the stupid channel

Blumenthal Theorizes: Conspiracy Charges Possible For Trump White House
The_Real_Fly, Zero Hedge, Jun 21 2017

Back in 1997, Harold Nicholson, a former employee for the CIA, was sentenced to 23 years in jail for conspiring with the Russian government. Tonight on Chris Matthews’ Hardball, Sen Blumenthal went off the deep end of his own conspiratorial bend, proclaiming that Flynn, Kushner and others in the Trump White House could succumb to conspiracy charges. When discussing the matter of Flynn, Matthews asked the Senator if he should be given immunity, so that he could spill the beans on the President, inpling that Trump has something to hide that Flynn knows about. Both Blumenthal and Matthews then started to theorize, as if incredibly disconnected from the real world, a grand Russian scheme that had taken place, all at the behest of Trump, that could land Flynn 15 years in prison. Matthews then staggered on, saying:

The press should be commended! All these Russian shenanigans on going on all the time, and the only reason why we know about them is the press!

Hmmm, I wonder: why do democrats keep losing elections?

you’re regional uber-hegemon now, china, get used to it

Pindostan demands “much greater” Chinese pressure on NK or else
Peter Symonds, WSWS, Jun 22 2017

In what amounted to a barely disguised threat, Rex Tillerson yesterday declared that China had to “exert much greater economic and diplomatic pressure” on NK to abandon its nuclear and missile programs if it “wants to prevent a further escalation in the region.” In other words, if Beijing fails to rein in the Pyongyang regime, Pindostan could resort to military measures. Tillerson’s remarks followed a top-level meeting in Washington between him & Mad Dog Mattis and their Chinese counterparts, China’s foreign policy chief Yang Jiechi and General Fang Fenghui, chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s joint staff department. Tillerson called on China to make greater efforts to halt “illicit” revenue streams to NK that allegedly help fund Pyongyang’s military programs. Just last week, he told a congressional committee:

We’re at a stage where we are going to have to start taking secondary sanctions.

Tillerson means, penalise countries and corporations that engage in economic activities with NK. Unilateral “secondary sanctions” imposed by Pindostan would fall on Chinese companies above all. China is NK’s largest trading partner by far. Pindo govt boxtops and media talking heads have repeatedly accused Beijing of failing to do enough to choke off trade and finance with the Pyongyang regime. Any penalties against Chinese individuals or entities would quickly sour relations between Pindostan and China. Just before the talks, Trump signalled that time was running out for China to force NK to bow to Pindo demands, tweeting on Tuesday:

While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi and China, it has not worked out.

While Tillerson’s remarks indicate that Pindostan continues to pressure China for action against NK, Trump’s tweet is a warning that Pindostan will resort to other measures if there are no results, including military action. Asked about Trump’s tweet, Mad Dog Mattis told a joint presser held with Rex Tillerson:

What you’re seeing I think is the Pindo sheeple’s frustration with a regime that provokes and provokes and provokes and basically plays outside the rules, plays fast and loose with the truth.

Mattis denounced Pyongyang in particular for the death of Otto Wambier. The Trump administration is considering a ban to prevent Pindosis from visiting Pyongyang. Three other Pindo citizens are currently jailed in NK. The comments of Mattis and Tillerson suggest that relations with China could deteriorate rapidly, especially if NK conducts another nuclear test or a long-range missile launch. In comments to CNN, unnamed Pindop boxtops claimed this week that satellite imagery showed new activity at NK’s underground nuclear test site, and suggested that a sixth nuclear detonation could be imminent. Ahead of yesterday’s talks in Faschingstein, State Dept boxtops indicated that Mad Dog & Rex would press their Chinese counterparts not only on NK but a range of other sensitive issues, including the South China Sea and the so-called war on terrorism. Acting Asst Sec State for East Asia Susan Thornton told VoA:

All parties should freeze any construction or militarisation of features in the South China Sea.

Last month, the Pindosi navy carried out another provocative “freedom of navigation” operation, sending a guided missile destroyer within the 12-nautical-mile territorial limit claimed by China around one of its islets. Trade and economic issues were excluded from yesterday’s Pindo-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue but remained just below the surface. During last year’s presidential election campaign, Trump repeatedly denounced China’s trade policies and threatened punitive trade war measures. In seeking Beijing’s assistance to pressure Pyongyang, Trump suggested Pindostan could make concessions on trade. Having tweeted that Chinese efforts have “not worked out,” the implicit threat is that Pindostan could ramp up the pressure on China over trade. John Delury, associate professor of China Studies at Yale, told the NYT:

What Trump is saying is, I don’t need you on NK now, and therefore maybe we should have it out on these other issues, like trade.

