Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday's WWIII Reports

Related: Tuesday's Trip Around the Globe

I need to make this fast:

"US military shoots down Iranian-made drone in southern Syria" by Zeina Karam Associated Press  June 21, 2017 

I said it a week ago: we are AT WAR with IRAN.

BEIRUT — The incident adds to soaring regional tensions that could spiral out of control just as the fight against the extremists enters a crucial phase.

The United States on Sunday shot down a Syrian jet for the first time during the conflict near Raqqa after it dropped bombs near the US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces, which are battling the Islamic State. Russia condemned the US action and in retaliation suspended a hot line intended to prevent such incidents.

The United States has also fired on Syrian government ground forces in the east on two occasions in just the last month. There are concerns that further confrontations could lead to a breakout of hostilities that would hinder the battle against the Islamic State.

Australia on Tuesday suspended its airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria as a precaution, after Russia announced it was suspending the hot line and warned the US-led coalition not to fly over Syrian army positions west of the Euphrates River. 

NYT told me that was nothing, no big deal, so I'm not worrying.

In another first, Iran — another close Assad ally — fired ballistic missiles at Islamic State targets in eastern Syria, in the province of Deir el-Zour, later on Sunday. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard described the strike as revenge for Islamic State attacks on Tehran earlier this month that killed at least 18 people and wounded more than 50.

A spokesman for the Guard, General Ramazan Sharif, said all six ballistic missiles hit their targets, citing ‘‘local sources’’ and drone footage.

Sharif told the Associated Press that the missile launch reflected Iran’s ‘‘military power,’’ though Iran has no intention of starting another war. It is still unclear what the missiles struck, and Iran has provided few details.

The last time they started one was what, over 2,000 years ago?

Israeli security officials said Monday they were studying the missile strike to see what they could learn about its accuracy and capabilities.

The US military meanwhile confirmed Tuesday that top Islamic State cleric Turki al-Binali was killed in a coalition airstrike on May 31, in Mayadeen, Syria. The Bahraini cleric wrote religious justifications for the enslavement of hundreds of women from Iraq’s Yazidi minority and helped establish the Islamic State branch in Libya.

Activists and Islamic State supporters reported his death at the time but Tuesday’s statement from Central Command was the first US confirmation.

Also confirming AP is a propaganda outfit. 

Fighting and bombardment meanwhile resumed early Tuesday between Syrian government forces and rebels in the southern city of Daraa and nearby areas, where a 48-hour truce had gone into effect on Saturday. The truce was meant to be extended but now appears to have collapsed.

Truce, peace talks, war paper.

A Syrian military official in Damascus said the truce was not extended. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

‘‘The situation is back as it was in Daraa city and fighting is ongoing,’’ said Daraa-based opposition activist Ahmad al-Masalmeh. ‘‘The regime made the truce and then violated it.’’

The activist-run Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that government troops captured a hill west of the city and a former army base that was held by rebels. It said government helicopters dropped 55 barrel bombs on Daraa while warplanes carried out about 20 airstrikes.

The push by Syrian government forces in the Daraa area appears headed for the Jordanian border, two weeks after Assad’s troops reached the border with Iraq for the first time in years.....

It is to cut off the U.S. base in al Tank and isolate their terrorist proxies in the region.

Trump fell into a trap, or at least his generals did.


RelatedRussian jet came within feet of US reconnaissance plane, Pentagon says 

The Baltic Front, and don't look now but Russian troops have also been sighted crossing into Alaska.

"No mention of Russia as Trump, Ukraine leader meet" by Vivian Salama Associated Press  June 20, 2017

WASHINGTON — President Trump met with his Ukrainian counterpart Tuesday amid intensifying questions about whether his administration will step in to protect partners in the face of Russian aggression.

The meeting with President Petro Poroshenko was originally described by the White House as a brief ‘‘drop-in.’’ But the two presidents posed for photographs in the Oval Office and made brief remarks following Poroshenko’s more extensive meetings with Vice President Mike Pence and the administration’s top national security advisers.

With the Ukrainian leader sitting by his side, Trump said it was a ‘‘great honor’’ to meet Poroshenko and that ‘‘a lot of progress has been made’’ in the US relationship with Ukraine.

