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Thu, 20 Jun 2019
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Iran shoots down US Global Hawk, reportedly over Iranian territory - UPDATES

Northrop Grumman Triton spy drone
Iran's Revolutionary Guards claimed Thursday they shot down a US drone in the southern province of Hormozgan.

State news agency IRNA quoted the Guard's news website, Sepah News, as saying that the Islamic country's military force targeted the RQ-4 Global Hawk drone when it entered Iran's airspace "near the Kouhmobarak district in the south."

General Hossein Salami, the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, said the incident sent "a clear message" to the US, adding that Iran does "not have any intention for war with any country, but we are ready for war."

Responding swiftly to the Iranian claim, the US military said it had not violated Iranian airspace on Wednesday.

Comment: Further updates from RT:
A US Central Command (CENTCOM) statement acknowledged that one of its naval surveillance UAV's was indeed hit on Wednesday night. Tehran said that the device had been spying over southern Iran at the time of the interception, but CENTCOM said this was "false."


Earlier, the head of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said the Iranian action had sent a "clear message" to Washington about its military posturing in the region. Iran also warned the US against crossing "a red line" and vowed to take all necessary steps to protect the country.

According to the IRGC, the drone was flying with its tracking equipment switched off at the time, violating international aviation regulations.
"The drone took off from a US base in the southern Persian Gulf," according to a statement by the elite unit. While in the air, the US allegedly attempted to make the drone appear invisible to radar.

It had turned off all its identifying equipment in violation of aviation rules and was moving in full secrecy.

Earlier, Tehran said its air defenses had shot down a US RQ-4 Global Hawk reconnaissance drone overnight, after it illegally entered Iranian airspace over southern Iran.
Trump's response is lame. And John Bolton is on his way to Israel to learn what he should do next:
Amid disputes over the authenticity of reports that Iran shot down a US drone, US President Donald Trump tweeted early Thursday with a clear message: "Iran made a very big mistake!"

Washington claims that the surveillance drone was in international airspace at the time that it was brought down, while Tehran says it was spying on southern Iran.

An unnamed US official told Reuters that the debris field from the US military drone was located in the international waters area of the Strait of Hormuz. They also confirmed that US Navy vessels are en route to investigate.

"US drone intrusion into Iranian airspace is in clear violation of the UN Charter and national sovereignty of the country," Chairman of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, said Thursday, while urging his government to file a formal complaint with the UN.

Falahatpisheh accused the US of breaching Chapter seven of the UN Charter and that its drone operations constituted a hostile move against the national security and sovereignty of Iran.
US President Donald Trump has not ruled out an air strike against Iran in retaliation for the shooting down of a US Navy drone. The US military insists the drone was over international waters, but Iran says this is false.

Asked if the US was considering a retaliatory strike, Trump told reporters at the White House, "You'll soon find out."

"I have a feeling... that it was a mistake made by somebody who shouldn't have been doing what they did," Trump said about the incident, speaking after a meeting with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau.

If he was referring to someone within the US then he'd be right.

"I find it hard to believe that it was intentional," he added. "It could have been somebody who was loose and stupid."

John Bolton, Trump's hawkish national security adviser who has pushed for a hard-line policy on Iran, is on his way to Israel to discuss "regional security" with US allies in the Middle East, the White House said.

John Bolton, Trump's hawkish national security adviser who has pushed for a hard-line policy on Iran, is on his way to Israel to discuss "regional security" with US allies in the Middle East, the White House said.

Trump denied that members of his administration were pushing him towards war, saying that he wanted to end "endless wars" like Afghanistan and not get into new ones, just like he said during the 2016 campaign - but Iran shooting down the US drone is "a new wrinkle... a new fly in the ointment."

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has accused the US of waging "economic terrorism" and covert action against his country, and now encroaching on its territory.

"We don't seek war, but will zealously defend our skies, land & waters."

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have been rising for the past several months, with the US sending additional troops to the region and blaming Tehran for attacks on several oil tankers in international waters. Iran has rejected the accusations.
Video footage of the shoot-down published by the Iranian military:

Trump has climbed down from months of fighting talk in the most ridiculous way possible:

See also:


India deploys warships, jets to Persian Gulf to reassure own vessels amid rising Iran-US tension

india navy
The Indian Navy named the deployment "Operation Sankalp (resolution)", claiming that it only serves to re-assure Indian flagged vessels travelling through the area following the recent maritime incidents there.

The Indian Navy has deployed warships and aircraft to the Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf to undertake maritime security operations amid rising tensions between the US and Iran.

The announcement came from the Indian Navy on a day when Iranian paramilitary forces claimed that a US spy drone had been shot down after entering Iran's airspace.

Comment: The more eyes on the area, the better:


OPCW slammed by top MIT scientist for repressing dissenting report on Douma gas attack

© OPCW/therealnews.com
MIT rocket scientist Theodore Postol has accused the OPCW leadership of overseeing "compromised reporting" and ignoring evidence that challenged claims that the Syrian government carried out a chemical attack in Douma.

Facing a growing controversy, the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has offered his most extensive comments to date on a leaked internal assessment that challenged allegations that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018.

But the remarks from OPCW chief Fernando Arias have done little to address concerns that his UN-backed watchdog suppressed the document and published a flawed report that ignored countervailing data.

In an exclusive interview with The Grayzone, the award-winning rocket scientist and MIT professor emeritus Theodore Postol accused Arias of badly mischaracterizing the document in order to paper over his organization's errors.

Comment: See also:


Pentagon's nuclear weapons 'war-fighting' doctrine has experts sounding alarm

US Nuke silo
© Brendan Smialowski/AFP
The Pentagon believes using nuclear weapons could "create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability," according to a new nuclear doctrine adopted by the US joint chiefs of staff last week.

The document, entitled 'Nuclear Operations', was published on 11 June, and was the first such doctrine paper for 14 years. Arms control experts say it marks a shift in US military thinking towards the idea of fighting and winning a nuclear war - which they believe is a highly dangerous mindset.

"Using nuclear weapons could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability," the joint chiefs' document says. "Specifically, the use of a nuclear weapon will fundamentally change the scope of a battle and create conditions that affect how commanders will prevail in conflict."

At the start of a chapter on nuclear planning and targeting, the document quotes a cold war theorist, Herman Kahn, as saying: "My guess is that nuclear weapons will be used sometime in the next hundred years, but that their use is much more likely to be small and limited than widespread and unconstrained."

Kahn was a controversial figure. He argued that a nuclear war could be "winnable" and is reported to have provided part of the inspiration for Stanley Kubrick's film Dr Strangelove.

The Nuclear Operations document was taken down from the Pentagon online site after a week, and is now only available through a restricted access electronic library. But before it was withdrawn it was downloaded by Steven Aftergood, who directs the project on government secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists.

Comment: Have we passed the point of no return?
See also:

Arrow Up

As China ups tariffs on US goods, it gives other countries the red carpet treatment

© Getty Images
President Donald Trump • President Xi Jinping
China is "rolling out the red carpet for the rest of the world" by lowering tariffs with other countries - even as its trade war with the U.S. continues to drag on, according to Peterson Institute for International Economics.

In a little known fact, Beijing has over the past year lowered duties on goods from countries that compete with America, the think tank said in a recent report. The research showed that:
  • China's average tariff rate on U.S. goods jumped from 8% at the start of 2018 to 20.7% this month.
  • China's average tariff rate on its imports from all other countries fell from 8% at the start of 2018 to 6.7% last November. It has stayed at that level since then.
China's move to lower tariffs on countries other than the U.S. has received little public attention, with much media coverage focusing on what Beijing and Washington say and do to each other.

But in fact, by lowering duties with other trading partners, Beijing has put American firms at a "considerable" disadvantage at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly used tariffs as a way to negotiate with other countries, PIIE said.

Comment: More from RT: Tariffs are sanctions by another name meant to hobble states - Putin
China and Russia have one thing in common - the US is targeting both nations with economic sanctions that are designed to undermine their economic growth and to help America compete with them, said Vladimir Putin.
"China has nothing to do with Crimea or Donbass [the issues over which Russia was subjected to Western sanctions]. But the tariffs on their goods, which are de facto sanctions, are growing and growing. There is [also] the attack against Huawei. Where did it come from and what is its goal? The goal is to hold back development [of a state which] has become a global competitor to another global power, the US. The same thing is happening with Russia and it will continue."
The US and China are currently locked in several conflicts. Washington has subjected Chinese exports to increasingly harsh trade tariffs over the past months, triggering a tit-for-tat response from Beijing. The US is also targeting the Chinese electronics manufacturer Huawei, pressuring other nations to reject the company's bids to upgrade their communications networks to 5G technology.

The Russian president said this at his annual Q&A session, held on Thursday.
See also: Markets turn optimistic: Trump to meet with President Xi at the G-20 summit


Campaigners against arms sales to Saudi Arabia offer 'brutal condemnation of UK foreign policy'

UK protesters
© Reuters/Simon Dawson
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT)
Anti-arms sales campaigners have given a damning assessment of the UK government's arms export licensing failures, claiming "Parliament has been shown to be totally broken," after a landmark ruling was handed down.

The UK Court of Appeal ruled on Thursday that it was "irrational and unlawful" of the government to allow arms sales to Saudi Arabia without making proper checks. In addition, it concluded that the state had "made no attempt" to assess whether Riyadh had breached international humanitarian law in the ongoing Yemen war.

Responding to the judgment, Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who was in court to witness the ruling handed down by three of the UK's top judges, told RT that there now needs to be "a judicial review into the whole arms licensing system."

Comment: More from RT:
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade, which brought the challenge, welcomed the verdict but insisted it shouldn't have taken a court case to force the UK government to "follow its own rules. No matter what atrocities it has inflicted, the Saudi regime has been able to count on the uncritical political and military support of the UK."
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox was due to give a statement to parliament on Thursday afternoon, about how the government planned to respond to the judgement.


Warning from Ryabkov: US must stop sending troops to the Gulf 'before it's too late'

© Russian Embassy
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov
Deploying troops to the Persian Gulf risks igniting a powder keg in the troubled region where tension is mounting, the Russian Foreign Ministry has warned, advising Washington to stop "before it's too late."

Russia is hoping that the US buildup in the Middle East "won't become a spark that creates a blaze," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters on Thursday. Otherwise, the situation will spiral out of control, he warned.

"Destabilization is such a dangerous thing, especially in this region. Anyone who undertakes such actions too easily should stop and use common sense... before it is too late."

The warning comes as the US beefs up its assets in the Gulf. Just last month, the Pentagon deployed a battery of Patriot missiles, nuclear-capable bombers, and an aircraft carrier strike group to the area. Washington cited a growing threat from Tehran to justify the buildup, whereas Iran blamed the US for eroding its own security.

Comment: See also:


Haftar promises to create a constitutional committee if LNA captures Tripoli

LNA Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar
© unknown
LNA Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar
Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the eastern Libyan National Army (LNA), said that if his forces capture Tripoli, they will set up of a committee tasked with rewriting the country's constitution, as well as unifying state institutions and disarming all militias. Haftar said in an interview with the Al-Marsad newspaper:
"For example, the dismantling of all militias, disarming them, and giving guarantees to those who cooperate in that regard [...] Amongst the tasks of such a phase is the formation of a new constitutional committee, and a proposed referendum law, rebalancing the oil sector and its revenues, addressing the challenges facing people, and making their lives easier, and especially addressing the liquidity crisis, and commencing the unification and proper management of state institutions, after years of chaotic divisiveness."
Haftar also said that after the LNA liberates the Libyan capital from forces loyal to the rival western Government of National Accord (GNA), several tasks will need to be accomplished as part of a transitional period in order to switch to a so-called permanent phase.

The LNA commander explained that the transition period tasks will include dismantling all the bodies set up by the so-called Skhirat Accord, which laid the foundation for the creation of the UN-backed GNA. Haftar argued that the accord had not fixed the Libyan conflict, and had instead fueled several other crises.


Why the United States will not attack Iran

Pompeo Rouhani
The world has become so accustomed to US hubris, bluster, arrogance, and conceit, over so many years, most people accept even the most absurd statements coming from US State as a matter of course. But like the jester to the Court, informed opinion is aware that the United States is a spent force, incapable of carrying out its hollow threats versus Iran. And here's why.

Global alliances have shifted

Turkey has defacto announced its withdrawal from NATO, by its purchase of S-400 missiles. That purchase and collaboration with Russia guarantees its departure from NATO, even if Turkey has not publicly announced such a withdrawal. Furthermore, while Turkey's military bases host US aircraft and operations, Turkey says it will not allow its bases to be used in any attack on Iran, by the US.

Iraq, an ally of Iran, has likewise stated that it will not allow its territory to be used as a base for attacking Iran.

Comment: Even though it is unlikely the US will overtly start a war with Iran - because there have already been a number of instances that could be considered acts of war - that doesn't mean those nefarious factions in the US, responsible for this crisis, will just give up their goal of world domination; we can expect much more chaos creation yet to come:

Bad Guys

ISIS may turn its eyes to India after suffering defeats in Middle East - reports

indian soldiers
© REUTERS/Danish Ismail
Suffering defeats in the Middle East, Islamic State may now eye India, setting up underground cells in various states of the world's second-largest country, a local intelligence agency has reportedly warned.

India has become increasingly vulnerable to the threat of Islamic State-inspired (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist attacks, according to NDTV, citing three intelligence letters sent to police chiefs in the state of Kerala.

"After loss of territory in Iraq and Syria, IS is urging operatives to take up violent forms of jihad while staying back in their respective countries," reads one of the letters.