01/13/17

Our Warmonger President and the Lapdog Press

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

President Obama has moved the nation toward war with Russia, up to 500,000 are dead in Syria, Libya is a disaster, and Germany is welcoming a Muslim invasion of Europe that threatens the collapse of the European Union and NATO. Two million refugees are leaving the Middle East, some of them destined for the U.S.

Yet, Department of Defense News, an official Pentagon public relations outfit, released a story announcing that “Defense leaders hailed the commitment and accomplishments of departing commander in chief President Barack Obama in a formal military ceremony as he closes out his presidency.”

We were told that “During the ceremony, the president reviewed the troops from the five military branches, and received from [Defense Secretary Ashton] Carter the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. The event featured a 21-gun salute, and music from the U.S. Army Band ‘Pershing’s Own’ and the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.”

If we had anything approaching an honest and objective news media, Obama would not even have attempted such a spectacle, out of fear that he would become a laughingstock. He has presided over a humanitarian disaster in Syria, where American troops are now dying, and his no-win war on the Islamic State has never been approved by Congress.

The CIA and the Terrorists

PBS Newshour ran an interview with Obama’s CIA Director, John Brennan, in which he said regarding Syria: “If we had a chance to do it over again, would there have been some adjustments and changes? I can’t speak for policy-makers. I’m not a policy-maker. But when I look back, in light of the way things evolved, I think that there could have been some adjustments to some of the policies, not just by the United States, but by other countries, in order to address this question earlier or, and not allow the ISILs and the Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaidas to gain momentum and steam and taking advantage of the destruction of that country.” Brennan went on to say, “…I think the way that the situation unfolded was—is regrettable.”

How does Obama’s CIA director get away with simply saying that the human misery and suffering in Syria spilling over into Europe are “regrettable?” Where is the accountability for this debacle? And on what legal and constitutional basis is America at war in Syria anyway?

Welcome to the world of what can be called media malpractice. Our media have fallen and they can’t get up. These matters of war and peace, life and death, are not significant enough to rise to the level of sustained media interest. After all, they might interfere with Obama’s approval ratings and tarnish his legacy.

It’s not as if the media don’t understand what Obama’s CIA has been doing. The Washington Post reported that a secret CIA operation to train and arm rebels in Syria had cost $1 billion by the middle of 2015. The Post said the program the CIA program set up in 2013 was “to bolster moderate forces.”

But according to Brennan on PBS, more radical groups joined the fight, leading to a “regrettable” situation.

If we had journalists trained in objective news reporting, we would have a media demanding accountability from the Obama administration over a “regrettable” policy that has spun out of control, leading to a human disaster of astounding proportions throughout the Middle East and Europe. Some are calling the Russian/Iranian/Syrian counterattack “genocide.”

On the left, fortunately, the media watchdog Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has taken note of the fiasco, highlighting the fact that The Washington Post ran a column by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) insisting that the U.S. had “done nothing” in Syria. That’s nothing to the tune of $1 billion by the middle of 2015. FAIR wondered, as did I, whether the editors of the Post considered attaching a note to the McCain column stating that “the CIA has spent up to $1 billion a year on the Syrian opposition, or roughly $1 out of every $15 dollars the agency spends.”

Our Warnings

Back in 2013, this columnist warned that Obama’s Syria policy, which was supported by McCain, threatened to embolden al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Syria. That is precisely what happened.

When Brian Kilmeade of Fox News objected to “moderate” Syrian rebels yelling “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar,” McCain shot back: “Would you have a problem with an American or Christians saying ‘Thank God, Thank God?’ That’s what they’re saying. Come on! Of course they’re Muslims, but they’re moderates and I guarantee you they are moderates.”

“Jihad Watch” director Robert Spencer commented that “Allahu akbar” does not mean “Thank God.” Rather, he said, “It is a war cry which means ‘Allah is greater,’” and “is essentially a proclamation of superiority.” Spencer notes that it is the same cry that Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members shout as they kill Christians and destroy Christian churches.

At the time, however, many different publications, including Politico, The Huffington Post, Business Insider and Mediaite, ran stories about the exchange which claimed that McCain had somehow “shamed” Brian Kilmeade and Fox News, as if McCain knew what he was talking about and that Kilmeade had been exposed as an ignoramus.

Spencer wrote, “McCain’s appalling ignorance and Obama’s ongoing enthusiasm for all things Muslim Brotherhood, including the Syrian opposition, are leading the U.S. into disaster.”

That disaster has come to pass, not because the U.S. did “nothing,” as claimed by McCain, but because the U.S. did “something” to the tune of $1 billion and still failed. Now, McCain wants strong sanctions against Russia, over what he calls a hacking operation that constituted an “act of war” against the United States.

Using dubious “intelligence” reports, including one from the same CIA that engineered the Syrian disaster, Obama has announced sanctions against Russia and expulsions of Russian officials from the U.S.

No Declaration of War

Needless to say, Congress never declared war on Syria, in order to justify CIA funding of the “rebels” there. The Congress has also not declared war on the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS, and yet we are at war in the Middle East against them, and American troops are dying on the battlefield.

In a matter-of-fact manner, The Washington Post recently reported, “In his first floor speech since he and Hillary Clinton lost the election, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) revived one of his signature issues Wednesday: urging Congress to authorize military force against the Islamic State terrorist group.”

That “signature issue” happens to involve the constitutional requirement that Congress alone can declare war. The term “signature” suggests that Kaine has made it into his own unique cause, and that other members don’t share his enthusiasm. The media certainly don’t care for what he is doing. After all, his analysis undermines the legal and constitutional basis of much of what Obama has been doing in the Middle East.

Is this not an issue about which the media, left and right, can agree: that the Obama administration and Congress should be held accountable when wars are conducted without proper authority? Does a Commander-in-Chief deserve the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service and a 21-gun salute for going to war without the advice and consent of Congress?

In a speech paying tribute to Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott C. Dayton of Woodbridge, Virginia, who was killed in combat in Syria, Kaine highlighted “the costs of two and a half years of war against ISIL.” Kaine said, “I continue to believe, and I will say this in a very personal way as a military dad, that the troops we have deployed overseas deserve to know that Congress is behind this mission. As this war has expanded into two-plus years…more and more of our troops are risking and losing their lives far from home, I am concerned and raise again something I’ve raised often on this floor—that there is a tacit agreement to avoid debating this war in the one place it ought to be debated: in the halls of Congress.”

It has been reported that there are approximately 300 American troops on the ground inside Syria. Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott C. Dayton, 42, was killed in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in November near Ayn Issa, Syria.

Department of Defense News reported his death in a tiny story which carried the headline, “Department of Defense Identifies Navy Casualty.” He lost his life on Thanksgiving Day, November 24.

Senator Kaine is Right

The war against ISIS is based on the Congressional passage of the authorization for use of military force in September of 2001 to go after al-Qaeda for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America. “We see that that authorization has been stretched way beyond what it was intended to do,” Kaine noted.

