WATCH TRAILER: COMING APRIL 28: #AmericaUnderSiege: Soviet Islam (video)

By: Renee Nal | New Zeal

The next episode in Capital Research Center’s five-part “America Under Siege” webseries, “Soviet Islam,” releases April 28th on its YouTube channel and DangerousDocumentaries.com.

The film uncovers the secret history of how the Soviet Union used Islamists and dictators in the Middle East to further its objectives and how Vladimir Putin’s Russia continues this strategy today, endangering Americans and all freedom-loving peoples.

After World War II, the Soviet Union used Muslim intelligence assets to subvert neighboring Muslim-majority nations. Putin’s Russia continues to infiltrate Islamic communities around the world, including Chechnya, Iran, Syria and Palestine, and also at home in the United States, where Islamists and communists have joined in an unlikely alliance.

The film is narrated and written by conservative author Trevor Loudon, directed by Judd Saul and produced by Cohesion Films in partnership with Dangerous Documentaries (a project of the Capital Research Center). (Bombthrowers, too, is a project of Capital Research Center.)

The first film in our “America Under Siege” webseries, “Civil War 2017,” is available to view here.

Cross-posted from Bombthrowers.


Fox Commentator in Bed with Kim Jong-un

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

The Epoch Times newspaper is currently running an editorial series called “The Dead End of Communism” that includes a detailed discussion of the diabolical, even Satanic, roots of Karl Marx, the father of communism. Looking at his writings in detail, the authors document how his goal was “to enact a sort of vengeance against heaven.” Contrary to his “progressive” profile, Marx hated humanity and life on earth. His appeal was that he promised a heaven on earth. But it turned out to be hell for those living under it.

Communism has killed more than 100 million people, and millions more are at risk of death. The people of South Korea and other countries are currently in the crosshairs of Communist North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The communist ruler, Kim Jong-un, has even threatened America with a nuclear attack.

The North Korean nuclear weapons program was assisted by President Bill Clinton’s administration, in the name of stopping it, and the Obama administration did little to contain it. It’s likely that former President Barack Obama informed President Donald Trump about this growing problem, and that this helps explain why Trump has been so concerned, even preoccupied, with the North Korean nuclear threat since he took office.

Of course, the North Korean regime could not survive without the assistance of its communist neighbor, China. So communism is not itself dead. It is very much alive and a real threat. Trump understands this, but continues to be assaulted by the media and their Democratic Party allies about his so-called Russian connection, for which there is no evidence.

A serious examination of the real Russia problem can be found in The Epoch Times series marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. President Trump recognized that Russia has not changed significantly from the old Soviet days when he authorized a U.S. military strike on Russian client state Syria in response to its alleged chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians.  Russia’s relationship with Syria and Iran represents the “Red Jihad” that has existed since the days of Lenin, when the founder of the Soviet state urged the “oppressed” Muslims to join in a global campaign against the West.

Meanwhile, communism is very much alive and doing well in Latin America. The communist rulers of Venezuela are in the news for totally mismanaging their once-healthy economy and persecuting their own citizens. And Washington Times investigative journalist Martin Arostegui writes about how Colombia’s FARC communist guerrillas are still in the business of dealing drugs and spreading terrorism.

It was supposed to be a “peace process,” but the serious flaws in the agreement made between the terrorists and the government will have to be fixed if Colombia is going to survive as a free and independent country. “Three months into the agreement’s implementation, the guerrillas have surrendered what critics say is a token number of weapons while the production of coca has skyrocketed from 63,000 hectares in 2013 to 188,000 last year,” writes Arostegui. “Analysts attribute the rise to concessions that the FARC has obtained through the peace process.”

Like the mess in Syria, Obama’s fingerprints are all over this. As the author notes, “President Obama backed the peace process by trying to delist the FARC as a terrorist group to facilitate an agreement. He earmarked $450 million for fiscal 2017 to underwrite the deal, and his secretary of state, John F. Kerry, publicly met with FARC leaders.”

It looks like “peace” in Colombia is similar to the “100 percent” elimination of chemical weapons in Syria.

As President Trump attempts to rally the nation in the face of the North Korean threat, we can see how communism is also very much alive on the streets of America. Communist groups have organized a tour covering nine U.S. cities, from April 4 through the 16th, to mobilize against the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in South Korea. THAAD is designed to deter a North Korean nuclear attack. It’s the one thing Obama set in motion to help defend South Korea.

The main sponsor of the anti-THAAD tour is the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), a self-described “revolutionary Marxist party in the United States,” and its front, Act Now to Stop War & End Racism (ANSWER).

