Russian Foreign Minister: US Military Must Leave All Of Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated on Thursday that US forces must leave all of Syria. Speaking to Interfax news agency, Lavrov stated that the UN Security Council has not approved the work of the United States and its coalition in Syria, nor has been invited by the legitimate Syrian government.
Concerning a prior statement by US Defense Secretary James Matisse voicing the intent for US troops to stay in Syria until achieving progress in a political settlement, Lavrov pointed out that such statement is ‘surprising’ because it means that Washington reserves the right to determine such progress and wants to maintain control over parts of Syrian territory in order to achieve the result it wants.
The Russian minister affirmed that according to the UNSC No.2254, which the United States supported, the decision on the future of Syria can only be taken by the Syrian people and this is what Moscow will begin with as a starting point in its contacts with the Americans later.
He also expressed his satisfaction that cooperation with the US in Syria is possible if the Americans’ goal is to fight terrorism.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Thu, 12/28/2017 –.

Mission Accomplished Redux: Theresa May’s Claim of ‘Victory Over ISIS’ Doesn’t Square with Reality

As the new year approaches, some will look back on 2017 as the year the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS) was finally defeated on the battlefield. Unfortunately, certain western political leaders have been quick to try and claim credit for a ‘win’ which is not really theirs. This recent attempt to put on airs by the British PM is certainly reminiscent of one of the most grievous political flops in living memory.
From an ‘optics’ perspective, nothing could be more regrettable than US President George W. Bush’s anti-climatic ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincolnon May 1, 2003. As turns out, his celebration was about seven years premature. But the opportunity for grand-standing was there and it’s hard to find a politician today that wouldn’t balk at a chance for an iconic photo-op, especially in the run-up to an election year. Like so many stage-managed public relations stunts performed by Washington in those days, it must have seemed like a good idea at the time.
That didn’t stop British Prime Minister Theresa May from trying out her own rendition of the Bush classic.
Last week, May spoke to her troops at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, which was the staging ground for ‘Operation Shader’ (the operational code name given to the UK contribution in the fight against ISIS), which is said to have successfully targeted ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The UK was one of 68 nations which formed the lofty ‘Global Coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria,’ as part of the Combined Joint Task Force assembled in ‘Operation Inherent Resolve.’
Prime Minister May stated:

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on DECEMBER 27, 2017.

Trump To Announce Anti-Tank Missile Exports To Ukraine

Earlier this week the Washington Post reported that President Trump has decided to come off the fence regarding his prior reluctance to formally approve lethal arms sales to the US-backed government in Kiev, Ukraine, and has now moved forward with Obama-era legislation to export weapons to the war-torn country.
Though as was noted at the time this commercial license approval was limited to small arms and ammunition as part of an initial $41.5 million deal, and not the heavier anti-tank systems sought by Kiev, it now appears the White House is going to announce inclusion of Javelin antitank missiles and possibly other advanced systems that could change the battlefield calculus of the war between Ukrainian and Russian-aligned forces in the Donbass region along the Russian border.
According to a new report by ABC News, Trump is expected to include the anti-tank missile systems as authorized exports to Ukraine, this based on four unnamed state department sources:
President Donald Trump is expected to announce his approval of a plan to sell anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian government, a move that would mark a significant escalation in lethal U. S. military support for Ukrainian forces battling Russian-aligned forces in the border region, four state department sources tell ABC News. If the president formally signs off, the plan will be presented to Congress for a 30 day review period where it would need to be approved before the State Department can implement it.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 23, 2017.

23/12/17: Bloomberg View on Asymmetric Military Budgets: Russia v U.S.

I have written before about asymmetric conflicts and power balances in the context, among other bilateral comparatives, the U. S.-Russia military spending: And the latest budgetary appropriations from the U. S. for 2018 are suggesting that Washington has a serious problem learning any lessons – whether these are lessons from being punched around repeatedly in the Afghanistan, or being derailed in Iraq, being made irrelevant in Syria and so on.

This post was published at True Economics on Saturday, December 23, 2017.

