MENA

Abu Hajar

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Published on the Economic Undertow on September 20, 2016

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The United States military’s endless war against everything, everywhere, all the time … is spreading:

The experts agree; the war in in Syria and Iraq is a big one, it has many adversaries, etc. They neglect to mention the war showing up in Raleigh, North Carolina; Tulsa or a suburb of Minneapolis … or in your town. The wars are supposed to remain at a safe distance felt only as pangs of gratification before and during sporting events. Now the dogs are running wild, who will they bite next?

Maybe a better question is how much does it all cost and who’s paying?

Abu Hajaar and the Islamic State Myth

 

Islamic State had an amazing run, if only for its outrageous, mind-torquing audacity. Like a bad LSD trip amped with Jack Daniel’s and crystal meth, ISIS was so idiosyncratically, disgustingly, CRAZY … so embedded at the very center of Warholian pop- slash media culture … it made for Great TV. But, like all other fashions it had its fifteen milliseconds of fame … Poof! There it went!

As for hard evidence of Islamic State’s incapacity; this is all you will ever need:

There is other evidence: Turkey’s entry into northern Syria a few weeks ago was the equivalent to a surrender document: if Islamic State was able to defend its supply lines, it would have done so. Instead, the patron (Turkey) had to scramble to fill the vacuum left by its fleeing agent; an action that speaks for itself.

If you can’t see the connection between Syria, Middle East, Dallas and Baton Rouge you aren’t looking hard enough. War has become ‘business by other means’, one that kills off its clientele. A ‘thug’ in one place is the same as a ‘militant’ in another; what pays is the process of identifying threats then bumping them off. If the ‘threats’ are not inherently dangerous — hapless Negroes in the wrong place at the wrong time or bumbling agents of a Nato ally — so much the better!

What keeps ISIS alive and menacing in the Western mind is the marketing. When intelligence officers, generals, talking heads on your favorite news outlet report ‘the danger of Islamic State’ or an ‘Islamic State Offensive’, Abu Hajaar is who they are talking about, (March, 2016).

Keep in mind, it is in the interest of the Ponzi Pentagon and its partners to inflate the capabilities of ISIS to serve its own interests. Terrorists and threat of attacks are the sole justification for US military intervention in Syria and Iraq. Without Islamic State there is no bombing Islamic State; there is no need for Operation Inherent Resolve, no need for thousands of ‘operators’ (mercenaries) on the ground, no need for bases and their supply requirements and their fleets of contractors; no need to spend billions per day combating a group that for all practical purposes does not pose a threat. If the Islamic State was audacious, so is the fraud that has been erected around it!

Perhaps by way of his lonely and painful death Abu Hajaar offers us all something of value. The US government’s absurdities are revealed. Sadly, citizens are too entangled in the non-stop media crossfire to recognize the fraud for what it is, they can’t grasp it or they don’t want to; the marketing is too comforting.

The Islamic State is still dangerous … but only within the capacities of the individuals associated with the group. The ‘Monkey-Piano’ hypothesis suggests given enough time a roomful of monkeys with pianos will produce the complete works of Shostakovitch. Give the same monkeys much less time and a roomful of Kalashnikovs, they will kill everything downrange including themselves, yet the United States military is not going to go to war against monkeys!

Turkey’s Number One Plan

 

By the end of 2011, the Pentagon had been ‘invited out’ of Iraq, it was hunting for opportunities to expand its presence in the region. The great wave of social change set into motion by the US invasions eight years prior was breaking across the Arab world, taking the form of a generalized uprising against the status quo. The wave had already broken over Syria; demonstrations against the Bashar Assad government had morphed into vicious street fighting and a divide in the country. The government was able to control- or contest the heavily populated western half of the country from Latakia on the Turkish border to Jordan in the south, the lightly populated east was left to fend for itself.

Arrayed against Assad and his army was a grab-bag of revolutionary militias operating as the Free Syrian Army. Some groups were comprised of disaffected civilians able to arm themselves and organize. Others were recent defectors from the Syrian army. Assad had emptied his prisons of criminals so as to refill them with political enemies. Many of those released had military experience or were Islamic extremists, they signed up with the FSA. Assad would later point to these individuals as the terrorists he was fighting against … begging for aid while holding himself up as a defender of Western civilized values at the same time.

The distress in Syria offered possibilities for the US partnership that included Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The Arabs were intent on using the disturbances elsewhere to deflect or short-circuit their own malcontents. Ankara’s dilemma revolved around the country’s lack of domestic petroleum resources. Turkish motorists were burning through two hundred fifty million barrels of imported oil per year, paid for with borrowed euros and dollars. The result was increasing pressure on the economy and the lira. Turkey could look toward Greece to see what happens when those funds had to be repaid; to Argentina to see what happens when they were not. Turkey had the region’s most powerful military, it could invade its neighbors easily, winning afterward was hard. Dictator-in-waiting Tayyip Recep Erdogan and his generals could look to the US mis-adventure in Iraq and see the difficulty in making off with another country’s resources.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf neighbors were looking for advantage vs. Iran over market access for their petroleum. This contest had evolved over time into a proxy war that occasionally boiled over. The US didn’t mind, instability is one of its top exports. Resources lurking underground might indeed be hard to steal but grabbing consumption was child’s play. Consumption was a complex, above-ground undertaking with many dependencies including the need for (expert) management, complex infrastructure and hard currency loans. A wrench in the right spot would strip the gears, a pin would pop the balloon. Whatever could not be consumed in a ‘Brand X’ country would be available to Americans; even if a producer like Libya or Iraq could not use its own oil it would still export. As Sherlock Holmes would say, “The game’s afoot”.

The game plan for Syria was simple, the Assad government was vulnerable, poke at it until it deflated, death by a thousand pins. ‘Why’ did not matter: Assad’s demise would be rationalized afterward. The Turks would provide a base from which anti-Assad rebels would operate. They would be armed, organized and given necessary training … Arms would come from the US by way of the Saudis or from Libyan arsenals captured after the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi, Hillary Clinton’s war. Materiel would be shipped directly from Saudi stockpiles, Libyan supplies would reach the rebels by way of CIA ‘ratlines’ from Benghazi. Turkey would become the conduit for Islamic militants heeding the call for jihad that were flooding into Syria from around the world. The model was the brushfire intifada waged against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan during the 1980s by CIA- supported Islamic mujaheddin, Charlie Wilson’s war.

The US’ role was to provide funds and would coordinate between partners, it would offer training to militants where appropriate. The Special Operations trainers were the camel’s nose inside the tent, the rest of the camel would come later: aircraft and bases, advisors, the ground troops all at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. Besides being a conduit for arms, Saudis would provide funding and ‘volunteers’; the Qataris would offer ‘public relations’ (propaganda services). The Turks would hold the bag; if anything went wrong they would get the blame.

Turkey’s aim was to create a de facto Turkish protectorate; a New Ottoman Empire that would reach into Iraq with its billions of barrels of proven oil reserves. Enough success and the Shia Muslim/ Iranian protectorate at the south of Iraq would be undone. Unlike the Americans, Turkey would not have to conquer anyone or steal anything, Ankara would heed the call to rescue the victims of its own subordinates’ aggression. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies would gain influence in a territory from which they had long since been excluded. All these advantages would be at the expense of Iran.

The strategy was simple to implement and began well but defects soon emerged. Assad was no fool, his father Hafez was an old-school Soviet-style tyrant who, when confronted, hammered his adversaries without mercy. Timid son Bashar clearly paid attention in class. He short-circuited the Syria succession regime leaving his Alawite- and moderate Shia constituents without palatable alternatives. It was to be Assad or nothing, there would be no Lady Macbeths or Colonel Gaddafis waiting in the wings for the leader to fail. Assad sanctioned genocide, giving his officers freedom to commit whatever atrocities and excesses they would. This bound the officers to Assad, each becoming complicit in the others’ crimes. If Assad failed or the army, both would fall. Atrocities provided Assad with leverage over civilians whose loyalty might waver: he could massacre his foes (stick) or he could call off his own dogs (carrot). He also bellied up to his Iranian allies who had a large investment in the Syrian project and much to lose from an Assad defeat. The Iranians offered supplies and funds.

The anti-Assad rebels also had a distressing tendency to fight among themselves rather than attack Assad. This made sense; even with training and logistical support the rebels were no match for the Syrian army. When the rebels attacked with rockets and machine guns, the army responded with artillery, aircraft and tanks. The inexperienced civilian-rebels were soon wiped out and their units disbanded. The ex-army defectors either died, fled the country or flipped to more competent organizations. Successful units tended to congeal around Islamic militants who had experience in urban combat; soon enough the jihadis became dominant among the rebels. Yet, jihadi success tended to work against the rebels’ aims. Instead of encouraging the Syrians to distance themselves from Assad, the jihadis drove the two together out of desperation. The more effective the militants were on the battlefield, the stronger Assad became. The jihadis could win battles but they scared the horses.

Encounters tended to be grinding affairs with both sides suffering heavy casualties; operational expenses were an increasing burden as manpower losses could not be easily made up. Assad would take a town or a neighborhood with armor but could not hold it because he lacked the ground forces. As the casualties mounted morale was slipping. The Syrians on the rebel side would fight until they felt compelled return to their families. If the families left the country — and millions ultimately would, the fighters left too. This left rebel forces made up increasingly of foreigners, which had the effect of driving more support to the government.

Eventually, Assad’s losses forced him to request reinforcements from Iran and Hezbollah. This resulted in loss of support for his side and more defections. There were splits within Assad’s army whose soldiers resented control by Iran. The nature of the fighting presented a problem with the foreign fighters on both sides; engagements were intense but confined to towns and neighborhoods. The foreigners did not know the ground, before they could learn they were killed. On the rebel side, success fell toward the groups with a mix of locals who knew the territory and veteran jihadis who were the best fighters. This offered a problem of its own: larger attacks by the rebel side were out of the question because the different groups and fighters couldn’t or wouldn’t work together. The Assad side felt the same problem in reverse: the targets the rebels presented to were too dispersed for his army to assault all at once, this left him to bomb residential areas with the hope of killing one or two fighters. This induced more Syrians to leave the country shrinking the manpower pool.

Ironically, the drain upon Assad’s ‘human resources’ dramatically increased with Russian assistance in September, 2015. The Russians brought airplanes and missiles but few ground troops. Russian air support began to dictate the tempo of offensives by the Syrian army and its allies … increasing Syrian army losses. The Syrian government and its supporters found themselves trapped by Assad’s expedients; his need to fight and to not-fight at the same time. In order to win he had to use up his army, he needed to hold back in order to save it. Assad’s dilemma was the same as the rebels’ earlier: the more effective the Russians were on the battlefield, the weaker Assad became because of the human toll.

Meanwhile, blowback was increasing in the West, the US was increasingly collaborating with unsavory actors, including militants affiliated with al-Qaeda. Questions were being raised in Washington. The US president was handed an opportunity to intervene directly in the Fall of 2013 after several hundred Syrian civilians were killed in a poison gas attack. The war-hawks in the administration were calling for a no-fly zone like the one that had undone Gaddafi. The US public reaction was strongly negative; after ten years of fruitless war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ongoing debacle in Libya, the citizens were opposed to more military adventures; there were no vital US interests at stake in Syria. The only benefits of a US action would fall to groups the US had pledged to destroy.

There was another factor, something that became clear when Islamic State emerged into public consciousness in the Summer of 2014: A large, general war across the Middle East was unlikely because none of the nations including the US could afford to fight one. Marginal oil production would be cut and the resulting finance crisis would cripple everyone. This established an upper bound on the level of ‘investment’ the dictators and plutocrats could make in twerking their rivals. Within limits the wars could go on, they could morph and congeal, burn out in one place or flare up in others, but exceed those bounds … Poof! Everyone would be living in caves!

Allahu Akbar Motherf**ker!

Anyone with access to a TV knows what happened in June of 2014: the group that had been booted out of al-Qaeda for being too violent erupted like a chest-bursting alien from the scrublands of eastern Syria to overran Mosul and a dozen other cities and towns across northern Iraq. Over the course of a few days the entire Iraqi defense/security establishment, a $35 billion dollar Pentagon (mal)investment … bases, generals, tanks, helicopters, prisons, Humvees, golf courses and officers’ clubs; 300,000 so-called ‘soldiers’ … Poof! You know the rest!

Immediately there was a jarring disconnect: the gap between the mission and those who were tasked with carrying it out. The last time an Arab army mounted a successful large-scale offensive without outside leadership was during the Middle Ages. The needed talent and command infrastructure simply didn’t exist. Abysmal leadership on both sides has been- and still is a number-one reason for the stalemate in Syria. One had only to look to the wasteful sieges across the region to see how governments and militias planned- and carried out operations. Thousands of lives were wasted every month to wrestle control over a few blocks or neighborhoods, with entire cities such as Homs reduced to deserts of concrete rubble.

It isn’t just Islamic State ineptitude:

The Hezbollah commander sent his soldiers out to die. There was no objective they might reasonably capture, or even a way to return fire. By the end of the operation the Hezbollah unit lost its fighters, its vehicles and its base of operations, no doubt purchased with many more lives: Abu Hajaar all over again!

Every day dozens of similar pointless operations take place all across Syria, with the same depressing outcomes. The leaders don’t care and don’t know any better, repeating the same failed processes over and over hoping to wear down the other side(s) by attrition.

In single party states such as Syria and Iraq (Iran and Saudi Arabia), effective military commanders are seen as internal threats, they are rarely given opportunities to succeed. Officer ranks are filled with dull, self-serving careerists chasing comfortable sinecures. The ex-Saddam loyalists identified as Islamic State commanders leading the blitz across northern Iraq were pliant yes-men with highly developed survival instincts which was why they had their jobs in the first place. These individuals were never military geniuses, they were experts at running away. That was why they lasted long enough to become involved with ISIS. When given the opportunity, these commanders shoveled their best fighters into the furnace of Kobani, another futile siege. When the Kurds finally gained control over the city, ISIS was left with a disorganized mob of Abu Hajaars and some snuff video producers. The rest had been sacrificed.

Inept leadership is why Islamic State has been death’s door ever since (February, 2015). The fighters in every group including ISIS flip over from other groups; they don’t arrive from outer space. At the beginning, ISIS offered the possibility of a quick victory and large gains; fighters from across Syria and northern Iraq were eager to join. After the Kobani debacle, the group offered the certainty of being thrown away for nothing or a date with the hangman. Like the rest, the group cannot make up its losses.

The US has similar faults, its command is riddled with uninspiring ‘company men’; experts whose corrupt relationships with the defense industry leaves what (little) remains of the institution’s integrity compromised. None possess a longer term vision or sense of mission. The United States military hasn’t won a war since 1945 and it is certain nobody alive today remembers how …

The conclusions that can be drawn are much different from those of the experts: The war is a product of the United States and its unscrupulous, self-interested and largely incompetent partners. It is a proxy contest between petro-states Iran and Saudi Arabia, which the US encouraged. There was nothing resembling real plan, instead, the US relies on dangerously unstable proxies who are more of an enemy than Assad. A grievous error was underestimating the Syrian dictator and his capabilities. The assumption was he would be killed by his own like Gaddafi or would flee Damascus leaving the country to the Turks or pro-Western proxies. He instead chose to slug it out, something the 1,271 government intelligence offices, agencies, bureaus including the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) as well as the 1,931 private contractors … never detected.

Assad was unlikable but not an adversary of the US or the West. For all of Assad’s faults, his regime is the legitimate government of Syria: it has never attacked the United States. The last Syrian war against a Western ally was vs. Israel in 1973. There is no justification for the West’s brutal mugging of the Syrian citizens.

PART ONE: It Only Gets Worse

PART TWO: Abu Hajaar

PART THREE: Sharia For Sale

The Dimming Bulb 2: Peak Electricity

City Lights 2012 - Flat mapgc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on October 18, 2015

City Lights 2012 - Flat mapComposite Night Image of the Earth taken by the NASA Suomi NPP Satellite in April-October 2012

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LAST CHANCE TO TAKE THE ENERGY SURVEY BEFORE THE COUNT!

A few days ago, doing my usual Web Surfing for Collapse articles to link to on the Diner and our new r/globalcollapse Reddit sub, I ran into an article on the Greanville Post titled WHAT IS EUROPE. CONTINENT OR PENINSULA?

europe-map-of-europe-nightlights-satellite-woodleywonderworksThe article featured as its Header Pic a NASA image of Europe taken at night from Space.  The image is actually just a crop of the much larger composite night time map of the world assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite from April through October 2012, which I reduced in size and heads this article.   The full size pic in all its glory can be accessed by hitting the link under the header photo to the NASA website.

What that article was meant to show was how Europe really isn't a "Continent", although it is defined as such in most of your Geography Textbooks, but really just a Peninsula of the much larger Eurasian land mass.  However, that is not what really struck me when I looked at the Header Pic, what struck me was the vast difference between the Brightness of the Eurozone versus the Darkness of the African continent below, at least the portion of it visible in that cropping.  Africa is the "Dark Continent" in more ways than one here.

During the middle of the 19th century, Africa was referred to as the "Dark Continent," because little was known about the mysterious land itself. The term "Dark Continent" was most likely used for the first time by United States explorer and journalist Henry Stanley.

Obviously, with that thin band of lights on the Northern end of Africa, it's pretty obvious they're burning a whole lot less energy there than is going on nightly on the European Peninsula.  Although most often conversation amongst Energy Kollapsniks TM revolves around the availability of Liquid Fossil Fuels for powering the transportation systems we use, in reality it is the Electricity that defines the culture and lifestyle of Homo Industrialis.  When you look at the whole Map of the Globe lit up like a Suburban McMansion at Christmas, you can actually track the progression of Industrialization; you can see why the countries that are in control of Industrial culture are who they are and why everybody else out there is not particularly happy these days.  I have discussed this aspect of Industrial Civilization and Electricity before in The Dimming Bulb, in this installment I want to look at it from the Historical and Geopolitical perspectives.

You can easily tell where the Industrial lifestyle began, and you can trace it's march around the Globe as well.  The Brightness of the lighting tells the whole story if you know just a little history, and it tells you a lot about where things are going in the future too.  Before we go Back to the Future though, let's do a little review of how this all got started.

Practical application of Electricity began in the mid 1800s, and by the late 1800s the frst central power stations came online in Jolly Old England and in the Northeast of the FSoA.

Central power stations and isolated systems

The first central station providing public power is believed to be one at Godalming, Surrey, U.K. autumn 1881. The system was proposed after the town failed to reach an agreement on the rate charged by the gas company, so the town council decided to use electricity. The system lit up arc lamps on the main streets and incandescent lamps on a few side streets with hydroelectric power. By 1882 between 8 and 10 households were connected, with a total of 57 lights. The system was not a commercial success and the town reverted to gas.[16]

The first large scale central distribution supply plant was opened at Holborn Viaduct in London in 1882[17] Equipped with 1000 incandescent lightbulbs that replaced the older gas lighting, the station lit up Holborn Circus including the offices of the General Post Office and the famous City Temple church. The supply was a direct current at 110V; due to power loss in the copper wires, this amounted to 100V for the customer.

Within weeks, a parliamentary committee recommended passage of the landmark 1882 Electric Lighting Act, which allowed the licensing of persons, companies or local authorities to supply electricity for any public or private purposes.

The first large scale central power station in America was Edison's Pearl Street Station in New York, which began operating in September, 1882. The station had six 200 horsepower Edison dynamos, each powered by a separate steam engine. It was located in a business and commercial district and supplied 110 volt direct current to 85 customers with 400 lamps. By 1884 Pearl Street was supplying 508 customers with 10,164 lamps.[18]

By the mid-1880s, other electric companies were establishing central power stations and distributing electricity, including Crompton & Co. and the Swan Electric Light Company in the UK, Thomson-Houston Electric Company and Westinghouse in the US and Siemens in Germany. By 1890 there were 1000 central stations in operation.[7] The 1902 census listed 3,620 central stations. By 1925 half of power was provided by central stations.[19]

City Lights 2012 - Flat map Lights UK April-October 2012

City Lights 2012 - Flat mapLights NE USA April-October 2012


The wiring spread outward from there, and India got wired up pretty well.

City Lights 2012 - Flat mapIndia Lights April-October 2012

South America a bit less wired.

south-america-space-nightLights South America April-October 2012

Africa barely got wired at all.

Africa_Space_NightLights Africa April-October 2012

So how come India got wired up but Africa did not?  Ask yourself who was running the show in India in the 1800s?  It was the main colony of the declining British Empire, the one the Sun Never Set On because they were running all those new Lightbulbs!  LOL.  The Brits were not at the time in charge of Africa, really nobody was far as Westerners were concerned, that's why it got called the Dark Continent, besides the fact it was populated by dark skinned natives.

As time went by into the early 1900s, a couple of other places got decently wired up, Japan & China.

City Lights 2012 - Flat mapLights China & Japan April-October 2012

In the mid to late 1800s, the Anglo-Amerikan Industrial Empire was in an Expansionary Phase, and the Gunboats of Cmdr. Matthew Perry "opened" Japan forcibly in the 1850s to join the expanding Industrial Empire, as I covered some time back in the Mr. Peabody Visits Japan article. Still in the Coal fired period at this time, the Gunboats weren't using Oil yet.  The Brits were bizzy trying to make China the same kind of colony that India was, but unfortunately had some Boxers willing to fight them on this.

By the end of the 19th century, the Western powers and Japan had forced China’s ruling Qing dynasty to accept wide foreign control over the country’s economic affairs. In the Opium Wars (1839-42, 1856-60), popular rebellions and the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95), China had fought to resist the foreigners, but it lacked a modernized military and suffered millions of casualties.

The Chinese weren't happy Kowtowing to the Japanese, and the Japanese weren't happy Kowtowing to the Gaijin Imperialists either, so everybody got in a big ass fight over this eventually.  The fight was called WWII, which got ended with this:

https://awesometalks.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/ng30.jpg

The Nips were outclassed with Industrial Killing and their well wired Island was turned into an Industrial Factory for Carz and Electronic toys, starting with Transistor Radios moving through Walkmans up to the latest in Smartphones, though of course in recent years have had serious competition on this stuff from the other slaves on the Asian Continent from Korea to Thailand to China.

However, at this point in the post-WWII years the further Wiring of the World began to slow, if not come to a complete halt.  With the Victory over Japan and Germany, why was further electrification of Africa and South America not undertaken?  SA is a little more wired than Africa, but not by much.

south-america-space-nightLights South America April-October 2012

As with most places that have been wired up post WWII, it's mostly along the coastline not much going into the interior.  There are a few reasons for this.

First one is that by and large, most population centers and Big Shities lie along the coastlines.  Reasons for this?

1- It's easiest to do trade with many places via boats.  You can put a lot of cargo on a boat and move it around the world over the oceans without using a whole heck of a lot of energy to do it.  In fact in the Sailing Era, that energy was all Renewable.

http://www.portmellon.net/uploads/1/0/0/7/10078822/5846457_orig.jpg

Even in the modern Container Ship era utilizing Fossil Fuels, this is relatively low energy consumption.  The ships can run on "Bunker Fuel", which is basically unrefined Oil.

http://www.transinfo.am/img/services/big/1392130262-7142.jpeg

2- Coastline areas are usually pretty flat land condusive to large scale Agriculture.  The fresh water flows down from higher elevations to these neighborhoods, so you have a continuous source of water if you are at the mouth of a decent size river, long as nobody upstream is using it all or contaminating it.  New York Shity at the terminus of the Hudson River or London at the terminus of the Thames river are typical examples of this.

http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/kits/estuaries/media/est01c_600.jpg

http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/14/78514-004-9E98EDAD.jpg

3- It's relatively EZ to get rid of all your WASTE if you are right on the coast.  The Sewage goes into the Big Sink of the Ocean.

https://www.sydneywater.com.au/Publications/Reports/AnnualReport/2007/images/WollongongSTP_above.jpg

Woolongong Sewage Treatment Plant in Oz

So the vast increase in global population since the Industrial Era began has occurred mostly at the coastlines, which of course is not Good Newz with Sea Level rising.  Just ask Miami.

http://www.rsmas.miami.edu/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/miami-flooding.jpg

For the most part, the Build Out phase stopped in the early 1970s at the latest, and the last 40 years has been all about continuing to bring in the necessary energy to all the places already built out to keep running them.  In some of the older industrial Big Shities like Detroit, that has already failed/collapsed.

http://opencityprojects.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/7499108236_7fd417857d_c.jpg

So your next question is just how does all the energy flow INTO the places it still goes to?  This is a pipeline and transport question mainly, although there are many geopolitical conseqences of trying to take energy stores from one location and move them to another one.  Let's look at the current pipeline networks for Oil and NG in North Amerika and Eurotrashland.

http://www.refinerlink.com/userfiles/RL%20MAD%20Pipeline%20Map.jpg

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YDdCkW9AqmY/UT31FYeVCDI/AAAAAAAABdc/1239kdVouUc/s1600/pipeline+accidents+final+animation1-2.gif


As you can see the greatest density of pipeline networks is in the TX/LA/OK neighborhood, and then filtering up from there to the North East and Upper Midwest.  This of course because in the early days, all the BIG FINDS of EZ to extract low EROEI oil in the FSoA came in these locations, and then that oil needed transport to the Industrial centers of the Midwest and to the Northeast trading ports with Europe.

