Iran just called Obama's hand, and based on Obama's history, it's pretty safe to say who will back down first.
Obama says they are not there to stop the Iranians. So what are our eleven warships doing there? Lunch?
How does this instill in our confidence in our allies?
Obama is negotiating nukes with Iran while sending warships to Yemen, where Iran has staged a coup. Obama's foreign policy is incoherent and disastrous. What are our foreign policy objectives? He is walking us right into WWIII with nukes.
"Iranian Warships Arrive Near Yemen," By Adam Kredo, Free Beacon, April 22, 2015
Comes just days after U.S. announced it would send its own warships
A fleet of Iranian warships arrived near the southern coast of Yemen on Wednesday in a move likely to add greater tension in a developing U.S.-Iranian standoff in the region, according Iranian military leaders.
Just days after the United States announced it would send its own warships to Yemen in order to prevent Iran from smuggling weapons to terror forces fighting there, a flotilla of Iranian destroyers docked in the same area.
Iran's military moves are likely to increase tensions between the two countries as each seeks to bolster opposing sides in the fight currently unfolding in Yemen.
An Iranian fleet including a destroyer warship and a helicopter-carrying warship arrived in the waters off the southern tip of Yemen on Wednesday, according to Iranian state-controlled media.
The warships will "protect [Iran's] cargo ships and oil tankers against pirates," according to Iran's Fars News Agency.
The United States and other countries fear Iran is using these cargo ships to deliver weapons and other deadly hardware to opposition forces in Yemen.
The Iranian warships will remain in the area for at least three months, according to Fars.
Iranian military officials have been defiant about the country's presence in the region, vowing to remain there despite pressure from other countries.
"This presence [of Iranian warships] continues in the free waters, including the Gulf of Aden, to fight against piracy according to the plan which was drawn at the request of the International Maritime Organization and no one can warn the Iranian warships (to move away) and this has not happened yet," Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari was quoted as saying in the Iranian press over the weekend.
"We don't have such a plan" to leave the area anytime soon "and we hope that security will be established in the Gulf of Aden with the help of all countries," Sayyari said.
Iran will not be deterred by threats from Saudi Arabia or other countries to leave the region, Sayyari said.
"We also don't allow others to threaten or warn us since we can be present in the free and international waters based on the international laws," he was quoted as saying. "We haven't entered the territorial waters of any country without permission."
The United States recently sent its own fleet of warships to the region in a bid to respond to Iranian efforts to smuggle weapons to rebel forces in Yemen.
The move is meant to give the United States "options" should Iran be caught smuggling dangerous materials.
In 2011, Hilary Clinton announced the US was at war. She wasn’t referring to the US’s ongoing invasions, wars and occupations but an ideological war for hearts and minds. Clinton lamented the fact that, since the end of the cold war, US global ideological influence had weakened, especially with the advent of the internet and TV channels like RT.
Of course, Hollywood still manages to propagate the ‘great American myth’ globally every day: the US as the beacon of freedom, as the flagship of democratic ideals, based on the great ‘American Lie’ of the great ‘American Dream’ whereby the individual can somehow miraculously overcome adversity and make it in life, just as long as s/he keeps his or her nose to the grind. US mass culture exported across the globe. The ‘anyone can make it’ syndrome sugar coated with a sprinkling of ‘freedom and democracy’ then rammed down the collective throat by Hollywood, which magics away into thin air the reality of capitalism and its deeply embedded structural power relations.
The internet, Press TV, RT and the ‘alternative media’ in all its forms have however eaten into Washington’s Hollywoodesque version of reality and propaganda. Despite the ownership of the corporate media becoming ever more concentrated in the hands of massive conglomerates and it promoting a common news agenda, the US has had to face up to the harsh truth that it cannot dominate the debate to the extent it once did when it comes to shaping the analysis and reporting of news through its compliant media outlets.
