Monday, April 23, 2018

US Sanctions Loom Over “Defiant Turkey”

I’ve alerted my readers for some time now that this was the direction the US was going to move in... And this move has NOTHING to do with the Baptist Pastor Brunson- Or the delusion that Mike Pompeo is a "good christian". I'll underline the facts of the matter, many of which, have been long covered here

al monitor
"Congress has revived threats to sanction Turkey over the detention of North Carolina Pastor Andrew Brunson, as well as other US citizens and Turkish staff members of US diplomatic missions that it believes are being held as “political pawns.”
Brunson is tied to the Gulen organization- Baptists have long been tools of Rockefeller/bankers.
Intending to create the first great Baptist university, Rockefeller gave the school $80 million, equal to more than $2 billion in today’s dollars.

And undoubtedly it was the US that made Brunson the convenient pawn- the pretext they need. The humanitarian rubbish that obfuscates the destabilization agenda. See below:
"Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., declared in a joint statement April 19 that they would pursue targeted sanctions against Turkish officials in the foreign affairs spending bill for fiscal year 2019. Their statement noted that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “has continued to violate the trust between our two nations by holding Pastor Brunson and other innocent Americans behind bars on fabricated charges. … Turkish officials who participate in the detainment of any innocent American citizen should face international consequences, and the actions against Pastor Brunson, in particular, qualify as hostage-taking.”
Piling on the pressure, a bipartisan group of 66 senators in a letter to Erdogan called the mix of terrorism and espionage charges brought against Brunson “an absurd collection of anonymous accusations, flights of fantasy and random character assassination.” That a Turkish court should accept such an indictment as the basis for prosecution, they wrote, “removes any shred of doubt that Andrew Brunson, like other American citizens, as well as Turkish employees of the US government detained under the state of emergency, is being used as a political pawn by elements of the Turkish government bent on destroying the longstanding partnership between two great nations.”
The letter further states that the Donald Trump administration had been patient “in the hope that justice would be done” — in other words, that Brunson would be freed after his first courtroom hearing on Monday. But the presiding judge ordered Brunson back to prison, saying his trial would resume on May 7. The 50-year-old broke down in tears as he protested his innocence.
The senators wrote that they now have “concluded that other measures will be necessary to ensure that the government of Turkey respects the right of law-abiding citizens and employees of the United States to travel to, reside in and work in Turkey without fear of persecution.”
Erdogan quoted regarding Brunson/Gulen and extraditions
 "The US is behind [Gulen]," asserted Erdogan, declaring that "if you want Brunson, look at the steps you have taken in the past. Why don't you deport this man in accordance with the extradition treaty?"

The letter comes amid growing administration pushback against Turkey, a critical NATO ally, over its increasingly aggressive behavior at home and beyond its borders.
Earlier this week, Trump tweeted about Turkey for the first time, saying Brunson was being “persecuted in Turkey for no reason” and that he should be allowed to come home. Vice President Mike Pence chimed in with a tweet of his own. “Spoke to Pastor Brunson’s wife this week. Assured her of our prayers & @POTUS and I are monitoring his trial in Turkey … It’s time the Turkish govt release him.”
Trump doing his part for his masters! Managing your perception.
Humanitarian rubbish out of the way- Let's cut to the chase. Let's talk fact. Reality. And toss the obfuscation to the curb- where it belongs. What bothers the US is..

*Turkey and Russia cooperating on their mutual shared interests
*Turkey and Iran cooperating on their mutual shared interests
*Turkey impeding the USreal plot to greater Israel 2.0 
* Turkey also owes NO money to the IMF- think about that? Having it's own state bank.

Turkey’s flirtation with Russia is also drawing Washington’s ire. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on April 18, “Turkey lately has increased its engagement with Russia and Iran. … The ease with which Turkey brokered arrangements with the Russian military to facilitate the launch of its Operation Olive Branch in Afrin District — arrangements to which America was not privy — is gravely concerning.”
Mitchell was referring to Turkey’s January offensive against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). The group, labeled terrorists by Ankara because of its links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels inside Turkey, is the United States’ top ally against the Islamic State in Syria.

