deep in the hells of central asia: the steppes, the artificial, stalinist cities, the meaningless wooden pronouncements, and the jihad (controlled by who knows whom)

The New Great Game Round-Up #110
Christoph Germann, Oct 6 2015

After the Taliban shocked the world bored the world rigid by seizing Kunduz, the Afghan government pulled out all the stops to retake the city. Leaving the strategic city of 300,000 in the hands of the Taliban would create major problems for Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, given the fact that Kunduz is an important transport hub for the north of the country and a gateway to Central Asia. The distance to Tajikistan is only about 70 km. Aware of the city’s importance, Taliban fighters tried to win residents over with a “charm offensive,” but they quickly fell back into old patterns. As government forces were struggling to launch a successful counter-attack, Pindo puppet Pres Ghani was coming under increasing pressure. He tried to shift the blame on others and replaced the governor of Kunduz province, Mohammad Omar Safi, who had just reappeared after watching the fall of the provincial capital from abroad. But Ghani could not hide the fact that the Afghan security forces are unable to cope with the situation, and that they need help to retake the city:

More Pindo airstrikes as SOF join fight around Kunduz
Pindo spec ops joined the battle around Kunduz on Wednesday, exchanging fire with Taliban around the airport where Afghan forces withdrew after ceding control of the city two days before, the Pindo-led coalition announced. Pindo aircraft carried out more airstrikes against Taliban around the airport, where Afghan government are regrouping after fleeing the city Monday. The increased Pindo support follow signs that Afghan forces are struggling in the face of the massive Taliban assault, which has plunged the Pindo-backed government of Pres Ghani into the deepest crisis of its first year in office.


After three days of intense fighting, Afghan forces, led by Pindo-trained SOF from the Crisis Response Unit (CRU) and supported by Pindo SOF, eventually managed to retake control of key areas in Kunduz on Oct 1. According to local officials, more than 300 insurgents, including Arab, Chechen and Pakistani Jihadis, were killed during the battle. Afghanistan’s Deputy CoS Gen Murad Ali Murad, who was in charge of the operation, said that the Taliban had planned to stage a major propaganda coup, by bringing their new leader Mullah Akhtar Mansur to Kunduz. Security forces foiled this plan, but government claims that the entire city had been cleared of insurgents were swiftly contradicted by residents, who pointed out that the Taliban are still controlling parts of Kunduz. While ground forces were trying to eliminate the remaining pockets of resistance, the Pindo military was ramping up its airstrikes across northern Afghanistan, with dire consequences:

Airstrike Hits MSF Hospital in Afghanistan
At least 19 people were killed when a hospital run by MSF in Kunduz was badly damaged early Saturday after being hit by what appears to have been a Pindo airstrike, sparking international outrage. The Pindo military in a statement confirmed an airstrike at 2:15 am, saying that it had been targeting individuals “who were threatening the force” and that “there may have been collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.” Accounts differed as to whether there had been fighting around the hospital that might have precipitated the strike. Two hospital employees, an aide who was wounded in the bombing and a nurse who emerged unscathed, said that there had been no active fighting nearby and no Taliban fighters in the hospital.


Kunduz police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Hussaini and other Afghan officials, on the other hand, insisted that Taliban fighters had entered the hospital and were using it as a firing position. Given that Afghan officials have a long history of distorting the truth to cover up their own crimes and the crimes of their Western partners, this should be taken with a grain of salt. MSF strongly denied the claims and pointed out:

These statements imply that Afghan and Pindo forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital with more than 180 staff and patients inside because they claim that members of the Taliban were present. This amounts to an admission of a war crime.

Notwithstanding the obvious hypocrisy, Pindostan initially tried to play the ‘collateral damage’ card but Gen Campbell later confirmed that MSF was right:

Pindo commander says Afghans requested airstrike in Kunduz
The Pindo airstrike that killed 22 at a medical clinic in northern Afghanistan over the weekend was requested by Afghan forces who reported being under Taliban fire, and was not sought by Pindo forces, the top commander of Pindo+vassal forces in Afghanistan said Monday. Gen Campbell made the statement at a hastily-arranged Pentagon news conference. He said he was correcting an initial statement that said the airstrike had been in response to threats against Pindo forces. Campbell said: “We have now learned that on Oct 3, Afghan forces advised that they were taking fire from enemy positions and asked for air support from Pindo forces. An airstrike was then called to eliminate the Taliban threat and several civilians were accidentally struck. This is different from the initial reports which indicated that Pindo forces were threatened and that the airstrike was called on their behalf.”

