Sunday, March 18, 2018

The “Pimps”, “Whores” and “Johns” of the Military Industrial Empire. The Unifying Force is “Fear”

We have regressed as a nation, as a culture, so quickly that even the 60s , 70s and 80s look like ‘the good old days’… and they weren’t. This Military Industrial Empire is run by the Pimps. They push their Whores, the political system and the mainstream media, out into the streets of our great nation, where they proposition the Johns, the majority of our populace.

The biggest Lie that they con the Johns with is that we are a Democracy, and that their vote matters. Of course, what they fail to inform the Johns of is that only the Two Party/One Party system is what counts. The second biggest Lie is that we live in a ‘Free Enterprise system’ where any John can rise to the top of the economic ladder with both hard work and diligence. Then the Lie continues by saying that people have a right to earn as much as they can, and that ‘The rich pay all the taxes and deserve a break.’ Tell that to the millions of Johns at the gas pump each day, by asking them to look at how much of each gallon of gas goes for taxes.

You channel surf on the boob tube and see what the so called ‘News channels’ are covering. The Democratic leaning channels (CNN and MSNBC to name a few) are all over this Russia gate, ready to fan the fires of a new Cold War. Hours and hours of this, and let me ask you this, was what was leaked by whomever during the 2016 campaign actual TRUTH?  If so, then who in the hell cares who leaked it! When you go to the right wing Republican leaning channels, they continually defend this ‘Reality Star President’ and his far right ‘Think tank’ regressive policies and plans to continually aid the ‘Less than 1 % of us’. Of course, the Whores of media, as well as the elected Whores, will bang the drum for more military spending and more of the ‘Big Stick’ mentality worldwide… which is already bankrupting our cities and destroying our moral compass!

How shrewd are the ‘Masters of Empire’ … for generations! They need to suck the blood out of countless countries while doing the same to our own working stiffs. They make sure that the banking system gets its  ‘pound of flesh’ from we who work their machine. Then they make sure that Joe and Joan Q. John are so drained both physically and emotionally from just trying to stay above water financially. Then, who has time to do what real democracies allow: Protest to demand change! They don’t want our Amerikan Johns to remember the words of Ben FranklinDissent is the lifeblood of democracy. No, they want them to sit back and wait for the next election to vote for Twiddle Dee or Twiddle Dum from the two party scam.

Of course, the great rallying and unifying force is FEAR, and no fear is greater than that of an enemy destroying us. So, they give the Johns the new fears: The North Koreans ready to attack us with nukes, the Russians ready to dismantle our democracy, or the old reliable one of the terrorists coming to our homeland. Well, let’s dispel those three: A) If North Korea did not feel frightened of our Pimps scheming to encircle them or nuke them first; B) If we did not use our CIA to undermine Russia’s elections going back to the early 90s with Yeltsin; C) if we never invaded and occupied Iraq there would never have been any sort of crazy jihadists making waves now.

Walt Kelley’s Pogo comic strip had the greatest line: “We have met the enemy and he be us!”

Philip A Farruggio is a son and grandson of Brooklyn , NYC longshoremen. He has been a free lance columnist since 2001, with over 300 of his work posted on sites like Consortium News, Information Clearing House,  Global Research, Nation of Change, World News Trust, Op Ed News, Dissident Voice, Counterpunch, Activist Post, Sleuth Journal, Truthout and many others. His blog can be read in full on World News Trust., whereupon he writes a great deal on the need to cut military spending drastically and send the savings back to save our cities. Philip has a internet interview show, ‘ It’s the Empire… Stupid’ with producer Chuck Gregory, and can be reached at

Liberation in Sight: Bashar Assad PICTURED in Eastern Ghouta

Sputnik | Mar 18, 2018

© AP Photo/ SANA, File
According to a report by the Syrian state news agency SANA, President Bashar al-Assad visited army positions in the Eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus.

"In the line of fire in Eastern Ghouta… President Assad with heroes of the Syrian Arab Army," the president’s Telegram account said.

