08/13/17

Next, Russia to Annex Belarus Under Zapad 2017?

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Ships set out from Northern Fleet headquarters in Severomorsk. Photo: mil.ru

Northern Fleet announces big-scale exercise

It will include about 50 vessels and is held as a preparatory phase to the upcoming «Zapad-2017» drills.

The Northern Fleet, the most powerful of Russia’s five fleets, is unfolding a special exercise which includes key parts of fleet capacities.

The drills will be headed directly by Russian Navy Head Commander Vladimir Korolyev and will last «for several days», the Northern Fleet informs.

Included are about 50 ships, submarines and support vessels. Also aircrafts, helicopters from the Air Force and Air Defense will be deployed, a Navy representative says to Interfax.

The drills are held as several of the most powerful Northern Fleet vessels are on their way home after participation in a Navy parade outside St.Petersburg.  Among them are battle cruiser «Pyotr Veliky» and typhoon-class submarine «Dmitry Donskoy».

It is likely that the returning vessels will take part in the exercise.

In the course of the training, antisubmarine and anti-sabotage activities will be conducted along with navigational, hydrographical, anti-mine and search and rescue operations.

According to the Navy representatives, the exercise is held as a preparatory phase to the large-scale joint Russian-Belarus drills «Zapad-2017» scheduled for the period 14-20 September.

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Russia Plans to Annex Belarus in Military Drill, Says Georgia’s Ex-President

Russia’s leadership is angling to annex its closest western neighbor during upcoming military drills, according to the former leader of Georgia. Mikheil Saakashvili made the comments on the anniversary of his own country’s brief conflict with Moscow that resulted in Russian troops cordoning off Georgia’s two northern regions.

Referring to the much anticipated joint Russian-Belarusian drill in the Baltic region, the former president said: “What we are seeing in Belarus, I think that Russia is planning to take and annex Belarus.” Saakashvili, who is a longtime critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, spoke to told Baltic news agency BNS ahead of the drill, called Zapad and scheduled for September.

Lithuania, a NATO ally that borders with Russia, has expressed concern that the drill indicates a wider threat to the alliance, constituting a “simulated” attack. NATO has demanded that Russia allows for more transparency in the drill, nominally set to involve around 12,000 troops. However, Russia has previously sparked much bigger exercises to go in tandem with drills such as Zapad, upping the number of troops from the promised levels.

“During the drill, infrastructure will be brought in,” Saakashvili said. “In that sense the threat [from Russia] has not disappeared rather it only grows. It is just that until now Ukrainians have held it at its own borders [with Russia].”

Saakashvili was president of Georgia until 2013, when he lost the election and left the country for Ukraine. He was made a Ukrainian citizen and appointed as governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region in 2015 by Petro Poroshenko after the revolution that brought the pro-Europe, pro-West government to power.

His reputation as a hardline opponent of the Kremlin’s foreign policy and his imposing oratorical style made him popular quickly, and he was tipped to be the country’s next prime minister. But his often combative manner and vows to “clean up” corrupt Ukrainian institutions, put him at odds with established political figures. Ukraine stripped him of his citizenship in 2017 and he became a stateless person. He has dismissed it, and Georgia’s previous decision to strip him of citizenship, as political decisions by governments that have fallen out with him.

Despite enjoying Western support for his hawkish positions on Russia and for his campaigns against corruption, Saakashvili’s leadership of Georgia was not without its critics. The European Union criticized his decision-making during a 2008 political crisis that sparked a five day war with Russia. Under Saakashvili’s command, Georgian forces tried to restore control over two of its regions that have declared independence under Russian military sponsorship.

Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko has dismissed concerns that Zapad is anything but a routine defense drill. “We traditionally carry out these drills with Russia,” he said in July. Although strongly reliant on Russia in most regards, the Belarusian government has shown some signs of disagreement with its bigger partner in what the two countries symbolically call “the Union State.”

Despite a Kremlin push to deploy an airbase in Belarus, Minsk has resisted that initiative. The Union State relationship— a post-Soviet branding of Minsk and Moscow’s close relationship—looked in minor jeopardy earlier this year when Russia responded to Belarus’s looser visa-regime for Westerners by starting border checks between the two countries.

