Israeli Fighter Jets Launch Air Strike On Syrian Air Defense Battery Near Damascus

After years of undermining the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al Assad, an effort that has seen Israel countenance ISIS training camps near its borders and launch recurring missile strikes on Syrian territory and its army bases while threatening to bomb Assad’s palace, the simmering conflict between the two nations broke out into the open once again overnight.
The Israeli Defense Forces confirmed that Israeli Air Force fighters conducted a missile strike against a Syrian base after a missile was fired at Israeli jets on a routine aerial reconnaissance mission in Lebanese airspace, Russia’s news agency Sputnik reports. No people were in injured, and the Israeli jets returned safely, but not before attacking an anti-aircraft battery east of the Syrian capital of Damascus. As usual, The IDF blamed the Syrian government for the incident, however, presenting no proof to support the claim. Damascus has yet to comment on the situation.
Earlier today, an anti-aircraft missile was launched from Syria towards IDF aircraft during a routine flight over Lebanon. No hits confirmed
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) October 16, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 16, 2017.

“Not The Russians” – British MPs Blame Iran For “Brute Force” Hack

Yet another purported example of Russia-linked hackers infiltrating the email accounts of powerful government officials has been conclusively debunked.
The Guardian is reporting that a June incident where the accounts of dozens of UK ministers of parliament were infiltrated by shadowy hackers has been traced back to Iran. The UK intelligence community’s initial conclusion – that the attacks originated in Russia – has been refuted by an as-yet-unpublished report on the incident compiled by British intelligence.
Indeed, the intelligence community’s initial assumption appears to be another example of investigators jumping to a conclusion before a thorough analysis of the evidence has been completed. In a way, it echoes the response by several US states last month to the revelation that hackers had attempted to compromise their voting systems. Some states, including California and Wisconsin, apparently assumed the attacks were linked to Russia, until DHS informed them that it had found no evidence to support this conclusion.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 16, 2017.

Assange Thanks US Govt For His 50,000% Gain On Bitcoin As Russia Unveils ‘CryptoRuble’

My deepest thanks to the US government, Senator McCain and Senator Lieberman for pushing Visa, MasterCard, Payal, AmEx, Mooneybookers, et al, into erecting an illegal banking blockade against @WikiLeaks starting in 2010. It caused us to invest in Bitcoin — with > 50000% return. pic.twitter.com/9i8D69yxLC
— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) October 14, 2017

Once again the unintended consequences of government intervention are exposed…
In 2010 – following the release of sensitive government documents related to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – John McCain and Joe Lieberman led a bipartisan attempt to cut off WikiLeaks funding by forcing ‘traditional’ payment systems to block them.
7 years later and the price of Bitcoin has… risen…50,000%!
And Julian Assange chose yesterday to thank the US government and its corporatocracy for his forced investment…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 15, 2017.

Russia Unveils ‘CryptoRuble’ As Assange Thanks US Govt For His 50,000% Gain On Bitcoin

Once again the unintended consequences of government intervention are exposed…
In 2010 – following the release of sensitive government documents related to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – John McCain and Joe Lieberman led a bipartisan attempt to cut off WikiLeaks funding by forcing ‘traditional’ payment systems to block them.
***
7 years later and the price of Bitcoin has… risen…50,000%!

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 15, 2017.

SYRIA: The Courage of the Syrian Arab Army and Allies against US Backed Terrorism

Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, Political and Media Advisor to Syrian President, Bashar Al Assad.
The announcement by the Russian Ministry of Defence that US support for terrorists is a major obstacle to the elimination of the terrorist organisation in Syria is not a simple or transitory declaration. It is an important and dangerous declaration that must be carefully looked at.
‘The successes of the Syrian army with the support of the Russian space air force in the rapid liberation of the Euphrates valley seem to contradict the plans of American colleagues,’ Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashinkov said, noting that US forces did not allow the Syrian army to pursue terrorists in the al-Tanf area.
It is understood, of course, that Russia does not want to initiate a conflict with the United States and to start a third world war, but such declarations and statements by the Russian Ministry of Defence, even if they are uttered in such de-escalatory terms such as ‘American colleagues,’ represent a clear and explicit link between ISIS and US plans in both Syria and Iraq. This at the international level undermines the credibility of the United States, and undermines the impact of any American statements bragging about the fight against terrorism. Especially as Russian forces announced that the ISIS offensive relied on aerial reconnaissance that cannot be attained by the group unless provided by American reconnaissance planes.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on OCTOBER 15, 2017.