As the amount of oil that could be extracted at a cheap price inside FSoA borders began to decline, those same networks were used to ship around Oil accessed/stolen from other big repositories on earth, most notably Saudi Arabia of course.  The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) was built to be able to offload oil from VLCCs (Very Large Crude Carriers), more commonly referred to as Super Tankers.

http://wwwsp.dotd.la.gov/Inside_LaDOTD/Divisions/Multimodal/LOOP/Loop%20Images/clove.gifhttp://wwwsp.dotd.la.gov/Inside_LaDOTD/Divisions/Multimodal/LOOP/Loop%20Images/loop.gif

A few more large pipelines were built as time went by to move the oil out of the ground to the places that were burning it, most notably the Alaska Pipeline:

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) includes the trans-Alaska crude-oil pipeline, 12 pump stations, several hundred miles of feeder pipelines, and the Valdez Marine Terminal. TAPS is one of the world's largest pipeline systems. It is commonly called the Alaska pipeline, trans-Alaska pipeline, or Alyeska pipeline, (or the pipeline as referred to in Alaska), but those terms technically apply only to the 800 miles (1,287 km) of the pipeline with the diameter of 48 inches (122 cm) that conveys oil from Prudhoe Bay, to Valdez, Alaska. The crude oil pipeline is privately owned by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.

The pipeline was built between 1974 and 1977 after the 1973 oil crisis caused a sharp rise in oil prices in the United States. This rise made exploration of the Prudhoe Bay oil field economically feasible. Environmental, legal, and political debates followed the discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay in 1968, and the pipeline was built only after the oil crisis provoked the passage of legislation designed to remove legal challenges to the project.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/36/Trans_alaska_international.jpg

http://assets.enuygun.com/media/lib/750x525/uploads/image/2880.jpeg

As the Wiki article indicates, it only became economical to build this behemoth of a pipeline after the Arab Oil embargo of the 1970s drove up the price of Oil.  Lately there has been talk about building a natural gas (NG) pipeline out of there, either going across into Canada to join up with the current system of NG pipelines down there, or along the same route as the Oil pipeline down through Alaska, to be shipped out by liquifying the gas and dropping it onto specialized Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) ships, for sale then to the Japanese and Chinese slaves.

The problem with either of these pipelines being built is that the price you can get for NG doesn't justify the CapEx for building it.  You'll never even pay off building the pipeline, much less make a profit off of it at the current prices.  You would have to bet the price the consumer will pay for it will rise substantially, but how can that happen with fewer people working all the time at ever downward spiralling wages?  So both projects have stalled, although the Alaska Goobernator is still pushing for it because something is necessary to keep the economy running around here as the Oil in the Prudhoe Bay fields depletes and gets lower prices all the time.  He's got a huge hole in the state budget these days, and things are getting desperate down in Juneau.

Stalling also is the drive for further Oil exploration either in the Arctic Ocean or the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).  Shell Oil recently stopped their exploration there after sinking around $9B into that White Elephant, and this week Da Goobermint decided not to offer up any leases for the oil companies to even bid on.  Why not?  Because they will get the same result that the Brazilians got a couple of weeks ago when they offered up leases for sale in the supposed Giant Oil Reservoirs in Deep Water off their shores.  They got no bidders practically speaking.  Same as the NG pipeline for Alaska, with the price of Oil as low as it is, the CapEx involved in accessing and drilling up this Oil is huge, and you can't pay it off at the prices the consumers of the oil can afford to pay.  Although Environmentalists are gladdened by this decision and hope some Polar Bears will be saved, this decision has nothing to do with Environmental consciousness on the part of Da Goobermint or the Oil Companies.  It's strictly an economic decision.

Now let's move over to Europe, where you see a similar history and similar economic issues as far as continuing to move the Oil from under the ground where it still remains to the places that have been burning it since Oil replaced Coal as the main energy driver for their industrial economy.  First, let's look at the Pipeline Maps for Europe:

http://static1.squarespace.com/static/546f7732e4b095d2722abd0f/t/5499bde8e4b0439c6133934f/1419361773962/?format=750w

http://www.mappery.com/maps/Proposed-European-Crude-Oil-Pipelines-Map.mediumthumb.gif

As you can see, similar to the build out of Oil Pipelines in North America from where the Oil was found down in TX and OK to where it was burned in places like Detroit and Cleveland in the early part of the 20th Century, pipelines were built to take Oil from where it was found in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and bring it to the Industrial Factories  where it was being burned, primarily in Britain and Germany in the early 20th Century.  While the Boxers were fighting in China, you had a similar battle going on in Europe over who would get to control the Oil coming from MENA, and the first big battle was fought for this, that was WWI.

http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/n3mzmahboqu4lhmtgqkp.jpg

The Brits won this war against the Krauts, with the assistance of their then still flush with oil former colony of the Amurkans.  They carved up MENA into a bunch of random countries from the old Ottoman Empire with the Sykes-Picot Agreement to insure the flow of energy would come their way after the war.

The Sykes–Picot Agreement, officially known as the Asia Minor Agreement, was a secret agreement between the governments of the United Kingdom and France,[1] with the assent of Russia, defining their proposed spheres of influence and control in the Middle East should the Triple Entente succeed in defeating the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The negotiation of the treaty occurred between November 1915 and March 1916.[2] The agreement was concluded on 16 May 1916.[3]

The agreement effectively divided the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire outside the Arabian peninsula into areas of future British and French control or influence.[4] An "international administration" was proposed for Palestine.[5] The terms were negotiated by the French diplomat François Georges-Picot and Briton Sir Mark Sykes. The Russian Tsarist government was a minor party to the Sykes–Picot agreement, and when, following the Russian Revolution of October 1917, the Bolsheviks exposed the agreement, "the British were embarrassed, the Arabs dismayed and the Turks delighted."[6]

As you can see here, even prior to WWII and the Holocaust, there was an "agreement" about Palestine, later to become Israel.  Essentially, Israel was designed to be the Military Base from which to maintain control over all of MENA Oil assets.  Endless Military Aid has been furnished to the Israelis since WWII as a means to maintain this control, and the warfare down there between the Israelis and all the Arab states which surround them has been virtually continuous since WWII.

Despite the ongoing wars down there through the time period, overall the Oil was successfully transported through the pipeline system to the factories in Northern Europe, and even the Krauts who lost both WWI and WWII actually did fine here, since the same banksters financed both sides in the battle and after the war was finished, refinanced rebuilding of all the factories in both Britain and Germany that had been destroyed in the war to begin with!  LOL.

Like North America with the building of the Alaska Pipeline, the Northern Europeans also got a fresh infusion of Juice with the discovery of North Sea Oil, and both Britain and Norway got a big bonus from this over the last 40 years, but this bonanza is starting to run thin now, and there are no new good sources of local Oil to be accessed at anything within a reasonable price range to justify the CapEx.  So the Western European Nations are getting desperate for Oil and NG, and their last, best hope for this is…the RUSKIES!

Mother Russia still has a decent supply of Oil left, not just in the Arctic Ocean but out there in the vast land mass of Siberia too!  What's the problem?  PIPELINES!  Getting the Oil from where it still is in Mother Russia to where the Eurotrash would like to burn it will take extensive construction of new pipelines, which in some cases are even longer than the fucking Alaska Pipeline!  Besides that, the Eurotrash are competing against the Chinese, who would like to have new pipelines for this treasure trove of still remaining Fossil Fuel Energy piped in THEIR direction.  Who if either will the Banksters finance for contstruction of said new pipelines?  Just like Alaska, they won't fund either one of them, because there is no Return on Investment (ROI).  in no place left on Earth is it possible to sell the energy at a price the consumer can afford to pay for it.

Knowing all of this, it is now possible to predict where the Lights will go off first and how the Powerdown off Industrial Civilization will proceed.

You have two Legacy Infrastructure Projects here, built out from the beginning of the 20th Century to move the energy around, the Electrical Grid and the Pipeline Network.  Both systems are decaying, and the ROI for either fixing and maintaining what has already been built or for building new ones simply is not there anymore.  It just costs too much to drag the energy out of the ground and move it over to places where fewer and fewer people all the time can afford to burn it.  The persistent GROWTH necessary to finance such a system has come to a halt now.  The population of Homo Sap across the whole planet has exceeded the capacity of the planet to support that population on an Environmental and Resource level, and so that population must and will contract.  The easily accessed Fossil Fuel Energy that allowed for the exponential growth of this population is now all gone, it exists now as CO2 up in the atmosphere.

The population of Homo Sap will begin its decline first in the Peripheral countries, better known as the "3rd World".  Similarly, the Lights will start going off first in these countries, and the Legacy Pipeline and Electrical Grid systems that deliver the Energy to the 1st World Nations will continue to function a while longer, but become ever more difficult to maintain and to continue to input new Energy to ever more impoverished consumers of the Energy, and they too will then begin to shut down one by one at first perhaps, but at some point the whole system will crash.  This may occur in tandem with or shortly after the crash of the monetary system controlling this distribution of Energy.

The Last Big Shities to still have Lights On from central grid power?  In all probability, Berlin,the City of London and New York Shity on Wall Street, the centers of the Finance that built the whole system to begin with.  When the Lights Go Out on Broadway, you can say that TEOTWAWKI has arrived.  It may take a little while yet, but you can watch the progress inward, you can see it happening in real time.  It's not a conjecture anymore, it's reality.

More Econ & Energy Blogs & Rants off the keyboard & microphone of the Rogue Economist, AKA Reverse Engineer

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The Long Road

gc2smOff the keyboard of Jason Heppenstall

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Published on 22 Billion Energy Slaves on September 10, 2015

Refugees walking northwards towards Sweden along a motorway in Denmark

 

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For the last few days hundreds of Syrian refugees have been trudging northwards up Danish motorways trying to get to Sweden. Right now, in Europe, if you’re a refugee you want to be in either Germany or Sweden as these are the two countries that have the most lenient asylum policies. Basically put, they won’t write a number on your arm, stick you in a detention camp or clobber you with nightsticks.
 
 
Judging by images on the news it’s a surreal sight. Denmark is a land of orderly neatness and happy conformity where the ugly reality of the ‘outside world’ is kept at bay. This is no place for unsightly groups of refugees. Long term readers of 22 Billion Energy Slaves will remember that I used to live in Denmark where I worked as a journalist, and moved to the UK two and a half years ago. Before that I lived in Spain, and before Spain I lived in Denmark again. As an EU passport holder I can flit from country to country and call myself an ‘expat’, and nobody calls me an immigrant or a refugee or an alien. It’s my privilege – I’m one of the lucky ones.
 
But the refugees don’t have any such luck. They drew the short straw of being born in the wold's most unstable region, and now they want to get out of it, even if it means crossing the sea in a leaky dinghy and risking their lives. Most of them don't actually want to be in Denmark. If a bridge could be built that passed right over the country you can bet that it would be filled with Syrians trudging from Germany to Sweden. Basically, they are unwelcome in Denmark. Fetegan Altorek, a 26 year-old Syrian yesterday remarked “It’s obvious to see they [the Danes] don’t like us. They spit on us and fight us.”
 
Perhaps they had not seen the adverts put out by the Danish government in recent weeks telling them they they were not welcome in the World's Happiest Nation (TM).
 
Travellers at the airport receive a different welcome
 
But not all Danes are like that, of course, and some have been stopping to offer lifts to the bridge that separates Denmark from Sweden. However, this is regarded as ‘people-smuggling’ and carries the risk of a three-year prison sentence. Some do it anyway, reminding their forgetful compatriots that Danish citizens once helped Jews flee to Sweden during the Second World War. “At the time we were occupied by the Nazis, but this time we voted them into power,” quipped someone on social media, referring to the current government and the resurgence of the far-left nationalists the Danish People’s Party.
 
Apart from the lure of not being incarcerated or deported, why do so many Syrians want to get to Sweden? To live in peace and join family already there, they say. I had a chance to see some of them doing just that when I went on a walk to a Swedish forest last year. I wrote about it in my book The Path to Odin’s Lake, in a chapter I called The Far Flung People. This is an excerpt, in which I had just emerged from the forest into a small rural town in a bucolic setting, and had found a hotel in which to get some breakfast:
 
 
The girl on duty, presiding over an empty breakfast buffet, was accommodating if a little frosty, although in all probability I did look as if I had been dragged through a hedge backwards. Which was half true. I poured myself a coffee and sipped the sweet black liquid, savouring its restorative effect as I gazed out of a window at the empty streets. By the time I had finished my second refill and also eaten a Danish pastry (also called Vienna bread in Sweden) people in the outside world had begun to wake up and give some life to the town.
But something was odd. One might have expected the people walking the streets in a tiny town in rural Sweden to be, well, Swedish. But almost everyone I saw looked to be from the Middle East. Women wearing headscarves pushed prams, men sat on walls idly fingering worry beads and olive-skinned teenage girls giggled and chatted into their mobile phones. Among them was the occasional obviously Swedish person – an old silver-haired woman here, a blonde boy on a moped there – but the majority were clearly from somewhere else. They were all smart-casual dressed, as if they’d just stepped out of an H&M store. “What’s going on?”, I asked the girl behind the breakfast bar who, in other circumstances, could have been a catwalk model and perhaps was. “Are these people refugees?”
“Yes,” she replied sparsely. “There is a centre here.”
I asked where they had come from. “Mostly Syria, from the war”, she explained. “Some from Somalia.” I thought back to the man I had seen earlier at the lake, about how his eyes had been so wasted. I didn’t think Somalis liked to drink.
“There is nothing for them to do here”, said the girl. “They are not allowed to work, so they just hang around. Some have bad habits.”
I wondered if this was causing problems. Sweden, famously, is the most accommodating country in the world when it comes to taking in refugees. Its liberal policies dating back to the 1960s have been the envy of progressives the world over, and many of the Swedes I had met over the years were justifiably proud of them. But decisions about refugees were made in faraway Stockholm, and such an influx of people from a different country, with a different religion and culture, was bound to cause tension, I thought. The girl seemed to read my mind.
“Some people say there are too many for our town – we are only 800 people but we now have to support 400 refugees.”
“Is this a problem?” I asked.
But the girl just shrugged. “No problem, really”, she said. I tried to ask her more questions but she became tight-lipped, indicating that the matter was closed, so instead I asked her how much it cost to stay the night in the hotel.
 
 
Röstånga in the afternoon wasn’t much different from Röstånga in the morning. The lumber trucks still rolled southwards on the Riksväg 13, the occasional moped or Volvo stopped at the petrol station and the streets were still scattered with bored-looking refugees. They milled around listlessly in small groups; a bunch of pram-pushing women here, a row of men sitting on a wall there. Their presence in this rural Swedish hamlet was incongruous and they seemed like actors in a movie who had turned up on the wrong set. It was as if they were waiting for something to happen, a bus to arrive, or a concert to start.
During half a lifetime of travelling the world I had noticed that in most countries people’s lives are played out in public places. From Madrid to Istanbul, Guatemala City to Mumbai, it is on the streets that social interaction takes place, news is passed on, gossip is blathered, deals are done and emotions are vented. Not so in Scandinavia. The streets here are infrastructure – cold boulevards for the conveyance of people and goods from A to B. Scandinavian life takes place in private behind closed doors, and perhaps that’s why these people seemed out of place.
Passing a few women on the pavement I tried to make eye contact with them. Most blocked me out but one made the briefest of contact before looking quickly away, as if embarrassed. Another group, this time teenage girls, gave me the same response. The groups were always segregated by sex. It was a curious thing, this business of casual greeting. During my perambulations around the forest, I had often come across other walkers. In Britain, nine times out of ten, walkers crossing paths in a forest would greet each other with a cheery ‘morning’ or ‘afternoon’. In Denmark, I had found the opposite to be true, but here in Sweden it was really a 50/50 situation. On the one hand you could take the initiative and boldly say ‘hi’ only to be met with that steely Scandinavian look of horror that a stranger is trying to make contact with you, but on the other hand there was an equal chance that the other party would take the initiative just when you had decided it wasn’t worth making yourself look a fool. After a few days of this I had learned to settle for some brief eye contact, a quick head-nod and a short ‘hi’ at the ready on my lips should they greet me. It was best to hedge one’s bets.
But with the refugees it was a different matter. There was a barrier there; something protective was in place. I was interested in speaking to a few of them, curious to find out their stories. But it seemed that the newcomers inhabited a different world to the Swedes – a kind of parallel universe separated by a vacuum across which communication was difficult. Eventually, after wandering around the village in circles, I decided I had better find out what time the bus would come the next morning to take me back to Lund.
At the bus stop two men were talking animatedly in Arabic. They looked to be in their mid-twenties, one heavily muscular and with a crew cut, the other thin and bearded. I guessed they were friends. As I stood there studying the timetable the muscular one asked me if I had a light. He stood there with an unlit cigarette hanging from his lips and mimed striking a flint lighter with his thumb and clasped hand. I rummaged in my bag and found one, proffering it to him. He took it and lit his cigarette and then that of his friend, handing it back to me between hands pressed together as if in prayer. I asked them where they were from. “Syria”, he said.
“What do you think of it here?”, I asked, meaning Sweden.
“Good life”, he replied, inhaling the smoke. “Good people.”
It was a stupid question. I asked him another stupid question. “Why are you here?” He immediately said something to his friend, who it was clear did not understand English, and they both laughed. “Assad”, he said. He thought for a moment and added “War bring us here. When Assad gone, I go back, rebuild my house”. He turned back to his friend and they continued with their fast-paced conversation and I, having noted the time of the buses, left them to it.
 
 
Granted, it wasn’t much of an insight, but the thing that struck me the most was how deeply separated the hosts were from their refugee guests. And with the refugees being unable to work or better themselves, isn’t there a risk of them going stir crazy? Scandinavians love to talk of ‘integration’, but that would seem to be quite a tall order when such a barrier exists. In any case, I suspected, integration really means ‘forget who you are, be like us’.
 
Yet at the moment, despite all the media hysteria, it is just a trickle of refugees arriving. It’s a given that there will be more. Currently, like everything these days, their appearance is highly politicised. You’re either for them or against them. Currently, if one is a right-wing ‘realist’ you will talk about building walls and fences and dropping more bombs on the countries they are fleeing. Bombing is always offered as a solution to violence. On the other hand, if you’re a compassionate liberal you talk about opening up the borders, giving them all somewhere to live and allowing them to invite the remainder of their families over too. I suspect that this second point of view will sadly have a limited shelf life as things progress further down the road and people begin to grasp the sheer scale of the problem. 
 
And the rhetoric on both sides is rising, which is unfortunate if not entirely unpredictable. The unpalatable truth is that the Middle East and North Africa is becoming uninhabitable and not fit for human habitation. 100 years of oil exploitation, imperial plundering and ecological mismanagement has led us to here. In the case of Syria, as this article in The Ecologist points out, disastrous land management practices initiated in the 1960s turned most of the Syrian steppe into a dustbowl. Global weirding, in the form of droughts, followed by downpours and epic dust storms, destroyed much of the remaining topsoil. Millions of farmers and pastoralists were disenfranchised – ideal recruitment fodder for jihadist militias.
 
So a proxy war between Russia and the USA over control of the remaining energy resources was all that was needed to tip Syria into total chaos. The population is caught between their own crazy dictator dropping barrel bombs on them, and the murderous thugs of ISIS cutting and raping their way across what’s left of their country. Is it any wonder they want to get to Sweden?
 
The wider picture is no less unappealing. The age of oil that allowed for the greening of the desert is drawing to a close. Nitrogen fertiliser was first synthesised using fossil fuels after the last world war, meaning that vast swathes of desert could now be irrigated and used for growing crops. At the same time, selling their oil wealth has permitted countries such as Saudi Arabia to import massive amounts of food from the more fertile areas of the world, and to create a generous social security system for its people. Predictably, in light of this, the birth rate shot up, meaning there are now an order of magnitude more people living in these fragile desert regions than the ecology can support. As the oil crutch is kicked out we’ll find out the hard way that you can’t bargain with nature.  So it goes.
 
And so pretty soon we can expect hundreds of thousands more from Syria. Turkey currently puts up two million of them, but as other nations prevaricate and squabble, its patience is wearing thin. There are said to be twelve million Syrians displaced. And after Syria we have Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq and a few other places that we have meddled with. That’s not a political statement, it’s a simple fact. Where else will they go other than the smallish, wealthy and fertile western Eurasian appendage knows as Europe? There are 381 million people living in the arid regions fringing Europe, and it has the fastest-growing population of any of the planet’s major regions.
 
Last year I had a conversation with an historian who knows a thing or two about mass migrations. “It starts off as a trickle,” he said “but then, as things collapse, all of a sudden it turns into a flood. When you have entire nations full of people suddenly deciding to get up and leave, there is literally nothing anyone can do about it.”
 
“What about Europe?” I asked.
 
“Italy, Spain, Greece, France, a few other places … toast,” was his reply.
 

That’s the predicament we’re in. It won’t be pretty and our only guidance is compassion, not fear. The great change is already upon us.

There Goes Europe

From the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
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Refugees-Budapest-009
 
Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation September 7, 2015
 

The desperate wish in what is loosely called the West to at least appear morally correct is unfortunately over-matched by the desperation of people fleeing unstable, overpopulated places outside the West, and it is a fiasco beyond even the events of the moment.

The refugee / immigrant crisis around the Mediterranean is a preview of a horror show to which there is no end in sight, and is certain to escalate. So anyone who indulges in fantasies about organizing an orderly, rational distribution of displaced persons for the current wave, is badly missing the point. Wave beyond wave awaits after the this one. And then what will the well-intentioned sentimentalists say? We wanted to do the right thing… we meant well… we cried when we saw the little boy dead on the beach….

Yes, the tragic intrusions of the US military in Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and elsewhere have been reckless and stupid. But that is not the whole story. The desert nations of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have populations abnormally swollen by a century of oil-and-gas-based agriculture, really by the benefits of Modernity in general. Now that the oil age is chugging to an unruly crack-up, and Modernity with it, and the earth’s climate is doing wonky things, and the rich nations to the north have faked their finances to the point of bankruptcy, well, circumstances have changed.

In the years ahead, populations will be fleeing and shifting from many more unfavorable corners of the world. The pressures are mounting all over. Alas, the richer nations in which the fleeing poor aspire to gain a foothold, will also be contending with the disabling effects of a universal economic contraction — the winding down of the techno-industrial system and the global economy with it. That process has the potential to shatter political unions, overthrow established social orders, and provoke wars between the demoralized countries who still possess dangerous military hardware. At the least, it will produce economic conditions in Europe and North America probably worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s.

So, the idea that the nations currently bethinking themselves “rich” can take in, shelter, and employ the masses fleeing MENA (and elsewhere) is absurd. Somehow the people in charge, plus the intellectual classes who shape opinion and consensus, are going to have to arrive at some clear notion of limits and boundaries. It is actually happening in parts of Europe right now, extempore, where the immediate crisis is worst, for the moment in Italy, Greece, and Hungary — which first interned the refugees and then let them loose on the road to Vienna, probably only a way-station to Germany. Soon all nations across Europe will be agonizing, shucking, jiving, or improvising some sort of desperate response.

Among other confusions of policy and intention, the public “debate” so far does not make any distinction between true political refugees fleeing for their lives or economic migrants seeking to improve their prospects elsewhere. It is surely easy to empathize with both categories of persons, but that doesn’t mean you give up the control of your borders just to make yourself feel better. That is pretty much what has happened in the USA, where the Left, for political expediency, has deemed it indecent to call “illegal” immigrants what they are, and the Right has just been pusillanimous and hypocritical about it. Hence the unfiltered persona of Trump who, for all his titanic shortcomings, has at least managed to make his rivals look like the craven midgets they are.

