"The Victor Leonov, armed with an array of intelligence gathering equipment used to intercept communications and analyze U.S. Navy sonar capability, later traveled within 30 miles off the Connecticut coast near a submarine base earlier this week.
“It’s lawful [and] similar to operations we do around the world,” Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters Friday.
The Russian spy ship left her homeport in the Barents Sea near Norway, part of Russia’s northern fleet, around New Year’s Day, according to American defense officials. Following a port call in Jamaica, the Russian ship then began its voyage north along the east coast of the United States.
The deployment of the Russian intelligence-gathering ship was likely planned for months before it set sail in early January, according to U.S. defense officials. They said it apparently was not tied to the Obama administration’s Dec. 29 order that Moscow shut down two of its “vacation” properties, which the U.S. government said were used to intercept American communications. One was on New York's Long Island and the other was at Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
It’s the first time the Viktor Leonov has appeared off the east coast of the United States since April 2015. The ship was spotted in Havana Harbor in January 2015 as the Obama administration eased relations with Cuba. U.S." Foxnews
This is fun for the feebleminded warmongers of the world . All major powers, ALL MAJOR POWERS operate big, roomy cargo type ships as SIGINT collect platforms around the world. WE DO IT as Captain, USN Jeff Davis told the world from the Pentagon. Do the names USS Liberty and USS Pueblo mean anything to you? Do they strike a bell?
This ship, the Russian Navy vessel Viktor Leonov is engaged in lawful and non-threatening routine SIGINT collection operations. If we had any sense we would invite them into Norfolk for a liberty port call. The restaurants, bars and whores down there could used the business.
The Viktor Leonov is "armed?" with a couple of anti-aircraft machine guns. I, personally, feel menaced. pl
BTW, the little guy in this picture is a sister ship of Viktor Leonov. The big guy is USS Texas.
I thought it was a masterful performance. He dealt with people like Jim Acosta as though they were children. As he said, "so full of hatred..." I expect a variety of opinions, none of them full of hatred. pl
Well, pilgrims, the man from the ivory judicial tower has stepped on his crank. He allowed a member of the Connecticut congressional delegation to inveigle him into denouncing the president who nominated him to the Supreme Court. Then, to make the situation even more delicious from the Democratic Party point of view, Gorsuch freely told Blumenthal that he should tell anyone he liked of Gorsuch's statements.
Gorsuch has been on the appellate bench for 18 years. It would seem that this is long enough to become fully insulated from reality.
Given President Trump's pugnacious personality it is hard to believe that he would see Gorsuch's statements to Blumenthal as other than disloyal and a betrayal. I would not be surprised to see Gorsuch's nomination end in a withdrawal.
The next nominee will probably have little to say to the Democrats. pl
"“An address by a foreign leader to both houses of Parliament is not an automatic right. It is an earned honor, Bercow told MPs on Monday.
“Before the imposition of the migrant ban, I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall. After the imposition of the migrant ban, I am even more strongly opposed…
“I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and to sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations in the House of Commons,” he added." usatoday
Smug. Pretentious. Self-congratulatory, Vertically challenged = John Simon Bercow
In 1775 the colonists in North America did not wish to reject their king, however repellent George III may have been. No, what they objected to was the smug assertion of authority over the colonies by the Westminster Parliament and resulting taxation without representation as well as most of the other grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence. Some attitudes never seem to change.
Is it not correct that the UK wants a special trade agreement with the United States? Both Teresa May and Bercow have now offended the head of state and head of government of the US.
Is this the way to obtain that agreement? pl
1. The slide to war with Iran. IMO we should all be aware of the ongoing push in the present NSC towards ever increasing hostility toward Iran. the Iranians clearly have little common sense and are allowing a situation to develop in which people like Flynn and Derek Harvey are pushing the president toward actual red lines on the other side of which IMO is a shooting war with Iran involving the US Navy and USAF. This deadly duo seems to be motivated by a desire for revenge against Iran for its support of insurgents during the US occupation of Iraq. How mature! Israel's as yet untested influence on President Trump and its desired application of a version of Cheney's 1% solution adds to the momentum.
2. Natanyahu's trip to the kennel. He will be here on the 15th. The Israeli press is filled with pros and cons as to whether or not he will be able to bring Trump to heel. IMO an ego as large as Trump's will not react well to the sound of its master's voice.
3. Niki's visit with Churkin. She went to Vitali Churkin's home in NY City yesterday to talk things over. A desire for cooperation was expressed thereafter. IMO the message delivered by her was "Don't pay any attention to the hostile sounds we are making. They are for the benefit of people like McCain and Graham. All will be well."
4. President Trump wants to de-regulate banking? I watched the old documentary (2010) "Inside Job" today. It deals with the general criminality and neglect of duty of assorted banksters, government officials, regulators and presidents in creating the economic and financial meltdown of 2009. The major players in that fiasco are still active and on the scene in Trump's government. They are now older, richer and yet more cunning. And now Trump wants to do away with parts of Dodd-Frank? This will need watching pilgrims. pl
"At a church in Washington, D.C., last weekend, dozens of federal workers attended a support group for civil servants seeking a forum to discuss their opposition to the Trump administration. And 180 federal employees have signed up for a workshop next weekend, where experts will offer advice on workers’ rights and how they can express civil disobedience.
At the Justice Department, an employee in the division that administers grants to nonprofits fighting domestic violence and researching sex crimes said he and his colleagues have been planning to slow their work and to file complaints with the inspector general’s office if they are asked to shift grants away from their mission.
“You’re going to see the bureaucrats using time to their advantage,” said the employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. Through leaks to news organizations and internal complaints, he said, “people here will resist and push back against orders they find unconscionable.”" post-gazette
As Malcom X once said "the chickens have come home to roost."
For decades now the various US administrations have made use of the facilities provided by USIA, CIA black ops, various party connected pro-democracy groups, NED, etc. to; interfere in other peoples' elections, political party structures and to tinker with history to give not so gentle shoves in the direction that Borgists have believed was in the interest of a utopian future for mankind and the creation of even more; massive egos, and wealth here in Washington and across Borgistan. It should be stressed that all administrations of both parties have done that. And guess what, pilgrims, I know this because like other fairly senior denizens of the intelligence world I was often used by the government of the day to "leak" information to the oh, so clever press. "Now you understand, this is on deep background just for you" because you are so special ... Who leaked the "news" about the Australian phone call yesterday? Is it not obvious that the WH "leaked" it to make the world and themselves think how bad-assed they are?
This kind of behavior has become reflexive and universal, but to carry out government by slight of hand and other skullduggery requires the active cooperation of the senior members of the federal civil service. Not the contractors, the contractor employees are seldom players, they are just money-makers for the contractor companies.
So, when I read of political operatives, for that is what they are, seeking to organize the federal civil service against the present administration of the United States it gives me pause. If they should succeed to some degree, the result would be paralysis for the government. If you think that is a good thing you should consider that the damage to the functioning of all parts of the Executive Branch would be deep and long lasting.
A small example of the chaos that would ensue from a failure of function was provided by the ineptitude of the Trump Administration in not staffing and coordinating the "immigration" EO across the interagency last week
The federal civil service was created because of the murder of a president. We live in parlous times. People should not play with fire lest they be burnt. pl
IMO the Astana Peace process will go nowhere, will soon disintegrate and then the situation in western Syria will require further offensive action on the part of R+6 to insure Syrian Government control of Idlib Province.
Since the fall of eastern Aleppo City to government forces action has been in what are IMO mainly peripheral areas. Palmyra, pockets around Damascus, even SAA participation in the anti-IS fighting at al-Bab, and at Deir al-Zor are none of them critical to the government's fate. The SAR has been negotiating surrender arrangements all over western Syria with pockets of jihadis/unicorns. Part of the surrender agreement is always the voluntary removal of the super hard core cadres to Idlib Province. As a result, a steady build up of rebel forces there has been underway for some time. This is somewhat reduced by a steady stream of air attacks on them that now includes USAF attacks.
A question in my mind is whether or not Mattis and Flynn accept the idea that Idlib Province must be cleared of rebels for peace to have a chance in Syria. Thus far they seem to be obsessed with the notion that Iran and Hizbullah are the bad actors on the Syrian scene rather than the jihadis/unicorns. IMO the yes-men Flynn has bee hiring are unlikely to argue for other than group think. pl
The VMI Cadet Corps is in the middle ground of this Washington Post photograph, first the staff and then the two battalions with the color party between.
It snowed the day before. There was sleet in the night, and then the parade. The parade began in 3rd St. SE near the capitol. The route of march passed the equestrian statue of Grant, the one in which he is hunched over against the rain in the Wilderness. Then we came down Pennsylvania Avenue to this point. There were three inches of icy, salty, slush in the street. You can see a bare patch of pavement just in front of the regimental staff. The band in the foreground did not belong to us.
The street has changed. The "Occidental" restaurant still exists but it inhabits quarters on the lower floors of a large office building on the same site. Down the street there are a few familiar landmarks like the spire of the old Post Office and the capitol itself but nearly everything else is gone including the trolley car tracks.
We turned right here into 15th Street and then, a block later left again into Pennsylvania Avenue. The big reviewing stand was there in front of the White House. At "Eyes Left" all you could see was Jack Kennedy standing with his hat held over his heart. His beautiful wife was at his side.
We "fell out" at Washington Circle in the George Washington University campus half a mile away.
The buses waited there for the three hour trip back to school.
The VMI Corps will be in this inaugural parade. pl
The 3:10 to Yuma for Huma. I hear a train a comin'
They knew it was wrong, but there was an election a comin'
And the band played on.
