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25 people killed, 60 injured, during attack on military parade in southern Iran - UPDATE: Iran blames 'regional terror sponsors & their US masters' for the attack

Iraninan Revolutionary Guard
Unknown assailants have attacked an army parade in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz. The attack has left at least eight soldiers and several attackers dead, local media reports.

Gunmen opened fire from behind the stands during a military parade in Ahvaz on Saturday, killing and injuring several people. Shooting broke out several minutes into the parade, which featured troops from the Iranian Army's 92nd armored division, Iran's ISNA news agency reported.

The assailants were apparently wearing military uniforms, and the attack lasted for about 10 minutes. The agency's Twitter account has released a set of photos showing the aftermath of the attack.

Comment: See also: Iran holds nationwide military parades, tells U.S. to get out of Gulf - cozies up with Turkey

Update: Following a deadly attack on a military parade in southern Iran, the country's foreign minister said that regional sponsors of terrorism and their "US masters" are to be held accountable for such assaults.
Top Iranian diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif vowed to respond "swiftly and decisively" after gunmen opened fire in Ahvaz on Saturday leading to multiple casualties. The minister claimed that the terrorists were sponsored and trained by "a foreign regime."

Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their US masters accountable for such attacks.

The carnage has claimed the lives of up to 25 people, Iran's state-run Irna news agency says, adding that some 60 people were wounded.

An Iranian military spokesman, brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, later added echoed Zarif's view, noting that the terrorists might also be trained by Israeli intelligence.

"They are not from Daesh [Islamic State, IS, formerly ISIS] or other groups fighting [Iran's] Islamic system ... but they are linked to America and [Israel's spy agency] Mossad," Shekarchi claimed as cited by Reuters. He presented no details, however, to back the claim.
Update 2: Al-Masdar News further reports:
Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for Khuzestan Province Hassan Shahvarpour announced that a "four-strong terrorist team" were responsible for the attack earlier in the day in Ahvaz, capital of the southwestern Khuzestan province, on Saturday, that killed at least 24 and left 59 wounded.

"A four-strong terrorist team in disguise attacked the parading column from a pretty close range, where there is a forest park," stated Shahvarpour, adding that "three of these [terrorists] were killed. Two were killed on the spot and one had sustained injured and they took them to hospital where he died. A fourth person was arrested."


Russia asks Iran if it can use its Nojeh airbase

iran airbase russia
Russia yesterday asked Iran to provide access to the military base Noyeh (Noyeh Military Air Base) in northwestern Iran.

It is assumed that the air base will be used as a transit airfield on the way to Syria, where Russian military and military transport planes will be refueled. Syrian sources say that we are talking about several fighters and 4 air tankers IL-78.

The base in Noea was already used by the Russian Civil Aviation Committee - in April of this year it was reported that Russian long-distance bombers flying to bombard the positions of militants in Eastern Syria stayed at it.

Comment: See also:

Black Cat

Ricki Seidman, coordinator of Clarence Thomas hit job, now advising Kavanaugh accuser

clinton lawyer Ricki Seidman Anital hill

Former Clinton advisor Ricki Seidman (L), Anita Hill (R)
When NeverTrump pundit Erick Erickson suggested that the accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by Christine Blasey Ford was the result of a PR job, there was both laughter and disdain from the left.

There isn't much mirth or contempt now that it's been revealed who Judge Kavanaugh's accuser has retained.

According to Politico, Christine Blasey Ford - the 51-year-old California psychologist who says the Supreme Court nominee sexually assaulted her while they were in high school in Maryland - is receiving advice from Democrat activist Ricki Seidman.

"Seidman, a senior principal at TSD Communications, in the past worked as an investigator for Sen. Ted Kennedy, and was involved with Anita Hill's decision to testify against Supreme Court Nominee Clarence Thomas," Politico reported.

Comment: Politico further remarks:
Even though Democrats have purposefully proceeded cautiously with Ford, the news that she is working with an experienced political operative was interpreted by Republicans close to the process as a sign that Democrats are trying to leverage the accusation to derail the Kavanaugh confirmation process.