Demonstrating that he was not willing to get Obama off the hook, Kaine went on to say, “President Obama recently announced that the authorization is now going to be expanded to allow use of military action against al-Shabab, the African terrorist group—a dangerous terrorist group to be sure—but al-Shabab did not begin until 2007. So an original authorization that was very specific by this body to allow action against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks is now being used all over the globe against organizations that didn’t even exist when the 9/11 attack occurred.”

The New York Times reported Obama’s move in a matter-of-fact way under the headline, “Obama Expands War With Al Qaeda to Include Shabab in Somalia.” The Times explained, “The administration has decided to deem the Shabab, the Islamist militant group in Somalia, to be part of the armed conflict that Congress authorized against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to senior American officials.”

The paper acknowledged this “stretching of the 2001 war authorization against the original Al Qaeda to cover other Islamist groups in countries far from Afghanistan—even ones, like the Shabab, that did not exist at the time—has prompted recurring objections from some legal and foreign policy experts.” The Times added, “Under the 2001 authorization, the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with a specific organization, not every Islamist militant in the world. But that authority has proved elastic.”

So the Constitution is being disregarded in favor of the “stretching” of an old resolution that has proven to be “elastic.” How can weasel words like these be reported in a paper that is supposed to hold the government accountable?

Senator Kaine noted, “When the new Congress is sworn in in early January, I think 80 percent of the members of Congress were not here when the September 14, 2001 authorization was passed. So the 80 percent of us that were not here in 2001 have never had a meaningful debate or vote upon this war against ISIL.”

Kaine pointed out that when Obama spoke about “the need to go on offense against ISIL” in September of 2014, “it took him six months from the start of hostilities to even deliver to Congress a proposed authorization.”

Congress never acted on it and Obama continued the war anyway. Kaine added, “As my President knows, who not only is a Senator but a historian, the founding documents of this country are so unusual still today in making the initiation of war a legislative rather than an executive function.”

He went on to say that “…it seems to me to be almost the height of public immorality to force people to risk and give their lives in support for a mission we’re unwilling to discuss.”

Obama’s lawless and unconstitutional actions had actually begun earlier, when he waged a war on Libya that ultimately produced the Benghazi massacre of four Americans. My June 2, 2011, column had noted, “In the Senate, McCain, who has turned into an advocate for Al-Jazeera, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the war, conducted with the approval of the Arab League and the United Nations but not Congress. Al-Jazeera, committed to the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region, openly backs the ‘pro-democracy fighters’ in Libya, playing down their links to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.”

Syria was a virtual replay of the Benghazi debacle, only on a much larger scale.

What was happening in Libya, as Accuracy in Media’s (AIM) Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi had documented, was that the U.S. under Obama had “switched sides” in the war on terror in favor of the terrorists.

The war in Libya was not only immoral but illegal and unconstitutional. But the media failed to acknowledge the facts. Under the War Powers Act, a president can go to war on his own only if there is an imminent threat to the U.S., and there is a 60-day deadline for the withdrawal of forces. Obama violated both provisions of the law. There was no direct or immediate threat to the U.S. from Libya, and Obama ignored the 60-day deadline for approval from Congress.

Yet in 2007 then-Senator Obama had loudly declared that “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Trump’s Challenges

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s detractors claim he is entering the presidency in the midst of a constitutional crisis stemming from alleged Russian hacking into the email systems of Democratic Party politicians.

But we are already in a constitutional crisis caused by Obama’s illegal and unconstitutional actions. The failure of the media to hold Obama accountable for the wars which take the lives of members of the Armed Forces is a dramatic indication of how “media malpractice” goes beyond false facts and fake news.

The facts are not in dispute in regard to Obama’s actions that committed the U.S. to wars in the Middle East without the approval of Congress. The issue is clear-cut.

Obama, the alleged historian and legal scholar, doesn’t want to talk about that. Instead, at the military ceremony in his honor, he said, “Service members can now serve the country they love without hiding who they are or who they love.” In fact, Defense Secretary Carter has opened up the military, under Obama’s direction, even to the transgendered, with the Pentagon paying for their sex change operations.

This is what it has been all about for Obama—social experimentation and diversity, not fighting or winning wars. But his wars have not been without cost—in lives and refugees and more global terrorism.

Senator Kaine has been willing to go beyond political partisanship to demand that the Constitution be obeyed. Let’s hope that he finds a sympathetic ear in President Trump. It would be a way to move forward on a bipartisan basis to confront foreign dangers and threats.

The media’s dereliction of duty in matters of war and peace would then be exposed for all to see.


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.

01/11/17

Obama’s Legacy of Endless Wars and Transgender Soldiers

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

Left-wing Democrat Norman Solomon says fellow Democrats are “more interested in playing to the press gallery than speaking directly to the economic distress of voters in the Rust Belt and elsewhere who handed the presidency” to Donald J. Trump. Democrats should spend some time learning “how they’ve lost touch with working-class voters,” he says.

He is referring to how Democrats are saying what the media want to hear—that Trump was elected because of Vladimir Putin and the Russians. This was the claim first advanced by President Obama’s CIA in leaks to The Washington Post and The New York Times.

But this is not just a political dispute involving Democrats failing to understand why they lost to Trump. Solomon says “the emerging incendiary rhetoric against Russia is extremely dangerous” and “could lead to a military confrontation between two countries that each has thousands of nuclear weapons,” and which could trigger a “nuclear holocaust.”

Solomon, a former Democratic congressional candidate, says that Democrats, by “teaming up with the likes of Republican Senators John McCain (AZ) and Lindsey Graham (SC) to exert bipartisan pressure for escalation,” could help “stampede the Trump administration in reckless directions” and provoke Russia into a war.

There is no evidence that the Trump administration could be “stampeded” in that way. Trump has said repeatedly that he is not interested in a confrontation with Russia. What seems to be consuming the attention of the incoming Trump administration are the no-win wars with ISIS and al-Qaeda that Obama will leave behind, and the corruption in the Intelligence Community that has been responsible for claims that the U.S. is winning the war against radical Islam.

Trump’s new CIA director, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), is a member of the House Intelligence Committee and participated in a congressional joint task force that documented in a report how U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) manipulated intelligence to downplay the threat from ISIS. Three months after Pompeo and his colleagues issued their report, he said that those responsible for downplaying the threat from ISIS had not yet been held accountable.

Pompeo said the manipulation of intelligence resulted from “an administration-wide understanding that bad news from Iraq and Syria was not welcomed.” He added, “Claims that ISIS was the ‘JV team’ and that al-Qaeda was ‘on the run’ were both a result—and a cause—of the politicization of intelligence at CENTCOM. This intelligence manipulation provided space for both ISIS and al-Qaeda to grow and it put America at risk.”

Obama, of course, was responsible for the claims that ISIS was the “JV team” and that al-Qaeda was “on the run.” He lied to the American people about progress in the war on terror.