Around the time Clinton was voicing her concerns, Edward Snowden was revealing what many of us had already strongly suspected – people across the world and foreign governments were being monitored by the US government. Before Snowden became public enemy number one, Julian Assange carried that mantle. The US state-corporate machine did almost everything in its power to destroy Assange and WikiLeaks. Most debilitating of all was the shutting down of WikiLeaks’ access to finance, notably via PayPal, MasterCard, the Swiss bank PostFinance, Moneybookers, Bank of America and Visa Inc.
But things are not always so straightforward. Not everyone can be banished to a foreign country or incarcerated in an embassy in London. As a result, former CIA boss General Petraeus is on record as saying US strategy is to conduct a war of perceptions continuously through the news media. We don’t have to imagine much that the prevailing view of world conveyed through the mainstream media and swallowed by many people is based on ‘a pack of lies’ carefully crafted by men like Petraeus and the State Department’s PR machine. British MP George Galloway’s powerful performance in front of a US Senate committee in 2005 highlighted it as such in the case of the invasion of Iraq.
These days, despite state-corporate control and manipulation of the mainstream media, many see through the charade of ‘liberal democracy’. The more the US lacks control over ‘the message’, the more it has to resort restrictions on freedoms. The more paranoid it becomes, the more penetrating and widespread the surveillance and ‘information gathering’ is.
So it was quite revealing to see this week the US House of Foreign Affairs Committee discussing Russia’s ‘weaponisation’ of information. Chairperson Ed Royce claimed that RT is part of a Russian disinformation campaign and asserted that if certain things are repeated over and over again, a conspiratorial theory begins to take on a life of its own.
The hypocrisy was palpable.
The US should know about such things. given its demonisation of Russia and the construction of a narrative of ‘Russian aggression’ in Ukraine that has been on continuous loop and churned out by the corporate media for quite some time now. This story of course has no basis in reality and is intended to mask a wider imperialist agenda to destabilise Russia.
RT has a range of commentators and analysts, including Professor Michel Chossudovsky, Pepe Escobar, Max Keiser, Paul Craig Roberts, William F Engdhal and Manuel Ochsenreiter, who tend to rarely appear on Western corporate mainstream media outlets. While some may not agree with their views or analyses, such people are academically well-qualified and recognised by many as being specialists in their fields. It is too convenient for them to be brushed aside with the ‘deranged conspiracy theorist’ accusation.
These commentators are highly critical of US-Western foreign policies but that does not mean they necessarily support Putin or Russia, as former RT presenter Liz Whal seemed to imply during the committee hearing. If certain commentators are regarded as “fringe” figures or “extremists” as Whal suggested, they are only regarded as such because their views challenge the pro-Washington narrative conveyed by the Western corporate media and thus tend to be side-lined. She argued these ‘alternative’ voices now have platforms to voice their “deranged views” and whip up anti-US sentiment.
Royce claimed Russia’s propaganda machine is currently in overdrive and that part of the focus is to undermine “democratic stability” and foment violence. He went on to state that these tactics have helped stoke the situation in Ukraine and are laying the groundwork for a Russian invasion and asserted that this propaganda has the potential to destabilise NATO members.
Another contributor to the proceedings argued that “our” global order is a “reality based order” and that the likes of RT and the internet makes “reality based politics” impossible.
Washington wishes it had the monopoly on truth but it doesn’t. And the reality is that the US regards views that criticise it as intolerable. But while the internet can at times be a vehicle for churning out some ludicrous views (and in this respect Whal is correct), what could be more sinister than what the mainstream media churns out on a daily basis with its acceptance of and justifications for austerity, gross inequalities, the massive concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, secretive corporate-constructed trade deals, wars of aggression, a bogus war on terror and the rest of the stories designed to beat working people and opponents of Washington’s hegemony into submission?
You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to appreciate that the terms “reality based global order” and “democratic stability” are cynical euphemisms designed to conceal a completely different reality of imposed chaos and disorder around the world. Supporters of this reality are committed to misinforming the public, creating regional destabilisations and bending nations to Washington’s will.
The treaty is called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The U.S. Trade Representative – the federal agency responsible for negotiating trade treaties – has said that the details of the TPP are classified due to “national security”.
