Presidents have always exercised emergency powers, but now thanks to dozens of new laws, regulations, court decisions and executive orders, Barack Obama is the most powerful president in all of U.S. history. Of course the U.S. Constitution does not actually give the president any special powers during a time of national emergency, but over time presidents have decided that they should be able to exercise such powers and the courts have generally agreed with them. During World War II and prior to that, these emergency powers were largely uncodified and were primarily used during times of war. But since World War II things have completely changed, and this has particularly been true since 9/11. Over the past decade or so, a whole host of extraordinary powers have specifically been given to the office of the president, and all that it takes to exercise them is a major “national emergency”. So if we do have a full-blown economic collapse, a historic natural disaster, a significant war or a massive pandemic, Barack Obama could use the emergency powers that he has been given to essentially take authority over everything.
There is not a single document or series of documents that contain all of the emergency powers that Barack Obama could potentially wield during a major national emergency. As I mentioned above, these powers come from literally dozens of laws, regulations, court decisions and executive orders. But in this article I will discuss a few important documents. One of these is a presidential directive that was issued during the second term of George W. Bush. It is entitled NATIONAL SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/NSPD – 51/HOMELAND SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/HSPD – 20, and you can take a look at it on the FEMA website right here. This document is primarily concerned with the continuity of our federal government in the event of a catastrophic emergency. So precisely what would constitute a “catastrophic emergency”? The following is how the document defines that term…
“Catastrophic Emergency” means any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions;
That sounds quite broad to me. It could apply to all sorts of scenarios.
If we do have such a “catastrophic emergency”, the president essentially becomes a dictator at that point. The document certainly talks about the need to ensure that “constitutional government” continues, but during the course of the emergency there really is not much of a role for the other two branches of government to play. Instead, the “shadow government” takes over under the overall command of the president. The following is a short excerpt from the document…
The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government. In order to advise and assist the President in that function, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHS/CT) is hereby designated as the National Continuity Coordinator. The National Continuity Coordinator, in coordination with the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA), without exercising directive authority, shall coordinate the development and implementation of continuity policy for executive departments and agencies. The Continuity Policy Coordination Committee (CPCC), chaired by a Senior Director from the Homeland Security Council staff, designated by the National Continuity Coordinator, shall be the main day-to-day forum for such policy coordination.
Of course the 11 page document that we have on the FEMA website is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to continuity of government planning. Unfortunately, most of the plans are top secret and are not allowed to be seen by the public. Astonishingly, this even applies to members of Congress. The following comes from Wikipedia…
On July 18, 2007, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), a member of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, requested the classified and more detailed version of the government’s continuity of government plan in a letter signed by him and the chairperson of the House Homeland Committee, which is supposed to have access to confidential government information. The president refused to provide the information, to the surprise of the congressional committee.
Another document that raises a lot of red flags is an executive order entitled “National Defense Resources Preparedness” that was issued by Barack Obama on March 16th, 2012. This particular executive order updates previous executive orders, and it gives the president extraordinary authority during a time of national emergency. Below, I have posted most of section 201 of that executive order. As you can see, it potentially gives Barack Obama authority over just about everything during a time of national emergency if he feels it is needed for “national defense”…
Sec. 201. Priorities and Allocations Authorities. (a) The authority of the President conferred by section 101 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2071, to require acceptance and priority performance of contracts or orders (other than contracts of employment) to promote the national defense over performance of any other contracts or orders, and to allocate materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense, is delegated to the following agency heads:
(1) the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer;
(2) the Secretary of Energy with respect to all forms of energy;
(3) the Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to health resources;
(4) the Secretary of Transportation with respect to all forms of civil transportation;
(5) the Secretary of Defense with respect to water resources; and
(6) the Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials.
(b) The Secretary of each agency delegated authority under subsection (a) of this section (resource departments) shall plan for and issue regulations to prioritize and allocate resources and establish standards and procedures by which the authority shall be used to promote the national defense, under both emergency and non-emergency conditions. Each Secretary shall authorize the heads of other agencies, as appropriate, to place priority ratings on contracts and orders for materials, services, and facilities needed in support of programs approved under section 202 of this order.
A similar executive order regarding national communications was issued on July 6th, 2012.
But the powers that Barack Obama could potentially wield during a time of national emergency are not just limited to what is written down. This may shock many Americans, but it is true. In the past, presidents have used their “emergency powers” to suspend habeas corpus, to place American citizens in internment camps and to seize private property. The following comes from Wikipedia…
A claim of emergency powers was at the center of President Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus without Congressional approval in 1861. Lincoln claimed that the rebellion created an emergency that permitted him the extraordinary power of unilaterally suspending the writ. With Chief Justice Roger Taney sitting as judge, the Federal District Court of Maryland struck down the suspension in Ex Parte Merryman, although Lincoln ignored the order. 17 F. Cas. 144 (1861).