Obama’s Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said on December 15 that ISIS was “failing” and that “the campaign to defeat the terror group in Iraq and Syria is on track.” Five days earlier, Carter had announced that 200 additional American special operations troops would be heading to Syria to liberate Raqqa, ISIS’ de facto capital in Syria. That will bring the total number of U.S. troops in Syria to 500.

Obama’s war in Syria has never been authorized by Congress.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs magazine has published an article demonstrating that, after a defeat and a loss of territory, “ISIS members don’t simply give up their cause or switch their allegiance; they merely change their tactics,” reforming into small units conducting insurgency campaigns.

According to the article, these terrorists operate under different flags. The authors cite the case of an ex-Iraqi policeman who fought for al-Qaeda and later emerged under the ISIS banner. It is possible, the authors say, that “insurgent group numbers will only continue to increase, as will their power.” The authors say there is little room for optimism that the Baghdad regime being supported by the U.S. will address the sectarian grievances that fuel the conflict.

ISIS has expanded into Afghanistan, where a counterterrorism official says the terrorist group is “present in at least 11 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.”

Reflecting the deteriorating situation, Obama’s decision that the U.S. would draw down to 5,500 troops in the country has been changed. Now, approximately 8,400 military personnel will remain at the time that Trump takes office.

Fighting terrorists isn’t the only item on the agenda. American sailors deployed in Afghanistan underwent Transgender Policy Training in Kabul on November 24. According to an official press release, sailors were told about the policy that took effect on October 1, whereby they could “begin the process to officially change their gender in the Navy administrative systems following DoD policy and in accordance to the standards delineated.”

A website reflecting the views of Christian military officers described the training this way: “The US Navy began teaching its Sailors about women thinking they’re men, and vice versa, even as they’re deployed in Afghanistan—a nation, incidentally, in which transgenders would probably be tossed in jail or executed.”

Not to worry. The official Pentagon spokesman says the Afghanistan mission also remains “on track.”


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.

12/15/16

The Blood of Aleppo is on Obama’s Hands

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

It’s amazing how CNN’s talking heads can devote so much time to the “scandal” of Donald J. Trump’s sons participating in interviews of cabinet picks, but can’t connect the dots between the bloody tragedy in Aleppo and President Barack Obama’s pro-terrorist policy in the Middle East.

During the day on Wednesday, we saw CNN repeatedly air gruesome film footage of the massacre of civilians in Aleppo by the Russians and their Iranian and Syrian puppets. Not once did any CNN talking head bother to point out that Obama’s policy of intervention, through support of terrorist groups in Syria who are losing the war, may have had a role in the unfolding massacre.

In a scandal that makes the alleged Russian hacking of Democratic emails appear minor by comparison, a Democratic member of the U.S. House has taken to the House floor to say that Obama’s CIA has been aiding the Islamic terrorist groups ISIS and al-Qaeda for the purpose of overthrowing the Syrian regime.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced legislation to curb the Obama administration’s pro-terrorist policy, calling it the Stop Arming Terrorists bill (H.R. 6405).

A member of the House Armed Services Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee, Gabbard served two tours of duty in the Middle East, and continues her service as a major in the Army National Guard.

In a December 8 press release, Gabbard said, “Under U.S. law it is illegal for any American to provide money or assistance to al-Qaeda, ISIS or other terrorist groups. If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail. Yet the U.S. government has been violating this law for years, quietly supporting allies and partners of al-Qaeda, ISIL, Jabhat Fateh al Sham and other terrorist groups with money, weapons, and intelligence support, in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government.”

By U.S. government she means the Obama administration.

Specifically, she named the CIA, saying, “The CIA has also been funneling weapons and money through Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and others who provide direct and indirect support to groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. This support has allowed al-Qaeda and their fellow terrorist organizations to establish strongholds throughout Syria, including in Aleppo.”

Gabbard made similar remarks on the House floor.

Since Gabbard is a Democrat, these seem to be extraordinary allegations that cannot be dismissed as partisan sniping from Obama’s political enemies. Can it be that Obama is arming terrorists at a time when the U.S. is supposed to be fighting them? This seems like insanity, even treason.

You may recall that Obama once threatened the Syrian regime not to cross a “red line” in its offensive military operations. The “red line” today is covered with the blood of people in Aleppo because Obama never enforced it. All he did was support terrorist and other groups opposed to the regime. They are losing the war.

Is it actually true that Obama has been arming terrorists through the CIA? It’s interesting to point out that Gabbard quoted news accounts from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

But these papers did not make this into even a minor scandal. The media have now moved on to the CIA’s allegations against Trump and the Russians. It’s a convenient change of subject that is designed to shield Obama’s legacy from the evidence of how he contributed to the conflict, and did nothing to stop a massacre, once his side began to lose.

On Jake Tapper’s CNN show on December 8, the issue got some attention, as Tapper seemed caught off-guard and was unfamiliar with what Obama’s CIA has been doing in the region. This is the exchange with Gabbard that took place:

Tapper: You say [loopholes] have allowed American taxpayer dollars to fund terror groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria. Are youare you suggesting that the U.S. government is funding these terrorist groups?

Gabbard: I’m not only suggesting it. This isthis is the reality that we’re living in.

Tapper: Not directly, though.

Gabbard: Most Americansyou know, if you wereI were to go and provide money, weapons, or support or whatever to a group like Al Qaeda or ISIS, you would immediately be thrown in jail. However, the U.S. government has been providing money, weapons, intel assistance and other types of support through the CIA, directly to these groups that are working with and are affiliated with Al Qaeda and ISIS.  

Tapper: So, you’re saying the CIA is giving money to groups in Syria, and those groups are working with Al-Nusra and ISIS.

Gabbard: There arethere have been numerous reports from The New York Times to The Wall Street Journal and other news outlets who have declared that these rebel groups have formed these battlefield alliances with Al Qaeda…essentially [it] is Al Qaeda groups [that] are in charge of every single rebel group on the ground fighting in Syria to overthrow the Syrian government.  

Tapper: And the U.S. government says they vet the groups that they give money to very, very closely. And that you’re wrong, there are not alliances between groups that the American taxpayers fund and these other groups. Obviously, they all are fighting Assad.

Gabbard: I beg to differ. Evidence has shown time and time again that that is not the case, that we are both directly and indirectly supporting these groups who are allied with or partnered with Al Qaeda and ISIS, in working to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad. And we’ve also been providing that support through countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar to do that.

Obama’s alleged support for terrorism does not get the kind of attention that the media, led by The Washington Post and New York Times, lavish on anonymous charges from unnamed intelligence officials regarding Russia supposedly helping Trump during the 2016 campaign.

Obama’s CIA director John Brennan has said in the past that he will not sanction the waterboarding of terrorists to get information about their plans. “I will not agree to carry out some of these tactics and techniques I’ve heard bandied about because this institution needs to endure,” Brennan said. By institution, he means the CIA.