China is reluctant to impose new sanctions that will cripple NK’s economy and provoke a political crisis that could be exploited by Pindostan and its vassals. At yesterday’s talks, Chinese boxtops reiterated Beijing’s call for renewed negotiations based on a freeze by Pyongyang on its nuclear and missile tests and a freeze by Faschingstein on its joint military exercises in SK. Pindostan has flatly rejected the proposal. Above all, the threat of Pindosi military strikes against NK hangs over Asia. Earlier this week, the Pentagon again sent two B-1 strategic bombers on a mission over the Korean Peninsula in a provocative show of force. The Pindo Navy has two aircraft carrier strike groups stationed in the area with another on its way. Any Pindosi military action against NK threatens to trigger an all-out conflict on the Korean Peninsula that could draw in other powers including China with devastating consequences. The Trump administration’s recklessness is underscored by the fact that it is engaged in an escalating confrontation in Syria that threatens to provoke a clash with Russia and Iran even as it is ramping up tensions in north-east Asia.

the march to war

NATO warplane buzzes jet carrying Russian defense minister over Baltic Sea
Barry Grey, WSWS, Jun 22 2017

Even as Pindostan escalates tensions with Russian forces in Syria to the point of direct conflict, its reckless aggression along Russia’s western border is increasing the danger of a military clash between the two nuclear powers in Europe. On Wednesday, a NATO F16 buzzed a Russian jet carrying the country’s defense minister in international air space over the Baltic Sea. Just three days previously, a Pindosi Navy jet brought down a government plane in Syria, the first such attack since the beginning of the Pindosi war for regime change in 2011. The Pindo action prompted Moscow to announce that it will henceforth target Pindo aircraft flying over the western part of that country. Russia also said it would suspend the “deconfliction” hotline that has been used to prevent clashes between Pindostani and Russian planes operating in Syria. In yesterday’s incident, a warplane of the Pindo-dominated military alliance approached the Russian aircraft as it flew to Kaliningrad, a western Russian enclave between Lithuania and Poland on the Baltic Sea, where Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was scheduled to meet with Russian military boxtops. An Su-27 escort fighter got in way of the NATO plane and tilted its wings to show its weapons, whereupon the intruding NATO plane flew off.

The highly provocative move by NATO was only the latest example of increasingly frequent encounters between Pindo/NATO and Russian warplanes in the Baltic region, particularly in the vicinity of Kaliningrad, Russia’s westernmost military outpost. On Monday, a Pindosi RC-135 spy plane flying toward the Russian border made what Moscow called a “provocative turn” toward a Baltic Fleet Su-27 that had been scrambled for an interception mission. In a statement issued Wednesday, NATO acknowledged the incident involving Shoigu’s plane and the fact that it occurred in neutral air space. Far from offering an apology, however, the Western alliance said it had acted appropriately, implying that it was free to act in a similar manner in the future. After landing in Kaliningrad, Shoigu accused the West of endangering global security, saying:

Some countries are seeking to use military force as a tool to achieve geo-political goals.

Dangerous encounters between NATO and Russian warplanes are virtually daily occurrences, particularly in the Baltic region. The entire area has been turned into an armed camp as a result of the Pindo/NATO offensive along Russia’s western border launched after the Pindo-German-backed coup in Feb 2014 that overthrew the elected pro-Russian government and installed a rabidly anti-Russian, ultra-right regime in Kiev. On Monday, Lithuania’s Ministry of Defense announced that over the previous week, NATO had intercepted 32 Russian military aircraft approaching allied airspace above the Baltic Sea. Between Jun 12-18, it said, NATO and allied jets had scrambled nine times to escort Russian fighter and bomber jets. The intercepts targeted Russian military flights to and from Kaliningrad. Any one of these incidents could result in a firefight or collision, whether by intention or accident, which could quickly ignite a full-scale war between nuclear powers, threatening the incineration of the planet. Faschingstein is pushing the confrontation with Russia as part of its strategy of removing Moscow as an impediment to its drive for supremacy over the oil-rich MESA and dominance over the Eurasian continent, which it considers essential to taking on its biggest rival for global domination, China.

The current rash of NATO-Russian encounters in the air over Eastern Europe and the Baltics comes in the midst of a series of expansive war games and military exercises along NATO’s eastern flank. These involve tens of thousands of troops from countries both in and outside of the military alliance, along with warplanes, tanks, ships and virtually all of the paraphernalia of war. For most of June, the Pindo Army is holding its annual series of summer war drills with local allies in the Baltic region called Saber Strike. Earlier this month, NATO held its annual BALTOPS (Baltic Operations) exercise in Poland and Germany, deploying 6,000 troops from 14 countries, including Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Britain, Pindostan, Finland and Sweden. Some 50 ships and submarines and over 50 aircraft were mobilized, including B-1 and B-52 bombers. Rupert Murdoch’s Sun tabloid featured an on-the-spot photo report of a beach-storming exercise in Ustka, Poland, on the Baltic Sea, in which the newspaper enthusiastically wrote:

Soldiers and vehicles charged ashore as aircraft whizzed by overhead in a terrifying display of force.

The article quoted Pindo Navy Admiral Christopher Grady as saying:

What we want to do is practice and demonstrate the ability to deliver sea control and power projection at and from the sea.