Why’s the deal being kept secret? Because it would be impossible to pass if the public knew what was really in it:
Ron Kirk, until recently Mr. Obama’s top trade official, was remarkably candid about why he opposed making the text public: doing so, he suggested to Reuters, would raise such opposition that it could make the deal impossible to sign.
Senator Elizabeth Warren notes:
Supporters of the deal say to me, “They have to be secret, because if the American people knew what was actually in them, they would be opposed.”
But it’s not only being hidden from the American people … it’s being hidden even from most U.S. Congress members.
A Congressman who has seen the text of the treaty says:
There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret … this agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.
It would also allow foreign corporations to challenge U.S. laws. It will literally override American law. As the New York Times headlines in Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Suits Against U.S.:
Companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations.
Ron Paul says that the TPP would erode national sovereignty: (see video in link)
While it’s falsely called a “trade agreement”, only 5 out of 29 of TPP’s chapters have anything to do with trade. And conservatives point out that even the 5 chapters on trade do not promote free trade. Bloomberg calls TPP a “corporatist power grab”, “as democratic and transparent as a one-party state,” and shrouded in “Big Brother-like secrecy”.
A very credible inside source also tells Washington’s Blog that TPP contains provisions which would severely harm America’s national security. Specifically, like some previous, ill-conceived treaties, TPP would allow foreign companies to buy sensitive American assets which could subject us to terror attacks or economic blackmail.
The WikiLeaks analysis explains that this lets firms “sue” governments to obtain taxpayer compensation for loss of “expected future profits.”
Let that sink in for a moment: “[C]ompanies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals….” And they can collect not just for lost property or seized assets; they can collect if laws or regulations interfere with these giant companies’ ability to collect what they claim are “expected future profits.”
The Times‘ report explains that this clause also “giv[es] greater priority to protecting corporate interests than promoting free trade and competition that benefits consumers.”
To give an idea of what would happen to American law if TPP passes, just look at Equador … Its courts awarded billions against Chevron for trashing huge swaths of rainforest. But then a private arbitration panel simply ignored the country’s court system. If TPP passes, we’ll be treated like a third world country, and our American laws and courts will be ignored as well.
(Those opposed to a “one world government” or a “new world order” should oppose TPP as the big fight. Conservatives might want to read read this. Remember that one of the best definitions of fascism – the one used by Mussolini – is the “merger of state and corporate power”. TPP a giant step in that direction.)
The backers of TPP – including Obama and many in Congress – are trying to approve a “fast track” procedure this week that would prevent Congress from having any real input into the agreement, or to even have the opportunity to debate what should be in the agreement.
But the treaty is so bad, that if we just defeat the attempt to fast-track it, it will die a natural death as soon as it’s made public … and Congress has to engage in serious debate on the horrible agreement, and answer to its angry constituents.
The American people are already strongly opposed to TPP, and are disgusted by the proposed fast-tracking of the TPP vote. But we have to let our Congress members’ know how we feel on this.
A Navy chaplain who faces the end of a stellar 19-year career because of his faith-based views on marriage and human sexuality was told by a base commander to refrain from offering a prayer in the name of Jesus, according to attorneys representing the chaplain.
That allegation was tucked away in an 18-page letter written to the commander of Navy Region Southeast by Liberty Institute attorneys representing Chaplain Wesley Modder. Liberty Institute is a law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases.
The letter included the results of Liberty Institute’s investigation of allegations levied against the chaplain by Captain John Fahs.
I’ll tackle that newest allegation later – but first here’s a recap of what I believe to be the LGBT-inspired witch hunt against Chaplain Modder:
Last December, an openly gay officer at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in South Carolina, took offense at Modder’s take on homosexuality. The chaplain, who is endorsed by the Assemblies of God, was accused of discrimination and failing to show tolerance and respect – among other things.
Just a few months earlier, Modder’s commander had called him the “best of the best” and a consummate professional leader.” But now he’s on the verge of being kicked out of the military.
“After our investigation, it is clear that the facts and law are on Chaplain Modder’s side,” Liberty Institute attorney Michael Berry said. “He has done nothing more than provide ministerial services in accordance with the precepts of his faith – which is completely consistent with Navy rules and federal law.”
