Member Profile

Total number of comments: 82 (since 2010-09-06 06:34:55)



Showing comments 82 - 1

  • Top Ten Signs the US is the most Corrupt nation in the World (2018 Edn.)
    • Very interesting article. Indeed, the US is in a shockingly bad place right now. It takes decades for a country to recover from this kind of corruption. In an open eyed article like this I'm surprised to see repetition of the MSM old wives tales about the recent election:

      The permitting of massive black money in our elections was taken advantage of by the Russian Federation, which, having hopelessly corrupted its own presidential elections, managed to further corrupt the American ones, as well.

      So far the social media companies have come up with about $100K of social media advertising total spend by Russian associated companies with an unclear purpose. The best mind analysts it's mainly some kind of clickbait advertising, scam. Regardless, it's just rain drops in the ocean of political advertising in the US and equally irrelevant to the outcome.

      I think like most of the world, Russia was horrified at the prospect of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump becoming president of the USA. A pity Clinton and her cronies railroaded Bernie Sanders out of the election. Sanders would not have taken the USA far in any direction (an eternal compromiser, something like President Obama) and that would have been a good thing.

  • The Age of Total War in Syria
    • It fascinates me Professor Cole how you counter the mainstream narrative so clearly to start:

      the International Criminal impeded from moving against people like Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is much more guilty of war crimes, including instituting Apartheid in the West Bank, than he is of petty corruption. It is impeded from moving against Muhammad Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, whose air force has targeted civilian targets like schools and hospitals in Yemen some 33% of the time.

      Formidable independence of thought. But in the next section, you seem to be transcribing state department or Pentagon press releases:

      Among the biggest war criminals in the world is Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. His military has completely disregarded the welfare of civilian populations when trying to take back parts of the country that had fallen into rebel hands.

      What independent evidence of these alleged war crimes do you have? From what I can see Aleppo was a ruin before the government forces took back the region. Within weeks of government control, citizens had started to move back to Aleppo and rebuild the city. It was possible to circulate in the streets and celebrate holidays. On the other hand, when the US retook Mosul and Raqqa, there was massive air bombing and mass torture and more white phosphorus. How one can blame Assad when one's own military is guilty of war crimes (illegal munitions, mass murder of civilians), just waving them off as "collateral damage" astonishes me.

      While Bashar al-Assad's father was a ruthless man with considerable blood on his hands, there's no indication that his Western-educated ophthalmologist son shares any of Haffez's bloodlust. Indeed, it was Bashar's older brother, Basell who studied at the military academy and trained to become a future head of state.

      You yourself write:

      East Ghouta is under the political control of hard line Salafi militias such as the Saudi-backed Army of Islam and the Syrian Conquest Front (formerly the Nusra Front), which dream of sweeping into Damascus and turning Syria into a Taliban utopia for fundamentalist Islam. Pro-regime newspapers maintain that East Ghouta militias in the past couple days have launched intensive mortar fire on the capital of Damascus....

      If Mexican cartels together with Hispano-American revanchistes were to set up operations in San Antonio and attack Austin and Houston with mortar fire, how would the US government react? Clearly a government can't tolerate this kind of threat to one's capital city. Your editorial seems like just more of the US State Department line which goes something like this: "Follow our rules or we'll kill you. Follow our rules and allow terrorists to destroy the rule of law in your country and eventually infrastructure and finally assassinate you."

      There's no winning hand here except resistance. And you wonder why Syrians (and President Assad) are fighting back. It's to avoid the fate of Libya and Iraq. It seems to me you should be on the side of the Syrian people and not the neocons holdovers in the State Department.

  • Right's ban on phrase "Polish Death Camps" Backfires on Warsaw
    • Poland was an occupied country during the Second World War. Of course, having German crimes ascribed to their country is unpleasant. The logic is pretty clear.

      In general the current anti-Poland animus in the press is a result of Poland refusing to participate in the EU economic foreign migrant settlement program. The EU is grasping at whatever it straws it can to inflame tensions with Poland and demonise Poland. I'm surprised to see Informed Comment participating in the stampede.

  • Israeli Ruling Party Votes to Annex West Bank and Seize Last Palestinian Lands
  • Oil Giants' $180 Bn Binge on Plastics to *Permanently* Pollute Oceans
    • Like lemmings we continue to head for the cliffs. We should be using reusable glass containers and trying to produce and use as little plastic as possible. Plastic never really biodegrades (like wood or bamboo). When plastic finally disintegrates, it just becomes liquid poison -- bisphenol A (BPA) and PS oligomer for example.

      We just can't stop poisoning this beautiful planet (whichever) Gods granted us. Mankind is an ungrateful brute. Womankind too (even if they have better curves).

  • Trump to rich Cronies at Mar-a-Lago: "You all Just got a lot Richer" (Video)
    • Hillary Clinton said many of the same sorts of things in her off the record Wall Street speeches (highly remunerated speeches, at least Trump talks for free). A bigger issue are the policies themselves. Trickle down economics have been shown not to work since the time of the Egyptian pharaohs, while Henry Ford economics ("pay the workers well and they'll buy the cars") have been show to be very effective in increasing overall economic growth and prosperity.

      The United States has become a plutocracy (well actually it's been one since at least G.W. Bush if not already during the W. Clinton years). Plutocracy has been proven ineffective at generating wider wealth. They end in gatekeepers and crony capitalism. Welcome to our brave new future!

      Which has scant little to do with Trump and a lot more to do with the power behind the throne (which has been in place for at least twenty five years if not seventy years).

  • FCC begins restoring Corporate Privilege to the Internet
    • More than half the battle Jean-Ollivier is keeping just Americans ignorant. One wealthy nation of 326 million is enough to both fund and man the plutocracy's wars.

      The end of net neutrality could be the last nail in the coffin of democracy. The press is already a bought out cheerleading section. One can count the number of real journalists left with a solid MSM platform on the fingers of one hand. There used to be hundreds, just thirty years ago.

      On the other hand, what the Russians have anything to do with this, I don't understand.

      deliver it into the hands of a few billionaires and of governments such as the Russian Federation, who can pay for a fast lane.

      The American government is working very hard to make sure that Russia based media cannot reach Americans at all. The truth hurts. It's amazing that twenty five years after the end of the cold war that American media offer all the variety of opinion of Pravda and Western news organisations fear hard hitting, fearless Russian reporters.

  • Smoking Gun: Did the Russians admit to Interference in the US Election?
  • When Will America's Wars have their Harvey Weinstein Moment?
    • This is a great article and does a fabulous job of putting our modern media world in perspective. Death is less important than offence. It's a weird world. None of it diminishes or excuses Weinstein's in particular criminal behaviour. Yet surely we could find appropriate moral outrage about the US drone program and extra-judicial assassination of whole families and whole wedding parties.

  • A Bitter Pill for Far Right: Europe's Muslim Immigrants create Jobs, boost Economy
    • Europe is a special place, as are its unique cultures. Turning it all into one big Turkish bazaar or an endless African market will diminish its value.

      What we might gain in short term turnover by accepting uninvited hordes will destroy our social systems and end by destroying the concept of Europe and the quality of life here.

      No thanks.

      As for the depopulation argument, when there are good jobs with high wages and reasonably priced real estate (the great die-off of the boomers just starting now), young Europeans will start having families again.