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt similarly invoked emergency powers when he issued an order directing that all Japanese Americans residing on the West Coast be placed into internment camps during World War II. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this order in Korematsu v. United States. 323 U.S. 214 (1944).
Harry Truman declared the use of emergency powers when he seized private steel mills that failed to produce steel because of a labor strike in 1952. With the Korean War ongoing, Truman asserted that he could not wage war successfully if the economy failed to provide him with the material resources necessary to keep the troops well-equipped. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, refused to accept that argument in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, voting 6-3 that neither Commander in Chief powers nor any claimed emergency powers gave the President the authority to unilaterally seize private property without Congressional legislation. 343 U.S. 579.
And it is important to keep in mind that Barack Obama now possesses far more power than any of those presidents ever did. All it is going to take for him to exercise those powers is a major national emergency. This is something that Jim Powell discussed in an article for Forbes…
Not long after that, we found ourselves in an open-ended national emergency declared on September 14, 2001 and extended since by both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. This means the president has standby powers from hundreds of statutes that would enable him to re-introduce military conscription, seize private property and in myriad ways establish a government-run economy.
Thankfully, things are still somewhat stable for the moment so Obama does not have a reasonable excuse to use all of the powers that he has been given. But that could change at any time. If we do see a “catastrophic emergency” in the next year or so, there are very few limits on what Barack Obama would be able to do. That includes potentially postponing or suspending the 2016 election so that he can remain in office throughout the course of the national emergency.
We have never seen such a thing happen before, and hopefully we never will. And of course it isn’t just Barack Obama that we need to be concerned about. A future leader of this nation could potentially be even worse than him. It has been exceedingly foolish for us to give a single person so much power in the event of a “catastrophic emergency”, and in the end we may regret this bitterly.
Uh oh – Iran just got caught with both hands in the cookie jar. It turns out that even while Iran has been negotiating a “historic peace deal” with the western world, it has been secretly operating a huge underground nuclear enrichment site that it didn’t tell anyone about. But this is what the Iranians always do. They lie, lie and then lie some more. So how in the world can you make a deal with a government that absolutely refuses to tell the truth? These revelations about a secret underground nuclear facility just outside Tehran come at a time when it looked like the Obama administration was about to cave in and give Iran just about everything that it wanted. The “deal” that Obama was going to give them would have allowed the Iranians to keep all of the nuclear infrastructure that they have already constructed and would also give them permission to start building nuclear weapons in about a decade. It would be a monstrously bad deal for the western world, and the Iranians should have jumped at it. But now these new revelations could throw a wrench into those negotiations. But much more importantly, knowledge of this secret nuclear facility has got to be extremely alarming to the Israelis. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has always said that Israel will never, ever allow Iran to construct a nuclear weapon. So what will happen if the Israelis determine that Iran is actually much closer to building a nuclear bomb that anyone originally suspected? The truth is that the odds of a war between Israel and Iran just went way up thanks to these revelations, and that is not good news for any of us.
This new evidence of a secret nuclear facility that Iran had not told anyone about was revealed by the National Council of Resistance of Iran earlier this week…
Despite Iran’s denials that it is on the path to a nuclear bomb, new evidence charges that the Islamic republic has an “underground top-secret site” that is enriching uranium intended for nuclear weapons that has been hidden from the West for years.
According to the Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the complex, called Lavizan-3, is right outside Tehran, “buried deep underground in tunnels and underground facilities” with “radiation-proof doors” to prevent any leaks that could be detected by the United Nations International Energy Agency inspectors.
The revelations were unveiled during a Washington, D.C., news conference by the NCRI, which first exposed elements of Iran’s covert nuclear program in 2002.
The NCRI claims to have extensive knowledge of this complex, and it is even in possession of a photograph of a door that shields the facility from radiation which was smuggled out…
The NCRI describes the underground complex as having an elevator that “descends several stories, deep underground, and opens into a 650-foot tunnel, which leads to four parallel halls. Because the ground is inclined, the halls are deeper underground,” by as much as 164 feet below the surface.
The NCRI also said it smuggled out a photograph showing a 1-foot thick lead-lined door that shields the complex from radiation, and that the secret rooms and hallways are insulated for sound and radiation leaks so that they would remain undetected.
“If the United States is serious about preventing the Iranian regime from obtaining nuclear weapons, it must make the continuation of talks conditional on the IAEA immediately inspecting Lavizan-3 site,” said Soona Samsami, the NCRI’s United States representative.
So will Iran immediately allow international inspectors to go take a look at the Lavizan-3 site?
Of course not.
As they usually do, the Iranians will probably deny that anything is going on there.
