© Thomas Samson / AFP
A French riot police officer is surrounded by flames, during a demonstration against the controversial labour reforms of the French government in Paris on September 15, 2016
If you were ever wondering how war criminal politicians feel about their crimes, look no further than recent leaked emails between former British Foreign Minister Jack Straw and his former US counterpart, Colin Powell.

In early 2003, both Straw and Powell were major front-men for their governments in the push to launch the illegal invasion of Iraq. Straw wanted the British government's 'dodgy dossier' in Iraq's non-existent WMDs to be "hardened up" with something he appropriately called a "killer paragraph". For his part, Powell went to the UN and touted the evidence of an Iraqi source that was known to the Defense Intelligence Agency as "a liar and a fabricator". Powell wiggled a vial of white powder at the UN, claiming it was anthrax (although it probably came from Dubya's coke stash) and said Saddam might have boatloads of the stuff. It was a provocative display, and Powell reminded people that the anthrax attacks of 2001 freaked everyone out, so they should also be freaked out about Saddam now too.
Powell UN anthrax

"There's enough anthrax in this vial to kill everyone in this room. Just kidding! Or am I?..."

The lies that both men consciously told to the world played a significant role in the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqis.2 millions more fled to Syria. And that was just until 2009 when the bulk of the US military left. The country continues hemorrhaging lives to the mess the US left behind, aka 'ISIS'.

A few days before the July 6 publication of the Chilcot report that publicly exposed Blair and his cronies for the lying, warmongering psychopaths they are, Straw emailed Powell to let him know that he'd be mentioning his name in a prepared statement on Chilcot, but that everything was cool. More to the point, Straw emphasized that fallout from the "Brexit" referendum at the time was conveniently overshadowing the release of the report into Blair, Bush, Straw and Powell's monstrous criminality:

Jack Straw - Colin Powell email
In a later email in early August, Powell wrote to Straw and assured him that the report "didn't amount to anything" in the USA because the US media "didn't cover it."

Case closed.

In another email, Powell inadvertently said what everyone knows but refuses to admit: Israel has nukes, and lots of them. Conservative estimates have been relatively low - perhaps 80 nukes - but Powell told his business parter Jeffrey Leeds they had 200 in a discussion on the Iran nuclear deal. He even quoted Ahmedinejad favorably and got a dig in at Netanyahu! Here's what he wrote:
Negotiators can't get what he wants. Anyway, Iranians can't use one if they finally make one. The boys in Tehran know Israel has 200, all targeted on Tehran, and we have thousands. As Akmdinijad (sic) [said], "What would we do with one, polish it?" I have spoken publicly about both nK and Iran. We'll blow up the only thing they care about—regime survival. Where, how would they even test one?
They say, correctly, that they have every right to enrich for energy. Russians helped build a power reactor at Busher. Can't get enough sanctions to break them. Lots of bs around about their progress. Bibi likes to say "a year away," as do our intel guys. They say it every years. I [sic] ain't that easy to do.
Those aren't the only gems:
The messages exposed this week revealed that Mr. Powell considered Donald J. Trump a "national disgrace," Hillary Clinton "greedy" and former Vice President Dick Cheney an "idiot."
In response to the leak of Powell's emails, panicked influential Americans are scrambling to delete their emails faster than a U.S.-trained jihadi shaving his beard before a Russian airstrike.

WADA hack

Putin on the WADA hack (details of which you can read here):
"We don't approve of what hackers do, but what they've done is definitely of interest to the international community, especially the sports community," the Russian president said, as cited by RIA Novosti. "It raises a lot of questions. It turns out that healthy athletes legally take medications that are prohibited for others, and the people who obviously suffer from serious illnesses and severe disabilities are being banned from the Paralympics only on suspicion of using some kind of drugs," he added.
That pretty much sums it up.

Syria Ceasefire - Day 4

According to the U.S. everything is fine and dandy. According to the Russians:
"Unfortunately, we have to admit that no positive changes in the situation around the implementation of the ceasefire have taken place," Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir, first deputy chief of the General Staff's Main Operational Department, said at a news briefing in the Russian Defense Ministry. "Thirty-nine violations have been registered in the past 24 hours, bringing the total since the announcement of the Russia-US brokered ceasefire to 144," Poznikhir said.
Even then, Russia is ready to extend the ceasefire for the final 72 hours, after which the U.S. and Russia will team up, apparently.
"The Russian party, despite numerous breaches of the cessation of hostilities and lack of progress in the US process to distinguish moderate opposition from Jabhat al-Nusra, is doing everything to implement agreements reached in Geneva," Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir said at a briefing. ... "We expect the US party to make firm steps to influence military units under its control to fully comply with the agreement reached on September 9. Otherwise the situation may run out of control," Poznikhir added.
Maybe the U.S. was just hoping that the Russians and Syrians would be the ones to call off the ceasefire because of U.S. rebel violations. If so, it won't be that easy.