Individual endorsers of this campaign include Marxist academic Noam Chomsky and former Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who is now a Fox News contributor.

Remember Kucinich? His Fox News bio notes that he “conducted an exclusive interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to discuss the allegations of the use of chemical weapons alongside FNC’s Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Greg Palkot.” That was aired on Special Report with Bret Baier back in 2013. After the recent allegations of a chemical attack, Kucinich was back on Fox News saying he didn’t think Assad was behind it.

It’s fascinating that Kucinich is now a leader of the campaign against defending South Korea from a communist attack.

His “message of solidarity to the Korean people in the struggle to oppose the THAAD missile ‘defense’ system” reads like something written by a North Korean propagandist. “THAAD is not a technology for peace,” Kucinich says. “It is for war.”

Kucinich says, “It could be argued that the installation of such a system, whether it works or not, is a provocation (‘first the shield, then the sword’). Added to the joint U.S./South Korean military exercises, it places an additional burden of tension to already strained relations with the North. I would instead urge greater reliance upon the wonderful capacity of the Korean people to engage in diplomacy with the brothers and sisters in the North, to avert conflict.”

It is signed by Kucinich with the biographical information, “Member of the United States Congress, 1997-2013. Democratic Candidate for President 2004 and 2008.”

It certainly looks like a major figure in the Democratic Party is acting like a foreign agent for the North Korean regime. There seems to be more evidence of his work on behalf of Kim Jung-un than there is for Trump being a Russian agent.

Is there any likelihood that his fellow Democrats will raise any alarm by this kind of behavior? Will they call for hearings and investigations?

Perhaps his employer Fox News should look into it.

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.


Just Released Afghanistan MOAB Strike Video

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

KABUL, Afghanistan (April 13, 2017) – A GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb strikes ISIS-K cave and tunnel systems in the Achin district of the Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan at 7:32 p.m. local time Thursday. The strike was designed to minimize risk to Afghan and U.S. Forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities and eliminate any perceived safe haven for ISIS-K in Afghanistan


So what do those caves and tunnels look like that have been used by al Qaeda, bin Ladin and Islamic State?

Meanwhile, Russia and Iran are in meetings regarding Afghanistan. Russia is bragging too about their weapons being bigger than the U.S. MOAB.

The 21,600-pound MOAB was developed in 2003 as a weapon to attack against elite Republican Guard units during the invasion of Iraq. But the bomb, which replaced the Vietnam-era 15,000-pound BLU-82 Daisy Cutter, was not used in that conflict because of the rapidity of Saddam Hussein’s army.

Soon after the Pentagon announced the new weapon, Russia began working on a counterpart. In 2007, it successfully tested the massive thermobaric weapon.

The bomber-dropped bomb is designed to explode midair by ignition of a fuel-air mixture that produces massive blast effects comparable to small tactical nuclear weapons.

“All that is alive merely evaporates,” Gen. Alexander Rukshin, deputy chief of the Russian general staff, was quoted as saying at the time.

Thermobaric devices detonate in two stages, with an initial blast dispersing explosive materials in a cloud that is then ignited by a secondary charge. The explosion generates a much bigger pressure wave than conventional explosives, followed by a vacuum effect that compounds damage and injuries caused by the blast.

Russian sources have claimed their weapon has a power equivalent to 44 tons of TNT – or four times that of the MOAB – despite being somewhat lighter than the U.S. munition at 16,650 pounds. Because of its yield and the extremely high temperatures it generates, it is slated to replace smaller battlefield nukes currently in the Russian arsenal.

When the Russian air force began bombing rebel positions in Syria in September 2015, smaller thermobaric bombs were used against Islamic State positions, but the FOAB was never deployed. More here.


FBI Obtained FISA Warrant for Trump’s Adviser Carter Page for His Connections to the Russians

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | Right Wing News

Carter Page is in hot water and it’s about to boil it would seem. This is a man I wrote on and warned about long ago. Trump’s team is claiming he was never connected to them, but that just isn’t true. He was an adviser to the Trump campaign early on. To be fair, Trump cut the guy off early on as well. And it would seem with good reason. It turns out the FBI did have a FISA warrant against Page. Why? Because he was approached in 2013 by the Russians to spy for them. He claims he turned them down… but he did meet with them. Please note that Page has not been charged with any crime, which indicates to me that they have nothing on him or he would have already been behind bars.