The band. Huma and the Fifth Dimension. The immunity dimension. They knew it was wrong, but
The 227 has come and gone. The Trump train is scheduled in at 304 - though it may arrive early and under budget. Soon the train for Huma will be leaving the station to
Lock her up.
The content of the emails remain unchallenged; but who knows what they knew and when they knew it?
Hillary Clinton's former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, received an immunity deal from the Justice Department during the year-long FBI investigation of Clinton's server. “Clinton and her staff exhibited "extreme carelessness" by sharing classified information on an unsecured server that was kept in Clinton's basement. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said the immunity deals were "beyond explanation.””
"And he (Combetta) did indeed use Bleachbit on these records?" Chaffetz continued. (FOX)
Bryan Pagliano. We know more about Podesta’s emails than his testimony. Though it looks like Clinton's former IT aid was held to be in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena for testimony and documents.
Paul Cometta, an employee an employee at the firm that managed her server after she left the State Department, appeared before the House Oversight Committee but refused to answer questions and invoked his Fifth Amendment rights. He does have that right. “According to the F.B.I. documents, Mr. Combetta told the bureau in February that he did not recall deleting the emails. But in May, he told a different story.” (NYT)
The FBI also granted immunity to 2008 Clinton campaign staffer Heather Samuelson and John Bentel, the former director of the State Department's Office of Information Resources Management.
BleachBit, the new Clorox. IT really does help clean things up. I wonder what IT will do to the"reconciling of holdings"? Soon though a new environmentally friendly man will be in the White House. Budgets will be cut and heads will roll. We'll have to go back to the old ways with lots of Sunlight.
But the song remains the same.
The content of the emails remains unchallenged. Neither named nor unnamed sources have linked the conduct of Huma nor any of the fab-five to Putin. But.....
Pardon me, but here is some bi-partisan backup:
|Talladega College Band||Talladega||Alabama|
|Russellville High School Band||Russellville||Arkansas|
|Merced County Sheriff's Posse||Hilmar||California|
|The Freedom Riders||Kersey||Colorado|
|Coastal Florida Police & Fire Pipes & Drums||Palm Coast||Florida|
|Palmetto Ridge High School Band||Naples||Florida|
|Kids Overseas||Richmond Hill||Georgia|
|Olivet Nazarene University||Bourbonnais||Illinois|
|Columbus North High School Band||Columbus||Indiana|
|Culver Academy Equestrian||Culver||Indiana|
|Indianapolis Metro Police Motorcycle Drill Team||Indianapolis||Indiana|
|1st Infantry Commanding General's Mounted Color||Ft. Riley||Kansas|
|Boone County Elite 4-H Equestrian Drill Team||Burlington||Kentucky|
|West Monroe High School Marching Band||West Monroe||Louisiana|
|Michigan Multi-Jurisdictional Mounted Police Drill Team & Color Guard||Ann Arbor||Michigan|
|Mid America Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team||New Buffalo||Michigan|
|Tupelo High School Band||Tupelo||Mississippi|
|Marist College Band||Poughkeepsie||New York|
|Nassau County Firefighters Pipes & Drums||East Meadow||New York|
|NYPD Emerald Society Pipes & Drums||East Moriches||New York|
|North Carolina Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association||Hillsborough||North Carolina|
|Cleveland Police Mounted Unit||Cleveland||Ohio|
|First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry||Philadelphia||Pennsylvania|
|Franklin Regional High School Panther Marching Band||Murrysville||Pennsylvania|
|The Citadel Regimental Band & Pipes and Summerall Guards||Charleston||South Carolina|
|University of Tennessee Marching Band||Knoxville||Tennessee|
|1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment||Fort Hood||Texas|
|Lil Wranglers||College Station||Texas|
|Texas State University Strutters||San Marcos||Texas|
|Caisson Platoon, Fort Myer||Fort Myer||Virginia|
|Fishburne Military School Army JROTC Caissons Battalion||Fishburne||Virginia|
|VMI Corps of Cadets||Lexington||Virginia|
|Frankfort High School Band||Ridgeley||West Virginia|
|Boy Scouts of America||National|
|US Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations||National|
|Disabled American Veterans||National|
|Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors||National|
|US Border Patrol Pipes & Drums||National|
This is the order of march of tomorrow's inaugural parade as it appeared in the Washington Post today. There are a lot of horses, a great many horses. The street sweepers will be busy. There is not a lot of representation of the US Armed Forces in this Order of March. Perhaps this representation does not appear in this list. We will see. pl
"Jackson's quick temper was notorious. Brands says, "His audacity on behalf of the people earned him enemies who slandered him and defamed even his wife, Rachel. He dueled in her defense and his own, suffering grievous wounds that left him with bullet fragments lodged about his body." However, Remini is of the opinion that Jackson was often in control of his rage, and used it (and his fearsome reputation) as a tool to get what he wanted in his public and private affairs.
Brands also notes that his opponents were terrified of his temper:
On the last day of the presidency, Jackson admitted that he had but two regrets, that he "had been unable to shoot Henry Clay or to hang John C. Calhoun. " Wiki on Jackson's Temperament
Some themes remain vital in human affairs for a very long time. A long standing one in the history of the English speaking peoples (Churchill's phrase) is the issue of whether or not government and its control over people's lives should be highly centralized in the service of the interest of metropolitan elites or widely dispersed among the people. This difference of opinion developed after Magna Carta and by the 17th Century had become a split in English life between the Country Party and the Court Party. That distinction was imported to North America and has remained an enduring feature of US political life to the present day.
In 1828, the main issues in the US presidential election were related to this old disagreement concerning governance. The incumbent president, John Quincy Adams, was in many ways an archetypical establishment figure. The son of the second president, he spent his entire life in the federal government, advocated positions that would be popular today in the Borg; emancipation, centralization of financial services and debt in the Second National Bank, etc. He so loved the federal government that, deprived of the White House in 1828, he ran for the House of Representatives where he then served for many years as a figure of the emerging Northern nationalist faction along with Daniel Webster and Henry Clay.
Opposing Adams was Andrew Jackson, the man he had defeated four years before when what was called a "corrupt bargain" was struck in the House of Representatives. Neither man had enough votes in the electoral college to be elected. Jackson was anything but an establishment creature. He was altogether a self made man who had clawed his way up from the bottom of the social order to become rich, powerful and a national military hero. He was rough and crude and he told the ordinary people that he would level the playing field for white men in the USA. He did not hesitate to encourage harsh and violent behavior and had himself personally supervised the removal to the trans-Mississippi of the highly Europeanized tribal Indians of the Southeastern US. Why? The Indians were in the way of the establishment of large scale agribusiness and the settlement of the region by whites and their black slaves. He was quite un-apologetic about all this. When Jackson was inaugurated he threw open the doors of the White House for a reception to which one and all were invited. The crowd famously tracked mud all over the rooms and carpets, stood on the needle point embroidered chairs and got gloriously drunk while they sang bawdy songs. He was re-elected for a second term and to this day is thought of by the Democratic Party as one of their two founding figures. The other being Thomas Jefferson, a somewhat different man, an aristocrat who chose to side with his beloved yeomen farmers.
Now we have Donald Trump, the grandson of a German immigrant from a little country town. The name was originally "Drumpf." Donald Trump's father and his son after him strove mightily and became rich in the dog eat dog world of New York City business where sharp elbows and an abrasive, abusive, bullying manner are requirements for success unless you have that magic commodity, "old money." If you have that, then you can be gracious. Donald trump's daughter, Ivanka, now has old money and is reported to me to be gracious. Donald Trump tells the mainly white spiritual descendants of Jackson's supporters that he will make them whole again both in their self image and in their pocketbooks. That is a powerful message in the face of left wing insistence that white voters are a wasting asset in America.
Opposing him we have the John Quincy Adams figures of the "modern" age; Hillary Clinton, who openly advocates minority interests in what Trump's supporters see as a zero-sum game of political and economic warfare, Bernie Sanders who seems a gentle, well mannered man but who nevertheless is openly in favor of the same kind of re-distributionist policies that most Trump supporters see as an effort to deprive them of control over their own destiny. And then in the background are the politicians, media flunkies, and political consultants for whom Trump threatens a re-definition of politics and parties. pl
Precious Snowflakes in the winter of their discontent.
There they were, poised to be part of the change we can all believe in; to carry on the work of Abraham, Maritn and John. Just like mom, and dad, and ……… Hillary. Free the slaves, desegregate the schools, end Jim Crow, ...... put a woman in the White House. What happened? What has become, they ask, of their hope, of their future?
It was a long, long time in the making, this generation of change. For a dozen or more years, most of their existence really, they have been told the twin tales. Important tales. That they need that degree -for a job, a future, for the money it will bring; and the social validation. That other tale? The victim’s story; the tale of innate disempowerment, of innate helplessness. The story of 1 in 5 women; of Fraternites as centers of racism and sexual assault. The tale well documented in last year’s Rolling Stone article, the one the President of the University of Virginia used to set policy.
What else is so prevalent in this college generation? Along with that feeling of teenage angst there is also, when young, whether in college or not, that deep, deep seated emotional need to belong, to be accepted. Such need will drive a man or woman – to fraternities, to sororities, to… social activism. We've sure seen a great deal of the latter this past year.
This election cycle the woman of the movement, the mothers of the movement, the blogs – Jezebel, Huffpost, the magazines - Glamour, Slate, and as always, the celebrities - Katy Perry, Beyonce, Madonna, and on and on; one and all – most of the main stream media too - told the young of the Republic that the inevitable was at hand. They all roared out: Demographics are destiny! For they knew black lives matter, immigrant lives matter, refugee lives matter, climate change is settled and …… then the election. And now the aftermath: no woman in the White House, no free college, no degree, no …. value. The racist, sexist, misogynist, - the Hitler(!) is coming and last of all many will remain …. Blue Collar!
