Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Today's Links

Song--Che'Guevara



1---Russian jets halt rebel advance on Syria base


2--Right-Wing Terrorism in Venezuela


3--Exposing the Guardian's Lies About Venezuela


4--Terror in Britain: What Did the Prime Minister Know?


5--Trump Dumps Pretension Of Altruism From U.S. Foreign Policy


The president embarked on his first foreign trip with a clear-eyed outlook that the world is not a “global community” but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage. We bring to this forum unmatched military, political, economic, cultural and moral strength. Rather than deny this elemental nature of international affairs, we embrace it.
Translation: "Power is with the strong. We feel strong. Screw you!"
At every stop in our journey, we delivered a clear message to our friends and partners: Where our interests align, we are open to working together to solve problems and explore opportunities. We let adversaries know that we will not only take their measure, deter conflict through strength, and defend our interests and values, but also look for areas of common interest that allow us to work together. In short, those societies that share our interests will find no friend more steadfast than the United States. Those that choose to challenge our interests will encounter the firmest resolve.

6--U.S. Wants Control Over Anbar And Beyond - Iraq and Syria Will Prevent It


7--Manuel Noriega and US militarism 


8--Satanists are responsible for chaos in the Middle East (Putin on Russian Orthodox Church)


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has recently taken a political chainsaw and started to cut warmongers who created chaos in the Middle East to pieces. He unapologetically declared:
“Libya was bombed and its government was violently overthrown. It was turned into a backyard for terrorists and criminals. The regime was changed with the help of those [militants], who came from Europe.

“They were free to leave their countries because everybody knew where they were going and what they were going to do there. And then they were welcomed back. Now, we just see the consequences of these irresponsible policies.”[...

“More than 6,700 soldiers have been killed so far in those two conflicts, and over fifty thousand have been wounded in action, about 22 percent with traumatic brain injuries.
“Furthermore, as always happens in war, many of the combatants are psychological casualties, as they return home with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression.
“The Department of Veterans Affairs reported in the fall of 2012 that more than 247,000 veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars have been diagnosed with PTSD. Many of those soldiers have served multiple combat tours.

“It is hardly surprising that the suicide rate in the U.S. military increased by 80 percent from 2002 to 2009, while the civilian rate increased only 15 percent. And in 2009, veterans of Iraq were twice as likely to be unemployed as the typical American.
 “On top of all that, returning war veterans are roughly four times more likely to face family-related problems like divorce, domestic violence and child abuse than those who stayed out of harm’s way.

“In 2011, the year the Iraq War ended, one out of every five active duty soldiers was on antidepressants, sedatives, or other prescription drugs.
“The incidence of spousal abuse spiked, as did the divorce rate among military couples. Debilitating combat stress reached epidemic proportions. So did brain injuries. Soldier suicides skyrocketed

9--Hillary explains US Korea policy


10-- Obama-Era Officials Subpoenaed By House Intel Committee In Trump "Unmasking" Probe


According to the WSJ, Republicans on the committee have been pushing for a thorough investigation of how the names of Trump campaign officials became exposed in classified intelligence reports based off intelligence community intercepts. Specifically, the three "unmaksing" subpoenas seek information on requests made by former national security adviser Susan Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan and former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power for names to be unmasked in classified material

11--More felonies committed by the American Espionage Spies (leakers)



13--Obama intel agency secretly conducted illegal searches on Americans for years


14--Putin's Eurasian Union


15--Putin you tube


Putin---  we are not advocates for the assad government or for Assad himself. and we don't want to interfere in the internal schism of Islam itself--between Sunni and Shia. But we need to look at what has taken place in the Middle East. Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia are all experiencing social unrest. Libya is undergoing inter-ethnic, inter-tribal war. The entire region has been engulfed in uncertainty and war.  And now Syria is headed down the same path, because some people from the outside (The US) think they can shape the region to fit their idea of "democracy". Without taking into consideration the history, the traditions, and  the religious particularities.


So they interfered in Libya and what's going on now?

A war for resources, an endless inter-tribal war.


When will it end?


Nobody knows.


And what worries us, is that if the same is done to Syria it will end up like Libya. Isn't it enough that we already have a lawless territory between Pakistan and in Afghanistan? This is close to our borders, we don't want another territory like that. .


We also want Syria to have a lasting peace, and for all Syrians to be protected by the law. So our position has always been that you should structure your laws to guarantee the safety of all your ethnic groups. And only when that is achieved, should the country implement any systemic changes. (The US) wants it the other way around. First, oust everyone, then plunge the country into chaos. ...


Where is the logic? How will this all end?



NOTES---


The Russian-trained "5th Corps" of the Syrian Army is leading the advance, and judging by the photographs we've been sent by our source in the field, Russian forces are involved as well—not just in the air, but on the ground as well.
A hundred thousand people have been encircled and besieged In Deir ez-Zor, first by rebels and then by ISIS, for over three years now.
http://russia-insider.com/en/military/exclusive-photos-russian-forces-help-syrian-army-ambush-isis-tanks-march-deir-ez-zor-begins

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/russian-forces-arrive-southern-syria/

one current officer made the point to me that “this is the kind of war for which the Spetsnaz have been training for thirty years” — he was referring to the Soviet experiences in Afghanistan, which very much set the tone for them. He continued, “if we wanted to fight the war [in Syria], we’d be using Spetsnaz.”
https://warontherocks.com/2016/03/the-three-faces-of-russian-spetsnaz-in-syria/

https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/153117/NeighbourhoodPolicyPaper(04).pdf
https://www.rt.com/usa/389840-us-voters-russia-enemy/

https://southfront.org/sdf-vows-to-prevent-corridor-between-iran-and-syrian-regime-media/

Iraqi Government Confirms Cooperation With Syria, Iran And Russia To Secure Syrian-Iraqi Border (Video)
https://southfront.org/iraqi-government-confirms-cooperation-with-syria-iran-and-russia-to-secure-syrian-iraqi-border-video/
https://southfront.org/iraqi-government-confirms-cooperation-with-syria-iran-and-russia-to-secure-syrian-iraqi-border-video/
secure the border with Syria

http://english.enabbaladi.net/archives/2017/05/al-tanf-base-washington-damascus-tehran-crossing/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy5F5nDuXYY  Maria Zakharova spills the beans: US run by gangsters and thugs


http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/maria-zakharova-spokeswoman-sanity/ri19756

Zakharova recorded many of the Diplomatic meetings from October 2015 and, what she revealed, explains the anti Russian hate we've seen from western politicians and media since that time.

The Russian Diplomats were warned by the US Diplomats that if Russia went ahead and assisted Syria's Assad, Russia would 'be in a world of hurt and discover what real pain is.'
This was their direct warning.
The US clearly spelled out to the Russians that, whatever good work that they did in Syria or, any positive results they achieved in reality, would be manipulated by a professional media company to cancel out their real results and, turn them around to make it look like they are the real cause of the problem.
For instance, they were told, "Are you going to fight the Terrorists? You'll be made to look like the Terrorists! You'll be made to look like the aggressor!"

The Diplomatic threats were made at the highest levels of the Diplomatic Corps and not only once but, numerous times.