Afghan officials are probably having second thoughts about the “Taliban threat” after Campbell tried to shift the blame onto them, basically admitting that Pindo+vassal forces committed a war crime. As MSF emphasized, the Pindos had the GPS coordinates of the hospital and knew exactly what they were bombing. But the attack comes as no real surprise, considering that the hospital has previously been targeted by Afghan security forces who were “irked” by its policy of treating the wounded from all sides of the conflict. Thanks to the latest attack, they finally got what they wanted. MSF announced on Oct 4 that it was forced to withdraw from Kunduz after Pindo jets destroyed its facility amid a growing humanitarian crisis in the city. Security forces have now regained control of most of the strategic provincial capital, but there is no end in sight to the fighting in northern Afghanistan:

Taliban overruns another 2 districts in Afghan north
As fighting in the city of Kunduz continues, the Taliban seized two more districts in the Afghan north. The district of Wardoj, which has switched hands in the past, and Baharak were overrun during Taliban assaults over the past two days, Taliban and Afghan officials reported. Dawlat Mohammad Khawar, the district governor for Wardoj, “confirmed that the Afghan security forces have retreated from Wardoj following hours of gun-battle with Taliban,” Khaama Press reported. Additionally, Taliban overran the Baharak district in Badakhsan. “On Friday, Mujahidin stormed the district and after intense fighting with the enemy, and soon seized control of the district as well as over-running a number of the checkpoints based near the district headquarters for the security arrangements,” the Taliban stated on Voice of Jihad.

Badakhshan was relatively stable as long as troops of the NATO-led ISAF were stationed there, but after they handed over control to the Afghan security forces, the province turned into one of the most contested areas in Afghanistan. Neighbouring Tajikistan and China are keeping a close eye on the situation. Beijing’s efforts to stop the violence by facilitating peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban suffered a major setback at the end of July, when Afghan intelligence spilled the beans on Mullah Omar’s death. It remains to be seen whether or not new supremo Mullah Akhtar Mansur will stick to previous understandings that Omar reached with Beijing regarding Xinjiang. The Chinese authorities would prefer not having to worry about Uyghur Jihadis on Afghan territory, given that Uyghur Jihadis on Chinese territory are already causing enough problems:

China slams a lid on news of violence from its western frontier
Earlier this month, a knife-wielding gang attacked security guards at a coal mine in Xinjiang, a volatile region in the northwest of China. By the time the attack was repelled, at least 40 people had been killed or injured, according to a report by Radio Free Asia (RFA) Radio CIA, which quoted a local state security chief about the incident four days after it occurred. Chinese state media still hasn’t reported on the Sep 18 coal mine attack, more than two weeks later. It’s only the latest example of what appears to be a Chinese government news blackout on growing violence in Xinjiang, an oil-rich region crucial to Pres Xi’s plan for a Silk Road economic development belt stretching across Asia. Other unpublicized incidents include a police shooting of eight suspects in June, the police killing of two men in May after they reportedly attacked a patrol, and a Han Chinese town official knifed to death, also in May.


Whereas Chinese media tries to keep a lid on bad news from Xinjiang, RFA continues to rub salt into the wound. Thanks to the help of the local authorities, RFA won’t run out of useful material any time soon. In addition to frequent terrorist attacks, there are plenty of absurd anti-terror measures to talk about. One of the more reasonable ideas is to teach Chinese soldiers Uyhgur folk dances and songs, in an effort to improve relations between the military and the local population. As Chinese officials emphasize time and again, the military plays a vital role in safeguarding the stability of the autonomous region. At the end of September, Beijing released a 20,000-word white paper on ethnic equality, unity and development in Xinjiang, lauding the “tremendous achievements” in the region and highlighting the fight against terrorism and religious extremism. The white paper was issued on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Xinjiang’s founding, on Oct 1 1955:

China stresses stability, security on Xinjiang’s founding anniversary
Top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng on Thursday said that long-term stability and security is the top priority in Xinjiang, stressing counter-terrorism as the focus of the current work. Yu, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks at a grand rally in Urumqi, the regional capital, marking the 60th anniversary of the autonomous region’s founding. Yu said: “The three evils (separatism, terrorism and extremism garbage for sub-maoist masses – RB) are the biggest threats for Xinjiang and the common enemies for people of all ethnic groups. We must clench our fists tight (more garbage for sub-maoist masses – RB) and take the initiative to crack down on violence and terror activities strictly and lawfully and fight the three evils.”

