Category Archives: Russia

Hillary’s ‘Russian Hack’ Hoax: The Biggest Lie of This Election Season

 

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Patrick Henningsen
21st Century Wire

The longer this soap opera drags on, it’s becoming more and more evident that the Russian government did not ‘hack’ into the DNC, and Moscow is not feeding John Podesta’s emails to Wikileaks. For those who are deeply invested in this now official conspiracy theory, this might be a hard pill to swallow. 

The White House and the Hillary Clinton campaign are now married to the idea that ‘Putin is hacking the US elections.’ In response, the President is weighing his options – tougher economic sanctions, revoking diplomatic status to Russian envoys in the US, or even deploying his newly developed ‘malicious cyber-activity’ tools.

Even VP Joe Biden wants in on the action, threatening Moscow by saying,”We’re sending a message. We have the capacity to do it.”  Presumably, he’s referring to a cyber ‘counter attack’ by Washington.

It seems that where ever you turn nowadays, someone in Washington is issuing a threat against Russia. Are US-Russian relations really that bad, or does this trend have more to do with the defense industry and power struggles within the US?

What was previously a stance reserved for right-wing neoconservative hawks and Cold War hold-outs has now infected America’s left-wing, and is a firm plank in the Democratic Party platform, as evidenced by Hillary Clinton’s constant anti-Russian rhetoric throughout this 2016 election cycle. Along with the White House, Clinton has now transformed the Democrats into the vanguard of Washington’s new anti-Russia movement.

On July 27th, Josh Rogin from the Washington Post wrote, “The Clinton campaign has decided to escalate its rhetoric on Russia. After Trump suggested Wednesday that if Russia had indeed hacked Clinton’s private email server it should release the emails, the Clinton campaign sent out its Democratic surrogates to bash Russia and Trump in a manner traditionally reserved for Republicans.”

Anyone who was paying attention back then knew this ‘Russian hack’ talking point was purely political, but then again, who’s really paying attention these days? Certainly not the US media.

You can trace the genesis of the Democratic Party’s hardcore anti-Russian strategy back to when President Vladimir Putin made a mild passing remark about Donald Trump’s GOP primary success. From that point on, Trump’s political opponents saw this as an open target. In their words, ‘comparing one dictator to another.’

Never one to pass up an opportunity to score cheap political points, President Obama got in on the act, intensifying the Trump-Putin narrative to the level of bromance. “If you’ve made a career out of idealizing Ronald Reagan, then where were you when your own party’s nominee for president was kissing up to Vladimir Putin?” said Obama on Oct 20th at a Clinton rally in Miami.

obamaBacked by the Obama White House, Clinton and the media felt they had a green light to keep pressing ahead with blaming Russia – not only for the controversial DNC leaks, but also for hacking into US election systems in Arizona – a charge devoid of any evidence other than innuendo and speculation. The media’s coverage on this issue was deceptive from the onset. In a leading news release, entitled, Russian hackers targeted Arizona election system,” we can see how after the cock-sure headline, the first paragraph would always sound definitive:

“Hackers targeted voter registration systems in Illinois and Arizona, and the FBI alerted Arizona officials in June that Russians were behind the assault on the election system in that state.”

But then by the time you advanced down the story, the report would quickly retreat into a zone of uncertainty:

“The bureau described the threat as “credible” and significant, “an eight on a scale of one to 10,” Matt Roberts, a spokesman for Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan (R), said Monday. As a result, Reagan shut down the state’s voter registration system for nearly a week.”

And then, down to almost nothing…

“It turned out that the hackers had not compromised the state system or even any county system. They had, however, stolen the username and password of a single election official in Gila County.”

At no point was any evidence ever given. Only ambiguous statements like, “Cyber security officials agree that this looks very much like a Russian government-directed hack.”

Are American politicians so callous as to tempt geopolitical conflict in order to further their short-term political ambitions? Better yet, has American political life really arrived in such a dark cul de sac (translated in French: ‘bottom of the bag’) where politicians in power are so insecure as to make-up and propagate wild international conspiracy theories – in the middle a national election cycle? It’s a very depressing prospect, and yet, this is exactly what we are seeing in this 2016 Presidential Election.

Behind Clinton’s wild hyperbolic rants about the Kremlin and Wikileaks, you will find the White House… 

On October 7th, the Obama Administration formally accused the Russian government of stealing emails from the Democratic National Committee and other high-profile individuals including Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta – giving them to Wikileaks. 

Soon, there was a queue of ‘national security’ politicians eager to hitch a ride on this bandwagon. Senator Ben Sasse (NE-R), a member of the Homeland Security Committee spouted out, “Russia must face serious consequences. Moscow orchestrated these hacks because [Russian President Vladimir] Putin believes Soviet-style aggression is worth it. The United States must upend Putin’s calculus with a strong diplomatic, political, ­cyber and economic response.”

According to a Washington Post report by technology editor, Ellen Nakashima, the only ‘evidence’ that seems to be available on this story is a corporate analysis of the alleged ‘Russian government hacks’ – provided by a US cyber security company called Crowdstrike. No actual specifics are given, so we are meant to take private firm Crowdstrike’s word for it.

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IMAGE: Crowdstrike cyber security.

The Post’s Nakashima then added:

“The administration also blamed Moscow for the hack of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the subsequent leak of private email addresses and cellphone numbers of Democratic lawmakers.”

An online persona calling himself Guccifer 2.0 has claimed responsibility for posting the material. Those sites and that persona are “consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts,” the joint statement said. “… We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

Moscow’s press secretary’s reply: “This is some sort of nonsense,” said Dmitry Peskov.

Despite the constant repetition by Democrat media surrogates, and as CNN’s Maria Cardona said last night, no US national intelligence agency has really “confirmed” that Russia was behind the email hacks – and still no evidence, other than speculative guesswork, has been presented.

Likewise, US intelligence agencies have never actually said definitively on record that “Russia did it,” thus, leaving the door open to walk-back the accusation at a later date. Standard Washington procedure of ambiguity. This little detail doesn’t seem to matter in this hyperbolic political climate though. It seems that the White House, Hillary Clinton and media operatives like Cardona – are quite happy living in what John Kerry recent dubbed as a ‘parallel universe.’

The announcement, albeit vague, actually originated from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Still, during the final Presidential debate, Hillary Clinton proudly crowed how “17 US intelligence agenciesaka the “Intelligence Community” – all agreed that Russia did it. 

“We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election,” said Clinton. “I find that deeply disturbing.”

What’s even more disturbing is the fact that Clinton is lying in front of a national audience. The highest levels of the Kremlin? Here are Clinton’s ’17 agencies’:

Air Force Intelligence, Army Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Coast Guard Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, Energy Department, Homeland Security Department, State Department, Treasury Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Marine Corps Intelligence, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency, Navy Intelligence and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

What does the Coast Guard Intelligence, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency or the Drug Enforcement Administration know about John Podesta’s emails? Answer: nothing.

The exact same thing happened following Wikileaks first trove of DNC emails back in July 2016. The US government issued a vague accusatory statement, but would not actually name the culprit. Some might call that propaganda.

In both instances, the Obama Administration refused to present any evidence. Translated: there was no evidence. If there had been, the White House would have been shouting from the rooftops and using it as leverage to apply muscle in the UN over Washington’s  flagging efforts in Syria. Both Obama Administration announcements were nothing more than dog whistles for Democrats and “journalists” working for hopelessly partisan outlets like New York Times and CNN – none of whom have bothered to press the White House for one ounce of evidence pertaining to the Party’s decree that “Russia is hacking the US election process.”