Another exercise directed against Russia, called “Noble Jump 17,” was held this month in Romania. Designed to test NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, it drew troops from Britain, Pindostan, Romania, the Netherlands, Albania, Spain, Poland and Norway. In addition to the endless series of war games and military exercises, a total of four combat groups involving 6,000 soldiers are being deployed to the Baltic states and Poland, constituting a de facto permanent deployment, in violation of the NATO-Russia Founding Act signed 20 years ago. In addition, a separate 10,000-strong brigade is being installed in Romania and a tank brigade is being deployed in Poland that will consist of 10,000 troops. The Putin regime has no viable or progressive answer to the offensive of the imperialist powers led by Pindostan. It represents the capitalist oligarchy that amassed its initial wealth by plundering the state property that was privatized following the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union at the hands of the Stalinist bureaucracy. It combines military adventures of its own, undertaken as a defensive response to Western aggression, with pleas for a deal with Pindostan & Eurostan, a reactionary mix based on virulent Russian nationalism and hostility to all efforts to unify the working class in Europe and internationally. Last fall, in response to Pindo/NATO provocations, Russia deployed nuclear-capable ballistic missiles to Kaliningrad. Over the weekend, in the midst of the current NATO build-up on its borders, it held the first of two planned military exercises with Chinese naval vessels in the Baltic Sea. A second show of force is scheduled for late July, following Pres Trump’s visit to Poland ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg.

On Tuesday, a day before the NATO threat to Shoigu’s plane, Trump met with Ukraine’s Pres Poroshenko at the White House. A few hours before their joint presser,Treasury Sec Mnuchin announced that Washington had imposed new sanctions on Russia for its alleged aggression in Ukraine. The measure added 38 more individuals and entities to the list of those previously targeted for reprisals, bringing the total to 160 individuals and 400 companies. The assets of those newly sanctioned will be frozen and they will be forbidden from doing business with Pindo churls or raising money in Pindostan. The list of 38 includes two lower-level Russian government boxtops and several individuals close to Putin. While Trump downplayed his meeting with Poroshenko and said nothing about Russia’s role in Ukraine, this head of a puppet government was given a hero’s welcome at the Pentagon, with Mad Dog Mattis pledging full support and denouncing threats to Ukrainian “sovereignty” and to “international law” and the “international order.” A spox said the Pentagon had not ruled out the option of supplying the Kiev government with lethal weapons to fight pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. In response to the new sanctions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Wednesday that he was canceling a scheduled Friday meeting with Pindo Under-Sec State for political affairs Thomas Shannon in Petersburg. Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitri Peskov said that if Pindostan continued to place new sanctions on Russia, Moscow would respond “to make matters mutual” and place sanctions on Pindostan. He said that a “long list of possible sanctions” was being prepared.

i’m looking for some sort of crypsis here

Merkel, invoking Marshall Plan, says strong Europe good for Pindostan
Paul Carrel, Reuters, Jun 21 2017

German Chancellor Merkel and German Foreign Minister Gabriel attend the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in BerlinSigmar Gabriel and Angela Merkel attend the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin on Jun 21 2017 (Photo: Stefanie Loos/Reuters)

BERLIN – A strong European economy is good for Pindostan, Angela Merkel said on Wednesday, against a background of tense relations with Faschingstein on trade and other issues. Less than a month after Pres Trump called Germany’s trade and spending policies “very bad,” Merkel used an appearance alongside Henry Kissinger to stress that the transatlantic relationship was rooted in “joint convictions, values and understandings.” Merkel, who is seeking re-election for a fourth term in September, said:

Our relationship does not focus on winners and losers, which could never work in the long run. It’s more about balancing interests. It’s more about achieving a win-win situation.

By way of example, she offered the post-war Marshall Plan, under which Faschingstein invested in Germany. Relations between Faschingstein and Berlin have turned tense in recent weeks after differences on climate, trade and defense spilled over into a war of words in which a leading German politician called Trump “the destroyer of Western values.” Merkel’s words that close transatlantic ties brought benefits to all sides appeared to be a thinly-veiled response to Trump’s comments and his approach to the relationship and trade ties in particular. Kissinger said:

The NWO shaped by Pindostan with Europe after WW2 built the edifice of the rules-based system of the contemporary order.

Trump’s decision earlier this month to take Pindostan out of the Paris climate change pact is seen in Berlin as a rejection of a key plank of that rules-based system, which Germany regards as crucial for managing globalisation. Merkel will host Trump and other G20 leaders at a Jul 7-8 summit that is shaping up to be a fractious meeting after he last month criticized NATO allies over their military spending and refused to endorse the global climate change accord. Last month, Trump also tweeted:

We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for Pindostan. This will change.

He made those comments a day after Merkel ramped up her doubts about the reliability of Faschingstein as an ally. Merkel said, according a translation into English of her remarks made in German:

It’s important not to forget that Marshall was convinced that good trade and a strong economy in Europe is good for Pindosi companies too. Protectionism and isolationism impede innovation, and in the long run this is disadvantageous for everybody, especially for those who count on isolationism, even if they use different terminology for this.

Schäuble Warns US Pullback Could “End Our Liberal World Order”
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Jun 22 2017

Less than a month after Angela Merkel warned that “Europe must take its fate into its own hands,” Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble implored Pres Trump to reconsider his “Pindostan First” policy, claiming that a pullback by Pindostan would risk the destruction of “our liberal world order” by ceding influence to the Chinese and the Russians. Trump’s hostility toward his European partners has strained relations between Pindostan and its continental vassals. Since taking office, Trump has insulted fellow G7 and NATO leaders, pulled out of the Paris Accord and attempted to ban travelers and refugees from six Muslim-majority countries. Though Trump has treated at least one NATO leader with respect: Romania’s Pres Iohannis, whom he honored with a Rose Garden press conference. Bloomberg described Schaeuble’s thus:

This was one of the strongest expressions of concern among European policy makers that Pres Trump’s administration is disengaging Pindostan from its global roles on trade, climate change and security.

