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Friday, August 26

Saudism has done more damage to Islam than all the Christian Crusades combined

Scott Shane at The New York Times has pulled together an excellent review of the Saudi efforts to Islamize the world in their own image. (Saudis and Extremism: "Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters")

No real surprises in the report for those who've been closely following the long war. But it brings home that by methodically destroying the many cultural variations in Islam across the world, the Saudis not only arrested the evolution of the religion, they also made it very fragile.

Maintaining Saudism depends on large and constant infusions of Saudi money to scores of countries. When the infusions cease there will be nothing left for the Muslims in those countries to fall back on because their own Islamic traditions had been wiped out -- by Saudi money!

How right Mr Gurdjieff was, when he said that those who live in sleep bring about the exact opposite of the results they intended.

*******

Thursday, August 25

Amatrice and beyond: "No one in the world is safe" as major earthquakes loom

97 year-old Antonio Putini, survivor of the Amatrice earthquake, comforted by his caretaker's dog

My condolences to the relatives of those killed in Italy's earthquake. It's no comfort at all to observe that the death toll could have been much higher if the quake had struck three days later than it did but that is what happened. Even by the eve of the earthquake tourists and residents from all over Italy were starting to pour into villages in central Italy to celebrate the annual Spaghetti Festival in honor of everyone's favorite Italian food. 

The search for survivors continues. Thousands of volunteers from all over Itay have joined professional rescue teams, ignoring the threat to their own lives as scores of aftershocks collapse buildings around them. "They just keep digging," reports the Guardian as the rescuers race the clock to search for the living buried under rubble.

Against this backdrop an Australian news site has taken the opportunity of Italy's earthquake to issue the kind of warning that's always ignored until tragedy from a quake strikes.

Life on the fault lines: Major earthquakes overdue and ‘no one in the world is safe, expert says
by Megan Palin
August 26, 2016 - 9:13 AM
News Australia

A SERIES of overdue high magnitude earthquakes is expected to strike at any moment along some of Earth’s major fault lines, an expert says.
UTS Geotechnical and Earthquake Engineering senior lecturer Dr Behzad Fatahi said “no one in the world is safe” from the looming natural disasters of potentially apocalyptic proportions.
“There are a lot of magnitude 6-plus earthquakes overdue in the Middle East, India, China, Japan and the US,” Dr Fatahi told news.com.au.
“There are some fault lines that have not released their energy for a while.
“There are at least 5-10 that are overdue, but we don’t know when they’re going to happen.
“The question is not will they be activated. The question is when.”
Dr Fatahi said there was a “return period” for earthquakes and those that didn’t strike within the expected time frame only came back stronger. He said an example of this was the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal that left more than 8000 people dead in April last year.
“You expect a particular fault line will be activated every 100 years or 500 years,” he said.
“If the period is longer we expect higher magnitude earthquakes ... looking at the history of some of those major fault lines, some are very overdue.
“The return period has passed but the earthquakes haven’t happened.
“So we are just waiting for them to happen.”
THE COLLISION COURSE
Earthquakes claim tens of thousands of lives all over the world each year.
But the places most often rocked by them are those closest to major fault lines, where different tectonic plates meet.
“The crust has several pieces,” Dr Fatahi said.
“The line between each of these pieces is called a ‘fault line’.
“The most dangerous fault lines are those where two tectonic plates collide.”
That was the case in central Italy, when a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the regionon Wednesday. More than 257 people died and many more were injured. Rescue workers are racing against the clock to find people trapped under rubble, but hope is diminishing as reports of voices from under collapsed buildings drift off.
“The Eurasian Plate and African Plate both have a very big fault line where they meet somewhere under Italy ... this is what caused the earthquake (on Wednesday),” Dr Fatahi said.
“Below that plate you have got magma ... if the fault opens there’s a chance magma will come up.”
Earthquakes are common along the red lines that are the plate boundaries — fault lines. 
Picture: Geoscience Australia