Likewise, the rise of Marine LePen in France, Geert Wilders in Holland, and other parties seeking limits to immigration, perhaps even deportations. Personally, I reject the idea that it’s “racist” to want to preserve one’s national culture and character (especially in language), or to favor bona fide citizens for gainful employment. Europe has the additional obvious problem of an immigrant Islamic population overtly hostile to European culture and tradition. Why is it morally imperative for Europeans to countenance what amounts to low-grade warfare?

The situation that smoldered for decades is now exploding. Don’t expect to see any end to desperation and instability in MENA, but do expect new demographic crises out of other regions: Indonesia, Ukraine, Pakistan, West Africa, and Brazil, with its cratering economy. It’s not inconceivable that China might bust apart politically, with centrifugal consequences. The global economy is contracting. We have indeed attained the limits to growth. Cheap oil is bygone and the capital infrastructure we have won’t run on expensive oil — including the oil industry itself. New technology or further central bank legerdemain is not going to fix that. We’re in population overshoot and a scramble is underway to bail on the places that just can’t support the people who live there. National boundaries will be defended. Sentimentalists will have to step aside. History is not a bedtime story about bunnies and kittens.

 

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

Total War in Yemen Totally Ignored Western Media

gc2smOff the keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

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Published on New Eastern Outlook on August 27, 2015

http://journal-neo.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/0a54afba69182c4f0ce563ab448ac98a.jpg

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With almost a whimper, the Western media reported that the US-backed regimes of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and their auxiliary fighters drawn from Al Qaeda have begun carrying out what is the ground invasion of Yemen. Along with an ongoing naval blockade and months of bombing raids, the ground invasion adds a lethal new dimension to the conflict – for both sides.

Landing at the port city of Aden on Yemen’s southern tip, it is reported that an “armor brigade” consisting of between 1,000 – 3,000 troops primarily from the UAE are now moving north, their ultimate destination Sana’a, the capital of Yemen.

Columns of the UAE’s French-built Leclerc main battle tanks were seen moving out of the port city though their numbers are difficult to establish. Reports claiming that the UAE unit is brigade-sized might indicate as many as 100 tanks involved – a third of the UAE’s total armored force.

The bold move comes after months of frustrating failures for the two Arabian regimes. Their Yemeni proxies – loyalists of the ousted president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi – have proven all but useless in fighting Houthi fighters across most of Yemen despite air superiority provided to them by their Arabian allies. And while it appears the well-equipped Arab forces are able to concentrate firepower, overwhelming Houthi fighters in pitched battles, the ability for Saudi, UAE, and Al Qaeda forces to actually hold territory they move through is questionable at best.

Opportunity 

The Roman Empire throughout much of its reign was feared as invincible. After suffering several major defeats, the veneer of invincibility began to peel and along with it crumbled inevitably their empire. Likewise, Western hegemony has been propped up by the illusion of military superiority on the battlefield. By carefully picking its battles and avoiding critical defeats, the West, and the US in particular, has maintained this illusion of military invincibility

As the US moves against nations with larger, better equipped and trained armies, it has elected to use proxies to fight on its behalf. Thus, any humiliating defeat could be compartmentalized.

However, by most accounts the war in Yemen is not only a proxy war between Iran and the Persian Gulf monarchies, it is one of several such conflicts raging regionally that constitutes a wider proxy war between the US and its regional allies on one side, and Iran, Syria, Russia, and even China on the other.

With the presence of Western main battle tanks in Yemen attempting to move north, the opportunity now presents itself to punch holes through this illusion of Western invincibility. Yemen as the graveyard for an alleged brigade of French-built Leclerc main battle tanks would be one such hole. It would also set the UAE’s extraterritorial military ambitions back, if not overturn them entirely, and finally, would leave whatever fighting was left in Yemen to the Saudis who have thus far proven incompetent.

Perhaps this is one of the many reasons the Western media has decided not to cover the events unfolding in Yemen.

Yemen Vs. Ukraine 

One might ask how – in the context of international law – it is possible for unelected absolute autocracies like Saudi Arabia and the UAE to intervene militarily in Yemen with naval blockades, aerial bombardments, and now an overt ground invasion including armor columns to restore an ousted regime. This is done with seemingly little concern from the United Nations and with the enthusiastic support both politically and militarily of the United States.

The answer to this question becomes more confounding still when considering Western condemnation of Russia for any attempt to support or defend the ousted government of Ukraine, a nation now overrun by NATO-backed Neo-Nazi militias who in turn are backing a criminal regime in Kiev which includes foreigners assigned to cabinet positions and even as governors. Saudi and UAE military aggression in Yemen makes it increasingly difficult for the West to maintain the illusion of moral superiority regarding Ukraine.

Russia’s relative restraint when compared to US-backed aggression on the Arabian Peninsula exposes once again the pervasive hypocrisy consuming Western legitimacy.

This may be yet another reason the Western media refuses to cover the events unfolding in Yemen.

Responsibility to Protect…? 

545353454After NATO’s attempt to invoke the “responsibility to protect” (R2P) as justification for the destruction of Libya, it became clear that NATO was merely hiding behind the principles of humanitarian concern, not upholding them. And while it may be difficult to believe, there are still those across the Western media and policy think-tanks attempting to use R2P to justify further military aggression against nations like Syria.

However, R2P is conveniently absent amid what little talk of Yemen that does take place in the Western media. US-backed blockades and months of aerial bombardments have tipped Yemen toward a humanitarian catastrophe. Not only does both the UN and the West fail to demand an end to the bombings and blockades, the West has continued to underwrite Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s military adventure in Yemen.

The carnage and injustice visited upon Yemen serves as yet another stark example of how the West and its institutions, including the United Nations, are the greatest dangers to global peace and stability, using the pretext of defending such ideals as a means to instead undo them.

Considering this, we discover yet another potential reason the Western media’s coverage of Yemen is muted.

It remains to be seen how the Houthi fighters react to the ground invasion of Yemen by Emirati troops. Dealing severe losses to the UAE’s armor while continuing to weather aerial bombardment may see the stalling or even the withdrawal of this latest incursion. Not unlike the 2006 Lebanon War where Hezbollah fighters expertly used terrain to negate Israeli advantages in airpower and armor, forcing an early end to the fighting, the Houthis may yet answer this latest move by US-backed proxies operating in Yemen.

Perhaps this possibility above all, is why the Western media would rather the general public knew little of what was going on in Yemen. It would represent yet another conventional Western-equipped proxy army defeated by irregular forces in yet another failed campaign fought in the interests of Wall Street and Washington. While the Western media refuses to cover the events unfolding in Yemen with the attention and honesty they deserve, the conflict is nonetheless pivotal, and may determine the outcome of other proxy wars raging across the Middle East and North Africa, and even beyond.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.   
First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2015/08/27/total-war-in-yemen-totally-ignored-by-western-media/

A Tsunami of Climate Refugees is Drowning Europe

Off the keyboard of Tom Lewis

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Published on The Daily Impact on August 12, 2015

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Can you imagine what it would take for you to take your family on a vessel like this to cross an angry sea to a foreign country, just to stay alive? This boat is bound for a Greek island from North Africa.

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One of the most desperate and destructive diasporas in history is rolling out of the parched regions of Africa and the Middle East, over Europe, toward extinction. They are being called refugees from war, but the wars they are fleeing have their origins in the desperation of people who have no food, and they have no food because of the savage droughts being inflicted on their countries by global climate change. Hence, it is perfectly legitimate, and more importantly it is honest, to call them climate refugees.

(Among all 423 current candidates for US President, only Martin O’Malley demonstrated a grasp of this reality when he said that climate change is responsible for the rise of ISIS. He was almost universally ridiculed for saying it, and this tiny, lonely spark of sense fell on wet ground and was instantly extinguished.)

In just the latest ramification of the new Dark Age advancing on Europe, 1,000 Afghan and Syrian refugees who had made their way to the Greek Island of Kos were rounded up by riot police yesterday (after having been herded with fire extinguishers) and imprisoned in an open stadium until they could be “registered.” At last report there were three — count them, three — officers taking names. It is not that the authorities are heartless, they are overwhelmed. Those 1,000 refugees are not all the refugees on Kos, that is how many refugees arrive every day. “The situation on the island is out of control,” said the mayor of Kos, “blood will be shed.”

“Greece faces a crisis within a crisis,” said prime minister Alexis Tsipras. “The migrant flows exceed the capacity of our state infrastructure.” About 120,000 refugees have stumbled ashore on the Greek Islands so far this year, four times the influx during all of 2014. The other principal landing for refugees traveling to Europe by boat, Italy, estimates that 100,000 have come aground there this year.

Imagine that you have lost your job, been served with an eviction notice, lost your car to the repo man and 20 of your closest relatives arrive on your doorstep in search of food and shelter. That’s that’s going on here. Neither these countries, nor the United Nations, nor the NGOs operating in the area, can possibly handle this rip tide of human misery.  Nor is it limited to Greece and Italy. Let’s take a brief tour:

Hungary is rushing to complete a 110-mile-long fence along its border with Serbia to stem the flow of mostly Syrian refugees — 2,000 in 2012, now 1,500 people per day —  seeking asylum in a European Union country so they can travel freely among the other EU members.

Germany is the Mecca for most of these refugees, who are fully aware of the desperate economic straits of countries such as Greece and Italy. Germany is expecting 450,000 refugees this year, double the amount of last year, and the resulting tensions are rising. So far this year there have been 150 attacks on refugee shelters, most of them attempts to burn the shelters down. When the flood of refugees overwhelmed existing camps, the government called in the army to help, a move that inflamed those who insist that any use of the army inside the country is unconstitutional.

Across Italy, increasingly violent protests are breaking out over the strains produced by the relentless onslaught of the destitute. The mayor of Rome said this week the city does not have the resources to take in any more refugees. The wealthier northern districts of Italy, called on to help by taking some of the influx, refused. Meanwhile, the Italian coast guard last weekend rescued at sea and brought ashore another 1,800 people (so far this year an estimated 2,000 refugees have died at sea).   

The first tendrils of this massive onslaught of humanity have reached England, and have convulsed the country’s politics. The prime minister speaks of a “swarm” and the foreign secretary says “millions of marauding Africans” threaten the standard of living, and must be returned to their home countries, and their own standards of living. The reality underlying this panic is that a few thousand refugees, having reached Calais on the west coast of France, have tried to walk or hitch rides through the English Channel Tunnel to England. So far, one has made it, only to be arrested at the exit. Now thanks to a mile long fence at the Calais entrance to the Chunnel, and some nasty camps of hovels for the refugees who make it that far, fewer are able to make the attempt. But the extra security has choked travel through the Chunnel, negatively impacting commerce and tourism.

Still, the bleak tide rises. Still Europe sinks beneath it as the desert sands spread from Africa to Arabia to Asia. Still, no one offers a solution, for the terrifying reason that no one has yet identified the problem.  

How the World Works: Part I

Off the keyboard of Geoffrey Chia

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on August 7, 2015

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A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO HOW THE WORLD REALLY  WORKS

PART 1: IMPERIALISM, THE GREAT GAME AND PETROPOLITICS

Geoffrey Chia is an Australian physician who has written many provocative articles including "The Brisbane Institute is a Brisbane Prostitute". The reader is encouraged to fact check for yourself everything written here.

 

The Pax Americana: a dream turned into nightmare

 

Once upon a time in fairytale land not long ago, there existed an empire which proclaimed itself the beacon of truth, liberty and democracy in the world, the last best hope of the world. Even though this empire, this collection of "United States", occupied just the mid portion of the Northern one of the two continents named America, they simply called themselves "America", as though the other people who lived on the American continents did not count. This empire declared that order, stability and prosperity in the world were best maintained by the Pax Americana, a term which admittedly did flow off the tongue better than the "Pax USAana". The USA had certainly earned the gratitude and respect of untold millions worldwide for their help in turning the tide of World War II and defeating the evil tyranny of the Axis powers. The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, the end of the Cold War and the subsequent fragmentation of the totalitarian USSR seemed to herald a bright new dawn for the humanity. Just when we thought that systematic genocide had been banished into the dark depths of history, the Balkan conficts of the 1990s uncovered acts of "ethnic cleansing" by Serbs1 and brought to light the brutalisation and starvation of minorities in concentration camps, imprisoned merely because of their ethnicity or religion2. When the US under Clinton led NATO to bomb the Serb militia to protect the victims of such atrocities, we once again witnessed the USA acting as a force for good. Christian nations rising to the defence of Muslim victims, a humanitarian act never before witnessed in history. It seemed as though the USA was championing a future for universal human rights based on secular principles, irrespective of race or religion. It seemed as though the Americans were becoming all that they claimed they were meant to be.

And then the twin towers fell in 2001, to our utter horror and dismay. Our hearts went out to the families and friends of the Americans who were so callously murdered by this unspeakably despicable criminal act. Indeed, we wished to stand side by side in solidarity with all Americans. Such apparent mindless terrorist thuggery forced us all to ask the question: Why? Why? Why?

 

A deeper look at history

 

For those of us seeking explanations and willing to ask the hard questions, an honest study of world history is necessary. Examination of the broader sweep of well documented and well validated (but not well publicised) historical facts reveals a picture quite different from the official narrative taught in schools and churned out by the mainstream AngloAmerican media.

This essay looks at history not along linear timelines, but instead analyses important concepts, which are grouped together under relevant headings. Rote learning of history by mindless memorisation of dates is useless. A proper understanding of history can only be achieved by analysing the cultures, mindsets, motivations and strategies of the various participants within the appropriate geographic (and even climatic) contexts. History must also be understood in the context of competition for energy and resources.

The greatest contribution of Western civilisation to the world was undoubtedly the Scientific Method. Science is the best tool we have to work out objective reality, often to an extremely high level of mathematical precision. Objective reality is the same no matter what culture you belong to, E=MC2 no matter where you are or who you are. Science by itself is amoral. Whether the discoveries of Science are used for good or evil are determined by whether or not one is guided by an ethical framework. Even though haphazard attempts at logical and rational enquiry into Nature had been attempted by many other cultures in history, the systematic principles of the Scientific Method were indisputably discovered by and refined by the West. Application of scientific findings to technological inventions, combined with the methods of mass production, led to the Industrial Revolution and subsequently the "Green"3 Revolution, with spectacular results (both spectacularly good and spectacularly bad).

Some historians claim the West invented democracy, rule of law and social justice ideals, however those are not valid claims. The earliest documented records of organised democratic societies may possibly trace back to ancient Mesopotamia (fragmentary inscriptions) but can certainly be traced back to ancient India4 , well before Greece. Many pre-Columbian North American tribes commonly employed democratic principles in their governance (among the Six Nations5 in particular). They invented the use of the "talking stick", enabling each participant to freely express their views in a discusssion circle without interruption, before subsequently casting their votes. Codified rules of law can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia, with similar strong traditions in ancient India and China, well before ancient Rome. The underlying principle of social justice, the "Golden Rule", that we should treat others according to how we ourselves would like to be treated, was universally advocated in all ancient cultures, most notably written down in the Analects of Confucius, centuries before a similar corollary was purported to have been expressed by some guy from Nazareth.

The memory of world history in the West only seems to extend back to the rise of Western civilisation6. They choose to ignore the fact that the largest land empire in history was actually established by the Mongols. They choose to ignore the fact that a century before Columbus, vast ocean going navies had been established by the Chinese. They choose to ignore the fact that during the dark ages of Europe, it was an Islamic Empire which represented the bastion of knowledge, intellectual enquiry, artistic and architectural achievement and cultural tolerance in the Western world, extending as far as Spain during the Omayyad Caliphate.

The largest land empire in history was that of the Mongols, who almost never lost in battle. They were highly organised, ruthless and cruel. Before 1250 CE they had overrun Hungary, Poland and Croatia, had sacked Kiev and were hammering on the gates of Vienna. They had devastated the Rus (or land Vikings), whose abiding visceral dread of the Mongols lives on in Russian lore to this day. In 1241 they inflicted simultaneous crushing defeats upon the Germans near Breslau and upon mixed European cavalry near Buda. The outlook appeared hopeless for Europe. Then it all stopped. The sudden death (from a drinking binge) of the Grand Khan at the time, Ogedei, required that all the generals withdraw back to Karakorum in Central Asia to work out the succession. Europe was saved by a chance event. The Mongols ultimately decided to cease their Western expansion and to consolidate their occupation of China and India which were the most advanced and productive cultures, the main sources of wealth in the world at the time. A rational decision, to avoid imperial overreach and not to overextend into peripheral territories which were relatively worthless then (Europe). The Mongols who settled in India and China learned to appreciate the fineries of those cultures and adapted themselves to life there.

As time went by, the Chinese eventually expelled the Mongols, shored up the Great Wall to keep them out and established the Ming dynasty. During this eastern rennaissance, the Chinese built vast fleets of ships which undertook multiple expeditions to southeast Asia, India and Africa (probably no further, despite the claims of Gavin Menzies). The first Ming fleet, consisting of 27,000 troops in hundreds of ships, voyaged in 1405, almost a century before Christopher Columbus and his three small vessels. The Chinese had invented paper, printing, the compass and large ocean going ships7 – innovations the philosopher Francis Bacon later cited as being essential for the subsequent Western domination of the world (however he did not acknowledge their origin). The Chinese had also invented gunpowder, which they did not bother to significantly weaponise. After the seventh Ming voyage in 1433, they suddenly stopped. They too chose to avoid imperial overreach. They decided that they had sufficient resources within their own country. They were not interested in seizing lightly defended real estate overseas, nor in enslaving foreigners. They had enough at home, and enough is as good as a feast.

The Mongols, after expulsion from China, eventually lost their historical ferocity. In the longer term, it seemed to be the adoption of Tibetan Buddhism which finally transformed the Mongols into the peaceloving, gentle and hospitable people we know today. Arguably it was this religion, originally from India, which ultimately conquered and pacified the Mongols.

The above are two examples of massive empires which voluntarily ceased expansion and decided to live within their means. They understood that being too greedy could be counterproductive.

Whether we consider the Spanish conquistadors who indiscriminately slaughtered Central and South American natives, or the Belgian colonists who amputated the hands of the children of African slaves who failed to meet plantation quotas, it is clear the subsequent European colonists were driven by their sense of God given entitlement and by limitless greed, with disdain for other cultures. The British declaration of Australia as "Terra Nullis" and their classification of Aboriginals as "fauna" who were to be indiscriminately shot on sight, was a particularly sickening example of such disdain. John Howard's refusal to acknowledge such history during his time as Prime Minister, (what he called the "black armband view") was a reflection of his persistent colonial racist attitudes. Kevin Rudd's much appreciated apology to the Aboriginal stolen generation as soon as he took office showed that despite his faults, Rudd was at heart a decent man who strived for true reconciliation.

The Japanese in World War II were considered by some to be even more brutal and cruel than the European Imperialists. Indeed the same John Howard who refused to apologise to the Aboriginals for European colonial atrocities, demanded an apology from the Japanese for their war atrocities against European Australians. This exemplified Howard's two faced hypocritical racist mentality. However the Meiji restoration, which paved the way for subsequent Japanese industrialisation, Imperial expansion and aggression, was in fact originally triggered by the bullying behaviour of US Commodore Perry's "gunboat diplomacy"8. Japan was bullied and in turn became a bully.

Some may argue that the bad old days of murderous Imperialism are all in the past, that we now live in a wonderful new world of enlightened mutual regard for everyone's dignity. Steven Pinker promotes the idea that we will all eventually end up holding hands, skipping through fields of daffodils singing Kumbaya, like some kind of CocaCola advertisment. Pinker is a useful pseudointellectual talking head for the mainstream establishment, who lulls the public into complacent somnolescence: everything will be just fine and dandy, just go with the flow.

At the level of interactions between Nation States, echoes of old Imperial aggression, sabre-rattling and brinkmanship resound louder today than ever before, even though today's Power Blocs may be somewhat differently aligned. Unfortunately the mainstream populations of the Industrial West of today and the AngloAmerican Empire in particular, continue to view the world through their own ethnocentric lens of entitlement (for themselves) and the plunder and exploitation (of others) which are "necessary" to maintain the Western Industrial lifestyle. A neocolonial mindset, or perhaps the same old colonial mindset which never went away.

The toxic legacy of colonialism continues to this day. It is impossible to understand the state of our modern world without understanding the history of European colonisation and Petropolitics.

 

The Great Game: an introduction

 

The Great Game was started by the European Imperial nations but eventually came to be dominated by the US Empire (Japan was an intermittent player). The Great Game was all about acquiring and exercising power. Certain personality types crave power over others and over the world. To them, power is the most intoxicating and addictive drug imaginable and they can never get enough of it.

Specifically the Great Game was about expanding and securing your own sphere of influence while keeping in check or undermining your rival's sphere of influence. It was also about preventing the rise of future potential rivals such as a Pan Arabic or Pan Islamic Bloc.

The apparent triumph of the US over the USSR in the nineties prompted the American neocon Francis Fukuyama to write a book titled "The End of History". To him it was Game over, the US had decisively won and all other nations would then model themselves after America in perpetuity, end of story. As we have since seen, he not only has egg on his face now, he is buried under a huge mountain of omelette.

The Great Game was the way by which the major powers maneuvered, postured and fought to carve up the world to suit themselves, whether militarily, politically or economically, often using bogus justifications such as opening the world to "free" trade by despicable acts such as trafficking opium into China, or by "bringing civilisation" or "bringing Christianity" or "bringing democracy" to <insert name of country being invaded here eg Iraq>. Only since its industrialisation has China become a significant player, whether for ill or good. A game implies an enjoyable recreational activity. However in the context of Imperial Machiavellian skullduggery, the flippant use of the word "game" takes on an Orwellian hue which belittles and dismisses the horrific suffering experienced by the victims of warfare and exploitation. It may be a fun game to those psychopaths who order drone strikes from their armchairs in Washington, but it represents death or dismemberment to those "collateral damage" victims on the receiving end. It may be a fun game to those EU bankers who impose austerity on the Greeks, but it represents deprivation and hardship to those victims on the receiving end.

The major difference between the Great Game being played today compared with that played the last century, is that it is now operating in a background of fast declining high EROEI energy sources (or High Net Energy Sources which I have abbreviated to Hi-NES – see appendix), not to mention the exponential decay of natural capital, such a deteriorating chaotic climate and a dying, polluted ecosystem plagued by mass extinctions. We are now playing the game of "last man standing" as described by energy expert Richard Heinberg. Of course it is a fool's game because the last man standing will inevitably also drop dead immediately after the penultimate fatality, leaving behind a resource depleted, environmentally devastated, hothouse planet.

It is essential to understand the basic principles underlying thermodynamics, Peak Oil, Climate Change and Ecological Destruction, in order to understand why and how our formerly stable world is unravelling now. Similarly it is essential to learn the past histories and motivations of the Great Game players (and in particular Petropolitics) in order to understand how it is being played out now and to anticipate possible consequences for the future.

Some people (primarily Fox News watchers) find it impossible to understand why they, the "good guys", the "leaders of the free world", the "defenders of liberty and freedom", are so hated by all those feckless and ungrateful foreigners. They cannot explain the rise of Islamic terrorism other than in the simple minded terms such as the "clash of civilisations" or they simply regard the terrorists as evil or insane. If simple explanations are all they can understand, then let us advise them with simple aphorisms: eg when you point a finger at others, remember you have three of your own fingers pointing back at you. Or perhaps something from the Bible: look to the mote in your own eye before accusing another.

Experienced, informed and thoughtful ex-CIA analysts such as Chalmers Johnson, Robert Baer and Valerie Plame have summarised the origins of contemporary Islamic terrorism in one word: blowback. Others might call it bad karma.

A terrible humanitarian crisis is now unfolding in sub-Saharan Africa, much of it a legacy of the Great Game, now overlaid with climate change stresses and epidemics of infectious diseases. However we in the Industrial West don't care about that and we don't care about them. They are not important to us unless they threaten to "invade" our country in derelict boats or on floaty pool toys, to grab a share of "our" pie.

 

Middle Eastern Petropolitics

 

ME map

 

We are mainly interested in the Middle East, where the largest reserves of conventional oil (= Hi-NES) are still to be found. Saudi Arabia has the largest reserves, then Iraq, then Iran. Similar considerations apply to conventional natural gas reserves in countries such as Qatar, the country with the highest per capita income in the world, however we will omit natural gas issues from this discourse to avoid further complicating an already complex story. We will not examine in detail the issues involving unconventional oil (or low EROEI or low net energy sources) here, apart from saying that the pursuit of Lo-NES is a madman's delusion, the last desperate act of a drowning man grasping at straws.

