“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, October 13, 2014

IRAQI forces set fire to their own buildings and military equipment and fled after marauding Islamic State militants overran the strategic city of Heet in the embattled western Iraqi Al-Anbar province


Islamic State militants overrun the strategic city of Heet and claim half Syrian border town of Kobane

Gun-battles and bombings mark desperate fight for Kobane
IRAQI forces set fire to their own buildings and military equipment and fled after marauding Islamic State militants overran the strategic city of Heet in the embattled western Iraqi Al-Anbar province.
It has been one of the deadliest days in the long-running conflict with fierce fighting across the country and a third day of suicide bombs in the Iraqi capital Baghdad where IS now has a firm foothold.
The surrender of Heet early yesterday was a major blow to beleaguered local forces which has now lost complete control of the Euphrates River city and its immediate surrounds after holding IS back fierce for several weeks.
IS claim more scalps on Bloody Monday
Surrender ... Smoke plumes are visible over buildings in the Iraqi town of Heet, in western Anbar province after an attack by the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State group. Pic: AP Photo Source: AP
A military aircraft picked up the senior officers from the camp while at least another 300 junior troops fled in a convoy of vehicles.
“Iraqi forces evacuated Heet training camp last night (Sunday) on the orders of the military command,” a senior police official said.
“Our military leaders argued that instead of leaving those forces exposed to attacks by IS, they would be best used to shore up the defence of Asad air base.”
Asad is one of the last Iraqi government bases still held in the province west of Baghdad.
Before they left the Heet base they set fire to their base so as infrastructure could not be used by their enemy.
In the past few weeks an estimated 180,000 people had fled the city.
Loss ... Friends and family members of victims of a suicide bombing carry the coffins dur
Loss ... Friends and family members of victims of a suicide bombing carry the coffins during the funeral procession near the site of the attack in the Shula neighbourhood of Baghdad. Pic: AP Photo/Karim Kadim Source: AP

IS claim half of Kobane

There was heavy fighting also on the Syrian-Turkey border in the encircled town of Kobane.
The US conducted another two airstrikes but IS extremists also made two suicide missions, including one in a truck laden with explosives, into the heart of the city.
The breakthrough saw IS claim half of Kobane, nearly a month after the Sunni extremists began their assault on the town on the Turkish frontier, despite more than three weeks of US-led air strikes in Syria aimed at stopping them.
In their latest air strikes, American and Saudi warplanes targeted seven sites around Kobane, the US military said, including IS staging posts used in its bid to cut the town off from the outside world.
Massacre fears ... Turkish soldiers on a tank sit opposite the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab
Massacre fears ... Turkish soldiers on a tank sit opposite the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, at the Turkish-Syrian border. Pic: AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS Source: AFP
A Kobane politician who is now a refugee said IS fighters had surrounded Kobane to the south, east and west, and warned of a “massacre” if they take the northern front bordering Turkey.
“If they manage to take control of that area, they will close all access to the town and will begin a massacre,” Feyza Abdi said from Turkey.
“That is what they want, to completely enclose the town, cut off all contact with Turkey and engage in barbarism.” Fighting spread to less than a kilometre (half a mile) from the barbed wire frontier fence, with the jihadists carrying out three suicide car bomb attacks in the border zone, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Later the Britain-based monitoring group said IS had advanced into central Kobane, seizing a major building and squeezing the town’s Kurdish defenders into its northern half bordering Turkey.
In a further blow to the Kurdish forces attempting to hold onto the strategic border town, Turkey yesterday said reports it would allow US fighters to use its bases, particularly Incirlik in the south close to the border, were wrong and negotiations were ongoing.
Defenders ... Syrian Kurds ride on a truck as they leave from the Syrian town Kobane at t
Defenders ... Syrian Kurds ride on a truck as they leave from the Syrian town Kobane at the Turkish-Syrian border. Pic: AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS Source: AFP

More bombings in Baghdad

Meanwhile, in Baghdad three bombs were left off in largely Shiite neighbourhoods as locals were out on the streets celebrating with their families on a local holiday. At least 30 people were killed and twice that number wounded.
In the east of the city another suicide bomber killed 15 people and wounded 34 at a checkpoint, while in northern Baghdad another dozen people were killed at a bust stop when another car bomber attacked.
In Sadr city, a neighbourhood in north eastern Baghdad, another bomb hidden in a vegetable cart detonated killing four and wounding 18.
Devastation ... A car bomb exploded near a cafe in the sprawling Shiite neighbourhood of
Devastation ... A car bomb exploded near a cafe in the sprawling Shiite neighbourhood of Sadr City on Wednesday in Baghdad, killing at least ten and wounding tens, according to police officials. Pic: AP Photo/Karim Kadim Source: AP
Visiting Baghdad today, British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond said coalition forces air strikes had taken their toll on ISIS but ground attacks had to be left to the Iraqi army.
“We’ve always understood that the air campaign alone was not going to be decisive in turning the tide against ISIS (IS),” he said.
“But it has halted the Isil advance, it has forced Isil to change its tactics and it is degrading their military capabilities.”
He reiterated the “heavy work” was going to have to be done by Iraqis saying British troops on the ground could stir more extremism.