FBI Fires Suspected Leaker And Comey Ally James Baker

Just hours after FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe delivered private testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, his boss, FBI Director Christopher Wray, announced that the bureau’s top lawyer would be leaving his post, an attempt to bring in ‘new blood’ to an agency whose reputation has been hopelessly compromised by revelations that agents’ partisan bias may have influenced two high-profile investigations involving President Donald Trump and his former campaign rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
As the Washington Post reported, the FBI’s top lawyer, James Baker, is being reassigned. WaPo says Baker’s removal is part of Wray’s effort to assemble his own team of senior advisers while he tries to defuse allegations of partisanship that have plagued the bureau in recent months.
James Baker
But reports published over the summer said Baker was ‘the top suspect’ in an interagency leak investigation, as we reported back in July
Three sources, with knowledge of the investigation, told Circa that Baker is the top suspect in an ongoing leak investigation, but Circa has not been able to confirm the details of what national security information or material was allegedly leaked. A federal law enforcement official with knowledge of ongoing internal investigations in the bureau told Circa, “the bureau is scouring for leakers and there’s been a lot of investigations.”
The revelation comes as the Trump administration has ramped up efforts to contain leaks both within the White House and within its own national security apparatus.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 22, 2017.

Retired Green Beret: ‘Give All Of Washington D.C. and Congress An Enema To Drain The True Polluting Substance From The Swamp’

So, let’s cite a few passages from President Trump’s National Security Speech:
‘Throughout our history, the American people have always been the true source of American greatness. Our people have promoted our culture and promoted our values. Americans have fought and sacrificed on the battlefields all over the world. We have liberated captive nations, transformed former enemies into the best of friends, and lifted entire regions of the planet from poverty to prosperity. Because of our people, America has been among the greatest forces for peace and justice in the history of the world. The American people are generous. You are determined, you are brave, you are strong, and you are wise.’
Determined, brave, strong, and wise. Certainly, the President wasn’t referring to most of the population? Maybe he was in Wal-Mart, looking at these determined, brave, strong, and wise citizens:

This post was published at shtfplan on December 21st, 2017.

BREAKING: JUDGE DECLARES MISTRIAL IN BUNDY CASE AFTER DOCUMENTED GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE FAMILY IS REVEALED

Just days after a shocking whistleblower complaint from a leading BLM investigator, a federal judge has declared a mistrial in the case against the Bundy family who have been accused of leading a 2014 standoff with the government over cattle grazing rights.
The judge, Chief U. S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro, admonished the prosecution for specifically (and most likely purposefully) failing to turn over ‘potentially exculpatory’ evidence to the Bundy defense team. Navarro also dismissed the jurors in the case despite seven weeks of testimony from overzealous prosecutors hellbent on taking out the entire Bundy family.
‘The judge is obligated to disclose all evidence that might be favorable to defense attorneys,’ she said, according to a report in The Washington Times.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on DECEMBER 20, 2017.

Kim Orders Military To Test Anthrax: North Korea Will ‘Take Revenge’ On US

The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un has said he will take revenge on the United States for Washington’s accusal that the rogue regime was responsible for the WannaCry ransomware attack earlier this year. In timely fashion, Kim has also ordered his military to begin the testing of the chemical agent anthrax.
North Korea has been loading anthrax into int’s controversial ballistic missiles. But the regime and military scientists have been trying to ensure that anthrax would survive the high temperatures generated when the missiles re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis. The regime today rejected the claim as ‘groundless’ and insisted it was fulfilling its obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) which prohibits the production or stockpile of biowarfare weapons.
North Korean state television reported last month the launch of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, Hwasong 15, which is a nuclear-capable weapon which could fly as far as America.

This post was published at shtfplan on December 21st, 2017.

In Unexpected Move, Trump Enacts Obama-era Law Opening US Arms Sales To Ukraine

After years of covert American involvement in the Ukrainian proxy and civil war which has raged since 2014 – and which a leaked recording confirmed was precipitated by the US State Department – President Trump has decided to come off the fence regarding his prior reluctance to formally approve arms sales to the Kiev government. Late Wednesday the Washington Post first reported the bombshell news that after months of indecision over whether or not to move forward with Obama-era legislation which initially paved the way for legalizing US arms sales to Ukraine, Trump has approved the first ever US commercial sale of weapons to the war-torn country.
According to The Washington Post, “administration officials confirmed that the State Department this month approved a commercial license authorizing the export of Model M107A1 Sniper Systems, ammunition, and associated parts and accessories to Ukraine, a sale valued at $41.5 million. These weapons address a specific vulnerability of Ukrainian forces fighting a Russian-backed separatist movement in two eastern provinces. There has been no approval to export the heavier weapons the Ukrainian government is asking for, such as Javelin antitank missiles.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 20, 2017.