If you actually look at the joint DNI-DHS statement issued on the matter, it contains no definitive statement: 

“… [the hacks] are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow — the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

According to NSA intelligence worker-turned whistleblower William Binney, when asked about WikiLeaks and whether the Russians are ‘hacking’ US elections, he concluded that the cyber efforts against the DNC were more likely to be the work of a “disgruntled U.S. intelligence worker.

Under partisan pressure from senior Democrat Senator Harry Reid, the FBI also initiated another investigation into “people linked to the Trump team with Russia.” Reid was unset about the DNC hacks and the Podesta emails and demanded the FBI do something about the Trump campaign. To date, the FBI haven’t come up with anything.

To be fair, Hillary would have every reason to believe that the Kremlin is behind the hack – because her staff read it to her from the campaign’s daily intelligence briefings, presumably, supplied from the US government’s much vaunted Intelligence Community. Of course, that’s the same Intelligence Community that briefed George W Bush about Saddam’s nonexistent nuclear weapons program, and who also briefed Colin Powell about Iraq’s imaginary “Winnebagos of Death” aka mobile anthrax labs disguised as senior double-wide camper vans. So, of course, they would know if Putin directed the DNC leaks and Podesta email hacks.

For those us who are skeptical of the great oxymoron known as ‘Washington Intelligence,’ I can almost hear the mainstream rebuttal now, “No, that was Iraq, that was Bush. We’re not like that. No, this time it’s different. This time we are sure the Russians did it!”

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In 2014, Obama claimed that Kim’s notorious “Bureau 121” hacked into Sony Pictures. 

This isn’t the first time that President Obama has cried wolf on a foreign ‘hack’ and then tried to sell it for political purposes. Back in December 2014, Obama claimed that North Korea had hacked Sony Pictures in Hollywood. Pentagon-CIA media proxy CNN quickly chimed in to support Washington’s conspiracy theory, floating a colorful story that Kim Jing-Un had deployed a secret underground hacking unit called Bureau 121.’ Just like with today’s “Russian Hack” theory, no member of the mainstream press dared to question the White House’s ridiculous North Korean claim, and like the ‘Russian Hack’ claims, the only source cited for Sony hack was analysis provided by US firm Crowdstrike.

Jumping the Shark

After their Democratic Party Convention on July 27th, the Clinton campaign machine put all of its chips on their Putin narrative.

Soon after, a cadre of top Clinton national security surrogates then accused Trump of emboldening Russia in their evil plot to “destabilize and dominate the West.”  Tom Donilon, a former national security adviser then accused Russia of ‘interfering’ with elections all over Europe and then accused Trump is helping Russia directly. At that point, they were in too deep to turn back.

Clinton spin doctors Josh Schwerin and Michael Fallon would stoop even lower by accusing RT of having possession of the Podesta emails even before Wikileaks did. Their only ‘evidence’ seemed to be Twitter posts by RT News which Clinton held up as ‘proof’ that the Kremlin was front-running Wikileaks email dumps. The Clinton braintrust failed to note that the Podesta emails were posted on Wikileaks own website well before RT News had tweeted about them. At that point it became obvious that the Clinton campaign was panicking and hysterically grabbing for any excuse they could get their hands on. We then watched, as one RT reporter after another dismantled the Clinton campaign’s desperate claims. It was embarrassing. They could not face the uncomfortable fact that it was WikiLeaks head Julian Assange who chose the timing of the release of the DNC and Podesta emails. Rather than attack Assange himself, who happens to be popular with millennials (the very group Clinton struggles to connect with), her operatives opted to target Russia and Trump instead. Either way, the political strategy here is clear – to shoot the messenger. The Clinton campaign is stuck in permanent rear-guard mode, because based on the content of both the DNC Leaks, Wikileaks files, and Project Veritas video – their own Democratic Party has been discredited and exposed as a corrupt political organization. Their other big problem is that despite all the outrage from Democrats and their mainstream media surrogates, none of the leaked content has been challenged on the basis of its authenticity. The results speak for themselves. The initial DNC leak of 20,000 emails resulted in the resignation of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. They revealed the unthinkable: the Democratic National Committee actively worked to undermine the Presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders in favor of the establishment choice in Hillary Clinton. Sanders never had a chance. Honest commentators called this an affront to the democratic process, while party insiders and Clinton supporters pretended to be aloof as if it never happened. To prove this point, both President Obama and Hillary Clinton then gave Wasserman-Schultz a glowing endorsement on the way out. “For the last eight years, Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has had my back. This afternoon, I called her to let her know that I am grateful,” said Obama. Not surprisingly, Clinton thanked Wasserman Schultz, presumably for helping to knock her only competitor Sanders out of the Democrat primary race. “I am grateful to Debbie for getting the Democratic Party to this year’s historic convention in Philadelphia, and I know that this week’s events will be a success thanks to her hard work and leadership,” said Clinton. The party had sold its soul to devil and no one seemed to care too much about it. Party Meltdown Wasserman Schultz’s replacement didn’t fair much better. DNC Vice Chairwoman Donna Brazile was installed to serve as interim chair through the remainder election, but Brazile was soon skewered by subsequent Wikileaks batches – showing how, on more than one occasion, she fed debate questions obtained from corrupt mainstream media operatives – straight to Hillary Clinton. A March 12 email exchange shows Brazile stating that she received a town hall question from Roland Martin, a TV One host who co-moderated a March 13 town hall with CNN’s Jake Tapper.” A March 5 email shows that she shared a question with Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and communications director Jennifer Palmieri that was to be asked in a March 6 debate hosted by CNN in Flint, Mich.” (Source: Daily Caller) Brazile’s audacious fraud also helped contribute to her party’s planned sabotage of Democrat challenger Bernie Sanders. Watch Brazile go into full meltdown when confronted here: . Completely corrupt and still, Brazile even had to temerity to deny doing it when pressed on FOX News last week. Brazile’s reputation is so bad now that even CNN has severed ties with her – and that’s saying a lot. In addition, it was also revealed how CNN’s head political commentator, Gloria Borger, was named by Podesta as one of a shortlist of ‘journalists’ the Clinton campaign would “work with” to gain favorable coverage. You’d think that CNN would have dropped Borger after this was revealed, but no. Amazingly, Borger is still leading CNN’s election coverage. Clearly, CNN cannot be trusted to police itself when it comes to matters of outright collusion with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.


Worse Than Watergate

Perhaps a bigger scandal which the Obama White House and Clinton campaign operatives would like to bury – is the FBI’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal confirmed the existence of an internal feud between the FBI and the Justice Department, over whether or not to pursue an investigation into Clinton issue:

“Some investigators grew frustrated, viewing FBI leadership as uninterested in probing the charity, these people said. Others involved disagreed sharply, defending FBI bosses and saying Mr. McCabe in particular was caught between an increasingly acrimonious fight for control between the Justice Department and FBI agents pursuing the Clinton Foundation case. It isn’t unusual for field agents to favor a more aggressive approach than supervisors and prosecutors think is merited. But the internal debates about the Clinton Foundation show the high stakes when such disagreements occur surrounding someone who is running for president.”

There’s more. It was also revealed last week how Jill McCabe, the wife of FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe, received $467,500 in campaign funds in late 2015 for her Virginia State Senate run. This unusually large donation came via a political action committee run by Virginia Gov.Terry McAuliffe – a Clinton Foundation board member. After the funds were donated, Andrew McCabe was then put in charge of the Clinton Email case. In normal times, this one scandal would be bigger than Watergate, but these are not normal times.

So why is Washington going all out to deflect to Russia, and cover-up the Clinton scandals, and the Wikileaks document dumps? One reason is because the Clinton email issue goes all the way to the top – to the President himself.