Yu Zhengsheng and other central government officials toured Xinjiang ahead of the anniversary festivities to pose for a few photo-ops and to check how the fight against the three evils is going. During their tour, Yu made the case for expanding an aid program for Xinjiang in order to help the region fight terrorism. According to the Xinjiang white paper, Beijing has poured more than 1 trillion yuan into the autonomous region between 2010 and 2014. Yu’s statements indicate that this is only the beginning, as the Chinese government spares neither trouble nor expense to ensure Xinjiang’s long-term stability and security. If recent media reports are to be believed, these efforts could also include Chinese military involvement in Syria. Chinese naval expert Zhang Junshe dismissed the reports as rumours, but the growing presence of Uyghurs in Syria has certainly not gone unnoticed in Beijing:

Uyghur Jihadi group in Syria advertises ‘little Jihadis’
The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), an AQ-affiliated Uyghur Jihadi group that is operating in Syria, recently released a video that includes photos of children with weapons and Jihadi garb, accompanied by a nashid soundtrack sung in Uyghur. The children were described as “little Jihadis” on the TIP’s official Twitter feed. This is not the first time that the TIP has shown children in training. In July, they first publicized a training camp in Idlib, which appears to be in the same area. Several of those photos depict the children learning how to operate AK-47s, sub-machine guns and other handguns. In both cases, many of the children appear to be Uyghur, but it is possible that some are native Syrians. The group’s former military leader was a native Syrian, and the group has featured other Syrians in its ranks before.

Considering Turkey’s meddling in “East Turkestan” and Syria, it is hardly surprising that the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) is being linked to Turkish intelligence. Much to the dismay of Turkish officials, Uyghurs in and around Jisr al-Shughur are now at risk of being killed by Russian airstrikes.

As Ankara is seeing its hopes dashed, Turkish Islamist “charities” such as Imkander and Özgür-Der, took a break from supporting NATO-backed Jihadis in Syria and elsewhere, to protest against Russia’s intervention. These protests won’t stop Russia’s campaign in Syria, but they could encourage Moscow to make another attempt at putting Imkander on the AQ Sanctions List. However, Russian officials have no illusions about the West’s GWOT. Chechen Pres Ramzan Kadyrov, who keeps eliminating Imkander’s beloved terrorist leaders, just emphasized again:

The main target of the West is Assad, not the ‘Iblis State’ (ISIS) terrorist organization.

Therefore, Kadyrov asked Putin for permission to take matters into his own hands:

Kadyrov asks Putin to allow Chechen infantry to fight in Syria
The head of the Chechen Republic has asked the Russian president to send Chechen units to fight ISIS in Syria, adding that his fighters have sworn to fight terrorists till the end. Ramzan Kadyrov said in the Friday interview with the RSN radio: “This is not idle talk. I am asking for permission to go there and participate in special operations. Being a Muslim, a Chechen and a Russian patriot, I want to say that in 1999 when our republic was overrun with these devils, we swore on the Qur’an that we would fight them wherever they are. But we need the Commander-in-Chief’s decision to do this.” According to the Russian Constitution, the president is also the commander-in-chief of the military forces.

249214_1_20150424050158223.jpg version=1429845812

Ramzan Kadyrov’s expertise in fighting terrorism is well-known. That is why another former warlord, Afghan Vice Pres Abd’ul-Rashid Dostum, visited Chechnya the other day to get some advice from him and ask for Russian support in the fight against ISIS. The Chechen leader was immediately hooked, and assured Dostum that Russia won’t let Afghanistan down. Some people in Moscow want to get rid of Chechnya’s “enfant terrible” and probably wouldn’t mind sending him to Afghanistan or Syria, but Putin counts on Kadyrov to maintain order and stability in Chechnya by all available means. This includes public naming and shaming of ISIS supporters. Although there have been a few isolated cases of attempted ISIS recruitment in Chechnya, the group has not been able to get a foothold in the Chechen republic. Local security forces are doing their best to nip the threat in the bud, forcing ISIS to focus on neighboring Dagestan:

ISIS’s North Caucasus Affiliate Calls For Recruits In Daghestan
North Caucasus ISIS affiliate Wilayat Qawqaz (WQ) has issued a call for would-be militants in Russia to join it rather than joining ISIS in Syria. In a video message released last week by Furat Media, ISIS’ official Russian-language media wing, WQ leader Abu Mukhammad Kadarsky, aka Rustam Asilderov, said this was the wish of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Despite the propaganda, WQ is weak and unlikely to attract large numbers of recruits to swell its ranks in the forests of Daghestan, particularly as winter draws near.

