Pure War in Tehran – By Pepe Escobar

ASIA TIMES Online

THE ROVING EYE
Pure War in Tehran
By Pepe Escobar

I’ve just spent a frantic week in Tehran. Before departure, I had made a conscious decision; only one book in the backpack. Maximum concentration. I ended up choosing Pure War, the 2008 reprint by Semiotext(e) in LA of the 1983 Paul Virilio classic I had picked up at the revamped Foyles in London a few days back.

For a roving correspondent, going to Iran is always extra-special. Getting a press visa approved usually takes ages. This was my sixth trip – and I had no visa. Just a number, tied to a visa at the airport. Until the last minute, I thought I’d be deported from Imam Khomeini International – back to Abu Dhabi, which is now pretending to bomb The Caliph. Then, a small miracle; a VIP room, a visa in 10 minutes and the next I know I’m zooming into an eerily deserted Tehran at sunrise on a Friday, past the psychedelic space station decked in green that is Imam Khomeini’s shrine.

Why Virilio? Because he was the first to conceptualize that with the explosion of asymmetrical warfare, Total War had become local – on a global scale. I expanded on the theme in my 2007 book Globalistan and in my writings. Washington and Tel Aviv had been threatening to bomb Iran for years. Virilio was the first to assert that “peace” merely extends war by other means.

May 1968 as a theatre of the mind – a theatre of the imagination. When society could be an artwork, a performance, with the crowds in the street as the chorus. The last creative reaction against consumerism. “Power to the imagination”.

A beautiful sunny morning in front of the Foreign Ministry compound. An exhibition/installation about the “imposed” – as it’s widely known – Iran-Iraq war. A reconstructed minefield; a map of nations weaponizing Saddam; pictures of young fighters/martyrs who wouldn’t have been older than 14. A theatre of painful remembrance. In late 1978, Tehran also had its crowds in the streets as chorus – against the shah. Khomeini was a reaction against consumerism; but was he “power to the imagination”? And then, all was engulfed in a theatre of cruelty – the tragedy of the “imposed” war.

War in the journalistic sense is national delinquency elevated to the scale of an extremely important conflict – It’s the equivalent of the “tumults”, as ancient societies called them. We can no longer even speak of wars, they are interstate delinquencies. It’s State terrorism.

In Tehran, my immensely gracious hosts were the organizers of New Horizon: the International Conference of Independent Thinkers. After plenty of twists and turns, the Foreign Ministry ended up also being involved. The conference issued a important resolution condemning ISIS/ISIL/The Caliph; Zionism; Islamophobia; sectarianism; and Washington’s blind support for anything Israel unleashes over Palestine: Israel’s national delinquency, or State terrorism. The conference also called for cooperation and understanding between the West and Islam: that implies a struggle against interstate delinquencies.

The best defense is to attack; and to attack you must have some ideas; right now there aren’t any ideas. Imagination today is in the image, and the image is in power. There’s no imagination for anything but the image.

I have to leave a fabulous open-air traditional Persian dinner to go to Press TV studios for a debate with notorious neo-con Daniel Pipes about ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. We surprisingly agree more than I would normally expect. Well, not hard considering the Obama administration’s non-strategy “strategy”; an image (bombs and Tomahawks) fighting an image (The Caliph’s carefully edited beheading show).

Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani’s speech at the United Nations kept making waves; “Extremists threaten our neighbors, resort to violence and shed blood.” It’s “the people in the region who can deliver” in the fight against The Caliph. Rouhani was not exactly referring to the made in USA jets allegedly deployed by the Gulf Cooperation Council coalition of the clueless/cowards; the House of Saud, UAE, Bahrain and associate member Jordan.

In all my conversations, a consensus emerges; the power vacuum of post-2013 Shock and Awe and occupation led to the rise of al-Qaeda in Iraq and eventually ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. But even as Tehran and Washington may have flirted about a joint move against The Caliph, Washington then denied it wanted help and Tehran rejected it outright.

Still, what Rouhani said in New York kept echoing day after day everywhere in Tehran; weaponizing the “new” Free Syrian Army in Saudi Arabia, of all places, amounts “to train another group of terrorists and send them to Syria to fight”. And Washington’s “strategy” is further enabling hardcore Sunni dictators who’ve made their careers demonizing Shi’ites.

And then that other “unofficial” Caliph, neo-Ottoman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stepped in; there would be no use of Turkish “territory” or “military bases” by the “coalition” if “the objective does not also include ousting the Bashar al-Assad regime”. Who needs Caliph Erdogan to fight Caliph Ibrahim? Major General Qassem Suleimani, head of the Iranian Quds Force, can do it; his picture, side by side with Kurdish peshmergas, made a splash all over Iran when published by IRINN.

The cinema shows us what our consciousness is. Our consciousness is an effect of montage – It’s a collage. There is only collage, cutting and splicing. This explains fairly well what Jean-Francois Lyotard calls the disappearance of the great narratives. Classless society, social justice – no one believes in them anymore. We’re in the age of micro-narratives, the art of the fragment.

The joy of Laleh park – a Persian park crisscrossed by stray Persian cats as well as accomplished volleyball and badminton players and pram-pushing families. That’s where Arash Darya-Bandari, medievalist extraordinaire with many years spent in the Bay Area, gives me a crash course on the finer points of one of the great surviving narratives; Shi’ism and Khomeini’s concept of velayat-e-faqih. In Pure Non-War terms, this was always supposed to be about social justice. And that’s why it’s unintelligible to turbo-capitalism.

The park as Agora; a garden of intellectual delights. Nearly all my top conversations took place walking across or around Laleh park. And then one night, I went for a solitary walk, just to find a revolutionary movie/performance on a makeshift stage, complete with a trench and mortars. An audience of a few solitary men and some scattered families. The cinema keeping the consciousness of the Iran-Iraq war alive.

The end of deterrence corresponds to the beginning of the information war, a conflict where the superiority of information is more important than the capability to inflict damage.

The New Horizon conference could not but be about information war. The overall theme was the fight against the Zionist lobby. Everyone knows what the lobby means and how it operates, especially in the US. And yet, in my short interventions, at the Foreign Ministry and at the conference, I preferred to focus on its global financial/economic reach. Follow the money. That’s the only way to pierce the lobby’s seemingly invincible armory.

Another face of information war. Everywhere I went, I had the pleasure to see how Gareth Porter’s book – Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iranian Nuclear Scare – was received as a blessing. The book was translated into Farsi by the Fars News Agency, in only two months, with meticulous care, and launched in a simple ceremony.

It’s bound to become a best seller – as it conclusively proves, for instance, how the Iranian “plot” to equip missiles with nuclear warheads was entirely fabricated by the terrorist outfit Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and then handed over to the International Atomic Energy Agency by the Mossad. Contrast the respect shown to Gareth in Tehran to the wall of silence of its US reception – just another reflection of the 35-year-old “wilderness of mirrors” opposing Washington to Tehran.

Predictably, the usual illiterate morons in the US dubbed the conference as an “anti-Semite hate fest”. Gareth was described as “an anti-Israel journalist” and myself as “a Brazilian anti-Israel journalist”. Obviously the moronic inferno is not familiar with the concept of “foreign policy”.

Space is no longer in geography – it’s in electronics. Unity is in the terminals. It’s in the instantaneous time of command posts, multinational headquarters, control towers, etc. Politics is less in physical space than in the time systems administered by various technologies. ? There is a movement from geo- to chronopolitics: the distribution of territory becomes the distribution of time. The distribution of territory is outmoded, minimal.

Time to go to the bazaar – the ultimate urban distribution of territory. At the main entrance, a gaggle brandishing calculators and pieces of paper is involved in an incredible racket. With Roberto Quaglia – author of a wicked debunking of the 9/11 saga – we joke this looks like a slaves market. Not really. This is nothing less than a futures market on the course of the rial. With the national currency fluctuating so much because of the sanctions – it lost three quarters of its value in the past few years – the chance to make a bundle is irresistible.

We meet the beautiful Zahra – she sells handmade towels but is essentially a killer fashion photographer. And then the ritual I’ve loved since forever; haggling for the perfect tribal rug. In this case, a Zaghol from the 1930s, never to be reproduced because the local nomads are becoming sedentary and there are no new weavers. A case of distribution of territory becoming the distribution of (lost) time.

The Pharaohs, the Romans, the Greeks were surveyors. That was geopolitics. We’re no longer there, we’re in chronopolitics. Organization, prohibitions, interruptions, orders, powers, structurings, subjections are now in the realm of temporality. And that’s also where resistance should be.

Which lead us, once again, to sanctions. Much had been made of what Rouhani told Austrian President Hans Fisher at the UN – about Iran being ready to deliver gas to the European Union. That’s not happening tomorrow; the last figure I had, in Tehran, years ago, is that the country would need at least US$200 billion in investments to upgrade its energy infrastructure. Rouhani was forced to clarify it. And Tehran won’t sell itself to the EU on the cheap.

The end of sanctions is all about chronopolitics.

We have entered an age of large-scale terrorism. Just as we speak of petty delinquency and major delinquency, I think the same should be said of petty and major terrorism. … The military-industrial and scientific complexes continue to function on their own momentum. It’s a crazy engine that won’t stop.

Tehran thinks about the crazy engine all the time. I’m sort of “kidnapped” from a meeting and end up in a small think tank with a fabulous map on the wall detailing the US command centers. All the students are eager to know what the Empire is really up to with Iran.

A visit to the “nest of spies” – the former US embassy – is also inevitable. An apotheosis of 1970s technology – immaculately preserved like nowhere else in the world; radio equipment, proto-computers, telephones, telexes, rolodexes, a “forgery room” for fake passports. No wonder Washington could never recover from the loss of this sterling listening post of the whole Middle East. Will this building ever be a “normal” US embassy again? Someone should ask the hick Hamlet who almost turned into a mad bomber.

This is why the airport today has become the new city. ? People are no longer citizens, they’re passengers in transit. No longer a nomad society, in the sense of the great nomadic drifts, but one concentrated on the vector of transportation. The new capital is … a city at the intersection of practicabilities of time, in other words, of speed.

The last day had to contain an epiphany. I waited for it all day long – amid myriad interviews and a fabulous Indian lunch in North Tehran with Gareth and Dr Marandi of the Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran; the ideal Platonic banquet of conviviality and intellect. Then, at night, a mad dash across town to the Rey shrine; working-class neighborhood, foundation stone of Tehran, one of the top pilgrimage sites in Iran alongside Qom and Mashhad.

Aesthetic illumination meets sensorial overload meets spiritual pull – with an extra kick because you’re arguably the only Westerner in sight. Tens of thousands of pilgrims honor the death of Imam Ali’s son-in-law. What’s that thing about the death of grand narratives? Not in deep Iran.

And then it’s all over, as in a Coleridge dream; did I dream this fleeting Persian interlude, or did Tehran dreamed a little dream of me? I’m back to my default mode – the essential passenger in transit; a nomad carpet, a backpack and a boarding pass. Next stop; a faceless city in an intersection of speed.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

The coalition show, from Afghanistan to ‘Syraq’ – By Pepe Escobar

An Islamic State militant (L) stands next to residents as they hold pieces of wreckage from a Syrian war plane after it crashed in Raqqa, in northeast Syria September 16, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer)

An Islamic State militant (L) stands next to residents as they hold pieces of wreckage from a Syrian war plane after it crashed in Raqqa, in northeast Syria September 16, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer)

Published: September 23, 2014 15:26

By Pepe Escobar

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.

US Secretary of State Kerry brokered a deal in Afghanistan, installing a ‘coalition’ government, but couldn’t come up with a credible coalition to bomb IS in Syria. So the Pentagon will do it alone to the applause of its Gulf ‘petrodollar allies.’

This is a short tale of two coalitions.

Let’s start with Afghanistan. The charade in Kabul goes by the name of “power-sharing agreement.”

You got an election problem? Call John Kerry. That’s right; this “agreement” was brokered by none other than the US Secretary of State, who shoved the embarrassing issue of a tainted democratic election under an Afghan carpet.

It came to the point that a UN representative, Jan Kubish, virtually ordered the Afghan electoral commission not to release vote numbers.

And this is while the UN itself had been monitoring an audit and a recount of approximately 8 million votes.

The predictable “senior US officials” spun that the vote result was “transparent.” But still, no numbers.

So now we have – essentially appointed by Washington – former Finance Minister and World Bank official Ashraf Ghani as President, and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah as “Chief Executive”, a new post.

And this after Abdullah insistently claimed the vote results were no less than a monster fraud. US “Think Tank-land,” unfazed, has called it a “temporary fix.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

Now for the all-important breakdown: NATO top honcho Gen. Philip Breedlove said Saturday in Lithuania that both “power-sharers” swore on their lives they will “quickly” sign a security agreement with Washington.

This agreement was brokered, once again, by Kerry and outgoing President Hamid Karzai in late 2013 – and approved by Afghanistan’s Loya Jirga. Karzai though had refused to sign.

Short translation: at least 10,000 American troops – mostly Special Forces – will remain deployed in Afghanistan in Enduring Freedom Forever mode. This is a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) by any other name.

So the occupation continues. Not only with US troops, but also with NATO starting a “training mission” in January 2015 called Resolute Support.

Watch out for major, certified blowback. It’s a no-brainer the Taliban will keep showing Resolute Support to kick NATO and the US’s collective behind.

But that’s great. That’s exactly what the never-ending GWOT (Global War on Terror) is all about.

When in doubt, bomb everybody

Now for the coalition to fight Caliph Ibrahim, the self-appointed beheading prophet of ISIS/ISIL/IS in “Syraq”.

US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power has been on a roll ahead of the UN summit this week in New York.

She frantically spun there are over 40 countries in the coalition of the reluctantly willing assembled to fight the Caliph.

But she won’t name them – or detail what they will be doing.

What she does know is that this new GWOT chapter will last “several years.”

Power also ruled out any collaboration with “rogue” Iran. But she was forced to admit that Russia has a role in fighting the Caliph.

Now that’s groundbreaking. Until virtually yesterday, for the Obama administration Russia was the “evil empire” remixed.

Moscow did warn that, “bombing Syria without the cooperation of Damascus can have destructive practical consequences on the humanitarian situation in Syria.”

Once again, the clearest Power got was to specify that, “we will not do the airstrikes alone if the President decides to do the airstrikes.”

People view the debris of their homes after a Syrian war plane crashed in Raqqa, in northeast Syria September 16, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer)

People view the debris of their homes after a Syrian war plane crashed in Raqqa, in northeast Syria September 16, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer)

And once again, John Kerry stole the show. For him, it’s not 40, but “some 50” countries who are barely containing themselves to go Caliph-hunting.

Kerry, to his credit, and unlike Power, at least is now saying that Iran may “have a role” after all.

For his part, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi made it clear that any strategy that undermines the Syrian government “will be a recipe for defeat.”

And Russia’s ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin demolished US President Barack Obama’s strategy to train and weaponize Washington’s mythical “moderate” Syrian rebels.

Even China’s ambassador to the UN Liu Jieyi carefully weighed in: “The international community should respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the countries in question.”

Kabul was a piece of cake. Kerry just had to offer a decent bribe. But that won’t fly with the Caliph business.

Washington refuses to cooperate with Damascus and coordinate with Tehran – especially after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei vetoed it, and President Rouhani blasted Obama’s strategy as “ridiculous.”

Meanwhile Turkey, a NATO ally, is screaming, “The Syrian regime is the patron of extremism,” in the words of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Kerry at least does not need to bribe Haider al-Abadi, the new Iraqi Prime Minister. After all Washington already bagged its Mesopotamian regime change, getting rid of Nouri al-Maliki.

Al-Abadi decided not to bomb Sunni regions in Iraq. Yet most of the Caliph’s resources and goons are actually in Syria.

Call the French fry guy

The Pentagon, not to be unfazed, carefully prepared a “mini-Shock and Awe” in Syria and started in style this Monday, launching a barrage of Tomahawk missiles on Raqqa.

“General” Hollande in France has been eager to join. With his popularity numbers glamorously flirting with zero, deploying Rafales against the bad guys is the only game in town for him.

Now compare it with Germany, as Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier insisted that air support or ground troops are “out of the question for us.”

It’s hard to see Kerry bribing Steinmeier. So what’s left is a coalition of two: Washington and Paris.

And it’s only in Iraq, because “General” Hollande already said bombing Syria is out.

The breakdown: bombing Syria will be via a coalition of the Pentagon with the Pentagon.

And this while Arab “diplomats” – as in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) petrodollar gang – keep insisting the Pentagon should in fact bomb not only the Caliph’s goons but also Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Which is what the Pentagon will “secretly” have in mind anyway.

Everyone remembers Obama’s red line last year when he threatened to bomb Damascus for “gassing its own people” just for Moscow to have him back off at the eleventh hour.

Now Obama could fulfill his dream via a “leading from behind” bombing.

Will the petrodollar gang also attack? Of course not. They will be applauding from the sidelines.

And for the doubters, there will always be Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, spinning “this will be a unified coalition…It will be cohesive. And it will be under one single command authority.”

The Pentagon commanding the Pentagon. What could possibly go wrong?

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Operation Tomahawk The Caliph – By Pepe Escobar

THE ROVING EYE
Operation Tomahawk The Caliph
By Pepe Escobar

The Tomahawks are finally flying again – propelled by newspeak. 42 Tomahawks fired from a Sixth Fleet destroyer parked in Mare Nostrum, plus F-22s raising hell and Hellfires spouted by drones, that’s a neat mini-Shock and Awe to honor Caliph Ibrahim, aka Abu Bakr al -Baghdadi, self-declared leader of Islamic State.

It’s all so surgical. All targets – from “suspected” weapons depots to the mayor’s mansion in Raqqah (the HQ of The Caliph’s goons) and assorted checkpoints – were duly obliterated, along with “dozens of”, perhaps 120, jihadis.

And praise those “over 40” (Samantha Power) or “over 50” (John Kerry) international allies in the coalition of the unwilling; America is never alone, although in this case mightily escorted, de facto, only by the usual Gulf petrodollar dictatorships and the realm of King Playstation, Jordan, all none too keen to engage in “kinetic activities”.

Aseptic newspeak aside, no one has seen or heard a mighty Gulf Cooperation Council air force deployed to bomb Syria. After all the vassals are scared as hell to tell their own populations they are – once again – bombing a fellow Arab nation. As for Damascus, it meekly said it was “notified” by the Pentagon its own territory would be bombed. Nobody really knows what the Pentagon is exactly telling Damascus.

The Pentagon calls it just the beginning of a “sustained campaign” – code for Long War, which is one of the original denominations of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) anyway. And yes, for all practical purposes this is a coalition of one. Let’s call it Operation Tomahawk The Caliph.

I am Khorasan
Hold your F-22s. Not really. The tomahawking had barely begun when an Israeli, made in USA Patriot missile shot a Syrian Su-24 which had allegedly “violated” Israeli air space over the Golan Heights. How about that in terms of sending a graphic message in close coordination with the Pentagon?

So this is not only about bombing The Caliph. It is a back-door preamble to bombing Bashar al-Assad and his forces. And also about bombing – with eight strikes west of Aleppo – a ghost; an al-Qaeda cell of the mysterious Khorasan group.

No wonder global fans of the Marvel Comics school of geopolitics are puzzled. Two simultaneous villains? Yep. And the other bad guy is even more evil than The Caliph.

Astonishing mediocrity Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, has defined Khorasan as “a group of extremists that is comprised of a number of individuals who we’ve been tracking for a long time.”

The Obama administration’s unison newspeak is that Khorasan includes former al-Qaeda assets not only from across the Middle East – including al-Qaeda in Iraq and Jabhat al-Nusra – but also Pakistan, as in an ultra-hardcore extension of the Pakistani Taliban.

What a mess. Al-Qaeda in Iraq is the embryo of ISIS, which turned into IS. Jabhat al-Nusra is the al-Qaeda franchise in Syria, approved by CEO Ayman al-Zawahiri. Both despise each other, and yet Khorasan holds the merit of bundling Caliph’s goons and al-Qaeda goons together. Additionally, for Washington Jabhat al-Nusra tend to qualify as “moderate” jihadis – almost like “our bastards”. Too messy? No problem; when in doubt, bomb everybody.

The Caliph, then, is old news. Those ghostly Khorasan goons are the real deal – so evil that the Pentagon is convinced their “plotting was imminent” leading to a new 9/11.

The ghost in the GWOT machine
Khorasan is the perfect ghost in the GWOT machine; the target of a war within a war. Because Obama in fact launched two wars – as he sent two different notifications to Congress under the War Powers Resolution to cover both The Caliph and Khorasan.

And what’s in a name? Well, a thinly disguised extra demonization of Iran, why not – as historic Khorasan, the previous Parthia, stretched from mainly Iran towards Afghanistan.

Khorasan is theoretically led by The Joker, sorry, al-Qaeda honcho Muhsin al-Fadhli, born in Kuwait in 1981, a “senior facilitator and financier” to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq, in the priceless assessment of the State Department. Although Ayman al-Zawahiri, ever PR-conscious, has not claimed the credit, the Pentagon is convinced he sent al-Fadhli to the Syrian part of the Caliphate to attract Western jihadis with EU passports capable of evading airport security and plant bombs on commercial jets

The Treasury Department is convinced al-Fadhli even led an al-Qaeda cell in Iran – demonization habits die hard -, “facilitating” jihadi travel to Afghanistan or Iraq.

And what a neat contrast to the Society of the Spectacle-addicted Caliph. Khorasan is pure darkness. Nobody knows how many; how long they’ve existed; what do they really want.

By contrast, there are about 190,000 live human beings left in bombed out Raqqa. Nobody is talking about collateral damage – although the body count is already on, and The Caliph’s slick PR operation will be certainly advertising them on YouTube. As for The Caliph’s goons, they will predictably use Mao tactics and dissolve like fish in the sea. The Pentagon will soon be bombing vast tracts of desert for nothing – if that’s not the case already.

There is no “Free Syrian Army” – that Qatari myth – anymore. There are no “moderate” jihadis left in Syria. They are all fighting for The Caliph or for al-Zawahiri. And still the Obama administration extracted a Congressional OK to train and weaponize “moderate rebels”.

US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power – Undisputed Queen of Batshit Craziness – at least got one thing right. Their “training” will “service these troops in the same struggle that they’ve been in since the beginning of this conflict against the Assad regime.” So yes – this “sustained campaign” is the back door to “Assad must go” remixed.

People who are really capable of defeating The Caliph’s goons don’t tomahawk. They are the Syrian Arab Army (roughly 35,000 dead so far killed in action against ISIS/ISIL/IS and/or al-Qaeda); Hezbollah; Iranian Revolutionary Guards advisers/operatives; and Kurdish militias. It won’t happen. This season’s blockbuster is the Empire of Chaos bombing The Caliph and the ghost in the GWOT machine. Two tickets for the price of one. Because we protect you even from “unknown unknown” evil.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

 

Obama’s ‘stupid stuff’ turned upside down – By Pepe Escobar

ASIA TIMES online
 
THE ROVING EYE
Obama’s ‘stupid stuff’ turned upside down
By Pepe Escobar
 
PepeEscobar_AT
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PARIS – I’ve been rovin’ around Europe for a while and the star of the show is definitely The Caliph. Former Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has totally outstripped Vladimir Putin as Doctor Evil of the hour. Where’s a good ol’ Cold War 2.0 when you need it? Well, upstaged by the Pentagon’s “long war” – our familiar GWOT (Global War on Terror).

First Obama promised there would be no ground troops to fight The Caliph – as in a re-invasion of Iraq. Then General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that if the current gambit of Obama’s self-defined “Don’t So Stupid Stuff” foreign policy doctrine does not work – and it won’t – he’ll go for ground troops, embedded or otherwise.

Right on cue, The Caliph went Hollywood, releasing the trailer of The Caliphate’s upcoming mega-production, Flames of War. Directed by Michael Bay (Fall, 2014). Will that go straight to Netflix?

You just can’t beat the Marvel Comics school of geopolitics.

Confide in me, baby
Meanwhile, in Paris, President General Francois Hollande is itching to deploy his Rafales and get into a new war – considering that’s about the only thing that could lift the mood of a wretched president, whose administration has barely survived a “confidence” vote; compare that “confidence” with the nasty epithets with which his team is showered by largely unemployed, taxed to death or swamped by red tape Parisians.

Obama has already sent 475 extra military “advisers” to Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan. There are at least 1,600 US military already on the ground in Iraq. That’s how Vietnam started. The CIA, supported by unmatched ground intel, swears there are exactly 31.785 jihadis fighting for The Caliph. Well, roughly. Two-thirds of these are supposed to be in Syria. So the new war, in fact, is all across “Syraq”. Or what The Caliph calls IS, Islamic State, his own private emirate.

The no less meticulous Dempsey, for his part, is sure it will take up to five months to train and weaponize a new bunch of “moderate” rebels to fight the Caliph. Wait a minute; foolish global public opinion was supposed to believe the previous “moderate” rebels – supported by Qatar – would one day fulfill the “Assad must go” Obama mandate. Well, they didn’t.

“Our” bastards at the petrodollar racket known as GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) have duly promised to help Obama’s new war, alongside Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. Turkey will only get involved in the “humanitarian” front – while allowing smuggled oil sold by The Caliph’s goons into its territory.

The members of the wretched Arab League have solemnly promised to be “determined” in cutting off the flux of weapons and cash to The Caliph show. Yet they would never have the balls of the Kurdish peshmerga, who have just killed the Mosul chief of IS. This kind of ground intel, plus following the money, as in the oil smuggling routes, would finish off the Caliphate in no time. But that’s not what endless GWOT is all about.

Caliph, give us a hand
With such an array of Hollywood thrills on show, who cares about Ukraine? Well, it may have been snuffed out of the news cycle after the latest nasty package of US/EU sanctions, but it’s back in the spotlight this Thursday, as Ukrainian oligarch turned president Petro Poroshenko visits The Caliph’s nemesis in Washington.

So expect a frantic rerun of Evil Empire rhetoric – plus ample indignation caused by the Russian “invasion” of Ukraine. That will last barely a day. “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” changes its tune like surfing on iTunes. And the tune now is the “Syraq” offensive; yet another Obama “kinetic” operation, Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell remixed.

That leaves plenty of space for US Think Tankland to carp that Russia “aggression” will profit from the new tune to “advance” in Central and Eastern Europe, and the China “threat” will profit to “dominate” the Western Pacific. So what’s more crucial for the Empire of Chaos; Russia, China or “Syraq”? They don’t have a clue. They are just trying not to do “stupid stuff”.

For all that volcanic Beltway paranoia, the Big Picture in the long run spells out Moscow expanding its Pipelineistan nodes throughout Eastern Europe all the way to Western Europe, thus enlarging, commercially, its “soft” zone of influence. No “invasion” required.

On Ukraine, the Big Picture spells out the European Union mired in a horrendous crisis, under a third recession in five years, obviously without the cash, not to mention the will, to pay Ukraine’s humongous bills. Sooner – with negotiations starting this Saturday in Berlin – or later the EU will have to find an accommodation with Moscow to guarantee its precious gas supplies.

That leaves warmongering NATO – as in the EU under the Pentagon’s thumb. All rhetoric about that puny “rapid reaction force” aside, the fact is that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization won’t have the balls to confront Russia, via troops deployed in Ukraine. And there will be no Obama “Stupid Stuff” aerial bombing of federalists in Donbass – as if Russophones in Ukraine defending their land and their language against a form of slow motion ethnic cleansing could be compared to The Caliph’s multinational goons in “Syraq”. US public opinion very well knows – well, maybe not – that people in Donbass are not threatening to cross into El Paso tomorrow.

So much hard work to pivot from GWOT to the Big Boys in Eurasia. So little time – and competence. The Caliph’s goons have announced on the record they would go for beheading Putin. If only the Pentagon would subcontract the job.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

(Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

Will NATO liberate Jihadistan? By Pepe Escobar

ASIA TIMES online

THE ROVING EYE
Will NATO liberate Jihadistan?
By Pepe Escobar

Caliph Ibrahim, aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, self-declared leader of Islamic State, formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, really sports a mean PR vein. When the show seemed scheduled for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to save Ukraine and Western Civilization – at least rhetorically – from that Evil Empire remixed, Russia, The Caliph, accessing his expensive watch wisdom, intervened with – what else – yet another “off with their heads” special.

Eyebrows were properly raised until the United States’ intel alphabet soup solemnly concluded that Islamic State (IS) really beheaded yet another American journalist on video (US President Barack Obama: “An horrific act of violence”).

And then, out of the blue, The Caliph doubled down, proclaiming to the whole world his next target is none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin. Was he channeling the recently ostracized Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush?

In thesis, everything would be settled. The Caliph becomes a contractor to NATO (well, he’s been on to it, sort of). The Caliph beheads Putin. The Caliph liberates Chechnya – fast; not the usual, deeply embarrassing NATO quagmire in Afghanistan. The Caliph, on a roll, attacks the BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The Caliph becomes NATO’s shadow secretary-general. And Obama finally stops complaining that his calls to Putin always end up on voicemail.

Ah, if geopolitics was as simple as a Marvel Comics blockbuster.

Instead, The Caliph should know – even as he is largely a Made-in-the-West product, with substantial input from Gulf Cooperation Council petrodollar cash – that NATO never promised him a rose garden.

So, predictably, those ungrateful Obama and David Cameron, the British Prime Minister – oh yes, because the “special relationship” is all that matters in NATO, the others are mere extras – have vowed to go after him with a broad (well, not that broad) “coalition of the willing” with the usual GCC suspects plus Turkey and Jordan, bombing Iraqi Kurdistan, parts of Sunni Iraq and even Syria.

After all, Syrian President “Bashar al-Assad must go”, rather “Assad brutality” in Cameron’s formulation, is the real culprit for The Caliph’s actions.

And all in the name of the Enduring Freedom Forever-style Global War on Terror.

Now get me that Slavic Caliph
NATO’s outgoing secretary-general Anders “Fogh of War” Rasmussen was somehow rattled. After all, this was supposed to be the “crucial moment”, at the NATO summit in Wales, when NATO would be at its Cold War 2.0 best, rescuing “the allies”, all 28 of them, from the dark gloom of insecurity.