No wonder he won’t use controversial interrogation tactics on terrorists to prevent terrorist attacks. According to Gabbard, his CIA is arming the same terrorists for the specific purpose of carrying out terrorist attacks.

Perhaps the President-elect talked about this subject with Gabbard when she visited him at Trump Tower. Perhaps Trump wants to know what the CIA has been doing.

It appears that Rep. Gabbard is an independent and dissident voice in the Democratic Party who is willing to blow the whistle on a Democratic President whose pro-terrorist policies are resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands.

Let’s face it: the media don’t care about Obama arming terrorists because he’s Obama and has to be allowed to get away with policies that would result in another president of another political party being impeached.

CNN would rather talk about Donald J. Trump, Jr. sitting in a meeting to discuss cabinet picks.

Never mind that the Obama policy, designed to force Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power, was an embarrassing failure, and that thousands of innocent civilians are paying the price in blood.

Our media will move on so that Obama’s benevolent legacy can be preserved.


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.

12/13/16

Aleppo: Tell Our Story After We Are Gone

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Update as of 2:24 EST, December 13, 2016, a truce and a cease fire announced.

The Syrian government has established control over eastern Aleppo, Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday. More from CNN.

It was October of 2016, that I interviewed Abdulkafi Al-Hamdo that is mentioned weeks later, today, in this article. He told me the same then, don’t cry for us, tell our story. You could hear the reckoning in his voice, his time on earth was short. (Segment 2) Barack Obama and John Kerry own this genocide and hence should be the mantle of their policy legacy.

 

Last Rebels in Aleppo Say Assad Forces Are Burning People Alive

As the Syrian dictator’s coalition captures the last rebel-held neighborhoods, residents are bidding the world farewell and opposition media says mass atrocities have already begun.

DailyBeast: Amid celebratory gunfire and cheers from Assad loyalists, foreign militias under Iranian command and troops loyal to the regime on Monday captured about 90 percent of the opposition-held areas of eastern Aleppo.

The last hope of the besieged rebels, most of whom seem to have withdrawn in the face of certain defeat, had been to receive reinforcements or resupplies from their counterparts in the southern and western suburbs. That option has now been foreclosed upon as these routes are completely interdicted by the regime.

The triumphal takeover of the citadel of the Syrian revolution followed a day of intense bombing of houses and apartment buildings, destroying so many that it was impossible to determine the death toll. The neighborhoods of Bustan al-Qasr, al-Kallasa, al-Farod and al-Salhin in the Old City, as well as Sheikh Saed, in the southern district, are all now under regime control.

The Syrian Civil Defense, or White Helmets, an internationally renowned team of first responders, said more than 90 bodies of people presumed to be still alive are under debris and that its volunteer staff reported they could hear the voices of children trapped in the rubble of their houses.

A member of the group in Aleppo told al-Arabiya TV on Monday night that men, women, and children were huddling and crying in the streets and at the gates of empty buildings in the few neighborhoods that remained in the hands of the opposition. He described the situation as hopeless, because precision munitions and indiscriminate barrel bombs had destroyed the city’s medical facilities, ambulances, and fuel supply.

Unconfirmed reports, circulated by opposition media, suggest that mass atrocities have already begun, such as the summary executions of 17 in al-Kalaseh neighborhood, 22 in Bostan al-Kasrand, and the immolation of four women and nine children on al-Firdous Street. The Daily Beast could not independently confirm these figures.

The official Syrian news agency SANA claimed that eight people were killed and 47 were injured in regime-held Aleppo after opposition fighters bombed the city. Most of the victims were women and children, according to the agency.

Activists and residents of the ever-dwindling opposition pocket, an urban islet of about five square kilometers and home to as many as 100,000 people, spent the day signing off from social media, asking journalists to tell their story, and warning of their impending demise.

The Daily Beast was able to get in touch with Abdulkafi Al-Hamdo, a university teacher in the besieged city. The brief conversation was as follows:

TDB: “I hope you’re safe.”

AA: “I don’t think I will be tomorrow.”

TDB: “Do you expect all the remaining besieged neighborhoods will fall by tomorrow?”

AA: “No. Except over the body of every civilian. I won’t surrender my body, and my wife, and my daughter to the Assad regime without defending them… I hope that you’ll tell everyone what I’m saying.”

On a publicly visible WhatsApp feed belonging to the Aleppo Siege Media Center, al-Hamdo was more fatalistic. “Doomsday is held in Aleppo,” he said. “People are running don’t know where. People are under the rubble alive and no one can save them. Some people are injured in the streets and no one can go to help them [because] the bombs are [falling on] the same place.”

Award-winning blogger and activist Marcell Shehwaro, a native of Aleppo, shared on Facebook a message from one of her most “peaceful” and least-sectarian friends. “No Marcell, don’t worry,” it read. “I will kill myself, I won’t let them arrest me.”

Lina al-Shamy, a 26-year-old woman, posted a video of herself to Twitter. Speaking in fluent English, al-Shamy said: “To everyone who can hear me. We are here exposed to a genocide in the besieged city of Aleppo. This may be my last video. More than 50,000 civilians who rebelled against the dictator, al-Assad, are threatened with field executions or dying under bombing. According to activists, more than 180 people have been field executed in the areas the regime has recently retook control of by Assad’s gangs and the militias that support them. The civilians are stuck in a very small area that doesn’t exceed two square kilometers. With no safe zones, no life, every bomb is a new massacre. Save Aleppo, save humanity.”

Jouad al-Khateb had a similar message—one hesitates to call it valedictory— for the world. In Arabic, he told the camera: “Behind me is the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood. Since last night up to the present moment, it is being bombed with every kind of weapon; vacuum rockets, missiles. The rockets have not stopped since last night. The people coming out of Bustan al-Qasr are telling me it’s become a city of ghosts. More than 20 families remain under the rubble across various districts.” The White Helmets were unable to reach any of the victims, al-Khateb added.

“My message to those watching: Just stop the waterfall of blood for us. We don’t want to leave the besieged areas. Just stop the waterfall of blood. It’s as if this has become very normal for the international community, you know, a rocket falls, 20 or 30 people are killed, under the rubble, they can’t pull them out—that’s a totally normal thing. In any case, there’s no space for graves to bury them in. Let them be buried under the buildings. I think this will be my last video, because we’ve gotten bored of talking, bored of speeches.”

Al-Khateb was interrupted by a loud groaning sound.

“That’s a barrel bomb,” he said, referring to one of the regime’s most notorious improvised munitions, a metal canister filled with high explosives and shrapnel, which are dropped indiscriminately from helicopters.

Another trapped resident, Ameen al-Halabi, boasted on Facebook, “I’m waiting for death or imprisonment by the Assad forces. I would rather die on the soil of my land than be arrested by their faithless militias.” Al-Halabi asked his friends to forgive him if this was the last message he wrote.

On several rebel chat forums on the popular messaging application Telegram, there were calls for the youth of Syria to wage “jihad” against the conquerors of Aleppo, if only to defend the honor of women who had allegedly been raped in the course of the Assadist blitzkrieg.