 

Basic background information:

 

The portrayal by the Western media of the "person of Middle Eastern appearance" as a hairy, turbaned, dark skinned Arab Muslim terrorist would be laughable if it did not have such serious implications for (lack of) peace in our world. To the unwashed American public, those Middle Easterners are all the same. Ignorant Americans did not know or care that 15 of the 19 Al-Qaeda hijackers from 9/11 were Saudi Arabians (and the mastermind, Osama bin Laden was Saudi Arabian). Ignorant Americans sought mindless "revenge" against any Ay-rabs they could conveniently vent their rage on. They stupidly believed the Cheney/Bush lies about the "war on terror" and WMDs in Iraq, leading to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Saddam Hussien's secular leaning Baathist administration was in fact bitterly opposed to Al-Qaeda. Saddam, originally America's puppet, was indeed a murderer and brutal dictator, but this never bothered the US until he became a loose cannon. Before he invaded Kuwait in 1990, Saddam actually sought clearance from the US ambassador to Iraq at the time, April Glaspie, who amazingly expressed "no opinion", which Saddam interpreted as a green light. He was therefore surprised by the subsequent violent US reaction and realised that the US could not be trusted. After being repulsed from Kuwait he decided to do his own thing. The last straw for the Neocons was when Saddam decided to sell his oil in Euros, which would undermine the US Petrodollar. On the eve of Gulf War 2 in 2003, Saddam agreed that international weapons inspectors could have free reign to look for WMDs anywhere and anytime in Iraq, however the US ignored that offer and invaded anyway, putting the lie to the claim that the US invasion was about Iraqi WMDs. Of course, no WMDs were ever found.

It is important to try understand how the various peoples of the Middle East view themselves, to try to grasp some sense of their self-identity, if one is to attempt meaningful engagement with them.

Iranians speak Farsi. They regard themselves as Aryan. Their sense of history dates back thousands of years, to the glory days of the Persian empire. Their original religion was Zoroastrianism, although they were long ago converted en masse by force to Shi'ite (or Shi'a) Islam and most Iranians identify themselves accordingly today. Such was the persecution faced by the remaining recalcitrant Zoroastrians in antiquity that most had to flee to India. Mumbai has long since benefited from a thriving Farsi community.

The term "Arab" refers to a cultural-linguistic group, not a religious group. Arabs are considered a "semitic" ethnic group (hence ethnically similar to Jews). They speak Arabic and read and write Arabic script. They live mainly along the North African and Eastern Mediterranean coasts and on the Arabian peninsula (where Mohammed, himself an Arab, was born in 570 CE).

Although most Arabs are Muslim, a significant proportion are in fact Christian (with some Druze and other minority religions). Many Arab Christians eg Syrian Christians can trace their Church histories back to long before the Roman Catholic church even existed. These Arab Christians were Christians centuries before Islam even existed. Some even speak Aramaic, the original language of Christ. These Arab Christians have a greater claim to being "true" Christians than any other Christian sect in the world. These Arab Christians are more Christian than the Pope, Billy Graham or any other American Johnny-come-lately pretender.

Among the Arab Muslims, some are Shi'ite or Shi'a (who believe the leadership of Islam should follow the lineage of Ali, cousin and son-in-law of Mohammed), however most are Sunni who oppose such a lineage based power structure. Fundamentalists from each group regard the other as apostates. A rough analogy is that of Catholics who established their Church governance according to a line of Popes, and Protestants who established their Church governance according to their interpretation of their scriptures (or according to an English King's decision to decapitate his wife). Wars between Catholics and Protestants, although historically brutal and bitter, eventually subsided as greater secularism took hold. Conflict between European Christians eventually gave way to Western European alliances in their pursuit of global domination. It was in the interests of "Catholic" France and "Protestant" Britain in the Great Game, to maintain and even exacerbate rivalry between Islamic and Arabic factions. Divide and neutralise, divide and conquer, divide and rule.

Kurds are largely Sunni Muslim, indeed many are fervently Muslim. ISIS claim to be Sunni, but they are basically murderous criminal gangsters and rapists who use religion as an excuse to invade and enslave others, and are therefore enemies of the Kurds. Kurdish languages are related to Iranian, but Kurds derive their identity mainly from tribal affiliations. Therefore the Iraqi Kurds identify more with Turkish Kurds and Syrian Kurds rather than with non-Kurdish Iraqis. The pseudo-country of "Iraq" was in fact an unnatural fabrication cobbled together by Western powers as part of the Great Game (see "divide and rule" below).

The Turkish government has a vested interest in preventing separatist Turkish Kurds from joining forces with Iraqi and Syrian Kurds to form a breakaway state of greater Kurdistan.

Even though the Turks are mostly Sunni Muslim, they have a sense of identity, nationhood and heritage very different from Arab Sunni Muslims. Turks view themselves as the heirs to the Ottoman Empire and trace their origins back to nomadic steppe people from Anatolia. The Turkish and Arabic languages are mutually incomprehensible and use completely different scripts. The Turkish language is closely related to other languages in Central Asia and stretching as far East as Korea, demonstrating the common Mongolian Empire heritage of these groups. The only Eastern Roman Christian church still functioning in Istanbul today (Christianity long predates Islam in the former Constantinople) is curiously named "St Mary of the Mongols". Today, the Turks identify more with Europe however, and as a member of NATO they have followed the US agenda on many occasions.

The above are of course generalisations and are prone to many pitfalls. Even though Mustafa Kemal Ataturk after World War 1 wanted to create a modern, secular, westernised Turkey, contemporary Turkey has fallen under a more fundamentalist Muslim government that campaigned heavily to remove the ban on headscarves. On the other hand in Iran, a large proportion of young Iranians are keen to adopt Western secularism and modernity, in defiance of their Shi'ite Muslim government.

Hence although the background knowledge above is essential to achieve some basic understanding, social stereotyping can be inaccurate and we should only evaluate people on an individual basis. The policy decisions made at government level in Middle Eastern countries (and their reactions to Western interventions) depend entirely on who happens to hold power at the time and what their specific personalities, sentiments and affiliations are.

Israel is a huge spanner in the works when it comes to Middle Eastern politics. It has been said that God gave his Chosen People the only land in the Middle East without oil, as a kind of a prank. Now that a natural gas field so massive it was named "Leviathan", has been discovered off the Israeli coast, that joke has lost some of its edge. Nevertheless Israel lacks oil and this essay is mainly about Petropolitics, hence their story is not included, which would in any case require several thick volumes. Suffice to say that the Jewish lobby is incredibly influential in Washington and Israel is the only Middle Eastern country with nuclear weapons. Oh, and one more thing. Modern day terrorism did not start with the Arabs, but with a Jewish anticolonial group who bombed the British administration in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946, killing 91 people. One of those terrorists was Menachem Begin, who would later become the sixth Prime Minister of Israel and sign a peace treaty with Egypt's Anwar Sadat in 1979. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

 

Iran: Our special interest in the Middle East dates back to 1911, when Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, declared that British warships should no longer be powered by coal but should be powered by petroleum, a far superior fuel. This paved the way for repeated acts of interference, exploitation, corruption and ruination of various oil rich territories in the Middle East by the Western powers. Here was the problem: although Britain had abundant coal resources, at that time they had no domestic oil supply and had to obtain their petroleum from foreign shores, especially from Persia (later known as Iran) via their proxy, the Anglo Persian Oil Company (later known as BP). Needless to say Britain proceeded to bleed Persia of its oil while offering a pittance in recompense, the very definition of exploitation. Britain industrialised and grew rich on the back of dirt cheap Iranian oil while Iran itself remained dirt poor. Mohammad Mossadeq was democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran in 1951 and he attempted to change that unfair arrangement by Nationalising Iranian oil, seeking other competing customers such as Russia and raising the export price. This alarmed both Britain and America (the US had plenty of its own domestic oil then, but was concerned that Russia, keen to obtain Iranian oil, might enter into conflict with Britain). They implemented a devious clandestine CIA plan to depose Mossadeq in 1953 and installed Shah Reza Pahlavi, a grandiloquent megalomaniac, as puppet leader of Iran. As instructed by his masters, the Shah resumed the sale of cheap oil to the West while shutting out the Russians and continued to keep his own people dirt poor, while he himself basked in luxury. He was a major customer for the US military industrial complex and purchased all manner of US armaments. The simmering resentment of ordinary Iranians eventually erupted and they evicted the hated Shah in 1979. Unfortunately as is usually the case with chaotic and ruthless power struggles, the factions who seized power in the Iranian revolution were not gentle moderates but were fiery Islamic fanatics, who installed the repatriated Ayatollah Khomeini as leader, who then imposed Sharia law. Hence the long term consequence of the US/British overthrow of the democratically elected moderate Mossadeq, was the creation of a well armed, fanatical, totalitarian Muslim Shi'ite state that hated the West, a justifiable hatred that persists to this very day. So much for one example of "blowback" in the "Great Game". So much for the USA being the champion of democracy.

Iran's enmity against the US has continued unabated due to many issues: the US backed attack by Iraq (when Saddam was still a compliant US proxy) against Iran in an attempt to topple the new Khomeini regime in 1980 (which led to prolonged war lasting till 1988), the missile strike by a US navy ship against a civilian Iranian plane in 1988, the long term economic sanctions by the US against Iran, relentless demonisation of Iran by the Western media without any proof, and repeated threats by the US chickenhawks to bomb Iran because of the "threat" of Iranian nuclear WMDs (the WMD line worked to bomb Iraq, so what the heck, why not use it again).

This is why the recent productive nuclear agreement between Iran and the Obama administration (despite Netanyahu's background ranting to the US congress) is a remarkable and unexpected development. Does this mark a turning point in US policy? Or is it may merely be a "legacy" gesture of an outgoing final term US president, who no longer needs to maintain favour with the US military industrial complex nor with the Jewish lobby to secure another election? The same might be asked of Obama's reapproachment with Cuba. Whether this apparent change, from bullying billigerent US behaviour, toward saner US foreign policy to strive for a more peaceful world, will be continued by the next US president is anyone's guess. Do not be surprised if we see a reversion to duplicity, hypocricy and confrontation, which has been the consistent manner by which the US has historically always dealt with Iran (and Cuba and many other countries).

 

European Colonisation and Colonialism: How "divide and rule" worked

 

Apart from the fact that smallpox and other infectious diseases conveniently "cleared away" 95% of the native populations from the New World, other factors were instrumental in the expansion of European colonialism.

We all understand the devious tactic of "divide and conquer": Let rival native tribes squabble among themselves, indeed actively fan the flames of intertribal conflict and help them kill each other. Watch from the sidelines. When all have fallen except for the "last tribe standing", who will now be exhausted and decimated after continuous warfare, you can easily overcome them and sieze their land. Add one more colonial territory to the shopping basket.

Few people however understand the machinations of "divide and rule". After they had defeated the spear carrying locals with guns, germs and steel, how could a small group of, say, a thousand Europeans, control a population of a million natives? Certainly the placement of superior weaponry such as Gatling guns aimed at the locals at strategic chokepoints was one technique. However a handful of Europeans could never fully control all the activities, particularly economic activities, of natives a thousand times more numerous. Much better to co-opt some compliant locals to crack the whip.

What was the "right" demographic mix for divide and rule? The ideal ratio the colonial imperialists strived for was 15% : 85%.

If 15% of the population of a country belonged to minority group A ("A" being a tribe or religion or caste or whatever category one could use to divide the natives) and 85% belonged to majority group B, then the invading colonists could cunningly make use of the 15% minority to control the 85% majority. This was done by preferentially selecting, educating and training members of group A to hold official positions in the administration, the police and the army. To maintain order, group A would be issued with weapons superior to group B, but not up to par with the weapons of the colonial masters. This situation would of course be hugely resented by those in group B, who would be exploited as cheap (or slave) labour, kept impoverished, kept downtrodden and were unfairly discriminated against. Group A would be motivated to preserve this situation and to collude with the colonists for two reasons: to maintain their privileged position in society (in terms of status, salary, employment etc) and to protect themselves against reprisals from resentful members of group B. This situation worked very well from the European perspective during the colonial years, but it was a ready made powder keg guaranteed to explode after the colonists departed.

Just as gerrymandering involves the fabrication of new geographic boundaries to create constituencies with the "right" demographic mix to enable one's electoral success, "divide and rule" involved the fabrication of new geographic boundaries to create colonial "mandates" with the "right" demographic mix to enable easier control. If a colonised area did not already have such a 15% : 85% proportion, the colonists would contrive political boundaries to create a "new" colonial territory, quite different from old traditional tribal boundaries, to ensure such a controllable population ratio. New boundaries could be drawn irrespective of natural geographic features such as rivers, mountains or coastlines. These new entities, after departure of the colonists, then became newly independent countries with bizarre political borders.

 

Rwanda: The first European colonists to seize the region known today as Rwanda were the Germans in 1884. A ready made demographic mix for colonial control existed in the form of a pre-existing monarchy and affiliated minority upper class, the Tutsi, and the majority common folk or Hutus. The division was essentially class and not tribe based because they all spoke the same language and it was possible for a Hutu to become Tutsi by means of economic advancement. The Germans, obsessed with race, promoted the idea among the locals that Hutu and Tutsi were different races, even though the locals themselves could not actually tell each other apart physically. The Belgians took control of the area in WW1 and became the new colonial masters after the Germans lost the war. From 1926 onwards to suit their colonial control, the Belgians increasingly favoured the Tutsi at the expense of the Hutu and from 1935 onwards the Belgians required that each individual's "race" be recorded on their identity cards. Such formal documentation prevented any future possibility of social advancement by the Hutus. Catholic mission schools also served the colonial agenda by preferentially educating Tutsis in French, in preparation for positions in government. Hutu resentment boiled over by 1959 and in the early 1960s, just before colonial departure, the Belgians tried to reverse some of this injustice by appointing many Hutus to positions of power. The Belgians no longer needed to keep a minority group in power for the sake of colonial control after they left anyway. Stripped of power, position and protection, many Tutsis then faced violent reprisals by Hutus for past injustices and those Tutsis were forced to flee to neighbouring countries, from which they then launched intermittent revenge incursions into Rwanda. The stage was set for chronic conflict between the two "races". Rwanda's population increased from 1.6 million people in 1934 to 7.1 million in 1989 (approximately 84% Hutu, 15% Tutsi and 1% Twa), leading to competition for land and resources. Population pressure, resource competition and inter"racial" hostilities, promoted by previous colonial regimes, set the stage for the "final solution", the genocide of up to a million Tutsi by Hutu in the 1990s (the Hutu used the race designations on identity cards to decide who to kill), as well as subsequent revenge killings of some Hutu by Tutsi.

 

Sykes-Picot: The original post-Ottoman boundaries for the British and French spheres of influence in the Middle East were drawn up in secret just before the end of WW1. The monumentally ignorant Sykes and Picot drew simple straight lines on the map, which horrified TE Lawrence (AKA Lawrence of Arabia) when he learned how this hamfisted carve-up had been concocted. In due course the boundaries were modified to suit the agendas of the Great Game players based on practical realites, but continued to utterly disregard any promises previously made to the Arabs who had helped Britain prevail over the Ottoman Empire. This betrayal marks the beginning of a century of accumulated resentment by the Arabs against the West. In the new "country" of Iraq, a British mandate, the majority were Shi'ite. In the new "country" of Syria, a French mandate, the majority were Sunni.

 

 

Iraq: According to the principles of divide and rule, the British ensured Iraq would be administered by the minority Sunni Arabs (approximately 15% of the population) who were given preferential treatment over the other 85%, most of whom were Shi'ite. This administrative legacy continued till the time of Saddam Hussein who himself was nominally Sunni, although his Baathist party was actually secular. Iraq was a hodgepodge of disparate groups, the other important minority group being the Kurds in the North. A greater Iraq extending all the way to the Gulf coast in the South would, after independence, possess massive oil resources with easy access to a coastline to establish ports and a navy and hence could become a formidable power. One way to mitigate this outcome was to sequester a small Southern region, which happened to have a particularly high concentration of giant oilfields, as a separate country called Kuwait. This left just a tiny corridor of access to the Gulf coast for Iraq. This explains the bizarre contemporary political boundaries.

After the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Bush regime was only interested in securing the oil fields and had no plans to keep the peace, leading to the inevitable eruption of sectarian civil war and Iraq becoming a failed state today. True democracy by free elections, rule by the majority of the population in Iraq, was always bound to throw up a partisan Shi'ite government who would favour Shi'ite over Sunni and cause resentment among the latter, which has, in fact, happened. If however a stable and truly independent majority Shi'ite government does eventually form in Iraq, the obvious consequence will be a closer alignment with Shi'ite Iran. Iran is much larger and more powerful than Iraq and a sworn enemy of the US, hence Iran would then inevitably steer Iraq away from the US camp, ultimately creating an extensive anti-US "Shi'ite crescent" extending from Iran to Iraq to Southern Lebanon (home of Hezbollah), with astoundingly huge oil resources surpassing Saudi Arabia. As Iran is allied to Russia, this Shi'ite crescent will also ally with Russia. The US will do its utmost to prevent such an outcome. Hence ongoing instability in Iraq, so long as it does not interrupt the flow of oil, is not incompatible with the US agenda. What the US did not count on was the subsequent rise and extensive territorial conquests of ISIS, criminal extremists who use their Sunni religion as an excuse to justify behaviour even more thuggish and monstrous than Al-Qaeda9. Another example of blowback.

 

Syria: The hostilities between Sunnis and Alawites (a Shi'ite sect) on the Levant (northeast Mediterranean coast) ran much deeper and longer than other Sunni-Shi'ite conflicts in the rest of the Middle East. In the eleventh century the Alawites were forced out of the Levantine cities and into the inhospitable coastal mountains of north western Syria, ahead of the Sunni Seljuks. Alawite marginalisation was entrenched by Sunni scholar, Ibn Taymiyya, around 1310, who proclaimed their creed as heresy. During the Ottoman empire, Sunnis used this fatwah as justification to massacre many Alawites.

After the defeat of the Ottomans in WW1, France and Britain set the stage for the immense troubles to follow.

"Until it was dismembered.., the vast region known for centuries as Bilad al-Sham (the lands of Damascus), or “greater Syria,” included Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine. Against the wishes of its inhabitants, who vehemently opposed the Sykes-Picot treaty and demanded a united Syria-Palestine, France took Syria and Lebanon and Britain occupied Jordan and Palestine." http://www.icl-fi.org/print/english/wv/1009/syrian_civil_war.html

The partition of Lebanon as a separate country also limited Syrian access to the Levantine coast, an echo of the Iraq/Kuwait partition although not as severely restricting for Syria.

In Syria, the French chose to govern directly and used the minority Alawites, who comprised around 15% of the population, as administrators over the other 85% who were mostly Sunni. Other groups (Christians Armenians, Druze, Kurds etc) made up a significant minority. To the Alawites, this represented a reversal of their historical fortunes, perhaps the opportunity to "right" past "wrongs". In 1925 a Syrian uprising against colonial oppression and high taxes was brutally put down by the French, further aggravating the long term hatred against the French, who were eventually expelled by the Syrians during WW2. The old Alawite administrative structures however persisted. In 1964, Sunni fundamentalists staged an uprising in the city of Hama. The government responded with brutal force, killing up to one hundred. In 1970, Hafez Wahash (Wahash = savage beast), who changed his name to al Assad (= the lion), an Alawite, consolidated power for himself in the previously chaotic Syria and enforced a measure of stability. As a socialist, secular leaning Baathist and a pilot who received advanced training in Moscow, he aligned with Russia. He was also anti Zoinist (hence also against the US which supported Israel). The Sunni Muslim Brotherhood were bitter enemies of Hafez al Assad and attempted to overthrow his government and assassinate him. Hafez responded by murdering around 500 Muslim Brotherhood prisoners. In 1982 in the bloodiest showdown in modern Syrian history, the Hafez regime leveled the city of Hama, killing an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 Sunnis.

In their wars against Israel, Syria was humiliated: they lost the Golan heights in 1967 and were unable to recapture it in 1973.

In light of the above we can understand the inherited sentiments of the current leader, Bashar al Assad (second son of Hafez): pro Shi'ite, pro Iranian, pro Russian, anti French, anti Israeli, anti US and anti Sunni. On the other hand, we can also understand that if the Assad regime falls, the wholesale massacre of the Alawites (also other minorities) at the hands of Sunni Syrians is likely to take place (massacres are guaranteed if ISIS prevail). It is therefore clear that Assad has no choice but to hold on to power using all means possible, fair or foul. The only alternative for him and his people will be to die horribly. Bashar was a reluctant despot and would probably have been content to practice as an ophthalmologist if his older brother, the heir apparent to Hafez, had not died young. He cannot be completely anti Sunni because he married a Sunni Syrian lady he met in Britain.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the chemical weapon attack Obama accused Bashar al Assad of launching against Sunni Syrians in Damascus on 21 August 2013, was in fact perpetrated by foreign Sunni mercenaries, funded and supplied by Qatar and by Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia, to incriminate the Assad regime at the very time the UN inspectors were visiting. This appeared to be an attempt by Qatar and Saudi Arabia (both US proxies) to give the US chickenhawks an excuse to bomb Syria and thus topple Assad10. This tactic ultimately failed, largely due to Vladimur Putin's diplomatic intervention, showing what a wily operator Putin was. It does seem likely however that Assad was guilty of other chemical attacks against Sunni rebels previously. Such is the fog of war.

One key fact: the only remaining Russian naval facility outside Russia (now that the Crimea is "inside" Russia) is in Tartus, Syria. This alone is powerful motivation for the Russians to keep Assad in power. It is also a key motivation for the US to overthrow Assad, assuming the US can then install a pro-US Sunni government, which however will be almost impossible. If the Sunnis prevail they will be dominated by ISIS who are the sworn enemies of the US, even though ISIS are actually the (unintended) creation of the US11 (ISIS are successors to Al-Qaeda who originated from the Taliban). Blowback yet again.

The above illustrates one more feature of the Great Game: an example of how the Imperial powers used local groups to fight their proxy battles: Syria and Iran in the Russian camp and Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the US camp, with Israel trying to pull strings behind the scenes.

Turkey is "sort-of" in the US camp, but is mainly interested in containing the Kurds. The borders between Turkey and Syria and between Turkey and Iraq are porous, enabling easy passage of new international recruits for ISIS into Syria and Iraq. This issue does not seem to be a priority with Turkey.

 

The Arab Spring: Many Western pundits portrayed the Arab Spring, the revolutions in several Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries from 2010-2012, as the fight by the common people, sick of their totalitarian governments, for "democracy and freedom".

Bullshit.

It was the fight by the common people, sick of being hungry and thirsty, for enough food and fresh water to survive. This was driven by the three horsemen and the one big fat elephant of the apocalypse (Peak Oil, Climate chaos and Ecosystem destruction being the horsemen, Overpopulation being the big fat elephant)12.

Let us examine Syria as a case in point:

1. Population was 12 million in 1990, almost doubled to 23 million by 2011, driven by Hi-NES.

2. Reached Peak Oil production around 1996, then oil production curve plummeted to meet rising domestic oil consumption curve in 2011, resulting in zero income from oil exports, hence the government was unable to fund social services. Please see graph below, as well as the graph for Egypt showing the same convergence which occured just before Syria. (The Egyptian revolution also occured just before Syria).

3. Factors one and two led to the drastic drop in per capita incomes, unemployment and inflation.

4. The worst Syrian drought in history from 2007 to 2010, undoubtedly aggravated by climate change, resulted in crop failures, bankruptcy of farmers and skyrocketing prices of food.

5. Unemployment, no income, water shortages, unaffordable food, loss of social services from government = violent revolution

syria-oil-production-and-consumption-eia

egypt-oil-production-and-consumption

 

One major economic advantage Egypt has over the other MENA countries is the Suez canal, a massive income earner which was therefore a priority for them to upgrade, no matter what the cost. Whether Egypt's other advantage, tourism to the pyramids and the valley of kings, can be resurrected is doubtful. After Mubarak's overthrow, the democratically elected government was still unable to deliver the population from severe privation, resulting in more social instability and a military takeover. Only martial law can now maintain a semblance of peace in that country. So much for democracy being the solution to their problems.

Overall, the problems the MENA countries face are insoluble, no matter what type of governments they end up with. They are merely the first victims of problems which will eventually engulf the entire world, except for a few tiny climate-favoured pockets populated by people with enough sense to wean themselves off fossil fuels.

