— The Erimtan Angle —

Archive for January, 2015

Israel, ISIS & the U.S.

‘In this video below Luke Rudkowski talks about the latest developments in the middle east that bring to light many contradictions (14 Dec 2014)’.

Rudkowski’s assertions are clearly based on “factual reporting” and well-respected sources. In fact, Vice News did a good job on documenting Israeli complicity with a number of Islamist militants occupying the Golan Heights on the Israeli border.[1]  And now there is also the testimony of a certain Yousaf al-Salafi that implicates the U.S. as well. Abu Hussein for Counter Current News writes that an “alleged ISIS member who is thought to be a Pakistani commander named Yousaf al-Salafi, has said that the terror group [ISIS/ISIL or IS] receives regular funding from the United States. Al-Salafi has confessed to the Pakistani ISI intelligence agency, that he has received funds for the terror group via U.S. funders. Al-Salafi was arrested in Lahore, along with two companions, on January 22, according to the news agency, the AFP”.[2]

From Lahore, Mubasher Bukhari writes for Reuters that “Pakistani security forces have arrested a man they believe is the commander of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the country as well as two accomplices involved in recruiting and sending fighters to Syria, intelligence sources said on Wednesday [, 21 Jan 2015]. Authorities in South Asia are concerned about the rise of the jihadist group in a region already beset by home-grown insurgencies fighting to topple local governments and set up strict Islamic rule”.[3]  Abu Hussein, for his part, continues that “[d]uring investigations, Yousaf al Salafi revealed that he was getting funding – routed through America – to run the organization in Pakistan and recruit young people to fight in Syria,” the Urdu-language Daily Express reported from a source in the ISI, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The news agency’s sister newspaper The Express Tribune said that he has been receiving around $600 per person he sends to Syria for training”.[4]  And here is RT’s Gayane Chichakyan explaining the issue on 28 January 2015.

[i] “Islamist Militants on Israel’s Doorstep: The War Next Door (Full Length)” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (29 December 2014). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/islamist-militants-on-israels-doorstep-the-war-next-door-full-length/.

[2] Abu Hussein,” ISIS Member Claims The U.S. Has Secretly Been Funding Their Operations” MintPress News (29 Jan 2015). http://www.mintpressnews.com/isis-member-claims-the-u-s-has-secretly-been-funding-their-operations/201681/.

[3] Mubasher Bukhari, “Pakistan arrests local ISIS commander” Reuters (21 Jan 2015). http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/asia/2015/01/21/Pakistan-arrests-local-ISIS-commander-.html.

[4] Abu Hussein,” ISIS Member Claims The U.S. Has Secretly Been Funding Their Operations”.

Deputy Spokesperson Harf Delivers a Foreign Policy Update on 2015 Priorities

‘Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf delivers a foreign policy update on 2015 priorities at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, DC on January 15, 2015’.

The Islamic State or ISIS or ISIL

‘Key points in the terror group’s rapid growth and the slowing of its advance as it faces international airstrikes and local resistance (15 Dec 2014)’.

In December last year, Zack Beauchamp, writing for the online publisher Vox Media, declared that “the Guardian‘s Martin Chulov [(i)n an incredible scoop] interviewed a senior leader of ISIS — one who came up through the ranks with the group’s top leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The single most interesting quote from the ISIS leader, whom Chulov refers to as Abu Ahmed, is quite disturbing: he credits the group’s rise, in large part, to American prison camps during the Iraq war, which he says gave him and other jihadist leaders an invaluable forum to meet one another and to plan their later rise . . . Abu Ahmed was imprisoned in a US-run detention center in southern Iraq called Camp Bucca in 2004. That’s where he met al-Baghdadi, among others who would later form ISIS. According to Ahmed, Baghdadi managed to trick the US Army into thinking he was a peacemaker, all the while building what would become ISIS right under their noses: “He was respected very much by the US army,” Abu Ahmed said. “If he wanted to visit people in another camp he could, but we couldn’t. And all the while, a new strategy, which he was leading, was rising under their noses, and that was to build the Islamic State. If there was no American prison in Iraq, there would be no IS now. Bucca was a factory. It made us all. It built our ideology.” When they entered the US-run prison, Baghdadi and many of the others were members of small Sunni militia groups. But the organizing space allowed them to unify under the name al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), led at the time by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi . . . Later, after Zarqawi was killed, and AQI’s near-total defeat at the hands of a Sunni uprising and the American surge, Baghdadi and his compatriots rebuilt the group under the ISIS banner. Their network organized partially out of US-run detention centers has played a key role in that. The Iraqi government, Chulov reports, estimates that “17 of the 25 most important Islamic State leaders running the war in Iraq and Syria spent time in US prisons between 2004 and 2011.” In other words: without the Iraq war and American prisons there meant to detain possible terrorists, ISIS as we know it wouldn’t exist”.[1]