What 21WIRE reported on Oct 21st is how President Obama lied when first confronted about whether or not he knew about the existence of Hillary’s unauthorized private server. Obama told CBS News on March 7, 2015 that he only found out about Clinton’s server “the same time everybody else learned it through news reports.” The President’s lie was confirmed when newly released FBI documents showed that:

“Obama used a pseudonym [bobama@ameritech.net] when communicating with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by email, and at least one of those emails ended up on Clinton’s private email server.”

So, not only did Obama lie on national TV, but he also broke strict White House security protocols by carelessly exchanging private emails “off grid” with Hillary Clinton on a unsecured and unauthorized mail server –  maybe to avoid the same scrutiny one would have on a government system. Who knows why he did it.

Sure, he’s not the first US President to lie, but like, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, Obama just joined that exclusive liars club – caught out lying to the American people.

On top of this, any communications made by the President of the United States are de facto labeled as “born classified.”  The same goes for any State Department communications with other foreign ministers.

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COVER-UP: John Podesta and Huma Abedin on the Hillary campaign jet (Image: ABC News)

It should be well known by now after watching both Attorney Generals Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch in action – that the Obama Justice Department (DOJ) is one of the most politicized in history. Bear that in mind when looking at the latest leg of the Hillary Email case.

On Friday, FBI Director James Comey set the election alight after announcing that the FBI would be reopening the Clinton email case – currently examining 650,000 emails found while investigating a laptop belonging to former US Congressman Anthony Weiner (estranged husband of top Clinton aid and long-time confidant Huma Abedin) who was snared in a ‘sexting’ scandal, allegedly involving a underaged female. So which DOJ person is in charge of this investigation? None other than Assistant Attorney General Peter J. Kadzik. Who is Kadzik?  Zero Hedge reports:

“Oh yes. Recall our post from last week, “Clinton Campaign Chair Had Dinner With Top DOJ Official One Day After Hillary’s Benghazi Hearing” in which we reported that John Podesta had dinner with one of the highest ranked DOJ officials the very day after Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony? It was Peter Kadzik.”

Oh, and if that wasn’t good enough, Kadzik was also Podesta’s lawyer back in 1998 when Ken Starr was investigating Podesta over his role in helping Bill Clinton intern/mistress Monica Lewinsky land a job at the United Nations. The two were described as ‘best friends.’ FOX News confirms:

“Fantastic lawyer. Kept me out of jail,” Podesta wrote on Sept. 8, 2008 to Obama aide Cassandra Butts, according to emails hacked from Podesta’s Gmail account and posted by WikiLeaks.

To call the Clinton circle incestuous would be an understatement, and on the whole, Americans are sick of it.

Russia – The Party Scapegoat

Former Democratic Party leader Howard Dean was so incensed about the FBI reopening the case, he accused the FBI director of being in league with Russia, Tweeting: “Ironically Comey put himself on the same side as Putin.”


Another veteran party operative and lifetime Clinton defender, James Carville, was so upset by the FBI announcement that he accused “the KGB” working with Republicans to “hijack the election” during his wild rant on MSNBC.

“I think this an outrage and I think the fact that the KGB is involved in this election is an outrage and I think the American people ought to take their democracy back regardless of what the press wants to do and the excuses they want to make for Comey. That’s what I think,” said Carville.

Maybe someone can remind Carville that there is no KGB, and that the Soviet Union actually dissolved in 1991.

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These are just a few scandals surrounding the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign, along with the many exposés revealed through Wikileaks, and the Podesta email batches. Those are actual scandals with real tangible evidence – unlike the ‘Russians hacking the DNC and John Podesta and passing those to Wikileaks.’ 

Suffice to say, the Democratic Party machine has already demonstrated that it is prepared to say anything in order to deflect and divert attention away from the damning Wikileaks material, and also blame Donald Trump in the process. It should be obvious by now that in their desperation to push a highly comprised Hillary Clinton over the finish line on November 8th, the Washington establishment has concocted the story that ‘Putin is trying to influence our electoral process in the US.’ They’ve tried to lay this at the feet of Donald Trump, who Obama and Clinton claim has some secret special relationship with Vladimir Putin. The liberal mainstream media have made a meal out of this talking point, and anti-Russian war hawks on the Republican side love it too. For the White House and the Clinton campaign this seemed like the ultimate clean sweep – a perfect double entendre.

The geopolitical strategy behind this move was twofold. First, this non event would be used to advance immediate calls for  sanctions against Russia. Secondly, the US could continue to lean on Russia in the UN over Syria. Previously, 21WIRE reported how Washington’s State Dept and UN delegations, led by the dynamic trio of John KerrySamantha Power, and John Kirbyalready lied when levelling charges against Russia for war crimes in Aleppo, and again while accusing Russia and Syria of conducting an airstrike on a UN Aid Convoy in Syria. As we have already shown – that raid was most likely a ground attack carried out of US-backed ‘rebels’ Al Nusra Front, or Nour al-Din al-Zenki.

With so much at stake geopolitically, why would Washington lie about a potential World War III trigger event? If they are prepared to lie about this, what else are they prepared to lie about?

The demonization of all things Russian has definitely accelerated since late 2013 when the US engineered a coup d’etat in Kiev, Ukraine. Ever since that it’s been a go-to talking point for ginning-up and new transaltlantic arms race, as with Republican war hawks – and a convenient scapegoat for any politician requiring misdirection, like Clinton and the Democrats. When the new year rang in 2015, the newly appointed head of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, Andrew Lack, announced the new challenges facing America’s own state-run media arm that includes U.S. overseas propaganda assets including Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Radio Free Asia. Lack said, “We are facing a number of challenges from entities like Russia Today which is out there pushing a point of view, the Islamic State in the Middle East and groups like Boko Haram,” He was forced to resign shortly after that.

What’s clear is that when it comes to all things Russian, there is an established pattern of compulsive lying by this US Administration. The list is too long to chronicle here, although ‘Russian-backed Rebles Shootting Down MH17,’ and ‘Assad Regime Sarin Attack in Damascus in 2013‘ certainly comes to mind.

That said, it’s hard to imagine a lie as egregious and potentially destructive than one which accuses the Russia government, a world nuclear power and member of the UNSC, of ‘Hacking Into the US Electoral Process.’ When you examine history however, what you will find is plenty of evidence documenting exactly how the US government and the CIA have altered and flipped 100 foreign elections throughout history, the attempted assassination of over 50 foreign leaders. Knowing all this, one might find it hard to take seriously Washington’s claims that Putin and Trump are trying manipulate the 2016 Election

On Oct 9, 2016, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov laid it all on the table:

“We have witnessed a fundamental change of circumstances when it comes to the aggressive Russophobia that now lies at the heart of U.S. policy towards Russia. It’s not just a rhetorical Russophobia, but aggressive steps that really hurt our national interests and pose a threat to our security.”

Self-serving, career political operatives in Washington are playing a dangerous game. History will mark this as one of the biggest political follies of the Obama-Clinton era.

Knowing what we now know about the NSA and its ability to hack and grab any email or text message from anyone, anywhere – if Washington really wanted to know where the hacks came from, maybe they could start there. Far be it from anyone in Washington or the media to ever adopt that line of inquiry.

Still, we’re waiting for the emergence of an adult in the room in Washington – before it’s too late.

READ MORE ELECTION NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire 2016 Files

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Hillary’s ‘Russian Hack’ Hoax: The Biggest Lie of This Election Season.

Russia Warns US Airstrikes On Syrian Army Would Lead To War, Air Defenses Are Active

 

russia-us-warBy Baran Hines

Russia’s Defense Ministry has warned the US-led coalition against carrying out airstrikes on Syrian army positions. The Russian Defense Ministry stated that “any missile or air strikes on the territory controlled by the Syrian government will create a clear threat to Russian servicemen,” during a press conference on Thursday.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson General Igor Konashenkov said that many members of the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria are working “on the ground” to deliver aid and “communicating with a large number of communities in Syria,” in his statement.

The statement was also a confirmation that Russia has S-400 and S-300 air-defense systems deployed to protect its troops and assets stationed at the Tartus naval base and their Khmeimim airbase. General Konashenkov said the radius of the weapons may be “a surprise” to unidentified flying objects. He also noted that the Syrian military has S-200 and BUK missile systems, which have been upgraded over the past year.

The Russian Defense Ministry’s statement came in response to what it called “leaks” in the Western media hinting that the United States is considering launching airstrikes against Syrian government forces.

“Of particular concern is information that the initiators of such provocations are representatives of the CIA and the Pentagon, who in September reported to the [US] President on the alleged controllability of ‘opposition’ fighters, but today are lobbying for ‘kinetic’ scenarios in Syria,” Konashenkov said.

Konashenkov then cautioned US officials to conduct a “thorough calculation of the possible consequences of such plans,” as the American strikes would likely lead to a serious response by Russia.

The Russian statement is the latest escalation in a series of warnings by each side. United States Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley warned on Wednesday that the United States was ready to “destroy” its enemies, saying “we will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before,” in comments that many people interpret to be directed at Russia.

The planned ceasefire to end the Syrian proxy war collapsed on Monday when the US State Department announced it was ending bilateral talks with Russian officials. US officials say they will still negotiate with Russia in international forums on the Syrian war.

The ceasefire agreed to on September 9 required a 7-day period of reduced violence before the US and Russia would begin military cooperation and intelligence sharing to target the Islamic State and the Al Nusra Front, which is recognized as the Syrian Al Qaeda affiliate.

It was claimed that Syrian moderate opposition groups violated the ceasefire immediately and consistently while US officials maintain that the Syrian government and Russian military support were the primary cause of the failed ceasefire. US-led coalition jets bombed positions of the Syrian government forces fighting the Islamic State on September 17, killing 83 troops and wounding more than 100 other people. US defense officials say the airstrike was a mistake; however, Syrian officials claimed the incident was a “blatant aggression” as the attack lasted almost one hour.


Russia Warns US Airstrikes On Syrian Army Would Lead To War, Air Defenses Are Active.

Russian Defense Minister Warns US: Do Not Strike the Syrian Army

It’s well-known by now that desperate imperial behemoths do desperate deeds. 

Russian Defense Ministry announced today that any US Coalition airstrike or missile hitting targets in territory controlled by the Syrian Army and its government – would place Russian personnel in danger, something Moscow considers unacceptable.

“Any missile or air strikes on the territory controlled by the Syrian government will create a clear threat to Russian servicemen.”

In response, Moscow has deployed its own hypersonic S-400 mobile surface-to-air missile defense system in Syria.

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S-400 SAMs: Russia’s mobile air defense systems ready to deployed against US Coalition aggression in Syria.

Washington and its terrorists-for-hire in Aleppo are losing at present. The US response has been twofold:

1) threaten Syria.

2) threaten Russia. 

With all of the sabre rattling and threats of “alternative means” or even a targeted assassination of the Syrian President by the Obama Administration, it would be a surprise for sure if Washington actually followed through with whatever it portends from one day to the next.

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Most pundits are in agreement that it would be difficult for any US administration to start an actual shooting war with Russia, as the US are already in violation of every conceivable international law by arming international terrorists in Syria and by carrying out illegal bombing in another country’s sovereign airspace. But that doesn’t rule out a preferred liberal warhawk option – to use a proxy to do its dirty work (ideally, before November 8th). The Obama Administration already has an established track record here, most notably back in October when it tasked NATO member Turkey with shooting down a Russia fighter jet along the Syrian-Turkish border. This stunt was, of course, accompanied with a prepackaged lie where NATO claimed that the Russian fighter had somehow violated Turkish airspace. In the end, this cheap stunt, designed somewhere in either the Pentagon or the Rand Corporation, was exposed as another fraud – perpetrated by the west as a vain and reckless attempt to bait Russia into a serious military confrontation.

If the US ‘Coalition’ (Washington, Gulf theocratic dictatorships and a series of water carrying nations) is going to hit Syrian Army and government positions, it’s more likely it will use a proxy like Turkey, or a country who is allowed to operate outside of international law… like Israel. Either of these will allow Washington and London to play dumb (“Oh, what a terrible situation, what can we do?”) and get off the hook without having to take responsibility for any new geopolitical chaos it has fomented.

The primary challenge for US Coalition and Israeli aircraft is clear: Russia’s new S-300 and S-400 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile defense systems. If deployed, it would almost certainly mean that the US and its allies would lose aircraft over Syria. This is a very dangerous prospect because events could easily spiral out of control. That being the case, another trick that Washington will surely organize is to bait a Russian SAM counter attack so that a Coalition aircraft was downed in Turkish or Israeli airspace – which would give John Kerry and Samantha Power the ability to create another dramatic scene at the UN Security Council, while doing what they do best: blame any incident on “Russian aggression”, and creating yet another diplomatic stalemate in the UN, allowing jihadists to continue expanding their violent enclaves.

RT confirms that Moscow has officially thrown down the gantlet to the US:

“Russia’s Defense Ministry has cautioned the US-led coalition of carrying out airstrikes on Syrian army positions, adding in Syria there are numerous S-300 and S-400 air defense systems up and running.

Russia currently has S-400 and S-300 air-defense systems deployed to protect its troops stationed at the Tartus naval supply base and the Khmeimim airbase. The radius of the weapons reach may be “a surprise” to all unidentified flying objects, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson General Igor Konashenkov said.”

The US has already demonstrated it is willing to try and trigger a wider war when it officially broke and international ceasefire agreement signed with Russian by attacking a Syrian Military position back on Sept 17th, killing some 83 Syrian servicemen.

 

Russian Defense Minister Warns US: Do Not Strike the Syrian Army.

SYRIA: “Bashar Al Assad is Determined to Hold Syria Together”

 

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Syrian Arab Army soldier after the liberation of al-Lairamoun from Nusra Front terrorists, Aleppo July 2016

Jeremy Salt
Palestine Chronicle

The massacre of 106 Syrian soldiers in a US-led air attack brings the Middle East and the world closer to the edge of complete chaos. If Syria can be torn apart, why not your country, or mine? If Syrians can be killed so brutally, and so casually, so dishonestly, so brazenly, so callously, why not all of us? Why should our lives be sacrosanct when theirs are not?

The policymakers in Washington organizing this destruction are not affected. Their wives and children are safe in their suburban houses in their leafy streets and they cannot imagine themselves or their country being sucked into the vortex of annihilation any more than Hitler did before invading Poland. We are back to the 1930s and no-one should be surprised if this situation ends where the 1930s ended.

But the next war will not end where 1939 ended because it will be nuclear and those smug policymakers in Washington and their wives and children will be burnt to a smudge on the wall like everyone else even if they don’t have the imagination to see it.

The fascists of yesteryear have resurfaced in the liberal democracies of today. The fascists wore uniforms, military jackets, belts and caps in black and brown. The liberal democrats wear uniforms, too, grey or blue suits, white shirts and pastel ties. The fascists killed remorselessly. The liberal democrats kill remorselessly. The fascists tore international law to shreds. The liberal democrats tear international law to shreds. The fascists lied as a matter of course. The liberal democrats lie as a matter of course. The fascist media trumpeted lies around the world. The liberal democrat media trumpets lies around the world.

World order now is being torn apart by the liberal democracies. This was made explicit by Condoleeza Rice during the George W. Bush presidency when, spelling out the national security policy of her country, she said the US would not respect the sovereign rights of countries where they did not deserve to be respected in the opinion and in the interests of the US. Well, the US never did respect the rights of other countries when it did not want to respect them but here was the reality being spelled out, arrogantly and openly, for the world to hear.

The 17th century Treaty of Westphalia, guaranteeing order in the European world and still a foundation of hope for global order, was torn up in a second. We have seen the results: countries destroyed and drone missile attacks ordered on the basis of authorization signed by the US president. What international law might say is irrelevant because this is the exceptional state.

Syria may as well not be a country with borders, sovereign rights and represented at the United Nations by the government in Damascus. There might as well not be a UN as far as Syria is concerned. It has done nothing to save Syria from this tempest of destruction and everything to enable it, in the same way that the feeble League of Nations failed to protect Spaniards, Ethiopians and Chinese from the onslaught of the fascists. There might as well be no international law as far as Syria is concerned.

The only country with the right to position military forces in Syria is Russia. All the others are engaged in the most tremendous violation of international law. Even distant Australia was part of the air attack outside Deir al Zor. The government apologized for the ‘mistake’ and moved on while the real story for the media was not this violation of international law, ending in the killing of 106 Syrians, but the domestic problems of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

The arch villain is the United States. It’s record as an international pirate is seamless. It lives in a permanent state of war with someone, as if this is an existential requirement. The wars began with the wars against the North American Indians, moved on to the war against the colonial British master, then the war against the slaves, then the continuing war against Afro-Americans, then the wars exported around the world, as if the territory of the US was not big enough to contain its inherent violence, as if the belt around a bulging waistline had to be loosened. Wars shipped to Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East: invasions, coups, assassination, economic destabilization and the sponsorship of theft and occupation by the Zionist colonists of Palestine. In the past decade alone the US has torn Iraq and Libya apart and is now trying to finish off Syria.

The attack outside Deir al Zor was not accidental. It was planned, it was deliberate, it was preceded by drone reconnaissance and it lasted for at least an hour, way past the point at which the US would have been informed that it was bombing the wrong target. The aerial assault was immediately followed by an ISIS attack on what was left of the Syrian military installations. In context, the attack was foreshadowed four months ago when 51 State Department personnel petitioned the US government to launch direct attacks on the Syrian military.

It was foreshadowed by the Defence Intelligence Agency evaluation that the establishment of a ‘salafist’ state in eastern Syria would serve US interests: in the form of the Islamic State, this is what the US now has. It was foreshadowed by Hillary Clinton’s statement that if elected president she would authorize direct military attacks on Syrian targets. Finally, after these threats, noone should be surprised that it finally happened.

What has been made clear, yet again, as if the point needs to be made again, is that the US has no more interest in bringing peace to Syria than it did five years ago. It remains determined to break it apart, towards which end it is utilizing the most brutal terrorist groups operating in the world today. They include the Islamic State. The US did not begin launching serious attacks against the Islamic State until shamed by Russia: how serious these attacks have been since remains a matter of conjecture.

It is completely inconceivable that the US did not know the Islamic State was moving against Mosul, Ramadi and Palmyra. Its satellites and drones would have picked up the pickup trucks speeding across the desert. The clouds of dust whirling up from their wheels would have been enough to give them away. The US turned a blind eye, and was therefore complicit in the seizure of these cities by the ostensible terrorist enemy. Furthermore, the attack on Syria has been in the works for decades, planned by the neo-conservatives, including Israel’s American Zionist implants, and honed and refined ever since.

Several times now, at the precise point the Syrian military was poised to liberate those areas of Aleppo infiltrated and occupied by terrorist groups, Russia and the US have declared a ‘cessation of hostilities.’ Each one has been violated by the US and its allies. This repeated disruption of an ongoing military operation has had to be extraordinarily frustrating for Syria and its allies, Iran and Hezbollah. They either know or have to assume that as part of the greater game these are moves Putin has to make. In July he warned that the world was being pulled in an ‘irreversible direction’ by US/NATO war preparations against Russia. It is a sign of the demented state of world politics that a nuclear war can even be regarded as possible. But Putin’s conclusions would seem to be confirmed by the behavior of the US and its allies, recently manifested by Samantha Powers when she walked out of the UN Security Council just as the Soviet ambassador was about to speak and demonstrated also in the statement just released by the foreign ministers of France, Italy, Germany, the UK, the US and the ‘high representative’ of the EU.

Their demarche against Russia is not just deeply dishonest but extremely belligerent. The US attack on the Syrian military position is not mentioned: it is Russia that is responsible for the breakdown of the ‘cessation of hostilities’, Russia by insinuation that bombed the aid convoy outside Aleppo, Russia that is supporting the ‘siege’ of eastern Aleppo and Syria by insinuation that has launched chemical weapons attacks. These liars warn that their patience with Russian unwillingness to live up to its commitments is not unlimited. This has to be read as a threat to Russia and Syria, perhaps of direct intervention in the form of an entirely illegal no-fly zone to relieve the pressure on the beleaguered takfiris in Aleppo.

If Putin has concluded that war with the US is a real possibility, he is also likely to have concluded that it has to be held off for as long as possible, giving Russia time to prepare militarily. The obvious parallel would be Stalin’s agreement with Hitler in 1939.

Thus negotiations between Kerry and Lavrov can be expected to continue to the bitter end despite their obvious futility insofar as the situation on the ground in Syria is continued. The only other explanation for Putin’s stop-start behavior is that he is in the process of selling Syria out to appease the Americans and gain ‘concessions’ for Russia elsewhere. This does not seem likely as what the US wants from all its ‘partners’ is not cooperation and respect as equals but subjection to the US-directed world political and economic order.

The collapse of the USSR was one great victory (by default) and the incorporation of a westernized Russian satrap into the US world system would be another. Russia already has a corrupt capitalist economy, fed off by oligarchic parasites, but it also has its own history, culture and identity and as much as Putin will try to accommodate the US, these are red lines he is most unlikely to allow himself and Russia to be pushed over.

In the meantime, while this deadly game is being played out, Syria bleeds every day of the week. Its ability to resist this onslaught has been astonishing. Government, people and army have held together against the most intense attempt to destroy an Arab government in modern times. Iraq was fatally weakened in the air war of 1991. It never recovered and was quickly knocked over when the US attacked again in 2003. Libya had no chance and had the US succeeded in getting another fig leaf from the UN Security Council, Syria would have been subjected to a far more devastating aerial attack.

Instead, frustrated and angry, the US had to settle for a war of attrition fought by Takfiri contras funded by the Gulf States and pouring into Syria from Jordan and Turkey. This has resulted in further frustration, anger and more openly expressed belligerence as with Russian help the Syrian military has slowly turned the Takfiri tide. Now only open intervention will save the grand plan, this time not just against Syria but Russia.

In the name of its own security, having undermined Syria’s security and paving the war for the rise of the Syrian Kurdish drive for autonomy, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sent the Turkish army into Syria. This is not an ‘incursion’ but an invasion which Syria cannot resist because it is too hard pressed on too many other fronts.

The Turkish army has occupied 900 square kilometers of Syrian territory and Erdogan is talking of increasing this to 5000 square kilometers, stretching from the east to the predominantly Kurdish city of Afrin in the west. The army is also moving towards Al Bab, on the road to Aleppo.

