Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Is Al Qaeda winning the long war?

Posted by Charles II on March 28, 2014

DemocracyNow:

PATRICK COCKBURN: The Saudis have got rather nervous at the moment that—having supported these jihadi groups, that are all either linked to al-Qaeda or have exactly the same ideology and method of action of al-Qaeda, so they’ve introduced some laws saying that—against Saudis fighting in Syria or elsewhere. But it’s probably too late for this to have any effect. The al-Qaeda-type organizations really control a massive area in northern and eastern Syria at the moment and northern and western Iraq. The largest number of volunteers fighting with these al-Qaeda-type groups are Saudi. Most of the money originally came from there. But these people now control their own oil wells. They probably are less reliant on Saudi money.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: I want to turn to U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2010. In a December 2009 memo, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton identified Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest source of funds for Islamist militant groups such as the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba. She writes, quote, “While the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia takes seriously the threat of terrorism within Saudi Arabia, it has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority… donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to move onto a segment next on Iraq. And earlier this month, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of openly funding the Sunni Muslim insurgents in western Anbar province.

PATRICK COCKBURN: …these declarations of victory, I think, just divert attention from the fact that you look at the map, that al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda-type groups, that are no different from those that followed Osama bin Laden, now control a large territory. They have large revenues from oil wells. They have lots of experienced people. At the moment, they’re fighting against Assad and the Iraqi government. But they don’t like the governments of the West anymore. They’re not ideologically committed to only one enemy in their home countries. So if they do want to start making attacks in the West again along the lines of 9/11, they’re far better equipped militarily and politically, financially and any other way than they were when the attacks of 9/11 were originally made.

Beau Barnes, Small Wars Journal, describing the late Syed Saleem Shahzad’s book:

These new leaders—with both strong local ties and loyalty to Al-Qaeda—will then render the broader jihadist movement inextricable from organizations like the original Afghan Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and Somalia’s Al Shabaab. According to this logic, if every Muslim militant organization in the world is “part of Al-Qaeda,” then Al-Qaeda itself will never be defeated.

I’ve been reading the book and, while I think that Shahzad got caught up with the romance of rebellion, what he describes is a great intensity and focus by the Taliban… unlike certain US generals who are focused on affairs and self-enrichment.

The Taliban, who are the water in which Al Qaeda swims, strengthened itself by establishing a system of justice in an area of Pakistan where government incompetence and corruption was the rule. The long war is the war to establish genuine representative government. When we have so done, our cause has usually prevailed. When we have not, it has generally failed.

Posted in Afghanistan, Pakistan | 1 Comment »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on March 28, 2014

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Weisbrot Goes To Caracas, Sees Improving Nation

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 26, 2014

Mark Weisbrot went to Caracas earlier this month, and here’s some of what he saw:

Major media outlets have already reported that Venezuela’s poor have not joined the right-wing opposition protests, but that is an understatement: it’s not just the poor who are abstaining – in Caracas, it’s almost everyone outside of a few rich areas like Altamira, where small groups of protesters engage in nightly battles with security forces, throwing rocks and firebombs and running from tear gas.

Walking from the working-class neighborhood of Sabana Grande to the city center, there was no sign that Venezuela is in the grip of a “crisis” that requires intervention from the Organization of American States (OAS), no matter what John Kerry tells you. The metro also ran very well, although I couldn’t get off at Alta Mira station, where the rebels had set up their base of operations until their eviction this week.

So who are these rebels with their burning-tire barricades and oil-slick roadway impediments? Venezuela’s 1%, who ironically enough have done well under the Chávismo they so bitterly hate:

These people are not hurting – they’re doing very well. Their income has grown at a healthy pace since the Chávez government got control of the oil industry a decade ago. They even get an expensive handout from the government: anyone with a credit card (which excludes the poor and millions of working people) is entitled to $3,000 per year at a subsidized exchange rate. They can then sell the dollars for 6 times what they paid in what amounts to a multi-billion dollar annual subsidy for the privileged – yet it is they who are supplying the base and the troops of the rebellion.

The class nature of this fight has always been stark and inescapable, now more than ever. Walking past the crowd that showed up for the March 5 ceremonies to mark the anniversary of Chávez’s death, it was a sea of working-class Venezuelans, tens of thousands of them. There were no expensive clothing or $300 shoes. What a contrast to the disgruntled masses of Los Palos Grandes, with $40,000 Grand Cherokee Jeeps bearing the slogan of the moment: SOS VENEZUELA.

So why is John Kerry running around poor-mouthing Maduro and Company? Many reasons, among them the still-powerful Cuban exile presence in Miami; these people hate Castro and anyone allied with Castro, so Chávez and now Maduro have made it to their permanent Poop List.