Tectonic plates are giant slabs of rock that make up the earth’s upper crust (lithosphere) and move, float, and sometimes fracture, causing continental drift, earthquakes, volcanoes, mountains, and oceanic trenches.
Seismic activity is most common around the edge of the Pacific Plate, which takes in New Zealand, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Japan and the Americas, and in Indonesia, where the Indo-Australian Plate collides with the Eurasian Plate.
The San Andreas fault line in California is the longest in the world. It sits between the Pacific and North American plates and measures 1300kms. The depths of these collision zones can range from 0-700km.
THE RING OF FIRE
Houses were swallowed by tsunami waves and burned in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture (state) after Japan was struck by a strong earthquake off its northeastern coast on March 11, 2011. Picture: Kyodo NewsSource:AP

Some countries, including Japan, Chile, Mexico and New Zealand, lie on the ‘Ring of Fire’ — a horseshoe-shaped band of fault lines that circles the Pacific Basin and is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
“The earthquake in Japan in 2011 was above a magnitude 8 and caused a tsunami and the melting down of the nuclear power plant and so on,” Dr Fatahi said.
“If something of that scale happens it’s really devastating.”
There is an earthquake every minute, according to Dr Fatahi. But it’s mostly those stronger than a magnitude 6 that tend to cause significant destruction and loss of life. For every numberhigher, the earthquake is 30 times stronger, he said.
Peru, also on the ‘Ring of Fire’, was struck by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake on August 15, 2007. Its epicentre was on the central coast, just west of the major city of Pisco. It killed 595 people.
Earlier this month, a moderate 5.3-magnitude earthquake in Peru killed at least four people including a US tourist and left 68 injured, crushing villagers under rubble and blocking roads. The quake knocked down about 50 homes and cut off roads and power in the southern Arequipa region.
“It was tragic. They got wounded people out as best they could,” said John Rivera, a resident of Yanque, a hard-hit rural village of mud huts.
New Zealand has endured more than its fair share of earthquakes. New fault lines emerged there as recently as September 2010 when Christchurch was struck by a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake. The quake smashed buildings, cracked roads, twisted rail lines and ripped a new 3.5 metre wide fault line in the earth's surface.
ITALY
A man walks in a street in Amatrice, central Italy, where a 6.2 earthquake struck just after 3:30am, on August 24, 2016. Picture: Emilio Fraile.
A man walks in a street in Amatrice, central Italy, where a 6.2 earthquake struck just after 3:30am, on August 24, 2016. Picture: Emilio Fraile.Source:AP
Italy sits on two fault lines, making it one of the most seismically active countries in Europe.
This week’s 6.2 magnitude earthquake in central Italy killed at least 247 people and injured many more. It occurred 1,937 years to the day since Mt Vesuvius erupted in 79AD and destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum — one of the most catastrophic volcanic eruptions in European history.
The most deadly since the start of the 20th century came in 1908, when an earthquake followed by a tsunami killed an estimated 80,000 people in the southern regions of Reggio Calabria and Sicily.
More recently, a 2009, 6.3-magnitude earthquake in the Aquila region, about 90km south of the latest quake, which was felt in the Italian capital, left more than 300 dead.
That disaster led to lengthy recriminations over lax building controls and the failure of authorities to warn residents that a quake could be imminent.
Another quake hit the northern Emilia Romagna region in May 2012, when two violent shocks 10 days apart left 23 people dead and 14,000 others homeless.
Associate Professor of Earthquake Science in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Mark Quigley said central Italy was experiencing “crustal extension”.
“Eastern central Italy is moving to the NE relative to Rome,” Mr Quigley said.
“As a result, this region experiences normal faulting earthquakes as the land is torn apart. The fault systems are short and structurally complex, so the earthquakes are not overly large by global standards (almost always < magnitude 6.8 to 7).