The FBI still strongly suspects that Page was acting as an agent for the Russians. I do too, just for the record. Page is heavy into investments in Russia… especially oil and gas. If I had to guess, I would bet he approached an intermediary for Trump’s team to ‘help’ them out. I also seriously suspect that Paul Manafort, who took millions every year from the Russians, was also compromised. This doesn’t make President Trump guilty of collusion with the Russians, but it does show his camp was vulnerable to penetration by the Russkies. I think it is pretty evident that Trump is not in bed with the Russians… but the Russians were definitely trying to crawl between the sheets with him.

From The Daily Caller:

The FBI gained approval from a secret federal court last summer to conduct communications surveillance against Carter Page, a former adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, The Washington Post is reporting.

The revelation confirms for the first time that a federal surveillance warrant, known as a FISA warrant, was issued for a member of the Trump campaign as part of a federal investigation of potential ties between the Republican’s associates and the Russian government.

In the application for the warrant, federal officials laid out what they said was evidence that there was probable cause showing that Page was acting as an agent of the Russian government, officials told The Post.

That evidence included contacts in 2013 with Russian spies who tried to recruit Page in New York City. The details of that recruitment attempt were laid out in a sealed FBI complaint filed in Jan. 2015. BuzzFeed News published the complaint earlier this month. Page denied that he was successfully recruited or that he shared any sensitive information with the agents.

I have written for years that you cannot trust the Russians. Just because we moronically cut back on our spies, it doesn’t mean they did. In fact, they have stepped up their intelligence. Individuals like Carter Page who have financial ties to Russia are prime candidates to be flipped to become spies for the Kremlin. Federal officials cited other contacts between Page and Russian operatives in the FISA application. Those contacts have not been made public… yet.

Page is an energy consultant who runs the Manhattan-based firm Global Energy Capital and he was brought on to the campaign in March as a foreign policy adviser. He served in a low-level role and is said to have never met Trump. The Democrats are trying to insinuate this means that Trump was doing the bidding of the Russians. I don’t believe so and there is no evidence of that. Page, whose offices are in a building adjacent to Trump Tower, drew national attention in July after he traveled to Moscow to give a speech at a university commencement ceremony. While in Moscow, Page met Arkady Dvorkovich, Russia’s deputy prime minister. Page officially left the Trump campaign in September.

Page is the only one who was actually surveilled it would seem. There’s nothing on Paul Manafort, Roger Stone or Michael Flynn. All of these men have had iffy contacts with the Russians at one point or another. All of them have been paid by the Russians as well. That doesn’t mean much… all have been under scrutiny and more will come out on them. Page is denying all wrong doing and says he will be proven innocent of connections to Putin. He cites false information on him in that cooked up dossier on Trump. We’ll see. The truth will eventually come out and this doesn’t make the Trump administration look good. But there has been no charges of wrong doing so far. Innocent until proven guilty… the media should remember that. And guilt by association won’t hold up here.

UPDATE: The Daily Caller is now reporting that Corey Lewandowski was the one who introduced Carter Page to President Trump, which I find very interesting because I heard him myself on Fox News when he claimed that he had never met Page and he’d never been part of Trump’s campaign. Obviously, that was a fib. Lewandowski told The Daily Caller he did not remember ever meeting Page. Right. “I’ve never met or spoken to Carter Page in my life,” Lewandowski insisted during a Fox News interview with Jeanine Pirro last month. “I was on the campaign for 18 months, I never met the guy, and for anybody to say otherwise is factually inaccurate. I don’t know who Carter Page is, I never had a conversation with Carter Page, I never met Carter Page, and anybody who says otherwise is not being truthful,” insisted Lewandowski, who was fired from the campaign on June 20th.

Sources are saying that Lewandowski introduced Page to Trump campaign policy director Sam Clovis sometime in late 2015 or early 2016. During the brief encounter, which occurred in New York City, Lewandowski suggested that the two get to know each other. Page, the managing partner of Global Energy Partners, an energy consulting firm, would join the campaign as an adviser several months later. They are reporting that Clovis brought Page onto the campaign team. Lewandowski has had at least one other documented interaction with Page. He was the campaign official who gave final approval to Page’s visit to Moscow.


Just Who Was the Russian Agent After All?

Accuracy in Media

A Special Report from the Accuracy in Media Center for Investigative Journalism; Cliff Kincaid, Director.

Ever since President Trump’s missile strike on Syria on April 6, which angered Russia’s Vladimir Putin, The Washington Post has ever-so-subtly backed away from its robotic “Russian interference to help elect Trump” claims, asserted with absolute certainty. The Post now, on April 7, calls it the “alleged” Russian efforts to “interfere in the 2016 presidential race.” The Post no longer sounds so sure of itself and its anonymous anti-Trump intelligence agency sources.