Well, since celebrity is so important let’s let Hollywood explain it:
Old stories are often the best stories, aren’t they? They tell a tale worth telling - the tale of the human condition. It sure caught the feel of NYC in 1950. That vignette catches the mood of this generation too. Yep “YOU were supposed to look out for me.”…… " So much for self-reliance and individual responsibility. Can't have that now, so the colleges say. Well, anyhow, now you know how they feel. Their entire lives stretch out before them. An “undiscovered country” as the Bard put it; yet they feel helpless, as if their lives are over. Truly this is the winter of their discontent.
With the overnight reports of Israel missile attacks on Mezze Air Base near Damascus certain questions arise:
"Rebuilding in devastated parts of eastern Aleppo has begun now that the entirety of the city has been purged of terrorist groups.
A video released on Wednesday shows tractors and forklifts in the Saif al-Dawla district clearing the streets of sandbags and rubble amid efforts to help civilians return to normal life to eastern Aleppo, which had been under militant control since 2012, PressTV reported.
A mobile hospital in eastern Aleppo has also been established by Russian rescue workers.
“At the moment two tents are deployed: surgical and therapeutic and paediatric. At the moment about 100 people got assistance, we plan to provide help to 100 more,” said Ruslan Guzeev, head of the Russian medical department of special purpose.
Workers have begun returning to factories with Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis stating that the return of Aleppo's industrial capacities being a top priority." AMN News
IMO this place will be rapidly re-built. The Chinese, the Indians, the Europeans, etc. will pour money into a myriad of projects.
Out in the eastern desert the SAA and friends are pushing IS back from around Tiyas air base. NW of Damascus the water supply is going to be turned back on soon as the springs are liberated from the jihadis. The SAA are making noises about an offensive toward Quneitra. I don't understand why. The jihadis there have full Israeli support and the population is much reduced because of the nearby Israeli threat and their long ago destruction of the city of Quneitra.
TTG and I remain committed to the thought that the main threat to the long term viability of the Syrian Government is continued jihadi possession of and now consolidation in Idlib Province. We can only hope that the R+6 alliance is waiting for a visible result from the coming Astana negotiation before deciding on a decisive campaign. pl
"The U.S. director of national intelligence extended an olive branch of sorts to Donald Trump late Wednesday — denouncing media leaks, casting skepticism on reports that Russia has compromising material on the president-elect, and assuring Trump that America's spies stand ready to serve him.
In a statement, James Clapper said he had spoken Wednesday evening with Trump, days after the spy chief and some of his counterparts met with the incoming president to discuss the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia tried to interfere in the 2016 election, possibly to help him win.
On Tuesday, CNN, BuzzFeed and other media outlets reported that the intelligence officials had told Trump about an unsubstantiated private report that detailed how Russia's government allegedly had salacious information about him. BuzzFeed published the apparent dossier, which Trump has denounced as false.
"I expressed my profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press, and we both agreed that they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security," Clapper said of the information that has come out since last week's intelligence briefing." Politico
I can hear it now. "I told Brennan we should not get involved but he wouldn't listen."
(irony alert) Jimmy Clapper is GOOD, one of the best. My hat is off to him.
It sounds like Obama held out on him in the end for something he wanted, and that was enough ...
By Patrick BAHZAD
There are nine days left until Inauguration Day and it feels like each one of these days is going to count. A shit-storm of epic proportions is blowing over the US, coast to coast, and I cannot remember having witnessed anything of this magnitude since, well, since 9/11 and the case for WMDs. You might think that is a bad analogy. Maybe. But I can smell when something is not right from a mile away and, believe me, something is not right here. I will not engage in lengthy speculations about what is going to happen now, or whether or not someone colluded with someone else. What I am going to do though is present a brief reminder of the facts (the evidence if you like) and then throw in a couple of thoughts based on my personal experience and gut feeling.
To be honest, I don't like Trump. He is a successful businessman though and I respect that. He campaigned hard, said a lot of things (some of which I found disgusting), but he also – obviously – touched on something that is dear to a significant segment of the electorate. He won the election fair and square, in line with the provisions of the US Constitution, and I would challenge anyone to prove otherwise. As far as I'm concerned, that is the end of the story. Now of course, the issues that we have been dealing with since early December are not linked to the election as such. Remember ? The current debate started when the dust had settled on all the claims about "Hillary won the popular vote", "let's do a recount" and so on. I'm not sure this is a coincidence, but that is just me ...
The DHS/FBI "Joint Analysis Report"
Fact is however that the first official IC report to look into the matter of the DNC hack was the DHS/FBIS "Joint Analysis Report" of December 29th 2016. And what a strange report that was, starting with a disclaimer which read that the report was "provided for information purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within". Admittedly, you need to take a few basic precautions with Intel reports. But claiming as a matter of baseline, that you can't be held accountable to anything you're writing does sound a little weird.
There were weirder elements still in the report itself, which is basically a summary of findings made by private cybersecurity companies which dealt with the DNC hack, in particular "Crowdstrike". But those findings only make up for 3 pages out of the 13 contained in this JAR. The rest is related to barely relevant technical details or to mitigation strategies and practices any 5 year old should be aware of. There was also a list of suspicious IP adresses that organizations should be on the lookout for, because they could be linked potentially to the entities that attacked the DNC. Funny enough, some 40 % of these addresses were TOR exit nodes (you can make up your own mind about what this could mean) and some addresses were even attributed to the wrong country: IPs in Switzerland were identified as "Swaziland", Danish IPs as Germans (probably because ".dk" can be easily misread as ".de").
Typos and misunderstandings you might say. But that kind of error, in addition to the global layout of the report, definitely points to a very rushed approach, not to an intel report that is careful worded and thought through. Talking about intel, what did the JAR have to say in that regard ? Well, not much actually, at least not much more than the reports published weeks and months before by cybersecurity experts who had analyzed the DNC hack.
"The eagerly awaited report on the alleged Russian influence operation and hack linked to the recent American presidential election finally appeared on Friday. It is quite possible that President Obama, the intelligence community, and Congress now hope that the case has been definitively made to tighten the screws on Russia. If that is so, they are delusional. Moscow and Vladimir Putin may or may not be guilty as charged, but the paucity of the evidence being presented by the White House and the Director of National Intelligence suggests that the American people are being very poorly served by those who have been entrusted with protecting the nation.
The report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was entitled “Background to ‘Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections’: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution.” It followed the short “Joint Analysis Report” that appeared on December 29, produced by the Department of Homeland Security and FBI. The earlier paper was entitled “Grizzly Steppe—Russian Malicious Cyber Activity” but, apart from assertions of suspected Russian activity connected to an unnamed political party, it provided absolutely no evidence that the alleged intrusions into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) servers and John Podesta emails were anything beyond probing for vulnerabilities to collect information, and carried out by unknown parties. In fact, it didn’t even provide the evidence for that and was instead largely a primer on how to avoid being hacked." Giraldi
There is a refreshing amount of skepticism concerning the unclassified Clapper Report. Good. pl
" ... how tenable is this for Trump? How long can he go on questioning the information he receives from intelligence briefings, as he seems intent upon doing?" Washpost
Wait for it! The answer to the question is - indefinitely. I would think that the Trump Administration will go through the ranks of the SES/SIS position holders at CIA/DIA/NSA, etc. like a scythe. These folks, of whom I was one (SES-4) are not career protected like the lower members of the federal civil service. In return for their elevated rank (equivalent to military flag officers) they lack actual legal job security and can be much more easily removed. They are usually highly politicized schemers and enablers for their presidential appointee bosses at the very top of the food chain. But who will run things!? Well, pilgrims there are lots of eager beaver GS-15s awaiting their turn and eager to prove their loyally to the administration.
Hey, why not ? Payback is a bitch and people like Clapper and Brennan could not have staged this intelligence "coup" without the cooperation of the SES corps.
And then there is the little matter of the chain of command in the federal government. NEWS FLASH!! The IC agencies work for the president. He does not work for them. If he does not accept their analysis - so be it! They are not semi-divine creatures endowed with some special gift of understanding the world, Well, some are, but not many.
Any intelligence is destined to support decision making for policy. It should NEVER be prescriptive. The news idiots keep asking old intelligence hands what policy should be... What a sad joke.
For Trump, the IC is just another consultant group. pl
"The jihadist rebels of Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front) have obstructed the water supply to the estimated 5 million civilians in Greater Damascus for the 13th consecutive day, creating a humanitarian crisis inside Syria's historic capital.
According to an Al-Masdar field correspondent in Damascus, water has become so scarce in Damascus that the price of bottled water has risen exponentially, forcing many to find alternatives in order to deal with this two week long crisis.
Several civilians have also been reportedly hospitalized as a result of poisoning due to drinking water provided by supply trucks, a local source informed Al-Masdar this afternoon.
The water provided by these supply trucks is intended for basic hygienic purposes like showering; it is not meant to drink.
However, due to crisis, many civilians in Damascus have begun boiling the water supplied by these trucks in order to have readily available drinking water." AMN
McCain and Graham love these guys. pl
Hannity on his interview of Assange.
A technical refutation of the "Russia done it" meme.
Real life in Aleppo
"The New York Times was more aggressive, writing flatly, "Obama Strikes Back at Russia for Election Hacking." It backed up its story with a link to a joint FBI/Homeland Security report that details how Russian civilian and military intelligence services (termed "RIS" in the report) twice breached the defenses of "a U.S. political party," presumably the Democrats.