The Unraveling of American/Russian Relations – Paul Craig Roberts

Dear Readers: I agree that the official Las Vegas story seems to be unraveling. A public mass shooting should be transparent, not opaque. I think we explored the story long enough to discover that without knowing the facts, we cannot arrive at an explanation with confidence.
It is time to move on to another unraveling – that of US/Russian relations. This unraveling is far more serious as it threatens life on earth. I have warned of the consequences of Washington threatening Russia’s security by breaking agreement after agreement, by placing missile bases on Russia’s borders, by orchestrating anti-Russian coups in former Soviet provinces, and by a continuing volley of false accusations against Russia. There is no act more reckless and irresponsible than to make one nuclear power fear nuclear attack from another.
Alert observers have become aware of the mounting danger. Canadian professor Michel Chossudovsky writes that Washington has taken nuclear war from a hypothetical scenario to a real danger that threatens the future of humanity. Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader who worked with President Ronald Reagan to end the Cold War and the threat of nuclear Armageddon, has appealed to President Trump and President Putin to hold a summit meeting and bring an end to the rising tensions. Gorbachev wrote in the Washington Post that ‘it is far from normal that the presidents of major nuclear powers meet merely on the margins of international gatherings.’ This is especially the case as ‘relations between the two nations are in a severe crisis.’

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on October 14, 2017.

Germany, UK, France And Russia Slam Trump’s Decision To Decertify Iran Deal

It didn’t take long for Europe’s biggest nations – the other signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, aka the Iran Nuclear Deal – as well as Russia, to slam Trump’s unilateral decision to decertify the Iran agreement and, in the process, put the entire deal in jeopardy. Moments ago, in a joint statement, Theresa May, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron all reiterated their commitment to the JCPOA, expressed their concern by the possible implications of Trump’s decision not to recertify the deal, and urged the US to think hard before taking further steps that might undermine it further.
Here is the statement they released together moments ago:
We, the Leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom take note of President Trump’s decision not to recertify Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to Congress and are concerned by the possible implications.
We stand committed to the JCPoA and its full implementation by all sides. Preserving the JCPoA is in our shared national security interest. The nuclear deal was the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and was a major step towards ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is not diverted for military purposes. The JCPoA was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in Resolution 2231. The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed Iran’s compliance with the JCPoA through its long-term verification and monitoring programme. Therefore, we encourage the US Administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any steps that might undermine the JCPoA, such as re-imposing sanctions on Iran lifted under the agreement.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.

The Underlying Reasons For Turkey’s Disengagement From The US

Authored by Dmitiry Minin via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
The Turkish media is reporting that a staffer at the American consulate general in Istanbul was recently arrested under the serious charge of attempting the ‘destruction of the constitutional order,’ ‘espionage,’ and seeking ‘to overthrow the government.’
To be specific, ties have been uncovered between the man under arrest and some prominent members of Fethullah Glen’s movement (FET), which is banned in Turkey. Previous accusations had been made against General Joseph Votel, the commander of US CENTCOM and an expert in covert operations, alleging that he had cooperated with the conspirators who attempted a military coup in Turkey in July 2016.
And this is only the tip of a very cold and growing iceberg that has gradually been disrupting the relationship between these formerly close allies – the US and Turkey. Not even President Erdo?an’s visit to the US this year could buck these trends.
Observing that relations between the two countries have been deteriorating for more than a decade, US columnists, for example – Tom Rogan of the Washington Examiner – reflexively sum it all up as evidence of the deleterious influence of Vladimir Putin. In his assessment of the most recent meeting between the Russian and Turkish presidents in Ankara, that journalist points to the fact that Recep Erdo?an called Vladimir Putin ‘my dear friend’ and even ‘stroked his ego’ by speaking to him – horror of horrors! – ‘in Russian,’ as though that were a crime.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.

Media’s ‘Blame Russia’ Smear Campaign Now Being Used to Discredit Corbyn and Labour

21st Century Wire says…
As the wheels continue to come off of the Russiagate bandwagon, establishment media operatives are now resorting to more desperate tactics to try and defame any dissenters who veer away from the official party-line on all things Russian.
RT International recently covered the Russian Embassy response to The Times smear campaign against Labour MPs who have dared to step foot in the London studios of RT UK – astutely pointing out that The Times is a major set-piece in the Rupert Murdoch media empire – which has been proven to have ‘meddled’ in countless UK election cycles and has even conducted illegal activity in order manipulating public figures and their affairs.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on OCTOBER 13, 2017.