“But because the earthquakes are shallow and structurally complex, and because many of the local towns and cities contain vulnerable buildings, strong shaking from these earthquakes has the potential to inflict major damage and loss of life in urban areas.”
MYANMAR
The ancient Sulamani temple is seen shrouded in dust as a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Bagan in Myanmar on August 24, 2016. Picture: Soe Moe Aung.
The ancient Sulamani temple is seen shrouded in dust as a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Bagan in Myanmar on August 24, 2016. Picture: Soe Moe Aung.Source:AFP
The highly active tectonic plate boundary passing through middle of Myanmar — known as the Sagaing Fault — has induced many deadly earthquakes in the small country, as recently as this week. 
Rescue workers are surveying the damage after a powerful earthquake shook Myanmar on Wednesday, killing at least four people and damaging 185 ancient Buddhist pagodas in the former capital of Bagan, a major tourist site.
The US Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.8 quake was centred about 25 kilometres west of Chauk, a town south of Bagan.
It was located fairly far below the Earth’s surface at a depth of about 84 kilometres, it said.
“Since this is a deep earthquake very few aftershocks are expected,” Dr Fatahi said.
Deep earthquakes generally cause less surface damage because the energy dissipates before it gets there. At least 185 brick pagodas in Bagan were damaged, the state newspaper reported. Bagan, also known as Pagan, has more than 2,200 structures, including pagodas and temples constructed from the 10th to the 14th centuries. Many are in disrepair while others have been restored in recent years, aided by the UN cultural agency UNESCO. The “major strike slip fault in (Myanmar) moves about 18mm per year”, according to Dr Fatahi. In April 2016, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit the country, causing two deaths and dozens more injuries.
Using brooms and their hands, soldiers and residents of the ancient Myanmar city famous for its historic Buddhist pagodas began cleaning up the debris a powerful earthquake shook the region, killed at least four people, and damaged nearly 200 temples. Picture: Hkun Lat
Using brooms and their hands, soldiers and residents of the ancient Myanmar city famous for its historic Buddhist pagodas began cleaning up the debris a powerful earthquake shook the region, killed at least four people, and damaged nearly 200 temples. Picture: Hkun LatSource:AP
AUSTRALIA
While Australia is not on the edge of a plate, the continent experiences earthquakes because the Indo-Australian Plate is being pushed north and is colliding with the Eurasian, Philippine and Pacific plates, according to Geoscience Australia. This causes the build up of mainly compressive stress in the interior of the Indo-Australian Plate which is released during earthquakes.
“Australia is right in the middle of a plate and it’s not sitting on a major fault line,” Dr Fatahi said.
“Everywhere you have minor faults, which are measured in terms of being only 100m or so long. Activity that cause earthquakes happens around the sides of plate, where one plate meets the other plate. Australia is sitting in the middle of a relatively stable plate, and that’s why we don’t have huge tectonic activity.”
There are on average 80 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or more in Australia each year. Adelaide has the highest earthquake hazard of any Australian capital. It has experienced more medium-sized earthquakes in the past 50 years than any capital because South Australia is being slowly squeezed in an east-west direction by about 0.1mm/yr, according to Geoscience Australia.
Australia’s largest recorded earthquake was in 1988 at Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory with an estimated magnitude of 6.6, but it occurred in a sparsely populated area. A magnitude 6.5 earthquake at Meckering in 1968 caused extensive damage to buildings and was felt over most of southern Western Australia. Earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or more are relatively common in Western Australia with one occurring about every five years in the Meckering region.
PREDICTING WHEN AND WHERE MAJOR QUAKES WILL STRIKE
Dr Fatahi said it was impossible to accurately predict the exact timing, place or scale of an earthquake.
“Usually with earthquakes you can only measure them around one minute before they happen, as the activity happens kilometres below ground,” he said.
megan.palin@news.com.au
[END REPORT]
See also the BBC video at the Australian site, "Why can't we predict earthquakes?"
*********  