"This feels more like a Democratic super PAC than a legal effort to get at the truth," said a senior Republican official of Seidman's role working with Ford.

"If you're concerned about an appearance of partisanship, hiring a Democratic operative with a history of smearing conservative judges doesn't exactly mitigate that," said Cassie Smedile, press secretary for the Republican National Committee.


British company linked to Danske Bank's $235 billion money laundering scandal to be investigated

Danske Bank

Danske Bank
The British entity tasked with dealing with serious and organised crimes has launched a probe into a mystery UK firm that is potentially linked to the massive money laundering scandal which this week forced the resignation of Danske Bank's CEO.

It was reported overnight that the National Crime Agency has launched a criminal investigation into a UK entity which is believed to have links with the Estonian branch of Denmark's biggest bank, which is at the centre of the scandal that could potential have involved $235 billion of cash flows.

Investigations centre on a "UK-registered limited liability partnership, or LLP," according to a report from the Financial Times, which cites people familiar with the investigation. The entity in question has not been named.

"The NCA is aware of the use of UK registered companies in this case and has related ongoing operational activity," the National Crime Agency said in a statement provided to the FT.

Comment: See also:

Snakes in Suits

Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein suggested secretly recording Trump, discussed 25th Amendment

Rod Rosenstein
© Reuters
Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein
The deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, suggested last year that he secretly record President Trump in the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, and he discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit.

Mr. Rosenstein made these suggestions in the spring of 2017 when Mr. Trump's firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director plunged the White House into turmoil. Over the ensuing days, the president divulged classified intelligence to Russians in the Oval Office, and revelations emerged that Mr. Trump had asked Mr. Comey to pledge loyalty and end an investigation into a senior aide.

Mr. Rosenstein was just two weeks into his job. He had begun overseeing the Russia investigation and played a key role in the president's dismissal of Mr. Comey by writing a memo critical of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. But Mr. Rosenstein was caught off guard when Mr. Trump cited the memo in the firing, and he began telling people that he feared he had been used.

Mr. Rosenstein made the remarks about secretly recording Mr. Trump and about the 25th Amendment in meetings and conversations with other Justice Department and F.B.I. officials. Several people described the episodes in interviews over the past several months, insisting on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The people were briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by F.B.I. officials, including Andrew G. McCabe, then the acting bureau director, that documented Mr. Rosenstein's actions and comments.

None of Mr. Rosenstein's proposals apparently came to fruition. It is not clear how determined he was about seeing them through, though he did tell Mr. McCabe that he might be able to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and John F. Kelly, then the secretary of homeland security and now the White House chief of staff, to mount an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment.

Comment: If Rosenstein wanted or needed to wiretap the president, he would have delegated this action to intelligence professionals in some 3-letter agency - not jeopardize his career and reputation and not openly suggest it to others. Rosenstein, as stated above, unequivocally disputes the Times' account.

The NYT is again, by false interpretation and unnamed sources, attempting to portray a particular scenario as a factual circumstance that would lead to a particular reaction within the public and the governmental hierarchy. Could the NYT be the impetus to set a trap for the president? Certainly looks like it. Once again the NYT tarnishes its reputation as an unbiased and truth-seeking media outlet.

NYT Reporter Adam Goldman doubles down. More from Mediaite:
In the wake of reports that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's comments about secretly recording President Donald Trump were made in jest, New York Times reporter Adam Goldman is defending his reporting.

Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper on Friday, Goldman - one of the two reporters who wrote the Times bombshell - said as far as he was concerned, it was not a flippant remark.

"You know, my understanding of what happened is that this wasn't a flippant remark," Goldman said. "And he was, in fact, very serious. And the circumstances in which it was described to me are different now than what's being put out I guess by the government."

He continued on: "But, you know, it's important that your listeners understand something. That as I was pursuing this story for a very long time, people were reluctant to talk about it, because of the gravity of the story. There was concern that if it got out, that, you know, Rosenstein had wanted to actually, you know, wear a wire, and suggested Andy McCabe, the acting director at the time wear a wire, that Rob might get fired. People were sincerely concerned about this. Not because he made a flip remark. Because of the seriousness surrounding the remark."

