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Mon, 25 Jul 2016
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US spent $11.5 million per day for 542 days fighting ISIS

© AP Photo/Mehmet Shakir
In this picture taken on Saturday, April 18, 2015, a car passes in an area that was destroyed during the U.S. bombing campaign in Kobani, north Syria.
After two years of bombing, the U.S. recently marked a horrendous milestone in a war with no clear end in sight.

Vocativ reported that the American-led coalition in the Middle East has now dropped 50,000 bombs in the ongoing campaign against Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the terrorist group commonly known as ISIS or ISIL in the West) that began in August 2014.

The analysis noted that bombing has increased with time, peaking in June when coalition forces dropped 3,167 bombs on Iraq and Syria.

"By comparison, U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan have dropped just over 16,000 bombs in the last six years, military data shows," Shane Dixon Kavanaugh, a senior writer for Vocativ, wrote on Tuesday.


Killary Leak series: Wikileaks releases 20 K DNC emails

Who is protecting the Queen of Chaos?
Nearly 20,000 emails and more than 8,000 attachments from the Democratic National Committee have been released by WikiLeaks. This is part one of their new Hillary Leaks series, the whistleblower organization said in press release.

The emails released Friday cover a period from Janury 2015 to May 2016. They purportedly come from the accounts of seven major figures in the DNC: Senior Adviser Andrew Wright, National Finance Director Jordon Kaplan, Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer, Communications Director Luis Miranda, Northern California Finance Director Robert Stowe, Finance Director of Data & Strategic Initiatives Daniel Parrish and Finance Director Allen Zachary.

Wine n Glass

Who knew? Ivanka Trump's speech at RNC praises father as "colorblind and gender neutral", a real champion of progressive values

© Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Ivanka Trump, daughter of Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump, speaks during the final session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016
Ivanka Trump presented a softer side of her father and his campaign at the RNC, but some feel it was sugarcoating less progressive policies. Her speech about working mothers left some feeling that she would have been at home at the other camp.

Ivanka Trump introduced herself as a millennial to the audience at the RNC, saying "I don't consider myself categorically Republican or Democrat." The 34-year-old is technically a member of Generation X, but regardless, her speech was well received by Twitter users who praised the very progressive stance she presented her father's Republican platform.

Ivanka Trump's glowing speech presented her father as a champion of women who seeks to make childcare free for working mothers. In her speech, she called Trump "colorblind and gender neutral." This was greeted with tepid applause from the audience in stark contrast to her father's speech that vilified illegal immigrants and was met with roaring applause and chants of, "Build a wall! She praised her father's track record of hiring women, saying "At my father's company, there are more female than male executives," despite a 1997 lawsuit claiming that he sexually harassed a female employee who was contacted by his campaign to retract her statements in May.

Allegations of Donald Trump's character aside, Ivanka pledged to join her father in the fight to close the wage gap. She told the audience, "He will fight for equal pay, for equal work and I will fight for this, too, right alongside of him."

Eye 1

How covert agents infiltrate the internet to manipulate, deceive, and destroy reputations


A page from a GCHQ top secret document prepared by its secretive JTRIG unit
One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It's time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.

Over the last several weeks, I worked with NBC News to publish a series of articles about "dirty trick" tactics used by GCHQ's previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). These were based on four classified GCHQ documents presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking "Five Eyes" alliance. Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document, in full, entitled "The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations."

By publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse "hacktivists" of using, the use of "honey traps" (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself.


Libya helicopter crash exposes secret French, US, UK violation of Libyan sovereignty

By confirming the death of its three servicemen in Libya, France has admitted the presence of its special forces on the ground in the country; earlier the Pentagon also confirmed its presence on the ground in Syria. Chris Nineham from the Stop the War Coalition says that the majority of such operations are carried out without any UN authorization.

On Wednesday French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll confirmed the deaths of three French soldiers who were on an intelligence-gathering mission in Libya and died in a helicopter crash near Benghazi, thus admitting the presence of its special forces on the ground in the North African country.

"The special forces are there, of course, to help ensure that France is present everywhere in the fight against terrorists," Le Foll explained in an interview with the radio station France Info.

Reports suggest that following the Daesh takeover of Libya's coastal city of Sirte in late 2015, the United Kingdom and Italy have also sent special forces to Libya.

Comment: See also: France confirms troop presence in Libya after 3 soldiers killed in helicopter shoot down. For more on the background of what's going on in Libya at the present time, see: Arms sales to Libya is the least bad option.

Bad Guys

Former chief-of-staff to US Secretary of State: 'Damn straight the CIA had something to do with Turkish coup attempt'

© Associated Press Photo/Carolyn Kaster
The CIA seal is seen displayed before President Barack Obama speaks at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Va., Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan undoubtedly played some role in the July 15th coup attempt to oust Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, former chief-of-staff to US Secretary of State Colin Powell Lawrence Wilkerson told Sputnik. On Tuesday, US State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner rejected media allegations that the United States had any involvement in Friday's military coup in Turkey that resulted in 300 deaths and more than 1,400 wounded.

"No doubt in my mind that John Brennan and others knew what was going down in Turkey [and] damn straight we had something to do with it," Wilkerson stated on Tuesday. "Either we were on the inside advising against it, which happens from time to time, or we were on the inside very, very forcibly influencing it, or somewhere in between."

The United States, Wilkerson noted, has long since institutionalized coups as a standard political and military tool to remove problem governments inimical to US interests. "Don't you think it's not going on because once you institutionalize covert operations the way we have, once you become the 'New Rome' like we have, you are inescapably caught in these operations," Wilkerson added.

During the presidency of Ronald Reagan, 58 covert operations took place under the CIA directorship of Bill Casey, Wilkerson observed.