U.S. Blacks doing better under Obama presidency, Moon made of cheese tostitos

Donald Trump is so right on this score that now the House Built By Slaves, as Mrs Obama has described the White House, is getting nervous that his remarks will somehow filter down to the Low-Information Black Voter. Therefore --

White House disputes Trump’s claim that blacks are worse off
By Dave Boyer
The Washington Times
Thursday, August 25, 2016

Despite government data supporting Donald Trump’s claim that blacks are worse off under President Obama, the White House insisted Thursday that blacks have made progress under the first black president and that the Republican nominee would reverse those gains.

Mr. Trump’s pitch that black Americans have “nothing to lose” by voting for him is clearly irritating the White House, which tried but failed to muster much convincing evidence that life for blacks in America has improved much over the past eight years.

“I think you’d be very hard pressed to make the case that somehow the African-American population in the United States is somehow not better off,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.

The black unemployment rate in July was 8.4 percent, compared with 12.6 percent when Mr. Obama took office in January 2009. But the jobless rate for whites, now at 4.3 percent, has fallen slightly more than it has for blacks in the past eight years — down 37 percent for whites and 33 percent for blacks.

On a range of other government data, blacks are faring worse under Mr. Obama. The black labor force participation rate has fallen from 63.2 percent in 2009 to 61.2 percent last month — down 3.1 percent.

Black home ownership last month was 41.7 percent, down from 46.1 percent in 2009 — a drop of nearly 10 percent.

The percentage of black Americans living below the poverty line has risen from 25.8 percent in 2009 to 26.2 percent in 2014, according to the most recent Census Bureau data. The number of black food-stamp participants spiked from 7.3 million to 11.7 million, an increase of 58 percent.

Confronted with such statistics, the White House said it’s important for Hillary Clinton to build on Mr. Obama’s legacy.

“The president’s never made the case that the work is finished, that the job is done,” Mr. Earnest said. “The point is, President Obama’s interested in being succeeded in office by someone who is committed to building on the progress we’ve made thus far as opposed to tearing it down.”

[END REPORT]

The singing of The Jesus Prayer and The Prajñāpāramitā-hṛdaya Sūtra

The Jesus Prayer



The Jesus Prayer in English:

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

The prayer is generally not sung, although there are a few instances of this at YouTube. This one is my favorite. It's beautifully sung in the Russian language by the choir of monks at Valaam Monastery in Russia.

A visitor at the YouTube page kindly provided transliteration to the Latin alphabet so those who don't read Cyrillic text can sing with the monks:

"Gospodi Iisuse Khriste, Syn Bozhe pomiluj mya greshnago."


*    *    *

Stanzas from The Prajñāpāramitā-hṛdaya Sūtra



The Sanskrit lyrics interspersed in the instrumental score are stanzas from the Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya, "The Heart of the Perfection of Understanding," the best-known Mahayana Buddhist sutra, generally referred to in English as "The Heart Sutra." 

The score was composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto for Bernardo Bertolucci's 1993 Little Buddha. Ryuichi-san composed all the music for the film but the particular music featured above is the final track, titled "Acceptance."

The Sanskrit stanzas are sung by English soprano Catherine Bott, whose vocal specialty is Baroque music. She is accompanied by The Ambrosian Singers, the British choral group.

There is a story connected with "Acceptance."  You see, almost no one who saw the movie beyond, I suppose, those who are very familiar with Sanskrit realized that Ms. Bott was singing in Sanskrit or that she was singing stanzas from the sutra, and it seemed Ryuichi-san didn't take out an ad in a trade paper to announce these facts. 

This isn't surprising given that Little Buddha was made for Western audiences and that never before in all the centuries since its composition had The Heart Sutra been sung. And until Ryuichi-san got hold of it, no composer would have imagined the sutra being sung in High Baroque.

But he is known as a particularly innovative composer. What he did with a few stanzas from The Heart Sutra was transform them into perhaps the most majestically spiritual music that has been composed in the modern era. I can only wish that George Frideric Handel had heard it.  

Yet the meaning of the lyrics remained hidden because most people had no idea they were listening to Sanskrit, much less The Heart Sutra.       

The years passed after Little Buddha's premiere, the musical score to the film all but forgotten. 

One day, on January 15, 2013 to be precise, a man named Egon Blant uploaded the "Acceptance" piece to YouTube with the visual of the Little Buddha theatrical release poster to accompany it. There it was eventually found by a man named Minh Tue Vo Thanh. About a year ago he added this comment to the YouTube page:

I have listened to this score hundreds of times. But today, I realized that the lyrics are the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra in Sanskrit - the Essential Perfection of Wisdom:

iha śāriputra: rūpaṃ śūnyatā śūnyataiva rūpaṃ

(O Sariputra, form is emptiness, emptiness is form)

rūpān na pṛthak śūnyatā śunyatāyā na pṛthag rūpaṃ
(emptiness does not differ from form, form does not differ from emptiness,)

yad rūpaṃ sā śūnyatā; ya śūnyatā tad rūpaṃ
(whatever is emptiness, that is form)

evam eva vedanā saṃjñā saṃskāra vijñānaṃ
(the same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses, and consciousness) 

I was completely stunned and moved to tears to hear Sanskrit singing in such an artful, operatic manner. ‪#‎mindblown‬


*    *    *

[smiling]  YouTube can certainly be a mind-blowing place.

