US Sanctions Continue to Backfire: China Opens $10 Billion Credit Line for Iran

Assisting Tehran with sidestepping an ongoing Washington sanctions regime against the country, China has opened a $10 billion line of credit intended to finance energy, transportation, water and other key Iranian infrastructure projects.

Following the ground-breaking 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and Russia, the US, China, France, the UK, as well as Germany and the EU, to end its nascent nuclear weapons program, Tehran — in honoring the terms of the unprecedented treaty — has nonetheless seen Washington implement a host of new sanctions against the Middle Eastern country, including asset freezes and limits on global financial transfers.

According to Iranian Central Bank President Valiollah Seif, Chinese state-owned CITIC investment company has opened a $10 billion credit line to several banks in Iran to be used to fund wide-ranging infrastructure projects in the country, according to a report by the Times of Israel.

The significant credit line will primarily use euros and yuan to bypass the US sanctions….

Why ‘US Will Shoot Itself in the Foot’ in Case of New Sanctions Against Iran

Despite Washington’s persistent anti-Iranian policy, foreign investors will not turn away from the Iranian market, Iranian economic expert and journalist Ahmad Hadem Al-Melle told Sputnik. According to him, if there are new American sanctions against Iran they are unlikely to be supported by US allies.

After the final agreement on the Iranian nuclear program was signed and sanctions against Tehran were subsequently lifted, the country has been enjoying unprecedented investment flow into different parts of its economy. Western companies such as Siemens, Total, Volkswagen, Renault and Airbus are already running major projects in Iran….

And we’re supposed to believe this is just incompetence?   No.  There’s a huge “put” on this country and its investors have control of washington.   This is disaster capitalism.

American Junta: The Politics of Military Ascendancy

Clearly the US has escalated the pivotal role of the military in the making of foreign and, by extension, domestic policy. The rise of ‘the Generals’ to strategic positions in the Trump regime is evident, deepening its role as a highly autonomous force determining US strategic policy agendas.

In this paper we will discuss the advantages that the military elite accumulate from the war agenda and the reasons why ‘the Generals’ have been able to impose their definition of international realities.

We will discuss the military’s ascendancy over Trump’s civilian regime as a result of the relentless degradation of his presidency by his political opposition.

The Prelude to Militarization: Obama’s Multi-War Strategy and Its Aftermath

The central role of the military in deciding US foreign policy has its roots in the strategic decisions taken during the Obama-Clinton Presidency. Several policies were decisive in the rise of unprecedented military-political power.

  1. The massive increase of US troops in Afghanistan and their subsequent failures and retreat weakened the Obama-Clinton regime and increased animosity between the military and the Obama’s Administration. As a result of his failures, Obama downgraded the military and weakened Presidential authority.
  2. The massive US-led bombing and destruction of Libya, the overthrow of the Gadhafi government and the failure of the Obama-Clinton administration to impose a puppet regime, underlined the limitations of US air power and the ineffectiveness of US political-military intervention. The Presidency blundered in its foreign policy in North Africa and demonstrated its military ineptness.
  3. The invasion of Syria by US-funded mercenaries and terrorists committed the US to an unreliable ally in a losing war. This led to a reduction in the military budget and encouraged the Generals to view their direct control of overseas wars and foreign policy as the only guarantee of their positions.
  4. The US military intervention in Iraq was only a secondary contributing factor in the defeat of ISIS; the major actors and beneficiaries were Iran and the allied Iraqi Shia militias.
  5. The Obama-Clinton engineered coup and power grab in the Ukraine brought a corrupt incompetent military junta to power in Kiev and provoked the secession of the Crimea (to Russia) and Eastern Ukraine (allied with Russia). The Generals were sidelined and found that they had tied themselves to Ukrainian kleptocrats while dangerously increasing political tensions with Russia. The Obama regime dictated economic sanctions against Moscow, designed to compensate for their ignominious military-political failures.

The Obama-Clinton legacy facing Trump was built around a three-legged stool: an international order based on military aggression and confrontation with Russia; a ‘pivot to Asia’ defined as the military encirclement and economic isolation of China – via bellicose threats and economic sanctions against North Korea; and the use of the military as the praetorian guards of free trade agreements in Asia excluding China.