 

Saudi Arabia: From 1932 onwards, numerous massive oil fields were discovered on the Arabian peninsula. Ghawar, the largest of them all, was discovered in Saudi Arabia in 1948. Ever since WW1, it was clear that future wars would be mechanised wars, powered by petroleum. Those who controlled the oil, the "liquid hegemony", would control the world. The USA had plenty of domestic oil in those early days, but needed to prevent competitors, principally Russia, from gaining a foothold in Arabia. A good introduction as to how the USA maneuvered itself into controlling the kingdom of Saudi Arabia can be found in John Perkins' book, "Confessions of an Economic Hitman". Today Saudi Arabia has gleaming modern cities maintained by hardworking, exploited overseas workers. The Royal family has bred like rabbits, with its many thousands of members feeding at the trough of crude oil. Women are oppressed and are still not allowed to drive (unlike in Saddam's Iraq where women were even allowed to be taxi drivers). It remains an autocratic monarchy and they still practice capital punishment in the form of public beheading. The USA turns a blind eye to all of this, yet America still claims to be the champion of freedom and democracy in the world. Saudi Arabia is now bombing the crap out of Yemen, finally being able to use of some of the stockpiled military hardware they have purchased from the USA over many decades. They are ostensibly targeting the Houthi Shi'ite Yemeni rebels, but in reality the bombing is indiscriminate and is killing many civilians.

 

Conclusion of Part 1: As the late Kurt Vonnegut wrote, human beings have been playing these games long before he, you or I were born.

As long as psychopaths control the major nations, corporations and banks, the Great Game will continue inexorably and will play itself out to its inevitable conclusion.

 

Footnotes:

 

1. July 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre in which about 8000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered en masse by the Serb militia http://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2015/jul/11/srebrenica-massacre-anniversary-in-http://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2015/jul/11/srebrenica-massacre-anniversary-in-picturespictures

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trnopolje_camp is one example

3. The "Green" revolution would be better described as the "Brown" agricultural revolution, because the enormous yields from industrial scale mono-agriculture were not primarily due to the use of more productive hybrid crops, but were primarily due to heavy fossil fuel inputs in the form of fertiliser made from natural gas (Haber-Bosch), pesticides and herbicides made from petroleum, and machinery powered by petroleum (tractors, crop dusting planes, combine harvesters, irrigation pumps, delivery trucks & trains etc). Industrial agriculture was labour "efficient" as far as reducing human and animal muscle input was concerned, but horribly energy INefficient. About 10 calories of fossil fuel are needed to produce 1 calorie of agro-industrial food. This is why with the ongoing depletion of Hi-NES (ie conventional petroleum and conventional natural gas sources – see appendix), global mass starvation is guaranteed unless our food production systems can be redesigned to eliminate the need for fossil fuel inputs. Zero fossil fuel input agriculture (eg permaculture) may be able to support small groups of people in a few climatically favoured pockets around the world, but will not be able to feed 7 to 9 billion people around the rest of the planet, which will be devastated by climate chaos and sea level rises, which is why famine and global mass dieoff are guaranteed this century.

4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_democracy#India and http://faculty.nipissingu.ca/muhlberger/HISTDEM/INDIADEM.HTM

5. http://www.ratical.org/many_worlds/6Nations/

6. This recalls the famous quip by Gandhi: when asked what he thought of Western Civilisation, he replied "I think it would be a very good idea".

7. Ocean going vessels plying regular routes were arguably first invented by the Polynesians, however these were not large vessels capable of carrying horses, cannons and the large stores necessary for international trade or imperial domination.

8. https://books.google.com.au/books?https://books.google.com.au/books?id=Gthp7ZCcYPwC&pg=PA44&lpg=PA44&dq=Perry+gunboat+diplomacy+meiji+restoration&source=bl&ots=vSnbGwmssF&sig=bUweu282mxfWuk4soRuIq8c-uR0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDUQ6AEwBWoVChMIjrz-oIPnxgIVopCmCh1mzgQx#v=onepage&q=Perry%20gunboat%20diplomacy%20meiji%20restoration&f=falseid=Gthp7ZCcYPwC&pg=PA44&lpg=PA44&dq=Perry+gunboat+diplomacy+meiji+restoratihttps://books.google.com.au/books?id=Gthp7ZCcYPwC&pg=PA44&lpg=PA44&dq=Perry+gunboat+diplomacy+meiji+restoration&source=bl&ots=vSnbGwmssF&sig=bUweu282mxfWuk4soRuIq8c-uR0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDUQ6AEwBWoVChMIjrz-oIPnxgIVopCmCh1mzgQx#v=onepage&q=Perry%20gunboat%20diplomacy%20meiji%20restoration&f=falseon&source=bl&ots=vSnbGwmssF&sig=bUweu282mxfWuk4soRuIq8c-uR0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDUQ6AEwBWoVChMIjrz-https://books.google.com.au/books?id=Gthp7ZCcYPwC&pg=PA44&lpg=PA44&dq=Perry+gunboat+diplomacy+meiji+restoration&source=bl&ots=vSnbGwmssF&sig=bUweu282mxfWuk4soRuIq8c-uR0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDUQ6AEwBWoVChMIjrz-oIPnxgIVopCmCh1mzgQx#v=onepage&q=Perry%20gunboat%20diplomacy%20meiji%20restoration&f=falseoIPnxgIVopCmCh1mzgQx#v=onepage&q=Perry%20gunboat%20diplomacy%20meijihttps://books.google.com.au/books?id=Gthp7ZCcYPwC&pg=PA44&lpg=PA44&dq=Perry+gunboat+diplomacy+meiji+restoration&source=bl&ots=vSnbGwmssF&sig=bUweu282mxfWuk4soRuIq8c-uR0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDUQ6AEwBWoVChMIjrz-oIPnxgIVopCmCh1mzgQx#v=onepage&q=Perry%20gunboat%20diplomacy%20meiji%20restoration&f=false%20restoration&f=false .

9. ISIS are therefore similar to the US Republican Neocons, who are also criminal extremists who used their Christian religion as an excuse to justify behaviour even more thuggish and monstrous than Al-Qaeda. Indeed Bush called his invasion a Crusade. The main difference is that the Neoconartists have killed far more people than ISIS can ever hope to kill. If the Neocons gain power in the US again, they will become the greatest single threat to peace in our world and could trigger a nuclear holocaust by needlessly and recklessly provoking Russia and/or China. Cooperation, quid pro quo and mutual respect are the best strategies for sane practitioners of foreign policy, but such concepts are alien to the Neocons who have historically got what they wanted by bullying, killing and stealing in the name of their god (= exact same strategy of ISIS).

10. http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-gas-attack-assad-wrongfully-blamed/5350350

11. Michael Ware, Australian war correspondent who was held hostage by the precursors to ISIS in 2004 in Baghdad and was almost beheaded, asserted this during the ABC Q&A programme in July 2015. John Hewson agreed.

12. http://www.dailyimpact.net/2014/09/08/fareed-at-last-the-middle-east-explained-totally/

 

 

APPENDIX:

 

Energy Returned Over Energy Invested (EROEI or EROI) is a concept absolutely essential to the understanding of why and how our Industrial Civilisation is unraveling. To survive, any organism must gain more food calories than it expends in the process of acquiring that food (eg hunting or grazing). If an organism is highly efficient, say 50% efficient, in absorbing and converting the food it has acquired into the metabolic processes of living, it will need to gather at least 2X calories of food for every X calories it has expended in gathering that food, merely to exist. Put another way, it's food gathering activities must provide EROEI >2:1 to barely survive, not even taking into account the basal metabolic energy expenditure between meals.

For humans, pristine conventional oil wells offered EROEI of about 100:1, facilitating extraordinary industrial growth and population overshoot over the past 160 years. However, as a conventional oil well depletes, the EROEI declines. The well loses positive pressure and energy is actually required to extract the remaining oil (by horizontal drilling and saline and CO2 injection). Worldwide, conventional oil EROEI is now less than 15:1 because the majority of the giant oilfields are well past peak production. It has been calculated that we need EROEI of at least 10:1 for industrial society to barely function at its simplest level. World EROEI is scheduled to fall off a cliff after this year. By 2030, high EROEI sources will have all but vanished (see graph below). Furthermore, the export land model also suggests that due to domestic demand within the overpopulated oil producing nations, there will be no petroleum available for oil importing countries by 2030, just 15 years from now. Whichever way we look at it, industrial society will have completely collapsed by 2030. If some people are able to urgently transition, right now, to superefficient energy conservation and can use local renewable energy sources, then some communities may be able to maintain a semblance of stable society in the medium term (but there will be no prospect of large scale industry).

Unconventional oil sources offer EROEI of around 3:1 or less (tar sands are around 1.5:1) and impose horrific environmental costs, hence they are not viable options, they are dead ends, they are fool's errands. We must focus our attention on "high EROEI" or "high net energy" sources which I have abbreviated to Hi-NES. These are now rapidly depleting worldwide. We cannot blindly accept the total liquid hydrocarbon output graphs as published by the EIA or IEA or CERA which are at best meaningless and at worst misleading. For example, ethanol from Nebraskan corn is an insane project, providing EROEI of barely 1:1 (probably less) and should not be included in the total because it is an energy loser.

Furthermore, we need to focus on oil affordability rather than on oil price. "Low" oil prices are meaningless if the consumer cannot afford it due to demand destruction and economic deflation. If the price of oil drops by half but your salary drops by two thirds, that oil is actually more expensive for you despite the "cheaper" price. Declining Hi-NES inevitably leads to economic contraction (ie job losses and salary cuts) and inevitably leads to declining affordability of fuel, irrespective of price.

EROI-The-Destroyer-of-Net-Energy

 

 

Let Slip the Useful Idiots of War

Off the keyboard of Steve from Virginia

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Published on Economic Undertow on October 3, 2014

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Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

Good news from the (perpetual) battle front in the (battered) Middle East! The Pentagon has finally found a purpose for its latest exercise in corrupt squander, the Lockheed-Martin F-22 ‘Raptor’ (Julian Barnes, WSJ):

WASHINGTON—The Pentagon’s most advanced fighter plane made its combat debut in the U.S.-led strikes on Syria, serving a crucial purpose for a sensitive mission that depended on stealth … (blowing up a pickup truck … )Pilots flying the F-22 Raptor flew bombing runs over Syria to target the militant Islamic State group, U.S. officials said.Officials didn’t say what targets the F-22 struck, but said it was used later in the series of strikes, which lasted several hours …

Targets = schools, clinics, day care centers … pickup trucks. “It became necessary to destroy the pickup truck to save it … “ That F-22s are blowing up F-150s is ironic because the presumed beneficiaries of US bombing in the (oil producing) Middle East are pickup trucks, which require (relatively) larger amounts of inexpensive fuel to operate. If US fuel was plentiful — due to burgeoning ‘fracking revolution’ — there would be no need for the world’s militaries to impose themselves upon the region. Then again … America and its Western Allies might just be ‘Bombing for Dollars’.

“The airstrikes – which employed U.S. Tomahawk missiles, B1 bombers, F16, F18 and F22 strike fighters and drones – was backed by support from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and the UAE – a coalition of nations that has agreed to assist with the destruction of ISIS.

Ironically, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait provide funding for the Islamic State … Saudi Arabia provides funds … The US indirectly and directly has provided materiel aid for ‘moderate’ Syrians who are actually fighters who make up the Islamic State … The US provides materiel … Militants are citizens from Western countries such as France and UK. Syrian ‘rebels’ are reported to have been trained by the CIA in Jordanian bases. “Can’t anyone here play this game?”

‘I can tell you that last night’s strikes were only the beginning,’ Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters. He said the strikes had been ‘very successful’ and would continue, without going into further detail on future operational plans.

“Last night’s strikes were only the beginning … very successful,”; how demoralizing. One would think that World War Three would shamble from the pit with a better introductory. The coda for our last great conflagration was Chamberlain’s ironic, “Peace for our time!” This followed Edward Grey’s elegaic intro to the previous slaughter; “The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our life-time … “ Sadly, no one has seen the lamps a hundred years hence, only the ruin remaining from unconstrained progress, our war of ‘everything’ against ‘everything else’ … including literacy.

Genocide Inc.

Industrial warfare is a business like asphalt paving or payday lending. Modernistic war is murder for money and not one thing more … ‘bombing for dollars’. Clausewitz’ notion that ‘War is the continuation of politics by other means” has been turned inside out; it is now simply one self-perpetuating scam among many others. National security issues are irrelevancies/rationalizations, politics has been separated and become the means to the financial end. What matters is the continuing ‘growth’ of the human killing enterprise along with the flows of funds that support it. In its own way the military is a cynically self-destructive an institution as slavery was in the 19th century. Just as a hat store must sell hats to stay in business, the murder business requires continuous conflict, otherwise it fails.

‘Genocide Inc.’ thrives by eschewing old-school Prussian mannerisms, taking instead the outward forms associated with ordinary business firms, albeit very large ones. Military ‘management’ offers fashionable abstract services such as ‘safety’, ‘order’ and ‘security’; ‘honor’, ‘service’, ‘heroism’ … ‘patriotism’ along with high-tech toys. The military markets atrocity by carefully avoiding the subject; the murder of thousands or millions is an externality.

Nobody within Genocide Inc. is held accountable for their actions no matter how reprehensible, dishonorable, corrupt or destructive.

Genocide Inc. is a form of ‘conduit scheme’: these are sophisticated, large scale frauds where contributors and the promoters/final recipients work together to take advantage of the conduits — the persons in the middle who are the promoters’ unwitting stooges.

Where Ponzi schemes involve the transfer of savings from entitled ‘capitalists’ (speculators) to unscrupulous promoters, Conduits are debt transfer machines. Repayment obligations are assigned to the conduit — taxpayers — while the benefits flow from the lender to third-party recipients, in this case military contractors. The taxpayer is responsible for servicing and retiring the debt: it’s his debt, the military business owners’ benefit.

Here is the ‘warfare business’ scam:
Flow of Funds 6
Figure 1: Within the scheme, the citizen is offered abstractions of negligible worth: ‘security’ from self-created boogeymen along with vicarious ‘virtues’ which themselves are little more than scams or empty ‘Internet memes’. The taxpayer is the conduit by which vast sums are transferred from the one group to the other. The murder of others at an unaccountable distance is the function of the process. What is different between this scam and similar versions run by New York’s Tammany Hall and William Magear ‘Boss’ Tweed is the conduits in Tweed’s rackets were always in on the take.

Note how all three primary components are in the private sector: finance, citizens and the contractors. This is not accidental; US warfare is being privatized; with unscrupulous Americans robbing Americans who are patriotic useful idiots.

Conduit schemes have certain characteristics:

– The payments from a contributor to a final recipient are loans directed through a conduit, who is identified as the ‘beneficiary’ of the scheme. Unlike Ponzi schemes, which require voluntary participation, conduits are coercive, gate-keeping regimes. Whether the citizen is a direct participant or not, the costs of the scheme are set by the scheme itself, the conduit has no ‘bargaining power’.

– The benefit promised to the conduit are cost-free abstractions, ‘common goods’ such as ‘security’, ‘education’ or ‘medical insurance’ which are unrelated to the actual funds-transfer.

– The transfer from the contributor to the recipient is always money, often in staggeringly large amounts: $800+ billion per year spent by the US for ‘defense’.

– The contributors are banks/finance sector by way of the government borrowing.

– Both lender-contributors and final recipients are aware of the scheme at hand and both actively promote it: falsely to the public-conduit, accurately to each other.

– The final recipients who are part of the scam have no investment ‘method’, they simply accept the free money offered in the conduit’s name.

The conduit is necessary but is incapable of acting in any interest other than those of the contributor/recipient. Taking on loans and accompanying repayment obligations are conditions of … being an American! Unlike other conduit schemes, participants cannot exclude themselves; costs of the scheme are distributed widely falling upon individuals who find themselves unable to ‘opt out’. The recipients’ gains are enormous; the conduits receive little outside of what they bring to the scam in the first place. Like the rest of the economy, the product of the military factories is waste.
F-22A

Lockheed-Martin F-22 Raptor interceptor; photo: Sgt. Michael Amons, USAF/Wikipedia Commons.
The F-22 is a study in corruption and institutionalized fraud:

The F-22 is the single most expensive fighter jet in history at a total acquisition cost of an estimated $79 billion for 187 planes, meaning each plane costs approximately $420 million. Estimates for the Eurofighter Typhoon – the premier fighter for several allied countries including the U.K., Germany and Italy – put that plane at just under $200 million each, according to an April 2011 report by England’s Public Accounts Committee.

The F-22 cost is why there are only a relative handful of available aircraft. Maintenance and readiness expense leaves the Air Force dependent upon aging F-15 and F-16 fighters that the new aircraft was intended to replace.
F-35
Lockheed-Martin F-35 in flight: photo, US Navy/Wikipedia Commons
The Lockheed-Martin F-35 is a proposed multi-role, multi-national single-engine air platform intended to replace a number of older aircraft including the Boeing F/A-18E Hornet, McDonnell-Douglas’AV-8B Harrier II as well as the venerable General Dynamics F-16. The overall (estimated) expense of the program to produce a measly 2,400 aircraft is suggested at $323 billion. Put another way, Rather than (not)buying (non)airplanes, Genocide Inc. could bombard the Middle East with 7.5 million fully-loaded F-150 Ford pickups!

Because of costs only a small fraction of the planned 2,400 aircraft are likely to be built. The minuscule number currently available makes it difficult to parse from background noise what each plane costs (100 built as of 2013). The development program from which this aircraft emerged was set in motion in 1996, eighteen years later the aircraft are far from operational, Winslow Wheeler, Pogo Blog:

The cost estimates in the (National Defense Authorization Act) NDAA for the cheapest version of the F-35, the Air Force’s F-35A, are the following. (Note these costs as just for production and do not include R&D.)The 2014 procurement cost for 19 F-35As will be $2.989 billion. However, we need to add to that the “long lead” money for the 2014 buy that was appropriated in 2013; that was $293 million, making a total of $3.282 billion for 19 aircraft in 2014. The math for unit cost comes to $172.7 million for each aircraft.To be fully accurate, however, we should add the additional procurement money authorized for “modification of aircraft” for F-35As for 2014; that means $158 million more, bringing the total unit production cost to $181 million per copy.None of that includes the 2014 R&D bill for the F-35A; that was $816 million; calculate that in if you want; I choose not to.The Marine Corps and Navy versions are a little pricier.

For the Marines B, or (Short Take Off and Vertical Landing) STOVL, model, the authorized 2014 buy is six (6) aircraft for $1.267 billion in 2014 procurement, $106 million in 2013 long lead money, and $147 million in 2014 aircraft procurement modifications. That calculates to $252.3 million for each one.

For the Navy’s C, carrier-capable (but not yet), model, we get four (4) aircraft for $1.135 billion, plus $32 million in long lead, plus $31 million in modifications. That means $299.5 million for each one.

The high-cost luxury fighter jets are not as capable as existing jet aircraft given the same roles, Pierre M. Spey by way of Defense Industry Daily:

“Even without new problems, the F-35 is a ‘dog.’ If one accepts every performance promise the DoD (Department of Defense) currently makes for the aircraft, the F-35 will be: “Overweight and underpowered: at 49,500 lb (22,450kg) air-to-air take-off weight with an engine rated at 42,000 lb of thrust, it will be a significant step backward in thrust-to-weight ratio for a new fighter… [F-35A and F-35B variants] will have a ‘wing-loading’ of 108 lb per square foot… less maneuverable than the appallingly vulnerable F-105 ‘Lead Sled’ that got wiped out over North Vietnam… payload of only two 2,000 lb bombs in its bomb bay … With more bombs carried under its wings, the F-35 instantly becomes ‘non-stealthy’ and the DoD does not plan to seriously test it in this configuration for years. As a ‘close air support’ … too fast to see the tactical targets it is shooting at; too delicate and flammable to withstand ground fire; and it lacks the payload and especially the endurance to loiter usefully over US forces for sustained periods… What the USAF will not tell you is that ‘stealthy’ aircraft are quite detectable by radar; it is simply a question of the type of radar and its angle relative to the aircraft… As for the highly complex electronics to attack targets in the air, the F-35, like the F-22 before it, has mortgaged its success on a hypothetical vision of ultra-long range, radar-based air-to-air combat that has fallen on its face many times in real air war. The F-35′s air-to-ground electronics promise little more than slicker command and control for the use of existing munitions.”

Waste and theft are components of Gross Domestic Product … there is the perverse incentive to continually waste and steal more = ‘growth’. Besides the aircraft are aircraft carriers, littoral ships, submarines, nuclear weapons and delivery systems, also; the cost of supporting forces in inconsequential wars, the ordinary implements of the soldier … rifles, ammunition, medical supplies, food, artillery pieces, tanks and other vehicles … which find their way into the hands of our adversaries = growth.

No matter how you cut it, the National Security State (NSS) is a Ripley’s Believe It or Not of staggering numbers that, once you step outside its thought system, don’t add up. The U.S. national defense budget is estimated to be larger than those of the next 13 countries combined — that is, simply off-the-charts more expensive. The U.S. Navy has 11 aircraft carrier strike groups when no other country has more than two. No other national security outfit can claim to sweep up “nearly five billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world”; nor, like the National Security Agency’s Special Source Operations group in 2006, boast about being capable of ingesting the equivalent of “one Library of Congress every 14.4 seconds”; nor does it have any competitors when it comes to constructing “building complexes for top-secret intelligence work” … 33 in the Washington area alone between 2001 and 2010. And its building programs around the U.S. and globally are never-ending.… Its weapons makers controlled 78% of the global arms market in 2012. When its military departed Iraq after eight years of invasion and occupation, it left with three million objects ranging from armored vehicles to laptop computers and porta-potties (and destroyed or handed over to the Iraqis countless more). In a world where other countries have, at best, a handful of military bases outside their territory, it has countless hundreds. In 2011 alone, it managed to classify 92,064,862 of the documents it generated, giving secrecy a new order of magnitude. And that’s just to dip a toe in the ocean of a national security state that dwarfs the one which fought the Cold War against an actual imperial superpower..”— Tom Engelhardt

Viewed as a self-perpetuating racket, it does not matter whether wars are won or lost, whether the planes, ships, rockets, etc. are effective as long as the targets are restricted to the occasional pickup truck, orphanage or hospital. What matters is that the money flows, that nobody important is charged with war-crimes and that the citizens remain able/willing to pay …

It’s Always the Bad Guys Who Commit Crimes.

Much is made of ISIS’ media presence which is a sub-component of Genocide Inc.’s propaganda machine. Mexican drug bandits are as clownishly violent as ISIS and as effective — they have gained control of much of northern Mexico from the Mexican government. They aren’t part of the narrative because Mexico is too close to the US, there is the risk- or danger of accountability. ‘Extreme violence’, like ‘pleasure’ or ‘education’, is a cultural good that can be emptied out then hawked on television, sold in dollar stores alongside ‘religion’, ‘celebrities’ or ‘capitalism’ … down the aisle from batteries, toilet paper and Diet Coke™.

Genocide Inc. adheres to the role that culture assigns to it. Fashion does not allow any change in doctrine which would reduce its waste of either lives or material. Fashion grants the military moral supremacy, a free pass for institutionalized murder. The killing of thousands is ‘the price of freedom’, only the bad guys commit crimes. Genocide Inc. does not recognize that creativity, generosity and restraint are the foundations of American greatness; it sees the goodwill that the country has accumulated over time as capital to strip mine. The murderers insist that America = barbarism: more killing = more greatness.

After three-quarters of a century, the business of perpetual war has become the business of perpetual lies. Murder to gain money has been shaped into something other than what it is. Professional killers and war criminals are now our neighbors: their rationalizations have become our politics. Decades of ‘bombing for dollars’ has enabled the ascendency of psychopaths who anoint themselves as judges of what is virtuous and patriotic. Society has become saturated with violence and death: those whom the psychopaths deem to be insufficiently warlike are excluded from the civil conversation. By these means our society is hollowed out, within the vacuum emerges a mutagenic ‘murder constituency’; a culture of aggressive war; a hammer to which every problem becomes a nail to be yanked for cash.

Henry_Kissinger

 

Because bombing for dollars offers the thieves’ return, the acceptance of violence as the means to no particular end propagates under the surface across every sphere of American life. Genocide Inc. becomes the model for all other businesses. Murder constituency becomes a tribe where killing is an unremarked yet commonplace component of everyday life. The tribe is the organic support for every other sort of (fashionable) outrage because all are of a piece with the deterministic whole: religious fundamentalism, fetishism of authority, torture and punishment, non-stop surveillance, misogyny, race hatred; also wasteful consumption and capital destruction. Within our ‘New Bosnia’ there is nothing to distinguish the jihadist from the Congressman only clothing. When madmen are fashioned into heroes then all things are possible …

… nothing is possible: gangrenous America has completed its makeover into The Empire of Death. A handful of gangsters enrich themselves while our country falls into the pit … we have fake war but real murder stretching endlessly into the future … overhead, the shadows multiply and circle silently but we dare not look upon them because they are too terrible; our children inherit a wasted world and we have nothing to say about it but lies.