      Right now, unless you are either very rich or living on state subsidies, it's very difficult to house and feed a family. Guess which category the new Muslim immigrants will fall into?

      You've clearly not been following the Rochedale (photos) and Rothertham child abuse scandals to see the delightful effect of integrating Muslim culture with Christian culture.

      I'll pass on those kinds of economic benefits, thanks.

      None of this is to say the United States and Europe do not have a debt to pay to Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen for the havoc we have wreaked on those countries over the last sixteen years. We do. But it doesn't mean we should destroy our world as reparations. Instead, we should help you rebuild your own.

  • Trump wants 10-fold increase in Atom Bombs but is after Iran, which has none
    • If true, Trump's desire to own 10x more nuclear weapons is colossal stupidity. There's a useful number of items to own and after that it's just nonsense.

      In general the money wasted on the military (yes, I said wasted - there's no long term income from terrorising the world just resentment and future enemies) were invested in trade and innovation, America could have become a virtual paradise.

      if the US spent all its war money on the people and infrastructure as well as getting rid of fossil fuels, America could be a virtual paradise. The waste is heart breaking and the results devastating .

      Like a talented drug addict, the United States is now so deep in debt and so corrupted, there's really no hope. One of the great historic opportunities for a step forward for mankind wasted on tribalism, greed and military imperialism.

      It's so very sad.

  • Iranian Leader: Trump is "Disturbed," speaks like a Cowboy or Mobster
    • While what President Trump said at the UN is appalling it is not a new message. The US has been actively reinvested in regime change and promise breaking since the Bush presidency. The shenanigans in the Balkans (bombing Serbia already under Clinton), the destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, impoverishment and nazification of Ukraine are all cut from a single cloth.

      President Reagan and Secretary of State James Baker made the Soviet leadership and Mikhail Gorbachev solemn promises not to expand NATO to the East if the Soviets took down the Iron Curtain. More broken promises. It's better not to even talk about American promises broken to the Palestinians about their own state within 1967 borders.

      Here in Europe, the Americans have encouraged their war zones to send millions north to destroy our fairer health care, unemployment and education systems. The relative peace and prosperity on earth for which we have striven and worked for are to be undone in five years of chaos so that the United States remains somewhere people might still want to live and the most stable nation for investment. We're supposed to America's closest allies yet America depredates our entire continent and economic system to keep your own corrupted plutocratic militarism afloat. The long term game appears to be a hope of creating desperate vassal armies to send east to Russia. Regular appearances by Presidents Obama and Trump to speak at military colleges in Poland and Ukraine confirm this process is already underway.

      Iran, North Korea, Venezuela and Russia are next on the list for American destruction (sanctions, arming of internal dissidents and terrorists, false flag atrocities, finally military action). President Trump has rather amusingly added China to that list. Amusingly as China in many measures of real economic output has surpassed the United States as the world's number one economy. China is an enemy that the US cannot take on without a world war, both economic and physical, which the US is in a poor position to fight at this point with $20 trillion in debt and its broken factories and failed infrastructure and obese and poorly educated masses.

      The world has been watching this macabre dance and American dishonesty for more than two decades now. President Trump's speech is nothing new.

      This is what America and what the American establishment are offering the world. It was a good thing the elite chose a mealy-mouthed lawyer last time to sell their message of misery and destruction to the world - President Obama like any competent lawyer was far better at obscuring the true meaning of his intentions behind banal blandishments.

      But the message is the same. Blame not Trump - he's just the carnival barker. It's up to you in the United States to remove this leadership - Hillary Clinton was even more intent on global war - and reform your political systems. From the outside, I'd suggest your priorities should be health care, infrastructure, education and the economy. Indeed mostly what President Trump partially promised before he was elected to the office and surrounded by the generals and the career politicians.

      If not, a long term decline amid global war is what awaits our lifetime.

  • Those 90 Companies that Caused Climate Crisis? They Should Pay for It
    • This is a great article and very timely. Natural disasters indeed will just get worse with climate change. Millions and millions of people will suffer and lose their livelihoods and even their homes. Of course climate deniers should pay.

      This article is a lot more to the point and useful than bleating about Donald Trump who, it turns out, is just a figure-head like almost every president LBJ or at least Ronald Reagan on. There's no power in the office. Presidents are just official spokesperson for the hands behind the throne.

  • Was Hate's Reach into US Public Extended by Internet?
    • This essay is the worst kind of statism I've seen a long time. Now that the internet is not advancing Washington's agenda, freedom of speech has become a bad thing? All of Hawdon's argument taken together reminds me of Soviet Writer's Guild chairman Alexei Alexandrovich Surkov's arguments in favour of social realism in Stalin's Russia. Soviet ideas censorship precluded writing which undermined the government. Has America fallen so far that a liberal publication calls for the repeal of the first amendment?

  • Trump, the Magical WASP, Deepens Racial Divide again in Phoenix
    • I'm sorry Juan but there's nothing peaceful about Antifa and people with masks on throwing bricks and rocks. There was violence on both sides and Trump is not wrong for an end to violent political demonstrations.

      Just because you don't agree with someone doesn't give you the right to go masked into the street and commit crimes, regardless of whether you are on the left or the right.

      Sadly, Barrack Obama was almost as big a disappointment as a president as Donald Trump is becoming. I'm sure you remember the Cairo Speech and the promises Obama made to the Middle East that day. None of it came true. The plight of the Palestinians only became more desperate. To the contrary, Africa's richest country Libya was destroyed. Barrack Obama earned a Nobel Prize in advance for making the world a worse place.

      Obama should go down in history as the "Drone President" who formalised remote attacks without judicial oversight as a primary instrument of foreign policy with five times as many drone attacks as even G.W. Bush.

      The point is that the United States has not had an independent president since J.F. Kennedy. The United States has a figurehead. Trump telegraphed to us that he's a hostage in his Afghan buildup speech with his language (full transcript):

      My original instinct was to pull out -- and, historically, I like following my instincts

      So really, whether it's Trump or someone else it doesn't really matter. Now that Trump is doing the generals bidding even Foreign Policy likes him:

      Last night was one of Donald Trump’s finest moments as president. The Trump who showed up was the Trump who spoke about the heritage of freedom in Warsaw, not the Trump from the past week’s worth of press conferences. He stuck to his script....He provided scant details, but at least provided hope that he is giving free rein for his subordinates to fill them in.

      Emphasis is mine. Presidents should do what they are told and stay on script. Whether Obama or Trump or Clinton or Bush. Your rage at Trump would be better channeled towards the system itself.

  • Syria: The American War on Civilians
    • This is great frontline reporting. It's shocking that the US continues to deploy white phosphorus and depleted uranium (not mentioned in this article but both Serbia and Iraq are awash in depleted uranium). Effectively these are war crimes.

      I remember some articles here about the Syrian recapture of Aleppo. Did either the Russians or the Syrians deploy white phosphorus or issue a fire at will command on mixed civilian and fighter groups fleeing combat?

      From what I remember no. Yet the reporting about those battles was far louder and more negative than about the battles for Mosul and now Raqqa. Hypocrisy and self-righteousness are both deeply unattractive traits.

      Thanks for providing some balance here.

