There is only one Cabinet-level federal Department that is so wasteful — so corrupt (&/or incompetent) — that its financial records can’t even be audited, meaning that no auditors can be found who will certify its books: the Defense Department, otherwise called «the Pentagon» — it’s 54% of the Fiscal Year 2016 federal budget for all Departments of discretionary (i.e., legally non-obligatory) federal spending, as shown here:
A Politico and Morning Consult poll, a scientific sampling of 1,992 registered American voters, which was first published on March 8th, asked «Here is a list of federal departments and agencies. For each of the following, please indicate if you think the department or agency should have its annual budget increased, decreased, or kept about the same». Here is what it found:
In other words: as compared to cutting the incredibly wasteful $625 billion Aggression Department (euphemistically called the ‘Defense Department’), Americans are more favorable toward cutting almost all of the constructive Departments: cutting the State Department (not shown in the pie-chart except as ‘International Affairs’, but it was actually allocated in FY 2017 $37.9 billion), cutting the $41,6 billion that’s shared between the Energy Department and the EPA, and cutting the Interior Department (which expenditures are generally not shown online, such as in the pie-chart above, or here), or Commerce Department (also generally not shown), or HUD (which was allocated $37.5 billion in FY 2017), or Justice (which was allocated $28.7 billion in FY 2017) or Labor (which also is generally not shown), or Agriculture (which also is generally not shown, but might be the $13,3 billion shown on the pie-chart above for «Food & Agriculture»), or Transportation ($27.4 billion on that pie-chart, but generally not shown), or Education ($74.1 billion on that pie-chart, and $68.3 billion allocated for FY 2017).
Furthermore, the $625 billion for ‘Defense’ excludes such things as the CIA, whose costs the federal government does its best to hide from the public, but without the CIA, America’s coups overthrowing foreign governments (such as here), wouldn’t even be possible, notwithstanding that they actually are part of America’s ‘Defense’ expenditures, though not at the Pentagon — so, the $625 billion ‘Defense’ figure is clearly an understatement of the reality (even if those expenditures actually helped produce the 9/11 attacks and overall reduce the safety of Americans — but that’s another question entirely).
As is clear from the above, the U.S. federal government does its best to make inscrutable its financial records, and so even organizations that try to inform the public about federal expenditures in ways that the public can easily make sense of, have enormous difficulty doing it, and really cannot do it for all federal Departments; but, by far the most untrustworthy numbers of all are those that are given for ‘Defense’, even though that’s so gigantic that even our federal officials haven’t yet found a way to make ‘Defense’ seem to be less than half of all federal discretionary spending. Americans live (though never informed of this) in a war-state, today’s Sparta, a nation at perpetual war, in order to overthrow (either by the Pentagon or by the CIA) governments around the world that the actual powers-that-be in this country do not like.
The Morning Consult & Politico poll also found that when asked «As you may know, a special prosecutor is generally a lawyer from outside the government who is appointed by the Attorney General or Congress to investigate a government official for misconduct while in office. Do you support or oppose appointing a special prosecutor to investigate alleged ties between Donald Trump‘s campaign staff and Russian government officials?»
37 % «Strongly support» and 17% «Strongly oppose», while 20% «Somewhat support» and 14 % «Somewhat oppose». Given figures like that, the pressure on Congress to pressure the White House on this will be very «Strong». For the Administration to continue to resist would only weaken the Administration. Of course, the lowest support for this came from Republicans (39% «Support» versus 50% «Oppose) and the highest support came from Democrats (75% «Support» versus 16% «Oppose»), but if Trump continues to oppose it, his re-election chances will be greatly damaged because the issue will look worse for him as time goes by and as he continues to resist. 82% of the respondents who said that they had voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 were in «Support» of «appointing a special prosecutor,» and the 2016 Presidential election was close; so, if Trump continues to oppose on this, he’ll almost certainly be a one-term President — if even that (Democrats could get their wish and overthrow Trump and install Pence instead, though they would actually like President Pence even less, except that his thirst for war against Russia is even greater than what Trump now is showing in order to satisfy Democrats plus John McCain and Lindsey Graham).