WQ got off to a bad start. Its first official attack in Russia, allegedly targeting Russian army barracks in Dagestan, was apparently fictitious. Now the group is struggling to find new recruits. It owes its existence to the defection of several Imarat Kavkaz (IK) commanders. This has crippled the once-powerful IK, and seems to have caused some bad blood between the groups. IK’s affiliate in Syria was really upset when the Russians didn’t target ISIS positions during their recent bombing campaign. It is not exactly a secret that Moscow’s primary objective is to support the Syrian government against all terrorists, regardless of whether they belong to ISIS or “moderate” groups “vetted” and armed by Pindostan. And another important objective is to prevent Russian Jihadis fighting in Syria from returning to Russia:

Russian Jailed For Fighting Alongside Islamic Militants In Syria
A Russian man from the city of Tyumen has been sentenced to two years in jail for fighting with Islamic militants in Syria. The regional branch of the FSB says Vitaly Makarov, a convert to Islam, was found guilty by a court of taking part in military operations in Syria in 2013-2014 with an illegal armed group loyal to ISIS. FSB First Deputy Director Sergei Smirnov said earlier this month that some 2,400 Russians are fighting alongside ISIS and other extremist Muslim groups in Syria and Iraq.

i’m going to scatter fragments of sarcasm from the fora over this page too, for a few hours, it is one way of listing the points

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i suppose that twerp saker has invented some stupid justification for all this whoring

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it seems like only a week ago they said nudelman had had a stroke

Nuland: Sanctions against Russia will continue till the Crimea will return to Ukraine
RIA FAN, Oct 6 2015

WASHINGTON – “Crimean sanctions will remain as long as there is occupation,” said Pindo Asst Sec State Victoria Nuland, speaking at the Marshall Fund in Washington. Last year, residents of Crimea held a referendum in which 83.1% of voters participated, and 96.77% voted for reunification with Russia. Many Western countries said that Russia carried out the annexation of the Crimea, and Kiev refused to recognize the loss of the Peninsula, declaring it “temporarily occupied territory.”

zbig at the highbrow end & rubio in the neanderthal corner

Brzezinski: Obama should retaliate if Russia doesn’t stop attacking ‘Pindo assets’
Nick Gass, Politico, Oct 5 2015

Pindostan should threaten to retaliate if Russia does not stop attacking ‘Pindo assets’ in Syria, Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in a Financial Times op-ed published Sunday, more or less as follows:

Moscow’s apparent decision to strike non-ISIS targets, including rebels backed by the CIA, at best reflects Russian military incompetence, and worst, evidence of a dangerous desire to highlight Pindosi political impotence. […] In these rapidly unfolding circumstances, Pindostan has only one real option if it is to protect its wider stakes in the region: to convey to Moscow the demand that it cease and desist from military actions that directly affect ‘Pindo assets’. The Russian naval and air presences in Syria are vulnerable, isolated geographically from their homeland. They could be ‘disarmed’ if they persist in provoking Pindostan. […] The problem in the Middle East is bigger than Syria, and it would behoove Russia to cooperate with Pindostan, who cannot as it did in the past, rely upon Britain and France to play a decisive role in the region. But better still, Russia might be persuaded to act with Pindostan in seeking a wider accommodation to a regional problem that transcends the interests of a single state. Instead of a new form of neocolonial domination, Pindostan, along with China and Russia, must act in concert to protect their mutual interests. China would doubtless prefer to stay on the sidelines. It might calculate that it will then be in a better position to pick up the pieces. But the regional chaos could easily spread northeastward, eventually engulfing central and north-eastern Asia. Both Russia and then China could be adversely affected. But Pindosi interests and Pindostan’s friends, not to mention regional stability, would also suffer. It is time, therefore, for strategic boldness.