  • How our Intel Agencies Screwed us by Letting Sessions, Trumpies get away with Russia Scheme
    • It's astonishing the blind spot certain segments of the Intelligentsia have for Hillary Clinton. Never has their been a more venal or vicious or corrupt or condescending candidate for the presidency (well maybe there was but no one of her ilk has won the presidency in our lifetimes). Maybe Lyndon B. Johnson scores similarly (the same guy around for the JFK assassination who appointed the Warren Commission to bury the true story). Unlike his wife, Bill Clinton was always been more interested in adding to the notches on his bedpost than money. He was corrupt and political up to the point it gave him free rein in the bedrooms of the nation. HRC's appetite for lucre however ill-gotten and power at whatever the price had no bounds.

      On top of it all HRC ran a terrible campaign. Even now she won't take responsibility for her own poor decisions.

      As bad as Trump is, he's not intrinsically a nation-wrecking, World War II risking menace. If he doesn't improve his performance in office, he's just a one-term president. I imagine that if he projects losing the second term elections, he'll stand down and let someone else run. There's nothing to be particularly alarmed at.

  • Top 4 Lessons Trump can Learn from Napoleon in Russia
  • Brain Fitness: Why you're losing out if you're not Learning another Language
    • Interesting reflections:

      the most exciting benefit of bilingualism occurs in ageing, when executive function typically declines: bilingualism seems to protect against dementia....Such results suggest bilingualism helps keep us mentally fit. It may even be an advantage that evolution has positively selected for in our brains – an idea supported by the ease with which we learn new languages and flip between them, and by the pervasiveness of bilingualism throughout world history.

      The benefit of learning a language is not intrinsic to language itself but to learning new tricks in general. Over time, everyone should push him or herself to learn something new. That could be a language but it could equally be how to play an instrument or musical composition or drawing or computer programming. Anything which requires concentration and learning.

  • Trump’s Worst Collusion Isn’t With Russia — It’s With Corporations
    • Hillary Clinton's debts to Wall Street are far higher than those of even Trump. If the charge is selling out America to corporate interests, the choice was between the kettle and the frying pan. Bernie Sanders was not given a chance, due to collusion between the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Bernie Sanders would easily have beaten Trump in a national election. If you don't like Trump, you have Hillary Clinton and the DNC to thank for his presidency.

    • Your comment has to be one of the silliest simplifications of a complex issue ever written. Russia is the largest country on earth which has contributed more to music, dance and literature than any other single country on earth. Comparing Russia to Saudi Arabia is absurd - with the US, the Russians are the world leaders in advanced science. And the Russians do their advanced intellectual work on much smaller budgets. Unlike the US, the Russians are capable of innovating without pillaging the intelligentsia of the entire world - a process which makes each victim nation weaker.

      The oil segment represents a large portion of exports but a relatively small part of the overall economy (just 21%). Russia among other things is the world's largest gold producer, the world's second largest vendor of arms.

      John McCain ("a country masquerading as a gas station") has never been either a credible witness, a good pilot or any kind of real patriot. He's an opportunistic spoiled son of privilege. To take him as an intellectual role model is a sign of either intellectual bankruptcy or dishonesty.

  • Influence: Russia just Imitated the Rupert Murdoch/Fox Model
    • Russia is a complex, vast and rich country. Like the United States. There are many people in Russia besides V.V. Putin and his government who would like to manipulate or help candidates to the US Presidency. Those individuals and groups may or may not have deeper ties to other countries like the US or Israel than they do to Russia. There are any number of former and even current Russian oligarchs living in London, the Côte d'Azur/Monaco, Switzerland and Israel.

      The model of Russia's President Putin as a bogeyman and the Democrat party in the United States as a virtuous victim is both fundamentally false and what's worse a grotesque simplification. The world and in particular haute politique are much more complex than this. As you of all people surely know, Professor Cole.

      It's likely that President Putin and his government would have preferred a Trump win. Past track record of Hillary Clinton was that of a warmongering harpy whose word could never be trusted. The US has the second largest nuclear force in the world. If you were Russia, of course, you'd rather take a chance on someone who occasionally utters a conciliatory word.

      It doesn't mean that Russia is either able or likely to openly interfere with a US election. Going the other way, the US through USAID and other nominally independent but in fact state sponsored NGO's has been openly interfering (with some success) in both Russian and Ukrainian elections since the fall of Mikhail Gorbachev.

      The Clinton campaign abused their own access to government and the American state security organs to obtain secrets about Trump. The Clinton campaign colluded with the DNC to cheat Bernie Sanders of most of his primary wins. Clinton operatives worked directly with foreign intelligence services, including those of Russia, to produce dubious dossiers about Trump. Unlike the noise about Russia, these are clear and unambiguous crimes.

      Outrage about the Trump campaign seems both very selective and sanctimonious. Even hypocritical.

      Clearly the US needs better government. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump were the answer. Until Citizens United is repealed and the US republic reverts to something like one (wo)man-one vote, you are not going to get it. Ending state sponsored extra-judicial assassination (drone program) and the systematic persecution of whistleblowers would seem to me a loftier and more important goal than defenestrating Trump. Particularly on such thin gruel as the current Russian under-the-bed mania.

  • Dutch Furious as Israel seizes Solar Panels donated to Palestinians
    • Are there separate standards for Israelis and every other nation on earth? Are not ethnic ghettos and apartheid illegal since 1945?

  • Trump accuses Syria of Planning Gas attack as Haley attacks Russia, Iran
    • Petroleum, Red Sea, Suez

      1. Syria is not at the center of the main petroleum fields (Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia).
      2. Syria has no access or border to the Red Sea.
      3. This is doubly true of Suez.

      I'm also curious about why the US requires a change of government (the current government is freely elected so the catchphrase of "regime change" does not apply) in Syria.

      B at has published some interesting ruminations on Trump's strange gas attack warning: White House Says It Will Fake "Chemical Weapon Attack" In Syria.

    • It's strange Richard. We are supposed to just believe Professor Cole about these gas attacks. The American national security institutions have done nothing but prevaricate since at least the Bush years (I didn't follow the foreign policy of the Clinton presidency as closely as the Bush one, the Reagan administration was equally as rotten at its core as Bush II). I don't see any reason we should accept them at their word now, particularly when it goes against all good sense. Opthalmologists (Bassad al-Assad's chosen profession, he moved to politics only after the death of his brother) with nice Western wives are not generally inclined to rash steps or particular cruelty.

      From what I can tell, the worst thing Bashar al-Assad did in his life was to allow the CIA to set up dark sites in Syria at the time of the second Iraq war. Current American treatment is a peculiar way to pay back your friends.

      The only logical explanation is that Israel is driving the Syria policy, as Israel has publicly announced several times that their principal interest in Syria is extending the civil war as long as possible (2013) and that Israel has been providing medical services and material support to ISIL in Syria.

      What is very curious about Professor Cole's antipathy for Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government is that he is usually one of the most balanced commentators in the American blogosphere on the Israel-Palestinian issue.

  • Top Reasons Why Qatar Will Survive the Saudi-led Diplomatic Offensive
    • Thank you for the informative and wide-ranging look into the Qatar situation. The Saudis don't seem to be able to put a foot right since they agreed to cooperate with the US on crushing world oil prices in late 2014.

