American dopers.
So, someone hacked WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). As expected, the Russians are blamed. But that's not the issue. Just like the DNC hacks, the issue isn't who did the hack; the issue is the content of the leaks. In a nutshell, America's greatest and bestest athletes have been doping for years. Big surprise. But they've been doping legally. Yep, you heard that right. They got a doctor's note that says they can dope. That's probably all our regular readers need to know in order to grok the heart of the matter, but for new and casual readers, we'll expand a bit.

Self-described "international hack team" 'Fancy Bear' says they stand for fair play and clean sport. On their website, they state:
We announce the start of #OpOlympics. We are going to tell you how Olympic medals are won. We hacked World Anti-Doping Agency databases and we were shocked with what we saw.

We will start with the U.S. team which has disgraced its name by tainted victories. We will also disclose exclusive information about other national Olympic teams later. Wait for sensational proof of famous athletes taking doping substances any time soon.
Their first hack revealed that American athletes like Simone Biles, Serena and Venus Williams all took banned substances for years. But The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency says it's all cool, "the athletes have done nothing wrong", because they had "therapeutic use" exemptions for these banned substances because of undisclosed medical conditions (those fields are marked "confidential" in the documents).

The second batch of leaked data exposes 25 more athletes (10 from the United States, five each from Germany and Britain, and one each from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland, Romania, and Russia), 14 of whom were medal winners at the Rio Olympics, who tested positive for banned substances.

Here's the thing. The substances are banned for a reason: they give athletes a competitive edge over those who do not take them. It's really that simple. Either no competitors should use them, or everyone should be allowed to use them. But Americans (and others) seem to think, "I have a pre-existing condition, therefore I am entitled to take a substance that will make me more likely to outperform those athletes who do not have a pre-existing condition." It's absurd. Not to mention the lack of transparency: how many of these 'exemptions' are even legitimate? How many are backdated simply to cover up for getting caught? How much money changes hands to ensure that some athletes get exemptions while others do not? Important questions, but irrelevant to the bigger picture: that the Americans are hypocritical, 'exceptional' (or should that be 'exemptional'?), self-entitled cheats, just like their leaders.

In the interests of fairness, perhaps someone should create a new kind of "special Olympics" for athletes with "pre-existing conditions" (real or imagined) necessitating that they take banned performance-enhancing drugs. Oh wait, we already have that - it's called the Olympics. What we really need is a new kind of "genuine Olympics" where clean athletes compete, and doped up ones don't.

Syrian Ceasefire - Day 3

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said, "Russia has from the first minute fulfilled its obligations to enforce the ceasefire regime on Syrian territory. At the same time the various US State Department and Pentagon officials' statements about the prospects of 'Russian fulfillment' of the agreements reached on Syria are puzzling."
The spokesman pointed out that "only the Syrian Army adheres to the silence regime" in the three days since its enforcement following the September 9 announcement in Geneva by the Russian and US diplomats. "At the same time, the US-led 'moderate opposition' builds up the number of attacks on residential neighborhoods. Moreover, it seems that the goal of Washington's 'verbal smokescreen' is an intent to conceal non-compliance with its part of the obligations. First of all, on the separation of 'moderate opposition' forces and terrorists," he stressed.
As predicted, either the U.S. can't or won't control its terrorist proxies. Mark Toner exuded a slight odor of desperation in his description of events:

"We've always been clear, just as we have said that Russia's responsibility is to exert influence or put pressure - however you want to put it - on the regime to abide by the cessation of hostilities, it is incumbent on us to persuade, convince the moderate opposition to also abide by the cessation of hostilities, and ultimately, that's a decision they're going to have to make," US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Wednesday.

"We're continuing our outreach to the Syrian moderate opposition - that's been ongoing - and trying to explain the arrangement to them, answer their questions. And again, we've seen, as I said, sporadic reports of violence, but in large part we think [the ceasefire] is holding," he added.
We can't help but imagine the Russians making the concession to the U.S. to keep its "sensitive details" secret. Now, in the face of the US' inability to keep its promises, that concession itself becomes a bargaining chip: "OK, you won't comply? How about we reveal what you actually agreed to, and which you don't want to be made public?" Moscow sent this message out again today:
"We know well how often documents get leaked to the media, and not by Russia but by our American colleagues," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Thursday. "Moscow suggests publishing [the documents] to avoid any erroneous interpretations, prevent an impact of such leaks on any party involved in the conflict or manipulation attempts by parties not familiar with details of the deal."

Russia is not the only nation to take this stance. France said on Thursday it wants to see the exact wording of the deal. "If there is confusion... then there is also a risk of the moderate opposition being hit," French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said, as cited by Reuters. "At one point we're going to be asked to support in greater detail this plan, so to do that we will need to have all the information."
The prospects for another American failure look good. Too bad for peace in Syria and the Syrian people. America wants war because war is lucrative. For every bomb dropped, US 'defense contractors' make tens of thousands of dollars.