But we have reason to trust the NCRI. They have a track record of being right on the money when it comes to the Iranian nuclear program…
NCRI has a track record of accurately disclosing secret Iranian uranium enrichment sites. In 2002, NCRI revealed Iran’s top secret uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, some 100 miles north of Isfahan, and a second top secret Iranian nuclear plant in Arak, approximately 150 miles south of Tehran, designed to produce heavy water for the production of plutonium for use in nuclear weapons.
Amazingly, there will be people that will read this article and leave comments defending Iran.
How in the world can you defend a regime that habitually lies and deceives the rest of the world?
If the Iranians had just been honest, they could have gotten an overwhelmingly lopsided deal from the Obama administration. And if they had actually stuck to the deal, the Israelis probably would not have attacked them for at least a few years.
But now all bets are off. At this point, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that the Obama administration has totally given up on the goal of preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Just check out comments that he made during a speech earlier this week…
“I respect the White House and the President of the United States but on such a fateful matter, that can determine whether or not we survive, I must do everything to prevent such a great danger for Israel,” Netanyahu said in a speech.
He said world powers had pledged to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, adding that “from the agreement coming together it appears they have given up on this commitment“.
So if the Israelis believe that the diplomatic approach is dead, what does that leave?
War is coming, and it might be sooner than most of us think.
It is not likely that Israel will attack Iran before the Israeli elections. But after the elections are over, anything can happen.
And there are already reports coming out of the Middle East that Saudi Arabia has offered to let Israel use Saudi airspace for an attack on Iran…
Saudi Arabia is prepared to let Israeli fighter jets use its airspace if it proves necessary to attack Iran’s nuclear program, an Israeli TV station reported Tuesday, highlighting growing ties in the shadow of Tehran’s nuclear drive.
Riyadh’s only condition is that Israel make some kind of progress in peace talks with the Palestinians, Channel 2 reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed senior European source.
“The Saudi authorities are completely coordinated with Israel on all matters related to Iran,” the European official in Brussels said.
The Saudis hate Iran and do not want to see the Iranians get nuclear weapons either. So an attack by Israel on Iran would serve their interests.
And if the Saudis can use this crisis to push for a Palestinian state, that is all the better as far as they are concerned.
But of course if a Palestinian state is established in the aftermath of a war between Israel and Iran, that will just set the stage for even more war.
We are entering a time of great geopolitical instability. Wars and rumors of wars seem to be the order of the day.
And thanks to the duplicity of the Iranians, World War III could erupt in the Middle East at any time.
So would do you think of these developments? Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…
Israel and Hezbollah are at war. On top of everything else that is going on in the world, now we have a new war in the Middle East, and nobody is quite certain what is going to happen next. Israel has been preparing for this moment for more than 8 years. So has Hezbollah. According to some reports, Hezbollah has amassed an arsenal of 50,000 rockets since the end of the Hezbollah-Israel war in 2006. If all-out warfare does erupt, we could potentially see tens of thousands of missiles rain down into an area not too much larger than the state of New Jersey. And of course the Israeli military is also much more sophisticated and much more powerful than it was back in 2006. If cooler heads do not prevail, we could be on the verge of witnessing a very bloody war. But right now nobody seems to be in the mood to back down. Hezbollah is absolutely fuming over an airstrike earlier this month that killed six fighters and a prominent Iranian general. And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Israel is “prepared to act powerfully on all fronts” in response to a Hezbollah ambush that killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded seven. Just such an incident is what sparked the war between the two sides back in 2006. But this time, a conflict between Israel and Hezbollah could spark a full-blown regional war.
Earlier this month, Israel launched a surprise assault against a group of Hezbollah fighters that Israel believed was planning to conduct terror attacks inside their borders.
But in addition to killing six Hezbollah fighters, a very important Iranian general was also killed. Needless to say, Iran is furious…
Iran has told the United States that Israel should expect consequences for an attack on the Syrian-controlled Golan Heights that killed an Iranian general, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Revolutionary Guards General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi died alongside six fighters from Lebanon’s Hezbollah group in the January 18 attack on forces supporting President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war.
And we didn’t have to wait too long for a response. An IDF convoy was hit by anti-tank missiles near the Lebanon border. Two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven were wounded. The following is how the Jerusalem Post described the attack.
The terrorists launched five or six anti-tank missiles from a distance of at least four kilometers from their targets, striking the vehicles as they drove two kilometers from the international border.
In the heavy Hezbollah ambush, a military D-Max vehicle containing a company commander and his driver from the Givati Brigade was the first vehicle hit.
This prompted all of those inside an IDF jeep behind it to quickly evacuate their vehicle before it, too, was hit and destroyed with missiles.
Just over an hour after that attack, mortar rounds struck an Israeli military position on Mt. Hermon.
