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Fri, 30 Sep 2016
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Russian Defense Ministry: Reckless US spy plane flying near Russia could have collided with passenger aircraft

US RC-135 spy plane
A US spy jet flying near Russia's eastern borders over the Sea of Japan on May 22 "created a real threat" to passenger planes, Russia's Defense Ministry said. A new and similar episode in the same area has been reported by Russian media.

US spy planes conduct flights along the Russian frontier in the east almost on a daily basis, according to Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov.

"However, this time while maneuvering along the international air route, the US spy plane created a real threat of collision for passenger aircraft, which could lead to catastrophic consequences," the spokesman said.

On May 22, a US RC-135 spy plane launched from the Kadena Air Base carried out a reconnaissance flight over the Sea of Japan at an altitude of 10,000 meters with a switched-off transponder, a device responsible for emitting an identifying signal, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported earlier.


Rand Paul files amendment to have 28 pages of Senate 9/11 investigation made public

© REUTERS/ Gary Cameron
Senator Rand Paul
Senator Rand Paul has filed an amendment to the US defense budget that will compel the Senate to declassify 28 classified pages of an investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks that was conducted in 2002.

The 28 classified pages, which Paul (R-KY) seeks to have released under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), would make public information that may reveal collusion between the Saudi government and al-Qaeda.

"Information revealed over the years does raise questions about [Saudi Arabia's] support, or whether their support might have been supportive to these al-Qaeda terrorists," Paul told journalists on Capitol Hill in June of last year.

"We can not let page after page of blanked-out documents be obscured behind a veil, leading these families to wonder if there is additional information surrounding these horrible acts," he stated.

Comment: See also:


Liberation of Raqqa a good opportunity for Russia-US cooperation in Syria

Syrian Democratic Forces
As the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), liberate a number of villages and settlements in the Raqqa neighborhood and take control of the strategically important settlement of Kirtaca, some suggest that the large-scale offensive might be a good chance for Russia-US cooperation in Syria.

Tackır Kobani, a representative of the SDF spoke to Sputnik Turkey about the large-scale three-pronged offensive, which was launched on Tuesday to liberate Syria's third-largest city Raqqa, which has been the de facto 'capital' city of Daesh for over 2.5 years.

"Our forces continue to advance to the north of Raqqa under the aerial coverage of the US-led anti-terrorist coalition forces, which are conducting massive air strikes on Daesh positions in the region," he said.

​"A number of settlements and villages in the area have been liberated from the jihadists. We have also taken under control the large settlement of Kirtaca in the Raqqa neighborhood," he added.


Fear wins: Sweden accepts NATO troops amid anti-Russia hysteria

© Rafael Marchante / Reuters
The Swedish parliament ratified a controversial deal with NATO allowing the bloc to deploy troops in the Nordic country. NATO has been pushing for closer ties with neutral European countries, on the pretext of 'protection from Russia'.

The so-called Host Nation Support Agreement (HNSA) was passed by the MPs on Wednesday as opponents of the deal vocally protested from the public galleries. Speaker asked security guards to stop the disturbance and escort the activists out.

Sweden's Left Party, which initially intended to stall the ratification in an unlikely alliance with the far-right Sweden Democrats, dropped the notion when their political rivals withdrew their support. Sweden Democrats said even together with the Left Party they would not be able to push back the deal for more than a couple of weeks, The Local reported.

Red Flag

Stuck in the past: US nuclear bombers and ballistic missiles still controlled by floppy disks

© Wikipedia
Three-quarters of federal agencies' IT budgets go on operation and maintenance rather than upgrades, and some legacy technologies, such as floppy disks used by the Pentagon for nuclear missiles, are over 50 years old.

The overview of how the US government continues to use archaic technologies in some vital areas was given in a report released on Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report said that the budget for IT modernization has fallen by $7.3 billion since 2010 while operations costs continued to grow. Of approximately 7,000 IT investments reviewed, the majority (5,223) do not spend a penny on upgrading their systems.

One of the legacy technologies identified by GAO is 8-inch floppy disks, which are used by the DoD to operate the functions of American nuclear forces. A computer system, on which deployment of ICBMs, nuclear bombers and tanker aircraft depends, runs on 1970s computers that use the floppy disks. The Pentagon plans to get rid of them by 2017, the report said.


Greeks, Italians and Malta close off airspace to Libyans amid NATO operation rumors

© Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters
Greece has closed off its airspace for flight to and from Libya until September 8, local media reported. It comes amid rumors of a looming NATO operation in the country, which remains in turmoil since the alliance bombed it in 2011.