  • Wikileaks' Assange claims Victory after Sweden drops Charges, Vows to Publish More
    • The courts were bought in both countries. As Professor Cole points out, the whole scenario was a stitch-up. US government officials openly threatened Wikileaks and Assange from early 2010 (the release of Collatoral Damage):

      On the first day the cables were published, Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State stated, “This disclosure is not just an attack on America – it’s an attack on the international community.” Sarah Palin responded by stating that Assange had “blood on his hands” and asked the rhetorical question, “Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders?”

      The Espionage Act of 1917 is a very serious and broad statute, conviction under which bears dire consequences:

      To convey information with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the armed forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies. This was punishable by death or by imprisonment for not more than 30 years or both.

      Under the Espionage Act, the Rosenbergs were executed in 1953.

      Anna Ardin has CIA ties, USAID financial ties and published a seven step guide on how to get revenge on cheating boyfriends. One (female) Swedish prosecutor dismissed the complaints as non-actionable before being bumped off the case.

      [when] the police declared that Assange was to be arrested and questioned about possible rape and molestation. Wilen became so distraught at this that she refused to give any more testimony or sign what had been taken down.

      That same night, a prosecutor issued a warrant for Assange’s arrest. The prosecutor’s office did not contact Assange. Instead, within hours, it leaked to the tabloid newspaper Expressen the statements made by the two women. The newspaper’s front page read: “Assange hunted for rape in Sweden.”

      This was just the first evidence of high-level collusion, involving the police, the prosecutor’s office and the media, to destroy Assange’s reputation.

      Within 24 hours of the arrest warrant, there was a further twist. A more senior prosecutor dismissed the rape allegations, leaving only the lesser accusation of molestation. Assange voluntarily went to the police on August 30 and made a statement. During the interview he expressed his fears that whatever he said would end up in the Expressen. The interviewing police officer said: “I’m not going to leak anything.” The interview was nevertheless leaked.

      Assange was still not charged with any offence—a fact that remains to this day. Instead, he was assured by the prosecutor that he was free to leave the country while an inquiry continued, an assurance that was later dramatically reversed.

      When Ardin couldn't manipulate Sofia Wilen into pressing any kind of charges ("I only wanted him to take an STD test"), Ardin was forced to invent some of her own:

      Ardin then made up her own story of sexual assault. As so many friends knew she was having sex with Assange, she could not claim non-consensual sex. So she manufactured her story to fit in with Wilen’s concerns by alleging the affair of the torn condom. But the torn condom she produced has no trace of Assange on it. It is impossible to wear a condom and not leave a DNA trace.

      Ms. Ardin deleted many tweets which directly contradicted her police testimony and hid her weblog.

      The detailed record doesn't look like sexual assault to me, Kenneth Almquist. It looks more like two women quarreling over bed privileges. Or like a conspiracy with Anna Ardin acting as the instigator and honeypot.

      For the folks who run Operation Gladio, setting up a left wing honeypot and manufactured rape charges is kid gloves treatment. Compromising and capturing Assange would be certainly worth compromising a medium value asset, n'est ce pas Kenneth? If first you don't succeed, try and try again.

    • Thomas, absolutely incorrect. In stage one, Sweden together with CIA help put together some trumped up rape charges. This was character assassination to try to turn public opinion against Assange. The second step once the public opinion was against Assange was to extradite him to the US.

      Initially the UK said Assange was free to go if Sweden dropped the charges. Now Sweden has dropped the charges so the UK has gone to phase two: the UK will extradite Assange to the US.

      The US plans life imprisonment or execution for Julian Assange. Remember this is the guy who brought us "Collateral Murder" and the dirt on what happened at the DNC with the sheepdogging of Bernie Sanders (a strategic miscalculation which cost the Democrats the presidency btw) as well as countless other misdeeds unreported by the MSM. Julian Assange is an activist hero and the most important journalist to work in this century.

      In what way is threat of execution if he ventures outside of the Ecuadorian Embassy not detainment?

  • GOP not the party of 'Security' as Intel Allies Flee Trump
    • So what exactly is this classified information which President Trump leaked to Russia? I forgot, that's classified. The whole accusation an empty rhetorical vicious circle.

      On the other hand, Hillary Clinton did run State Department business on an illegal, insecure, private email server as Secretary of State. A felony.

    • Professor Cole, I'm astonished by the sudden credibility you now ascribe to both MSM and Israeli intelligence.

      If President Trump told the Russians about new intelligence regarding laptop bombs that sounds to me like the least partners against terrorism could do for one another. As I'm sure you recall, over the last fifteen years the Russians have been extremely helpful to the American military in the Afghanistan campaign among others.

      The officials - retired or not - who leaked this information to the press are the ones who should be investigated and probably jailed for divulging classified information to the press.

      The question remains though, why are you shilling for Israeli intelligence whose only goal is to destroy every Arab country? Currently in the crosshairs are Syria, Lebanon and Iran. Disrupting the Trump administration and poisoning relations with Russia are just stepping stones to inflicting more misery on Israel's neighbours.

  • Hamas in new charter accepts 1967 borders for Palestinian state
    • Note that as soon as Hama made this very important gesture, Israel's Prime Minister moves the goalposts:

      Hamas is attempting to fool the world, but it will not succeed.

      Not fair play. More details from Jerusalem Post. The Israeli tactic of stalling and squirming and stonewalling is for perpetuity. The Palestinians will never get a deal unless the US or Russia or better yet both together force their hand.

  • Russia’s Neo-Feudal Capitalism
    • Professor Cole you do your credibility no favours by publishing unredacted hatchet jobs from dubious sources like Anders Aslund.

      Even back in 2002, Aslund had lost all credibility in Russia, cavorting with carpetbaggers:

      The World Bank recently appointed Anders Aslund to inspect the books and determine how well World Bank funds were used in Russia in the past decade. Aslund spent the decade asserting his own superiority and did financially well out of his relationship with Gaidar and Chubais, his close friends. The World Bank has sent a moral rat to check if anything went wrong when the moral worms stopped moving. The new World Bank representative in Moscow, Julian Schweitzer, says, “We don’t necessarily take his advice.”)

      Aslund aided and abbetted CIA agents to steal Russian state funds and who were later tried and convicted in the USA for their misdeeds:

      Helping hands with Hay that year were Gaidar and Anders Aslund, the current chairman of CASE’s Advisory Council. On April 25, 2013, President Putin publicly identified Hay as a CIA agent. Referring to Hay’s work on Russian asset privatization for Chubais, and the subsequent US prosecution, Putin said: “we learned today that officers of the United States’ CIA operated as consultants to Anatoly Chubais. But it is even funnier that upon returning to the US, they were prosecuted for violating their country’s laws and illegally enriching themselves in the course of privatisation in the Russian Federation. They did not have the right to do this as active CIA officers. In accordance with US law, they were not allowed to engage in any kind of commercial activity, but they couldn’t resist – it’s corruption, you see.”

      Recently Aslund has worked as a hired scribe on the payroll of Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk.

      Aslund has been writing stupid things about Putin for decades now (see deeper analysis). It's a shame to see Informed Comment reprinting straight Empire propaganda. You may as well invite Avigdor Lieberman to write even handedly on the Palestinian - oh sorry - Arab - question.

  • Taliban Attackers Kill at Least 140 Soldiers at Afghan Base: Officials
    • Ah, yes, dropping huge firebomb munitions (MOAB) from the sky is courageous. Attacking on the ground in near hand to hand combat conditions at a huge disadvantage in terms of numbers is cowardly. Got it.