Zakharova seemed aghast that this is what constituted for diplomacy via the elite members of the most advanced Democracies in the world.
She claimed that serious questions about ISIS and Syria's future that were posed by the Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, were continually blocked in the UN Security Council by these same Diplomats.
Zakharova claims absolute collusion with the western media by these powerful people which, shows the level of control they wield over the western world media.
She said as the campaign in Syria progressed and, ISIS's advance was halted, the warnings turned into threats

Once the precision bombing of the Russian Air Force, as well as the number of sorties they could fly daily became apparent, their language became more aggressive

She said, "Now threats were being voiced, not just by fellow Diplomats but, by members of the State Department and the White House itself."
What had been said behind closed doors was now being stated publicly.
State Department Spokesman John Kirby said at this time, "Extremist groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which could include attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities. Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and will continue to lose resources, perhaps even aircraft."
Zakharova viewed that statement as a direct threat by Kirby and suggested, that Kirby was possibly giving a direct order to the ISIS militants. She wrote on her Facebook page at the time,


"Is that a go get em command?"

She claimed that Kirby's statement insinuated that the US had direct control over the insurgents and that they were directing them....

...
She claimed that Obama's Administration was viewed by other world diplomats as a subject of disgust and say's that his administrations attitude of exclusivity, served to send one message to the rest of the world which was, "That the most powerful military force has unlimited rights to create evil in the world".

http://russia-insider.com/en/military/trump-keeps-us-jihadist-alliance-going-strong/ri19956



Monday, May 29, 2017

Today's Links

1--Zbigniew Brzezinski, architect of the catastrophe in Afghanistan, dead at 89


Asked specifically whether he regretted the CIA’s collaboration with and arming of Islamist extremists, including Al Qaeda, in fomenting the war in Afghanistan, Brzezinski responded contemptuously: “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”...


In an article published in the September-October1997 issue of Foreign Affairs, Brzezinski argued:

“Eurasia is the world’s axial supercontinent. A power that dominated Eurasia would exercise decisive influence over two of the world’s three most economically productive regions, Western Europe and East Asia. A glance at the map also suggests that a country dominant in Eurasia would almost automatically control the Middle East and Africa. With Eurasia now serving as the decisive geopolitical chessboard, it no longer suffices to fashion one policy for Europe and another for Asia. What happens with the distribution of power on the Eurasian landmass will be of decisive importance to America’s global primacy and historical legacy... In a volatile Eurasia, the immediate task is to ensure that no state or combination of states gains the ability to expel the United States or even diminish its decisive role.”

Expanding on this thesis in his book The Grand Chessboard, Brzezinski voiced his concern about the major obstacle to Washington pursuing such an aggressive drive for hegemony: the hostility of the vast majority of the American people to war.

He wrote: “... America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America’s power, especially its capacity for military intimidation. Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifices (casualties even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization.” [The Grand Chessboard, Basic Books, pp. 35-36].

2--The rift between Germany and America: A “watershed” moment

Addressing a Munich beer tent rally on Sunday, Merkel said: “The times when we could fully rely on others are to some extent over—I experienced that in the last few days. We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands.”...

In a Twitter message, US Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass said they were a “watershed.” The scenario was “what the US has sought to avoid” since World War II.

3--What did the UK government know?

British intelligence received warnings that Manchester bomber was plotting attacks


Abedi was effectively given a free hand by MI5 to launch a terrorist attack. The Daily Mail’ s revelations add to mounting evidence of the role of British intelligence services and successive governments in cultivating Islamist terror networks and protecting these “assets” as part of their regime-change operations in Libya and Syria.....

These explosive revelations raise a number of questions that must be answered:
  • Why did MI5 drop its investigation into Salman Abedi, and who authorised this?
  • Why was he able to travel freely throughout the European Union and Middle East, including to known terror hubs?
  • Did MI5 inform Theresa May’s government of the threats to strike a political target in Britain?
  • How was he able to receive thousands of pounds in student loans to finance his activities, including travel and the renting of multiple residencies in the lead-up to last Monday’s attack, despite not attending university?

Explosive allegations have emerged that the UK’s MI5 intelligence agency had prior warning of Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi planning a terrorist atrocity.

On May 22, Abedi detonated a shrapnel-laden improvised explosive device outside a performance in Manchester by American singer Ariana Grande, killing 22 people, many of whom were children, and wounding 116.

According to the Mail on Sunday, “the FBI told MI5 that Abedi was part of a North African Islamic State cell plotting to strike a political target in the UK.”
The FBI passed these warnings to MI5 in January, after placing Abedi on their terrorist watch list in 2016. An unnamed “security source” told the Daily Mail that the FBI informed MI5 that Abedi “belonged to a North African terror gang based in Manchester, which was looking for a political target in this country.”

He continued: “Following this US tip-off, Abedi and other members of the gang were scrutinised by MI5. It was thought at the time that Abedi was planning to assassinate a political figure. But nothing came of this investigation and, tragically, he slipped down the pecking order of targets...

4--U.S. Wants Control Over Anbar And Beyond - Iraq and Syria Will Prevent It

The U.S. is casting its net over the desert between Iraq and Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to install military bases and power-structures that will guarantee major influence in the area for the foreseeable future. A part of that plan is to develop Sunni proxy forces that will keep the government forces of Damascus and Baghdad out of the area. Another part is to privatize important infrastructure to keep it under direct U.S. control.
To privatize the Iraqi Highway 1 between Baghdad and the Jordanian capital Amman, is a major point in these plans. According to the NYT:
As part of an American effort to promote economic development in Iraq and secure influence in the country after the fight against the Islamic State subsides, the American government has helped broker a deal between Iraq and Olive Group, a private security company, to establish and secure the country’s first toll highway....

Highway 1 and its branch to Damascus is the most important economic lifeline between Syria and Jordan in the west and Iraq and beyond in the east. Whoever controls it, controls major parts of commerce between those countries. Iraq is a country with rich resources. While it is under economic strains after decades of U.S. sanctions and war against it by the U.S. and Takfiri proxy forces it has no long-term need to rent out such major real estate....

A U.S. controlled west-Iraq and south-eastern Syria would be a highway for Saudi Arabian miscreants from their country up towards Baghdad and Damascus. It would be an incarnation of the "Salafist principality" the U.S. and other early ISIS supporters have wished for since at least 2012..

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960307000751 indicates that the US and Britain are removing their forces from the southern Syrian-Iraqi border crossing of Al Tanf. What is even more interesting is the alleged deployment of a Russian mountain brigade to secure the Jordanian-Syrian border which will effectively shut down any more attempts to carve out a a US dominated area in this part of the Syrian desert. Thinking in terms of pipelines, this effectively cuts the Saudi's out of the pipeline game and also reduces their influence in Turkey. It also preserves Russian oil dominance in Europe. A month or so ago I suggested that the US would not extend the Kurdish zone south of Raqqa, primarily because the long game in oil favors N Iraq over the Saudi’s. It also seems that this will keep Erdogan far more dependent on the US. Saudi oil would have given his economy a much needed boost and made him far more independent and unreliable for US interests

5--The Debate – Syria advances on eastern fronts (must watch)

6--Seth Rich  crosstalk

7--World in flames - the deadly legacy of Cold War warrior Brzezinski

8--Operation “Grand Dawn” Post 2 - TTG

 The gauntlet has been thrown down. Who will blink first? 

“Russian paratroopers and special forces arrived in the Al-Sweida Governorate of southern Syria this week, following the U.S. attack on a pro-government convoy near the Iraqi border-crossing, a military source told Al-Masdar News last night. The Russian military personnel will take the role of advising the Syrian government troops in southern Syria, while also helping to deter any potential response from the U.S. and Jordanian forces that have carved a niche in the Al-Sweida and Homs governorates.