  1. Iraq does not have time to do it on their own. The Neocon pricks started this mess. It was a monumental fuck-up that started with The Christian Right and Ronald Reagan’s support of the God Fearing Mujahadeen, hosted in the White House to go after the godless Soviets. We taught them how to take down a superpower. We reinforced it in Kosovo. We never had any business destabilizing the Middle East, but we did it and we did it in spades. The Neocons supported by the US Christian Right created the myth that a destabilized Middle East would be just wonderful for Israel.

    It isn’t. We do not have the luxury of choosing allies based on any doctrinaire position chosen for us by lobbying groups and our own religious nut jobs. We need to win.

    Iraq is broken. The US broke Iraq. Only the US, on the ground can rally the support and material to destroy ISIS.

    1. Obama broke Iraq by taking the troops out too soon.

      Obama has gone into occultation until after the November elections.

      Not only Obama, but ObamaCare too --

      Obamacare is in hiding until after the election: Column

      Robert Laszewski 6:57 p.m. EDT October 13, 2014

      How our government is obscuring facts about your health insurance until after the election.

      The second Obamacare open enrollment is scheduled to begin on November 15th and end on February 15th. Instead of learning critical lessons from the mistakes of the first open enrollment fiasco, the Obama administration appears to be trying to silence potential critics.

      Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the administration sent an email to the insurance companies participating in Obamacare telling them to keep their mouths shut about the testing of the new health law's enrollment system saying, that unlike last year, they would require "all testers (the insurance companies) to acknowledge the confidentiality of this process" before they would be allowed to participate. The administration reminded insurers that their confidentiality agreement with the Obama administration means that insurance executives "will not use, disclose, post to a public forum, or in any way share Test Data with any person or entity, included but not limited to media..." This includes any "results of this testing exercise and any information describing or otherwise relating to the performance or functionality" of the Obamacare enrollment and eligibility system........

    2. Sorry Deuce, this aint about Israel.

      Its about the sunni shiia wars.

      You selectively pick a start date that makes Iran out to be innocents..

      But they aint...

      They and the assad pricks, with the help of hezbollah have murdered hundreds of thousands of sunnis...

      Now the sunnis are fielding an insane clown posse and giving back to the same pricks who gave it to them.

      The Kurds?

      They are being screwed over by the USA AGAIN.

      Arm the Kurds, let the Iranians (Shiites) and the Sunnis fight it out.

  2. Is Kay Hagan losing her lead in North Carolina?

    posted at 4:21 pm on October 13, 2014 by Noah Rothman

    Formerly one of the 2014 election cycle’s most embattled Democrats, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) has outperformed the pundits’ expectations.

    The Democratic Senator has lead in state House Speaker Thom Tillis in all of the 13 polls taken of the Tar Heel State’s Senate race since the end of August. While political analysts still believe that the Republicans’ path to a Senate majority remains intact, many have begun to dismiss the GOP’s chances in North Carolina.

    Today, however, Tillis supporters have new reason to be hopeful. Partnering with Survey USA, a High Point University poll of 584 likely voters released on Monday showed the race for Senate in North Carolina is a dead heat with both Tillis and Hagan tied with 40 percent support.................

    It's nearly as hard to figure out what is going on in North Carolina as to figure out what is going on in 'Iraq' and 'Syria'.

    A functioning representative democracy is a wonderful thing.

    We don't have to kill one another..........we can go to the polls and vote.

  3. The mysterious workings of a Pentagon office that oversees clandestine operations are unraveling in federal court, where a criminal investigation has exposed a secret weapons program entwined with allegations of a sweetheart contract, fake badges and trails of destroyed evidence.

    Capping an investigation that began almost two years ago, separate trials are scheduled this month in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., for a civilian Navy intelligence official and a hot-rod auto mechanic from California who prosecutors allege conspired to manufacture an untraceable batch of automatic-rifle silencers.