Schaeuble, 74, said in a speech at the Pindosi Academy in Berlin:

I doubt whether Pindostan truly believes that the world order would be equally sound if China or Russia were to fill the gaps left by Pindostan, and if China and Russia were simply given a free hand to dominate the spheres of influence that they have defined for themselves, that would be the end of our liberal world order! … It is surely in Pindostan’s own interest to ensure security and economic stability in its markets, both in Europe and around the world… This is a basic precondition if Pindostan wants to increase its exports and cut its trade deficit.

Schäuble was speaking to an audience at the Pindo Academy of Berlin that included Henry Kissinger and Treasury Sec Lawrence Summers. In three weeks, Merkel will host Trump, Putin and host of other world leaders at a G20 summit in Hamburg. As Bloomberg reported, Merkel pushed back against some of Trump’s comments regarding the Pindo-German trade relationship on Wednesday during an event in Berlin marking the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan. She defended free trade, claiming:

Protectionism and isolationism impede innovation, and in the long run this is disadvantageous for everybody.

Trump has attacked Germany’s trade surplus as “very bad” and said he would stop German car companies from selling “millions of cars” in Pindostan. Data form the Census Bureau show Pindostan had a $65b trade deficit in goods with Germany in 2016, the third-largest negative balance after a $69b shortfall with Japan and a $347b deficit with China. However, there’s an element of hypocrisy in Schäuble and Merkel’s warnings about China. Germany has done nothing to stymie China’s rise. It has only helped elevate China’s standing on the global stage by embracing it as an ally in the fight against climate change and as a partner in trade. China was Germany’s largest trading partner last year, eclipsing Pindostan. Merkel also said that she’s open to discussing proposals for a joint “euro-area budget” with Pres Macron, stealing a policy position from her political rival, SDP leader Martin Schultz. A federal budget would help benefit the euro-area’s weakest economies, like Greece, Portugal and Italy, but it would also offset some of the immense advantages that Germany reaps as part of the monetary union. German citizens would effectively subsidize their European neighbors, though Germany would still benefit from a weaker currency. According to Bloomberg, Merkel’s comments come at a time of “special significance.” Merkel is seeking a fourth term in office in September, when Germany is holding a national election, but she’s been losing ground to Schultz. Worried about her standing, it seems Merkel has hit upon a new campaign strategy: distract Germans from their domestic woes by bashing Pindostan.

catalan independence front broadens

Spanish court reins in Catalan foreign policy ambitions
AFP, Jun 21 2017

73660be472aef8125d0aff15ce84efd397dbf2c8Catalan demonstration earlier this month in support of a mooted October referendum (Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP)

MADRID – Spain’s constitutional court on Wednesday forbade the pro-separatist region of Catalonia from promoting its interests abroad through a foreign policy “secretariat.” Madrid wants to rein in the wealthy northeastern region’s unilateral drive for independence from the rest of Spain and the court judgment found that only Spanish diplomacy has the right to engage in “foreign affairs.” Any attempt by a region to do the same is therefore “unconstitutional and void” as it could lead to “confusion,” given foreign policy is the unique preserve of Madrid, the court stated. The court added, nonetheless, that the Catalan regional government may engage in activities abroad if it avoids policy areas where the national government has unique authority. The Catalan administration created its secretariat early last year as it sought support abroad for a referendum on self-determination, something Madrid rejects out of hand. The Catalan government has offices in Paris, London, New York, Brussels, Berlin, Vienna, Rome and Lisbon and intends to add more in Croatia, Denmark and Poland. However, the region of 7.5 million people has not won support for its pro-independence ambitions abroad. Amid rising tensions, Madrid has spent three years swatting down Catalan attempts to hold a referendum which the region’s leaders have called for October. Madrid says the exercise would be illegal. Tens of thousands of people, including former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, rallied in the city on Jun 11 in support of the proposed vote. The separatists want to hold a vote similar to Scotland’s 2014 independence referendum which, unlike their own plan, had the approval of the British government. Catalans are divided on the independence issue, with 48.5% against and 44.3% in favour according to latest polls, although some three-quarters back holding a referendum on the issue.

what are they up to…?

ISPR (Inter Services PR) is the media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces – RB

Pakistan Army chief meets Turkish Pres Erdogan
ISPR, Jun 21 2017

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ANKARA – JCoS Gen Q J Bajwa called on Turkish Pres Erdogan in Turkey on Wednesday. Matters of mutual interest and regional security came under discussion during the meeting in which Gen Bajwa thanked Pres Erdogan for perennial Turkish support to Pakistan and its role in bringing peace and stability to the region. The Turkish Pres acknowledged sacrifices made by Pakistan and contributions by Pakistan Army in fight against terrorism and militancy. Erdogan said that Islamic countries can contribute immensely towards global peace and stability and OIC (the Organisation of the Islamic Conference) offers a platform to do that through conflict resolution and dialogue. He said that Pakistan plays a very important role towards that end and multi-faceted cooperation between the two brotherly countries will have a positive influence. Both the leaders noted that Turkey and Pakistan can always count on each other’s unconditional and sincere support.