I do have a quibble; the last stanza posted (evam eva vedanā saṃjñā saṃskāra vijñānaṃ) doesn't sound to my ears to be the one that Catherine Bott is singing, although I'll grant I'm not listening with the best sound speakers. 

However, there is no question that the Sanskrit in the stanza is correct and in the correct place in the sutra. So this is a minor mystery I might clear up by listening to a few recordings of the sutra being chanted in Sanskrit.

But once the ears realize what they're hearing the other stanzas sung by Bott are easy to follow with help from the Sanskrit text. And because the melody is quite simple, nothing tricky, it's easy to sing along with Bott although for most in a lower musical register than hers.     

I'll add that a couple months before Egon Blant posted "Acceptance" someone beat him to the punch, but using a gorgeous video of the sun slowly setting over water as the visual accompaniment, which I've used here for a special reason I'll perhaps explain in a subsequent post.


*    *    *

Is there any way to square The Jesus Prayer and the Prajñāpāramitā-hṛdaya Sūtra?

Oh I think there's more than one way, but that's enough deep thought for me for one day. It all comes down anyway to a guy, a gal, a dark cocktail bar on a rainy afternoon, and the piano player.



******** 

Wednesday, August 24

Terrorists storm American Univ in Kabul, take students hostage; unknown number killed and injured UPDATE 12:35 PM EDT

Updated report approx 10 minutes ago from IBT - "100s of students and staff under siege."  RT reported earlier it's a complex attack with special forces on the way; police massed outside the building.
****
18:03 - 24.08.2016 (updated 19:05)
Sputnik

Gunmen have stormed the building of the American University in Kabul. Gunfire has been heard at the site.

An explosion hit the American University of Afghanistan in the capital city of Kabul, local media reported Wednesday.
According to the TOLOnews television channel’s Twitter account, perpetrators of the explosion have infiltrated the facility.
According to 1tvnews, there are killed and injured as the result of the attack.
Students are being held hostage in the university, Ariana News reported.
"Several gunmen attacked the American University in Kabul and there are reports of gunfire and explosions," an Afghan Interior Ministry official told Reuters. "They are inside the compound and there are foreign professors along with hundreds of students."
Americans who are in Kabul, Afghanistan should take caution amid reports of an attack at the city's American University, the US Department of State said in a Twitter message on Wednesday.
[END REPORT]

The horror created by the British war propaganda juggernaut

The British government is not the only one to deploy propaganda in the war to destroy Syria but along with the U.S. government it wrote the book on modern propaganda techniques. Its premier spy agency has been using its expertise at propaganda and tools of current technologies to produce mazes of agitprop meant to disorient news consumers and wreck reasoned inquiries.

However, MI6, for all its 'modernity,' overlooked which century this is. Horrifically, it didn't factor in the unintended consequences when false propaganda goes global in an era of instant communications. When once only a handful of governments had the ability to control public perceptions of war, today this can be done by virtually any sophisticated actor with access to a computer and phone camera.

The worst of the unintended consequences are well conveyed in two recent headlines. The first is from the major American financial news outlet CNBC dated August 22:

"Nobody believes in anything anymore": Why Greece's economic crisis is not over

The second is from the Syrian war-reporting site, Al-Masdar News, dated August 24:

Syria’s UN representative: France committed 2013 Ghouta chemical attack

Is there any evidence that the French government committed the atrocity?  [shrugging]  Well, everybody knows evidence can be covered up by governments. 

The UN envoy, Bashar al-Jaafari, presented a claim to the United Nations that the chemical attack was carried out by French intelligence services:
He continued by claiming it was committed to divert the attention of UN weapon inspectors from another case of chemical weapons committed by terrorist groups in Aleppo.
“The use of chemical weapons in the Damascus area was meant to prevent Dr. Åke Sellström [the head of the weapons inspectors] from going to Aleppo because [France] knew who had used chemical weapons in Aleppo,” Jaafari claimed.
The French government has dismissed the claim as absurd. But everyone knows that if a government issues a denial, that must mean they're lying.

In other words, there is absolutely no way the French government can defend itself from the claim because no government can be believed any longer about anything.


That's where we are today -- across the world. That is the price of inveterate lying generated by government information wars.

Now I enjoin you to study Thierry Meyssan's crash course for Voltaire Network readers on British propaganda, with the warning that you'll need a strong stomach for some of the discussion.