    The exact purpose of the silencers remains hazy, but court filings and pretrial testimony suggest they were part of a top-secret operation that would help arm guerrillas or commandos overseas.

    The silencers — 349 of them — were ordered by a little-known Navy intelligence office at the Pentagon known as the Directorate for Plans, Policy, Oversight and Integration, according to charging documents. The directorate is composed of fewer than 10 civilian employees, most of them retired military personnel.

    Court records filed by prosecutors allege that the Navy paid the auto mechanic — the brother of the directorate’s boss — $1.6 million for the silencers, even though they cost only $10,000 in parts and labor to manufacture.

    Much of the documentation in the investigation has been filed under seal on national security grounds. According to the records that have been made public, the crux of the case is whether the silencers were properly purchased for an authorized secret mission or were assembled for a rogue operation.

    A former senior Navy official familiar with the investigation described directorate officials as “wanna-be spook-cops.” Speaking on the condition of anonymity because the case is still unfolding, he added, “I know it sounds goofy, but it was like they were building their own mini law enforcement and intelligence agency.”


    1. {...}The directorate is a civilian-run office that is supposed to provide back-office support and oversight for Navy and Marine intelligence operations. But some of its activities have fallen into a gray area, crossing into more active involvement with secret missions, according to a former senior Defense Department official familiar with the directorate’s work.

      “By design, that office is supposed to do a little more than policy and programmatic oversight,” the former defense official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because much of the directorate’s work is classified. “But something happened and it lost its way. It became a case of the fox guarding the henhouse, and I suspect deeper issues might be in play.”

      Navy officials declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation and prosecution. “The Department of the Navy has fully cooperated with law enforcement since this investigation was initiated . . . and will continue to fully cooperate,” Cmdr. Ryan Perry, a Navy spokesman at the Pentagon, said.

      Missing evidence
      Prosecutors have said that the silencers were acquired for a “special access program,” or a highly secretive military operation. A contracting document filed with the court stated that the silencers were needed to support a program code-named UPSTAIRS but gave no other details.

      According to court papers filed by prosecutors, one directorate official told an unnamed witness that the silencers were intended for Navy SEAL Team 6, the elite commando unit that killed Osama bin Laden.

      But representatives for SEAL Team 6 told federal investigators they had not ordered the silencers and did not know anything about them, according to the court papers.

      Sorting out the truth has been made more difficult by the elimination of potential evidence.

      At one pretrial hearing, a defense attorney for the auto mechanic, Mark S. Landersman of Temecula, Calif., accused the Navy of impeding the investigation by destroying a secret stash of automatic rifles that the silencers were designed to fit. Prosecutors immediately objected to further discussion in open court, calling it a classified matter.

      The destroyed weapons were part of a stockpile of about 1,600 AK-47-style rifles that the U.S. military had collected overseas and stored in a warehouse in Pennsylvania, according to a source familiar with the investigation.


    2. {...}

      If the foreign-made weapons were equipped with unmarked silencers, the source said, the weapons could have been used by U.S. or foreign forces for special operations in other countries without any risk that they would be traced back to the United States.

      A different source, a current senior Navy official, confirmed that an arsenal of AK-47-style rifles in a warehouse in Mechanicsburg, Pa., had been destroyed within the past year. But that official suggested the issue was a smokescreen, saying the weapons were being kept for a different purpose and that no program had existed to equip them with silencers.

      In a separate move that eliminated more potential evidence, Navy security officers incinerated documents last year that they had seized from the directorate’s offices in the Pentagon, according to court records and testimony.

      Two Navy security officers have testified that they stuffed the papers into burn bags and destroyed them on Nov. 15, 2013 — three days after The Washington Post published a front-page article about the unfolding federal investigation into the silencers.

      One of the security officers said it did not occur to her that the documents should be preserved, despite Navy policies prohibiting the destruction of records that could be relevant to lawsuits or criminal investigations.

      The officer, Francine Cox, acknowledged that she was aware the Navy directorate was under scrutiny and that she had read the Post article shortly before burning the documents. But she said she did not think the papers were important.

      “I didn’t think the information we had was pertinent,” Cox testified at a pretrial hearing in July. “If you don’t tell me to hold onto something, I don’t have to hold onto it.”

      Lee M. Hall, a Navy intelligence official who is charged with illegally purchasing the silencers and whose trial is scheduled to begin this month, argued that the burned material was crucial to his defense. He said the documents included handwritten notes and other papers showing the undersecretary of the Navy at the time had authorized the project.