The Times reporter also defended publishing the story despite the potential political fallout.

"In this moment, we realize when we write these stories they can become politically toxic, but I felt my job as a reporter and the way I've always conducted myself is I just follow the facts," Goldman told Tapper. "And when I reach a certain comfort level, I publish the story. You know, I think my main concern in this story was just trying to be fair to all of the parties involved."
If it is 'the truth' based on 'the facts', they will never 'be fair to all parties involved'. The author's 'comfort factor' is irrelevant.

See also: Tinker, traitor, lawyer, lie: NYT claims DAG Rosenstein wanted to secretly record the president


Tinker, traitor, lawyer, lie: NYT claims DAG Rosenstein wanted to secretly record the president

© Washington Post/KJN
The number two official at the Justice Department wanted to secretly record President Donald Trump so as to impeach him, claims the New York Times. Spoiler Alert: Rod Rosenstein denies the claim, but does it matter in the swamp?

Rod Rosenstein Suggested Secretly Recording Trump and Discussed 25th Amendment the Times blared in a breaking news headline on Friday afternoon, adding that the deputy attorney general also discussed recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the constitutional provision for removing Trump from office.

The Times would have its readers believe that Rosenstein was surprised when Trump used his memo to justify the firing of FBI Director James Comey in May 2017, and sought to enlist AG Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly - now the White House chief of staff- to support him in ousting Trump.

None of the Times' sources are named - except one: Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, or rather his memos about the meetings with Rosenstein and other officials.

Comment: RT, so far, seems to have the clearest take on the unfolding innuendo created by yet another unsupported and slanted NYT article aimed at disruption and vendetta against Trump. Any idea that Trump and the NYT were colluding together to get Rosenstein fired is pure fantasy.

Additional from NBC News:
The senior [DOJ] official further said that the reference to invoking the Constitution to remove Trump comes from a post-meeting memo written by McCabe that said the deputy attorney general "raises 25th amendment" and that [Lisa] Page's notes from the same meeting do not contain any similar note. ...

Later Friday night, Rosenstein released a second statement pushing back on the story. "I never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false," he said.

The White House had no immediate comment on the story, but Trump allies outside the administration began sounding a death knell for Rosenstein's tenure at Justice. ...

The Times based its reporting on sources who "were briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by F.B.I. officials, including Andrew G. McCabe, then the acting bureau director, that documented Mr. Rosenstein's actions and comments."

McCabe responded to the story through an attorney, Michael R. Bromwich:
"Andrew McCabe drafted memos to memorialize significant discussions he had with high level officials and preserved them so he would have an accurate, contemporaneous record of those discussions," Bromwich said in a statement. "When he was interviewed by the special counsel more than a year ago, he gave all of his memos - classified and unclassified - to the special counsel's office. A set of those memos remained at the FBI at the time of his departure in late January 2018. He has no knowledge of how any member of the media obtained those memos."

See also: Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein suggested secretly recording Trump, discussed 25th Amendment


Rouhani: 'Trump will fail!' Iran won't abandon its 'missiles that make America angry'

© Raheb Homavandi/Reuters
A military truck carrying an Iranian Raad missile.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says that Trump is doomed to fail against Iran "just like Iraq's Saddam Hussein did", and that Tehran will not bow down to Washington and get rid of its "defensive" weapons.

Should the worst-case scenario occur and Washington attacks Iran, the US would face the same fate as Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Rouhani warned, referring to the eight-year Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.

"The same will happen to Trump. America will suffer the same fate as Saddam Hussein," Rouhani said in a speech commemorating the start of the conflict, Reuters reports.

Washington has been pushing its allies to follow its anti-Iranian agenda after Trump withdrew from the landmark Iran nuclear deal, officially called The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA). However, these attempts won't yield the desired results and won't thwart Iran's missile program, Rouhani said. "Iran will not abandon its defensive weapons... including its missiles that make America so angry."

