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How ‘Think Tanks’ Generate Endless War

US “think tanks” rile up the American public against an ever-shifting roster of foreign “enemies” to justify wars which line the pockets of military contractors who kick back some profits to the “think tanks”.

by Todd E Pierce

Consortium News (August 17 2016)

The New York Times took notice recently of the role that so-called “think tanks” play in corrupting US government policy. Their review of think tanks “identified dozens of examples of scholars conducting research at think tanks while corporations were paying them to help shape government policy”. {1}

Unfortunately, and perhaps predictably, while the Times investigation demonstrates well that the US is even more corrupt – albeit the corruption is better disguised – than the many foreign countries which we routinely accuse of corruption, the Times failed to identify the most egregious form of corruption in our system. That is, those think tanks are constantly engaged in the sort of activities which the Defense Department identifies as “Information War” when conducted by foreign countries that are designated by the US as an enemy at any given moment.

Information warfare uses disinformation and propaganda to condition a population to hate a foreign nation or population with the intent to foment a war, which is the routine “business” of the best known US think tanks.

There are two levels to this information war. The first level is by the primary provocateur, such as the Rand Corporation, the American Enterprise Institute and the smaller war instigators found wherever a Kagan family member lurks. {2} They use psychological “suggestiveness” to create a false narrative of danger from some foreign entity with the objective being to create paranoia within the US population that it is under imminent threat of attack or takeover.

Once that fear and paranoia is instilled in much of the population, it can then be manipulated to foment a readiness or eagerness for war, in the manner that Joseph Goebbels understood well.

The measure of success from such a disinformation and propaganda effort can be seen when the narrative is adopted by secondary communicators who are perhaps the most important target audience. That is because they are “key communicators” in psychological operations (“PsyOp”) terms, who in turn become provocateurs in propagating the false narrative even more broadly and to its own audiences, and becoming “combat multipliers” in military terms.

It is readily apparent now that Russia has taken its place as the primary target within US sights. One doesn’t have to see the US military buildup on Russia’s borders to understand that but only see the propaganda themes of our “think tanks”.

The Role of Rand

A prime example of an act of waging information war to incite actual military attack is the Rand Corporation, which, incidentally, published a guide to information war and the need to condition the US population for war back in the 1990s.

Rand was founded by, among others, the war enthusiast, Air Force General Curtis LeMay, who was the model for the character of General Buck Turgidson in the movie Dr Strangelove (1964). LeMay once stated that he would not be afraid to start a nuclear war with Russia and that spirit would seem to be alive and well at Rand today as they project on to Vladimir Putin our own eagerness for inciting a war.

The particular act of information warfare by Rand is shown in a recent Rand article: “How to Counter Putin’s Subversive War on the West”. {3} The title suggests by its presupposition that Putin is acting in the offensive form of war rather than the defensive form of war. But it is plain to see he is in the defensive form of war when one looks at the numerous provocations and acts of aggression carried out by American officials, such as Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and General Philip Breedlove, and the US and Nato military buildup on Russia’s borders.

Within this Rand article however can be found no better example of psychological projection than this propagandistic pablum that too many commentators, some witless, some not, will predictably repeat:



Moscow’s provocative active measures cause foreign investors and international lenders to see higher risks in doing business with Russia. Iran is learning a similar, painful lesson as it persists with harsh anti-Western policies even as nuclear-related sanctions fade. Russia will decide its own priorities. But it should not be surprised if disregard for others’ interests diminishes the international regard it seeks as an influential great power.



In fact, an objective, dispassionate observation of US/Russian policies would show it has been the US carrying out these “provocative active measures” as the instigator, not Russia.

Nevertheless, showing the success that our primary war provocateurs have had in fomenting hostility and possibly war is that less militaristic and bellicose Non-Governmental Organizations (“NGOs”), ostensibly working for “peace”, have adopted this false propaganda theme uncritically.

The Carnegie Moscow Center Foundation, which includes Russians on its staff, is a prime example. Lately, it has routinely echoed the more provocative and facially false accusations made against Russia by the outright militaristic and war instigating US think tanks. An example is in a recent article of Carnegie, entitled: “Russia and Nato Must Communicate Better”. {4}

It begins:



The risk of outright conflict in Europe is higher than it has been for years and the confrontation between Russia and the West shows no sign of ending. To prevent misunderstandings and dangerous incidents, the two sides must improve their methods of communication.



Unfortunately, that is now true. But the article’s author suggests throughout that each party, Russia and the US/Nato, had an equal hand in the deterioration of relations. He wrote: “The West needs to acknowledge that the standoff with Russia is not merely the result of Russia turning authoritarian, nationalistic, and assertive”, as if Western officials don’t already know that that accusation was only a propaganda theme for their own populations to cover up the West’s aggressiveness.

Blaming Russia

So Americans, such as myself, must acknowledge and confront that the standoff with Russia is not only not “merely the result of Russia turning authoritarian, nationalistic, and assertive”, but it is rather, that the US is “turning authoritarian, nationalistic”, and even more “assertive”, that is, aggressive, toward the world.

Suz Tzu wrote that a “sovereign” must know oneself and the enemy. In the case of the US sovereign, the people and their elected, so-called representatives, there is probably no “sovereign” in human history more lacking in self-awareness of their own nation’s behavior toward other nations.

So fanatics like the US Generals whom we’ve seen at the recent political conventions and even worse, General Breedlove, are encouraged to be ever more threatening to the world’s populations.

When that then generates a response from some nation with a tin-pot military relative to our own, with ours paid for by the privileged financial position we’ve put ourselves into post-World War Two, our politicians urgently call for even more military spending from the American people to support even more aggression, all in the guise of “national defense”.

Recognizing that must then be coupled with recognition of a US law passed in 2012 providing for military detention of journalists and social activists as the Justice Department conceded in Hedges v Obama. Add to that what the ACLU recently compelled the US government to reveal in the “Presidential Policy Guidance” {5} and it is plain to see which nation has become most “authoritarian, nationalistic, and assertive”. It is the United States.