Despite the violations, the U.S. did hand over data on the location of U.S. moderate terrorists for the first time today. However, special representative of the Russian Defense Ministry Alexander Zorin told journalists that a preliminary analysis of the data wasn't promising. The data don't show any indication that any distinctions have been made between the moderates and the al-Qaeda jihadis. Either the Americans are incompetent, powerless, or they're just telling the truth: there is no difference! Lavrov expressed his hope that "this delay is not caused by someone in Washington trying to shield terrorists from being targeted." His further observation tends to confirm this analysis:
"He [Lavrov] noted that the list of groups who signed an agreement with the United States on adhering to the ceasefire provided by the US side contains a series of blatantly terrorist formations cooperating closely with Nusra Front," the ministry said in a statement.
Tell us something we don't know! Basically, the U.S. just wrote down a list of their jihadis, saying that they signed on to the ceasefire. As usual, the U.S.'s proxies were probably the last to know - after all, many of them publicly denounced the ceasefire! As we wrote yesterday, "either the U.S. can't or won't control its terrorist proxies." And the day before that: "Washington has created another Frankenstein: a proxy group it could not control even if it wanted to." Need proof? The universe provides, sometimes in the most hilarious ways:

US commandos enter Syrian town, get forced out by American-backed rebels - reports
"Five or six" US special forces troops had to withdraw from the town of al-Rai on Syria's border with Turkey, after allies from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) had driven them out, calling them "infidels" and "crusaders," several media outlets have reported.

The Turkish military, which last month openly crossed the Syrian border to fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), has admitted that US soldiers are providing a supporting and coordinating role in the operation being carried out between the Syrian towns of Azaz and al-Rai, Reuters reports.

At least two videos circulated on Twitter on Friday evening appeared to show that they were not welcome in al-Rai.

The footage shows a group of agitated men, gathered in the town square, shouting anti-American slogans in Arabic, as a cavalcade of vehicles passes by.

The chants include: "Down with America," "Get out you dogs," and "They are coming to Syria to occupy it." Voices in the background call the US troops "infidels" and "crusaders."

"We don't want a single American fighting in Syria alongside us," says a man in the second video. "We are Muslims, we are not infidels. Get out!"

Reuters cited a US official and a "senior rebel commander," who confirmed that a protest had taken place, which ended with US troops making their way back towards the Turkish border.
Moon of Alabama adds:
Unconfirmed reports now say that the special forces are back in Al Ra'i after certain FSA groups were ordered out of the area. There are also reports claiming the U.S., after the special forces were chased out of town, "accidentally" bombed some FSA group in Al Ra'i. Ooops.
The Turkish-supported sectarian "moderate" FSA groups are the very same groups the CIA has "vetted" and provided with TOW missiles and other weapons. But nobody should be astonished that such groups, driven by religious zeal, eventually turn on their sponsors. They have done so in each historic parallel one can think of.
Russia is still calling for the UN Security Council to officially endorse the ceasefire agreement. Of course, this would necessitate the members actually read the document, i.e. it would require a lift on the secrecy imposed by the U.S. The Americans surely saw this coming (either that, or they're idiots), so perhaps the "sensitive" information was/is time-sensitive. Whatever the case, Lavrov and Kerry are negotiating on this. And in the meantime, details have been leaked in various interviews: the agreements do not discuss the future of Assad or the transition process. Israel Shamir offers more alleged details from the secret agreement.

Here's a different take on the hold-up of humanitarian aid along the Castello road:
Video of the rally against the UN aid here.

In other news, the U.S. launched an airstrike in Syria on a bobcat (the machine, not the animal). That's the way it works: the military spends millions on overpriced munitions that benefit the arms manufacturers who employ ex-military personnel who then go back into military who then launch said munitions at things like Daesh bobcats, thus justifying spending more millions. And the circle continues. Great job, guys! Keep fighting the good fight!

Back in the U.S.S.A., Killary vocalized her support for the ceasefire, then demonstrated her complete lack of either scruples or intelligence (we suspect both) by saying: "Whether or not this works is really up to the Russians." Unless the U.S. has a new group of moderate jihadists called "the Russians", then no, Hillary, you are just plain wrong. Please only open your mouth when you can say something about which you actually know something: like how to run a pay-for-play scheme, how to leave a trail of bodies behind in your ascent to the throne, how to be a pathological liar, and how to be a hate-filled political prostitute who will sell herself to the highest bidder. That's the only way people will take you seriously.

U.S. isn't Philippines' "Big Brother"

Philippines Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay was in Washington yesterday, where he attempted to both assert the Philippines sovereignty and smooth over disagreements. According to him, many of Duterte's comments about the U.S. have been misunderstood, and contrary to criticism of Manila's war on drugs, they do not and will never condone illegal killings. He also clarified Duterte's call for the withdrawal of U.S. special forces, calling it a temporary measure for the U.S. troops' own safety (wink wink) while Manila launches an offensive against Abu Sayyaf militants. As for Duterte's opposition to joint maritime patrols, this has to do with Philippines' "exclusive economic zone" - not joint patrols within 12 nautical miles off its coast:
"I am asking our American friends, American leaders, to look at our aspirations. We cannot forever be the little brown brothers of America...we have to develop, we have to grow and become the big brother of our own people." "You [have to] manage it correctly. You do not go to the Philippines and say, 'I am going to give you something, I am going to help you grow, but this is the checklist you must comply with - we will lecture you on human rights,'" he said, as quoted by Reuters.

Yasay went on to stress, however, that the country's president is still "firmly committed to keep and respect alliances, including that with the United States."
Israel worried about 230,000 imaginary rockets

The apartheid state of Israel will hold a nationwide drill simulating a hypothetical war in which the IDF bravely defends against 230,000 missiles, and simultaneous attacks from all Israel's "enemy fronts": Gaza, Lebanon, and the Syrian Golan Heights (all practically militarily-occupied by Israel).
The Israeli military expects only 1 percent of incoming projectiles to hit buildings directly. The scenario includes a situation in which Israel suffers up to 400 casualties, though it's unclear whether they would be civilians or military personnel.
The worst case scenario involves a widespread evacuation of population from northern parts of the country. In such case 750,000 people would be relocated to other communities. The state would be able to house roughly 95,000 of them.
Needless to say, the only way this scenario will become anything close to reality is if Israel starts it. Since Hezbollah defeated the IDF during Israel's 2006 invasion of Lebanon, Hezbollah has only gained more fighting experience in Syria. The IDF would fare no better now than they did then. So while there may be some cause for concern, the real deterrent is simple: stop antagonizing your neighbors, don't invade them, and scale back on apartheid and the colonization of Palestine.

Earlier this week, Tuesday, Israel launched its seventh spy satellite. Officially, it will cover "developments" in the Middle East. Unofficially, the U.S.-funded satellite will spy on Russia and Iran as well. "Ofek 9 and 10 have sent back exceptional quality images and it is able to identify objects just dozens of centimeters in size. This is technology possessed by very few countries around the world." While the launch and delivery were successful, however, Israeli media report that the satellite was malfunctioning, and Amnon Harari, head of the Defense Ministry's Space Department, said it was "not clear that everything was in order," hours after the launch.Maybe the Russians fried it with something from their Electronic Warfare arsenal...

We would comment on the following storey, but this headline really speaks for itself: Former Israeli Defense Minister Ya'alon: $38 billion military aid deal with US is 'not enough'

Pakistan in the news

Another 'honor killing' made the headlines: a mother of three and a 21-year-old man were tortured and hanged from a tree after being accused of having an affair. Three male family members of the woman were later arrested and confessed to the murders.Westerners blame 'Islam'; we blame the assassinations of its moderate leaders in recent decades, undoubtedly with help from the West.

A suicide bomber targeted a mosque in northwestern Pakistan, killing 25 and injuring 30 at morning prayers today. The explosion damaged the mosque, and bodies are still being recovered from the rubble. The area, near the border with Afghanistan, has been used as a safe haven for Taliban, al-Qaeda, and other jihadis.

What's going on? Just see what American politicians have been saying recently:
Pakistan continues to be a "tremendously duplicitous partner," according to Bob Corker, chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Corker, a Republican, said during a Senate hearing on U.S. policy in Afghanistan on September 15 that Pakistan was the "greatest threat to American soldiers [in Afghanistan] and certainly the greatest threat to the Afghan military and civilians."

Corker said Islamabad was "working against" U.S. interests by supporting the Haqqani Network, a Pakistani-based militant group that has been blamed for some of the deadliest attacks against U.S. and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.