FALSE FLAG? MASS CASUALTY DRILL WAS TAKING PLACE IN THE SAME AREA AS THE WASHINGTON STATE AMTRAK TRAIN DERAILMENT

In yet another striking example of a pre-planned training drill being conducted at the exact same time as a real disaster or terror attack, DuPont Mayor Mike Courts has confirmed that a ‘mass casualty’ drill was underway near the area of the horrific Amtrak train derailment that killed at least 3 people and left roughly 100 more injured.
That’s right, multiple agencies, as well as at least three mass casualty emergency vehicles, were already in the area ‘training’ for a disaster when a real one apparently hit which has obviously raised a plethora of questions, especially when you consider past terrorists strikes that also had training drills seemingly go live.
As Infowars noted, ‘While the details of the train derailment in Olympia, Washington continue to come out, one particular fact is raising questions. There was a mass casualty event drill being staged at the exact time and place of the accident.’


This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on DECEMBER 19, 2017.

Trump’s National Security Speech

What do we make of Trump’s national security speech? First of all, it is the military/security complex’s speech, and it is inconsistent with Trump’s intention of normalizing relations with Russia.
The military/security complex, using Trump’s position as President, has defined Russia and China as ‘revisionist powers,’ Washington’s rivals who seek to put their own national interests ahead of Washington’s unilateralism. Russia and China are ‘revisionist powers’ because their assertion of their national interests limits Washington’s hegemony.
In other words, Washington does not accept the validity of other countries’ interests if those interests are contrary to Washington’s interests. So, how does Trump expect to work with Russia and China when he reads a speech that Russia and China seek to ‘shape a world antithetical to our interests and values.’
‘Our values’ means, of course, Washington’s dominance.
Trump begins by honoring the military, police, Homeland Security, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In other words, ‘America first’ means domination by Washington over the citizenry as well as over foreign countries.

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on December 19, 2017.

Syria’s Assad Calls US-Backed Kurdish Militia “Traitors” Under Foreign Control

On Monday Syrian President Bashar al-Assad described US-backed forces in eastern Syria as ‘traitors’ during a meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. “When we talk about those referred to as ‘the Kurds’, they are in fact not just Kurds,” Assad said in remarks released through official Syrian government accounts on social media. “All those who work for a foreign country, mainly those under American command… are traitors.”
Washington has given substantial military assistance and various supplies to the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), not to mention direct air power and artillery support, which has enabled the SDF to seize a sizable part of eastern Syria, including the cities of Raqqa and Manbij, and many of country’s valuable oil and gas fields.
Assad received the Russian delegation headed by Rogozin in Damascus, and said further that the victory over terrorists ‘has created conditions for accelerating the process of restoring the Syrian economy.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 19, 2017.

Who To Believe On Washington’s Korea Policy, Tillerson Or Trump?

President Trump has often said that his foreign policy objective was to keep his enemies guessing. If that’s the goal, you could say that he’s doing a good job. The problem is who does he think his enemies are, because the American people are often left guessing as well.
US policy toward North Korea last week is a good example of how the Trump Administration is wittingly or unwittingly sowing confusion among friend and foe alike.
In what looked like a breakthrough, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced last Tuesday that the US would be willing to sit down and talk with North Korea ‘without preconditions.’ Previously the US had demanded that North Korea agree to end its nuclear weapons and missile programs before Washington was willing to sit down to formal talks.
The State Department shift toward actual diplomacy with North Korea was quickly quashed, however, when the White House announced that its position on North Korea had not changed.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 18, 2017.

Trump Transition Team Emails: Here’s Why Washington Insiders Are Freaking Out

On Saturday, the news broke that Kory Langhofer, counsel to Donald Trump’s transition team known as Trump for America, Inc. (TFA), had sent a 7-page letter to House and Senate Committees stating that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office had improperly received ‘tens of thousands of emails’ from the General Services Administration (GSA), a Federal agency, that had been sent or received by members of Trump’s transition team.
Both the GSA and Mueller’s spokesmen denied that there had been anything improper about the turnover of the emails.
Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, said that ‘When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process.’
Lenny Loewentritt, a veteran lawyer for the GSA told Buzzfeed that transition team members were told by the GSA that materials ‘would not be held back in any law enforcement’ actions and were also informed that there were a series of agreements between the GSA and the transition team that there would be ‘no expectation of privacy’ because there could be monitoring and auditing of communication devices provided by the government.