© Steve Ludlum, 2014 All Rights Reserved.

Someone’s Already Fighting ISIS: The Syrian Arab Army

Off the keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

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Published on Land Destroyer on September 15, 2014

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September 15, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – Since 2011, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has waged a relentless war within Syrian territory against what it has said from the very beginning was an invasion of heavily armed, foreign-backed sectarian extremists. In retrospect, the transparently ludicrous nature of articles like the Guardian’s “Syria’s rebels unite to oust Assad and push for democracy” is self-evident. The article would lay out Syria’s claims side by side with the West’s narrative by stating:

In one of the fiercest clashes of the insurrection, Syrian troops finally took control of the town of Rastan after five days of intense fighting with army defectors who sided with protesters. Syrian authorities said they were fighting armed terrorist gangs.

In retrospect, and upon examining the obvious lay of Syria’s battlefields today, it is clear Syrian authorities were right.

Shortly after NATO carried out successful “regime change” in Libya in 2011 under the false pretext of a “humanitarian intervention,” sectarian-driven mercenaries it armed, funded, and provided air cover for in Libya began steadily streaming into Syria via its northern border with NATO-member Turkey.

Terrorists from the US State Department designated terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) officially made contact with terrorists fighting in Syria to offer them weapons, cash, training, and fighters. The London Telegraph would report in their article, “Leading Libyan Islamist met Free Syrian Army opposition group,” that:

The meetings came as a sign of a growing ties between Libya’s fledgling government and the Syrian opposition. The Daily Telegraph on Saturday revealed that the new Libyan authorities had offered money and weapons to the growing insurgency against Bashar al-Assad. 

Mr Belhaj also discussed sending Libyan fighters to train troops, the source said.

Indeed, at the highest levels, even as far back as 2011-2012, the so-called “moderate rebels” were entwined with Al Qaeda, vindicating the Syrian government’s statements regarding its struggle against foreign-backed terrorism, not a “pro-democracy uprising.”

Today, the West has expunged all rhetoric regarding “pro-democracy,” with sectarian extremism clearly driving militancy across both sides of Syria’s borders with Lebanon and Iraq. Instead, the West has been resigned to attempts in differentiating between groups like Al Qaeda’s al Nusra franchise and its Islamic State (ISIS) counterparts – claiming the latter must be addressed more urgently, even at the cost of cooperating with the former – yet another US State Department designated terrorist organization.

Syria’s Long War 

And while the fierce fighting in Syria may have began in 2011, the war on foreign-backed sectarian extremism began a generation ago. From 1976 to 1982, Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s father, Hafez al-Assad, waged war on the heavily militarized Muslim Brotherhood. Upon breaking the back of the organization in Syria, it fled and was later reconstituted by the United States and Saudi Arabia into what would become Al Qaeda in the mountains of Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union.

In the US Army’s West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) 2008 report titled, “Bombers, Bank Accounts and Bleedout: al-Qa’ida’s Road In and Out of Iraq,” it stated unequivocally that (emphasis added):

During the first half of the 1980s the role of foreign fighters in Afghanistan was negligible and was largely  un‐noticed by outside observers. The flow of volunteers from the Arab heartland countries was just a trickle in the early 1980s, though there were more significant links between the mujahidin and Central Asian Muslims—especially Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Kazakhs. Individuals like the above‐mentioned Abu’l‐Walid were recruited in the early years via ad hoc outreach campaigns initiated from within Afghanistan, but by 1984, the resources being poured into the conflict by other countries—especially Saudi Arabia and the United States—had become much greater, as had the effectiveness and sophistication of the recruitment efforts. Only then did foreign observers begin to remark on the presence of outside volunteers.

The repression of Islamist movements in the Middle East contributed to the acceleration of Arab fighters leaving for Afghanistan. One important process was the Syrian regime of Hafez Assad’s brutal campaign against the Jihadi movement in Syria, led by the “Fighting Vanguard” (al‐Tali’a al‐Muqatila) of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. The crackdown initiated an exodus of Vanguard militants to neighboring Arab states. By 1984, large numbers of these men began making their way from exile in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan toward southeastern Afghanistan to fight the Soviets.

Despite terms like “repression” and “brutal campaign,” it is clear that the CTC is referring to heavily armed, militarized, extremist movements the US itself has allegedly waged “repressive, brutal” campaigns against across the planet, including in neighboring Iraq. It is also clear that Syria has been fighting sectarian extremism for decades, with the current protracted violence simply being the latest chapter. It is also clear that the United States and Saudi Arabia have, admittedly so, been propping up regional extremism in the form of both the Muslim Brotherhood and its various armed factions, as well as Al Qaeda, and now most recently, ISIS.

Syria is battling a long war against proxy imperialism brought upon it through heavily armed terrorists who serve both as a mercenary force, as well as a pretext, if all else fails, for its state-sponsors to intervene directly to stop widespread chaos of their own design.

There is Only One Logical Ally in the War on ISIS 

If the West was truly interested in fighting ISIS, it can find only one ally in the region – the Syrian Arab Army that has fought ISIS and its affiliates fiercely since 2011, and its predecessors for decades.

That the West instead proposes further arming and funding so-called “moderates” from which ISIS, Al Nusra and an innumerable amount of other extremist factions have risen from exposes a lack of sincerity and in fact, utter duplicity amidst its intentions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It is a geopolitical arsonist seeking to extinguish the flames of its crime by emptying a barrel of gasoline directly upon the raging inferno.

Indeed, since 2011, the so-called “moderates” of the “Free Syrian Army” were openly collaborating with LIFG, a US designated terrorist organization. It would also be confirmed that the “Free Syrian Army” was fighting alongside (if not entirely a component of) Al Qaeda’s al Nusra franchise all throughout territory now allegedly held by ISIS. ISIS in fact did not mutate from idealistic moderates – only the narrative covering up the existence and extent of ISIS’ foreign-backed operation in Syria and now in Iraq and Lebanon has changed. From the very beginning, and in fact, proceeding the ongoing war in Syria, a sectarian driven, genocidal mercenary force designed for ravaging the entire region on behalf of the US and its regional partners was the stated plan as early as 2007.

Veteran journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Seymour Hersh warned in a prophetic 2007 New Yorker article titled, “The Redirection Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” that (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

It can no longer be denied that the West is the cause of, not the solution for, the ongoing chaos now slowly burning the entire Middle East and beyond.

It can also not be denied that the only true force in the region fighting Al Qaeda and the myriad of aliases it is operating under, is the Syrian government with the backing of its allies in Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and even as far as Russia. For the West to pose as “fighting” ISIS by creating a coalition consisting of the very nations sponsoring the terrorist organization, illustrates the audacity afforded to the West by its immense unwarranted power and influence – power and influence that must be ultimately reckoned with in order to truly resolve the violence in the Middle East and prevent similar chaos from being instigated elsewhere around the world.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

The 8th Crusade

Off the microphone of RE

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on August 28, 2014

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Don't miss the recent 2 part Interview with Dmitry Orlov

Analysing Ukraine and MENA

Supply Chains, Population & Community

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Tagged:Beheading, Crucifixion, Crusades, Drones, Hiroshima, Holy War, ISIS, Jerusalem, MENA, Nagasaki, NATO, Vlad the Impaler

http://uberglobal.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/christcrucified-mel-gibson-passion-of-christ.jpg  http://www.medievalages.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/impalement.jpg

isis

Snippet:

…Now that the local Doom Action has calmed down, we can go back and revisit some of the International Doom ongoing during the period, including the Beheading of a Journalist by the ISIS Propaganda team, complete with videos. Videos I didn't watch though, partially because I don't wanna use up my bandwidth and partially because the rumour is that it will soon be a Criminal Offense to WATCH any You Tube vids dropped on by ISIS propaganda experts. I got enough issues with Black SUVs tailing me these days, I don't need to add grist to the mill here for watching illegal Decapitation Vids.

I have read in the Blogosphere though that the Decap Vid was actually fairly Tasteful, in that it did not show real gruesome Spurting Blood Monty Python style. Probably calculated on the part of the ISIS Propaganda team that if they made it too gruesome, they couldn't get enough eyeballls to watch it and this would hurt their Alexa Ranking. LOL. Just gruesome enough to strike TERROR into the heart of the Western audience as they recycle good old fashioned Execution Methods down there from the Middle Ages and further back to the Roman Empire…

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!!

ALLAH AKBAR!

Off the microphone of RE

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on July 2, 2014

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Snippet:

…In the short time since I recorded the Iraq Jokers & Clowns Rant, a NEW PLAYER has emerged here, ISIS, aka the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. They got a few other names for this both in English and Arabic, including calling Syria the “Levant”, and by no means are these guys limiting themselves to just this territory, they recnetly declared a Caliphate, a kind of Muslim state ruled over by an Islamic Caliph, apparently one Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who I don’t think anybody here in the West besides some NSA researchers ever heard of before, but who now is the biggest thing in Terrorism since Osama-bin-Laden. Gotta love this guy has Baghdad in his name though, that is positively CINEMATIC!

They haven’t limited themselves to pulling Caliphates out of the geopolitical history books here either in terms of drawing on old metaphors. They are doing Crucifictions too to strike TERROR into the heart of the average Christian over here, not to mention every Shiite Muslim and everybody they perceive as having been a tool of NATO imperialism. Our good friends the Sheiks running the House of Saud over in Saudi Arabia are now likely leaving large skid marks on their underwear…

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!!

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Crucifixions in Syria begin a new Chapter in the ever escalating battle for resources in MENA

Listeners who enjoyed this rant will probably also enjoy the articles Lawrence of Arabia and The Good, The Bad & the Takfiri here on the Diner.

RE

The Emperor is Naked

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on June 22, 2014

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Bonus Rant: IMF Hit Men

What passes for Geopolitical Policy in the FSoA has been pretty much the same ever since the Nixon Era, when folks like Henry Kissinger and Zbignew Bryzinsky first burst on the scene as the main mouthpieces of the Tri-Lateral commission charting out the future course of Empire for NATO in the post WWII period.  Basically everyone has always known this is a war for power and hegemony over Global Resources, primarily Oil, and the idea was to constrict the two other major powers Russia and China while monopolizing the resource base in the main area with the most Oil, the Middle East.

For a good long time since the 50s this WORKED too, puppet Goobermints were installed in places like Iraq and Iran, Syria and Egypt, and for so long as the energy came a bubblin’ up out of the ground as cheap and EZ as it did off Jed Clampett’s farm in Oklahoma over there in MENA.   Populations were mostly kept under control by the various Dictators and Strongmen propped up into power by NATO.

Things began going South with this plan with the overthrow of the Shah in the Islamic Revolution in 1979, but really picked up steam after Saddam Hussein got sent running when NATO dropped the Death From Above down on Iraq in Desert Storm.  Not coincidentally, Saddam took power in exactly the same year the Islamic Revolution took place in Iran, 1979.  At that time, Saddam was playing ball with NATO, and he served as a defense against Iraq walking down exactly the same Islamic path the Iranians took.

Things really began spinning out of control far as NATO was concerned when the Hoser Mubarak was overthrown as Dictator for Life in Egypt as a result of the Arab Spring protests and demonstrations that began in 2010.  He wasn’t the only one of course, the Wave of revolt spread all across MENA over the next few years.

By December 2013, rulers had been forced from power in Tunisia,[3] Egypt (twice),[4] Libya,[5] and Yemen;[6] civil uprisings had erupted in Bahrain[7] and Syria;[8] major protests had broken out in Algeria,[9] Iraq,[10] Jordan,[11] Kuwait,[12] Morocco,[13] and Sudan;[14] and minor protests had occurred in Mauritania,[15] Oman,[16] Saudi Arabia,[17] Djibouti,[18] Western Sahara,[19] and the Palestinian territories.

Why did all these places explode in violent revolution all around the same time?  The fuse was lit in Tunisia in 2010, by the self-immolation of a Tunisian Fruit Vendor.

The catalyst for the current escalation of protests was the self-immolation of Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi. Unable to find work and selling fruit at a roadside stand, on 17 December 2010, a municipal inspector confiscated his wares. An hour later he doused himself with gasoline and set himself afire. His death on 4 January 2011[61] brought together various groups dissatisfied with the existing system, including many unemployed, political and human rights activists, labor, trade unionists, students, professors, lawyers, and others to begin the Tunisian Revolution.[53]

Did the entire Region explode in Revolution all just because Mohamed Bouazizi torched himself?  Of course not, this just got the ball rolling, the problems in all these nations were systemic and were brought to the surface with the Financial Crisis of 2008 and subsequent crash in Oil Prices.

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All of these countries in one way or the other are dependent on Oil Revenue, and with the cratering in the price of Oil that occurred at the end of 2008, money to run their Goobermints, import food and subsidize food prices, keep the Electricity on etc began to run thin.  On top of that, many of these places also were at the stage of becoming net Oil importers rather than Oil Exporters.

http://www.economywatch.com/userfiles/1-syria-oil-production-and-consumption-eia.png

http://crudeoilpeak.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/EIA_Egypt_oil_production_consumption_1980_2009.jpg

So the reason here for all the tumult becomes quite obvious, these Goobermints were simply out of money to keep their populations fed and comfortable, even if desperately poor in general.  Unlike here in the FSoA, these places do not have the ability to manufacture Credit in the form of FRNs to keep rolling a while longer; if they can’t earn the FOREX by selling Oil, they go broke.  Unless of course IMF Hit Men show up and offer up some loans for them to keep going, but why would they do that if they have no more resource left to exploit?

Which countries did NOT collapse into Failed State anarchy during this period?  Countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran which still DO have Oil left to export.

http://www.finfacts.ie/artman/uploads/1/saudi1.jpg

http://www.eia.gov/countries/analysisbriefs/Kuwait/images/oil_production_consumption.png

http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/images/2013.04.26/iransupply.png

So what’s the problem here far as Happy Motoring in the FSoA is concerned?  Just forget these loser states that are outta gas and keep the Black Gold flowing from the ones left that still have some!  As you can see from the Kuwaiti and Iranian charts, there are a couple of problems with this idea.

First, the Desert Storm operation designed to KEEP the Oil flowing out of Kuwait took a HUGE hit during the operation itself, it is tough to keep Oil flowing out of a country that has Death From Above raining down on it every day.  This was however only a temporary problem at the time, and once NATO ejected Saddam from Kuwait and got him executed, the Kuwaities got right back to shipping Oil over here to the FSoA in return for Dollars from the perpetual credit laptop of then Fed Chairman Helicopter Ben Bernanke.

Second problem can be seen with the recent Sanctions against Iran, where the Mullahs and Ayatollahs who currently run that country have not been playing NATO ball for quite some time, but still have to an extent been doing BIZNESS with the Western Oil consuming countries selling their Oil to them in return for FRNs. Start dropping economic sanctions on them instead of dropping BOMBS, it has a similar effect which is to reduce the total amount of Oil coming into the pipeline for refinement into Gasoline for more Happy Motoring.

The Myth being promoted by Energy Shills here in the FSoA is that we can achieve Energy Independence by fracking the living shit out of formations like Bakken and Marcellus which have some “tight oil” left in them, along with still more Natural Gas.  This is Bullshit of Denali size proportions, if not K2 or Everest.  As you can see, the FSoA has a HUGE gap between how much it produces versus how much it consumes, and you’ll never frack up enough Oil to fill that gap.

http://www.energyvanguard.com/Portals/88935/images/peak-oil-us-production-and-consumption.jpg

Nor will you be able to continue to import enough to maintain this level of consumption, not with one after another countries which still produce some oil getting sucked in to the ongoing firestorm in MENA.

For now, Puppet Regimes in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait still ship plenty of Oil over to the FSoA for Happy Motoring, but these countries are all declining in production and more than that are subject to the same forces that are bringing down all their surrounding neighbors not so fortunate as themselves to still have a decent amount of Oil left underground at a cheap price to extract out.

As anarchy and mayhem spread through the neighborhood, it becomes ever more difficult for these countries to maintain control over their populations, and “terrorists” have a tendency to migrate around from one country to the next, with the potential always for blowing pipelines and wells and restricting supply flow through such actions.

So, even though the Illuminati could give a shit about Syrians who have no more Oil left to ship out, if they wanna keep the Oil flowing out of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, they have to “contain” the problem.  How do you contain such a problem?

Traditional answer to this is simply to roll in the Military Machine, drop down Death From Above and once the population has been “cleansed” of “terrorists”, install a Puppet Goobermint to run the country for you.  If said country has exportable energy, this can pay for itself, but once said country is OUTTA GAS, it becomes a huge money sink.  All the current military operations being run to maintain control over Iraq and Afghanistan are enormous money sinks, and probably overall net EROEI Negative, in that it costs more energy to keep a military machine operational in those places than they can ship out.  As of right now, it doesn’t look like NATO has either the resources, will or political clout necessary to run another full scale Desert Storm style operation to try and take control back over places like Syria and Iraq, so inevitably the mayhem currently ongoing in those countries will spread to the still sorta under control places like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

If this was the only problem faced here on keeping this Geopolitical farce running, the Emperor would only be about half naked now from the Waist Up, but of course it is not the only problem.  A problem as big or bigger is the ongoing conflict between NATO and Russia, centered in Ukraine which represents the main border state between West and East in Europe, and serves as a transit point for Ruskie energy to flow through to European consumers of that energy, who themselves are basically tapped out as far as further credit is concerned, particularly in the southern PIIGS nations.

On the European side, if they can’t keep Ruskie Gas flowing through Ukraine, they’ll be shivering in winter and have a real hard time keeping the Lights On.  On the Ruskie side, if they can’t keep Western credit flowing in to Mother Russia for further investment into extracting more energy and building more pipelines, they also will run into problems.  Even if you do still have energy in the ground, if you don’t have customers who can afford to pay for it or a way to get it to them, it is pretty worthless stuff.

The problem here which EVERYBODY KNOWS  is that the worth of everything here is based on the worth of the Dollar, which essentially is quite worthless at this point, it is just an exponentially increasing mountain of irredeemable debt that will never get paid off; USTs are worthless toilet paper and the Ruskies and Chinese both know this by now.  Vlad the Impaler over in Mother Russia is tired of getting pushed around by the folks who control credit creation in Europe and the FSoA, and along with the rest of the BRICS Nations they keep floating the balloon they they will pitch the Dollar and go it alone with their own system of credit.  Sergei Glaznyev, one of Putin’s Econ Advisors pitched the idea of a “Anti-Dollar Alliance“:

As summarized by VoR, in his article, published by Argumenty Nedeli, Putin’s economic aide and the mastermind behind the Eurasian Economic Union, argues that Washington is trying to provoke a Russian military intervention in Ukraine, using the junta in Kiev as bait. If fulfilled, the plan will give Washington a number of important benefits. Firstly, it will allow the US to introduce new sanctions against Russia, writing off Moscow’s portfolio of US Treasury bills. More important is that a new wave of sanctions will create a situation in which Russian companies won’t be able to service their debts to European banks.

According to Glazyev, the so-called “third phase” of sanctions against Russia will be a tremendous cost for the European Union. The total estimated losses will be higher than 1 trillion euros. Such losses will severely hurt the European economy, making the US the sole “safe haven” in the world. Harsh sanctions against Russia will also displace Gazprom from the European energy market, leaving it wide open for the much more expensive LNG from the US.

How plausible is it for Russia & China, along with the rest of the lesser BRICS nations to abandon the Dollar and the Western Illuminati Credit system?  ALL of their currencies, the Rouble, the Yen, the Real etc all derive their own value by being valued against the Dollar to begin with.  They can settle up in their own currencies, but those currencies still only hold value relative to their value to the Dollar, they have no real independent valuation other than that.

Besides that, in both cases these countries hold large quantities of USTs, which currently represent savings accumulated from years of energy sales and in the case of China, years of Slave Labor.  Crash the dollar, all those savings become worthless, so what then are the Chinese worth?  The Ruskies may still have worth because of some energy still left underground there, the Chinese have ZERO worth because their whole economy is dependent on mercantilism and selling toys to Amerikans for…DOLLARS!  The Ruskies can’t pick up the slack here as consumers of Chinese toys, they are basically broke and have a declining population base.

It is not impossible for a independent valuation of the Rouble and Renminby, but it would be quite difficult to achieve here, and most certainly the folks who control the current Credit system centered at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland will fight this every step of the way.  These folks have been building this system of Credit going back at least to the 1500’s in the Medici Era, possibly quite further back than that through the Holy Roman Empire.  They won’t simply roll over and die here without a fight.

The Battle Lines are being drawn, but this is a battle no side can win.  Just about every scenario you can work through ends with a collapse of the monetary system, without a viable replacement in a world in deficit.  Right now, small players from individuals to small nation states are collapsing under the weight of the debt they have accumulated here through the Age of Industrialization.  Soon enough, this Bankruptcy will migrate from the periphery to the CORE, the BIS.  There is nobody out there big enough and solvent enough to bail out the BIS.  When the observation is finally made that these folks are well and truly NAKED, the Debt they hold is all IRREDEEMABLE Debt, the “System of the World” will undergo an irrevocable change.  This cannot be stopped, it is inevitable.

How will this finally play out?  Nobody knows for sure here.  Ugo Bardi from Resource Limits, Gail Tverberg from Our Finite World and me did some speculation on it in the last Collapse Cafe, but really, NOBODY KNOWS how it will all play out in the end.

RE

Mena- A Model of the Future?

Off the keyboard of George Mobus

Published on Question Everything on July 2, 2013

logopodcast

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Political Unrest – Why?

It is interesting the way the MSM characterize the unrest going on in Egypt. The typical perspective is that the people of Egypt are unhappy with the way the Morsi government has turned out to be almost as autocratic as the Mubarak regime had been. Morsi was elected in the first “democratic” election in the country’s history, but he recently declared himself to have powers that were not part of the bargain. He is from the Muslim Brotherhood movement, a supposed Islamic political party-like organization that supports Sharia Law as the foundation of governance. A large majority of Egyptians appear to prefer secular laws and thought originally that Morsi would honor that position.

Thus to the MSM the unrest is political in nature. They focus on the notion that the Egyptians want democracy and that Morsi has failed to deliver. But what this perspective fails to take into account is that politics ultimately come down to who controls the resources. The irony in Egypt is that they really haven’t got much in the way of resources. They cannot sustain a program of development because they have nothing to develop and nothing to drive such development (e.g. net energy). So Morsi is actually incapable of delivering any of the demands that the people are voicing. What is more important to the people of Egypt than whether their governance is based on Islamic doctrine or not is that they need to eat. They need to have shelter and some income. And there is no regime that can deliver that. Even if Morsi capitulates and a new government is installed, or perhaps more likely, the military takes over again, the needs of the Egyptian people will never be met.

The unrest is not about democracy. We only characterize it that way because we, in the west, think that we have democracy and that it the reason we’ve been so successful economically. If the MENA states could have democracy, the reasoning goes, they too would become economically successful. What remarkably shallow, indeed empty, thinking this is. Democracy did not produce food on the table and shiny new cars. The fact that communism failed to do so is not a proof that it did. Growing net energy per capita did that. It is easy to support something that looks like democracy and free markets when you have oil gushing out of the ground.

We are observing a model for collapse unfolding as country after country depletes whatever resources they had. The entire North African, Middle East, all the way to Afghanistan and Pakistan, are facing the exact same forces. Political unrest derives from physical stress. What other part of the world with significant populations better fit this model? I suspect that India, parts of China, and Mongolia are close behind.

Unrest Moving West, North and South

The US’s and Europe’s problems appear to be financial because these countries were part of the industrialization growth of the 19th and 20th centuries where rapid developments of fossil fuels mirrored that going on in the US. Indeed England led the pack with the use of coal even earlier. But as the net energy per capita available from fossil fuels started first to decelerate in growth and then, around the 1970s peak, the reliance on debt to finance production took over. During the period of rapid growth in industrialization we observed that wherever one was in time one could reasonably expect that even more wealth would be produced in the future, enough extra to pay back the principal along with interest (rents paid for using the capital). So borrowing against the future made sense. What nobody paid attention to is the fact that this experience of growth was based on increasing net energy flows and that the majority of that net energy came from fossil fuels, particularly oil. Also what everybody lacked was an understanding of the fact that the extraction and processing of fossil fuels would become increasingly expensive (in terms of usable energy required). Nor did most pay attention to the well understood and predicted peaking in gross production due to depletion of finite resources. The latter has accentuated the problem with declining net energy per capita.