The Presidential Policy Guidance



… establishes the standard operating procedures for when the United States takes direct action, which refers to lethal and non-lethal uses of force, including capture operations against terrorist targets outside the United States and areas of active hostilities.



What other nation, besides Israel probably, has a governmental “Regulation” providing for assassinations outside “areas of active hostilities?”

It should readily be evident that it is the US now carrying out the vast majority of provocative active measures and has the disregard for others complained of here. At least for the moment, however, the US can still hide much of its aggression using the vast financial resources provided by the American people to the Defense Department to produce sophisticated propaganda and to bribe foreign officials with foreign aid to look the other way from US provocations.

It is ironic that today, one can learn more about the US military and foreign policy from the Rand Corporation only by reading at least one of its historical documents, “The Operational Code of the Politburo”. {6} This is described as “part of a major effort at Rand to provide insight into the political leadership and foreign policy in the Soviet Union and other communist states; the development of Soviet military strategy and doctrine”.

As this was when the Politburo was allegedly at its height in subverting and subjugating foreign countries as foreign policy, it should be exactly on point in describing current US foreign policy.

That US think tanks, such as Rand and the American Enterprise Institute, put so much effort into promoting war should not come as a surprise when it is considered their funding is provided by the Military Industrial Complex (“MIC”) which President Eisenhower warned us about. That this US MIC would turn against its own people, the American public, by waging perpetual information war against this domestic target just to enrich their investors, might have been even more than Eisenhower could imagine however.









Todd E Pierce retired as a Major in the US Army Judge Advocate General (“JAG”) Corps in November 2012. His most recent assignment was defense counsel in the Office of Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions.

This article first appeared at

Categories: Uncategorized

US Defense Contractors …

… Tell Investors Russian Threat is Great for Business

by Lee Fang

The Intercept (August 19 2016)

The escalating anti-Russian rhetoric in the US presidential campaign comes in the midst of a major push by military contractors to position Moscow as a potent enemy that must be countered with a drastic increase in military spending by Nato countries.

Weapon makers have told investors that they are relying on tensions with Russia to fuel new business in the wake of Russian’s annexation of Crimea and modest increases in its military budget.

In particular, the arms industry – both directly and through its arsenal of hired-gun, think-tank experts and lobbyists – is actively pressuring Nato member nations to hike defense spending in line with the Nato goal for member states to spend at least two percent of gross domestic product on defense.

Retired Army General Richard Cody, a vice president at L-3 Communications, the seventh largest US defense contractor, explained to shareholders in December that the industry was faced with a historic opportunity. Following the end of the Cold War, Cody said, peace had “pretty much broken out all over the world”, with Russia in decline and Nato nations celebrating. “The Wall came down”, he said, and “all defense budgets went south”.

Now, Cody argued, Russia “is resurgent” around the world, putting pressure on US allies. “Nations that belong to Nato are supposed to spend two percent of their GDP on defense”, he said, according to a transcript of his remarks. “We know that uptick is coming and so we postured ourselves for it”.

Speaking to investors at a conference hosted by Credit Suisse in June, Stuart Bradie, the chief executive of KBR, a military contractor, discussed “opportunities in Europe”, highlighting the increase in defense spending by Nato countries in response to “what’s happening with Russia and the Ukraine”.

The National Defense Industrial Association (“NDIA”), a lobby group for the industry, has called on Congress to make it easier for US contractors to sell arms abroad to allies in response to the threat from Russia. Recent articles in National Defense, NDIA’s magazine, discuss the need for Nato allies to boost maritime military spending, spending on Arctic systems, and missile defense, to counter Russia.

Many experts are unconvinced that Russia poses a direct military threat. The Soviet Union’s military once stood at over four million soldiers, but today Russia has less than one million. Nato’s combined military budget vastly outranks Russia’s – with the US alone outspending Russia on its military by $609 billion to less than $85 billion.

And yet, the Aerospace Industries Association, a lobby group for Lockheed Martin, Textron, Raytheon, and other defense contractors, argued in February that the Pentagon is not spending enough to counter “Russian aggression on Nato’s doorstep”.

Think tanks with major funding from defense contractors, including the Lexington Institute and the Atlantic Council, have similarly demanded higher defense spending to counter Russia.

Stephen Hadley, the former National Security Advisor to President George W Bush now serving on the board of Raytheon, a firm competing for major Nato military contracts, has argued forcefully for hiking defense budgets and providing lethal aid to Ukraine. Hadley said in a speech last summer that the US must “raise the cost for what Russia is doing in Ukraine”, adding that “even President Putin is sensitive to body bags”.

The business press has noticed the development. The Washington Business Journal noted that “if anyone is benefiting from the unease between Russia and the rest of the world, it would have to be Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corporation”, noting that the firm won a major contract from Poland, which is revamping its military in response to Russia. Roman Schweizer, an analyst for the defense industry with Guggenheim Securities, predicted last year that US arms sales would continue to rise, particularly because “eastern Nato countries will increase procurements in the wake of continued Russian activity in Ukraine”.

At the Defence Security Exposition International, an arms dealer conference held in London last fall, contractors were quick to use Russia and rising defense budgets to hawk their products. “The tank threat is … much, much more closer to you today because Putin is doing something” in eastern Ukraine, a shoulder-fired-rocket touting representative from Saab told Defense One.

“Companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing have pledged to increase the share of exports in their overall revenues, and they have been seeking major deals in East and Central Europe since the 1990s, when Nato expansion began”, said William Hartung, director of the Arms & Security Project at the Center for International Policy. Hartung noted that as some nations ramp up spending, US firms will be “knocking at the door, looking to sell everything from fighter planes to missile defense systems”.

“Russian saber-rattling has additional benefits for weapons makers because it has become a standard part of the argument for higher Pentagon spending – even though the Pentagon already has more than enough money to address any actual threat to the United States”, he said.

Categories: Uncategorized

Follow the Money Trail …

… for Source of ‘Russian Threat’ Paranoia

by Neil Clark

RT. com (August 22 2016)

Zero Hedge (August 22 2016)

You’d have to have been locked in a wardrobe if you live in the West not to have heard ominous phrases like “The Russian threat”, “Russian aggression in Europe” and “Russia set to invade Poland/Estonia/ Ukraine/Finland”.

