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Wed, 20 Sep 2017
The World for People who Think


CIA docs: Plans to topple Assad family go back six presidents

© AFP 2017/HO
Former President of Syria, Hafez Assad in 1975 having been elected to his third term.
Sifting through the CIA's database of 11 million+ declassified documents, WikiLeaks has uncovered a report from 1986 on "possible scenarios that could lead to the ouster of President Assad." Pointing to the potential for exploiting sectarian tensions, the report nonetheless ironically explains why the US's current regime change strategy is wrong.

In January, the US Central Intelligence Agency put over 11 million of its declassified files online. On Monday, WikiLeaks discovered that one of these documents includes a secret report involving scenarios for ousting Hafez Assad (Bashar Assad's father) going back all the way to the Reagan administration.

The document, created under the supervision of the Director of Global Issues by the appropriately named Foreign Subversion and Instability Center, and distributed to senior intelligence officials, as well as officials in the State Department, the Pentagon, Reagan Middle East policy advisor Dennis Ross, and William Eagleton, then-US ambassador in Syria. The memorandum casually lays out what the CIA envisions to be the "scenarios that could lead to the ouster of President Hafez al-Assad in Syria." The report makes no bones about its "purposely provocative" nature and tone.

Comment: Interesting bits of history divulge the length and breadth of long-range scheming, giving insight into how a game plan goes through definition and redefinition in order to achieve a predictable result. As citizens we are only privy to the surface action on any given day, not the entrenchment of ideas nor the scope of the manipulation culminating decades later. Within the 'scheme of things', changing plans, swapping scenarios...not so easily done.

Bad Guys

Putin: Idlib 'chemical attack' was false flag to set Assad up, possibly more to come

© Mohamed al-Bakour / AFP
Idlib province, April 4, 2017.
Russia has information of a potential incident similar to the alleged chemical attack in Idlib province, possibly targeting a Damascus suburb, President Vladimir Putin said. The goal is to discredit the government of Syrian President Assad, he added.

"We have reports from multiple sources that false flags like this one - and I cannot call it otherwise - are being prepared in other parts of Syria, including the southern suburbs of Damascus. They plan to plant some chemical there and accuse the Syrian government of an attack," he said at a joint press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Moscow.

The incident has not been properly investigated as yet, but the US fired dozens of cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase in a demonstration of force over what it labeled a chemical attack by Damascus.

Comment: Syrian intel intercepts jihadist plots to commit war crimes, frame Syrian government, and wait for new US missiles

More Putin comments on Trump's strike: "This is boring, ladies."
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the current situation around Syria is reminiscent of the events preceding the beginning of the US military campaign in Iraq.

According to the President, he discussed this issue with his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella at the meeting, which was held on Tuesday.

"I said this is strongly reminiscent of the events of 2003, when representatives of the United States in the security Council (UN) have demonstrated, allegedly, chemical weapons discovered in Iraq. Then began a clear campaign in Iraq, and it ended with the destruction of the country, the growth of the terrorist threat and the emergence of ISIS on the international stage, no more, no less." — said Putin.

In his opinion, the same thing is happening now.

"And again their partners nod in agreement. Citing our wonderful [comedy] writers Ilf and Petrov, I want to say: "This is boring, ladies." We have all seen and watched this before." — said Putin.


Putin leaves door ajar to work with Trump

© New Stateman
In the Russian political culture, written word subsumes the spoken word. And when it is the Kremlin's written word, it is the ultimate gospel. Therefore, the articulation of the Russian reaction to the US missile strike on Syria on Thursday on the Kremlin website, here, merits very careful study and analysis.

On the whole, the Kremlin statement can be taken as surprisingly mild under the circumstances.

There is no attempt to defend Syria as an "ally" - an expression used by Presidential spokesman Dmirty Peskov in the press briefing - or voice carte-blanche Russian backing for Damascus to counter US "aggression" (The Russian MOD had claimed that Russia proposes to take "a series of steps... in the immediate future to reinforce and raise the effectiveness of the Syrian armed forces' air defence system".)

Without doubt, President Vladimir Putin leaves the door open to future discussions with the US on the establishment of an international counter-terrorism coalition. The Kremlin says that Thursday's US attack creates "a major obstacle" but it is not an insurmountable obstacle by any means — certainly, it isn't a case of door being slammed shut and key thrown away.