Mitchell warned, “Ankara should be mindful of the risks in making strategic concessions to Moscow in order to achieve its tactical objectives in Syria.” Moreover, he said, Ankara’s plans to purchase the Russian S-400 missile system “could potentially lead to sanctions … and adversely impact Turkey’s participation in the F-35 [fighter jet] program.”
The State Department’s annual country-by-country report on human rights, which was made public today, contained exceptionally harsh language regarding Turkey. It catalogs a spike in torture — and in some cases, deaths — of detainees, inhumane prison conditions, stifling of free expression, jailing of journalists and “credible allegations that the government contributed to civilian deaths in the connections with violent clashes” between security forces and the PKK.

Until recently, the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs was Ankara’s fiercest ally on multiple fronts. It has been lobbying the White House to scotch the Pentagon’s partnership with the YPG. It persuaded Congress to excise sanctions language from this year’s appropriations bill that would have sanctioned Turkish officials responsible for unlawful arrests of US citizens. State Department officials argued time was needed to persuade Turkey to let Brunson and others go.
The State Department may have believed it had a deal, but the prosecutor’s choice of the May 7 date for a second hearing has reinforced suspicions that Brunson’s fate is closely linked to that of a high-profile Turkish detainee in the United States. Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the former deputy chief executive of state-owned Halkbank, is facing up to 15 years in prison for his alleged role in violating US sanctions against Iran. A US judge postponed Atilla’s sentencing to May 7, and in a further twist, delayed it again to May 16.
I've written several posts on the Halkbank plot.
"Ankara's bigger worry is the size and terms of the fine the US Treasury will likely slap on Halkbank for sanctions-busting. Turkish officials warn that if the fine is "disproportionately high" and ends up coming out of Turkish taxpayers’ pockets, this will sink relations to new lows.

The initial sanctions language crafted by Lankford and Shaheen last year would have only been travel bans. A well-informed source told Al-Monitor on strict condition of anonymity, “As most sanctions go, there was broad waiver authority for national security purposes … and when [the State Department] spoke to the senators, they agreed to withdraw the language from the appropriations bill because [Andrew Brunson’s wife] Norine Brunson felt it best.”

Besides, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was also opposed. Now, with Brunson and others still behind bars and Tillerson gone, the State Department — at Mitchell’s prodding — is toughening its stance, the source said.

The text of the new sanctions language that will be reinserted in the appropriations bill has not been finalized yet, but the aim is to “push for the highest level” in terms of Turkish officials who would be targeted by the proposed sanctions.
“Chances of the sanctions language appearing in the next funding cycle are very high,” the source predicted. Moreover, none of this precludes the use of sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act against Turkish officials for human rights abuses or corruption. “There will be annual lists. This is a very broad authority. If human rights groups want anyone added to the list, they have to build the legal case and give it to Congress to submit to the administration. It’s terrible, but this is the first time the Hill stopped listening to State on Turkey. This is a good time to push,” the source added. “What Erdogan has been doing is shocking. And [the State Department] is shocked. They don’t know what to do. And they’ve been beaten [by senators] into submission.”
A "Global Magnitsky Act" wielded against Turkey- Exactly as has been written here!
"With Turkey entering a new election cycle following the announcement of snap polls on June 24, it’s rather unlikely Erdogan will care. More likely, he will brush aside senators’ calls to free Brunson and whip up further anti-Western feelings so as to woo nationalist voters instead.

Yet should Mike Pompeo be confirmed as the new secretary of state, Washington may grow even less accommodating. Pompeo, a former Republican congressman from Kansas, served as a deacon and taught Sunday school at the Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Wichita, which is part of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church that Brunson belongs to."