In response to those strikes, the Israeli military hit back at Hezbollah positions on the other side of the Lebanese border…
Israel struck back with combined aerial and ground strikes on Hezbollah operational positions along the border, the military said.
At least 50 artillery shells were fired at the villages of Majidiyeh, Abbasiyeh and Kfar Chouba, according to Lebanese officials.
But Israel is probably not done.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is promising a “disproportionate” response to the Hezbollah attacks, and he says that Hezbollah should consider what Israel recently did to Hamas before taking any more aggressive action…
“To all those trying to challenge us on the northern border, I suggest looking at what happened here, not far from the city of Sderot, in the Gaza strip. Hamas absorbed the hardest blow since it was founded last summer, and the IDF is ready to act with force on any front.”
If things continue to escalate, we might not just be talking about another Hezbollah-Israel war.
In the south, tensions between Israel and Hamas remain near all-time highs. In the event of a full-blown war, Hamas probably could be easily convinced to join the fray. And if Hamas jumps in, the rest of the Palestinians might not be far behind.
In addition, ISIS now has territory near the border with Israel…
Because of the strategic importance of the terrain, Iran and Hezbollah have been building infrastructure there for some time. But their interest in the Golan skyrocketed in December.
The reason: ISIS gained a foothold there when the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade of the Free Syrian Army “defected” from the de facto alliance with the U.S.-Arab coalition against Assad, and declared its allegiance to ISIS. The Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade had been one of the most active rebel factions holding territory directly adjacent to the “area of separation” between Syria and Israel administered (in theory) by the UN. In particular, it has held the southern line of confrontation with Syrian regime forces, in the transit corridor leading to the Quneitra border crossing.
Needless to say, ISIS would be extremely interested in any conflict with Israel.
And of course there are all of the other surrounding Islamic nations that are not too fond of Israel either.
The truth is that the Middle East is a perpetual tinderbox. One spark could set the entire region on fire.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama continues to do all that he can to undermine Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The animosity between the two is well known, and now an “Obama army” of political operatives has been sent to Israel to help defeat Netanyahu in the upcoming elections.
The “leader” of this “Obama army” is Jeremy Bird, who was the national field director for Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign. But he has plenty of company. Just check out the following list that was compiled by WND…
Besides Bird, the 270 Strategies team includes the following former Obama staffers:
- Mitch Steward, a 270 Strategies founding partner who helped the Obama campaign build what the U.K. Guardian called “a historic ground operation that will provide the model for political campaigns in America and around the world for years to come.”
- Mark Beatty, a founding partner who served as deputy battleground states director for the Obama campaign. He had primary responsibility for Obama’s election plans for the battleground states.
- Marlon Marshall, a founding partner at 270 Strategies who joins the team after holding several key positions in national Democratic politics, most recently as deputy national field director for the 2012 Obama campaign.
- Betsy Hoover, a founding partner who served as director of digital organizing on the Obama campaign.
- Meg Ansara, who served as national regional director for Obama for America where she was responsible for overseeing the 2012 programs in the Midwest and southern states.
- Bridget Halligan, who served as the engagement program manager on the digital team of the 2012 Obama campaign.
- Kate Catherall, who served as Florida deputy field director for Obama’s re-election campaign.
- Alex Lofton, who most recently served as the GOTV director of Cleveland, Ohio, for the 2012 Obama campaign.
- Martha Patzer, the firm’s vice president who served as deputy email director at Obama for America.
- Jesse Boateng, who served as the Florida voter registration director for Obama’s re-election campaign.
- Ashley Bryant, who served most recently as the Ohio digital director for the 2012 Obama campaign.
- Max Clermont, who formerly served as a regional field director in Florida for Obama’s re-election campaign.
- Max Wood, who served as a deputy data director in Florida for the 2012 Obama campaign.
As the first month of 2015 wraps up, our world is becoming increasingly unstable.
In addition to the oil crash, the collapse of the euro, looming stock market troubles, civil war in Ukraine, tensions with Russia, an economic slowdown in China and imploding economies all over South America, now we have more war in the Middle East.
And if lots of missiles start flying back and forth between Israel and Hezbollah, it could potentially spark the bloodiest war in that region that any of us have ever seen.
So what do you think about the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah? Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…
In addition to all of our wars in the Middle East and the war that has erupted on the streets of America, we are now engaged in a cyber war with North Korea and an economic war with Russia. Without a doubt, the United States has the capability to do a tremendous amount of damage to both of them. But what about the damage that they could potentially do to us? We have a society that is absolutely teeming with soft targets. Our Internet infrastructure is extremely vulnerable, our debt-based economic system is already teetering on the edge of disaster, and government officials freely admit that security at key facilities such as power plants is sorely lacking. And these kinds of bitter conflicts have a way of escalating. The North Koreans and the Russians are both very proud, and neither one is going to back down any time soon. If a foreign power wanted to really make us hurt, it wouldn’t take much imagination at all. There are thousands of ways to do it. So Americans should not just smugly assume that we are untouchable. In a war, it is often those that are overconfident that get hurt the worst.