Richard Olson, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said Islamabad had not done enough to tackle the Haqqani Network and the Taliban. "We continue to urge Pakistan to take robust action against the Haqqani and against the Taliban and I think there are indications that they have taken some action, but I don't think it will be fair to say those actions were definitive," Olson told the Senate hearing on September 15.
Just a little 'strategy of tension' to keep Pakistan in line, and away from the Russian-Chinese alliance. Some articles on SOTT for context:
Reviving the Reich

Wednesday night a fight broke out between German neo-Nazis and asylum seekers in the East German town of Bautzen where the refugees were outnumbered 5 to 1, with an estimated 100 neo-Nazis fighting a mere 20 refugees. Police say that the refugees were the instigators and that they goaded the neo-Nazis into violence; they also say the refugees threw bottles at police while they were trying to do crowd control, which included using truncheons and pepper spray on both groups. No one was reported to be seriously injured, though an ambulance did have to show up to take a Moroccan youth hit in the face with a bottle to the hospital and, incidentally, was forced to find an alternative route after it was pelted with bricks and stones by the neo-Nazis.

In a related piece of news, the anti-immigration 'Alternative for Germany' party is gaining more ground in recent German länder (state) elections, with polls showing that it could win as much as 15% of this Sunday's vote. This would give it seats in 10 of Germany's 16 state parliaments, and put it in the running for becoming part of the Bundestag in next year's federal elections. It's still being shunned by other mainstream parties, so it's not likely to become part of a coalition government. But this growth of popularity is sowing doubt in Merkel's ability to win a fourth term, and highlights the growing discontent with the current political establishment in Germany. We're getting the not-so-vague sense of history repeating here...

Odds and ends

Two recent book publications have flopped, offering a new source of low-grade but dirt-cheap toilet paper for the consumer market. First up, Hillary Clinton's new bore, Stronger Together, written with running-mate Tim Kaine (actually, written by a ghost-writer with Tim and Killary's names on the cover, more likely), which sold a whopping 2,912 copies in its first week. Consider that at least some of those people bought the book to find more dirt on her, and you get a ballpark figure of the number of people who actually 'like' this woman. The second is Enough Said by NYT CEO Mark Thompson, which sold 552 copies in its first 9 days (59 of those in the U.S.). Enough said.

Some comic relief: Poroshenko spoke at the annual Yalta European Strategy forum in Kiev, where he called for more anti-Russian sanctions, shirked off responsibility for implementing the Minsk agreements, and accused Russia of transforming Crimea into a concentration camp. And we thought American politicians were off their rockers!

Turkey denies reports of post-coup human rights violations: "There are malevolent forces in the West, who have made statements that Turkey violates human rights, the rule of law. These are hollow, false statements," Turkish Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman stressed on Thursday.

We reported yesterday that Saudi Arabia would allow Houthi negotiators to fly from Oman back to Yemen. Well, the Saudis changed their minds. The flight was "indefinitely delayed" after the duplicitous Saudis revoked the flight permission they had promised just the day before.

Acting president of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyaev, will run for the position of president in the next election. That's pretty much confirmation that he has been selected as Karimov's successor. (See: Mirziyoyev is Uzbekistan's new leader: Relations with Russia set to grow closer)

Seattle Reigns soccer player Megan Rapinoe took the knee again at a game against Thailand, this time in response to the Columbus, OH, police killing of a 13-year-old African-American boy holding a BB gun. "I truly believe in what I'm doing and the things that I'm saying and the need for this conversation to happen, especially in light of what happened last night in this city. I think, ultimately, I know I can sleep at night with the decision that I made." US Soccer issued a statement condemning her actions.

A Facebook user called 'Flomo Klowns' sent messages containing cryptic threats to students of Escambia County schools. One message contained gun emojis and said 'it's going down tonight.' Parents contacted the local police regarding the messages, and the police placed Flomaton High School and the adjacent elementary school on lock down Thursday morning as 30 officers searched the school grounds. Deputies say there haven't been any sightings of clowns near the schools, and no gun was found during their search of the grounds. An investigation is still underway.

And lastly, here's Michael Scheuer, the CIA's ex-chief of the Bin Laden group at Alec Station (the CIA station that would later, after Scheuer left, become infamous for deliberately failing to inform the FBI that two of the 9/11 hijackers had entered the U.S.), telling RT that the U.S. is fighting an enemy that doesn't exist - the U.S. relationship with Israel is what is causing the war. Well, he mixes in a bit of nonsense, but he's right about that: America is great at creating its own enemies.