This report is long on jargon but short on specifics. More than half of it is just a list of suggestions for preventive measures.
At one point we learn that the code name the U.S. intelligence community has given to Russian cyber shenanigans is GRIZZLY STEPPE, a sexy enough detail.
But we don't learn much at all about what led our government to determine a) that these hacks were directed by the Russian government, or b) they were undertaken with the aim of influencing the election, and in particular to help elect Donald Trump.
The problem with this story is that, like the Iraq-WMD mess, it takes place in the middle of a highly politicized environment during which the motives of all the relevant actors are suspect. Nothing quite adds up.
If the American security agencies had smoking-gun evidence that the Russians had an organized campaign to derail the U.S. presidential election and deliver the White House to Trump, then expelling a few dozen diplomats after the election seems like an oddly weak and ill-timed response. Voices in both parties are saying this now." Matt Taibbi
We've been here before, pilgrims. We've been here before. I wrote the Iraq War hysteria generation up extensively in my 2003 article "Drinking the Koolaid," (link below)
The Bush '43 administration deliberately lied in the media to get the US public to accept war and occupation in Iraq. Paul Wolfowitz admitted that while testifying before the US Senate. There had been Iraqi nuclear weapons and chemical weapons programs before the First Gulf War but they were destroyed by UN search parties of inspectors after the war. In this work they were assisted by US intelligence who sent the inspectors to the right places to find the elements of the programs. The inspectors got just about everything, all the enrichment devices for fissionable material, all elements of the chemical program. In the case of the latter the UN took masses of material, piping, etc., and gave the Iraqi government no receipts. As a result after the Bush '43 Administration decided to go to war with Iraq it was possible to claim that the declared inventory of the chemical program was larger than the materiel on hand and that this was "proof" that some of the materiel was hidden somewhere, somewhere... BTW the Iraqi biological weapons program was ever anything but a research program.
Now, we have yet another attempt to generate mass hysteria through the manipulation of public consciousness. In this case the "enemy" is Russia against which an aura of hostility is being created that is part ignorance, part hyper-nationalist aggressiveness, and part residual fear of the USSR (which has not existed for decades). This in spite of the simple truth that if such hostility proceeded to its logical conclusion in a nuclear exchange there would be many millions of dead and wounded on both sides.
As the "icing on the cake" the media now proclaim that the Intelligence Community is a vessel of integrity and patriotic self-sacrifice that, since it hints to us that "the Russians done it," must be believed without question. Well, pilgrims, those who really know the Intelligence Community know that these agencies are run be self-serving political hacks who may once have been people of integrity but who, by the time, they reach the top will say or proclaim anything that advances their personal interest.
Are we mad enough to believe such people? Perhaps Trump is not. pl
The Golden Division of the ISF has reportedly lost 50% of its troops in the Mosul battle thus far. Field Marshal Ashton Carter was out there recently to buck up the "fellows." It must have been an interesting set of discussions. IMO the Iraqis lack the will to take Mosul and the Kurds see it as yet another Sunni Arab city full of people who, like those who are leaving east Aleppo in Syria, are really jihadi supporters. The IS are well dug in at Mosul and it will be necessary to destroy much of the city to re-capture it. I wonder what Mikey Flynn will say about that.
It is cold and wet and nasty out in the field in Syria. That slows everything down. When your clothes are freezing stiff you don't think about much but getting warm.
The dastardly propagandists of the Western media continue to suggest that parts of east Aleppo are still in the hands of the takfiri rats, but that is untrue. The government controls the whole city. The jihadis are just waiting for the bus. Part of the agreement for surrender was that the long besieged Shia villages of Kafraya and Fu'a, a few miles north of Idlib City, would be allowed to evacuate their wounded and sick to government lines. The takfiri rats stopped that evacuation and in retaliation Shia militias in Aleppo halted the outflow of jihadis and their dependents. That will be sorted out. I am curious to know how many people actually were in the jihadi enclave at the end.
I am saddened to learn that the UK government has sent a military mission consisting of 20 officers with ranks up to brigadier to re-establish the military capabilities of escaped and defeated "moderate" FSA unicorns. These unicorns are refugees from the debacle at Aleppo. Well, pilgrims, where are the Brits going to do this training, etc.? Perhaps the unicorn jihadis will be trucked around through Hatay to the area under Turkish Army control between Al-Bab and the Turkish border. There are some SAS types guarding the trainers and in that area they would be fairly secure. OTOH, if they try to do their job inside Idlib Province the UK government should prepare to receive some body bags with full ceremony. pl
1. Having lost the Battle for Aleppo, the Assad must Go crew have now moved on to projecting memes involving false analogies to The Shoah and NAZI Germany as the aftermath of Jihadi defeat in the city. Wild and unsubstantiated rumor is being spread by the UN, SOHR (MI-6) and Western media to the effect that Syrian troops are butchering civilians including THE CHILDREN in the streets in a re-enactment of every sack of a city the propagandists can dimly remember. In fact the Syrians and Russians are evacuating civilians from the recently liberated combat areas, caring for them in makeshift shelters and preparing them for return to their homes. Does the SAA have a list of hard core jihadis who they are looking for and aiming to eliminate? SAA intelligence has had agents inside East Aleppo where they made appropriate lists. These lists would include some fervent civilian collaborators with the jihadi cause. This is war. Dead men don't bite.
2. It seems that the former Nusra front and its allies are moving men up to the Aleppo area from Hama in anticipation of a next phase operation into Idlib province probably oriented on Idlib City and Jisr al-Shugur.
3. ISW is pushing the propaganda theme that the capture of Palmyra by an "army" of Technicals and suicide bombers is a major setback for the R+6. It is not. IMO the attack was made on an opportunistic basis by IS seeking to take advantage of R+6 focus on the Aleppo battle.
4. Palmyra can wait. The ruins and the propaganda leverage that IS capture of them provide are not worth diverting scarce ground assets from the center of gravity of the fight. That center of gravity is in Idlib Province and the Turkish border crossing at Bab al-Hawa. pl
Aleppo - "The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) continued their large-scale offensive in eastern Aleppo today after taking a brief hiatus in order to negotiate a possible exit for the jihadist rebels.
With no agreement put in place, the Syrian Arab Army launched a powerful assault inside the final districts under jihadist control; this would result in a series of intense firefights that would last for much of the day.
Led by the elite Tiger Forces, the Syrian Arab Army managed to capture most the Al-Sahleen and Bab Al-Maqam Neighborhoods after overpowering the jihadist rebels of Fatah Halab and Jaysh Al-Fateh on Sunday afternoon.
According to a military source in Aleppo, the Tiger Forces and Desert Hawks Brigade are on the verge of seizing the remaining areas under jihadist rebel control, including the Bustan Al-Qasir and Sukkari districts.
In the coming days, the Syrian Armed Forces will likely attempt to negotiate a deal with the jihadist rebels in order to surrender the east Aleppo pocket in exchange for safe passage to the Anadan Plains or Idlib." AMN
IMO the Aleppo operation is going extremely well in spite of fits and starts caused by Russian desires to see a jihadi surrender that will do no more damage to the city than can be avoided and the fewest numbers of civilian losses that can be managed. pl
Palmyra - "Earlier this week, a massive offensive was launched by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in the Palmyra countryside, the Al-Masdar news portal reported. Terrorists targeted several sites, located around the city, trying to return the territories, which they lost earlier.
On Saturday, another big offensive was launched by the terrorist group near eastern gates of Palmyra. IS terrorists committed a successful suicide attack on Syrian troops and captured the strategic Grain Silos. After that, terrorists launched an assault on Jabal Tar. It was the first time in the last several months, when the IS has had a presence in this mountain chain.
As a result of these actions, the terrorist group is quickly approaching to Palmyra, as its members surround the city from all defensive flanks.
According to a military source in Tartous, the High Command of the Syrian Army is currently considering redeployment of its elite Tiger Forces to the Palmyra front in order to help to drive out the terrorist group from the area. However, there still has not been any official confirmation of this information." SF
IMO there is a lot less to the IS attack on Aleppo than immediately meets the eye. 1. The IS has maintained substantial forces in the eastern Homs Province since the government re-capture of the Palmyra area. 2. Government garrisoning at Palmyra has been what we "Clausewitzian Grunts" call an Economy of Force operation. IOW the inadequate manning of the R+6 on the ground country-wide dictated too small a force of too low quality at Palmyra. This reminds of the inadequacy of the US Army's force in front of the Ardennes in late 1944. 3. The fantastical theories of "underground roads, US weather intelligence, etc., are IMO just bullshit.
The jihadi scum now hold Palmyra City. OK . IMO what R+6 should do is get on with the job at Aleppo, and then move enough force to Palmyra to process more jihadis into fertilizer. My earlier idea to use the new 5th Assault Corps in this effort no longer seems good. These are volunteers. They should not be too bloodied too early. pl
"The Kremlin has rejected the hacking accusations, while the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has previously said the DNC leaks were not linked to Russia. A second senior official cited by the Washington Post conceded that intelligence agencies did not have specific proof that the Kremlin was “directing” the hackers, who were said to be one step removed from the Russian government.
Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, who is a close associate of Assange, called the CIA claims “bullshit”, adding: “They are absolutely making it up.”
“I know who leaked them,” Murray said. “I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.
“If what the CIA are saying is true, and the CIA’s statement refers to people who are known to be linked to the Russian state, they would have arrested someone if it was someone inside the United States.
“America has not been shy about arresting whistleblowers and it’s not been shy about extraditing hackers. They plainly have no knowledge whatsoever.” Craig Murray
David Habakkuk brought this article by Craig Murray to our attention.
A couple of things stand out in it for me:
1. Murray says he knows the supposedly American leaker and implies that this person was motivated by disillusion with the Democrats and the Clintons.
2. Murray says the CIA is spreading the idea that the FBI is conspiring to conceal Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
Well, pilgrims, the notion that the FBI is in league with the Russians is so funny as to reduce me to ROTFL. And furthermore, the belief that the IC agencies are apolitical purveyors of truth arrived from God's lips to their ears is also ridiculous. These agencies are headed by political appointees like John Brennan or by rapaciously ambitious civil servants who live by their wits in the jungle worlds of Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, etc.
In fact the struggle within these agencies by competent and conscientious analysts to speak truth to power is endless. This struggle is often against the bosses themselves. Having been an often dissident boss within this system I assure you that the very highest bosses are often quite willing to lie in order to curry favor with the politicians. In a case in which the CIA's top boss, Brennan, will be departing with Obama ... Well ... pl
Yesterday, President Obama ordered up a report on Russian hacking and the 2016 election. Lo, this morning's (12/10) New York Times.
"WASHINGTON — American intelligence agencies have concluded with “high confidence” that Russia acted covertly in the latter stages of the presidential campaign to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances and promote Donald J. Trump, according to senior administration officials.
They based that conclusion, in part, on another finding — which they say was also reached with high confidence — that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks."
Who? What? Why? Any thoughts? Margaret Steinfels
New Year's Eve should be interesting in Europe this year. pl
"On December 6, government forces took control of the neighborhoods of Sheikh Lutfi and Marjeh. On December 7, the Syrian army and its allies liberated the Old Aleppo and entered the areas north and east of the Aleppo Citadel.
Member groups Jaish al-Fatah and Fatah Halab militant coalitions announced that they are ready to withdraw from the city under a deal with the government.
A large group of militants already surrendered to government forces. " SF
The MSM is trying to ignore the impending end of the jihadi occupied enclave in East Aleppo, but this battle is really over. The surrendered jihadis will be Green Bus transported out into Idlib Province and released as per the various surrender agreements with the multiplicity of groups. The negotiations that have reached this outcome were conducted in Aleppo itself and in Turkey under Erdogan's sponsorship.
After a re-fit period the R+6 campaign to liberate Idlib Province will begin. pl
IMO the Battle of East Aleppo will be over soon. R+6 is carving up what is left of the pocket like a Christmas "Turkey" (Heh! Heh!). The Sheikh Sa'eed neighborhood at the south end of the kessel fell today, and a massive drive westward is underway from the area of Aleppo International Airport toward the citadel of Aleppo. At the same time the Tiger Forces and Palestinian militia are pressing south from the lines they held yesterday along the east-west highway at the "waist" of the former East Aleppo pocket. IMO the pocket will be gone in a few days.
At the same time civilians are fleeing to government lines en masse where they are transported to reception camps and provided food, water, shelter and medical care. The Russians have been moving mobile field hospitals into the Aleppo area to provide more capacity.
The lying US and European media are, of course, portraying the situation as something very different. In Mediaworld, the people of east Aleppo are fleeing from the government. I ask you, pilgrims, to what place would civilians be fleeing in trying to escape the government? The east Aleppo pocket is entirely surrounded by government allied force. Evidently a lot of media halfwits cannot read a map. The statement is also made in Mediaworld that there is a shortage of drinking water in east Aleppo. There is no mention in Mediaworld of the rebels' use of drinking water as an instrument for reward and punishment of civilians. There is also no mention of the SAA's capture of the city water works a couple of days ago and their ongoing efforts to turn the water back on.
Someone should explain to Madeleine Albright what the actual situation is in Syria. pl
1 - He has gutted much of the educated middle class of Turkey in his frantic persecution of all those he thinks might not be loyal to him.
2 - He has sent the Turkish Army into Syria in what was first described as border defense against IS (a group he has long supported) and is now revealed (by him) to be an effort to reach central Syria and depose Bashar Assad. It appears that Russia (and perhaps the US as well) have made it clear to him that this will not be permitted.
3. Through his relentless leadership purges he has so weakened the Turkish armed forces that the country is no longer a credible military partner in the NATO alliance.
4. He has so provoked the EU that its weakling leaders have suspended negotiations for Turkish membership. They did this after first having given Sultan Tayyip a 6.6 billion Euro bribe to stop sending refugees into the EU.
5. As a response to suspension of the process of Turkish accession to EU membership, Sultan Tayyip has now threatened to re-open the faucet of volkervanderung into the EU.
6. He has positioned Turkish forces in the Mosul area in such a way as to be seen by the Iraqi government as having irredentist claims in northern Iraq.
Anything else? pl
At least as I was taught and trained, it is standard military practice, on taking an enemy position, to immediately begin defensive preparations to receive an almost inevitable counterattack. I hope for the sake of America, that President - Elect Trump and his team have made the adequate preparations for the counterattack because in my opinion the Hilary backers are now upon them.
I refer to Four events; Two are courtesy of the Washington Post and obviously made with the approval of its owner.
The first was the denigration by the Washington Post of websites not sympathetic enough to the Clinton candidacy as "Fake News" - deliberate Russian propaganda in favour of Trump. The article was written around the construct of a list of 200 websites that are labelled as either Russian propaganda outlets or Lenins "useful Idiots" who repeat propaganda without checking. In support of this attack were some media moguls who joined in. This suggests to me that the "cure" for "fake news" under a Clinton regime might be an attack on free speech. There are numerous articles on the web dissecting this story.
Then we have Jill Steins petition for a Wisconsin recount - apparently funded very adequately by public subscription to the tune of several million dollars.
Then we have a statement by Hilarys lawyer that the Clinton DNC team will participate in the recount although according to the spokesman the decision was made in sorrow rather than anger as not much is expected to change.
Then today we have a Washington Post op-ed by Lawrence Lessig calling for the Electoral College not to elect Trump:
"Conventional wisdom tells us that the electoral college requires that the person who lost the popular vote this year must nonetheless become our president. That view is an insult to our framers. It is compelled by nothing in our Constitution. It should be rejected by anyone with any understanding of our democratic traditions — most important, the electors themselves.......
.......if the electoral college is to control who becomes our president, we should take it seriously by understanding its purpose precisely. It is not meant to deny a reasonable judgment by the people. It is meant to be a circuit breaker — just in case the people go crazy."
The obvious implication is that crazy people voted for Trump and sane people voted for Clinton.
In my opinion, it may be possible to dismiss these events as just a little rabble rousing to improve newspaper circulation prior to the inauguration (will Trump get elected???) - at which point the media focus again changes (now what will President Trump do????). Conversely, this may be a structured attempt to put Clinton on the throne, in which case all hell breaks loose.
I also note that in the UK. Tony Blair has lifted the lid of his casket and again stalks the streets of London aiming to reverse Brexit. Do we see a pattern here? International elites none too happy with revolting peasants on both sides of the Atlantic?
I leave it to the committee to discuss what we are seeing here. I guess it stands to reason that if Trump really plans to "drain the swamp" there are going to be a lot of alligators after him. What comes next I know not.
1. President's Daily Book Briefings - The notion that a president or president elect is under ANY obligation to sit through a lengthy daily briefing from a team from the Director of National Intelligence office is just wrong. This system was constructed to meet the perceived needs of various presidents for information on the world. It is routinely reshaped to suit the desires of the president. The intelligence guys would dearly love to shape their briefings so as to make them prescriptive, in other words definitive for policy. They seldom get to do that but they do try. IMO Trump has policy opinions of his own and is unlikely to be "guided" by the expressed opinions of the DNI or anyone in the intelligence community. IMO that is a good thing. Do we want to be governed by someone who yields to the self-important and organizationally "invested" views of the intelligence barons? If Trump wants Flynn to inform him rather than listening himself to the artful blandishments of skillful briefers, more power to him! I say that as someone who has briefed the high and mighty many times over many years.
2. An emerging ME alliance - Egyptian Air Force fighter aircraft and helicopters have arrived on a Syrian Air Force base in Hama Province. The media speaks of an emerging axis of alliance among: Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Algeria to combat Sunni jihadism. I presume that Russia will be very supportive of such an alliance. At the same time Erdogan's Turkey continues to arrest thousands of opponents and speaks of joining the alignment sponsored by Russia and China even as he continues to support jihadis in Syria.
3. The Trump team - In spite of the plaintive bleating of the Democrats about the legally non-existent national popular vote and re-counts that will never happen or will prove nothing but the ability of Stein to raise money, Trump is moving steadily forward with formation of a national security side of his incoming administration. If I were asked I would advise him to carefully interview people like Mattis, Pompaio, Flynn, Halley and other prospects for nomination or appointment to make sure that these people will follow his foreign policy in both specific and general terms. Mattis lost his job as CENTCOM commander for crowding the Iranians by sending US warships inshore where they were evidently expected to provoke a fight. This was contrary to Obama's policy and Mattis was warned about this behavior before he was replaced. Mattis should be cautioned against exceeding his authorities before being made SECDEF. Flynn's childish foolishness in going to Moscow at Russian Government expense to attend a conference and allowing his picture to be taken at table with Putin was so indiscreet as to raise questions about his maturity and judgment. He should be privately cautioned against that kind of self-indulgence> Pompaio is a tea party congressman from a great plains state who was once in the US Army for a few years and left as soon as he could. He was first in his class at USMA? So what? He was an undergraduate and that was a long time ago. He appears to be filled with a great belligerence towards Russia, Syria and Iran. If President Trump orders him to stop all assistance to the "moderate" and jihadi groups CIA has been assisting in Syria, will he carry out his orders or seek to avoid them? If Romney is made SECSTATE will he follow a policy of detente with Russia, China, etc. or will he try to go his own way? There are yet more important nominations to be made; DNI, and Ambassador to Moscow among others. All of these nominees should be interrogated for the same assurances. If that is done a baseline for performance will be had. pl
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (Preamble to the U.S. Declaration of Independence)
Last week, the social media got to me. I became for a time, really incensed, angry.