According to some media activists in southern Syria, the Russian forces are planning to build a base along the Al-Sweida Governorate’s border with Jordan; however, this could not be confirmed by Al-Masdar News. Rumors have also surfaced regarding the deployment of the 31st Brigade of the Russian special forces; they are allegedly meant to engage the enemy forces and help the government troops seize the Iraqi border-crossing.”  (AMN) ...

On Saturday, the SAA deployed the 800th Battalion of the Republican Guards in the eastern Zuluf reserve area on the Syrian-Jordanian border.  The battalion 800 is among the best equipped Syrian forces, and all of its tanks have active protection systems Sarab-1 or 2 and thermal sights, which may indicate that the SAA may be preparing for a possible confrontation with US forces in al-Tanf.”  (South Front)
———————————————
 Well so much for our story that these "rebels" were only there to take on the IS jihadis. They are there to take on the SAA with the ultimate goal of toppling the Assad government. All with the full backing of the US-led Coalition and the Trump administration... at least for now.

9--Illegal Spying Under Obama by Publius Tacitus

It is fascinating to observe the media contortions as they go to extreme lengths to ignore profound and important news. I am referring specifically to the revelations that the National Security Agency, under the stewardship of Barack Obama, was illegally spying on Americans. Here's the story:

A newly released court opinion from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) shows that for years the NSA improperly and perhaps illegally surveilled Americans. The court order triggered the surprise announcement two weeks ago that the agency would be severely scaling back its domestic surveillance and destroying previously collected data on Americans.
Thursday, the Department of Justice released the 99-page court opinion from last month that ordered the National Security Agency to delete much of its surveillance on American people, which was collected improperly and in potential violation of the Fourth Amendment. The DOJ released the opinion as part of a 2015 plan to be more transparent.
The NSA collected data about Americans if they even mentioned a foreign target...

Instead of focusing on this revelation--i.e., that the Obama Administration was illegally intercepting the communications of many Americans--most of the media is still busy ridiculing Trump for his claim that Obama had him "wire tapped" and obsessing over an anonymous report that Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had talked with Russia's Ambassador last December and allegedly conspired to set up a private means of communication.
 
Hardly anyone has focused on the irony of Kushner being concerned about Obama and his cronies intercepting Trump campaign communications while we are getting news that is exactly what transpired under Obama. There is no genuine protection for private communications.
 
I am shocked by the intensity of the propaganda campaign against the Trumpers and against the Russians. Having worked on covert action programs during my time in the intelligence community, I do have an appreciation and understanding about how such campaigns are mounted and carried out. What is being done inside the United States by our foreign intelligence organizations signals we have crossed a dangerous threshold. Our traditional beliefs about privacy and the requirement for a warrant before authorities can poke around in your personal affairs are no longer valid. 
 
Normally we would expect the so-called liberal media to attack such abuses and lead the charge against the law breakers. But these are not normal times. The media, for the most part, are partisan hacks who are so opposed to Trump that they will gladly embrace authoritarian, fascist tactics as long as they are directed against the Trump Presidency

10--Secret court rebukes NSA for 5-year illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens


Notes: 
Brzezinski’s support for these radical elements led directly to the formation of al-Qaeda, which literally translates to “the base,” as it was the base in which to launch the repulsion of the anticipated Soviet invasion. It also led to the creation of the Taliban, a deadly entity currently deadlocked in an endless battle with NATO forces.
Further, despite Brzezinski’s statements, which attempt to depict a lasting defeat of the Russian empire, the truth is that for Brzezinski, the cold war never ended. Though he was a critic of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Brzezinski’s stranglehold over American foreign policy continued right up until his death
https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/05/no_author/real-story-zbigniew-brzezinski/


BA: No, the United States always seeks to control all the states of the world without exception. It does not accept allies, regardless of whether they are developed states as those in the Western bloc, or other states of the world. Every state should be an American satellite. That is why what is happening to Syria, to Korea, to Iran, to Russia, and maybe to Venezuela now, aims at re-imposing American hegemony on the world, because they believe that this hegemony is under threat now, which consequently threatens the interests of American economic and political elites.

Richard N. Haass

@RichardHaass
Merkel saying Europe cannot rely on others & needs to take matters into its own hands is a watershed-& what US has sought to avoid since WW2

What does ISIS teach in its schools? The books of Sheikh Muhammad b. Abd-al-Wahhab, the Wahhabi books. What is Al-Qaeda's ideology? Wahhabism. Who created it? Saudi Arabia....

Do you see how in this summit all Saudi Arabia's care and concern was to say what? A sentence pronounced by King Salman: that Iran is the source of terrorism, the heart of international terrorism since the victory of the Khomeini Revolution, according to his words. Since the victory of the Revolution of the glorious Imam Khomeini. These grotesque remarks were pronounced by the King Salman. Iran is the heart of global terrorism? Is it Iran that created Al-Qaeda? Is it Iran that created ISIS? Is it Iran that created the Taliban? Is it Iran that created these Wahhabi movements and armies? Is it Iran that financed them and armed them?...

ISIS started in Saudi Arabia, ISIS not only has Saudi ideology, but its money is Saudi, its leaders are Saudi, and the hopes that were placed in ISIS were Saudi. That’s it.
Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on May 25, 2017, on the occasion of the seventeenth anniversary of the Liberation of Southern Lebanon

https://southfront.org/results-russian-military-campaign-syria-october-2016-may-2017


Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article152947909.html?#emlnl=Afternoon_Newsletter#storylink=cpy





Saturday, May 27, 2017

Today's Links

"Southfront reports that “the Iraqi government has officially confirmed a cooperation with Syria, Iran and Russia to secure the Syrian-Iraqi border. According to the Iraqi Interior Ministry, there is a cooperation between the four countries on this issue. The Iraqi media also [quoted] Iraqi officials [saying] that Iraq and its allies will not allow establishing of any ‘buffer zone’ between the two countries.”"  Alastair Crooke

Brennan said Russia used WikiLeaks as a "cut-out," or go-between, and that protests by WikiLeaks that it is not working with Russia and Russia's claims it is not working with WikiLeaks are "disingenuous." NPR (Who are you going to believe: Brennan or Assange?)


1--Russiagate Timeline


2--CIA director warned Russian security service chief about interference in election


3--CIA was original source of Trump-Russia investigation


How did the FBI's investigation into the Trump-Russia connection get started, anyway? Former CIA director John Brennan says he was the one who got the ball rolling:

“I encountered . . . intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign,” Brennan said, adding that he did not see conclusive evidence of collusion but feared that Trump associates were wittingly or unwittingly being used to advance the interests of Moscow.


4--New Cracks in Russia-gate ‘Assessment’

5--Over 60% of US voters say Russia is enemy – poll

6--Former CIA Director Tells Lawmakers About 'Very Aggressive' Russian Election Meddling

While Brennan would not specifically identify any individuals associated with the Trump campaign who had contacts with Russian officials and would not opine as to whether there was any collusion or collaboration, he did tell lawmakers why he was concerned about the contacts occurring against the general background of Russian efforts to meddle in the election...

Brennan told the committee he believed that Russia anticipated that Clinton would be the likely winner of the presidential race, and that Russia tried to "damage and bloody" her before Election Day. Had she won, Brennan said, Russia would have continued to attempt to "denigrate her and hurt her" during her presidency

7--Battle of Aleppo


8--Some ISIS Commanders Joined US-backed ‘Moderate Opposition’ In Southeastern Syria


It is believed that “Ghassan al-Sanki” was one of ISIS most prominent commanders in the town of Al-Bukamal located near the Syrian-Iraqi border. Many ISIS fighters in Deir Ezzor are believed to be ex-FSA fighters who joined ISIS when it captured the oil fields in the area. Now they are leaving ISIS that is losing a major part of its financial resources.