The Obama ‘legacy’ consists of an international order of globalized capital and multiple wars. The continuity of Obama’s ‘glorious legacy’ initially depended on the election of Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, for its part, promised to dismantle or drastically revise the Obama Doctrine of an international order based on multiple wars, neo-colonial ‘nation’ building and free trade. A furious Obama ‘informed’ (threatened) the newly-elected President Trump that he would face the combined hostility of the entire State apparatus, Wall Street and the mass media if he proceeded to fulfill his election promises of economic nationalism and thus undermine the US-centered global order.

Trump’s bid to shift from Obama’s sanctions and military confrontation to economic reconciliation with Russia was countered by a hornet’s nest of accusations about a Trump-Russian electoral conspiracy, darkly hinting at treason and show trials against his close allies and even family members.

The concoction of a Trump-Russia plot was only the first step toward a total war on the new president, but it succeeded in undermining Trump’s economic nationalist agenda and his efforts to change Obama’s global order.

Trump Under Obama’s International Order

After only 8 months in office President Trump helplessly gave into the firings, resignations and humiliation of each and every one of his civilian appointees, especially those who were committed to reverse Obama’s ‘international order’.

Trump was elected to replace wars, sanctions and interventions with economic deals beneficial to the American working and middle class. This would include withdrawing the military from its long-term commitments to budget-busting ‘nation-building’ (occupation) in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and other Obama-designated endless war zones.

Trump’s military priorities were supposed to focus on strengthening domestic frontiers and overseas markets. He started by demanding that NATO partners pay for their own military defense responsibilities. Obama’s globalists in both political parties were aghast that the US might lose it overwhelming control of NATO; they united and moved immediately to strip Trump of his economic nationalist allies and their programs.

Trump quickly capitulated and fell into line with Obama’s international order, except for one proviso – he would select the Cabinet to implement the old/new international order.

A hamstrung Trump chose a military cohort of Generals, led by General James Mattis (famously nicknamed ‘Mad Dog’) as Defense Secretary.

The Generals effectively took over the Presidency. Trump abdicated his responsibilities as President. …

Direct Deposit, Direct Withdrawal

Something to think about in the coming times, especially if you’re paid by a government agency:

Back when I was in college, many graduate students had paid positions at the university and used direct deposit. One student (a friend of mine) was a victim of a “computer error” — someone entered an extra “00” into the computer. Even though he was not overpaid, the computer thought he was, so it initiated a “direct withdrawal” in order to recall the funds. The student noticed this as soon as his bank told him that his account was empty. It took a day for him to talk to the right people at the school and they acknowledged the error. However, it took a semester for the school to put the money back.

This problem is not isolated to universities. Every Fortune-500 company that I have ever worked for has had their share of announcements. “Dear employees; due to an accounting error, every employee was paid for two weeks instead of one. We have corrected this by withdrawing the overpayment from your account.”

Most people do not realize that “direct deposit” means “direct withdrawal”. And today, many employers have mandated direct deposit, so it is no longer a choice. This problem is exacerbated by companies like PayPal, which are extremely difficult to contact when problems arise.

Unfortunately, there are few good solutions. Playing games like immediately moving all deposits into another account (even at another bank) only limits the problem. For example, if a mistake is found (or an errant deposit recall is issued) within a few days of the deposit, then the moneys can still be recalled even if it was transfered between banks. However, by moving the moneys, you ensure that they cannot withdraw more than they deposited (or more than exists in the initial account). And while they might drain the deposit account, they cannot drain the transfer’s destination account. (Make sure your bank does not link the accounts and do not enable any overdraft protection on the deposit account.)

The best solution, of course, is to take the money out in cash, and then redeposit it into a different account. The withdrawal can usually be done after a three-day waiting period. Using this approach, the payer can always try to recall payments, but there are no funds to recover. Then again, withdrawing a $10,000 deposit in cash — or even a bi-weekly $1,000 deposit — can raise suspicion at the bank and will likely lead to a SAR (Suspicious Activity Report).

The banking industry has known about this problem for decades. However, it hasn’t become a big enough problem for them to address. Ideally, banks should create deposit-only services. (A recall is still available, but no direct withdrawal.) Unfortunately, I don’t know of any banks that offer “direct deposit only” services.,-Direct-Withdrawal.html

Fotoforensics: Real time photo analysis service to detect digital alteration

It would be interesting to test photos of important official events like 9/11 and the boston bombing for alteration.