Their letter is a point by point repudiation of the allegations against the highly respected chaplain – a man who once led chaplains who ministered to Navy SEALs.
“We believe the Navy will exonerate Chaplain Modder and restore him to continue his true calling of ministering to sailors and Marines as he has done for the past 15 years,” Berry said.
Liberty Institute maintains that Modder’s private counseling on issues involving human sexuality and same-sex marriage were consistent with the beliefs of his endorsing agency – the Assemblies of God.
“As a result of honoring the tenets of his endorsing denomination, he now faces the loss of his employment and removal from the Navy,” Liberty Institute wrote.
While Chaplain Modder specifically denies accusations that he used inappropriate language or gestures, he does admit to providing answers to questions from a Biblical world view.
That brings me back to the moment when Chaplain Modder was told he could not pray in the name of Jesus Christ.
Liberty Institute alleges it happened shortly after Modder assumed chaplaincy responsibilities at the training command. He was asked to deliver an invocation at a ceremony.
As he was walking to the lectern, Fahs is alleged to have told him to deep-six the Jesus talk – “counsel that Chaplain Modder accepted and with which he complied.”
Chaplain Modder’s fate could have a significant impact on every Christian military chaplain, asserts Liberty Institute.
Taking action, they argue, “Would send a dangerous message that other chaplains who share his beliefs – the vast majority of military chaplains – may also suffer adverse personnel actions and would have a profound chilling effect on any chaplain who seeks to provide biblical care.”
And if the Navy silences chaplains – they could certainly silence sailors.
“If the Navy can remove a chaplain who expresses his religious beliefs, then service members who share those beliefs will believe that they, too, are unwelcome in the Navy,” Liberty Institute wrote.
These are indeed difficult days for Christians who want to serve in the Armed Forces.
The U.S. commander in South Korea said Thursday that he believes North Korea has the ability to fit a nuclear warhead to a long-range missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.
"I believe they've had the time and the capability to miniaturize" a nuclear weapon to arm North Korea's new KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missiles, Army Gen. Curtis M. "Mike" Scaparrotti told the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC).
Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, said "we must assume they have that capability" of hitting the U.S. Adm. Samuel Locklear, head of the Pacific Command, also testified and agreed with Scaparrotti's assessment of North Korea's nuclear capabilities but said they had yet to test the KN-08.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the SASC chairman, said the North Korean threat was enhanced by the unpredictability "of this overweight young man on the Korean peninsula" – meaning North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Scaparrotti agreed and said "that's a disturbing factor."
At the Pentagon last week, Gortney said: "Our assessment is that they have the ability to put a nuclear weapon on a KN-08 and shoot it at the homeland We assess that it's operational today, and so we practice to go against it."
Editorial cartoons across the Sunni Arab world reflected the anger and fear felt by these states over the recent agreement between Iran and the US-led P5+1 world powers on Tehran’s nuclear program.
According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, a US-based watchdog, the April 3 Lausanne agreement has sparked widespread dismay in the Arab press, particularly among political cartoonists.
Many of the images reflect disappointment with the United States for allowing Iran to retain some of its nuclear capabilities and for what is seen as President Barack Obama’s rapprochement with the Islamic Republic.
“The ‘Great Satan’ has become the great friend,” read one caption of a cartoon printed in a Saudi paper showing Iran and the US reaching across the Middle East to shake hands.
An al-Hayat image shows a US President Barack Obama with a nose so long, it extends to form a turban around his head. The cartoon is captioned: “Obama’s ‘Middle East policy’ of lies gives him an Iranian turban.”
Another Saudi paper featured an image of Islamic Revolution founder, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini standing above a cauldron of fire, as nuclear explosions are seen in the background.
A Bahraini paper ran a cartoon of two hands united in matrimony, captioned: “The Iran-US deal – a ‘surreal marriage’.”
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Jade Helm....crickets...nuff said :)
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SMH! Apparently the Russians own HALF of the uranium here in the U.S. in part thanks to the Clintons. :( and of course Russia then turns around and supplies Iran with uranium...smh
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