[1] Zack Beauchamp, “ISIS leader: “If there was no American prison in Iraq, there would be no ISIS” Vox (11 Dec 2014). http://www.vox.com/2014/12/11/7377165/isis-us-prison.

Obama’s State of the Union 2015

‘President Barack Obama delivers his sixth State of the Union address, at the United States Capitol, January 20, 2015’. And, Obama said succinctly “The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong”.

‘OBAMA: “In Iraq and Syria, American leadership? — ?including our military power? — ?is stopping ISIL’s advance. Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group. We’re also supporting a moderate opposition in Syria that can help us in this effort.”

THE FACTS: The U.S. also has been slow to set up long-promised training for the moderate Syrian opposition, and has yet to begin the actual vetting of the rebels. Also, despite persistent pleas from the rebels, the U.S. hasn’t sent the more lethal weapons they want. U.S. officials have expressed concerns that the weapons could end up in the hands of insurgents.

Military leaders, however, agree that coalition airstrikes and the military effort in Syria and Iraq have stopped the momentum of the Islamic State group, or ISIL, made it hard for the insurgents to communicate and travel, and hurt their oil revenues’.[1] 

The AP’s Christopher Rugaber and Calvin Woodward critically remark that the “U.S. may not have ‘risen from recession’ quite as rousingly as President Barack Obama suggested in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night. Seven years after that severe downturn began, household income hasn’t recovered and healthy job growth is complicated by the poor quality, and pay, of many of those jobs. It’s always problematic when a president takes credit for an improving economy, just as it is when he’s blamed for things going bad. A leader can only do so much, for better or worse, and there are two sides to every economy. But after an election in which Obama largely held off on chest-beating, he claimed credit in bold terms for what is going right. Also in his speech, Obama skimmed over the cost to taxpayers of free community college tuition and invited closer scrutiny with his claims about U.S. support for Syrian moderates and about his record of public-lands preservation”.[2]  And, ‘[i]n the Republican response to #SOTU address, Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) called on President Barack Obama to pass the Keystone pipeline bill’.

[1] Christopher S. Rugaber and Calvin Woodward, “FACT CHECK: Obama claims credit for an incomplete recovery” AP (20 Jan 2015). http://bigstory.ap.org/article/1800bf6744eb4b3f91a75817d54a2a46/fact-check-obama-claims-credit-incomplete-recovery.

[2] Christopher S. Rugaber and Calvin Woodward, “FACT CHECK: Obama claims credit for an incomplete recovery”.

The Stream: Unrest in China’s Xinjiang region or China’s Wild West

‘On The Stream: What’s at the heart of mounting tensions between the Chinese government and ethnic Uighurs? (19 Jan 2015′.

A Poodle and his Master: Cameron in Washington

‘On January 16, 2015, President Obama delivered remarks after meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom’.

From Washington the Guardian Nicholas Watt adds that “Barack Obama and David Cameron struck different notes on surveillance powers after the president conceded that there is an important balance to be struck between monitoring terror suspects and protecting civil liberties. As Cameron warned the internet giants that they must do more to ensure they do not become platforms for terrorist communications, the US president said he welcomed the way in which civil liberties groups hold them to account by tapping them on the shoulder. Obama agreed with the prime minister that there could be no spaces on the internet for terrorists to communicate that could not be monitored by the intelligences agencies, subject to proper oversight. But, unlike Cameron, the president encouraged groups to ensure that he and other leaders do not abandon civil liberties. The prime minister adopted a harder stance on the need for big internet companies such as Facebook and Twitter to do more to cooperate with the surveillance of terror suspects “.[1]  The poodle outflanking the master during their little outing . . .