The FSA in Deir Ezzor was known for its strong relationship with ISIS in Iraq and Syria and its work on smuggling fighters and arms into Iraqi territory, where it played a key role in strengthening the presence of the terrorist group. The FSA in Deir Ezzor was the first to establish illegal oil trade with Turkey

9--The Turning Point?

While the war in Syria is far from over, the events of October 2016 through May 2017 will likely be described as its turning point that enabled the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance to assume strategic offensive and dictate the tempo of operations. In turn, various rebel forces, including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and Ahrar al-Sham are no longer displaying the ability to launch offensive operations capable of yielding major results....

While the liberation of the city of Aleppo was the greatest success of this period of the war. Furthermore, it had an important implication in both military and diplomatic fields. Jabhat al-Nusra and other militant groups have burned a large number of military equipment and manpower in failed attempts to break the Aleppo siege. They lost a major part of experienced infantry and spent a large amount of weapons, including anti-tank guided missiles and Grad-type rockets, during the battle for Aleppo. This predetermined their defensive posture during next months of the war....

Thus in some ways the current military situation is vastly better than it was in October of last year, thanks to the liberation of Aleppo, the reduction of several rebel-held enclaves, and the heavy losses inflicted on ISIS on several fronts. The operations of the next six months will potentially have to contend with a factor that hitherto was absent, namely the growing presence of US-led coalition troops on Syrian territory.
The US-led coalition has responded to the SAA victories with intensification of operations in southeastern Syria with a goal to build a buffer zone between Syrian government forces and the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units that are rapidly growing to the most influential force in Iraq. The Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance realized the thereat and intensified operations in the area. At the same time, the Syrian Democratic Forces with a large support of the US-led coalition’s airpower, artillery and special forces troops are preparing to storm the ISIS self-proclaimed capital of Raqqah. The competition for the Syrian-Iraqi border and for the oil-reach Deir Ezzor province has officially started

10--Putin's Eurasia policy

11--Operation Grand Dawn

"On Thursday, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies announced start of the Operation “Grand Dawn in eastern Syria. The aim of the operation is to expel militants from the eastern desert and to set a foothold for a push to Deir Ezzor. The declaration followed a major success of government forces in southeastern Homs where they had liberated about 5,000 km2 and got a full control over the Damascus-Palmyra highway.

ISIS deployed a force for a counter-attack but its formidable military convoy was fully destroyed by the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Air Force en route to the Zaza triangle area. Thus, the terrorist group defense lines just collapsed.

The government advance south of the Homs-Palmyra highway also allowed government forces to isolate Jaish al-Islam militants in eastern Qalamoun and to prevent their attempt to unite efforts with US-backed militant groups operating near the Syrian-Jordanian border"  southfront

12--"Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.


More links--

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/05/25/pers-m25.html
http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/Sean-Hannity-Fox-News-Seth-Rich-advertiser-boycott-vacation.html

https://www.rt.com/uk/389694-libya-abedi-lifg-cameron/

https://www.rt.com/business/389675-eu-may-force-denmark-euro/

https://www.rt.com/uk/389686-mi5-surveillence-manchester-terror/

Iraqi Government Confirms Cooperation With Syria, Iran And Russia To Secure Syrian-Iraqi Border (Video)
https://southfront.org/iraqi-government-confirms-cooperation-with-syria-iran-and-russia-to-secure-syrian-iraqi-border-video/
https://southfront.org/iraqi-government-confirms-cooperation-with-syria-iran-and-russia-to-secure-syrian-iraqi-border-video/
secure the border with Syria

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54491

http://www.activistpost.com/2017/05/syrias-assad-just-explained-how-america-really-works.html
https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/153117/NeighbourhoodPolicyPaper(04).pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Aleppo_(2012%E2%80%932016)

http://original.antiwar.com/jwhitehead/2017/05/22/americas-reign-of-terror/

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53151


the US-led coalition has two strategic objectives:
  • To not allow the SAA and its allies to reach the border with Iraq;
  • To set a foothold for a rapid and successfull storm of Raqqah, forcing civilians to flee the city with an intense bombing campaign.
  • http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/05/26/aren-m26.html
  • http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/05/26/ahca-m26.html
  • http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/05/26/snap-m26.html
  • http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/05/24/bren-m24.html
  • http://anotherdayintheempire.com/salman-abedi-strategy-tension/
  • http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/poll-americans-increasingly-believe-russia-helped-trump-win-election/article/2624091?link_id=12&can_id=&source=email-were-dealing-with-a-new-type-of-war-lie&email_referrer=were-dealing-with-a-new-type-of-war-lie&email_subject=were-dealing-with-a-new-type-of-war-lie
  • Trump said on Thursday, speaking in Brussels at a ceremonial unveiling of a memorial to the victims of the September 2001 terrorist attacks.The NATO of the future must include a great focus on terrorism and immigration, as well as threats from Russia, and on NATO's eastern and southern borders,"
  • https://www.rt.com/news/389716-trump-nato-terrorism-russia-migrants/

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Today's links

1--  16 Russian Spetsnaz hold off 300 jihadists in Aleppo


The commander of the group who was named a Hero of the Russian Federation said earlier that they were part of a 16-strong Russian military unit which managed to successfully repel attacks by 300 jihadists.

2--Superpowers at War--US-led coalition fights Russia-led coalition in Syria  (sanctions represent economic warfare)


Thus in some ways the current military situation is vastly better than it was in October of last year, thanks to the liberation of Aleppo, the reduction of several rebel-held enclaves, and the heavy losses inflicted on ISIS on several fronts. The operations of the next six months will potentially have to contend with a factor that hitherto was absent, namely the growing presence of US-led coalition troops on Syrian territory.

The US-led coalition has responded to the SAA victories with intensification of operations in southeastern Syria with a goal to build a buffer zone between Syrian government forces and the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units that are rapidly growing to the most influential force in Iraq. The Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance realized the thereat and intensified operations in the area. At the same time, the Syrian Democratic Forces with a large support of the US-led coalition’s airpower, artillery and special forces troops are preparing to storm the ISIS self-proclaimed capital of Raqqah. The competition for the Syrian-Iraqi border and for the oil-reach Deir Ezzor province has officially started.

3--Trump’s scorched-earth budget: $1.7 trillion in cuts to vital social programs (must read)


4--Ex-CIA director’s testimony fuels new round of anti-Russian agitation


The chronology outlined by Brennan actually suggests that alleged Russian interference in the 2016 campaign was not considered an urgent issue by the Obama administration and the US intelligence apparatus during that period, despite claims to the contrary more recently.

Brennan indicated that the CIA was the first US government agency to become aware of alleged Russian efforts to interfere in the election campaign during July 2016. That was when, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party first made the claim that the Russian government was responsible for hacking Democratic National Committee emails and collaborating with WikiLeaks to leak them, so as to embarrass Clinton and tip the election to Trump.

In his testimony Tuesday, Brennan said he raised the matter with the White House and on August 4 gave a warning to his Russian counterpart, Alexander Bortnikov, head of the Russian intelligence agency FSB. The warning came at the end of a phone call in which the main subject was Syria, with Russian harassment of US diplomats in Moscow and Russian actions in relation to the US elections raised only at the end—an indication that the matter was not a high priority or considered a serious danger.