One just had to look at the replica of a glorious Eurofighter Typhoon deployed in front of the NATO summit hotel in the southern Welsh town of Newport.

To round it all off, that evil Slavic Caliph, Vlad Putin himself, designed a seven-point peace plan to solve the Ukrainian quagmire – just as Kiev’s appalling army has been reduced to strogonoff by the federalists and/or separatists in the Donbass. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko – who until virtually yesterday was screaming “Invasion!” at the top of his lungs – breathed long sighs of relief. And as an aside, he disclosed Kiev was receiving high-precision weapons from an unnamed country that could only be the US, the UK or Poland.

The whole thing posed a problem, though. What is NATO to defend Western Civilization from when all that threat embodied by “Russian aggression” dissolves into a road map to peace?

No wonder the 60 heads of state and government with their Ministers of Defense and Foreign Relations who performed a soft invasion/breaching of the “ring of steel” protecting Newport from protesting hordes were also somehow dazed an confused.

Over 11 years after Shock and Awe, we are still living in a Rumsfeldian world. It was the former Pentagon head David Rumsfeld under George “Dubya” Bush who conceptualized “Old Europe” and “New Europe”. “Old” were Venusian sissies; “New” were vigorous Martians.

“New” totally supported Shock and Awe, and the subsequent invasion/occupation of Iraq. Now they support, in fact beg, for NATO to stare down Russia.

“Old”, for its part, was trying at least to save a negotiating space with Putin. And in the end dear prudence, especially by Berlin, was rewarded with the Putin peace plan.

Just in case, not to rattle the Empire of Chaos too much, Paris announced it won’t deliver the first of two Mistral helicopter carrier battleships to Moscow according to schedule. And of course NATO strongly condemned Russia on Ukraine, and the European Union followed up with yet more sanctions.

As for Fogh of War, predictably, he kept juggling his “Mars Attacks!” rhetoric (see Asia Times Online, September 3, 2014). It was all Moscow’s fault. NATO is nothing but an innocent force of appeasement – powerful and solid. At the same time, NATO would not be foolish to start depicting Russia as an enemy outright.

So, as Asia Times Online reported, NATO at best will help train Kiev’s forces; the Donbass performance showed they badly need it. But there will be no Ukraine “integration” – for all the hysteria deployed by Kiev and well as Poland and the Baltic states calling for permanent bases. The new element will be the remixed NATO Response Force (NRF) which, by the way, was never used before.

NRF even comes with a catchy slogan: “Travel light and strike hard”. An 800-strong battalion will be able to strike in two days, and a 5,000-strong brigade between five and seven days. Well, by those “travel light” standards it would hardly be enough to prevent The Caliph from annexing larger parts of Jihadistan with his gleaming white Toyota combo. As for “strike hard”, ask Pashtuns in the Hindu Kush for an informed opinion.

So Wales yielded NRF; permanent “rotation” and permanent forward bases to “protect” Central and Eastern Europe; and everybody shelling out more cash (no less than 2% of their GDP each, for all 28 members, from here to 2025). All this in the middle of the third European recession in five years.

Now compare the astonishing combined NATO military budget of US$900 billion (75% of all expenses monopolized by the US) with only $80 billion for Russia. Yet Moscow is the “threat”.

Needless to add, even under so much sound and fury, Wales did not yield NATO sitting on a Freudian divan – analyzing in an endless monologue its abject failure in both Afghanistan and Libya.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban basically run rings around NATO’s bases and “strike hard” movements, demoralizing them to oblivion. That was NATO in GWOT mode.

And in Libya, NATO created a failed state ravaged by militias and called it “peace”. That was NATO in “Responsibility To Protect” mode.

NATO liberating Jihadistan? The Pentagon couldn’t care less. The Pentagon wants eternal GWOT. US Think Tankland is ecstatic at NATO finding a “renewed purpose” and its long-term survival now assured by a “unifying threat”. Translation: Russia.

So The Caliph is not exactly quaking in his Made-in-USA desert boots. He’s even dreaming of taking on the Slavic Caliph himself. How come Marvel Comics never thought about that?

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

(Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

NATO attacks! – Another masterful essay by Pepe Escobar

ASIA TIMES online
 
The Roving Eye
By Pepe Escobar

 
First thing we do, let’s kill all the myths. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is nothing but the Security Council of the Empire of Chaos.
 
You don’t need to be a neo-Foucault hooked on Orwellian/Panopticon practices to admire the hyper-democratic “ring of steel” crossing average roads, parks and even ringing castle walls to “protect” dozens of NATO heads of state and ministers, 10,000 supporting characters and 2,000 journalists from the real world in Newport, Wales – and beyond.
 
NATO’s summit in Wales also provides outgoing secretary-general Anders “Fogh of War” Rasmussen the chance to display his full attack dog repertoire. It’s as if he’s auditioning for a starring role in a remake of Tim Burton’s epic Mars Attacks!
 
Fogh of War is all over the place, talking “pre-positioning of supplies, equipment” – euphemism for weapons; boosting bases and headquarters in host countries; and touting a 10,000-strong, rapid reaction “spearhead” force to respond to Russian “aggression” and deployable in a maximum of five days.
 
Meanwhile, in a bad cop-bad cop routine, outgoing president of the European Commission, outstanding mediocrity Jose Manuel Barroso, leaked that Russian President Vladimir Putin told him over the phone later last week he could take Kiev in a fortnight if he wanted.
 
Well, Putin could. If he wanted. But he doesn’t want it. What matters is what he told Rossiya state TV; that Kiev should promote inclusive talks about the future statute of Eastern Ukraine. Once again, the Western spin was that he was advocating the birth of a Novorossiya state. Here, The Saker analyzes in detail the implications of what Russia really wants, and what the Novorossiya forces really want.
 
With Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite predictably spinning that Russia is “at war with Europe”, and British Prime Minister David Cameron evoking – what else – Munich 1938 (Chamberlain appeasing Hitler), Fogh of War has had all the ammo he needs to sell his Einsatzgruppen. Cynics are excused to believe NATO’s spearhead force is actually The Caliph’s IS goons raising hell in “Syraq”.
 