A notice to airmen (NOTAM) was issued by the Greek authorities on Wednesday, which bans Libyan flights from entering Flight Information Region Athens starting Thursday, the Greek media reported. Similar restrictions were reportedly imposed by Malta and Italy, although they will last till August.
An exception to the rule is made for military aircraft with special authorization, and emergency cases such as evacuations for medical reasons, according to the Kathimerini daily. The newspaper says the decision was made ahead of EU and NATO joint training in the Mediterranean. The Phoenix Express 2016 exercise is scheduled for the summer off the island of Crete.

Comment: Phoenix Express 2016 seems to be ending tomorrow so it is interesting that the NOTAM lasts through September 8 (August 8 for Italy and Malta).

Gold Seal

Pepe Escobar: Western elites have turned Brazil into a Banana Scoundrel Republic

© Leonardo Veras
Every political junkie on the planet has to be glued to the ongoing Brazilian House of Cards, consistently offering an unparalleled feast of cheap thrills.

The latest cliffhanger was the leak of a conversation between one of the key operators involved in the oil giant Petrobras corruption scandal and a senator and short-lived Minister of Planning in the usurper interim government currently replacing President Dilma Rousseff while she is undergoing an impeachment trial by the Senate.

Call the leak a short autopsy of what from the beginning should have been defined as golpeachment; a mix of coup ("golpe", in Portuguese) and impeachment, which took place in a one/two sequential vote in the Brazilian Congress and Senate, as a notorious congregation of crooks investigated for myriad offenses and crimes seized power in Brasilia in a full-fledged Buffon's Opera. I call their scam Provisional Banana Scoundrel Republic (PBSR).


'Go east': Why EU should stop building NATO bases and turn to Russia, China

© Sputnik/ Sergey Guneev
The nations of Europe would benefit immensely if they opened themselves to vast new markets in Eurasia, including Russia and China, instead of opening new US Missile Defense bases in the EU, strategic consultant F. William Engdahl notes.

By imposing financial sanctions on Russia and threatening China's sea lanes, as well as encircling the two Eurasian giants with numerous NATO bases, Washington is only accelerating Sino-Russian rapprochement and cementing their partnership.

"The result is that both Russia and China are forging deep long-term economic ties across Eurasia that ultimately will become the focal point for world economic growth as the China New Silk Road - the One Belt, One Road project - links Russia, China, Iran and the vast regions across Eurasia with a new network of high-speed rail and port links, energy links, pipelines, electricity infrastructure," American author, researcher and strategic risk consultant F. William Engdahl writes in his article for New Eastern Outlook.

Comment: The problem is, the Anglo-American reality creators will stop at nothing in their quest for unipolarity and hegemony across the globe. The result of their hubris, self-focus and wishful thinking has been Mephistophelian - I am part of that power which eternally wills evil and eternally works good - working like a chess player who only thinks of their own moves and forgets about their opponent's possible counters.

Cooperation just isn't in their nature.


Maduro strikes 'historic' deals with Trinidad & Tobago

© Jorge Silva / Reuters
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has struck a set of "historic" bilateral deals with his Trinidadian counterpart, including the creation of a joint energy project geared towards natural gas exportation.

Both heads of state announced the series of cross-border initiatives in energy, security, and commerce on Monday from St Ann's, Trinidad and Tobago, where Maduro met with Prime-Minister Keith Rowley during a whirlwind trip to the Caribbean.

"We just signed some agreements of a historic nature for the mutual benefit of our peoples, through the common gas fields that we have in our countries," said Maduro.

The Venezuelan president explained that both governments intended to invest in the creation of a joint natural gas venture that would "give fast results and enrichment for the benefit of both of our peoples".

Eye 2

ISIL burning farms, destroying infrastructure in retreat from Raqqa battlefields

© Al-Alam
ISIL demolishing Raqqa
Kurdish sources in the Northern territories of Raqqa province said on Wednesday that the ISIL terrorists have been ordered by their commanders to devastate buildings and farms before pulling forces back from the battlefields.

"The ISIL, who have lost key territories in the Southern side of the town of Ein Issa under the heavy large-scale operation of the Syrian Democratic Forces in the last 24 hours, burnt the farms and destroyed building in the village of Qartaj and in the small town of al-Fateseh before fleeing the battlefronts," the sources said.

"The ISIL did the same while pulling its forces back from the village of Namroudiyeh," the sources added.

Reports said earlier today that the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF), mainly Kurdish fighters, continued to drive the ISIL terrorists back from more positions in the Southern side of the town of Ein Issa and took full control over one more key village in the region, Kurdish sources said minutes ago.