Sunday, July 12, 2020

House Democrats, Working With Liz Cheney, Restrict Trump’s Planned Withdrawal of Troops From Afghanistan and Germany

by Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept:

THE U.S. MILITARY HAS BEEN fighting in Afghanistan for almost nineteen years. House Democrats, working in tandem with key pro-war GOP lawmakers such as Rep. Liz Cheney, are ensuring that continues.

Last night, the House Armed Services Committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of an amendment — jointly sponsored by Democratic Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado and Congresswoman Cheney of Wyoming — prohibiting the expenditure of monies to reduce the number of U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan below 8,000 without a series of conditions first being met.

COVID-19 Means Good Times for the Pentagon

by Mandy Smithberger, Consortium News:

While Americans are overwhelmed by the pandemic, Mandy Smithberger details how the Pentagon and its boosters are exploiting the emergency to feather their own nests.   

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Washington has initiated its largest spending binge in history. In the process, you might assume that the unparalleled spread of the disease would have led to a little rethinking when it came to all the trillions of dollars Congress has given the Pentagon in these years that have in no way made us safer from, or prepared us better to respond to, this predictable threat to American national security. As it happens, though, even if the rest of us remain in danger from the coronavirus, Congress has done a remarkably good job of vaccinating the Department of Defense and the weapons makers that rely on it financially.

Why U.S. Wars in the Middle East Are Far from Over

by Tony Cartalucci, 21st Century Wire:

Despite what appears to be a terminal decline of US influence over the Middle East, Washington has no intentions of gracefully abandoning its aspirations of regional hegemony.

Air strikes carried out against Syria by Washington’s Israeli proxies, a mysterious explosion near Tehran, and the current Iraqi Prime Minister’s decision to round up leaders of Iranian-backed militias who helped defeat the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS) unfolded in quick succession in an apparent coordinated campaign aimed at Iran and its allies.

Turkey Begins its “Hunt” in Iraq

by Vladimir Platov, New Eastern Outlook:

After becoming actively involved in conflicts in Syria and Libya, on June 14, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched operation Claw-Eagle in Iraq against PKK’s (the Kurdistan Workers’ Party) bases in the Qandil Mountains (in northern Iraq) as well as in the town of Sinjar and several other settlements.  Anadolu Agency (an international news outlet headquartered in Ankara) reported that as a result of air strikes carried out by the Turkish Air Force, 20 bombs were dropped on PKK’s facilities and fighters’ mountain shelters were destroyed. So far, no information has been provided about the number of individuals who were wounded or killed because of the attacks.

Rumors Of Wars: China, India, North Korea, South Korea, Israel And Turkey All Move Toward War

by Michael Snyder, End Of The American Dream:

As if we didn’t have enough already going on in 2020, now we are facing the possibility that several regional wars may erupt.  China and India had both been pouring troops into a disputed border region, and now there has been an incident where they were actually killing each other.  On the Korean peninsula, North Korea just blew up “a joint liaison office” that it had used for talks with the South Korean government.  And in the Middle East, Turkey is warning of grave consequences if Israel goes ahead with a plan to annex portions of Judea and Samaria.  If a major regional war erupts at even one of these flashpoints, it will be another devastating blow for a global economy that is already imploding, and there is a very strong probability that the U.S. and other major western powers could be drawn into the conflict.

American F-22 Jets Scrambled to Escort Russian Tu-95Ms Bombers Over Neutral Waters

from Sputnik News:

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – US Air Force F-22 fighters were scrambled to escort Russian Tu-95MS strategic missile-carrying bombers during their flight over neutral waters near the Russian-US border, the Russian Defence Ministry said on Wednesday.

“Four strategic Tu-95MS missile carriers of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ long-range aviation conducted a planned flight over the neutral waters of the Chukchi Sea, the Bering Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the northern part of the Pacific Ocean … At certain stages of the flight, the Russian planes were escorted by US Air Force F-22 fighters”, the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement, adding that the flight lasted 11 hours.

Biothreat from US on the Rise

by Vladimir Platov, New Eastern Outlook:

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate many nations of the world, the global community and media outlets have been increasingly focusing on questionable activities being carried out at biolabs financed by funds from the US Department of Defense budget.

There have already been a number of publications expressing concern about the collection of human specimens for research from members of various ethnic groups by the Pentagon. The total budget for this program is supposedly $2 billion. The key long-term aims of USA’s biological defense program are to “counter and reduce the risk of biological threats and to prepare, respond to, and recover from them if they happen” in any given region.

Nuclear Brinkmanship Is Back: Putin OKs Using Nukes In Response To Conventional Attacks

from ZeroHedge:

For over the past year it seems every month has witnessed Washington and Moscow upping the ante on nuclear weapons rhetoric, which has been accompanied by the breakdown of key treaties, including recently the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and more lately ‘Open Skies’ — now with even New START on the chopping block.

Russia has vowed that for each time Washington moved the goal posts in terms of backing off of prior policies of nuclear weapons restraint, it would respond in kind. This also as the Trump administration has gone so far as to reportedly seriously consider restarting nuclear tests, which hasn’t been done in three decades.

Hong Kong – The Matchstick to War?

by Martin Armstrong, Armstrong Economics:

The US-China tensions over Hong Kong are boiling over. The US government is reportedly considering imposing sanctions on Chinese firms and officials over China’s new national security laws for Hong Kong, which have already re-ignited anti-Beijing protests in the city.

The UK government has also raised concerns over Chinese state TV reporting on the new measures, and Hong Kong residents seeking to circumvent the “great firewall” are downloading privacy-protecting VPNs at a record pace. Meanwhile, China’s President Xi Jinping is calling on the country to prepare for military conflict.

The Big War Between Israel And Her Enemies Could Begin As Soon As July 1st

by Michael Snyder, End Of The American Dream:

The level of tension in the Middle East is sky high right now, and it is about to go even higher.  On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he would move ahead with a plan to annex portions of the West Bank in the months ahead. The coalition agreement that he reached with Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz allows him to submit annexation for a vote as early as July, and if Netanyahu is actually going to do this it will almost certainly happen before the U.S. election in November.  The Trump administration is prepared to support Israel’s annexation under certain conditions, but a Biden administration would be 100 percent opposed to such a move.  So Netanyahu realizes that this opportunity may never come again, and he is fully prepared to seize the moment.  But of course if Israel does annex large portions of the West Bank, that could easily spark a huge regional war.

Is War Next?

by Jim Rickards, Daily Reckoning:

Remember the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong against Chinese authoritarianism?

Well, guess what? They’re about to start again. And U.S.-Chinese relations could get even worse than they are right now.

Are you prepared for a bumpy ride?

Let’s unpack this…

Last year’s protests came in response to a proposed law that would have allowed the extradition of Hong Kong residents to Beijing for trial on charges that arose in Hong Kong.