sawers vs trump

British ex-MI6 chief Sawers says new Pindo world role threat to security
AFP, Jun 21 2017

HERZLIYA: A former head of Britain’s foreign intelligence agency told the IDC Hertzliya conference Wednesday that Pindostan’s declining world role under President Donald Trump is today’s greatest threat. He told the conference:

The biggest threat the world faces is how we all adjust to the progressive withdrawal of responsible Pindo leadership and the network of alliances that America maintained with Europe, with Asian countries and the pattern of alliances and partnerships they had across this region. It’s going to have a major disruptive effect and no one is yet adjusting to it. It is now having a major impact in the security world, and I think it’s how we adjust to that, the behaviours of other countries trying to take advantage of it, which poses the biggest threat in the world.

Since taking office in January, Trump has pledged to overhaul Obama’s deal to restore ties with Cuba, reaffirming the existing Pindo trade embargo and tightening rules for Pindosis visiting the island. On a trip to Brussels in May, Trump stunned European allies and his entire foreign policy team by removing a line from his speech that highlighted Pindo support of NATO’s Article V on collective security. Earlier this month, G7 partners were dismayed when he pulled Faschingstein out of the 2015 Paris accord on fighting climate change. Sawers told the conference that a populist backlash against globalisation had brought about a profound change in Western politics. Sawers, who also served as Britain’s ambassador to the UN, said:

I’ve got serious reservations about Donald Trump as POTUS, but I see him not as the cause of these problems, but as a consequence of the changes in Pindosi society and Pindostan’s willingness to uphold the burdens of the world as it has for the past 70 years or so.

Sawers said contributing factors were lack of success in military “ventures” in Iraq and Afghanistan and the world financial crash.

ann wright is a fairly amazing person

Killer Drones and the Militarization of Pindo Foreign Policy
Ann Wright, Pindosi Foreign Service Journal, Jun 2017

The militarization of Pindosi foreign policy certainly didn’t start with Pres Trump; in fact, it goes back several decades. However, if Trump’s first 100 days in office are any indication, he has no intention of slowing down the trend. During a single week in April, the Trump administration fired 59 Tomahawk missiles into a Syrian airfield, and dropped the largest bomb in the Pindosi arsenal on suspected Daesh tunnels in Afghanistan (CIA built them for Bin Laden’s AQ when it was fighting them pesky Rooshians! – RB). This 21,600 lb incendiary percussion device that had never been used in combat, the Massive Ordinance Air Blast or MOAB, colloquially known as the “Mother of All Bombs,” was used in the Achin district of Afghanistan, where a SEAL Staff Sergeant had been killed a week earlier. The bomb was tested only twice, at Elgin AFP in Florida in 2003. To underscore the new administration’s preference for force over diplomacy, the decision to experiment with the explosive power of the mega-bomb was taken unilaterally by General John Nicholson, the overall Pindo commander in Afghanistan. In praising that decision, Trump declared that he had given “total authorization” to the military to conduct whatever missions they wanted, anywhere in the world, which presumably means without consulting the inter-agency national security committee (She means the Principals’ Committee of the NSC – RB). It is also telling that Trump chose generals for two key national security positions traditionally filled by civilians, Sec Def and National Security Advisor. Yet three months into his administration, he has left unfilled hundreds of senior civilian governmental positions at State, Defense and elsewhere. While Trump has not yet enunciated a policy on the subject of political assassinations, there has so far been no indication that he plans to change the practice of relying on drone killings established by his recent predecessors. Back in 1976, however, Pres Ford set a very different example when he issued his Executive Order 11095. This proclaimed:

No employee of the Pindosi government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination.

He instituted this prohibition after investigations by the Church Committee and the Pike Committee had revealed the extent of the CIA’s assassination operations against foreign leaders in the 1960s and 1970s. With a few exceptions, the next several presidents upheld the ban. But in 1986, Pres Reagan ordered an attack on Libyan Pres Gaddafi’s home in Tripoli. In just 12 minutes, Pindo planes dropped 60 tons of U.S. bombs on the house, though they failed to kill Gaddafi (they killed his adopted daughetr – RB). Twelve years later, in 1998, Clinton 42 ordered the firing of 80 cruise missiles on AQ facilities in Afghanistan and Sudan. The Clinton administration justified the action by asserting that the proscription against assassination did not cover individuals whom they government had determined were connected to terrorism. Days after 9/11, Pres Bush 43 signed an intelligence “finding” allowing the CIA to engage in “lethal covert operations” to kill Osama bin Laden and destroy AQ. White House and CIA lawyers argued that this order was constitutional on two grounds. First, they embraced the Clinton 42 administration’s position that EO 11905 did not preclude Pindostan from taking action against terrorists. More sweepingly, they declared that the ban on political assassination did not apply during wartime.