      “My notes would show I acted in good faith,” Hall testified at the July hearing.

      Stuart Sears, an attorney for Hall, declined to comment.

      District Court Judge Leonie M. Brinkema rejected a bid by Hall’s attorneys to dismiss the charges against him but was incredulous that the Navy had destroyed the documents.

      “I don’t find any nefarious evidence, or evidence of bad intent, but it sure does look to the court like negligence,” she said.

      On other occasions over the past year, Brinkema has questioned whether prosecutors were fully aware of what the Navy directorate was up to and whether they really wanted to expose its activities by taking the case to trial.

      “We’re getting deeper and deeper into a morass,” she said at a hearing in March. “One of the things the government always has to think about is the cost-benefit analysis. At the end of the day, is this particular criminal prosecution worth the risk of having to disclose or reveal very sensitive information?”


    3. {...}

      An investigation snowballs
      Suspicions about the Navy directorate surfaced in January 2013 when one of its officials appeared at a Defense Intelligence Agency office in Arlington and asked for a badge that would allow him to carry weapons on military property, according to statements made by prosecutors during pretrial hearings.

      The directorate official, Tedd Shellenbarger, flashed a set of credentials stamped with the letters LEO — an acronym for “law enforcement officer” — even though his office dealt primarily with policy matters and lacked law enforcement powers, the former senior Navy official said.

      Shellenbarger’s request prompt­ed the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) to obtain a warrant to search the directorate’s offices at the Pentagon. Agents found badge materials and other documentation that led them to broaden their investigation, according to the former senior Navy official.

      Shellenbarger and three other directorate officials were placed on leave, according to court records. Shellenbarger has not been charged and has since returned to work for the Navy. His attorney, David Deitch, indicated he might be called as a witness at Hall’s trial.

      “Mr. Shellenbarger has cooperated fully in providing truthful information to the government about his conduct, which was undertaken at the direction of his supervisors,” Deitch said.

      The badge inquiry led NCIS to discover e-mails and a paper trail pertaining to the $1.6 million contract to buy the silencers from Landersman, the California mechanic. Court papers describe him as a struggling small businessman who raced hot-rods and had declared bankruptcy in July 2012.

      He is the brother of David W. Landersman, the senior director for intelligence in the Navy directorate.

      Prosecutors have referred to David Landersman in court papers as a conspirator in the case, but he has not been charged. He is a combat-decorated retired Marine officer. His attorney has said he did nothing wrong.

      Mark Landersman has been charged with manufacturing, selling and shipping the unmarked silencers without a federal firearms license. His trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 27. One of his attorneys, Cary Citronberg, declined to comment.

      Ordinarily, a clandestine weapons program requires reams of paperwork and legal review. No documentation has surfaced in court to indicate that Navy officials formally signed off on the silencer project, although many pretrial motions have been filed under seal.

      Hall, the directorate official charged with illegally purchasing the silencers, has asserted that he received verbal approval for the secret program from Robert C. Martinage, a former acting undersecretary of the Navy, according to statements made during pretrial hearings.

      Martinage was forced to resign in January after investigators looking into the silencer deal found evidence that he had engaged in personal misconduct, according to Navy officials. The officials said the misconduct was unrelated to the silencer contract.

      Martinage is expected to be a key witness at Hall’s trial. He declined to comment, saying, “I have been advised not to discuss any aspect of that matter while the case is pending.”

      Craig Whitlock covers the Pentagon and national security. He has reported for The Washington Post since 1998.

  4. By the way, it was President Carter and Zbig Brzezinski that started our involvement in Afghanistan -

    According to this 1998 interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, the CIA's intervention in Afghanistan preceded the 1979 Soviet invasion. This decision of the Carter Administration in 1979 to intervene and destabilise Afghanistan is the root cause of Afghanistan's destruction as a nation.

    The CIA's Intervention in Afghanistan

    Reagan was johnny come lately.

    1. It was the damned Democratic Neo-Cons and their Liberal Christian allies.......

    2. Big Zbig made the claim it was Afghanistan that broke the Soviet Union....

    3. I recall Quirk standing with Big Zbig on the Khyber Pass and pointing with his arm to the north.

      Quirk was trusted adviser to Billy Carter at the time and Billy was the man that really ran the country behind the scenes. Which means of course that Quirk was really running things...........

      Don't blame Reagan.

    4. If you insist on blaming a Reagan, blame Nancy.

    5. Big Zbig, Q and unidentified fellow travelers at the Khyber Pass -

    6. Don’t be silly, Reagan and the Heritage Foundation expanded the operation to get the US deeply involved in Afghanistan. Read Charlie Wilson’s War and you will see how deeply involved the Christian Right was involved in this.