      More doublespeak in the perpetual war between Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia.

  • Russia: US attack on our Sovereign ally Illegal
    • No evidence has been presented yet that Syria's army still has chemical weapons. The Russian are saying that the chemical weapons were in an ISIS arms depot and inadvertently blown up by conventional bombs. Current indications and track record over the last fifteen years with official announcements suggest the Russian are telling the truth and that Trump, his American intelligence sources and the American MSM are telling fibs again. Strangely, the Daily Mail removed that 2013 article last week.

    • The Admiral Grigorovich will be shadowed by submarines. Any large warship is a sitting duck at this point to a capable adversary. The tonnage of the Admiral Grigorovich is just 4000 loaded in comparison to almost 9000 loaded for each of the USS Porter and USS Cole, albeit Admiral Grigorovich is a 2013 issue warship while the USS Porter and USS Cole are about fifteen years older. Even without the submarine thread or the menace of an attack by American planes from nearby Mediterranean airbases, the Admiral Grigorovich would be hard pressed to sink both the USS Porter and USS Cole at the same time.

      Moreover the Admiral Grigorovich is one of just three such Russian frigates while the US has 62 Arleigh-Burke class destroyers in service. The Russians would not like to trade the Admiral Grigorovich against even three such US destroyers.

      What the Admiral Grigorovich could do though is interfere with cruise missile launches electronically as well as shoot down a fair number of the departing missiles. Whether that non-aggressive hindrance would inspire the US to try to sink a Russian navy vessel is an open question.

      The bigger picture: Trump's cruise missile strike has turned a co-operative neutral and occasionally allied country into a military adversary. The geopolitical situation has changed radically and we stand much closer to direct armed conflict between Russia and the United States. The moment that starts I cannot wargame a scenario where the conflict does not escalate within a matter of about a week to full on nuclear war. None of us are safer, not even Syrians.

      That the neocons and MSM are cheering Trump indicates just how bad an idea this illegal act of war was.

  • Washington's Supreme Hypocrisy on Chemical Weapons and Civilian Deaths
    • Bashar bombed peaceful protestors from the air.

      Evidence please that the protestors were peaceful. The ISIS demonstrations in Syria don't look very peaceful to me. More like beheadings, burning people alive in cages and slicing off arms.

      Unforgivable war crimes would include bombing the open air concentration Israel maintains in Gaza, shooting children playing on the beach in Gaza, blowing up Mosques in Mosul (US), bombing civilians in Yemen (US/Saudi Arabia with UK support).

      The ultimate war crime according to the Nuremburg trial is a war of aggression. The attack on Iraq in 2003 over non-existent WMD should have seen George W. Bush, Richard Cheney and Colin Powell hung from the neck until dead like Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Alfred Jodl, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Wilhelm Keitel, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Alfred Rosenberg, Fritz Sauckel, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, and Julius Streicher.

      President Trump and the current administration are putting themselves in a similar (il)legal position. Or do you not believe in equality before the law?

      Strange to find you worried about democratically elected President Assad of Syria.

    • Professor Cole, the Syrians gave up their chemical weapons four years ago starting in September 2013. Syria is slowly winning the war against mainly foreign fighters funded by the US and Saudi Arabia. It's not even a civil war as the leaders and most of the troops of the rebels are not even Syrian nationals.

      You write:

      Al-Qaeda did not gas its own subjects.

      Actually that's exactly what Al-Qaeda did in 2013. President Putin of Russia put his personal word on the line in the New York Times signing a wrtitten statement:

      Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.

      No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists. Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.

      It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”

      I'm surprised to see you giving much credibility to American security organisations considering your own experience of unjust and unlawful persecution at their hands. Whatever the sins of the father, Bashar as-Assad is a well-educated medical doctor and opthamologist with a history of integrity and protection of minorities. I'm mystified why you are so keen to see more blood flow in Syria.

  • Israeli Pol threatens Crimes against Humanity in Lebanon
    • Wow, publicly announcing and planning war crimes appears to be okay if you are an Israeli minister. This leaves me with some questions:

      * Doesn't the UN exist to stop this kind of talk and action?
      * Should Naftali not face a travel ban?
      * Should we not be calling on the Israeli government to retract these statements?
      * Should not the Israeli government remove the said minister from his post immediately?

  • Putin's Winning Hand in Syria, as Turkey Apologizes and Obama Deals
  • ISIS and Israel on the Golan Heights
    • Israel has not attacked ISIS in the Golan Heights as Israel's goal is dismembering Syria. Why would Israel fight a group which is occupying Syrian territory?

      The second goal Israel has is to formally annex the Golan Heights (Israel has no international recognition for its 1981 annexation law) and start drilling for oil on the Golan. Genie is a joint investment of Rothschild, Rupert Murdoch and Dick Cheney among other unsavory types. Stolen land, stolen oil.

      Israel probably paid ISIS to run off the international peacekeepers. Israel actively shelled the Syrian Arab Army from across the border when the Syrian army was trying to remove ISIS. Israel is providing high quality medical care for wounded ISIS troops before sending them back to fight the elected Syrian government.

      The real question is why does the international community allow Israel to flout international law and allow Israeli proxies to attack UN peacekeepers.

  • Top 4 Reasons Iran will stand by Syrian gov't despite High Casualties
    • Billy, mercenary armies have not fared well across the pages of history. Syria's Arab Army and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are not mercenaries but people fighting what they believe is a just war.

      Odds are, whatever the neocons do, they will lose and are just building up long term enemies against themselves and America. Short sighted, stupid, selfish. In short, neocon.

  • Is Hillary Clinton responsible for rise of ISIL, as Bernie's Campaign Manager Alleged?
    • So President Bashar Assad is to blame for being strong-armed into an illegal rendition program. Service to the Empire given on the promise of immunity to attacks on the Syrian state. As often, the duplicitous Americans not only break their word but turn cooperation as a weapon against the counter-party.

      This has been going on for a long time. Heard of the Trail of Tears? The Cherokee were America's Indian allies.

      Your irony about America's capabilities and interference is as misplaced as your other dismissive assertions. Over 800 military bases around the world weren't put there for decoration. President Obama has claimed repeatedly that America is the "one indispensable nation":

      I see an American century because no other nation seeks the role that we play in global affairs, and no other nation can play the role that we play in global affairs. That includes shaping the global institutions of the 20th century to meet the challenges of the 21st.

      I.e. if the American President has to stack the United Nations or manipulate the ICC in the Hague through America's European partners peons to get his way, he'll do that too.

      Not quite sure why you think a wave of the hand replaces study and reading in the consideration of foreign policy.

    • President Assad is in the middle of a civil war, provoked by yet another American backed color revolution. People die in civil wars.

      Barrel bombs: Actually people die in peace time now if the US would so chooses (drone wars). How is losing your family to a drone strike any different than losing your family to a barrel bomb?

      Torture: Abu Graib and Lynndie England ring a bell? Or Guantanomo Bay torture, where a rather impressive catalogue of torture techniques was employed by CIA and DOD.

      War criminals: a war of aggression is the greatest war crime reasoned Nuremberg prosecutors.