The western nations are stagnant or in deep recession with unacceptable (by earlier standards) unemployment rates. The blame is being put on financial institutions, corporations, governing bodies, all of the usual suspects have been lined up. I suppose this is a failure of imagination to think there might actually be a deeper and more dangerous cause. Ignorance must play a major role as well.

Unrest is popping up in the Southern European region. Whereas in MENA states the blame is supposed to go to non-democratic governance, in the west it goes to finance and political battles between conservatism (austerity required) and liberalism (Keynesianism required). The US Federal Reserve Bank has been trying to put a band aid on the financial system by buying bad paper (quantitative easing) and thus creating money, essentially. But this is only going to cause the crash to be more severe when it comes. The underlying cause in the west as well in MENA states is fundamentally the same. We are running out of net energy per capita at an alarming rate. The MENA states had a slight advantage over the west in that their populations had very low net energy per capita needs (same story for China and India where jobs were shipped from the US to save labor costs). They were more in touch, as it were, with the physical realities and did not have this veil of financialization to confound their thinking. Right now they very much realize that they are at the precipice and being pushed off.

States to the further east are soon to follow. China, using their low energy requiring citizens as enticements and some healthy savings, has succeeded in convincing their population that they SHOULD want to consume more energy! And now that work force is starting to demand more in wages so they can do so. Unfortunately China’s leaders did not really understand the net energy per capita source problem. When they became vaguely aware of it they started scrambling to import oil and coal from other regions. Instead of realizing that depletion would soon render that strategy moot, they blindly go ahead with their ambitions because they are trying to avoid the political unrest that will ensue when their people, promised the “good life,” realize they not only won’t achieve that but that life will get worse (especially for the many who gave up farming for the cities).

Russia has never really recovered from the collapse of the Soviet Union. Putin probably has dreams of glory but he has no investment stream to put into developing what resources they have. Russia does have richer biological and mineral resources but in climate and terrain-challenged areas that would require substantial capital for development. Their oil exporting appears to have peaked and if they allow foreign oil companies to participate in further development they have to realize their revenues from export will drop. They are between a rock and a hard place. Their only possible advantage is that the people have already been through a collapse/contraction and probably don’t have the same kinds of expectations that the Chinese and Indian people have for the future. They may simply resign themselves to a worse future.

Will the Earlier Collapse of MENA Trigger the Rest?

Since ME states like Saudi Arabia are still supplying oil to the west it is very possible that major troubles in that region could disrupt the flow of an already declining one. Any sudden shutting off of the spigot is likely to have devastating effects on the western nations.

A lot of people in the US think they are buffered from such a catastrophe. There is a meme floating around the MSM about how the US (with Canada’s help, of course) will achieve energy independence. The tight oil and gas reserves along with the tar sands in Alberta are touted as providing us with huge energy sources into the future. President Obama is making noises about investing in alternative energies, especially to reduce coal-fired power plants to reduce CO2 emissions. It is all wishful thinking. The production profile on tight oil and gas wells suggests (strongly) that they will never produce the abundance being promised. Moreover all of these non-conventional sources have terrible EROIs that cannot be sustained long. Already the companies exploiting these resources are running into financial problems. They cannot fund further development out of profits because their profits are being squeezed tightly. Costs of development are too high — a reflection of the low EROIs. As long as they can hype the investment community they might eke out a little more working capital, but that will not last very much longer.

There is nothing supporting our huge bubble. All it will take is a trigger event, either like the collapse of MENA states, dragging Europe along, or an internal event in the financial markets. My favorite scenario is that graduates who cannot find meaningful employment will simply stop paying back their education debt. That will burst a 1.2 trillion dollar bubble and could take the rest of the financial system down with it.

It is somewhat ironic that Greece was one of the first EU countries to experience severe hardships and the start of collapse. It gives new meaning to the phrase “Greek Tragedy” that the whole world is now embroiled in a demise crafted by our own flaw in character. We are not bad as a species. But we are clearly merely biological when it comes to trying to obtain more resources and grow. We evolved great clever brains that enabled us to do so with abandon. We did not evolve adequate sapience to moderate that cleverness and dampen the biological mandate. That is the flaw — lack of wisdom in pursuing our future. Now we have none, for the most part.

I still won’t make any predictions as to timing of, say, major events that would be clearly signs of collapse well under way. I think collapse is starting and is gaining momentum as we witness unrest spreading around the globe. Some regions, like MENA, will likely collapse very rapidly, possibly taking others with them in a domino effect. Other regions may drag it out a bit as oh-so-clever masters of the universe try more tricks to keep the dream alive. But they can’t do it forever.

All I will say is that if you want to see what collapse looks like on the ground (and this is for every region eventually) watch what happens in Egypt. And for you American readers, enjoy your celebration of the Fourth of July commemorating winning your democracy!

July 3, 2013

How Long Will it Take for the Egyptians to Realize…

… that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood were not the root cause of their problems? Now he is out and the military has taken over. They are claiming they want new elections so are still convinced that a democratic government can somehow fix their broken nation. They still think there is a political solution to a physical problem. If only people are free to make choices and live their lives as they want. If only political stability were to return then investment money would come flowing in and tourists would return to the pyramids.

If there was enough time those magical wishes might actually start to come true! After all there are still much richer people in the world who are always looking for an angle to make a buck or have discretionary funds to go on vacation – at least for a while. Unfortunately I don’t think they have the time. People on the ground are already hurting and need relief now. It takes a long time to set the wheels in motion for establishing a truly stable government, time I don’t think their society has.

It is probably the case that both Mubarak and Morsi made matters worse in being so autocratic at a time when people were expecting some more “freedoms”. But you can’t blame their failures strictly on their incompetence, which extends to corruption and cronyism; those surely didn’t help. But as I said in my prior post Egypt’s and the whole MENA region’s troubles go much deeper than lack of democracy. In fact, ironically it is probably an autocratic rule, which does not automatically mean corruption, etc., that would lessen the woes. Democracies have a great deal of difficulty making timely decisions in this crises world. Look at the US Congress as a prime example of what happens when you let a lot of very foolish people with big egos try to agree on important decisions.

Autocrats, if they are competent and wise, can get the right things done in a more timely fashion. But since there are no philosopher kings in the waiting room… This is what makes this predicament intractable. There are no solutions that don’t involve massive population reductions in short order. If a region cannot support its own population and has absolutely no skills that would add sufficient value to what other regions that can produce food need, well, put bluntly, they are screwed.

How long will it take the Egyptian people to discover that things are not getting better? How long will they, and the rest of the world, continue to blame it on a “stalled revolution?” How long will they continue to belive that democracy and a stable government would save them?

So, keep your eyes on Egypt and carefully observe what transpires. You may be looking at your own situation within the next decade if things devolve at an accelerating rate.

NATO Terrorists Target Syria & Algeria

Off the Keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

Published originally on Land Destroyer on August 29th, 2012

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NATO’s Pan-Arab Terrorist Blitzkrieg. 

August 29, 2012 – Western policy makers admit that NATO’s operations in Libya have played the primary role in emboldening Al Qaeda’s AQIM faction (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb). The Fortune 500-funded Brookings Institution’s Bruce Riedel in his article, “The New Al Qaeda Menace,” admits that AQIM is now heavily armed thanks to NATO’s intervention in Libya, and that AQIM’s base in Mali, North Africa, serves as a staging ground for terrorist activities across the region.

Image: NATO’s intervention in Libya has resurrected listed-terrorist organization and Al Qaeda affiliate, LIFG. It had previously fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now has fighters, cash and weapons, all courtesy of NATO, spreading as far west as Mali, and as far east as Syria. The feared “global Caliphate” Neo-Cons have been scaring Western children with for a decade is now taking shape via US-Saudi, Israeli, and Qatari machinations, not “Islam.” In fact, real Muslims have paid the highest price in fighting this real “war against Western-funded terrorism.”

….

AQIM, like their Libyan counterparts, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) are both listed by the US State Department as “Foreign Terrorist Organizations.” Likewise, both the UK Home Office (.pdf, listed as GSPC) and the UN recognize both organizations as terrorists.
Despite this, military intervention in Libya was pursued by the West and condoned by the UN with full knowledge that the militants leading so-called “pro-democracy uprisings” were in fact merely the continuation of decades of violent terrorism carried out by Al Qaeda affiliates. The West had full knowledge of this, primarily because it was Western intelligence agencies arming and supporting these militants for the last 30 years, in Libya’s case, while coddling their leaders in Washington and London.
Additionally, the US Army itself meticulously documentedforeign terrorists fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, noting that the highest percentage per capita emanated from Libya’s cities of Benghazi and Darnah, the so-called “cradle” of 2011’s “pro-democracy uprisings” in Libya.

….

What unfolded was a premeditated lie – where placard waving “activists” overnight turned into battle-hardened heavily armed, tank driving, jet flying militants waging a nationwide battle against Libyan leader, Muammar Qaddafi. In reality, it was the fruition of 30 years of covert support the West has poured into militant groups across the region – support that would not end with the fall of Qaddafi.

Image: Libyan terrorist manning a tank during NATO’s 2011 overthrow of the Libyan government. The media expects the public to believe placard waving peaceful demonstrators had somehow, in just days, transitioned into tank driving, jet flying rebel forces – just like in Hollywood.
….

LIFG terrorists promptly turned both east to Syria and west to Mali beyond their borders – a logistical matter they had perfected during their operations in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade. LIFG commander Abdul Hakim Belhaj, as early as November 2011, arrived on the Turkish-Syrian border to provide cash, weapons, and LIFG terrorist fighters, overseen by Western intelligence along with US funding and arms laundered through Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) members such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Since then Libyan militants have been confirmed to be leading entire brigades of foreign fighters inside Syria.
And as Bruce Riedel of Brookings concedes, these weapons went west to Mali as well. Algeria had feared just such a scenario unfolding with NATO’s intervention in Libya – a fear now fully realized. Ironically, Riedel, in August 2011, had tried to make a case for Algeria being “next to fall” in an article titled literally, “Algeria Will Be Next to Fall.”
A year ago, Riedel attempted to argue that it would be the so-called “Arab Spring” that would spread into Algeria after having taken root in neighboring Libya. He had eluded to, and it has now become abundantly clear, that by  “Arab Spring,” Riedel meant, US-backed subversion, and more specifically NATO-armed Al Qaeda-brand militancy and terrorism.
With the US now openly arming, supporting, and literally “cheering” Al Qaeda in Syria, it is clear that the “War on Terror” is an unprecedented geopolitical fraud perpetuated at the cost of millions of lives destroyed and an incalculable social and economic toll. NATO, with full knowledge of the consequences is literally carving out of North Africa and the Middle East, the so-called “Caliphate” Western leaders had held over their impressionable people’s heads as the impetus to perpetually wage global war. Torn from the pages of Orwell’s 1984, an artificial war has been created to carry forward corporate-financier machinations both abroad and domestically. The so-called threat to Western civilization is in fact a foreign legion of Western corporate-financier interests, executing Wall Street and London’s foreign policy on a global scale where and in a manner traditional Western forces cannot.
NATO’s terrorist blitzkrieg across the Arab World will not end in Syria. It will continue, if allowed, into Iran, through the Caucasus Mountains and into Russia, across China’s western borders, and even across Southeast Asia. The price for ignorance, apathy, and complicity in supporting the West’s so-called “War on Terror” will ironically reap all the horrors and then some in reality, that were promised to us if we didn’t fight this “Long War.”
Our support of both the political gambits of our politicians, as well as our daily patronage of the corporate-financier interests driving this agenda have already reaped an unprecedented and still growing regional safe haven for terrorists – and as moderate secular governments continue to be undermined and toppled, we can only imagine the blowback, retaliation, and other consequences as this destructive foreign policy unfolds. To imagine that such meddling will not end up being visited back upon us, even if in the form of a false flag attack dwarfing 9/11, would be folly.
Already, we are suffering economic devastation and an increasingly stifling security apparatus at home, and as long as we capitulate to this current agenda instead of asserting a more rational one of our own, it will only get worse.

Grand Unified Theory of Collapse: GUTOC

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Mark wrote:

I think a key point from what Steve said there was the debts could be canceled and you would have to borrow to infinity anyway to keep industrial civilization as we know it running. Triggering the global derivative markets would probably lead to such a reset of debt would it not? Or they would just end derivatives? Many liberal techno fantasy folks I know trumpet that solution but it seems it would destroy the supposed assets of the too big to fail banks.

In theory you could cancel out the derivatives market, but this would crash the biggest of the TBTF banks. It would be massively deflationary, leaving only “real” assets on their books, but those assets are also all impaired. Loan books that are not paying off, Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) with no worthwhile collateral backing them up, etc.

Besides bringing down the main Global Banking system, same players control global trade of all kinds, and once they are outta biz you don’t have a coherent means to keep this up, not on anywhere near current scale anyhow. Who will issue Letters of Credit, based in what currency? Gold? Pfffft. Even if Saudis accept Gold for Oil, anybody running an industrial economy will bankrupt themselves of that Gold using it to keep buying Oil for a while. Once the Saudis HAVE all the Gold, then what do you buy their Oil with?

So you are left with the fundamental problem that once this monetary system crashes, rebooting a new one based on any worthwhile assets is pretty tough. You can say the Land is the Asset, but for land to be an asset it actually has to be productive in some way. A McMansion is not a productive asset of course. Farms can be productive assets, but current Industrial Ag is not, it requires too much input of fossil fuel energy to be net productive.

A Perfectly run Permaculture Farm could be considered Productive, but basing a monetary system on that is quite the challenge unless you Nationalize this. See, if each individual person runs their own Private Property Farm, its not a State Asset at all. You can barter your produce with others, but there is no Money involved here in this. Only once the State taxes your produce and creates a currency of some sort from that taxation can you have money flowing around the economy.

Anyhow, even if you do drop down to this level (which is basically the Feudal system), you have massively deflated Industrialization out of Biz as unaffordable, you have very little functioning Money around of any kind (and what there is probably is very local), and you are left with Feudally Run (by local Warlords no doubt) permaculture Farms which probably do not produce enough to handle the current local population’s needs. So lots of people go to the Great Beyond here in this process of contraction.

So of course our Global Masters are doing every last thing they can think of to keep the system propped up, because when (not if) the Global Banking system collapses it doesn’t mean just a Monetary Reset here. It means the real onset of Civilization Collapse and an Die Off in population of unprecedented proportions in all of Recorded History.

The Solution which will be undertaken to this problem is not a Monetary one, it is WAR. When you no longer can afford to BUY the resource you need, you STEAL it. So through War the attempt is already underway to steal the Oil remaining from the MENA countries to keep propping up the economies of the core Industrial Economies of Germany, China and the FSofA. The Ruskies mostly have their own Oil and aren’t directly involved, but their problem is they can’t afford their OWN oil. They have been contracting down since the collapse of the Soviet Union, population stats way down here over the last 20 years with more to go.

Its the War issue which makes the local collapse here in the FSofA so unpredictable. A Military State such as Rome can persist for quite a while through conquest and theft. However, the fact we are in the end going to go Mano-a-Mano or Nuke-a-Nuke with the Chinese for the last of the remaining Oil means in all probability the Big Ass Military will not last so long as it did in the Roman Collapse, which actually took Centuries to complete. In this case it probably doesn’t last 5 years, and in fact could be over in a matter of minutes. Generaly speaking though, I think MAD will prevail and if Nukes are used, they will be mostly tactical ones, not ICBM MIRV equipped City Killers.

To conclude here in this digest of GUTOC, the sequence of events is pretty clear even if the Timeline for them still remains a bit murky. Overall my predictions have been very accurate in terms of sequence since I got started on this, I predicted the Nation State BKs coming down the pipe in 2008 after Lehman collapsed. The length of time TPTB have been able to extend this out continues to astound me, along with the endless creativity in accounting and the endless gullibility/acceptance of eating shit by the general public as well. This will not last in perpetuity though, up at the Top it is coming apart at the seams now and fracture is imminent. War looms on the Horizon.

RE

Lawrence of Arabia

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RE’s Daily Rant-3-10-2011

Posted originally on TBP on 10th March 2011 by Reverse Engineer in Economy |Politics

I read an article yesterday rehashing how the Ottoman Empire got carved up after WWI, creating all the current Nation-States in North Africa. These states are now oozing into an amorphous mass of Jello, quite a bit like the Evil Senator in the original “X-Men” movie after he is turned into an Artificial Mutant. They never really had much holding them together besides the power of the war machine apparatus handed to cooperative puppet Sheiks and Dictators by the Illuminati beginning in the aftermath of WWI. Certainly no “Democratic” buy in from the populations they ruled anyhow.

The key point in the article revolved around the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, which first discovered the massive reserves under what is now Iran in the early 1900s. This was of course Laurence of Arabia time, more or less the last of the Glory Years of the British Empire.

Now, in the years since 2007 when I really started reading up on History, I did become aware of the role of the Oil Companies in creating the Puppet States of the M.E., but what really hit me reading this article yesterday how completely UNAWARE I was of this history prior to 2007.

Besides having taken all the required History classes in the NYC Public Schools through my HS years, I also had to sit through 2 years of “Contemporary Civilizations”, part of the Core Curriculum at Columbia. Besides that, I was a huge pop culture sponge, saw all the John Wayne and Audie Murphy WWI and WWII B-Movies ever produced I think, along with Epics like Laurence of Arabia, Patton, Bridge on the River Kwai, From Here to Eternity, Midway Tora, Tora, Tora, etc etc etc. In all of that stuff, I cannot remember a single instance where OIL was mentioned as a motivating cause for any of the Wars or any of the Colonial maneuvers of the British Empire. Hell, it doesn’t even appear in the writings of Karl Marx or JM Keynes far as I can remember.

I even remember a question which briefly hit my head when I saw the movie “Patton” as a teenager, which chronicled the exploits of the Potty-Mouth Tank General in his fight with the Desert Fox Erwin Rommel across the sands of North Africa. The question was “If we were fighting to Liberate Germany and Italy and France from the grip of the Evil Dictator Adolf Hitler, WTF were we fighting down in Africa to do it? Why did the Germans have a huge Tank army down in Africa?”

Now of course its OBVIOUS to me, the two Industrial Giants of the era, England and Germany, neither with huge Oil resources of their own (the North Sea fields hadn’t yet been drilled) were both fighting over the main resource necessary to build their industrial economies AND run their mechanized War Machines, which was down in North Africa and the M.E.!

Why didn’t the Ruskies roll some tanks in that battle? Because of course they had plenty of Oil on their own Home Soil at the time. They were mainly concerned with keeping Hitler from rolling tanks into Russia to steal their Oil. The Germans were basically SOL as far as Oil on Home Soil. The Amerikans who also had their own Oil were mainly fighting to help the British who needed the Oil to run their War machine. Likely also they were quite aware the Home Soil Oil in the FSofA was limited, and they would eventually need the Towel Head Oil to keep the industrial paradigm moving forward here.

As Plain as Day as all this is NOW to me, somehow the fact that in both WWI and WWII they were Resource Wars for control of the Oil got left out of all the History Textbooks I ever read, all the Economics Texbooks AND all the Pop Culture Movies and TV shows “explaining” the reasons for these Wars as battles for Freedom and Democracy against Fascism and Totalitarianism. Even the collapse of the economic system of the Great Depression is only tangentially referred to as a Cause of WWII, what is really focused on is that WWII is what brought us OUT of the Depression. The cause of the Great Depression was “shrouded in mystery” with conflicting theories put forth on why it occurred, with Blame being laid on Stock Market Speculation, Smoot-Hawley Protectionism, etc. I never even heard of the failure of Credit-Anstaldt in Austria until after 2007. Honestly, even though I took Economics 101 in my Freshman Year, I simply had no CLUE on how money was CREATED, only that it existed and you used it to measure productivity. I kick myself in the head for being so fucking clueless as to not even ASK this question back then, but to me Money just EXISTED. I had to have it to pay the half of my tuition, not covered by scholarship grants, I had to work to get it or borrow it. Dad the Bankster Pigman and I were not on speaking terms in those days, so he was no help. I just never really thought about how it actually got its perceived value though.

Now I am sorry, it just strains credibility for me to believe that generations of Historians and Economists since the time of Laurence of Arabia managed to MISS the importance of cheap energy in running the Industrial Model. These Ph.D.s were not clueless teenagers who partied too hard Drinking Cheap Keg Beer Bonging Turkish Hashish and Fucking Illuminati Spawn in the Barnard Dormitory who were only semi-conscious the following morning during lectures in Economics. It is the numero uno necessary Input to run a factory besides labor, once you have substituted Oil for Coal. So I can only conclude here that this stuff has been purposefully eliminated and ignored from the typical History and Economics textbooks to keep the general population IGNORANT of how energy was being used to control the developing societies of the Industrial Era.

Anyhow, as we move forward with WWIII here, once again the Battle is over the Oil in the M.E., which pretty much represents the last of the really CHEAP oil its possible to find anymore. Sure, some huge fields have been found under the Deep Ocean strata of the sea floor, but it is very expensive and difficult to pump up, with obvious Hazards of working with such High Pressures as you get down so deep, exemplified by the failure of the BOP on the Deepwater Horizon. There is also a lot of Oil in the Tar Sands of Canada, but extracting it takes tons of energy and tons of water. Its not CHEAP Oil.

Now, even if we do succeed somehow in securing the Oil remaining in the M.E. with NATO High Tech weaponry and Chinese Boots on the Ground, the amount of time this would buy the Industrial model based on Oil is marginal at best. It is pretty clear from leaked memos that the Saudis and everybody else down there in the M.E. has grossly overstated the Reserves they have. So maybe best case scenario even with a quick Genocide of the Uppity Muslims down there pissed off at starving on $2/day wages, we might get what, another Decade of Happy Motoring? It is unlikely however this War concludes all that quickly, and what is likely is that more of the currently producing wells down there will go Off-Line as the anarchy proceeds. Libya’s production is already down by roughly 2/3rds. So on a Global Basis, I can see no way where we will not begin to experience real shortages of Oil in the next 1-2 years, even beyond the Economic spin down of the monetary system.

That does not mean however that the FSofA will likely experience these shortages first, but rather that smaller peripheral economies with much smaller Militaries will be Triaged out first. My guess would be that the most recently Industrialized coutries in S.E. Asia will be the first ones Starved of Oil. Then India goes, then Industrialized countries in South America like Brazil, Chile and Argentina. Then the poorer counties in Southern Europe like Portugal, Italy and Spain, and finally moving inward to France and Germany before it finally hits the FSofA and China in full force. Chimerica can be viewed as a single Economic Unit based on Oil, where the Chinese function as the Production end and the FSofA as the Consumption end of the Waste-Based economy of Capitalism. Together, they are the dominant Military societies of the world in Tech and Population, and will keep what Oil still flows directed toward themselves as long as possible. Only once all the other economies have been starved out of Oil will the real starvation of this resource take place in these two powerhouses, so until then we are Married to the Chinese.

This is not to say that as Oil Starvation begins to take hold in the peripheral economies that both here and in China we will be forced into Oil Austerity, we both will be. Just not completely CUT OFF and triaged out, so at least for as long as the model can survive, I expect that the last places impacted by real Oil Shortage will be the FSofA and China.

When you look at this whole dynamic in aggregate, you should have a better understanding of how the Capitalist paradigm really worked over the last century particularly as it came to depend on Oil, but also even before that as it depended on Colonial Expansion to grow after the discovery of the New World. The central Wealth, the “Capital” being exploited here to drive this system forward always came through military DOMINATION by powerful Nation-States, and then all the smaller wealth piles accumulated by small and large Pigmen came from the central source of either expropriated lands in the Colonial Era, or Expropriated Energy resource in the following Age of Oil. Read the works of General Smedley Butler to understand how this was pursued by the FSofA from the late 19th Century into the early 20th Century. Read also Carroll Quigley’s “Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time.”