      Afghanistan did not break the Soviet Union. Chernobyl broke them. I was in Moscow at the time of the break-up and met with some high officials of their Federal Special Construction Agency ( They had another name for the agency then , but I can’t recall what it was). The amount of material and manpower needed for Chernobyl was horrendous. They gave me statistics that were unbelievable but they estimated that it represented about 15% of their GNP. I got laughed out of the room when I suggested that Afghanistan broke them. They convinced me that political talking point offered by The Republicans was simply nonsense. They left Afghanistan because it was no longer worth the fight.

      Communism ended in Russia because the Communists no longer believed in it and the Soviet Union imploded because of Communist Party FUBAR and shoddy practices at Chernobyl. Their military was a job creator like our own. Chernobyl did the economic damage that went across the entire society.

    7. I never did any business with the because I didn’t trust them and found the place too depressing. The factories that they wanted to sell were in Tambov and no one in their right mind would live in Tambov in the eighties. I thought the Russians were opportunists and crooks and ready to screw their own people. They would have had no compunction at screwing me or worse.

    8. Just in terms of IT, the Soviet was at least a decade behind the U.S., with no chance of catching up under its own steam. There were two choices, both of which were carefully deliberated: a first strike against the U.S. or finding a sustainable Plan B that would bring the CCCP into the modern world. As always, the military pushed the military option (a little Googling will produce interviews with the officers involved). Thankfully, for once, the military was overridden by a demoralized bureaucracy, many of whom had been contaminated by long association with the West or Westernized democracies elsewhere.

      Doubtless, all the catastrophes and failures listed above played some role, but essentially the Marxist model imploded and no sane Soviet saw any hope of resuscitation. With privatization, despite its excesses, and major capital inflows from savvy “free world” investors, salivating to get their hands on a well-educated, cheap work force, vast natural resources, and a free hand if well connected, Russia has made extraordinary progress and has become a power to be reckoned with, without all the political baggage of Marx and Lenin.

      Putin is no fool. He may pine over a romanticized past as is the wont of all aging men, but he well knows that Russia is long past unleashed revanchism and irredentism. Ironically, the resurrection of the Church in Russia also acts to check incongruent Soviet impulses. Yes, there are still old timers who proudly parade (as well they should), festooned with sundry Soviet Orders galore; but they are dying. While Putin will enlarge his (Russia’s empire), he will do so with a keen eye toward profiting from his acquisitions rather than merely rearranging boundaries and borders. He is also a patient man, intent on consolidating gains into a workable socio-economic whole.

      But I could be wrong.

    9. The Russian Empire and the Soviet produced first-rate mathematicians, engineers, chemists, etc. Under the Soviet system these brilliant men and women were the slaves of madmen.

      Look at the elimination of the Aral Sea (once the earth's fourth largest lake). The planners knew very well the future consequences of their tasks. However, one followed the orders of the central planners (often nothing more than semi-literate thugs) or one would end up in a gulag or in the basement of the Lubyanka. As a result, the Soviet may have done more ecological damage than any regime before or since (including the Chinese). Had the CCCP not been of such a colassal size, further increased by conquests during WWII, it would have self-destructed by 1950. Like today's Progressives, Soviet leadership believed that all things were possible by the stroke of a pen.

  5. A little Googling can produce some great photos of Zbig Brzezinski in Afghanistan with some of our good Muslim buddies.

    1. Was just doing that.

      Found a grainy one with Big Zbig and Q......

  6. The fact of the matter is this: both political parties love this military adventurism. Huge fortunes have been made by one and all. Granted, some grunts had to die, but as John Kerry once pointed out, grunts are not very bright. As to the millions of dead bystanders, well, life is not fair unless you have a place at the trough, then, life is good.

  7. I do think the Soviet misadventure in Afghanistan may have contributed somewhat to the downfall of the Soviet Union.

    History works in many strange ways.....

    This of course was Q's intent all free his beloved Poland.

    1. Here is the famous photo again......

    2. Q is the white dude to the left of Zbig, with glasses, and back a bit.

      He was quite handsome in those days.......

  8. OT

    The award of the Medal of Honor has been cheapened the past, leading Congress to revise standards for the award. From time to time in the recent past, I have had some doubts about its recipients. I am not saying that they were not heroic, the Medal of Honor requires so much more. Below is the story of a man who earned his in the most amazing way. I bet none of you have ever seen this before. I hadn't.
    Hero Without a Gun

  9. .

