Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How did our predictions for 2015 pan out? by The Wayne Madsen Report

How did our predictions for 2015 pan out?

Famed baseball player Yogi Berra, who we lost in 2015, once said: "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." That considered,let's look back at our predictions made for 2015 and check the scorecard.


Prediction #1In the movie "Back to the Future - Part II," when Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, is propelled into the future 30 years, there were gravity-defying hover boards. That year was supposedly 2015. Instead, 2015 will see cops shooting teens on earth-bound skateboards and other teens on the street because the cops deem them to be a public "threat." This is prediction number #1: the United States will see a continuation of police violence aimed against the civilian population and the consequential revenge killings of police officers. Rather than random acts of violence against the police, we will be told by Homeland Security and the FBI that these attacks on the police are organized and, thus, we will see a more intrusive surveillance state in which local police departments will begin to have some of the same high-tech surveillance powers of the National Security Agency.

The record: In 2015, we did witness a continuation of police shooting youth, especially black teens, on the streets often without provocation. And police are in possession of sophisticated cell phone surveillance equipment. There were no widespread revenge killings of police officers, except for a few probable cases.

Prediction #2: The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) will do exactly what its name indicates -- expand further into the Levant, that region that not only includes Syria but also Lebanon and Jordan. There will be an expansion of ISIL-held territory in Sunni areas of eastern Lebanon and northeastern Jordan near the Iraqi border. The U.S. and Iran will continue to cooperate militarily, albeit at a low-level, against ISIL in northern Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan.

The record: ISIL did further expand its territory in Iraq and Syria, that is, until Russia entered the conflict and ISIL gains were reversed. ISIL did attack Beirut in twin suicide bombings in November and in June the predominantly Christian village of 
Ras Baalbek in Lebanon was attacked by the Islamist group. In April, ISIL mercenaries from French, Belgian and Senegalese attacked the Jordanian-Iraqi border crossing at Turaibil.

Prediction #3: As a signatory to the International Criminal Court treaty, Palestine will begin the process of holding Israel responsible for crimes against humanity. The ICC's heretofore sole focus on Africa and the Balkans will begin to include the opening of investigations with a view toward prosecution of senior Israeli political and military leaders. More Western nations will recognize Palestine, including France, Italy, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's electoral loss to the opposition Liberal Party, led by Justin Trudeau, will curtail the present extremely close relations between Canada and Israel and result in a Canadian foreign policy more favorable to the Palestinian cause.

The record: In June, Palestine did hand over to the ICC a file on Israeli war crimes committed against the Palestinian people. The Belgian
Chamber of Representatives passed a resolution recognizing Palestine in February. Greece's parliament voted to recognize Palestine this month. Harper was defeated by Trudeau and Canada's Middle East policy moderated to a small extent.
Prediction #4: An agreement will be reached between Russia and the EU that will basically concede eastern Ukraine to a "federal-lite" Ukraine with the present self-declared republics of Donetsk and Lugansk retaining their Russian-language rights for education, the media, police services, and municipalities and regional government. However, political changes in Germany that will begin to spell the end of the Angela Merkel government will result in the EU conceding Crimea to Russia for a "cooling off" period of 10-15 years. The Ukrainian prime minister may have already tipped his hand on this prediction by suggesting that Crimea's future might best be left to the next generation.

The record: A "cold peace" did break out in eastern Ukraine with sporadic cease fire violations coming mostly from the Ukrainian side. Merkel was under tremendous pressure from Italy, Greece, and France to lighten up sanctions against Russia. A number of European right-wing parties supported Russia's annexation of Crimea.

Russia will continue, under Vladimir Putin, to shore up its Eurasian Union. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the BRICS economic alliance will both establish permanent headquarters, SCO in Shanghai, BRICS in New Delhi. The Eurasian Union, which will have strong ties to SCO and BRICS, will establish its secretariat in Moscow and begin accepting membership by Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Iran, and possibly, China, Mongolia, Egypt, and North Korea.  Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan will be holdouts as they worry about the value of the Russian ruble and the future of the Russian economy, which will begin to bounce back from sanctions only applied to any great degree during the coming year by the United States and Canada prior to the fall of Harper from power.

The record: The Eurasian Union established its secretariat in Moscow. SCO established its headquarters in Beijing instead of Shanghai. India and Pakistan were admitted as SCO members in 2015. Tajikistan took steps to join the Eurasian Union in 2015.

Prediction #5: Saudi King Abdullah, now 91 and ailing, will die. Crown Prince 
Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud will become King. Allegations that King Salman played a role in the 9/11 attack against the United States will force the disclosure, still in redacted form, of the 28 missing pages from the Congress's "Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001." The disclosure will pin on King Salman and current Saudi leaders involvement in the 9/11 attack. That fact, alone, will open a Pandora's Box of other leads on pre-knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, leads that will extend from the CIA to Israel.

The record: King Abdullah died in 2015 and was succeeded by the more conservative Wahhabist Salman. The Saudi lobby effectively helped block the release of the 28-pages.

Prediction #6: The source of the methane plumes on Mars will be identified by NASA as coming from very basic microbial life forms underneath the frozen Martian surface. However, this disclosure will shake the religious community between fundamentalists and pragmatists. Pope Francis will step in to support the thesis that life does exist beyond the Earth and it, too, was created by God.

The record: Although NASA did not conclude methane plumes on Mars were from microbial life, it did reveal that liquid water, a prerequisite for life as we know it, does flow on Mars.

Prediction #7: One former U.S. president will die and there will be a state funeral on a proclaimed federal holiday.

Although we had George H W Bush in mind, Jimmy Carter announced that he was suffering from brain cancer. Fortunately for Carter, his treatment was successful and he announced he was cancer-free.

Prediction #8: A Supreme Court vacancy will open up a battle royal between President Obama and the Republican-led Senate. One presidential nominee will fail to achieve Senate confirmation before another nominee is successful.

A Supreme Court vacancy did not open up. However, there is always the possibility of a vacancy in 2016, a volatile election year in which the Republicans control the Senate.

Prediction #9: Two politicians, in addition to Hillary Clinton, will declare their intention to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Jeb Bush will force Marco Rubio to drop his plans to run for the GOP nomination. At year's end, there will be 10 Republican candidates for president and 3 Democrats. GOP candidates at or above 1 percent as of today: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, John Kasich, and Mike Huckabee. We're not counting the less than 1 percenters: George Pataki, Jim Gilmore, and Rick Santorum.

Will take a bow in this one. As of today, there are three Democratic presidential candidates: Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley. Although Bush turned up the political heat on Rubio, the junior senator from Florida remained a candidate.

Prediction #10: The Chicago Cubs will win the World Series. Close is only good enough in horse shoes and hand grenades and close was not good enough for the Cubbies. They did make it to the National League Championship playoffs but were done in by the Mets thus scotching a World Series slot.

Ahead: Our 2016 predictions.