Last week, Barack Obama blamed North Korea for the nightmarish hack attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment and he promised that the U.S. would respond.
Well, it looks like that response began on Monday. According to Bloomberg, North Korea’s connection to the Internet was totally cut off…
North Korea’s limited access to the Internet has been cut off, according to a network-monitoring company, days after the U.S. government accused the country of hacking into Sony Corp. (6758)’s files.
North Korea, which has four official networks connecting the country to the Internet — all of which route through China — began experiencing intermittent problems yesterday and today went completely dark, according to Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Needless to say, that got the attention of the North Koreans.
On their end, the North Koreans are still denying that they had anything to do with the attack on Sony. And we may never know the actual truth. In reality, Russia could have carried out such an attack. Or it could have been the Chinese. Or it could have even been a false flag cyberattack conducted by a three letter U.S. agency. We just don’t know.
But what we do know is that North Korea is now vowing to take action against “the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland“…
“The DPRK has already launched the toughest counteraction. Nothing is more serious miscalculation than guessing that just a single movie production company is the target of this counteraction. Our target is all the citadels of the U.S. imperialists who earned the bitterest grudge of all Koreans,” a report on state-run KCNA read.
“Our toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland, the cesspool of terrorism,” the report said, adding that “fighters for justice” including the “Guardians of Peace” — a group that claimed responsibility for the Sony attack — “are sharpening bayonets not only in the U.S. mainland but in all other parts of the world.”
So can North Korea back up those bold words?
We shall see.
But without a doubt our Internet infrastructure is very vulnerable. As I have written about previously, our big banks are under Internet attack every single minute of every single day. And in recent months we have seen a whole host of retailers and major corporations get hacked.
This is an emerging threat that should not be underestimated. As a society, we have become extremely dependent on the Internet, and these attacks are constantly becoming more powerful and more sophisticated.
I think that Steve Quayle put it very well during one recent interview…
“Cyberwarfare is increasing dramatically as we speak. There are serious concerns about the ability of the United States’ banking system to whether extremely sophisticated cyberattacks. The Sony breach is just one example of how a detrimental cyberattack can bring one of the world’s most prominent entertainment giants to its knees.”
And we do know that the North Koreans take hacking very seriously.
In fact, it has been reported that North Korea has a small army of hackers that are continually harassing the western world known as “Unit 121″…
Just like in a Bond movie, an army of teenage geniuses tap away at keyboards in fortified complex tucked away from prying eyes in a rogue state, bent on bringing cyber-carnage to their Western enemies on the orders of their leader who is bent on revenge.
But this isn’t the plot line from a film. This is North Korea in 2014. And the cyber-warriors inside have diverted from their usual work of disrupting governments and big business to turn their collective fury on Sony.
The building, the Kim Il-Sung Military Academy, is one of four North Korean universities known to train children, hand-picked for their intelligence from all around the country, and turn them into recruits for an elite group of hackers simply known as Unit 121 or Bureau 121.
Meanwhile, the struggle between the United States and Russia over Ukraine has escalated into a full-blown economic war.
At first, both sides started slapping each other with relatively minor economic sanctions.
But then things started escalating. I think that things really began to get serious for the U.S. when Russia started to make moves against the petrodollar. This is not something that has been reported on much at all by the mainstream media in the United States, but it is a very big deal. If you want to become enemy #1 in the eyes of the U.S. government, just start attacking the petrodollar. So when Russia began cutting the U.S. dollar out of oil and natural gas transactions, that definitely got the attention of some folks in Washington. You can read much more about what Russia has been doing in this regard in this article, this article and this article.
Of course Washington was not just going to sit back and let this happen. The Obama administration has retaliated by going after two of the most important pillars of the Russian economy – oil and the ruble. And without a doubt, a tremendous amount of damage has already been done.
At this point, Russia is facing a full-blown currency crisis, major banks are starting to fail and economists are forecasting a deep recession for next year…
The central bank bailed out its first victim of the collapsing currency, authorities announced a tax on grain exports to protect domestic stocks and a Reuters poll of 11 economists predicted that Russia’s gross domestic product would fall 3.6 percent next year.
Russia has been hit by what Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev recently called a “perfect storm” of plummeting oil prices, sanctions related to its military action in Ukraine, and a flight of investors’ capital — made worse by a lack of structural reforms that means the economy is overwhelmingly dependent on oil revenues.