Also: The U.S issues three warnings to Turkish gov’t in two days

flashback : FrontPage Magazine: Time to Get Tough With Turkey

From earlier today:

Russia: No Decision Yet on S300's


Russia: No Decision Yet on S300's

 All promotion of the S300's being present in Syria or being a sure thing at this time is speculation that plays into the Usrael propaganda machine- Spreading incorrect information, seems to me, is doing the work of the global tyranny, witting or unwitting. Lavrov made clear if Russia makes this decision it will be made public.

MOSCOW, April 23 (Reuters) - Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that Russia had not yet decided whether it would deliver advanced S-300 missile systems to Syria, but would not make a secret of the matter if it took such a decision, the TASS news agency reported.  

“We’ll have to wait to see what specific decisions the Russian leadership and representatives of Syria will take,” TASS cited Lavrov as saying on Monday during a visit to Beijing.
“There is probably no secret about this and it can all be announced (if a decision is taken),” added Lavrov.
 April 23. /TASS/. The question of providing S-300 air defense systems
to Syria has not been settled yet, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey
Lavrov told the media in Beijing on Monday. Lavrov’s reply was published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.
Kremlin mum on Russia's possible deliveries of S-300 air defense systems to Syria
"I cannot say that this question has been settled," Lavrov said. "We know what Russian President Vladimir Putin said. He has discussed such matters with an official of our Defense Ministry from the standpoint of
preventing a situation where Syria might turn out insufficiently
prepared for aggressive attacks, like the one that occurred on April 14.

 It remains to be seen what decisions will be made by the Russian
leadership and Syrian officials. Apparently, no secrets are due here.
All this can be announced."

Saturday, April 21, 2018

OPCW Fact Finding Mission Visits Douma, Syria

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 21 April 2018 —

The Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team of the
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) visited one of the sites in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic today to collect samples for analysis in connection with allegations of chemical weapons use on 7 April 2018. The OPCW will evaluate the situation and consider future steps including another possible visit to Douma. 
The samples collected will be transported to the OPCW Laboratory in Rijswijk and then dispatched for analysis to the OPCW’s designated labs. Based on the analysis of the sample results as well other information and materials collected by the team, the FFM will compile their report for submission to the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention for their consideration.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Syrian Army Secures Damascus South: US Still Paying Fraud NGO White Helmets

First the reports regarding the locale south of Damascus
LA Times
Syrian state TV broadcast images of the government assault targeting an arc of four militant-held areas ringing Damascus' southern flank, including the Yarkmouk camp, once home to the world's largest Palestinian refugee community.

By Thursday, a deal giving the militants safe passage had broken down before Islamic State's refusal to leave, activists said.

Syrian and Russian warplanes were soon crisscrossing Damascus' skies on their way to bomb the rebel-held territories. They were joined by the pounding of artillery and rockets.

"The Syrian army is now smashing the defensive line of the armed terrorist groups and conducting attacks inside," a state TV correspondent, said in a live broadcast Friday from what was said to be the outskirts of the Islamic State-held Al Hajar Al-Aswad district.

Later, he said there were reports that a ceasefire was about to be put in place but was waiting on the rebels to submit fully to the terms of a deal that would see most of them depart to the opposition-controlled province of Idlib in Syria's northwest or to the eastern desert region still under Islamic State's sway.

Those who chose to lay down their arms could stay, he added.
  SOHR reports that the terrorists laid down their arms and took the opportunity for free passage
“The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition watchdog monitoring the violence in Syria using a network of activists, reported on Friday that Islamic State representatives had relented and had accepted the evacuation agreement.”