For London, propaganda is an art; Voltaire Network, Damascus, Syria; 23 August 2016
No normal human being can accept to see his children suffer – consequently, they make good subjects for war propaganda. Thierry Meyssan takes a look at the use of children by the International Coalition during the war against Syria. ...
For those wondering how much of what he claims is true -- True? What's true and false in the Twilight Zone? 

Well, there is photographic evidence that the photographer who took the iconic picture of a wounded boy in Aleppo was present just prior to the beheading of a Palestinian child a few weeks earlier by members of a terrorist group in Syria. Thierry goes farther and maintains the photographer was actually the child's executioner, although where he got that information, he doesn't say.  

For more on this story see the armchair detective work done by the Moon of Alabama author and his readers in the MoA comment section, which was picked up by RT -- without crediting MoA, although to be fair to RT a comment section isn't generally credited in the press as a source.  

RT had initially reported uncritically on the Aleppo Boy story. As to whether any major press other than RT will pick up on the awful revelations that have emerged about the boy's photographer -- [shrugging]

August 18 - RT:  #Aleppo Boy: Ash-covered child brings home horror of Syrian war to the world (GRAPHIC VIDEO, PHOTOS)

August 18 - Moon of Alabama: The "Wounded Boy In Orange Seat" - Another Staged "White Helmets" Stunt. The group hunt for information about the photographer starts to emerge at comment #55,  then spills into the comment section for MoA's August 21 post, Death Of Brother Of "Wounded Boy In Orange Seat" Appears To Be An Add-On Fake. By comment #20 of that post the MoA readers are referring to the Aleppo Boy photographer as "the Zinki guy" after the militia they'd linked him to.

August 22, RT: "Media activist who photographed ‘Aleppo boy’ applauds terrorist activity in Syria"

I leave you with a couple passages from Thierry's article:
So, at the beginning of the war, Qatar wanted to demonstrate that the [Syrian] Republic, far from serving the general interest, actually despised the People. The petro-dictatorship then broadcast, on its TV channel Al-Jazeera, the legend of the children of Deraa, supposedly tortured by the police. To illustrate the cruelty of its adversary, Qatar specified that their fingernails had been torn out. Of course, despite research, no journalist could find any trace of these children. The BBC broadcast an interview with two of them, but their nails were still intact.
[...]
At the beginning of 2014, the British MI6 created the company Innovative Communications & Strategies (InCoStrat) to whom we owe, for example, the magnificent logos of the armed groups, from the most 'moderate' to the most 'extremist.' This company, which has offices in Washington and Istanbul, organised the campaign to convince the Europeans to offer sanctuary to 1 million refugees.
About that last remark: So after rather skillfully destabilizing the West European continent, the British government somehow by mistake organized a referendum that by complete surprise took the U.K. out of the European Union.

********

Tuesday, August 23

The end of the United States of America as a benign power

“The DIA’s reporting, [Flynn] said, ‘got enormous pushback’ from the Obama administration. ‘I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.’ ”

When I saw the headline on August 21 I thought, 'Well, it's a strongly pro-Russia site. Maybe it's not as bad as they're making it seem.' Turned out that if anything they understated what happened. 

A great nation deserves more than one chance but America has finally used up its chances. This is a tragedy of such magnitude there aren't words to encompass it.  

August 21, 2016
BREAKING: US Occupation of Syria now official
Fort Russ News - FR Editorial Team
Over the last 24 hours, the United States has made clear its status as a hostile occupational force in Syria. Yesterday, the US issued a communique to the legitimate Syrian government and the Russian anti-terrorist coalition assisting the Syrians. The United States has indicated that it has carved out a swath of Syria with boots on the ground fulfilling the roles of active duty personnel, such as special ops forces, advisors, trainers, mechanics, and supporting units.
The US has declared a no fly zone and threatened to target and shoot down Syrian and Russian planes within Syrian airspace [over the Kurdish autonomous region - ed].  [...]
August 23, 2016
U.S. Invades Syria, And Warns Russia
By Eric Zuesse 
AMN

On Monday, August 22nd, the United States government — which demands the overthrow of the internationally-recognized-as-legal government of Syria — officially announced that America’s military forces in Syria will continue to occupy Syrian land, no matter what the Syrian government says, and will shoot down any Syrian planes that fly over U.S. forces there and that attack them.