The U.S. strike on a Syrian air base not only demonstrates that Trump will take decisive action against a Russian client state, but that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, is the real Russian dupe, for making an admittedly flawed agreement with Russia that allowed Syria to keep (and use) some of its chemical weapons.

With the narrative that Trump is/was a Russian agent fading fast, perhaps the media will now get serious about exploring the abundant evidence that the real scandal is the political surveillance of Trump and his associates by the outgoing Obama administration. What’s more, the direct evidence points to Obama’s personal role. The motive? Covering up Obama’s own deals with the Russians on Syria and Iran.

In Syria, Obama had armed one side of the Syrian civil war, through CIA arms shipments to the “rebels,” and had then struck a deal with Russia that gave the appearance of having removed all of the chemical weapons from the arsenal of the other side. The resulting civil war has cost 500,000 lives and left President Trump with a series of bad options. He decided to strike the Shayrat Syrian airbase when he was informed that aircraft from that base conducted the chemical weapons attack on April 4.

On top of this, Trump is also facing the prospect of Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, supposedly limiting Iran’s nuclear weapons development, coming completely apart. In this case, Obama once again joined with the Russians in actually safeguarding a Russian client’s weapons arsenal through an agreement claiming to achieve the opposite.

As we noted in July 2015, Obama actually thanked Putin for bringing about the Iran deal. We said at the time, “This demonstrates something worse than the deal itself and the real nature of the Iranian threat. Putin should thank Obama because the U.S. is helping Iran, Russia’s client state, get tens of billions of dollars in international financial aid. Down the line, Russia gets U.S. approval to supply more weapons to the anti-American regime.”

The Smoking Gun

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) says that what he calls the “smoking gun” revelations about Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice unmasking Trump team names from NSA wiretap databases are “actually eerily similar to what President Trump accused them of” in tweets on March 4. (MSNBC, April 4.)

They point directly to President Obama. Rice surely must have informed her boss during the more than one year period of her “unmasking” Trump campaign and transition team names in NSA wiretap reports on numerous occasions.

Obama’s right-hand adviser Rice herself points to Obama. In the middle of a long MSNBC interview on April 4 discussing Rice’s “unmasking” of names in reports of intercepted Trump team-Russia communications and those communications with no connection to Russia, Rice was evasive but kept dragging Obama into the mix. She never says, for example, that she did unmasking on her own without ever informing Obama, or that she kept it all to herself.  She never says that.

Instead, Rice kept implicating Obama whenever she could, while minimizing her own role as somehow a passive one. Rice said that Obama ordered the compilation of intelligence reports on Russian hacking and election interference, which implied that the reports included the unmasked name of Trump adviser Gen. Michael Flynn in wiretap intercept reports of phone calls with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. This is what MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell had been asking Rice about.

MSNBC kept pressing Rice about the NSA-intercepted Flynn conversations with the Russian ambassador in December 2016, which Rice kept trying to dodge until Andrea Mitchell brought up the intercepted Flynn/Russian ambassador “conversations” (plural) one last time, noting that it was after the Obama sanctions and expulsion of Russian spy-diplomats.

Rice finally replied by taking it back to August 2016, and confirming Obama knew about it and was “concerned,” saying:

“Well, Andrea, from basically August [2016] through the end of the [Obama] administration [in January 2017] we were hearing more and more—getting more and more information about Russian interference in our electoral process. It was of grave concern to all of us in the national security team of the President [Obama] and the President himself….

“So YES there was a pace of reporting that accelerated as the Intelligence Community got more and more information on that and shared it with U.S. [Obama] officials…I can say that from when this first came to light in intelligence channels to when the administration ended we got more and more information” (emphasis added except “YES” was Rice’s voice emphasis; bracketed [ ] clarifications added).

The Nature of the Spying

Senator Paul explained that today’s “wiretapping” mainly means “reverse targeting” of existing digital taps that already massively eavesdrop on everyone’s communications, then searching the databases of transcripts, not physically tapping wires to phones. (AIM made the same points in its Special Reports on March 18 and April 4.)

These were not wiretaps about Russia or “incidental collection” on legitimate foreign intelligence subjects, though they may have begun that way. It was clearly procured for partisan political purposes to spy on the Trump opposition using the full weight of the U.S. government’s NSA spying apparatus (or NSA facilities used by the British GCHQ.)