The Russian Defense Ministry is broadcasting a live feed from Aleppo in the interests of transparency and monitoring the situation in the jihadist-held city. Needless to say, it's another first. The Russians and Syrians really do have nothing to hide when it comes to the ceasefire: like in Ukraine, it is the U.S. and its proxies who are at fault and have lots to hide, although you wouldn't know it from watching Western media. The bottom line: the U.S. supports terrorists; the terrorists are losing; the U.S. is trying to save face; but the U.S. doesn't want to stop supporting terrorists. America has a terror addiction.

UN envoy de Mistura had a few more comments on the ceasefire, calling it a potential "game-changer":
"The reduction of violence is by and large frankly holding, is being substantial. Second dividend of the agreement was and remains humanitarian access... On that one we have a problem," de Mistura said.

The Syrian government has not yet provided facilitation levels for humanitarian aid deliveries, according to the UN official. ... "We got a further assurance [from Russia and the United States] that the issue of facilitation letters is a major disappointment even for them. Twenty trucks on the Castello road have not yet moved. We are actively pushing for that to happen," de Mistura said.
De Mistura's adviser, Jan Egeland, says the UN hopes to deliver the aid tomorrow. No word yet from the Syrians as to the reason behind this delay. But since the plan is to deliver it via the Castello road north of Aleppo, this might be relevant:

The extremist groups plan to block Castello road near the Syrian city of Aleppo amid nationwide ceasefire, according to a source in the city militia.
Extremist Groups Redeploy Units to Aleppo's Northwest Amid Ceasefire in Syria

The extremist groups redeploy their units to Kafr Hamrah village located to the northwest of Aleppo city amid nationwide ceasefire in Syria, a source in the city militia told RIA Novosti on Thursday. "Terrorists are assembling a lot of fighters in Kaft Hamrah. According to our data, they are forming assault groups," the source said. According to the source, additional units were redeployed from Idlib province to Aleppo city. "We do not know yet where the extremists plan to strike, but it is very likely that they will try to block Castello road, which is the city's northern supply route," the source added.
As pointed out in yesterday's Snapshot, Iran is much more positive about this deal than the one in February. Iran's Deputy FM Hossein Jaberi Ansari said his first 4-hour meeting with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Bogdanov was "useful and all-encompassing":
"We discussed Syria, including issues related to the ceasefire. Iran since the beginning of the Syrian crisis believed that it has no military solution. It should be ended by means of political dialogue," Ansari told RIA Novosti.
"This humanitarian catastrophe should be stopped. We are also in favor of full cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Therefore, any plan that will facilitate the end of bloodshed in Syria and will take into account these three components will of course be supported by Iran," Ansari stressed.
"Given the fact that the speed of events in the Arab region, as well as the depth of these changes, is very high, there is the need to hold regular, periodic consultations between Iran and Russia about the events that take place in the Arab region," Ansari said.
"Unfortunately, our previous experience related to the US suggests that the extensive use of terrorism to realize its political goals has of course been included in the US agenda," he stressed.
He also said: "We think that if there is a strong will, clear policy of the Unites States with partnership of Russia and other countries, there is a possibility to reach a long-lasting ceasefire [in Syria] and a comprehensive opposition to extremists and terrorists." In other words, as of yet, there is no strong will or clear policy on the part of the U.S.
"We believe that any operation and any foreign actions by Turkey in neighboring countries and in Syria, Iraq and other [country] should be in accordance with international standards as well as in coordination with the central government on whose territory the events take place," Ansari said.
"I think that in the current circumstances there are grounds for rapprochement of positions among Iran, Turkey and Russia to address the current crises in the Arab region, particularly in Syria. We are making efforts along this path to create the groundwork for greater understanding of each other's positions, as well as the common effort to come out of the current crisis," he asserted.
On the subject of Turkey, the Russian and Turkish chiefs of General Staff, Valery Gerasimov and Hulusi Akar, are scheduled to meet today to "discuss the current situation and the prospects of resolving the crisis" in Syria.

Little Brother: Ukraine

The German and French foreign ministers are visiting eastern Ukraine (not DPR/LPR, but the Kiev-occupied regions), their first since the U.S. coup. They traveled to Kramatorsk and were greeted by "dozens" of anti-separatist protesters nutjobs shouting, "We Say No To Special Status of Donbass" and "We Are Ukraine!". Great turnout, guys! The visit comes the day after Ukrainian leaders agreed to a week-long ceasefire unilaterally declared by the DPR and LPR, and assured by Russia. The official death toll for the conflict has now reached 9,600+, with 22,431 injured. Aside from fighters on both sides, the majority of civilian deaths and injuries result from indiscriminate and deliberate targeting of civilians by Ukraine's 'heroes': the army and the neo-nazi battalions.

The mayor of Kharkiv, Hennadiy Kernes, originally supported the separatists, before switching loyalty to the Ukrainian government after the city failed to unify against the fascist Kiev regime. Now, his residence is being searched in connection with an investigation into alleged illegal land privatization involvement of city officials. Given that pretty much every Ukrainian politician is corrupt, chances are it's true, but the investigation could just as easily be an excuse to get rid of the last remaining politicians with any possible pro-Russian sentiments.

Sick Killary has planned a meeting with Poroshenko to demonstrate her fascist affiliations and assure Poroshenko she'll support him as long as he promises to keep fighting imaginary Russians and killing eastern Ukrainians. The meeting will take place in New York on the sidelines of a UNGA meeting. Note to all New Yorkers: you may want to avoid this area next week, as the stench will undoubtedly be unbearable.

World News Round-up

Here's what caught our attention in today's headlines. First some sage advice from the director of the FBI: cover your webcam. Comey called it "common sense": "You go into any government office and we all have the little camera things that sit on top of the screen," he added. "They all have a little lid that closes down on them. We wouldn't be surprised if he's already been blackmailed by Killary. So once is probably enough for Comey.

Speaking of the abomination of desolation incarnate - 41% of U.S. citizens think the Demon-cratic candidate has poor health. If they only knew - that creature is the walking dead.

The U.S. House of Reprehensibles passed a bill to halt any prisoner releases from Guantanamo before the next president-select takes office. Remember Guantanamo? The torture site that Obama promised to close down just as soon as he entered the White House? Yeah, that one. Still going strong, 'because Murika'.

The family of Sandra Brown, killed in police custody back in July 2015, has reached a $1.9-million settlement. As a condition, Bland's mother insisted on three major changes to the county's jail system: "Emergency nurses must be on-hand for all shifts, automated electronic sensors are to be introduced to ensure accurate and timely cell checks and additional state funds for jail intaking, inmate screening, training and additional jail support." Why would the county police department settle if police are innocent in the death of Bland? The answer should be obvious.

Julian Assange says he'll take Chelsea Manning's place if Obama pardons her.

A 'Heartless scumbag' who lured cat into violent kicking was arrested. Sadism provokes a standard reaction among normal people: moral outrage, disgust, and the desire for justice. If only they knew what their leaders get up to when no one's watching... Heads would roll. And speaking of people in positions of responsibility who really shouldn't be: Tory MP faces suspension for leaking report to 'predatory' payday loans firm Wonga.

As "Big Brother" to the American Empire, the British establishment has hundreds of years' worth of experience being sadistic, foreigner-killing pederasts. So while US senators propose a boycott on arms sales to the sadistic foreigner-killing pederasts in Saudi Arabia, British MPs have been denied a vote on the matter by the UK government. Because there's nothing more British than selling cluster bombs to a totalitarian theocracy that chops the heads off gays, Christians and atheists, and which slaughters women and children in neighboring countries. What are those unpatriotic MPs thinking?! These are longstanding British values!

As for Saudi Arabia, after being handed its proverbial backside on a platter by a bunch of rag-tag Houthi rebels (who have even managed to make significant incursions into Saudi Arabia itself), their coalition of child-killers has agreed to allow a UN plan to bring a delegation of Houthi negotiators in Oman back to Yemen. They've been stuck there since August, when talks last failed.

U.S. war spending since 9/11 will reach $4.79 trillion next year. Go Murika.

Netanyahu called the "historic" shakedown of the U.S. for $38 billion in illegal aid a sign of the two nations' "great friendship". Because friends like Israel are always there to threaten and blackmail to give you billions of dollars. With friends like that...

Expect more news stories like this one in the coming months: Duterte killed justice official, hit-man tells Philippine senate. For standing up to the U.S., the Philippines president is bound to receive the full Putin treatment.

Germany approved sending 650 troops to join a new NATO operation in the Mediterranean targeting Islamic State weapons smuggling and human trafficking. Sources have refused to confirm whether that means they will be preventing or enabling such actions.

The Russian-Chinese naval exercises in the South China Sea have entered the "active phase". "Joint Sea 2016" will last until September 19.

And if all this news hasn't left a foul taste in your mouth, this will:

Ugh. You'd almost think someone in the Killary camp passed round a memo to every single US media outlet telling them to use the term "power through".

Now for some mouthwash: Russian-Iranian bank may ditch the US dollar, working on creating a joint bank using national currencies.

Kyrgyzstan's former president, Askar Akayev, made an interesting statement today:
"It turned out that they [the Americans] came there [to Afghanistan] for long, that their aims were not limited to extinction of international terrorists in Afghanistan. Their main goal was to gain foothold in Central Asia in a bid to solve their geopolitical problems," Akayev told RIA Novosti.

He added that the operation in Afghanistan enabled Washington to cut China from potential routes of oil deliveries from the Persian Gulf. "One of the pipelines could connect it [China] through Afghanistan and Iran with the [Persian] Gulf. The United States did not want China to get hold of such simple, direct way to fuel," Akayev said.

The US-led anti-terror mission aimed to make terrorism in Central Asia a political tool rather than to uproot it, Akayev said, blaming Washington for the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan.
He's right.