Certain people are trying to scare us witless about Russia and the “threat” the country apparently poses. The hysteria reminds one to the build up to the Iraq war, when we were warned every day about the “threat” of Saddam’s deadly weapons of mass destruction (“WMDs”), which – surprise, surprise – turned out not to exist.

Now, we can talk for hours about grand, highfalutin theories in the field of geopolitics and international relations in attempts to explain why this is happening.

But “follow the money” trail is all we really have to do. Ask yourself who benefits financially from all this scaremongering and then you’ll understand it.

This week, The Intercept revealed {1} how US defense contractors have been telling investors that the so-called “Russian threat” was good for business.

Retired Army general Richard Cody, Vice-President of the US’s seventh largest defense contractor, L-3 communications, bemoaned the fact that “when the old Cold War ended defense budgets went south”. Now though a “resurgent Russia” meant an “uptick was coming”.

There was a similarly upbeat message from Stuart Bradie, chief executive of CBR, who talked of the “opportunities” the current situation presents.

The case for higher defense spending to counter the “Russian threat” has been made by a series of think-tanks. And guess what? The most hawkish of these lobbyists – sorry, “think tanks” – receive sizable funding from US defense contractors!


The Intercept cites {2} the examples of the Lexington Institute and the Atlantic Council.

But there’s plenty others too. Back in February, I wrote {3} about a “non-partisan” US policy institute called the Center for European Policy Analysis. The CEPA issued a paper attacking Russian media outlet Sputnik for giving a voice to “anti-establishment protest politicians” who were critical of Nato.

And who funds the “non-partisan” CEPA? Recent donors {4} include the US Department of Defense, Boeing, Raytheon Company, Textron Systems, Sikorsky Aircraft, Bell Helicopter and the Lockheed Martin Corporation.

What’s happening in Europe today is the same that’s been happening in the Middle East for years.

The US creates chaos, then goes in to sell countries in the region the latest military hardware to “protect” them from the chaos. It’s quite a racket and clearly modeled on the extortion schemes of the Mafia. Countries that don’t want to pay up, like Yugoslavia in 1990s, are likely to get bombed.

Consider how the crisis in Ukraine started. The US spent billions of dollars in a “regime change” operation {5} to topple the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych and replace it with a pro-US puppet administration. We even heard the State Department’s Victoria Nuland – after she had handed out cookies to anti-government protestors in the Maidan – discussing {6} who should and shouldn’t be in the new “democratic” Ukrainian government, with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt.

When the people of Crimea predictably said “Nyet” to the State Department’s operation, and voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia in a referendum, Russia was cast as the “aggressor” who had “invaded” the Ukraine. The US would have known that its regime change operation in Ukraine would cause chaos and increase tensions with Russia. And that’s exactly why they did it!

To counter the new Russian “threat” not just to “democratic” Ukraine, but to other countries in eastern Europe, we’re told we need a big increase in Nato “defense” spending. And who does that benefit? Why, US defense contractors!

Last year, as I reported {7}, Poland picked US-made Patriot Missiles – manufactured by Raytheon and Airbus military helicopters for a $5.53 billion military upgrade.

In November 2014, “threatened” Estonia purchased eighty Javelin missiles from the US at a cost of forty million Euros. In February, we heard that the country would be spending {8} 818 million euros on new weapons and equipment by 2020.

As Charlie Chaplin commented in his classic 1947 black comedy Monsieur Verdoux, “Wars, conflicts, it’s all business!”

By any objective assessment it’s Nato – not Russia – with its build up of arms and soldiers on the borders of Russia, which threatens the peace of Europe. But anyone who points this out, and mentions the military alliance’s relentless Drang nach Osten, threatens the profits of US defense companies and is attacked as an “appeaser” or “Kremlin stooge” by those with a vested financial interest in keeping tensions high.

Consider the hysterical attacks on British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn for his recent, very sensible comments on Nato and Russia. Corbyn was asked in a leadership television debate: “How would you as Prime Minister react to a violation by Vladimir Putin of the sovereignty of a fellow Nato state?”

He replied:



You’d obviously try to avoid that happening in the first place. You would build up a good dialogue with Russia to ask them, support them in respecting borders. We would try to introduce a demilitarization between Russia and Ukraine, and all the other countries down on the border between Russia and Eastern Europe. What we cannot allow is a series of continuous build-ups of troops on both sides which can only lead to great danger in the future. It’s beginning to look awfully like Cold War politics at the present time. We’ve got to engage with Russia, engage with demilitarization in that area, in order to try and avoid that danger happening … I don’t wish to go to war, what I want to do is achieve a world where we don’t need to go to war, where there is no need for it. That can be done.



As Carlyn Harvey, writing in The Canary, points out:



For millions of citizens around the world, this (Corbyn’s anti-war stance), is great news. But for those intent on maintaining the politics of power and the lucrative industries that support that, Corbyn’s vision is nothing short of a disaster. {9}



Corbyn is portrayed by the endless war lobby as a “dangerous extremist” because if other western politicians followed suit, and promoted disarmament and dialogue, instead of confrontation and war, defense profits would take a big hit.

It was a US President, Dwight D Eisenhower, who first warned us about the US military-industrial complex, back in 1961:



We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex.



No one could accuse Ike, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe in World War Two, of being a “pinko” or a “Kremlin stooge”. But the situation is much worse today than it was back in Eisenhower’s day.

Neocons have embedded themselves in the corridors of power. They claim to be interested in spreading “democracy”, but the reality is that the neocon movement is all about money and profits. Henry “Scoop” Jackson, the US politician who railed against detente with the Soviet Union in the 1970s, was, with very good reason, nicknamed the “Senator for Boeing”.

Thirty years later, the first post-launch meeting of the Henry Jackson Society discussed how to get smears about the anti-war academic Noam Chomsky being a “denier” of the Srebrenica massacre into circulation. {10}

For some people it seems, the old Cold War never ended.