There is so much that is essential for the American public to know and to understand, that they are instead confused and misinformed about; but the powers-that-be benefit greatly by the public’s misinformation and confusion, and so it will certainly continue; but is this democracy, or is it dictatorship — and, if the latter, then whom is it actually serving? Who is Big Brother? Actually?
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
Copyright © Eric Zuesse, Strategic Culture Foundation, 2017
Israel: America’s Mad Dog in Syria
Israel has played an increasingly provocative role in the destructive conflict unfolding within and along Syria’s borders since 2011. To many observers, it appears Israeli policy borders between opportunistic and unilateral aggression. In reality, Israel’s role in the Syrian conflict fits a much larger and long-term pattern with Anglo-American plans not only for Syria but for the entire region.
A more recent row between Israel and Syria was the reported incursion of Israeli warplanes into Syrian airspace, including attacks near the eastern Syrian city of Palmyra. Palmyra hosts an ongoing battle between Syrian forces and the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS) terrorist organization. Israeli airstrikes against Syrian forces – then – would have facilitated ISIS operations in the region.
Israel is a State Sponsor of Terror, Not a Champion Against it
Israel has existed as a nation-sized, de facto forward operating base for Anglo-American interests since its creation in the 20th century. It has pursued aggressive regional policies that have intentionally pitted itself against its neighbors as a means of maintaining a Western foothold and point of leverage in North Africa and the Middle East for decades.
Ongoing conflicts between Israel and Palestine are fueled by an orchestrated strategy of tension between a manipulated Israeli population and controlled opposition – Hamas – politically backed, armed, and funded by Israel’s own regional collaborators including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
When proxy military operations began against the Syrian state in 2011 under the cover of the US-engineered “Arab Spring,” Israel along with Jordan and Turkey, played a direct role in backing militants and undermining Damascus.
While Jordan has played a more passive role, and Turkey a more direct role in facilitating proxy militant forces, Israel has played the role of “unilateral provocateur.” While Turkish, US, and other “coalition” forces are unable to directly attack Syrian forces, Israel – posing as a unilateral regional player – can and has done so regularly since 2012.
CNN in its article, “Israeli jets strike inside Syria; military site near Palmyra reportedly targeted,” would note:
In November 2012, Israel fired warning shots toward Syria after a mortar shell hit an Israeli military post, the first time Israel had fired on Syria across the Golan Heights since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Israeli jets have been striking targets in Syria since at least 2013, when US officials told CNN they believed IDF jets had hit targets inside Syrian territory.
CNN would also report:
Israeli strikes may have gone as far inside Syria as the capital. In 2014, the Syrian government and an opposition group both said an IDF strike had hit Damascus’ suburbs and airport.
And while Israeli politicians and military officials claim their aggression seeks to stop the transfer of weapons to terrorist organizations, organizations they deem as “terrorist” are in fact the sole forces within Syria fighting actual, internationally recognized terrorist organizations including Al Qaeda, its various subsidiaries and affiliates, as well as the Islamic State itself.
Paradoxically, these genuinely terrorist organizations have existed along Israel’s border enjoying de facto protection from Israeli forces from Syrian military operations.
Israel’s Role as America’s “Mad Dog” is No Secret
Israel’s geopolitical role as “unilateral mad dog” has been a matter of stated US policy since at least the 1980s – and in specific reference to America’s repeated attempts to undermine and overthrow the Syrian state amid much larger objectives aimed at Iran and the region as a whole.
A 1983 document – part of a deluge of recently declassified papers released to the public – signed by former CIA officer Graham Fuller titled, “Bringing Real Muscle to Bear Against Syria” (PDF), states (their emphasis):
Syria at present has a hammerlock on US interests both in Lebanon and in the Gulf — through closure of Iraq’s pipeline thereby threatening Iraqi internationalization of the [Iran-Iraq] war. The US should consider sharply escalating the pressures against Assad [Sr.] through covertly orchestrating simultaneous military threats against Syria from three border states hostile to Syria: Iraq, Israel and Turkey.
The report also states:
If Israel were to increase tensions against Syria simultaneously with an Iraqi initiative, the pressures on Assad would escalate rapidly. A Turkish move would psychologically press him further.
In 2009, US corporate-financier funded policy think tank, the Brookings Institution, would publish a lengthy paper titled, “Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran” (PDF), in which, once again, the use of Israel as an apparently “unilateral aggressor” was discussed in detail.