The UN sheds it’s usual crocodile tears for civilians- I’m quite certain they don’t care at all.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said in a statement Friday that the agency was "deeply concerned about the fate of civilians"

Onto that NGO- or as I always like to call them No Good Organzation- The White Helmets

At a Thursday press briefing, journalists asked US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert for an update on the late-March freeze of $200 million earmarked for the recovery of Syria – and if that means Washington will be withholding payments to the White Helmets.
Nauert opened her response with a gushing comment about the organization. "We recognize and appreciate and are very grateful for all the work that the White Helmets continues to do on behalf of the people of their country and on behalf of the US Government and all the coalition forces. They're doing incredible work in rescuing in some cases, and in other cases it's recovery efforts. They're an incredible group of individuals," she said.
Moreover, she said she "just exchanged emails with them the other day." Finally cornered into giving a direct answer, she said "As far as I'm aware, all of the work still continues. Peoples' bills are still being paid."

You can, of course, watch the State Department talking head Heather Nauert make her statement at the twitter link - She made it very clear US contributions to the group are still being paid

Flashback to last friday's post: Russia accuses UK of organizing alleged Syria gas attack

The White Helmets are officially (but not really) neutral in the Syrian conflict, but they receive funding from several western governments, including the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom. The British government was initially the group's largest source of funding.

 Related to the earlier interview from today and last week:

From earlier today:

 Interesting Reads you might have missed from this past week?

Fake Democracy: The CIA NGO's target China & Yugoslavia

This is the second part of a two part interview discussing E William Engdahl's latest book- Manifest Destiny: Democracy as Cognitive Dissonance ( I love that title!)
The interview is approximately an hour in length- same as the first part. Time well spent. In my opinion, that is.


The First part is available here: 

From earlier today:

 Interesting Reads you might have missed from this past week?

S-300s' Syria, Russia & Israeli Spin

Israel is presenting the idea that S-300's are headed to Syria as a reality. As if it's guaranteed. 
From what I've seen/read so far this is NOT the case

That said Israel's claim gets me thinking about why Israeli talking heads may be presenting this transfer as a statement of fact?

 Is it because they need a pretext to move on Syria in a much more aggressive manner?

Kremlin mum on Russia's possible deliveries of S-300 air defense systems to Syria
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has preferred to refrain from any further comments if the Kremlin supports the idea of providing S-300 air defense systems to Syria. Instead, he advised the media to read President Vladimir Putin’s statement on Syria once again.

"Please read again the president’s statement made several hours after the attack and aggression against Syria. Read it attentively," he said.
 Putin made zero reference to the S-300
Putin’s statement contained no direct reference to the possibility of providing defense systems to Syria. However, on April 16 Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia was prepared to consider all necessary steps for strengthening Syria’s defenses, including the supplies of air defense systems S-300. Lavrov said "this outrageous act of aggression" by the United States, France and Britain was forcing Russia to give thought to ways of maintaining Syria’s security.
Lavrov’s statement:
“Several years ago we decided not to supply S-300 systems to Syria at our partners’ request. Now, we will consider options to ensure the Syrian state’s security after this outrageous act of aggression from the United States, France and Great Britain,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the BBC.

Lavrov did not state, clearly, concisely or definitively that Russia would supply Syria with the
S-300. He didn't rule it out, but, he definitely did not state that the S-300 was headed to Syria.

Bloomberg presents the Israeli/US perspective  with some very honest admissions about Israeli involvement in the destabilization of Syria
Angered by last week’s U.S. attack on Syria, Russia warned that there would be consequences. Only one of them was spelled out: The Kremlin said it may supply its Syrian ally with state-of-the-art air defenses.

If the prospect rings alarm bells among President Bashar al-Assad’s enemies, they’re likely to be loudest in Israel, not the U.S. Israel carries out airstrikes in Assad-controlled Syrian territory much more frequently than the U.S., as it seeks to prevent a military buildup near Israeli borders by Assad’s other key backer, Iran.
Yes, Israel does carry out more strikes, more frequently on Syria then the US. And yet, the Israeli involvement in attacking Syria goes largely unnoticed. Turkey is often promoted as a more egregious attacker of Syria. But that's not actually the case. Israel has been the single biggest regional destabilizer of Syria- From the get go! I would like to take a moment to remind readers here that when the destabilization of Syria began it was Israel the 'protestors' called out to. Yes, there are posts here covering that fact.

Israeli analysts and former defense officials say there’s only one likely response from the Jewish state if the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems are delivered to Syria: An immediate attempt to blow them up.

That would upend the delicate relationship between Israel and Russia, who’ve kept channels open despite supporting opposite sides in Syria. And it could create another dangerous moment with the potential to escalate the seven-year civil war into a wider conflict.
.In the skies, Israel has for the most part enjoyed freedom of maneuver, thanks to its air superiority -- and an implicit green light from Moscow. Both conditions may now change.
Amos Yadlin has firsthand experience of how Israel responds to such threats -- and no doubts about how it would handle this one.

A former military intelligence chief, Yadlin ...The deployment of S-300s in Syria has been a concern for two decades, and “at the end of the day, it will happen,’’ he said. “If I know the air force well, we have already made proper plans to deal with this threat. After you remove the threat, which is basically what will be done, we’re back to square one.”
Russia already has sold S-300 systems to Iran over American and Israeli objections. Syria was on track to get them too -– until 2013, when Russian President Vladimir Putin froze the contract in response to pleas from Israel. But Putin said at the time that if the U.S. attacked, Moscow would “think how we should act in the future.”
Israel has carried out at least 150 bombing raids in Syria since the civil war began in 2011, according to Zvi Magen, a former Israeli ambassador in Moscow. The latest, on April 9, hit an air base used by the Iranian military; other targets have included arms convoys bound for Hezbollah, the Iranian-armed Shiite group in Lebanon that’s repeatedly fought with Israel.
"Israel has carried out at least 150 bombing raids in Syria since 2011"- think about that.
S-300s can fire missiles at six targets simultaneously, and have a range of 200 kilometers (120 miles). That would extend into the airspace of Lebanon, sometimes used by Israeli planes to strike Syria -- and even into Israel itself.
‘Exceptionally Advanced’

“It’s an exceptionally advanced system that can cover large swaths of territory,” said Michael Oren, Israel’s deputy minister for public diplomacy and an adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Given Israel’s likely response, some analysts in Moscow say it makes more sense to use the threatened deployment as a bargaining chip.
I suspect the s-300 is being spoken of as a bargaining chip- rather then being actually transferred. But we'll see
Actually delivering the weapons “would fuel tensions in the region and cause major friction with Israel,” said Elena Suponina, a Middle East expert at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, which advises the Kremlin. “It’s enough to provide Syria with other air-defense systems that won’t provoke such a response.”
Even Syria’s current Soviet-designed systems, which have been upgraded over the last 18 months, have inflicted some damage. In February an F-16 was shot down, said to be the first Israeli aircraft lost in action since the early 1980s. And while the Pentagon says that all of the more than 100 missiles fired in last week’s strike reached their targets, Russia says that two-thirds of them were intercepted. A pro-opposition Syrian monitoring group, citing aerial defense officers, made a similar estimate.
Not Invincible

“Syria already has some good short and medium-range systems,’’ said Jeremy Binnie, Middle East and Africa editor at Jane’s Defence Weekly. Add the S-300s, and “they would be able to form a fairly comprehensive, multi-layered air defense umbrella over their country.”
In any attempt to destroy the new weapons, Israel would probably use U.S.-built F-35 stealth aircraft and electronic warfare, he said.

Russian military experts say that while the S-300 is very powerful, it isn’t foolproof.

“There’s no invincible air-defense system,’’ said Viktor Murakhovsky, a former army colonel who’s now a government adviser. “Just like there are no invincible aircraft.’’

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Why (do) US forces remain near Manbij while ISIS has moved elsewhere in Syria?