How much longer will the citizens of the world put up with a situation in which warmongers with ties to the military-industrial complex are allowed to stoke up international tensions? The next time you read or hear someone issue stark warnings about the “Russian threat” – and why Nato needs to hike its spending to deal with it – just follow the money trail.

It’s likely to be revealing.















Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66

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Could a Russian-Led Coalition …

… Defeat Hillary’s War Plans?

by Gary Leupp

CounterPunch (August 19 2016)

Joe Scarborough this morning on MSNBC was inveighing against the “ransom” the US supposedly paid to Tehran in return for the release of US prisoners (“hostages”) in Iran. Two other talking heads also used that term “ransom” matter-of-factly to describe what happened while acknowledging that the money had been owed to Iran by the US since the days of the Shah. Just more knee-jerk anti-Iran, anti-nuclear agreement rhetoric.

Then Joe turned to Syria, bemoaning the US “silence” and lack of action to end the carnage, absolutely ignoring the fact that the US has repeatedly tried and failed to recruit and train Syrian allies to fight the regime, is bankrolling rebel groups, and has provided them with arms that have wound up in the hands of al-Nusra and ISIL. He acts as though further US action in Syria (which he imagines the world cries out for, from this last best hope of mankind) would produce better results than it did in Iraq or Libya. It is frightening to see the mainstream media line up with the 51 State Department “dissidents” and Hillary on Syria, while it continues to promote crude anti-Russian and anti-Iranian propaganda.

The representation of Russia as an “existential threat” to the US is preposterous fantasy. Just like the depiction of Iran as a nuclear threat is preposterous, and the notion that Bashar al-Assad’s secular government in Syria is the cause for the emergence of ISIL is sheer delusion.

Russia with twelve percent the US military budget has military bases in precisely eight foreign countries: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan (all nations bordering Russia, and former soviet socialist republics) plus Syria and Vietnam. Its only foreign naval facilities are in the latter two countries. The Sevastopol base in Crimea used to be on Ukrainian territory, but Russia has of course annexed the Crimean Peninsula to ensure continued control of the headquarters of its Black Sea fleet.

The US in contrast has over 650 military bases abroad, and five naval bases on the Mediterranean coast alone, in Spain, Italy and Greece. There are 10,000 sailors stationed at NSA Naples. In that same region the Russians have only their resupply station in Tartus, Syria operative by treaty since 1971, typically with a tiny garrison.

The Russian air force base in Latakia, Syria is a modest operation, incapable of supporting those Tupolev-22M3 long-range bombers and Sukhoi-34 fighter bombers used to bomb ISIL and al-Nusra targets a few days ago in Aleppo and elsewhere. Those took off instead from Sahid Nojeh air base near Hamadan, Iran, causing some Pentagon concern and (false) accusations that the mission somehow violated a UNSC resolution about arming Iran. Moscow is boasting of mission success. (Morning Joe’s upset about that true.)

Russian forces have already done more damage to ISIL, dismissed in January 2014 by President Obama as a minor problem, than the US. The US started its bombing of ISIL months before the Russians but Russian strikes have turned the tide of battle in Syria.

One is struck simultaneously with Russia’s relative weakness vis-a-vis the hyperpower, and its creativity in reacting belatedly (just since September 2015) to the US-orchestrated destruction of the Middle East.

Moscow is well aware that pro-Hillary forces in the State Department are rallying in favor of short-term, Libya-like regime change in Syria. But everybody knows there will be no UN fig leaf this time, as there was in 2011. Russia, (and as looks likely, China also) active in the Syrian skies will not accept a “no-fly zone” unilaterally proclaimed by the Exceptional Nation, restricting a sovereign government’s right to deploy aircraft in its own air space.

Moscow has basically carved out a coalition against regime change in Syria, united in abhorrence of ISIL and al-Nusra (now Fateh al-Sham) but pledged to the defense of the existing secular Syrian state and specifically to support for its professional, mostly Sunni and Sunni-led army. The pro-Assad forces now include the Syrian Arab Army and assorted militia, Lebanese Hizbollah fighters, Iraqi Shiite militia fighters, Russia, and Iran. India has repeatedly offered support for the government, and China has just vowed to provide aid and military training.

The Kill Assad Now Coalition on the other hand consists of the Hillary wing of the US State Department, absolute monarchs of Gulf nations where Sharia is the law, and some Nato allies including Turkey. They want to prioritize the destruction of the Assad regime over the destruction of terror groups in Syria. But Turkey’s president Erdogan is reconsidering his foreign relations generally. After the recent coup attempt in which he believes the US was complicit he has has met with Putin in Moscow and mended relations strained by the Turkish shooting down of a Russian fighter plane over Syria last November.

Turkey’s foreign minister has intimated that a normalization of relations with Syria is also in the cards. Especially if Turkey shifts (perhaps in return for Russian help in preventing the establishment of a Syrian Kurdistan), it might become well nigh impossible for Hillary to bomb Assad out of power.

Unless of course she wanted to show how strong she is and start World War Three. That could be even worse than a Trump presidency, arguably, don’t you think?

Could a Russian-Led Coalition Defeat Hillary’s War Plans?

Categories: Uncategorized

The Russia-Iran Strategic Game-Changer

by Pepe Escobar

Strategic Culture Foundation (August 20 2016)

Russian Tu-22M3 Backfire bombers – as well as Sukhoi-34 fighter bombers – leave from the Iranian Hamadan airfield to bomb jihadis and assorted “moderate rebels” in Syria, and immediately we’ve got ourselves a major, unforeseen geopolitical game-changer.

The record shows that Russia has not been present militarily in Iran since 1946; and this is the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that Iran allowed another nation to use Iranian territory for a military operation.

Bets could be made the Pentagon would, predictably, freak out like a bunch of pampered, irate teens. They did not disappoint, complaining that Russia’s advance warning did not allow enough time to “prepare” – as in blaring all across the planet another episode of “Russian aggression”, on top of it in cahoots with “the mullahs”. Further desperation ensued, with Washington claiming Iran might have violated UN Security Council resolutions.

Moscow’s spin, in contrast, was a beauty; this was all about logistics and cost cutting. Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov, chair of the State Duma’s Defense Committee and a former commander of the Black Sea Fleet, gave a lovely explanation of the modus operandi:



It is expensive and takes a long time to fly from bases in the European part of Russia. The issue of the cost of military combat activities is, at present, a priority. We must not go over the current Defense Ministry budget. Flying Tu-22s from Iran means using less fuel and carrying larger payloads … Russia won’t be able to find a friendlier and more suitable, from the point of view of security, country in that part of the world, and strikes must be carried out if we want to end this war… Airfields in Syria are not suitable because of the constant [need for] flying over areas of combat activities.



Don’t Mess with the SCO

All fine and dandy then. The Pentagon will keep crying foul. Enraged Zionists in Israel and fanatic Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia will throw tantrums and turbo-charge the proverbial “Iranian existential threat” to apocalyptic levels. Whatever. These “facts in the skies” cannot be altered. Especially because if they open the way for a decisive victory in the battle for East Aleppo, the foreign-imposed Syrian civil war will be all but over.

Ali Shamkhani, head of Iran’s National Security Council, made no mistake this is all about Iran-Russia strategic cooperation in a – real – fight against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh terror, and not, as spun by Western corporate media, the return of Iran as a “military asset” of a great power.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, for his part, stressed,



I allowed the bombers to fly over because we received clear information about them. They make precise strikes, avoid casualties among civilians. So, we will consider all the requests concerning security of civilians in Syria.



This was code for Baghdad coolly allowing Russian access through Iraqi airspace for the TU-22M3 bombers. Next inevitable step would be the Russian Caspian fleet launching cruise missiles over Iranian and Iraqi airspace towards those Beltway-protected “rebels” in Syria.

And there’s more, much more.

A 2015 Moscow-Damascus agreement has now been ratified by Russia. That, in effect, turns the Russian air base at Khmeimim into a permanent military base in the eastern Mediterranean.

Beijing and Damascus, for their part, have just agreed on closer military ties on top of Chinese humanitarian aid. Syrian Arab Army personnel will eventually be trained by Chinese military instructors.

Beijing is now directly involved in Syria for a key national security reason; hundreds of Uyghurs have joined Daesh or follow al-Qaeda goon Abu Muhammad al-Julani, the much-appreciated-in-the Beltway leader of the Army of Syrian Conquest – and may eventually return to Xinjiang to wage jihad.

And then, there’s the absolutely delicious cherry in the cheesecake, as professor of Middle East Studies at Shanghai International Studies University, Zhao Weiming, told the Global Times; Beijing’s new power play in Syria is payback for Pentagon interference in the South China Sea.

So what will Hillary do?

All of the above points to the new look of what used to be a white elephant in the room; the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (“SCO”) now means serious business.

As the “4+1” (Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, plus Hezbollah) started to share intelligence and operation procedures last year, including a coordination center in Baghdad, analysts such as Alistair Cooke and myself saw it as en embryo of the SCO in action. This was definitely, already, an alternative to Nato’s “humanitarian” imperialism and regime change obsession. For the first time Nato was not free anymore to roam around the world like an out-of-control Robocop. Even though only Russia and China were SCO members, and Iran an observer, the cooperation involved – at the request of a government fighting jihadis and still a target for regime change – already qualified as a major, new geopolitical fact on the ground.

Now, this variant of the New Silk Roads – New Silk Airways? – involving Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria and precisely targeting Salafi-jihadism, qualifies once again as accelerated Eurasia integration. Both SCO heavyweights China and Russia will not only admit Iran as a full member as early as next year; they know Iran is a key strategic asset in a battle against Nato, and they will never let Syria become the new Libya. In parallel, Russia’s strategic moves in Crimea and Syria are set to be dissected in excruciating detail in Chinese military academies.

Eurasia integration is being progressively intertwined with the SCO.

Whatever Tel Aviv and Riyadh – with their massive Washington lobbies – may fear about Russian-Iranian security cooperation, it’s Nato that’s livid. And much more than Nato, Hillary “Queen of War” Clinton.

The record shows Hillary with a severe crush on Assad to be dispatched the Gaddafi way. In the event of a Hillary presidency, bets can be made she will force the Pentagon to impose a no-fly zone in northern Syria and weaponize assorted “rebel” remnants to Kingdom Come.

And then there’s Iran. During the 2008 US presidential campaign, I was on the floor as Hillary addressed the AIPAC conference in Washington, a truly frightening spectacle. Using the – false – premise of an Iranian attack on Israel, she said,



I want the Iranians to know that if I’m president, we will attack Iran. In the next ten years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.



Oh really? Over Russia-Iran strategic cooperation? Over a progressively integrated SCO? Bring it on, Queen of War.

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America’s Journalistic Hypocrites

Exclusive: The US news media flip-flops on whether international law is inviolate or can be brushed aside at America’s whim – and similarly whether killing civilians is justified or not depending on who’s doing the killing.

by Robert Parry

Consortium News (August 16 2016)

Over the past few decades, the US mainstream media has failed the American people in a historic fashion by spinning false or misleading narratives on virtually every important global issue, continuing to this day to guide the nation into destructive and unnecessary conflicts.

To me, a major turning point came with the failure of the major news organizations to get anywhere near the bottom of the Iran-Contra scandal, including its origins in illicit contacts between Republicans and Iranians during the 1980 campaign and the Reagan administration’s collaboration with drug traffickers to support the Contra war in Nicaragua. (Instead, the major US media disparaged reporting on these very real scandals.)

If these unsavory stories had been fully explained to the American people, their impression of Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush would be far less favorable and the rise of Reagan’s neocon underlings might well have been halted. Instead the neocons consolidated their dominance over Official Washington’s foreign policy establishment and Bush’s inept son was allowed to take the White House in 2001.

Then, one might have thought that the disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003 – justified by a legion of lies – would have finally doomed the neocons but, by then, they had deeply penetrated the national news media and major think tanks, with their influence reaching not only across the Republican Party but deeply into the Democratic Party as well.

So, despite the Iraq catastrophe, almost nothing changed. The neocons and their liberal interventionist chums continued to fabricate narratives that have led the United States into one mess after another, seeking more and more “regime change” and brushing aside recommendations for peaceful resolution of international crises.

Cognitive Dissonance

As part of this phenomenon, there is profound cognitive dissonance as the rationales shift depending on the neocons’ tactical needs. From one case to the next, there is no logical or moral consistency, and the major US news organizations go along, failing again and again to expose these blatant hypocrisies.

The US government can stand for a “rules-based” world when that serves its interests but then freely violate international law when it’s decided that “humanitarian warfare” trumps national sovereignty and the United Nations Charter. The latter is particularly easy after a foreign leader has been demonized in the American press, but sovereignty becomes inviolate in other circumstances when Washington is on the side of the killing regimes.

George W Bush’s administration and the mainstream media justified invading Iraq, in part, by accusing Saddam Hussein of human rights violations. The obvious illegality of the invasion was ignored or dismissed as so much caviling by “Saddam apologists”. Similarly, the Obama administration and media rationalized invading Libya in 2011 under the propagandistic charge that Muammar Gaddafi was planning a mass slaughter of civilians (though he said he was only after Islamic terrorists).

But the same media looks the other way or makes excuses when the slaughter of civilians is being done by “allies”, such as Israel against Palestinians or Saudi Arabia against Yemenis. Then the US government even rushes more military supplies so the bombings can continue.

The view of terrorism is selective, too. Israel, Saudi Arabia and other US “allies” in the Persian Gulf have aided and abetted terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, in the war against the largely secular government of Syria. That support for violent subversion followed the US media’s demonization of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Thus, trying to avoid another Iraq-style morass, President Obama faces heavy criticism from neocon-dominated Washington for not doing more to force “regime change” in Syria, although he actually has authorized shipments of sophisticated US weaponry to the supposedly “moderate” opposition, which often operates under Nusra’s command structure.

In other words, it’s okay to intervene overtly and covertly when Official Washington wants to do so, regardless of international law and even if that involves complicity with terrorists. But it’s different when the shoe is on the other foot.

In the case of Ukraine, any Russian assistance to ethnic Russian rebels under assault from a Ukrainian military that includes neo-Nazi battalions, such as the Azov brigade, is impermissible. International law and a “rules-based” structure must be defended by punishing Russia.

The US news media failed its readers again with its one-sided coverage of the 2014 coup that overthrew elected President Viktor Yanukovych, who had undergone another demonization process from US officials and the mainstream press. So, the major US news outlets cheered the coup and saw nothing wrong when the new US-backed regime announced an “Anti-Terrorism Operation” – or ATO – against ethnic Russian Ukrainians who had voted for Yanukovych and considered the coup regime illegitimate.

In the Western media, the “white-hatted” coup regime in Kiev could do no wrong even when its neo-Nazi storm troopers burned scores of ethnic Russians alive in Odessa and spearheaded the ATO in the east. Everything was Russia’s fault, even though there was no evidence that President Vladimir Putin had any pre-coup role in destabilizing the political situation in Ukraine.

Indeed, the evidence was clear that the US government was the one seeking “regime change”. For instance, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland was caught on an intercepted phone call conspiring with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt regarding who should take power – “Yats is the guy”, she said about Arseniy Yatsenyuk – and discussing how to “midwife” and “glue this thing”. The coup followed a few weeks later, with Yatsenyuk emerging as the new prime minister.

US Exceptionalism

The US news media acts as if it is the unquestionable right of the US government to intervene in the internal affairs of countries all over the world – whether through subversion or military invasion – but the US media then gets outraged if anyone dares to resist Washington’s edicts or tries to behave in any way similar to how the US government does.

So, regarding Ukraine, when neighboring Russia intervened to prevent massacres in the east and to let the people of Crimea vote in a referendum on seceding from the new regime in Kiev, the US government and media accused Putin of violating international law. National borders, even in the context of a violent coup carried out in part by neo-Nazis, had to be respected, Official Washington piously announced. Even the 96 percent will of Crimea’s voters to rejoin Russia had to be set aside in support of the principle of state sovereignty.

In other words, if Putin shielded these ethnic Russians from violent repression by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists, he was guilty of “aggression” and his country needed to be punished with harsh sanctions. US neocons soon began dreaming of destabilizing Russia and pulling off another “regime change”, in Moscow.

Meanwhile, the US-backed Ukrainian regime prosecuted its ATO, bringing heavy armaments to bear against the eastern Ukrainian dissidents in a conflict that has claimed some 10,000 lives including many civilians. The Ukrainian conflict is one of the worst bloodlettings in Europe since World War Two, yet the calls from neocons and their liberal-hawk pals is to arm up the Ukrainian military so it can – once and for all – crush the resistance.

Early in the crisis, New York Times columnist Nicholas D Kristof, who has cultivated a reputation as a caring humanitarian, was eager to send more weapons to the Kiev regime and to western Ukrainians (who include his father’s relatives) so they could kill their ethnic Russian neighbors in the east – or “go bear-hunting”, as Kristof put it. By calling Russians “bears”, Kristof was likening their slaughter to the killing of animals.

Yet, in a recent column, Kristof takes a very different posture regarding Syria, where he wants the US military to invade and create so-called “safe zones” and “no-fly zones” to prevent the Syrian army and air force from operating against rebel positions.

Sovereignty means one thing in Ukraine, even following a coup that removed the elected president. There, national borders must be respected (at least after a pro-US regime had been installed) and the regime has every right kill dissenters to assert its authority. After all, it’s just like hunting animals.

But sovereignty means something else in Syria where the US government is called on to intervene on one side in a brutal civil war to prevent the government from regaining control of the country or to obviate the need for a negotiated settlement of the conflict. In Syria, “regime change” trumps all.

Selective Outrage

In the column, Kristof noted other conflicts where the United States supposedly should have done more, calling the failure to invade Syria “a stain on all of us, analogous … to the eyes averted from Bosnia and Rwanda in the 1990s, to Darfur in the 2000s”.

Note again the selectivity of Kristof’s moral outrage. He doesn’t call for a US invasion of Israel/Palestine to protect the Palestinians from Israel’s periodic “mowing the grass” operations. Nor does he suggest bombing the Saudi airfields to prevent the kingdom’s continued bombing of Yemenis. And, he doesn’t protest the US-instigated slaughter in Iraq where hundreds of thousands of people perished, nor does he cite the seemingly endless US war in Afghanistan.

Like many other mainstream pundits, Kristof tailors his humanitarianism to the cause of US global dominance. After all, how long do you think Kristof would last as a well-paid columnist if he advocated a “no-fly zone” inside Israel or a military intervention against Saudi Arabia?

Put differently, how much professional courage does it take to pile on against “black-hatted” US “enemies” after they’ve been demonized? Yet, it was just such a “group think” that cleared the way for the US invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein, a decision embraced by “liberal hawks” as well as neoconservatives and touching off mass suffering across the Mideast and now into Europe. Some estimates put the Iraqi dead at over one million.

So, it’s worth remembering how The New Yorker, The New York Times and other supposedly “liberal” publications hopped on George W Bush’s Iraq War bandwagon. They became what Kristof’s former boss, Bill Keller, dubbed “the I-Can’t-Believe-I’m-a-Hawk Club”. (Keller, by the way, was named the Times executive editor after the Iraq WMD claims had been debunked. Like many of his fellow hawks, there was no accountability for their gullibility or careerism.)

Kristof did not join the club at that time but signed up later, urging a massive bombing campaign in Syria after the Obama administration made now largely discredited claims accusing Bashar al-Assad’s government of launching a sarin gas attack outside Damascus on August 21 2013.

We now know that President Obama pulled back from those bombing plans, in part, because he was told by US intelligence analysts that they doubted Assad was responsible. The preponderance of evidence now points to a provocation by Al Qaeda-connected rebels to trick the United States into intervening in the civil war on their side, but the mainstream US media continues to report as “flat fact” that Obama failed to enforce his “red line” against Assad using chemical weapons.

Though the Kristof-endorsed bombing campaign in 2013 might well have played into Al Qaeda’s hands (or those of the Islamic State) and thus unleashed even a worse tragedy on the Syrian people, the columnist is still advocating a US invasion of Syria, albeit dressed up in pretty “humanitarian” language. But it should be clear that nice-sounding words like “safe zones” are just euphemisms for “regime change”, as we saw in Libya in 2011.

Forgetting Reality

The US news media also often “forgets” that Obama has authorized the training and arming of so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels with many of them absorbed into the military command of Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and with sophisticated US weapons, such as TOW anti-tank missiles, showing up in the arsenals of Nusra and its jihadist allies.

In other words, beyond the selective outrage about morality and international law, we see selective reporting. Indeed, across American journalism, there has been a nearly complete abandonment of objectivity when it comes to reporting on US foreign policy. Even liberal and leftist publications now bash anyone who doesn’t join the latest version of “the I-Can’t-Believe-I’m-a-Hawk Club”.

That means that as the neocon-dominated foreign policy establishment continues to push the world toward ever greater catastrophes, now including plans to destabilize nuclear-armed Russia (gee, how could that go wrong?), the US news media is denying the American people the objective information needed to rein in the excesses.

Virtually nothing has been learned from the Iraq War disaster when the US government cast aside negotiations and inspections (along with any appreciation of the complex reality on the ground) in favor of tough-guy/gal posturing. With very few exceptions, the US media simply went along.

Today, the pro-war posturing has spread deeply within the Democratic Party and even among some hawkish leftists who join in the fun of insulting the few anti-war dissenters with the McCarthyite approach of accusing anyone challenging the “group think” on Syria or Russia of being an “Assad apologist” or a “Putin stooge”.

At the Democratic National Convention, some of Hillary Clinton’s delegates even chanted “USA, USA” to drown out the cries of Bernie Sanders’s delegates, who pleaded for “no more war”. On a larger scale, the mainstream US news media has essentially ignored or silenced anyone who deviates from the neocon-dominated conventional wisdom.


Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. His latest book is America’s Stolen Narrative (2012).

America’s Journalistic Hypocrites

Categories: Uncategorized

To Preserve the American Way

There Must Be War

by Phil Butler

New Eastern Outlook (August 19 2016)

I remember my uncle Duke well. A tall and handsome figure he cut, in his Air Force blue uniform. Silver oak leaves he wore on his lapels, back when I was a kid in El Paso, Texas. A member of an elite corps, Duke Wolfe went to work each week at Biggs Air Force Base. In 1962 the B52 pilot-navigator for the Strategic Air Command (“SAC”) was a major and in his prime, just like America was. Back then preserving our “American Way” meant fending off the threat of nuclear annihilation from the Soviet Union. Since then not a lot has changed, except the truth of the matter, that is.

Understanding the crises in the world today requires understanding the truth of how we got here. Not many experts are willing to tell you the real truth of world conflict though. The gist of the matter is stunningly simple though, only it’s always seemed unpatriotic for any American to utter it. The world is in crisis for the defense of an impossible American Dream. It’s the same dream of conspicuous consumption and want we were deluded by back in the 1960s, the vision of endless possibility. However idyllic that dream may have been, it was the endlessness of want that was impossible. Americans benefitted back then, largely for their innovation and hard work, it is true. But the elites in charge never told us the bitter cost of their “cut” of the economic pie. Growth, you see, is a finite master. Let me elaborate.

The simplest equation I can give you to prove my assertion here is this – in the last seventy years Americans have consumed 25% of everything used on this planet. Food, oil, coal, copper, tin, forests, iron ore, titanium, you name the commodity, and we’ve used it up. Once you come to grips with this fact, it will be far easier to see the truth in any news. In a bit, I will explain the impossibility of our economics, but for now quoting a most conspicuous US President George H W Bush will frame it for you. At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro back in 1992, Bush the senior said:


The American way of life is not up for negotiation.


While you ponder the significance of this, let me fast forward you to 2014 and the ideas of billionaire Tom Perkins, a man fittingly symbolic of our difficult times. Perkins is one of the founders of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, or the people who have funded and fuelled the biggest money shell game the world has ever known. By “shell game” I mean the largely useless Silicon Valley technology mega-structures consumers waste trillions on today. AOL, Google, and a hundred other hollow ventures have made Perkins and others filthy rich, while providing only a flash in the pan value for the world. Perkins is the poster boy for all that is wrong with this American Dream.

A Wall Street Journal [letter] Perkins wrote certifies all that I am saying here. In a letter to the editor about the growing dissent over the one percent and their unsustainable profits in Silicon Valley, Perkins wrote:


I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent”, namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich”.


The growing concern among Americans that the one percent is taking too much, it solicits the same old rhetoric used to protect human kind’s most ghastly policies. “If you criticize us, you are anti-Semitic, a jew hater, a Nazi”, or whatever guttural label can be placed upon the needy, the downtrodden, the people. Outrage at Perkins’ assertions was predictable, but it has died down now. Ironically, his comparison of current events in America with the horrible Kristallnacht (Night of Crystal) in Nazi Germany is probably valid. Kristallnacht, for those unfamiliar, was when a wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms took place on November 9 and 10 1938 in Germany. In the same way Perkins ignored the root causes of causes of Kristallnacht, the new billionaires of this world trudge blindly toward unlimited growth.

Moderate capitalists called Perkins’ letter vulgar and disgraceful, as it set the wall in between haves and have-nots even higher in their estimation. But this was not the real reason for their admonitions. AdWeek and all the other Silicon Valley owned media leaped on Perkins for his diatribe. They called him the “village idiot” and distanced his ideas from theirs. As disdainful as the upper crust criticisms of Perkins may have seemed, these too were contrived. Perkins set the idea, and the owned media cemented just how “evil” the 99% can be. Subterfuge is not a word for nothing, I remind you. AdWeek, as an example, is owned by Prometheus Global Media, which is owned by Pluribus Capital Management and Guggenheim Partners. I will not delve into the collusion and control in between big money and media here, for the economics are more crucial to understand.

The “Night of Crystal” in 1938 led to the most horrific inhumanities ever undertaken on this world. The internment and extermination of millions of innocent human beings by the Nazis is a stain darker than any in our history. It is a horror well publicized, but its horrors are also a tool. I won’t get into the Holocaust in propaganda here. The point of Kristallnacht in a 21st century context is crucial to understand. The distribution of wealth in Germany that allowed Adolf Hitler to enrage an entire people, it mirrored then what we see happening now in America and the world. The cause of the “Night of Crystal” was not an inherent hatred of Judaism or any religion or race. The root cause was inequality, disparity, the gulf in between the fabulously wealthy and the utterly poor. The Jews were the easiest catalyst for the Nazis.


A child born in the United States will create thirteen times as much ecological damage over the course of his or her lifetime than a child born in Brazil.

– Dave Tilford, Sierra Club


Today, as we see resources grow more and more scarce, as economies struggle, the “margins” of profit for these billionaires tighten. Growth, the American Dream, they are no longer possible without squeezing more from those at the bottom of the economic pyramid. Dr Brian Czech of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy explains in this report. How structural economics foretell of the coming crises. Czech says Perkins’ Kristallnacht is actually an uncovering of a kind of new Lebensraum, the Nazi plan to conquer Russia and the east for “the people”. And he is correct, Perkins’ rant, and the likes of the Guggenheims astonishment tells us how afraid the one percent are that history will repeat. Reading Czech we find some answers:


To understand the logic of Lebensraum, we need a quick review of structural economics. The economy has three basic sectors: agricultural/extractive, manufacturing, and services. (The “financial sector” is fairly distinct, but falls within the general category of services.) It seems like this basic structure ought to be conventional wisdom, but in the age of the Internet, economic wisdom is disappearing by the bitcoin. If we’re not careful we’ll end up like King Midas, a foolish one percenter if there ever was one.


Is Thomas James Perkins’ “Progressive Kristallnacht” upon us after all? Well, Perkins did not live to see it, but I believe his seeming madness was more lucid than his contemporaries would have us believe. Perkins died in June of this year at age 84, but the fearful message he sent from the land of the elites resonates. I began my report with a personal note about America at its zenith. Since then I have observed much, as have my contemporaries. I had three cars once, my attic was full, as was my garage, with the fruits of this American Dream. I know ordinary middle class Americans with boats, cars, motorcycles, jet skis, vacation homes, and extra storage rooms rented just to hold all of their American Dream.


Earth has lost half of its wildlife in the last forty years.

– 2014 Living Planet Report


The Ad men back then told us the world’s wealth was unlimited. Our leaders waged war with our lives, wasting our blood like there were vast rivers of it for the risking. We built monuments to ourselves, and wasted enough food, oil, and trees to last 10,000 years in a reasonable world. Let’s return now to former President Bush’s assertion that Americans will never give up on “the dream”. Now let’s assume this is a function of the one percent being forced to supply that dream, while at the same time providing growth and profits to stockholders.

Assuming all I have suggested is true so far, understanding Perkins’ fear, and the fear of the one percent becomes crystal clear. For one thing there is no ordinary “Jew” to blame for the world going broke. No synagogue is populated by the resident evil Hitler ranted about. The elites have no scapegoat this time. Well, except for Russia or Iran or some other distant Cold War nemesis. So there is only one way to preserve this convoluted American Dream.

Will there be a Progressive Kristallnacht, or will we be in a perpetual war to end all wars? This is the anxious moment most of us sense. This is the reason 100% of western media propagandizes us. This is why we have the choice of two narcissist puppets for president. We have reached the zenith of conspicuous consumption and growth, there is no more leeway. And the choices come down to dragging the perpetrators of all this before the people, or feeding their coffers forever more in a useless struggle against inevitability. The billionaires are afraid we’ll finally drag them into the streets and empty their vaults to feed the poor of this world. I for one am afraid that we won’t, and that World War Three will leave a scarce few alive, a little tribe led by their savior elites. In 1962 I thought my uncle and his comrades protected a place that was the light of the world. We all did. 54 years later I am wondering who is helping us protect us from ourselves.


Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, exclusively for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook.

Categories: Uncategorized

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