Warmongering, though, is not an easy sell in a crisis-hit EU these days. Not only Germany, but also France, Italy, Spain, Romania, Hungary and even Poland have expressed “reluctance” one way or another to back NATO’s strategy of a more “robust” presence in Eastern Europe and the Baltic. Moreover, the Empire of Chaos and its Brit junior partner in the “special relationship” want everyone to shell out more cash (a minimum of 2% of GDP). Even as the EU is facing no less than its third recession in five years.
 
The bottom line is there will be no more rotation on NATO’s Eastern front. Legally, the set up cannot be defined as “permanent”, because it will go against a 1997 NATO-Russia pact. But it will be permanent. That applies to Szczecin, in Poland, near the Baltic, and the so-called multinational Corps Northeast – land, air and sea. Estonia and Latvia for all practical purposes are being touted as “Putin’s next targets”. And defending them from “Russian aggression” is NATO’s new red line.
 
Additionally, Finland and Sweden may sign NATO Host Nation agreements. This implies NATO forces may use Swedish and Finnish territory in the future on the way to what’s hazily referred to as “operations”. At least deployment of foreign troops still needs parliamentary approval – and Swedes and Finns are bound to raise eyebrows.
 
No R2P for you, buddy
Even with all this Mars Attacks! hysteria, NATO in thesis won’t discuss Ukraine in depth in Wales – or an imminent R2P (“responsibility to protect”) Ukraine from the remixed “Evil Empire” (copyright Ronnie Reagan). But there will be “military consultations” and a bit of cash shelled out to the Kiev military – who are having their (bankrupt) collective behind solemnly kicked by the federalist/separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine as much as NATO had theirs kicked by a bunch of Pashtuns with Kalashnikovs in Afghanistan.
 
By the way, the latest US$1.4 billion the International Monetary Fund shelled out to Ukraine – the Mobster-style interest will hit much later – will be used by an already bankrupt Kiev mostly to pay for a bunch of T-72 tanks it bought from Hungary. Money for nothing, tanks for free.
 
Ukraine, it must be stressed, is not a NATO member. Technically, every NATO bureaucrat in Brussels admits that a candidate country must request membership. And countries with regions mired in an international dispute are not accepted. So Ukraine would only be considered if Kiev gave up Crimea. It’s not going to happen.
 
Still, Washington’s obsessive play to annex Ukraine to NATO will keep marching on (in the matter of accession, by the way, the European Union would issue a firm “no”). Outgoing Prime Minister Arseniy “Yats” Yatsenyuk as well as President Poroshenko, are desperate for a NATO intervention, or at least Ukraine being accepted as some form of privileged ally. Yats expects “monumental decisions from our Western partners at the summit”. In vain.
 
NATO somehow is already in Ukraine. A NATO cyber center group has been in Kiev since March, operating in the building of the Council of National Security and Defense. So it is a bunch of NATO bureaucrats who actually determine the news agenda in Ukraine – and the non-stop demonization of all things Russia.
 
Ukraine is all about Germany now. Berlin wants a political solution. Fast. Berlin wants Russian gas flowing via Ukraine again. Fast. Berlin does not want US missile defense in Eastern Europe – no matter what the Baltic states scream. That’s why Poroshenko’s latest “Invasion! Invasion! Invasion!” craze is nothing but pure desperation by a lowly, bankrupt vassal of the Empire of Chaos. Of course that does not prevent Fogh of War – who got the NATO job because he was an enthusiastic cheerleader of the rape of Iraq – to keep crying “Invasion!” till all Danish retrievers come home.
 
Real deal
And then there’s NATO’s recent record. An ignominious defeat in Afghanistan. A “humanitarian” bombing that reduced once-stable Libya to a miserable failed state immersed in total anarchy and ravaged by rabid militias. Not exactly fabulous PR for NATO’s future as a coalition assembly line with global “vocation”, capable of pulling off expeditionary wars all around the world by creating the appearance of a military and political consensus unified by – what else – an Empire of Chaos doctrine: NATO’s “strategic concept” approved at the 2010 Lisbon summit. (See US a kid in a NATO candy store, Asia Times Online, November 25, 2010.)
 
Since those go-go “Bubba” Clinton years; through the “pre-emptive” Dubya era; and now under the R2P dementia of Obama’s warring Medusas (Rice, Power, Hillary), the Pentagon dreams of NATO as global Robocop, dominating all the roles embodied by the UN and the EU in terms of security. This has absolutely nothing to do with the original collective defense of NATO signatories against possible territorial attacks. Oh, sorry; we forgot the attacks by those (non-existent) nuclear missiles deployed by evil Iran.
 
The Ukraine battleground at least has the merit of showing the alliance is naked. For the Full Spectrum Dominance Pentagon, what really matters above all is something that’s been actually happening since the fall of the Soviet Union; unlimited NATO expansion to the westernmost borders of Russia.
 
The real deal this September is not NATO. It’s the SCO’s summit. Expect the proverbial tectonic shifts of geopolitical plaques in the upcoming meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – a shift as far-reaching as when the Ottoman empire failed at the gates of Vienna in 1683. On the initiative of Russia and China, at the SCO summit, India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia will be invited to become permanent members. Once again, the battle lines are drawn. NATO vs SCO. NATO vs BRICS. NATO vs Global South. Therefore, NATO attacks!
 
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).
 
He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.
 
(Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

The FBI Boston-Chechnya charade – By Pepe Escobar

ASIA TIMES online

THE ROVING EYE
The FBI Boston-Chechnya charade
By Pepe Escobar

LONDON – The Boston bombing was major blowback. That much is certain. The question is, what level of blowback?

It could have been a covert op gone real bad. It could have been blowback from former ”freedom fighters” – in this case ethnic Chechens – reconverted into terra-rists. It could have been straight blowback for United States foreign policy targeting Muslims, whether dispatching them to Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib or Bagram, extraordinarily renditioning them, or target assassinating them.

The FBI, predictably, is not admitting any of these three options. It sticks to a convoluted screenplay worthy of those cocaine-fueled Hollywood nights in the 1980s; a couple of bad guys who ”hate our freedoms” because… they do.

As I’ve written elsewhere in a sort of preamble for this article, there are inter-galactic holes in the story of the Tsarnaev brothers. Now we also know – via their mother – that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was monitoring elder brother Tamerlan for at least five years. In a subsequent interview to CNN’s Piers Morgan, the mother actually talked, significantly, about ”counseling”.