But don’t count out the Russians just yet.
They are a very crafty people, and they are not afraid to fight dirty.
And it is important to keep in mind that the Russian Bear never forgives and it never forgets. Most Americans don’t realize this, but right now anti-American sentiment in Russia is actually higher than it was at the end of the Cold War era. Many Russians believe that this is a new Cold War, and that the United States is the greatest force for evil on the entire planet.
So while many Americans view this current conflict as a temporary foreign policy tussle about Ukraine, many Russians view this as a long-term struggle that is absolutely critical to the future of humanity. If you doubt this, you should check out some of the things that their leading thinkers have been saying.
This conflict between the United States and Russia is not going to end any time soon. And someday down the road, it could evolve into something more than just an economic war. But before that happens, the Russians have a whole host of other ways that they can damage us.
Yes, the United States can hurt Russia.
But Russia can also hurt us.
In the end, this conflict is not going to be good for anyone.
Russian soldiers and Ukrainian soldiers are now shooting at each other in eastern Ukraine. Could this conflict ultimately lead us down the road to World War 3? This week, a very robust force of “tanks, artillery and infantry” has opened up a “third front” in the Ukrainian civil war in a part of southeastern Ukraine that had not seen much fighting yet. Exhausted Ukrainian forces are suddenly being pushed back rapidly and many outsiders are wondering how the nearly defeated rebels were able to muster such impressive military strength all of a sudden. But it really isn’t much of a mystery. The tanks, artillery and infantry came from inside Russia. In recent days, Ukrainian units have captured ten Russian paratroopers and there have even been funerals for Russian paratroopers that have been killed in action back home in Russia. Even though it has become exceedingly obvious that Russia is now conducting a stealth invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin is still choosing to deny it. But if he did publicly admit it, that would be even more dangerous. Barack Obama would be forced into a position of either having to do something about the Russian invasion or look weak in the eyes of the public. And as the Russians have already shown, they are more than willing to match any move that the Obama administration makes.
There has already been much written about who is to blame for all of this, and I am sure that much more will be written about who is to blame in the future. The western world is blaming “Russian aggression” for the mess in Ukraine. In return, the Russians point out that it was westerners that funded and organized the groups that violently overthrew the democratically-elected government of Ukraine. To the Russians, the current government of Ukraine is made up of neo-Nazi terrorist usurpers that are attempting to brutally oppress millions of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.
So the Russians seem themselves as “the good guys” in this conflict and so does the western world. But that is how most wars start. Both sides usually feel morally justified at the start of a conflict.
In the final analysis, however, is it really going to matter very much who was “right” and who was “wrong” if the end result is World War 3?
If the rebels in eastern Ukraine had been able to defeat the Kiev government forces on their own, Putin probably would have been content to let them do that. But instead, they had been pushed back to two major cities and seemed on the verge of defeat.
But now it is the Ukrainian forces that are experiencing “panic and wholesale retreat”…
Tanks, artillery and infantry have crossed from Russia into an unbreached part of eastern Ukraine in recent days, attacking Ukrainian forces and causing panic and wholesale retreat not only in this small border town but a wide swath of territory, in what Ukrainian and Western military officials are calling a stealth invasion.
The attacks outside this city and in an area to the north essentially have opened a new, third front in the war in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists, along with the fighting outside the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.
How is this happening?
It is the Russians of course.
In fact, if you talk to Ukrainian soldiers, they are very clear on who they are fighting now…
“I tell you they are Russians, but this is what proof I have,” said Sgt. Aleksei Panko, holding up his thumb and index finger to form a zero. Sergeant Panko estimated about 60 armored vehicles crossed near Novoazovsk. “This is what happened: they crossed the border, took up positions and started shooting.”
The Ukrainian Vinnytsia brigade met the cross-border advance over the six miles of countryside separating Novoazovsk from the Russian border, but later retreated to the western edge of town along the Rostov-Mariupol highway, where soldiers were collapsed in exhaustion on the roadside. “This is now a war with Russia,” Sergeant Panko said.
And as I mentioned above, Ukrainian forces have even captured ten Russian paratroopers. Rather than denying who they are, the Russian government is claiming that they wandered into Ukraine by mistake…
Ten Russian soldiers were detained in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, that country’s Security Service said Tuesday, as tensions simmered over the conflict between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels.
The Russian soldiers were captured with documents and weapons on them, the Security Service said.
Moscow has repeatedly denied claims by Kiev that it has sent troops and weapons over the border into Ukraine, where the Ukrainian military is fighting pro-Russian rebels.
Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited a source in the Russian Defense Ministry as saying the soldiers had been patrolling the border and “most likely crossed by accident” at an unmarked point.