READ MORE: Syrian Army Gives Group of Eastern Ghouta Militants Until 1 PM GMT to Pull Out

Pictures showing the Syrian president surrounded by men in military clothing along damaged buildings with several parked tanks in liberated from terrorists areas of Eastern Ghouta quickly spread across social media.

According to the Syrian army command, government troops had already liberated 70 percent of Eastern Ghouta’s territory, which has been under terrorists’ control since 2012.

Terrorist capabilities laid bare in an Eastern Ghouta chemical lab

RT | Mar 16, 2018 | Sharmine Narwani

© Sharmine Narwani
The battle of narratives over the use of chemical weapons in Syria has been raging ferociously for years. But a chemical lab discovered in Eastern Ghouta this week is set to change the parameters of the discourse.

Last December, at a US military hangar near Washington DC, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley showcased an over-sized metal pipe as evidence of Iran’s military collusion with Yemen’s Houthi rebels. That picture hit every front page in the western hemisphere, drowning out the many objections that a big pipe on an American stage proves nothing.

This week, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) liberated some Eastern Ghouta farmlands between Shifouniyeh and Douma and discovered a well-equipped chemical laboratory run by Saudi-backed Islamist terrorists. Not a single Western reporter showed up to investigate the facility.

© Sharmine Narwani
The media disinterest is strange, given that US officials appear poised to green-light military attacks against Syria, which they claim has used chemical weapons (CW) against civilian populations. This charge remains unproven and highly contentious, with other parties arguing that anti-government militants are employing CW munitions to provoke a US military intervention against Syria.

So perhaps it’s not so strange that a chemical lab discovered right at the epicenter of a major strategic battle over Syria is being ignored by one side. In the end, it is likely that only one side is right about who is using CWs in Syria. Which is why one side went silent when this lab was revealed.

The chemical facility lies only a few dozen meters away from the current military frontline and was liberated as recently as Monday. The lab is surrounded by farmlands – the last place one would expect to find this stash. I see fields of wheat, green peas, beans and chickpeas scattered liberally in a conflict area Western media dubs a “starvation siege.” The building itself is shell-pocked and littered with debris, like so many of the structures I pass in Shifouniyeh and other towns in Eastern Ghouta where war rages.

According to the SAA, these canisters lined up against the walls in several areas of the lab, contain chlorine / Shelves and cupboards of chemical substances are dotted around the facility's upper floor © Sharmine Narwani
According to the SAA, these canisters lined up against the walls in several areas of the lab, contain chlorine / Shelves and cupboards of chemical substances are dotted around the facility's upper floor © Sharmine Narwani

But the sight inside is astounding. Upper rooms packed with electronic hardware, basements outfitted with large boilers, shelves filled with chemical substances, corners heaving with blue and black canisters (reportedly containing chlorine), chemistry charts, books, beakers, vials, test tubes and all the paraphernalia familiar to the average student of science. And then, in several corners, piles of pipe-shaped projectiles – clear munitions of some sort.

There’s one real standout in an upper room of the facility. It’s a newish looking piece of equipment with “Hill-Rom Medaes Medplus Air Plant” written on its front. A cursory Google search pulls up several interesting facts immediately – the machine is some kind of air or gas compressor, it’s a US-manufactured product, and Saudi Arabia put out tenders for this device in 2015.

A list of numbers and phone extensions taped to the wall confirms that this area – and the lab – was controlled by Jaysh al-Islam, a Saudi-backed terrorist group whose political figurehead Mohammad Alloush was once invited to head up the opposition delegation at UN-sponsored Geneva talks.

The Saudis have been caught out many times during this conflict for diverting equipment and weapons to the Syrian battlefield – purchases that were intended by the seller to be used only by a Saudi end-user. The Hill-Rom compressor, like most Western scientific equipment, would have been banned for sale to Syria under tight sanctions laws. Even if not created for military purposes, many such products are viewed by US officials as featuring “dual-use” technologies.

The Syrian officers on duty at the lab site could do little more than point out the obvious items of interest in the facility. They had only been there 24 hours and had not yet fully deciphered its intent. They had examined the blue and black canisters and discovered chlorine – a substance that has repeatedly been used in small quantities on the Syrian battlefield and has drawn widespread international censure.

Is this a chemical weapons lab? Or simply a chemical lab manufacturing a substance used in warfare – like explosives?

Even if no banned chemical munitions are found to be produced at this lab, its discovery is a game-changer in the chemical weapons blame-game. It is now indisputable that Western-backed and Gulf-financed Islamist militants have the capabilities to produce the chemicals of war inside the battlefield – and not in the makeshift way that media suggests. This lab demonstrates that militants can amass foreign-made equipment, create production lines and procure difficult-to-obtain components.

It can no longer be argued that militants lack the ability, connections and skill-sets to manufacture chemical munitions.

Terrorists and chemical weapons

There is ample evidence that terrorists have been using low-grade and unsophisticated CWs in the Iraqi and Syrian military theaters.

The use of the nerve agent Sarin in Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by insurgents in Iraq has been documented by the media since 2004 – and in detail by the CIA, which links the substance to lost or pilfered stock from Iraq’s old chemical munitions program.

Chlorine IEDs were also first used in Iraq that same year, but it was in 2007 that an aggressive chemical war was launched in Anbar province and other parts of the country by Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), which used chlorine bombs in suicide attacks.

Fast forward a decade or so. In 2016, the UK intelligence analysis firm IHS Conflict Monitor issued a report saying that Islamic State (which evolved out of Al-Qaeda in Iraq), has used chemical weapons, including chlorine and sulfur mustard agents, at least 52 times in both Syria and Iraq.

In Syria, the trouble began in December 2012 when the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front (a former IS ally), took over the country’s only chlorine manufacturing plant, a joint business venture with the Saudis located east of Aleppo. Damascus issued an immediate warning to the UN: “Terrorist groups may resort to using chemical weapons against the Syrian people… after having gained control of a toxic chlorine factory.”

Three months later, in what is viewed as the first real CW incident of the Syrian conflict, 26 people – the majority of them (16) Syrian soldiers – were killed in the village of Khan Assal in Aleppo in a reported chlorine attack. The next day, the Syrian government requested that the UN investigate the attack. A few days later, there was another alleged chemical incident in Adra, northeast of Damascus, followed by a reported attack in Saraqeb, and then in Ghouta in August – the CW incident that almost triggered US military strikes. A Jordanian reporter on the ground in Ghouta interviewed witnesses who said the Saudis had provided militants with chemical weapons and that some had been detonated by accident.

In May 2013, Turkish authorities captured 12 Nusra Front militants with 4.5lb of sarin gas. Turkish media carried varying reports about the terrorists’ goals – one of them was that the group was planning to take the materials back to Syria, Nusra’s home base.

In June, members of an Al-Qaeda cell were apprehended by Iraqi authorities who raided two Baghdad factories that were used to research and manufacture sarin and mustard agents. Authorities said that the AQ militants had precursor chemicals and formulas necessary for the production of the deadly CWs.

And so on and so forth. But back to the lab in Eastern Ghouta.

The lab’s occupants, Saudi-backed Jaysh al-Islam, publicly admitted in 2016 to using toxic agents in mortar attacks against Kurds in the Aleppo neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsood. “During the clashes one of the Jaysh al-Islam brigades used [weapons] forbidden in this kind of confrontations,” the group said in a statement about the chemical attack, in which it claimed the perpetrator would be held accountable.

The statement is relevant in only one way. It confirms the group has chemical munitions.

Who benefits from CWs?

In mid-2012, the Syrian government confirmed for the first time that it had chemical weapons, but stated these were only for use against “external aggression” and never against the Syrian people.

This statement could be viewed with the same skepticism as the one by Jaysh al-Islam, except for one thing: chemical weapons in no way, shape or form – neither politically nor militarily – benefit the Syrian government in this seven-year conflict. It’s why the Syrian government unilaterally admitted to its CW program and was so willing to relinquish it under US and Russian supervision.

The amount of CWs used on the Syrian battlefield is negligible in comparison with the scope and violence of the war. Why use a highly provocative weapon that kills only a few dozen people when you can use conventional munitions that can do a cleaner job?

And why risk the ire of the entire international community – and further isolation – when what you want most is to avoid foreign military intervention that can take out your military bases in mere days?

It’s telling that throughout Syria’s conflict, “massacres” and “chemical attacks” have taken place mostly when militants are facing setbacks or stalemates – or when important events like UN Security Council meetings loom.

What better opportunity to galvanize the international community to condemn, sanction, punish or bomb your enemy than with gruesome scenes of bodies convulsing and children gasping for air?

It really doesn’t matter what is found in the chemical lab at al-Shifouniyeh farms. The occupants of the lab, whether Al-Nusra, Jaysh al-Islam or IS – two of which are currently militarily active in Eastern Ghouta – have provided the last piece of the chemical weapons whodunnit puzzle. They always had the motive to stage chemical warfare in Syria, but now we can see they have the means and capabilities too.

Some Common Sense from George Galloway: Russia could not benefit from Skripal poisoning

RT UK | Mar 15, 2018

"It's absolutely absurd that Russia would actually put its signature on a crime like this if they had carried it out" says George Galloway as Sergey Lavrov says Moscow's "not seeing progress" to resolve standoff.


‘Not proxy’: Lavrov says US, British, French special forces ‘directly involved’ in Syria war

RT | Mar 17, 2018

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has condemned the illegal presence of US coalition troops in Syria, saying the Western forces deployed on the ground amount to “a direct involvement in the war.”

There are special forces on the ground in Syria from the US – they no longer deny it – the UK, France and a number of other countries,” Lavrov said in an interview to the Kazakh state broadcaster published on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website on Saturday. “Thus, it’s not so much of a ‘proxy war,’ but rather a direct involvement in the war,” the diplomat stressed.

The US coalition is “illegitimate” from the standpoint of international law and the UN Charter, Lavrov said. “But we are realistic and understand that we wouldn’t fight with them. So we coordinate actions at least to prevent unintended clashes. Our military always keeps in touch with the American commanders who lead the operation on Syrian territory.”

Moscow is also in "a permanent dialogue" with the US General Staff officials “who actually lead the operation on the ground,” the minister said.

Lavrov also stressed attacks on the Syrian and pro-Syrian forces in US-controlled areas deserve condemnation, given that Russia has been repeatedly and “solemnly” assured that the presence of the US military in Syria is aimed “exclusively” at fighting terrorists.

Lavrov also criticized the remarks by the US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, about Washington’s readiness to “bomb Damascus and even the presidential palace of Bashar Assad, regardless [of the] presence of the Russian representatives there.”“It is an absolutely irresponsible statement,” Lavrov said.

Extermination Factor: Central banks manipulating & suppressing gold prices – industry expert to RT

RT | Mar 18, 2018

© Leonhard Foeger / Reuters
Gold price suppression by the world's central banks is a well-documented fact, according to Singapore’s BullionStar precious metals expert Ronan Manly. He explained to why that’s the case.

Central banks have a long and colorful history of manipulating the gold price. This manipulation has taken many shapes and forms over the years. It also shouldn't be surprising that central banks intervene in the gold market given that they also intervene in all other financial markets. It would be naive to think that the gold market should be any different.

In fact, gold is a special case. Gold to central bankers is like the sun to vampires. They are terrified of it, yet in some ways they are in awe of it. Terrified since gold is an inflation barometer and an indicator of the relative strength of fiat currencies. The gold price influences interest rates and bond prices. But central bankers (who know their job) are also in awe of gold since they respect and understand gold's value and power within the international monetary system and the importance of gold as a reserve asset.

So central banks are keenly aware of gold, they hold large quantities of it in their vaults as a store of value and as financial insurance, but they are also permanently on guard against allowing a fully free market for gold in which they would not have at least some form of influence over price direction and market sentiment.

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) crops up frequently in gold price manipulation as the central coordination venue and the guiding hand behind a lot of the gold price suppression plans. This is true in all decades from the 1960s right the way through to the 2000s. If you want to know about central bank gold price manipulation, the BIS is a good place to start. Unfortunately the BIS is a law onto itself and does not answer to anyone, except its central banks members.

In the 1960s, central bank manipulation of the gold price was conducted in the public domain, predominantly through the London Gold Pool. This was in the era of a fixed official gold price of $35 an ounce. Here the US Treasury and a consortium of central banks from Western Europe explicitly kept the gold price near $35 an ounce, coordinating their operation from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland, while using the Bank of England in London as a transaction agent. This price manipulation broke down in March 1968 when the US Treasury ran out of good delivery gold, which triggered the move to a "free market" gold price. 

Central banks continued to surpress gold prices in the 1970s both through efforts to demonetize gold and also dump physical gold into the market to dampen price action. These sales were unilateral e.g. US Treasury gold sales in 1975 and over 1978-1979, and also coordinated (and orchestrated by the US) e.g. IMF gold sales across 1976-1980.

Collusion to manipulate the price also went underground, for example in late 1979 and early 1980 when the gold price was rocketing higher, the same central banks from the London Gold Pool again met at the opaque BIS in Switzerland at the behest of the US Treasury and Federal Reserve in an attempt to launch a new and secretive Gold Pool to reign in the gold price. This was essentially a revival of the old gold pool, or Gold Pool 2.0.

These meetings, which are not very well known about, were of the G10 central bank governors, i.e. at the highest levels of world finance. All of the discussions are documented in black and white in the Bank of England archives and can be read on the BullionStar website.

The wording in these discussions is very revealing and show the contempt which central bankers feel about a freely functioning gold market.

Phrases used in these meetings include:

"there is a need to break the psychology of the market" and "no question of any permanent stabilisation of the gold price, merely at a critical time holding it within a target area" and  "to stabilise the price within a moving band" and "it would be easy and nice for central banks to force the price down hard and quickly".

And these meetings of top central bankers were in early 1980, 11 years after the London Gold Pool and 8 years after the US Treasury reneged on its commitment in August 1971 to convert foreign holdings of US dollars into gold.

Whether this new BIS gold pool was rolled out in the 1980s is open to debate, but it was discussed across the board for months by the Governors at the BIS, and may have been introduced in a form which would provide physical gold to the oil producers (gold for oil trades) without putting a rocket under the gold price. Their main worry was to allow the Middle Eastern oil producers to acquire some gold for oil without pushing the gold price up.

The Bank of England was also involved in the 1980s in influencing prices in the London Gold Fix auctions, in what an ex Bank of England staffer described euphemistically as 'helping the fixes'. And the Bank of England has even at times used terminology in the 1980s such as "smoothing operations" and "stabilisation operations" when referring to coordinated central bank efforts to control the gold price.

Probably two of the most influential changes on the gold market in the modern era are structural changes to the gold market which channel gold demand away from physical gold and into paper gold. These two changes were the introduction of unallocated accounts and fractionally backed gold holdings in the London Gold market from the 1980s onwards, and the introduction of gold futures trading in the US in January 1975.

In unallocated gold trading in the London OTC market, gold trades are cash-settled and there is rarely any physical delivery of gold. The trading positions are merely claims against bullion banks who don't hold anywhere near the amount of gold to back up the claims. Unallocated bullion is therefore just a synthetic paper gold position that provides exposure to the gold price but doesn't drive demand for physical gold.

When gold futures were launched in the US in January 1975, the primary reason for their introduction, according to a US State Department cable at the time, was to create an alternative to the physical market that would syphon off demand for gold, creating trading that would dwarf the physical market, and which would also ramp up volatility which in turn would deter investors from investing in physical gold. Gold futures are also fractionally backed and overwhelmingly cash-settled, and their trading volumes are astronomical multiples of actual delivery volumes.

Central banks as regulators of financial markets are therefore ultimately responsible for allowing the emergence of fractional reserve gold trading in London and New York. This trading undermines the demand for physical gold and allows the world gold price to be formed in these synthetic gold trading venues. Price discovery is not happening in physical gold markets. Its is happening in the London OTC (unallocated) and COMEX derivative markets. So this is also a form of gold price manipulation since the central banks know how these markets function, but they do nothing to crack down on what are essentially gold ponzi schemes.

Imagine, for example, that central banks were as tough on paper gold as they seem to be now on crypto currency markets. Now imagine if central banks outlawed fractional gold trading or scare-mongered about it in the same way that they do about crypto currencies? What would happen is that the gold market participants would panic and unwind their paper positions, precipitating a disconnect between paper gold and physical gold markets. So by being lenient on the fractional structure of trading in the gold markets, central banks and their regulators are implicitly encouraging activities that have a dampening effect on the gold price.

The gold lending market, mostly centred in London, is another area in which central banks have the ability to cap the gold price. Here central banks transfer their physical gold holdings to bullion banks and this physical gold then enters the market. These transactions can either be in the form of gold loans or gold swaps. This extra supply of gold through the loans and swaps disturbs the existing supply demand balance, and so has a depressing effect on the gold price.

The gold lending market is totally opaque and secretive with no obligatory or voluntary reporting by either central bank lenders or bullion bank borrowers. The Bank of England has a major role in the gold lending market as the gold used in lending is almost all sourced from the central bank custody holding in the Bank of England's vaults.

There is therefore zero informational efficiency in gold lending, and that’s the way the central banks like it. furthermore, freedom of information requests about gold lending are almost always shot down by central banks, even sometimes on 'national security' grounds.

Many central banks have lent out their gold long ago, and just hold a 'gold receivable' on their balance sheet, which is a claim against a bullion bank or bullion banks. These bullion banks roll over the liability to the central bank for years on end and the original gold is long gone. Since central bank gold is never independently audited, there is no independent confirmation of any of the gold that any central banks claim they have.

Gold receivables are another fiction that allows central banks to fly under the radar in the gold lending market, and central banks go to great lengths to make sure the market does not know the size and existence of outstanding gold lending and swapped gold positions.

In Febuary 1999, the BIS was again the nexus for secretive discussions about the gold market when a number of the large powerful central banks basically ordered the IMF to drop an accounting change that would have split out gold and gold receivables into two separate line items on central bank balance sheets and accounting statements. These discussions are documented in the IMF document which is available to see here.

This accounting change would have shone a light on to the scale of central bank gold lending around the world, information which would have moved gold prices far higher.

However, a group of the large central banks in Europe comprising the Bank of England, the Bundesbank, the Bank de France and the European Central Bank (ECB) applied pressure to torpedo this plan as they said that "information on gold loans and swaps was highly market sensitive" and that the IMF should "not require the separate disclosure of such information but should instead treat all monetary gold assets including gold on loan or subject to swap agreements, as a single data item."

Central banks also at times sell large quantities of gold, such as the Swiss gold sales in the early the 2000s, and the Bank of England gold sales in the late 1990s.While the details of such gold sales are always shrouded in secrecy, and the motivations may be varied, such as bullion bank bailouts or redistribution of holdings to other central banks, the impact of these gold sales announcements usually has a negative impact on the gold price. So gold sales announcements are another tactic that central banks use to at times keep the pressure on the price.   

There are many examples of central bankers discussing interventions in the gold market. In July 1998, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan testified before the US Congress saying that "central banks stand ready to lease gold in increasing quantities should the price rise."

In June 2005, William R. White of the BIS in Switzerland, said that one of the aims of central bank cooperation was to "joint efforts to influence asset prices (especially gold and foreign exchange) in circumstances where this might be thought useful."

In 2008, the BIS at its headquarters in Switzerland even stated in a presentation to central bankers that one of the services it offers is interventions in the gold market.

In 2011, one of the gold traders from the BIS even stated on his LinkedIn profile that one of his responsibilities was managing the liquidity for interventions. After this was published, he quickly changed his LinkedIn profile.

Ronan Manly is a precious metals expert at BullionStar based in Singapore