Behold, A Pale Horse: Its Rider Is Named Neocon And Hell Follows Him
Glenn Greenwald finds the implications of the reunion of the Democratic Party with the neoconservatives to be “profound and long-term.” Essentially, it means more expensive wars for Americans who lack health care and pensions, leading to direct military confrontation between the US and Russia and China, which will mean the end of the world. As the Rubio, McCain, Lindsey Graham wing of the Republican Party is also united with the neoconservatives, there is no existing political force, excepting the Bernie Sanders part of the Democratic Party, to counter the neoconservative war agenda.
As Greenwald writes: “Neocons have done far more damage to the U.S., and the world, than any other single group — by a good margin. They were the architects of the invasion of Iraq and the lies that accompanied it, the worldwide torture regime instituted after 9/11, and the general political climate that equated dissent with treason.
“With the full-scale discrediting and collapse of the Bush presidency, these war-loving neocons found themselves marginalized, without any constituency in either party. They were radioactive, confined to speaking at extremist conferences and working with fringe organizations.
“All of that has changed, thanks to the eagerness of Democrats to embrace them, form alliances with them, and thus rehabilitate their reputations and resurrect their power and influence. That leading Democratic Party foreign policy officials are willing to form new Beltway advocacy groups in collaboration with Bill Kristol, Mike Rogers, and Mike Chertoff, join arms with those who caused the invasion of Iraq and tried to launch a bombing campaign against Tehran, has repercussions that will easily survive the Trump presidency.
“Perhaps the most notable fact about the current posture of the establishment wing of the Democratic Party is that one of their favorite, most beloved, and most cited pundits is the same neocon who wrote George W. Bush’s oppressive, bullying and deceitful speeches in 2002 and 2003 about Iraq and the war on terror, and who has churned out some of the most hateful, inflammatory rhetoric over the last decade about Palestinians, immigrants, and Muslims. That Bush propagandist, David Frum, is regularly feted on MSNBC’s liberal programs, has been hired by The Atlantic (where he writes warnings about authoritarianism even though he’s only qualified to write manuals for its implementation), and is treated like a wise and honored statesman by leading Democratic Party organs.”
China did not intrude on India; tensions seem part of the ‘great game’ over Bhutan amid deep Indian disquiet about Beijing’s dealings with Thimphu
A ‘consensus’ was reached at a meeting in New Delhi over the weekend between the government and leaders of India’s opposition parties that the five-week long military standoff with China in the Sikkim region should be resolved peacefully.
The headlines have begun moving away from the topic as if an unseen hand is guiding. The standoff could be inching its way toward denouement.
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‘De-escalation’ is the new mantra. The good part is that the clamor for war with China by hotheads in India does not reflect the official thinking (anymore).
China probably widening road in Doklam
Meanwhile, there is much greater clarity about what really happened on the ground.
First, contrary to what India media claimed, there has been no Chinese ‘intrusion’ on to India’s sacred soil. On the contrary, Indian military moved into Doklam on the China-Bhutan border, which has been under Chinese control all along.
Second, reports projected that a standoff ensued as China started building a road in Doklam. But there is evidence now that a road was already in existence for over a decade at least and China was probably widening it.
Third, India claimed that its intervention was at the request of Bhutan. China disputed the claim. Significantly, after a visit to Thimphu by the spouse of the Chinese ambassador in Delhi and her meeting with the Bhutanese king last week, Beijing maintains that Bhutan did not seek Indian military intervention.
Fourth, and most importantly, China maintains that it is within its sovereign right to build roads in an area under its control. Whereas, Indian reports sensed a ‘mission creep’ with a hidden Chinese agenda to eventually threaten the Siliguri corridor, a hundred kilometers to the south, which connects India’s restive northeast with the hinterland.
However, this ‘threat perception’ appears to be based on an exaggerated notion since the Chumbi Valley in Tibet which leads toward the Indian border itself is a narrow corridor flanked by steep mountains, which India dominates. A former Indian corps commander Lt Gen KJ Singh put it this way:
‘‘Treacherous mountainous jungle terrain and (a) total absence of connectivity limits application of force levels and will reduce it to a slogging crawl. (Any) such offensives need logistic sustenance, (as the) narrow Chumbi valley, dominated on both flanks, with limited deployment spaces and acclimatization challenges is a virtual death trap. While granting credit to (the) Chinese for favorable force ratios, its actual efficacy has to be discounted as force multipliers have severe limitation in application due to weather and terrain.’’
