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Sun, 28 Aug 2016
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Mutual annihilation? Washington plays nuclear chicken now with China as well as Russia

It seems it's not enough that US Defense Secretary Ash Carter and his generals engage in games of nuclear chicken with Russia by provocations in Ukraine, NATO maneuvers on Russia's borders and activation of highly-dangerous ballistic missile defense installations on Russia's perimeter. In the past months the Obama Administration has clearly also escalated tensions in the seas surrounding the Peoples' Republic of China—East China Sea with Japan and South China Sea with the Philippines—tensions which potentially could provoke a catastrophe. While both provocative operations could give the Pentagon budget a boost in times of budget austerity, they could easily detonate a preemptive nuclear strike by either China or Russia or by both. In the 21st Century such primitive behavior by the Obama Pentagon is not only inexcusable. It's mad.

Earlier I discussed in great detail the carefully-planned Washington provocation of China in the strategic South China Sea islands disputes, where the Obama Administration encouraged a Philippine government—then under US-crony Benigno Aquino—to escalate tensions over the barren Spratly Islands by unilaterally going ahead with arbitration in The Hague despite the fact it was not agreed to be arbitrated by Beijing, violation of the very definition of arbitration. It was a deliberately planned Washington ploy to provoke Beijing into rash reaction. To date, to its credit, China has instead pursued a series of diplomatic initiatives with ASEAN, as well as dialogue with a new, more reasonable Manila government under President Rodrigo Duterte, to defuse the manipulated US propaganda Hague decision.


Ouch: Yemen missiles hit facilities of Saudi oil giant Aramco

Yemeni forces have fired ballistic missiles at the facilities belonging to the Saudi state oil giant Aramco in the kingdom's southwest.

The retaliatory attack took place on Friday, hitting targets in Saudi Arabia's Jizan region and causing considerable damage to the Aramco facilities there, Yemen's al-Masirah television reported.

The Saudi military has been pounding Yemen since March last year to undermine Yemen's Houthi Ansarullah movement and to restore power to the former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.


Serbia-Russia-Belarus to perform joint military exercise in November

© mod.gov.rs
Representatives of the three countries' armed forces discussed preparations for the exercise at a meeting in Belgrade on Thursday.

Slavic Brotherhood 2016 will be performed as a trilateral exercise of the three countries' armed forces. It represents a continuation of the cooperation between the Russian Airborne Troops and the Serbian Army's Special Brigade started by the exercise SREM 2014, the Serbian Armed Forces said.

The delegation of the Serbian Army was led by the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Jovica Draganic. The Russian and Belarus delegations were led by Major General Oleg Olegovich Polguyev and Colonel Vyacheslav Viktorovich Gubski.


French government claims India submarine docs were stolen, not leaked

© Bazuki Muhammad / Reuters
Documents containing detailed descriptions of key features of India's naval submarines were stolen from the French contractor that built them, a French government source says. Previous reports said the 22,400 pages of top-secret files had been leaked.

"It is not a leak, it is theft," the source told Reuters on Wednesday, adding that no negligence had been found on the part of French naval contractor DCNS "...but we have identified some dishonesty by an individual."

The source went on to state that the documents seem to have been stolen in 2011 by a former French employee who had been fired in India while providing training on the use of submarines.

He also said the documents were not classified and appear to have only focused on the operational elements of the submarines.

Both India and France opened investigations after a number of the documents were published on Wednesday by The Australian newspaper, which declined to reveal its source.


Russia invites Japan to join Aleppo humanitarian aid operation in Syria

Japan is invited to join the Russia-led UN humanitarian operation in the crisis-torn Syrian city of Aleppo, the Russian Defense Ministry said Friday.

Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov met with Japanese Ambassador to Russia Toyohisa Kozuki earlier in the day, where the envoy was briefed on the preparations for the first 48-hour humanitarian pause in Aleppo. Antonov invited his Japanese counterparts to join the mission, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Comment: See also: Russia ready to support weekly 48-hour humanitarian ceasefires in Aleppo

Eye 2

Terrorists kill 6 civilians and injure dozens more after shelling Aleppo with rockets and grenades

© Ruptly
At least six people were killed and 34 wounded as several neighborhoods of Syria's Aleppo were shelled Thursday. Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front were reportedly behind the shelling, releasing rockets and grenades on the civilian areas.

Aleppo's neighborhoods of Al-Jabriyah, Salah al-Din and Al-Zahraa were affected.

The groups responsible for the shelling included Islamic State (IS, ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front terrorists, according to the information provided by the Bulletin of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria.

"Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front continue to impede the final establishment of the cessation of hostilities. During the last 24 hours, terrorists fired from multiple rocket launchers on the city of Aleppo," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The updated toll of the dead and injured was released by the SANA news agency, citing police sources.


Prime Minister of Turkey declares 'total war' on terrorist groups after car bomb attack

Turkey declared war on terrorist groups, including the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Ankara accuses of carrying out a truck bombing in the southeastern Turkish town of Cizre earlier in the day, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Friday.

The Turkish prime minister also stressed that there is no terrorist group that "could hold Turkey captive."

"Let our nation know that we have opened a total war against these terrorist groups," Yildirim was quoted as saying by the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper.


Syrian authorities begin civilian evacuation of Damascus' Darayya suburb

© Mikhail Voskresenky/Sputnik
Destroyed buildings in the Darayya suburb of Damascus
The Syrian authorities have begun evacuating civilians and militants from Darayya, a southern suburb of Damascus, a Sputnik correspondent reported Friday.

On Thursday, reports emerged claiming that the Syrian army and the so-called moderate armed opposition reached an agreement under which some 4,000 civilians must leave Darayya, as well as 700 armed terrorists, who will be taken to Idlib.

As many as 25 buses will be taking militants to Idlib, while 30 buses will take militants' facilities. There are also 15 ambulances to evacuate the wounded.

Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups.

On February 27, a US-Russia brokered ceasefire came into force in Syria. Terrorist groups such as Daesh and Jabhat Fatah al Sham (previously known as al-Nusra Front), are not part of the deal.

Fighters of several militant groups have been surrounded by Syrian government forces in Darayya for several months. At the same time the province of Idlib has been fully controlled by Jabhat Fatah al Sham, which is outlawed in many countries, including Russia, and its allies.


Lavrov arrives in Geneva to hold talks with Kerry on Syrian settlement and possibly Ukraine as well

© Jorge Silva / Reuters
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in Geneva on Thursday, where on Friday, August 26 he will hold talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry. The main issue on the agenda of the meeting of the two states' foreign policy chiefs will be the development of coordination in the fight against terrorism in Syria.

The talks focus "will be on the Syrian settlement, including the prospects of establishing close coordination of actions in the fight against terrorist groups now active in Syria," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said earlier.

The Syrian range of issues will possibly include the theme of the humanitarian situation around Aleppo, Turkey's operation in Jarablus and the recently published report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations on the use of chemical weapons.

Zakharova said that the officials might also consider other international issues, including the Ukrainian problems and topical issues on the bilateral agenda.


Bad Guys

The absurdity of Hillary Clinton blaming Putin for vast 'far-right conspiracy' in the U.S.

© ABC / Jimmy Kimmel Live
It is now obvious that the Clinton Foundation's primary function was always as a shell organization to facilitate the exchange of money for favors.

It seems that among the few certainties in life, along with death and taxes, is the inevitability of a political scandal involving at least one member of the Clinton family. Just as certain as the scandals themselves are the inevitable denials, obfuscations and absurdist attempts to change the subject which follow in their wake. So it comes as no surprise that, after easily the worst week of her campaign thus far, Clinton is attempting to throw a giant red herring into the news cycle by floating the specter of an insidious and vast, "Alt-Right" conspiracy within the Trump campaign.

Indeed, as things presently stand she desperately needs to have the media pivot off of its recent focus on the transparently corrupt dealings of the Clinton Foundation. Even traditionally die hard liberals are now openly calling for her to end her association with the Foundation. This may have to do with the fact that it is now obvious that the foundation's primary function was always as a shell organization to facilitate the exchange of money for favors, quite literally the selling of influence. These revelations are extremely damaging to a candidate that is already profoundly mistrusted by the majority of the American electorate.

Comment: Clinton blames Trump supporters for 'dark conspiracies' but then follows with her own 'paranoid fever dream' about Putin controlling America's nationalist movement,
The godfather of this global brand of extreme nationalism is Russian President Vladimir Putin.... Trump himself heaps praise on Putin and embrace pro-Russian policies. He talks casually of abandoning our NATO allies, recognizing Russia's annexation of Crimea, and of giving the Kremlin a free hand in Eastern Europe more generally.

American presidents from Truman to Reagan have rejected the kind of approach Trump is taking on Russia.We should, too.
So while Clinton tries to position herself as the 'protector of the vulnerable' we know what to expect from her: more war and more victims.Also see: Funnily enough, Hillary's supporters aren't even sure what the alt-right is: