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US role in Europe: Seventy years of harassing political establishment and people

According to a "sensational" article by the Telegraph, the US director of National Intelligence was recently instructed by Congress to "conduct a major review into Russian clandestine funding of European parties over the last decade." This disclosure - a classic "controlled leak" - is intended to warn disobedient yet popular political entities across Europe to scale back their ambitions to rebalance the roles and weight of their nation states within the European Union. Hungary's Jobbik, Greece's Golden Dawn, Italy's Lega Nord, and France's Front National are explicitly included in the US "warning list," while other unnamed "parties" in Austria, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands are being advised that they are "under a US security probe." Even the new British Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is suspected of flirting with the Russians. So, according to the sponsor of the Telegraph's story, any European politician who dares to question NATO's eastward expansion, the policy of anti-Russian sanctions, or the current European stance on the Ukrainian conflict is essentially a witting or unwitting tool of "Russia's hybrid warfare."

Play

South Front: EU could fall apart in period of months

Foreign Policy Diary - EU future?


Comment: More context on the refugee crisis the EU is facing:


Telephone

Under the myth of terrorism, British negotiating with Washington to directly serve warrants in U.S.

British and U.S. officials have been negotiating a plan that could allow British authorities to directly serve wiretap orders on U.S. communications companies in criminal and national security inquiries, U.S. officials confirmed Thursday.

The talks are aimed at allowing British authorities access to a range of data, from interceptions of live communications to archived emails involving British suspects, according to the officials, who are not authorized to comment publicly.

The negotiations were first reported Thursday by the Washington Post. Under the proposed plan, British authorities would not have access to records of U.S. citizens if they emerged in the British investigations. Congressional approval would be required of any deal negotiated by the two countries.

One of the U.S. officials said the talks were necessary because of the increasing immediacy of developing criminal enterprises and potential terror plots that are playing out on various communications platforms around the globe.

The official said the talks have sought to preserve privacy protections that have been at the center of the recent U.S. debate over access to Americans' telephone records that were part of a formerly secret program disclosed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

"These communications are happening with the speed of light, and law enforcement agencies need to keep pace with these communications,'' the official said.

A separate official said that any agreement also would be designed to provide equal benefits for U.S. law enforcement and national security authorities in U.S. investigations.

"Such an agreement would ensure U.S. access to data stored in the United Kingdom in support of law enforcement, terrorism, and other transnational threat investigations and support our partners' ability to investigate serious crime, as well as terrorism and other transnational threats on a reciprocal basis,'' that official said.

Comment:

Paradise Stolen: The Myth of Terrorism



Bad Guys

Why the US supports Arab dictatorships & crushes democracy in Middle East

© Unknown
Just a little quintessential Arab culture (supposedly) – Not to be critiqued
A quick glance at a map of US military bases in the Middle East will immediately tell you that Washington's friends in the region are crowned heads. The Emirs of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and UAE. The Saudi king in Riyad and the Hashemite king of Jordan.

Meanwhile its historic chosen enemies in the Arab world have been secularist Arab nationalist regimes. Nasser in Egypt, Hussein in Iraq, Gaddafi in Libya, Assads in Syria.

That is seemingly counter-intuitive given the extreme contrast between American domestic system and those of Arab monarchies. Sectarian, clanish and highly ordered and hierarchical they couldn't be farther from the professed American ideal of opportunity, equality and liberty.

Comment: The Arab world asked for democracy and instead received ISIS, Saudi Arabia, and endless war. Also see:
With war raging on in the Middle East, millions of people were forced to flee before the advances of terror. Trapped in a conflict which was not of their making, and hunted by armies which have sought only their enslavement and/or annihilation, communities have chosen exile over death, chased out of their lands by the brutality of war. In the face of such human tragedy, Europe opened its borders, inviting in, those who lost everything ... or so we were told.

It is this 'humanitarian' narrative EU officials have volunteered to both their constituents and the media - this idea that Western nations hold a duty of care and protection over the millions displaced by war.

Indeed, Western powers are responsible. Actually no ... their role far exceeds the responsibility since the Mid-East has burnt under their fire. Let us remember which powers in fact engineered and purposely exported destabilization to the MENA over the past decade. From Iraq, to Syria, Libya and Yemen, military pyres have lit up many skies, engulfing all in their wake.

Migration as a weapon of war: 'Ethno-engineering' used by the elites to manipulate the masses



Jet2

The U.S. backed ceasefire plans for Syria were to protect their terrorist assets in Aleppo - plans scrapped after Syrian victory

© SAA Reporter
The rebels in the south (green) are cut off from the rebels in the north (green), along with access to the Turkish border. The Syrian Army (red) and the Kurds (yellow) have them trapped.
"This is the beginning of the end of jihadi presence in Aleppo. After 4 years of war and terror, people can finally see the end in sight."

— Edward Dark, Twitter, Moon of Alabama
A last ditch effort to stop a Russian-led military offensive in northern Syria ended in failure on Wednesday when the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) backed by the National Defense Forces (NDF) and heavy Russian air cover broke a 40-month siege on the villages of Nubl and al-Zahra in northwestern Aleppo province. The Obama administration had hoped that it could forestall the onslaught by cobbling together an eleventh-hour ceasefire agreement at the Geneva peace talks. But when the news that Syrian armored units had crashed through al Nusra's defenses and forced the jihadists to retreat, UN envoy Staffan de Mistura suspended the negotiations tacitly acknowledging that the mission had failed.

"I have indicated from the first day that I won't talk for the sake of talking," the envoy told reporters, saying he needed immediate help from international backers led by the United States and Russia, which are supporting opposite sides of a war that has also drawn in regional powers." (Reuters) De Mistura then announced a "temporary pause" in the stillborn negotiations which had only formally begun just hours earlier. Developments on the battlefield had convinced the Italian-Swedish diplomat that it was pointless to continue while government forces were effecting a solution through military means.

Comment: Further reading (and watching) on the good news in Aleppo:


Bad Guys

Will Turkey really invade Syria, or are they just bluffing?

© Unknown
Russia Accuses Turkey of Preparing to Invade Syria
The Russian military said Thursday that it has "reasonable grounds" to suspect that Turkey is making intensive preparations for a military invasion of neighboring Syria.

Images of a checkpoint on the border between the Turkish town of Reyhanli and the town of Sarmada in Syrian taken in late October and late January show a buildup of transportation infrastructure that could be used for moving in troops, ammunition and weapons, spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in an English-language written statement.

He said these were among growing signs of "hidden preparation of the Turkish armed forces for active actions on the territory of Syria.
...
A Turkish Foreign Ministry official said the ministry would have no immediate comment.
The Russian high command press briefing (vid with English subtitles) includes the pictures of the border post.

Turkey yesterday prohibited a Russian reconnaissance "Open Skies Treaty" flight over the Turkish-Syrian border zone. There are dozens such flights per year over Russia by NATO and over NATO countries by Russia. This is to my knowledge the first time such a flight, which had earlier been requested and accepted, is blocked by the guest country.

Bomb

US urges Russia to restart nuclear arms talks

© www.truth-out.org
Arsenal reduction, the balancing of power.
On the eve of the anniversary of a major nuclear arms reduction treaty, the United States has invited Russia to restart talks on further reductions to nuclear arsenals. Washington and Moscow finalized New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) five years ago. The treaty was signed on April 8, 2010, but entered into force on February 5, 2011.

On Friday, US National Security Advisor Susan Rice called on Russia to take the next step. "(We) continue to call on Russia to answer the president's invitation five years ago to begin talks on further reductions to our nuclear arsenals," Rice said.

Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday that Moscow plans to further implement New START. "The implementation of the provisions of the treaty is an example of Russia's strict compliance with its international obligations in the sphere of non-proliferation and arms control," the statement read. The ministry stated that the agreement "is an important factor in the strengthening of international security and stability," and provides "adequate transparency in the military-strategic relations between our countries."

Under terms of the treaty, the US and Russia each can have 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed delivery vehicles. But the treaty has not been fully implemented yet. Nearly 26 years after the end of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, Washington and Moscow reportedly still have some 2,000 atomic weapons ready to fly at a moment's notice to destroy each other. And this state of alert is now causing new concerns that the lack of trust between Washington and Moscow has significantly increased the risk of a miscalculation that could lead to a nuclear disaster.

Eye 1

As long as Saudi Arabia is involved Geneva talks are 'doomed to failure'

Media report that "the Geneva Conference on Syria announced that it has been postponed til February 25th".

The pro-government Russian media often explain the failure of the talks in Geneva by the success of the military intervention of Russia enabling the advance of the Syrian army.

Personally, I've paid attention to the fact that the delegation of 'opposition' forces, before coming to Geneva, spent a week in Saudi Arabia being coached on how to behave.

Comment: Russia has developed a sure-fire way of making sure that Saudi Arabia doesn't get their way in the Geneva talks:

Negotiate this: Russian airstrikes pulverize Syrian 'moderate' rebels for 36 straight hours


Stormtrooper

US encourages Saudi intervention, broader war in Syria

© www.breitbart.com
Saudi troops Get ready! Get set! Go?
Since 2011 the United States has wanted to deploy ground troops to Syria to secure its position there and vanquish the sovereign government of President Bashar al-Assad. Now it is encouraging Saudi Arabia to deploy ground troops to Syria to accomplish its mission, an American political analyst says.

Dennis Etler, a professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Friday, after US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter welcomed Saudi Arabia's offer of troop deployment to Syria. On Thursday, Carter welcomed the Saudi offer to participate in any ground operations in Syria, launched by a US-led coalition claiming to be fighting against Daesh terrorists in the Middle East.

US seeks to replace Assad with a puppet

"It is becoming clearer by the day that the superpower contention in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is becoming more and more acute. Since the emergence of ISIL a couple of years ago, armed, trained and funded by the US through its proxies, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel, the US has banked on Takfiri terrorists to serve as stormtroopers in its campaign to oust Syrian President Bashir al-Assad and replace him with a compliant US puppet," Professor Etler said. "The so far successful military intervention by Russia, at the request of the Syrian government, into the ongoing civil war, has however turned the tide of battle in favor of the Syrian Arab Army and thrown a wild-card into the conflict that the US never anticipated," he added.

Comment: This analysis is in the ballpark so far. What is missing is the end game: Who, after the slaughter, is the primary beneficiary, what is it hoping to get and why?


X

Setup for failure: The facade of the Geneva peace talks for Syria

© AFP 2016/ Fabrice Coffrin
The talks on the Syrian settlement in Geneva have taken a turn that could have been easily predicted. After the start of negotiations under the authority of the UN, launched on February 4 under an extensive amount of pressure from Washington, they were suddenly disrupted. The official statement reads that the talks have been delayed for 3 weeks, but it makes little to no difference. The delegation representing the Syrian opposition announced that Russia's air strikes in Syria are undermining efforts by the international community aimed at finding a solution to the Syrian conflict. This was announced by the head of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) Salim al-Muslat, the committee which was formed in the Saudi capital. The talks that the United Nations special envoy for the Syria crisis Staffan de Mistura has been desperately trying to launch since February 1, gained no momentum whatsoever. Not a single step towards a compromise has been made so far.

Out of the two meetings that were scheduled within the framework of the negotiations, only a single one actually took place, and it was the meeting with the Syrian government representatives. The delegation of the HNC failed to arrive at the Palais des Nations. In turn, the current Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari said that the announcement made by Staffan de Mistura at the start of negotiations was nothing but his "personal assessment", while all discussions are still in the preparatory stage. Bashar Jaafari told reporters that, just like two years ago, at the Geneva-2 negotiations which also failed, Damascus insists on the fundamental importance of the question regarding the fight against terrorism. He said that the opposition has not submitted the lists of its delegates yet.

In turn, the High Negotiations Committee representatives announced that the provisions of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 should be fulfilled before negotiations even start. First of all, the opposition demands to address three main issues - to provide access to besieged cities, to stop attacks on civilians and to release women and children from prisons. Moreover, Salim al-Muslat accused Russia of making attempts to disrupt the negotiations by carrying on its air assault operations in Syria. According to the head of the HNC, ever since February 1 there's been massive killings in Syria "but nobody does anything about it." He said that since last Monday Russian warplanes carried out more that 270 sorties in Syria that allegedly resulted in casualties among the civilian population. However, Moscow still has not confirmed these allegations.

Comment: While the US has for months been pushing heavily for these 'peace talks', it's apparent from the immediate collapse of discussions that there was never a genuine desire to work towards a political resolution in Syria. This has been clear ever since the new 'Syrian' delegation was set up to be preposterously represented by terrorist financiers in Saudi Arabia. It's blatantly obvious that the real goal of the US and friends is to impede Russia's real war on terrorism.