For the folks at the TOP of the Ponzi, people I refer to as the “Illuminati”, in essence they got the Oil for FREE, much as the TBTF Banks get ZERO interest loans. They controlled the power of the state through the political and monetary system they ran and still sort of run, though it is coming apart at the seams now. Long as it was virtually inexhaustible, all they needed to do was charge a Penny’s Worth of Labor against the energy of Oil they get free. The value of labor gets depressed, it is out competed by virtually free energy from Oil. You can keep building on this Ponzi scheme for so long as the marginal cost of energy from Oil is less than the marginal cost of the labor it replaces. So it was done through the Oil era of Industrialization, with the price of Labor ever arbitraged downward, ever so briefly unsuccessfully battled by the Unions. The energy was so vast that as most labor became unnecessary, the social welfare state evolved to take its place. If there is no real WORK for people to do, you put them on the dole, you feed them virtually free food that is produced through the Industrialized Ag model of Monsanto and Conagra. This whole system WORKED for so long as the Oil came close to free. All the other forms of “work” that evolved though the time period sieved off of this, ALL “small bizmen” who became marginally “wealthy” through the time period became so by tapping into the central source of power and by arbitraging downward the cost of labor against the energy source. Every last person who became rich through this time period did so by tapping into a source of wealth that was either pulled directly from the planetary resource or by arbitraging increasingly worthless labor of other people against the thermodynamic energy of Oil. The connections get convoluted sometimes, but I can always show how they work through all conduits, physical or information based does not matter. It is for this reason I make the case that ALL rich people are GUILTY to one extent or another of Crimes Against Humanity, dependent mainly on exactly how much of the worldwide Wealth they funneled toward themselves. In some cases its part of systemic distribution problems rather than pure greed. That is the case for people like Rock Stars or Professional Athletes who get paid outrageous sums of money and Gate-kept professions like Medicine and Law. Regardless of HOW the money ends up funneled though, it ALL still comes from the same central repository, the Energy and Property control that was accessed through military power underpinning Capitalist economies over the centuries here, most particularly the very successful Empires run first by the British through the 1800s and then the FSofA during the 20th Century. The Capital Markets and the Banking system are a distribution means for the wealth, they are centrally controlled, always have been. As long as there was a lot of surplus, pretty much the whole world operating under the system did OK, while those in control of the system did a whole lot better than just OK. When we hit Peak Oil, roughly in 2008 or so, the system collapsed and has only been extended and pretended by shifting the wealth remaining and essentially further impoverishing the already impoverished.

Once you grasp that Capitalism only really functioned as a SIEVING mechanism dependent on Military hegemony, not as a “Wealth Creation” mechanism, you should grasp why it cannot continue to function in a depleted energy environment. The Central Pool of wealth from which all the smaller wealth piles are sieved out no longer exists, so each of the smaller pools must be drained, one by one, the weakest ones first. So Small Biz goes under before Big Biz does, small Nation-State Goobermints collapse before the big ones do. We have been witnessing this effect for the last 3 years since Lehman collapsed in 2008. This cannot be denied, Small Biz IS failing while the TBTF are propped up, Small Nation-States ARE collapsing while the TBTF Nations of the FSofA, China, Germany and the U.K. extend and pretend. For anyone who believes “Small Bizness is the Backbone of Amerika”, you have it completely ass-backwards. Small Biz only exists as a sieving mechanism into the hands of Big Biz, and when that sieving mechanism no longer works, the Small Biz collapses first, not the Big Biz first. All will collapse though once the central wealth supply is sufficiently depleted.

The ONLY solution to the problem of maintaining the Industrial Model was to find further sources of nearly FREE energy, such as we obtained in the early ears of Oil exploitation. It is for this reason alone tht the Illuminati funded such thing as Superconducting Supercolliders and a 40 year long basically fruitless attempt to control Fusion Power. None of them were truly successful, energy as FREE as the Bubbling Crude that came up in Jed Clampett’s backyard has not been found, and likely never will be again. The Illuminati at the top of the Ponzi KNOW this, and all that is going on here is as we spin down they are sieving in the last of the wealth toward themselves. This will continue up until the Conduits finally do collapse, at which time we really WILL get a New World Order. A much smaller one quite free of the Illuminati, who will go the way of the Dinosaur as the energy to run the systems they use as conduits for control disappear.

What is most entertaining in the mad scramble is watching as Pigmen both small and large try and figure out how they will protect their “Wealth” as the House of Cards that is the Banking system collapses. For the most part all the financial instruments developed over the last century had as their underlying Capital the Waste-based Industrial model built on Oil. You have many layers of interconnected instruments to use as investment vehicles in this paradigm. As Stoneleigh writes, what you really have here are multiple claims to the underlying wealth which must be extinguished, in the Fractional Reserve banking system probably at least 100:1, but really much larger than that when all the derivative instruments floating in the Shadow Banking system are tallied up. Go there, you are probably looking at more like 10,000:1, which means only one lucky guy gets to walk away with $1 of real wealth, while 9,999 walk way holding an empty bag. What this means is that even some of the Illuminati will be left holding empty bags.

That friends is actually the POSITIVE spin, because what it assumes is that there is $1 of Real Wealth down at the bottom of the pile of Debt somewhere. However, once you grasp that all the real wealth in this system came from accessing the thermodynamic energy of Oil, since all the cheap stuff has been pretty much exhausted, instead of $1 of real wealth down there its probably more like 30 cents worth left now.

Some real wealth of course does remain, mainly in what good arable land is left on the earth still with good water supplies that do not have to be pumped up by oil powered pumps. Land also that will not produce nearly so much when it is not supplemented with Round Up and farmed with Oil powered Tractors and Combines. So in terms of Real Wealth available relative to the total population of around 6.3B, the amount is miniscule on a per capita basis.

Can you reboot a monetary system based on that real wealth? In theory you can, but it has the practical application problem that its going to be about impossible to maintain Private Property rights over this land as the society at large begins to starve. Goobermints/Warlords etc will take control over the productive lands in some fashion. Money per se will not really function during this period, of whatever kind, not even slivers or coins made of precious metal. To be very clear here, money as a wealth measure, currency and savings medium can only function in a surplus society. It came onto the scene with the development of agriculture, because that technological development put the societies which developed it into a food surplus situation, at least some of which could be stored up in Grain Houses. With that surplus, the society began developing all the many other crafts and forms of work we developed, and gave the time necessary to spur innovations, Eventually, with the Enlightenment, those innovations came fast and furious there for a while in Europe, which allowed the Europeans to essentially gain hegemony over ALL the world resources for a while.

Once you do have surplus, just about anything can serve as money as long as it is kept reasonably scarce, Cowrie Shells worked quite well in Africa until it got debased by traders with Tall Ships who picked up tons of those shells for FREE in areas they were plentiful and shipped them to areas where they were in scarcity. PMs have always been scarce just about everywhere, so they functioned as a medium as well on a much broader basis for a longer period. They still depend on surplus though in basic goods to function, and then because they are so scarce everywhere hoarding is a very real problem for this form of money. Solution to that was the development of Fiat Paper Money, kept scarce by Da Goobermint but always available to print up as Da Goobermint needs it. As long as the POWER of Da Goobermint through the Military is available to access real wealth across the world, the Fiat Money it produces on Paper or in Digital form holds value. As a result, the Dollar won’t fail completely until the FSofA Military fails completely. That is happening in relative slow motion right now, but picking up speed as more areas of the world fall into anarchy. The question has been asked here “Who will Buy USTs when Da Fed stops buying”. Answer in time of WAR, anybody who thinks the FSofA will WIN the war! Who ELSE do the Illuminati have to bet on here? The Chinese? Their economy is directly tied to that of the FSofA as Chimerica. Big Circle Jerk dependent on the outcome of a War which can only end in the depletion of the last of the easily accessible Oil. However, until this War comes to a close, the Dollar is going to remain a Go To currency until the Military Machine itself collapses.

The vast Machine that is the FSofA Military-Industrial-Banking complex will collapse as the Oil Conduit which powers it collapses. Partially as a result of straight depletion issues, but increasing in rapidity due to anarchy and war in the locations where the Oil is pumped up. It is a Cascade Failure, and as each additional place goes offline, it puts more stress on the remaining nodes, which then become overloaded and themselves fail. Libya going into Anarchy destabilizes Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia going Offline destabilizes the WORLD.

Certainly, the Illuminati will not allow this to happen without a FIGHT, and I do not expect Saudi Arabia to drop off the map of Oil Production quite so rapidly as Libya has, but fall they will. What Military Assets the Illuminati do have WILL be brought to bear to keep Saudi Arabia producing as long as possible, but it does not seem likely this will be all that long. The “Beginning” here is the No-Fly Zone over Libya, but as Winston Churchill said, “This is not the End. It is not even the Beginning of the End. It is the End of the Beginning”. For the Elite running the show here, there is only ONE choice to maintain their power as long as possible, and that is a Full On WAR for the Oil in the M.E. EVERY last military resource will be brought to bear in this war, as it develops. It cannot be won by anyone, but it will most certainly be undertaken.

It’s a ways off still explicitly, but the War for Oil will be fought, the writing is on the wall. We will Power Down, we will Fracture on a societal level away from Globalism to Localism, and there will be a One to the Many diaspora. It is inevitable, always has been from the very MOMENT Jed Clampett found the Bubblin’ Crude on his hunting land. We are just the “lucky” ones who are alive to see the transition BACK from the Age of Oil, as we are forced to REVERSE ENGINEER our way back to a lower energy footprint on the world. For as long as we are alive anyhow, because for many of us, particularly those who live in the Big Shities, their days are Numbered. Few will make it through the Zero Point this time.

See You on the Other Side.

RE

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Parsing the Middle East

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Over on The Automatic Earth in the comments, El Galinazo put up this vid of Secretary of War Leon Panetta explaining to CONgress exactly how the decision to Rain Death From Above on obstrperous MENA Nations will be made, by seeking a “Legal Basis” through NATO or the UN to bomb them back to the Stone Age if they won’t Play Ball.

Coincidentally here, 1 Year Ago almost to the DAY I posted up on TBP a Frostbite Falls Daily Rant called “Parsing the Middle East.  At the time, Muammar El-Kabong over in Libya was still Walking the Earth, and we had not at that point yet brought in the Death From Above on the Libyans.  That came soon thereafter, so my Over/Under there at the end of the rant was a Winning Bet.

However, there remains still no “Official” War being waged by FSofA/NATO down there, but if you pay close enough attention to the various military operations (Carrier Group movements etc) you should realize that the War is already happenning.  So far of course, we have not experienced any obvious Oil Shortages, at the time I really had not examined the effects of both Demand Destruction here and in Eurotrashland and increasing Oil Production going on here in the FSofA from Bakken.  What Oil has been shut in down in Libya is compensated for by lower demand, but at the same time you do see the Higher Prices coming in as well.  With decreased demand you should not get higher prices, but you are because of restricted movement of Oil and also ramping up of Oil Consumption by the Big Ass Military.  It takes a LOT of Oil to keep those carrier Groups moving around the Meditarranean and Gulf of Suez and Straights of Hormuz you know.  Your SUV is competing for Oil with F-16s flying Training Missions and burning Jet fuel and Destroyers burning Bunker Fuel to keep up with the Carriers and Subs running Nuke Engines.

Anyhow, most of the analysis in this Rant remains as true today as it was one year ago.  We haven’t yet reached the point where its Mano-a-mano with the Chinese and the Ruskies, but you can see this one coming down the pipe also. If/when NATO or the Israelis decide to Light Up the Skies of Tehran, one suspects the Chinese will stop Pussy Footing around here.  Iran is their second largest supplier of Oil.  There simply is no way the Chinese can let this one slide.  Iran is NOT a dipshit little Oil producer like Libya.  They will NOT sit on the sidelines for that battle.

RE

 

RE’s Daily Rant-3/7/2011

Posted on 7th March 2011 by Reverse Engineer  in Politics |Social Issues

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Parsing the Middle East

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Today’s rant examines scenarios for the escalating War for Oil in the Middle East.

 

Quote of the Day

Revelation 6:8

And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

     
 

A Tale of Two Depressions

As the Great Depression progressed onward, the early collapse in RE prices made many Banks insolvent, which then precipitated the Stock Market Crash of 1929.

 

Saudi Arabia is Going Down

When the Saudis have to Ban Protests in an already ridiculously repressive state, the End is not far off.
 

High Commodity Prices Leading to Global Food Crisis

“Without exception, genuine famines have political as well as agricultural causes. A crop failure is redeemable through cross-border flows of money or food, but where political conditions disrupt these flows; or worse, where food is provided or withdrawn as a mechanism of engendering political obedience, starvation looms.”

     

As predicted quite some time back before I even began the Daily Rant series, the M.E. Spin Out has now reached the Center, Saudi Arabia.  The Saudis are cracking down on Demonstrations, claiming them to be “illegal” under Sharia Law.  They have mobilized some 10,000 Police to try to quell uprisings in the provinces.  Given what we have seen to date through the rest of the region, it seems unlikely that they will be successful.

This brings still closer the question of exactly what Obama-sama will DO about all this?  Referencing the Obamanista, what I really mean is what will his Handlers tell him he must do?

At the moment all through the M.E., there are Oil Wells that are getting switched to OFF like lightbulbs. At least one in Libya is on fire, but one has to wonder just how effectively Oil is getting moved out from the wells in Tunisia and Algeria as well?  Not to mention Iran of course, itself also undergoing Political Turmoil.  Even if the Spigot hasn’t been shut completely yet, there is a blockage here in the pipeline that did not exist before.  It has to be squeezing the supplies.

We do have Oil in the SPR of course, and in addition to that there is a large floating inventory of Oil in Tankers on the High Seas, which Somali Pirates occasionally Poach.  Once suspects together this inventory can provide a Buffer against at the Pump shortages of Gas and Diesel for say 6 months.  However, as it draws down, it will force TPTB to take some form of Offensive Action.  What form will that take?

So far, the “Arab League” has come down as being against NATO forces being dropped down into their territory to take one side or the other in conflicts in countries other than their own.  These are Arab problems that Arabs should resolve is the Politically Correct wisdom.  Pretty clearly though the Arabs cannot solve their own problems, because the problems they have are not soluble.  The problem is way too many people living on land with insufficient water supplies and insufficient food production.

At the moment, the most likely scenario mapped out by the Illuminati would be to let the various countries in the M.E. spin into complete disorder over the next 6 months while BAU continues on here and our population is kept relatively clueless.  During this time, the SPR and Floating Inventory will be drawn down to give the appearance of BAU.  When the SPR is about half drained and Gas Rationing becomes necessary, THEN Obama-sama delivers the Message from the Teleprompter on National Television that we MUST go in and SAVE the Arabs from themselves.  By then, these countries should be in such a state of anarchy a few NATO troops will be able to go in and secure the Oil Fields, heck with what is going on in the rest of the country.  If a bunch of Towel Heads in Riyadh are fighting each other over the last scraps of food and last of the potable water, how is that our problem?  That is their problem, not our problem.  Our problem is securing the Oil Fields.

In this scenario, when the local Arab “terrorists” attack the NATO troops guarding the Oil Fields, we will be “Defending them against Terrorists”, not “Stealing the Fucking Oil”, which is what we REALLY will be doing. LOL.  The big question would be how effectively we really can take over these Oil Fields and then Hijack the Oil onto our own Tankers to ship it out of the War Zone to our refineries.  Hell, the Italians don’t need the Oil anyhow, Zamboni just invented Cold Fusion over there.

I have been reading the plethora of stories coming off the MSM regarding the Obamanista’s “plan” to step in to the Libyan conflict if the Crimes Against Humanity become overwhelming.  Incredibly stupid stuff.  Calling on el-Kabong to step down plays well in the MSM, but it is certainly no solution to the problem which goes far beyond his sorry ass.  The MSM is downplaying the Refugee problem, but it has to be enormous on the borders.  People are trying to flee from one War Zone into another one.  Libya borders on Algeria on one side, Egypt on the other.  In neither case are Algerians or Egyptians able to run Refugee Camps along these borders.  A very few people are getting yanked out of the region by Military planes, obviously the very well connected.  Everybody else is pretty much SOL, and getting Humanitarian Aid (aka FOOD) into these places where there are no real central Refugee Camps is about impossible.  These folks are just fucked big time now.

The U.N., aka the “Humanitarian Peacekeeping” political tool of the Illuminati is already making noises about being “allowed” to go in and set up Refugee Camps.  Effectively the idea here is to set up a DMZ between various countries all embroiled in civil wars, which then also become platform to work from in regaining control over those countries, and hopefully installing a Puppet Goobermint before all the Oil Assets are permanently FUBAR.  I don’t see it as likely that el-Kabong will be too amenable to this, and he actually seems psycho enough he would send in jets to bomb refugee camps.  El-Kabong is not in the least bit concerned with world opinion.

The Clock is Ticking on a major Military intervention in the M.E., and the number of Boots on the Ground it will take simply boggles the mind.  I cannot imagine the Chinese will allow NATO to go in Unilaterally to try to secure these Oil Fields.  What I CAN imagine now at this point is another Unholy Alliance between NATO and the Chinese to descend from East and West on the M.E in order to “restore Peace”.  I say “another” because this is JUST like the alliance formed with Stalin to put Hitler in a Pincer between East & West in WWII.

The Chinese of course can put a SHITLOAD of Boots on the Ground at the drop of a hat as long as NATO Naval assets allow them through to make a Beachhead.  So some kind of deal gets brokered here to use Chinese Boots and NATO Air and Naval Power to divvy up the remaining Oil in the M.E.

Sadly of course, I don’t think the current residents in the area will look upon a sea of Chinese Slant-eyes overrunning their neighborhoods as “Liberators”.  You are not going to have Burkha clad Muslim women spreading their legs for the Chinese “liberators” quite as willingly as the French girls did for the GIs in WWII.  Not that they won’t be spreading their legs in equal numbers though, just it won’t be quite so willingly.

Logistically speaking, if the supply lines can be set up to run this show, Wave after Wave of disposable Chinese Cannon Fodder can go in and eventually virtually completely wipeout the extant population of Muslims in the M.E. in Genocidal Fashion.  Eliminating say 1B hungry mouths from the market as a whole would put the remaining population back in surplus for a while.  Numerous excess Chinese Males would be extinguished during this fight also of course.

The key to making the whole show work is keeping the backflow of Oil OUT of the war zone functioning throughout the war.  One suspects that the locals as they get overrun by a sea of Chinese will pursue a Scorched Earth policy, and blow every well and every pipeline in the neighborhood before they go to meet Allah.  This is a state change problem that is almost impossible to model.  At some point if the Oil flow is beneath what is necessary to support the military force, you will get a rapid collapse of that force. Bound to happen at some point, just impossible to model how long before it actually occurs.

Anyhow, near term, NATO, the UN and Puppet Obama are all floating in the MSM ideas on how to drop military forces into the neighborhood without an actual Declaration of War.  A “No-Fly” Zone has already been exposed as necessitating bombing Libya back to the Stone Age in order to try to destroy their Anti-Aircraft capability before it could be implemented.  It would be hard at the moment to sell a Shock & Awe aerial bombardment campaign over Tripoli to the general public right now. The Illuminati will likely keep Tiptoeing around the problem until the SPR is maybe half emptied, at which point they institute Gas Rationing.  That by itself should be sufficient to get J6P to buy into a Full On War for Oil against the Towel Heads.

Over/Under on the Timeline?  6 months.

RE

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t's dangerously hot across much of the country this weekend -- so hot, in fact, that police in Braintree, Massachusetts, are imploring would-be criminals to hold off on illegal activity until Monday.The Braintree Police Department asked the community ...

9,000-Year-Old City Just Unearthed Near Jerusalem Is A ‘Game Changer’ For Archaeologists [url=http://www.scoopyweb.com/2019/07/9000-year-old-city-just-unearthed-...

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has declared a state of emergency for the City of Madison and Dane County following fires at two electric substations. An executive order issued by Evers says the declaration was issued to "provide support dur...

Subway passengers were left stranded and broiling on train platforms for more than an hour on Friday night on the first day of a heat wave as several lines in New York City were suspended in both directions.The Metropolitan Transportation Authority at...

 It’s come to this: There’s about to be an app for your baby’s diaper.Pampers this week announced a line of smart diapers that it says will track a child’s urine — but not bowel movements — as well as sleep. Last year, rival Huggies debuted a similar ...

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Knarf’s Knewz

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has decl [...]

 It’s come to this: There’s about to be an app for [...]

The fury of the crowd chanting "Send her back [...]

Diner Newz Feeds

  • Surly
  • Agelbert
  • Knarf
  • Golden Oxen
  • Frostbite Falls

Doomstead Diner Daily July 20The Diner Daily is av [...]

What Americans Do Now Will Define Us ForeverIf mul [...]

So, who radicalized this guy? You don't have [...]

Astonished divers come across massive jellyfish Th [...]

Quote from: UnhingedBecauseLucid on March 18, 2019 [...]

CleanTechnicaSupport CleanTechnica’s work via dona [...]

QuoteThe FACT that the current incredibly STUPID e [...]

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has decl [...]

 It’s come to this: There’s about to be an app for [...]

The fury of the crowd chanting "Send her back [...]

26 Jun, 2019Whether it was the Big Bang, Midas or [...]

In November 2018, a 66-year-old man named Tommy Th [...]

Dear Readers, Things in Venezuela are getting mess [...]

Quote from: Golden Oxen on April 27, 2019, 01:49:4 [...]

Good Newz!  My beloved Folding Cane turned up!  Al [...]

Quote from: RE on July 19, 2019, 08:16:00 AMI made [...]

I made it to Seattle!  Only casualties so far is I [...]

Musings from the Potlatch Parking Lot while cookin [...]

Nice! Cant wait to see the article. [...]

Alternate Perspectives

  • Two Ice Floes
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • From Filmers to Farmers

Meanderings By Cognitive Dissonance     Tis the Season Silly season is upon us. And I, for one, welc [...]

The Brainwashing of a Nation by Daniel Greenfield via Sultan Knish blog Image by ElisaRiva from Pixa [...]

A Window Into Our World By Cognitive Dissonance   Every year during the early spring awakening I qui [...]

Deaf, Dumb and Blind Who Is Better at Conceding They Are Wrong - Conservative or Liberal Extremists? [...]

The Apology: From baby boomers to the handicapped generations. by David Holmgren Re-posted from Holm [...]

Event Update For 2019-07-18http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-07-17http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-07-16http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-07-15http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-07-14http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

With fusion energy perpetually 20 years away we now also perpetually have [fill in the blank] years [...]

My mea culpa for having inadvertently neglected FF2F for so long, and an update on the upcoming post [...]

NYC plans to undertake the swindle of the civilisation by suing the companies that have enabled it t [...]

MbS, the personification of the age-old pre-revolutionary scenario in which an expiring regime attem [...]

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Sustainability

  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

Good Times Traveled"Water may stain the frescos, earthquakes may close the tunnels, but the temples will survive. [...]

Clash of the Negative Emissions Titans: Cannabis, Meet Biochar"These signs and portents point to a coming Anthropocene that will not be your daddy’s World Wa [...]

The Real Climate Debate"That lump in your throat you feel listening to someone laying down hard truth in a poetic way [...]

Riding the Whale’s Tail"Our biological and cultural blinders are equal in every way to those worn by Material Evangeli [...]

Carbon in the Dale"Rather than put back the coal mines, we should seriously think about putting back the forests. [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

Today's movement to abolish fossil fuels can learn from two different paths that the British an [...]

Why has it taken so long for the climate movement to accomplish so little? And how can we do better [...]

To fight climate change, you need to get the world off of fossil fuels. And to do that, you need to [...]

Americans are good on the "thoughts and prayers" thing. Also not so bad about digging in f [...]

In the echo-sphere of political punditry consensus forms rapidly, gels, and then, in short order…cal [...]

Top Commentariats

  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

The price for rent in major cities or on the outskirts is always going to be higher. I rent and live [...]

Disagree totally, sorry..came here back in 1972 and much more affordable and less crowded . I live i [...]

Perhaps it is the scale that this group is considering changing. We know that China wants nice weath [...]

And yet Dane Wigington from the popular website http://geoengineeringwatch.org has substantial gover [...]

I happen to live in SW Florida so hi there neighbor. I've lived in FL since the late 70's [...]

Hi Steve. I recently found what I believe is a little gem, and I'm quite confident you'd a [...]

The Federal Reserve is thinking about capping yields? I don't know how long TPTB can keep this [...]

As some one who has spent years trying to figure out what the limits to growth are. let me say that [...]

Peak oil definitely happened for gods sake. Just because it isn't mad max right now is no indic [...]

@Volvo - KMO says he made some life choices he regrets. Not sure what they were. And I don't th [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

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Simplifying the Final Countdown

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

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Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

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SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

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Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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Collapse Fiction

Useful Links

Technical Journals

The monthly averaged data time series of temperatures and rainfall without interruption of Conakry A [...]

The Himalayas are highly susceptible to the impacts of climate change, as it consequently increases [...]

Spatial hydroclimatic variability of Eastern North America’s Allegheny Mountain System (AMS) i [...]

Climate change mitigation targets have put pressure to reduce the carbon footprint of cultural herit [...]