      To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

      The United States of America invaded and destroyed Iraq based on intelligence it knew false. While there, depleted uranium was used to foul the soil and rend much of the land uninhabitable without expensive reclamation. Indeed many US soldiers have died from radiation exposure. Deliberately endangering civilian lives is another war crime.

      So until the ICC in the Hague have had time to consider the weighty cases against George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Blair, Colin Powell, Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton, there's scant reason for them to consider small fry like Bashar el-Assad.

      For that matter, barrel bombs are not a war crime at all. Nor is taking steps to put down an armed insurrection.

      Conclusion: your comment is either incredibly naive or deeply cynical.

    • Our host Professor Cole for unaccountable reasons has an idée fixe about deposing President Assad, regardless of how the people of Syria feel about it (voting for President Assad with an approval rate of about 70%, better than most Western leaders). It has been proven again and again that the US and Turkish and Saudi concern with "Syrian human rights" is entirely wrapped up in a Qatari gas pipeline. Strangely, Informed Comment continues to beat the human rights in Syria drum while Al-Queda and Daesh dance and pillage the cradle of civilisation.

      President Assad's father was a hard man and probably worth opposing (although even he brought peace and prosperity to Syria in the face of terrorism, albeit at a price) on moral principle. But the son - he's about as gentle and genuine as political leaders come, in the Middle East or elsewhere. Indeed until the pipeline deal came up, Bashar and first lady Asma al-Assad were an internationally fêted glamour couple, spending leisure time with Nicolas Sarkozy, Carla Bruni, Tony and Cherie Blair, and even the Queen of England.

      So, yes Hillary Clinton with her active support for gun running to Syria (to al-Queda and Daesh) is as responsible for the rise of Daesh as anyone in the American political establishment. Perhaps only Turkish President Erdogan would bear more personal responsibility for the rise of Daesh.

  • Are Sanders' Criticisms of Israeli Occupation Policies unprecedented in a Presidential Campaign?
    • A bit of fairness in the equation might go a long way to making a lasting peace. Strange that it will take a Jewish President of the US to give the Palestinians a fair shake. Passing on AIPAC after decades of candidate fealty was a great act of courage.

      Curiously the American people seem to have rewarded Senator Sanders for his courage as he's now outrunning the front runner.

  • Why are American Elections so much worse than Everybody Else's?
    • Pippa Norris's article is well researched but startlingly naive. Ms. Norris fails to note the most important part.

      American elections are broken by design. The voting machines are still suspect. Two major presidential elections have a taint of fraud about them (Gore-Bush 2000: Florida hanging chads, etc., Kerry-Bush: Ohio 2004, Diebold machines reprogrammed).

      In the current primary cycle, Hillary Clinton has claimed the nomination by claiming all the superdelegates before the primaries even started and by suppressing vote counts (Iowa and Arizona) and suspect coin tosses and gerrymandering caucus counts. Broken by design.

  • Momentum: Sanders Sweeps with Huge Wins in Hawaii, Washington and Alaska
    • Hillary Clinton is cutting left just long enough to push Senator Sanders out of the race. She and her husband created the business environment which incubated the 2008 "too big to fail" crash. The bailout then was the largest single transfer of public money to private wealth (taxpayers paid for banks bad investments and decisions). We're still not out of the woods (the situation is even worse: as banks weren't allowed to fail and went straight back to their bad habits of awarding themselves bonuses in the good times while socialising risk in bad times).

      The funniest thing I've heard this weekend covered the $353,000 plate George Clooney Clinton benefit dinner.

      One might think George would have some conflicts with Clinton's time as Secretary of State, given his desire to "end war in Africa".

      I had a much higher opinion of both George and Amal Clooney before this anointing the feet of Baal stunt. It's hard to believe Amal Clooney can aid and abbet the Secretary of State responsible for the persecution of her client Julian Assange.

      If Bernie Sanders can win the Democratic nomination, it will do more to restore faith in the American government both at home and abroad than any election since John F. Kennedy. Hillary Clinton is a war hawk intent on absolute hegemony who would do anything for power. She's already cheated her way through at least four or five of these primaries (dodgy marginal win in Iowa, as a loss would have derailed her campaign completely, phoney-baloney coin tosses, complicity in vote blocking in Arizona).

      This election is desperately important. Hillary Clinton is likely to bring World War III down on all of our heads. If she steals the Democratic primary from Senator Sanders, shockingly the world's last chance is Donald Trump. While Donald Trump is a silly vain man, at least he'll keep us out of World War III. With core motivations like making money and making love to beautiful women, Trump has no reason to start a world war.

      The man doesn't even drink (and not because he's an ex-alky like G.W. Bush: he's always had "more interesting things to do"). Hard drinking Hillary Clinton is prone to judgement lapses when hitting the sauce.

  • Israeli Squatters issue death threats against Videographer who filmed execution of Palestinian
    • Thank you for this on-the-ground report. Outrageous. One has to ask oneself a few questions.

      * When are these Israeli clowns going to be held accountable for their actions and suspended from the UN?
      * Why is Europe still trading with an apartheid regime?
      * Why is the US actively supporting the current round of land confiscation, expropriation, colony building (they are not settlements: Palestine has been settled for thousands of years) and collective punishment?

      Time for Israel to face the consequences of apartheid.

  • Mystery: Russia & Hizbullah begin withdrawal from Syria
    • Russia has specifically ruled out any partition of Syria. Turkey looks close to civil war. Russia can feed arms to Syrian and Turkish kurds (via Syria). It's absolutely no problem for Russia to bring back its forces (unlike the US, Russian militiary doctrine does not target long term remote basing but for high readiness and fast deployment.

      Long range strategic bombing and cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea have both been used effectively in Russia's campaign. Neither are affected by any withdrawal full or partial.

      After the Syrian adventure, the US looks like a corrupt colonial power and Russia looks like a good friend. A friend in need is a friend indeed. It doesn't mean you want your friend to move in with you and share your house, enjoy your wife and eat your groceries.

      Why again is the US still in Japan when the Japanese want them out?

  • Did Obama Really “Surrender the Middle East to Putin?”
    • Sounds like a lot of money spent for not very much. If you aren't winning hearts and minds (the Russians are, unlike the Americans), you're losing influence.

      America's position in the Middle East oscillates on a per country basis between an indulgent sugar daddy (Israel) or a sadistic pimp (Iraq). Almost everywhere mocked and loathed. Even the Israelis have no respect for the country which pays their military (and many other) bills.

      As the Russian are fighting alongside and in support of their allies, they've earned respect from both friend and foe, hence the neverending pilgrimages to Moscow by Israel, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

      In any case, the overhead on the US projection of power is so overwhelming that it's bankrupting America. The last gasp of empire come when it employs mercenaries rather than patriotic sons. The US is long into the circular cycle down of paying for fealty and feats of arms, instead of inspiring them.

      Sad, really, to see so much money ill-spent while whole states go without highway maintenance, major cities like Detroit rot into the ground, university students face life crippling debts and the sick go without treatment or lose their houses. America could have done so much more with its wealth than squander it on a failing empire.

      Not quite sure why this article is reprinted here. I'm deeply curious as to what Professor Cole's position on Mr Williams' patriotic militarism.

  • Grand Alliance against ISIL: Can Putin come in from the Cold?
    • This is perhaps the trashiest article I've ever seen published here, Professor Cole. Anders Aslund has made a career out of Russophobic statements. He's no more an unbiased observer of Russia than that overfed moron Karl Rove would be of US politics. Russia has done almost nothing in the Ukraine for the last year apart for call for the Minsk Protocol I and now II to be implemented. The Ukraine switched trade groups exchanging Eurasian privileges for European promises. They've made their bed and should lie in it.

      On top of that, this November the Ukraine unilaterally cut off all air traffic between Russian and the Ukraine, while at the same time reneging on a $3 billion state debt, demanding more gas concessions, cutting off water to Crimea, etc, etc. How does this equate to Russian aggression?

      Now that the Ukraine is part of Europe, Europe will learn what it's like to put up with a really high maintenance, cheating girlfriend who isn't prepared to work and sends you all her credit card bills.

  • From Beirut, this is Paris: in a world that doesn’t care about Arab lives
    • Hi Dorothy,

      Please do an objective survey of the amount of coverage Paris got and its tone against:

      1. the coverage the blown up Russian airline (full of families on vacation) received (lots of coverage but mostly schadenfreude, including from the US Secretary of Defence.
      2. the coverage Lebanon received (almost none).

      In any case, Juan didn't write this article but Elie Fares. Bravo to him for publishing it.

      We owe ourselves a great deal of soul seeking why we consider some human lives and some races/nationalities worthy of compassion and others not.

  • Ban real-life Terminator Robots! So say Hawking, Wozniak, Musk, Chomsky
    • Yes, imagine the havoc which will reign when some of these combat robots get taken over by hostile forces or by false flag insiders. Happy days ahead. Combat robots may be a worse advance than nuclear weapons.

      Has no-one in politics seen the Terminator films?

  • Obama: No Mideast NATO, but US committed to Security of Arab Gulf States
  • Palestinians welcome Pope's Recognition of their State
    • Recognising Palestine is a great first step.

      You are right though the Catholic church could do a lot to interpret the meaning of the Old Testament in terms of modern politics. Ironically most of these Palestinians Christians and Muslims have far more Hebrew blood in them than the Ashkenazi interlopers like B. Netanyahu (not to even mention Moldavian-born A. Lieberman) trying to run them out of town.

      Hopefully Pope Francis has a good life insurance policy: he's just painted a target on himself. To be a good and just man has never been an easy role.

  • Netanyahu slips, Reveals reason for Opposition to Iran Deal
    • Hey Tom,

      In what ways are the current Syrian government worse than the current Israeli regime?

  • Putin on the Nile: an Isolated Russia Seeks friends in Egypt w/ offer of Nuclear Plant
    • I'm glad you are covering this important story, Professor Cole. Still some of the rhetoric surprises me. You wrote:

      "the desire of Russia to find new friends at a time its Ukraine policy has made it a pariah in Europe"

      I'm astonished. This is the language of mass media: Putin = pariah. Second, it isn't even true. Ex-French President Sarkozy recently emphasised France/Europe is a "part of a common civilization with Russia" (in distinction from the US). Sarkozy also said "Crimea can't be blamed for choosing Russia." Current French President François Hollande has suggested several times lifting sanctions on Russia: "The sanctions must stop now". In gratitude, it appears a false flag attack on the Charlie Hebdo was orchestrated (part of the new Operation Gladio). Its close proximity after the French vote in favour of Palestinian statehood on the UN Security Council is more than suspicious. To follow cui buono reasoning, that attack would have been a CIA/Mossad joint operation.

      On the German side, Chancellor Merkel has said weapons must not be shipped to Ukraine and German foreign minister has spoken out against sanctions repeatedly. Greece, Hungary, Austria and Czech Republic are all against further sanctions and even continuing the current sanctions (only just strong-armed into agreeing to continue the current ones).

      I'm physically located in Central Europe. Despite the incessant war mongering of the international (read American/Anglo) media and their local agents, there is a great sympathy for the Russians and their President Putin. The closest thing to pariah around here are the would-be nazis in the Ukraine who have seized power. Your mileage may vary in Poland and Lithuania, but those two countries have been nipping at Russia's heels since the thirteenth century. To suggest Polish-Lithuanian views represent the bulk of Europe would be a deliberate misrepresentation.

      To blindly parrot falsehoods and rhetoric from the mass media does not enhance the credibility of any independent voices. Not even yours.

      Hopefully Egypt won't suffer one of the same unfortunate accidents as France did after diverging from Imperial policies.

  • Why Can Europe have Climate Targets but not the US? Corruption
    • What thuggish behaviour concerning natural gas on the part of President Putin?

      Thuggish behaviour like expecting payment? The Ukraine owes €5 billion to Russia past due on natural gas. In addition, the Ukraine - in the middle of genocidal bloodletting of its large Russian minority - is demanding preferential pricing (about half of what Europe pays). In the middle of this Russia and President Putin are trying to build South Stream to be able to supply Europe reliably. Russia is doing everything to be a reliable partner to Europe, while the US is working to send Europe and Russia into depression by disrupting trade ties - even at the expense of a major war in Europe and possible nuclear apocalypse.

      Thuggish behaviour indeed but not on the part of President Putin or Russia but rather the United States. I'm surprised to see you of all commentators falling directly into the trap of this modern day Operation Mockingbird.

      While European politics are marginally less corrupt and less beholden to corporations but the US State Department is doing everything its can best to remedy this. I implore you not to abet them in this mission.

  • Would a US/ NATO war in Syria be Legal in International Law?
    • Tartus is not that important now, while most ports are open to Russian ships. In the new cold (warm) war, the neocons are ratcheting up through NATO, friendly secure ports may become very important to Russia. It's an extreme example, but the single isolated port of Gibralter was crucial for Britain during the Second World War. Clearly Tartus does not have the same ability to limit transit but it remains Russia's military port on the Mediterranean. As Russia is Europe's largest and most powerful country, their desire to retain their spot beside Europe's swimming pool is understandable.

      The question is what the Americans are doing in the Mediterranean (besides stirring up wars, bombing North Africa's richest country to smithereens, creating millions of refugees).

    • Juan, you wrote:

      It might be interesting to see if US envoy to the UN, Samantha Powers, could get Russia and China to go along with a narrow UNSC authorization for the use of force against ISIL.

      Such a possibility might have existed:

      1. pre-Libya where Dmitry Medvedev's agreed to a no-fly zone and got regime change instead.
      2. pre-Ukraine where the US created an internal coup and put extremist anti-Russian sock puppets (Viktoria Nuland: "Yats is our guy.") in place of the legal elected government before starting an (unsuccessful) crusade against Russia.

      The US has so little political capital left in the world or the UN. The United States are almost as bankrupt politically as they are economically ($17 trillions and sinking).

      Alternative: the US could talk to Assad and coordinate any flights and bombing with his government. Frankly I'm shocked to see you blithely advocating for the violation of Syrian sovereignty.

      I struggle to reconcile your tears for Gaza with your endless clapping for Middle Eastern "regime change". A grander and more abstract voyeurism not so different than Israelis sitting hilltop over Gaza with popcorn at night to "watch the fireworks".

  • Last Chance - Annual Informed Comment Fundraiser
  • Thank You for Your Support
    • Thank you Professor Cole for all your hard work in stormy seas. Delighted to contribute! To a grand 2018 - with a lot more peace and a lot less climate change!