Whether or not that particular war crime has yet occurred in Aleppo—though human-rights monitors have documented mass rape in Syrian regime prisons since the start of the conflict—the call for holy war against the regime may yet take hold. For this reason, the CIA and Joints Chiefs of Staff earlier advised the Obama administration that the fall of eastern Aleppo, apart from being a humanitarian catastrophe, would also constitute a counterterrorism threat to the United States. The radicalization of survivors is all but a foregone conclusion.

As for those already radicalized, they’ve had a remarkably auspicious week. While the regime was focused on reclaiming Aleppo, ISIS, or the self-proclaimed Islamic State, was able to completely retake another ancient Syrian city, Palmyra, which it had lost, to much international fanfare, last March.

Despite the gravity of the day’s events, and the many breaches of international law that led to the collapse of the rebel-held area, U.S. political leaders were slow to comment. President Obama has watched in silence as Russia and the Assad regime have committed what Secretary of State John Kerry called crimes against humanity, and Donald Trump has not once publicly mentioned the word “Aleppo” on his favorite social-media platform, Twitter, since being elected president of the United States a month ago. Kerry even meekly invited the Kremlin over the weekend to show “a little grace” in how it recaptured eastern Aleppo.

“The Holy Quran teaches that whoever kills an innocent is as—it is as if he has killed all mankind. And the Holy Quran also says whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.”

So did Obama tell a receptive audience in Cairo, in 2009, in a much-scrutinized maiden speech of his administration. (The second line in this sacred allusion, as it happens, is also the mantra of the now-helpless White Helmets.)

The president who came to office promising to repair the breach between the United States and the Islamic world, putatively caused by the war on terror and the invasion and occupation of Iraq, is now set to leave office having done little to stop to the slaughter or displacement of millions in Syria or the wholesale destruction of one of Islam’s most venerated cities.

12/6/16

Trump Assembles a War Cabinet to Meet Foreign Threats

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

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With the selections of General James N. “Mad Dog” Mattis as Secretary of Defense and Lt. General Michael T. Flynn as national security adviser, President-elect Donald J. Trump has indicated that he is prepared to meet foreign threats from Russia, China, and global Islam. Indeed, Flynn argues in his book, The Field of Fight, that the U.S. is facing a “working coalition” of enemies that includes radical Islamists, Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

The subtitle, How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, suggests that radical Islam is the main enemy. But the content of the book suggests something else—that Russia and China are behind this “enemy alliance” of countries and movements trying to destroy us.

“We face a formidable group of terrorists and hostile countries, and we’ve got to be better prepared to compete or we will need to be ready to destroy them,” says Flynn.

Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has been known for his criticism of President Obama for failing to identify radical Islamists as the enemy. But his book expands the list of enemies to Russia, which seems like a strange pick since Flynn had appeared at the Russia Today (RT) propaganda channel’s 10th anniversary celebration in Moscow, sitting next to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Flynn’s co-author, Michael Ledeen, dismisses concern about Flynn’s attendance at the RT dinner, saying, “He attended a conference in Moscow, and ended up sitting next to the Russian dictator.” That conference was sponsored by a Moscow-funded channel described as KGB-TV by a leading Soviet defector because of its transmission of Russian government propaganda and disinformation.

Ledeen said that Flynn’s critics should read their book to understand his real views on Russia, and that he is not being soft on the Russians.

In an interview, Flynn disclosed that he had previously made another surprising appearance in Russia and “was the first U.S. officer ever allowed inside the headquarters of the GRU [Russian military intelligence].” He explained, “I was able to brief their entire staff. I gave them a leadership OPD. [Professional development class on leadership] and talked a lot about the way the world’s unfolding.”

Whatever he told the GRU and whatever the motivation for accepting a paid trip to Moscow to celebrate RT, Flynn’s book does in fact identify an “enemy alliance” against America, with its “most active and powerful members” being Russia and Iran. He sees “an alliance between Radical Islamists and regimes in Havana, Pyongyang, Moscow, and Beijing.” He calls it “an international alliance of evil countries and movements that is working to destroy us.”

Did he warn Russia against becoming another Evil Empire when he lectured the GRU? If so, they are ignoring Flynn, since the Russian/Iranian/Syrian alliance is consolidating power by moving through Aleppo, and may ultimately threaten Saudi Arabia.

Making America great again may require a military confrontation with Russia and its client states in the region.

Making America great again may also require confronting China, whose communist rulers are so sensitive about their own illegitimate rule that they are objecting to a telephone call between the President-elect and the President of Taiwan (Free China).

One thing not in dispute is that Flynn thinks that the administration he served, headed by Barack Obama, tried to accommodate our enemies, selling out American interests in the process. Consider these quotes from the book:

  • Obama “has shown great sympathy for anti-American ‘revolutionaries,’ and abandoned friendly tyrannies such as Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt and Zine Ben Ali’s Tunisia.”
  • “Obama has done his damndest to forge alliances with Hugo Chavez, before his death, the Castro brothers, and Ali Khamenei, but they and their cronies have all responded by redoubling their efforts to defeat us.”
  • Obama turned his back on the pro-democracy Green Movement in Iran because he was “heavily invested in secret outreach” to the Iranian regime.
  • Obama “has tiptoed around open criticism of Vladimir Putin’s many aggressive actions.”
  • The Obama Administration’s “open hostility to Israel” has been damaging to U.S. national security.

Flynn writes that “I find it simply incredible that an American president should believe a strategic alliance with Iran to be more attractive than our traditional embrace of Israel.”

As an intelligence officer, Flynn must understand this is not just “incredible” and the result of accidental policies, but rather a deliberate effort to undermine the United States and its traditional alliances. Indeed, if Flynn wants to turn things around, he will have to lead a purge of the Clinton and Obama agents in the Pentagon and other agencies who have been deliberately withholding information about the nature of the threats and how our lives are in peril from an “enemy alliance” that Obama has been supporting as President of the United States.

Flynn’s own DIA was previously home to one of Fidel Castro’s top spies, the DIA’s senior Cuban analyst, Ana Belen Montes, who was charged with having served as a Cuban agent from 1985 to 2001.

Flynn ran the Pentagon’s spy agency from July 22, 2012 to August 7, 2014, and he says some material was left out of the book for security reasons. Yet, he drops a blockbuster on page 143, writing about a “Russian connection” to radical Islam.

Here’s what he says: “As is so often the case when looking at the battlefield, I also found a Russia connection. When the Soviet empire fell, there were a lot of unemployed KGB officials scrambling to make a living. They were a perfect fit with the terror networks, had few moral compunctions about cooperating with violent anti-American organizations (they’d been doing it for decades), and over the few years many of the KGB’s safe houses, station headquarters, and secure communications networks were put at the disposal of terror groups.”

For whatever reason, Flynn does not draw a direct line between these KGB officials and the former KGB officer, Vladimir Putin, running Russia. But he notes that “Putin has done a lot for the Khamenei regime” in Iran.