The Bush administration’s wholesale rejection of the ban on targeted killing or political assassinations reversed a quarter-century of bipartisan Pindosi foreign policy. It also opened the door to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to conduct targeted killings (a euphemism for assassinations). The USAF had been flying UAVs since the 1960s, but only as unmanned surveillance platforms. Following 9/11, however, the DoD and the CIAy weaponized “drones” (as they were quickly dubbed). Pindostan set up bases in AfPak but after a series of drone attacks that killed civilians, including a large group gathered for a wedding, the Pakistani government ordered in 2011 that Pindosi drones and Pindosi military personnel be removed from its Shamsi Air Base. Targeted assassinations continued to be conducted in Pakistan by drones based outside the country (in Djibouti? – RB). In 2009, Obama picked up where his predecessor had left off. As public and congressional concern increased about the use of aircraft controlled by CIA and military operators located 10,000 miles away from the people they were ordered to kill, the White House was forced to officially acknowledge the targeted killing program and to describe how persons became targets of the program. Instead of scaling the program back, the Obama administration doubled down, essentially designating all military-age males in a foreign strike zone as combatants and therefore potential targets of what it termed “signature strikes.” Even more disturbing, it declared that strikes aimed at specific high-value terrorists, known as “personality strikes,” could include Pindosi citizens. That theoretical possibility soon became a grim reality. In Apr 2010, Obama authorized the CIA to “target” Anwar al-Awlaki for assassination. Awlaki was a Pindosi citizen and a former Imam at a Virginia mosque. Less than a decade before, the Office of the Secretary of the Army had invited him to participate in an interfaith service following 9/11. But he later became an outspoken critic of the GWOT, moved to his father’s homeland of Yemen, and helped al-Qaida recruit members. On Sep 30 2011, a drone strike killed al-Awlaki and another Pindosi who was traveling with him in Yemen, Samir Khan. 10 days later, Pindosi drones killed Awlaki’s 16-year-old son Abd’ul-Rahman, also a Pindosi citizen, in an attack on a group of young men around a campfire. The Obama administration never made clear whether he was targeted individually because he was al-Awlaki’s son or if he was the victim of a “signature” strike, fitting the description of a young military-age male, but when a reporter asked Obama spokx R Gibbs during a White House press conference how he could defend the killings, and especially the death of a Pindosi citizen minor who was “targeted without due process, without trial,” Gibbs’ response did nothing to help the Pindosi image in the Muslim world:

I would suggest that you should have had a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well-being of their children. I don’t think becoming an AQ Jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business.

On Jan 29 2017, Awlaki’s 8-year-old daughter Nawar was killed in a SEAL attack in Yemen ordered by Pres Trump. Meanwhile, the media continued to report incidents of civilians being killed in drone strikes across the region, which frequently target wedding parties and funerals. Many inhabitants of the region along the AfPak border could hear the buzz of drones circling their area around the clock, causing psychological trauma for all those who live in the area, especially children. The Obama administration was strongly criticized for the tactic of “double-taps,” hitting a target home or vehicle with a Hellfire missile, and then firing a second missile into the group that comes to the aid of those who had been hit in the first. Many times, those who ran to help rescue persons trapped inside collapsed buildings or flaming cars were local citizens, not militants. The rationale traditionally offered for using drones is that they eliminate the need for “boots on the ground” in dangerous environments, thereby preventing loss of Pindo lives, whether members of the armed forces or CIA. Left unsaid but almost certainly another powerful motivator is the fact that the use of drones means that no suspected militants will ever be taken alive, thus avoiding the political and other complications of detention. Pindo boxtops also claim that the intelligence UAVs gathered through lengthy surveillance makes their strikes more precise, reducing the number of civilian casualties. Even if these claims are true, they do not address the impact of the tactic on Pindo foreign policy. Of broadest concern is the fact that drones allow presidents to punt on questions of war and peace by choosing an option that appears to offer a middle course, but actually has a variety of long-term consequences for Pindosi policy, as well as for the communities on the receiving end. By taking the risk of loss of Pindosi personnel out of the picture, Faschingstein policy-makers may be tempted to use force to resolve a security dilemma rather than negotiating with the parties involved.

Moreover, by their very nature, UAVs may be more likely to provoke retaliation against Pindostan than conventional weapons systems. To many in the MESA, drones represent a weakness of the Pindosi government and military, not a strength. Shouldn’t brave warriors fight on the ground, they ask, instead of hiding behind a faceless drone in the sky, operated by a young person in a chair many thousands of miles away? Since 2007, at least 150 NATO personnel have been the victims of “insider attacks” by members of the Afghan military and national police forces being trained by the coalition. Many of the Afghans who commit such “green on blue” killings of Pindo personnel, both uniformed and civilian, are from the tribal regions on the border of AfPak where drone strikes have focused. They take revenge for the deaths of their families and friends by killing their military trainers. Anger against drones has surfaced in Pindostan as well. On May 1 2010, Pindo-Pakistani Faisal Shahzad attempted to set off a car bomb in Times Square. In his guilty plea, Shahzad justified targeting civilians by telling the judge:

When the drone hits in Afghanistan and Iraq, they don’t see children! They don’t see anybody! They kill women and children! They kill everybody! They’re killing all Muslims!