And the Neanderthal, as promised:

Marco Rubio Wants to Risk War with Russia Over Syria
Kristinn Taylor, Gateway Pundit, Oct 5 2015

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio gave an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood on Monday in which Rubio called for Pindostan to risk war with Russia to enforce a proposed no-fly zone over Syria. Rubio said going to war with Russia would be better than the current state of affairs in Syria, citing the migration crisis, the growth of terrorist groups including ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, and having Pres Putin as the “most influential geopolitical broker in the region.” Transcript via CNBC:

Q: One foreign policy question, and I’m going to toss it back to Scott, who has a question for you as well. You support a no-fly zone in Syria?

A: I support a safe zone in Syria, and that includes a no-fly zone, correct.

Q: Would you be willing to engage in military conflict with the Russians, who are now flying bombing missions over Syria, to enforce that zone? Would you be willing to have war with Russia over that?

A: No. The answer to your question is the following: #1, if you are going to have a no-fly zone, it has to be against anyone who would dare intrude upon it, and I am confident that the USAF can enforce that, including against the Russians, that I believe the Russians would not test that. I don’t think it’s in the Russians’ interest to engage in an armed conflict with Pindostan.

Q: You think Putin would back off if we had a no-fly zone?

A: I don’t think he’s going to go into a safe zone, absolutely. I don’t believe he will look for a direct military conflict against Pindostan in order to into a safe zone.

Q: What if he was?

A: Well, then you’re going to have a problem. But that would be no different from any other adversary

Q: You’d be willing to accept that consequence?

A: Because the alternative is this massive migration crisis that we’re now facing. The alternative is that Assad will remain in power, but never control the whole of Syria again. The alternative is the continued growth of non-ISIS terrorist groups in addition to ISIS itself. So I think the alternative is worse.

Q: Don’t you think the prospect of potential military, hot military conflict with Russia, would scare the Pindo sheeple?

A: Sure. But the consequences of not doing anything would scare them even more, and that includes its ongoing crisis of the migratory crisis that we’re facing, the continued growth not just of ISIS but of Jabhat al-Nusra and other groups in the region as well. At the end of the day, this is not an easy situation, and we wish we didn’t find ourselves here, and in many reasons we are in this position because of what the Obama administration didn’t do two and a half years ago, when I was advocating for them to do this, two and a half years ago, or a year and a half ago, not now. That being said, we cannot say, well, if Putin is going to test us, then we can’t do anything. You’ve basically at that point ceded to him as becoming the most influential geopolitical broker in the region.

nimmo’s got a bit bipolar today

Saudi Clerics Call for Jihad Against Russia in Syria
Kurt Nimmo, Infowars, Oct 6 2015

A number of prominent clerics in Saudi Arabia have called for Sunni Muslims and Arabs to “give all moral, material, political and military” support to ISIS. Al-Arabiya, the Dubai-based Saudi television news channel, reports the fatwa was not supported by the Saudi government, which has officially denounced ISIS. Despite the Saudi government’s denial of support for ISIS, there is widespread support for the terror group in the Gulf and wealthy Saudis are responsible for funding ISIS along with Jabhat al-Nusra and other Jihadi organizations. The fatwa declares:

The holy warriors of Syria are defending the whole Islamic nation. Trust them and support them … because if they are defeated, God forbid, it will be the turn of one Sunni country after another. The Western-Russian coalition with the Safavids (Iran) and the Nusairis (Alawites) are making a real war against the Sunni people and their countries.

The Wahhabi clerics characterized Russia’s defense of the Assad government in Syria and its airstrikes on Jihadi groups in the country as an Orthodox Christian crusade. They also attacked the West for denying the Jihadis anti-aircraft weapons, according to Reuters. Last week Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir rejected a Russian overture to end the conflict in Syria and said Assad must step down immediately or face what he called the “military option.” Earlier this year Saudi Arabia and Turkey established Jaish al-Fatah, or the Army of Conquest, a command structure for Jihadi groups in Syria that includes Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar ash-Sham, Jund al-Aqsa and the MB-linked Sham Legion. Julien Barnes-Dacey of the Euro CFR asked in the Graun on Saturday:

Do the Saudis now try to take matters decisively into their hands, including by providing rebels with sophisticated weaponry long denied them? The new king has shown a willingness to be much more assertive and take measures into the kingdom’s own hands. If the Saudis see the situation slipping out of their hands, and there is a real sense that the Iranians are consolidating their position in Syria, you could see much stronger response.

when dog-faced demons ran the world

LDNR agreed to postpone their elections to 2016, Oct 6 2015

The envoys of the LDNR in the contact group on settlement in the Donbass, Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Danego, stated that the Republics agree to postpone local elections on their territories from Oct 18 and Nov 1 respectively, to next year, reports TASS.

This is actually a lesser dog-faced fruit bat:


Statement from Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Danego
Minsk, Tuesday Oct 6 2015

We are pleased to note that the LC proposal to postpone the elections in the Donbass to Feb 21 2016 with full implementation by the Kiev political points “Minsk-2” takes into account “Channel four”. We have studied the application and the recommendation of Ms Merkel and Mr Hollande following the Paris summit on Oct 2. Here in Minsk today, we have held consultations with representatives of OSCE and Russia. We have also received instructions from our leaders, Alexander Zakharchenko and I Plotnitsky. According to the results of this work, we wish to announce the consent of the LDNR on the postponement of the elections previously scheduled for Oct 18 and Nov 1, to the following year. During this time, Ukraine will be obliged to fulfil all its obligations under the Minsk agreement commitments namely:

  • to provide for the special status of the Donbass,
  • to prevent the prosecution and punishment of persons who were participants of events in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as
  • to be re-voted amendments to the Constitution in new form coherent with our version.

We are ready to work together with all participants of the Minsk talks over the approval of the draft special law on elections. But this work can be continued only after the approval of the rules of the Contact Group and Working Groups. We need some protocol to secure both differences and compromises, and to clearly understand what decisions have been agreed and what have not. The lack of formalized and published decisions has led to the fact that Kiev, until today, has either directly sabotaged the fulfilment of the Minsk agreements, or taken unilateral decisions that distort their meaning. Therefore, the political settlement has not moved a step since February. Our work in Minsk gave the result: our own rules. We believe that the draft special electoral law and the draft amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine and other acts, should be endorsed and encouraged by all participants of the Minsk talks. And if during the vote in Parliament or otherwise, the agreed text will change, we will consider it a rude and unacceptable breach of a package of measures. LDNR confirmed the commitment to the peace process for the sake of a decent life and protection of the rights of the people of Donbass.

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zakh is still stonewalling over the young woman ‘disappeared’ by girl sasha’s goons

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the shade of baron julius obviously summoned these minions and told them to prove obama has gone soft on iran

Pindo enforcement of Iran arms embargo slipped during nuclear talks: sources
Yeganeh Torbati, Brett Wolf, Jeff Mason, Stuart Grudgings, Reuters, Oct 5 2015

WASHINGTON/ST LOUIS – Addressing concerns that a landmark nuclear deal reached this year could boost Iran’s military power, the Obama administration reassured critics that it would maintain and enforce its remaining tough sanctions against the country. Yet the Pindo government has pursued far fewer violations of a long-standing arms embargo against Iran in the past year compared to recent years, according to a review of court records and interviews with two senior officials involved in sanctions enforcement. The sharp fall in new prosecutions did not reflect fewer attempts by Iran to break the embargo, the officials said. Rather, uncertainty among prosecutors and agents on how the terms of the deal would affect cases made them reluctant to commit already scarce resources with the same vigor as in previous years, the officials said. The more relaxed enforcement raises questions over how strictly the arms embargo and other remaining sanctions will be applied in future, since the nuclear deal still needs to be implemented and Iran will likely remain sensitive to a tough sanctions regime. In FY 2015, which ended on Sep 30, Pindo law enforcement officials filed fresh charges just twice against those suspected of attempting to smuggle weapons and related technology from Pindostan to Iran, according to court records. Eight such cases were brought in FY 2014. By comparison, around 10 to 12 such cases were brought in each of the preceding six years. One of the senior officials said:

There’s been a precipitous drop-off. The facts are the facts. There’s no other explanation. There’s already a reticence in some agencies and some federal prosecutors’ offices to pursue the cases because they are so tough to build and time-consuming. And if we’re going to normalize things with Iran soon, people are asking, ‘Is it worth it?’

The Pindo sanctions being lifted as the direct result of the July nuclear deal are largely nuclear-related measures that barred other countries from dealing with Iran’s banking and oil sectors. Pindo sanctions for Iran’s alleged human rights violations and support for militant groups remain in place, as do measures barring Pindosis from most trade with Iran. A UN embargo on conventional weapons will be lifted in five years, and a UN embargo on ballistic missiles in eight. Multiple Pindo laws and regulations still bar the export of Pindo goods and technology to Iran, especially anything related to defense. Obama administration officials say they continued to aggressively enforce sanctions against Iran throughout the negotiations, are still doing so, and will strictly enforce the remaining sanctions after the deal is implemented. Spox Marc Raimondi said:

The Justice Dept continues to pursue criminal prosecutions against those that seek to circumvent Pindo sanctions involving Iran and other export controls. There are numerous ongoing cases.

A senior Commerce Dept official said its Office of Export Enforcement “continues to vigorously enforce sanctions on Iran,” and that Iran cases make up the bulk of its current file. Elizabeth Bourassa, a spox for the Treasury Dept’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said:

This department has enforced sanctions at the same pace since the framework deal was announced with Iran in April as it did in the preceding year and a half. OFAC enforces a wide variety of sanctions beyond non-proliferation, including financial, terrorism, and oil measures. Since the start of the negotiating period, OFAC imposed sanctions on more than 100 Iran-related individuals and entities, concluded more than 20 Iran-related enforcement actions, and assessed (imposed, without appeal I suppose – RB) approximately $525m in penalties for violations of Iran-related sanctions.

In the past decade, individuals have attempted to export a range of Pindo goods with military applications to Iran, such as aircraft parts, night-vision goggles, and a horizontal lathe used to make high-grade steel, according to court documents. In one of the cases in the most recent fiscal year, Pindo officials charged several members of what they called an “Iranian procurement network” with illegally exporting $24m worth of goods to Iran, including high-tech Pindo-origin electronics. In the other case, an Oklahoma City man was charged in Oct 2014 with smuggling firearm shell casings to Iran. The second senior law enforcement official offered us the following fruity farrago:

As a deal with Iran grew closer in the past year, front-line agents and prosecutors who enforce Iran sanctions followed the situation closely, carefully weighing whether it was worth it to open new investigations. Iran arms embargo cases can be highly complex, specialized, time-consuming and sometimes involve high-risk undercover operations. Some prosecutors and agents were wary of investing years of time and money in cases that might suddenly become moot. No one distributed a memo saying, ‘Don’t work these cases.’ No one is that stupid. But with this deal coming, everything was thrown up in the air. Everyone was looking for guidance.

There are also indications that this summer, as negotiations with Iran reached a critical point, Obama administration officials were concerned with how sanctions enforcement could affect the talks. In a Jun 2015 email seen by Reuters, a Treasury official contacted an official from New York’s Dept of Financial Services expressing alarm about an Iran-related investigation. The official, whose name was redacted in the email, wrote:

Any actions that are taken in connection with sanctions violations pertaining to Iran may have serious impacts on the ongoing negotiations and Pindo foreign policy goals and objectives.

Rep Patrick Meehan, a Republican critic of the Iran deal and a former federal prosecutor, (is the person who wrote this entire story for us and dropped it into our laps ready-made, a favour we much appreciate). He authored a bill that would prevent sanctions relief for Iran until it pays restitution to victims of Iranian-backed attacks, prompting the White House to say Obama would veto any legislation that prevents implementation of the deal. He said:

The drop in prosecutions and the letter from Treasury indicate that the Obama administration relaxed the sanctions to protect the negotiations. There should have been clear signals sent from the administration that there is to be no interruption, that the law is clear and unambiguous. There’s a subtle way of simply chilling out the willingness of investigators to pursue the cases in the first place. I look at the pattern and that’s what disturbs me.

ah ha ha, what a fucking brain you got there, weltführer ashtray!

Russia escalating Syria war by targeting moderate opposition: Ashtray
Phil Stewart, Reuters, Oct 5 2015

MADRID – Russia is escalating Syria’s civil war by targeting the moderate opposition, Pindo Sec Def Ashtray Carter said on Monday, comparing Moscow’s effort to bolster Assad to tethering itself to a sinking ship. Carter said in a speech during a trip to Spain:

By targeting its military action in Syria against moderate groups, Russia has escalated the civil war.


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