    • Keep up the great work Professor Cole! Thank you for standing up for the Palestinians in the face of institutional oppression.

  • Annual Informed Comment Fundraiser
  • Belize Construction company Destroys Mayan Pyramid in Latest Refutation of Libertarianism
    • So am I to take it you don't care for Libertarianism and Adam Smith, then Professor Juan Cole? Maybe you should go back to Mexico and hang out with the communists, wait the drug cartels, wait the libertarians there.

      On second thought let's send Brad down there. The government wouldn't interfere with him much there. He's just have to fend off his fellow libertarian drug dealers.

      We could even sponsor his bus fare.

  • Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Natural Gas Platform Sinks
    • There are many parties interested in this failure to put sabotage on the table. The homicide squad always start looking for a murderer among those with motivation. And they usually find their wo/man in that group.

      As long as there remains a doubt, there is not much Iran can do. On the other hand, if Iran can prove sabotage it's a pretty big stick with which to beat the aggressor nation in the UN and in public opinion.

      I'm curious.

  • Russia slams Israeli bombing of Syria as Violation of UN Charter
    • What the Israelis have done is an international war crime, effectively launching an unprovoked war of aggression.

      I'm surprised you can so convincingly articulate Russia's concern about the erosion of sovereignty, and then with a single sweept of your arm, wipe all the pieces from the table.

      What the Americans and Israelis are doing is gradually pushing us into a third world war, much as Germany slowly pushed us into a second. Humanity's fatuity and hubris couldn't be imagined if it didn't exist.

  • TSA Commission will Look at Health Effects of Backscatter X-Ray Scanners (Grabell)
    • I work with technology and know how often if fails. Catastrophic failure occurs. When these machines fail, without knowing it dozens or hundreds of passengers could suffer cancer inducing doses.

      That Bush/Cheney created/turned 9/11 into this kind of health risk for their nation shocks me to this day.

      Pat downs only here. Don't visit the UK. Refusing the machines invites a strip search.

      I won't even consider visiting the US until they rejoin the family of civilized nations. I don't see that happening for another twenty years.

  • Iran the Beautiful
    • Such beautiful nature and architecture, Juan. Definitely on my list of places to travel. I imagine Iran is a fairly safe and affordable place to visit as well.


  • Success!
    • Hi Sheila,

      Paypal can be weird about certain credit cards. I've had to ask clients to try alternative cards in this case. Usually the second card has worked if the first has not. Let us know if you continue to experience issues.

      Juan can accept cheques at:

      Professor Juan Cole
      Department of History
      1029 Tisch Hall
      University of Michigan
      Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003

      I'm sorry about the issues you've had. Thank you for your support of Informed Comment!

    • Hi Hamza,

      The best way to see one of the Polo shirts is to donate. The shirts will be great.

      Here is a video about a very similar Polo shirt created by the same design team.

      Making the web work for you, Alec

    • Hi Frank!

      I'm sorry we don't have pictures yet as the shirts will be going into production when we have the sizes. The shirts will be of the highest quality Fruit of the Loom heavy white cotton double sewn, with shirts for women and shirts for men (not unisex). We plan to include both the Informed Comment logo on the left breast and the Informed Comment Persian lion on the left sleeve.

      These will be shirts you could wear to Wimbledon with pride.

      As soon as the first shirts are ready we will be posting a photo of the shirt to all the subscribers. Look out for an email with a request for your size and your shipping address in a couple of weeks, at the end of the fundraiser. If you don't feel you would wear a polo shirt, you are welcome to send yours to a friend as a gift instead.

      Thanks for asking.

      Making the web work for you, Alec

  • A Hot Wet Thousand Years and 10 Green Energy Stories to Avert it
    • Great post, JT. I totally agree about the moral bankruptcy of the whole system (not to mention the species suicidal bent: self-awareness makes us worse than lemmings). Even pre-Western civilization, we did it to ourselves on Easter Island and the Mauris knocked out the Moa (principal food) in New Zealand.

      @ Dan

      I think it's important to recognize the real problem points first and address those. A lot of us worrying about whether we should use our computer or not is not making any difference. Air travel alone is 5% of carbon dioxide emissions. The average passenger car in the US emits 11,450 pounds (5,190 kg) of carbon dioxide per year.

      We have still not started talking about the environmental production costs of those vehicles.

      We don't have to go back to paleo life in order to shepherd the world's resources adequately. But we do have to change our economic "growth" model.

    • Hi Juan,

      Gadgets are not the problem. Automobiles, airplanes and heating are the big issue. You can run your iPod (of course building and transporting them is another issue) and your hifi as much as you like.

      Planned obsolence and excessive global transport of course are gadget issues. Instead of buying a single gadget which run for fifteen years we are supposed to update our gadgets on a cycle of three years. Insanity.

  • Saif admits Qaddafis are Brutal Foreign Occupiers
    • Not sure I'd exactly characterise North Korea as a threat to the region. They are a real nuisance for the South Koreans but no threat to the Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese or Vietnamese.

      Of course if we were stupid enough to provoke them to self-destruction, there's be some nasty bombs exploding over Japan. If someone were to provoke Russia, America, France, Israel, the UK, India, Pakistan - it's the same deal.

      Yet we don't label most of those countries a threat to their region or the world.

    • Dear Professor Cole,

      Your apologism here doesn't hold up in relation to the facts reported above by your readers.

      Here you seem just as much an unrepentant advocate for American exceptionalism as G.W. Bush and Richard Cheney.

      Falluja was a war crime and a massacre.

      What is happening in Misrata while also a violation of the Geneva conventions is a materially less severe one.

    • Hi Professor Cole,

      This is a very important post, pulling off the genteel mask which Saif Qaddafi dons in public.

      Most of the atrocities committed by Saif Qaddafi are not even reported. In Austria in July 2007, a Ukrainian girl "fell" off a balcony at a private party at his residence in Vienna.

      Her death was reported, after Saif fled Austria. Heavy duty lobbyists were engaged to make sure charges were not filed.

      I can't even find this in English language Google. But here's the ORF (Austrian state broadcast report) on Saif Gaddafi and Ukrainian balcony death in Vienna.

      Amazing what money and threats can buy.

  • Should Professors in Public Universities Give up their Email Addresses?
    • I second what SpyGuy68 says. Google for examplel is a very bad choice for sequestering private data. Google retain all email indefinitely. You'd be better off with a company outside of the US with private hosting where deleted email is not retained. Even then you are not secure, but you have a fighting chance.

    • Hi Juan,

      I wouldn't give up your university email anytime soon. And I'd be using an email provider for your personal email who allows you to delete and eliminate past emails (you can download those emails for safe storage).

      If you are using an external email for work-related matters, everything on it becomes fair game for work related searches.

      I.e. you have to at least make a pretense of using your university email for all official and work business.

  • Egyptian Official: Israelis Might be Behind attacks by Sharks, which seem to be Beasts of Prey
    • It's a pity that Israel has earned itself such a bad reputation in Gaza and the West Bank that people would lend credence to such a theory.

      Just last week, Mossad was blowing up Iranian scientists in traffic.

  • Is AIPAC a Wikileaks Operation?
    • Yes, the US should be allowed to do whatever the hell it feels like, unhindered by truth or oversight.

      I'm convinced.

Showing comments 82 - 1