Facebook’s Sandberg: “We Really Have To Go After Fake Accounts, But Divisiveness Not A Reason To Remove Content”

As Facebook COO Sherly Sandberg completes her desperate DC walk of shame in an attempt to appease Mark Warner and the rest of the Facebook-scapegoaters, she gave Axios an interview to explain (strawman) what the biggest social media platform in the world will do about the Russian menace that has Made America Divided Again (allegedly)…
Sandberg said she had “very productive” meetings yesterday with congressional leaders investigating Russian efforts to use social media to meddle with the 2016 U. S. presidential election.
Sandberg told Axios at a live event today that Facebook owes the American people an apology (“Not just an apology, but determination”) for their role in enabling Russian interference during the election.
Headline Dump:
*SANDBERG: HILLARY CLINTON WINNING WAS IMPORTANT TO ME *SANDBERG: FACEBOOK HAS `ENOURMOUS’ RESPONSIBILITY TO USERS *SANDBERG: ALL RUSSIA-LINKED ADS SHOULD BE RELEASED

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 12, 2017.

Imperial Media ‘Truth’ Monopoly Threatens Press Diversity

Somehow everything keeps coming back around to Russia. In one of its recent initiatives, the Justice Department (DOJ) appears to be attacking the First Amendment as part of the apparent bipartisan program to make Vladimir Putin the fall guy for everything that goes wrong in Washington. In the past month, the DOJ has revealed that the FBI is investigating Russian owned news outlets Sputnik News and RT International and has sent letters to the latter demanding that one of its business affiliates register as a foreign agent by October 17th.
The apparent line of inquiry that the Bureau is pursuing is that both are agencies of the Russian government and that both have been spreading disinformation that is intended to discredit the United States government and its institutions. This alleged action would make them, in the DOJ view, a propaganda arm of a foreign government rather than a news service. It also makes them subject to Department of the Treasury oversight under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.
Sputnik, which is owned by a Russian government media group headed by Putin consigliere Dimitri Kiselyov, has been under investigation due to the accusations made by a fired broadcaster named Andrew Feinberg. Feinberg, the former Sputnik White House correspondent, reportedly took with him a thumb drive containing some thousands of internal business files when he left his office. He has been interviewed by the FBI, has turned over his documents, and has claimed that much of the direction over what the network covered came from Moscow.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on OCTOBER 12, 2017.

NATO “Concerned By Russia’s Military Buildup Close To Our Borders”

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
The Secretary-General of NATO said this on October 9th, speaking in NATO member Romania, right across the Black Sea from Russia’s region of Crimea (which had always been part of Russia except for the brief period 1954-2014, when the Soviet dictator arbitrarily transferred Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 – i.e., the Soviet dictator had made Crimea ‘Ukrainian’, and only in 2014 was a plebiscite actually held there in order to determine what the people there wanted, and more than 90% chose to be restored to the Russian Government). He said, on October 9th, that NATO is ‘concerned by Russia’s military buildup close to our borders’, but NATO actually had expanded up to Russia’s borders; in no way had Russia expanded up to NATO’s borders. NATO’s leader was importantly misrepresenting history, there.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 12, 2017.

‘Russia did it’ is Smokescreen for Big Business Ownership of US Government and Congress

Finian Cunningham
Sputnik
Google is the latest US internet company to claim it found ‘Russia-linked’ advertisements on its network – allegedly posted to influence the US presidential election last year.
Twitter and Facebook have already made similar claims and all three are now facing more scrutiny in the coming weeks before Congressional committees.
What is truly astounding about this hysteria over alleged Russian interference in US democracy is that American citizens are being distracted from what is, by far, the much more alarming issue of how their government and Congress is bought by US Big Business.
Bloomberg reported this week that: ‘Google identifies Russian election interference network’. It said the internet giant found political ads worth $4,700 which it believes are ‘tied to the Russian government’. These ads, it is claimed, carried political articles which were meant to influence which way American citizens would vote in the presidential contest between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump last November.
Google has reportedly said that another $53,000 worth of ads are ‘under review’ for suspicion of being ‘linked’ to the Russian government. This follows claims made by Facebook that it had earlier identified $100,000 spent on ads by Russian sources, while Twitter said it had located $274,000 worth of such ads.
The Russian government has repeatedly rejected accusations that it tried to meddle in the US election. Moscow rightly highlights the dearth of any evidence and total lack of due legal process. The American allegations have also whipped up a toxic climate to curb the legitimate media activities of Russian news channels.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on OCTOBER 12, 2017.