Comment: Interpretation is the mother of invention, a seemingly limitless exercise in prognosis and justification. At this point, theories abound. The above aspects, hopefully, are still within the realm of possibility.


DISTURBING IMAGES: 'White Helmets' caught faking rescues and doctoring dead children in PR stunt to portray Assad as 'butcher'

White Helmets have been caught faking rescues and doctoring dead children.

The White Helmets are adored by western audiences, but loathed by those who have done their due diligence to recognized that the group is nothing more than ISIS in an NGO disguise.

Now a bombshell analysis from the Swedish NGO Doctors for Human Rights (SWEDHR) accuses the Syria Civil Defense (aka the White Helmets), of falsifying information about its "humanitarian work" in Syria.

According to Swedish human rights activists, so-called "rescue" procedures filmed in White Helmets propaganda videos, is a complete staged hoax.

The procedures in the video and photos below have been carefully analyzed to show that they were carried out on a dead child, who may have been killed by the White Helmets in order to film the footage.

Comment: See also: Zakharova: "A child is pretty much murdered under the camera lights" - Swedish doctors denounce White Helmets snuff films

This is beyond revolting.

Do you see now how low they are prepared to stoop to portray their 'dictator-du-jour' as evil incarnate?

From reports about babies being 'thrown out of incubators' by Saddam's soldiers back in 1990, Western 'psy-ops' now take dead babies and use them as props.

For all we know, they may even be kidnapping and killing them first.

SOTT Logo Media

Joe Quinn on Press TV: US airstrikes weak response to defuse globalists' warmongering and relentless pressure on Trump

© Press TV / You Tube
US airstrikes in Syria on 7 April targeted an airbase in the western province of Homs. The US claims the attack was in response to a 'chemical attack' allegedly carried out by Syrian government forces in Idlib earlier this week. Damascus has rejected the allegations and called the US attack a blatant aggression, which makes the US "a partner of the terrorists." Washington's move could further escalate tensions in the war-ravaged country. Sott.net's Joe Quinn recently weighed in on PressTV...


Idlib "chemical weapons attack" reality: Syria bombed REBEL chemical weapons storehouse, Russia says military support will continue, vetoes U.S./UK/France UN resolution

Someone tell the White Helmets that Sarin exposure works through skin contact.
Syrian Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Faisal Mekdad confirmed that the Syrian government provided the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations Security Council with necessary documentation and reports which prove that the chemicals, used in yesterday's gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Idleb province, were in fact stored and possessed by the terrorist groups, operating in the area.

Mekdad said that the media reports, surrounding the events, were used as a tool of distortion and falsification of facts, noting that Syria has fulfilled all obligations to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, with the latter already verifying this.

He also denied that Syrian Army is in possession of chemical weapons, by saying: "The army has never used such weapons, even in the most intense and critical battles with the terrorist groups", while also reminding Staffan de Mistura, UN's Special Envoy to Syria, to act in accordance with his role and neutrally approach the situation.

Comment: See also: The Syrian army bombed a chemical weapons depot in Khan Sheikhoun, where such weapons were produced and shipped out for use in Iraq. For Tillerson to say Russia and Iran must bear the "moral responsibility" for this is absurd.

Maria Zakharova provided more details:
"These facts together with soil samples were recorded and handed over to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Unfortunately, without taking any action, guided solely by fake information, the United States, France and the United Kingdom once again... submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council that is of obvious anti-Syrian nature and is capable of igniting an already difficult internal political situation in Syria and the region as a whole."
"Currently, the main goal is to objectively figure out what happened. So far, I want to emphasize that falsified reports on this issue come only from the notorious White Helmets and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that has already become infamous. Neither the White Helmets, nor the SOHR can be trusted. They have repeatedly undermined trust by [making] fake footages and [reporting] information later denied by all parties."
The ministry spokeswoman said that the reports by the White Helmets and the SOHR are conflicting as the White Helmets constantly changes its version of what happened. "First they speak about bombings from a helicopter or a warplane. Then they tell about the use of chlorine, then about sarin, change data about the number of victims. According to photos and videos spread on social media, representatives of the White Helmets are providing the victims with help while they [the NGO] have no reliable means of protection and act extremely unprofessionally."
Russia categorically rejects the draft resolution on chemical weapons in Syria, Maria Zakharova said. She added that the West-proposed resolution is of "anti-Syrian nature" and risks making negotiations process impossible.