As a believer in the principles set forth in the Preamble to our Declaration of Independence, I find the burgeoning rhetoric of white nationalism quite disturbing. We have an unrepentant “platform” provider for white nationalistic rhetoric as the newly appointed Chief Strategist for our President elect. The extent to which the Chief Strategist believes the rhetoric, nobody really knows. In any case, the code words of the movement are beginning to infect the language of public discourse like a virus.
White nationalism’s fundamental premise is that our nation should allow the creation of “Euro-ethnic” enclaves as a matter of “freedom” for those who hold a “white Euro-ethnic” identity. That premise carries with it a fundamental belief in the creation of an inevitable and “beneficial” (for the white nationals only) prospect of an ethnically cleansed region in the U.S. The last time we had serious white nationalism take hold in a significant part of the country things did not end well for the white nationalists whose whole region was devastated with great vengeance.
Ultimately, over the 151 years since that conflict ended, the American People have made great progress toward forming a society under a mostly ethno-neutral and, increasingly, also a gender-identity neutral government and polity.
White nationalism is a rejection of the ethno-neutral state focused on the guarantee of human rights for all of its inhabitants and the broader world that has been evolving since the beginning of the American experiment. It is very easy to adopt white nationalism because it is a rejection of the need to get along with others who are different and it feels good to be superior to them. The ideology requires little effort and almost no study to be good at it. Shouting racist slogans and making others uncomfortable is even fun for some. Today, the idea has real appeal to those who have little accomplishment.
Our culture has moved from slavery in the 1600s to racial integration and acceptance of gay marriage. More so in the urban areas than in the exurbs and rural areas where there is less of the "lots going on" of urban life and less interaction with the wonderful mosaic of diversity. Now, for the first time in generations, that progress towards neutrality appears to be at issue. Many find this frightening, other find it good, exciting, and novel.
I knew her slightly.
I had the privilege of sitting across the table at the Newshour from her quite a lot in the year or so that I was employed by them before being "hurled into the public" as Ron White described being thrown out of a NYC bar.
Ifill was lovely. One night, off camera, I absent mindedly admired the dragonfly brooch she wore.
"Santa Claus" she said.
"Santa Claus has good taste," I replied.
She contemplated me.
"Either way. Your servant, ma'am," I said before the red light came on.
A great lady. pl
"“The president doesn’t want this group to be what inherits the country if Assad ever does fall,” a senior U.S. official said. “This cannot be the viable Syrian opposition. It’s al-Qaeda.”
Officials said the administration’s hope is that more-moderate rebel factions will be able to gain ground as both the Islamic State and al-Nusra come under increased military pressure.
A growing number of White House and State Department officials, however, have privately voiced doubts about the wisdom of applying U.S. military power, even covertly, to pressure Assad to step aside, particularly since Russia’s military intervention in Syria last year.
U.S. intelligence officials say they aren’t sure what Trump’s approach to U.S.-backed rebel units will be once he gets briefed on the extent of the covert CIA program. Trump has voiced strong skepticism about arming Syrian rebels in the past, suggesting that U.S. intelligence agencies don’t have enough knowledge about rebel intentions to pick reliable allies." Washpost
What is this? Has Obama finally come to his senses in the last months of his presidency? If I read this article correctly Obama overruled the neocon Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, the toadies he brought with him to the JCS and the always power hungry CIA. Rather than continue to accept the Israeli influenced "Assad must Go" policy, Obama apparently has directed the DoD to begin massive attacks against this AQ group in Syria.
Will this lead to cooperation with Russia in these operations? I don't know. I hope it will. Apparently Russian air defenses in Syria have been allowing US drone operations in western Syria for some time.
This change of policy is a radical reversal which indicates that overthrow of the Syrian government is no longer a priority of the Obama Administration. Logically, but merely so, Carter should resign since his policy recommendation has been rejected.
The fight for Mosul looks to me to be something that will last a long, long time. What will Obama do about that in his remaining time?
What will President Trump's policy be in the ME? Only time will tell. pl
We are two days post election and already seeing people predicting what a potential Trump Administration will look like. Estimates are all over the place, with the people who confidently predicted Trump could never beat Hillary confidently predicting how his administration will be run. Obviously, they have learned nothing. If we are to understand what a Trump Administration will look like, we must consider and accept a few facts to develop a reasonable analysis.
First, Trump is unprecedented in what he has done, and the way he did it. Running a guerilla campaign, the man put to bed the two most prominent political dynasties in the US (the Bushes and the Clintons), in his first national campaign. A reminder: this is a group that contains: 3 former presidents, two governors, a senator, a secretary of state, and the director of the CIA. This is not a feat that should be underplayed or disregarded. I say this because there is a tendency to regard Trump as an “amateur”, and this is reminiscent of the “he is not really trying!” rhetoric we heard during certain parts of the campaign. Keep in mind this accomplishment when trying to figure out how he will go forward or making ridiculous claims.
We must also consider who did not support Trump, and who did. The “NeverTrump” faction was mostly neocons who were upset about his Jacksonian style engagement, and wanted a hot war with Russia over Syria, Pussy Riot, and transsexual bathrooms. The appearance of those who espouse certain neocon platitudes (Bolton, Flynn), should be noted, but it should also be taken into consideration that Trump is a deviously fast learner. The man saw the pitfalls and tar babies that the Bush II and Obama Administrations entered, won the Presidency partially on saying he’d avoid foreign entanglements, and I imagine he knows very well who these people are and what they want. In the case of Bolton, the man’s boisterous nature over certain foreign policy entanglements is offset by the fact he seems very “America First” when it comes to foreign policy. However, the hardcore neocons such as Krauthammer and Wolfowitz will not be allowed within missile distance of a Trump Administration. I wouldn’t freak out about Trump bringing in certain personages, as he seems to adopt the maxim about “friends close, enemies closer”.
The two largest ideological brakes on any neocon influence will be Senator Jeff Sessions and Stephen Miller. These two men are very much opposed to the “invade the world, invite the world” of neocons like McCain and the others, and seem to play some very vital, important role in his administration beyond what their public personage suggests. I would not be surprised to find out that they wield as much influence with the man as Ivanka, and their usage in his administration is likely going to be spectacular in some way. Remember, Sessions has been the Godfather of Immigration Enforcement hawkishness, and is a leading senior senator to boot. The man will get what he wants and can make it happen finally.
More on this. Finally, let us consider Trump personally. While much is made of his oversized, boisterous personality, when we consider the private man we see a different side that is thoughtful, analytical, and not prone to hasty decisions. To borrow a reference from popular culture, he is Tywin Lannister in a way, where he states that if his enemies bend the knee, it is his responsibility to help them to their feet. Look at his treatment of Ted Cruz for instance. While their relationship is tense, Trump hasn’t held Cruz at length, but instead brought him into the campaign. The same goes for Christie, Carson, and others. Each of these men is going to have a role in the new Trump Administration. I would not be surprised if Cruz gets a SCOTUS nod, depending on factors such as how hard will Cruz work for Trump in the Senate.
So, what policies will Trump bring in his first six months? Right now, it seems health care reform and tax reform are on the table, as well as infrastructure. All things we can get behind. I cannot speculate exactly on what is planned, but I will make three broad points on these issues. Health care reform will not be the usual Republican giveaway to big business, but will have a decidedly populist bent while not being socialized for everyone. People don’t want Grandma not getting her check-up, but they also don’t like seeing people get hand-outs. Look for large tax cuts to the middle class as well as corporate tax reform, and infrastructure reform will include funding the wall. Trump will get this by slicing off the Populist Wing of the Democratic Party (Warren & Sanders) and giving them trophies to wave around as showing that they are “with the people”. These overtures have already been made, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he offered one or two them positions in his Administration.
Foreign policy wise, Trump will begin rapprochements with Russia and other “nationalist/populist” governments across the world, such as those Eastern European countries that refused to heed the diktats of the EU. Trump married an Eastern European after all, and one of his ex-wives is Eastern European. Obviously, the man has a fondness for the region. Look for closer ties with these countries beyond “catspaw against Russia”.
Speaking of Russia, look for an axis to form between the two countries with respect not only for spheres of influence, but cultural considerations as well. There will be less of the attempt to impose secular hedonism on the world, but instead a respect for how each nation tends to its affairs. Ironically, it will be an actual diversity instead of the faux diversity espoused by the globalist adherents of secular hedonism. In the short term, look for the conflict in Syria to wrapped up neatly (as these things go), by the end of the year.
On the domestic front, you are already seeing the resurrection of the paid Soros mobs that exist to sow chaos and attempt to cause an overreaction by the authorities. Think of these as domestic “color revolutions” and funded Maidan Squares. Again, the Left doubles down on a failed policy. It refuses to realize that Trump ran on a law and order platform, and he knows what he owes the people who put him in power. You will see a series of short, sharp responses from an unchained law enforcement able to do its job. There will be the usual MSM propaganda showing the one bleeding baby and woman while claiming that you had a (white) police officer giving them the business with both hands on his nightstick. Rioters will inevitably be classified as “peaceful protesters” even as the vehicles are on fire around them. The MSM will further lose cachet. Some of you wonder why Trump wants to expand libel laws against the media – here is why. It is the nature of the Left, which is in permanent revolution, to overplay its hand. We are seeing it again.