Flynn says we need an ideological offensive against our enemies, of the kind run by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the CIA against communism. The Achilles heel in this analysis is that the OSS and CIA were infiltrated by enemy agents, and the collapse or fall of communism was a strategic deception. To make matters worse, we recently learned that Obama’s CIA director John Brennan had voted for the Communist Party ticket in 1976 and was nevertheless hired by the agency in 1980. It’s clear that standards for hiring intelligence officers have been dramatically lowered.

The DIA spy, Ana Montes, was herself a left-winger and a campus radical before she joined the Pentagon spy agency in 1984. She was a “true believer” in communism, as a book about the case documents. She wrote DIA policy papers playing down the threat posed by Castro’s Cuba.

“Communism lost mass appeal when the Soviet Empire fell,” writes Flynn. But this is not really the case, as we have seen in the sympathetic coverage of Castro after his death. There are still more than 100 communist parties around the world, including a dozen in the United States. China, North Korea and Cuba are still officially communist countries. Venezuela and Nicaragua are run by Marxists.

In facing this “formidable group of terrorists and hostile countries,” Flynn calls for a “better strategy” and “better intelligence,” but admits that in terms of a U.S. response, “We are slow, and we can’t keep secrets very well…”

“The CIA, FBI, and NSA have over their lifetimes each discovered several individuals who, for monetary or ideological reasons, committed espionage on behalf of foreign nations,” notesDr. Jeffrey T. Richelson. “Those individuals have included Aldrich Ames, James Nicholson, Edward Lee Howard, Jack Edward Dunlap, William H. Martin and Bernon F. Mitchell, and Ronald Pelton.”

We could add former CIA and NSA analyst Edward Snowden to the list.

The biggest in the history of the DIA was Montes, who is not mentioned in the Flynn book.

Nevertheless, Flynn’s book is a welcome change from the head-in-the-sand attitude of so many in and out of government who have failed for a variety of reasons to talk about “moles” in our intelligence agencies, and who refuse to acknowledge foreign threats.

Flynn says he was fired in 2014 as director of the DIA for telling a congressional committee “that we were not as safe as we had been a few years back.” General Mattis was relieved of his command by the Obama administration because he was “hawkish on Iran,” The New York Times reports.

The success of the Trump administration in foreign policy will depend on whether General Mattis, Lt. General Flynn, the designated CIA director, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), and other national security officials, are able to enforce loyalty to America in the bureaucracy and weed out the spies.

“America First” has to be more than a campaign slogan; it has to be a requirement for U.S. foreign policy and applying for a federal job.


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.

10/22/16

Where America Stands In The World With Trump Or Hillary In Office

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | Crossposted from Right Wing News

I’m sure you will be shocked that I disagree with both sides here. The AP has an article out showing where Trump stands versus Clinton on foreign and world affairs. The US should not impose solutions on foreign interactions, but if we are already involved or it is in our best interests nationally, then yes, we should be involved. Since 9/11, I have said that we made a strategic error by going after Iraq and then Afghanistan. We should have gone after the real culprits… Iran and Saudi Arabia. That never happened. What did ensue is never ending warfare actions against barbarians more comfortable living as goats. It’s a losing scenario which the Russians also found out the hard way.

That’s not to say I think we can’t wipe out ISIS. I believe we can. The question is… are we willing to absorb the collateral damage? Because that is what it would take. A clean slate. It is the way of war.

Donald Trump is what I call an isolationist… a nationalist. He believes in protectionism. Trump says our allies should contribute monetarily to us defending them or should have to defend themselves. I agree they should have to contribute… but regardless, there are parts of the world we cannot just walk away from. Because what happens to our allies directly affects us as a nation and will surely come to our doorstep. If you let a maniacal leader take over the world except for the US, then pretty soon, the US will fall as well. That’s why we have alliances. We are stronger together in battle.

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From Breitbart:

WASHINGTON (AP) — THE ISSUE: How should America use its influence in a world where being a superpower doesn’t get you what it once did? As instability and human tragedy in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria have shown, the U.S. alone cannot impose solutions or force the surrender of adversaries like the Islamic State group, which cannot be deterred by the threat of nuclear attack.

___

WHERE THEY STAND

Donald Trump says his approach is defined by the phrase “America First.” He says, for example, that if allies in Europe and Asia won’t pay the full cost of U.S. contributions to their defense, then the U.S. should let them defend themselves. He is sour on “international unions that tie us up and bring America down.”

Hillary Clinton takes the view that America benefits from a wide network of alliances, both for security and for economic strength. She says she would work to widen and strengthen that network. She criticizes a “go-it-alone” approach for the U.S. and asserts that international partnerships are “a unique source of America’s strength.”

Clinton is a socialist/communist. She is an elitist/globalist. She believes there should be no borders and one huge world economy. This philosophy, if imposed on the US, is deadly and never, ever works. It ends in strife, death and war. Clinton is not a war hawk… she is for sale to the highest bidder. She puts herself first and the nation second.

Obama has been a monstrous failure in Iraq and Syria. His slap and tickle approach to ISIS has not worked and has in fact strengthened the enemy. Before Obama became involved, Iraq was more or less stable… so was Afghanistan. Not any more. Now tribal Jihadists have formed a Caliphate and pretty much terrorize as they please. Assad has launched a third chemical attack on his own people with the aid of Russia and Iran. I’m not sure we should be in Syria at all, but if we are there, should we be letting thousands die so horribly? Trump says he will wipe out ISIS, but I have not seen a credible plan for that. Clinton would simply talk them to death.

Trump says he stands against the Iran deal, but the last time I heard anything on it, he said he would keep it in place and go to the negotiating table with them. Huge mistake. The deal should be scrapped immediately. You do not conduct diplomacy with an avowed enemy of the US, especially for nuclear weapons. War with the mullahs is a foregone conclusion, regardless of what Clinton bloviates.

NATO is a necessary entity. We should not however bear the majority of the cost as we do. Trump is wrong when he intimates that NATO is no longer necessary. Russia is as big a threat today, if not more, than during Reagan’s administration. Trump’s friendliness with Putin is beyond troubling and he has stooges for the Kremlin surrounding him. We cannot afford to do away with NATO, but we can negotiate a better deal for the US. And we should all be prepping for war… a war that is in fact already here. Clinton gives lip service to NATO, but her only real concern is what she would get from our allies, not a true security alliance.

We should not go it alone and Clinton is right that there is strength in numbers. But there is weakness in global socialism, which is her shtick. We are in the beginning salvos of World War III. We should be strengthening our military and forging as many alliances as we can. Neither candidate knows much at all about foreign policy or the military. This is why Russia, China and Iran are beginning to make their moves against us. Without a strong leader, we invite war.