Erdogan has asked parliament to authorize additional military action in Iraq, where his ambitions would rest on Mosul, claimed by Turkey in the 1920s but awarded to Iraq (and thus Britain) by the League of Nations. Erdogan has now got the ‘safe zone’ in Syria he wanted from the beginning. How ‘safe’ this will be for Turkey, given the developing confrontation between the US and Russia remains to be seen.

Bashar al Assad is determined to hold Syria together. His enemies are determined to pull it apart.

Towards this end they have funded, armed and aligned themselves with armed groups whose only value is to show the world that there is no limit to the degeneracy of which human beings are capable. Are their besuited or otherwise berobed backers in Washington, London, Paris and Middle East capitals any less despicable? No respect for law, no respect for human dignity, no respect for human life, no remorse, no regrets, no morality and no ethics, just the drive to get what they want irrespective of the harm they do to other people.

We are back in the ‘devil’s decade’, Claud Cockburn’s description of the 1930s.

***

Jeremy Salt taught at the University of Melbourne, at Bosporus University in Istanbul and Bilkent University in Ankara for many years, specializing in the modern history of the Middle East. Among his recent publications is his 2008 book, The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands (University of California Press).

 

SYRIA: “Bashar Al Assad is Determined to Hold Syria Together”.

U.S. Renews Calls For Attack On Syria Air Force, U.K. Calls For Safe Zones, Military Action

 

syria safe zone

As tension between the West and Russia over the Syrian crisis heats up yet again, a combination effort on the part of elements within the United States and the UK are pushing for direct military confrontation with the Syrian military as well as the Russians. Indeed, after a period of time suggesting a major improvement on the ground, it appears that there is now the possibility of renewed vigor on the part of the imperialist Western powers in their goal to destroy Syria, even at the cost of igniting World War 3.

After having violated international law and Syria’s national sovereignty by not only funding and supporting proxy soldiers for the purpose of destroying the secular government of Bashar al-Assad but also by deploying aircraft and troops in the country despite not being invited in by the legitimate government, the U.S. is now warning Russia and Syria against targeting terrorists and Western proxy fighters within Syria’s own territory.

The new U.S. Commander of American troops in Iraq and Syria stated on August 22 that he will “defend” the Special Operations Forces aggressively deployed by the United States to Northern Syria if Syrian warplanes or Syrian artillery again strike areas where U.S. troops are located.

During an interview with CNN, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend stated from his headquarters in Baghdad that “We’ve informed the Russians where we’re at … (they) tell us they’ve informed the Syrians, and I’d just say that we will defend ourselves if we feel threatened.”

The hypocrisy and deception of the United States government on this issue has now reached a staggering level. An accurate translation of what Townsend is saying is that “We have funded proxy terrorists to destroy the Syrian government. Those terrorists started losing so we deployed troops to support them and forge new brigades of terrorism with Kurds. Despite the fact that we deployed these troops against international law, violated Syria’s national sovereignty, as well as the wishes of the majority of the world, we will play the victim if those troops are injured during the course of Syria’s battle with the terrorists we support. We will then attack Syrian planes as a response to attacking terrorists whom our soldiers are assisting in attacking the Syrian government.” In other words, the U.S. position is that “We will attack you whenever we want, however we want, and everyone and everything else in the world be damned. And if you dare respond, we will play the victim, drum up sympathy and good ol’ fashioned ‘Murican patriotism back home so that we can launch a full-scale war upon your country.”

Essentially, Syria is being threatened with full-scale war if it defends itself and a death of a thousand cuts if it does not. This is an epic level of hypocrisy even for the U.S. government but the most surprising element is that it can be carried out so openly. Perhaps Western audiences are now so utterly befuddled as to foreign policy that such overt acts of deception and aggression simply go unnoticed.

Enter the British. Never known to take a backseat in hypocrisy, thirty Labour MPs are now calling for a “safe zone” in Syria, an obvious and admitted act of war that would initiate the creation of Libya 2.0. The pro-war camp is fully playing up the “spirit of Jo Cox,” the celebrated humanitarian bomber and warmonger who was murdered earlier this year. The campaign to create “safe zones” and “buffer zones” in Syria is being promoted not only by the war hawks in parliament but also by “friends” of Cox and the UK military establishment.

“In life, Jo argued with such passion and eloquence that the UK armed forces could play a role in protecting civilians in Syria by enforcing a ‘no bomb’ zone,” said John Woodstock, friend of Cox. “This is a time for Britain to show the courage and resolve which Jo herself exemplified by taking bolder action to end the horrific bloodshed.”

Translation: a warmongering MP was murdered so let’s pretend to honor her by ensuring that the people she wanted to murder while she was still alive are murdered now that she is dead.

This may be poor logic and poor presentation but, unfortunately, this type of propaganda is effective in the modern-day UK.

The former Shadow Minister, Pat McFadden chimed in as well. “The British contribution to attacking Isis strongholds – in which our pilots do everything they can to avoid civilian casualties – is an important part of the effort to free the people of Syria from the brutality of what they have been enduring. The whole approach to Syria has been marked by a reluctance to intervene but telling ourselves that because we didn’t break it we didn’t buy it is of little comfort to the innocent victims of the war.”

Translation: We have been bombing intermittently for some time and that is good but we should just go all in, to hell with civilian casualties and to hell with international law. In fact, to hell with our own population who will pay the price in blood and sacrifice as well as lower living standards back home.

The UK military voice is chiming in as well. As Col. Hamish de Bretton-Gordon said:

There is a military solution here and now is the time to be bold. We aren’t talking about boots on the ground, the very least we can do is place no bomb zones around hospitals. As the Russian government have strenuously denied that they target hospitals there should, in theory, be little danger of the nightmare scenario of a British or US jet shooting down a Russian one.

I have suggested creating a Safe Zone for civilians to go to in North West Syria and protect it otherwise they will remain and die in Aleppo or leave and turn right to Raqqa, where we could see them turn to Isil. The very least we can do is place no bomb zones around hospitals.

Translation: We have to destroy the Syrian government. I think we can do this without starting thermonuclear World War 3 but it’s just a chance we will have to take. Let’s create a “safe zone” that is, in effect, a refuge for terrorists and an excuse to bomb the Syrian Air Force out of existence. We can use hospitals and civilians as excuses. And if that nuclear world war happens, we will know we made the wrong decision.

According to the Telegraph, sources close to Hillary Clinton have stated that Killary is planning on a “safe zone” approach upon her coronation, er, election.

The idea of establishing a “safe zone” in Syria is, of course, not a new concept. In July, 2015, the agreement being discussed would have effectively created a “buffer zone” that would have spanned from the Turkish border line into Syria. It would have extended from Azaz in the East to Jarablus in the West and as far south as al-Bab. The width of the zone would have been about 68 miles and would have extended around 40 miles deep into Syria, right on the doorstep of Aleppo.

The zone would have much smaller than that which Turkey and the United States have been calling for in the years prior and wouldn’t have necessarily stretched the length of the Turkey-Syria border. But it is a start.

True to form, the US and Turkey attempted to obfuscate the fact that their agreement was the creation of a no-fly zone by renaming it an “ISIL-free zone.” This is the same tactic used when the term “no-fly zone” and “buffer zone” began to draw too much ire from observers only a year ago. Then, the term became “safe zone.”

Semantics have served NATO and the United States well over the years. After all, a simple name change of terrorist organizations has made the Anglo-American powers able to produce “moderate rebels” and the most frightening terrorist organization the world has ever seen while using the same group of terrorists.