But if Kerry or the Miami Cubans pushing him around think that the Bolivarian revolution is going down anytime soon, they have another think coming:

Perhaps Kerry thinks the Venezuelan economy is going to collapse and that will bring some of the non-rich Venezuelans into the streets against the government. But the economic situation is actually stabilizing – monthly inflation fell in February, and the black-market dollar has fallen sharply on the news that the government is introducing a new, market-based exchange rate. Venezuela’s sovereign bonds returned 11.5% from 11 February (the day before the protests began) to 13 March, the highest returns in the Bloomberg dollar emerging market bond index. Shortages will most likely ease in the coming weeks and months.

Of course, that is exactly the opposition’s main problem: the next election is a year-and-a-half away, and by that time, it’s likely that the economic shortages and inflation that have so increased over the past 15 months will have abated. The opposition will then probably lose the parliamentary elections, as they have lost every election over the past 15 years. But their current insurrectionary strategy isn’t helping their own cause: it seems to have divided the opposition and united the Chavistas.

That’s that.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Minnesota Minimum Wage Whip Count: The Tally Continues

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 23, 2014

Minnesota Minimum Wage Whip Count: The Tally Continues

You know what to do.

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Suhprahz, suhprahz!

Posted by Charles II on March 21, 2014

Barton Gellman and Ashkan Soltani:

The voice interception program, called MYSTIC, began in 2009. …

In the initial deployment, collection systems are recording “every single” conversation nationwide, storing billions of them in a 30-day rolling buffer that clears the oldest calls as new ones arrive, according to a classified summary.

At the request of U.S. officials, The Washington Post is withholding details that could be used to identify the country where the system is being employed or other countries where its use was envisioned.

We are supposed to believe that the unnamed country is not the United States of America.

Posted in NSA eavesdropping | 3 Comments »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on March 21, 2014

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | 2 Comments »

Yes, what’s really happening in Ukraine?

Posted by Charles II on March 20, 2014

DemocracyNow:

JACK MATLOCK JR. [the last ambassador to the USSR]: Well, I think that what we have seen is a reaction, in many respects, to a long history of what the Russian government, the Russian president and many of the Russian people—most of them—feel has been a pattern of American activity that has been hostile to Russia and has simply disregarded their national interests. …how would Americans feel if some Russian or Chinese or even West European started putting bases in Mexico or in the Caribbean, or trying to form governments that were hostile to us?

…in the Orange Revolution in Kiev, foreigners, including Americans, were very active in organizing people and inspiring them. Now, you know, I have to ask Americans: How would Occupy Wall Street have looked if you had foreigners out there leading them?

…if you really look at it dispassionately, Ukraine is better off without Crimea, because Ukraine is divided enough as it is. Their big problem is internal, in putting together disparate people who have been put together in that country. The distraction of Crimea, where most of the people did not want to be in Ukraine and ended up in Ukraine as a result of really almost a bureaucratic whim, is—was, I think, a real liability for Ukraine.

…I just hope everyone can calm down and look at realities and stop trying to start sort of a new Cold War over this. As compared to the issues of the Cold War, this is quite minor. It has many of the characteristics of a family dispute. And when outsiders get into a family dispute, they’re usually not very helpful.

…fundamentally, it’s going to be the Ukrainians who have to put their society back together. It is seriously broken now. And it seems to me they could take a leaf from the Finns, who have been very successful ever since World War II in putting together a country with both Finns and Swedes, by treating them equally, by being very respectful and careful about their relations with Russia, never getting into—anymore into military struggles or allowing foreign bases on their land. And they’ve been extremely successful. Why can’t the Ukrainians follow a policy of that sort? I think, for them, it would work, too. But first, they have to find a way to unite the disparate elements in Ukraine; otherwise, these pressures from Russia, on the one hand, and the West, on the other, is going to simply tear them apart.

…I would say that I think Russian media have exaggerated that right-wing threat. On the other hand, those who have ignored it, I think, are making a big mistake. We do have to understand that a significant part of the violence at the Maidan, the demonstrations in Kiev, were done by these extreme right-wing, sort of neo-fascist groups. And they do—some of their leaders do occupy prominent positions in the security forces of the new government. And I think—I think the Russians and others are quite legitimately concerned about that. Therefore, you know, many of these things are not nearly as black and white, when we begin to look at them, as is implied in much of the rhetoric that we’re hearing. And I do think that everybody needs now to take a quiet breath to really look at where we are and to see if we can’t find ways, by keeping our voices down, to help the Ukrainians in present-day Ukraine to get to a road to greater unity and reform that will make them a viable state.