“I believe I was the first US official to brace Russia on this matter,” Brennan added, an assertion that makes the chronology even more curious. According to the semi-official narrative, the FBI learned of hacking attacks on the Democratic National Committee in the summer of 2015 and the attacks were supposedly linked soon after to two units of Russian military intelligence.
If that story is true, why did Brennan become the first US official to raise the issue with Moscow, a full year later?

Moreover, if Brennan’s call to Bortnikov on August 4, 2016 was an expression of great concern on the part of the Obama administration, why did Obama wait until December 29, 2016 to take any retaliatory action? The time sequence actually suggests that the White House regarded Russian actions around the US elections (if any) as a minor irritant, fully expecting a Clinton victory, until after the actual debacle for the Democrats on Election Day

5--Media meltdown over President Trump

The ravening MSM types in most of the available platforms for propaganda are eagerly awaiting DT's return from overseas so that it can get on with the its basic objective - impeachment.  Neither CNN nor MSNBC makes any effort in disguising their essential focus on impeachment.  The level of their fascination with this now extends to their network  news services own advertising.  MSNBC now runs a staged ad in which a woman reporter is portrayed as chasing a congressman down a hallway while badgering him for "answers" to hypotheticals as to what he will do if Trump is "proven" to have obstructed justice.  It is now evident (to me) that "obstruction of justice" will be the main thrust of the impeachment drive.  Mueller's investigation of Comey's various statements, memos and the like now seems to be intended to elicit evidence of President Trumps supposed obstruction.  Since he has a grand jury at his disposal and is conducting a criminal investigation (as opposed to the congressional counter-intelligence investigations) Mueller's investigation could easily result in an indictment of President Trump if that is legally possible with a sitting president.  IMO that would trigger a resolution of impeachment in the House of Representative.  DNI Dan Coats declined this morning before the US Senate to state whether or not Trump had tried to persuade him to help in shutting down the Russia collusion investigations.  This is probably a preview of what others may say to Mueller under oath.  This may well be the crack of doom for Trump

6--Draining the swamp in Saudi Arabia?


7--Trump Lets Saudis Off on 9/11 Evidence


8--Growing Poverty Fuels Europe’s Extremism


9--New Cracks in Russia-gate ‘Assessment’


President Obama’s ex-intelligence chiefs admit they limited input into the Russia-gate “assessment,” which was handled by “hand-picked” analysts, raising the specter of politicized intelligence

Pre-Cooked Intelligence

However, the restricted nature of the Jan. 6 report – limiting it to analysts from CIA, NSA and FBI – blocked the kind of expertise that the State Department, the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies might have provided. In other words, the Jan. 6 report has the look of pre-cooked intelligence.

That impression was further strengthened by the admission of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on May 8 that “the two dozen or so analysts for this task were hand-picked, seasoned experts from each of the contributing agencies.”
Yet, as any intelligence expert will tell you, if you “hand-pick” the analysts, you are really hand-picking the conclusion. For instance, if the analysts were known to be hard-liners on Russia or supporters of Hillary Clinton, they could be expected to deliver the one-sided report that they did.



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Today's Links

1--Bending the rules? US takes Al Qaida off its terrorist watchlist


Washington finds a way to support terror in Syria


2--US Arms Makers’ Stocks at Record Highs on Saudi Deal


          Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Seen as the Biggest 'Winners'


3--Independents rise while GOP and Dems fall


4--Shaping The Future: Moscow And Beijing's Multipolar World Order


5--America's Reign of terror (Today's must read) 


As Reuters reported back in 2013:

Even as the US government confronts rival powers over widespread Internet espionage, it has become the biggest buyer in a burgeoning gray market where hackers and security firms sell tools for breaking into computers. The strategy is spurring concern in the technology industry and intelligence community that Washington is in effect encouraging hacking and failing to disclose to software companies and customers the vulnerabilities exploited by the purchased hacks. That’s because US intelligence and military agencies aren’t buying the tools primarily to fend off attacks. Rather, they are using the tools to infiltrate computer networks overseas, leaving behind spy programs and cyber-weapons that can disrupt data or damage systems

6--The Donald’s Risible Rendezvous in Riyadh

7--Trump’s Embarrassing Saudi Visit

8--Trump Cozies up to its Terrorist Enemy Saudi Arabia

Trump targeted Iran, saying,
But no discussion of stamping out this threat would be complete without mentioning the government that gives terrorists all three – safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment. It is a regime that is responsible for so much instability in the region. I am speaking of course of Iran.

From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror. It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.

Among Iran’s most tragic and destabilizing interventions have been in Syria. Bolstered by Iran, Assad has committed unspeakable crimes, and the United States has taken firm action in response to the use of banned chemical weapons by the Assad Regime – launching 59 tomahawk missiles at the Syrian air base from where that murderous attack originated.

Responsible nations must work together to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria, eradicate ISIS, and restore stability to the region. The Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims are its own people. Iran has a rich history and culture, but the people of Iran have endured hardship and despair under their leaders’ reckless pursuit of conflict and terror.

Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve....

Perhaps, even more disgusting that his attack on Iran was Trump’s forgetting his own words about Saudi Arabia. This is the same man who during his campaign last year told us that the Saudis were "mouth pieces, bullies, cowards," who were "paying ISIS." In addition to milking the Saudis to the tune of over $400 billion in arms sales that will be used to kill the people of Yemen and other Muslims in the region, Trump received the "Order of King Abdulaziz." Past recipients of the Order include Saddam Hussein, Egypt’s military dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Bashar al-Assad whom the Saudis have been trying to topple, and George W. Bush whose illegal and criminal invasion of Iraq set the Middle East on its current path of destruction of bloodshed, with no end in sight.

9--GOP Satisfaction With US Direction Soars, Democrats' Drops

Bottom Line
While Trump's inauguration only modestly affected satisfaction levels in the country as a whole, Republicans' and Democrats' satisfaction have changed dramatically. A shift in the relative satisfaction of party groups is consistent with historical patterns, but the degree to which Republicans' satisfaction surged after Trump took office is not.

Still, satisfaction remains below average from a historical perspective, as it has for the last decade. Given Democrats' overwhelming disapproval of Trump, it is likely that satisfaction will remain at the lower levels in the near future

10-- Trump embraces Saudi-generated terrorism

Of all Trump’s many betrayals – and they’re piling up at such a rate that he’s creating a veritable Mountain of Mendacity – this Saudi trip has got to be the one that will demoralize and alienate even his hardcore supporters. After rising to power on the strength of portraying Islam as inherently violent and dangerous, he’s now joining hands with the leaders of what he once described as “the hateful ideology of radical Islam.” It’s as if Mother Theresa had embraced the Church of Satan. ...

what Trump said about them during the election:
“Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all money from such countries!”

And then there was this tweet:
“Tell Saudi Arabia and others that we want (demand!) free oil for the next ten years or we will not protect their private Boeing 747s. Pay up!”...

Most tellingly, it was Trump who made a campaign issue out of the missing 28 pages redacted from the Joint congressional report on the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In calling for their release, he painted a scenario in which the Saudi royals assisted the hijackers and said:
“You know, it’s sort of nice to know who your friends are, and perhaps who your enemies are.”