"Put on your caps for a moment and think what's going on right now that your grandchildren, children will read in 25 years like people read about the overthrow of Iran [Prime Minister] Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, and don't you think for a moment that it isn't going on in Caracas, in Kiev, indeed perhaps in places like Ankara, Damascus and in Baghdad," Wilkerson maintained.

Wilkerson is a distinguished adjunct professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William and Mary in the US state of Virginia.

Comment: Toner's denial of US involvement in turkey's failed coup is patently absurd. Toner also went on to say , "there's never a justification for an attempt to overthrow a democratically elected government." Coups are part and parcel to the operation of the United States on the global stage. Here's William Blum's list of successful CIA interventions since WWII, and yes, Ukraine (2014) should be added:
Noam Chomsky calls William Blum's classic, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, "Far and away the best book on the topic." If you're looking for historical context for what you are reading or watching on TV about the coup in Ukraine, Killing Hope will provide it. The title has never been more apt as we watch the hopes of people from all regions of Ukraine being sacrificed on the same altar as those of people in Iran (1953); Guatemala(1954); Thailand (1957); Laos (1958-60); the Congo (1960); Turkey (1960, 1971 & 1980); Ecuador (1961 & 1963); South Vietnam (1963); Brazil (1964); the Dominican Republic (1963); Argentina (1963); Honduras (1963 & 2009); Iraq (1963 & 2003); Bolivia (1964, 1971 & 1980); Indonesia (1965); Ghana (1966); Greece (1967); Panama (1968 & 1989); Cambodia (1970); Chile (1973); Bangladesh (1975); Pakistan (1977); Grenada (1983); Mauritania (1984); Guinea (1984); Burkina Faso (1987); Paraguay (1989); Haiti (1991 & 2004); Russia (1993); Uganda (1996);and Libya (2011). This list does not include a roughly equal number of failed coups, nor coups in Africa and elsewhere in which a U.S. role is suspected but unproven.
See also:

Heart - Black

Bloodbath on Turkey's Bosphorus Bridge caught on CCTV during coup attempt (GRAPHIC)

© Reuters
Still frame taken from video shows people gathering along the road to the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, during an attempted coup in Turkey, on July 15, 2016
New footage of the bloodbath captured on CCTV cameras from multiple angles reveals the true horror that unfolded on the Bosphorus Bridge on the night of July 15 when civilians clashed with rogue military forces who tried to take power in the country.

As tanks rolled onto the streets of Istanbul on Friday night, by 7:30pm GMT, uniformed soldiers from the breakaway army units proceeded to block two major bridges - Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge.

After gunfire and explosions rocked Istanbul, soldiers took up positions and ordered a state television channel to read out a message declaring they had taken power.

The announcement mobilized civilians on the Asian side of the famous Bosphorus Bridge, which connects the European and Asian sides of Istanbul. Coup soldiers and military vehicles, including tanks, quickly blocked the path to the European side, to prevent anti-coup activists from ruining the takeover plans.



Putin calls for independent commission with foreign experts to address the Russian doping accusations

© Alexander Zemlianichenko / Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged the creation of an independent commission, with the inclusion of foreign experts, to address problems with the anti-doping system in Russian sports.

"I think it would make sense to address the Russian Olympic Committee with a proposal to establish an independent, I want to emphasize, an independent public commission, which, besides the Russian specialists, would include foreign experts in the field of medicine and law as well as respected public and sports figures," the Russian president said.

Putin added that the main task of the proposed commission would be "strict control over the efficient implementation of the national plan for the fight against doping."

"There is no place and can never be a place for any doping in sports," the Russian president said, telling Russia's Olympic Committee to work closely with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).


Fire sale: Crimea to sell Kolomoisky's assets to compensate swindled depositors of his bank

© Mikhail Markiv / Sputnik
Twenty businesses formerly owned by Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky will be sold by the Crimean authorities. The region's government is seeking to compensate people who lost money in Ukrainian banks, mostly Kolomoisky's PrivatBank.

Crimea's Deputy Speaker Konstantin Bakharev says the oligarch's assets will be sold by year-end for 2 billion rubles (about $30 million).

"The money will be transferred to the depositor protection fund for compensation payments to residents of the Crimea, whose deposits in the Ukrainian banks exceeded 700,000 rubles ($10,500)," he said.

Bakharev added the republic has already raised 1.5 billion rubles ($23.5 million) from the sale of Kolomoisky's assets. The majority of the tycoon's assets are hotels or summer camps for children.


Seriously? Saudi Arabia and allies condemn Yemen's resistance to being conquered

Since March 2015 Saudi Arabia, with active help of the U.S., UK and UAE, is trying to subdue Yemen by force. Using foreign and Yemeni proxy forces it attempted to march towards the Yemeni capital Sanaa. But all efforts to move from the desert and coastal plains into the mountainous heart of Yemen failed. Thousands of Saudi air strikes, planned with and supported by the U.S., destroyed much of Yemen's infrastructure and heritage but failed to change the military balance.

Followers of the Houthi movement and the Yemeni army loyal to former president Saleh defeated all incursions. At the southern coast al-Qaeda aligned fighters, with silent help from the Saudis, gained and hold some ground around Aden. But they are unable to proceed from there.

The Houthis and their allies then turned the war around by invading Saudi Arabia. This led to peace negotiations under hapless UN supervision. But after the Houthis, in a good-will gesture, stopped further attacks on Saudi Arabia the negotiations failed. The Saudis had demanded total surrender which, for some reason, the Houthis and their allies were not willing to concede. Air attacks by the Saudis increased again and they announced, for the twentieths or so time, that their proxy forces will conquer Sanaa within weeks.

Comment: More information