The description of the “ISIL-free zone” of 2015 was that it would be a distinguished area in which the Turkish and U.S. military would engage in aggressive operations against ISIS. It was floated that this area would have also functioned as a place where civilians displaced by the Syrian crisis may run to for safe haven and where “moderate rebel” forces can maintain a higher presence free from the battles with ISIS.

“Once the area is cleared, the plan is to give control to as-yet-unidentified moderate Syrian rebel groups. The United States and Turkey have differing interpretations as to which groups can be defined as ‘moderate,’” the Washington Post reported.

The reality, however, is that the “ISIL-free zone” would have been nothing more than a Forward Operating Base deeper into Syrian territory, working under the direct protection of the U.S. military and Turkish air force. That is exactly what the British and the U.S. are arguing for today.

Going further back, public discussion of the implementation of a “buffer zone” began as far back as 2012 when the Brookings Institution, in their memo “Assessing Options For Regime Change” stated:

An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.

The Brookings Institution went further, however, describing a possible scenario that mirrors the one currently unfolding in Syria where Turkey, in coordination with Israel, could help overthrow Assad by establishing a “multi-front war” on Syria’s borders. Brookings writes:

In addition, Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly.

Of course, the establishment of a “No-Fly Zone” is tantamount to a declaration of war. Such has even been admitted by top U.S. generals when explaining exactly what a No Fly Zone would entail. As General Carter Ham stated,

We should make no bones about it. It first entails killing a lot of people and destroying the Syrian air defenses and those people who are manning those systems. And then it entails destroying the Syrian air force, preferably on the ground, in the air if necessary. This is a violent combat action that results in lots of casualties and increased risk to our own personnel.

General Philip Breedlove also echoed this description when he said,

I know it sounds stark, but what I always tell people when they talk to me about a no-fly zone is . . . it’s basically to start a war with that country because you are going to have to go in and kinetically take out their air defense capability

Regardless of the fact that the Anglo-American empire may very well be risking a direct military confrontation with another nuclear power, the NATO forces are intent on moving forward in their attempt to destroy Syria and its government. The major victories by the Syrian military that have taken place in recent weeks as well as the inability of the West’s terrorists to roll back SAA gains have obviously convinced NATO that more drastic measures are needed and that proxies are simply not enough to defeat a committed military supported by its people.

For a national oligarchy intent on “warning” other countries against defending themselves, we encourage the United States establishment to begin paying attention to warning signs themselves.

By Brandon Turbeville

 

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 650 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

This article may be freely shared in part or in full with author attribution and source link.

 

U.S. Renews Calls For Attack On Syria Air Force, U.K. Calls For Safe Zones, Military Action.

Emergency Meeting in Russia: State Department / White House Acting Strange

 

United States of America and Russia

Editor’s Note: In these video clips we see the U.S. State Department apparently having an unsanctioned visit with Putin where the U.S. now claims to align itself with the Russian position regarding whether or not Assad should be ousted. Interestingly, John Kerry has been at the heart of much of the double-talking about Syria that has led to these increasingly strange public relations performances that are beginning to look more like an SNL skit than legitimate discourse.

What do you make of this potential rift between the Secretary of State and the White House? Someone not sticking to the script? What type of leverage does Russia have? Please leave your comments below.

 

 

Emergency Meeting in Russia: State Department / White House Acting Strange.

Tensions Between US/NATO & Russia Are Flaring Dangerously

As if there weren’t enough crises to worry about in the world already, from shooting rampages to accelerating species loss, the US and NATO continue to ‘poke the bear’ and risk an outbreak of war with Russia.

I wish this were idle speculation. But if you haven’t been paying close attention, you’ll probably be shocked at just how much direct military and diplomatic provocation has been going on between NATO/US and Russia over the past several years — and in recent weeks, in particular.

Even more shocking is that no one in power can provide us with a compelling reason for exactly why these tensions are flaring. It seems that Russia’s main sin is in not entirely, completely and immediately giving the US/NATO anything and everything they request.

In other words, it’s imperial hubris and petulance that seems to be driving the ship of state. That’s a dangerous thing.

I’ve written extensively on the dangers of war with Russia as my concerns have mounted ever since the situation in Ukraine devolved in 2014.

There have been plenty of chances to dial down the rhetoric and mend fences, but they’ve all come and gone without healing. In fact, as we detail below, quite the opposite has happened.

The bottom line is this: If you’re not already mentally and physically prepared for the prospect of a NATO/US war with Russia, you really should be.

Perhaps the chances of outright war are still low on a relative scale, but the costs would be catastrophically high — making this worthy of your attention. A low risk of a catastrophic outcome is the very reason we all buy insurance – life, auto, and home.  Not because we wish things to go wrong in our lives, but because they sometimes do nonetheless.

A Russian Warning

The list of aggressive provocations by NATO that have been received as belligerent acts by Russia is quite long. It stretches back several years and continues to grow rapidly, making the chance for an ‘accident’ or unplanned incident quite high.

I was impressed with a recent piece penned and signed by eight prominent writers and blogger with Russian heritage. Titled A Russian Warning, it ran on a wide variety of blogs knowledgeable about the Russian situation including Dmitry Orlov’s and The Saker’s. I encourage you to read the whole thing. Right now, if you’ve got the time. I can wait.

To cut to the chase, the harsh conclusion of the piece is this: If there is going to be a war with Russia, then the United States will most certainly be destroyed, and most of us will end up dead.”

Russia is, of course, a major nuclear power with a long history of surviving being attacked by outsiders. But for some reason, US/NATO military and diplomatic efforts have all been geared at further encroaching upon and/or isolating Russia.

They note:

The US leadership has done everything it could to push the situation to the brink of disaster. First, its anti-Russian policies have convinced the Russian leadership that making concessions or negotiating with the West is futile. It has become apparent that the West will always support any individual, movement or government that is anti-Russian, be it tax-cheating Russian oligarchs, convicted Ukrainian war criminals, Saudi-supported Wahhabi terrorists in Chechnya or cathedral-desecrating punks in Moscow.

Now that NATO, in violation of its previous promises, has expanded right up to the Russian border, with US forces deployed in the Baltic states, within artillery range of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, the Russians have nowhere left to retreat. They will not attack; nor will they back down or surrender.

Imagine for a moment that Russia had positioned its military less than 100 miles from New York City and installed armored battalions with artillery. How would we in the US respond to that provocation? Probably with outrage, anger and defiance — and rightly so. So why are we expecting Russia to act any differently?

The conclusion:

The sole reason why the USA and Russia have found themselves on a collision course, instead of defusing tensions and cooperating on a wide range of international problems, is the stubborn refusal by the US leadership to accept Russia as an equal partner: Washington is dead set on being the “world leader” and the “indispensable nation,” even as its influence steadily dwindles in the wake of a string of foreign policy and military disasters such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and the Ukraine.

Continued American global leadership is something that neither Russia, nor China, nor most of the other countries are willing to accept. This gradual but apparent loss of power and influence has caused the US leadership to become hysterical; and it is but a small step from hysterical to suicidal. America’s political leaders need to be placed under suicide watch.

The summary here is that Russia feels surrounded by an increasingly belligerent NATO/US military presence. It can find little common ground with diplomats from NATO generally and the US specifically. If fully backed into a corner, once it perceives it is out of other options, Russia will defend herself. I’m not sure how anybody could deny or begrudge her that right.

If the West, meaning the US and Europe, decide to further goad Russia, war is likely inevitable. (I’m leaning heavily here on the historically-dependable formula: Time + Shit Happens = Conflict).  Sooner or later, Russia will have to switch from response mode to reaction mode. I’ve written about that precition here, here and here.