The denials that Russian forces are actively operating inside eastern Ukraine have become so absurd that even some in the Russian press are openly questioning them. For example, just check out this excerpt from a USA Today article that was posted on Wednesday…
Vedomosti, a liberal business daily, published an editorial Wednesday on events in Ukraine under the headline, “Are We Fighting?”
It noted the recent capture of the Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory and reports of “mysterious funerals” of Russian soldiers, some of whom are officially counted dying during training exercises.
“The number of questions that hang in the air of the dead and detained Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine has reached a critical number. Does Russia fight in Ukraine and, if so, on what grounds? If not, then who is in those freshly dug graves or giving testimony at SBU (Russian Security service) interrogations?”
A Bloomberg editorial contained some more details about the “mystery funerals” that have been taking place inside Russia…
One such burial, of two soldiers, took place in the village of Vybuty near Pskov in northwestern Russia, where an airborne division is based. Efforts to conceal the deaths produced a fiasco. Though the wife of one paratrooper had reported his death on the Vkontakte social network, when a reporter, Ilya Vasyunin of the Russian Planet website, called the wife’s phone number, a woman who answered stated that the paratrooper was alive and well. Two reporters, from Russian Planet and TV Dozhd, who visited the cemetery where the two fresh graves had been seen were immediately attacked by men in black tracksuits. Local journalists, however, succeeded in photographing the graves. According to the independent TV Dozhd, the soldiers’ names and wreaths have been removed from the graves.
There are other reports of paratrooper funerals, which are hard to conceal. Soldiers have grieving families who do not necessarily share the authorities’ desire for deception. In any case, Ukrainian troops have captured some Russian paratroopers. For the first time since the conflict began in March, they were able to record interviews with them.
Sadly, most Americans are not paying much attention to this conflict.
Most Americans are not really going to care much about a war on the other side of the planet that does not directly involve us.
But they should care.
Because things are about to escalate to a level that we rarely saw even during the darkest moments of the Cold War. Relations between the United States and Russia are spiraling downhill, and that could end up having a huge impact on all of our lives.
For example, in my previous article entitled “Russia Is Doing It – Russia Is Actually Abandoning The Dollar“, I discussed how this tug of war over Ukraine was causing Russia to think about moving away from the petrodollar. Well, it turns out that now the Russians are actually taking concrete steps toward abandoning the petrodollar for good…
The Russian oil company Gazprom Neft has agreed to export 80,000 tons of oil from Novoportovskoye field in the Arctic; it will accept payment in rubles, and will also deliver oil via the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline (ESPO), accepting payment in Chinese yuan for the transfers, the Russian business daily Kommersant reported Wednesday.
The Russian government and several of the country’s largest exporters have widely discussed the possibility of accepting payments in rubles for oil exports.
Last week, Russia began to ship oil from the Novoportovskoye field to Europe by sea. Two oil tankers are expected to arrive in Europe in September. According to Kommersant, the payment for these shipments will be received in rubles.
That is huge news, but you probably haven’t heard a thing about it on the big mainstream news networks.
Meanwhile, one thing that you probably have heard about is how “Russian hackers” attacked JPMorgan Chase earlier this month…
Russian hackers attacked the U.S. financial system in mid-August, infiltrating and stealing data from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and at least one other bank, an incident the FBI is investigating as a possible retaliation for government-sponsored sanctions, according to two people familiar with the probe.
The attack resulted in the loss of gigabytes of sensitive data, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the probe is still preliminary. Authorities are investigating whether recent infiltrations of major European banks using a similar vulnerability are also linked to the attack, one of the people said.
As relations between the United States and Russia continue to decline precipitously, both sides will be looking for ways to hurt one another.
And that won’t be good for any of us.
So let us hope that cooler heads prevail.
But ultimately, this current conflict could end up taking us to a destination that the Cold War never did.
World War 3 will probably not happen next week, next month or even next year, but right now we are on a road which could eventually lead to the unthinkable.
Let us pray that our politicians are able to find the exit ramp at some point.
ISIS is marching through city after city in Iraq, and they are doing it with American weapons. Thanks to a series of stunning victories in recent months, ISIS has captured a vast array of U.S. military equipment including trucks, Humvees, rockets, artillery pieces and Stinger missiles. When the U.S. was pulling out of Iraq, we were extremely generous to the new Iraqi army. We basically armed them to the teeth with equipment that U.S. taxpayers paid for. But now that the new Iraqi army is folding like a 20 dollar suit in the face of ISIS jihadists, vast quantities of that military equipment are falling into the hands of some of the most radical jihadists the world has ever seen. And considering the fact that ISIS also recently seized the equivalent of nearly $500 million in cash from a bank in Mosul, the leadership of ISIS won’t be having much problem buying anything else that they might need either. ISIS is getting stronger with each passing day, and they are not going to be satisfied until the Iraqi government has been toppled. It is a geopolitical mess of epic proportions, and there don’t seem to be any easy solutions on the horizon.
