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Things Are Escalating Quickly

Zero Hedge Saturday, 11 November 2017 ()
Things Are Escalating QuicklyAuthored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

I didn’t spend all week writing about the gigantic tremors occurring in the Middle East because I thought it was fun. *If I’m even remotely correct in my analysis, the entire world will be affected and shaped for decades to come by what’s about to go down in the region*.

Rather than rehash what I already wrote, I suggest you take a read of the following if you missed them the first time around.

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia Are About to Make More Disastrous and Idiotic Mistakes – Part 1

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia Are About to Make More Disastrous and Idiotic Mistakes – Part 2

There’s been a major update since those posts were published.* Namely, it appears the government of Lebanon has seen enough and is coming out with its side of the story.* As I reported in Part 1, the Saudis immediately claimed Lebanon declared war on it following the obviously staged and forced resignation of Hariri via Saudi Arabia over the weekend. This appears to be a case of classic psychological projection, as in reality, Saudi Arabia appears to have declared war on Lebanon. It straight up kidnapped their Prime Minister.

Here’s some of what we learned from Reuters:



Lebanon believes Saad al-Hariri is held in Saudi Arabia, from where he resigned as prime minister, two top Lebanese government officials said, amid a deepening crisis pushing Lebanon onto the frontlines of a power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.


A third source, a senior politician close to Saudi-allied Hariri, said Saudi Arabia had ordered him to resign and put him under house arrest. A fourth source familiar with the situation said Saudi Arabia was controlling and limiting his movement.


In a televised statement indicating deep concern at Hariri’s situation, his Future Movement political party said his return home was necessary to uphold the Lebanese system, describing him as prime minister and a national leader.


Hariri’s exit fueled wide speculation that the Sunni Muslim politician, long an ally of Riyadh, was coerced into stepping down by Saudi Arabia as it seeks to hit back against Iran and its Lebanese Shi‘ite ally Hezbollah.


“Keeping Hariri with restricted freedom in Riyadh is an attack on Lebanese sovereignty. Our dignity is his dignity. We will work with (foreign) states to return him to Beirut,” said the senior Lebanese official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the government had yet to declare this position.


Hariri aides had until Thursday denied he was under house arrest but took a dramatically different tone after a meeting of the Future Movement convened at Hariri’s Beirut residence on Thursday.


A statement read by former prime minister Fouad Siniora said his return was “necessary to recover respect for Lebanon’s internal and external balance, and in the framework of full respect for Lebanese legitimacy”.


Saudi Arabia this week lumped Lebanon together with Hezbollah as parties that are hostile to it, breaking with a long-established policy that has drawn a line between them and raising concerns of further Saudi measures.


The senior Lebanese politician close to Hariri said: “When he went (to Saudi Arabia) he was asked to stay there and ordered to resign. They ordered him to read his resignation statement and he has been held under house arrest since.”


Two U.S. officials said the Saudis, led by Crown Prince Mohammed, had “encouraged” Hariri to leave office.



*While Lebanese officials were initially quiet, there seems to be an emerging consensus across the various political factions that the Saudis kidnapped Hariri and that such an action is unacceptable. *While the Saudis are clearly trying to cause chaos in Lebanon, it seems Lebanese leadership, as well as the people on the street, have no interest in civil strife and renewed violence given all that’s happened to them in recent decades. This puts further pressure on the Saudis, as it seems the latest geopolitical scheme by clown prince Mohamed bin Salman is failing, just like his prior disastrous moves in Yemen and Qatar. The question now is whether or not MBS will figure out a way to escalate his provocation of Lebanon? If so, how will the U.S., Europe and the rest of the region respond?

*It seems some sort of escalation is coming given that both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have called for their citizens to evaluate Lebanon. *From Haaretz:



Saudi Arabia has warned its citizens against travelling to Lebanon and asked those who in the country to leave as soon as possible, the kingdom’s official news agency quoted an official source in the Foreign Ministry as saying.


“Due to the circumstances in the Lebanese Republic, the kingdom asks its citizens who are visiting or residing” in the country to leave it as soon as possible, the source added.



*Circumstances it created, of course.*



The Foreign Ministry of Kuwait ordered its citizens to leave Lebanon immediately as well.



Switching gears,* while things continue to bubble in an extremely dangerous direction overseas, the corporate media and U.S government have been busy at work here at home in a desperate attempt to regain control of the narrative and silence patriotic whistleblowers*.