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on December 18, 2017.

McCain To Miss Critical Tax Vote, Returning To Arizona After Chemo Treatment

The mystery whether John McCain will be present during next week’s historic tax bill vote is over: according to CBS, the Arizona Senator will not be on hand for the final vote on the Republican tax bill, expected early this week, and instead is returning to Arizona after spending several days in a Maryland hospital recovering from side effects from chemotherapy treatment for brain cancer. As CBS furter notes, McCain left Washington Sunday and is heading back to his home state to spend the holidays with his family. It is unclear when McCain might return to Washington, especially amid rumors that the senator’s health has taken a turn for the worse.
Will McCain’s absence be a dealbreaker to the GOP tax vote? Probably not: despite a razor-thin margin needed to pass the measure, McCain’s presence will not likely be the determining factor in the vote. The reason is that two critical senators – Bob Corker of Tennessee and Marco Rubio of Florida – announced their support for the bill last week after initially saying they would oppose earlier versions. Unless, of course, one or both of them changes their opinion in the last minute, somethign which could happen following an IBT report this morning that according to John Cornyn, a tax cut potentially benefiting Bob Corker was part of the effort to secure votes for passage.
As note yesterday, Republican leaders aim to hold floor votes this week, with the House expected to take up the measure first on Tuesday.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 17, 2017.

SYRIA: US War Crime in Jabal Al Tharda, Deir Ezzor and the Implausible Denials

On 17 September 2016 a carefully planned US-led air raid on Jabal al Tharda (Mount Tharda), overlooking Deir Ezzor airport, slaughtered over 100 Syrian soldiers and delivered control of the mountain to DAESH / ISIS. After that surprise attack, the terrorist group held the mountain for almost a year, but did not manage to take the airport or the entire city. US-led forces admitted the attack but claimed it was all a ‘mistake’. However uncontested facts, eye witness accounts and critical circumstances show that was a lie. This article sets out the evidence of this crime, in context of Washington’s historical use of mercenaries for covert actions, linked to the doctrine of ‘plausible deniability’.
Syrian eyewitness accounts from Deir Ezzor deepen and confirm this simple fact: the US-led air raid on Syrian forces at Jabal al Tharda on 17 September 2016 was no ‘mistake’ but a well-planned and effective intervention on behalf of the terrorist group ISIS (DAESH in Arabic). After days of careful surveillance a devastating missile attack followed by machine gunning of the remaining Syrian soldiers helped ISIS take control of the strategic mountain, that same day.
Mercenary forces – like ISIS and the other jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria – were a staple of US intervention during the early decades of the cold war, deployed in more than 25 conflicts, such as those of the Congo, Angola and Nicaragua. Whatever their claimed aims and ideologies, they allowed for the ‘multiplication’ of US power and were associated with the doctrine of ‘plausible deniability’, where the ‘formal’ denial of the mastermind role in covert operations minimised damage to domestic public opinion and international relations (Voss 2016: 37-40).

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on DECEMBER 17, 2017.

This Map Shows You The Richest Politician In Every State

Did you know that George Washington was so rich that he wanted to reject his presidential salary? Wealth has always been a part of American politics, but, recently, political wealth crossed a new milestone (most Congresspeople are millionaires).
This map from HowMuch.net shows the richest politician in every state, and reveals just how rich they really are.
There are 34 states with Republicans as their richest politicians, 15 with Democrats, and one with an Independent. Interestingly, every single one is in Congress. There are no executive branch politicians, including governors, whatsoever.
Geographic Influence
In many places, the results were predictable. No richest-in-state Democrats can be found in the South, but there is a cluster in New England.

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

Is Jihad Festering In America?

Authored by A Z Mohamed via The Gatestone Institute,
Saudi influence on American administrations, and relationships between senior officials in both countries, is behind Washington’s ignoring Riyadh’s “well-established… involvement in supporting terrorism and terrorist groups.” – Report by the Institute for Gulf Affairs (IGA), released on June 1. The IGA report, covering the three-year period since then and including extremely serious charges against both Saudi Arabia and previous U. S. administration and security officials, indicates the urgency with which the current administration needs to treat the issue and act upon it. A new investigative report reveals that hundreds of Saudi and Kuwaiti nationals residing in the United States — some with dual citizenship, and most students subsisting on government scholarships — have joined ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq during the past three years.

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