    Iraq is broken. The US broke Iraq. Only the US, on the ground can rally the support and material to destroy ISIS.

    Won't happen for at least 3 weeks. After that, who knows? Something will have to change.

    Drip, drip, drip.


    1. Hey, we have a promise: no American boots on the ground. I believe.

    2. Hey, the President's record is pure as freshly driven snow. I believe.


  11. "It will take time to 'rebuild some of the morale and the capacity of the Iraqi army'"...

    Kerry is such a card. "rebuild" ... :-))

    Kerry has no plans to visit Kurdistan in the near future, I'm guessing.


  12. You're "internalizing" this way too much, Deuce. This isn't about "destroying" Isis; it's not even about "defeating" Isis. This is about stalling isis out before they get into the big oil fields.

    NOBODY outside of Heet gives a sheet who runs up the flag there, tomorrow.

    1. I don't much give a sheet about Heet.

      And besides, oil is a commodity, it's worthless unless one can sell it. However has it will need to sell it somehow.

      Having given up on the idea of a glorious unified Iraq I say protect the new Kurdistan and the hell with rest of it, let them fight it out for the next thirty years, by which time I will most certainly be dead and will care even less than I do now.

    2. Whoever has it......

      And it seems odd to me that yours truly, who has often been called a war monger here, is simply saying help the Kurds, not that difficult to do, while the Neo-Isolationist Deuce seems to be saying we must act now to defeat ISIS or all is lost.

    Kurdish woman leading Kobane battle against IS: activists

  14. "One political party or the other may blunder, but disasters on this scale can be achieved only by consensus. Angelo Codevilla contends that a self-perpetuating foreign policy elite, incapable of taking in abundant evidence about all the things it neither knows nor does well, has steered American foreign policy in the wrong direction for the past century. The shrill partisan debates, he argues, obscure an underlying commonality of outlook among the “liberal progressive,” “realist,” and “neo-conservative” currents in foreign policy. All three schools of thinking derive from 'turn-of-the-twentieth-century progressivism.'”
    How To Make And Keep Peace

  15. Both Gardner and Ernst up a notch today, while Hagan is down a notch:

    Top Senate Races RCP Average
    Colorado Gardner (R) +1.4
    Iowa Ernst (R) +1.2
    North Carolina Hagan (D) +1.5

    Good, good, and good.

  16. On Mr. Kim’s latest “on-site guidance trip,” he was accompanied by members of his government’s elite, including Vice Marshal Hwang Pyong-so, the army’s chief political officer. Marshal Hwang is No. 2 in the government hierarchy, which Mr. Kim has often reshuffled since taking over after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in 2011.


    Rumors about Mr. Kim, who is believed to be about 30, were fueled in part by television footage showing him limping as early as July. Last month, a state-run television station confirmed for the first time that Mr. Kim “was not feeling well.”

    On Friday, he did not visit the mausoleum where his grandfather — Kim Il-sung, the country’s founder — and his father lie in state, skipping an important annual ritual he had previously performed to mark the anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party.

  17. Texas nurse fighting Ebola receives blood transfusion from survivor Dr Kent Brantly - who also matched blood types with two others

    Nina Pham, 26, has received blood transfusion from Dr Kent Brantly
    Survivor Brantly also donated to Dr Nick Sacra and NBC's Ashoka Mukpo
    Antibodies in his blood could help the patients fight the disease
    Pham caught the Ebola virus while treating Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas
    Miss Pham was raised in Vietnamese family in Fort Worth and graduated from Texas Christian University in 2010 with Bachelor of Science in Nursing
    HazChem teams spent the weekend fumigating her Dallas apartment
    Authorities have blamed a 'breach of protocol' - but nursing leaders have criticized the CDC for making her a scapegoat

    By Nick Fagge In Dallas, Texas for MailOnline and Mia De Graaf for MailOnline

    Published: 11:28 EST, 13 October 2014 | Updated: 20:23 EST, 13 October 2014

    The Texan nurse diagnosed with Ebola has received a blood transfusion from survivor Dr Kent Brantly, reports claim.

    It is the third time Dr Brantly has donated blood to Ebola victims after medics discovered he had the same blood type as previous patient Dr Nick Sacra and NBC cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, who is still being treated.

    Incredibly, nurse Nina Pham, 26, has also matched with Brantly and today received a transfusion of his blood in a move that doctors believe could save her life.