Jamestown has a more detailed summary, in part:

In the exercise scenario used for the Zapad series of exercises, there is undoubtedly a NATO dimension. This stems from Moscow’s response, opposition and complete rejection on political and legal grounds of the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia. The events of 1999 loom large today in Russian strategic thinking and are also reflected in how the General Staff approaches the planning for a Zapad exercise. Consequently, while there is currently a Western preoccupation with the possibility of a Russian offensive operation against the Baltic States, in Moscow’s view the more likely scenario of conflict erupting on Russia’s periphery with NATO stems from an Allied intervention in Belarus. As a result, the Zapad 2017 exercise will place all operational and scenario activities under a defensive guise in response to foreign intervention, demanding a response to protect the Russia-Belarus Union State (Regnum, July 11).

Some Russian commentaries show awareness of the concern expressed by Alliance members about Zapad 2017 and its potentially aggressive rehearsal of operations against its members from Belarusian territory: these suggestions are, of course, the subject of much derision. However, there are indications of some features of the joint exercise that will come into play in September to which NATO must pay additional attention. The first is the extent to which Zapad 2017 will fine-tune joint operations carried out by the elite airborne and special forces units of Belarus and Russia. Such preparation occurred in early April, with these forces rehearsing joint operations in the Vitebsk Region in Belarus over an area of 12,000 square kilometers. The focus was on parachute landings, reconnaissance, and action to fix and locate enemy forces. During these tactical-level exercises, elite troops were also tasked with establishing the best areas to land the “main force” and coordinating air cover for these forces. On April 11–13, a parachute company from the 106th Airborne Division (Tula) relocated to Brest and, in close coordination with Belarusian counterparts as well as interior troops, worked on training tasks to block and defeat four groups of “illegal armed formations,” which had broken into strategically important facilities in the region (Nezavisimaya Voyennoye Obozreniye, June 16).

In a related preparation for Zapad 2017, in May, a one-week tactical exercise involved the electronic warfare (EW) forces of Belarus and Russia, using three training grounds in Brest and Vitebsk Regions. Whereas the elite and special forces tactical exercises had an alleged terrorist dimension, the joint EW exercises were clearly aimed against a conventionally armed opponent. They focused upon joint EW operations against a high-technology opponent operating in a “complex electronic environment.” The development of the joint force capabilities to protect the Union State is seen in Moscow as reflecting developments within modern local wars and armed conflicts. The EW component of Zapad 2017 will thus prove to be an integral part of the rehearsal of joint operations (Nezavisimaya Voyennoye Obozreniye, June 16).

08/13/17

Sen. Rubio Has Been Given Double Protection, DC and Miami

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Diosdado Cabello is a drug dealer and knows about death warrants on adversaries. His former bodyguard arrived in the United States 2 years ago to advise the DEA.

Demanda affirms that Diosdado Cabello received bribes for $ 50 million

Leamsy Salazar arrived in the country on January 26 accompanied by agents belonging to the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The US officials had previously convinced the army lieutenant commander and former security chief under late President Hugo Chávez to give evidence before a judge in New York.

Salazar becomes the highest ranking military official to break with Chavismo and come under Washington’s wing, as a witness to a range of charges levelled against senior figures in the Venezuelan government.

Salazar has already testified that Cabello heads up the Soles cartel, a criminal organization that monopolized drug trafficking within the country, according to sources involved in the case.

An post shared on Twitter by Ramón Pérez-Maura, an ABC journalist covering the case, stated that Salazar’s testimony had also linked Cuba with the country’s narcotrafficking trade, “offering protection to certain routes along which drugs were brought to Venezuela from the United States.”

Pérez-Maura‘s colleague in New York Emili J. Blasco added further details that Cabello gave direct orders for the distribution of illicit substances, and that Salazar knew of locations where the accused “keeps mountains of dollar bills.”

Powerful Venezuelan lawmaker may have issued death order against Rubio, US memo says

One of Venezuela’s most powerful leaders may have put out an order to kill U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a fervent critic of the South American country’s government, according to intelligence obtained by the U.S. last month.

Though federal authorities couldn’t be sure at the time if the uncorroborated threat was real, they took it seriously enough that Rubio has been guarded by a security detail for several weeks in both Washington and Miami.

Diosdado Cabello, the influential former military chief and lawmaker from the ruling socialist party who has publicly feuded with Rubio, was believed to have issued the order.

At a July 19 Senate hearing, the same day he was first spotted with more security, Rubio repeated his line that Cabello –– who has long been suspected by U.S. authorities of drug trafficking –– is “the Pablo Escobar of Venezuela.” A week ago on Twitter, Cabello called the senator “Narco Rubio.”

The death threat was outlined in a memo to several law enforcement agencies last month by the Department of Homeland Security. The memo, designated “law enforcement sensitive” but not classified, was obtained by the Miami Herald.