11--French Fu**head Macron orders terrorist war of annihilation on French workers

Macron, a former investment banker at the Rothschild bank, aims to impose the arrogant diktat of the banks. Under Hollande’s presidency, as workers’ living standards fell, the wealth of top French multi-billionaires like Liliane Bettencourt and Philippe Arnault nearly doubled. With the world economy still mired in crisis, however, and France’s economic position and its weight in world trade continuing to fall, the ruling class is determined to squeeze even more money out of workers and place it in the hands of the super-rich.
The working class is faced with a political struggle against an absolutely ruthless government that is willing to resort to forms of repression unseen in France since the 1940s in order to ram through the diktat of the banks. The new administration is aware that it faces massive popular opposition and is making detailed plans to crush strikes and protests...

Last week, the media revealed that the PS had made plans for a coup d’état after the presidential elections to be implemented had Marine Le Pen won. Its purpose would not have been to topple Le Pen, but to crush anti-fascist protests and suspend normal parliamentary procedure by imposing a PS government on Le Pen.
Incoming Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said on Friday that he will review the state of emergency and that he would support extending it yet again past its current expiration date, July 15. “I think at some point we will have to end the state of emergency. But is now the right time? Maybe not right after the formation of the government,” Collomb told RTL.
Under the state of emergency, workers exercising constitutionally-protected rights to strike and protest can be targeted with bans on demonstrations, arbitrary detentions and house arrest by police. That is to say, the French capitalist class is repudiating the promises it made in the aftermath of World War II never to return to the arbitrary and unrestrained oppression of working people that characterized the Nazi occupation.


The decrees being discussed indicate that Macron aims to tear up the entire framework of labor relations in France as they emerged from the liberation from Nazi occupation and the social concessions of the immediate post-World War II period.

Many of these decrees aim to re-introduce provisions into the 2016 labor law that the previous Socialist Party (PS) government removed in order to halt strikes and protests against the law. The PS rammed the law through without a parliamentary vote in the face of opposition from 70 percent of the French population, as riot police were sent under the state of emergency to assault protesters and striking workers. Nevertheless, in order to prevent a social explosion, many provisions favored by Macron were removed. He now wants to reinstate them. They include

12--Trump calls for $1.7 trillion in social cuts

A bipartisan assault

In the wake of Trump’s budget proposal, the Democrats have responded with their standard empty rhetoric. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer—one of Congress’ biggest recipients of Wall Street campaign money—decried Trump’s “hard-right policies that benefit the ultra-wealthy at the expense of the middle-class.” Just three weeks ago, Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were hailing the passage of a bipartisan fiscal 2017 budget that cut food stamps by $2.4 billion, slashed funding for education and the environment, and added billions more for the military and border control.
Obamacare paved the way for the present assault on Medicaid and the coming attacks on Medicare and Social Security by further subordinating health care to the profit demands of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries and imposing higher costs for reduced benefits on millions of workers.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Today's Links

1--Riyadh Pact: US & 55 Muslim-Majority States Pledging 34,000 Troops To Fight ISIS, Cooperation Against Iran


Into the ME meatgrinder


2--Saudi Arabia and US--The special terrorist relationship (video)


3--SAA surges towards al Tanf


As predicted in piece on the incident the Syrian Army continues to move towards al-Tanf despite the U.S. bombing attack. It is now also pushing on a second axis in Suweida along the Syrian-Jordan border. The attacked main movement from the north-west received reinforcements and continues, it is claimed, under air cover. Al-Tanf is a Syrian border station on Syrian grounds and the Syrian government has all rights to take control of it. Norwegian government media reported that Norwegian troops were now occupying al-Tanf. Who cares? Al-Tanf is not a place where a presence of Norwegian or any other U.S. proxy troops has any legitimacy. The Syrian government had stated that it will take control of that station. That's it. There is no need for "de-conflicting" in the area because the U.S. and its proxies have no legitimate reason to be there. "De-confliction" in the area is very simple. Just stay away...


There is another, (the third?), attempt to whitewash al-Qaeda in Idleb. The State Department has refrained from putting the again renamed al-Qaeda organization there onto its foreign terrorist entities list. Supporting it under the new name is thereby arguably still legal. The Arabic version of the Qatari al-Jazeera channel is now defending and promoting al-Qada in Syria leader Jolani who practically rules over Idleb

But the recent TV report by Jenan Mussa (vid) proves without doubt that Idleb is controlled by al-Qaeda in Syria and that it is pushing to implement its brutal version of Islamic law. There were some feeble attempts to debunk it and to sell al-Qaeda under its new name Hayat Tahrir al-Sham as a reasonably moderate local Syrian force. The Saudi/Qatar paid Jihadist promoter Charles Lister fronts the meager efforts.


4--The move east continues


5--US proposal for deconfliction in syria


The U.S. sees that area, from Deir el-Zour down the Euphrates River Valley to al-Qaim on the Iraqi side of the border, as the next major battleground in the evolving coalition campaign to destroy the Islamic State group.
"We have a proposal that we're working on with the Russians right now," Dunford said at a news conference with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. "I won't share the details, but my sense is that the Russians are as enthusiastic as we are to de-conflict operations and ensure that we continue to take the campaign to ISIS and ensure the safety of our personnel."


7--US  rearming the terrorists



Some policymakers the U.S. and Syria believe that a deal to create "de-escalation zones," brokered in Astana, Kazakhstan earlier this month by Russia, Iran and Turkey, was designed to preempt any American plan to unilaterally establish safe zones in Syria.
In March, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington would set up "interim zones of stability" to allow refugees to return to Syria.
Officials in the U.S. State Department have told CNN that the terminology used by Russia in Astana deliberately echoed Tillerson's position. Some Middle East analysts have argued that the long-term consequence of such a policy — establishing externally-enforced zones, if not spheres of influence — amounts to the soft partitioning of Syria

According to Reuters, citing Western intelligence sources, American and British Special Forces are building out al-Tanf to encompass a larger role in flushing ISIS out of the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor. So a similar enlargement of the U.S. garrison in the south is indeed likely

9--FBI Probe Into Clinton Emails Prompted Offer of Cash, Citizenship for Confession, Russian Hacker Claims

A Russian citizen accused of being a hacker by both Russia and the U.S. has claimed U.S. officials offered to cut him a deal if he admitted to interfering in the 2016 presidential election.
Yevgeniy Nikulin, 29, has found himself in the middle of an international dispute between Washington and Moscow, at the very center of which lies U.S. allegations that Russia sponsored a series of hacks targeting Democratic Party candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in favor of Republican candidate and current President Donald Trump. On October 5, 2016, days before U.S. intelligence publicly accused Russia of endorsing an infiltration of Democratic Party officials' emails, Nikulin was arrested in Prague at the request of the U.S. on separate hacking charges. Now, Nikulin claims U.S. authorities tried to pin the email scandal on him

10--Seth Rich Murder Case Stirs Russia Doubts  consortium news

11--From Beirut to Tehran?

It is believed that as IS militants are defeated in Mosul and soon in Raqqa, the vast region extending from Deir ez-Zor to Sweida, in eastern and southern Syria, will witness a major power struggle that will include the Syrian army, US-backed Syrian Kurds, New Syrian Army fighters and fleeing IS militants.

From the US perspective, extending the allied presence in that area would serve two major objectives: enable a pincer maneuver to encircle IS militants, and sever the land link between Iraq and Syria that Iranian-backed militias depend on for arms and men. The recent regime push toward the east and south is an attempt to derail such plans....

These assertions do not clarify whether Jordan will come, or is coming, under US pressure to engage in a military operation in southern Syria. Fear of an Iranian land corridor extending from Tehran to Beirut through Iraq and Syria is shared by Amman and Washington, not to mention Riyadh and Tel Aviv. Can Jordan reconcile its own security calculations with those of the United States under President Donald Trump? That remains an open-ended question.