Russia’s Combat Suit Gets A Nuke Resistant Upgrade

Russia’s new combat suit is getting a major upgrade. With threats of nuclear warfare pending in important regions of the globe, the nuclear resistant watch was a necessary addition to the futuristic fight suit designed by the former Soviet Union.
According to Newsweek, citing Rostec, the Russian defense contractor building the suit, the third-generation Ratnik-3 suit ‘comprises five integrated systems.’ Those five subsystems include ‘life support, command and communication, engaging, protection, and energy saving subsystems,’ according to Tass, a Russian state-owned media outlet. This could be the most advanced combat suit on the planet.
In total, the suit comes with 59 items, Tass said, including a powered exoskeleton that supposedly gives the soldier more strength and stamina, along with cutting-edge body armor and a helmet and visor that shields the soldier’s entire face. The suit also has a ‘pop-up display that can be used for tasks like examining a plan of the battlefield,’ Andy Lynch, who works for a military company called Odin Systems, previously told The Daily Mail Online.

This post was published at shtfplan on October 11th, 2017.

Fake News in the Age of Facebook

The “fake news” problem isn’t just about “alternative facts.” The problem has more to do with the spin, the narrative, the context that inclines you to believe, for example, whether there was or was not collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and officials of the Russian government. And the problem is that 60 percent of Americans get their news through social media, mostly Facebook, which uses mysterious algorithms to customize each of our news feeds, selecting all and only what interests me, as computed from every time I press “Like” or forward an article to friends.
It’s not just Facebook. Sit with a friend or, better yet, a friendly enemy – someone you know has political views contrary to your own – and, using your own devices, type the same entries into your respective Google search windows. Try “BP,” standing for the oil company that used to be British Petroleum but tried rebranding itself as Beyond Petroleum. You and your friendly enemy – perhaps your crackpot brother-in-law? – are going to get different results from your searches because of what Google knows about each of you and what you’ve searched before. If you are an avid environmentalist and he’s a rabid lefty, you’ll get more results about the environmental effects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster while he’ll get more about its nefarious corporate causes.
Trending Toward Personalization
Personalization has a long and illustrious history, best understood in contrast with its opposite, the mass market of the post-World War II boom. The structure of that marketplace featured mass production that reduced costs with economies of scale. The customer was a mass market that was only gradually differentiated, first by demographic characteristics – age, income and education – and later by psychographics such as likes, dislikes, values and personality traits.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 10/11/2017.

What Saudis Hope To Get Out Of Russia Ties

Authored by M. K. Bhadrakumr viaThe Strategic Culture Foundation,
The mishap at the Moscow airport on Wednesday when the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz arrived on a historic visit, was a wake-up call that even the most carefully choregraphed enterprises may hold unpleasant surprises.
When Salman exited his plane and stepped out onto the special escalator he travels with, something went wrong. It malfunctioned halfway down, leaving the king standing awkwardly for about 20 seconds before he decided to walk the rest of the way. For ordinary mortals, this wouldn’t have been an uncommon occurrence but divinity ordains when a king is involved.
The Russian-Saudi entente is not going to be smooth. The climactic event last week drawing Saudi Arabia into President Vladimir Putin’s Middle East sphere of influence, must be assessed with a sense of proportions.
Salman had hardly departed from Russian soil when the Pentagon issued a statement announcing that the State Department had on Friday approved a possible US$15-billion sale of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems to Saudi Arabia.
The statement recalled that Saudi Arabia had requested to purchase from America 44 THAAD launchers, 360 missiles, 16 fire control stations and seven radars.
The US officials confirmed that the sale was part of the $110-billion package of defense equipment and services initially announced during US President Donald Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia in May. The Pentagon statement said, ‘This potential sale will substantially increase Saudi Arabia’s capability to defend itself against the growing ballistic missile threat in the region.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 11, 2017.