As reported on Monday by Al-Masdar News:

The Pentagon has announced that the USA is ready to down Syrian and Russian planes that they claim threaten American advisers who by international law are illegally operating in northern Syria.

On Friday, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis claimed that US jets attempted to intercept Syrian planes to protect the American advisers operating illegally with Kurdish forces in Syria after Syrian government jets bombed areas of Hasakah when Kurdish police began an aggression against the National Defense Force.

On Monday, another Pentagon spokesman, Peter Cook, said, “We would continue to advise the Syrian regime to steer clear of those areas.”

“We are going to defend our people on the ground, and do what we need to defend them,” Cook told reporters.

This means that the U.S. government will not allow the Syrian government to expel or otherwise eliminate U.S. forces in Syria. The Syrian government never invited U.S. forces into Syria, but the U.S. now officially dares the Syrian government to assert its sovereignty over the areas where America’s troops are located.

Al-Masdar continued:

When pushed further about Russia, Cook made it clear that the US would make the same aggression against Russian jets who are operating legally with the Syrian government’s approval and coordination.

“If they threaten US forces, we always have the right to defend our forces,” Cook said.

This means that the U.S. not only is at war against the legitimate government of Syria, but that the U.S. government will also be at war against Russia if Russian forces (which the Syrian government did invite into Syria) defends Syrian forces from attacks in Syria by U.S. forces — forces that are illegally there.

These U.S. forces number only 300, of whom 250 were sent to Syria on April 24th to serve as advisors to other illegal military forces in Syria.

The vast majority of the illegal military forces in Syria are jihadists who had been hired by the Saudi government and the Qatari government, and supplied with U.S. weapons, to overthrow the Syrian government. Most of the other illegal forces in Syria are Kurdish forces, supported by the U.S. government to break Syria apart so as to create a separate Kurdish state in the majority-Kurdish far north-eastern tip of Syria.

The primary U.S. goal in Syria is to overthrow the Syrian government, which is led by the Baath Party, Syria’s secular Party. Many Arabs insist upon Sharia, or Islamic law, but Syria’s Arabs are an exception; the Baath Party is and has always been supported by the majority of the Syrian people, including by most of Syria’s Arabs. Most Syrians are strongly opposed to Sharia law. Syria is the most secular nation in the Middle East.

For example, when Western-sponsored polls were taken in Syria, after the start in 2011 of the importation of jihadists into Syria, those polls showed that 55% of Syrians want Bashar al-Assad (the current leader of the Baath Party) to remain as Syria’s President, and “82% agree ‘IS [Islamic State] is US and foreign made group’.”

Furthermore, only “22% agree ‘IS is a positive influence’,” and that 22% was the lowest level of support shown by Syrians for any of the presented statements, except for, “21% agree ‘Prefer life now than under Assad’” — meaning that Syrians believe that things were better before the U.S.-sponsored jihadists entered Syria to overthrow Assad.

Clearly, when “82% agree ‘IS [Islamic State] is US and foreign made group’,” very few people in Syria support the 300 U.S. forces there. Not only is the U.S. an invader, but it (and especially the forces that the U.S. supports in Syria — most especially the jihadists, who are the vast majority of these forces) made life far worse (and far shorter) for virtually all Syrians.

Furthermore, that same poll found: “70% agree ‘Oppose [partition] of country’.” Consequently, the Kurdish separatists are likewise opposed by the vast majority of Syrians.

[...]

The U.S. government is now also daring the Russian government. Perhaps the U.S. strategy here is to force Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, either to back down, and abandon its Syrian ally, or else to launch a nuclear strike against the United States. If Putin backs down, that would greatly diminish his support from the Russian people, which is above 80% in all polls, including Western-sponsored ones. Perhaps this is the strategy of U.S. President Barack Obama, to drive Vladimir Putin out of office — something that might occur if the U.S. drives Bashar al-Assad out of office.

As Seymour Hersh reported, on 7 January 2016, “the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then [in the summer of 2013] led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria’s takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya,” and so Dempsey quit, and Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, was fired over the matter. 

“The DIA’s reporting, [Flynn] said, ‘got enormous pushback’ from the Obama administration. ‘I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.’ ”

[...]

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