[1] Nicholas Watt, “Barack Obama and David Cameron fail to see eye to eye on surveillance” The Guardian (16 Jan 2015). http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jan/16/barack-obama-david-cameron-surveillance-terrorists.

Global Warming is Baloney: Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction & Breaking Records

The popular science writer and blogger Carl Zimmer writes in the New York Times that a “team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them. “We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,” said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research, which was published on Thursday [, 15 January 2015] in the journal Science. But there is still time to avert catastrophe, Dr. McCauley and his colleagues also found. Compared with the continents, the oceans are mostly intact, still wild enough to bounce back to ecological health . . . Scientific assessments of the oceans’ health are dogged by uncertainty: It’s much harder for researchers to judge the well-being of a species living underwater, over thousands of miles, than to track the health of a species on land. And changes that scientists observe in particular ocean ecosystems may not reflect trends across the planet”.[1]

Zimmer goes on to say that “Dr. Pinsky, Dr. McCauley and their colleagues sought a clearer picture of the oceans’ health by pulling together data from an enormous range of sources, from discoveries in the fossil record to statistics on modern container shipping, fish catches and seabed mining. While many of the findings already existed, they had never been juxtaposed in such a way. A number of experts said the result was a remarkable synthesis, along with a nuanced and encouraging prognosis”.[2]

The Science piece “Marine defaunation: Animal loss in the global ocean” puts forward that “[m]arine defaunation, or human-caused animal loss in the oceans, emerged forcefully only hundreds of years ago, whereas terrestrial defaunation has been occurring far longer. Though humans have caused few global marine extinctions, we have profoundly affected marine wildlife, altering the functioning and provisioning of services in every ocean. Current ocean trends, coupled with terrestrial defaunation lessons, suggest that marine defaunation rates will rapidly intensify as human use of the oceans industrializes. Though protected areas are a powerful tool to harness ocean productivity, especially when designed with future climate in mind, additional management strategies will be required. Overall, habitat degradation is likely to intensify as a major driver of marine wildlife loss. Proactive intervention can avert a marine defaunation disaster of the magnitude observed on land”.[3]

Loren McClenachan, a Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Colby College in Tallahassee, FL, who was not involved in the research, assesses the study as a “call for action to close the gap between conservation on land and in the sea”.[4]  The Science article might very well be a wake up call, but it would seem that the time to act has already come and gone. In another New York Times piece, the reporter Justin Gillis, whose beat consists of ‘covering the science of climate change and the policy implications of that science’, matter-of-factly records that “[l]ast year was the hottest on earth since record-keeping began in 1880, scientists reported on Friday [, 16 January 2015], underscoring warnings about the risks of runaway greenhouse gas emissions and undermining claims by climate change contrarians that global warming had somehow stopped”, elaborating that in “the annals of climatology, 2014 surpassed 2010 as the warmest year. The 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1997, a reflection of the relentless planetary warming that scientists say is a consequence of human activity and poses profound long-term risks to civilization and nature”.[5]  And also profound long-term risks for the oceans and the life-forms teeming under water . . . Too little too late, or is there still time left, as the Science article authors suggest???  In spite of the just-noted fact that “10 warmest years have all occurred since 1997”, Gillis continues that “[s]keptics of climate change have long argued that global warming stopped around 1998, when an unusually powerful El Niño produced the hottest year of the 20th century”.[6]

[1] Carl Zimmerm “Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says” The New York Times (15 Jan 2014). http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/16/science/earth/study-raises-alarm-for-health-of-ocean-life.html?emc=edit_th_20150116&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=68990308&_r=0.

[2] Carl Zimmerm “Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says”.

[3] Dr. Pinsky, Dr. McCauley, ” Marine defaunation: Animal loss in the global ocean” Science (16 Jan 2015). http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6219/1255641.full.pdf?sid=348edd1b-b944-41e9-828b-0f464fa45890.

[4] Carl Zimmerm “Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says”.

[5] Justin Gillis, “2014 Breaks Heat Record, Challenging Global Warming Skeptics” The New York Times (16 Jan 2014). http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/17/science/earth/2014-was-hottest-year-on-record-surpassing-2010.html?emc=edit_na_20150116&nlid=68990308&_r=0.

[6] Justin Gillis, “2014 Breaks Heat Record, Challenging Global Warming Skeptics”.