12--State involvement in terror attack--Informant Claude Hermant implicates French state in Charlie Hebdo attacks

Claude Hermant, a police informant arrested in the case of the January 7, 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, has implicated the French state in the preparation of the attack. Hermant, who allegedly sold weapons used by Amédy Coulibaly and the Kouachi brothers to commit the attacks, is reportedly charging that three gendarme military policemen and two customs officials, as well as organized crime circles, were involved.
The case shatters the official narrative, according to which terror attacks in France, Belgium, and Germany since 2015 have been the work of isolated Islamists

13--Washington Post and New York Times urge pullback on calls for Trump impeachment

The appointment of Mueller, who headed the FBI for 12 years, under both Bush and Obama, puts the Trump administration under the effective receivership of the intelligence agencies, with the constant threat that if he steps too far out of line, he could quickly be faced with criminal charges. References to the formation of some sort of caretaker regime have begun appearing in the press. A Post op-ed column by Dana Millbank devoted to celebrating the anti-Russian campaign as a heroic journalistic exploit, while acknowledging that it was made possible by systematic leaking from the military-intelligence apparatus, concludes by describing Mueller as “a regent, if you will, to protect against future abuses.”

All of this underscores the completely reactionary character of both factions of the ruling class, whatever turn the crisis might take in the days and weeks to come. It demonstrates the political dead end of subordinating the struggle against the Trump administration to the Democrats, whose opposition to Trump is entirely different from and hostile to the concerns and interests of millions of workers. They must intervene on the basis of their own, socialist, program and perspective.

14--Trump Escalates Syrian Proxy War

After the agreement came into effect the Syrian army began operations aimed at reaching the Iraqi border at the al-Tanaf crossing along the Damascus-Baghdad highway and to recapture the ISIS-stronghold of Deir Ezzor further north.
Both the U.S. and Syria have voiced intentions of taking Deir Ezzor, which is home to strategic oil resources, yet now because of the de-escalation agreement it is highly improbable that the U.S. will be able to stop Syria and Russia from taking the city.

The parallel measures by the U.S. and Russia signify a race between the two major powers to capture as much territory as possible from the Islamic State before the other side is able to do so.
Under the guise of “defeating ISIS,” both powers are essentially carving out their own spheres of influence throughout the country, dividing it between U.S.- and Russian-backed regions, leading to an inevitable showdown between the two sides over the fate of the country and its territorial integrity.

15--The Fallacy of Demonizing Russia

16--Harvard Study Reveals Huge Extent of Anti-Trump Media Bias

17--U.S. Household Debt Hit Record in First Quarter

18--Democratic Party Image Dips, GOP Ratings Stable

40% view Democratic Party favorably, down from 45% in November
  • GOP rating basically unchanged at 39%
  • Both parties are below historical average ratings
  • WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' opinions of the two major political parties are now similar after the Democratic Party's ratings slipped to 40% -- from 45% last November -- while the Republican Party's image is essentially unchanged at 39%.

    19--The ‘Soft Coup’ of Russia-gate


    Notes----  Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/05/jordan-syria-southern-border-security-threats-military.html#ixzz4hRcs0g5t

    https://consortiumnews.com/2017/05/18/trump-escalates-syrian-proxy-war/
    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/russian-forces-arrive-southern-syria/

    The US is trying to block the attempt of Russia in establishing the de-escalation zones in Syria. These strikes that come in the south-eastern part of Syria prove that the US is intending to escalate the tension in southern Syria as a part of its attempt first to drive a wedge between Damascus and Baghdad and prevent them from having any geographical link on the one hand. On the other hand, this also proves the US intends at imposing its own influence in southern Syria to destabilize the Syrian regime by hitting in the south while it was able to stabilize the situation in the north much to its favor by supporting the Kurds on one hand and the Turks on the other hand. - Dr. Jamal Wakeem, professor of history and international relations at Lebanese University in Beirut.
    https://www.rt.com/op-edge/388940-syria-us-airstrike-isis/

    https://southfront.org/syrian-war-report-may-19-2017-us-led-forces-fights-with-syrian-army-for-iraqi-border/
    Syrian War Report – May 19, 2017: US-Led Forces Fights With Syrian Army For Iraqi Border NB

    There is not a single fact, there is no compelling evidence given to anyone regarding Russia's intervention and that is it," Lavrov said.
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2007/04/27/padilla-and-the-zucchini-prosecution/

    I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.”
    Stephen Bishop
    “He is a self-made man and worships his creator.”
    John Bright
    “I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.”
    Irvin S. Cobb
    “He had delusions of adequacy.”
    Walter Kerr

    “His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.”
    Mae West

    "He loves nature in spite of what it did to him."
    Forrest Tucker
    "He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any one I know."
    Abraham Lincoln
    "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts — for support rather than illumination."
    Andrew Lang
    "He has Van Gogh's ear for music."
    Billy Wilder
    “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.”
    Oscar


    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/11/11/roaming-charges-whitelash-white-heat/




    joe Lieberman to be FBI chief ?
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/joe-lieberman-fbi-director-under-serious-consideration/



    Thursday, May 18, 2017

    Today's Links

    1--U.S. household debt tops 2008 peak, but this time Americans' finances are better


    The recovery from the Great Recession has hit a milestone: Total household debt climbed to $12.73 trillion in the first quarter to top the peak reached in 2008 before the housing market crash and severe economic downturn led to a historic reduction, according to government data released Wednesday...

    there are some potential warning signs in the latest data. Auto loan and credit card delinquencies have started trending up in recent months, and student loans delinquency rates “remain stubbornly high.”


    2--About The Next Great Crash


    Hudson puts it this way:
    It is simple enough to show that the mathematics of compound interest lead the volume of debt [both household and commercial debt] to exceed the rate of GDP growth, thereby diverting more and more income to the financial sector as debt service. Keen traces this view back to Irving Fisher’s famous 1933 article on debt deflation – the residue from unpaid debt. Such payments to creditors leave less available to spend on goods and services.
    In explaining the mathematical dynamics underlying his “Minsky” model, Keen links financial dynamics to employment. If private debt grows faster than GDP, the debt/GDP ratio will rise. This stifles markets, and hence employment. Wages fall as a share of GDP.
    This is precisely what is happening [today].
    Mainstream (neoliberal) economics has no way to take this debt-driven boom-bust cycle into account, or even to see it for what it is, since neoliberal economics doesn't see debt as a driver of the economy at all. As Hudson says below, for them it's the old logic that "debt doesn't matter, because 'we' owe the debt to 'ourselves.'"
    But mainstream models ignore the overgrowth of debt, as if the economy operates on a barter basis. Keen calls this “the barter illusion,” and reviews his wonderful exchange with Paul Krugman (who plays the role of an intellectual Bambi to Keen’s Godzilla). Krugman insists that banks do not create credit but merely recycle savings – as if they are savings banks, not commercial banks. It is the old logic that debt doesn’t matter because “we” owe the debt to “ourselves.”
    [But the] “We” are the 99%, the “ourselves” are the 1%. Krugman calls them “patient” savers vs “impatient” borrowers, blaming the malstructured economy on personal psychology of indebted victims having to work for a living and spend their working lives paying off the debt needed to obtain debt-leveraged homes of their own, debt-leveraged education and other basic living costs....