The Provocations – Neocon Central

Here’s a very short and incomplete list of the provocations that have been undertaken against Russia. Again, just try to imagine what the reaction would be by the West were the roles reversed:

2014

2015

In return, Russia has been busy fighting its ‘isolation’ by inkling major energy deals, openly testing its nuclear weapons platforms, and railing against the double standards of the West:

You get the idea: both sides are settling into a pattern of escalating responses. The trajectory is alarming.

What’s alarming is the above selection of headlines is a miniscule sampling of the possible ones I could have picked. The evidence is everywhere.

Now let’s fast forward to 2016 where things are really heating up.

2016

The US and NATO have been putting increasing emphasis on placing more military hardware and training exercises in the Baltic and Black seas as well as the Mediterranean ocean.  In one incident, Russian jets flew within yards of a key US naval asset over and over again in a provocation that John Kerry said the US “would have been justified” in shooting those jets down.

U.S. issues formal protest to Russia over Baltic Sea incident

Apr 14, 2016

(CNN) White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says the U.S. Embassy in Moscow has communicated formal concerns to the Russian government about the incident in the Baltic Sea this week in which fighter jets flew very close to the USS Donald Cook.

A U.S. official described the Russian maneuver as “strafing runs” without firing any weapons. The unarmed Russian aircraft swooped in over the deck in the same flight profile that would have been used if an attack was underway.

(Source)

Here’s a video of that flyby:

And, no, the US would not have been justified in shooting down those Russian jets. Kerry is being clearly belligerent with that statement.

A more level response comes to us from a retired Navy commanding officer:

“Well, we’re not at war with Russia,” Capt. Rick Hoffman said. “It would be one thing to be operating and have a threatening attack profile from someone who might not recognize me — that’s not the case here.”

If you have visual identification of the jet, can see it isn’t carrying weapons, and don’t detect any electronic emissions suggesting there was a missile lock on the ship, there’s nothing to be done.

And ultimately, the rules of engagement allow the CO to take defensive action if they feel they safety of their vessel is in danger, according to U.S. European Command spokesman Capt. Danny Hernandez told Navy Times. In this case the CO did not feel threatened, he added.

“You don’t get to kill people just because they’re being annoying,” said Hoffman, who commanded frigate DeWert and cruiser Hue City.

(Source – Navy Times)

Thankfully there are saner minds in the military, even if the State Department is itching for a fight.

Which brings us to the most insane head scratcher of them all.

State Department Loses Its Cool

In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (6/16/2016) came the bizarre revelation that 51 internal State Department officials signed a document protesting Obama’s lack of direct military engagement with Assad’s government forces in Syria:

U.S. State Department Officials Call for Strikes Against Syria’s Assad

Jun 16, 2016

BEIRUT—Dozens of State Department officials this week protested against U.S. policy in Syria, signing an internal document that calls for targeted military strikes against the Damascus government and urging regime change as the only way to defeat Islamic State.

The “dissent channel cable” was signed by 51 State Department officers involved with advising on Syria policy in various capacities, according to an official familiar with the document. The Wall Street Journal reviewed a copy of the cable, which repeatedly calls for “targeted military strikes” against the Syrian government in light of the near-collapse of the ceasefire brokered earlier this year.

(Source)

Now just reflect on that a moment. But as you do, be sure to recall that Russia is fighting alongside Assad’s forces. In other words, these State Department officials are asking for military action to be taken against Syria’s allied forces fighting to preserve the current government’s hold on power.

In other words, there are 51 insane people (a least) in the US State Department that think attacking Russia directly would be a swell idea. All in the interest of promoting a foreign policy of regime change that has not worked out well in the Mideast countries where we’ve recently tried it. Iraq and Libya are unmitigated disasters, especially for the citizens left living with the aftermath.

I would certainly love to know the names of those 52 individuals. I’d bet good money that the list is heavily stocked with neocons.

Also be sure to recall that Russia moved the s400 antiaircraft missile system into Syria last year. This battery is widely respected and feared by pilots due to its enormous reach:

(Source)

So not only are these State Department folks agitating for direct military engagement with Russian forces by agitating for US airstrikes against Syrian targets, they are seemingly either unaware of or uncaring about the extreme risk US pilots would face in trying such a move.

Most likely the US would lose a fair number of planes if such action was attempted. I suspect, though, that would play to the hands of the neocons at State. Dead heroes would provide exactly the sort of justification they’d need to expand the war they’ve been itching for all along.

But just in case a regular shooting war doesn’t break out, NATO is busy laying the groundwork to justify one along other channels.

Expanding the Definition of “War”

Recently, NATO has expanded the definition of “war”. Let’s remember that NATO exists as a collective defense treaty organization. An attack on one member country is treated an attack on all.  NATO allies are obligated to come to each other’s defense.

Here’s the language:

Collective defence – Article 5

(Last updated Mar 2016)

The principle of collective defence is at the very heart of NATO’s founding treaty. It remains a unique and enduring principle that binds its members together, committing them to protect each other and setting a spirit of solidarity within the Alliance.

  • Collective defence means that an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies.
  • The principle of collective defence is enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
  • NATO invoked Article 5 for the first time in its history after the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States.
  • NATO has taken collective defence measures on several occasions, for instance in response to the situation in Syria and in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
  • NATO has standing forces on active duty that contribute to the Alliance’s collective defence efforts on a permanent basis.

(Source)

Now you and I might think that, if one member nation were invaded, that would meet the definition of “war”. But NATO, clearly not happy with that limitation, has recently proposed expanding that to include – get this – cyberwarfare:

NATO adds cyber to operation areas

Jun 14, 2016

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO agreed Tuesday to make cyber operations part of its war domain, along with air, sea and land operations, and to beef up the defense of its computer networks.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the decision to formally consider cyber operations a military domain is not aimed at any one country. He says the allies need to be able to better defend themselves and respond to attacks on their computer networks.

The decision has been long in coming, particularly amid rising tensions with Russia, which has proven its willingness to launch computer-based attacks against other nations.

Russian hackers have been blamed for a breach into an unclassified Pentagon computer network and for a breach of NATO’s computer network two years ago.

In 2014, after years of debate, NATO finally agreed that a cyberattack could rise to the level of a military assault and could trigger the Article 5 protections, which allow the alliance to go to the collective defense of another member that has been attacked.

(Source)

Got that?  Now a cyberattack could be used as justification to invoke Article V and bind everyone to engage the enemy in an actual ‘boots on the ground’ war.

Now that makes sense on some level. After all if a hostile nation took down your electrical grid by a cyberattack (which is entirely possible, by the way), that would be a threat to national security.

But in this world of electronic cat and mouse, creating a false-flag cyberattack that seems to originate from a hostile country could be initiated from anywhere, including the “attacked” country.  But the time all that had been sorted out, the bullets would likely have already been flying.

Conclusion

OK, that was a lot to read through. Thanks for persisting to this point. The punchline to it all is: War with Russia is a distinct possibility, and US and NATO are increasing that risk through escalating provocation.

Should a war break out, it could be along a variety of dimensions which are outlined in Part II below.

For now, it should be (hopefully) sufficient for you to take the threat seriously and to make whatever provisions seem prudent to you. To my European readers, such preparations seem even more necessary because you will be close to the front lines of any direct, conventional hostilities that break out.

In Part 2: How To Prepare For War, we explain how conflict can take many forms: trade wars, energy wars, financial wars, cyberwar, shooting wars, and nuclear war. We lay out in great detail the steps we, as individuals, can do to prepare for each.

And fortunately, this preparation comes with an upside: as many of these precautions will be life-enhancing steps even if — hopefully, if — tensions de-escalate from here.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

 

Tensions Between US/NATO & Russia Are Flaring Dangerously

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