"I wanted to note that the presented text [of the resolution] is categorically unacceptable. Its main problem — and its a fundamental one — is that it anticipates the results of the probe and immediately finds those to be blamed."
"The document is completely falsified, completely based on fake information. Colin Powell number two. Later, you will be ashamed for the actions of your authorities in the UN Security Council, stop your representatives, I am speaking to the Western audience," Zakharova said at the briefing.
Zakharova's criticism can be summed up in one Internet meme:
Syriana Analysis has a good breakdown:

Now the Syrian "opposition" are calling for a no-fly zone. We're sure ISIS feels the same way, guys.

Moscow's response is the only sane one:
Moscow will continue to support Syrian Army troops in their anti-terrorism effort, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, after being asked whether Russian policy had changed following a reported chemical attack in the Idlib province.
"You have heard the statement from the Russian Defense Ministry and I have nothing to add to the facts they stated. The Russian Federation and its military are continuing the operation to support the anti-terrorism operation and liberation of the country, which is being conducted by the Syrian armed forces," Peskov said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova suggested later on Wednesday that the Security Council should urge the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to launch a fact-finding mission, provided that full access to the incident site is allowed.

"It is crucial to call upon an OPCW fact-finding mission in charge of investigating the use of chemical weapons in Syria to collect evidence of the incident under the following condition - the composition of the fact-finding mission will be submitted to the UN Security Council for approval, and it will be balanced in terms of geographical [representation]," Zakharova said, according to Interfax.
Staffan de Mistura, UN special envoy for Syria, said reliable evidence would be needed to confirm the alleged use of chemical weapons, let alone establish who was responsible for it.

"We have no yet any official or reliable confirmation," he said on Wednesday. "We will be stimulating all those who have the capacity of finding out technically what had happened."

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also said there was no evidence yet to draw any conclusion on what had happened in the Idlib governorate, but stated that the Syrian government held "primary responsibility" for the situation.
Update: More responses to the hasty UN draft resolution:
The UN Security Council convened on Wednesday to discuss a draft resolution proposed by the US, the UK and France, which would condemn Damascus for the reported use of chemical weapons in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province on Tuesday.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, delivered an emotional speech that included images of children to argue in favor of swift action. The pictures were used in reporting of the alleged chemical weapons attack.

She claimed the incident carried "all hallmarks" of an attack by Damascus, adding that the toxin used in the alleged assault was "more deadly" than in previous cases attributed to the Syrian military by Washington.

US envoy to UN also accused Russia of failing to ensure that there were no chemical weapons in the possession of the Syrian government.

"The truth is that Russia, Iran and [Syrian President Bashar] Assad have no interest in peace," Haley claimed.

The US has hinted at taking its own action in Syria unless the UN Security Council moves to prevent the use of chemical weapons in the war-torn country.

"When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action," the US ambassador to the UN said.
Russia criticized the draft resolution for being unbalanced and jumping to conclusions. It said the document would have to include several amendments, such as calling on the rebels controlling the area to provide full access to UN investigators and setting an unbiased and comprehensive probe into the incident as the primary goal of the resolution.

"This draft was penned in haste and adopting it would have been irresponsible," the Russian deputy acting envoy to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, said.

He also blamed Western members of the UNSC for unwillingness to investigate previous cases of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, where rebel groups were accused of using toxin agents.

Earlier the council was briefed by Kim Won-soo, the UN high representative for disarmament affairs, who acknowledged that the organization so far has no independent evidence on the suspected chemical weapons attack.
From the Duran:
Russia has just vetoed a resolution proposed jointly by the US, UK and France. The resolution would have condemned Syria for a chemical weapons attack near Idlib.

Acting Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov said that,
"This draft was penned in haste and adopting it would have been irresponsible".
The US, UK and France have been exposed as relying on fake news sources, including the al-Qaeda affiliated White Helmets, as a basis for their condemnation, in spite of the fact that the clear evidence indicates that the chemical weapons in question belonged to a terrorist group and not the Syrian government which forfeited its chemical weapons stock in 2013.

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley become unhinged and threatened that the US may take action unilaterally in light of the resolution being vetoed. If this means military action against the government of Syria, this of course would be a violation of international law.
Update: After a sanctimonious piece of idiocy on behalf of the UK ambassador to the UN re: the Idlib attack, Russia's deputy ambassador Vladimir Safronkov hit back:
"In Syria, do you carry any sense of responsibility? No, you don't," Russia's deputy ambassador to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council on Wednesday. "Everything is guided by the need to change the regime. Even this obsession with the regime change is what hinders the work of the Security Council.

"[The UK] is not doing anything about the situation [in Syria]," he added. "No - it's true, you are doing one thing. You are submitting drafts in the Security Council that only provoke."

Safronkov's comments come in response to Britain's ambassador to the UN, Mark Rycroft, who challenged Moscow to stop supporting the Assad government. "What is your plan? What is your plan to stop these horrific senseless attacks? We had a plan and we had the support and you rejected it to protect Assad," Rycroft said.
"Beyond the norms of diplomatic standards your statements about Russia and China are unacceptable ... We will not stand for it. You should answer for what Great Britain is doing in contributing to resolving this situation."

China also responded to Rycroft's comments.

"The UK delegate... is openly distorting the position of China, this is not to be tolerated," Chinese UN Ambassador Liu Jieyi said, adding that Rycroft was "abusing the Security Council, [and] doing so will not be in the interests of the Syrian people."
Trump made a semi-boneheaded remark at his joint press conference with Saudi warlord King Abdullah II at the White House, saying his opinion on Assad and Syria has "changed very much" in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons (which Syria does not possess):
"It crossed a lot of lines with me. When you kill innocent children - innocent babies - with chemical gas... that goes beyond red lines," Trump told reporters on Wednesday when responding to a question about whether the attack cross the red line.
You're going to have to do better than that, Trump.

Update: More from Trump - keeping it ambiguous as usual:
"These heinous actions by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated," he emphasized.
The chemical attack was an "affront to humanity," he said, adding that the US is raising its voice with the global chorus denouncing the tragedy. Biochemical warfare against enemy militants and innocent civilians "cannot be tolerated," Trump said.
Last week, the Trump administration announced there was no choice but to "accept the political reality" of Assad's administration.

However, today Trump said that his strategy is to remain "flexible" with Syria, while noting that the attack will not go unnoticed.

"I now have responsibility" to respond to the chemical attack, Trump said. "When you kill innocent little babies" this crosses not just a red line but "many, many lines."

Nevertheless, Trump did not show his hand regarding how he would move forward in the Middle East. "I am not going to be telling anyone one way or another," he said.
Someone should remind Trump that he's commander in chief of some baby killers of his own.

Update (April 6): Syria's foreign minister Muallem has condemned the use of chemical weapons, and denied their use by the Syrian army, saying it's impossible that the SAA would use such weapons against their own people - even terrorists. He also highlighted the problems any fact-finding mission might face, pointing out that past "missions" of that type haven't been encouraging, given the intentions of those engaged in the "fact" finding.

Muallem also pointed out that the first reports of the attack came out before (6 am) the Syrian army launched their airstrikes on the chemical weapons depot (11 am). Curiously, reporter Feras Karam posted on Facebook the day before: "Tomorrow starting a media campaign to cover the density of air raids on rural #hama and use #chlorine _ poison against civilians." Great timing!

The head of the Russian foreign ministry's Arms Control Department responded to Mike Pence's claim that Syria had failed to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons stockpile in 2013 with the following words: "I wouldn't use profane language, especially when it comes to the second-most powerful man in the US administration, but I do believe that this is ignorance rather than irresponsibility," Mikhail Ulyanov said.

Tillerson, for his part, said there was "no doubt in our mind" that Syria was responsible ... and we think it's time the Russians really need to think carefully about their continued support for the Assad regime." Wow. We think it's time the Americans need to think carefully about ACTUALLY THINKING and realizing that it's pretty dumb to have "no doubt" about something for which you've had no investigation and no analysis of the evidence. Seriously, Tillerson, you sound like an idiot.

As Alexander Mercouris writes for the Duran, there are at least five problems with the current anti-Assad narrative. The media is failing to report the following: 1) all reports come from jihadi groups, 2) no one has or is able to establish control of the crime scene (since it is controlled by jihadis), 3) the group in control of the area is al-Qaeda, 4) the White Helmets are not a credible source, 5) no investigation has been carried out, so a rush to judgment is irresponsible.

Turkey is reporting that autopsies have been carried out on the bodies (why Turkey?), confirming the use of Sarin, and that this apparently "confirms that Assad used chemical weapons". That's logic for you! "A gun was used, therefore that guy we don't like is responsible!" As for the presence of Sarin, even that is unlikely. Former army bomb disposal officer Damian Walker says it's unlikely that sarin was used, based on the symptoms shown in the videos.

After the farce of a resolution introduced by the UK, US and France that Russia vetoed, Russia has submitted its own draft resolution aimed at conducting a real investigation, proposing to "fully investigate the reports about the incident on the ground under the mandatory condition that the list of investigators will be submitted to the UN for approval and will be geographically balanced as well". Makes sense, no? Well, yes it does, but that just means the U.S. and its allies won't like it. They've already decided who was responsible, facts be damned.

US Congressman Thomas Massie stunned CNN anchor Kate Bolduan by stating some simple common sense, saying, "It's hard to know exactly what's happening in Syria right now. I'd like to know specifically how that release of chemical gas, if it did occur — and it looks like it did — how that occurred. Because frankly, I don't think Assad would have done that. It does not serve his interests. It would tend to draw us into that civil war even further." Crimethink! Cognitive dissonance alert! Take a look.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, whose IDF enjoys deliberately attacking Palestinian civilians and children, said that "there's no, none, no excuse whatsoever for the deliberate attacks on civilians and on children, especially, with cruel and outlawed chemical weapons." Today, Israeli "Defense" Minister Lieberman said he was "sure" (just as sure as Tillerson? presumably) that the Syrian government was behind the attack: "The two murderous chemical weapons attacks on civilians in the Idlib region in Syria and on the local hospital were carried out by direct and premeditated order of Syrian President Bashar Assad, with Syrian planes. I say this with 100 percent certainty." SOTT is 100% certain that Lieberman is actually a 90-year-old American used car salesman. But, of course, that doesn't make it so.

Putin spoke to Netanyahu on the phone and called him out for acting like a certifiable yahoo:
Russian President Vladimir Putin told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a telephone conversation that it was unacceptable to make "groundless" accusations concerning the alleged chemical weapons incident that took place in Syria earlier this week.

During the phone call initiated by the Israeli side on Thursday, Putin and Netanyahu stressed the importance of boosting international efforts to tackle terrorism, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Both sides "expressed readiness to expand [cooperation] in the interest of assuring stability and security in the Middle East and, first of all, in Syria," it said.

In particular, Putin "pointed out that it was unacceptable to make groundless accusations against anyone without conducting a detailed and unbiased investigation."
You'd have better luck speaking to a brick wall, Putin.

Update: Trump is reportedly "considering military action" in Syria, according to FakeNews CNN reporter Dana Bash:
The source said the President had not firmly decided to go ahead with it but said he was discussing possible actions with Defense Secretary James Mattis. Trump is relying on the judgment of Mattis, according to the source. US officials tell CNN the Pentagon has long-standing options to strike Syria's chemical weapons capability and has presented those options to the administration. The sources stressed a decision has not been made.
Justin Raimondo has tweeted some more common sense to combat the madness surrounding the attack:

In addition to submitting a new draft resolution on the Idlib attack, Russia says they have submitted data and evidence that undermines the U.S.'s "slam dunk" case.

Update: More related coverage on SOTT: And more: With Tillerson's latest pro-regime change remarks come rumors that the Pentagon and White House are holding "detailed discussions" on military options for Syria.
President Donald Trump is being briefed on the full range of military options in Syria, after the White House blamed the government in Damascus for the alleged chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians in Idlib province.

Among the options would be using cruise missiles to attack Syrian targets and "grounding" Syrian aircraft, an unnamed US official told Reuters on Thursday. The official did not say how likely US military action would be, however.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster have been discussing the matter, the official said. Mattis is due to meet with Trump later in the day at the president's Mar-a-Lago retreat, where a summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping is underway.

Speaking with reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump said that "something should happen" with Assad after the chemical attack, calling what happened in Syria "a disgrace to humanity."
Of course "being briefed" is a far cry from drawing up battle plans. But if Trump caves, that will be a black mark. Trump, however, denies the report, according to Chad Pergram from Fox News:

Rand Paul says he'll oppose any military action without a vote. John "Buck Turgidson" McCain and his little friend Lindsey Graham are chomping at the bit blow Assad to smithereens:
"The United States should lead an international coalition to ground Assad's air force," they said in a joint statement Thursday. "This capability provides Assad a strategic advantage in his brutal slaughter of innocent civilians, both through the use of chemical weapons as well as barrel bombs, which kill far more men, women and children on a daily basis."
Backing them up is the HNC, which says it would support US military action against Assad. Of course they would; what jihadi wouldn't?

Gold Seal

Peter Hitchens: Idlib attack is WMD all over again! Why don't you see it?

Actually knowing something, remembering history or having experience of the world, is becoming a disadvantage. How much easier it would be to join in with the flow of opinion about Syria, to listen happily to, and read contentedly, media reports on the subject.

As it is, I feel something close to a physical pain as I do this.

Today's frenzy over alleged use of poison gas in Syria is the 2017 version of Anthony Blair's WMD in Iraq. Why can you not see it? Did you think they would do it in exactly the same way again? You are being assailed through your emotions, to act first and think long after, and far too late.

How *can* trained journalists (and experienced diplomats) be so lacking in the desire or ability to question what they are told? How come that they accept without hesitation reports which have not come from their own staff, but instead come from within terrifying war zones where gangs of fanatical murderers are the only law? One or two at least have the decency to refer to the new reports of gas attacks as 'suspected' or alleged, but most present them as established fact. 'All the hallmarks' means, in such cases, what? Though millions believe this has been proven, past accusations of gas use by Damascus have never been independently shown to be true.

Snakes in Suits

Surveillance of Trump: Former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice's 'Bill Clinton moment', MSNBC interview

© Washington Examiner
Former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice is being accused of asking to "unmask" Trump aides in intelligence reports. She went to Obama-friendly NBC to respond to the claim for the first time in an interview with Andrea Mitchell.

Listen carefully to Rice's words, and it is clear to see she is lying, and admitting to spying on Trump. A good lawyer would tear Rice apart in court.

And a double negative statement like, "I leaked nothing to nobody", is Rice's Bill Clinton moment, when the former POTUS famously told a grand jury (when speaking about his affair with Monica Lewinsky), "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

Here is the complete Susan Rice interview...

Comment: One might muse: the better the lie, the truer it sounds.

See also: And in case you've never seen this video of Bill Clinton responding to a grand jury inquiry:

Quenelle - Golden

Je ne suis pas St Petersburg: Western bitterness on display as capitals choose not to honor Russian victims of terror attack

© Carlo Allegri / Reuters
FILE PHOTO. New York January 11, 2015.
Russia has sacrificed just as much blood, sweat and tears as any country in the fight against terrorism, yet when an apparent terrorist attack kills and maims dozens, this time in St. Petersburg, something seemed missing in the global response.

On my first visit to New York City 10 years ago, I was instantly struck by the number of Russians I encountered. The taxi driver who met me at JFK Airport was a Russian immigrant, and the radio station playing in his Yellow Cab was broadcasting in the Russian language. When I exited the taxi near Central Park, the first conversation I heard in this bustling city of 12 million people was between a Russian woman and a little girl as they were waiting for the light to change at an intersection. And this Russian presence goes far beyond New York City.

From Miami to Manhattan, Russian immigrants are heavily represented in American communities, universities and companies. I would guess that in the United States, as well as across Europe, most people know at least one person from Russia. So following Monday's terrorist attack on Russia's second largest city, which killed 11 people and injured dozens, one would expect there to have been an outpouring of solemn, heart-felt tributes to the victims of the blast, right?

Well, yes and no.

Comment: Victims of terrorism are only honored in the West when its leaders deem it politically expedient for its subjects to emote.


Peter Lee: The Atlanticist-MI5 Trump pile-on - what it all means

I try to keep a certain distance from the anti-Trump circus. But I do want to put some thoughts on record, given the obsession with Trump's Russia connection and what I see is a determined effort to minimize the British/NATO angle in the attack on Trump.

My personal feeling is that there are significant swaths of the European establishment that derive their mission and meaning from serving as allies to the United States in an anti-Trump effort: the British government and intelligence services, NATO, various right-leaning European governments, their think tanks, in other words, the Atlanticists.

They didn't like Trump because he was more interested in dealing directly and positively with Russia on matters of US strategic concern in the Middle East and Asia and much less interested in perfecting the Atlanticist Euro-centric anti-Russian containment/deterrence apparatus and backing crazy EU/NATO expansion stunts like the Ukraine operation.

Perhaps similar to Trump's interest in dealing with China instead of doing pivot. Difference is, Atlanticist lobby is much more entrenched in Washington, the NATO alliance is miles ahead of the "box of sand" Asian containment network, and Great Britain is America's primary intelligence partner.