    Keen explains why, mathematically, the Great Moderation leading up to the 2008 crash was not an anomaly, but is inherent in a basic principle: Economies can prolong the debt-financed boom and delay a crash simply by providing more and more credit, Australia-style. The effect is to make the ensuing crash worse, more long-lasting and more difficult to extricate. [...]

    3--Washington Elite Opts to Destroy Trump at All Costs by Publius Tacitus


    People who should have been fired or moved when Trump took over have been allowed to stay. Well, if you don't kill the rats, don't be shocked when they eat your food and defecate in your kitchen.


    4--The working class must intervene with its own program in the political crisis in Washington


    With each passing day, it becomes increasingly evident that the political crisis gripping Washington involves a conflict between two reactionary factions of the ruling class and state apparatus.

    Trump’s opponents in the media and political establishment, headed up by the Democratic Party, represent another faction of the ruling elite. They are not raising a single progressive or democratic issue in their campaign against Trump. Their appeal is not to the working class, but to the military-intelligence apparatus, particularly the FBI, NSA and CIA. It has an unstated agenda, developed behind the scenes, and centered largely on foreign policy issues.
    If their effort to bring Trump into line or remove him from office succeeds, it will only strengthen the position of the corporate-financial elite and the “deep state” of intelligence officials and generals. The main consequence will be to immediately shift foreign policy toward aggression against Russia, escalating the drive to world war and, bound up with this, social counterrevolution ...

    Wages are stagnant, growing at barely the official inflation level. A report published earlier this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the typical 27-year-old man’s annual earnings in 2013 were 31 percent less than those of a 27-year old man in 1969, in real terms. Median household incomes have fallen since 1999.
    Seven years after the passage of Obamacare, the health care crisis is even more severe. The effect of that law was to shift the burden of costs from corporations and the state to workers, while encouraging employers to slash “overly generous” health benefits. Last month, aviation and defense giant Honeywell became the latest corporation to eliminate health care benefits for retirees.


    5--Our Founding Fathers wanted a republic, not a democracy


    "Hence it is that democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths … A republic, by which I mean a government in which a scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking." — James Madison, Federalist Papers No. 10.


    6--Why Did the Founding Fathers Choose a Republic?


    7--Real News Network--Mueller replaces Comey --Same old, Same old


    8--More on Seth Rich

    of all the possible suspects to have leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks, thus possibly sidetracking Hillary Clinton's hopes for the White House, it seems that Mr. Rich, who was the Voter Expansion Data Director at the DNC, was far ahead of Russia on that score. 

    Yet US media scoffed at any attempt to make a connection between Mr. Rich and the DNC leaks, even after WikiLeaks decided in August to issue a US $20k reward for information leading to conviction for the murder of the young staffer. It's important to note that WikiLeaks never said Rich was the source of the leaked emails. And Washington metropolitan police reported his killing was related to a robbery gone awry.

    Nevertheless, Wheeler's recent comments are raising some eyebrows. In fact, The Washington Post would have performed much more of a public service by examining this story rather than seeing a Russian behind every tree.
    “My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,” Wheeler said. “I do believe that the answers to who murdered Seth Rich sits on his computer on a shelf at the DC police or FBI headquarters.”

    9--Kucinich  Deep state


    10--Seth Rich more


    email communications with WikiLeaks

    11--Trump--Special prosecutor doomsday


    12--Comey tries to take down Trump


    13--Justice Department appoints special counsel to investigate Trump-Russia claims


    14--Macron names government to implement social counterrevolution in France


    15--How Trump 'Giving Israeli Secrets to Russia' Will Impact Middle East


    The allegation that an espionage agent spying for Israel is in danger of losing his life because President Trump revealed classified information is deeply damaging to him. It is said that he told senior Russian officials that the spy had disclosed details of an Isis plot to blow up planes by placing explosives inside laptops carried on board.
    The Israeli spy story is so damaging to Mr Trump because it is simpler and more concrete than vague accusations that his presidential election campaign was aided by Russia. But in both cases the allegations should be treated with caution because they come from US intelligence agencies and mass media that are engaged in a fierce struggle for power and influence with Mr Trump and are hence highly partisan


    16--Has Israel joined the "impeach trump" bandwagon?


    Then I noticed (thanks to a tweet by Max Blunenthal) that Alan Dershowitz had called the Trump-betrayed-ally’s-secrets-to-Russia story “the most serious charge ever made against a sitting president.” It had been evident to me, in reading the coverage, that there was only one “Middle Eastern ally” (or ally of any region) which has the chutzpah to “warn” the United States “it would cut off access to…sensitive information”—while itself stealing, with impunity, America’s most closely-guarded secrets. As Newsweek reported in 2014: “Israel has been caught carrying out aggressive espionage operations against American targets for decades… They just don’t get arrested very often.” (Also see herehere, and here). There is only one ally about whose “compromise” Republicans and Democrats would be so unanimously concerned, and certainly only one who would have prompted the ridiculous charge by Dershowitz.  And within an hour, the NYT confirmed, again via a “current and former American official,” that Israel was the ally in question, the source of the “secret intelligence...

    Now perhaps these “current and former American officials” who are leaking all this ultra-sensitive classified intelligence information are entirely neutral about, or even unsympathetic to, Israel; and perhaps they and the media outlets publicizing their leaks—a few hours after insisting that identifying the secret ally would harm it—put Israel’s name out because they are committed to letting the public know the truth, no matter whom it hurts. Or perhaps these officials and these media outlets are in fact supportive of Israel, and would only publicize information they know that Israel wants revealed (or at least has no objection to revealing). Everyone will have to decide, based on his/her understanding of American-Israeli political and media relations, which of those scenarios is more likely.

    I think the latter. I also notice that, in the last week or so, there have been reports in the American and Israeli press that Netanyahu’s “honeymoon with Trump” has “ended abruptly,” that there have been “harsh exchanges” with Trump administration officials who told members of Netanyahu’s team, to their “utter shock,” that the Western Wall was “not your territory but rather part of the West Bank,” and that Netanyahu is now “wary” and increasingly mistrustful of Trump.

    I suspect this betrayal-of-an-ally-to-Russia story, and the frantic news cycle it has generated, means that Israel is showing its concern. And that is bad news for Donald Trump. Israel is a very powerful player, with its hooks embedded throughout the Deep State apparatus. The frantic news cycle that followed—with another blaring headline a few hours later about how Trump asked Comey to stop the Flynn investigation,  a spate of articles about how Trump is a criminal president who might have obstructed justice and betrayed his oath, and an announcement that the impeachment clock is running—means that big guns are blazing, and Trump is now in another realm of trouble

    Russiagate has not yet gained enough traction with Republican congresscritters, who would face a revolt of their Trump voters against any acquiescence to an impeachment driven by Nancy Pelosi, vagina-hatted protestors, and Steven Colbert. If, however, impeachment becomes driven by concern for our betrayed Middle Eastern ally; if Dershowitz is right that “The demographics are clear. Republicans now support Israel much more strongly than Democrats”; and if Mike Pence, Ted Cruz, and the Congressional Israel Victory Caucus take the outstretched hands of concerned constitution- and FBI-loving liberals, then the prospects improve dramatically

    The Democratic Party and the #Resistance are not going to impeach Donald Trump. The Democratic and Republican Parties can and will if they want to.  And, as they never cease proclaiming, what Israel wants, they want.
    Fast and furiously, in the course of a single news cycle, the game has changed: Donald Trump has been accused of betraying Israel. Impeachment is possible.


    17--The Special Council Inquisition - Bad For Trump - And All of Us