As of 2012 the USAF was recruiting more drone pilots than pilots for traditional aircraft. Between 2012 and 2014, they planned to add 2,500 pilots and support people to the drone program. That is nearly twice the number of diplomats the State Dept hires in a two-year period. Congressional and media concern over the program led to the Obama administration’s acknowledgment of the regular Tuesday meetings led by the president to identify targets for the assassination list. In the international media, “Terror Tuesdays” became an expression of Pindosi foreign policy. To many around the world, Pindo foreign policy has been dominated for the past 16 years by military actions in the MESA and large land and sea military exercises in north-east Asia. On the world stage, Pindo efforts in the areas of economics, trade, cultural issues and human rights appear to have taken a back seat to the waging of continuous wars. Continuing the use of drone warfare to carry out assassinations will only exacerbate foreign distrust of Pindosi intentions and trustworthiness. It thereby plays into the hands of the very opponents we are trying to defeat. During his campaign, Trump pledged he would always put “Pindostan First,” and said he wanted to get out of the business of regime change. It is not too late for him to keep that promise by learning from his predecessors’ mistakes and reversing the continued militarization of Pindo foreign policy.

they tried to give him money, but he was too clever to take it? no, this is a limited hangout, to avoid criminal charges

WSJ fires correspondent over ethics conflict
Jeff Horwitz, Jon Gambrell, Jack Gillum, AP, Jun 21 2017

FASCHINGSTEIN — The WSJ on Wednesday fired its highly regarded chief foreign affairs correspondent after evidence emerged of his involvement in prospective commercial deals, including one involving arms sales to foreign governments, with an international businessman who was one of his key sources. The reporter, Jay Solomon, was offered a 10% stake in a fledgling company, Denx LLC, by Farhad Azima, an Iranian-born aviation magnate who has ferried weapons for the CIA. It was not clear whether Solomon ever received money or formally accepted a stake in the company. WSJ spox Steve Severinghaus wrote in a statement to AP:

We are dismayed by the actions and poor judgment of Jay Solomon. While our own investigation continues, we have concluded that Mr Solomon violated his ethical obligations as a reporter, as well as our standards.

Azima was the subject of an AP investigative article published Tuesday. During the course of its investigation, the AP obtained emails and text messages between Azima and Solomon, as well as an operating agreement for Denx dated Mar 2015, which listed an apparent stake for Solomon. As part of its reporting, AP had asked the WSJ about the documents appearing to link Solomon and Azima. The relationship was uncovered in interviews and in internal documents that Azima’s lawyer said were stolen by hackers. Solomon told AP on Wednesday:

I clearly made mistakes in my reporting and entered into a world I didn’t understand. I never entered into any business with Farhad Azima, nor did I ever intend to. But I understand why the emails and the conversations I had with Mr Azima may look like I was involved in some seriously troubling activities. I apologize to my bosses and colleagues at the WSJ, who were nothing but great to me.

Two other Denx partners, ex-CIA employees Gary Bernsten and Scott Modell, told AP that Solomon was involved in discussing proposed deals with Azima at the same time he continued to cultivate the businessman as a source for his stories for the WSJ. Bernsten and Modell said Solomon withdrew from the venture shortly after business efforts began and that the venture never added up to much. They provided no evidence as to when Solomon withdrew. The emails and texts reviewed by the AP, tens of thousands of pages covering more than eight years, included more than 18 months of communications involving the apparent business effort. Some messages described a need for Solomon’s Social Security number to file the company’s taxes, but there was no evidence Solomon provided it. Denx was shuttered last year, according to Florida business registration records. In an Apr 2015 email, Azima wrote to Solomon about a proposal for a $725m air-operations, surveillance and reconnaissance support contract with the UAE that would allow planes to spy on activity inside nearby Iran. Solomon was supposed to ferry the proposal to UAE government representatives at a lunch the following day, the email said. Azima wrote to Solomon, Bernsten and Modell:

We all wish best of luck to Jay on his first defense sale.

Under the proposed UAE deal, Azima’s firms were to manage specially equipped surveillance planes to monitor activity in Iran, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. In Oct 2014, Solomon wrote to Azima in a text message:

Our business opportunities are so promising.

In another message that same month, Solomon asked Azima whether he had told a mutual friend about their business plans. Azima replied:

Hell no!

The emails show Solomon’s relationship with Azima began professionally, as the reporter cultivated the businessman as a source of information about Iranian money in a Georgian hotel deal and other matters. A review of Solomon’s published work over the past four years indicated Azima never appeared by name in the newspaper. The hacked materials also demonstrate that Azima cultivated close relationships with fellow journalists, including those at AP, and frequently communicated with them by phone, text and email. None appeared to involve the same level of personal involvement or referenced potential business deals. Over decades, Azima has glided among different worlds, flying weapons to the Balkans, selling spy gear to Persian Gulf nations, dealing with a small Midwest bank and navigating Washington’s power circles. In an Apr 2016 memo, a PR firm he worked with, Prime Strategies, suggested Solomon could be called upon to “write a feature story about Farhad” to help combat negative coverage. In May 2015, Bernsten, using an email under the alias “The Vicar,” told Azima of a plan to help a dissident member of the Kuwaiti royal family instigate public protests over corruption with the goal of bringing down the nation’s government. Though the Kuwaiti plan involved Denx, Solomon was not included in the emails and said he knew nothing about it. It does not appear the plans were ever executed, as 87-year-old Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah remains in power.