At the same time, the FBI was forced to admit it had in early 2011 accepted a ”foreign government” (code for Russia) request to take a closer look on Tamerlan. This, apparently, they did – and found nothing terrorist activity-worthy.

So what happened afterwards? Some IQ above 50 in the FBI must have noticed they now had access to a precious Chechen-American asset. So Tamerlan became an FBI informant. They could play him like a fiddle – like so many patsies before.

Yet if they didn’t, the FBI can rightfully be accused of devastating incompetence (that would not be a first). Because what the FBI is saying is that they had no clue their asset was working on a bomb, was trying to test-drive it, or was carrying a suspicious backpack to the Boston marathon.

What the FBI will never say is when was the last time they monitored/controlled/harassed Tamerlan. Remember, this is the same FBI that gave us The Fast and The Furious-style Iranian cum Mexican cartel plot to kill a Saudi ambassador debunked in a matter of days.

Tamerlan, of course, may have out-FBI-ed them all (not that hard) – and after years of being monitored/harassed started working as a double agent. Apparently he left the US for Russia for a long period – January to July 2012. Nobody knows exactly what he did; the FBI would love to prove he was engaged in terrorist tactical training. Still, if he was indeed a valuable asset, he could have been sent on a mission to infiltrate Chechen jihadis led by Doku Umarov in neighboring Dagestan.

As for the ultimate, nuance-filled word on the extremely cozy relationship, since the 1990s, between Washington and Chechen terra-rists – a taboo issue in US corporate media – one should look no further than the awesome Sibel Edmonds, posting here.

About that drill
The FBI has the power to impose on the US and the whole world a far-fetched ”young evil Chechens” screenplay. So let’s develop an alternative, credible scenario and see where that takes us.

Instead of two bad (foreign) guys, totally Americanized, who suddenly were inoculated with rage ”against our freedoms” by some jihadi indoctrination, mostly online, let’s see who really profits from what happened in Boston.

The Boston Globe was forced to ”disappear” the information of a counter-terrorist drill – including bomb-sniffing dogs – taking place during the marathon. Picture the FBI telling its asset Tamerlan he would be part of the drill. Although a tough guy himself, his family could easily have been threatened if he did not cooperate.

So Tamerlan was handed a black backpack with a fake pressure-cooker bomb inside and told to drop it in a determined place – as one of the procedures included in the drill. And it’s here that we have to be extra careful; there’s no conclusive evidence to establish whether this was supposed to be only a drill, or was the bomb designed to explode.

Let’s assume tough guy Tamerlan and his impressionable brother Dzhokhar were actually responsible (no FBI in the picture). After so much planning there had to be an immediate escape route – as in transportation, passports, money, plane tickets. There was nothing. Dzhokhar went to school, worked out in the gym, socialized, sent Twitter messages.

There are absolutely no witnesses saying the brothers dropped the bombs. They did it because the FBI says so. And from there onwards, it’s holes galore. They robbed a Mercedes at a gas station and let the driver go away – not without telling him that they were the marathon bombers. Dzhokhar and the Mercedes manage to escape from a major gunfight, by-passing a massive police barrage – but not without the Mercedes running over Tamerlan whose body was enveloped in explosives. Dzhokhar leaves a blood trail but he is not tracked by any dogs.

And then there’s the juicy martial law test drive; a whole city totally shut down, at immense cost, because of a fleeing teenager. Watch out, America, this is just the beginning.

What is certain is that the Tsarnaev brothers were not jihadis; only Murdoch gutter media addicts will swallow it. Just take a look at this jihadi website, quite well established, and fully representative of what is known as the Caucasus Emirate Islamic insurgency. They ask very good questions, for instance here. And they thoroughly debunk depicting the brothers as hardened jihadis.

The omniscient Craft
Few paramilitary outfits in the industrialized West are as sinister as the Craft. Craft was responsible for the drill. Its symbol is a skull not dissimilar to the Marvel character The Punisher. Its motto is a subtlety-shy: ”No matter what your mother told you, violence does solve problems”. US corporate media simply vanished with any trace of Craft operatives swarming the marathon site; talk about a media blackout.

Alternative media though was not intimidated. Here one may find a conclusive treasure trove of photos showing Craft operatives at the marathon site, complete with combat wear, black backpacks, tactical gear, and even carrying a radiation detector. So how did the FBI react to it? By imposing an absolute blackout. Total photo censorship, as in ”other photos will not be deemed credible” – only photos and footage showing the Tsarnaev brothers. Craft is untouchable.

The problem is that everything touching Craft in this scenario is troubling. 1) Their invisibility – corporate media sheepishly bowing to the FBI and never even mentioning them. 2) Their ”security” expertise – your army of mercenaries gets paid a fortune and all your hyper-trained tough guys loaded with high-tech gear cannot find a couple of amateur bombers. 3) The sinister possibility that this was a black ops produced by Craft.

If we stick to reality, not Marvel comics, all the Boston bombing evidence points to something very close to the modus operandi of that dodgy galaxy of al-Qaeda franchises. Based on the collected evidence of the brothers’ history and behavior – no military or sabotage background – it also suggests they were not experienced enough to pull that off by themselves. But it’s perfectly sensible to envisage a copycat al-Qaeda op then attributed to a couple of fall guys – something that Craft at least in theory could easily design.

So this is where a realistic scenario leads us: an FBI/Craft false flag op which, 1) may have gone terribly wrong, thus the necessity to find two sacrificial lambs in a matter of hours; or 2) the sinister possibility this was designed as a little entrapment game to produce the exact same results – leading to further by now almost complete militarization of US civilian life.

The writing is on the (bloody) wall. The final vestiges of the rule of law are disappearing – even as a bipartisan panel had found that George W Bush elite functionaries were all, indisputably, implicated in torture; and that torture was systematic, even though it never led to thwarting any terror plot.

Washington is about to join the glittering ranks of Mubarak-era Egypt, Bahrain and Uganda. As that nasty little piece of work, Senator Lindsay Graham, put it, now ”the homeland is the battlefield”. And you’re an enemy combatant if we say so.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

(Copyright 2013 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)