According to Rep. Peter King (R-NY) of the House Intelligence Committee—who was briefed on the contents of the wiretap reports on the Trump campaign and his associates obtained by Rice and other Obama officials—they were like a private investigator’s file, with nothing on Russia-type intelligence:

“This [NSA wiretap] is information about their everyday lives. Who they were talking with, who they were meeting, where they were going to eat… just trying to lay out a dossier on somebody. Sort of like in a divorce case where lawyers are hired, investigators are hired to just find out what a person is doing from morning until night and then you try to piece it together later on” (bracketed [ ] clarification added).

The former Obama defense official and Hillary campaign adviser, Evelyn Farkas, proudly admitted during an MSNBC interview on March 2 that she had urged her “former colleagues” to collect and spread the NSA wiretap intelligence on Russia and Trump and “that’s why you have the leaking!” She had been “getting winks and nods from inside” the Obama administration since last summer, she said in an earlier interview.

MSNBC queried Farkas in response to the just-breaking New York Times March 1 story on Obama officials spreading around the government all the wiretap surveillance data on Trump and associates such as Gen. Flynn, and MSNBC had the Times article up on the video screen.  President Trump then tweeted on March 4 that Obama had his “‘wires tapped’” (two words).

The fake news media have ridiculed Trump for claiming anyone “wiretapped” him, insinuating he had said Obama physically tapped his phone wires—when he said no such thing. He merely used simplified terminology in quotes for a short tweet, rather than a book-length definition. FISA law as it stands today talks about “wire” taps or interception, even though it is understood to apply to digital communications (50 U.S. Code 1801 et seq.).

Putin Had No Motive 

In an unnoticed piece in Politico on December 12, 2016, Evelyn Farkas, a Russia expert, inadvertently tripped up the entire leftist narrative on the (bogus) Trump-Russia plot, and in effect admitted that Putin had no motive to hack DNC emails and help Trump get elected to be a Russian ally.

This was just a month after the election, so it is fresh in terms of application to the campaign leading up to it. Farkas wrote in Politico:

“For domestic political reasons, Putin needs the United States as its public enemy, given Russia’s current and foreseeable economic situation, and Russian presidential elections are coming up in 2018” (emphasis added).

Farkas explained that any positive “reset” of U.S.-Russia relations by President Trump as a result of purported Putin blackmail of Trump, making Trump his “puppet,” would be “very temporary” because Putin needs the U.S. as his “public enemy,” domestically and internationally (Trump and U.S. make it “international”). Putin doesn’t want good relations with the U.S. even with Trump as its President, according to Farkas.

Farkas apparently still believes Trump may be Putin’s “puppet” but her Russia analysis contradicts her narrative and that of the Democrat/media/intelligence juggernaut against Trump, that it is all a plot to get a pro-Russian president into the Oval Office. President Trump’s missile strike against Russia’s ally, Syria, contradicts that narrative.

Other observers have also noticed a complete lack of any evidence that Putin wanted to interfere in the U.S. election to help Trump win. The New York Review of Books on January 9 published this analysis of the report of the U.S. Intelligence Community (actually only 3 to 5 out of 17 agencies that make up the IC) on Russian interference that had claimed without a shred of evidence that Putin “ordered” the intervention to help Trump get elected.

The author is a Russian-American journalist, Masha Gessen, a hostile anti-Trump ideologue. Yet she candidly admits (in January 9 and March 6 articles):

“…the entirety of the evidence the [U.S. Intelligence Community] report offers to support its estimation of Putin’s motives for allegedly working to elect Trump: [is] conjecture based on other politicians in other periods, on other continents—and also on misreported or mistranslated public statements.”

“…the joint intelligence report on Russian interference in the campaign…is, plainly, laughable…the protracted national game of connecting the Trump-Putin dots is an exercise in conspiracy thinking.”

“Both of these appointments [Gen. McMaster and Russia expert Fiona Hill]—and the fact that sanctions [against Russia] remain in place six weeks into Trump’s fast-moving presidency—contradict the ‘Putin’s puppet’ narrative (as does the fact that Russian domestic propaganda has already turned against Trump). But such is the nature of conspiracy thinking that facts can do nothing to change it.”

“If…[Trump is impeached], it will have resulted largely from a media campaign orchestrated by members of the [U.S.] intelligence community—setting a dangerous political precedent that will have corrupted the public sphere and promoted paranoia” (emphasis added; bracketed [ ] clarifications added).

To sum up: No evidence, and no motive, is known for Russia hacking the DNC/Podesta emails to elect Trump or interfere with the election to defeat Hillary and support Trump. No smoking gun evidence, not even a whiff of smoke.

Surely such a “smoking gun” would have leaked by now—since Lt. General Flynn’s trivial conversation with Russian ambassador Kislyak on December 29, intercepted by NSA digital wiretap, leaked within weeks to David Ignatius of The Washington Post—and got Flynn fired. That was just a few words saying that the Trump administration will deal with Obama’s expulsion of 35 Russian “diplomats” (spies) later, with not a hint of any promises or relief, and no mention even of the word “sanctions” (evidently leading Flynn to forget the conversation).

The fact that no “smoking gun” has leaked or even been hinted at makes us suspect that in fact the unmasked NSA wiretap transcripts actually prove the opposite of the leftist Democrat Party narrative—that they record positive evidence that Trump and his associates were not colluding with Russia, that they had nothing to do with the hacking or leaking of the DNC or the Podesta/Hillary emails or any Russian interference in the election.

Obama’s Motive

It seems that the Trump-Putin conspiracy theory was designed to cover or excuse the illegal surveillance of Trump and his associates by the Obama administration. One of the motives may have been that Obama was fearful that the deals he struck with Putin on Syria and Iran would come unraveled. He had to know that he and his associates, including Susan Rice and former Secretary of State John Kerry, would look like dupes of the Russians for making such flawed agreements.

In order to brace for these developments, the idea was hatched to accuse Trump and his associates of being the Russian dupes, using their innocent contacts with Russian officials or businessmen as the excuse for surveillance. This made Trump look like the Russian dupe and Obama as the tough guy with Putin.

But the conversations captured in NSA digital wiretaps are turning out to be the opposite of the Democrat/media narrative. The remarks between Trump associates and Russian officials make it clear that no real relationship existed, that no insidious conspiracy was in play, that public events such as the WikiLeaks email releases were annoyances, that the “Trump dossier” was known to be fake, etc.

In fact, The New York Times has been forced to admit that the only thing anyone has turned up even in “intercepted calls” and “phone records” are benign “multiple contacts between Trump associates and Russians who serve in or are close to Mr. Putin’s government.”

Note in The New York Times quotes how the phony “Trump dossier” is always dragged in because the leaked NSA wiretaps show nothing, even on their face, that is incriminating or damaging to Trump, and only the “dossier” can (purportedly) supply that.

This was in The New York Times on March 3, the day before President Trump tweeted about the Obama “‘wire tapping’” against him, when it was still heroic in the left-wing narrative to admit to leaking highly classified NSA intelligence to try to destroy the President:

“Current and former American officials have said that phone records and [NSA-type] intercepted calls show that members of Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.”

“There have been courtesy calls, policy discussions and business contacts [in the intercepted phone calls of Trump campaign and associates], though nothing has emerged publicly indicating anything more sinister. A dossier of allegations on Trump-Russia contacts, compiled by a former British intelligence agent for Mr. Trump’s political opponents, includes unproven claims that his aides collaborated in Russia’s hacking of Democratic targets” (emphasis added; paras. reordered; bracketed [ ] clarification added).

“Former diplomats and Russia specialists say it would have been absurd and contrary to American interests for the Trump team to avoid meetings with Russians, either during or since the campaign.”

Intelligence agency officials have consistently denied finding any evidence for such Trump collusion with the Russians despite furious efforts to prove it in order to take down President Trump. The best anyone has come up with is the stupid claim that some internet “IP addresses” of attempted hackings trace back to Russian IP domains, when anyone with the slightest tech savvy knows that expert hackers cover their tracks to prevent such easy tracing, and even plant false trails (such as those pointing to, for example, Russian IP internet addresses).

No one has traced any specific hacking attempt to specifically attempt to capture the DNC emails, only alleged hacking attempts against the main DNC computer system. DNC emails are separated from the DNC computer system by the usual email client firewalls.

Trump himself pointed that out last year when these falsehoods first surfaced, that the supposed “Russian hackers” could be someone in New Jersey, etc., and that sophisticated hackers would not get caught digitally. Recently, the CIA’s hacker tools for planting false trails and the concealment of cybertraces were themselves leaked or hacked to WikiLeaks, causing worldwide consternation.

The pernicious misuse of the fake “Trump dossier” as an investigative “roadmap” by the FBI has been reported by The New York Times for months (with less dramatic prose than the BBC’s). (New York Times, January 20, February 14.) Instead, the Times should be investigating and exposing the “dossier’s” glaringly obvious fraudulent nature and the political motives behind its compilation and release. The NSA’s (and/or British GCHQ’s) “actively monitored” surveillance of Trump communications reportedly has been justified on the basis of this fake sex tape “dossier.”

Thus, the Obama digital Watergate burglary even invades the bedroom, albeit in the fictional narrative of the “dossier.”


74% of Syria Chemical Materials Reported Destroyed

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code


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


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.


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.


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.


Nikki Haley Receives Text At UN: “Thank you for what you said today. It’s so good to see America lead.”

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | Right Wing News

Nikki Haley received a surprise text at the United Nations. It allegedly said, “Thank you for what you said today. It’s so good to see America lead.” I’m not surprised she got that text. For all I know, that could have been Israel sending it, but it is indeed good to see actual leadership in America again. I know that many Trump supporters don’t agree with me. They claim we should not be the global police and should not interfere in other country’s affairs. I’ve got news for all of you… what happens globally affects America period. You may not want conflict or war, but other countries don’t give a damn about that. You may not believe in war, but it believes in us.

We have waited years for various gassing attacks in Syria to be investigated and for the United Nations to do something, anything and we are still waiting. I think that what President Trump did this week was the right thing to do and it sent not only Syria, but Russia, Iran, China and North Korea a strong message that there is a new sheriff in town and he doesn’t play with red lines and rhetoric. He’s deadly serious about stopping our enemies and have no doubt that Syria, Russia, Iran, China and North Korea are just that… American enemies. Grow up… this isn’t some theoretical reality where we can just turn our back on the world. This is real life and we have to stop these evil blackhats before they attack America. Hesitation is viewed as weakness and acquiescence.

From the Independent Review Journal:

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley boldly confronted Russia and Syria during a United Nations Security Council meeting on Wednesday, staring down the Russian ambassador in moment that went viral.

“How many more children have to die before Russia cares?” she asked the Russian ambassador in front of the world.

Later that night, Haley made an appearance at the Women in the World Summit in New York City and revealed the text message she subsequently received from another member of the U.N. Security Council.

“Thank you for what you said today. It’s so good to see America lead,” the text reportedly read.

Haley insinuated that the message was meaningful to her because leading is exactly “what we’re trying to do.”

There is nothing that will move a heart like watching dozens of children… babies… die horrifically. Assad and the Russians could care less. Given the opportunity, they would use that tactic anywhere they land if it won them power, wealth, real estate and natural resources. Nikki Haley is right here. It is long past time we act like the world leaders we are. No nation building… but when tyrants kill the innocent and rage unabated and someone needs to step in, we have a moral obligation to do so. And we have a military presence that should show strength, not the cowardice the Obama administration mandated.

“The way you lead is to make sure they know what you’re for, they know what you’re against, and they never question where you are,” Haley added. Exactly right. You actually LEAD, you don’t vacillate. President Trump’s actions this week in response to a chemical attack by Assad against his own, shows a definitive shift in America military policy. And don’t say, “Well, it could have been the rebels!” No, it wasn’t. They would have no way of dispersing those chemical agents since they don’t have planes and Assad and Russia always blame these actions on their victims. It’s right out of their playbooks.

Our allies are cheering the action and breathing a huge sigh of relief. Our enemies are calling it an act of aggression. It’s an act as old as time. But President Trump is no ‘lead from behind’ president as Barack Obama was. Peace through strength has once again taken center stage.


Cruise missile strike in Syria: Assad regime – and Russia – on notice

By: J.E. Dyer | Liberty Unyielding

USS Ross (DDG-71) launches a Tomahawk missile at Syria’s Shayrat Air Base from the Med, 7 Apr 2017. (Image: USN, PO3 Robert S. Price)

In the early morning hours of 7 April in Syria – between 8 and 10 PM Eastern on 6 April, in the U.S. – two U.S. Navy Aegis destroyers began launching Tomahawk cruise missiles at an air base in Syria just east of the city of Homs.  In total, the ships launched at least 59 cruise missiles.  All were reportedly directed at the single air base, indicating the attack was meant to take the facility out of operation.

President Donald Trump, in a recorded address (video below), explained that USS Ross (DDG-71) and USS Porter (DDG-78) were striking the air base in Syria from which the chemical weapons attack that inflicted ghastly damage on civilians in Idlib Province was launched on Tuesday.

The target, according to the latest reporting, was Shayrat Air Base, located about 15 miles southeast of Homs.  Fox News’s Jennifer Griffin indicated in the 10 PM hour that the Pentagon would be providing a track of the Syrian Su-24 Fencer – a tactical bomber – that it says conducted the chemical weapons attack on 4 April.  In other words, the U.S. military has direct evidence that the attacking aircraft was a Syrian bomber jet.  (This is not only feasible, it’s probable and routine.)