    Scroll down for video
    Lifeline: Dr Kent Brantly (left), who has been cleared of Ebola, has match blood types with Nina Pham (right) and donated so she can receive a blood transfusion to battle the deadly virus she caught treating a patient
    Lifeline: Dr Kent Brantly (left), who has been cleared of Ebola, has match blood types with Nina Pham (right) and donated so she can receive a blood transfusion to battle the deadly virus she caught treating a patient

    Lifeline: Dr Kent Brantly (left), who has been cleared of Ebola, has match blood types with Nina Pham (right) and donated so she can receive a blood transfusion to battle the deadly virus she caught treating a patient

    Pham has been in quarantine since Friday after catching the disease from 'patient zero' Thomas Eric Duncan - the man who brought the deadly virus to America.

    Brantly is believed to have traveled to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where Pham worked, to make the donation on Sunday night.

    Today, Pham's condition was described as 'clinically stable'.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  18. .

    British Parliament Recognizes Palestine in Non-Binding Vote

    LONDON — Against a backdrop of growing impatience across Europe with Israeli policy, Britain’s Parliament overwhelmingly passed a nonbinding resolution Monday night to give diplomatic recognition to a Palestinian state. The vote was a symbolic but potent indication of how public opinion has shifted since the breakdown of American-sponsored peace negotiations and the conflict in Gaza this summer.

    Though the outcome of the 274-to-12 parliamentary vote was not binding on the British government, the debate was the latest evidence of how support for Israeli policies, even among staunch allies of Israel, is giving way to more calibrated positions and in some cases frustrated expressions of opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stance toward the Palestinians.


    Richard Ottaway, a Conservative lawmaker and chairman of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, said that he had “stood by Israel through thick and thin, through the good years and the bad,” but now realized “in truth, looking back over the past 20 years, that Israel has been slowly drifting away from world public opinion.”

    “Under normal circumstances,” he said, “I would oppose the motion tonight; but such is my anger over Israel’s behavior in recent months that I will not oppose the motion. I have to say to the government of Israel that if they are losing people like me, they will be losing a lot of people.”


  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Israel had better get used to going it alone. Frankly, it would be better off in the long run.

    2. Hundreds of Israeli public figures urge British Parliament to recognize the State of Palestine
      Gush Shalom, Israel.
      Press Release, October 13, 2014

      363 Israeli public figures have signed a letter to the Members of the British Parliament, calling upon them to vote in favor of British recognition of a Palestinian State, to be created side-by-side with Israel.

      The letter was handed on Sunday noon to representatives of the British MP’s supporting the motion, due to be voted tomorrow (Monday). The Israeli letter was initiated by Dr. Alon Liel, former Director-General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry; Prof. Amiram Goldblum, a founder of the Peace Now movement; and Yehuda Shaul of “Breaking the Silence”.

      The letter reads: “We, Israelis who worry and care for the well-being of the state of Israel, believe that the long-term existence and security of Israel depends on the long-term existence and security of a Palestinian state. For this reason we, the undersigned, urge members of the UK Parliament to vote in favor of the motion to be debated on Monday 13th October 2014, calling on the British Government to recognize the State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel “.

      Signatories include:
      Nobel Prize Laureate (Economics) Daniel Kahneman
      Six Laureates of the Israel Prize – Professors Alice Levy, David Har’el, Shimon Sandbank, Yehoshua Kolodny, Yona Rosenfeld and Yoram Bilu;
      Two former ministers – Ran Cohen and Yossi Sarid, as well as four former Knesset Members – Uri Avnery, Yael Dayan, Mossi Raz and Naomi Chazan;
      Former Ambassador and Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Dr. Alon Liel, as well as former Ambassador Ilan Baruch;
      Gen. (ret.) Emanuel Shaked, former of the Paratooper Corps;
      Former Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair;
      Four writers – Yehoshua Sobol, Yehudit Kafri, Savyon Liebrecht and Amos Mokadi;
      Professor Rafi Walden, Deputy Ditector of the Shiba Hospital and Chair of “Physicians for Human Rights”
      Yuval Rahamim, Co-Chair of “Bereaved Families for Palestinian-Israeli Peace” and the group’s founder Yitzhak Frankenthal;
      As well as many residents of Gaza border communities and other peace and social rights activists.

    3. Israel has had the foresight to develop relationships with non-Western nations. Among these are the world's largest economy and the up and coming world's largest economy.