A picture taken on April 3, 2018, shows vehicles of US-backed coalition forces driving in the northern Syrian town of Manbij
  Instead of using the headline “Why US forces remain near Manbij while ISIS has moved elsewhere in Syria”,  as employed by Military Times, as a statement of fact. Pentagon propagandist Tara Copp, who is the "Pentagon Bureau Chief for Military Times" is telling you what to think about this strangeness. US Forces not pursuing ISIS? 
  I’m going to use the same wording but present this post as a question by adding the word "do"& the question mark to the title of my post. Which I will then answer with the information from the armytimes article.

A US military base in the al-Asaliyah village, between the city of Aleppo and the northern town of Manbij, is seen April 2, 2018
 Question: Why do US forces remain near Manbij while ISIS has moved elsewhere in Syria? 
As openly admitted/acknowledged in this article- See below 

My Answer:  Targeting Turkey with an eye to annexing more Syrian territory for Kurdistan aka Israel 2.0- As you will see this is in fact the correct answer. The Pentagon propagandist admits that once we get through the spin of impeding ISIS
“The final pockets of Islamic State fighters in Syria are hundreds of miles from the northern Syrian town of Manbij, but U.S. forces will remain there to prevent ISIS fighters from returning, the Pentagon said Tuesday
While most ISIS fighters are located farther south and along the Syria-Iraq border, Manbij is still vulnerable to ISIS resurgence, Dillon said. 
The bulk of the remaining ISIS fighters are located in two areas: along the Syria-Iraq border around the town of Haijin, in the Euphrates River Valley north of Abu Kamal, and just west of Deir ez-Zoir”
Very clearly, ISIS has no presence in Manbij. It's admitted. But the US has to stay in Manbij just in case ISIS returns? Gibberish!

1- ISIS is located hundreds of miles away, as admitted, meaning US presence is not required in Manbij.

2- The whole reason for US presence in Syria is to rid the globe of the ISIS scourge. If that is true, then the US should be relocating to undertake their alleged duty.  But they are not.

3- Since the US has got their ‘best ISIS fighters” already present in Manbij, that would be SDF/PKK/YPG, as has been stated so many times. We should be confident that these fierce brave men and women can prevent ISIS from returning. Which shouldn't require US presence, right?

 “Dillon would provide no figures on the numbers of ISIS fighters remaining in the country”

 Military Times  then goes on to recall that incident that occurred in Manbij as  proof  of the ISIS intent to relocate. Which, of course it wasn't.  This  claim is also a contradiction to the initial claim. Presence must remain in Manbij to keep ISIS away- because ISIS is not present: deterred by the US presence which must remain in Manbij

“On March 30, Master Sgt. Johnathan Dunbar, 36 and a British service member were killed by an IED near Manbij. The patrol was tracking an “ISIS high-value target” in the area at the time, said Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon.”
Spot the contradiction? ISIS is hundreds and hundreds of miles away from Manbij according to the Pentagon. So, how would they be tracking an "ISIS high value target"? Of course nothing like that was reported at that time. I covered the special ops soldiers, blowing themselves up,  while on "presence patrols" aka perping a false flag- and yah, that’s my opinion on that incident!

Flashback: Syria's North: Is the US Readying A Provocation Or Deterrent for Turkish Forces?

Flashback:  2 Coalition Forces Killed by IED In Syria. In The Process of Deploying Them?

When going back to re-read these posts it's clear the US obfuscated the incident, obviously, so it could be spun for future use - The spin direction is clear in the Military Times article.

Finally one nugget of fact/truth in the entire article that explains the US presence in Manbij-

"Turkish president Recep Erdogan has repeatedly challenged the coalition’s presence in Manbij and vowed to remove many of the same fighters the U.S. has worked with from the border region"

And there it is. Turkey. Challenging the presence of the US military and their proxy force. Usrael Kurds want to keep hold of  the stolen territory with a plan to annexing still more.

From earlier