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10/5/16

General Milley on our Enemies with Emphasis on Russia

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

   

Primer: For all you pro Russian and pro Putin types out there:

What you Need to Know About the Gerasimov Doctrine’

and

Russian Hybrid Warfare: How to Confront a New Challenge to the West

***

Military: The U.S. Army‘s chief of staff on Tuesday issued a stern warning to potential threats such as Russia and vowed the service will defeat any foe in ground combat.

“The strategic resolve of our nation, the United States, is being challenged and our alliances tested in ways that we haven’t faced in many, many decades,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told an audience at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

“I want to be clear to those who wish to do us harm … the United States military — despite all of our challenges, despite our [operational] tempo, despite everything we have been doing — we will stop you and we will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before. Make no mistake about that.”

Milley’s comments come during an election year in which voters will decide a new president and commander in chief — and a period of increased military activity of near-peer competitors, including Russia and China.

The Army has struggled to rebuild its readiness after more than a decade of extended combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The service has significantly cut the size of its force since the Cold War and decreased its modernization budget in the last decade, Milley said.

“While we focused on the counter-terrorist fight, other countries — Russia, Iran, China, North Korea — went to school on us,” he said. “They studied our doctrine, our tactics, our equipment, our organization, our training, our leadership. And, in turn, they revised their own doctrines, and they are rapidly modernizing their military today to avoid our strengths in hopes of defeating us at some point in the future.”

Milley also quoted a senior Russian official as saying publicly, “The established world order is undergoing a foundational shake-up” and that “Russia can now fight a conventional war in Europe and win.”

The general warned that future warfare with a near-peer adversary will “be highly lethal, unlike anything our Army has experienced at least since World War II.”

“Our formations will likely have to be small; we will have to move constantly,” he said. “On the future battlefield, if you stay in one place for longer than two or three hours, you will be dead.”

Despite the challenges, Milley said the Army will adapt to survive such a dangerous battlefield.

“It’s a tall order for sure — to project power into contested theaters, fight in highly populated urban areas, to survive and win on intensely lethal and distributed battlefields and to create leaders and soldiers who can prevail. Tough? Yes. But impossible? Absolutely not,” Milley said.

“Make no mistake about it, we can now and we will … retain the capability to rapidly deploy,” he said, “and we will destroy any enemy anywhere, any time.”

**** So what is percolating globally and against the United States that has the Pentagon concerned?

Using the same provocations that Iran has used against the United States, Russia is doing the same thing.

Nato jets scrambled as Russian bombers fly south

Two Russian Blackjack bombers were intercepted by fighter jets from four European countries as they flew from the direction of Norway to northern Spain and back, it has emerged. Norway, the UK, France and Spain all scrambled jets as the TU-160 planes skirted the airspace of each country. It comes at a time of heightened tension between the West and Russia. Correspondents say the frequency of Russian bombers being intercepted by Nato planes has increased markedly. Spanish media say it is the furthest south such an operation has had to take place. More here from the BBC.

Map locator

Given the failed truce or cease fire agreement regarding Syria, it was announced by John Kerry and approved by the White House and National Security Council to walk away fully from Russia and seek other avenues with regard to the deadly civil war in Syria. As noted, last week before the Senate, it was admitted there was no Plan B.

In recent months, Russia has been quite aggressive and militant towards Americans in Moscow and other cities in Russia. Some diplomats have been beaten up, robbed and their homes broken into. The most recent incident involved some Americans being drugged.

“We are outraged,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in a statement posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website, adding the claim may have been the work of the US State Department seeking “revenge” for the collapse of talks between the two counties to address the situation in Syria.

Russia’s denial came after a report two days ago by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that the diplomats — a man and a woman who were not senior officials — allegedly had their drinks spiked with a date-rape drug while attending a United Nations convention on corruption last November. The report, attributed to anonymous sources, said the State Department quietly protested the incident to Russian officials.

The story also said one of the diplomats had been treated at a “Western medical clinic” – which Russia said was not true. More here from CNN.

American personnel and diplomats are being evacuated from talks and some ground operations in Syria where and when the bloodshed continues in Aleppo.

Russia had agreed to a cease-fire last month, but that fell apart quickly. Russia argues that the United States has failed in its commitment to separate the moderate rebel groups it supports from more radical factions such as the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda.

Kirby said the United States will withdraw a team that had been dispatched to open a so-called joint implementation center, in which Russian and American armed forces were going to join efforts to fight Islamic State and other jihadi groups.

Also Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree suspending his country’s participation in a treaty with the U.S. designed to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Putin cited “a threat to strategic stability as a result of USA’s unfriendly acts toward Russia.” This was a reference to a deepening diplomatic spat between the Kremlin and the White House over Syria, as well as tensions and sanctions that followed Russia’s 2014 takeover of Crimea and its support to separatists in eastern Ukraine.

It is the latest action by Russia that serves to unwind the nuclear-cooperation and weapons treaties that have governed the relationship between the U.S. and Russia in the years after the Soviet dissolution.

The U.S. said it would continue to participate in multilateral talks over Syria, aimed at achieving a cessation of hostilities and the delivery of aid, and would communicate with Russia regarding airstrikes to avoid collisions.

Last week, when it first threatened to suspend Syria talks with Russia, Washington said it would consider other options, including additional financial sanctions or even military operations. More here from the LATimes.

Then it appears the National Security Council and the State Department pinged the United Nations for some action….well kinda sorta.

The United States virtually blocked the United Nations Security Council’s statement that condemned the mortaring of Russia’s embassy in Damascus, Russia’s Permanent Mission to the global organization said.

“It was actually blocked by the U.S. delegation, which tried to bring outside elements into a standard text. Brits and Ukrainians clumsily helped Americans,” the mission said.

It said that the behavior of the three countries “testifies to their blatant disrespect for the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations”, which demands to protect diplomatic and consular facilities and personnel.

The Russian mission said that “when such crimes were committed earlier, including against the diplomatic missions of Western countries, Russia has always unconditionally supported their condemnation by the Security Council.”

“We have to state that the moral principles of some of our colleagues in the Security Council have seriously teetered,” it said. More here from TASS.

Russia is taking all precautions forecasting future aggressions in Syria as they installed the S-300 anti-aircraft missile defense system at the Russia base of Tartus which is near Latakia, Syria on the Mediterranean Sea.

Further there is the matter of the Baltics and Ukraine. Control and management of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea is at risk.

NATO members must increase the alliance’s military capabilities, position additional forces in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, establish a maritime force in the Black Sea and bolster its presence in the Arctic, all to counter Russia’s growing military strength and increasingly belligerent behavior toward its neighbors, the Atlantic Council said in a new report.

The report, “Restoring the Power and Purpose of the NATO Alliance,” also urges America’s leaders to strengthen U.S. leadership of NATO, work to restore public support for the trans-Atlantic alliance and “counter those who threaten to withdraw U.S. support for NATO.” And it calls on alliance members to maintain their commitment to securing Afghanistan and to increase military assistance and intelligence-sharing with “its Arab partners” in response to the spreading terrorist threat.