All things taken into account, therefore, the current standoff is not so much about territory as the ‘great game’ over Bhutan.
India has been treating Bhutan as its ‘protectorate’ ever since Great Britain left the subcontinent in 1947. But lately, through the past decade or so, China started nibbling away at Indian influence by working on fault lines that had begun appearing in India-Bhutan relations over time.
India harbors a deep sense of disquiet about China’s direct dealings with Bhutan, especially on border disputes. By the military intervention in Doklam, India has inserted itself as the proverbial elephant in the room. This is one thing.
‘High-stakes’ election in Bhutan next year
Interestingly, the current standoff is playing out in the run-up to a crucial parliamentary election in Bhutan, which is due in mid-2018.
The forthcoming election will be a high stakes affair for New Delhi, which is keen that the present ‘pro-India’ Bhutanese prime minister Tshering Tobgay secures a renewed mandate. (He deposed his ‘pro-China’ predecessor Jigme Thinley in the 2013 election with some Indian manipulation from the back stage.)
To be sure, a calibrated brinkmanship seems to characterize the current standoff – in both Indian and Chinese behavior. Bhutan says nothing much.
Bhutan must be aware of the great game by its two giant neighbors over its strategic autonomy. Sadly, it is caught up in a debt trap. According to the International Monetary Fund, Bhutan’s government debt now stands at 118% of GDP, with India by far the largest creditor, accounting for 64% of Bhutan’s total debt. Of course, much of India’s ‘aid’ effectively promoted project exports to Bhutan by Indian companies.
As a former Indian ambassador and top expert on Himalayan affairs, P Stobdan wrote last week, India’s “colonial-style approach of buying loyalty through economic aid” may not work anymore. Do not be surprised if Bhutan views China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ as the salvation – following Nepal’s footfalls.
If so, it must be the mother of all ironies because India is waging a relentless whispering campaign against the Belt and Road, warning that it leads to ‘debt trap’.
Bhutanese nationalism and resentment of Indian ‘hegemony’, is, no doubt, a strong undercurrent, and Delhi cannot ignore it much longer.
Intervention in neighboring countries to browbeat them is a grotesque foreign-policy legacy left behind by decades of successive Congress Party governments in India. It is an archaic mindset.
On Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought in refreshingly new thinking to India’s policy and a tumultuous relationship (which tragically took the life of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi) steadied almost overnight.
A similar imaginative approach is needed vis-à-vis Bhutan.
79-year-old retired CIA agent, Malcom Howard, has made a series of astonishing claims since being released from hospital in New Jersey on Friday and told he has weeks to live. Mr. Howard claims he was involved in the “controlled demolition” of World Trade Center 7, the third building that was destroyed on 9/11.
Mr. Howard, who worked for the CIA for 36 years as an operative, claims he was tapped by senior CIA agents to work on the project due to his engineering background, and early career in the demolition business.
Trained as a civil engineer, Mr. Howard became an explosives expert after being headhunted by the CIA in early 1980s. Mr. Howard says has extensive experience in planting explosives in items as small as cigarette lighters and as large as “80 floor buildings.”
The 79-year-old New Jersey native says he worked on the CIA operation they dubbed “New Century” between May 1997 and September 2001, during a time he says the CIA “was still taking orders from the top.” Mr. Howard says he was part of a cell of 4 operatives tasked with ensuring the demolition was successful.
Mr. Howard says the World Trade Center 7 operation is unique among his demolitions, as it is the only demolition that “we had to pretend wasn’t a demolition job”. He claims he had no problem going through with the deception at the time, because “when you are a patriot, you don’t question the motivation of the CIA or the White House. You assume the bigger purpose is for a greater good. They pick good, loyal people like me, and it breaks my heart to hear the shit talk.”
But even he admits that now, looking back, “Something wasn’t right.”
“No good has come from this. This isn’t the America we envisioned.”