The memo revealed an “order to have Senator Rubio assassinated,” though it also warned that “no specific information regarding an assassination plot against Senator Rubio has been garnered thus far” and that the U.S. had not been able to verify the threat. That Cabello has been a Rubio critic in Venezuelan media was also noted, a sign that federal authorities are well aware of the political bluster complicating the situation.

According to the memo, Cabello might have gone as far as to contact “unspecified Mexican nationals” in connection with his plan to harm Rubio.

The U.S. believes that Cabello controls all of Venezuela’s security forces. Rubio has President Donald Trump’s ear on U.S. policy toward Venezuela.

The Venezuelan Embassy in Washington declined to comment. Venezuela’s Ministry of Communication and Information said Sunday that it could not respond to media queries until Monday. Messages sent to some of Cabello’s email addresses were not returned.

Rubio declined comment through a spokeswoman. His office previously sent questions about the security detail to Capitol Police, which did not respond Saturday but has in the past also declined comment.

Capitol Police are “responsible for the security of members of Congress,” Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan said in a statement. “It would be inappropriate for DHS to comment on the seriousness of the threat.”

Lawmakers have been on heightened alert since a June 14 shooting in Virginia targeted Republican members of Congress practicing baseball. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Calif., was critically injured. He was protected by Capitol Police officers, who killed the shooter, only because he is a member of congressional leadership.

Capitol reporters first noticed police officers trailing Rubio almost a month ago. When he was interviewed last week by a Miami television station, Rubio’s security included at least one Miami-Dade County Police officer.

Rubio has led the push for a robust U.S. response against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government before and after a disputed July 30 vote that elected a new legislative body whose powers supersede all other government branches, including the opposition-held parliament. Rubio has publicly warned Maduro to beware of people in his inner circle who might be looking to betray him.

The White House was succeeding in creating a regional coalition to pressure Maduro until Trump said Friday that a “military option” in Venezuela remained possible, despite little to no support in the U.S., Venezuela or Latin America for such intervention.

“We’re not surprised by threats from the empire, from its chief Trump,” Cabello wrote Saturday on Twitter. “In the face of such deranged imperial threats, each person should man their trench. Mine will be next to the people defending the fatherland!”

For years, U.S. authorities have investigated Cabello and other high-ranking Venezuelan government members for suspected drug smuggling, an allegation Cabello has denied. Earlier this year, the U.S. accused Vice President Tareck El Aissami of being a drug kingpin and later revealed that he had at least $500 million in illicit funds overseas.

Cabello is a former army lieutenant who was close to the late President Hugo Chavez and fought alongside him in a failed 1992 coup. A former vice president and head of parliament, Cabello is now a delegate to the new constituent assembly. He continues to exert great influence over the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela.

Cabello is not, however, among the 30 Venezuelan officials –– including Maduro himself –– whom the Trump administration has recently placed under financial sanctions for undermining democracy, engaging in corruption and repressing dissent.

Miami Herald staff writers Charles Rabin and Jay Weaver contributed to this report, and correspondent Jim Wyss contributed from Bogota. McClatchy correspondents William Douglas and Franco Ordonez contributed from Washington.

08/13/17

MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD.

By: Ian McMurtrie

Re: Charlottesville, VA.

Neo-Nazis/Skinheads/etc are a bunch of Socialist ass-monkeys who should have the common decency to go suck-start a shotgun somewhere private, rather than blame their shortcomings on others.

Anti-Fa/BLM/etc are a bunch of Fascist/Communist ass-monkeys who have been rampaging like a pack of violent honyocks since *at least* Inauguration Day, if not earlier; and ditto on the shotgun-starting.

Both “sides” showed up looking for a fight and found one.

I feel for the average person caught up in this epic swarm of dick-dancing, and I hope there is no collateral damage on those who just want to live peacefully in their homes.

Given my druthers, I’d recommend that the local po-po grab up their riot batons, wade into the protest, and attempt manfully to beat the stupid out of every protestor they can reach until the survivors figure out that this sort of bushwa is BLOODY UNACCEPTABLE.

And, no, there are no “counter-protestors”. Every stinking person out there — Neo-Nazi, Neo-Confederate, Anti-Fa, Black Lives Matter, Communist Party — is a protestor, and every one needs to be beaten unconscious with a rubber hose or stick, dragged to the city limits, and dumped along side the road for the trash they are.

And that will be the last said on this matter.

For those of you who have decided to demand something of me via PM, email, or blog: The above is all you get. If the above is not suitable —