Read some of the source documents here.

the pindo-zionist project is stalled, as long as hezbollah’s rockets are fuelled by iran

Are Pindostan and Russia inching toward confrontation in Syria?
Michael Knigge, Deutsche Welle, Jun 21 2017

When a Pindosi Navy F/A-18E shot down a Syrian SU-22 after it reportedly attacked Pindo-supported fighters near the embattled city of Raqqa, it did not take long for Moscow to respond to what it viewed as an “aggression” against Syrian government forces, which the Kremlin backs. Russian officials not only suspended the so-called deconfliction channel with Pindostan that was set up to avoid potential military incidents between the two countries, but also said the military would shoot down any foreign aircraft west of the Euphrates River, which they consider the Kremlin’s area of operations. (CRAP ALERT – RB)Yezid Sayigh of Carnegie said the key question about the latest incident was why Syria’s government would even deploy a fighter jet over Raqqa, which it has not done for years. Sayigh wrote in an email:

My assessment is that the Assad regime is testing and probing the Pindo red lines there and in the badia, the southeast desert areas, and Pindostan is simply asserting that red line, no more.

The incident put a spotlight on the intensifying proxy war in Syria between forces backed by Russia and those supported by Pindostan, a conflict that has the potential to increasingly pit the two countries directly against each other in the battle over the future of Syria. Prior to shooting down the warplane, Pindo forces had struck pro-government soldiers three times in recent weeks to counter what officials said were attacks on Pindo-backed troops in the country. Pindostan has recently ramped up military support for allied groups in Syria in an effort drive Daesh out of the city of Raqqa. Though there is an increased risk for direct confrontation, two experts said neither Pindostan nor Russia had any interest in letting the situation further escalate. Jonathan Stevenson, a former NSC director for MENA political-military affairs in the Obama White House, said:

The risks of escalation and of direct confrontation and more direct conflict between Pindostan and Russia have increased, and some might even say there are fait accompli since the number of incidents has increased. Pindo boxtops likely want to avoid seeing things spiral to a point that ultimately could require a bigger ground troop deployment in Syria than intended. Further hostilities between Russia and Pindostan, whether intentional or accidental, should not come as a surprise, especially if the use of the deconfliction channel becomes more sporadic and Pindostan incrementally increases its operations in support of opposition forces. Russia should be wary of any further escalation, as that could push its military into a situation in which its forces are overstretched in such a way that they would not be able match the capabilities of Pindostan, essentially having their bluff called.

Iwan Morgan, professor of Pindosi studies at University College London, said:

It’s a very dangerous situation. The chances of confrontation have risen significantly. Although neither Pindostan nor Russia has an interest in confrontation, of course you could say that about many conflicts in history which then reach a certain point and then boil over. I’m worried about a possible confrontation between the Pindostan and Iran, which has been the Syrian government’s other key backer.

The scholars agreed that, though a broader Pindosi strategy is difficult to discern, one that goes beyond the current counter-terrorism operation against Daesh, regime change is not on Faschingstein’s agenda, at least for the moment.

France’s Macron says sees no legitimate successor to Syria’s Assad
John Irish, Reuters, Jun 21 2017

PARIS – Pres Macron said on Wednesday he saw no legitimate successor to Syrian Pres Assad, and France no longer considers his departure a precondition to resolving the conflict. He said Assad was an enemy of the Syrian people, but not of France, and that Paris’ priority was fighting terrorist groups and ensuring Syria did not become a failed state. His comments were in stark contrast to those of the previous French administration and echo Moscow’s stance that there is no viable alternative to Assad. Macron said in an interview with eight European newspapers:

The new perspective that I have had on this subject is that I have not stated that Bashar al-Assad’s departure is a pre-condition for everything because nobody has shown me a legitimate successor. My lines are clear: Firstly, a complete fight against all the terrorist groups. They are our enemies. More than 230 people have been killed in attacks on the French mainland since Jan 2015. We need everybody’s cooperation, especially Russia, to eradicate them. Secondly, ensuring the stability of Syria so that it does not become a failed state.

Until now, France has been a backer of the Syrian opposition. It has demanded the conflict be resolved through a credible political transition based on UNSCRs negotiated between Syria’s warring parties (sic – RB) with the UN in Geneva. Macron’s victory has offered an opportunity for Paris to re-examine its policy on Syria, with some considering the previous administration’s stance too intransigent, possibly leaving France isolated. Macron made no mention of the UNSC role in the interview, saying only:

My deep conviction is that there needs to be a diplomatic and political roadmap. We will not resolve this solely militarily.

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was in Moscow on Tuesday pushing for closer co-operation with Russia as part of what he said could drive relations to a renewed “spirit of trust.” Macron appears to put his faith firmly in convincing Pres Putin to seek a solution. Macron said:

I don’t think he has an unshakeable friendship with Assad. He has two obsessions, fighting terrorism and avoiding a failed state, and so that’s why convergent views on Syria appear.

He said he believed it would be possible to work with Putin to fight terrorism and find a solution to the crisis, although he made clear Paris would no longer let the use of chemical weapons in Syria go unpunished. He said:

The use of chemical weapons will see a response, including by France alone. France will therefore be completely aligned with Pindostan on this.