Comment: The US keeps hammering away at Iran's missile program, which it sees as a larger and more immediate threat than Iran's nuclear program. The US has several military bases within range of current Iranian missile delivery, as well as its puppet master Israel. Whether Iran has any plans to utilize its capabilities, the belligerent confrontations by the US may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. See also:

Snakes in Suits

Report: Protecting arms sales, Pompeo favors sole voice backing renewed support of Saudis in Yemen

© CounterPunch/McNamee/Getty Images
Yemeni child • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo certified that Saudi Arabia was reducing civilian casualties in Yemen, against the majority opinion in the State Department, siding with a minority report which warned US arms sales would be in jeopardy if he didn't.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have been engaged in a brutal military campaign in Yemen since 2015. The US has been instrumental in the war effort, providing weapons, air refueling and targeting data to its Arab allies. The support continues despite a mountain of evidence that Saudi air strikes have caused thousands of civilian deaths.

Last week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Congress that the Saudi-led coalition was "taking demonstrable action" to do less harm to civilians in Yemen. The certification is a requirement of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 and must be issued every six months for US military assistance to the campaign to continue. According to the Wall Street Journal, Pompeo's certification was issued against the opinions of all but one bureau at the state department that were consulted on the issue.

Comment: Pompeo negated any leverage over Saudi actions in favor of sales and profit. The bureaus were not much better with their excuse to continue military support due to America's national security interest. Since when were the Yemeni a national threat to the almighty US and selling bombs worth more than children?

Star of David

Reacting to nuclear violation claim, Iran demands Israel be forced to join NPT

Dimona Nuclear Power Plant
Dimona Nuclear Power Plant in the Southern Israeli Negev desert.
Iran's permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a biting response to his Israeli counterpart's claim that Iran and Syria posed "significant proliferation threats" to the Middle East and the world.

Iranian IAEA Ambassador Kazem Gharibabadi urged the international community to pressure Israel to sign onto Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), saying that doing so would be the only way to bring peace to the Middle East.

Speaking at the 62nd Annual Session of the ongoing IAEA General Conference in Vienna, Gharibabadi charged Israel with threatening its neighbors, pointed to its possession of nuclear weapons, and chastised the IAEA for giving in to Israeli pressure and not following up on what he said were the country's "dangerous" nuclear activities.

According to the ambassador, little progress has been made on nuclear disarmament, one of the NPT's major stated objectives, in the fifty years since the treaty was signed. Gharibabadi also pointed to the Middle East Nuclear Weapon Freeze Zone idea, a UN project dating back to 1970s aimed at prohibiting nuclear weapons in the region, and how this proposal too has suffered from a "lack of political will."

Eye 2

The Kavanugh accusations: It's a set-up

kavanaugh hearings
© Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies during the second day of his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 5, 2018.
If Ford won't agree to testify, hold the vote tomorrow as planned.

In my column yesterday, I contended that the unverifiable sexual-assault allegation against Judge Brett Kavanaugh bore "all the hallmarks of a set-up." I based that assessment on the patently flimsy evidence, coupled with Senate Democrats' duplicitous abuse of the confirmation-hearing process. To repeat myself:
If the Democrats had raised the allegation in a timely manner, its weakness would have been palpable, it would have been used for what little it's worth in examining Kavanagh during his days of testimony, it would be put to rest as unverifiable, and we'd be on to a confirmation vote. Instead, we're on to a delay - precisely the Democrats' objective. They want to slow-walk Kavanaugh's confirmation vote until after the midterms, in the hopes that they swing the Senate in their favor and have the numbers to defeat the nomination.
Well, whaddaya know: Late last night, the partisan Democratic attorneys retained by the putative victim, Christine Blasey Ford, delivered a letter to Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), the Judiciary Committee chairman, contending that before any hearing at which she is summoned to testify takes place, there must be a "full investigation by law enforcement officials [to] ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner."

Comment: The company you keep . . . .

Former Obama-Clinton Democrat operative now advising Kavanaugh accuser