On immigration, Trump does not need to pass broad sweeping laws. He only needs to enforce the ones on the books, something the Obama Administration has not been doing. Look for cries of outrage when Trump replaces many US Attorneys (like when Bush II did the same), and remember this wasn’t an issue when Obama did the same thing. Cutting off aid to sanctuary cities, enforcing immigration law, and making the process of living in the US so onerous for those here illegally will go a long way to reducing our illegal alien population.
Remember when I mentioned Senator Sessions? I would not be surprised if he has stacks of papers on what can already be done. Again, look for more staged incidents of “brutality” in order to attempt to shape a narrative. You are about to be surprised by the amount of would be doctors and rocket scientists claiming to exist in the illegal alien population. Furthermore, Trump does not need to pass a law to build a wall. He simply needs it in the budget. I imagine he will have no problem getting that and pointing towards anyone who attempts to obstruct it as putting the needs of foreign citizens before US citizens. This is powerful rhetoric.
I’ll close by saying let us remember that “everyone” said Trump couldn’t win. Trump did win. Do not make the mistake of assuming Trump won’t do what he says he’s done so you can sleep easier, forming opinions on a mirage you create in the space of your mind. Instead, my friends on the Left, worry that he will not only do what he said he would, but he’ll go above and beyond, and the people will love him for it.
"Lebanon's lawmakers elected Michel Aoun, an lran-backed politician and former general, as president Monday, ending more than two years the country has gone without a leader.
Aoun, 81, is an ally of Hezbollah, the Shiite militia and political party backed by Iran that has helped Syrian President Bashar Assad survive a five-year civil war on Lebanon’s border.
The vote for Aoun, by 83 of parliament’s 127 members, shows Iran-backed political factions shouldered past those aligned with Saudi Arabia, replacing Syria as Lebanon’s chief foreign power broker.
Aoun’s “victory now is a victory for Hezbollah and that alliance, and certainly a kind of black eye for Saudi Arabia,” said Paul Salem, vice president for policy and research at the Middle East Institute, a think tank in Washington." USA Today
President Aoun has now stated that he will seek to align Lebanon with the policies of; Hizbullah, Iran, the Syrian government and Russia. This is a remarkable change of heart since he fought so long and so hard to keep the Shia in Lebanon and Iran from wielding a compelling power in Lebanon. I hold the US and its Israeli inspiration to be largely responsible for this change of heart.
IMO the US has consistently backed the Hariris (father and son) in Lebanon in the evident belief that they were our men. This has been a mistake. Both Hariris have always been much closer to Saudi Arabia than to the US and Aoun sees this as a profound interference in Lebanon's affairs and her prospect for survival on Syria's doorstep. This support dates back to the early 80s when Philip Habib, Richard Murphy and Rafik Hariri swanned around the ME together trying to arrange an end to the Lebanon civil war. Rafik was Lebanese born but; had moved to Saudi Arabia, had made vast a amount of money in Saudi royal family sponsored government construction contracts, had become a Saudi subject (citizen), and accepted the Wahhabi version of Islam. The airplane that the Three Amigos traveled together in from country to country was the product of Rafik's exceptionally good financial fortune in Saudi Arabia.
After the rump Lebanese parliament accepted an armistice agreed on at Taif in Saudi Arabia largely over the heads of the Lebanese, it was decided by the Three Amigos (and those behind them) that Rafik Hariri, a Saudi Arabian national would assume an unelected role as PM of Lebanon after being re-granted Lebanese citizenship.
Saad Hariri, Rafik's son, returned to Lebanon with his father, resumed Lebanese identity and succeeded to his father's role as instrument of Saudi and US power in Lebanese politics. He has fulfilled that role ever since.
Now, we see that Aoun, aligned with the adversaries of Hariri's sponsors, has appointed Saad Hariri as PM and head of government in Lebanon.
Does anyone think this is a stable arrangement? pl
"Fifteen years ago this month, on Jan. 20, 2001, his last day in office, Bill Clinton issued a pardon for international fugitive Marc Rich. It would become perhaps the most condemned official act of Clinton’s political career. A New York Times editorial called it “a shocking abuse of presidential power.” The usually Clinton-friendly New Republic noted it “is often mentioned as Exhibit A of Clintonian sliminess.”
Congressman Barney Frank added, “It was a real betrayal by Bill Clinton of all who had been strongly supportive of him to do something this unjustified. It was contemptuous.”
Marc Rich was wanted for a list of charges going back decades. He had traded illegally with America’s enemies including Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran, where he bought about $200 million worth of oil while revolutionaries allied with Khomeini held 53 American hostages in 1979.
Rich made a large part of his wealth, approximately $2 billion between 1979 and 1994, selling oil to the apartheid regime in South Africa when it faced a UN embargo. He did deals with Khadafy’s Libya, Milosevic’s Yugoslavia, Kim Il Sung’s North Korea, Communist dictatorships in Cuba and the Soviet Union itself. Little surprise that he was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List.
Facing prosecution by Rudy Giuliani in 1983, Rich fled to Switzerland and lived in exile.' NY Post
IMO Marc Rich was pardoned by Bill Clinton because the Israeli government pressed him repeatedly to do so. Why would they do that? At the time I was in the position of associating with quite a few international oil traders. They laughed when they talked about Rich as an oil trader and assured me that for an individual like Marc Rich to enter the oil futures and spot oil markets was a virtual impossibility. The amount of capital required was simply prohibitive. Their belief was that Rich's traffic in petroleum had to be backed with the money of a sovereign state that wished to trade for profit in this commodity. They insisted that the only state likely to have wanted to do this but inhibited by the state of its external relations was Israel.
If that was the case, then it is only logical that Rich's legal position with regard to his US taxes was badly compromised. Would the Israeli government have wanted him to pay US taxes on profits made with its money? I think not, but Israel would also not want it to be known that it had abandoned its agent. This is common practice in the world of covert action and clandestine intelligence. Such knowledge if spread around the Zionist community would reduce the willingness of others to take risks for Israel. It is for much the same reason that Israel pressed endlessly for Pollard to be released from prison. Were the Israelis sentimentally grateful for the invaluable services rendered by Rich and Pollard? Maybe they were but as a cynical past practitioner of the dark arts of covert action and espionage I doubt that was their principal motivation.
Were there incentives offered to WJC other than the unrelenting political pressure from key members of the Zionist community? Who knows?
And now the FBI has chosen to open at least some of their files on this matter to the public. Can this be other than a warning to their betters in the elected government? Is the sentiment "if you take action to stop our investigations or against us, what else will we release?" pl
The SAA is carving up rebel held neighborhoods in West and East Ghouta near Damascus. They have the upper hand and are going about their business in a workmanlike way while pushing rebels into surrender agreements that transport those who want to go to the killing ground in Idlib Province where they are conveniently grouped in targetable packages. I wonder if evidence will emerge in East Ghouta as to what actually happened there in the supposed government Sarin gas attack in 2011. No matter! No one in the media would believe anything contrary to the Borgian meme that "da guvmint done did it."
A couple of our brethren here are writing pieces on Mosul and Deir al-Zor. I will abstain from talking about those places so as to not "step on" their work.
At Aleppo the rebels (read jihadis) have staged yet another offensive to try to break the lines of circumvallation around East Aleppo. I agree with South Front that their effort will fail and only result in many more dead rebels. A basic fact of combat is that the side up and moving when contact is made, loses more people. The rebels are up and moving forward. More power to them! pl
This segment from this morning's show is just too good to pass up.
I must say that Mika is quite fetching in her new role as Joe's Consort, Morganatic wife, Jarriya or whatever it is that they think their relationship may be.
I understand the British Borg has frozen RT's bank accounts in London and a "government entity" has attempted to block Assange's communications presumably to halt the flow. Well, good luck boys and girls that horse left the barn some time ago and is now living well in a number of places. pl
Let's see-- -
54,000 Iraqi government forces,
40,000 odd Pesh Merga,
Various US Army and USMC artillery units firing in support,
Coalition air pounding the bejayzus out of the environs and approaches to the city.
3 to 8 thousand IS madmen in the city.
A million or so civilian inhabitants give or take 100k.
IMO this is going to be a near run and protracted thing.
The ISF clearly like to win battles without fighting.
IMO IS's most likely CoA (course of action) is to seek to make a prolonged and suicidal defense of the city taking advantage of the ISF's great sensitivity to its own casualties. A thousand man stay behind force, indifferent to their casualties, fighting from ruined buildings and also indifferent to civilian losses can make a prolonged and expensive fight.
It is sadly amusing to see how favorably the Borgist media gaze benignly at the approaching spectacle while howling in rage at the impending defeat of their jihadi friends at Aleppo. pl
"Chief of the Directorate of Media service and Information of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, Major General Igor Konashenkov promised that no U.S. aircraft would be immune from the threat the S-300 and S-400 air defense batteries pose in case of military strikes on the government-controlled areas. Konashenkov pointed to the airstrikes against Syrian government forces in Der ez-Zor as one of the primary motivating factors in importing the potent weapon systems." southfront
This could not be more clear. If the US and its allies attack government forces in Syria the forces involved will be engaged by Russian forces. pl
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has revealed himself to be the 21st century's answer to the original Dr. Strangelove. Last week, while touring US nuclear weapons facilities, Carter threatened that the US was prepared to use nuclear weapons to defend against the new emerging Russian threat in Europe. Carter held a press conference at Minot, North Dakota, with a B-52 in the background, pressing for a $1 trillion budget to modernize and expand the US nuclear arsenal to "catch up" with Russia. In the meantime, the US is already moving ahead with a modernization of the B61-12 theater nuclear weapon, for deployment in Europe, that will blur the line between conventional and nuclear warfare, by increasing the accuracy and range and decreasing the payload. No longer will the US nuclear arsenal in Europe be strictly a deterrent.