Shayrat Air Base was never one of Assad’s biggest, most developed bases.  It is overshadowed by T4 air base (often referred to as Tiyas Air Base) further east, which has been the front line of the fight against ISIS for some months now.

Overview of area where Shayrat Air Base was struck with U.S. cruise missiles 7 Apr 2017. (Google map; author annotation)

But Shayrat has seen a lot of use for combat logistics in the last 18 months.  The Russians persistently denied it, but there have been numerous reports that they made improvements to Shayrat in 2015 in order to use it as a base.  And Arabic and social media have recorded Russian helicopters making use of Shayrat as an interim base for logistics stops, including mission refueling.  (Fox reports that the U.S. military used its hotline with Russian forces to give them warning of the attack.)

Some reporting has indicated that the Iranians have delivered weapons and materiel there too, and that “Iranian squadrons” were to operate from the base once it was improved by the Russians.  (The Iranian presence in T4/Tiyas has been better documented.)

(See The Tower’s report here.)

The Russians’ use of the base means, at a minimum, that the U.S. has put Russia as well as the Assad regime on notice that there will be no tolerance for chemical weapons attacks.

Syrian facilities implicated in 4 April chemical weapons attack in Idlib Province. (Google map; author annotation)

Shayrat’s use for launching a chemical weapons attack makes sense, given its proximity to the Al-Furqlus storage facility for Assad’s chemical weapons, which is located about 11 miles north-northwest of Shayrat Air Base, just east of Homs.  Shayrat itself stored chemical weapons prior to 2011, and given its regular operational use, probably has chemical weapons prepared for deployment located next to the taxiways on occasion.  It is not thought to be a main storage site now, however.

Notably, the Israeli Air Force is long thought to have attacked another chemical weapons facility in south Homs, closer to the city center, in 2013.

And the IAF reportedly attacked a Syrian air base between Homs and Palmyra the night of 16-17 March, when the Syrian regime launched anti-air missiles at the IAF strike-fighters.  The base in question was thought to be T4, and the reason for the attack: an Iranian delivery of special weapons intended for Hezbollah.

The U.S. engagement in Syria – which ramped up last month with the deployment of Marines to Raqqa – has thus clearly entered a new phase.  Since 2014, our air activities in Syria have been limited to attacking emergent ISIS targets, almost all in northern Syria.  U.S. forces have been kept out of the fight in western Syria, where Russia and Iran have ruled the roost.

Now, however, we have struck into the heart of Assad’s center of gravity: the part of Syria where he maintains his operational strength and hosts the principal regional outpost of Iran.  The corridor from Damascus to Homs is Assad’s core.  Iran has made use of it as a line of communication with Hezbollah and Hamas for decades.

At the moment, we have no preview of any further military intentions for U.S. forces in this part of Syria.  The U.S. reportedly intends to reenergize the Geneva talks on Syria and negotiate to get Assad removed from power – something it would have been preferable to do in 2011, if we had had an administration with the vision and competence for it.  It’s not clear how feasible it will be in 2017.

The backlash from tonight’s work hasn’t been previewed yet either.  I don’t fear for regional “stability,” which isn’t likely to change much merely from the cruise missile attack.  But within a couple of weeks, the overall conditions for negotiation will have changed, because of the scramble set off by the U.S. action.  It will be interesting to see how Trump’s team takes the challenge on.

It can’t do worse than Obama’s.  My sense at the moment is that Trump – if he wants to – can quickly assume the “catbird seat” that Putin has been angling to occupy in settling the future of Syria.  Most of the various players – Turkey, the Arabs (the Saudis, Jordan, Egypt), Iraq – would be enthusiastic about having a strong America to act as a great-power broker.  Russia can live with it, if Trump accepts that Russia has legitimate interests in Syria.  I think Trump would do that.

The wild card will be Iran.  But I’d expect Iran to try to lie low for now in Syria, and avoid losing too much rather than try to keep it all by keeping Assad in power, through some confrontational means.  Iran has fingers in a lot of pies now, and usually takes the long view.  Unless Trump starts striking targets in Lebanon, Iran is probably prepared to let even Assad go, if that’s what it takes to keep the U.S. out of deeper political and military involvement in Syria.

The ball is very much in Trump’s court now.  For my money, he needs, at the moment, to keep a rally going.  The conditions aren’t right yet for a decisive point against anyone – other than perhaps Assad.

USS Porter goes through her paces in this video from DOD.  Stick with it for the best smoke plumes.