To say that the new Iraqi army has been incompetent would be a massive understatement. Not only have they run away like scared kittens from these jihadists, they have also left behind staggering amounts of weaponry for them. According to the Los Angeles Times, ISIS has captured “the weapons stores of the 2nd and 3rd [Iraqi army] divisions in Mosul, the 4th division in Salah al Din, the 12th division in the areas near Kirkuk, and another division in Diyala”. And we aren’t just talking about rifles and ammunition. We are talking about some pretty impressive hardware…
Government forces retreated en masse from the onslaught, leaving behind a military hardware bonanza, including the U.S.-made armored Humvees as well as trucks, rockets, artillery pieces, rifles, ammunition, even a helicopter. Some of the seized materiel was old or otherwise non-functioning; but a lot was promptly put to use on the battlefield.
Pictures of grinning Islamist warriors cruising in U.S. Humvees bedecked with white-on-black militant flags flooded the Internet and became the signature image of the ISIS rampage.
ISIS social-media enthusiasts even mocked the global #BringBackOurGirls Twitter campaign, referring to girls kidnapped by an Al Qaeda offshoot in Nigeria. ISIS sympathizers began tweeting #BringBackOurHumvee.
One of the most popular photos mocking the Obamas and the U.S. military under the #BringBackOurHumvee hashtag is posted below…
We have become a laughingstock to ISIS. They know that we are not going to invade Iraq again. So they are laughing at us as they use our own equipment to take over the country.
It is estimated that the military equipment that ISIS has captured so far could equip an army of 200,000 soldiers. No wonder ISIS is recruiting more fighters so vigorously.
But wait, there’s more.
As WND has documented, members of ISIS were actually trained by U.S. personnel at a secret base in Jordan back in 2012…
Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan, according to informed Jordanian officials.
The officials said dozens of ISIS members were trained at the time as part of covert aid to the insurgents targeting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The officials said the training was not meant to be used for any future campaign in Iraq.
The Jordanian officials said all ISIS members who received U.S. training to fight in Syria were first vetted for any links to extremist groups like al-Qaida.
So U.S. taxpayers have not just paid for their weapons.
We have also paid for their training.
Not only that, but ISIS has also captured the Al Muthanna chemical weapons facility.
According to WND, some officials are concerned that ISIS may be able to use that sarin gas production facility to start churning out poison gas…
And they also may be working with a man who’s known for his expertise in making sarin, a manmade toxin that was developed in Germany and can, according to the Centers for Disease Control, produce loss of consciousness, convulsions, paralysis and death in victims who are exposed.
The revelations comes as the State Department acknowledged that ISIS has captured a stockpile of old chemical weapons at the Al Muthanna chemical weapons production complex as its fighters sweep through Iraq’s Sunni- controlled region.
The access to a sarin poison gas production facility, and the man with the expertise to operate it, is the result of a new alliance between the brutal jihadist fighters and Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who was a top military commander and vice president to the deposed Saddam Hussein.
And the folks running ISIS are crazy enough to do just about anything. They are stone cold killers that will go to extreme lengths to advance their cause. If you are not very familiar with ISIS yet, the YouTube documentary posted below contains some footage from some of their recent triumphs…
Iraq is literally being torn to pieces by this conflict, and even young boys are getting swept up into the fighting.
For example, check out this excerpt from a recent Daily Beast article…
It was a surprising sight. The customers standing in Haj Hamdoun’s store in central Mosul watched as a masked child came into the shop, bought what he wanted without saying a word and then left again, carrying a bag containing candies and milk in one hand and a heavy machine gun, which was just about as big as him, in the other.
This was Abdullah, who appears to be the city’s youngest volunteer with the Sunni extremist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, that took control of Mosul over two weeks ago.
Abdullah is not yet 11 years old. But his older brother and his father, who was a senior member of ISIS, were killed in fighting between the group and Iraqi security forces in 2013. That’s why Abdullah joined ISIS, although he is far from the only child in its ranks.
And the photo of a 13-year-old ISIS fighter below comes from the ISIS Media Hub on Twitter…
So where does all of this end?
For ISIS, the conquest of Iraq and Syria would just be the beginning. Ultimately, ISIS intends to establish a caliphate that will rule the entire Middle East (and eventually the entire world).
And who is going to stop them from taking over Iraq? These radicals are more than willing to die for what they believe in, and the Iraqi army has been pretty pathetic so far.
The United States seems to have very little interest in another Iraq war, and other nations would probably be extremely hesitant to intervene as well.
So who is going to stop ISIS?
And is there a larger geopolitical agenda at work here?
Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…