Of course, a US policy paper describing planned Israeli aggression as part of a larger US-driven conspiracy to attack, undermine, and ultimately overthrow the Iranian state reveals there is nothing “unilateral” at all about Israel’s regional policy or its military operations.
In 2012, the Brookings Institution would publish another paper titled, “”Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change” (PDF), which stated:
Some voices in Washington and Jerusalem are exploring whether Israel could contribute to coercing Syrian elites to remove Asad.
The report continues by explaining:
Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself.
Once again, the use of Israel as one of several regional provocateurs executing policy as part of a larger US-orchestrated conspiracy is openly discussed.
As each Israeli incursion into Syria unfolds – regardless of the details, claims, and counterclaims made regarding each incursion – it should be analyzed within the context of US interests, not “Israeli” interests. And regardless of the details of each incursion, the ultimate purpose is to escalate the conflict continuously until Syria and its allies react and provoke a much larger, direct military conflict the US and others amid its axis of aggression can openly participate in.
It should be noted that in Brookings’ 2009 paper, “Which Path to Persia?,” using Israeli attacks to provoke an Iranian response and thus justify direct US military intervention involving everything from an air campaign against Tehran to a full-scale US invasion and occupation were among the centerpieces of the policy paper.
It is clear that an identical policy is now being pursued against Syria. Unveiling the true nature of Israel’s incursions into Syria and resisting the temptation to escalate the conflict further is key to confounding US designs and rendering the provocations of its proxies – including Israel and Turkey – moot.
Copyright © Tony Cartalucci, New Eastern Outlook, 2017
Israel Escalating Aggression In Syria
On Sunday, Lebanon’s al-Manar TV said an Israeli drone struck a car in Quneitra province near Golan in southwest Syria, killing two members of the National Defense Forces, allied with Syria’s military.
An IDF spokesperson declined to comment on the incident. Syrian media didn’t report it. Eyewitnesses said Israeli planes breached Syrian airspace in areas bordering both countries.
In January, an Israeli helicopter attack killed an Iranian general and several Hezbollah fighters in Quneitra province, including the son of the group’s late military commander, Jihad Mughniyeh.
Sunday social media reports said senior Hezbollah officer Yasser Assayed was one of the individuals killed when the vehicle he was traveling in was attacked by an Israeli drone.
Separately on Sunday, IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot said
Israeli forces are monitoring “changes in the Lebanon and Syrian sectors. In Lebanon, Hezbollah continues its efforts to rearm with lethal and more precise weaponry whose purpose is to hit the Israeli home front…”
“The recent declarations from Beirut make it clear that in a future war, the targets will be clear: Lebanon and the organizations operating under its authority and its approval. We are protecting our security interests and acting to prevent weapons transfers to Hezbollah and will make every effort to prevent it in the future as well.”
Fact: Hezbollah poses no threat to Israel or any other country.
Fact: It requires military preparedness to be able to respond effectively to an Israeli attack. Earlier ones occurred in 1967, 1978, 1982, 1993, 1996 and 2006 – besides numerous belligerent incidents.
Israel still illegally occupied Sheba Farms, 14-square miles of water-rich land near Syria’s Golan, seized in 1967 along with Lebanon’s Ghajar village.
For half a century, Israel repeatedly breached Lebanese airspace, launching attacks on its territory and neighboring Syria.
US officials wrongfully call Iran, Syria and Hezbollah the root cause of regional terrorism. America and Israel hold that distinction.
Their provocative actions seem bent on escalating Middle East conflicts. Planned regime change in Syria, if successful, would isolate Iran, leaving it vulnerable to US/Israeli attack.
Both countries seek unchallenged regional dominance, weakening Russia and China if achieved.
Ongoing US-instigated conflicts look likely to continue. Israel attacking Syrian territory twice since Friday is cause for concern.
Are more provocations planned? Trump intends deploying thousands more US combat troops to the region, larger numbers likely earmarked for Syria. Defense Secretary Mattis and Pentagon commanders want a permanent US presence in Iraq.
Instead of cooperating with Russia in combating terrorism, confrontation seems more likely.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Copyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2017