    4. When did 'world public opinion' become anything to which an intelligent person would give consideration?


    October 13, 2014 2:44 pm
    America, Britain and the perils of empire
    Gideon RachmanBy Gideon Rachman

    Middle East turmoil of 1919 offers important lessons for today
    ©James Ferguson

    General Sir Philip Chetwode, deputy chief of Britain’s Imperial General Staff, warned in 1919: “The habit of interfering with other people’s business and making what is euphoniously called ‘peace’ is like buggery; once you take to it, you cannot stop.”
    It is difficult to imagine any member of the Obama administration making such an eyebrow-raising comparison. But, as the US struggles to cope with turmoil across the Middle East, Sir Philip’s complaint – quoted in David Reynolds’s recent book, The Long Shadow – has a contemporary ring to it. Even more so the lament of his boss, Sir Henry Wilson, the chief of Britain’s Imperial General Staff, who complained in 1919 that -”we have between 20 and 30 wars raging in the world” and blamed the chaotic international situation on political leaders who were “totally unfit and unable to govern”.

    Britain was directly or indirectly involved in the fighting in many of these wars during the years 1919-1920. Their locations sound familiar: Afghanistan, Waziristan, Iraq, Ukraine, the Baltic states. Only Britain’s involvement in a war in Ireland would ring no bells in the modern White House. The British debates, and recriminations of the time are also strongly reminiscent of the arguments that are taking place in modern America. And how events panned out holds some important lessons for today’s policy makers.

    The British military effort in Iraq in 1920, like the allied effort today, was conducted largely through aerial bombing. Then, as now, there was strong scepticism about the long-term chances of achieving political stability in such an unpromising environment. AJ Balfour, the British foreign secretary complained – “We are not going to spend all our money and men in civilising a few people who do not want to be civilised.” In an echo of America’s current Middle East confusion, even British policy makers knew that they were pursuing contradictory goals. As Professor Reynolds points out – “The British had got themselves into a monumental mess in the Middle East, signing agreements that, as Balfour later admitted, were ‘not consistent with each other’.”

    Then, as now, even the people making policy seemed confused about the motives for military intervention in the Middle East – was it “making peace” as Gen Chetwode suggested, was it the rich oil reserves of the area, was it the protection of another territory (India for the British, Israel for the Americans), or was it simply a vague sense that imperial prestige was at stake? The debates in London, almost a century ago, as in Washington today, suggested that all these motives were mixed together in ways that no one could completely disentangle.

    Military leaders’ complaints about incompetent politicians also echo down the ages. Sir Henry’s lament about British political leaders who are “unable to govern” is matched by the increasing rumble of complaint about the leadership of Barack Obama. Even Mr Obama’s former defense secretary, Leon Panetta, has just complained that the US president “too often relies on the logic of a law professor rather than the passion of a leader”.



    1. {...}

      These comparisons between the British and American dilemmas, almost a century apart, are intriguing – but do they offer lessons? I would point to four.

      First, while it is always tempting to blame political leaders, the problems often run far deeper than that. The British prime minister in 1919 was David Lloyd George, who most historians now regard as a decisive and dynamic leader. That did not prevent the imperial staff from complaining about the torpor and confusion of his administration. The real problem, however, was the intractable nature of the problems that Britain was facing, and the limits of the resources it could bring to bear.

      Second, it is much harder to be a global policeman if your government’s finances are stretched and your country is war-weary. In 1919, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, British imperial possessions were more extensive than ever. But the UK was exhausted after the first world war and had little appetite for further conflict. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars of the past decade were small affairs, by comparison. But they left a similar reluctance in the US to get involved in further conflicts.

      Third, the uncanny similarity between the trouble spots of a century ago and those of today suggests that there are some parts of the world where geography or culture create a permanent risk of political instability and war: the frontiers between Russia and the West, Afghanistan, Iraq.

      An increasingly complicated armed conflict is pitting rebel groups not only against the regime and its allies, but also against each other

      The idea that ‘twas ever thus’ may comfort contemporary policy makers in Washington, as they struggle to cope with multiple crises. Yet the fourth lesson derived from Britain’s travails in 1919 is less comforting. Many of the conflicts that the Imperial General Staff were struggling with did get resolved fairly swiftly. The western allies’ involvement in the Russian civil war was over by 1920, as the Bolsheviks moved towards victory. An uneasy peace was also re-established in Iraq. But Britain’s ability to impose its will on the world was waning. The political turmoil of 1919 was, in retrospect, an early sign that the world was entering a new period of instability that – within a generation – would lead to another shattering world war. Once the dominant global power loses its grip, the world can quickly become much less orderly.

  21. Many nations are better off for British Imperialism.

    YOU try doing something and making some sense out of those Arab shitholes.

    But many other nations are much better off for the effort.