Trump has maintained that he hopes to establish better ties with Moscow, repairing ill will from the Obama era that resulted from Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and its widely condemned support of Syria’s President Bashar Assad, despite his attacks against civilians. In April, following a suspected chemical attack against civilians in northern Syria by government forces, Trump said US relations with Russia ‘‘may be at all-time low.’’

They didn't annex, and for AP to pile on by repeating the lie, well, that's something I expect from the NYT or WaPo. I'm not even going to comment on the false flag gas being flogged. We all know that was another fake.

But less than a month later, the president hosted top Russian diplomats in a closed-door Oval Office meeting that suggested relations weren’t so bad after all. Photos later emerged showing Trump laughing with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russia’s envoy to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. The White House press corps was not allowed access to that meeting.

Really ticked them off, too. 

Btw, he can meet with those folks. Nothing unlawful about it.

Trump has also raised concerns among NATO allies about whether he would turn his back on the alliance, which partly promises US support for European allies against Russian aggression.

Yeah, I got the point. Didn't have to repeat it.

In a meeting with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Poroshenko said, ‘‘I think that we can expand our cooperation because we fight not only for our territorial integrity and our independence, not only for our sovereignty, we are fighting for freedom, we are fighting for democracy.’’

After the overthrow of a democratically-elected government:

"In 2014, the US government worked with the IMF, and various Soros-sponsored organisations, and overthrew the duly elected President of Ukraine, President Yanukovich, replacing him in a rigged election with the western-centric thug, Poroshenko. Even President Obama admitted to such collusion in 2015:

Washington Was Behind Ukraine Coup: Obama admits that US “Brokered a Deal” in Support of “Regime Change”

You also had Victoria Nuland bragging about how much money the US spent to destabilise Ukraine:

The United States spent $5 billion on Ukraine anti-government riots

When Poroshenko took over the reigns of government in Ukraine, Crimean officials understood that there was not going to be anything approximating the rule of law in Kiev, so they did two things:
1st, they held a free and fair referendum, asking Crimeans if they wanted to stay with Ukraine, or petition the Russian Federation to join it.

Crimeans vote to join Russian Federation with a 97% vote

Secondly, then petitioned the Russian Federation to accept it as a member, and the Russian Federation did just that.

Russia never annexed Crimea; Crimea petitioned the Russian Federation to become a member. -- whatreallyhappened

Point of order, Mr. President.

The White House meeting began shortly after the administration announced sanctions on two Russian officials and three dozen individuals and companies over Russian activities in Ukraine. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the goal is to ‘‘maintain pressure on Russia to work toward a diplomatic solution.’’

Proponents of Senate-passed legislation to hit Russia with economic sanctions and limit the president’s authority to lift the penalties fear Trump may seek to dilute the bill and are urging the House to act quickly.

Senator John McCain of Arizona, called for the House to vote as soon as possible. ‘‘We all know that the Russians tried to interfere in our elections,’’ McCain said.


There was no mention of Russia, nor did Trump respond to questions about the ongoing investigation.....


"The president is being investigated for three alleged crimes: corruption, obstruction of justice and being a member of a criminal organization. [Trump], whose poll ratings have slumped into single digits, is in Russia on one of his few trips abroad since assuming the presidency [and] was expected to hold a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday....."

Well, that last one is off limits. That's why Obama's spying didn't turn up anything usable and why Wikileaks never touched Clinton's meeting with Zioni$t backers. 



Allies getting in line:

"Belgian authorities said they foiled what they called a terrorism attack Tuesday when soldiers shot and killed a suspect after a small explosion at a busy Brussels train station that continued a week of attacks in the capitals of Europe. Federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said no one else was injured besides the suspect and the damage from the explosion was limited. The attack, which took place during a heatwave, came around 8.30 p.m., well after the evening rush hour had dissipated....."

Stinks of a staged and scripted crisis drill -- if even it even happened at all.

I don't think Portugal will be of much help:

"Portugal tries to contain fatal fires, probes plane crash" Associated Press  June 21, 2017

LISBON — Emergency services personnel in Portugal said Tuesday they were making headway in controlling a major wildfire that has killed 64 people in the central area of the country, but another blaze nearby grew in size and there were reports that a water-dropping plane had crashed.

The Civil Protection Agency said about 1,200 firefighters and nine water-dropping aircraft were fighting the deadly wildfire in Pedrogao Grande, which was raging for a third consecutive day about 90 miles north of Lisbon. Officials said the blaze was mostly contained, though still burning fiercely.

Later in the day, an official with Portugal’s Air Accident Office said a Canadair water-dropping plane had crashed in central Portugal while fighting the wildfires.

Her office immediately sent a crash investigation team to the area but that she had no details about the plane, its crew or where the crash happened, she said.


Also see:

"Barclays, its former chief executive, and three other former senior managers were criminally charged Tuesday over agreements the bank struck with Qatar as it sought to avoid a government bailout during the 2008 global financial crisis. The accusations by the Serious Fraud Office are the first criminal charges to have been brought in Britain against a bank and its former executives as a result of actions taken as the financial crisis worsened. They are also a major test for the agency, which has suffered several setbacks recently in its efforts to prosecute manipulation of a benchmark interest rate known as Libor. Prime Minister Theresa May has proposed merging the fraud office into a larger crime-fighting body. Nine years ago, the British bank raised nearly 12 billion pounds — more than $15 billion at current exchange rates — from an arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and other investors in two deals, in June 2008 and in October 2008. The moves allowed it to avoid a bailout as a number of major banks on both sides of the Atlantic floundered and sought government lifelines."

Coverage of Qatar has quoted down.


"Report: 3,300 dead since central Congo conflict in August" Associated Press  June 21, 2017

KINSHASA, Congo — More than 3,300 people have been killed in central Congo’s volatile Kasai provinces since August, according to a document released Tuesday by the Catholic church, as the United Nations called for an international investigation after accounts of atrocities against civilians.

We are the U.N., and we are here to help!

The death toll was reported as the UN human rights chief faulted the government for failing to protect civilians, citing ‘‘harrowing’’ reports from UN rights experts deployed this month to interview people displaced by the fighting between government forces and militia members.

‘‘My team saw children as young as 2 whose limbs had been chopped off; many babies had machete wounds and severe burns,’’ Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in his report to the UN Human Rights Council.

Among the victims were two foreign UN experts — Michael Sharp of the United States and Zaida Catalan, a Swedish-Chilean national.

The region in central Congo exploded into violence after a traditional chief known as Kamwina Nsapu was killed in a military operation in August after his militants revolted against Congolese authorities.


I've been keeping my eye on Africa, but Trump doesn't care.


"When a senior US official visits North Korea, it is usually taken as a sign that tensions between the adversaries are easing somewhat. That is particularly true when the official brings home a newly freed American captive, but analysts said anger over Pyongyang’s “awful, torturous mistreatment” of their son would dim, if not scuttle, any prospect of a less antagonistic relationship in the near future. Other analysts said that however horrific the case might be, the Trump administration was unlikely to let it upset the momentum toward dialogue it has built. They stopped short of announcing fresh sanctions in response. Warmbier’s death comes at a delicate time in international diplomacy surrounding North Korea. Senior Chinese and American officials are due to meet in Washington this week, and US officials planned to press their counterparts to do more to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear pursuits. China, North Korea’s main ally, is a strong advocate for negotiations, and Warmbier’s death seemed unlikely to change that. At a daily news briefing in Beijing, a Foreign Ministry spokesman called the death “really a tragedy” but stopped short of reprimanding North Korea. Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing, said that China would not punish North Korea over a human rights issue. “What makes China take steps is a missile or nuclear test, not the death of an American student,” he said..... "

Just a month ago we were allegedly on the verge of war based on the reporting. WTF? Pre$$ misled me again?

You will have to wait for the autopsy, and maybe Japan can come to the rescue.


"Chinese stocks will join an important global benchmark, a decision that opens the door for foreign money to flow into China’s markets. The global stock index provider MSCI decision represents a mostly symbolic victory for China....."

SeeFord to make small cars in China

The Trump effect? 

rose, by any other name?


Tropical storm Cindy threatens Gulf Coast

It's a life and death situation, and expect a handful of hurricanes and storms this year. 

That will convince DJT AGW is real.

Republican Karen Handel wins Georgia special election

What is with the one-eyed freemason symbolism? 

I suppose the devil is in the details, in more ways than one:

"He’s been overshadowed by Barbie for decades, but now Ken is finally getting some attention. Mattel is introducing 15 new looks for the male doll, giving him different skin tones, body shapes, and hair styles. The makeover is part of the toy company’s plan to make its dolls more diverse and appeal to today’s kids. Barbie received a similar overhaul more than a year ago. Ken will be sold in three body shapes: ‘‘slim,’’ ‘’broad,’’ and ‘‘original.’’ He’ll have modern hairdos, such as cornrows and man buns, and come in seven different skin tones. He’ll also be sporting new fashions: Think skinny ties, plaid shirts, and graphic tees. Ken hasn’t changed much since he was introduced 56 years ago as Barbie’s blue-eyed, chiseled boyfriend."

They made "him" androgynous in honor of the uni-sex, any-sex culture. 

I'm going to beat them to the punch soon and be the first human being to self-identify with an animal. I was thinking silverback gorilla. Whadda you think?

"Senate Republicans steered toward a potential showdown vote on their long-awaited health care bill next week, despite indications that they’ve yet to solidify the 50 GOP votes they’ll need to avert an embarrassing defeat. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, said he expected to have a draft of the bill ready Thursday. ‘‘We have to act, and we are,’’ McConnell said on the Senate floor. McConnell’s ability to assess and line up votes is considered masterful, and he’s eager to pass legislation fulfilling a keystone campaign promise of President Trump and countless GOP congressional candidates. But underscoring the uncertainty he faces, senators from both ends of his party’s spectrum were grumbling about the bill’s expected contents and the clandestine way it’s being crafted. ‘‘It’s apparently being written by a small handful of staffers for members of the Republican leadership,’’ said conservative Senator Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, using a Facebook video for an unusually public swipe at GOP leaders. Though a member of the 13-senator working group McConnell had tasked with piecing legislation together, Lee said he’s not seen the emerging bill and ‘‘whole-heartedly’’ shares the frustration of constituents unhappy over the secrecy. He said senators should have seen the measure ‘‘weeks ago’’ if the chamber is voting next week, the goal of top Republicans....." 

It's the House bill, the one Trump called mean, and it's needed for the tax cuts and code rewrite. That's why they are keeping it under wraps, and who will be blackmailed so it passes?

"Dashcam video shows officer firing 7 shots into Philando Castile’s car" by Amy Forliti and Steve Karnowski Associated Press  June 20, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota police officer who pulled over Philando Castile politely told the driver that his brake lights were out and calmly instructed him not to pull out his handgun before suddenly drawing his own weapon and firing seven rounds into the car, a video released Tuesday showed.

The dashboard video taken from Officer Jeronimo Yanez’s squad car illustrated how a simple traffic stop shifted from a routine exchange to a deadly confrontation in an instant.

When Yanez opens fire, another officer near the car jumps back, and Yanez begins yelling at the driver. As more police and an ambulance arrive at the scene, Yanez can be heard breathing heavily and swearing and trying to explain his actions to fellow officers.

The video was made public just days after the officer was acquitted on all counts in the case. Although the squad-car footage has been described repeatedly and was shown to jurors in the courtroom, it had never been made public until Tuesday.

The shooting gained widespread attention because Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, livestreamed its gruesome aftermath on Facebook. Unlike Reynolds’ video, the squad-car video shows the situation’s quick escalation and the shooting itself.

Castile is dead today because he was exercising his constitutional right to bear arms.

AP all of a sudden reaching for their gun?

Yanez, who was found not guilty of manslaughter and other charges, began firing only seconds after Castile told the officer he had a gun.

‘‘Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me,’’ Castile is heard saying.

Before Castile finishes that sentence, Yanez begins pulling his weapon out of the holster. Yanez says, ‘‘OK. Don’t reach for it then.’’ There is shouting, and Yanez screams ‘‘Don’t pull it out!’’ before firing into the car.

Castile, a 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker, had a permit to carry his weapon.

The release of the video made some people even angrier about the death.

Steven Belton, president and CEO of Minneapolis Urban League, said the footage was ‘‘powerfully painful’’ and that Castile was ‘‘gunned down like a rabid animal.’’

Bekuh Sibet, a 29-year-old waitress from nearby Richfield, said it was obvious to her from the video that Castile was complying.

‘‘I feel like it’s 10 times worse now,’’ she said.

The video doesn’t show what happened in the car. Yanez testified that Castile ignored his commands not to pull out the gun.

The footage shows a wide view of the traffic stop and the shooting, with the camera pointed toward Castile’s car. It captures what was said between the two men. The video does not show what happened inside the car or what Yanez saw.

It shows Yanez, who is Latino, following Castile’s car, then pulling it over. Yanez can be seen approaching Castile, who was black, and asking for a driver’s license and proof of insurance. Castile gives the proof of insurance to Yanez through the driver’s side window, and the officer puts it in his pocket.

After the first shot, Castile’s body is thrown to the right. The video shows Yanez’s backup officer, Joseph Kauser, standing on the passenger side of the vehicle, retreating when the shots were fired.

After the shooting, the video shows Yanez standing at the car window with his gun drawn for some time. Reynolds’ then-4-year-old daughter starts to get out of the car and is grabbed by an officer.

Officers order Reynolds out of the car, and she gets out, hands held high. Soon, she is heard wailing.

A fellow officer speaks repeatedly to Yanez to get him away from the car: ‘‘I’m going to take your spot. I’m going to take your spot. Listen, listen, I’m going to take your spot.’’ Yanez slowly walks away, and another officer says: ‘‘You all right? You all right? You’re not hit any, are you?’’

Officers pull Castile from the vehicle and begin CPR. Yanez is then off-camera, but can be heard talking through his body microphone.

Yanez, 29, is heard telling a supervisor that he didn’t know where Castile’s gun was, then saying that he told Castile to get his hand off it. Yanez testified, ‘‘What I meant by that was I didn’t know where the gun was up until I saw it in his right thigh area.’’

Yanez’s acquittal prompted days of protests, including one in St. Paul last Friday that attracted thousands and shut down Interstate 94 for hours. Eighteen people were arrested.


Would he have shot Bill Cosby?

Peter Limone, who spent 33 years in prison for murder he didn’t commit, dies at 83

The FBI framed him and three other men, but that's all forgotten. 

Minneapolis is like Afghanistan:

"Gunmen kill 8 Afghan guards heading for work at US air base" by Sayed Salahuddin Washington Post  June 20, 2017

KABUL — Suspected Taliban gunmen ambushed Afghan guards who were in a vehicle headed to work at the US-run Bagram air base, killing at least eight people as part of a surge of attacks by militants around the country, officials said Tuesday.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said the group carried out the late Monday assault and described the victims as spies for the US military.

Attacks by the Taliban and its Islamic State rivals have been rising in Afghanistan as the United States completes plans to send several thousand more troops to bolster Afghan forces and the 8,500 US troops already in the country.

‘‘We cannot rule out anything — enemy attack, local or tribal hostility,’’ police chief Mohammad Zaman Mamozai said by phone in reference to the attack on the Bagram guards. He said two other occupants of the vehicle suffered bullet wounds.

Meanwhile, violence flared in a series of attacks around the country and in the capital, Kabul, between security forces and protesters who had occupied a busy avenue for the past three weeks.

Like in Minneapolis.

Videos of the Kabul clashes posted on social media showed a number of wounded men on the street late Monday as well as the body of a man. Protesters contend the man was shot by police. Security officials and the government spokesmen were unavailable for comment.

A protest organizer, Ramish Noori, said several people were arrested.

Afghanistan’s chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, confirmed on live TV that one protester had been killed and six others wounded. He called for an investigation into the clash.

‘‘Last night’s event in Kabul has shocked all of us,’’ he said.

Protesters have expressed frustration with US-backed President Ashraf Ghani and his inability to stem the rising tide of violence, including a devastating truck bomb on May 31 in Kabul that killed 150 people.

After police opened fire on an antigovernment protest three weeks ago, protesters set up tents and vowed to remain until the president resigned.

Occupy Afghanistan?

Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission denounced the ‘‘illegal’’ actions by security forces, raising worries about increased ‘‘intimidation and fear.’’

‘‘Tonight’s move against the protesters . . . is not acceptable and the government is responsible for any legal and humanitarian violation,’’ Fawzia Koofi, a lawmaker, said in a message.

Omar Ahmad Parwani, an organizer of the protest, called for massive antigovernment marches and blocking key roads in the capital.