04/10/17

74% of Syria Chemical Materials Reported Destroyed

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Update:

According to that CW disarmament specialist, ОБАС-250-235П is one and only Sov/Rus aviation bomb to spread Sarin. That looks like filler cap and Associated Press is reporting:

Senior U.S. official says U.S. has concluded that Russia knew in advance of Syria’s chemical weapons attack last week – AP

So….

Who lied? Susan Rice? Yes, John Kerry? Yes, Barack Obama….especially yes. While John Kerry worked with Russia to eliminate the ‘declared’ chemical weapons in Syria…note below it refers to mustard gas. When Russia presented the document to the Obama administration, we signed it as well. So, the Assad regime, Putin, Iran and the Obama White House all have their feet in this swamp. Got that?

Also note the percentage of the CW inventory destroyed…hummm right?

Release No: NR-052-14
January 27, 2014

M/V Cape Ray Deployment

Today the Department of Defense announced the deployment of M/V Cape Ray from Portsmouth, Va. M/V Cape Ray is the primary contribution of the Department of Defense toward international efforts to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons material program. Over the last several months, hundreds of government and contract personnel have worked tirelessly to prepare the vessel to neutralize Syrian chemical materials and precursors using proven hydrolysis technology. This achievement could not have been possible without these remarkable contributions.

The United States remains committed to ensuring its neutralization of Syria’s chemical materials prioritizes the safety of people, protects the environment, follows verification procedures of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and with applicable standards. All waste from the hydrolysis process on M/V Cape Ray will be safely and properly disposed of at commercial facilities to be determined by the OPCW. No hydrolysis byproducts will be released into the sea or air. M/V Cape Ray will comply with all applicable international laws, regulations, and treaties.

It is the responsibility of the Assad regime to transport the chemical materials safely to facilitate their removal for destruction. The international community is poised to meet the milestones set forth by the OPCW, including the June 30 target date for the total destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons materials. The United States joins the OPCW and the United Nations in calling on the Assad regime to intensify its efforts to ensure its international obligations and commitment are met so these materials may be removed from Syria as quickly and safely as possible.

Arms Control

Transfer of Syrian Chemicals to Cape Ray is Complete

A trailer operator for Medcenter Container Terminal transfers a container from the M/V Ark Futura, a Danish cargo ship, along the dock to the loading deck of M/V Cape Ray during operations at the Italian port of Gioia Tauro, July 2, 2014. The Cape Ray is tasked with the neutralization of specific chemical materials from Syria in accordance with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons guidelines while operating in international waters. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Desmond Parks

WASHINGTON, July 3, 2014 — The transfer of Syrian chemicals from the Danish container ship Ark Futura to the Motor Vessel Cape Ray has been completed, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Adm. John Kirby said in a statement issued yesterday.

After the transfer was made in the Italian port of Gioia Tauro, Kirby said in the statement, the Cape Ray departed yesterday for international waters in the Mediterranean Sea to emp loy its onboard system to neutralize the chemicals.

Kirby’s statement reads as follows:

The transfer of Syrian chemicals from the Danish container ship Ark Futura to the Motor Vessel Cape Ray is complete. Cape Ray departed the Italian port of Gioia Tauro this afternoon for international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, where neutralization operations will soon begin. The neutralization process should take several weeks to complete.

Secretary Hagel is grateful to Danish and Italian authorities for their support in this process and is enormously proud of everyone who helped make possible this safe and incident-free transfer. He extends a special thanks to the men and women of the Cape Ray, Naval Forces Europe, and U.S. European Command teams for their impeccable planning and execution.

***

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2014 – The container ship M/V Cape Ray has arrived at Rota, Spain, for a port visit while en route to aid in removal of Syrian chemical materials, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said.

The vessel — part of the Transportation Department Maritime Administration’s Ready Reserve Force program — left Portsmouth, Va., Jan. 27. Hundreds of government and contract personnel worked for several months to prepare the vessel to neutralize Syrian chemical materials and precursors using hydrolysis technology.

“When Syria has completed removal of its chemical materials, MV Cape Ray will depart Rota and proceed to the transloading port in Italy, where she will take the chemicals on board,” Warren said in a statement announcing the vessel’s arrival in Spain. “Our ship is prepared and our crew is trained to safely neutralize Syria’s chemical materials. We stand ready to fulfill our contributions to this international effort; it is time for Syria to live up to their obligations to the international community.”

By offering Rota for a port of call before MV Cape Ray receives a load of chemical materials and embarks on the destruction phase of its mission, Spain is making a contribution to the United Nations-sanctioned multinational effort to rid Syria of its chemical weapons materials, officials at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid said.

The United States plans to neutralize the chemicals at sea in international waters using proven hydrolysis technology, embassy officials added. All waste from the hydrolysis process aboard MV Cape Ray will be safely and properly stored on board until it is disposed of at commercial facilities to be determined by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, they added, emphasizing that no hydrolysis byproducts will be released into the sea or air.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent a message to the Cape Ray’s crew, wishing them well as they left Portsmouth.

“As you all know, your task will not be easy,” Hagel wrote. “Your days will be long and rigorous. But your hard work, preparation and dedication will make the difference.

“You are ready,” the secretary continued. “We all have complete confidence in each of you. You represent the best of our nation, not only because of your expertise and commitment, but because of your willingness to serve when called upon. For that, we will always be grateful. We are also grateful to your families for the love and support they have given you. On behalf of our country and the American people, I wish you much success. Take care of yourselves. God bless you all.”

***

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2014 – Specialists on the U.S. container ship M/V Cape Ray continue their work in the Mediterranean Sea, neutralizing chemical materials from Syria and contributing to what the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, on August 7 confirmed as the destruction of 74.2 percent of Syria’s chemical stockpile.

The Spanish patrol boat Infanta Elena (P-76), left, escorts the container ship MV Cape Ray (T-AKR 9679) through the Strait of Gibraltar en route to the Mediterranean Sea June 26, 2014. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Desmond Parks
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

U.S. military and civilian specialists aboard the ship began using the field deployable hydrolysis system to neutralize Syrian chemical materials on July 7, Director of Pentagon Press Operations Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters at the time, anticipating that it would take about 60 days to complete the job.

On August 5 at the Aberdeen Proving Ground-Edgewood Team CBRNE capabilities showcase, Adam Baker, a chemical engineer and project manager with the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, detailed the hard work that went into turning a land-based hydrolysis system into a field-deployable system in just five months.

“We had a gap in capabilities for a system that was transportable, that could be operated out of a remote location and that would [process] bulk liquid agent at high throughputs.”

The system had to be able to be transported to a remote site and set up and be sufficient with a supply of reagents and diesel fuel, Baker explained.

The project was given the go-ahead in February 2013. In November 2013, he said, “That’s when they made the decision to start putting it on the Cape Ray.”

The timeline was short, Baker said, and they couldn’t start from scratch with a new system, so they used a process from the former Aberdeen Chemical Demilitarization Facility, or ABCDF, that had been used a decade ago to neutralize 1,700 tons of mustard – part of the destruction of the United States’ own chemical stockpile.

Baker said the engineers compressed that process into transportable, standardized shipping containers. They had two titanium reactors they could use for the Cape Ray that made it easier for rapid deployment of the two systems that are now on the ship.

One of the Cape Ray’s most critical design factors for the system, Baker said, “was that everything we needed had to go on that ship. Instead of having trucks come in every day and bring the reagent and trucks go out every day with your waste, all of those containers had to go on the ship.”

At least 269 of the standardized shipping containers are on the ship, holding everything the specialists and crew need and everything the hydrolysis process needs and then creates. Nothing is dumped from the ship. More here.

04/10/17

Unit 450, The Syrian Chemical Weapons Program Details

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

If you still think the chemical weapons attack was fake news, read on. Further, it must be stated that the Pentagon and CIA have extraordinary skills and ability to gather quality intelligence, intelligence that was gained under the Obama administration and did not stop the program but rather deferred it to Russia to handle. This was done under threat by Tehran to the Obama White House to leave Assad alone during the JPOA, the Iran nuclear talks. Obama complied.

For Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and for U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley to lay the blame at the feet of Russia and Iran for the Assad/Syria chemical weapons program was exact and right.

Further in 2013, a Syrian army defector gave testimony to Western officials and the United Nations on the Unit 450 operations.

Bassem Al-Hassan, the head of the Syrian clandestine unit for special assignments, was appointed the position after Muhammad Suleiman, another key aide to Assad, was assassinated in his home in August 2008, Western intelligence sources told Fox News.

The close aide to Assad had been on the U.S. radar, and is one of the individuals named on the Office of Foreign Assets Control Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN). The list names individuals and companies who pose as a national security threat to the U.S.

Hassan is also considered a very close friend and contact to Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard general, and has connections with Russian officials.

Western intelligence sources said Hassan was the head of Unit 450, Syria’s chemical weapons unit, and was responsible for any activities, including producing and ordering the weapons for the department.

Syria agreed in 2013 to destroy its stockpiles of chemical weapons as part of a deal brokered between former President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. A year later, then-Secretary of State John Kerry said that Syria’s chemical weapons were “100 percent” destroyed.

The statement came into question on Tuesday when a chemical weapons attack in an opposition-held town in northern Syria killed more than 80 people, including at least 30 children. The U.S. blamed Assad for the attack.

President Trump on Friday authorized to launch 60 U.S. Tomahawk missiles on the Shayrat air base, southeast of Homs, in retaliation to the chemical weapons attack. The Pentagon said the airstrikes will not eliminate the country’s chemical weapons supply completely, but reduce the government’s ability to deliver them.

Elite Syrian Unit 450 Scatters Chemical Arms Stockpile

Assad Regime Has Moved Weapons to as Many as 50 Sites

2013: A secretive Syrian military unit at the center of the Assad regime’s chemical weapons program has been moving stocks of poison gases and munitions to as many as 50 sites to make them harder for the U.S. to track, according to American and Middle Eastern officials.

The movements of chemical weapons by Syria’s elite Unit 450 could complicate any U.S. bombing campaign in Syria over its alleged chemical attacks, officials said. It also raises questions about implementation of a Russian proposal that calls for the regime to surrender control of its stockpile, they said.

U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies still believe they know where most of the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons are located, but with less confidence than six months ago, U.S. officials said.

Secretary of State John Kerry met Thursday in Geneva with his Russian counterpart to discuss a road map for ending the weapons program. The challenges are immense, Mr. Kerry said.

The U.S. alleges a chemical-weapons attack by the Syrian government on Aug. 21 killed more than 1,400 people, including at least 400 children. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday again denied any involvement in a chemical attack, but he said his government was prepared to sign an agreement banning the use of chemical weapons. Syrian officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on the weapons.

Unit 450 – a branch of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center that manages the regime’s overall chemicals weapons program – has been moving the stocks around for months, officials and lawmakers briefed on the intelligence said.

Movements occurred as recently as last week, the officials said, after Mr. Obama said he was preparing to launch strikes.

A man affected by what activists say was nerve gas received assistance in the Damascus suburbs last month.

The unit is in charge of mixing and deploying chemical munitions, and it provides security at chemical sites, according to U.S. and European intelligence agencies. It is composed of officers from Mr. Assad’s Alawite sect. One diplomat briefed on the unit said it was Alawite from “janitor to commander.”

U.S. military officials have looked into the possibility of gaining influence over members of Unit 450 through inducements or threats. “In a perfect world, you would actually like to co-opt that unit. Who cares who pays them as long as they sit on the chemical weapons,” said a senior U.S. military official.

Although the option remains on the table, government experts say the unit is so close-knit that they doubt any member could break ranks without being exposed and killed.

The U.S. estimates the regime has 1,000 metric tons of chemical and biological agents. “That is what we know about. There might be more,” said one senior U.S. official.

The regime traditionally kept most of its chemical and biological weapons at a few large sites in western Syria, U.S. officials said. But beginning about a year ago, the Syrians started dispersing the arsenal to nearly two dozen major sites.

Unit 450 also started using dozens of smaller sites. The U.S. now believes Mr. Assad’s chemical arsenal has been scattered to as many as 50 locations in the west, north and south, as well as new sites in the east, officials said.

The U.S. is using satellites to track vehicles employed by Unit 450 to disperse the chemical-weapons stocks. But the imagery doesn’t always show what is being put on the trucks. “We know a lot less than we did six months ago about where the chemical weapons are,” one official said.

The movements, activities and base locations of Unit 450 are so sensitive that the U.S. won’t share information with even trusted allies in the opposition for fear the unit would be overrun by rebels, said current and former U.S. officials.

The U.S. wants any military strikes in Syria to send a message to the heads of Unit 450 that there is a steep price for following orders to use chemical weapons, U.S. officials said.

At the same time, the U.S. doesn’t want any strike to destabilize the unit so much that it loses control of its chemical weapons, giving rebels a chance to seize the arsenal.

Attacking Unit 450, assuming we have any idea where they actually are, would be a pretty tricky affair because”¦if you attack them you may reduce the security of their weapons, which is something we certainly don’t want,” said Jeffrey White, a veteran of the Defense Intelligence Agency and a defense fellow at The Washington Institute.

Within Syria, little is known about Unit 450 or the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center. One of the buildings is in a sprawling complex on the outskirts of Damascus.

Even high-ranking defectors from the Syrian military that form the core of the rebel insurgency – including those who served in units trained to handle chemical attacks – said they hadn’t heard of Unit 450.

The Pentagon has prepared multiple target lists for possible strikes, some of which include commanders of Unit 450.

But a senior U.S. official said no decision has been made to target them, reflecting the challenge of sending a message to Unit 450 without destabilizing it.

In some respects, officials said, the hands-on role that Unit 450 plays in safeguarding the regime’s chemical weapons secrets makes it too valuable for the U.S. to eliminate, even though the U.S. believes the unit is directly responsible for the alleged chemical weapons abuses.

The Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center answers only to Mr. Assad and the most senior members of his clan, according to U.S. and European officials. Attack orders are forwarded to a commanding officer within Unit 450.

If the Russians clinch a deal for Mr. Assad to give up his chemical weapons, any prospective United Nations-led force to protect inspectors and secure storage sites would likely need to work closely with Unit 450 and the research center, current and former administration officials said.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that President Barack Obama directed him to plan for “a militarily significant strike” that would deter the Assad regime’s further use of chemical weapons and degrade the regime’s military capability to employ chemical weapons in the future.

But officials said the U.S. doesn’t plan to bomb chemical weapons sites directly because of concerns any attack would disperse poison agents and put civilians at risk.

In addition to satellites, the U.S. also relies on Israeli spies for on-the-ground intelligence about the unit, according to U.S. and Israeli officials.

Though small in size, Unit 450 controls a vast infrastructure that makes it easier for the U.S. and Israel to track its movements. Chemical weapons storage depots are guarded by the unit within larger compounds to provide multiple layers of security, U.S. officials said.

Whenever chemical munitions are deployed in the field, Unit 450 has to pre-deploy heavy equipment to chemical mixing areas, which the U.S. and Israel can track.

04/10/17

Egypt: Bloodshed on Palm Sunday

By: Dr. Ashraf Ramelah | Voice of the Copts

Tanta Bombing

Egypt’s Coptic Christians suffered another fatal attack on its churches during this morning’s (April 9) Palm Sunday celebrations. Many parishioners were killed and maimed in a dual-church attack during the Palm Sunday services.

North of Cairo, a terrorist bomb struck the Church of Saint George in Tanta claiming the lives of more than 40 worshippers and injuring at least 65 attendees.

Simultaneously, the Morkussia Church of Alexandria was bombed leaving at least 15 persons dead and many more injured. After leading the celebration mass, Coptic Pope Tawadros II left the Morkussia Church minutes before the planted bomb exploded. Aside from the casualties from the Coptic population, four police officers were killed.

Immediately upon the tragic moments of this dual attack, Al Azhar Institute — the center for Sunni Muslim scholarship and the core of Egypt’s deep state — announced that such actions represented strange, abnormal behavior from Islam given its peaceful doctrine. President Al-Sisi followed with his routine phone call to the Coptic Pope to offer solidarity and an investigation.

The Egyptian news reported that during this event the government dismissed the Western Province police director from his duties. It is speculated that the director was known as a terror sympathizer or even complicit in this occurrence. However, no one knows for certain the motivation behind his firing, which followed on the heels of a brutal beating by Coptic youths outside the church when the director appeared after the bombing to investigate.

The Coptic Orthodox Church seems to have joined the rhetoric of the deep state and the Al-Sisi administration using a deception that has facilitated and sustained a long string of terrorist attacks targeting Coptic Christians in recent months and years since A-Sisi came to office.

Reflecting this is a recent statement made by Coptic Bishop Emanuel a few days ago saying, “The Coptic situation improved after the June 30 uprising,” (referring to Morsi’s removal from leadership in 2013). He added, “Copts are getting their full rights and now everyone lives in peace, and such improvement is due to a government and president who care for everyone without distinction.” Even a cursory understanding of Egyptian events reveals the delusional nature of his statements or even worse, his intent to deceive.

Voice of the Copts offers its deepest condolences to the families and sincere hope and prayers for the full and speedy recovery of all injured parties.

04/10/17

WAR DRUMS: A US Navy Strike Group Is Heading For The Korean Peninsula [VIDEO]

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | Right Wing News

President Trump has ordered a US Navy strike group to head for the Korean peninsula. Fresh off showing our enemies that we will not tolerate genocide or the use of chemical weapons in Syria, a message is now being sent loud and clear to both the Chinese and the North Koreans. Either Kim Jong-un stops his aggressive moves with ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons, or he will be answering to the American military. This isn’t a big stick, it’s a club and I believe it is a wise move. Trump can either take out Jong-un, nuclearize South Korea or hit North Korea. One of those options is most likely to take place in the near future. We are out of options.

However, for now, the US is considering financial sanctions. I’m not too sure that will work, but it seems to be the next step. Sanctions in my opinion will cause North Korea to make a move. Their people are already starving because of the communists leading their country. “If they continue to develop nuclear capability and create missiles that can reach the United States, that changes the calculus for us,” said one diplomatic source. And time is running out on the nuclear clock. North Korea called America’s missile strikes on Syria ‘unforgivable’.

From the Daily Mail:

A U.S. Navy strike group will be moving toward the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean peninsula as a show of force, a U.S. official told Reuters on Saturday, as concerns grow about North Korea’s advancing weapons program.

Earlier this month North Korea tested a liquid-fueled Scud missile which only traveled a fraction of its range.

The strike group, led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson will make its way from Singapore toward the Korean peninsula, according to the official, who was not authorized to speak to the media and requested anonymity.

‘We feel the increased presence is necessary,’ the official said, citing North Korea’s worrisome behavior.

In a statement late Saturday, the U.S. Navy’s Third Fleet said the strike group had been directed to sail north, but it did not specify the destination.

The military vessels will operate in the Western Pacific rather than making previously planned port visits to Australia, it added.

This year North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong Un, have repeatedly indicated an intercontinental ballistic missile test or something similar could be coming, possibly as soon as April 15, the 105th birthday of North Korea’s founding president and celebrated annually as ‘the Day of the Sun.’

Bill Clinton started this whole mess with North Korea. He also gave military secrets to the Chinese. Since then, we have bowed to extortion by the Hermit Kingdom. But it’s gone way beyond that now. Obama made it much worse, so now Trump is being forced to clean up his mess. It probably won’t end well. Kim Jong-un is even more insane than his father was… dangerously so. He’s just itching to use nukes against the US.

The Carl Vinson Strike Group comprises an aircraft carrier and other warships. I am told that the USS Champlain, USS Meyer and USS Murphy along with a nuclear weapon launch submarine are part of the group – no verification of that. They aren’t messing around over this and it is not an idle threat. US Pacific Command described the deployment – now heading towards the western Pacific – as a prudent measure to maintain readiness in the region. President Trump has said the US is prepared to act alone to deal with the nuclear threat from North Korea. “The number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible and destabilising programme of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability,” US Pacific Command spokesman Dave Benham said.

The strike group is officially comprised of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, two guided-missile destroyers and a guided-missile cruiser. As well as massive striking power, the carrier group – headed by Admiral Nora Tyson – has the capability to intercept ballistic missiles.
It was originally due to make port calls in Australia, but instead has been diverted from Singapore to the west Pacific – where it recently conducted exercises with the South Korean Navy.

North Korean is said to be prepping the testing of an intercontinental ballistic missile. There is also whispers of another nuclear test in the works. Trump warned last week that the policy of ‘strategic patience’ with this rogue regime was over. “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will,” he declared bluntly.

04/10/17

Russia and Iran Draw Their Own Red Line – Threaten The United States With War After Syrian Missile Strikes [VIDEO]

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | Right Wing News

It looks like Russia and Iran are drawing their own red lines today. They are threatening deadly force if America strikes Syria again after last week’s proportional response to Assad gassing his own people. President Trump ordered the firing of 60 Tomahawk missiles at an airbase in Syria, which destroyed most of the base. The act humiliated Vladimir Putin who now feels he must step up his game. Iran went silent, which worries me… Iran and Hezbollah have their sights set on Israel and the silence indicates to me a preparation for strikes, not a backing down. “We will respond to any aggression powerfully, as Russia and Iran would never allow the U.S. to dominate the world,” read a statement issued by the Syria-Iran-Russia Joint Operations Room, a combination of forces operating on behalf of Assad in Syria. The statement was first published in Iran’s state-controlled media.

We are very close to war now and it would not take much for all out skirmishes to break out. President Trump did the right thing last week… he responded to Assad appropriately. It should have been done long ago. There is no way to avoid the coming confrontation with the New Axis of Evil: Russia, Iran, China and North Korea. Right now, we have the USS Champlain, USS Meyer and USS Murphy, along with a nuclear weapon launch submarine en route to the Korean peninsula. We also have a military presence in the South China Sea. So now we are facing military threats on at least three fronts, four if you count the Straits of Hormuz.

From The Sun:

The command centre for the two countries and allied groups released a joint statement today saying they would ‘respond to future breaches of red lines with force’.

RUSSIA and Iran have said they will respond to further American military actions following the air strike in Syria last week.

In a joint statement, the command centre for the two countries and allied groups said: “We will respond to any aggression.”

The statement read: “What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well.”

The warning comes on the same day that:

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani strongly condemned the missile strikes as a “flagrant US aggression on Syria.” Iran is financing Assad and is a strong ally. They are interested in Syria’s seaports. Rouhani is calling for an impartial investigation into the chemical attack that killed at least 83 people. In other words, the UN, which is now populated by dictators, communists and radical Islamists. He warned that the American strikes in response risked escalating extremism in the region, reported Iranian state television. Let me translate… that means Iran will unleash even more terrorist strikes. Russia is in this for geographic control and energy resources.

In a phone call with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Rouhani told him: “Allegations that Syria launched the chemical attack were just a pretext to disrupt the Syrian peace process.” The evidence that Syria propagated the attack is overwhelming. The rebels do not have the funds or the technology to mass produce Sarin. They also don’t have a delivery system. I understand the plane that dropped the Sarin was a Russian plane outfitted for just such a move. But it could have been Syrian aircraft just as easily.

President Trump has had massive support for his military move across the planet. Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Australia, France, Germany and the EU as a whole have voiced their strong support for the missile strike.

But Assad is doubling down and is now bombing the same town he gassed. The Syrian state news agency SANA said Assad told Rouhani the Syrian people and army were “determined to crush terrorism in every part of Syrian territory” – a reference to the rebels who have been fighting his bloody rule for six years. He also thanked Rouhani for Iran’s support for “the Syrian nation.” In a speech on Sunday, Rouhani also criticized US-allied Gulf Arab states for endorsing the missile strike. He said: “Unfortunately, there are countries in our own region which encourage America’s acts of aggression.” He warned: “Your turn will come too.” We will see what develops this week… the war drums are deafening now.

The diplomatic row was sparked by the US bombing a Syrian airbase (pictured) in response to Assad’s chemical weapon attacks.

The strike was designed to warn Assad not to use chemical weapons on his citizens.

04/10/17

Obama’s “Complicated” Lies About Syria

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

The mainstream media have not challenged the claim that chemical weapons were used by Syrian and/or Russian forces. Hence, they have been forced to explain how they were used when Obama officials previously claimed they had been removed from Syria. It’s another new low for a press corps that was eager to regurgitate whatever the Obama administration had claimed as a success in foreign policy.

The New York Times article entitled, “Weren’t Syria’s Chemical Weapons Destroyed? It’s Complicated,” is a fascinating exercise in trying to rationalize why Obama officials lied when they claimed Syria’s chemical arsenal had been eliminated.

It seems that lies are “complicated” to explain.

According to the Scott Shane article, President Barack Obama had declared that “American diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria’s chemical weapons are being eliminated.” Later, Secretary of State John Kerry had declared, “We struck a deal where we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out.”

So they lied. Right? Wrong. It’s a complicated matter.

According to the Times, Kerry and others had tried to refer to the elimination of Syria’s “declared” stocks. This was “a nuance often lost in news reports,” the Times said.

So when Kerry talked about eliminating “100 percent” of the weapons, that isn’t really what he meant.

Shane goes on to report, with a straight face, “Despite the failure to completely eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, Obama administration officials and outside experts considered the program fundamentally a success.”

A failure is a success.

At the time, the Times ran a story by Michael R. Gordon under the headline, “U.S. and Russia Reach Deal to Destroy Syria’s Chemical Arms.” It began: “The United States and Russia reached a sweeping agreement on Saturday that called for Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons to be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014 and indefinitely stalled the prospect of American airstrikes.”

Those airstrikes had been threatened by Obama.

The Times said the agreement, titled “Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons,” called for the “complete elimination of all chemical weapons material and equipment” during the first half of 2014.

There doesn’t seem to be any “nuance” in that report. The phrase “complete elimination” is self-explanatory.

Here are some other references from the “Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons:”

  • Syria will submit “a comprehensive listing, including names, types, and quantities of its chemical weapons agents, types of munitions, and location and form of storage, production, and research and development facilities.”
  • “We set ambitious goals for the removal and destruction of all categories of CW related materials and equipment” (emphasis added).

The Kerry quote, “We struck a deal where we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out,” was uttered on the July 20th, 2014 edition of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Here is more of Kerry’s statement: “Russia was constructive and helpful and worked at that effort. Russia has been constructive in helping to remove 100 percent of the declared chemical weapons from Syria. In fact, that was an agreement we made months ago. And it never faltered, even during these moments of conflict.”

NBC News, on August 18, 2014, highlighted Kerry’s statement that “the United States has finished eliminating Syrian President Bashar Assad’s declared chemical weapons arsenal aboard the U.S. cargo vessel MV Cape Ray in international waters.”

NBC also noted this Obama statement:

“Today we mark an important achievement in our ongoing effort to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction by eliminating Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile.” In this statement, with the reference to “declared chemical weapons,” we see that Obama was playing fast and loose with the truth, or using “nuance,” as the Times indicated. Kerry had been using it, too.

So where were the media demands for an explanation of the use of the term “declared” and what exactly it was supposed to mean?

When Obama had issued a statement on the U.S.-Russian “Agreement on Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons,” the word “undeclared” was not there. Obama said, “This framework provides the opportunity for the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons in a transparent, expeditious, and verifiable manner, which could end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people but to the region and the world.”

Over at The Washington Post, where “democracy dies in darkness,” we find a number of stories about the alleged complete elimination of Syrian chemical weapons.

On September 15, 2013, the Post reported, “The United States and Russia agreed Saturday on a plan to bring Syrian chemical weapons under international control, a rare diplomatic victory in a brutal civil war that appears to head off a punitive U.S. military strike on Syria in the near future.” On October 31, 2013, the Post reported that inspectors “confirmed today that the government of the Syrian Arab Republic has completed the functional destruction of critical equipment for all of its declared chemical weapons production facilities and mixing/filling plants, rendering them inoperable.”

Incredibly, the Post has now run a column stating that “A chemical weapons attack in Syria exposes Trump’s Assad problem,” rather than that it exposes Obama’s failure.

The author, Ishaan Tharoor, who writes about foreign affairs for the paper, found fault with Trump officials for highlighting Obama’s failed Syria policy. “It’s seemingly a bizarre line of attack for the Trump administration to choose,” he wrote. But why? What has happened to holding the government accountable?

Obama’s policy was more than a failure. It was a carefully crafted lie, concocted with the collaboration of the Russians, which was designed to deceive the American people into believing that the weapons had been eliminated.

On the left, the media watchdog group, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), has also been performing mental gymnastics in trying to defend the failed agreement. The group does not dispute that the Syrians used chemical weapons and that the alleged sarin attacks on the Syrian city of Idlib “strongly suggest the OPCW [Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] campaign didn’t fulfill its promise of ridding Syria of chemical weapons. But this is only a criticism of the program’s overall efficacy, not its actual existence.”

In other words, the OPCW failed, but it actually succeeded.

FAIR defended the work of the OPCW by saying that the attack could have been worse! Writer Reed Richardson said that “…it is worth pondering what greater atrocities the Syrian people might have suffered with 1,300 metric tons more chemical weapons remaining in the country…”

Of course, according to this logic, we don’t really know how many chemical weapons were left in Syria. The regime could have hundreds, or even thousands of tons of weapons still available.

Whether the Sarin attack was carried out by the regime or its Russians backers is beside the point. The media have accepted the evidence provided to them by their sources. The issue is that acceptance of this evidence blows apart their previous narrative that Obama had saved the people of Syria from future gas attacks.

Another point that has to be made is that Obama trusted the Russians to participate in the disarmament of their client state, and Obama now comes across looking like a complete dupe of the Vladimir Putin regime.

But wasn’t Trump supposed to be the Russian agent?


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

04/10/17

Jobs Data Disappointed…Earnings Season Commences…Are Markets Becoming Nervous Over Rising Geopolitical Tensions?

By: Kent Engelke | Capitol Securities

The March jobs data disappointed even as the jobless rate dropped to the lowest level in almost a decade. Creation of non-farm and private sector jobs greatly missed its mark and the wage gains slowed. Like most, I thought the data would contain an upside surprise given the strength of the ADP data. The LPR matched expectations of 63%.

Some are blaming March’s winter storm that dumped a lot of snow over the northeast during the reference period. Others are pointing to the return of more seasonable temperatures after an unusually warm February that may have skewed earlier data.

At this juncture, the report does little to alter monetary expectations. What about profit and growth expectations?

First quarter earnings season commences this week. According to Bloomberg, there are only 83 companies that have published profit guidance of any variety, the least at this time of year since Bloomberg began compiling the data in 1999.

The number of firms reflects a decade-long trend away from guidance and the current quarter is the sharpest on record. Guidance is down 35% from a year ago and tails an average of 150 at this time in the past five years according to Bloomberg.

The general rule of thumb is bad news gets announced early rather than later, thus suggesting nothing has significantly changed since the fourth quarter and the trend is improving.

Many times I have commented about earnings estimates, as to how they have been dumbed down, partially the result of Sarbanes Oxley. I have also opined that such an environment creates an unbalanced atmosphere, defined as all are expecting greater than expected results and if such results do not occur, volatility may increase.

Volatility, since March 1st, has been virtually nonexistent. Bloomberg further states the S & P 500 has been confined to a narrow 55 point band, the lowest realized volatility for this period since 1965.

I will argue however, the volatility within the sectors of the S & P 500 has been intense as the Trump trade has all but been unwound in favor of yesterday’s must own mega capitalized growth issues.

Changing topics, what will be the ramifications of the Syrian missile strike in response to the chemical weapons attack? If all recall, under the Obama administration, an agreement was made in 2013 that Russia would chemically disarm Syria. The global response has been what most would have expected. Will Syria continue to be a geopolitical non-event or evolve into something of significance?

It is my firsthand experience that the event that becomes significant is one that no one had remotely thought was going to occur.

Commenting upon Friday’s market activity, there was little reaction to the employment data, the Syrian reprisal or the meeting between Trump and his Chinese counterpart.

The economic calendar has several inflationary and sentiment data points as well as retail sales statistics. Moreover, equity markets are closed Friday for Good Friday. Will the data influence inflationary and growth assumptions?

Last night foreign markets were down. London was down 0.14%, Paris was down 0.55% and Frankfurt was down 0.19%. China was down 0.52%, Japan was up 0.71% and Hang Sang was down 0.02%.

The Dow should open nervously unchanged on the escalation of global tensions. The 10-year is unchanged at 2.39%.

04/10/17

“Punch Trump in the gut”: Kansas socialists back Congressional candidate James Thompson

By: Trevor Loudon | New Zeal

America’s largest Marxist organization, 20,000 strong Democratic Socialists of America, is intervening heavily in a special Congressional election to be held in the 4th District of Kansas.

DSA wants to “Punch Trump in the gut”…to deliver a shock defeat in the first Congressional election since Donald Trump won the presidency in November 2016. To this end, the socialists are heavily backing Democratic candidate James Thompson in a deep red district vacated by Trump’s CIA pick Mike Pompeo.

Regarded as an impossible mission only a few weeks ago, the April 11th election is now widely regarded as very much “in play.”

Candidate Thompson, a Bernie Sanders supporter,  plays to the middle, emphasizing his military background, but his Marxist supporters regard him as a “progressive Democrat,” very much worthy of their support.

Many Wichita Democratic Socialists of America supporters are actively supporting Thompson’s campaign. The most important is probably the candidate’s right hand woman, Field Director Rhonda Cox.

Rhonda Cox took on the important role of coordinating Thompson’s campaign volunteers in February, 2017.

In November 2016, Rhonda Cox joined the 400 member Wichita Democratic Socialists of America public Facebook groups and has signaled her intention to attend at least two Wichita DSA meetings since then.

Rhonda Cox has worked to enlist help from other “progressive” groups including Sister District and Moveon.org. She says “this is such an important race and a test of the Trump administration. If he (Thompson) can win this race in this red red state of Kansas it will be like punching Trump in the gut”.

Wichita Democratic Socialists of America seems to have made electing James Thompson a top group priority.

On February 8th, James Thompson participated in a debate with four other Democratic Party hopefuls, moderated by Friends University political science professor and Democratic Party activist Russell Arben Fox.

In recent days, the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) used Thompson’s alleged extreme pro-abortion views to attack the candidate in this ad.

The NRCC attributes its ad to statements allegedly made by Thompson at the February 8th event.

Russell Arben Fox

“That forum took place at Friends University, and I moderated it, and know exactly what was said about abortion that night, because I was the one who asked the candidates the questions,” says Russell Arben Fox.

“Thompson is pro-choice. But there was nothing – NOTHING – said that evening, by anyone, about “late-term abortions” or “sex-selective abortions.”

Thompson’s campaign has requested that the ad be pulled from a local TV station, but Matt Gorman, communications director for the NRCC, has said on Twitter that “the ad is still airing and is 100% accurate.”

No one unfortunately, has mentioned the fact that Russell Arben Fox has been a key leader of the Wichita Democratic Socialists of America for close to a decade.