The policy paper was crafted by a team led by former veteran diplomatic Nicholas Burns, who was the U.S. ambassador to NATO, and retired Gen. James Jones, a former Marine Corps commandant and Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. The report was prepared ahead of next month’s NATO summit in Warsaw. More here.

What about the Arctic?

Russia: Militarizing the Arctic

While the Arctic region remains peaceful, Russia’s recent steps to militarize the Arctic, coupled with its bellicose behavior toward its neighbors, makes the Arctic a security concern. Russia’s Maritime Doctrine of Russian Federation 2020, adopted in July 2015, lists the Arctic as one of two focal points, the other being the Atlantic.[1]

Russia’s Northern Fleet, which is based in the Arctic, now counts for two-thirds of the Russian Navy. A new Arctic command was established in 2015 to coordinate all Russian military activities in the Arctic region.[2] Underwater, Russian submarines are operating at a rate not seen since the end of the Cold War. Indeed, Admiral Viktor Chirkov, commander-in-chief of the Russian navy, stated in 2015 that the navy had ramped up submarine patrols by 50 percent from just 2013.[3]

Over the next few years, two new so-called Arctic brigades will be permanently based in the Arctic region, and Russian special forces have been training in the region. Soviet-era facilities have been re-opened; Russia is expected to have nine operative airfields in the Arctic by 2018.[4] Russia has reportedly also placed radar and S-300 missiles on the Arctic bases at Franz Joseph Land, New Siberian Islands, Novaya Zemlya, and Severnaya Zemlya.[5] Russia’s ultimate goal is to deploy a combined arms force in the Arctic by 2020, and this plan appears to be on track.[6] In early June, the Russian Navy showed off its first new icebreaker in 45 years.[7]

As an Arctic power, Russia’s military presence in the region is to be expected. However, it should be viewed with some caution in light of recent Russian aggression in its neighborhood. The former Supreme Allied Commander of Europe, General Philip Breedlove, described Russian activity in the Arctic as “increasingly troubling,” stating: “Their increase in stationing military forces, building and reopening bases, and creating an Arctic military district—all to counter an imagined threat to their internationally undisputed territories—stands in stark contrast to the conduct of the seven other Arctic nations.”[8]. More here from Heritage.

****

ABC: The Russians are already there in force. Last year, they staged a military exercise in the Arctic as seen in this Russian Ministry of Defense footage.

It involved about 40,000 troops, 15 submarines, 41 warships and multiple aircraft.  No one disputes their right to do that on their own territory.  It’s just that it wasn’t announced.

Philip Breedlove: We pre-announce ours.  No one is surprised by them whereas the exercise that Russia did was a snap exercise which is a bit destabilizing.

Until May of this year, retired four-star General Philip Breedlove was the supreme Allied commander of NATO with responsibility for the Arctic.

What else is destabilizing, he says, is Russia’s military build up along something called the Northern Sea Route skirting the Russian Arctic coastline. The route could become an alternative to the Suez Canal, saving huge amounts of time and money for the commercial shipping industry.

Philip Breedlove: I have heard as much as 28 days decrease in some of the transit from the northern European markets to the Asian markets. That is an incredible economic opportunity. And it could be a very boon— big boon to business around the world.

Lesley Stahl: What would it mean if the Russians did gain control over the Northern Sea route?

Philip Breedlove: If the Russians had the ability to militarily hold that at ransom, that is a big lever over the world economy.

Related reading: Russia’s Military Sophistication in the Arctic Sends Echoes of the Cold War

09/12/16

The Terrible Legacy of 9/11

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

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[Editor’s note: I was asked (along with their other contributing editors) by the outstanding website Family Security Matters, to offer up our thoughts on how we “view the significance of 9/11, fifteen years on.” Here was my response, which they posted over the weekend.   Roger Aronoff]

As we approach the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., the tragedy is that the Islamic jihadists are winning too many battles around the world, and have forced the West and its partners to abridge freedoms in pursuit of security. And despite the claims of the Obama administration, the U.S. is not succeeding in leading a coalition of nations to defeat the enemy, which it identifies as ISIL. In fact, ISIL, more commonly known as ISIS, is now operating fully in 18 countries—a three-fold increase in just two years—according to a National Counterterrorism Center report leaked to NBC News in August.

The fact is, after nearly eight years of Obama and Secretaries of State Clinton and Kerry, things have gotten much worse in many hot spots across the globe. Through the work of our Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB), we have concluded that Obama came to the White House seeking to empower the Muslim Brotherhood in North Africa, and the Iranian Shi’ite regime in the Persian Gulf region. Because of our unsigned nuclear “deal” with Iran, we have few options when it comes to restraining their behavior. We pretend that we have a common interest with both Russia and Iran, which is to defeat ISIS. But ISIS is just one manifestation of the jihadist ideology that seeks dominance, and submission, as it slaughters tens of thousands of people in its long, drawn out death march.

When the U.S. removed its remaining troops from Iraq in 2011, President Obama announced that “we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.” That was the same year that the so-called “Arab Spring” led to the fall of America’s ally in Egypt, the start of the Syrian civil war, and the West’s war against Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, who had abandoned his WMD program and was fighting against al Qaeda. That is when America switched sides in the Global War on Terror, as we documented in our first CCB report, and further supported in our second report back in June. Benghazi turned out to be a pile-up of scandal, failed policy and dereliction of duty.

Today we have Libya as a failed state, dominated by jihadist groups; Syria as the home base of ISIS and the scene of what even The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof calledObama’s “worst mistake,” comparing it to Rwanda, with close to a half a million dead; and an emboldened Iran, regularly humiliating America because it can, since it has received an estimated $100 billion in formerly frozen funds, and there is no signed deal for which they can be held accountable. In addition, peace between Israel and the Palestinians is less likely than when President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton came to power.

Meanwhile, the corrupt news media pretend that Obama has been a successful foreign policy president, when, in fact, he has been a disaster. Fifteen years after 9/11, the frequency of terrorist and jihadist attacks is such that they are quickly forgotten in a fog of war that is rapidly enveloping the world.

This article was originally published on the website of Family Security Matters.


Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at [email protected]. View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.

09/3/16

#LoudonClear: ‘Communism vs. Freedom’ with Guest Jeff Nyquist (Audio)

By: Renee Nal | New Zeal

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This week, Trevor speaks with Jeffrey R. Nyquist, geopolitical expert and author of “Origins of the Fourth World War: And the Coming Wars of Mass Destruction.”

Trevor and Jeff discuss the potential consequences of the U.S. elections on the world’s strategic balance of power.

Listen:

08/7/16

#LoudonClear: Trevor interviews Jeff Nyquist on Russia influence

Trevorrrrrr1

This week, Trevor interviews Jeffrey R. Nyquist, geopolitical expert and author of “Origins of the Fourth World War: And the Coming Wars of Mass Destruction.” This particularly frightening episode of LoudonClear delves into what happened to the communists after the cold war, the Russian propaganda machine and Donald Trump’s Russian ties.

Listen: