The details about US military presence in Africa happened to be a surprise even for members of the Congress. On October 4, four American soldiers were killed by militants linked to the Islamic State in Niger. The incident thrust the issue of US military presence in Africa into the spotlight and drew the attention of senators tasked with military oversight. It has been revealed that even the Congress has been kept in the dark about the US involvement in that country. It puts into question the accountability of the military. Since it was established as an independent command in 2006, the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) has never been transparent with its activities largely shrouded in secrecy.
In the aftermath of the incident, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, revealed at a press-conference that about 800 US troops are now based in Niger – more than in any other African country. The press conference came after several US senators expressed surprise that the US had such a large military presence on the continent, and Niger in particular. ….
Let’s see, africom, centcom, northcom, southcom … what’s next, ECOMCON ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Days_in_May )?
Sometimes it is possible to read or view something that completely changes the way one looks at things. I had that experience last week when I read an article at Lobelog entitled “A Plea for Common Sense on Missile Defense,” written by Joe Cirincione, a former staffer on the House Armed Services Committee who now heads the Ploughshares Fund, which is a Washington DC based global foundation that seeks to stop the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
The article debunks much of the narrative being put out by the White House and Pentagon regarding missile defense. To be sure, it is perfectly reasonable to mistrust anything that comes out of the federal government justifying war given its track record going back to the War of 1812. And the belligerent posture of the United States towards Iran and North Korea can well be condemned based on its own merits, threatening war where there are either no real interests at stake or where a diplomatic solution has for various reasons been eschewed.
But the real reason why the White House gets away with saber rattling is historical, that the continental United States has not experienced the consequences of war since Pancho Villa invaded in 1916. This is a reality that administration after administration has exploited to do what they want when dealing with foreign nations: whatever happens “over there” will stay “over there.”
Americans consequently do not know war except as something that happens elsewhere and to foreigners, requiring only that the U.S. step in on occasion and bail things out, or screw things up depending on one’s point of view. This is why hawks like John McCain, while receiving a “Liberty” award from Joe Biden, can, with a straight face, get away with denouncing those Americans who have become tired of playing at being the world’s policeman. He describes them as fearful of “the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, [abandoning] the ideals we have advanced around the globe, [refusing] the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism.”
McCain’s completely fatuous account of recent world history befits a Navy pilot who was adept at crashing his planes and almost sank his own aircraft carrier. He also made propaganda radio broadcasts for the North Vietnamese after he was captured. The McCain globalist-American Exceptionalism narrative is also, unfortunately, echoed by the media. The steady ingestion of lies and half-truths is why the public puts up with unending demands for increased defense spending, accepting that the world outside is a dangerous place that must be kept in line by force majeure. Yes, we are the good guys.
But underlying the citizenry’s willingness to accept that the military establishment should encircle the globe with foreign bases to keep the world “safe” is the assumption that the 48 States are invulnerable, isolated by broad oceans and friendly nations to the north and south. And protected from far distant threats by technology, interceptor systems developed and maintained at enormous expense to intercept and shoot down incoming ballistic missiles launched by enemies overseas.
In a recent speech, relating to the North Korean threat, President Donald Trump boasted that the United States anti-missile defenses are 97% effective, meaning that they can intercept and destroy incoming projectiles 97 times out of a 100. Trump was seeking to assure the public that whatever happens over in Korea, it cannot have an undesirable outcome over here in the continental United States nor, apparently, in Hawaii, Alaska and overseas possessions like Guam, all of which are shielded under the anti-missile defense umbrella. Trump was undoubtedly referring to, even if he was ignorant of many of the specifics, the Ground Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) installations in Alaska and Hawaii, which are part of the existing $330 billion missile defense system.
It is certainly comforting to learn that the United States cannot be physically attacked with either nuclear or conventional weapons no matter what our government does overseas, but is it true? What if the countermeasures were somewhat closer to 0% effective? Would that change the thinking about going to war in Korea? Or about confronting Russia in Eastern Europe? And for those who think that a nuclear exchange is unthinkable it would be wise to consider the recent comments by Jack Keane of the aptly named Institute for the Study of War, a leading neoconservative former general who reportedly has the ear of the White House and reflects its thinking on the matter. Keane is not hesitant to employ the military option against Pyongyang and he describes a likely trigger for a U.S. attack to take out its nuclear facilities or remove “leadership targets” as the setting up of a ballistic missile in North Korea with a nuclear warhead mounted on top “aimed at America.” Some observers believe that North Korea is close to having the ability to reduce the size of its nukes to make that possible and, if Keane is to be believed, it would be considered an “act of war” which would trigger an immediate attack by Washington. And a counter attack by Pyongyang.
The claim of 97% reliability for the U.S.’s anti-missile defenses is being challenged by Cirincione and others, who argue that the United States can only “shoot down some…missiles some of the time.” They make a number of arguments that are quite convincing, even to a layman who has no understanding of the physics involved. I will try to keep it simple. First of all, an anti-missile interceptor must hit its target head on or nearly so and it must either actually strike the target or explode its own warhead at a close enough distance to be effective. Both objectives are difficult to achieve. An Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) travels at 5,000 meters per second. By way of comparison a bullet fired from a rifle travels at about one fifth that speed. Imagine two men with rifles standing a mile apart and firing their weapons in an attempt to have the bullets meet head on. Multiply the speed by five if one is referring to missiles, not bullets. Even using the finest radars and sensors as well as the most advanced guidance technologies, the variables involved make it much more likely that there will be a miss than a hit. Cirincione observes that “…the only way to hit a bullet is if the bullet cooperates.”
Second, the tests carried out by the Pentagon to determine reliability are essentially fraudulent. Contrary to the Donald Trump comment, the 97% accuracy is an extrapolation based on firing four anti-missile missiles at a target to make up for the fact that in the rigged tests a single interceptor has proven to be closer to only 56% accurate, and that under ideal conditions. This statistic is based on the actual tests performed since 1999 in which interceptors were able to shoot down 10 of 18 targets. The conclusion that four would result in 97% derives from the assumption that multiple interceptors increases the accuracy but most engineers would argue that if one missile cannot hit the target for any number of technical shortcomings it is equally likely that all four will miss for the same reason.
The tests themselves are carefully scripted to guarantee success. They take place in daylight, preferably at dusk to ensure maximum visibility, under good weather conditions, and without any attempt made by the approaching missile to confuse the interceptor through the use of electronic countermeasures or through the ejection of chaff or jammers, which would certainly be deployed. The targets in tests have sometimes been heated to make them easier to find and some have had transponders attached to make them almost impossible to miss. As a result, the missile interceptor system has never been tested under realistic battlefield conditions.
Even the federal government watchdog agencies have concluded that the missile interception system seldom performs. The Government Accountability Office concluded that flaws in the technology, which it describes as “failure modes,” mean that America has an “interceptor fleet that may not work as intended, prompting one Californian congressman John Garamendi to observe that “I think the answer is absolutely clear. It will not work. Nevertheless, the momentum of the fear…of the investments…[of] the momentum of the industry, it carries forward.”
The Operational Test and Evaluation Office of the Department of Defense has also been skeptical, reporting that the GMD in Alaska and Hawaii has only “…a limited capability to defend the U.S. Homeland from small numbers of simple intermediate range or intercontinental ballistic missile threats launched from North Korea…the reliability and availability of the operational [interceptors] are low.” …
DoD Plans Solar-Storm-Based National Blackout Drill During Antifa Protests In November
According to The National Association for Amateur Radio (ARRL), elements of the US Department of Defense (DOD) will simulate a “communications interoperability” training exercise across the United States on November 04-06. The announcement released on October 24 has not been widely distributed to the media, because the drill is simulating a total grid collapse and could spark public fear.
Explained by Army MARS Program Manager Paul English,
“This exercise will begin with a national massive coronal mass ejection event which will impact the national power grid as well as all forms of traditional communication, including landline telephone, cellphone, satellite, and Internet connectivity,”
In July, we warned about the US government quietly preparing for a massive coronal mass ejection with the passage of an Executive Order – “Coordinating Efforts to Prepare the Nation for Space Weather Events”.
Here is snippet of section 1 of the executive order:
Space weather events, in the form of solar flares, solar energetic particles, and geomagnetic disturbances, occur regularly, some with measurable effects on critical infrastructure systems and technologies, such as the Global Positioning System (GPS), satellite operations and communication, aviation, and the electrical power grid. Extreme space weather events — those that could significantly degrade critical infrastructure — could disable large portions of the electrical power grid, resulting in cascading failures that would affect key services such as water supply, healthcare, and transportation. Space weather has the potential to simultaneously affect and disrupt health and safety across entire continents. Successfully preparing for space weather events is an all-of-nation endeavor that requires partnerships across governments, emergency managers, academia, the media, the insurance industry, non-profits, and the private sector.
Back in April 2017, we wrote an article titled ‘Yesterday’s Broad Power Outage Likely Caused By Geomagnetic Storm‘. While everyone thought terrorism was to blame, we correctly pointed out that large power failures in major US cities was due to an intense geomagnetic storm registering 8-10 on K-Planetary Index. …
Back to the exercise on November 04-06, the US Department of Defense headquarters entity will work with the US Army and US Air-Force MARS organizations and the Amateur Radio community to request status reports for 3,143 US counties. During the exercise, communication frequencies will use HF NVIS, VHF, UHF, and non-internet linked Amateur Radio repeaters.
In addition, Army MARS Program Manager Paul English said,
We want to continue building on the outstanding cooperative working relationship with the ARRL and the Amateur Radio community,” English said. “We want to expand the use of the 60-meter interop channels between the military and amateur community for emergency communications, and we hope the Amateur Radio community will give us some good feedback on the use of both the 5-MHz interop and the new 13-MHz broadcast channels as a means of information dissemination during a very bad day scenario. …
Perhaps coincidentally, such a scenario would also be consistent with an EMP missile strike on the USA.
A television interview of a top Qatari official confessing the truth behind the origins of the war in Syria is going viral across Arabic social media during the same week a leaked top secret NSA document was published which confirms that the armed opposition in Syria was under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the conflict.
And according to a well-known Syria analyst and economic adviser with close contacts in the Syrian government, the explosive interview constitutes a high level “public admission to collusion and coordination between four countries to destabilize an independent state, [including] possible support for Nusra/al-Qaeda.” Importantly, “this admission will help build case for what Damascus sees as an attack on its security & sovereignty. It will form basis for compensation claims.”
As the war in Syria continues slowly winding down, it seems new source material comes out on an almost a weekly basis in the form of testimonials of top officials involved in destabilizing Syria, and even occasional leaked emails and documents which further detail covert regime change operations against the Assad government. Though much of this content serves to confirm what has already long been known by those who have never accepted the simplistic propaganda which has dominated mainstream media, details continue to fall in place, providing future historians with a clearer picture of the true nature of the war.
This process of clarity has been aided – as predicted – by the continued infighting among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) former allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with each side accusing the other of funding Islamic State and al-Qaeda terrorists (ironically, both true). Increasingly, the world watches as more dirty laundry is aired and the GCC implodes after years of nearly all the gulf monarchies funding jihadist movements in places like Syria, Iraq, and Libya.
The top Qatari official is no less than former Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, who oversaw Syria operations on behalf of Qatar until 2013 (also as foreign minister), and is seen below with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in this Jan. 2010 photo (as a reminder, Qatar’s 2022 World Cup Committee donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation in 2014).
In an interview with Qatari TV Wednesday, bin Jaber al-Thani revealed that his country, alongside Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United States, began shipping weapons to jihadists from the very moment events “first started” (in 2011).
Al-Thani even likened the covert operation to “hunting prey” – the prey being President Assad and his supporters – “prey” which he admits got away (as Assad is still in power; he used a Gulf Arabic dialect word, “al-sayda”, which implies hunting animals or prey for sport). Though Thani denied credible allegations of support for ISIS, the former prime minister’s words implied direct Gulf and US support for al-Qaeda in Syria (al-Nusra Front) from the earliest years of the war, and even said Qatar has “full documents” and recordsproving that the war was planned to effect regime change. …
With the much anticipated release of the JFK files, on October 26th 2017’s dump the USG only released about 2,500 files and yet to release more.
Not very much was contained within the files, but it still had some interesting takeaways. Some, that still spark relevant questions for today’s society. ….
More vicious than teaching torture techniques to client regimes around the world? More vicious than training, equipping, deploying and paying death squads and jihadis to sow chaos in those countries that aren’t yet under our “protective umbrella”? Or staging false flag massacres within the USA itself? Or importing street drugs to support the hollowed out dollar and finance CIA operations abroad while funnelling american kids into the prison industrial complex as corporate slave labor? Standing by while the lifeblood of the country is wasted on foreign adventures and subsidies for corporate plunder at home and abroad? More vicious than having the gall to “plead the 5th” on the JFK assassination?
Seriously now, how vicious does a rabid dog have to be before it’s put down?
CIA Director Mike Pompeo told an interviewer at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) the CIA will “become a much more vicious agency” in conducting covert operations against its roster of enemies, most prominently Iran and North Korea.
Pompeo also told the gathering of neocons Trump decertified the Iran deal not because it is in violation—the Iranians are playing by the rules—but rather because Trump has been told it “would curtail Iranian adventurism.”
Trump advisor, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, also addressed the FDD neocons. He said America has suffered from a lack of “strategic competence… in recent years,” in other words, the deep state has failed to remove the governments of Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and assorted others….
Scientists can, and should, keep debating the dangerousness and unpredictability of genetical interference in food production, the effects of GMOs on pesticide usage and its possible relation to cancer and other diseases. On a more fundamental level, however, the most important question is the following: why would we even want genetically modified instead of organic food on our plate? The main answer, proponents claim, is that GMOs are necessary to enhance the amount of global food production as they are one of the if not the only viable solution at increasing yield and thus at fighting global hunger. Much of the GMO discourse rests on this assertion, which means that when it is debunked as a myth, the whole argument for the need of genetically engineering our food almost totally succumbs in the blink of an eye.
Following the Second World War, modern yield-increasing agriculture methods were gradually introduced throughout the world, which, so argued agribusiness giants and the Rockefeller and Ford foundations who supported them, would reduce world hunger. In reality, this so-called “Green Revolution” gave rise to an unseen amount of control over the global food production by a handful of Anglo-American companies, in the process of which wealthy landowners became richer and poor peasant farmers remained poor. The same companies and organisations who were at the forefront of the Green Revolution, using basically the same arguments, then went on to foment the “Gene Revolution.” While they further consolidated their grip on the global food supply from the mid-1980s onwards, they argued that at the same time, GMOs would increase yield, reduce pesticide usage and be the ultimate solution to global hunger and poverty. This argumentation implied that, by opposing or even criticising the GMO project, one de facto supported genocide against the world’s poor.
Over the last couple of years, two decades into the Gene Revolution, however, it has become crystal clear that GMOs have failed on their promise. In July 2009, the Union of Concerned Scientists, a US-based non-profit science advocacy organisation with a membership numbering hundreds of thousands of professional scientists and private citizens, published a report on “biotechnology’s broken promises” called Failure to yield. The organisation carefully examined the record of genetically modified (GM) crops in the US, where they have been commercially grown since the mid-1990s and where the best and most extensive data on GMOs is available. Specifically, they reviewed the data of soybeans and corn, the main GM food crops. “Despite proponents’ claims,” the authors concluded, “genetic engineering has actually done very little to increase the yields of food and feed crops. Given such a track record, it appears unlikely that this technology will play a leading role in helping the world feed itself in the foreseeable future.” Although the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data do show rising crop yields nationwide since the 1990s, the study found that most of the gains cannot be attributed to the adoption of GMOs. For instance, USDA data showed a 28% increase in corn production per acre between the periods 1991-1995 and 2004-2008, but the Union of Concerned Scientists discovered that only 3-4% of that growth was attributable to the genetically engineered Bt corn, as opposed to 24-25% that had resulted from other factors, such as traditional breeding.
A 2013 article published in the International Journal of Agricultural sustainability, too, found that “relative to other food secure and exporting countries (e.g. Western Europe), the US agroecosystem is not exceptional in yields.” By comparing agricultural productivity of staple crops such as maize, canola and wheat between North America and Western Europe over the last 50 years, the authors maintain that “the US (and Canadian) yields are falling behind economically and technologically equivalent agroecosystems matched for latitude, season and crop type.” Contrary to the often-made claim that Europe’s reluctance to embrace GMOs is causing it to fall behind the US, the opposite is thus in fact the case.
More recently, more mainstream outlets, too, are starting to point to the failure of GM crops to increase food production. In 2001, the USDA had already admitted that “the application of biotechnology at present is most likely […] not to increase maximum yields. More fundamental scientific breakthroughs are necessary if yields are to increase.” Fifteen years later, however, those “fundamental scientific breakthroughs” remain absent, as is now acknowledged in mainstream publications. In 2016, the US National Academy of Sciences released a report about the “experiences and prospects” of GM crops. Although the Academy does not exclude potential yield increases in the future (without backing that claim up with evidence, it should be mentioned), it agreed with the above-mentioned studies, namely that “the nation-wide data on maize, cotton and soybean in the United States do not show a significant signature of genetic-engineering technology on the rate of yield increase.” That same year, the New York Times, the establishment “paper of record,” conducted its own comparative research between North American and Western European agricultural productivity in a study that used data from the UN, and too concluded that “the United States and Canada have gained no discernible advantage in yields – food per acre – when measured against Western Europe, a region with comparably modernized agricultural producers such as France and Germany.”
Furthermore, by analysing data from the US Geological Survey, the Times study also discovered that overall pesticide usage had increased, not decreased, since the adoption of GMOs in the US. Although the use of toxins that kill insects and fungi had fallen by a third, “the spraying of herbicides, which are used in much higher volumes, has risen by 21 percent. By contrast, in France, use of insecticides and fungicides has fallen by a far greater percentage – 65 percent – and herbicide use has decreased as well, by 36 percent.” Not only has insecticide and fungicide usage thus dropped twice as fast in a technologically comparable but quasi GMO-free environment, the results suggest that usage of herbicides only declines in GMO-poor agroecosystems. Therefore, another argument of GMO apologists, that GM technology would reduce pesticide usage, is thereby called into question as well. And indeed, the Times study mentioned that herbicide use in soybeans, a leading American GM crop, had skyrocketed since the adoption of GMOs in the US, having grown two and a half times in the last two decades, at a time when planted acreage of the crop grew by less than a third. This was not new information for sceptics, though. A 2012 study published in Environmental Sciences Europe discovered that, paradoxically, “herbicide-resistant crop technology has led to a 239 million kilogram increase in herbicide use in the United States between 1996 and 2011.” Recognising that insecticide use had fallen, the author calculated that over this same period of time that GMOs were gradually introduced in America, overall pesticide usage actually rose by 7%. ….