. embassy's 5th floor, in what was called the CIA's "Research Unit."
North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, is an unstable character. However, he was schooled in Switzerland and is the first in three generations of Kim leaders to have lived in a Western country, becoming familiar with Western "culture," good and bad. Kim's grandfather Kim Il Sung and father Kim Jong Il were experienced Communist Party functionaries and were capable of diplomacy while not always abiding by international agreements. Kim Il Sung met in Pyongyang in 1994 with former President Jimmy Carter. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with Kim Jong Il in 2000 in Pyongyang, a meeting that was followed by one between Kim Jong Il and former President Bill Clinton in 2009. Kim Il Jong's sudden death in 2011, which may not have been by natural causes, ended high-level contacts between Pyongyang and Washington.
Kim Jong Un is a loose cannon, as seen with his ordering the assassination by VX nerve agent of his half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. However, even a loose cannon can be lured with the dangling of lucrative "carrots." However, the Trump administration and its neanderthal thinkers like CIA director Mike Pompeo lack the gravitas to come up with a unique way to deal with Kim Jong Un without setting the Korean peninsula ablaze with a nuclear fire.
One thing is for certain. Neither China nor Russia will permit the U.S. Pacific Command to extend its territory to the Yalu River border with China or the Tumen River border with Russia. Unlike West Germany's unification with East Germany, there is no great desire among most South Koreans to absorb North Korea. An exception is the very elderly who still have relatives in the North. Therefore, any move to eliminate Kim from the scene will only have the support of China and Russia if a new North Korean regime adheres to a strict neutrality, guaranteed by all the powers in the region, including Japan and the United States.
There is likely an anti-Kim faction within the North Korean military that would move against the Kims if they were guaranteed leadership of a neutral North Korea in return for abandoning the North's nuclear weapons program. The best the U.S. can hope for is the emergence of a North Korean version of Marshal Tito, someone that will keep his country stable as a strictly neutral power in exchange for a guarantee of non-aggression from all regional powers, including the United States and a rapidly re-militarizing Japan. However, the North will need an insurance policy and that is its continued possession of short- and intermediate-range conventional missiles, not the intercontinental ballistic missiles like the one just test-fired by North Korea.
Trump considers himself the ultimate deal maker. However, given the presence of James Mattis at the Pentagon, Pompeo at the CIA, and right-wing lunatic Stephen Bannon always at Trump's side, Trump will not be able to deal with Pyongyang because he frankly lacks the intelligence and education to carry off such a feat. While "only Nixon could go to China," Trump does not have the wherewithal to navigate his way back to New York on the New Jersey Turnpike. On the issue of North Korea, a Trump White House official was anonymously quoted as saying, "The clock has now run out [on North Korea], and all options are on the table." That is not incredibly original or insightful.