FotoForensics provides budding researchers and professional investigators access to cutting-edge tools for digital photo forensics.

In August 2007, Dr. Neal Krawetz gave a presentation at the Black Hat Briefings computer security conference. The presentation, titled “A Picture’s Worth“, covered a handful of novel photo analysis algorithms. (A video of the presentation is available from iTunes, search for “Krawetz”. The associated white paper and slides are available online.) Using these algorithms, researchers can determine if a picture is real or computer graphics, if it was modified, and even how it was modified. Dr. Krawetz gave variations of this presentation at different conferences between 2007 and 2010.

Following the disclosure of these algorithms, many people began recreating them. Error Level Analysis (ELA) is one of the simpler algorithms, and many people implemented their own variants. In 2010, Pete Ringwood created the “” web site as a free service where people could submit photos and web pictures for analysis. The result was an instant hit.

In 2012, Mr. Ringwood decided to retire the site, which had introduced millions of people to the field of photo forensics. Hacker Factor has recreated the service as “”, maintaining the basic principles that Pete Ringwood established: a free service that provides an introduction to photo forensics.

Here’s an example of what you can do:

Harvard Disgracefully Rescinds Fellowship Offered Chelsea Manning

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at

“Fair Harvard” lacks fairness. VERITAS (truth), the university’s motto, lacks meaning. Harvard opposes what deserves high praise, supports what demands condemnation.

My alma mater’s actions are disgraceful, earlier including me on a university fake news site list – along with some of the most highly respected web sites I know, bastions of truth-telling on vital world and national issues, a notion anathema to “fair Harvard,” the university’s alma mater.

Inviting the head of the CIA, a global Mafia hit squad boss, to speak on campus endorses its criminal activities – subversion, orchestrating coups and color revolutions, assassinating foreign leaders, and torture its specialties, terrorizing targeted nations, violating international, constitutional and US statute laws with impunity.

Freedom and the CIA’s existence are incompatible – at home and abroad.

In response to director Mike Pompeo’s heavy-handed pressure, canceling his scheduled address at Harvard’s Kennedy School, calling Manning’s offer speak on campus as a visiting fellow a “shameful stamp of approval,” unfair Harvard rescinded her title, cancelling her appearance, Dean Douglas Elmendorf disgracefully saying:

“I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a visiting fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility.”

“In general across the School, we do not view the title of ‘fellow’ as conveying a special honor. Rather, it is a way to describe some people who spend more than a few hours at the school.”

“(W)e are withdrawing the invitation to her to serve as a visiting fellow – and the perceived honor that it implies to some people – while maintaining the invitation for her to spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak in the school’s forum.”

In response, Manning tweeted

“honored to be 1st disinvited trans woman visiting @harvard fellow 😌 they chill marginalized voices under @cia pressure 😎🌈💕”

“This is what a military/police/intel state looks like…the CIA determines what is and is not taught at Harvard.”

“(N)o more secrecy, surveillance, torture, murder, and genocide…abolish the @cia…”

On Wednesday, the Kennedy School announced Manning’s invitation to speak on campus as a visiting fellow.

In a letter to Harvard, Pompeo disgracefully called her an “American traitor,” adding

“I believe it is shameful for Harvard to place its stamp of approval upon her treasonous actions.”

At the same time, former agency deputy director Mike Morell resigned from his fellowship at Harvard’s Belfer school over Manning’s invitation” – in a letter saying:

“I cannot be part of an organization – the Kennedy school – that honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.”

Manning deserves high praise for acting courageously. Instead, she was tortured and imprisoned. She’s one of the nation’s best – a real American hero, having taken great personal risks to reveal vital truths everyone has a right to know.

Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark once said US “jails are filled with saints,” some of America’s best ruthlessly treated….

As if harvard has any prestige to offer anyone.   How much did the “endowment” loot from russia after the collapse of the USSR?  How many russians died of poverty to boost harvard’s bottom line?   How many harvard graduates went on to commit mayhem in service to the empire with no repercussions from the self-appointed guardians of fairness?  It’s just a mafia with diplomas.  Big deal.

Aristocrats never seem to tire of admiring themselves.   Imagine their shock if the peasants refused their overtures of official blessings.