At the same time, the Obama Administration has walked away from the Geneva negotiations with Russia, aimed at ending the nearly six years of war in Syria, through a joint US-Russian effort against the main jihadist forces--Al Qaeda (Nusra Front) and ISIS. On October 5, the Principals Committee huddled at the White House to consider three options for Syria: Create a no-fly zone over all or most of the country; create safe zones along the Turkish and Jordanian borders inside Syrian territory; bomb the entire Syrian Air Force out of existence in a 24 hour display of "shock and awe;" or arm the Syrian rebels--ie. jihadists--with manpads and other anti-aircraft weapons as part of a prolonged insurgency directed against the Assad government, which will increasingly be dominated by the very terrorist forces that the US and Russia were jointly targeting up until this week.
As Col. Lang has been writing for months, the Russian President has finally concluded that the US is not sincere in proposing joint operations against the jihadists of ISIS and Al Qaeda, and so he has thrown his military support behind an assault on Aleppo, to wipe out the terrorist pocket and effectively defeat the insurgency militarily.
The first three options taken up by the Principals at the White House mean direct war against Russia, a war that would, in light of Strangelove Carter's recent remarks, likely lead to a nuclear exchange--and not at the tactical level. Option four means the US is aligned with the jihadists in a prolonged, ie. permanent war in the Near East--hardly a much better option.
Washington has “suspended” bilateral contacts with Moscow over the Syrian crisis, the US State Department said. Russian Foreign Ministry said it was "disappointed" by the decision and accused the US of seeking to shift blame for its own failure in Syria.
US officials had threatened for a week to withdraw from the Syrian peace process, after the latest ceasefire negotiated by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Secretary of State John Kerry collapsed amid bloody fighting.
While contacts between US and Russian military to “deconflict” encounters between their aircraft in Syrian skies will continue, the US is withdrawing personnel that was dispatched for the purpose of setting up the Joint Implementation Center (JIC) for the ceasefire, agencies reported citing the State Department.
There is "nothing more for the US and Russia to talk about" in Syria, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Monday.
Russia has made efforts to preserve the September 9 ceasefire agreement, while repeatedly urging Washington to live up to its obligations, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said on Monday.
“It turns out that Washington has failed to fulfill the key condition of the agreement to ease humanitarian situation for the residents of Aleppo” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “And now, apparently, having failed to honor these agreements that they themselves worked out, [the US] is trying to shift the blame.” (RT.com)
On top of this, Gospodin Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin suspended Russia’s participation in the program for disposing of plutonium from excess nuclear weapons.
Well, if there’s nothing left to talk about, what’s next? I can hear the voice of my old friend, Master Sergeant Albert H. Rivers, “The shit’s on, good buddy.”
By Patrick Armstrong
The Bellingcat site has a piece entitled "Confirmed : Russian Bomb Remains Recovered from Syrian Red Crescent Aid Convoy Attack" which includes this picture as well as several others. You may look at the others, but this one picture is apodictic proof 1) that the Russians (or Syrians) didn't do it and 2) that Bellingcat is a loyal servant of the Borg.
He spends a lot of efforts to establish that the metal piece is the tail piece of a Russian-made OFAB 250-270 Fragmentation High Explosive Bomb. No argument there, I'm sure it is. Said bomb has 92kg of explosive. Which is quite a lot.
If said bomb has exploded in this not very large room, all those cardboard boxes would be torn to pieces and burned. To say nothing of a lot more damage to the room itself. Therefore it did not explode in that room.
If said bomb was a dud and did not explode, where is the rest of it? Therefore the bomb is not a dud.
Therefore the bomb piece was put there to make it look as if the Russians had done it. (And not very competently either: note that it is supposed to have come through the ceiling and neatly placed itself underneath some undamaged cardboard boxes.)
If it is necessary to produce a fake picture, then the Russians didn't do it.
And, as a bonus, by perpetrating this fraud, Bellingcat has also proved that he is a stooge of the war party.
A lot to deduce from one photo, isn't it? It used to be that it took more effort to disprove Bellingcat's fakes. He's losing his touch.
" ... the launch of the offensive called into question the entire premise of the agreement painstakingly negotiated by Kerry and Lavrov over the past eight months: that Russia shares the Obama administration’s view that there is no military solution to the conflict. On that basis, U.S. officials have explained, Moscow would be willing to pursue a negotiated settlement in return for a cease-fire and the prestige of eventually conducting joint military operations in Syria alongside the United States against terrorist groups.
At a news conference in New York, Lavrov offered a starkly different point of view. He said it is the United States that needs to come around to the idea that President Bashar al-Assad is the only viable partner in the fight against terrorism, calling his army “the single most efficient force fighting terror in Syria.”
“Little by little, life will make everyone understand that it’s only together that you can fight terrorism,” Lavrov said.
His comments, alongside the events of the past week, suggest that Russia and Syria still believe the war can be won outright, without recourse to negotiations that the United States has said offer the only way out of the Syrian tragedy." Liz Sl at the Washpost.
Well, pilgrims, this war was always winnable. We have said that at SST for a long time and continue to believe that this is the truth. IMO the Russians have also known it was the truth but have been willing to humor the Borgist foreign policy establishments to learn what possibilities there might be for a general improvement of Russian-US relations. Having now been screwed by the US/the jihadis/and Gulfie "friends" in; a couple of ceasefires designed to allow the jihadi/unicorns to re-group and re-supply, the evidently treacherous attack on SAA forces at Deir al-Zor and the IO flim-flam over the Red Crescent convoy the Russians and their pals seem to have decided to go for the "win the war" option.
As of today, forces have been massed at Aleppo for the purpose of eliminating the East Aleppo rebel pocket. This pocket has now been without re-supply for an extended period. This is true for both the jihadi rebels and the civilian population, many of whom are rebel supporters.
IMO the main effort by R+6 is taking place at the SE side of the East Aleppo pocket. That is now underway with massive CAS from Russian aerospace forces.
At the same time Palestinian militia allies with CAS have attacked the fortified Handarat refugee camp at the NE corner of the pocket. IMO this is a secondary attack intended to prevent the rebels moving forces south to oppose the main R+6 effort.
This is an excellent plan.
At the same time there is an unconfirmed report from SOHR in London (pro-rebel) that a Russian force with 3,000 men has been positioned at al-Safir about 12 km. SE of the main attacks on the Aleppo pocket. If this report is correct this force is well positioned to reinforce the main attack or be used in a defensive move against a rebel effort elsewhere. It would be in the Russian operational tradition to pass a reinforcing "wave" or echelon of forces through the initial assault forces when they become exhausted by combat.
At the same time the remarkably ineffective Turkish/FSA effort along the Turkish border NE of Aleppo ensures the distraction of IS forces which might interfere with R+6 efforts at Aleppo City.
The foreign policy establishment (Borg) in the West wants to believe that war is obsolete as a factor in the story of humanity. People created by poly sci/ IR programs across North America and Western Europe are convinced that they are smarter, and more "evolved" than mere soldiers. They believe that they have inherited the earth and that their cleverness will always prevail over mere force.
We will now have a demonstration that this is not true. pl
"The latest developments in Syria are not, I believe, the result of some deliberate plan of the USA to help their “moderate terrorist” allies on the ground, but they are the symptom of something even worse: the complete loss of control of the USA over the situation in Syria and, possibly, elsewhere. Let me just re-state what just happened:" The Saker
Worth reading. pl
"The US has expressed regret for the strikes, while Australia, which says its planes were among a number of international aircraft involved in the operation, expressed condolences to the victims' families.
"Ahrar Al-Sham has officially rejected a nationalwide ceasefire proposal pushed by the United States and Russia.
Ahrar Al-Sham is one of the largest Syrian militant groups. Despite the radical views, the group is often called the “moderate opposition” by the Western Media and is supported by the United States.
On September 12, Deputy Leader of Ahrar al-Sham ‘Abo Ammar al-Omar’ publicly rejected the ceasefire proposal in Eid msge. According to al-Omar, the problem is that the ceasefire will exclude from the agrreemennt some Syrian “opposition” groups… for example the Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat Al Nusra) terrorist group and other Al Qaeda affilates in Syria." South Front
Well pilgrims, it just does not get much "better" than this from the point of view of satirists. Evelyn Waugh, the author of "Black Mischief," "Scoop," and the more awful parts of "Sword of Honour" could not have written "better" material.
Poor Kerry (irony alert) he has labored in the vineyards of diplomacy for lo these many months (years?) in the effort to produce a ceasefire that would result in the fulfillment of the Borgist dream of an Assad Free Syria or whatever they would call the present Syria afterward.
And now - wait for it! - drum roll! - Ahrar al Sham, the unicorns upon whom the loving (maybe) attention and largess of the US/CIA have been showered has rejected the ceasefire upon which Obama/Kerry had pinned all their hopes for victory snatched from the jaws of military travail.
Why would they do that? It is because they are allies and comrades of Fath al Sham (formerly the AQ branch in Syria). Fath al Sham changed their name from the Nusra Front a few weeks back in the hope of BSing the peacemakers into making them bombing immune under a cease fire. Well, that did not work. The crafty Rooshians instead succeeded in having the US agree that Fath al Sham/al Nusra/AQ is still a jihadi group which will be legitimately targeted under a cease fire. Damn these Russians! They keep trying to win or at least not lose.
So, when our "moderates" side with the jihadis against us you can see how "moderate" they really are.
Today, CNN, MSNBC et al continue to pound Assad. pl