Let’s start with the *corporate media’s recent shameless and degenerate attempt to smear William Binney.*

I’ve discussed Mr. Binney over the years. Before it was decided that his character needed assassination, here’s how NPR described him back in 2014:



Bill Binney worked at the National Security Agency nearly three decades as one of its leading crypto-mathematicians. He then became one of its leading whistleblowers.


Now 70 and on crutches, both legs lost to diabetes, Binney recalls the July morning seven years ago when a dozen gun-wielding FBI agents burst through the front door of his home, at the end of a cul-de-sac a 10-minute drive from NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.


“I first knew that they were in there when they were pointing a gun at me as I was coming out of the shower,” Binney says.


When I ask him why the agents were there, he replies: “Well, it was to keep us quiet.”


For Binney, the decision to quit the NSA and become a whistleblower began a few weeks after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when he says he discovered the spy agency had begun using software he’d created to scoop up information on Americans — all without a court order.


“I had to get out of there, because they were using the program I built to do domestic spying, and I didn’t want any part of it, I didn’t want to be associated with it,” he says. “I look at it as basically treason. They were subverting the Constitution.”



*It’s no wonder the out of control, unconstitutional U.S. surveillance state doesn’t like Mr. Binney, but what the media did to him over the past week is clownishly evil and intentional.* It started when The Intercept reported that CIA director Mike Pompeo had meet with Binney at Trump’s request to discuss a memo he signed along with other members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) claiming the DNC email breach was the result of a leak and not a hack. Fellow celebrated whistleblower Thomas Drake and other members of VIPS disagreed and refused to sign the memo, making it controversial. That said, Binney’s credentials should not be called into question.

As The Intercept itself noted in its article:



Binney’s adherence to a widely disputed theory about the DNC email theft that is favorable to Trump marks a new twist for a retired government employee who has become an outspoken critic of the intelligence community to which he once belonged. Binney grew up in Pennsylvania, majored in math at Penn State, and joined the Army in 1965. He was assigned to the U.S. Army Security Agency, learning communications traffic analysis and, in 1967, was assigned to NSA headquarters. In 1970, he joined the NSA as a civilian and remained at the agency for the rest of his career. He rose through the ranks to become the agency’s technical director for world geopolitical and military analysis and took over the NSA’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center, a kind of skunkworks to test out new ideas.


Drake and Binney both emerged from the government’s draconian leak investigation as prominent whistleblowers. Their fame grew after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden went public in 2013 and provided the press with access to a trove of NSA documents about the agency’s mass surveillance programs. Binney was featured in “Citizenfour,” the Oscar-winning 2014 documentary about Snowden directed by Laura Poitras; he was also the subject of a 2015 documentary titled “A Good American.” (Poitras co-founded The Intercept following Snowden’s 2013 disclosures.)



Rather than rationally question whether or not Pompeo should’ve met with Binney about the memo,* corporate media had a complete hyperbolic meltdown, proceeding to smear and slander Binney with lack of hesitation you’d expect from state media in totalitarian regimes. *Here are just a few examples:

*CNN*

*MSNBC*

*Tweet from NBC*



Conspiracy theorist says President Trump pushed meeting with CIA chief https://t.co/J0OVWvUmq6 pic.twitter.com/ZL9vQFBJwg

— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 7, 2017



The clownish smears above are very important in two respects. First, NBC and CNN both know exactly who William Binney is and know that he’s the furthest thing in the world from a “hack.” Therefore, this is a deliberate and intentional attack on him. It’s straight up character assassination.

The fact that these so-called impartial news organizations, the same ones that constantly decry the “fake news” of others, would stoop to this tells you everything you need to know. Corporate media giants are as biased and agenda driven as any blog or state-sponsored media outlet on earth, possibly more so. These outlets feel so threatened by anyone going against the narrative they want to push, they no longer debate facts and offer clear cut analysis. Rather, they’ve decide to fully embrace the most base propaganda tactics imaginable. All this does is further expose how shady as useless these media outlets are to anyone capable of even a modicum of free thought.

While that’s a good thing, it brings us to another uncomfortable realization. These media outlets aren’t even attempting to convince people with a functioning brain any longer. As I noted on Twitter the other day:



We've fully entered the moment when corporate media isn't even talking to people with more than two brain cells.
It's just messaging to keep the very ignorant in line.

— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) November 8, 2017



Which reminds me of an excellent observation from the Counterpunch article, *Why Ridiculous Official Propaganda Still Works*:



Chief among the common misconceptions about the way official propaganda works is the notion that its goal is to deceive the public into believing things that are not “the truth” (that Trump is a Russian agent, for example, or that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, or that the terrorists hate us for our freedom, et cetera). However, while official propagandists are definitely pleased if anyone actually believes whatever lies they are selling, deception is not their primary aim.


The primary aim of official propaganda is to generate an “official narrative” that can be mindlessly repeated by the ruling classes and those who support and identify with them. This official narrative does not have to make sense, or to stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny. Its factualness is not the point. The point is to draw a Maginot line, a defensive ideological boundary, between “the truth” as defined by the ruling classes and any other “truth” that contradicts their narrative.


Imagine this Maginot line as a circular wall surrounded by inhospitable territory. Inside the wall is “normal” society, gainful employment, career advancement, and all the other considerable benefits of cooperating with the ruling classes. Outside the wall is poverty, anxiety, social and professional stigmatization, and various other forms of suffering. Which side of the wall do you want to be on? Every day, in countless ways, each of us are asked and have to answer this question. Conform, and there’s a place for you inside. Refuse, and … well, good luck out there.



*Corporate media in the U.S. has finally made its final transition into the sort of outright propaganda described above.*

Meanwhile, at almost the exact same time that Binney was being smeared by the likes of CNN and NBC, the U.S. government embarked on its very own dangerous and authoritarian mission against narratives that threaten their ability to brainwash people. Specifically, RT is being forced to register as a foreign agent as of this coming Monday.

RT reported on the matter:



Washington will apply its Foreign Agents Registration Act to RT America, the channel has announced. The Department of Justice has given the broadcaster until Monday to register as a foreign agent, otherwise the channel’s head faces arrest and its accounts could be frozen.


The piece of legislation was adopted in the US in 1938 to counter pro-Nazi agitation on US soil. Washington has made the decision to apply the act towards the company that supplies all services for RT America on its territory, including TV production and operations. Just over 400 entities are currently registered under the legislation, but it does not include a single media outlet.


“We believe that the demand does not only go against the law, and we will prove it in court – the demand is discriminative, it contradicts both the democracy and freedom of speech principles. It deprives us of fair competition with other international channels, which are not registered as foreign agents,” RT’s editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan said.

Simonyan had said the decision put freedom of speech in the US under question. RT has been under pressure for showing the American audience “a different point of view,” the editor-in-chief added.



In light of that, let’s recall a couple of the examples laid out in a U.S. intelligence report on Russia “meddling” in the U.S. election as examples of nefarious propaganda. From the DNI report:

· In an effort to highlight the alleged “lack of democracy” in the United States, RT broadcast, hosted, and advertised third-party candidate debates and ran reporting supportive of the political agenda of these candidates.The RT hosts asserted that the US two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a “sham.”
· RT aired a documentary about the Occupy Wall Street movement on 1, 2, and 4 November. RT framed the movement as a fight against “the ruling class” and described the current US political system as corrupt and dominated by corporations. RT advertising for the documentary featured Occupy movement calls to “take back” the government. The documentary claimed that the US system cannot be changed democratically, but only through “revolution.” After the 6 November US presidential election, RT aired a documentary called “Cultures of Protest,” about active and often violent political resistance (RT, 1-10 November).

*Given corporate media’s unwillingness to expose the systemic rigging and fraud inherent within our economic and political system, a void existed which RT came in to help fill.* Exposing foreign audiences to an alternative perspective is precisely what foreign media channels do. Considering what I showed you earlier with regard to the character assassination campaign against NSA whistleblower William Binney, how can anyone argue that U.S. media isn’t just as biased as any other media organization?

*This isn’t about nefarious Russians as much as it’s about the U.S. government wanting to regain its monopoly on the narrative it wishes to force feed to the public. Unfortunately for them, they haven’t accepted that the gig is up and we aren’t buying it anymore.*

*The three things I focused on today, war against Iran, the smearing of a celebrated NSA whistleblower, and attacks against RT are all related.*

The degenerates in power know that another war in the Middle East won’t be popular. Dissent must be silenced ahead of a big war push, and narratives must get in line in order to successfully sell the public on another violent and disastrous adventure against our best interests.

Things are escalating quickly right now indeed.

*  *  *

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