Posted in Russia | Leave a Comment »

So What’s Really Happening In Ukraine?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 17, 2014

Hint: It’s not as clear-cut as the anchors at RT (the ones who haven’t quit in protest, anyway) make it seem.

Just as it’s hard to know what’s really going on in Latin America without a working knowledge of Spanish, it’s hard to know what’s really going on in Ukraine and Russia without at least a working knowledge of Russian. I don’t have that knowledge, but I know someone who does, and here’s what he has to say:

Suzanne Buck, Philip Munger would you PLEASE show this to the freaks who are saying Ukraine is being run by fascists now?

Look, bottom line:

Yanukovich asked the Berkut (Riot Police) to fire on the Ukranian People. The Berkut chief declined and RESIGNED which was the right thing to do. That is what the Occupy people here would have said, right?

And that caused a crisis; particularly for the “Party of Regions” which is Yanukovich’s party. The Rada (Ukranian Parliament) agreed, and so did Party of Regions with the Riot Police guy and said ” FUCK YOU – YOU CANNOT order our soldiers to fire on our people!”

Fast forward to today; in Russia the opposition news networks have been silenced – the NDAA or SOPA the Left in the US has feared was just put in place by – PUTIN! You can get Channel Rain or Echo of Moscow – but Russians and Ukrainians can’t.

So you tell these idiots at FDL they have been backing the wrong horse in this race. Dan Wright in particular. Fucking wrong from the first day he bothered to notice the Maidan.

From my friends in the U:

http://youtu.be/TvgNdNxTtJ0

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

They all just hang out together

Posted by Charles II on March 16, 2014

Robert Parry, The Consortium:

[Following the Iraq debacle,] You might have expected that the neocons would have been banished to the farthest reaches of U.S. policymaking, so far away that they would never be heard from again. However, instead of disappearing, the neocons have proved their staying power, now reemerging as the architects of the U.S. strategy toward Ukraine.

… the ultimate goal of the Ukraine gambit is not just “regime change” in Kiev but “regime change” in Moscow. By eliminating the independent-minded and strong-willed Putin, the neocons presumably fantasize about slipping one of their ciphers (perhaps a Russian version of Ahmed Chalabi) into the Kremlin.

Then, the neocons could press ahead, unencumbered, toward their original “regime change” scheme in the Middle East, with wars against Syria and Iran.

JP Sottile, The Consortium:

Behind the U.S.-backed coup that ousted the democratically elected president of Ukraine are the economic interests of giant corporations – from Cargill to Chevron – which see the country as a potential “gold mine” of profits from agricultural and energy exploitation, reports JP Sottile.

Despite the turmoil within Ukrainian politics after Yanukovych rejected a major trade deal with the European Union just seven weeks earlier, Cargill was confident enough about the future to fork over $200 million to buy a stake in Ukraine’s UkrLandFarming. According to Financial Times, UkrLandFarming is the world’s eighth-largest land cultivator and second biggest egg producer.

On Dec. 13, Cargill announced the purchase of a stake in a Black Sea port. Cargill’s port at Novorossiysk — to the east of Russia’s strategically significant and historically important Crimean naval base — gives them a major entry-point to Russian markets and adds them to the list of Big Ag companies investing in ports around the Black Sea, both in Russia and Ukraine.

Cargill was decidedly confident amidst the post-EU deal chaos.

Freedom House, the National Endowment for Democracy and National Democratic Institute helped fund and support the Ukrainian “Orange Revolution” in 2004. Freedom House is funded directly by the U.S. Government, the National Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Department of State.

David Kramer is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and, according to his Freedom House bio page, formerly a “Senior Fellow at the Project for the New American Century.”

That puts Kramer and, by one degree of separation, Big Ag fixer Morgan Williams in the company of PNAC co-founder Robert Kagan who, as coincidence would have it, is married to Victoria “F*ck the EU” Nuland, the current Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

Interestingly enough, Ms. Nuland spoke to the U.S.-Ukrainian Foundation last Dec. 13, extolling the virtues of the Euromaidan movement as the embodiment of “the principles and values that are the cornerstones for all free democracies.”

These people hang out together, they have the same triumphalist world view in which America is the lamp to the world and capitalism = democracy, so they work together on common goals, even if those goals may contradict international law and those American values that are not commercial. It’s not a conspiracy, but neither is it the government that Americans voted for when they voted for Barack Obama. After all, what Cargill, Monsanto, and John Deere are doing in the Ukraine (using our State Department and the tax money collected by our government) is more akin to a hostile takeover of the kind that Mitt Romney pioneered.

Posted in impunity, Russia, State Department, The Plunderbund | 3 Comments »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on March 14, 2014

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | 2 Comments »

 
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