Explaining how the building was bought down, Mr. Howard says, “It was a classic controlled demolition with explosives. We used super-fine military grade nanothermite composite materials as explosives. The hard part was getting thousands of pounds of explosives, fuses and ignition mechanisms into the building without causing too much concern. But almost every single office in the Building 7 was rented by the CIA, the Secret Service, or the military, which made it easier.”
Mr. Howard explains that WTC 7 was “loaded with explosives in strategic places” in the month leading up to the day that changed the course of American history. On September 11th, while the North and South towers burned, fuses were ignited in World Trade Center 7, and nanothermite explosions hollowed out the building, destroying the steel structure, removing the reinforcements, and allowing the office fires to tear through the rest of the building, hollowing it out like a shell.
World Trade Center 7 collapsed into its own footprint at 5:20pm, seven hours after the destruction of WTC 1 and 2. The building shocked witnesses by coming down at the speed of freefall, indicating that it encountered zero resistance on the way down.
Mr. Howard and his colleagues had done their job.
“When the building came down, it was such a rush. Everything went exactly to plan. It was so smooth. Everybody was evacuated. Nobody was hurt in WTC 7. We were celebrating. We kept watching replays of the demolition, we had the whiskey and cigars out, and then all of a sudden the strangest thing happened. We all started to worry that it looked a bit too smooth. We watched the tape again and again and again and we started to get paranoid. It looked like a controlled demolition. We thought shit, people are going to question this. And then we heard that people from the street were reporting that they heard the explosions during the afternoon. When we were told that the BBC botched their report and announced to the world that the building collapsed 20 minutes before it actually did… At that point we really thought the gig was up.”
According to the official 9/11 report issued by the government, WTC 7 collapsed due to “uncontrolled fires” that were caused by debris that floated over from WTC 1 and 2, which had been hit by passenger planes. If the official narrative was true, WTC 7 would be the first tall building in the world to ever collapse due to uncontrolled fires, and the only steel skyscraper in the world to have collapsed into itself, due to “office fires.”
Mr. Howard and his colleagues feared the public would see through the official narrative and rise up against the government, demanding to be told the truth.
“There were so many loose ends, so much evidence left behind. We thought the public would be all over it. We thought there would be a public uprising that the media couldn’t ignore. They’d be funding investigations and demanding to know why they were being lied to. We thought they’d find chemical composites in the area that would prove Building 7 was blown up.
“We thought there would be a revolution. It would go all the way to the top, to President Bush. He’d be dragged out of the White House.
“But none of that happened. Almost nobody questioned anything. The media shot down anyone who dared question anything they were told.”
Follow the money
Mr. Howard claims he has “no direct knowledge” about the destruction of North and South Towers of the World Trade Center, explaining that “CIA operations are very specific” and that it is common to be working on a larger project while only understanding a small piece of the puzzle.
But he has advice for investigators seeking to understand the entire puzzle and work out who was behind the most devastating attack on American soil in history.
“Follow the money.”
“When you want to find out who is behind something, just follow the money. Look at the trades made just before 9/11. These are the guys that knew what was coming. The sons of CIA agents, government officials. Close relatives of the most powerful men in America. Cheney, Rumsfeld. They all got rich. It wasn’t just the contracts awarded to their friends in the construction business and the wars and the kickbacks.”
“It was insider trading.”
Many countries including Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Monaco launched insider trading investigations in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, believing that if they could prove Al-Qaeda operatives profited on the stock market then they could prove the terror organization was behind the attacks.
Italy’s foreign minister, Antonio Martino, said: “I think that there are terrorist states and organizations behind speculation on the international markets.” German central bank president, Ernst Welteke, said his researchers had found “almost irrefutable proof of insider trading.”
Even CNN reported that regulators were seeing “ever-clearer signs” that someone “manipulated financial markets ahead of the terror attack in the hope of profiting from it.”
Mr. Howard says that a serious study of who profited on the stock market from 9/11 would “tear the heart out of the oligarchy in America.”
“There is only one organization that spans the entire world, and let me tell you now, it isn’t and it never was al-Qaeda.”
It’s the CIA.
“There could never be a real investigation. The entire shadow government, as you call them now, are implicated.”
The 79-year-old, spending his final weeks at home, said he doesn’t expect to be taken into custody following his confession because “then they’d have to go after everyone else. They will just use the media to attack me. They are all on the payroll to suppress everything around 9/11.”